Cover reveal: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

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Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

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Expected publication: September 19th 2017

Entertainment Weekly Excerpt

Review: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

29405093The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Published August 16th 2016

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends – an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably – but only because it’s over.

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I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher and I was pretty excited about it. I’m on a quest to expand my reading horizons and I’ve really wanted to read more nonfiction.
I’ve never seen any of Amy Schumer’s stand up and I’m not that familiar with her movies. I actually don’t really know anything about her. But I thought The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo would probably be funny so I was excited to read it.
However, Amy’s brand of comedy and humor aren’t for me. There was a few things in this book that I thought was funny but most of it wasn’t. I’m not very sensitive to crude humor but there was some stuff that was a little much for me. I felt awkward just reading some of the jokes in this book. There was a few thousand (not even an exaggeration) too many vagina jokes for me. A lot of the jokes felt repetitive.
Amy was really judgmental as well and it really brought this book down for me.
I do appreciate how hard Amy works and how she’s made her mark as a comedian. It’s not easy being a female comedian but Amy Schumer has worked her butt off to get where she is. I really admire her for that.

Overall, this book didn’t have the humor I was expecting and it was just not for me. Comedy is so subjective so my opinion doesn’t have a lot of weight in the quality of the humor. If you’re a fan of Amy and you like her stand up and whatnot, you’ll probably enjoy this book. But if you’re not familiar with her comedy like I was, I’d recommend looking into a few Youtube videos of her stand up or something before buying this book.

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Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

27272506The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Published April 5th 2016

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

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I received a copy of The Glittering Court in a subscription box last year and it took me forever to pick it up. I heard a few negative things about it but I also heard a couple positive things so I didn’t really have any expectations. Interestingly enough, none of the few negative things things I heard could have prepared me for The Glittering Court.

I just didn’t like anything about this book. I tried to find something, anything at all, but I didn’t like anything.
It lacks any kind of depth or world building that should come with a fantasy novel and the romance is over the top and kind of cringey. To be completely honest, most of the book was cringey. It was like a draft instead of the finished story.
The thing I disliked most about The Glittering Court is how the religious persecution is never dealt with. There was some other problematic issues in this book that weren’t dealt with but for me personally, the religious persecution was the last straw and was very personal to me.

I didn’t understand the world because it wasn’t built well or explained. There was so many plot holes and nothing made sense. I don’t think the author thought anything through before writing it down. The whole book felt lazy. It felt like there was no thought or effort put into this book.

I didn’t like the characters, especially the main character. Adelaide was not only boring beyond belief, she was also extremely stupid and annoying. None of her dialogue sounded natural and half the time I was wondering what the heck she was even saying.

And the whole book is sexist so there’s that. It pretty much teaches girls that we’re good for nothing but looking pretty and pleasing a man. And all men are stupid. That was what The Glittering Court teaches young readers.

“Mister Thorn has made it all sound very lovely,” she replied. “But I kind of feel like some trinket being bought and sold.”
“Women always feel that way,” I said.

I’ve seen a few other reviews that contain this quote but it’s one of the worth things in the book so I’d like to include it in my review as well. I wanted to include more quotes to show how sexist and terrible this book is but there’s so many quotes that showcase the sexism that my review would be more quotes than my thoughts.

Overall, this book was sexist, cringey, and problematic. I didn’t like it at all and I won’t be reading the sequel. I think there’s hundreds of other YA books out there that will empower readers instead of making young girls feel like they’re only good for pleasing a man and being sold to men like property. I don’t recommend this book at all but if you’ve read The Glittering Court and liked it, that’s totally fine. I’m not here to shame you. You’re free to read and enjoy whatever book you want.

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Recommendation Friday

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This week I’ll be recommending a newfound favorite of mine.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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Making Faces has all the feels. I laughed, I cried, I had every emotion possible. This book has left a permanent imprint on my life.

The characters in this book are complex, well written, and each of them will teach you something.
Fern has bright red hair and was never highly favored in high school. She wasn’t outwardly pretty and she didn’t have a lot of friends besides her cousin, Bailey. Fern had some amazing character development even though it was subtle. She was an amazing character from the moment she was introduced so for her to have character development and become even better, I thought that was outstanding. Fern loves to read and write romance and there one poem she wrote towards the beginning of the book that has really stuck with me. It resonated with me very deeply and I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Bailey is Fern’s cousin and best friend. He has muscle dystrophy, which is a disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle. For most of the book, Bailey is in a wheelchair and Fern cares of him and helps him a lot. There’s some flash back chapters so we get the chance to see how Bailey’s disease has affected his life and how it’s changed him as a person. Bailey is a one of a kind character. He’s extremely witty, caring, and is fully aware of his future. His voice in this novel is unique and I promise you’ll love him if you read this book.
Ambrose is a star athlete and he’s friends with Fern and Bailey. Ambrose doesn’t take a lot of notice of Fern and he’s caught up in his wrestling. His mother is near the towers during 9/11 and it’s not long after that he and his four best friends decide to enlist in the military. As the synopsis says, “five young men go off to war, and only one comes back”. Making Faces deals a lot with Ambrose’s PTSD, guilt, and pain. I felt like representation of Ambrose’s condition was very well done and much needed.

This book is nothing short of perfect. It’s complex, has outstanding characters, and diverse. Amy Harmon is such an incredible writer and even though I’ve only read two of her books, I’m so glad I have discovered her books. Both books that I’ve read have made a massive impact on my life and I’ll never forget them. Making Faces is a book that comes along once in a life time and I’m so glad I read it. I highly recommend reading Making Faces.

 

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday #5

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday a weekly meme created and hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, the goal is to come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. 

Book I have read

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The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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

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

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

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I’m blown away by how amazing this book is. I loved everything about this book. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a book and more.
From the first few pages of The Star-Touched Queen, I fell in love. The writing is so beautiful and poetic. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book with more beautiful writing.
The characters are so well written and the dialogue between Maya and Amar had me feeling all the feels. I could go on and on about Amar and how amazing he is. Seriously. He has a way with words.
I want to reread every scene with Maya and Amar every day. I want to make wallpaper out of their dialogue so I can look at it all the time. I just love them so much.  I read the whole book in one day and I’m so glad I have the sequel. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I kind of want to buy an ebook of it so I can take it with me everywhere and reread my favorite scenes.
I don’t often rave about a book to the point I’m annoying everyone around me but I can’t stop talking about The Star-Touched Queen. I highly recommend it.

Book on my TBR

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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

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I’ve heard so many great things about The Girl from Everywhere and I bought a Kindle copy just a few days ago so I’m hoping to start it within a week or two. I believe it has pirate ships, a historical Hawaii setting, and time travel which sounds like an amazing combination.

Book releasing soon

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Expected publication: June 27th 2017

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I’ve only seen 4 and 5 star reviews for this book and I’m very curious to read it for myself. I’m always on the hunt for historical fiction because I feel like I don’t read the genre very much, even though I really enjoy it. I’ve heard that it’s really funny and has a lot of diversity so I’m really excited to read it.

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Review: Ida by Alison Evans

30720860Ida by Alison Evans

Published January 1st 2017

How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?

Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.

One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.

How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?

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I have some mixed feeling about this book.
The synopsis sounded amazing but the actual plot is kind of confusing. I really paid close attention, thinking I wasn’t reading it well enough, but it was just confusing to me. I don’t know if it’s just me or others have had the same problem but I just couldn’t follow along with the plot.
I loved the diversity of the characters. There was a lot of different aspects of diversity in this book and I thought that was pretty great. However, I couldn’t connect with the characters because the writing style is so plain and even a little emotionless at times.
I really wanted to love this book because it’s so diverse but in the end, it just wasn’t as good as it could have been. If you’re looking for a super diverse read, I’d say take a chance and pick Ida up. But this isn’t the highest quality of writing I’ve read.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

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Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Expected publication: April 11th 2017

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Review

I might be a little biased because I love the Hamilton musical so much but I really enjoyed Alex and Eliza. Musical aside, I thought this was such a fun historical fiction and you don’t have to be a fan of the Hamilton musical to enjoy this book.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Alex and Eliza but this book was actually way better than I thought it would be. I haven’t been a big fan of the Melissa de la Cruz books I’ve read in the past but this was the best book I’ve read from her by far.
I wasn’t totally sold on the love story aspect of the story. It was fine but I was actually way more interested in pretty much everything else that was going on. I know it’s supposed to be focused on the love story aspect but I think it could have been more engaging.
There was a few places that I found a bit slow and boring but I think that goes back to the fact I wasn’t sold on the love story.
I did love the overall concept and the characters. I really loved seeing different side of the characters compared to the musical. This book is different from the musical and is just inspired by it so if you go into this book thinking they’re one in the same, like I did, you might be disappointed.

Overall, I really enjoyed Alex and Eliza. I think it could have better written but considering I’m usually not a fan of the author’s writing style, it was 10x better than I expected. This is one of the better historical fiction books that I’ve read and I think it’s worth reading.

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 27, 2017 and 12:00 AM on April 24, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about April 26, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Pre-order Alex & Eliza to get a custom Alex & Eliza enamel pin and a bookplate signed by Melissa de la Cruz!

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About Melissa de la Cruz

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Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels. Her Blue Bloods series has sold over three million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network.

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Review: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

31305531The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

Expected publication: April 4th 2017

Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?

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This was such a strange book. Mostly in a good way but it was also in a not so good way. I thought the
synopsis was incredibly interesting and I really, really wanted to know what happened and I lowkey needed to know how Quinn became pregnant. I got a bit of a Unbecoming of Mara Dyer vibe from this book so if you loved Mara Dyer, you might love The Inconceivable Life of Quinn as well.
I’m not a huge fan of magical realism. I didn’t expect magical realism in this book so that was kind of out of left field for me. It came a little late in the book for me to adjust to it and it just didn’t hit me right.
I did really love the writing style. I thought it was really well written so the writing was my favorite thing about The Inconceivable Life of Quinn.
Overall, the writing was great but the magical realism just wasn’t for me. I think this is a really cool book and a lot of people, especially fans of Mara Dyer, will really enjoy it.

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Taylor’s March Wrap Up | 2017

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Even though I didn’t read as many books in March as I wished I did, I read some really good books, three of which became all time favorites.

16 books

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick – 4/5 stars

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – 3.5/5 stars

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – 3/5 stars

The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman – 2/5 stars

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – 4/5 stars

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 5/5 stars

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – 5/5 stars

Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan – 1/5 stars

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – 3/5 stars

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan – 4/5 stars

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott – 2/5 stars

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller – 3/5 stars

Making Faces by Amy Harmon – 5/5 stars

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs – 3/5 stars

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – 5/5 stars

Ida by Alison Evans – 3/5 stars

Favorites of March

 

 

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Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

25203675The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Published April 26th 2016

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

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

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

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Where has this book been all my life?

I’ve had this book for about three months and I was always meaning to read it but it just got put off for one reason or another. The publisher sent me an early copy of the sequel, A Crown of Wishes, so I took that as a sign that I should finally read The Star-Touched Queen. I’m so glad I picked this book up.
I’m blown away by how amazing this book is. I loved everything about this book. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a book and more.
From the first few pages of The Star-Touched Queen, I fell in love. The writing is so beautiful and poetic. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book with more beautiful writing.
The characters are so well written and the dialogue between Maya and Amar had me feeling all the feels. I could go on and on about Amar and how amazing he is. Seriously. He has a way with words.
I want to reread every scene with Maya and Amar every day. I want to make wallpaper out of their dialogue so I can look at it all the time. I just love them so much.

Overall, there’s nothing about The Star-Touched Queen that I didn’t love. I read the whole book in one day and I’m so glad I have the sequel. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I kind of want to buy an ebook of it so I can take it with me everywhere and reread my favorite scenes.
I don’t often rave about a book to the point I’m annoying everyone around me but I can’t stop talking about The Star-Touched Queen. I highly recommend it.

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