Kisses on a Paper Airplane

Kisses on a Paper Airplane tour bannerKissesOnAPaperAirplane.v3Rating (out of 5): 5
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Release Date: May 14th 2016
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Very Mild
Age Recommendation: 12+
Buy Links: AmazonKobo
Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestGoogle+TumblrAmazon

Summary:

Drama student Hannah Evans isn’t kissing any frogs on her path to find Prince Charming. She’s determined to share the perfect first kiss — with the perfect boy — in the perfect place — or she’s not kissing anyone at all. When Hannah meets a cute ginger-haired boy in first class lounge in the London airport, she knows he’s ‘The One.’

Pop star Theo Callahan is on the road to get as far away as possible from his back-stabbing best friend, and his supermodel girlfriend who broke his heart. Until one shy smile from Hannah has him rethinking all of his travel plans.

Theo is smitten, but he’s worried she’s just a groupie in search of the ultimate selfie. Can Theo learn to trust Hannah in time to share one perfect first kiss, or will Hannah be forced to kiss a frog?

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Review:

Can you get a cavity from reading a book? If you can Kisses on a Paper Airplane is just the cavity I’d like to get. Sweet, tender, and centered around two of the most relatable characters I’ve read in a while Kisses on a Paper Airplane is an incredible novella. Set at around 96 pages it’s just long enough to make you fall in love, and just short enough to leave you wanting more.

Hanna Evans has never kissed a boy. Her roommate says she needs to try some frogs before she finds ‘the one’, but Hanna’s holding out for the perfect guy, and she’s confident she’ll know him when she sees him.

Theo wants to meet someone real. Not a fan, not a fame hungry girl, but someone who will look past his pop star status to the boy beneath.

If it’s not obvious yet these two were meant for each other. Thrown together in a first class lounge with a few hours to spare Hanna and Theo hit it off quickly when she passes out in front of him. The fun doesn’t stop there as the two jet set on their way to their individual destinations, getting to know each other with every stop.

Hanna and I have a lot in common and I found her incredibly easy to relate to. She’s awkward, unsure of herself, and trying to do her best at the school and career she’s picked. Theo too is relatable in his own way. He just wants to find someone who will see him, and I think that’s something everyone looks for pop star or not.

An entire set up for the perfect first kiss this book makes my insides all mushy when I think about it. It’s perfect in its pacing, set up, and delivery. If you need something to warm your soul, make you grin uncontrollably, and inspire you to give life everything you’ve got then I recommend you pick up this book. It’s really quite perfect.

Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my fair and honest opinion which I have stated above.

~Matina

SVT author photoAbout the Author
Sarah Vance-Tompkins was born in a small town in northern Michigan. She spent every summer exploring the sugar sand beaches near Sleeping Bear National Park. She left her heart behind when she moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. She received an MFA in Film Production and went on to work in feature film development in Hollywood. She has worked as a reporter for a weekly entertainment trade publication, and been paid to write obituaries, press releases, the directions for use on personal lubricant bottles, and breathless descriptions of engagement rings for an online jewelry store. She lives in a small town north of Los Angeles with her husband and three cats.

GIVEAWAY:
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Blog Tour Organized by:
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Don’t forget that I’m also hosting a giveaway for some Advanced Readers Copies of other books, head on over to my post about it for your chance to win.

ARC Cleanout Giveaway!

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I’m happy to announce that I’m doing an ARC giveaway. I’m in the process of packing up for a move and I started with my closet and all the pretty books tucked away inside. As I worked my way through the books I’ve found a stack of ARCs (Advanced Reader’s Copies) I’ve received over the years that I’d like to send off to good homes. To do so I’ve decided to host a giveaway.

To enter just scroll to the bottom of this post and use the Rafflecoptor form I’ve provided. There’s a free entry, plus a few other ways to get more entries. This giveaway will run from today until the 30th of this month at Midnight I’ll announce the winners either on the 31st of May or the 1st of June.

I will randomly chose 5 winners who will each get to choose two of the books based on how fast you respond to my email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or I’ll pick another winner. For extra entries you can head over to my Tumblr post and follow those rules there.

You will also be able to find this giveaway, and the announced winners on the Giveaway page of this website.

If you have any problems or questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer it as soon as possible.

Giveaway Rules/Terms/Conditions

– This giveaway will run from 5/12/16-5/30/16
– You will have until 11:59 of the last day to enter
– There will be 5 winners chosen at random. Each winner will be allowed to choose two books based on what is left and order of responses
– Winners must be willing to give me their mailing address
– The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email (unless stated otherwise)
–  Open to US residents only.
– Void where prohibited; no purchase necessary

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The Thing Is

51HnTTw6PdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Thing Is
Kathleen Gerard

Rating (out of 5): 5
Genre: Contemporary Adult/Women’s Fiction
Release Date: December 16, 2015
Age Recommendation: 18+
Author Info: Website | Twitter |  Facebook 

Summary:

Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac. Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week. Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.

Review:

I was given the opportunity to read The Thing Is by the author and I’m so glad I accepted it. This book takes a fresh new look a grief recovery. The story is told through the alternation points of view of Prozac, a Yorksire Terrier/spirit guide dog and Meredith, an author of a series of novels titled Ghost Ranch. When Meredith is faced with her own personal tragedy it’s up to Prozac to help pull her out of her slump.

The humor and light-hearted tone this book takes, plus the animal companion aspect help to make the emotional parts easier. It’s always hard for me to read a book that deals heavily with grief and this book did an excellent job of showing the subject matter, and providing enough release for me to want to keep reading.

The community known as Evergreen Gardens is where much of the action takes place. Filled with characters who all have their own burdens, and own quirks, it’s an interesting but perfect setting for this book. Each of the characters, as I’ve stated are interesting full people. They will make you laugh and cry, and drive you to find out how everything turns out.

Don’t hesitate to pick up a copy of this book yourself. I can promise that readers will fall in love with Prozac and cheer on Meredith in this beautiful, funny, and insightful book.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest opinion which I have stated above.

~Matina

The Rose and the Dagger

51jiyqhX-KL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_The Rose and the Dagger
Renée Ahdieh

Rating (out of 5): 5
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn
Series Number: 2 of 2
Profanity: None
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Age Recommendation: 12+
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook 

My review for book 1

Summary:

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

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.

Review:

What does one say when their only response to a book is a squeal of delight? Renée Ahdieh has created another book that’s left me speechless, but I’ll try my best to put my feelings into more than just exclamations and the statement ‘go read this book, and read it now’. The Rose and the Dagger is the second and final book in the Wrath and the Dawn Duology. Picking up where the first book left off readers are dropped right back into the thick of things. Khalid is trying to rebuild his city while Shahrzad finds herself in the desert alongside Tariq, her sister, and her father who has still not woken after the storm he caused. Neither have a clear direction on where to go, but both know one thing, the war that is brewing must be stopped.

The stakes are higher, the intrigue is deeper, and the love is stronger in this second book. So much happened it’s hard to even think of what to write. The pace, while not always action filled, was perfect. I never found myself bored or trying to push through a ‘slow’ part. If I could have I would have read this book cover to cover in one sitting.

I loved the scope of the book, where The Wrath and the Dawn took place in a fairly limited area this book takes us across the desert and into new and fantastic places. As I read I couldn’t figure out how everything was going to happen, and I loved it. Each new twist and turn in the story was a fresh revelation and surprise, many of them making me cringe with worry before releasing a sigh of relief. If there’s anything that I love about these books it’s that they are written to the point where I never feel secondhand embarrassment for a character and I’m never of the disposition to throw the book because of a stupid decision made by one of the characters.

Never slow or boring The Rose and the Dagger takes readers deeper into all of its characters while further deepening its mythology. Magic plays a larger role in this book than in the previous one, but it is still not the main focus nor the fix all to the problems abounding, it is however fascinating. I wish we could have seen a little more of Shazi’s magic, simply because of its interesting quality. The character development in this book was wonderful, from Tariq to Irsa to newly introduced characters such as Artan every one of them blooming into fascinating and complex people.

From start to finish I loved this book, and let me tell you that finish was a crazy one. Never have I felt such panic at looking at the 98% mark on my e-reader before, never have I turned the page so quickly or read with such fervor at the end of the book, but by the end I loved it every moment of the journey. I’ll go back to what I said at the beginning of this review, if you haven’t read this book yet go read it now, and if you haven’t read the first book in this series read it too. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, anything Persian, magic carpets, Arabian Nights, or a good love story I implore you to find the nearest copy of either of these books and read it.

Note: I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for my fair and honest opinion which I have stated above.

~Matina

Ink and Bone- Paperback Announcement


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ink-and-boneRating (out of 5): 5
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian/Alternate History
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Series: The Great Library
Series Number: 1
Profanity: Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Very Mild
Age Recommendation: 13+
Author Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Summary:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

Ink and Bone will be available in Paperback starting April 5,2016 and the sequel Paper and Fire will be released on July 5, 2016

Review:

I have been waiting for this book for a long time, ever since hearing Rachel Caine mention she had an idea for a book that rewrote the history of libraries. Ink and Bone met every single one of my expectations and then some.

Jess Brightwell is a reader, ever since he could he’s read everything he could get his hands on, which could spell real trouble for him. Jess lives in a world controlled by the Library. They say which books should and shouldn’t be read and their word is the ultimate law. Through a magical alchemic system they provide everyone in the world with a select number of books as well as journals for each individual person to record their life in. They also collect every original book they can get their hands on while simultaneously making it illegal for private citizens to own physical books, which is a problem for Jess- or rather his family.

Sent to the Library to work as a spy for his black market family Jess wants one thing- to be free of the constraints that have held him all his life. He believes that the Library is the way to do that. But once he’s inside he begins to realize that the Library isn’t what it seems and that sometimes no matter how hard you run, you can’t escape fate.

As a reader and someone who’s spent a considerable amount of time working at a library I go a little nuts every time I find a book about libraries. Ink and Bone is so much more than a story about a library. It’s a tale of how absolute power corrupts absolutely and how good intentions can go very very bad. Jess’s tale is one of discovering the fault with a system and the struggle to stop something that seems unstoppable.

I loved every word of this book, and I cannot wait for the next one. The storytelling and pacing is done in such a way that even during training scenes nothing was boring. The world-building was by far my favorite aspect of this book aside from its characters. The world Rachel Caine creates in Ink and Bone is one of magic, mystery, and a love of books. While there is wonder, there’s also darkness and a sense of something not quite right. The world, while very modern with living automatons and tablet like books is also stuck hundreds of years in the past.

From Jess to Morgan to Scholar Wolfe the cast of characters in this book is delightful. Every one of the main cast is a vibrant fascinating character who readers will fall in love with. Even the grumpiest of the bunch, Dario, was endearing to me by the end.

That all to say if you can read, read this book. If you breathe read this book. If you have any kind of interest in seeing wrongs righted, or reading an amazingly well written book- read this book.

~Matina

Glamour in Glass

Glamour in Glass
Mary Robinette Kowal

Glamour-in-GlassRating (out of 5): 4
Genre: Regency Romance/Fantasy
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Series: Glamourist Histories
Series Number: 2
Profanity: Very Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Age Recommendation: 15+
Author Info: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

Summary:

Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass follows the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison…and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country’s war.

Review:

I loved Shades of Milk and Honey (read my review here), and naturally I was eager to read Glamour in Glass. While not as riveting as the first book I really enjoyed Glamour in Glass. With the news of things settling down in France Jane and Vincent take an impromptu honeymoon to Belgium. While there Jane finds herself spending more time away from Vincent than close to him. Discovery after discovery follows them from a possible way to write glamour onto glass, a pregnancy, and a spy ring that may reveal Napoleon’s true plans creating a fascinating mystery in the guise of a regency fantasy.

If I hadn’t enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey so much I probably wouldn’t have been as patient with this book as I was. It starts off at a slower pace and takes a while to pick up, making it hard to get through in the beginning. Added to that I felt like the misunderstandings between Jane and Vincent that prevailed through the book dragged the story down. The redeeming factors to those downsides were the continued wonder brought on by the use of glamour and the mystery, what was really going on? Why was Vincent being so secretive? And how was Jane going to get past all the roadblocks in her way? These things kept me pushing my way through the story until I found myself at the exciting conclusion.

I also loved learning some back story behind Vincent. Always a mysterious character to me, learning a bit behind Vincent was really cool and gave further insight into his character. As much as the misunderstandings between them bothered me I did enjoy seeing Vincent and Jane’s relationship grow. There were many sweet moments between the two, nullifying the moments that grated on me.

I can’t say how much I love the magic system in the Glamourist Histories. The ability to fold, bend, and twist light and create images is stunning and fascinating and one of my favorite aspects of this book. The idea of trying to make a glamour able to be moved from one place to another is interesting. I also liked seeing the possible negative attributes that could be associated with aspects of glamour, how they could be used for war instead of pleasure. I love how Mary touched on these issues, not shying away from them.

Overall I enjoyed Glamour in Glass and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Without Summer. If you enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey I recommend you pick up a copy of this book.

~Matina

The Riddle of Prague + Giveaway

The Riddle of Prague tour banner The Riddle-of-Prague-Cover

The Riddle of Prague
Laura DeBruce

Rating (out of 5): 5
Genre: YA Mystery Adventure
Release Date: December 7, 2013
Series: Quicksilver Legacy
Series Number: 1
Profanity: Very Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Age Recommendation: 13+
Author Info: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Summary:

When 18-year-old Hana Silna travels to Prague to reclaim her family’s ancestral home, she finds herself on an unexpected adventure in a city brimming with ancient secrets. She discovers a riddle by the infamous alchemist Edward Kelley that claims to lead to a long-lost flask. The contents of that flask could change the fate of the world. When a ruthless enemy kidnaps her family, Hana has to find the flask to rescue them. On her quest she meets a mysterious man with a penchant for poetry, a Gypsy girl with a haunting past, and Alex, the motorcycle-riding son of a U.S. diplomat. Alex — who’s trying to save his sister from a crippling disease — joins Hana on her race across Bohemia to find the hidden flask. It’s hard to trust anyone when the stakes are this high — especially when surrounded by experts at deception. There’s only one flask and Hana desperately needs to find it.

The Riddle of Prague is the first of the Quicksilver Legacy Trilogy.

Kirkus Reviews describes Laura DeBruce’s debut novel as “[a]n exciting…thriller with supernatural elements and a brave, enterprising heroine.” Clarion Reviews gives The Riddle of Prague five-stars and calls it “[a] fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat mystery-adventure.” 

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laura debruceAbout the Author:

LAURA DEBRUCE worked in the television business in Prague where she fell in love with the city and its legends. She is a documentary filmmaker and writer who currently lives in Maryland. The Riddle of Prague is her first novel. To learn more please visit www.theriddleofprague.com

 

Review:

Nobody wants to explain four-hundred—year-old people and an alchemist’s flask to the police. Even in Prague.”- The Riddle of Prague.

What do Pargue, a lost journal, Edward Kelly, and a host of people who live abnormally long lives all have to do with Hana Silna? The answer: Everything.

All Hana wants to do is reclaim her mother’s home, so when she finds herself in the middle of a murder, break in, and wild chase through the historical sites of Pargue all having to do with her home she sets her mind to find out the truth behind these mysterious events. Accompanied by Alex, the son of an American Embassy worker, the two try to unravel the mystery of where Edward Kelly’s last flask is hidden and rescue Hana’s family who’s been taken by a group desperate to get their hands on the flask.

Their adventure takes them on a tour de force of the major sites of Pargue and in doing so a sort of history lesson (if altered slightly) of the city. Along the way the two meet a host of interesting characters from a young gypsy girl who works for Simona and her family, to David a charming and mysterious helper who’s got more than a few secrets of his own.

The pacing in this book is wonderful, it rarely lets up for anything, and when it does what’s going on is so interesting you hardly realized that anything has slowed down. I also found parts of the story very funny, like the opening line to my review. Witty and fresh scenes keep the story from being too dark or dreary, which is a major plus for me.

Filled with memorable characters, witty writing, and twists that will drive readers to stay up long into the night this book is a fantastic read for anyone. So if you enjoy exotic locations, mystery, witty writing, and decade old secrets I suggest you pick up a copy of the Riddle of Pargue as soon as you can. It will be worth your while.

The book is currently on sale for 0.99 cents on Amazon, so get your copy while you can.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the tour host in exchange for my fair and honest opinion which I have stated above.

~Matina

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An Eclipsing Autumn

An Eclipsing Autumn
Adelle Yeung

 

Rcsm02silhouetteating (out of 5): 4
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Series: The Cycle of the Six Moons
Series Number: 2
Profanity: Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Very Mild
Age Recommendation: 13+
Author Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Summary:

Deciding last minute to stay in Starrs, Michelle continues her epic adventure as Goddess. After all, learning how to save the world sure beats a year of pre-calculus. With her friends by her side, Michelle travels to a city of scholars to learn the lore of the Cycle of the Six Moons.

At first, the exotic retreat turns romantic, as Michelle spends her free time exchanging sweet letters with the crown prince, Jayse. But, during her studies, Michelle learns something that drastically changes her game plan. Powerful blood must be spilled to end the Cycle…blood that only runs through her veins and the prince destined to fall in love with her.

During a celebration honoring their enlightenment, Michelle and Jayse are whisked off to a rogue city as trophies of a tournament, where only the strongest can claim a taste of their blood. Gallant as ever, their guardian, Gediyon, enters to prevent harm to his friends. Unfortunately for the contestants, the Cycle’s latest trial prevents everyone from waking from a cursed slumber…

 

Review:

An Eclipsing Autumn is the second book in Adelle Yeung’s Cycle of the Six Moons. The book picks up directly after the last one, making me feel like I never left the world of Starrs.

The world that Adelle Yeung has created in her Cycle of the Six Moons is beautiful and rich. The history we learn in this book is a detailed on that left me wanting to read a book about the first cycle. With each new place they visited I fell a little more in love with Starrs than I had been, and I liked many of the towns and people even more in this book than I did in the last.

The story is fascinating, and has a great many reveals that I didn’t see coming. Old characters like Wolf and Dreana make reappearances and play larger roles in the story than in the last book and many of the new characters introduced are just as lovable. I loved the growing romance between Jayse and Michelle. If you want to make me like a couple have them write letters to each other, it works every time, and in An Eclipsing Autumn it did just that.

With the twists and turns in this book came character growth and I was glad to see Michelle taking up a little more responsibility in this book, if you’ve read my review of the first book you’ll know that initially Michelle’s attitude irritated me, and I’m so happy to see her growing. Both Jayse and Gediyon had chances to shine and grow in this book as well.

Second books often fall into a trap of being a little boring, but this book doesn’t. It’s got a swift pace and the important information is relayed in an interesting way. And the ending. Oh my goodness the ending! Let’s just say I’m going a little crazy not knowing what happens next, because I have got to know what happens next!

Overall An Eclipsing Autumn is a solid addition to this series and a great read. It pulls away from the video game feeling it had in the last book and has a solid fantasy flow to it through the whole story. If you enjoyed the last book even a little bit I highly recommend you pick this one up.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest opinion which I have stated above.

~Matina

You can find my original review for the first book in this series here.

The Wrath and the Dawn

18798983The Wrath and the Dawn
Renée Ahdieh

Rating (out of 5): 5
Genre: YA romance/retelling
Release Date:
Series:
Series Number: 1
Profanity: Very Mild
Violence: Very Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Age Recommendation: 15+
Author Info: Website Twitter | Tumblr | FacebookInstagram

Summary:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Review:

Shahrzad wants one thing: revenge on the man who stole her best friend from her, and she is willing to risk everything to get it. Her plan? Marry the Caliph of Khorasan and live long enough to make him pay for his crimes. Her mistake? Falling in love.

It didn’t take me very long to fall in love with this book. Filled with romance, mystery, and magic The Wrath and the Dawn has everything that I could ask for in a good book, adding to that, it’s a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, a favorite collection of fairy tales of mine. The carefully paced plot and burning mystery behind Khalid’s actions latched me into the story and the variety of characters and relationships kept me reading late into the night.

There is not a character in this book that doesn’t feel alive and interesting. It’s easy to love the strong and independent Shazi and the hard to get to know, but easy to love Khalid, but I can’t leave out some of the other characters that really shined. At the palace I found myself easily endured to both Despina and Jalal, their care for Shazi and Khalid and own areas of spunk and sass made them steal the show every time they were on the page.

Slow, tender, romances always tug at my heartstrings and The Wrath and the Dawn has one of the best that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Shazi and Khalid’s relationship is a complicated one, but one that ultimately left me rooting for both to end up happy. I was pleased to read another book (the first being this Kiss of Deception) that handled a love triangle well. Shazi’s relationship with both Khalid and Tariq could have gone down the slippery path of having her waver between the two for the whole book, but Renee wrote it in such a way that, while there was tension, it didn’t detract from the book or the romance.

With a strong female lead, beautiful writing, and a story that would melt even the hardest of hearts The Wrath and the Dawn easily made it to my top favorite books of 2015. Renée Ahdieh’s fresh retelling of A Thousand and One Nights is sure to capture the heart of any reader who opens its cover. So what are you waiting for? Go open its cover and discover the magic inside.

~Matina

Eligible

Eligible
Curtis Sittenfeld

41AUFX-6PWL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Rating (out of 5): 3
Genre: Contemporary/Jane Austen Retelling
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Series: The Austen Project
Series Number: n/a
Profanity: Mild-High
Violence: None
Sexual Content: High
Age Recommendation: 18+
Author Info: Website | Twitter

Summary:

From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Equal parts homage to Jane Austen and bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

Review:

I’ve been waiting for Eligible since I discovered the Austen Project. I enjoyed Val McDermont’s re-imagining of Northanger Abby and my expectations were high that my favorite of Austen’s novels would be modernized well. Unfortunately, sometimes expectations exceed results and I found myself incredibly disappointed in Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible.

Eligible is a modernization of Pride and Prejudice. In this version the Bennett family is located in Cincinnati. Jane and Elizabeth live in New York and are a yoga instructor and a writer for Mascara Magazine respectively. Kitty and Lydia don’t have jobs, and spend all their time working out and telling everyone else how to live their lives. Mary is a career college student, and Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are in debt up to their eyeballs, even so Mrs. Bennett is a nonstop shopaholic. The elder Bennett sisters return home because of their father’s heart attack and stay to help the family while their father is recovering. While home they run into Darcy and Chip Bingley two Doctors who’ve just transferred to Cincinnati. From there, love is found, lost, and found again between the budding couples, through a story that looks vaguely like Pride and Prejudice.

While the writing was good, and the long book a relatively short read, I had a few big issues with it. The largest of which is the overall feel of the book. Pride and Prejudice is a book that stands on strong moral views, shows how a woman can be strong, intelligent, and funny in a world that would tell her to be otherwise, and pokes fun at the issues of its day all while being a funny romantic read.

Eligible does none of this.

I can see where Sittenfeld tried, with making Catherine de Bourgh a powerful feminist figure, including a matchmaking tv series in the story, and a few other things, but each and every one seemed to miss the mark. I never found myself laughing at a well placed barb to society or nodding at a well made, but subtle, hint about being morally upright. I did however find myself cringing at outright statements of how one should or shouldn’t think about a situation. 

My other big problem was with Elizabeth’s portrayal. From her relationship with a married man and lack of movement in her job she feels little like the Liz I know and love. The moment she looked at Darcy (who she was supposed to hate) and said, “Wanna go have sex?” I knew this wasn’t the Pride and Prejudice I wanted to read. Speaking of her relationship with Darcy, I couldn’t really find one. They met, they ran a little, they had sex, and then they were all of a sudden in love. There was no Darcy gradually falling for Elizabeth’s charms, and there was no Liz gradually realizing that Darcy was a better man than she’d imagined.

These are my biggest problems with this book, there are other issues I had with it, like splitting Wickham’s character into two separate ones, or Mary’s character altogether, but those are icing on the cake of my disappointment.

There were a few things that I enjoyed about Eligible. My favorite part was the last quarter of the book when everyone was coming back together. Liz’s reaction to the events that unfold was one of the few hilarious points of the book, and I found her distaste and distrust of TV executives and reality television to be delightful.

I am not generally a fan of contemporary fiction, and I’d hoped to make an exception with Eligible, but I just couldn’t. While this book may delight some readers it did not delight me, and I wouldn’t recommend it to Austen fans. I may recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction, but you won’t find me going out of my way to do so.

Note: I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for my fair and honest opinion which I have stated above.

~Matina