Book Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

First, thank you to Stephanie Garber, Flatiron Books and NetGalley for an ARC of Legendary 

Caraval is over and its secrets have been exposed…or have they?

When Caraval ended Donatella Dragna had just received a message from “A friend” hinting that her mother would be proud, but that she must keep up her side of the bargain if she hopes to see her again. Bargain?

Legendary opens on the day after Caraval. Scarlett and Tella are heading to Valenda for a special Caraval in honor of Empress Elentine’s birthday. Julian and Dante are still in the mix, as are some of the original Caraval actors.

Legendary is primarily Tella’s story and weaves all the magic of Caraval with some deeper myths from these lands, both of which are a threat to the existence of the other. Legend remains a mysterious and threatening presence, and in order to save her mother, Tella must discover Legend’s real name. The Fates—gods who once ruled the world—are desperate to return and can only do so with Legend’s magic, but Legend aspires to have the power of the Fates. And, as with every other Caraval, it is impossible to know who is telling the truth, who is lying, who is living, and who is simply playing a part.

Tella seems like a much stronger and more complex character in Legendary than she did in Caraval and it was nice to have this different POV. I thought Legendary had all the magic and beauty that I loved in Caraval, and the world building was amazingly vivid.

My absolute, favorite part of the book though, was at the end. While I can’t share it (it’s a bit of a spoiler) I’ll say that I whispered, “Yes!”, as I closed this book!

Oh…and it was just announced that there will be a book 3! (And I’m going to need to be added to the list for a copy of that as well!)

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Buy Legendary on Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

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Book Review: Hunger: A Tale of Courage by Donna Jo Napoli

 

 

 

“Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Lorraine this haunting novel from the award-winning author of Hidden and Hush gives insight and understanding into a little known part of history—the Irish potato famine.

It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susannah, the daughter of the wealthy English landowner who owns Lorraine’s family’s farm, and the girls form an unlikely friendship that they must keep a secret from everyone. Two different cultures come together in a deserted Irish meadow. And Lorraine has one question: how can she help her family survive?

A little known part of history, the Irish potato famine altered history forever and caused a great immigration in the later part of the 1800s. Lorraine’s story is a heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive story of one girl’s strength and resolve to save herself and her family against all odds.”

 

I’ve been a fan of Donna Jo Napoli’s writing since I stumbled upon Hush while doing reviews for an old YA book review site. When I saw Hunger listed on NetGalley I requested it right away and crossed my fingers that I’d get approved. I was not disappointed.

Napoli has once again proven that she is a master in historical fiction. Not only has she constructed a well-researched world for her characters, but she’s delivered a heart wrenching storyline that kept me thoroughly tied to the pages.

Hunger is set during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840’s. Twelve-year-old Lorraine, awakens one morning to the panicked sounds of her parents desperately trying to salvage their crops from another devastating fungal outbreak. In Lorraine’s small community of cottier farmers—and across Ireland—the Irish tenants face another winter of starvation and disease while their British landlords ignore—and even deny—their plight.

Lorraine soon finds herself walking a line between her dying friends and family and a friendship with the landlord’s sassy and self-involved daughter. Lorraine finds herself trying to convince Susannah as to the reality of the plight of the Irish, but Susannah has been raised believing the Irish have every opportunity if only they would take it upon themselves to fulfill them.

Hunger is filled with heartbreaking realities and conflicting moral decisions that must be made as Lorraine and her friends face a crisis of historical proportions. I was mesmerized, heartbroken, and could even feel the hunger—and guilt—as I read. Donna Jo Napoli has proven again that she is a master of historical fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to review this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Hunger: A Tale of Courage here on Amazon.com

 

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Book Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

Mei is seventeen and just entering her freshman year at MIT. She is on track to become a doctor and to marry the ideal Taiwanese mate, all according to the “plan” laid out for her by her parents.

The problem is Mei is a bit of a germaphobe, would prefer to be a dancer, and has zero interest in the boy her parents want her to marry. Mei has found herself pulled between wanting to pursue her own dreams and the knowledge of what it means to go against her parents.

Mei’s brother, Xing, was banished from the family for following his heart and, as Mei discovers her own hopes and happiness, she fears how close she is to repeating his path. Mei finds herself torn between the desire to make her parents proud or to find her own happiness.

American Panda is engaging, and funny, as well as heartbreaking. The characters are so vividly portrayed I could hear them as if they were speaking and standing in the room with me. Even though this reality is so far from anything I’ve known in my life I felt the pain and pressure that Mei—and girls just like her—must feel. What a delightful and engaging story!

*Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the chance to read an ARC of American Panda.

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Book Review: The Canary Club by Sherry D. Ficklin

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Paperback
Expected publication: October 16th 2017 by Clean Teen Publishing
ISBN
1634222504 (ISBN13: 9781634222501)
Edition Language
English
Series

 

 

 

 

 

*I received a copy of The Canary Club in exchange for an honest review.*

I’ve had the pleasure of reading each of The Canary Club novellas while waiting for the release of this novel. I loved each of them and really felt like I got to know the characters, but each novella was leading up to something bigger…this novel!

Masie is the golden girl daughter of a mobster. Benny is just trying to get by and do whatever it takes to help his family. Each of them are pawns in the fight for power that has gripped the city, and tossed Masie’s family into chaos.

With rival gangsters, Prohibition agents, and even a murderer in the mix, Masie and Benny may be pulled apart just as they’ve found each other.

I can’t tell you how much I love this novel. Sherry Ficklin has done an amazing job of fully immersing readers in the time period. The music, the clothes, & the dialogue: everything seems so authentic to the period. The excitement of the jazz age just jumps from the pages. The Canary Club is equal part sweet romance and gritty gangster-era drama.

The characters are unique and interesting and I found myself rooting for (almost) every one of them. I finished the book wanting more and I hope there are sequels in the works, because I need to know what happens to them all.

 

You can preorder The Canary Club from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Google Play & other book vendors

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Book Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

 

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Hardcover, 352 pages

Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

ISBN
1484767659 (ISBN13: 9781484767658)
Edition Language
English

 

 

 

 

 

I requested a copy of ROYAL BASTARDS from NetGalley after the cover caught my eye.
I’m a fan of light fantasy and heavy battles, so I hoped this would be the kind of book I usually enjoy, but I was cautiously optimistic because it’s so hard to find the kind of fantasy novels that I really enjoy. And then…

I freaking loved this book! This is the kind of fantasy novel I’ve been craving lately.  I was hooked from the beginning.

First, I love the title. It’s edgy, spot on and clearly defines the primary characters. Tilla, Jax, Miles and Zell are all the bastard children of powerful rulers. As bastards they exist on the periphery of their parent’s powerful circles: neither fully included, nor fully removed from the Lords and their “legitimate” families.

Then, during a dinner to honor the visiting Princess Lyriana, the princess does the unimaginable: she opts to be seated at the Bastard’s table in the back of the hall with Tilla and her fellow bastards. In the dark of the night they find themselves leading the Princess through the underground tunnels so that she can dip her toes in the sea. Instead they witness a heinous crime, perpetuated by Tilla’s father and Miles’s mother, that is certain to lead to civil war. Worse still, they’ve all been seen, and now they are on the run for their lives.

ROYAL BASTARDS is a fun adventure story. It has intrigue, excitement and humor. I loved the modern humor and voice set against a very antiquated type of society. This book was a fast and exciting read and I’m hoping there is a sequel (it’s definitely set up for one). My only complaint is that I haven’t been able to get my book club to read it yet, as it isn’t available until 5/30/17!

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You can order ROYAL BASTARDS from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play & other book sellers.

I’m sharing the following only because I truly loved this book:

ROYAL BASTARDS Advanced Coverage:

Entertainment Weekly’s “35 Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2017”

 Goodreads “Most Popular Books Published In May 2017”

Bustle’s “The Most Anticipated Young Adult Debuts of 2017—From February to June”

Brightly’s “17 of the Most Exciting YA Books to Read in 2017”

Culturess’s “12 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2017”

B&N Teen Blog’s “Your 2017 2017 YA Pre-Order Guide”

 “This is one of those rare books that had me laughing and crying within a paragraph.”

—Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Realms series

 “We cannot wait for this high-stakes, edge of your seat fantasy.”

—Bustle

“Adventure-loving fantasy readers will eat it up.”

Kirkus Reviews

First in a planned series, Shvarts’s action-packed debut champions diversity, counsels perseverance,

and highlights the human cost of war.”

Publishers Weekly

 

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