Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Tour: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

   Hello and welcome to The Last Magician Blog Tour! Today I have for you my review of our lovely book, as well as a giveaway! So I hope you enjoy, and good luck with the giveaway! 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Release Date: July 18th, 2017
Read: July 18th- 21st, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: Standalone 
Format: ARC, 512 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Description from GoodReads:

   Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

   In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

   Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

   But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.


   freedom from the book.
   I have two secret loves that I actively seek out in YA books, ones that don't seem to be all that popular currently. One of those being witches, which is what brought my attention to The Last Magician. So of course I jumped at the chance to review it for the publisher when they put it up in their blogger newsletter, even though I now know it's not really about witches...
   The Last Magician isn't anything like I thought it was going to be, going into the book I expected magic and either a modern day or dystopian world of sorts where the story takes place. What I got was  Now You See Me vibes and a Kate and Leopold world. I knew when going into the book that we'd get some time travel, but I didn't expect the whole story to take place in the past. It was honestly a refreshing twist, the first couple chapters gave me some doubts but once the story had taken route I just knew I was in for an adventure.
   I'm not a person who usually enjoys time travel books, and yet I always seem to be reading them. The idea that if you go back in time and change something, that something in the future will swift too, is always what gets to me. Usually for the most of a time traveling book I'll send up playing the "What If" game, but I didn't find myself having to play that game with The Last Magician. Esta, our protagonist, was already constantly playing the "What If" game throughout the novel, making me overcome the need to do it alongside her thus allowing me to enjoy the book.
   My absolute favourite thing about The Last Magician was the gangsterish vibes that the story created, the characters, the city, everything made for such a unique reading experience.
   The Last Magician was a magical gangsterish read that had you constantly guessing as to who the magician really was, thus having you on your toes for the entirety of the book. I throughly enjoyed The Last Magician and can't wait to pick up my next Lisa Maxwell book!


Favourite Quote:

"Are you looking for me?"

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Magicians, Now You See Me (movie), Kate and Leopold (movie), New York


Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, Unhooked, & The Last Magician (Simon Pulse, Spring 2017). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy THE LAST MAGICIAN & swag, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

   And that concludes my stop on the tour, as well as the tour itself! I hope you all enjoyed, and if you haven't already picked up a copy of the book, hopefully you do it soon!

Week One:

7/10/2017- YA and Wine- Interview
7/11/2017- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
7/12/2017- Novel Novice- Guest Post
7/13/2017- What the Cat Read- Review
7/14/2017- Stories & Sweeties- Excerpt

Week Two:

7/17/2017- NovelKnight- Review
7/18/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
7/19/2017- Forever 17 Books- Review
7/20/2017- Wishful Endings- Interview
7/21/2017- Ohana Reads- Review

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Wrap Up 2017

   Like most of the months, June was all over the place for me. From graduations, to my sisters finally being done school for the summer, and to getting a new job! So it was busy and hectic as usual, and of course all the days blurred together. 
   Unfortunately for June, I wasn't able to get out of my book slump, which was my fault. I ended up picking two books that I just could not enjoy, resulting in me not wanting to pick anything else up after them. Hopefully the next thing I pick up ends up being really good and fixes my mistake for June.
   Some of you may follow me on Instagram, or maybe just noticed that I changed my Bio on most of my social media platforms, but for those of you who haven't noticed or heard, I got another job! Come the last week of June, I got a call for an interview to one of my favourite places, McNally Robinson. Also known as my local Indie bookstore, one which I occupy more frequently than not. Anyways, shortly after the interview they called me back and I was hired! I've already had my first shift, and I couldn't be happier working there. Having already known most of the people in the department that I'm in, from always stopping by, everything has been so easy to adjust too! You'll probably be hearing much more about the store in the next upcoming months!
  Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, June time brings graduations, and one that I went to this Spring was for my good friend Sabrina, who you all know from the book blog Beyond the Book Reviews. So if you guys have a spare moment, definitely head on over to her blog and congratulate her!

   That pretty much sums up my month, so now onto the monthly stats!

Books Read:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau 
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Book Haul:

Books Reviewed:

July Releases I'm Excited For:

   That's it for this month! Come back next month to see what shenanigans I partook in during the month of July!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Surprise! New Blog Design!

   Hi Guys!
   So you may have noticed something different on the blog today, hmm I wonder what could it be? I got a new blog design, TA DA!
   I've been in a blogging and reading slump since school ended, and I thought revamping my blog might help change things up. I'm not sure if it'll work, or if I'll end up hating the new design in a few days or so, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
   So I hope that you guys love it, or at least grow to love it. I've always been a huge simplicity themed fan, so I think that this new design showcases that off a bit.
   Anyways, like I said, I hope that you guys love it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Read: June 4th-7th, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Standalone
Format: ARC, 528 pages
Source: McNally Robinson/ Be First Book Club

Description from GoodReads:

   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.


   Wait until you fall for the boy who can't love you back.
   Last year I had picked up My Lady Jane to read, after receiving it in the June 2016 OwlCrate, and I fell in love with the historical and comical aspects of the book. Since then, I've kept an eye out for that particular kind of book, and that's how The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue came into my radar. I was also lucky enough to have picked up a copy for McNally's Be First Book Club.
   Even though the book was from a completely different author than My Lady Jane, I couldn't help but compare TGGtVaV to My Lady Jane for the entirety of the book.  My Lady Jane contained magical aspects to the book, aspects that I couldn't help but feel like were needed in TGGtVaV, and thus I just couldn't help but not feel a big pull of interest to the book. In this case I blame myself for not being a big fan of contemporary novels, as well building the book up to be something completely different in my head.
   Although I had ruined the book for myself, I was still able to enjoy different aspects of the book, the characters and relationships in particular. The main character, Monty, is a bisexual who lives sometime in the 18th century, and life in the 18th century certainly isn't easy for a bisexual. Along with being a bisexual, being a person of colour or even a woman, aren't any easier when it comes to that time period. The three main characters that we encounter in the book happen to fit one or more of these categories. Although the novel pays more attention to the bisexual aspects of the book, and how the people of the time period don't support it or even view it as appriotate, Lee does a terrific job of also drawing attention to the way people of colour were/are treated poorly, and how the women of the time had to fit the mold that was created for them. Lee would throw in little facts throughout the book that made you pause and consider the truth in what was being said, instances like, "There is nothing good about watching another man claim your ship because your skin is too dark to do it yourself" and "Ladies haven't the luxury of being squeamish about blood.". Lee would never tiptoe around the truth, and would give you the facts as they were, you couldn't help but love the book because of this.
   Out of the main characters, I absolutely hated Monty. He was always so ignorant, could only ever care about himself, and not to mention he made so many problems for Percy and Felicity. In the end Lee could have made him perfect, but she made him imperfect which I couldn't help but enjoy, even if he infuriated me. The same went with the other two characters, Lee made them both imperfect as well, like all people are. It was different from most YA novels, and I hope to finally see that become a norm.
   And finally, I know it's only a small piece but I really enjoyed how the cover's little sketches predicted what was to come in the novel. The little sketches seemed like they were just kind of there when I began the novel, but I can't help but love them now.
   The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was not what I had hoped it to be, but it did have some phenomenal parts to it and I would certainly recommend to to anyone who needs a "Big Gay European Road Trip Novel".  I will probably end up picking up the books companion spin-off, The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy when it releases in 2018.


Favourite Quote:

"What we once were, that you are now. What we are now, soon you shall be."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQA+ Stories, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Read: June 8th-16th, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Dividing Eden, #1
Format: ARC, 336 pages
Source: McNally Robinson/Two Thumbs Up Program

Description from GoodReads:

   Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

   But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

   As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

   With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?


   Do you wish to refuse the task, Princess?
   The cover of Dividing Eden was one of the reasons I had originally picked up an ARC at McNally Robinson for their Two Thumbs Up Program. Simplicity in covers is one of my favourite book cover trends, so that was definitely a factor when picking up a copy, but once I read into Dividing Eden a bit more, I was also intrigued with the synopsis and couldn't help but be excited to read the book. 
   Whenever I look back at Dividing Eden, I will only have happy memories of the cover, because in the end the book did not meet my expectations. Throughout the 336 pages of the book, I was constantly bored and found the plot to be extremely predictable. At times I even wanted to just give up on the book because I just couldn't stand it anymore.
   Then there was the vagueness that clung to everything. There were many occasions throughout the book that information was given, but it was so vague that you couldn't help but wonder what the point was. Especially when they brought it up so frequently. One major point would be the Xhelozi, they were continuously mentioned throughout the book and were considered a major threat but in the end they only had a minor role for a few pages and then were done. It was disappointing. 
   Dividing Eden wasn't what I wanted it to be, at all. I was disappointed and bored throughout the whole book, it is more than likely that I will not be picking up the sequel when it releases. 


Favourite Quotes:

"I'm worth more than the few coppers you have in your pockets."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Royalty, Princesses, Princes, Monsters, Competitions 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Read: June 2nd-14th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: N/A
Format: ARC, 464 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Description from GoodReads:

   When all hope is gone, how do you survive? 

   Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

   Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

   Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected. 

   This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.


   I've never been good at letting go.
   I haven't read a Dystopian YA book in forever, after Divergent and the Hunger Games, the trend ended for a good while. Come 2017, it's slowly making a comeback with The Sandcastle Empire.
   The Sandcastle Empire was a disappointment from the moment I started it. It took me way too long just to read 142 pages of the book. The beginning was slow, and it felt like more plot was needed for the book to be more interesting. In the end, I DNF'd the book at 31%.
   In a way I wanted The Sandcastle Empire to have had more of an Indiana Jones feel to it.  With the wolf pack being similar to the Nazi, and the book taking place in a jungle, some comparisons could be made, but not enough so that my Indiana Jones expectations were met.
   What I did like about the book was the odd short chapter where the protagonist would reflect on her backstory before the main story takes place. Eden, the protagonist, would show us her favourite memories, and I just couldn't help but find some of them cute.
   I did not enjoy The Sandcastle Empire, and unless I see raving reviews about Olson's next book, I probably won't be picking up that one either. The book was just not for me.


Favourite Quote:

"It was our last hope in this broken/ chaotic world. Where is there to go from here?" 

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Dystopian, Survival, World Wars, Indiana Jones

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Book Review: The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beaty

Release Date: May 9th, 2017
Read: April 18th-20th, 2017
Publisher: Imprint
Series: Traitor's Trilogy, #1
Format: ARC, 352 pages
Source: Publisher/Raincoast Books in exchange for honest review

Description from GoodReads:

   An obstinate girl who will not be married. 

   A soldier desperate to prove himself. 

   A kingdom on the brink of war.

   With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

   As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom. 


   After living the longest and worst days of my life, I can not wait any longer to hold you again.
   Before getting my hands on Traitor's Kiss to read and review, I heard quite a few different things about the book. Things ranging from it being a Mulan retelling, to receiving backlash for offending POC. In the end I received a copy for review, and even though I'd usually avoid something that's received bad praise for cases like this, I still ended up reading it for the publisher.
   Right as you begin the book you notice why there is the backlash, just as the characters are being described, Erin Beaty insensitively refers to the Asian characters as dark when their complexion is described, and in some cases even refers to them "fading in the shadows". This happens throughout the book, sometimes frequently and sometimes not. With this being Beaty's first novel, one can hope that she has learned from her mistakes when it comes to future novels.
   Although I was first introduced to the novel as a Mulan retelling, I wouldn't recommend it to people as one, I find that introduction to be a bit of a stretch from the truth. The novel itself does feature a lot of resemblances to the beloved story, but the story itself as a whole can't be seen as one. With connections to matchmakers, soldiers, and even some disguised deception, it's understandable why it was originally described as such.
   I've read a lot of fantasy in my days of being an avid reader, a lot of them featuring soldiers and generals, etc. Never have I read a fantasy so in depth when regarding the tactics and strategies of the soldiers. The way Beaty described how Captain Quinn and his men acted was so intriguing and different all at once. Once I finished the novel I learnt that this was because Beaty was once a weapons specialist as well as a leadership instructor and actually knew her stuff. I found her expertise made the novel all that much more exciting, and found myself wanting to continue on with the book just because of the tactics and strategies.
   I was a bit conflicted with our female protagonist Sage, her character fell into the trope of believing that she wasn't like the other girls in the regard that she shouldn't be given to the matchmaker to have her wed. Throughout the book when she travels with the Matchmaker, she even looks down upon the girls who her Matchmaker is setting up with people. When it came to her in these regards, I couldn't stand her. But in another case, I also admired and liked her for her spying techniques. I think the spying made her all that more interesting, but I wouldn't say that I'm a fan of hers.
   If you're willing to look past the why Beaty describes her characters complexions, then I think Traitor's Kiss was a hit! I do not believe that a sequel has been purchased by the publisher quite yet, but when it does you can certainly see me on the top of the list of people who want to read it!


Favourite Quote:

"You're a complication, Sage, one I never could have planned for."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Military, Matchmaking, Strategy