A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

ATorchAgainstTheNight_CV 4.14 Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf – the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison – to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene – Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own – one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape… and kill them both.

-Goodreads

Hey everyone!!

So I got the arc of A Torch Against the Night back in May at Bookcon, and didn’t have the chance to pick it up until a week ago. (I know, everyone thinks I’m crazy for not devouring it right away). Once I got into it, though, it was incredible!!!

There were a lot of things that baffled me when I was reading the book. Let me warn you that you are going to be mind blown (and a little sad but then again happy) about a MAJOR plot twist in one of the characters.

Aside from the characters, the plot was incredibly interesting as they were traveling on the road. We definitely get to see a new side to some of our old friends, so you can definitely look forward to that.

I will not spoil, but when you pick up this book and read it in one sitting on Tuesday, I warn you that there will be a few tears shed.

I was fortunate enough to receive the book early, so I thought that I would gift you all with this review two days before the release:).

Things I really enjoyed:

  1. Everything made a lot of sense when I was reading it because all of the details were laid out. Sabaa Tahir does a wonderful job with her descriptors, so I was grateful for that.
  2. The chemistry between all of the characters was magnificent. Every emotion that a character felt was displayed beautifully, so it was really refreshing and emotional to read. (I love a good laugh/cry in a book)
  3. The kids went on the road for some travel, which is always fun to read. The entire gang that finds themselves together is quite the bunch, so it was funny in a few instances but dramatic in most. (Not that that isn’t a good thing:))
  4. Getting to hear more from Elias was radical. I always loved his demeanor and character as I read the first novel, so reading more from his perspective was lovely.

The only thing I didn’t like was…

  1. Having Helene’s point of view in the book. I never really liked Helene because of the role she had in Elias’ life, so I am pretty biased, but I understood that her side of the story was integral in piecing together all of the parts.

If you have been waiting on your knees for this book to come out, I hope I brought you some sort of happiness during this review. I would recommend this to anyone who liked the first story, and maybe even to those who didn’t because the second book in this series may have topped the first in my book…

Happy Reading!

XO, N

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The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choksi

Unknown.jpegFate 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. 

Goodreads

Hi everyone, happy Wednesday!

I am still sick, and with sickness comes tea, tissues, and READING! I have spent the past couple of days reading some WONDERFUL books. One of the few books I have had the pleasure to read is The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choksi. I really enjoyed this book; I find myself giving this book 80% praise and 20% displeasure…

Therefore, I would like to begin with why I really loved reading this story.

From the first sentence of this story to its last, the writing was incredibly vivid. Each and every word was placed perfectly, and every sentence flowed into the next. I have never read a book with such beautiful writing. Roshani Choksi has a way with words, no doubt.

The world building within this novel is unheard of. As Maya finds her way through Bharata, Akaran, and the Otherworld, I saw everything she saw. I felt as though I was with Maya. As I said before, Roshani is an incredibly descriptive writer, and this quality most certainly enhanced Maya’s story.

In the story, Maya is forced to chose the fait of many people’s future. She is given a vision of two possible outcomes, and Maya has to chose which is better for the society as a whole. I enjoyed seeing Maya’s trust in Amar (Maya’s husband), transform into confidence within herself.

I found myself intrigued by the relationship between Amar and Maya. Maya was immediately fascinated by Amar the moment she set her eyes on him. On the other hand, Amar looks at Maya as if he has loved her for his entire life. The two characters where so captivated by one another, and I loved following their journey together.

Gauri, Maya’s half-sister, and Maya, share a strong bond. Gauri seems to be the only thing that holds Maya back from leaving Bharata. I always love a good “big sister, little sister” relationship within a story. These two reminded me so much of Katniss and Prim (from The Hunger Games).

Roshani Choksi was able to create not only one, but two villains within The Star-Touched Queen. At the beginning of the story, I thought Mother Dhina would be the only villain within the story; however, another character finds their way into becoming an antagonist.

The title The Star-Touched Queen ties in perfectly with the book. I absolutely adore authors who wrap the title within the story!!

As you have seen, I have a lot to say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but with most books come critiques, so here are mine:

For the first half of the book, their seemed to be a lack of plot. Wherever Maya went, she spent most of her time meandering hallways, investigating unseen terrain. I just wish more went on within the first half of the book.

Throughout the book, Maya comes in and out of the future. I found myself slightly confused because of this. I had to go back and reread paragraphs various times in order to clarify what happened.

My last complaint: Maya seems to believe everything people tell her. When Amar asked her to leave Bharata after just meeting him, she completely trusts him. Maya also finds herself trusting Nritti without any questions asked. This slightly bothered me.

I hope you all can take my critiques with a grain of salt, as I very much enjoyed this book. I can really tell if I enjoyed a book by my anticipation for the sequel to come out. With this story, I cannot wait for book #2, which is taken from the perspective of Guari. I am really anxious, yet excited, to get to know Guari on a more personal level.

If you are in a fantasy mood, you need to run to your local library/bookstore to pick up a copy of The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Choksi. This book has become one of my favorite fantasy stories of the year.

I would love to hear what you all have to think of this book. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews; therefore, I am open to all criticism.

Thanks for listening,

Sincerely, K

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

22297294Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

-Goodreads

Hey everyone!

I finished Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, and I can’t even put my thoughts into words. It was THAT good.

The main protagonist, Maguire, must come to terms with her loss from preceding years of her life, which sounds like the typical YA contemporary novel, but was very different. Stokes has Maguire overcome her fear of hurting the people she loves through out the the entire book.

Things that I liked about it:

This sounds silly, but sometimes I don’t pick up a book if the main character has a name that I don’t like. When I read the inside cover and saw that her name was Maguire, I was hooked. It’s a name that isn’t often used in the book community.

In addition to the names of many characters, I LOVED the way the book was written. In some chapters, she was working with her psychiatrist, and it melded really well into the book. I usually complain that a book is really choppy, but this one wasn’t because it was so clear and organized.

I also thought it was very realistic. Aside from the fact that Maguire had been in a ton of accidents and came out unscathed every time, Maguire deals with her emotions so naturally, and I thought that the slight touch on mental illness was done well.

Lastly, the significant other in Maguire’s life, Jordy, goes to the psychiatrist as well, and Maguire wonders why for a while, because he is such a normal guy (besides the fact that he is a tennis star!) I thought it was cool that Stokes decided to point out that not all people that go to a psychiatrist are mentally ruined. That message is really important, and I’m happy she brought it to the book.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that it ended!!!

If you want a sporty contemporary, grab this one ASAP… It is the best YA I have read in a while. 🙂

XO, N

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

41qap6ztVoL.jpg“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Goodreads

Hey everyone, happy Monday!

It has been a while since I’ve written a review to you all; this past week has been really crazy for me (the start of my cross country season and back to school shenanigans).

I was able to read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson two weeks ago, and I am just now being able to gush on my love of such a WONDERFUL book.

This book has made it to the top of my all time favorites. This may be the first time I have felt so connected to a novel. I felt as though I was standing next to Melinda as she conquered things no other teen should face.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing is crisp, precise, yet complex. Melinda spoke so few words, and behind every word she spoke there lie 1000 more.

I just want to give Melinda a big hug. She is such a smart girl, and I constantly found myself wanting to throw this book at the wall because of how Melinda is completely unaware of her intelligence and importance in the world.

Melinda is able to find friendship with her lab partner, David Petrakis. Melinda and David were the perfect pair, and I am really glad that Melinda had David from biology to keep her going through life.

Walking into this book, I thought Laurie would grasp Melinda’s struggles following being sexually assaulted. Which she did; however, Laurie also is able to teach the reader about mental illness (depression), social isolation, and problems at home with her parents. I was able to learn so much from this book, and I cannot thank Laurie enough for this.

This book is 198 pages. In 198 pages, Laurie Halse Anderson is able to complete the impossible: create such a wonderfully perfect story.

Melinda is very funny. The way she describes high school is completely authentic, yet she explains her experiences with such humor.

Oh my goodness, I could keep going on and on about this story forever. But I am not going to do that, because I think you all understand how much I LOVE THIS BOOK.

CAUTION: TISSUES ARE NEEDED TO READ THIS BOOK.

But trust me, it is worth it! I have no complaints about this book. Not one complaint.

I hope you all listen to me and RUN to your local bookstore to pick up this wonderful novel. You won’t regret it!

Thanks for listening (more reviews to come soon!).

Sincerely, K

 

 

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

IMG_1364Big 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…

-Goodreads

27272506Hey everyone!

It’s been nine days since I last posted, I think?? I’m sorry about that. I’ve been so busy with the Bookstagram launch!!! (Check it out on instagram @onebooktwogirls …)

I still did read a lot, though! The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead was one of my conquests. I really enjoyed the book, even though there were some mixed reviews. I’ve never read any of Richelle’s work, so I guess I should try out her other work to see if that is why people were disappointed with this one.

Recently, I have been reading a lot of fantasy, and this book was a great choice out of my tbr pile to add to the list. The book spanned over about two years, plus or minus a few months, and I thought it was cool that so much time had passed since she left her home to find a new one.

I am just going to jump right into all of the things I liked about it!

I connected with the main character, Adelaide, a lot, which was awesome, and I felt like she was a really determined, wise, and convincing young woman. I appreciated that she stood up for herself from the beginning of her story on, and adored that she stayed true to herself until the end of the book. There were a few scenes where I was like, WHAT ARE YOU DOING???!!!!, but then I got over it and moved on to the next obstacle. (There were a lot of them!!!)

The Glittering Court reminded me so much of The Selection series, which was my favorite series through out middle school and the start to high school, so I was excited to feel the same way with Adelaide as I had with America back in the day…

Lastly, I was surprised that I didn’t see the plot twist coming, which was INCREDIBLE because I haven’t had that happen to me in a long time.

A few things bugged me, but didn’t stop me from giving this book a hug after I devoured it in two sittings.

The book had two big plot points, and I felt like it would have been better if it was split into two separate books. I understand that Richelle is planning on two more books, each with different perspectives than the first, but I still felt like there were TWO climax points. Just a thought…

Also, I didn’t go for the fact that Cedric called her Adelaide when he knew her real identity. I understand that they had to keep it quiet, but even after they were separate from the rest of the world, he called her Adelaide, which bothered me. Again, small details.

That’s a wrap!

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the weekend and read the days away…

Sincerely, N

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

IMG_1021.jpg“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more. 

Goodreads

25756328.jpgHappy almost Friday everyone!

I hope your week has treated you well! I was able to read Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch a little while back, and I am FINALLY able to rave about this wonderful book!

This book may have to be one of my favorite contemporary books, I enjoyed it SO much!

Here is what I loved:

Right after I read the synopsis of this book, I was hooked. The idea of moving to a foreign country after the death of your mother with a father you have never met (wow that is quite the mouthful) intrigued me.

The uniqueness of the storyline really reflects on the plot. So much went on in the story; I was on the edge of my seat at all times.

Lina’s mom leaves behind a notebook chronicling her adventures in Sicily before Lina was born. Lina spends her time trying to figure out how Lina came to know Howard (her father). I loved this mysterious aspect to the story. What did Lina’s mother do in Italy so long ago? Maybe if you read the book you will find out!

I think Lina’s strong connection with her mother is what kept Lina connected to finding the truth behind her mother’s time in Italy. I always love a good mother-daughter relationship within a book, and this story definitely had one.

Lina’s friends were awesome! I really wanted to be friends with them, and the adorability of Ren (Lina’s love interest) made me continue to feel this way.

Being that the story takes place in Sicily, Italy, it is super cool following Lina’s journey through such a beautiful city. Jenna Evans Welch made sure to include MANY iconic landmarks within the story. I felt like I was in Italy as I read the book.

What I disliked:

I am having a hard time coming up with a complaint from the story. It was so good. I don’t hand out many 4.5 stars to books, but this book definitely deserves it!

If you are looking for a lighthearted contemporary read, you need to read this book!

Thanks for listening,

Sincerely, K

 

K’s July Wrap-Up

Happy Tuesday (and AUGUST) everyone!!

IMG_1243I hope you guys are having a great week so far. I am really excited for August (the conclusion to a great summer and a fresh start to school); however, July was a month for the books (when it comes to my reading). I read TWELVE books (I have placed them chronologically from beginning-end of month):

  1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Review in K’s Corner)
  2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (I have not been able to post my review yet)
  3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (I Finished this on Sunday, I plan on posting a review later this week. Get ready for this review, it’s gonna be great).
  4. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (My review will be coming soon!)
  5. 99 Days by Katy Cotugno
  6. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  7. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  8. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  9. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  10. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
  11. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  12. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I feel like I have had a pretty great reading month, don’t you guys think?! Now let’s get to what books I liked, disliked, and am still thinking about (bc some were so good)!

My favorites of July:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson may have been one of the best books I have ever read. I finished reading this right before midnight on Sunday, and I am beyond happy that I got to end July on a great note (with a great read). My review should be posted within a week (I have a lot of previous reviews to post). If you are looking for a moving story, this is the book for you.

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch came right behind Speak. It was such an original and lighthearted story filled with mystery. I love a good puzzle story, and this book definitely had me putting pieces together.

IMG_1280 I really enjoyed Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh (visit my review for more comments).

I also fell head over heals for Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (y’all need to see my review on this WONDERFUL novel).

I also fell in love with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (review coming soon). I am meeting Leigh in September and I CANNOT wait.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (visit review) were really awesome as well.

I could go on and on, but I think that you guys get that I had a wonderful reading month.

What I disliked:

I do not think I have disliked a book as much as I disliked 99 Days by Katy Cotugno. Every character was unlikeable, and the amount of unnecessary drama killed me. I hate it when I come across a book I loathe so much (and I hate being so harsh). For this reason, I chose not to review 99 Days.

I was very surprised to see that I disliked When We Collided by Emery Lord. I thought I would love this contemporary, but I did not. I plan on putting together a short post covering my thoughts on this novel.

THIS MONTH WAS CRAZY PEOPLE. Here is what I have been up to:

  1. It is summer. every summer my family goes on vacation. This year we went to the east coast, and I spent the beginning of July out of town.
  2. I am a cross country runner; therefore, I have tried to get myself out of bed every morning at 6:30 am to train. I know. I’m crazy.
  3. IMG_0820I am going to be a junior this coming year; therefore the stress of the SAT/ACT/SAT subject tests has risen exponentially. I have spent many days and nights at my local Starbucks studying for these scary (yet kind of exciting) tests.
  4. You all can probably tell that I spent a lot of July reading… 12 books YIKES.
  5. One of the more exciting occurrences of July 2016, onebooktwogirls came to bookstagram!! N and I decided that after more than two months of blogging, joining bookstagram was the right place for us. We are so excited, follow us @onebooktwogirls

That’s basically what I did. It was a pretty hectic (and FUN) month. I cannot wait for more good times (and good reads) in August.

Did you guys read anything good in July? Recommendations? Let me know, I think my tbr pile could use some more friends : )

Thanks for listening (and HAPPY AUGUST)

Sincerely, K

 

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

IMG_1280.JPGA prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-
old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t
know which—had been planning all along.

Goodreads

Unknown-1.jpeg
Hey everyone, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!!

For the last weekend of July, I had a lot of time to catch up on some reading! One of the books I read happened to be Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh. I have never even read Pride and Prejudice (I know, I need to), but I stumbled upon this book while browsing my local bookstore. I decided to give it a try, and I am SO glad I did. This may be my favorite read of the month.

Why I fell in LOVE with this story (get ready for me to fangirl over this AMAZING book):

I hate to judge a book by its cover, but I did with this one. It is absolutely gorgeous; the cover grabbed my eye the moment I saw it.

One word to describe the title: CLEVER. The title ties in phenomenally with the story. I just love finding the title within the story. Thank you, Julie Eshbaugh.

I love a good historical fiction YA read, and this was one of them. I have read a lot of American/World War I/World War II historical fiction, yet I have never come upon a story about prehistoric fantasy. I really learned a lot from this story, and I LOVED every bit of history.

This is truly a unique story. That is all I am going to say about that.

Julie Eshbaugh’s writing is wonderful. I loved the perspective she used. It is like a letter; Kol is speaking to Mya. He never says Mya, he always uses “you.” The use of “you” made the flow of the story very calming. Once you dive into this book, you will understand what I mean by this.

When Mya comes to Kol’s clan in the beginning of the story, there is an unspoken argument from the past between Mya and Kol’s clan. Mya knows what happened, but Kol is oblivious. There is also tension between Mya and Lo’s clan. Kol is also oblivious to this past occurrence. Throughout the story, I loved the mystery from the past. I constantly asked myself, “What really went down years ago?”

What I disliked:

Nothing. Not one thing (now you may understand my love of this novel).

If you are looking for something out of your normal comfort zone (when it comes to what you read), you definitely should read this story. Being that this book was partially based upon Pride and Prejudice, I think I may grab it from my bookshelf before school starts.

I hope you all take my advice and READ THIS BOOK.

Thanks for listening!!

Sincerely, K