Category: Giveaway (page 1 of 31)

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian

I’m so excited to be a part of the Ember Queen tour! So check out my review below, along with some of my favorite quotes. And enter in a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy! ♥

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura SebastianEmber Queen Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling series "made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir" (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo's blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.

The Kaiserin's strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart's sister.

Review:

Ember Queen was a beautiful weaving together of friendship, trust, tears, love, and sacrifice.  This series completely enchanted me and I devoured it in no time at all.  I fell in love with these characters.  They held my heart in the palm of their hands during their action packed journey!  So if you’re a fan of young adult and fantasy, definitely add this series to your tbr.  Here are some of my favorite things about this final book…..

 

✮Sacrifice and Tears:
Oh, Ember Queen made me cry.  Not only was life and war brutal and unfair.  But the way some of the relationships played out tore my heart apart.  These characters became real to me.  I felt everything they did and I was with them every step of the way.  So it was impossible for them not to mark my heart with their emotions.  It was impossible not to find tears in my eyes or falling down my face.  The sacrifice and certain moments in this story made me cry sad and happy tears.  It was tragically and beautifully emotional.  I loved it!

 

✮Friendship:
Friendship has played such a strong part in this trilogy.  And in Ember Queen, it got even more complex.  There was hurt because of decisions that were made.  There was deep love between some of the friendships.  And there was trust threaded through some of my favorite friendships.  Through it all, it was fascinating watching how they protected each other.  For those around Theo, my favorites were definitely Søren, Artemisia, Blaise, and Heron.  Plus some from the previous books and ones we met in Ember Queen…but those names I’m keeping a secret.

 

✮Trust:
Just like sacrifice played a huge part, so did trust.  In this final book, trust was put on the line and tested.  And some of the things that happened, oh, I didn’t even see coming.  I felt the knife to my heart, right along with Theo.  But it all made for an exciting journey, plus I loved getting to see exactly who we could and couldn’t trust as things unfolded.  It left me always wanting to know what happened next.  So while there was tension, fighting, politics, and strategizing, there was always trust.  And sometimes it took my breath away.

 

✮Love:
I don’t feel like I can say much about this, because of spoilers.  But just know that the love in this trilogy was epic, heart felt and I was rooting for it from that very first book!

 

I absolutely loved this series and can’t recommend it enough.  I binged this trilogy in a matter of days.  And that never happens with me.  I’m usually a much slower reader.  So now I can’t wait to see whatever Laura Sebastian releases in the future, she’s definitely made a lifelong fan!

 

 

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Favorite Quotes:

“I died the Queen of Peace, and peace died with me,” my mother told me. “But you are the Queen of Flame and Fury, and you will set their world on fire.”

✮✩✮

When the world turns on its head and I’m not sure of anything, I’m sure of you. No matter where we are or who we fight against, I am always fighting for you.

✮✩✮

I survived for so long by not trusting anyone. It was a necessary lesson to learn, and I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t learned it, but now I don’t think I can make it to the end of this war without trust. There is nothing I wouldn’t trust Artemisia, Heron, and Blaise with—not my life and not the future of Astrea, if it comes to that.
The three of them exchange looks before nodding.
Yana Crebesti,” they say.

✮✩✮

Suddenly I miss Søren so much that it feels like a dagger between my ribs, twisting and carving away at my flesh. I don’t know if it’s the hopelessness and uncertainty of this looming battle or if it’s merely being here in this unfamiliar place, alone, but I miss him all the same.

✮✩✮

Even if we have the numbers to win this battle, we won’t do it without casualties. Their blood will be on my hands. And I don’t even know their names.

✮✩✮

“There’s no shame in breaking,” I tell him. “Gods know I did often enough. You just have to put yourself back together again.”

 

 

About Laura Sebastian:

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April 24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).

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Giveaway:

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Resistance (The Union #5) by T.H. Hernandez

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Resistance (The Union #5) by T.H. Hernandez

I’m so excited to be on The Resistance Tour! In case you don’t know, The Union Series is one of my favorite series ever! So check out my 5 star review of the latest book and enter in a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Resistance (The Union #5) by T.H. HernandezThe Resistance (The Union #5)
by T.H. Hernandez
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Fighting back is twice as hard when battling on two fronts.

Living in an encampment in the Ruins, life is harsh for most Unis in the Resistance, but for Cyrus and the other Ruins survivors, it's just more of the same. While training for their ultimate mission to take down the Uprising, tragedy strikes, turning Evan's and Cyrus's world upside down. Before they can recover, they discover someone in their ranks is working against them.

Facing tougher odds than they ever imagined, the group realizes the only hope they have of saving the world they know is to find help. When no one is above suspicion, even accomplishing everyday tasks is fraught with danger, but seeking out reinforcements could mean the end of the Resistance and all of them along with it.

Review:

The Resistance was an action packed ride from start to finish.  All of our favorites were back and the stakes were even higher.  With fabulous twists and turns, and characters that continually pulled at my heart, this book sailed right onto my favorites list!  If you’re a fan of young adult, dystopian and romance then you definitely need to add this series to your tbr!

I take one step forward, then another, heading to an unknown future, fear spiraling through me, on the verge of twisting me apart.

 

✮ Twists and Turns:

“It scares me.”
I reach out and locate her hand in the darkness, giving it a gentle squeeze. “What does?”
“I don’t know what’s real anymore.”
Leaning forward, I find her lips, devouring them with a searing kiss. “You and me. We’re real. That’ll never change.”

I absolutely loved how throughout this book, so many of the puzzle pieces were falling into place.  It made me feel confident with where the story was going.  I should have known better, since moments started making me gasp out loud.  My mind was blown.  Multiple times.  I had some guesses that were sooo wrong and there were twists I didn’t even see coming.  Looking back, the clues were there, I just thought they were leading me elsewhere. The Resistance unfolded so effortlessly and the unexpected twists made for a fun and exciting read!

 

✮ An Emotional and Action Packed Journey:

“Cyrus!” Evan yells as if she’s entered a tunnel . “Oh my god! Cyrus!” Cool hands cradle my face that feel like ice against my raging skin. “Cyrus.” One sob follows another as she continues to yell my name, softer and softer, as if she’s fading away.

One of my favorite things about this series, is how emotional moments and action packed ones were seamlessly intertwined.  With love, family and friendship splashed across the pages, it made for an emotional story.  The characters became a part of my heart and soul.  And since that first book, I have felt everything they have felt.  So it wasn’t a surprise that I found tears pouring down my face multiple times.  And once those tears would dry, then I’d find myself with sweaty palms.  I was scared to death over the fate of those I loved, since there were so many moments where I was on the edge of my seat.  This book impossible to put down!

 

✮ The Heart of This Series:

“All the shit we’ve weathered , we’re still us, Ev. We go from one disaster to another, but we never lose who we are. I’m sorry I forgot that. No matter what still lies ahead for us, that’s all I need. Just… you and me.”
“Always,” I say, squeezing his hand. “That will never change.”

The hurdles thrown in their way seemed insurmountable at times.  Yet these characters, who I love with my whole heart, kept pushing forward.  Even when the odds were stacked against them. And that’s because they have all grown so much since they first appeared in this series.  Especially Evan and Cyrus.  Their moments together were powerful and I loved how they’ve learned to communicate. Even if it was hard at times.  It made my heart so happy watching the two of them be such a formidable team.  And when you throw in the rest of their group of friends and family, they were a true team.  I loved how they worked together.  I couldn’t be prouder of all of them!

 
When our lips meet it’s a sultry dance of desire, forgiveness, and undying love.

I loved The Resistance with my whole heart!  With a heroine I’d love to have by my side, a book boyfriend I want to steal from the pages and a storyline that had me turning the pages faster, this book was such a huge win!  Add in the fact that there was a strong redemption theme in this story, how could I not love every single thing about it?  Okay maybe I didn’t completely love Bryce.  Yet.  But that yet is all I’m admitting lol!  So definitely add this series and book to your tbr, it’s a must read!

 

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 
 

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About T.H. Hernandez:

T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.

She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

 

Giveaway:

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RELEASE DAY & GIVEAWAY: The Resistance (The Union #5) by T.H. Hernandez

I’m so excited to help participate in the release day blitz because in case you didn’t know, The Union Series is one of my favorite series EVER!  Romance, action, twists, friendship and political intrigue fill the pages and each book is impossible to put down!  If you haven’t read the first book yet, you can grab it while it’s free here.

So check out what this series is about and enter in a fabulous giveaway!  Enjoy ♥

The Resistance
T.H. Hernandez
(The Union Series, #5)
Publication date: February 25th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

After the Union is invaded by the Uprising, life for Evan and her friends becomes even more dire. If they have any hopes of saving the world they know, they’re going to need help. And it looks like there may be someone already out there trying to accomplish the same thing.

Now living in an encampment in the Ruins, life is hard for most Unis in the Resistance. For Cyrus and the other Ruins survivors, it’s just more of the same.

While they train for their ultimate mission, tragedy strikes, upending everything once again. Complicating their plans, someone in their midst is working against them. Evan, Cyrus, and the rest of the Resistance need to locate reinforcements to help them bring down the Uprising while rooting out the traitor. With trust at an all-time low, no one is above suspicion as danger walks among them.

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Excerpt:

Draya stands in the middle of the holding tent that’s served as her residence the past couple of weeks. Her long wavy hair is piled high on her head in messy disarray as she directs her unblinking stare in my direction. Not for the first time this morning, I regret agreeing to participate. But since Draya and I are the only people in camp who were present during my interrogations, I let the others talk me into it. After all, I’m the one she tortured, the one who admitted to blowing up their camps—which we did do—along with a number of things we didn’t do. And if we didn’t do them, she either made it up to throw me, or someone else out there is working against the Uprising, meaning we may have allies.

“So…what’s going on?” Draya asks, tilting her head to the side as if we’re inviting her to a picnic.

Mateo’s dark curly hair brushes the ceiling of the squat tent that’s barely tall enough for him to stand upright. A breeze from behind flutters the hem of my shirt, alerting me that the last member of our leadership council has arrived.

“Bring me up to speed,” Jack says.

“We waited for you,” Rainey says, her normally raspy voice even more so at this early hour.

Jack trains his attention on Draya for a few beats, assessing the situation as only a cop can.

Draya crosses her arms as her mouth twists into an arrogant grin. “Anyone care to enlighten me to the purpose of this party?”

“We need information,” I say. “When I was in your…custody, you asked me about attacks on the Uprising.”

Her bright blue eyes hold a defiance, sharp enough to slice through bone.

“I thought you said she was willing to cooperate,” I say to Cyrus, never taking my attention from the enemy before me.

Her head tilts in the other direction. “You haven’t asked me a question yet.”

Rainey moves her five-foot-nothing self forward until she’s in Draya’s personal space. Even without the scar cutting across her cheek to her jaw, she exudes power and authority.

Draya blinks and takes a step back then rolls her eyes. “I doubt I can tell you anything you don’t already know.”

“Let’s start with details of the attacks on the Uprising,” I say.

Her brows nosedive. “You’d have more information on that than me.”

“Just…” I let out a frustrated sigh. “Just tell us what happened from your perspective.”

She snorts and her gaze sweeps the rest of the leadership. “You don’t know, do you? Well, now, isn’t this interesting?”

“Draya,” Cyrus’s warns.

“I said I’d help, and I will, but I want something in exchange.”

Mateo crosses his arms with a relaxed posture that says he’s bored. The way he can project anything he wants is just one of the things that makes him such an important part of our leadership team. After spending years as a mercenary, we were able to recruit him to our cause. “You’re in no position to negotiate.”

Draya taps her finger against her chin. “Oh, I think I am. I have something you want, and I want out of this tent. I’ve been stuck in here for two weeks.”

My body trembles as if the ground beneath my feet is quaking. “Oh really?” The words fly from my mouth coated in the venom of my rage. “Your conditions are rough? How are you managing to get by without all the torture? That must really suck.” Cyrus puts a hand on my shoulder, but I shake him off. “And sleeping on a cot instead of a concrete floor in your own vomit and shit? Wow, that must be nearly intolerable.”

Some of the storm clouds brewing in Draya’s eyes dissipate before her shoulders slump, almost imperceptibly. “Fine. It was little things at first, like supply trucks missing inventory. We thought the drivers were making money on the side. But after investigating…we determined it wasn’t them.”

Investigating my ass. They probably tortured them to the brink of death only to find out they were innocent. Well, innocent of the crimes they were accused of anyway.

“Then a high-ranking Uprising leader disappeared.” Her gaze drifts to Rainey then Cyrus. “But after we’d lost a couple of commanders, it wasn’t completely unexpected. There was talk about the disappearances being connected.” Pressing her lips together, she glances at me. “That’s why I had to push you so hard about Cy’s location. A few days after the camp attacks, the leader’s body was found, throat slit, a hundred miles from where he was last seen.”

I glance up at Cyrus wondering if he knows about this. He gives me a quick shake of his head. “Go on,” he says to Draya.

“We were only days away from striking the Union when the camps were attacked. It was a huge setback, but they’d already placed so many people in the Union that they quickly came up with a backup plan.” She flicks something off her pant leg. “And you know the rest.”

“That’s a lot of superficial information,” Mateo says. “We need dates, locations, a list of everything that was taken from the supply trucks, where the leader was last seen, where he was found…”

Draya’s chin tilts up as a smirk tugs at the corners of her mouth. “I take it you don’t need details on the camp attacks.”

Mateo’s chest expands with each terse breath.

“Didn’t think so,” she mumbles but spends the next couple of hours answering questions. Unfortunately, she doesn’t provide much in the way of concrete details, something we desperately need. If we have any hope of taking down the Uprising, we’re going to need help.

 

About T.H. Hernandez:

T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.

She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

Giveaway:

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#YourNextBBF & Giveaway: Becks from Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

#YourNextBBF & Giveaway: Becks from Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman

I’m so excited to join along with the Meet Your Next Book Boyfriend Tour!  So check out my interview with Cookie O’Gorman below!  See why I can forever gush about Becks from ADORKABLE by Cookie O’Gorman.  I’ve listed some of my favorite quotes, which I’ve re-read an embarrassing number of times lol.  And there’s a fabulous giveaway you can enter too!  Good luck! ♥

 

About Adorkable:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz. Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take. Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast. Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties. The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless. This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question: Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

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Interview With Cookie O’Gorman:

✮ What’s one thing you hope readers will take away from ADORKABLE?
I hope readers take a lot away from ADORKABLE!  I hope it gives them a moment to laugh and smile, swoon and sigh–and geek out lol!

 

✮ What was your inspiration for this book?
Honestly, I was inspired to write ADORKABLE because I wanted to write a fun, funny, swoon-worthy YA romance!  And because I’m a dork and love other dorks :).  Also, I just wanted to put something positive into a world with a lot of sadness.  We need more happily-ever-afters!

 

✮ What is something that we might not know about Becks?
Hmm…Becks’s full name is Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent.  He loves soccer and is amazing at it.  He has a big, tight-knit, awesome family (youngest of five brothers, you guys).  He gives the best hugs on the planet, and he’d do anything for his best friend, Sal.  She’s his girl <3.  He’s also super hot, smart and kind.  And for the thing you might not know: He’s my ideal book boyfriend, and I’m basically in love with him.

 

✮ What was your favorite quality about Becks?
Ugh, that is so hard!  Can I just cheat and say ‘everything’ ha?  There is so so much to love about Becks…but if I had to pick my favorite quality…I guess I would say how kind/loving he is to Sally.  He really is her best friend (and soulmate).

 

✮ Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?
My favorite scene to write was definitely the scene in Becks’s bedroom where they do the PDA lessons–and the shaving scene at the party *swoons*.  I’m sorry; I couldn’t choose just one!

 

✮ Did you know how this book was going to end when you started writing?
Yes!!!  Though I did have to re-write it several times before I got it just right.

 

✮ And who is your most recent book boyfriend?
My most recent book boyfriend who I love is Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses series!  Gah, love him!

 

Why I love Becks:

Becks was Sally’s BFF.  He was beautiful, a player, a jock and everyone easily loved him.  Including myself.  He was one of my favorite things about this book!  And a lot of it had to do with the way he looked at Sally, the way he claimed her as his, the way he protected her, his jealousy, oh my gosh to even the way he touched her.  It ALL made my heart beat faster. 

But I had no clue what he was thinking some of the times, since we only got Sally’s POV.  Becks would say and do these things that implied he liked Sally more than just friends.  But then again, he was just playing a part of being her fake boyfriend.  And his words would reinforce that.  But when he suggested that they should start practicing touching….oh my goodness you guys….I had so many butterflies.

Becks conquered my heart so easily.  He stole my breath.  He made me fall in love.  He made me laugh and smile.  He was everything.  And you all definitely need to meet him!

 

Quotes That Make Me Happy:

Ducking, he placed a lingering kiss on the spot right below my ear. The move made my hand shoot out to grip his jersey. Becks laughed silently, little puffs of air hitting my neck, as I shivered.

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

“But Becks,” she whined, “I don’t understand. Why her?”
“Nothing to understand really,” he said, smiling down at me. “Sal’s my girl. Always has been.”
As he squeezed my hip, I swear I stopped breathing.

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

He was just acting, I reminded myself. But he’d sounded sincere, my heart insisted. And that kiss…

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

With every pass of his mouth, I became a little more his.

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

Even if he still just saw me as Sal, his friend who was a great girl but not girlfriend material, the thing I’d take with me, the feeling I’d bottle up and keep in my pocket if I could, was this: Becks kissed me like he meant it.

✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮✩✮

“What’s your dream girl like?”
“Freckles,” he said, not missing a beat.
“What?” I scoffed, secretly pleased. I had freckles! “Way to narrow the field, Baldwin.”
“You didn’t let me finish.” Eyes moving over me with a focus that made my breath catch, he said, “Cute freckles, wavy brown hair, about five-six, hazel eyes. Naturally beautiful.”
“Becks—”
“She’s smart.” He talked right over me. “Can quote Star Wars, curses like a German sailor when she’s mad. Someone who makes me laugh out loud, a girl who’s herself and lets me be me. Sounds pretty great, right?” I stared at him. A moment , two hours, I didn’t know. He’d sounded sincere, but he couldn’t be. I wasn’t that lucky.

 

About Cookie O’Gorman:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas.

Connect with Cookie:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway:

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BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Queen’s Assassin (Queen’s Secret #1) by Melissa de la CruzThe Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the countrythey are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia's deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he's the Guild's most dangerous member and the Queen's one and only assassin. He's also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow--to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts--to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she'll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they're forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they'll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they'll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen's Secret series.

Review:

Guys, I really, really, really liked this book. Like I finished it in three sittings over two days and I can’t get it out of my head. Shadow and Cal have made themselves at home and now I’m desperate to find out what’s next, which is TOO FAR away.

Quick note before I start gushing – this book probably won’t be for everyone. I’m already seeing some mixed reviews and I’m sure there will be more. There’s a lot of historical backstory and there’s a some tropes happening in this book. But let me be clear – I didn’t care. Tropes are tropes and we all have ones we love. I adored the main characters and was invested in their struggles.  I also think there’s enough differentiating factors to make this feel unique in its own right. So there, now moving on. Mild spoilers ahead.

Do you like…

  • Adventure, action and traveling for a secret mission?
  • One person keeping a secret from the other in order to protect them?
  • Characters constantly denying their feelings but get jealous (a lot)?
  • Royalty, balls and spying?
  • Witchcraft and knights?
  • Oh no, there’s only one bed at the inn, guess we’ll have to share?
  • One person making a huge sacrifice for other and then both have to deal with the aftermath?
  • A bit of a cliffhanger ending?

If you said yes to any (all) of these, it’s time to start reading The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz. Outside of read the Au Pairs a long, long time ago, I haven’t read any other of her books, so I can’t compare to any of her other series.

TQA is told from the alternating perspectives of Shadow, who has spent her whole life trying to prove she should follow in the footsteps of her family and join the Guild, and Caledon “Cal” Holt, the queen’s personal assassin. Cal is bound by a blood oath, passed on from his father, to find the Deian Scrolls as a means to not allow warring countries old and serious magical powers. Shadow has been learning some of this forbidden magic that has been passed down through the generations and hopes to be as helpful to the crown as Cal.

Their paths cross after Cal saves her life and after a daring escape, Cal and Shadow team up to find the scrolls and identify a new threat to their country. Of course, there’s plenty of complications along the way.

This series is described as a romantic fantasy and I think that’s an incredibly fair description. There’s a lot of historical information given to help the readers truly understand the history of the different nations and bloodlines, as well an understanding of the magic in the world. There’s royalty and court intrigue and spying and balls (of course!). And there’s a blossoming romance between Cal and Shadow that’s pretty much apparent from the moment Shadow goes out of her way to help Cal. He’s reluctant to team up, as he’s always worked solo. And he’s even more determined to never fall in love, as his blood oath could be passed down to the next generation if he fails to find the scrolls. Obviously Shadow’s addition to his life complicates all his best laid plans.

Shadow is determined to prove that she is more than capable of training and joining the Guild. The opportunity to rescue and join Cal in a secret mission is more than she can hope for to prove her worthiness, but she’s also keeping a secret from Cal that could change everything.

I don’t recall specific ages being mentioned, but I imagined our two were somewhere between 17-20 (sorry if I missed this detail). Even as they go from reluctant partners to friends to more, they both are constantly fighting against their feelings, as both are determined to focus on the task at hand. However, their immaturity shows at various times, as jealousy becomes a huge point of frustration between them. They can’t stand the idea of the other flirting or kissing others, even when it means they may get important information for their mission. I’ll be honest, I really enjoyed these moments, but I can see others struggling with the drama of it all. But to each their own.

While I liked the historical information that provided throughout the book, sometimes it did slow the pacing down. It was important and informative, but so much else of the book was moving at lightning pace. A LOT happens in the 384 pages, and yet, I am in desperate need of more. As much as I enjoyed all the fantasy aspects, it was Cal and Shadow’s relationship that truly drew me in. In some ways, it really reminded of Serpent & Dove (which I also LOVED), with shades of Red Queen and Everless.

Hard spoilers for the ending: View Spoiler »

Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this book and I’m full of anticipation for the future books. While I have ideas where it could go, I can see a lot of things getting in the way of the happy ending I’m wishing for. The ending of this book ripped my heart, but I still have hope for the next book.

If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU. This was a long one, but I just had a lot of thoughts and feelings lol. I hope if you decide to pick this up, you enjoy it as much as I do!

Favorite Quotes:

I want to train. If I go to the palace, it will be as an assassin. Not as a doll. Or a pawn.

*

“Not saying I don’t believe you,” he says, noting just how quickly she grows defensive. “Good thing I was here then,” he says with a grin. “To help you out when your magic couldn’t.”

Instantly, he know he should’ve kept his mouth shut.

*

Here I am, about to embark on an adventure under the tutelage of the Caledon Holt. It’s all I’ve ever wanted-and yet all I feel is frustration and fury.

*

Today he hasn’t been half as irritating, which I find rather irritating.

*

He would spend every night at the flea-bitten inn if it meant he would lie next to her again. But of course he doesn’t tell her that, as much as he wants to, and as much as he wants to know how she feels about all of this.

*

“All I did was kiss a girl I didn’t particularly want to kiss, but I did it, for us.”

“For me? You kissed her for me?” Shadow whips from the window. “Should I be grateful? Should I kiss the king too? For you?”

*

“Keep in mind, you’re my brother,” Shadow whispers to him. “Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot,” he says, a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “That would certainly give them something to gossip about, wouldn’t it?

*

Unbeknownst to Shadow, her lies were made of truth. “After all, there is no place safer for the princess than with the Queen’s Assassin.”

*

“I am not free, not without my love,” he says and this time, when he looks at me, I don’t look away. “Shadow. Be with me. Always. I am yours. Be mine.”

Giveaway:

Win one copy of The Queen’s Assasin (US only)! Contest runs Feb. 4 – Feb. 18, 2020.

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About the Author:

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Keep up with Melissa: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

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