A Fast Paced, Darkly Magical Wonder // REVIEW: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Title: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 19th 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 2/4 of the Three Dark Crowns Series
I Got A Copy Through: Harper Collins India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Flipkart || Snapdeal || Infibeam || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?
With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.
Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.
I don’t know how to start describing a book that I devoured in two days straight. I just kept flipping page after page, desperate to know what would happen to the characters that I love, unable to put it down because One Dark Throne was JUST THAT GOOD.

If you read its prequel, Three Dark Crowns, and found it slightly slow, it was because Kendare was giving you time to get to know everyone in this book before giving you the marvel that is One Dark Throne.

Also, let us take a moment to just appreciate HOW UTTERLY BEAUTIFUL THE SERIES’ COVERS ARE. Both the US and the UK covers are SO SO GORGEOUS and perfectly reflect that ‘Black is the colour of the Queens.’

Let’s break it down:


For the most part, I absolutely LOVED how the plot built up. It was some genius plot and world building that had me filled with adrenaline in this fast paced magical wonder. The small chapters and the scheming and plotting on all sides was SO MUCH FUN to witness.

I did, however, say ‘for the most part’. There was a point in the book where a duel between Mirabella and Katharine ensures when I realised that Kendare wasn’t ready to kill off her queens just yet and that put a dampener on the whole experience of a competition to the death for the throne. After that, I enjoyed the book, but not AS MUCH AS I PREVIOUSLY WAS.

I’m also slightly upset that the two major plot twists that hit us in book one weren’t ACTUALLY HANDLED in book two but instead we were given vague half answers like ‘Only the Queen Knows Why’ and ‘Pietyr doesn’t need to know, but he knows what happened to Katharine.’  WHAT. EVEN. IS. THAT?


I spent the majority of book one rooting for Arsinoe and Jules and all things Naturalist but I LOVE how Kendare managed to show you the good and the bad of all her characters so much so that I WAS SO CONFUSED ABOUT WHICH ONE I SUPPORTED? I honestly wanted all of them to hug it out and I also wanted to see one queen survive and I love that Kendare managed to change my perceptions because it made the book that much more fun to read.

I adored all the secondary characters as well – Joseph, Sara, Bree, Nicolas, Billy, Pietyr, Luca, Natalia and everyone else. I felt like I knew them so well after book one and I loved it.

Image result for one dark throneWRITING:

Kendare Blake’s writing was simply and easy to read. Despite the fact that she was telling the story from SO MANY people’s point of view, she managed to make me feel the difference with each one of them. Third person and multiple points of view was the perfect way to tell a story that has so many sides and I loved it.


I’d just about reached the halfway mark in this book before a fellow book lover told me that there were two more  (I was under the impression that this was a duology) and that left me both happy and sad.

I LOVED ONE DARK THRONE. It was a well written, fast paced, dark magical adventure and one of the best fantasies I’ve read all year. 4.5 stars. 
Kendare Blake
Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller. She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.
Have you had the chance to dive into the Three Dark Crowns series yet? What do you think of it?
Which of the three Queens do you support?
Which of the three powers would you like to have - Elemental, Poisoner or Naturalist?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Magical Writing and A Heart Wrenching Book // REVIEW: Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Title: Moonrise
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publication Date: September 2017 
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Bloomsbury India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Flipkart || Infibeam || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: 'They think I hurt someone. But I didn't. You hear?Coz people are gonna be telling youall kinds of lies.I need you to know the truth.'
Joe hasn't seen his brother for ten years, and it's for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.But now Ed's execution date has been set, and this might be the last summer they have together.
This astonishing new novel from multi-award-winning author Sarah Crossan explores life, death, love and forgiveness
Before we begin, I should tell you that this book is told in verse. Or rather, like a really long, sorrow filled and beautiful poem.

I can honestly say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE this style of writing so much because it manages to pack all the gut punches and the emotional turmoil without the filler and it’s so easy to read through. In fact, I’m going to be looking for more books told like this because Sarah Crossan does it SO WELL and I was reduced to tears by the end of Moonrise.

Before I go any further, I have to thank the lovely publicists at Bloomsbury India for sending me a lovely finished copy of this book. I am so honoured to get the chance to read it.

My Thoughts:

1.       Like I said, the writing was SPECTACULAR. It’s always such a different experience to read work written in verse and Sarah Crossan does it like nobody else. Her prose is simple yet manages to capture the gravity of any situation.
Image result for moonrise by sarah crossan

2.       I LOVE WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT: Innocent people caught in the justice system and death row and brotherhood. I don’t really have a very strong opinion on the death penalty – but I haven’t read a book about it like Moonrise before. It was a gorgeously heart breaking depiction of a boy whose brother who practically raised him is on death row and honestly, it had me sobbing by the end of it.

3.       I loved Ed. I loved the boy who took care of a brother who was a decade younger than her was. I loved that all he wanted was a soda and a little love. His three letters to Joe wrung my heart and I WAS WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE THAT WOULD SAVE HIM SO SO BADLY and his version of events really got to me.

4.       Joe was an amazing character too. Sarah Crossan highlights the irregular life of a teenage boy struggling to find someone in the world, trying to make things work with his family and trying to cope with the fact that his brother might be stolen away from him. Both Ed and him were heart breaking characters and all I wanted to do was run inside the book and hug the both of them for forever.

5.       I feel like this review doesn’t even come close to capturing the MAGIC and SORROW that makes up Sarah Crossan’s latest book, Moonrise, because it is filled with magical writing and a sorrow filled yet beautiful story that DESERVES TO BE READ.

An absolutely heart-wrenching tale with writing that does more than bring life to the characters by transporting you into the world and honestly, YOU NEED TO BE READING IT. 
Sarah CrossanSarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time. 

She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.

She currently lives in NYC. 

Have you rad any of Sarah Crossan's books? What do you think of them? 
What are some of your favourite books told in Verse? Do you like reading the occasional book in verse or do you hate this writing style?
I'd absolutely love to hear from you guys <3!

I Expected More // REVIEW: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Title: Ramona Blue
Author: Julie Murphy
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins)
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Harper Collins India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Snapdeal || WHSmith || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.
Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.
The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem. 
I read Julie Murphy’s Dumplin over a year and a half ago, and I fell in love with Willowdean and her world. It was also my first review copy from an Indian publisher, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Which is why I had HUGE expectations for Ramona Blue, and it was one of the first book I started reading from my TBR that suddenly seems to have multiplied itself threefold.

The first two thirds of Ramona Blue was slow, to say the least. I like the message that the story was trying to convey but through the course of 400 pages, I struggled and I mean I really struggled to connect with all the characters.

I found myself bargaining in my head, how about just 50 more pages now? Well, come on, you can do 50 more and so on and the end result is that I simply didn’t enjoy it.

Let’s do a list of what I liked and didn’t:

1.       THE FLUID SEXUALITY: It was one of the highlights of this book for me. I love that no matter what, there were no labels being thrown around after Ramona noticed that she liked Freddie (apart from girls) romantically too. Being put under a label wasn’t a part of, or even a little bit, of what Ramona Blue was about and I absolutely love that.

2.       THE SWIMMNIG: I’m a swimmer. I used to do it competitively and although I gave that up a while ago, I know what it feels like when Ramona says that any workout feels only like the beginning. I love the water and I love that swimming was FINALLY incorporated in a Young Adult book is a serious way.

Things That Could Have Better:

  1.       THE PACE: Honestly, this book was SO SO SLOW. It has 430 pages of “self-discovery” but so much of it was filler. Like I said in the beginning, I kept bargaining with myself to read a few more pages, and eventually made it to the end.
Even the part where Ramona “realises” after 300 pages of being dead against it, to leave her home and pregnant sister and go to college is because her sister spites her and chooses to have her boyfriend in the OR instead of Ramona. It all felt so subpar.

  2.       THE CHARACTERS: Like I said, it was SUCH A STRUGGLE for me to connect with ANY of the characters. All of them felt like underdeveloped secondary characters and I didn’t feel anything for any of them. Occasionally, there was a fun scene like the time where everyone meets Adam’s parents but AAH I just couldn’t with any of them.

I love what this book stood for, I like the idea behind this book and I LOVE THE FACT THAT SEXUALITY WAS FINALLY PORTRAYED AS SOMETHING THAT COULD BE FLUID but that was all. Everything else about this book was subpar and I can only wish that I had connected with the characters. 3 stars. 
Julie   Murphy Julie Murphy is a potty-mouthed Southern belle who was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but found her home in Fort Worth, Texas. She’s never seen Star Wars, but has yet to meet a made for TV movie she didn’t love. When she’s not writing, Julie can be found cruising Costco for free samples, watching Sister Act 2, stalking drag queens on instagram, obsessing over the logistics of Mars One, and forever searching for the perfect slice of cheese pizza. She lives with her bearded husband, two vicious cats, and one pomeranian that can pass as a bear cub. DUMPLIN’ is her second young adult novel.
Here’s a link to a more serious and less nonsensical bio for grownup things.
Julie is represented by John Cusick of Folio Literary Management.
Have you read Side Effects May Vary, Dumplin' or Ramona Blue? What did you think of them and which one is your favourite?
Are you excited that Dumplin' is getting turned into a movie?
What are some of the best YA Contemporary books you've read this year?
I can't wait to hear from you <3!

Sunday Street Team Blog Tour: Mask Of Shadows by Linsey Miller - Review + Giveaway

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to my Tour Stop on the Mask Of Shadows by Linsey Milley Blog Tour organised by the Sunday Street Team! I first heard about this book on NetGalley and I fell in love with the description. A gender fluid thief in a tournament to become an assassin for the queen? SO SO COOL.

I found out in August that I would be receiving a physical ARC and I FREAKED OUT! I was so excited that I actually won a giveaway and I waited for it to get here before I started reading. It got here last weekend and I JUST finished reading it for the tour. Don't forget to enter the giveaway too!
Long Story Short: This was a good book, fast paced and filled with its fair share of action scenes but there was something missing, specifically the lack of deeper story or explanation to the gender fluidity and some world building plot holes.

Let’s talk more in detail:

I first saw Mask Of Shadows on NetGalley. A gender fluid YA protagonist? I hadn’t read a fantasy book with someone who identified as gender fluid much less a contemporary novel and so this fact, and the BEAUTIFUL cover, were these unique selling points in my head that made me go: NEED. TO. READ.

Sure, I liked the Assassins plot, and the competition to become an assassin but we’ve seen it before. The gender fluidity was supposed to make the book stand out, but it was BARELY TOUCHED UPON.

Post Reading THOUGHTS:

1.       The world building was SO SUB PAR. It started off throwing a few facts at you, when a common thief magically decides to audition to serve the Queen who he/ she/ they “HAS ALWAYS LIKED.” These random facts keep hitting you. Later we find out that Sal’s country was destroyed by “Shadows” (WHAT. HOW. THESE ARE NOT EXPLAINED AT ALL) and Sal lost “his/her WHOLE WORLD” but WHO IS THIS WORLD? From where I sat, Sal had some motivation to do the things he/she/they was doing BUT I WAS NOT EMOTIONALLY INVESTED AT ALL BECAUSE I WAS GIVEN NO DETAILS TO FIND ANY EMOTION.
Image result for mask of shadows by linsey miller

2.       I like that this book was fast paced, all stab stab stab, and not slow like the last book I read (which nearly put me to sleep) and that kept me entertained. The last test, specifically was interesting and it had me hooked.

3.       THERE WERE TWO DEATHS THAT WERE SO RIDICULOUS IN THIS BOOK THAT THEY MADE ME CRINGE. Honestly, they were some of my two favourite secondary characters and the manner of death, the way it was described and just WHY annoyed me to no extent.

4.       Since this book name drops Sarah Maas in the beginning, I think it’s only fair to compare Sallot Leon to Celaena Sardothien (If that’s even her spelling. I can never get this right. WHY ARE FANTASY NAMES SO COMPLICATED?) When I was reading Throne Of Glass, I felt like Celaena was a GOOD ASSASSIN. She was dangerous, ruthless and well, GOOD. I didn’t feel that with Sallot. It seemed that Sal got by on luck and instinct which I wouldn’t have minded, considering where he/she/they came from BUT SAL DIDN’T IMPROVE OR GROW DURING THIS COMPETITION WHERE NOBODY LEARNT ANYTHING, which brings me to:

5.       WHY WAS THE COMPETITION SO FAST PACED? If we were going to have Trials AND Classes, don’t these classes have to at least be long enough for the Auditioners to learn and master things, and not for two DAYS each?

6.       I felt like the Gender Fluidity could have been handled better. Or actually, handled MORE. It’s an important topic to talk about that I haven’t seen before in books but other than it being mentioned with Sal’s dressing sense THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE about the WHY SAL FELT LIKE THAT or anything.

I had some high hoped for this book, I will admit. I give it stars for the fast pace, the fact that there was a lot of killing and that some parts of the plot were very unpredictable, but I WISH IT WAS BETTER and now I want to SOB because it COULD HAVE BEEN. 3 stars. 
Title: Mask Of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/2 of an Untitled Duology
I Got A Copy Through: ARC from Sourcebooks Fire
Buy Links: Amazon US || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: I Needed to Win.They Needed to Die.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. 
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
Linsey Miller

A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in August 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

9/3 Tour Stops

Unique Post  - Roecker Reviews

9/10  Tour Stops

Interview - Tween 2 Teen Books

9/17  Tour Stops

Interview - YA and Wine
Style Boards - Here's To Happy Endings
Review - Areli Reads
Interview - Sarcasm and Lemons

9/24 Tour Stops

Interview - Flyleaf Chronicles
Review -  Books N Calm
Guest Post - Written Infinities

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Stacking The Shelves #33 - The One After My Birthday

Hi Everyone!
I'm sorry for not doing these for the last few weeks - I was out of town on a college photography trip and then it was my birthday (WOOT!) and now, everything is finally back on track. (Except for exams SIGH) but here's a fun fact - I BOUGHT ALL OF ONE BOOK ON MY BIRTHDAY! This is huge for me because I usually splurge and just make my TBR bigger but I manages not to this time YAY!

I did receive a lot of books for review, though, and I'm SO SO excited to dive into all of them.

Ramona BlueFOR REVIEW: 

From Harper Collins India: 

1. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: I absolutely loved Dumplin, which was, coincidentally, the very first book I received for review from Harper Collins India. I have so much swag for this book, and it looks absolutely stunning. I've heard most people say that it's even better than Dumplin' and I can't WAIT to start reading sometime this coming week.

The Secret History of Us2. The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby: I read the first five chapters of The Secret History of Us on the Epic Reads First 5 Feature and it was SO INTRIGUING that I simply had to request it to find out what happened after those five chapters. I can't wait to see what twists and turns it holds for me! Also, how eerie is the cover?

You Don't Know Me but I Know You3. You Don't Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow: I was so excited when I saw Rebecca Barrow's book on the list of Harper India's Releases because it's been on my radar, and after I interviewed Rebecca for my Meet The Authors August, I KNEW I had to have this one too. The spine of this book is pink and oh so pretty! I can't wait for this book to emotionally wreck me.

How to Disappear4. How To Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat: I've had this book on my radar ever since I saw it on the author, Sharon Huss Roat's, Instagram and also followed the Vicurious instagram account. It sounds so good and I was absolutely thrilled to see it being released in Hardcover here! I can't wait to start.

5. Editing Emma by Chloe Seager: I finished this book earlier this week, and I really loved it. It managed to capture the madness of being a teenager, while being slightly annoying and also hilarious. I'm very impressed with Chloe Seager's writing and you can read more about it in my review here.

From Pan Macmillan India: 
Image from My Kinda Book Instagram

1. Windfall by Jennifer E Smith: I was very surprised when I saw this in my second surprise parcel from Pan Macmillan India is as many weeks, because they'd already sent me a finished copy, and this one was an ARC and I'm SO EXCITED to own both! Yay for my bookish collection!

2. The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas: I first saw this book on the My Kinda Book (Macmillan Children's) Instagram Page and it had be intrigued. The ARC had such a pretty colour and this book is all about Asperger's and COUNT ME IN, OKAY? So when Pan Macmillan sent me a surprise ARC of the book, I was BEYOND thrilled to start reading it. Which will hopefully be sometime this week.
It Only Happens in the Movies
From Usbourne Publishing: 

1. It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne: I was looking to the link to this book on Goodreads for this post when I realized that I DIDN'T ADD IT TO MY GOODREADS TBR. I mean. HOW EVEN? I've been dying to read this book and I FREAKED OUT when the lovely folks at Usbourne sent a copy to me! I WILL DEFINITELY be reading this book soon (before it releases in two weeks at least) and I can't wait to get blown away by Holly Bourne yet again!

From Abrams Books: 

1. Water In May by Ismee Williams: I just finished reading this book earlier this week and it is LIFE. I haven't been so moved by a book in a long time and seeing Mari Pujols' story unfold as she fought relentlessly for her unborn baby with a serious heart defect was BRILLIANT. I highly recommend that you guys pick up this stunning book because you will not regret it. You can read my full review here.
Gray Wolf Island
From NetGalley:

1. Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott: I saw Korrina from OwlCrate reading an advance copy of this book and I knew it would be one I HAD to read. It's about a crew in a mysterious town on a treasure hunt and AAH supposed to be PERFECT for fans of The Raven Boys. I can't wait to dive into it!


The Rattled BonesFrom Shannon Parker: 

1. The Rattled Bones by Shannon Parker: The AMAZING Shannon Parker who is also the KINDEST human I've had the pleasure of knowing over the internet sent me a hardcover of her latest book all the way to India - which is SIGNED and includes a Bookmark and AAH. This is a feminist ghost story which sounds AMAZING through just those three words and I can't wait to dive into this BEAUTY.

From Glass Town Entertainment: 

1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber: This has been the NUMBER ONE hyped book of 2017 and I honestly cannot believe that I still haven't dove it yet. Let's just blame it on the size of my review copy TBR but I will DEFINITELY be diving into this BEAUTY sometime before this year ends because what sort of bookworm would I be if I didn't?
Everless (Untitled #1)
2. Everless by Sara Holland: It's currently that time of 2017 when all the spring 2018 ARCs are beginning to circulate. It's also that time when my faith in JUST HOW COOL IT IS TO BE A BOOK BLOGGER gets renewed because I AM ACTUALLY HOLDING IN MY HANDS, A BOOK THAT RELEASES NEXT YEAR. Everless sounds SPECTACULAR, the cover is ART and I can't wait to start.
History Is All You Left Me

1. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: When I saw this book available for HALF PRICE on Amazon IN, and in HARDCOVER, I hit the buy button as FAST as I could. I surprised myself and actually READ THE BOOK and didn't keep it in my TBR for forever and GAAH it wasn't as good as More Happy Than Not but it was still a beautiful, heartbreaking Adam Silvera book.
What books have you recently Stacked onto your shelves? Have you already read some of the book I just got? 
What did you think of them? 
I can't wait to hear what all of you think!