Saturday, February 18, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (246)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello! The weather's been nicer here, meaning no snow, but it's still around! Big piles in parking lots, icy patches on park paths.

No books this week! I couldn't get around to the library to wander and browse.

Reviews going up this week will feature Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas (Tuesday) and The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (Friday). :)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Me on The Valiant

Title: The Valiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha's legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle. On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father's royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon's worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival. Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

The Valiant is dangerous, brutal and complicated. It's about the price of freedom and the holders of power, about survival and kinship. About rivalries and revenge.

Fallon is skilled, determined, furious. Furious at her father for his actions. Furious at the ones who kidnapped her, forced her into slavery. Furious at the Romans she must now serve and entertain as a gladiatrix in a fighting ring. What follows for Fallon is a hard journey, repeated fights and battles for survival and pride. For honour. Because what is honour in this place? In the country of her enemy, in the service of her greatest enemy. If she wants to survive, potentially escape she'll have to watch, learn, train. Bide her time. Wait for the right moment to strike. Even when her nature would make her refuse to bow her head.

There are two things I know I will get from a book by Lesley Livingston: detailed world-building, be they historical or fantastical, and strong female characters. The smell of the dust in the air, the drip of sweat down the back of a neck, the roar of the crowd as they cheer in the area. And the young girls and women, the ways they come together and the ways they fight. In the open with sword and spear, in the shadows with coin and persuasion. I would definitely recommend this to fans of Lesley's previous books and to those looking for more books about young women fighting for what they believe in and refusing to give up.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from HarperCollins Canada.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (318)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Blood Rose Rebellion
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

It does sort of sound like Red Queen, but I like the sound of the differences. How it looks like Anna's ability is more breaking than creating magic or spells.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Me on The Wish Granter

Title: The Wish Granter
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille's king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence that he can't stop. Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother's ascension to the throne wasn't fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown. So Ari recruits the help of Thad's enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague's criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair's weaknesses, saving Ari's brother—and herself. But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can't outwit him, she'll lose Sebastian, her brother...and her soul.

The Wish Granter is dark and devious, filled with plots, secrets, and a search for power.

Ari is stubborn and unexpected. Raised in the palace but not with a sense of honour or importance, her sudden rise to princessdom and her brother's equally sudden crowning have left her slightly lost. Especially when she discovers a rather sinister character is behind their sudden rise in power. But once she knows who Teague is, what her brother signed away in order to keep them safe, she falls headfirst into planning and plotting. The problem is that only so much is known, only so much is willing to be talked about, and Teague is more ruthless than she could imagine.

Sebastian can't wait to be on his own. Away from his abusive father, his drug addict mother. He wants out, needs to get out, and this chance to work at the palace could be the start of something. Of saving up enough coin in order to leave, to find a safe place of his own. Until the new princess walks in wanting iron weapons and knowledge of Teague, a man Sebastian knows too well for his liking. He's a broken, battered young man, bruised and scarred. He swore he never become his father, never hurt people for money or power, but who knows how far he'll be pushed in order to save Ari.

There are moments of lightness, of Ari struggling to be a proper princess, but many more serious moments. Assaults and kidnappings. Organized crime, smuggling and drug addiction. Parental abuse. The serious tone carries through the book, weighing it down. This is a rather sinister retelling, the heroine and hero are up against a far more ruthless and dangerous Rumpelstiltskin than I'd expected. The stakes are high and the consequences are brutal. It felt like the serious tone dragged the story along near the middle and towards the ending. This is only loosely connected to the previous book, the previous kingdom mentioned a couple of times, but I imagine that if you enjoyed The Shadow Queen you'll also enjoy this.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (245)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

This week felt promising, even with more snow coming down, but then a migraine wiped me out and I couldn't really focus on anything. I'm hoping to get a bunch of reading done this weekend. *fingers crossed*

Reviews going up this week will feature The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine (Tuesday) and The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (Friday). :)
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (e-book borrowed from the library)
Avenged by Amy Tintera (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
Blight by Alexandra Duncan (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
Dreamfall by Amy Plum (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)