Blog Tour Review: The Flight of Swans

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Title: The Flight of Swans
Author: Sarah McGuire
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Source: Thomas Allen & Son (book distributor)
Release Date:October 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Based on the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale Six Swans, The Flight of Swans follows Ryn’s journey to save her family and their kingdom.

Princess Andaryn’s six older brothers have always been her protectors–until her father takes a new Queen, a frightening, mysterious woman who enchants the men in the royal family. When Ryn’s attempt to break the enchantment fails, she makes a bitter bargain: the Queen will spare her brothers’ lives if Ryn remains silent for six years.

Ryn thinks she freed her brothers, but she never thought the Queen would turn her brothers into swans. She never thought she’d have to discover the secret to undoing the Queen’s spell while eluding the Otherworldly forces that hunt her. And she never thought she’d have to do it alone, without speaking a single word.

As months as years go by, Ryn learns there is more to courage than speech . . . and that she is stronger than the Queen could have ever imagined.

Review:

This is a great fairy tale story.

At first, I thought it was going to be a Snow White story because I’m not familiar with the Grimm tale called Six Swans. It started out like Snow White, because Ryn’s father married a woman who turned out to be an evil witch. I was immediately sympathetic toward Ryn’s situation. The way that her dad suddenly ignored her was so sad.

The story progressed slowly, but it became exciting toward the end. There was a lot of time spent alone in the woods, which was monotonous and slow. However, the story picked up with a change of scenery.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s a great fairytale.

What to read next:

  • Valiant by Sarah McGuire
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  • Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison
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About the Author:

Sarah McGuire is a nomadic math teacher who sailed around the world aboard a floating college campus. She writes fairy tale retellings and still hopes that one day she’ll open a wardrobe and stumble into another world. Coffee and chocolate are her rocket fuel. She wishes Florida had mountains, but she lives there anyway with her husband (who wrote this bio in less than three minutes!) and their family.

Follow Sarah:
Website https://www.sarahmcguirebooks.com/

Twitter  @fireplusalgebra (http://ow.ly/zrwP30m75Rt)
Goodreads http://ow.ly/Nz2930m75VN

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Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for letting me participate in this blog tour.

 

Review: Strange the Dreamer

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Title: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Review:

I had never read a Laini Taylor book before this one, and I loved it! I’ll definitely be reading more of her books.

I was hooked right from the beginning. I really liked Lazlo. He was a unique character for a fantasy novel, because he was so meek. He didn’t know much beyond his books in the library. He was a dreamer, as the title suggests. However, he was able to live his dream, which changed him.

The city of Weep was so fascinating. I loved the mystery of how the name suddenly disappeared from history. The gods and godspawn were creepy, though. It took a while to get used to the dynamics of the godspawn up in the citadel. There are a few who I really didn’t like. I would love to see a backstory to the gods and their escapades before they were killed.

The ending was quite surprising. I can’t wait to continue this series with Muse of Nightmares.

What to read next:

  • Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor

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  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Have you read Strange the Dreamer? What did you think of it?

Review: The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2)

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Title: The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2)
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this spellbinding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Last Magician, Esta and Harte set off on a cross-country chase through time to steal back the elemental stones they need to save the future of magic.

Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.

Review:

I was so excited to read this book! I loved The Last Magician and this one was just as great!

There were many layers to this story. It alternated between two years, 1902 and 1904. The puzzling part was that we don’t really know what happens between those years, because some of the characters jumped forward in time. Though there was a gap in the timeline, the story flowed seamlessly. There weren’t any spoilers in either narrative as to what happened in the past or what will happen in the future.

The only thing that this story was missing was a shocking ending. The end of The Last Magician had some shocking revelations. I found some characters suspicious in this story, and that was confirmed at the end, so it wasn’t a surprise. Other than that this book was amazing! I highly recommend this series to fans of YA fantasy.

What to read next:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Have you read The Devil’s Thief? What did you think of it?

 

Review: Misfits (Royal Academy Rebels #1)

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Title: Misfits (Royal Academy Rebels #1)
Author: Jen Calonita
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A brand new series from Jen Calonita, set in the world of Fairy Tale Reform School! Not everyone born royal is meant to rule…

In the magical fairytale kingdom of Enchantasia, becoming a legendary Prince or Princess doesn’t happen overnight. Enter Royal Academy, the training ground for the fairytale leaders of tomorrow!

But reluctant-future-princess and new-student Devin has some reservations about RA, especially when it comes to the Headmistress. Olivina seems obsessed with preparing students for possible villain attacks. But when Devin asks when they’re going to learn how to actually rule a kingdom, Olivina becomes enraged. Something isn’t right with this lady, and what Devin discovers could change the fairytale world forever…

Review:

I loved this story!

The characters in the story are new princes and princesses. Some are related to familiar princesses, such as Raina who is Snow White’s sister. Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel graduated from the school years ago, but they still make appearances in the story.

Devin was a rebel, which didn’t go with Olivina’s vision for the school. Olivina is the fairy godmother who runs the school. However, everything is not what it seems at the school. People who you think should be good are actually connected with villains.

Though I haven’t read the Fairy Tale Reform School series, which comes before this book, I really enjoyed this story! I’m going to look for that series to see what happened to the original princesses.

What to read next:

  • Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School, #1) by Jen Calonita

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  • Fairest of All (Whatever After, #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

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Have you read Misfits? What did you think of it?

Review: Very Rich

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Title: Very Rich
Author: Polly Horvath
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ten-year-old Rupert Brown comes from an ordinary family. They live in a small house in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio, and have little money or food. So when Rupert inadvertently finds himself spending Christmas at the house of Turgid River — the richest boy in town — he is blown away to discover a whole other world, including all the food he can eat and wonderful prizes that he wins when the family plays games, prizes he hopes to take home to his family so they can have Christmas presents for the very first time. But this windfall is short-lived when Rupert loses it all in one last game and goes home empty-handed. Each member of the Rivers family feels guilty about what happened and, unbeknownst to each other, tries to make it up to Rupert in their own unique way, taking him on one unlikely adventure after another.

Review:

This was an unusual story. It follows many adventures that Rupert has with the members of the Rivers family.

Rupert comes from a very poor family. They eat oatmeal for every meal because they can’t afford much else. The Rivers family is the opposite. They have every extravagance possible. Rupert ends up spending Christmas with them, but his great evening takes a horrible turn when Rupert loses all of the prizes he won in the games. Then over the following weeks, the members of the Rivers family try to make up for taking all of Rupert’s gifts away.

I found this story very strange. The Rivers family kept dangling gifts and food in front of Rupert but didn’t actually give them to him. It was so cruel. There were some fantasy elements like time travel, but these moments didn’t fit in with the rest story because the rest of it was fairly realistic.

This story reminded me of some other children’s stories. Rupert’s family is in the same unfortunate situation as Charlie Bucket’s family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The narration style and circumstances of Rupert’s life were like the Beaudelaire children in A Series of Unfortunate Events. However, I found this book was missing the excitement and redemption that these stories had.

What to read next:

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

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  • The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket

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Have you read Very Rich? What did you think of it?

Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

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Title: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Review:

This series is one of the best book series I’ve ever read. It has everything: mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, romance. At the same time, it all makes sense. It’s like real life, with a little bit of everything.

It took me a while to get back into the story because it has been a while since I read the first book. It threw me off when I learned that this story follows different characters from the first one. I was disappointed when I found out. But I fell in love with these characters pretty quickly. It’s amazing how much emotion can be put into these characters who only speak through texts for the most part of this story.

At one point the two stories from the first and second books collide and I was so excited when it happened! The ending was also amazing and had my heart pounding. One thing I figured out by the end is that nothing is what it seems…

I loved this book! I can’t wait to read the next book, but I don’t want the series to be over!

What to read next:

  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
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  • Warcross by Marie Lu
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Have you read Gemina? What did you think of it?

 

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Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

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Title: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose … it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest … but she may be the darkest.

Review:

I’m so excited about this series! I wish I hadn’t waited so long to start it, but I’m glad that I can read the next two books right away.

I found the story a little confusing at first because there were so many characters! Each Queen lives with a different guardian family, and they each specialize in a different power, so it was hard to keep track of them. Also, there were some names that looked similar, such as Luca and Luke. This slowed down my reading at first, but once I figured everyone out, it was so good!

The narrative switched between each of the three Queens. I loved reading about each of them, but then I wanted to keep reading their stories when it switched to the next girl. The final chapters were so fast paced. They were each just a few pages long so I flew through them.

I have to admit that I guessed the ending correctly. I was glad that I was right, and now I can’t wait to read the next book!

What to read next:

  • One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake
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  • Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
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Have you read Three Dark Crowns? What did you think of it?