*ARC Review* The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

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Title: The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow #2)

Author: Kalyn Josephson

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: July 7, 2020

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary: 

Princess Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.

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And if you preorder, make sure to submit your receipt here to receive 1 of 2 bonus scenes (either in Ericen’s or Kiva’s point of view)!

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Author Information

Kalyn

Kalyn Josephson is the author of THE STORM CROW duology. By day, she’s a Technical Writer in Silicon Valley, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. She grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA, but now lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an even tinier owl).

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

If you would like to read my review of The Storm Crow, click here. Please be aware that this review may include some spoilers from book one. Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. All quotes below are from an early copy of the book and may not be in the final story.

“Maybe leading didn’t mean just making decisions and enforcing them. That was what Razel would have done. What my mother would have done. Maybe leading meant being the kind of person people wanted to follow.”

Kalyn Josephson has done it again! The Crow Rider is one heck of a ride. Bustling with countless action scenes, gripping emotional character interactions, and beautiful relationships, it’s a sequel that truly outdoes its predecessor. And The Storm Crow was one of my favorite reads of 2019, one I didn’t think many fantasy reads could top, but the sequel is absolutely breathtaking. This sequel is overflowing with emotion and magic and exquisite writing.

“A thousand feelings bubbled to the surface: the need to prove myself capable, to be strong. To handle things myself for once. To be a leader. And with that, the fear that I would fail, only to slip back into that heavy darkness.”

In The Storm Crow, Thia dealt with a deep depression and a lingering hopelessness. She didn’t know how to move on from tragedy. But then she grew, she fought her darkness and found the light she needed to fight her demons. And now Thia knows her life, her world, is worth fighting for and she will stop at nothing until the one who hurt her kingdom is dead. She still faces challenges with her mental health (and so do many side characters), and that’s what helps make her character feel so real. Thia’s character development is so strong and beyond relatable. She’s no longer afraid to speak her mind and fight battles. She knows she can rely on those closest to her for support, even when there are downfalls and hard decisions. And that knowledge is part of what makes her one of my all-time favorite book characters.

Of course, her relationship with Res is the absolute best. They remind me of my relationship with my dog, which gave me a new love for this story. Res is brave, courageous, willing to protect those he loves, outspoken, and also has just a little bit of a sweet tooth. I constantly caught myself smiling and reminiscing during these scenes; Thia and Res’s relationship is so similar to mine with my dog that it made this story extra meaningful and special. I could relate to just about everything and everyone in Thia’s life in some type of way and that was something I truly loved about this story.

“You have every bit the potential to become a monster as I do.”

On the villain side, Razel is a notable opponent. She is every bit the monster people fear, and Thia will stop at nothing until her reign ends. Josephson brought a power-hungry villain to life within these pages. She is, without a doubt, an equal foe for Thia. The battles were intense and had me gripping the book and my eyes glued to Josephson’s words. Razel is a villain that believes friends and love are a weakness, but Thia is set on proving her wrong; Thia knows that it’s not a weakness, it’s a strength. And that strength is what will hopefully change the tide of the war.

Josephson’s writing is poetic and lyrical, her story filled to the brim with lush world building and phenomenal character development. Josephson has created an intricate world with a wonderful magic aspect. What I liked is that Josephson further explores the magical elements of this world. I loved the new information on the elemental crows and the captivating storytelling behind the Sellas. This world, this story, is remarkable and stunning and everything I love about fantasy books.

The Storm Crow duology is by far one of my top favorite series. There’s not a single thing I do not love about this series. It’s a duology I will continue to support and recommend to anyone looking for a great fantasy. And I cannot wait for Josephson’s next story!

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Instagram Giveaway

Visit my Instagram page to enter to win The Storm Crow duology set, hosted by myself and lily at Lily’s Latest Reads! All rules and disclaimer information will be found on my The Crow Rider Instagram post! Giveaway closes Friday, July 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

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Book Title: Sisters of Sword and Song

Author: Rebecca Ross

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 23rd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

From the author of The Queen’s Rising comes a thrilling YA stand-alone fantasy about the unbreakable bond between sisters. Perfect for fans of Ember in the Ashes, Sky in the Deep, and Court of Fives.

After eight long years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been proudly serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon appears earlier than expected, Eva knows something has gone terribly wrong. Halcyon is on the run, hunted by her commander and charged with murder.

Though Halcyon’s life is spared during her trial, the punishment is heavy. And when Eva volunteers to serve part of Halcyon’s sentence, she’s determined to find out exactly what happened. But as Eva begins her sentence, she quickly learns that there are fates much worse than death.

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Author Information

Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross grew up in Georgia, where she continues to reside with her husband, lively dog and endless piles of books. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from UGA. In the past she has worked at a Colorado dude ranch, as a school librarian, and as a live-time captionist for a college.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

“Failure is never final unless you choose it to be.”

I was already a big fan of Rebecca Ross’s work from her first book, The Queen’s Rising. But Sisters of Sword and Song made me an even bigger fan of her writing and her worlds. It’s a beautifully crafted and tightly woven tale, filled to the brim with Ancient Greek mythology, the power of a sisterly bond, and emotional trepidations. This powerful stand-alone is deserving of all the praise and more.

At the center of this story is that powerful sibling relationship. Halcyon and Evadne are sisters who both lead two very different lives. Halcyon is a warrior while Evadne is a scribe. When Halcyon is accused of treason, Evadne agrees to work for five years for Lord Straton in exchange for her sister’s freedom. But Evadne uncovers secrets about Halcyon and her world that ultimately place both girls in the front lines of danger.

“There is steel within me. I will not bend. I will not break.”

The bond between Halcyon and Evadne is the heart of this story. Both sisters would do absolutely anything for one another. I loved being able to read from both of their perspectives and see how each handled the danger set in their path. Halcyon had secrets she had to keep hidden deep and Evadne had secrets she had to discover to prove her sister’s innocence. Both girls suffer from different types of pain, but that and all their grief is something each has to learn to overcome. And it wasn’t just the main relationship that hooked this story for me; I loved the side relationships and the budding romance. Everything about this book – the characters, the world, the story – was just magical and mesmerizing and I cannot wait to read this book again.

And let me just add: this world and its occupants are marvelous. Ross does a magnificent job of bringing this magical world to life. It’s so beautifully descriptive and filled with lush and vivid scenery. I fell in love with this world and the characters. It’s a world with darkness and light, magic and life. It’s a story with an intricately woven plot with gods and magic and love. I cannot express enough how captivating Ross’s writing is: she has created such an abundant and extraordinary world that I can still picture everything clear as day weeks after finishing the story.

I know Sisters of Sword and Song is a stand-alone, but I’m really hoping Ross visits this world again sometime in the future. It’s such a magical story steeped with breathtaking Greek mythology. Sisters of Sword and Song is a strong and powerful story, one I hope many readers fall in love with. This is, without a doubt, my favorite Rebecca Ross book so far – it’s a story I highly recommend!

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

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TOUR BANNER (13)

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of SISTERS OF SWORD AND SONG by Rebecca Ross + 4 myth cards (The Fall of Kirkos, Ari’s Shawl of Stars, The Entrapment of Pyrrhus, and Acantha’s Crown) [US Only]

Starts: June 17th 2020

Ends: July 1st 2020

SOSAS & Myth Cards

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

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*Blog Tour + Review* The Boundless by Anna Bright

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Title: The Boundless (The Beholder #2)

Author: Anna Bright

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 9th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings

Synopsis:

This breathtaking sequel to The Beholder will take you on a journey into a darkly sparkling fairy tale, perfect for fans of The Selection and Caraval.

 

When Selah found true love with Prince Torden of Norway, she never imagined she’d have to leave him behind. All because the Beholder’s true mission was a secret Selah’s crew didn’t trust her to keep: transporting weapons to the rebels fighting against the brutal tsarytsya, whose shadow looms over their next port of Shvartsval’d. A place Selah hoped she’d never go.

But gone is the girl who departed Potomac filled with fear. With a stockpile of weapons belowdecks and her heart hanging in the balance, Selah is determined to see the Beholder’s quest to its end.

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Author Information

anna bright

Anna Bright is an indie bookseller by day and an author by night who still gets in trouble for reading when she’s supposed to be doing other things. When not hiding out among books, she loves concerts, roller coasters, and adventures at home and abroad. Anna lives with her husband and cat in a charming cobblestoned neighborhood in Washington, DC, but you can find her online at www.annabrightbooks.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @brightlyanna.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

Avast! This is a review for the sequel to The Beholder. Please know that are some spoilers below that give away some plot points from the first book. If you would like to read my review of the first book, you can find that here

I loved the story of The Beholder but the sequel’s story is full of more adventure and high stakes and that makes for one heck of a thrilling ride. I truly could not put this book down – and I may have been hoping for some Selah and Torden scenes (don’t worry fellow shippers, there are!). Romance does take a more background role in this story, but that’s to make room for the heart of this sequel and that’s to showcase rebellion and bravery. I usually don’t love sequels more than the first book, but The Boundless exceeded all my expectations. It’s a sequel worth all the praise.

”I already know where my journey ends. It leads me home, to you.”

Selah becomes such an exceptional character in The Boundless. She’s stronger, braver, and she realizes she has the power to change her fate. I loved how Selah was no longer as shy as she was in The Beholder; she grasped the potential she knew she had and used that to become the person she knew she was meant to be. She has the capabilities to help the rebels and change the pace in the war. Her growth is extraordinary as a character and really demonstrates just how much a journey like Selah’s can change every outcome. But what’s also great is that Selah isn’t the only character readers will see grow and develop.

In the sequel, the readers get the opportunity to learn more about the characters from the first book, especially Lang and the crew. But I also loved the addition of some of the new characters. They added a new element to the story, and all the characters constantly challenged Selah, which was an aspect that led her to her new found confidence. Even though Selah is the main character, it was great to see some of the side characters take a much larger role in this story and grow in their own way.

“Not only monsters awaited us in Shvartsval’d, inside the gray boundaries of the Imperiya Yotne. We would meet plots already in motion, characters in masks designed to deceive.”

Bright’s writing is just as strong and lush as The Beholder. She beautifully depicts every scene and character and truly makes this story a delightful ride. Bright also sprinkles in plenty of twists that keep readers on their toes and presents magnificently well-written villains. And the world building is vibrant and well depicted. I loved the world building more in this book than The Beholder. Bright’s writing was, overall, charming and rich, filled with dazzling storytelling and relatable characters.

It was sad to see this story come to an end, but everything wraps up wonderfully. The ending is beyond perfect and just what I was hoping for for Selah and her friends. I’m a fan of Bright’s storytelling and writing and I cannot wait to see where her next story takes us.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Pre-Order Campaign

pre-order campaign BOUNDLESS

The author is giving away two BOUNDLESS-themed cross-stitches, both pictured above.

Giveaway ends June 24th 2020.

Original Post

Rules

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#BeBoundless Campaign

The author is giving away a fairytale-themed necklace to one person who photoshops THE BOUNDLESS’s cover into a photo of themselves on an adventure.

Giveaway ends June 8th 2020.

Original post with information

Rules

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Tour Schedule

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

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

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Book Title: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)

Author: Roseanne A. Brown

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: June 2nd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

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Author Information

author (21)

Roseanne “Rosie” A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild jungles of central Maryland as a child. Writing was her first love, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to use the power of writing—creative and otherwise—to connect the different cultures she called home. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her journalistic work has been featured by Voice of America among other outlets.

On the publishing side of things, she has worked as an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. Rosie was a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee and 2018 Pitch Wars mentor. Never content to stay in any one place for too long, Rosie currently teaches in Japan, where in her free time she can usually be found exploring the local mountains, explaining memes to her students, or thinking about Star Wars.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Review

“To aid even one person is to save an entire world.”

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin deserves all the praise and so much more. It’s a wild ride that had me hooked from page one. This is a book overflowing with beautiful world building and characterization, shocking discoveries and tender moments. It’s an intriguing story and I loved every part of this book.

This enticing story is one of those stories that stays with you long after you’ve read it. I was loving every part of the plot, and loved the competition and life and death aspect of the story: it made for an interesting turn of events with the two main characters. The plot was complex and always thickening, and filled to the brim with twists and turns. ASOWAR’s plot was everything I look for in a young adult fantasy novel and more.

“The past devours those naive enough to forget it.”

And the world building. Holy crap, what a lush and deliciously captivating world Brown has created. It’s steeped in West African Folklore and I was beyond mesmerized by how  intertwined everything was. Brown has a way with bringing a world (and a story) to life. Her writing intricately describes this exquisite world and I was blown away by her skills. This was a world filled with luxuries, but also stricken with grief and poverty. Brown describes the hardships, the good and the bad, so well that I could feel some of the pain from the commoners and both the main characters. Her writing brings to the genre a new voice, one that needs to be heard and one that is powerful.

“There are moments in life words were never meant to reach. Moments of immeasurable joy and unspeakable loss, birth and death and all the strange twists and turns in between.”

I was all here for the characters (and, of course, the world building). Princess Karina is wickedly smart and someone I would not want to cross. Same goes for Malik. Both of these characters have something at stake and both will do whatever it takes. But between the two, I was loving Karina’s character growth. She grows into the person she’s always wanted to be; she starts to realize her strengths and the power she has in her voice and it was absolutely beautiful. But Malik was also struggling, especially with his anxiety. Seeing everything he also overcomes was amazing, and seeing these two characters grow together was breathtaking.

Trust me when I say this is a strong fantasy debut; it absolutely had me sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is by far one of my favorite reads of 2020. I really wish I had the sequel because I already miss these characters and this world deeply. If you’re looking for a fantasy debut brimming with enchanting characters, strong world building, and a dazzling story with surprising twists, then I highly recommend this book!

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Pre-Order Campaign

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A pre-order/order from any retailer or a request to your local library will get you:
* A bookmark!
* 2 character cards featuring Karina and Malik!
* A limited edition signed bookplate
* An exclusive digital fairy tale from the A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN world!

An order from indie bookstore Books With a Past will get you:
* A bookmark!
* 2 character cards featuring Karina and Malik!
* A limited edition signed bookplate
* An exclusive digital fairy tale from the A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN world!
* A handwritten note and personalization from the author!

Rules:
* You must submit proof of purchase/library request. Screenshots and photos of receipts are fine.
* Only orders and library requests dated through June 30, 2020 are eligible
* Only orders made through Books With a Past (https://bookswithapast.com/home/bookdetailsin/0062891499) will receive the note and personalization.
* All swag will be sent out on a rolling basis starting June 2nd
* Entrants under the age of 18 must obtain parent/guardian permission before entering.

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Tour Schedule

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TOUR BANNER (14)

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Giveaway

Prize: Win an ASOWAR bookplate, bookmark, two trading cards, and access to the exclusive short story (INT)

Starts: June 2nd 2020

Ends: June 16th 2020

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

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

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Title: The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles #1)

Author: Kester Grant

Publisher: Knopf Children’s

Release Date: June 2nd 2020

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

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Author Information

author (20)

Kester Grant is a British-Mauritian writer of color. She was born in London, grew up between the UK, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the tropical island paradise of Mauritius.  As a wanton nomad she and her husband are unsure which country they currently reside in but they can generally be found surrounded by their fiendish pack of cats and dogs.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest

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Review

At first, it seemed like a weird combination to say this book is like Les Misérables meets Six of Crows. But surprisingly, it works really well. This was such a fun, adventurous, and fast-paced young adult fantasy novel by a new and promising author. The Court of Miracles is a beautifully written and empowering story that is a perfect blend of history and fantasy.

“You must make your enemies your allies. And if you can’t do that, then destroy them.”

The characters are so well developed and easily relatable. Nina is such a strong and wickedly kickbutt heroine. I loved how she was portrayed and how her bond with her sisters was the most important thing to her. Her relationship with her sister, Ettie, was moving and so realistic. She would do absolutely anything for her younger sister, and that says a lot about the type of character she is in this brutal world. Nina’s relationships with Ettie and her friends are constantly tested, so it goes to show just how strong she really is.

But the story isn’t just about Nina’s bond with her younger sister. It’s also filled with shocking betrayals. Nina thought she knew who she could trust but she quickly realizes that she can trust no one but herself in her cruel world.

“To be a girl in this city is to be weak. It is to call evil things down upon you. And the City is not kind to weak things.”

I was obsessed with the world building. It’s enchanting, a charmingly vibrant world that’s filled with just as much darkness as there is light. The magic aspect fits so well into this world; I enjoyed how the magic was separated into factions and how it molded into the law of the world. Just every aspect of this world and its contenders (because in a way, this world is either be the hunter or be hunted) is hauntingly beautiful. The world building was everything I hoped for and more.

“Sometimes we must pay a terrible price to protect the things we love.”

The story itself is filled with breathtaking and riveting moments, moments that I was remembering days after reading this story. Grant’s writing is superb and truly grasps the reader’s attention. She’s created a story filled to the brim with betrayal and surprising twists. The Court of Miracles is a wholly new and fascinating world steaming with historical flavors, and Grant does a phenomenal job combining two different genres. She brings to the table a strong and compelling story, one that I really hope many young adult fantasy readers choose to read.

Overall, I was blown away by this fantasy debut and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us next. The Court of Miracles is filled with adventure, shocking deception, strong relationships, sisterly bond, and so much more. I highly recommend this fantasy story to all readers!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers on this tour!

The Court of Miracles Banner

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of THE COURT OF MIRACLES by Kester Grant (US Only)

Starts: June 2nd 2020

Ends: June 16th 2020

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

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* The Bone Thief by Breeana Shields

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Title: The Bone Thief (The Bone Charmer #2)

Author: Breeana Shields

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Release Date: May 26th 2020

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

“I was absolutely swept away by the world of The Bone Charmer.” – Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

 

A deft exploration of the weight of grief and cost of revenge, Breeana Shields’s Bone Charmer duology reaches its spine-tingling conclusion in this high-octane fantasy-thriller.

Saskia returns to Ivory Hall to train in bone magic, determined to stop Latham from gaining the power of all three Sights—past, present, and future. But danger lurks within the fortress’s marrow. Trials are underway for the apprentices, and the tasks feel specifically engineered to torment Saskia, which is exactly what Latham wants.

As she grows increasingly more suspicious, her thirst for revenge becomes all-consuming. Together with the friends she can trust and the boy she loved in another lifetime, Saskia traces clues from Latham’s past to determine what he’ll do next. Their search leads them across Kastelia and brings them to a workshop housing a vast collection of horrors, including the bones Latham stole from Gran, and the knowledge that the future isn’t all that’s in jeopardy—but the past as well.

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Author Information

author (18)

Breeana Shields is an author of fantasy novels for teens including The Bone Charmer, The Bone Thief, Poison’s Kiss, and Poison’s Cage.

When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and playing board games with her extremely competitive family. She lives near Washington D.C. with her husband, her three children, and two adorable, but spoiled dogs.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

This is a review of book two in The Bone Charmer duology. To read my review of the first book, click here

“I feel like a tree branch caught in the current—bobbing along on the swells of fate, powerless to change direction. Buy maybe it doesn’t have to be that way I need to take control. It’s time to become the river.”

At the end of The Bone Charmer, we saw Saskia’s two futures become one. Now, she returns to Ivory Hall to participate in The Bone Games, which is made to help test Saskia (but it turns out to seem like her own personal torture). She teams up with her friends and Bram, the boy she loves, to pass The Bone Games and defeat Lathan once and for all. But Saskia learns that it’s not just her future and her friends that are at stake – it’s also the past. As Latham works to gain the ability of all three Sights, Saskia works to stop him while also struggling with her grief and some of her past choices.

The Bone Thief is a brilliant sequel to The Bone Charmer, one filled with intense emotions and the struggle between what is right and what needs to be done. The characters really helped to enhance these emotions swirling throughout the book – some of the side characters even helped Saskia control said emotions. But the relationships Saskia builds with these characters were beautiful and just what she needed in this time of her life.

“I’ve tried to stem the tides of hatred that spills over my heart like poison…But in quiet moments—when I have too much time to think—my hart still feels dark with hate.”

Shields did an amazing job of portraying Saskia’s revenge. She wants revenge against Latham for everything he has done to her and her family, and she lets that revenge (and her grief) overpower everything else. She’s devastated at the past and present choices she has had to make. I could feel the emotions Saskia was fighting – her romantic feelings for Bram, her appetite for revenge, and her grief for losing her mother. Her emotions are so powerful and raw in this story, and it’s really what made her character growth so exceptional in this story.

The struggles Saskia faces with the second path she was on in the first book are still relevant in this book. Even though that path no longer exists, the feelings she experienced do, such as her love for Bram, who is a different Bram in her current path. It was interesting to see Saskia’s path grow from the first book and watch her make certain decisions that could potentially alter her past and future. She was, ultimately, a brilliant well-developed character.

“And so I focus on my anger instead. I let it fester and ooze. My father once said that anger was like paint on a wall—it might be the first thing you noticed, but it’s always just covering up something else. You can’t actually building anything from it.

But I think he’s wrong.

I think if the anger is big enough, maybe it could build a whole world. A different future.”

One of my favorite parts of this duology was the bone magic system. Saskia explores her bone magic further in The Bone Thief during The Bone Games and on her journey to take revenge. I love how Shields further explored the three Sights. She weaved this enchanting magic system into a beautiful and captivating world.

And the world building. I thought the world building in The Bone Charmer was phenomenal, but Shields developed the world further in The Bone Thief in such a brilliant way. The world is so well depicted and beautifully described. Shields brought this dazzling unique world to life; I felt like I was walking the halls with Saskia in Ivory Hall or assisting her on her many dangerous adventures. It was, overall, an enchanting world.

The Bone Thief had one of my favorite endings to a duology. It’s smart and equally fitting, and wonderfully ties up the duology. It’s a story about revenge, grief, love, and finding your true path in life. It’s a well-developed fantasy duology that I believe many fantasy readers will love.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out all the amazing bloggers on this tour!

The Bone Thief Banner

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of THE BONE THIEF by Breeana Shields (US/CAN Only)

Starts: May 20th 2020

Ends: June 3rd 2020

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

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*Book Review* Storybound by Emily McKay

Storybound

Title: Storybound

Author: Emily McKay

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary: 

I’ve lived in nine towns in the past six years. I know my mom feels bad about it, but I don’t mind. Who wants friends anyway?

All I’ve ever needed are my books. I’ve lived a thousand lives, had adventures I couldn’t even begin to imagine. To me, the places I discovered between the pages of a book are as real as the world I live in.

When I walk into my favorite bookstore, the last thing I expect is to walk out onto the pages of the kingdom of Mithres…or that the book boyfriend I’ve loved more than life, Kane the Traveler, really exists. And he has no clue the fate that awaits him in book five…

Now that I know the truth, I have a chance to save Kane. But if I change the story, will I ever find my way home?

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Purchase Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

Book Depository

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Author Information

EmilyMcKay

I write the kinds of books I want to read. Fast-paced books with lots of world-building, snarky heroines, and swoony heroes. I love story, pop culture, gossip, and baked goods. I’m a modern-day hippy and certified LEGO nerd.

I live in the Austin, Texas hill country, with my geeky husband and two extremely geeky kids. We have dogs, chickens, cats, and more LEGOs than should be allowed by law. Oh, and I stress bake. So if my characters talk about food a lot, that’s why.

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My Review

I’ve honestly been waiting for a fun and adventurous YA book that involves travel into a fictional world. And Storybound excels at bringing this to life. It’s full of character growth, marvelous world building, and exceptional writing. I was so invested in this story and the characters that it was sad to read the last line of this book (only because I had to say goodbye to this world).

The execution of this story idea is done splendidly, and McKay’s writing is a breath of fresh air. Her narration of this story is exquisite and really provides a strong voice. Her writing is also lush and full of beautiful prose. McKay does an absolute wonderful job integrating the real world with the story world, and that integration helped to make this book shine.

The world building is just phenomenal. And not just the book world, but the real world is just as mesmerizing. But really, let’s talk about the book world. It’s fantastical and magnificently described. The whole world was so easy to picture in my mind. I could picture everything in vivid colors. The world building was so well done that days after finishing the book, I can still easily picture the landscape. It’s such a unique and rich world.

Now for the main characters. Edena (Edie) is snarky and brave and a strong protagonist. She’s not afraid to showcase her emotions or to put other people first. So, when she walks out onto the pages of her favorite series, she knows what she needs to do: save her favorite hero (who she happens to be in love with) from his untimely and unfortunate end. And then, of course, she needs to figure out how she can get home, but this becomes hard to do when she starts to create friendships with the characters she’s only known through her favorite story. Edie is definitely a protagonist that many readers will be able to relate to, and not just because she’s an avid reader.

Then there’s Kane. Kane is, without a doubt, worthy of all the swoons. Well, after he forgoes his rudeness to our fan-fave protagonist, Edie. Though his rudeness is understandable (you’ll have to read the book to find out why!). But his characterization and growth was fun to see: he’s living in a world full of hardships and at every turn, he has to determine his next move without trying to get killed.

Overall, this book was a fun and exciting read and I definitely recommend this story to those who need a new adventure fantasy read!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

nikole

Interview with KayLynn Flanders, Author of Shielded

Shielded

Title: Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Release Date: July 21, 2020

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

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Preorder Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

Book Depository

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Author Information

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KayLynn Flanders is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a degree in English Language and a minor in editing. When she’s not writing, she spends her time playing volleyball, reading, and traveling. She lives in Utah with her family, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Her debut novel is Shielded. To learn more about KayLynn, go to kaylynnflanders.com or follow @kaylynnflanders on Twitter and Instagram.

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My Interview with KayLynn Flanders, author of Shielded

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog for this wonderful interview, KayLynn! And for anyone who is interested in more information about Shielded, check out my ARC review!

Congratulations on your debut book coming out this summer! What was your inspiration for Shielded?

Thank you! Shielded actually started from a dream. I won’t share spoilers, but there were people in trouble, and I woke up before they were safe. My heart was pounding so hard at the cliffhanger, and I needed to find a way for them to be safe so I could go back to sleep. So I came up with a solution, but the characters stayed with me. I let that idea grow over a few months, asking questions about who the characters were, why they were in danger, and how they got out of danger. The dream was wildly different than what my book ended up being (there were neon yellow tanks in the dream??), but the core emotion of that scene is one of the key parts of the book that hasn’t changed over the drafts.

Describe your book in 6 words or less.

Making choices. Finding your place.

What can you tell readers about your main character, Princess Jennesara?

She’s been keeping a secret for a long time from everyone but her brother. She doesn’t trust easily, but she’s got a strong sense of duty—for her brother (who’s the heir to the throne), and for her kingdom. That sense of duty wars with her desire for independence, and we get to see her struggle with that.

I love how unique the magic system is in How did the idea for that magic system come about?

Jenna’s magic was clear to me from the beginning, and I built the rest of the system around hers. I loved the idea of magic having consequences and opposites, of being almost a living thing on its own.

What was your favorite part of your writing process?

I love revising. I studied editing in college and have worked as a freelance editor for over ten years, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that I enjoy revising over drafting new words. Once the words are on the page, I love seeing them get better—communicating emotion and tying little plot pieces together. Shielded went through about twenty massive revisions!

What was the hardest part of your writing process?

Keeping the little subplot pieces tightly weaved throughout every chapter is hard for me. I forget things really fast (which can be good, but not always). I’m working on finding a way to keep track of the details so I don’t have to revise quite as much—unless everyone wants to wait three years for book two. 😀

If you could have Shielded adapted into anything (film, TV show, Broadway musical, dance, etc.), what would it be and why?

I would love to see the characters get to explore the world more in a TV series. Or, and this is a close second, I’d love an instrumental score to go along with it. Like a movie soundtrack, but for my book!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Keep at it! Being an author takes a lot of patience and work. It takes loving your book enough to re-write it twenty times, and enough drive to keep trying when the odds are stacked against you. Learn all you can about writing and about the publishing industry, and go for it.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about your book?

I wrote Shielded because the world we live in is dark and messy, and I wanted a book that was hopeful. I wanted a hero who confronts hard situations and makes the best of them. So if you’re looking for a fun escape from the stress of the world, I hope you enjoy this adventurous fantasy with magic and friendship and a dash of love.

nikole

*ARC Review* Shielded by KayLynn Flanders

Shielded

Title: Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Release Date: July 21, 2020

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

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Preorder Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

Book Depository

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Author Information

18515282

KayLynn Flanders is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a degree in English Language and a minor in editing. When she’s not writing, she spends her time playing volleyball, reading, and traveling. She lives in Utah with her family, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Her debut novel is Shielded. To learn more about KayLynn, go to kaylynnflanders.com or follow @kaylynnflanders on Twitter and Instagram.

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My Review

Shielded is a fast-paced, adventurous read with strong characterization and beautiful world building. This was a book I could not put down.

Shielded is one heck of a debut, and I say that in a really good way. I loved this story so much. The world is phenomenal, the magic is unique and interesting, and the characters and relationships are wonderfully constructed. Plus, I loved the epic journey Jennesara went on to get to her destination. The author’s writing is breathtaking and a breath of fresh air. I have nothing but absolute praise for this fantasy debut.

The character development for the main character is so well-crafted. Jennesara is easily a likeable and relatable character. She’s strong and puts her family and kingdom above anything else. Though she originally refuses the arranged marriage to a neighboring kingdom, she ends up accepting it when her father explains how it will help save her kingdom. She’s brave and skilled in sword fighting (I loved the intense fighting scenes), which comes in handy, especially as she finds herself in constant danger with unimaginable magical beings. She’s also been hiding a dangerous secret for almost her whole life, a secret that could turn the tides of the war, but also puts her and those she loves in the front lines of danger, which she is not willing to risk. Jennesara is easily the embodiment of what a true heroine should be.

Jennesara isn’t the only character I loved. To be honest, I loved almost every character, even the villains (yes, you heard that, there’s multiple villains and it’s amazing and I’m here for it). I loved how the author included some chapters from the villains’ point of view; it allows the reader to see their backstory and understand why they’re the villains in this story. It also allowed the reader to see just how cruel each villain could be. Besides the villains, the side characters were amazing additions. I especially loved Chiara and Mari, sisters who would do anything to protect one another and Jennesara. It was beautiful watching all the relationships form.

And the romance is so swoon-worthy. It’s kind of (but not entirely) an insta-love story, but it works so well. It felt real and the attraction between Jennesara and her love interest was undeniable. I looked forward to every scene between the two characters; I could not get enough of them (and I’m beyond excited for more of them in book two!). It’s the romance like this in fantasy books that I look for – indisputable attraction, an instant yet fierce connection, and one worth protecting.

The world building absolutely blew me away. The world is magnificently crafted and beautifully described. Though this book was action-packed, the author took her time introducing the readers into new parts of the world, which I really liked. It wasn’t overwhelming at all and really molded well with the story. And the magic system was so unique. Not everyone is born with magic, mainly those part of the royal line and usually the first born. But what hooked me with the magic is how different it was from most magic systems. I loved the history of the magic and how, by the end of the book, it all came together. This book truly was a sensational read in every way.

Overall, Shielded is easily a favorite read of mine for 2020. It’s a strong and remarkable read, which left me feeling so much love for these characters and, of course, left me feeling in need of book two. If you are looking for an epic fantasy journey filled with intense action, believable characterization and strong relationship development, then definitely check out Shielded. 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

nikole

 

*Blog Tour + Review* What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

What I Like About You Cover Image

Title: What I Like About You

Author: Marissa Kanter

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Summary:

Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can…but in the real world, its more complicated. In this debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, Marisa Kanter hilariously and poignantly explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

Is it still a love triangle if there are only two people in it?

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

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Author Bio

Marisa Kanter Author Photo

Marisa Kanter has worked in publicity for major publishers and covered YA books for MTV. Currently, she works in sales, on the distribution side of the publishing industry. She can often be found searching for the best iced chai in NYC, or reading on the 3 train. What I Like About You is her first novel. Follow her at marisakanter.com

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My Review

What I Like About You is charming and witty, filled with family love and love for the bookish community. It’s heartfelt and deeply relatable in many aspects. It’s one of those contemporary books that will stay in your head and heart for days and remind readers how important the bookish community really is. What I Like About You is, at heart, a book dedicated to teen book bloggers. Marisa Kanter has really brought a wonderful debut to the YA contemporary world.

Halle is a fun and well written character that will no doubt relate to every reader in some way. She’s brave and loving and strong, but she’s also a teenager with real struggles. Halle, at first, appears to be a normal teenager: dealing with school and family issues, trying to find balance in her life, and getting ready to apply to colleges. She also has to handle her grief over the loss of a beloved family member, her idol. But it turns out, she also runs a successful book blog under the name of Kels. Her online presence is different from her real life, daily presence. Kels has online friends she’s never met but they’re real connections, they’re her real friends. Kels speaks her mind, she’s not afraid to be herself. Halle is quiet, struggling daily with her grief and depression. But then there’s her online best friend, Nash. Nash is charming and downright adorable. He’s technically Kels’s best friend, but he proves to be the anchor Halle needs in her real life.

Halle is grappling for steady ground; everything she’s ever loved is piling up and threatening to overflow all at once. She wants to maintain this balance between her real life and online life; she doesn’t want her online book community to know what her real name is and who she’s related to. She’s struggling with the online book community and her growing friendships in real life. Halle wants to be on a panel at Bookcon and she wants to get into her dream college. And all that just builds up until it eventually starts to collapse around her. All her struggles and fears are real and relatable and valid. She reminded me of myself at times and the fears I faced (and still do). Halle is, in some way, the epitome of some of the struggles and anxiety that teens go through.

Halle’s fear of losing Nash as her best friend is what stops her every time from telling him the truth. She knows he’s in love with Kels, so how exactly do you tell someone that the person they’re in love with has been in front of them for weeks? Her fear leads to an increase in her anxiety and she’s no longer just battling with her real life and online identities, she’s now battling with keeping her anger and sadness and depression hidden in front of her Gramps and Nash. Everything Halle feels and struggles with can relate to each reader in some way, even the heartfelt romance.

The romance is, honestly, cute and fluffy. It had me swooning at times (I’m a sucker for romance!) and clutching the book to my chest. I was rooting for Halle and Nash the whole time. But, of course, I knew there was going to be a climatic downfall, and when that downfall came, it was sad and hard but still so relatable. All the little nodes to the plot really tied this book together well.

What really sold this story for me (besides everything I mentioned above) is the realness of each character. Each character played a role in the story that helped Halle get through her struggles and anxiety. Each friendship felt real and genuine. Throughout this book, I was reminded of my friendship with my closest friends, which led to a constant smile on my face during this book (of course, Halle and Nash also contributed). Everything just felt so real about this book and that made for an excellent contemporary romance story.

Overall, I really enjoyed What I Like About You. It’s a cute and heartfelt story with memorable and relatable characters. It’s a love letter to the bookish community and because of that, because of these characters and what they represent, I’ll always support Marisa Kanter in her writing endeavors.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Blog Tour Schedule

Week 1
3/30/2020 Novel Novice
3/31/2020 Book Bratz
4/1/2020 The Novel Knight
4/2/2020 Book Princess Reviews
4/3/2020 eleven thirteen pm
Week 2
4/6/2020 Vicky Who Reads
4/7/2020 Pub Day (Marisa)
4/8/2020 Kayla Reads and Reviews
4/9/2020 The Heart of a Book Blogger
4/10/2020 Mary Had a Little Book Blog
Week 3
4/13/2020 Jen Ryland Reviews
4/14/2020 Love in Panels
4/15/2020 Forever and Everly
4/16/2020 I’m All Booked Up
4/17/2020 Awkwordly Emma
Week 4
4/20/2020 Rants & Raves of a Bibliophile
4/21/2020 Read By Tiffany
4/22/2020 A Court of Coffee and Books
4/23/2020 From the Library of Alexis
4/24/2020 Bookishly Jules
Week 5
4/27/2020 Lost in a Book
4/28/2020 Pages and Pugs
4/29/2020 Skye’s Scribblings
4/30/2020 Kait Plus Books
5/1/2020 We Live and Breathe Books

nikole