Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh {116}

Title: The Rose & the Dagger
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Release date: April 26, 2016
I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

I'm totally late in coming to this party, but I'm so excited for this! I read The Wrath & the Dawn late last year and so enjoyed it, so my little hands need this, like, now. I can't imagine all of y'all who read it early waiting for it! :)

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Release date: October 14, 2014
Author info: Tumblr | Twitter
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 416
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Though people's reports of how predictable Snow Like Ashes is put me off from reading it for a long time (I mean, it came out a year and a half ago--and I had it before publication!), one day, I got in the mood for it and read it nonetheless. And I liked it!

Honestly, there are plenty of things I could pick at in Snow Like Ashes. I thought some of the worldbuilding was a little lazy and obvious, and like I said, it was predictable--over and over again. Yet, I found myself pretty much glued to the page, flying through the book faster than I could have guessed. And there's nothing wrong with something being predictable and entertaining--you know?

In a lot of ways, I think Snow Like Ashes is fantasy-lite? As a huge fantasy reader, it's easy to see what Sara Raasch is trying to do, but it just never adds up to the epic fantasy I think it wants to be.

But I really liked Meira! I could feel her determination to be someone valued, to be someone relied upon--a true part of her country. At first, she seemed whiny, but it became really obvious she had reason to be upset, and I so liked that she kept pushing, kept making people listen to her. She was at times too headstrong and rushed off without considering consequences, but I could still get behind her most of the time.

So, if you're like me and want to read Snow Like Ashes but were iffy, I'd actually recommend it! I went in with lowered expectations, somehow ploughing ahead even though I expected not to like it, and I so enjoyed my reading experience, despite any problems I had.

About the author:

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, the first in a trilogy, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {145}

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!

Well hey there! Again! Whew, I'm trying to get myself back on the horse. It's not that I'm not reading, because I totally am, but blogging is the hard part. What I'm reading, though, is largely historical romance. I fell into that pool big, but I'm looooving it! So those are probably what you'll be seeing here quite a bit more than before. :) People who know me are actually tired of hearing me tell them about my romance novels. I will change them, though! :D And Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

For review:

How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo


One Scandalous Kiss by Christy Carlyle
Falling Into Bed With a Duke by Lorraine Heath

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
One Night is Never Enough by Anne Mallory
Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden
Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Flame of Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #6) by Juliet Marillier
The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

Books I read this week (or however long it's been since my last post!):
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Falling Into Bed With a Duke by Lorraine Heath
The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

I'm currently reading:
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

So that's been my week! Well, I was trying not to get new books, but that kind of failed? I went to our local used bookstore, though, and got most of the romance books using credit we have there--that makes it better, right? But hey! I have jury duty tomorrow, so I'm desperately hoping to do so much reading, especially since I can't have any electronics with me.

Ooh, fun story! I've, obviously, been dying for The Winner's Kiss, and had been hoping it'd come in early at work. I'd even told my receiving manager multiple times what the book was, so I'd know ASAP. I'd been checking the carts several times a day for at least a week already when, Thursday, she comes over the intercom and says, "Your book is here!" Y'all. I ran and snatched it up in my hungry little hands and basically didn't put it down for the rest of my shift. If my coworkers didn't already think I'm crazy, they do now. :) 

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson {115}

Title: Like a River Glorious
Author: Rae Carson
Release date: September 27, 2016
After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram.

Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.

The second epic historical fantasy in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson, the acclaimed author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Can we even comprehend how gorgeous this is going to look on the shelf next to Walk on Earth a Stranger?!? Not to mention how awesome it's going to be as well, of course. Rae Carson is queen in my mind and can do no wrong.

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