Monday, November 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #90: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Tina's Picks:
Newly Released Novels I'm excited to read this Winter

Some rereads I enjoy on a chilly Winter night 

Harry Potter Volumes 1-3

Monday Reviews: Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar by Cora Carmack
Published June 13th 2017 by Tor Teen
Published May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Magic
Page: 380
Rating: 5
of 5 stars
Review by: Tina


In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them. Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes.

As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings.


Kudos to Cora Carmack for tackling YA. She is Shon's fave author and she recommended me her contemporary/new adult romance fictions last year so I was both excited and surprised with the release of Roar; I didn't know she can write something so compelling and unique. 


The story begins by telling the reader that Aurora is magic-less. She comes from a long line of royal Stormlings blood but she herself has no magic. Her mother is one of the most powerful magic wielder/storm tamer and to hide Aurora's shameful secret, she is kept in seclusion most of her adolescent life. Her mother believes to save her kingdom, she must marry Aurora to one of the powerful Stormling families. Aurora is conflicted with wanting to be obedient and wanting to seek her independence.

One night, as she follows her betrothed into the darkness, she discovers an underground black market of magic for the giftless. Sheltered all her life, this is a very exciting new possibility.



Here's why. This story can take so many different directions. First of all, her situation is already bleak because she has no magic. I can already envision a life of dominance by her future husband and she hasn't told him that she carries no abilities yet, imagine the mayhem. Second, I didn't even think there is a chance of non-Stormling to carry Stormhearts, this is just too cool. Storm Hunters? Yes!! Third, she has two prospects? Whoa! I'm already liking her hot betrothed and now she has another love interest? Fourth, even though Aurora can't tame a Storm doesn't mean she might not have some other abilities. That's why I think this book is amazing. The possibilities are endless! There's so much potential and the adventures are exciting.

And the epilogue? I want to throw a tantrum very badly, I want the next book now...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #89: Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For (Happy Thanksgiving week in the USA!)

Tina's Picks
I'm thankful for the brave headstrong female protagonists in YA series. I love when awesome characters are brilliant yet innocent, manipulatively devilish yet gentle and sincere, and all around great examples of the complexity that is female.

Warcross by Marie Lu - female hacker uncovers the dark workings (terrorists?) of the virtual world.

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol - second child citizens are raised as lowborns and treated as mindless soldiers of this dystopian society.

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson - Khamsin isn't about to sit back and let the men dictate her life. She leads her armies into the tumultuous battle of humans vs. ice demons.

Paladin by Sally Slater - Sam wants more than live a sheltered boring privileged life, she wants to become a warrior.

The Final Empire (Mistborn) by Brandon Sanderson - Vin didn't even know she holds Allomantic powers. As she was invited to join a complex thieving crew, she embraced her powers and grew to become a force to be reckon with.

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli - female dragon hunter who is more feared than her father's commander of the army. 

Roar by Cora Carmack - Aurora takes control of her destiny.

Prism by Nina Walker - wanted by her alchemy abilities, Jessa decides to become a player and change the game.


Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid - a creation to serve mankind turns more human than her creators and seeks to change the outcome of the Empire.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Monday Reviews: Prism by Nina Walker

Prism by Nina Walker
Published August 17th 2017 by Addison & Gray Press
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fic, Romance, Dystopia
Page: 388
Rating: 4
of 5 stars
Review by: Tina


What if color held the secrets to powerful magic?

Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom's most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.

Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

PRISM is the first installment of a unique young adult romantic fantasy series where a dystopian world with a Victorian flair meets the dynamic magic of color! 


Thank you to Addison & Gray Press/Book Review 22 for sharing a copy of the first book in The Color Alchemist series.

The story begins in a nuclear middle-class family set in a dystopian society of normals and color alchemists. The Royal Officers are questioning the children over the discovery of a recent bloodwork done for an accident that occurred six months ago. Unable to find proof that the family are harboring color alchemists, the Royal Officers left. That night, during a Royal Ballet performance, Jessa accidentally triggers the separation of purple, the color in her ballet outfit, into blue and red. This startles the Royals and she is immediately captured.

Color alchemy doesn't manifest immediately until an event triggers the power, usually found in young children. In this case, Jessa's first reaction occurs at age sixteen. Colors from everyday life can be taken and used in intricate ways. Green, for example, is the power of healing. Blue is used to enhance listening. Orange allows the alchemist to move heavy objects. Color alchemists can access purple, blue, green, yellow, and orange, while black, red, and white are a mystery.


The story is cleverly written and the idea of using colors as a power source is very creative.

What I find fascinating is that no one is particularly innocent. Each person Jessa meets has an ulterior motive. What I find distracting is the romance blossoming between Jessa and Prince Lucas. They are each fighting for their idealism but they are unable to work symbiotically. Lucas withholding necessary information to appease Jessa's fears annoy me. And Jessa's antagonistic feelings over his protection of her also bothers me. Their interactions are frustrating to read, it seems their emotions are getting in the way of the story.

I really like the short inside look into the Resistance. Not much is revealed and they are a mystery player. It will be fascinating to see what role they play in the next book.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #88: Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read (Or nieces and nephews, Godchildren, etc.)

Tina's Picks:

I can already envision bed time stories of Harry Potter :)

Of course the incredible Dr. Seuss series


How can we forget the magical The NeverEnding Story? Ah the good old '80s classics

Elmo & Friends

Ramona Quimby series

A Wrinkle in Time

The Secret Garden

The Wind in the Willows

The Arabian Nights

Little Women

What are your top ten childhood favorites?

Monday Reviews: When It's Real by Erin Watt

When It's Real by Erin Watt
Published May 30th 2017 by Harlequin Teen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult, New Adult
Page: 413
of 5 stars
Review by: Tina


Teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits. Oakley's team decides it's time for an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-recently orphaned, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under normal circumstances she'd never consider this gig, but with her family in desperate need, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?


I'm surprised to admit after reading Paper Princess, I didn't think Erin Watt would write another innovative truly addictive story. I was sorely wrong, not only is her 2017 release invigorating and refreshing but it has a strong narrative with a sweet and positive note. I can't express how much I gushed reading this story. It felt like a breath of fresh air.

I truly love this type of romance. I want to read more romance with music as the main focus. I think I've found my new love.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Reviews - Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen
Published July 10th 2018 by Candlewick Press
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retellings, Fantasy, Young Adult
Page: 352
of 5 stars
Review by: Tina


They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Henri Christian LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. The chevalier's cruelty is soon revealed, however, and Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside.

But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was.


Thank you to Candlewick Press for sharing an early release of this title.

I am always looking for a good retelling and this tale surpassed my expectation. I was expecting splendor and grace, all the glam known from the Disney classic. I wasn't prepared for the cruelty that comes with the abuse of power and wealth. It felt like reading a dark twisted tale straight from the works of Brothers Grimm.

It is a wonder how stories are told of "the prince as the hero and the Beast as the spell" when in truth the Beast is more deserving of love and beauty. We are often disillusioned by a handsome face instead of recognizing a kind heart, a gentle soul.

I'm in awe and humbled by this clever tale told through the eyes of a lowly chambermaid. Beast is completely captivating, beautifully written, and powerful in truth.