[Review] The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


ABOUT

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi 
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1 
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: April 26th 2016 

Synopsis:
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

The Backlog #3: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers




ABOUT

Title: Assassin's Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin's Heart #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Goodreads Page

Synopsis:
In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

Waiting on Wednesday: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor




ABOUT

Title: Strange the Dreamer 
Author: Laini Taylor 
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 28th 2017 

Synopsis:
Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

I am so excited for this novel. Laini Taylor has such magical, beautiful writing and I absolutely adored her series, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was such a pleasure to read and she created this fantasy epic. And this synopsis is just so gorgeous. I can't wait to read this novel and see what kind of a fantasy that Laini has painted this time.


Happy Reading! 
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#RiGoesOutside: HCCFrenzy Presents!


Hello everyone!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the HCCFrenzy event this year! It's the blogger Harper Collins YA event in order to learn about all the coming novels this fall and winter.




Travelling down to the city was a little bit of a hassle, involving a car and the subway. I had it lucky though, since there were road closures and subway closures. So I made it to the office early and of course I had to go get myself a Starbucks. I chugged that down and definitely got the caffeine jitters.


Their office is so nice! They have all these books displayed out front showing off the novels they publish. It was super hot in the elevator area though omg.

Anyways, you can just barely see it in the bottom right corner of the photo, a copy of THIS SAVAGE SONG. Love that novel and I can't wait for the next book to come out!

When the doors were let open for the mob of bloggers, we all walked in, walking past these gorgeous books and into a beautifully decorated meeting area where they put out some RED QUEEN notebooks and a pen!

I saw those Red Queen notebooks in pics from the people who attended the Indigo Teen preview and I wanted them so bad. I'm a sucker for notebooks so I'm super grateful that the HCCFrenzy peeps gave them to us!

I mean, look at that gorgeous thing, with the awesome quote on the bottom of every single page. The paper takes fountain pen ink pretty well.

ANYWAYS, that's enough about the notebook. The HCCFrenzy peeps also put out a nice spread of food for us, involving candy, cookies, chips and cupcakes! The cupcakes are super cute with a mountain of icing and little book cover decorations with some of the featured books!

Here's my cupcake: (I only ate the cake, because that icing is a MOUNTAIN)




Cute right? Unfortunately, that chocolate ball was hollow and not a Lindt truffle like I had hoped it'd be.


The first novel we talked about was GIRL MANS UP by M-E Gerard. We were lucky and M-E Gerard was actually there! She talked about her novel and Shelly of Read.Sleep.Repeat got a shout out since she loves this novel. To be honest, contemporary isn't much what I go for, but this sounds interesting and I got a signed ARC since the author visited us!

Then we talked about As I Descended by Robin Talley, which was described to us as modern day, LGBTQ Macbeth. Sounds interesting right? But apparently according to Karen of kmn04books, it's super creepy, which ngl, sells me on it. I have a strange aversion to creepy movies/tv, but am interested in creepy books.

Next up was The Thosuandth Floor by Katharine McGee! Gosh that book is gorgeous! The gold part on the finished novel has this frosted metallic sheen to it and it's so pretty. I'm excited for this novel since it sounds great and I was kind of hyped up when I did the #BBTC chat for this novel. We were given this really beautiful stiff poster that depicts a diagram of the tower with a bronze metallic finish. So beautiful!

Then we talked about a book that I've literally just started (I'm on page 1): Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. It's a novel that's right up my alley: fantasy, fighting and magical powers. I'm so excited to get into this one! I'm also super in love with the cover. That typography <3.

After that came the new Mindy McGinnis novel, The Female of the Species. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and it's about how girls are the dangerous ones, which is pretty evident by the title and the way the girl characters are described in the synopsis. It sounds interesting. It's that dangerous bit that really draws me in.

Next, was the third novel in Sara Raasch's Snow Like Ashes trilogy: Frost Like Night. I still haven't read the second book (oops). I loved Theron and I should definitely get around to reading it soon. The cover of this one matches the others and I love it.

Then we talked about The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst and holy moly this book sounds awesome. There are killer nature spirits and the queen is the only one who can keep these spirits at bay and keep them from slaughtering everyone. There are multiple heirs for the queen since she's still only human. Scary violent fantasy is definitely up my alley.

After, was Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel. This novel sounds awesome! It was described as "Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones". It deals with early palaeontology and the children of the first palaeontologists, who were very bitter rivals. The cover is gorgeous also!

Kenneth Oppel visited us and talked about the novel, and how he came up with the idea for this novel. He's super charismatic in person and it was fun listening to him talk about his novel. Obviously since he was there, we all went home with a signed copy of his novel. I'm excited to read this one!

Then Rosamund Hodge's Bright Smoke, Cold Fire came up and omg I can't wait. I love Rosamund Hodge and the way she puts a dark fantasy twist on fairy tales and classic tropes. This one is a dark Romeo and Juliet based novels involving lots of fighting, death and apparently zombies.

Next was Replica by Lauren Oliver. It seems interesting. It involves literal replicas of people (hence the name) and so it talks about two replicas and there are two stories. You read the novel from one end and in the perspective of one of the replicas and then you flip it over to read a story from another replica's perspective. It's an interesting premise and apparently there are slight Stranger Things vibes to it.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst was the next book. It's a fantasy where some kingdoms outlaw magic. The main character is a princess with magic who is engaged to a prince from another kingdom that outlaws magic. She also finds herself falling for the prince's sister. Need I say more? ;)

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. Need I say more? The hype is real.

Also another book that needs no explanation, The King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard. I haven't read the second book yet, but that's okay!

Then we talked about The Valiant by Lesley Livingston and I am SO HYPE FOR THIS ONE. It comes out on Valentine's Day of 2017 and it talks about female gladiators and Julius Caesar and seriously I am so into Roman history. Yes please.

Almost done guys, this won't go on for too much longer. LOL

Next was The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I haven't read her debut novel, but all I know is that there was a tremendous amount of love for it and people are hype for this novel.

Lastly was Fireworks by Katie Cotugno. It's about popstars and the girl/boy band craze of the 90s and friendships.

Those were most of the novels we talked about, I may have missed a few unintentionally, but these are definitely the ones that made an impact on me. There are so many awesome new novels that are about to come out!

After all this talk about books, we got to line up and get our books signed by M-E Gerard and Kenneth Oppel! I talked with some other bloggers in the line as we waited to get our novels signed, namely Jamie from Books and Ladders.

I got to meet and talk to a lot of bloggers and it was so much fun. Here is what I picked up in my swag bag at the end:



Thanks to the HCCFrenzy and HarperCollins Canada peeps for inviting me to this event! I'm so psyched to read some of the novels I received yesterday and to also check out some of these new novels we talked about!


Happy Reading! 
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[Blog Tour] A Guest Post by Paula Stokes, on VICARIOUS.


Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Paula's new novel -- Vicarious! I love Paula's work and I've gotten the opportunities to design some stickers to help promote her novels, Girl Against the Universe and this novel, Vicarious.

Here's some info on the novel:


ABOUT

Title: Vicarious
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Vicarious #1 
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: August 16th 2016 

Synopsis:
Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they've escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it's bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities in the city's hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you--for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won't rest until she finds her sister's killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn't sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.

Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the story of an unbreakable bond between sisters in this unforgettable high-tech thrill ride.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | BookDepository | Indigo

You can find my review of Vicarious, here


Paula's guest post on my blog, talks about her experience writing outside of her perspective and her research strategies she used for writing Vicarious.

PART II: Writing outside my perspective
Research strategies and knowing what questions to ask


One of the things I noted on my manuscript when my agent put Vicarious on wide submission was that I had lived and worked in Korea for a year. Living and working somewhere obviously does not make me any kind of authority, but it goes a long way in helping me figure out which questions to ask.

Tangent: Have you ever read a book where the author got something wrong—like really wrong—and you wondered how that happened? Sometimes it’s because authors don’t know which questions to ask. If you’re not researching the right things, then of course you are going to make mistakes. I have a mystery writer friend who watched a couple of episodes of Orphan Black, but gave up on the show because one of the early episodes involved clones who had the same fingerprints, and my friend felt like the writers didn’t care about accuracy. Apparently fingerprints form in the womb and vary due to fetal positioning, length of umbilical cord, and other non-genetic factors, so identical twins (and clones) have different fingerprints. Did you know that? I didn’t. I would have assumed that twins (and clones) had the same fingerprints. Chances are the writers for Orphan Black did too. It’s not that they were lazy or negligent—they probably just didn’t research fingerprints because they assumed something that seemed logical but turned out not to be false.

So then how did living in Seoul for a year help me know which questions to ask? It helped because I was surrounded by Korean people and Korean culture all day every day. I learned, without even trying, about Confucianism, collectivism, respect for elders, speech honorifics, family structures, living arrangements, social norms, expectations for employees, expectations for students, industry, food, fashion, entertainment, alcohol and smoking habits, and more. I did not become an expert in any of those things, but when certain things appeared in my outline or manuscript, it raised a flag in my head where I knew that more research and/or verification was needed.

My cultural research started with what I remembered from my time in Korea, reviewing hundreds of pictures and conversations or experiences I’d had with friends. I was still in contact with a few of my students and I looked at their social media to see how things had changed. I asked questions about how they thought Korean culture and Korean people had changed in the past few years.

Throughout the writing and initial revising of the book, I relied mainly on books and the internet, reading Korean culture manuals and travel guides, researching specific points on multiple blogs and websites. The internet is a great resource, but for the most part you can’t trust it, so I always tried to verify every piece of information in at least three places. To do this I utilized upward of thirty blogs/websites, some written by Koreans living in Korea, some written by Koreans living in the US, and some by Westerners living in Korea. I wanted a variety of perspectives as well as the opportunity to double check my facts.

Some of the websites I frequented heavily (in no particular order) include:


The final piece of my research involved getting feedback on my entire manuscript from multiple Korean beta-readers. Just like with the blogs, I wanted varied perspectives, so I recruited older and younger Korean readers, some who lived in the US and some in Korea. I’ll talk more about what it was like to use cultural beta-readers next week. Tomorrow check out a post with Eileen (and Ripple!) at Book Cat Pin at that will give you some quick insights into Winter’s personality. Eileen will also post her review of the book. Thanks to those of you who are following the tour :)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts. She’s the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.



Happy Reading!
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Waiting on Wednesday: Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


ABOUT

Title: Bound by Blood and Sand
Author: Becky Allen
Series: Untitled Series #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 11th 2016

Synopsis:
Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.

Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.

Lord Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.

But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.

Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the kingdom’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.
Not gonna lie, this title was what drew me in at first.

This synopsis sounds fantastic. A slave, bound to do whatever is demanded of her that is suddenly given this power to save the people who oppressed her. Omygod.

That bit speaks to me. SPEAKS to me. Maybe it's because I have a bit of a mean streak in me, but I kind of want to see her be vengeful and let the world burn. Obviously that's probably not going to happen, but who knows. Maybe it will. ;)


Happy Reading!
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[Review] Vicarious by Paula Stokes


ABOUT

Title: Vicarious
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Vicarious #1 
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: August 16th 2016 

Synopsis:
Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they've escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it's bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities in the city's hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you--for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won't rest until she finds her sister's killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn't sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.

Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the story of an unbreakable bond between sisters in this unforgettable high-tech thrill ride.

The Backlog #2: My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak




ABOUT

Title: My Life with the Walter Boys
Author: Ali Novak
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 1st 2014 

Synopsis:
My Life with the Walter Boys centers on the prim, proper, and always perfect Jackie Howard. When her world is turned upside down by tragedy, Jackie must learn to cut loose and be part of a family again.

Jackie does not like surprises. Chaos is the enemy! The best way to get her successful, busy parents to notice her is to be perfect. The perfect look, the perfect grades-the perfect daughter. And then...

Surprise #1: Jackie's family dies in a freak car accident.

Surprise #2: Jackie has to move cross-country to live with the Walters-her new guardians.

Surprise #3: The Walters have twelve sons. (Well, eleven, but Parker acts like a boy anyway)

Now Jackie must trade in her Type A personality and New York City apartment for a Colorado ranch and all the wild Walter boys who come with it. Jackie is surrounded by the enemy-loud, dirty, annoying boys who have no concept of personal space. Okay, several of the oldest guys are flat-out gorgeous. But still annoying. She's not stuck-up or boring-no matter what they say. But proving it is another matter. How can she fit in and move on when she needs to keep her parents' memory alive by living up to the promise of perfect?

Waiting on Wednesday: The Graces by Laure Eve


ABOUT

Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Series: The Graces #1 
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: September 6th, 2016 

Synopsis: 
In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.

I cannot deal with the beauty of that cover. I'm so in love. I'm a sucker for gorgeous covers and this one is so pretty! All that illustration and the colours. Ugh. In love.

The Graces is a novel about witches and I'm looking forward to reading it since I feel like I haven't read a book about witches in a really long time. It also says that it's perfect for fans of We Were Liars! I love that novel, despite the many mixed reviews of the novel.

Happy Reading!
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I Hate Starting Books


Hate is a strong word. Don't mistake that as me saying that I hate books, because I don't. I wouldn't be blogging about books if I hated them.

I'm fine with the middle and the ending because of course that's where all the action is and by that point, I'm already fairly invested in the events and characters of the book. I just have trouble starting a book. The physical act of opening the cover, and turning to the first page, or opening an ebook app and clicking on a book, terrifies me sometimes.

There's something about that uncertainty of how I'll feel about a novel that is scary to me. It's why I often times find myself procrastinating on reading a novel by instead reading fanfiction. I'm already familiar with the characters, the setting and the world for the most part and there's no time really needed to have to ease myself into it. Also, if I hate where the fic is going, I can just exit out of the story, no harm, now foul.

I'll fall in love with a synopsis of a novel and add it to my TBR of one of the many piles of books sitting on my floor, and they'll sit there for maybe a month, half a year, or maybe even years, because I'm afraid the hype I've built surrounding the synopsis won't match up to the story. That's really mostly what I'm scared of, to be honest.

On the other hand, that's one of the many charms of reading novels. I never know what I'll end up with. I can explore new worlds within those pages and meet characters that fulfil some need that I hadn't known existed yet or a character that I could just fall in love with. I could either fall in love with the story or really just hate it and not finish it*.

Every book I purchase, every book I pick up is a gamble. I do my research and often, it's not much of a gamble, but everybody's tastes are different and I could be the black sheep and hate a well-beloved book. Obviously, I've blocked the hated ones out of my mind because otherwise, I'd name one or two right here.

I suppose I just need to suck it up and gather my courage because it's really not that big of a deal. Reading is something that I love to do and this little fear could never really fully deter me from continuing to read. This is just something that I've noticed whenever I'm in between novels and often go for what could be several days to several months in between books.



*On a side note, I DNF fanfics way more than I DNF books. I'm already familiar with the characters, setting, etc. of the source material for a fanfic and I have a standard of grammar for fanfics, so I tend to be much more nitpick-y with fanfiction. However, with novels, I usually try to hang on until the end of a novel, even if I'm not enjoying it, because I don't really know how it will end and maybe I'll like it by the time I reach the end.


Also, don't forget I have a giveaway going on for some swag packs here! 


Happy Reading!
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[Review] This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


ABOUT

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Goodreads page
Source: e-ARC via Publisher
Synopsis:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

The Backlog #1: The Young Elites by Marie Lu


This series is going to be exactly what it sounds like. I'm notorious among my friends for always buying books but never reading ANY of them. There are so many books that I've bought and have wanted to read, but I never have the time to read them.

So in a response to both my friends and the ever growing stacks of books on my floor, I'm doing The Backlog, in which I review novels that have been out for a while or have just generally been sitting and collecting dust in my room for a while.

The first novel I'm reviewing in this series is THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu!


ABOUT

Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Synopsis:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.


The Young Elites takes place in a world where powers suddenly appeared in children , a la The Darkest Minds style. (a.k.a. there was an illness that killed off children and those who survived gained powers.) Though the novel switches points of view throughout the novel, it focuses on Adelina Amouteru, one of the malfetto, or “marked” children who is also one of the rare ones - the Elites - who develop powers.

I really enjoyed the world that Marie Lu has created. I’m always a fan of learning about the different religions that exist within these fictional worlds and the way they correspond to how the Elites’ powers react was really interesting. The way that Marie Lu described Adelina’s first reaction to Estenzia had me wishing that I could see it as well and really experience it for myself.

Adeline is easily one of my favourite and most interesting characters. She isn’t good and she doesn’t have that heroic idealism. She has a darkness in her that she can’t help, despite her desire to be good. She’s interesting and complex and could easily be seen as a villain had the story been written from another perspective. I look forward to reading more of her story in the next book and seeing what her fate has in store for her.

While the plot drove things along, I didn’t quite find it as interesting as Adelina herself. It moved at a quick pace, with Adelina often racing against the clock to get things done. There were definitely some things I wasn’t expecting and caught me by surprise, which I definitely enjoyed.

Enzo though. ENZO. I also wish I could read more of him.

Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed The Young Elites. It’s got an awesome main character and a fascinating world that I am excited to read more of.





Don't forget that I have a giveaway going on right now for some swag packs, which is international! You can find the giveaway here.

Happy Reading!

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Where in the world is Ri????




So I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I've been kind of MIA for the past three months or so. Or perhaps you didn't and you're like "what the heck?"

Anyways, like I said, I've been missing from blogging ever since school ended for me at the end of April. Or perhaps even a little earlier than that.

Blogging was starting to feel like a chore and I really hated that feeling. Blogging is something I do for fun and something I enjoy and there's no point to me doing it if it starts to feel like a chore. So I just kind of stopped posting and gradually disappeared from Twitter. I mostly follow bloggers on my twitter so going on there just made me feel even worse about not blogging.

However, I'm refreshed after taking the equivalent of a three-month break and I'm kicking off my return to blogging with a month long sort of event, in which I commit to posting three times a week, for the duration of August. It'll involve reviews, some original content, and a blog tour or two.

"So what have you been doing in these three months since you've been gone?" asked no one. WELL. I'll tell you.



I've been staying up till the wee hours of the morning. (This picture was taken at 4:30 AM)




I saw a baseball game! Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays lost this game we saw.




I culled my nail polish collection down to a manageable 100 bottles. I know. It sounds like a lot, but I got rid of a lot of nail polish and my collection looks practically anemic compared to its previous state.



I baked some delicious lemon cookies with my friends. (OMG I went outside!)




I went to a Japanese festival! These were some really delicious and refreshing cold noodles that were perfect for a hot hot day! I put that entire citrus slice in my mouth thinking it was some kind of orange. Instant regret. It was like a slice of yuzu or something. My mom held the bowl for me as I took a photo of the noodles for the Instagram. LOL.




I saw the new Ghostbusters and omg I loved it! Chris Hemsworth was hilarious and Kate McKinnon's character was my favourite. I adore her omg. I had recently seen the first Ghostbusters for the first time with my friends and I didn't really enjoy it, but this remake definitely was more up my alley.



So Pokemon Go took over the world. I started playing Pokemon Diamond again just because I don't go outside and I couldn't actually catch Pokemon. I forgot how much fun that these Pokemon games are and it made me really want to get the new ones and a 3DS (though I definitely can't afford that LOL)



I played Catan for the first time with one of my best friends for her birthday and omg it was a lot of fun despite having lost both games.



I saw the Chihuly exhibit in Toronto! I've been a fan of his work since I saw it for the first time as a chandelier on one of the Disney Cruise ships - the Disney Magic. The exhibit is magical and if you ever have the chance to check out his work, do go see it! What he can do with glass is incredible.

These are all photos from my Instagram which I update semi regularly. Follow me on Instagram @Astaraya. *ding*!




And as a wrap up to this kick off post, I'm doing a giveaway! I'm giving away 2 swag packs! They're both slightly different, but for the most part, they're the same! This giveaway is international and will be occurring all month long!



Just a little sneak peek at what I'm giving away. ;)


a Rafflecopter giveaway




That just about wraps up this post and I hope y'all are looking forward to the posts I have planned for this month!

Happy Reading!

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