Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Release date: July 7, 2015
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.
Goodness, why did I wait a year from when I got this to read it? What's wrong with me? I do this all the time, y'all, and I still never learn. On the bright side, I waited till I had a copy of The Beauty of Darkness, so I can read anytime, instead of waiting--though I'm deeply nervous to finish this series!

Weirdly, I did try to read this one prior to its release, but it couldn't hold me. I always knew I'd come back to it, but I had a lot of trepidation starting again, afraid I'd still not be able to get through it. Not the case! From the beginning, I didn't remember much of my original attempt, but I was so absorbed in the story. It's so fun to watch Rafe and Lia, especially, as they navigated the Komizar and Venda, and get their way out of tough scrapes.

And I loved seeing Venda. As you could expect, actually being in the supposedly savage country proves that it's not quite the irredeemable, terrible place it sounded in The Kiss of Deception. Lia quickly comes not only to appreciate its people and culture, but to love them. She feels a deep connection to their history, and they welcome her with open arms--a reception she's not seen from her own country.

What's the best, though, is that Lia really comes to fight for herself. She starts still a little reliant on Rafe and his plan to get out, but soon she realize that things are only going to happen if she makes them happen. So, she quickly becomes a master manipulator--and wins the people of Venda over. She proves herself adaptable and intelligent.

Needless to say, The Heart of Betrayal is a worthy sequel. The stakes set up in The Kiss of Deception are raised, and it only makes me more excited for The Beauty of Darkness!


About the author:

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {156}


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Hellooo! Exciting news this week! Remember how I was applying to grad school? Well I was accepted to one! I only applied to two, so halfway there! The other is the one I really want to go to, but it's always nice for that validation, eh? :)

For review:


Do You Want to Start a Scandal? by Tessa Dare

Traded:


Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Books I read this week (two weeks!):
The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

I'm currently reading:
And I Darken by Kiersten White

So that's been my week! I got called for jury duty--and picked for a jury--this week, so I've done almost no reading, as that's allll day. Hopefully today and tomorrow that can change, at least a bit!

Otherwise, the new Harry Potter is out next weekend! I'm working the midnight release, so I doubt there will be a STS post up, unless I'm lucky enough to get around to the post early--though unlikely. 

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted by Meagan Spooner {124}

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Release date: March 14, 2017
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Well. Excuse me while I go lie in a corner until this is out. That's the perfect way to cope, yes?

 So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {155}


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Hellooo! Miss me last week? I didn't want to get behind on comments any more, so I just didn't post, so we'll be seeing two weeks of books! It's not too many, but quite a few. I've banned myself from spending any money but the essentials, so there won't be many purchases in the coming weeks. Maybe I'll get caught up on review books? :)

For review:


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Purchased:


A New Hope (Star Wars Little Golden Books) by Geof Smith

This was a special during the Star Wars event at work on Friday--only 25 cents!--so I had to get one. I mean, a quarter!

Traded:


Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer
Everland by Wendy Spinale
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows


A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

I had to save the best for last! I was so excited to be able to trade for this and will be getting to it sooner than later! Drools. :D

Books I read this week (two weeks!):
The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
The Virgin & the Viscount by Charis Michaels
Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker

I'm currently reading:
The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

So that's been my week! Or two weeks. That means only a quarter spent on books in two weeks! I probably won't be able to beat that. Ever. 

Otherwise, I'm all applied to grad school. Now I just wait! Hopefully it's not too long, since it's mid July and schools start in August or September. I'm a little freaked, but in a good way. :)

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves {123}

Title: Blood Rose Rebellion
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Release date: March 28, 2017
In an alternate Victorian England where social prestige stems from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, sixteen-year old Anna Arden is barred from the society she yearns for by a defect of blood. She believes herself Barren, unable to perform the most rudimentary spells. Anna would do anything to belong, but after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spells, Anna finds herself exiled with her aging grandmother to her grandmother’s native Hungary. 

Her life might well be over.

But in Hungary, Anna finds that nothing about her world or her own lack of magic is quite as it seems. Fissures in the Binding that holds her world’s magic are expanding, and the ancient creatures bound by that spell beg Anna to release them. As rebellion sweeps across Hungary, Anna’s unique ability to break spells becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted—or embrace her ability, destroy the Binding, spark a revolution, and change the face of magic itself.

This book will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy and Naomi Novik's UPROOTED.

AHHHHH, If it's Victorian and it's got magic, it's got me. But then you mention the Grisha books and Uprooted? GIMME.

 So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Blog Tour: The Virgin and the Viscount by Charis Michaels {Review + Giveaway}


Release date: July 5, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Pages: 368
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Avon
In the next sparkling romance in debut author Charis Michael’s Bachelor Lords of London series, a proper viscount meets his match in a beguiling virgin who can't help but break all the rules.

The Virgin 
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At the innocent age of fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. After two days, a young lord discovers her and enacts a brave rescue to get her out. Now she's a grown woman, working to save other girls from the horror she saw that night and never forgetting the young man who rescued her.

The Viscount 
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh has overcome an abusive boyhood, neglectful parents, and a bankrupt title to be one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. He works tirelessly to be upright and forthright and proper to a fault. Now he requires only one thing: A proper, forthright, proper wife.

The Unraveling 
When a charity event puts Lord Bryson and Lady Elisabeth face-to-face, Bryson has no memory of the wounded girl of long ago. All he can see is a perfect candidate to be his future wife. Elisabeth has never forgotten him, but she worries that the brave boy who saved her so long ago has become a rich man with an unfulfilled life. 

As a whirlwind courtship reveals the truth, Bryson must accept that Elisabeth is actually a shadow from his dark past, while Elisabeth must show that love is the noblest virtue of all.
I'll admit I'm not quite as enamored of the historical romances that are...high concept, should I say? Big, dramatic happenings are not my favorite. I'm happy with balls and dinner parties, and longing looks across a crowded room. BUT, I can always get behind a romance when I like the characters and am dying for them to get together finally--high concept or not--and The Virgin and the Viscount is just one such romance.

And in the case of The Virgin and the Viscount, that setup, though more complicated than I normally like, is just so compelling. How are you not going to root for Elisabeth and Bryson? Your immediate reaction is to feel bad for Elisabeth, but what's so great about her is that once you get to know her, there's no need to feel bad. She's so capable, giving, and unbowed by what she's gone through. It's affected her, yes, but it's only made her better and stronger. Throughout the book, she's the emotional core and strength. While Bryse has a hard time overcoming his history, she holds strong.

At times, I think Bryse is a little frustrating in that he's so slow to realize things--and, of course, I wanted to smush them together, more than a little bit--but there's a lot going on for him. The Rainsleigh you get to know here is very different, and a lot more vulnerable, than the man we saw in The Earl Next Door, but it only makes you want more for him.

That's what makes a book that maybe wouldn't be my favorite on its own stand out, though, are the characters you get to know and care about so easily. Elisabeth and Bryson are just those kinds of characters, and a pair I won't soon forget--and will enjoy seeing mention of in the third book.

About the author:

Charis Michaels is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.


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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {154}


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Happy Fourth (tomorrow!) y'all! (At least to my US buddies--happy Sunday otherwise?) This week hasn't been exciting in the least, so I've got nothing to share with you. We'll just move to books!

For review:


Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Purchased:


And I Darken by Kiersten White

I used my rebate from the Apple settlement to get this pretty! I've had the egalley for ages, but never got around to reading it--but I love Kiersten White, so I knew I'd need it anyway. :)

Traded:



Crooked Kingdom sampler
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Clariel by Garth Nix
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Books I read this week:
Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien
On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn

I'm currently reading:
The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

So that's been my week! I'm, uh, very behind on comments. I should be working on them tonight or tomorrow, though. I don't know how I'm so behind! Sigh. :)

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!