Review: Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

queen of someday

 

I received an Advanced Copy of “The Queen of Someday” by the publisher for an honest review.

I am a huge fan of re-tellings especially of historical events or figures. I am a History buff and have a HUGE interest in the European Monarchies, geeky, but I’m telling you, you can’t make some of that stuff up–it’s the good. That being said, sometimes I get nervous around retellings. They aren’t always good and they aren’t always very accurate. Some still have that guilty-pleasure feel (I’m looking at you Reign), but often times blatant ignorance of the time period, customs, and culture can lead the reader wondering why you even decided to play with these interesting, historical characters. Enter, “The Queen of Someday,” by Sherry D. Ficklin, which manages to stear clear of almost every faux-paux that can haunt a retelling while still being interesting and magical. I think retellings are hard to write because you have to really engage your readers, since the ending has already, essentially happened. Through her main characters spunk, a forbidden love, and some very perilous court situations, Ficklin manages to write a beautiful story about the young, Sophia then a Prussian Princess, as she begins her journey towards becoming Catherine the Great.

Synopsis: The book follows Sophia as she journeys from Prussia with her Mother to the Imperial Court of Russia’s Empress Elizabeth. Her family, as well as, Empress Elizabeth, are hoping to marry Sophia off to the heir to the Russian throne, Peter. Mostly, that all goes as planned, minus a few snafu’s of Peter being an insolent child and burgeoning sociopath, and Sophia being in love with another man.

What I loved: The writing. I know that is kind of vague, but the prose was so beautifully created that I really felt like I was in Sophia’s head, and in Russian court. Ficklin, drew me in almost immediately and I struggled to step away from the book for even a minute. It was also nice that she did her research! The characters, were real members of Russian court, and the fear of Prussian alliances was also very real. Obviously, there were some liberties taken, but they weren’t blatant and probably weren’t something anyone who wasn’t very familiar with the time period would notice. What I really and truly loved was the relationship between Alexander and Sophia. It was magnetic and beautiful, yet so tragic. Even though I knew that Sophia would ultimately become Catherine the Great and marry Peter III of Russia, there was a part of me that so desperately wanted her to escape with Alexander, even if it was for a short time, and find true happiness.

What I disliked: I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Empress Elizabeth and Sophia, I felt like it was not fully fleshed out until the end, and perhaps that was because of Sophia’s realizations. I also disliked how Sophia treats Rina towards the end of their time together, it felt very rushed to me. She’s understandably hurt, upset, and confused, but she seems to deal with all of these emotions very quickly. In general, I felt a little rushed to get to the specific ending point.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was a fresh take on the story of a young Catherine the Great and was not only historically accurate, but also beautiful and engaging. 8.5/10

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Release Day: Stay With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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We are so pleased to bring you the Release Day Launch for Jennifer L. Armentrout’s STAY WITH ME! STAY WITH ME is a New Adult contemporary romance being published by Avon (William Morrow), an imprint of HarperCollins, and is a part of Jennifer’s With You Saga!

 

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STAY WITH ME TRAILER:

EXCERPT:

As I lay there, trying to swallow a loud, obnoxious yawn, I remembered something he’d said when we first met, about life being too short. I imagined he had firsthand experience with shortened lives while he was serving. That mentality came from experience. I got that now. Could even understand it, but there was something I didn’t understand.

“Why?” I asked.

There was a beat. “Why what?”

Jax sounded tired, and I should shut up or point out that I was now tired and could sleep, so he could leave. But I didn’t. “Why are you here? You don’t know me and . . .” I trailed off, because there really wasn’t anything left to say.

A minute went by, and he hadn’t answered my question, and then I think another minute ticked on, and I was okay with him not answering because maybe he didn’t even know. Or maybe he was just bored and that was why he was here.

But then he moved.

Jax pressed against my back, and the next breath I took got stuck in my throat. My eyes shot open. The sheet and blanket were between us, but they felt like nothing.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Getting comfortable.” He dropped an arm over my waist, and my entire body jerked against his. “It’s time to sleep I think.”

“But—”

“You can’t sleep when you talk,” he remarked.

“You don’t need to be all up on me,” I pointed out.

His answering chuckle stirred the hair along the back of my neck. “Honey, I’m not all up on you.”

I freaking begged to differ on that point. I started to wiggle away, but the arm around my waist tightened, holding me in place.

“You’re not going anywhere,” he announced casually, as if he wasn’t holding me prisoner in the bed.

Okay. The whole prisoner thing might be melodramatic, but he wasn’t letting me up. Not when he was getting all kinds of comfy behind me.

Oh my God, this was spooning. Total spooning. I was spooning with an honorary member of the Hot Guy Brigade. Did I wake up in a parallel universe?

“Sleep,” he demanded, as if the one word carried that much power. “Go to sleep, Calla.” This time his voice was softer, quieter.

“Yeah, it doesn’t work that way, Jax. You have a nice voice, but it doesn’t hold the power to make me sleep on your command.”

He chuckled.

I rolled my eyes, but the most ridiculous thing ever was the fact that after a couple of minutes, my eyes stayed shut. I . . . I actually settled in against him. With his front pressed to my back, his long legs cradling mine, and his arm snug around my waist, I actually did feel safe. More than that, I felt something else—something I hadn’t felt in years.

I felt cared for . . . cherished.

Which was the epitome of dumb, because I barely knew him, but feeling that, recognizing what the warm, buzzing feeling was, I fell right asleep.

 

Stay With Me Teaser 2

 

 

STAY WITH ME Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You and Be with Me comes a daring tale that pushes boundaries . . .

At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she’d left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jaxis in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.

 

Stay With Me Teaser 1

 

Author PhotoJennifer L. Armentrout/J.Lynn Bio:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** J. Lynn Goodreads ** Jennifer L. ArmentroutGoodreads

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Review: The Forsaken By Kristen Day

Forsaken-Kristen-Day

So I have been mulling over what to write in terms of the “Forsaken,” by Kristen Day for about a week now. I was torn because a huge part of me liked certain things and another part of me was a little confused. The Forsaken follows a young girl named Hannah or as she later becomes, Stasia, who discovers that she is actually part of a world that contains sea God and Goddesses, even though she spent most of her life assuming that she had been abandoned by her family. At a secret boarding school she discovers the truth, hijack ensue, and of course, she falls in love.

What I liked: Overall, I liked Hannah/Stasia as a character. She was, for the most part, a strong female lead, and even a little tragic. Her story of being abandoned and raised in a multitude of abusive and unsafe foster homes brought a very real element to the story. I also liked they mythology that was being used. This was the first time I saw something like this in a YA book, and it a really refreshing take on the idea of Gods and Goddesses of the sea.

What I didn’t like: I understood that this story was about Hannah/Stasia and Finn but the secondary characters were kind of made useless, which was sad because I enjoyed the girlfriend vibes of Hannah/Stasia’s roommates. Also, the name change! I mean, I get it, but it felt kind of hookie, especially to go by Stasia, which is not usually a nickname of the Russian Anastasia (Natasha would have been more appropriate). My last HUGE gripe with this was the way Hannah’s family was portrayed. I didn’t feel natural that a family who adopted her would be so cruel, and would be totally cool with her just leaving to go to a random boarding school. I don’t understand the point of her having an adopted family if that was ultimately their role.

Overall, this was a quick read and though I had a few WTF moments it was fairly interesting, especially because I love to see a new take on myths. 6/10

Review: Finding Mr. Darcy by Erin Butler

Finding Mr. Darcy- High School Edition by Erin Butler

Finding Mr. Darcy: High School Edition
by Erin Butler
Release Date: 09/16/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Liza Johnson takes fangirl to a whole new level of crazy when she decides to take dating advice from her literary hero: Jane Austen.

With the help of her best friends, Liza sheds her ancient-speak and complete Austen wardrobe for something a bit more modern in an attempt at finding her very own Mr. Darcy.

Enter Will, the new kid and Liza’s Darcy incarnate. Add her BFF’s ex to mix and the sexy Brit who kisses with an accent, and Liza is in trouble.

So, what’s a girl to do? Without her mom to go to relationship advice, Liza turns to the only person she can truly trust with matters of the heart via her mother’s copy of COMPLETED WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN.

It’s too bad Austen’s heroines have never played Spin the Bottle or Seven Minutes in Heaven. Liza’s determined to find her true Austen-esque happy ending, but if she can’t trust herself instead of books, she just might end up in her own tragic love story.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18716731-finding-mr-darcy?ac=1

Now onto the Review….

What I liked: One of my biggest pet peeves when reading YA is when the main characters don’t sound their age. Like yea, I get it you are a werewolf fighting against a curse, going through puberty, and trying to protect that chick over there, but come-on sound like a teenager. Luckily, Erin Butler’s characters sound like teens. They use slang and the vernacular of their (our?) generation. They have teen problems and they talk about it in a way that makes sense to their age group. Can I just say FREAKING FINALLY.  It was so refreshing to read something in YA Contemporary that sounded, well, contemporary. 

When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be a re imagining of “Pride and Prejudice,” especially given the main characters first name and was more intrigued as to what this was going to look like played out through High School, as opposed to, the Regency-era. However, I would classify this as a story that borrows rather than retells and I think it adds all the more intrigue. Half way through the book I stopped trying to figure out who was playing what P&P character and really began to enjoy the story as it stood.

What I didn’t like: The boy drama in the beginning between Ryan and Will. It felt very trite and was honestly super confusing. 

What I meh’ed on: So, while I wouldn’t say that this was something I didn’t like, but I will say it did make it difficult to really fully get into the book when I began, is that fact that it is clearly for a teen audience. While I think that gives it a ton of charm, it did make it difficult for me, as an adult, to really relate until I was well into the book and suspending some of my post-first relationship boy knowledge. 

Overall, this was a really charming story and Butler wrote what, to me, feels like a genuine teenage experience. I think an older reader can appreciate it in a “Omg, Eliza and Janie get yourselves together and use your brains!” kind o f way, but this would be even more appreciate for those in the same age-group as the main character. I’m excited to get this book into my students hands since I think they’ll really enjoy it and possibly learn a new appreciate for P&P and Jane Austen. (7.5/10)

 

erin butler

About the Author

Erin Butler is lucky enough to have two jobs she truly loves. As a librarian, she gets to work with books all day long, and as an author, Erin uses her active imagination to write the kinds of books she enjoys reading. Young Adult and New Adult books are her favorites, but she especially loves the ones with kissing scenes.

 

Erin lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, a stepson, and doggie BFF, Maxie. She prefers to spend her time indoors reading and writing, but will venture out for chocolate and sunshine. She is the author of BLOOD HEX, a YA paranormal, HOW WE LIVED, a contemporary New Adult novel, and FINDING MR. DARCY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, a contemporary YA.

 

Author Links:

http://www.erinbutlerbooks.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3273590.Erin_Butler

https://twitter.com/ErinButler

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erin-Butler/222797011068049

 

Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

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Cover Reveal: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout!!!!!!!

I don’t know if I’ve ever been this excited in my life! The cover for Jennifer L. Armentrout’s new paranormal series, “Wicked,” is released today and it is absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. If you weren’t excited before, you better be excited now! The series goes on sale December 8th, 2014 and is currently available for pre-order. I’m a huge fan of Jennifer’s work (I may or may not have compared her to Beyonce in a previous post) and am certain that this will be another smash-hit series!

 

Wicked

Amazon

WICKED Synopsis:

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

 

Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads

Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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A few months ago, when “Vampire Academy,” came out on DVD and I laughed/cried/laughed again/wished Adrian was involved, I decided to re-read “Vampire Academy.” I love reading novels again and again, it’s like chicken soup, full of comfort. Well, a good friend of mine (shoutout Jess) was all “HAVE YOU READ BLOODLINES??!!” I vaguely remembered staring the first book a few years back and not really keeping up on it. I grabbed it from the library to see what it was all about. I doubted I’d be as into it without Rose, but it was Summer and I was on vacation for a second so what the heck…I ended up catching up on the series in two weeks…yea..

Synopsis: “Silver Shadows,” follows Sydney in Alchemist prison-hell while Adrian goes of the deep end of crazy for a hot second. Naturally, she gets out–eventually–but after that hi jinxes ensue. There’s a wedding, a few visits to court, some general bad-assery,and a whole mess-load of human/Moroi/ Dhamphir interaction.

What I liked: Adrian’s response to Sydney being taken is true to his character. Adrian is my favorite character across all of the “Vampire Academy,” and “Bloodlines” novels and I’m glad that he has grown, but that Mead also isn’t writing him unrealistically. He’s always been the guy who would sacrifice everything for those he loves, but he’s also kind of a hot-mess. When Sydney is taken, he tries but is really all over the globe–makes sense. I was really suprised how much I liked the novel, especially since we didn’t get a lot of the usual gang, and we especially didn’t get a lot of Sydney and Adrian’s relationship cuteness. That all being said, the progression of events made sense and it made it so the ending (which is spectacularly amazballs) wasn’t super trite and cheesy.

What I Meh-ed on: Seriously? It took all over an hour to put a Wedding Ceremony together…it takes me longer than that to even blow-dry my hair and put make-up on. I call BS.

What I didn’t Like: Where is everyone? I get that this is mostly focused on Sydney, but I felt really let down that we only got brief glimpses into the gangs life up until the end shocker. I LOVE Jill and Eddie, I need them more flushed out here, not simply mentioned and then exploded in my face.

Overall, another fantastic addition to The Bloodlines family. I can’t wait until Winter to get the next one. This thing ends on a cliffhanger like you wouldn’t believe! (8/10)

Release Day Review: ” The Empress Chronicles,” by Suzy Vitello

Published by Diversion Books

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In this dazzling first book in the EMPRESS CHRONICLES series by the author of THE MOMENT BEFORE, one courageous girl seeks keys to the past to unlock the future…

When city girl Liz is banished to a
rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.

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One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.

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When Liz finds a timeworn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria. It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own…

Readers of books like Rachel Harris’s MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY will love THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES

Review:  I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of “The Empress Chronicles,” and was really excited to start reading it. I’m a big fan of history in general, and while I didn’t know much about Elizabeth of Bavaria, I figured I’d really enjoy learning more about her story. I was wrong, well not about the enjoyment part, just the assumption that I would enjoy the Duchesses story more than present day Liz, I actually found myself draw to her far more than the Duchess. 

What I liked: The alternating POVs! Each chapter is told from a different girls perspective, alternating the book between Elizabeth of Bavaria and present day Liz. When this first happened I was kind of like “Huh,” by Vitello writes each girl with such a separate and distinctive voice that I found myself really engaged and impressed by the writing. I could have told you who was who without the chapter delineations–though that helps. Aside from the writing, which I thought was masterful, I was impressed by the way Vitello tackled the topic of OCD in Liz. Her inner-dialogues felt both real and self-aware. This could have been a nightmare to read, but it felt very natural. I actually think it gives some insight into what OCD suffers feel like, and how it effects every aspect of their lives. 

What made me go…meh..: Honestly, as much as I love History, I wasn’t that into Elizabeth of Bavaria. I didn’t hate her chapters, I just didn’t feel quite the same pull I did to her as I did to Liz.  Even though both girls were given the same amount of book space, Liz was really who I ultimately wanted to read about. Though the two stories do eventually become intertwined, by the time that happened I was already hooked on Liz. Personally, I would have been fine without the added fantasy that pops in over halfway through the novel, but it didn’t necessarily ruin it for me. 

Overall, I’m really excited to see this book out for release and I definitely would say to pick up your copy. It’s a great read for the Fall and a great way to learn about some History.  8/10

AboutThe Author

Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland, and her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship).

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/suzyvitello

website: http://www.suzyvitello.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuzyVitelloBooks

Twitter: @suzy_vitello