Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 1 of 86)

BOOK REVIEW: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi

BOOK REVIEW: A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani ChokshiA Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2)
by Roshani Chokshi
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

 
“Vicious and sweet,” said Vikram, shaking his head. “Beastly girl.”
“You like me, don’t lie,” I teased.
“I couldn’t lie if I tried,” he said quietly.

 

It just so happens that I was given this ARC by the publisher back in December….I just was way too tired and ‘out of it’ to truly enjoy the lush story-telling of this novel. So every time I would pick up this beauty to read it, I’d get distracted or start to fall asleep…on the prologue. It was clear to me I wasn’t going to be able to read this book while in the height of my pregnancy. I did, however, get to finish it two days before I went into labor! So here I am, finally writing a review for this crazy, intricate book.

 

The problem with guilt was not how it attacks the present, but how it stained the past.

 

I can’t say there weren’t moments where I was scratching my head-because I did that a lot. But it was never in a bad way. This author, from what I’ve always heard, writes in a deeply poetic way that you just need to be in the mindset for-I definitely gathered this from the moment I started. This isn’t your average YA fantasy-I feel it’s a bit deeper than that. Keep that in mind when choosing to start this novel-it completely changes the tone of both the book and how you feel whilst enjoying this story.

 

“You’re a monster,” she said.
I secured the necklace. “We all have to be something.”

 

When I think back on why I enjoyed this book so much (I read it almost a month ago) it always goes back to the characters. I had heard so many good things from my close friends that loved this book about the witty Vikram and I took that with a grain of salt-I mean, no book boy is ever really as good as people say (Okay, whatever…I lie, but still-everyone’s perception is different) and I almost always feel a tad different. Now, whether that means I loved them more or less is dependent upon the book-obviously.

 

Vikram had tried bribing them. At one point, he offered Gauri’s hand in marriage, which earned him two sharp jabs in the ribs. For equality’s sake, he offered his own hand in marriage, but that ended all bargaining negotiations on the spot.

 

So, when thinking of this story, did I love Vikram as much as others? Absolutely. Did I obsess over him as much as my friends? Perhaps not-but he became an instant BBF all the same. Ha, just goes to show I’ll never change. I had thought he was supposed to be tortured and somewhat sullen, almost an enemies to lovers type deal, but turns out that wasn’t the case. She hated him, but he was just cautious of her-you know, because she is from a different kingdom and all. No, he was a sarcastic prince that made me smile from ear to ear, laugh at the most random moments….did I mention I have a prince fetish? Oops.

 

“I prefer the poisoned food.”
“You may be rewarded yet,” he said. He popped a handful of pomegranate seeds in his mouth. He froze, some of the juice spilling from his lips. “Oh no,” he breathed, clutching his chest.
“Vikram!” I screamed.
He held up his hand. “I meant to start with mangos.”

 

So it’s extremely obvious that this book wasn’t so much about the plot, for me, but the characters. It was a bit obscure, in my opinion, so I took solace in the characters’ hilarious banter and romantic interactions. Vikram and Gauri had the best banter I’ve read in a while, holding up to some of my favorite bantering couples-it made this long book seem like it was over in a minute.

 

“My apologies. Is it your bellicose-let-me-drain-your-blood face? Could you not master an expression that looked less like an outraged cat? ”
“Better than steepling my hands and looking like an overgrown spider.”
“An overgrown spider who is rarely wrong.”
“My bellicose-let-me-drain-your-blood face has saved your life.”
“And this overgrown-spider pose is about to save yours.”

 

But Gauri is probably the base of why this book was so alluring-Vikram opposed her and was sly as can be…but I think he was much more tolerable in the beginning of their uneasy alliance (and nicer sooner) whereas Gauri made it harder. She was constantly on alert, always threatening him and, in her mind, thinking of ways to be rid of him (ohhh but he was too cunning). This added an extra layer of animosity between the two, adding tension and a romantic build up that pays off greatly in the end.

 

“I thought you were going to stay away from me,” she said.
He looked at her, this princess who seemed so dangerously sharp that he might cut himself just brushing against her shadow. “I don’t know how.”

 

And while the characters were the main draw to the story, for me, the story wasn’t without its addictive elements, as well-obviously. My biggest problem stems from the games. I do agree with my friend, Brittney, that this almost has a Caraval type feel. And while that’s fine, I don’t know that I was in the mood for games that aren’t in fact…games.

 

She laughed. And Vikram, who had never wanted for his life to slow down but only to move faster and faster to the next thing, found himself craving to live in this second.

 

Whatever. Call me a square, but I love structured, clear cut games and tournaments in books. I don’t like when the games aren’t clear and when they don’t have clear cut rules, winners, prizes etc. etc. Or, I don’t know, I love the life and death games (Sorry. I’ll just always be a HG type girl…). In this story, I felt the games, and the plot, for that matter, were a bit obscure. And, frankly, I don’t always love obscure.

As was the case with Caraval, though, I did enjoy it here-I just don’t know that I expected it-Which, hey, isn’t this book’s fault, now is it??

One final thing-I’m not a fan of one person being a certain pov and the other being in a totally different pov. I don’t know why it bothers me, but every time it switched I thought about it, and I just don’t like this minuscule distraction-I’m not sure what the point is, but for some reason it happens a lot in stories. I’m one of the few who can’t see past it. I still loved the story, it just served as a distraction I didn’t love.

 

“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash,” he said. “Sometimes it means taking whatever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving out your life with the pieces you’re given.”

 

A wonderful story full of twists and turns, games that leave your mind reeling, banter and a slow burn romance that is totally worth the wait, and writing that immediately enthralls you, this story is a winner. It’s hard to say whether this book will be for everyone, but its promising enough I would suggest everyone give it a try. The characters are worth every page you choose to read, and, frankly, Vikram is worth more than that. I hate that it took me so long to read this ARC, but I’m just glad I’m fulfilling my duty. This book was worth the wait, and I’m glad I can voice just how fun it was-this is not one I’ll soon forget.

BOOK REVIEW: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

BOOK REVIEW: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee AhdiehFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
by Renee Ahdieh
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

**ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review**

 At that, the Wolf started to laugh. It began softly, like the rumble of a drum. Then it rose to a steadying rain. It wasn’t a rich kind of laughter. Its sound didn’t fill Mariko’s ears with its honeyed resonance. But it was clear and deep, much like the color of his eyes.
And a part of her couldn’t help but think-were he another boy, in another time, in another place-Mariko would have liked to hear Okami’s laughter.
Would have enjoyed being the cause of it.

Renee Ahdieh stole a place in my heart long ago with Khalid and Shazi’s story. Their love enraptured me from the start, weaving deep into my soul with each passing page. Their love overcame so many obstacles, took leaps and bounds through story-telling and a deeper understanding of a curse that could not be controlled. And now, Renee has captured my heart again through Mariko’s perilous journey to infiltrate the deadly Black Clan not as a woman…but as a man. One of their own.

“Never doubt. Never fear. Never overthink.” Okami watched her as he spoke. As though he was searching for something beyond her. “That is the only way to stay alive.”

When I saw that this amazing author was coming out with a book that had components of Mulan-or hey, even just that this author was producing another masterpiece-I was ecstatic. Also, have you SEEN that cover? It’s just so pretty I can’t stand it. But with this lovely book I saw something that made my heart sink-it came out after my baby was supposed to be born. Luckily, Penguin was more than willing to help me out and get my copy to me early-But, as fate would have it, I also had my baby girl early. Sigh. I had 50% of FITM done when I went into labor and I figured I’d have no chance of finishing it, at that point. How sad is it that when I woke up in pain and just KNEW I was going to be having her that day, my first two thoughts were this:

A) ARE YOU SERIOUS-I can’t go see Beauty and the Beast tonight in IMAX ARGH

And

B) Omg my book. I’ll never finish my beautiful book that Penguin sent me

Priorities. Seriously.

But that just goes to show you how amazing this book was-After a couple weeks of figuring out my little girl’s schedule, I persevered and finished the rest in one afternoon-It’s just a totally unputdownable book.

So here I am, making time to write a review for a book that totally deserves it. With rich story-telling, deep, imaginative characters, and vivid world-building (at least to me), I couldn’t help but fall for each and every character…even those that were not so kind to our Mariko.

Each new day brought new struggles, causing loss of breath for every moment I thought she would be caught by the too-wise Okami (Aka The Wolf), by the antagonistic Ren. And yet…I also held my breath for different reasons.

 “You don’t believe your great love is out there, simply waiting to be found?”
“Do you?” Mariko pitched her voice low. Graveled with disbelief.
Ranmaru’s broad lips spread into an easy smile.” I believe the stars align so that souls can find one another. Whether they are meant to be souls in love or souls in life remains to be seen.”

Okami always knew Mariko was different, that something was off about her-Too soft, too green to be what ‘he’ claimed to be. So Okami was always watching, taunting, waiting for their newest ‘recruit’ to make a mistake. But as he gets closer to Mariko, he begins to feel protective, to almost like him/her…yet all the while Okami feels something is off-and he will find out what, no matter the cost.

Is it bad that all I wanted was for him to find out? To see that the boy he has been teaching and bestowing wisdom upon was actually a girl…a girl he could have feelings for? I held my breath at every twist and turn, just pining for her to make a mistake so I could see them kiss or SOMETHING.

I will admit that this part of the book did baffle me a bit. Just like in Mulan, I have to wonder how you can reconcile feelings for a gender swap, just like that (Meaning, in Mulan, he never knew she was a girl, then all of a sudden he did….and then she saves them all yadda yadda and he knows he loves her, in the end. Just…how?). He knew she was different…and yet he didn’t know to what extent. I won’t spoil anything, but this did give me pause…because I just can’t help but think about these things.

 It was a mistake. All of it. For as long as she’d known him, Mariko had despised the very idea of this boy.
But the truth of him?
The truth was not quite as simple. It was a silent entreaty, A wordless plea.
Don’t stop.

And because of my extreme love for these two people who had no idea they had major tension brewing between them, I forgot to mention the best part! This is most definitely an enemies-at-first-site deal at the beginning-a hate to (maybe) love thing. Mariko despises the lazy Okami, and he finds her to be a liar, an extra burden. It was comical and sweet and…ugh. I just love this book so much, CAN’T YOU TELL??

In order to hate, one must first love.

I’m truly sorry for those who like my reviews and, quite frankly, the publisher because this review is all over the place. But, hey, so is my brain-it might be for a while. I had to write something, though, or I’d have gone crazy knowing I didn’t do my part.

So, for those of you excited about this book…you should be. And for those on the fence? STOP. Don’t be. It’s an absolutely amazing story and this author knows what she’s doing. Don’t doubt her. Just sit, wait, and grab this book the minute it releases. I truly don’t see how this could disappoint…I can’t wait to read it again and again-it was a true beauty-I’m only sorry I had to read it in two parts, two weeks apart. And that my review isn’t what I normally would be able to write. Thank you again to Penguin for the opportunity to read and review this early.

 

Finally Back to Normal! *RE-POST with missing baby pic!*

Things are a changin’…but we’re all still here

Hey Guys,

It seems as if we’ve all disappeared, doesn’t it? Well, we have, in a way. But I wanted to write a post to let you all know that we’re still here, and we aren’t going anywhere. I will admit my priorities have changed-my little baby girl was born on March 18 (10 days early) and I didn’t get to finish a lot that I had planned to complete before little Aubrey Rose came. In fact, I even had to have an emergency C-Section after a full day of labor and an hour and a half of pushing. So…I have a LOT more recovery time to ‘look forward to’ than I previously planned.

Alas, as fate had it, I wasn’t meant to finish those things. For example:

-I have multiple ARCs that I needed to post reviews for (and, you know, finish).

-I visited an all time favorite author and had all my books signed, so I have yet to post pics and shout out to her. (I plan to do this next week since it’s been forever-sigh).

-And I also have a blog t-shirt that was sent to me that I need to also give a shout out for…

and I have done absolutely none of these things. It bothers me more than any of you could know, because I hate fading away while other members on the blog flourish. But, again, as fate (and life) would have it, they have all but faded as well, haven’t they?

But I’m writing this post to clear that up-

First, meet little Aubrey-

 photo IMG_1751_zpshuihheof.jpg

 

<3<3<3

I have a new little girl, but I plan to post my old reviews I hadn’t posted, and I plan to post my ARC reviews that I owe. And, I mean, just because I’m extremely tired doesn’t mean I can’t read anymore-In fact, I’ve started reading again this week and it’s an amazing feeling. I even wrote a review for Flame in the Mist (ARC from Penguin) today and plan on posting it Thursday. I plan to keep up with my reviewing (seeing as I’m at home for a bit), even though it won’t be three reviews a week, like before. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I am still here. Don’t forget me!

And Anna-she had faded for a bit, but after the birth of my girl and Jen’s untimely leave of absence, Anna is coming back full force and with some great ideas to fill the gaps that you might notice for a bit-One even includes my favorite thing of all time-QUOTES!!!! Come on now…..Check back on Fridays to see this wonderful-ness!

Brittney-She’s new, but she’s a great addition to the blog-She has so many reviews to post that I can’t even count them-that’s just a catch up game 😀 And she has continued posting-she rocks!

And my darling original blogging buddy, Jen-She is going through a rough time and has chosen to focus on her family. I love her for it. I respect it…

My apologies to Victoria Schwab for my delayed post, and apologies to the T-Shirt company that so graciously sent me a wonderful shirt for free with my blog logo (and a quote-I mean, duh, it’s me we’re talking about here)-I have just dropped the ball like no other.

Thanks for reading my ramblings…. and I’ll see you soon, then 😛

A Special Welcome To Our Newest Star-Crossed Lady!

Hi Guys!

I hope all is well. As you all know, my posts have been far and few between-It’s been torture for me to know I am reading all these amazing books but am just TOO TIRED to write the reviews they all deserve. But, as you all ALSO know, here soon it will all be worth it-Our baby girl is due March 28th and I couldn’t be more excited-so just stick with me guys, I WILL be back!

But this post isn’t about me…it’s about an amazing reviewer I met on Goodreads last year! Her name is Brittney and she is one of the sweetest, most sincere girls I’ve ever met. We text almost every day and she never ceases to make me laugh-even on my worst days. Her reviews are fun, thoughtful, and you can really tell just how much she loves reading all the books we know and love-and then some! Her passion shines through, both in person and on her reviews, and I couldn’t be happier that she wanted to contribute to making this blog the best it can be.

As you can see on her bio, she loves losing herself in the fantasy world-princes and castles and snarky men….I mean, it’s like she’s my long lost sister! But, even better than that, she LOVES a good bad boy. Seriously. More than once I will make her read a favorite series of mine that she has yet to devour, and I’ll think she will choose my guy…but almost always she picks that damned bad boy that I forget even exists….she’s quirky like that. 😛

So, without further adieu, I introduce the beautiful, Brittney!! I think you are all going to ADORE her.

Until another time, my lovelies <3

Chelsea

BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie WestBy Your Side by Kasie West
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

 

Ahhh I really don’t want to write this review. I mean, seriously, who wants to write a negative review about one of their favorite writers, one of those authors who never ceases to make you happy and put a smile on your face. Well, sometimes its necessary-especially when this is one out of three of your top anticipated releases for 2017. And, might I mention, two so far have been absolute TURDS. Alas, Kasie West was no exception.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this book was so drab, so dull, but I think it has a lot to do with underdevelopment. Undeveloped plot, underdeveloped characters, underwhelming ending…it was all a sad, endless loop of what could have been. I’ve read KW books before where the plot was kind of…hmmm….not for me? A bit boring? But never once have her characters suffered and been quite so cardboard cut out as this.

He laughed. “I’ll work on my poker face.”
“You should come over today after school.”
“To your house?”
“Yes, my brother is in town. I think you’d like him.”
“I don’t like anyone, remember?”
I took another small step forward. “I don’t think that’s true.”
“I do like distractions,” he said.

There was just something so, I don’t know, off about the characters in this one. I loved them, to an extent, but every time I thought we were really getting somewhere with them, it was pulled back in-Kind of like the sun on a cloudy day, as a kid. You would see the sun peeking out, teasing you, only for it to immediately disappear and leave you aching for its presence even more enthusiastically. The characters were like that-especially Dax.

“You’ve definitely been added to the archive the last couple of weeks.”
“What archive?” he asked.
“The happy memories one. The one I’ll draw from in my dark times,” I said quietly.
A smile stole away his hard expression before he wiped it off and pretended I hadn’t seen it. But I had. And it got added to the bank.

Dax was just prime Chelsea BBF material. He was rude, sarcastic, a bit on the side of tortured…I truly thought he was a 100% win. Turns out? The author truly didn’t explore him the way she could have. After the library debacle, I truly figured we’d get so much more out of our leading man, but instead, the plot took an odd turn with our main character, Autumn.

I stopped. “When I feel trapped, anxious, I think about the times I’m the happiest.”
He dared take his eyes off the dark lot in front of him to level his gaze on me. The intensity in them took my breath away. Then he was focused again out the window. I almost apologized, thinking I had hit a nerve with that suggestion. But I held my tongue.

We know, at the beginning of the book, she has a huge crush on some dude (and he might like her, too, GASP!). And after the library, we see him kind of resurface. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I didn’t like where the story went. It was a tad contrived. Maybe not contrived, more pushy. More plot device-y. I think it could have been okay, but it made Autumn even more reserved about liking who she actually liked and it seems like that made me roll my eyes quite a bit more than anything else did. Oh! Yes, I rolled my eyes, QUITE A LOT.

What made me roll my eyes almost as much (maybe the most?) were the constant flashbacks. Like….okay. We get it. She has a life and she loves her life. But…just…argh. Why why whyyyyy the always looking back?? Couldn’t there have been a little more set up and a lot less ‘fade from the present to make these moments longer’? I just loathe flashbacks, and in all that time spent in the library? I think she has at least one flashback per chapter. Did I mention I hate flashbacks? *Cringes inwardly*

There was definitely a lot of cute that can be taken from this story, especially near the end. But, come on, there was so much more that could have happened to make this story unforgettable. In fact, I had forgotten 90% of this book until I began writing this review. Even worse-I forget I’ve even read it until I scroll down my feed. So, take what you will from this review, just know that it is, in my opinion, by far the weakest Kasie West book to date. Meh.

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