Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh {Excerpt + Giveaway}

Release date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 384
Eva Leigh’s deliciously sexy Wicked Quills of London series continues as a Lady’s secret career writing erotic fiction is jeopardized by real-life romance . . .

In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure fa├žade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist?

Now it was her turn to laugh. “I’m hardly enviable, Mr. Cleland.”
His expression shifted to thoughtfulness. “I wonder why you might say that.”
“I have…everything a woman could want,” she acknowledged, matching her stride to his.
“Such as?”
“Wealth, position. If there’s a material thing that I desire, I simply have to ask, and it’s mine.” She shook her head. “And I’m grateful for these things. I truly am. And yet…”
“And yet…?” he prompted gently.
“It comes at a high price,” she admitted.
“What is that price?”
She considered this. Never before had she spoken so openly to anyone. Not her friends, or her family. But here, now, to be with this man, and to consider the foundations of her life, was both odd and deeply right. At last, she said, “Freedom.”
He contemplated her perceptively. “Must be very restricting,” he murmured. “The responsibilities of your position in society. Not to mention the fact that you’re a woman.” He blushed a little at that word.
It was a charming—but also gently erotic—blush. Her own cheeks warmed.
He continued, “You haven’t the liberty that a man in your place might have.”
“Indeed, no.” She gave a small, strained laugh. “You must think me dreadful to take issue with my admittedly fortunate circumstance.”
He fell briefly silent. “I know a little about having one’s role be predetermined.” They stopped walking, and she gazed up at him. Cool sunlight carved hollows in his cheeks and gilded his eyelashes. “Being a vicar means I must be a model to everyone in my parish. I have to be more pious, more humble, more self-sacrificing. I have to be better at everything while also being deferential. I certainly cannot admit to being an ordinary human man.”
Their gazes held at that word, man. Awareness of him sizzled. His height, his physicality. That suppressed desire. Her own body warmed in response.
She tiled her head to one side, imagining what it must be like to live such a restrained life. “Sounds exhausting.”
“Not unlike being a duke’s daughter, I imagine.” He smiled at her, and that lush warmth continued to gathered through her.
“I never would have thought I’d have much in common with a vicar,” she said with a laugh.
“Nor I with you,” he answered, his smile softening. “But here we are, in this garden.”
“So we are.” Strange how the world worked, that she discovered a man such as him on a day that had started out so perfectly ordinary. It was almost…miraculous. Did miracles happen? She went to church as a matter of form, not faith, though the ritual gave her comfort. Still, it was a revelation to learn that men of God were mortal just like anyone else, with the same needs and frustrations anybody might experience.
She ought to have imagined as such. She often imbued people in her mind with hidden motivations and secrets. He was no exception.
“And does your…wife…feel as you do?” She inwardly grimaced at her lack of tact, but she needed to know whether or not he had someone with whom he could confide. It seemed a shame, a right shame, that he should be alone in this world.
“No wife, I’m afraid,” he said with a self-deprecating grin.
A strange relief shot through her. She reasoned that it must be because it wouldn’t do to flirt with a married man. “Stick around the London Season long enough,” she replied. “An earl’s son, with a living? You’ll make someone a fine catch.”
“I’m just a humble country vicar,” he answered. “Hardly the stuff of a doting mama’s dream for her daughter.”
“You might be surprised.” Without a doubt, she and Mr. Cleland could never be a match. Even if she wanted to marry, he stood too far beneath her to warrant any possibility of courtship. Duke’s daughters and vicars—though they might be sons of earls—made for an improbable, mismatched pairing.
A vicar could never be married to a woman who wrote anonymous erotic novels, either. The very idea was ruinous.
But damn and all the other curse words she wasn’t allowed to use—she liked Mr. Cleland. The way his mind worked, how he spoke to her like a person of equal intelligence, the sensual quality within him. It wasn’t all her writer’s fancy. Something burned in him and it lured her closer, closer, drawn toward the mysteries of this man. Even Lady Josephina wouldn’t find someone half as interesting in her adventures.
And…he was exceptionally attractive. In a way she’d never experienced with another man before. She’d met handsome gentlemen in the past, but Mr. Cleland lit a spark within her, low and hot.
A shame, really, that Sarah couldn’t have been someone else. Because, if she had…she might give him serious consideration.
But that was never to be. She was who she was, and he was who he was, and they would have to be friends—nothing more.
So absorbed was she in this thought, that she didn’t hear footsteps approaching until they were almost upon her. Turning, she saw her mother coming down the path, wearing a pinched expression.
“There you are,” Lady Wakefield said impatiently. She nodded at Mr. Cleland, barely acknowledging him. Sarah felt a small stab of shame at her mother’s rudeness. But a vicar didn’t warrant much attention. “This sun has given me a headache. It’s time to go.”
“Yes, Mama.” Before the words had left her mouth, her mother had spun on her heel and strode off back toward the main house.
Sarah offered Mr. Cleland a remorseful smile. “I’m so sorry.”
“Nothing to apologize for,” he said easily, and it was clear he meant it. He bowed. “It was a genuine pleasure to meet you, Lady Sarah.”
“I feel the same way.” They smiled at each other. For a long time, neither, it seemed, willing to move away.
“Now, Sarah,” her mother called out.
Sarah sighed. Her gaze drifted back to the hedge maze. Could she drop her fan? As they both bent to retrieve it, she might whisper to him an invitation to meet her there in a few moments. And then… She could taste those gently curved lips of his. Oh, she’d experienced a few chaste kisses before, but never anything she truly desired. But she wanted to kiss Mr. Cleland. She craved feeling his mouth against hers, and seeing if her imagination was correct about him.
He, too, looked at the maze. Was he thinking the same thoughts? Did he want to savor her? A delectable thought, one that made her feel both languid and powerfully alive all at once.
Their gazes met. He turned gorgeously pink.
He was thinking of kissing her!

Buy the book:
Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

About the author:

EVA LEIGH is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ‘80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Find Eva online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blog Tour: The Debutante is Mine by Vivienne Lorret {Review + Excerpt + Giveaway}

Release date: April 12, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Pages: 288
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo
USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret launches a new historical romance series featuring the Season’s Original—a coveted title awarded by the ton’s elite to one lucky debutante...

From the Season Standard: ”A true Season’s Original embodies the class, grace, and style of the ton. Such an honor ensures the recipient their pick of eligible suitors…“

Lilah’s Appleton’s prospects are looking dim. With one last chance to find a titled husband before she’s forced to wed her wretched cousin, she must make this Season count. Plain, forgettable Lilah must become the Season’s Original. Desperate, she seeks help from the devilishly charming, untitled, and thoroughly unsuitable Jack Marlowe. All she must do now is resist the tempting rogue…

Bastard son and self-made man, Jack Marlowe loathes the aristocracy. When he meets Lilah, he expects her to be like all the other greedy husband-hunters. But she’s far more dangerous. Her alluring smiles and sharp tongue intrigue him. Before he knows it, he agrees to help her find a husband, revealing tricks to ensnare any man. The only problem is, his plan works too well—on him. 

When Lilah becomes the belle of the ball, Jack realizes he may lose her forever-unless he can take a chance on love and claim his debutante...
Vivienne Lorret is a new author to me, but I can assure you she'll be on my radar for good after having such fun reading The Debutante Is Mine! Watching Lilah grow in confidence and character--and falling in love, of course--was nothing short of delightful.

Lilah Appleton is unspectacular. With a mother who only tears her down and an imposing father's will only giving her three Seasons to find a titled husband--or she'll be forced to marry her disgusting cousin--Lilah is running low on time and confidence. A plan to become the Season's Original brings Lilah into unknown territory, but at the same time, she's drawn to Jack Marlowe--wholly unsuitable, wholly attractive.

From the first page, I liked Lilah a lot. At first, she's far from confident, but she's still true to herself. So when the plan to become the Original comes into play, it's worrying that Lilah will be forced to change to find a husband. But she doesn't! Lilah manages to come out of her shell, but she's only becoming a better version of herself. It's clear her friends and family love her because of who she is, and only want to help her--not make her into someone she's not. Far and away, this what what I loved most. Lilah finds she can make a splash in society--and not some falsified version of herself.

Of course, there can't be a great romance without a hero! Jack Marlowe was not the kind of character I expected. He's disillusioned with the aristocracy, and almost seems the surly rake, but he proves very quickly that he's deeply loyal and completely willing to give up anything for the people he cares about. He realizes that falling in love is inconvenient and not what he expected to do, but he never resists it. He always wants Lilah, and never does a thing to hurt her. Needless to say, swoon!

If I had any complaints, it's that things wrap up a little too quickly and neatly. Of course, they're going to have a happy ending, but Jack seems to manage to get over his problems without much difficulty. No brooding, not even a kind of freakout? Obviously, I don't mind my happy ending, but I thought maybe a little more of a struggle for him would've been appropriate.

The Debutante Is Mine is, clearly, a lot of fun. I flew through it and have to get my hands on more from Vivienne Lorret--especially the continuation of this series!

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author, VIVIENNE LORRET loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order … but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Duke’s Christmas Wish, and the Season’s Original Series. 

“Since I cannot move forward, the gentlemanly thing for you to do is to step back.”

“Why can’t you move forward?” His breath skimmed across her nape, teasing the tendrils that must have come loose earlier, when their carriage had hit the rut.

She shivered, closing her eyes. “I know very well that you do not care about my answer. All you are doing is delaying the removal of your hand from my . . .”

She’d said the word a moment ago. So why couldn’t she say it now? Likely, because that part of her body had suddenly become the center of her world. It was now a place of intimacy and forbidden touches.

“Waist?” he supplied, moving his fingertips in such a way that it made her stomach quiver—not on the surface but someplace deeper inside.

“Person,” she corrected, yet noticed her thready word lacked censure. She tried again. “You really should not be touching me here.”

“If I were assisting you into a barouche, I would have both my hands on your . . . person.”

Both of his hands on her? She tried not to imagine it. When she felt an enthralling warmth spread through her, she knew she’d failed. “No. I mean here, in the ballroom. If anyone should see, the result would be catastrophic for both of us.”

Her reputation would be ruined. He would be expected to marry her. They both knew, however, that he would not. His conduct indicated that he cared little for the principles of society. He didn’t even like her. And more important, she reminded herself, she despised him.

“Indeed. The rules that govern your actions must be obeyed.” With those hard-edged words, he dropped his hand and stepped back.

Lilah immediately missed his warmth and hated herself for it. She turned to face him, a reprimand at the ready. “If we didn’t have rules, then society would be full of men like you who enjoy taking liberties.”

He lifted his tawny brows. “You don’t think society would be full of women taking liberties?”

She blinked, caught off guard by the question and by the very idea. Women taking liberties?

Spinning a web to decide her fate . . .

It was an unexpectedly intriguing proposition for a woman in her circumstances. Now, however, was not the time to ponder it. “I will not imagine such a thing. After all, if I were to have placed my hand on your person, then you would have removed it. Men do not wait upon politeness.”

“I wouldn’t have removed your hand . . . from anywhere on my person.” He grinned, making her regret the example she’d used. Then he spread his arms out in invitation. “Please tell me you require proof.”

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {147}

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!

Greetings, y'all! The days are counting down to my Disney trip and it's all I can do not to start freaking out. Ooh, and Barnes & Noble is doing a national teen book festival in June, and I am super pumped to start planning the event for my store. This is my moment, guys! :) Nothng much else exciting is going on, so on to the books!

For review:

Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh



These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Yay! Thank you so much to Sabrina for trading with me! My collections are getting too pretty. :)

Books I read this week:
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

I'm currently reading:
An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

So that's been my week! Like I said, nothing much going on aside from my Disney trip and work. I really don't live an exciting life, y'all. :)

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mini Reviews: Secrets of a Summer Night, Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie & Falling Into Bed With a Duke

It's time for some more mini reviews! Did y'all know I haven't done any since 2014? Probably not! I didn't until I looked, but I'm not exactly surprised. I wouldn't be surprised if they became more regular, as I like to cover as much of what I read as possible, but I've got piles of romance novels that I didn't get for review, so I'm not under much obligation with them. I don't know that I'd have much to talk about if I didn't cover them, though! I can't get enough.

Title: Secrets of a Summer Night
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: Avon
Source: Purchased
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition...but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses...and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

I knew Lisa Kleypas was one of the queens of romance, so I'd be remiss if I didn't give her books a try! And unsprisingly, I quite enjoyed the first of her Wallflowers series. In this case, what I loved most was the fun friendship among the girls. I love that they're not in competition, and they're rooting so hard for one another. It also never hurt that Simon was totally swoon-worthy in his broody, almost ill-bred way. I liked that our hero wasn't a lord and really didn't aspire to be one, either. These things made Secrets of a Summer Night refreshing and definitely more memorable than a lot of other romances.

Of course, part of the fun of the beginning of a series is slowly getting to know the characters and anticipating their own installments. (I've already read the second and loved it too!)

Title: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Purchased
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them--of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz. 

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women. 

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama--an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband. 

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

I was totally into the premise of this, having seen Sarah MacLean recommend it on her Twitter. And it was definitely an interesting idea, because Ian has a form of autism, making him seem mentally unstable in their time, and it was a unconventional yet touching addition to the character's relationship. At the same time, however, I just never felt the story was as compelling as I wanted it to be. I loved Beth and her compassion, but I think she's all I loved about the book?

I thought all the drama at the end was actually melodramatic, even more so than most historical romance novels, which all have a dash of melodrama--and that's all probably what made this one less than stellar for me, but not awful at all.

Title: Falling Into Bed With a Duke
Author: Lorraine Heath
Publisher: Avon
Source: Purchased
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady's desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime's pleasure?

Falling Into Bed With a Duke was such fun! The title was fun to tell to my coworkers (hehe), but I loved nothing more than Minerva being the kind of girl who takes big decisions into her own hands. She wants something, so she goes after it. Nothing, of course, works out to her plan, but that proactiveness brings her life into something she had no idea could happen. I loved seeing Ashe really fall in love with Minerva, I loved Minerva's relationship with her father--so different and so sweet--and I loved Ashe's friendships. There was a lot to love.

If you can't tell, I'll be reading more from Lorraine Heath, and especially be following the rest of her Hellions of Havisham series!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Blog Tour: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern {Playlist + Giveaway}

Hi guys! I am so excited to be taking part in the global blog tour for Cecelia Ahern's YA debut, Flawed! Flawed is a very real-feeling kind of read, one where our daily actions are scrutinized and could lead to the most serious of consequences. I thought maybe I was tired of dystopians, but nope! And today I get to share with y'all a playlist inspired one of the characters, Carrick--who we don't know much about but I can't wait to see more of in Perfect, the sequel--and a giveway! Read on!

About the book:

You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Add Flawed to your To-Read list on Goodreads and join in on social media using #perfectlyflawed!

Playlist, featuring music that describes Carrick:

"Uprising" by Muse
Sample lyrics: “They will not force us…they will stop degrading us….they will not control us….we will be victorious.”

"Killing In the Name" by Rage Against the Machine
Sample lyrics: “And now you do what they told ya…and now you do what they told ya…and now you do what they told ya…but now you do what they told ya…well now you do what they told ya…[blank] you, I won’t do what you tell me!”

"Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Sample lyrics: “Well, I know what's right, I got just one life. In a world that keeps on pushin' me around, but I'll stand my ground and I won't back down.“

"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield
Sample lyrics: “Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid You step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.”

"Get Up, Stand Up" by Bob Marley
Sample lyrics: “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time. So now we see the light (What you gonna do?), We gonna stand up for our rights! (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)”

About Cecelia Ahern:

Cecelia Ahern is the award-winning and bestselling author of many adult novels, including P.S. I Love You andLove, Rosie-both of which were major motion pictures. Flawed is her debut young adult novel. She resides in Ireland.
Find Cecelia online: Website | Twitter | Instagram

 And, of course, it's not a festive blog tour without a giveaway! And this time around I've got a good one. One winner will receive a fabulous prize pack featuring BOTH US and UK editions of Flawed, as well as swag from both editions. How can you not resist? US/CAN only.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {146}

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!

Howdy! It's been a successful blogging week! I'm not even trying to keep up with my old schedule, but I got up two reviews, my STS post, and a WoW, and I'm pumped about it. 

For review:

The Debutante is Mine by Vivienne Lorret


The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
I so loved this book, so I had to get myself a copy. If anyone has an ARC they want to be rid of, I'd love to trade! ;)

An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Yeahhh, I went back to my used bookstore! I was dying to read Julia Quinn's Bridgerton books, since the new one is all over the place, so I went and picked up the first half of the series. I've read the first, and unsurprisingly, it was adorable. I'll at least read the second this week!

Books I read this week:
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

I'm currently reading:
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

So that's been my week! Is anyone else in a reading renaissance? I wish I had so much more time to read, because I am flying through books when I can. It's one of those times having a full-time job is just lame. :) Now to review all those books!

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Release date: March 8, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 314
Format: ARC
Source: Traded
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.
Y'all are with me in thinking this book sounds amazing, right? And that's kind of a scary thing to go into, if I'm being honest, because I so desperately wanted to love this. Reviews from friends don't help, because raves only add pressure. So, I had a copy of this for months before I picked it up, but OH MY LORD I SHOULDN'T HAVE WORRIED. (Was that tone misleading enough? I try!) Rebel of the Sands is, seriously, everything I wanted it to be--and probably more.

From the first pages, I loved Amani. She's been dealt quite the hand in life, but she doesn't whine about it. Instead, she works as hard as she possibly can to make it better. She uses the talents she has to work her way out. At the same time, she's not selfish or so one-track minded that she forgets to see how she can help those around her. She's willing to risk herself for the greater good.

And the world! In fantasy, we all hate info dumps, yet I was so desperate to know about the world I almost wish there were a few of them. To be clear, there weren't, and the world is built gradually, carefully, and completely organically. The fusion of a western and the world of One Thousand and One Nights is one of those ideas that could fall flat so easily, but it never feels forced or unnatural.

Honestly, y'all, I've come to know myself enough to know that if a romance just isn't working, I'm probably not going to like the book. I'm superficial like that, but it's the truth. Of course, our love interest, Jin, is as wonderful as the rest of the book. The romance isn't too heavy in this installment (but I'll totally admit I'm hoping for a lot more to come! I'm superficial, like I said.), but we definitely get to know Jin. He's a stranger at the beginning, yet from his first moments, we see he's honorable and completely different from most of the people Amani knows in Dustwalk. As we see more, he proves himself to be completely charming and funny--and I was totally won over. We know he's got secrets, and they're big, but they don't ever really detract from him.

So... This isn't an ambivalent review, at all, eh? It's still early, but I'm positive Rebel of the Sands will be one of my top reads of the year. Alwyn Hamilton has nailed everything that makes for a great fantasy, and made a huge fan out of me. And this is her DEBUT. We're in for a fantastic read with this series.

About the author:

Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.