The Invasion Of The Tearling (The Queen Of The Tearling #2)

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The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

“With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22698568-the-invasion-of-the-tearling)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015. The Queen of the Tearling just blew my mind when I read it. I loved the world building, the characters, the political plotting… It was just amazing. Because of this, I had to get my hands on THe Invasion of th Tearling as soon as possible. You can imagine how hard it was for me not to squeal like a kid learning she is going to Disney when I logged into NetGalley and saw this on my dashboard (I was at work, which is why I had to restrain myself).

But I digress. While I tentatively classified The Queen of the Tearling, this book is, in my opinion, firmly in the sci-fi/dystopia genre. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if I’m comfortable with that, but I need another book (not so sublte hint) to come to terms with it.

The beginning was a bit confusing, as it is often the case when I go back to a world I haven’t visited in a year. Here, the plot thickens and turns dark and hopeless, as it’s often the case in middle books. I found myself trying to find a way out for Kelsea, and came to the conclusion that, if I was in her place, I’d have thrown myself off a cliff.

This was, for reasons that will become clear when you read the book, not as engaging as the first book. At first, the Lily chapters were not that enjoyable as the Tearling chapters, as there was no apparent connection. I even got to the point of thinking that somehow two books had been mixed together in my ARC. But then it all made sense.

Furthermore, this is NOT a YA book. There is plenty of gore here, as well as other adult themes. This one definitely crosses into the adult genre, in my opinion. Which is not a bad thing, but do keep it in mind when you read this.

There are several questions left unanswered. I’m not going to spoil them, but gosh, it was frustrating!! I hope we get to know for good, as some hints have been dropped here and there (unless they’re red herrings). The ending raises a lot of questions about the Red Queen, about the sapphires, about the Crossing…

And now, I wait for the next book…

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)

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Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.”

-Taken from Goodreads

I love historical fiction as a genre, no matter the historical setting, and I have a strong interest in military history, particularly World Wars I and II. That being said, I felt that this book fell a little flat for me. I was expecting more from a book with such a hype.

The way this book was built made it clear that we weren’t seeing the whole scene. The setup for a twist was obvious from the start, and then, when that twist happened, my reaction was ‘Wait, is that it? Is that all of it?’. It was not as momentous as the setup led me to believe, and that frustrated me quite a bit. You see, I only kept reading in the hopes that the twist would be worth my while. It wasn’t.

Verity, our title character, annoyed me. I didn’t see what the point was to what she was doing. All that information that is given just went over my head. While reading, I was going, ‘Okay, but why are you telling me this?’. <spoiler> You see, there are many, many, many things that are quite specific to England. Therefore, if you’re not British, you’ll miss what the character is actually doing. </spoiler>.

At around 60%, there is a change in POV, that is quite an improvement. The reprieve was temporary for me, however. I found myself just skipping the pages to get to the end. And the end, when it finally came, was not as momentous as I thought it would be.

This is not, to sum it up, a WWII book that I would recommend.

This Shattered World (Starbound #2)

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This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.”

– Taken from Goodreads

First off, that is one gorgeous cover! It’s still the first week of the year and we already have a serious contender for most beautiful cover of 2015! I love how it reflects the characters background, with Jubilee actually dressed in spacial military garb and Flynn wearing an outfit that has seen better days and also carrying a weapon. I also love the colors and the title typography (not sure how I feel about the authors’ typography).

While this shares a plot arc with its predecessor, These Broken Stars, this is set in a completely different environment, with a different set of characters, and a different subplot. That said, I did miss some sort of recap from the first book, considering it came out a year ago and over 200 books were read between them. On the other hand, I do realize, given that this is about different characters etc., how hard it would be.

My memories from These Broken Stars are a little (okay, a lot) fuzzy, but I seem to remember it having more romance than this one. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I missed it, as Flynn and Lee have loads of chemistry together. A very positive thing here was the absence of a love triangle and of insta-love. In fact, there was a quote that I absolutely loved and that shows the lack of insta-love here:

“I don’t have the luxury of dealing with his hormones -or mine, for that matter. What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?”

While there was a slight shortage of romance, there was plenty of action. There was double-crossing, scapegoating, chases, kidnappings… Again, because I didn’t remember much of the first book, the plot wasn’t easy to figure out beforehand. So, if you want to keep things mysterious for this book, don’t go digging for a recap of These Broken Stars.

In terms of characters, I felt they were very nicely done. Lee was a strong heroine, of Asian descent, and she knew what it meant to be a part of a military organization, and reading her struggle with that was really nice. While Lee was world-weary and pragmatic, Flynn was more of a dreamer, a talker.

I was, for some unfathomable reason, expecting this to end in a more dramatic note. Then again, the main characters do not have the political significance of Lilac, from the first book. But I still felt it missed some sort of bang at the end.

Now I have to wait until December (Patience is not one of the many virtues that I possess *ahem*) for the end of this trilogy. Given what we have learned so far, it should be a blast!

365 Days Of YA Challenge!

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Somehow (sorry, don’t really remember how), this showed up on my Twitter:

365 Days of YA: A 2015 Reading Calendar! [INFOGRAPHIC]

(taken from here: http://www.epicreads.com/blog/365-days-of-ya-a-2015-reading-calendar-infographic/)

What is it? Well, it’s a YA book calendar. There are seasonal suggestions, weekly series suggestions and daily suggestions. Seriously, it’s staggering. And the amount of work that must’ve gone into it it’s likely massive. I mean, thinking up of 365 different YA books? Nope, not easy.

Then, twittering around, I found a fellow blogger (Literary Kate) that came up with the idea of turning this into a challenge! Brilliant!

So, the challenge (found here: http://literarykate.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/365-days-of-ya-reading-challenge/), means that I have to, every month, set up a TBR made up of books that appear in the book calendar.

For January, my TBR is:

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)

Illusions of Fate

I Was Here

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Trust Me, I'm Lying (Trust Me, #1)

2014 In Numbers

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Okay, so 2014 is officially over. This means I can take a look at some numbers…

This year, I’ve read 211 books in total, and that number can be broken down into:

54 stand alones
71 series started (oh boy… The sequels are going to kill me! Just kidding, just kidding)
83 sequels

(And no, those numbers do not add to 211. Why? Well, because there were 3 non-fiction books thrown in the mix as well.)

While I’ve started 71 series, I’ve finished at least 25 series, which is not too shabby, methinks.

The books that really stood out for me this year were:

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #3)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)

Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming

Cover Reveal: Queen Of Tomorrow

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THE OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL FOR:

QUEEN OF TOMORROW by Sherry D. Ficklin

 

QUEEN OF TOMORROW by Sherry D. Ficklin

A Stolen Empire Novel, Book 2
The Queen Arrives on July 14, 2015
Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things start to look up. As a new day dawns, Catherine thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces that try to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Catherine soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia and her new empire. While navigating the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.
When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, Catherine glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it vanish at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Catherine must sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

ADD QUEEN OF TOMORROW TO YOUR TBR LIST!

Queen of Tomorrow
READ THE FIRST BOOK TODAY:
Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophia will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.
In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

 

PURCHASE QUEEN OF SOMEDAY TODAY!
WATCH THE OFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER:

ABOUT SHERRY D. FICKLIN


Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

 

She is the author of The Gods of Fate Trilogy now available from Dragonfly Publishing. Her previously self-published novel After Burn: Military Brats has been acquired by Harlequin and will be released in 2015 with a second book in that series to follow. Her newest YA steampunk novel, EXTRACTED: The Lost Imperials book 1, co-written with Tyler H. Jolley is now available everywhere books are sold and her newest YA novel, Losing Logan, is due for release in 2014 from Clean Teen Publishing.






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