*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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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

TWKTitle: The Waking Forest

Author: Alyssa Wees

Publisher: Delacorte

Release Date: March 12th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Pan’s Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

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BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound | iBooks | Kobo

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TOUR SCHEDULE

You can visit the other amazing blogs part of this tour by clicking the link below. Blog tour schedule link: https://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/02/tour-schedule-waking-forest-by-alyssa.html

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.

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GIVEAWAY

  • Prize: 1 copy of THE WAKING FOREST by Alyssa Wees
  • US Only
  • Starts: 3/10
  • Ends: 3/26

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MY REVIEW

The waking forest is one of those novels that produces an eerie yet captivating reaction on every page. I expected the writing to be beautiful, which it was, yet I also wanted to be wowed, which I was. This book read just like a nightmarish fairytale, and I loved that.

The way Wees brings the characters to life is mesmerizing. I loved how it was told from two point of views: Rhea and the Witch. Rhea sees a forest that keeps appearing and disappearing behind her house; she’s plagued by mysterious nightmares and when she thinks she’s losing her mind, a boy that blends with shadows confronts her, saying he will tell her all the forest’s secrets if she will play a game. Then there’s the Witch, who grants children’s’ wishes who dream about her. Yet, she lives the same life style, until two children come to her and one surprises her by asking her what she would wish for. Both characters’ personalities bring so much to this story; they work wonderfully with the storyline. And it isn’t just the characters that make this bewitching story alluring: it’s also the way the story is written.

The writing is some of the most beautiful writing I’ve read in YA this year. The author has a way of bringing the world and characters to life. The world was so vividly described through gorgeous prose that it was one of the reasons why this book was hard to put down. Wees has a way with words and knows how to make a fairytale feel real. The way the forest is described makes it enchanting, yet harsh, and combining both of those together with her writing made for some beautiful scenes. I was truly blown away with the writing and enthralling storyline.

With vivid storytelling and a captivating setting, The Waking Forest will be a book that will surprise you and make you believe in those bedtime fairytales you wished were real (or maybe not so real). I can’t wait to see what Alyssa Wees writes next!

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*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!

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

book coverTitle: To Best the Boys

Author: Mary Weber

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 5th 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

My Review

Synopsis:

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble |Book Depository | iTunes

AUTHOR INFORMATION

authorHi. I write books. I eat things. I kiss things. I believe in mermaids.

I’m also the author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series, and the March 2019 release, To Best the Boys. When not working, I sing 80’s hairband songs to my three muggle children, and ogle my husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. We live in California, which is perfect for stalking aging movie stars while wearing fanny packs and sweatpants.

For those who like to know such things (mainly my mom), Storm Siren was featured in the Scholastic Book Fair and my novels have been endorsed by such nice humans as Marissa Meyer, CJ Redwine, Shannon Messenger, and Jonathan Maberry (in fact, Marissa Meyer and I have a fun interview in the paperback of her book, CRESS). Also, Boba tea & sweatpants are life. {We can chat about life (in sweatpants over tea, obviously) in my Newsletter.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

TOUR SCHEDULE

Check out all the amazing blogs on this blog tour!

http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/01/tour-schedule-to-best-boys-by-mary-weber.html

GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win 1 of 2 finished copies of TO BEST THE BOYS by Mary Weber (1 INTERNATIONAL winner & 1 US ONLY winner)

Start Date: 25th February 2019

End Date: 11th March 2019

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*Blog Tour + Q&A + Giveaway* You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman

You Asked for PerfectTitle: You Asked for Perfect

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 5th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary

My Review

Synopsis:

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

laura-silverman_author-photoMy debut novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a summery coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the entire summer. It debuted in May 2017. You can order it from most book retailers and of course request it at your local library! My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, is about the effects of intense academic pressure on a teenage Valedictorian-to-be. It comes out March 2019, and you can add it on Goodreads here.

I have degrees in English and Advertising from the University of Georgia, and I have an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. While I lived in NYC, I interned at Penguin and two different literary agencies. In addition to writing, I also freelance edit manuscripts and query letters. Please check out my services if you’re interested! I particularly love helping with those query letters!

You can find Laura Silverman at the following sites:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Q&A WITH LAURA SILVERMAN

Thank you, Laura, for stopping by on the blog! I had so much fun chatting with you!

1. Your second book is coming out in March, that’s so exciting! What inspired you to write this story?

I went to an extremely academically competitive high school. We were pressured to take as many AP classes as possible and do well in them. At the time, almost ten years ago now, this high school experience was pretty unusual. We jokingly called the school a university instead of a high school. But I’ve noticed in recent years it’s been more and more common to put this intense academic pressure on high school students all over the country, and that amount of pressure can be extremely harmful to the mental and physical health of the students. I wanted to write a book where high school students feel seen and heard. I wanted to tell them that they are much more important than their grades. I also wanted to send a message to teachers, parents, administrators, etc. Many already know this pressure is an issue, but I hope they will work harder to solve it.

2. I read an ARC of YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT a couple months ago and I absolutely loved it! I related to Ariel so much, and I know a lot more readers will, too. Was it difficult writing Ariel’s character, or any of the other characters?

Ariel’s voice came fairly naturally to me. He’s one of the other main reasons I wrote this book. I’ve had his voice in my head for years now. Originally, he belonged to another book I scraped after a few chapters, but his voice stayed in my head, so a couple years after that, I started writing YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT. That said, it was definitely still difficult in a way to write his voice because the poor guy is super stressed out for a large portion of the book. I felt that stress right along with him and would often continue to feel it after my writing session. Thankfully there are some fluffy, happy scenes in the book as well that gave us both some relief J

3. If you could give one piece of advice to those struggling with any type of pressure to be perfect, what would it be?

Reach out to people and ask for help – whether it’s parents or a therapist or someone else. Perfection is overrated, and hopefully someone in your life can work with you, provide comfort, and help shift your perspective.

4. What was your writing process like for YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT?

As mentioned above, it was super stressful! I had a lot of high school flashbacks. I wasn’t exactly like Ariel, but there were times when I felt like a single grade or project was the end of the world. I really dipped back into that internal spiral, and it was a difficult space to live in again.

5. There are a ton of inspiring authors out there. What advice would you give them?

Write what you enjoy! I strongly recommend writing fanfiction if you’re just starting out. I wrote a ton of fanfiction in college, and it was the best writing practice. You get instant feedback from your reviewers, and you’re incentivized to keep posting new chapters because they’ll want to know what happens next. And most importantly, it’s really fun!

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TOUR SCHEDULE

See what other amazing blogs joined this fantastic blog tour!

http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2018/12/tour-schedule-you-asked-for-perfect-by.html

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YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a copy of YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT by Laura Silverman (INT)

Disclaimer: INT as long as Bookdepository ships to the country of the winner.

Start Date: 11th February 2019

End Date: 24th February 2019

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, so much for having A Court of Coffee and Books on the blog tour!

Saturday Spotlight: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

fdqTitle: Four Dead Queens

Author: Astrid Scholte

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Page Count: 432 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Read My ARC Review

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queensheralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

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Purchase Links

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository     Indie Bound

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Preorder Giveaway

Astrid has two awesome preorder giveaways going on, so check them out here!

If you have already preordered, fill out this handy-dandy form here!

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 About the Author

astrid

Raised on a diet of Spielberg, Lucas and Disney, Astrid knew she wanted to be surrounded by all things fantastical from a young age. She’s spent the last 10 years working in film, animation and television as both an artist and manager. Career highlights include working on James Cameron’s Avatar, Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tin Tin andHappy Feet 2 by George Miller. She’s a visual writer and aims to capture the vivid stories that play like movies in her head. When she’s not writing, she’s painting her favorite fictional characters and obliging her furry overlords, Lilo and Mickey.

FOUR DEAD QUEENS (Putnam, 26th of February 2019 and Allen & Unwin, 4th of March) is her debut novel. (Bio from author site)

Saturday Spotlight: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

cofTitle: Crown of Feathers

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Page Count: 288 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

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Purchase Links

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Book Depository     Indie Bound


 About the Author

nicki-pau-preto-101027857

Nicki Pau Preto is a YA fantasy author living just outside Toronto, Canada. After getting a degree in visual arts, a masters in art history, and a diploma in graphic design, Nicki discovered two things: she loves to escape the real world, and she isn’t interested in a regular 9-5 life. Luckily, her chosen career covers both.

Her YA fantasy debut CROWN OF FEATHERS is coming February 12th, 2019 from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster. (Bio from author site)