Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

Review:

This book is a great introduction to this new series.

This story started out as a type of Mulan story. Maia’s father is selected as a master tailor to go to the emperor, but he is unwell. Only him or his sons could go because women can’t be tailors. Maia dresses up as her brother and goes to the palace to compete in a competition to become a royal tailor. I thought this was going to be the whole story, so I was surprised when the competition ended so quickly. The rest of the story followed Maia on a journey to get special materials to create mythical dresses.

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was the romance. It felt a little forced to me, because it seems like it can’t work out. I hope it works out better in the next book.

I’m curious to see what happens in the next book, because this story felt complete to me. I’m not sure where the plot is heading, but I’m excited for it to continue.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think of it?

Review: Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1)

Title: Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1)
Author: Tara Sim
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.

Review:

This story is a gender swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve never read that book, but I really enjoyed this story.

The narrative switches between Amaya, a prisoner on a ship, and Cayo, the son of a businessman in the main city. Amaya escapes her captivity, and she tries to take down the men who were keeping her prisoner. Cayo also does his own investigation to figure out who is making counterfeit money in their city.

I liked the pacing of this book. There were some small reveals every couple of chapters. I was surprised at the twists that happened. I also liked the main characters. They had good chemistry with each other. I’m curious to see where the story goes next.

Thank you Disney Book Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody

Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Have you read Scavenge the Stars? What did you think of it?

Review: The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2)

Title: The Tea Dragon Festival
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Graphic Novel, Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Review:

This is another adorable story featuring the tea dragons.

This story has some of the same characters as The Tea Dragon Society, but it could be read as a stand-alone book. It has a different story. In this book, a dragon is woken up after sleeping for 80 years. This dragon is from a special clan, who was meant to look after the village. The characters try to reintroduce the dragon into their village.

One of the villagers was deaf, so the other people learned sign language. They would speak in sign language. This was demonstrated with the text in a different kind of text box, to show that it was being signed. I really liked this representation of sign language.

I love the illustrations in this series. The settings are beautiful, and remind me of fairy tales because of the flowers and plants. The dragons and tea dragons aren’t like typical dragons. These ones are cute and cuddly. They almost look like stuffed toys!

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read The Tea Dragon Festival? What did you think of it?

Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power. 

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics. 

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity… 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

Review:

This was an amazing conclusion to the Folk of the Air series!

I love Holly Black’s writing. She paints a clear picture of the faerie land, without dragging on. Some fantasy series can have long descriptions that distract from the storyline, but there is just enough description to understand what is going on.

I also love how the real world is included in this story. The girls travel back and forth between the faerie world and the human world. It’s funny to see these two groups interact. It also makes the story relatable, because it is occasionally set in our contemporary world.

There were thrilling twists throughout the story. Almost every time the characters made a plan, something happened that changed it. It made the story unpredictable because nothing happened the way they thought it would. I had no idea how it would end, right up until the final chapter!

This book definitely lived up to the hype! I loved it!

What to read next:

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read The Queen of Nothing? What did you think of it?

Review: The Skeleton Coast (Quest of the Sunfish #3)

Title: The Skeleton Coast (Quest of the Sunfish #3)
Author: Mardi McConnochie
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 28, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The grey light of dawn crept through the sky. The sun was yet to make its first appearance, but the crew of the Sunfish were already up and ready to weigh anchor. Having barely escaped the dangers of a world dominated by gangs, the corrupt Admiralty, and the hostile sea, Will, Annalie and their friends must now set sail for their most daunting destination yet: Sundia. This isolated country, forbidden to outsiders, is where the twins must make their final stand in their search for answers–and for their father. But with all they’ve overcome so far on their journey, how long can their luck hold? Packed with twists, dynamic characters, and compelling environmental themes, The Skeleton Coast brings Mardi McConnochie’s acclaimed cli-fi trilogy to a riveting conclusion.

Review:

This book was a great conclusion to this series.

The action started immediately, with the Sunfish being boarded by pirates. It was great that it was started so quickly. I would have liked a little summary of what happened before, because it had been a while since I read the last book. However, this quick beginning is good if you read the books in succession because it keeps the story going.

There was a point in the story where the group of kids was separated into two groups. The narrative followed one group until they joined together again, then it backtracked and followed what the other kids were doing. It was a little confusing the way it jumped around in the timeline. If it had happened simultaneously, it would have been easier to follow.

I really enjoyed this series!

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Melissa, Queen of Evil by Mardi McConnochie

Have you read The Skeleton Coast? What did you think of it?

Review: Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost #1)

Title: Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost #1)
Author: Coco Ma
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

Review:

I loved this book!

This story was incredibly fast paced, with major plot points in every chapter. There were unpredictable twists that kept me reading. The writing was clear and concise, yet had beautiful descriptions of this elemental world.

The narrative switched between many perspectives. This gave a full view of the story from every angle. Most of the story was told from the perspectives of the main characters, but there were a few chapters which gave a look at what the villains were doing. This was really well done, without giving away the ending.

This is a great debut novel from 19 year-old Coco Ma! I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

What to read next:

Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl #1) by Mara Rutherford

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Have you read Shadow Frost? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Forbidden Warriors (The Forbidden #1)

Title: The Forbidden Warriors (The Forbidden #1)
Author: Moud Adel
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Masteroperia
Source: Breakeven Books
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Mastoperia: A hidden continent with four factions divided and suspicious of each other, with a history of unresolved wars, each grounding themselves in their own unique culture, and magical power. 

The Forbidden Warriors: The only force powerful enough to keep the factions from destroying one another. The secret to their power is a mystery, but the only way to hold on to it is by passing the power to a new generation every two and a half centuries. 

As that time has arrived, each faction must offer a candidate to become the next generation of the Forbidden Warriors, but only one can be the leader. In a race for that leadership position, four candidates and their teams travel across a world mysterious to them, to hunt artifacts they know nothing about. The mission is not easy, their goals are not aligned, and the truth is far bigger than they could have imagined. A challenge none were ready for. 

Will they choose their own interests, their factions’ or defy all that they know for the sake of their world.

Review:

This is an interesting series.

I really liked the premise of the book. A group of four people from different factions are brought together for a competition. One of them will become the ruler of Mastoperia and the others will be their guards. They are each able to bring four people from their homelands. However, the twist is that their teams end up being a mix of people from each different faction. Then, they each have to work together with their opponents from different factions to win the position of ruler.

There was a ton of world building in this story. I think the world would have made more sense if it had been described slowly. There was lots of information all at once, without the world really being described. There were also a lot of characters to keep track of, and I got them mixed up a lot. If there was more of an introduction to all of them at the beginning, I would have been able to get to know them more.

I liked this story.

Thank you Breakeven Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Last Seed (The Forbidden #0.5) by Moud Adel

Blog Tour Schedule:

Have you read The Forbidden Warriors? What did you think of it?