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review 2016-07-01 00:00
Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne
Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne - Christopher Andersen This was like reading the National Enquirer in book form. I have no doubt this is silly rubbish turned into a book but I enjoyed it.
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text 2016-04-24 17:04
*Book Review* The Crown's Game

Title: The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1)

Format: e-Arc

Pages: 416

Published: 17th May 2016

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Source: Edelweiss

Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy

Shelfability: Covet

Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Wordery

 


Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

 

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

 

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

 

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

 

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

 

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

 

 

I first started this book a few weeks ago and I just couldn't get into. I pushed myself to read a good bit and for the life of me I just couldn't connect with the book. So I decided to give myself a wee break from it and go back at a later date. The other night something just compelled to pick the book up again. So I started reading from the beginning again and well....the next thing I knew it was 2am and I had finished the book. It was magnificent, exciting and breathtaking. My only problem now is waiting for the book two to be released next year!!!!! I don't think I can wait that long.


 

  

See more at: http://weeshubbasworld.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/book-review-crowns-game-by-evelyn-skye.html

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url 2016-01-26 13:21
2016 YA Debuts I Want to Read
The first thing I'd like to emphasize in making a list of 2016 debuts on my tbr list: you and I both must be better allies and make sure to read books by PoC authors in 2016. If you feel like it's too hard to keep track of that tally, Dahlia Adler has made a fantastic running list of YA novels written by authors of color being published in 2016-2017. If you have time, consider looking through that list and seeing which books may be on your tbr list and raise their reading priority, or consider adding the books to your tbr once you've read the GR summaries.


Okies! So on I go. Here are the 10 debuts that I'm most excited to read in 2016.

 

 

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Katie Ling

That cover is gorgeous and seems to indicate either a magical realism story or a literary, lyrical contemporary story, like Jandy Nelson's, where the metaphor is emphasized on the cover instead of the people within. The synopsis for the book is a little vague to the point where I'm not entirely sure what the book is about -- is Seren literally floating through space? Or is that a metaphor for her state of mind? And how do Dom becoming the Sun and Seren staying in his orbit play into loyalty to home vs. loyalty to each other? But regardless, I am intrigued, and looking forward to this book.

 
Update: Since I wrote this post & filmed the video, a review has been posted! It looks like the summary is literal so that these teens are actually on a spaceship and they're falling in love. Yay, outer space romance! Yay, new planets! Yay, lyrical cover & writing!

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

If there's a debut that everyone seems to be talking about so far for 2016, it would be The Girl from Everywhere, about a girl traveling to "places of myth and legend... aboard her father's time-traveling ship." I love the idea of traveling across the globe and through centuries with a time-traveling ship. I loved The Mapmaker's trilogy, and it involves map magic that takes the heroine across centuries and the globe, so The Girl from Everywhere sounds right up my alley, especially since the heroine's father in TGfE seems to need a map to travel. Plus the synopsis says that it should appeal to fans of Rae Carson and Rachel Hartman, so that's a double YAY.

The Reader by Traci Chee

A world where reading is forbidden & meant to appeal to fans of Shadow and Bone? Yes, please! I love that the summary emphasizes a survivor-oriented girl who's also emotionally vulnerable-- looking to rescue her aunt and avenge her father's death, and discovering a book that may help her discover the truth. Sounds like she'll be easy to relate to. This sounds like the sort of book that would discuss the wonder of reading itself... yaaaaass. Also, this last line of the synopsis: "overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins" Nice.

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

An empath who feels emotions both physically and emotionally and who is then forced to serve the emperor? Sounds awesome! An empath charged to seek out assassins, a girl learning the limits of her abilities and trapped between her alliances to the emperor and his brother, and a looming revolution/betrayal? Yes. Political intrigue, magic, romance, betrayal -- everything in a good fantasy read.

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

This seems like it's going to be the big fantasy debut of 2016, judging from the reaction to the cover and Evelyn Skye's creation of the Tsar Guard. I like the sound of the enchanter magic, and that there's this Crown's Game duel between the only two enchanters in Russia and that that will lead to one of the characters becoming the Tsar's adviser. The fact that the enchanters may also fall in love - this seems like Shadow and Bone meets the Night Circus, with the looming threat of war with the Ottoman Empire, and I am intrigued, very intrigued.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen was "pitched as a Hades and Persephone-style romance infused with Indian mythology, about an unlikely princess who must overcome her sinister horoscope and embarks on a quest to unravel her true identity and find the one she loves." A.) We don't have enough YA fantasy that's actually diverse, and very little YA fantasy that aren't Western or European centric. B.) Indian mythology! C.) I don't even like Hades and Persephone that much, but I read The Star Maiden by Roshani Chokshi and her writing IS GORGEOUS. YES PLEASE to this book. Plus the synopsis promises political intrigue, magic, romance, and more, so um YAH.

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

This one has already been blurbed by Nova Ren Suma, and I'm looking to read more YA magical realism because it pushes the boundaries of the typical YA narrative. The description for this is: "In this stunning debut, legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison." Um, yes, please. A Caribbean legend, Puerto Rican setting, magical realism, disappearing girls, girls filled with poison, boys caught in the middle... very interesting, if I'm getting the right impression from the synopsis. "A Fierce and Subtle Poison beautifully blends magical realism with a page-turning mystery and a dark, starcrossed romance--all delivered in lush, urgent prose." YAS, THIS HAS CHRISTINA written all over it.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

The summary so far says --> "A princess with a forbidden magical gift is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom to marry a prince, but she has to choose between her duty and her heart when she falls in love with his rogueish horse-training sister instead." YES, I was literally talking to one of my friends about WHY this trope of the arranged marriage in fantasy has rarely been skewed in YA. I enjoyed Kiss of Deception primarily because there was a twist to that trope. And something I'd asked was why there aren't lesbian arranged marriages; this is fantasy, you can do anything. My friend said that it would depend on what was to be gained from the marriage (aka she was discussing heirs/reproduction), but I think that's kind of a lazy excuse. I mean history is full of bastards and illegitimate children and children who are born from lovers but who get claimed as royal heirs. Why can't you have gay royal marriages and the couple reproduces with mistresses or the magic system helps or whatever. Basically, I think that you could add in diversity to that trope if you really wanted to, and I love that this book is already promising that. Plus, there's the hint of magic and political intrigue with the queenhood and Game of Thrones comparison.

Even If the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

This sounds like it should appeal to fans of Gayle Forman's Just One Day. A girl heads to New Orleans with her youth group, and then heads straight into the heart of New Orleans in Mid-summer Mardi Gras. She sees New Oreleans with a guy she just met, and they fall in love in one night, and then an oncoming hurricane is adding extra tension to whatever future they're imagining (is my guess). YES to the New Orleans setting-- one of my good friends lives there, and the visits I've made to NOLA have been fantastic. Yes to this cover which seems to hint at some diversity as well. Yes to this premise. I love the 24 hours sudden but intense love concept; I know some don't like instalove in narratives, but I do believe it can exist, and I love when books explore it as Even if the Sky Falls promises to do.

Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen

The summary says --> "A new YA fantasy series in the vein of Tamora Pierce, exploring class and power. The novel follows a slave girl in a desert world where the magical Well is running dry; when she discovers a source of magic, she may have the power to save the water and her world, but returning the water means saving her slavers." Yes to class & power exploration, yes to magic, yes to magic relating to water, yes to the difficult decisions promised by this book. Yes to the Tamora Pierce comparison!
 
So, those are the 2016 debuts that are most definitely on my TBR list. In some sense, this isn't fair because I already went to the launch event for This Is Where It Ends, so I didn't put that on my list. But, the list always changes and what I end up reading is not always what I think. If you've got some recommendations and already read some great 2016 debuts, let me know!
 
Are any of these debuts on your radar? Have you read any of them already, or are you planning to read some? Let's discuss!
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