Review: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

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Published: February 7th, 2017 by HarperTeen | Series: Red Queen #3 | Length: 507 pages | Genre: YA dystopian fantasy | Source: Bought | Content Warning: violence, torture, ableism, biphobia

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Summary from Goodreads:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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Representing Queer Identity in Historical Fiction: Blog Tour Guest Post (+ Giveaway!)

The Missing by Jerico Lenk Tour Banner

Hello, everyone! Today is the final day of the Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour for Jerico Lenk’s novel, The Missing. I’m really excited to have the chance to help promote this book, a YA historical fantasy. This book releases in about a week and a half on October 10th and it sounds fantastic. Jerico has written a post about writing queer characters within a historical setting which I thought was really interesting to read about and, of course, I have some information about the book and author as well as a giveaway for all of you to enter! Let’s get into it, shall we?

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ARC Review: The Lost Causes by Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Etting Koosed

the lost causes by alyssa embree schwartz and jessica koosed etting book review blog header

Published: September 5th, 2017 by Kids Can Press | Series: N/A | Length: 344 pages | Genre: YA paranormal/fantasy, mystery | Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley | Content Warning: suicide, drug use, murder, abuse

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Summary from Goodreads:

They’re the kids that no one knows — or no one wants to know. The rich depressive, the OCD chick, the hypochondriac, the drug abuser, the athlete with anger management issues. All chosen for intensive group therapy because they’re out of other options. They’re lost causes, the therapist tells them. She promises this support group will help them heal. 

There’s only one problem. She’s not a therapist. And that water she offers? It contains a dangerous serum that gives each of the kids a psychic power. 

Suddenly, they can think clearly, speak to ghosts, see the past, even move objects with their mind. Their earlier problems have vanished, but their new freedom comes with a price. 
Sabrina, Gabby, Z, Justin and Andrew are to help the FBI solve the grisly murder that has rocked their small town. Their new powers will help them uncover clues and follow leads that have eluded the authorities. Their outsider status gives them the perfect cover. 

But the same traits that make them top investigators also make them vulnerable. As they close in on the murderer, they expose a much larger conspiracy that puts them directly in harm’s way and makes them wonder who — if anyone — they can trust.

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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Published: April 28th, 2015 by Razorbill | Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1 | Length: 446 pages | Genre: YA fantasy, dystopian | Source: Bought | Content Warning: sexual assault and harassment, violence, abuse (including towards children), death/murder, torture

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Summary from Goodreads:

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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ARC Review: The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember

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Published: August 22nd, 2017 by Harmony Ink Press | Series: Ashes of Gold #1 | Length: 180 pages | Genre: YA fantasy | Source: Received from the author | Content Warning: sexual assault mentioned, use of animals in war, graphic violence

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Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

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ARC Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

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Published: July 18th, 2017 by Simon Pulse | Series: Book #1 in The Last Magician duology | Length: 512 pages | Genre: YA historical fantasy | Source: Edelweiss | Possible Triggers: sexual assault, racism

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Summary from Goodreads:

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

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

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

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

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ARC Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh Book Review blog header

Published: May 16th, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | Series: Flame in the Mist #1 | Length: 368 pages | Genre: YA fantasy, retelling | Source: I received an early copy from Penguin’s First to Read program. | Possible Triggers: violence (with some pretty graphic descriptions at times)

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Summary from Goodreads:

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.

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