*Saturday Spotlight* The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

TTAMTitle: The Tiger at Midnight

Author: Swati Teerdhala

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Page Count: 496 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

Inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology.

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Purchase Links

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  Indie Bound

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Preorder Giveaway

Swati has an amazing preorder giveaway going on, so check it out here! Open internationally! This giveaway closes April 29, 2019.

Everyone who preorders The Tiger at Midnight will receive a signed bookplate, one bookmark, and two exclusive, custom illustrated character cards!

Does this preorder giveaway accept library requests? Yes! 🙂

TTAM Preorder

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 About the Author

SwatiSwati Teerdhala is a storyteller and writer.

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Finance and History, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how to make a proper cup of chai, the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart, and diverse representation in the stories we tell.

She currently lives in New York City. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

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*Arc Review* The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

39338454Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

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I received an arc from the First to Read website hosted by Penguin Random House.

You don’t know how excited I was when I saw this book pop up. I’ve been wanting to read this since I’ve finished The Kiss Quotient, which was one of my top romances of last year. It contained a nice mix of romance and diverse character portrayals throughout.

Book two is written in the same style where the main male character has autism whereas The Kiss Quotient the female lead has autism.

The storyline of the book is Khai feels as if he can’t find love since he doesn’t feel it, which makes him feel content. His is family takes matters into their own hands by going to Vietnam. They plan on bringing back a woman for him to meet for an arranged marriage. This is where Esme comes in (she is the other main MC). She is quiet, determined, and strong-willed. But she takes a chance to help her family to start a new life since she is living in an extremely poor part of Vietnam. In this awkward tale, can these two work?

Well, I enjoyed this one but not as much as The Kiss Quotient. I thought this book did a fantastic job of explaining the day to day life of someone dealing with autism, coming from myself who is special ed. Another thing I’ve come to learn, that I love in books, is a dual pov for the main characters. Esme was spot on as being very strong-willed while able to be vulnerable and always thinking about how to help her family. It’s harder to figure out what Khai is thinking due to this thought process. It was good but also confusing to figure out.

But this story was really cute. Esme is always trying to be her best and was always trying to help Khai be better. It takes time to like Khai because he is sooo stubborn but he has his cute moments. You just have to wait and see.

The plot mixed well, from Esme traveling from Vietnam to the States and the romance that blooms between Esme and Khai as he learns the things he can and can’t do. Helen paints a beautiful picture of how love can overcome anything.

My rating is 4/5 stars!

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justin

ICYMI: Finale by Stephanie Garber Tour Dates

Happy Tuesday, fellow bookworms! Who else is excited that Finale by Stephanie Garber releases in under two months?! Stacy and I cannot wait. Anyone who has met Stacy and I know how big of fans we are of the World of Caraval. We absolutely adore and love this series so much.

Which is why we were also super stoked to find out Stephanie is going on tour for Finale! Woo!! See Stephanie’s tour dates below and if you haven’t read Caraval yet, then Stacy and I advise that you do! This is a world that will captivate you from the very beginning!

Additional information about the tour and to get a sneak peak at Finale, check out Bustle’s article!

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If you will be attending the St. Charles, MO stop, find me at the signing and say Hi! I’d love to meet you!

Is Stephanie touring anywhere near you?

nikole

*ARC Review* Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf_CSTitle: Bloodleaf

Author: Crystal Smith

Release Date: March 12th, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Page Count: 384 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Perfect for fans of RED QUEEN and UPROOTED, Crystal Smith’s debut novel, BLOODLEAF, is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm Fairy tale “The Goose Girl” that takes a ghostly mystery and sets it inside an epic fantasy world.

Aurelia is the first princess born to the Renalten crown in two hundred years, destined to fulfill a treaty by journeying to marry Valentin, the prince of Achelva – Renalt’s greatest enemy. Rumors of an unwell, cruel prince abound, and the only thing that eclipses Aurelia’s apprehension of her impending marriage is her fear of those who’d kill her to prevent it.

When an assassination attempt forces Aurelia to use forbidden magic to save a stranger, she is driven from Renalt by the witch-hunting Tribunal and a mob out for blood. But before she can claim asylum in the court of her betrothed, her travel party turns on her, forcing her to trade places with her treacherous lady-in-waiting, Lisette.

Now penniless in Achleva and bereft of her identity, Aurelia must decide if she wants to surrender to her new life or fight for her old one, all while navigating the complicated ties binding her to the enigmatic prince, the unquiet ghost of an ancient queen, and a poisonous plant called bloodleaf.

Aurelia is a pawn in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war— and if she can’t extricate herself from it before Lisette marries Valentin in her stead, she may face losses far more devastating than her crown.

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Preorder Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |   Indie Bound

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My Review

Thank you to the author for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read a ton of Young Adult fantasy. More than 90% of the books I own/read are in the fantasy genre. Which comes to mean that I see a lot of the same elements over and over again in fantasy books. It’s not a bad thing, not at all, but it’s also refreshing when I read a fantasy book with unique elements. Bloodleaf is one of those books. Bloodleaf has many unique fantasy elements that I absolutely loved.

This dark and luscious tale will have you hooked from the first page. Smith’s writing blew me away. It was breathtakingly beautiful and nevertheless bewitching. I was captivated by the words that flew off the pages and made the world feel so real.The world Smith has built is phenomenal and deadly and all the while enchanting. It’s a fantasy world I could easily picture myself living in. The world is illustrated in such beautiful prose. And just to be clear, this isn’t a fantasy world where happy endings come naturally. It’s a dark world filled with daunting dangers and betrayal. But the way Smith describes the world is what makes me love it so much; the descriptions are not too much or too little and they make it feel like the world is alive, which is always a plus for me in fantasy novels.

What I also loved about Bloodleaf was the magic system. The magic system in Bloodleaf is incredible. To enter the second kingdom, Renalt, you must have a stamped invitation with the king’s blood to enter, or else you risk the possibility of death. This experience that Aurelia has to go through is so well-captured that I felt like I was right there seeing her cross into the kingdom. Actually, that’s what it was like for the whole book. The story, the characters, the hardships, all felt real and that is something I look for in books. I want the worlds to feel real to me and this world and the characters did not disappoint.

Princess Aurelia is a wonderfully flawed, yet strong character. She doesn’t want to do the blood magic oath, where her and three people she loves bound themselves to her with blood, where in order for Aurelia to die, her three protectors will have to die first. She would rather die than risk the lives of those she loves. But then the blood oath is completed and Aurelia goes on a daunting journey, using the name of one of her maids, to escape the Tribunal after she uses her forbidden magic to save someone. She fights for her old life, for her destiny, and for her kingdom. She learns so much throughout her journey, and I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her in the second book.

And then there is Zan. Zan is a character I was easily swooning over. He’s intriguing yet mysterious and though he hides many secrets from Aurelia, he becomes someone she can’t live without. He’s charming even when he’s trying not to be. He overall fights for a good cause and wants to see the world change. And he sees Aurelia as being that person, with her magic and her will to change the outcome of her life.

Overall, Bloodleaf has easily become one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels. I loved the world, the character development (even the sad moments), and the uniqueness Smith brings to the fantasy genre. I’m one of the readers that is patiently (well, really, impatiently) waiting for the second book. If you are looking for a fantasy read that is gripping and intriguing with multiple fantasy elements, then Bloodleaf is a great book to read!

nikole

*ARC Review* Second Star by J. M. Sullivan

SS_JMSullivanTitle: Second Star (Neverland Transmissions #1)

Author: J. M. Sullivan

Release Date: March 5th, 2019

Publisher: Bleeding Ink Publishing

Page Count: 352 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Wendy Darling worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero. She races to the planet known only as Neverland; her mission to find the long-lost crew and bring them home.

But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan–and she has to decide quickly…

Before the darkness consumes them all.

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Preorder Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository   |  Indie Bound

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My Review

What I love about this Peter Pan retelling is how unique and captivating the story is. The original characters are there, but in fragments of who they were portrayed as in the Disney movie. And I loved that, because the author took a classic story and weaved it into something old and new. The author kept the characters but gave them new back stories and compelling attributes.

In this reimagining of Peter Pan, Pan is stuck in a place that quickly becomes called Neverland, with a wrecked spaceship and a Captain that’s out for his blood. And then there’s Wendy, a newly-appointed Captain of the ship dubbed Faith & Trust sent to rescue Captain Hooke and his crew from Neverland. She, and everyone else at the Academy, thought Captain Hook and his crew died many years ago, but when Wendy intercepts a transmission call, her and the Academy staff are in for an awakening. She sets out to rescue the crew, only for her ship to crash land on Neverland. Now she will have to work with Peter Pan to find Captain Hooke, find out the truth, and escape Neverland and go back home to London or risk being trapped in Neverland forever.

As the reader, I saw a lot of development in Wendy. The beginning chapters focus on her younger years and how she gets accepted into the Academy. Jump forward several years and she’s nineteen, about to lead a rescue team to Captain Hooke. She is the top of her class, which is one of the many reasons she is picked to rescue Captain Hooke. Wendy is a strong leader/individual and she wants to succeed at the Academy and finishing this mission would be a great start for her. She just never saw the dangers of Neverland coming; but those said dangers help her develop as a person and a Captain and that’s where Wendy really shines.

Peter Pan’s character is everything and he’s just as fun and enchanting as he was in Disney’s version. Him and his crew work to find a way to escape Neverland, while also dodging Captain Hooke and unfamiliar dangers. I enjoyed how much older he acted; he didn’t fully act like a kid and I really enjoyed that. He’s also caring when it comes to his crew and Wendy; he wants to protect them all, even if that means sacrificing his own life. And, of course, his relationship with Tinc is wonderful; I found myself chuckling at some of their interactions and it reminded me about my relationship with my best friend. Granted, Tinc is an advanced mini robot, but her personality and interactions with Pan were so much fun to see.

I really enjoyed the aspect of Peter Pan’s story involving space and a more technologically advanced world. The idea added to the world building and made the world fascinating to read about. I also liked how the romance came later into the story and didn’t overpower the plot and story line of the book. It was great to see the world developed first before introducing Wendy’s potential love interest.

Overall, Second Star is a great Peter Pan retelling and one I would recommend. I’m looking forward to reading the second book and seeing what is in store for the characters.

nikole

*Book Review:* Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

CFMTitle: Come Find Me

Author: Megan Miranda

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Page Count: 336 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Science Fiction

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger comes a captivating thriller about two teens who connect when each discovers a mysterious radio frequency, which suggests their family tragedies are mysteriously connected. 

After surviving an infamous family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Kennedy Jones has made it her mission to keep her brother’s search through the cosmos alive. But then something disturbs the frequency on his radio telescope–a pattern registering where no signal should transmit.

In a neighboring county, seventeen-year-old Nolan Chandler is determined to find out what really happened to his brother, who disappeared the day after Nolan had an eerie premonition. There hasn’t been a single lead for two years, until Nolan picks up an odd signal–a pattern coming from his brother’s bedroom.

Drawn together by these strange signals–and their family tragedies–Kennedy and Nolan search for the origin of the mysterious frequency. But the more they uncover, the more they believe that everything’s connected–even their pasts–as it appears the signal is meant for them alone, sharing a message that only they can understand. Is something coming for them? Or is the frequency warning them about something that’s already here?

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Purchase Links

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository     Indie Bound

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My Review

I originally wanted to read Come Find Me because the premise sounded interesting and looked to be a mystery right up my alley. Then I saw who the author was and since I loved her adult books, I had to read her young adult book.

When the book started, I’m not going to lie, I thought it was going to have a sci-fi feel because that’s the initial feeling I got from reading the summary. I was thinking there would be some connection to maybe aliens or something along those lines. Needless to say, it doesn’t have a huge sci-fi connect, but the book doesn’t need the sci-fi element to be a fantastic mystery. It does, however, have a sort of Stranger Things vibe to it, though it is small.

Kennedy and Nolan are both reeling from past family tragedies. Kennedy’s family is torn apart after a murder and she’ll do everything she can to find out the truth, even following the trail of an impossible lead. Nolan’s brother went missing a couple years ago and while his family is unable to fully move on, Nolan wants to forget the tragedy. That is, until his extraterrestrial device picks up a frequency that is unheard of. And then Kennedy comes across the same frequency and both believe it to be a sign that it is time to un-bury the past.

I really enjoyed how Miranda brought two POVs to the table and intertwined their stories. Kennedy and Nolan must work together to solve the mysteries surrounding their dead family members, and neither suspect them to have a unique connection. Along the way, Kennedy and Nolan learn to work as a team and grow as individuals (and together). Both are struggling with

Miranda does a fantastic job about not giving everything away to the reader right away. Right from the start, the reader is unaware of what happened to Kennedy’s family, only knowing that something dark and tragic happened in her old house. Overall, Miranda knows how to write a good mystery novel; if you haven’t read any of her work, I recommend that you do.

nikole

Sock Sunday

Not often I join on this tag since I’m usually working and always wear tube socks but changed it up today. So I’m currently crazy rich asians but on my phone. But I’m photo is my next read. Reminds me of alita battle warrior since they had a game sinular in the movie so now want to read it.

And in my books it’s Halloween all year round if I could do that.