Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Star Wars: Kanan, Vol. 2: First Blood - Paul's Review


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Title: Star Wars: Kanan, Vol. 2: First Blood

Writer: Ryan Graudin
Artists: Pepe Larraz and Andrea Broccardo
Release Date: May 31, 2016

Synopsis: Continue to explore the early days of Kanan Jarrus, the sensational star of STAR WARS REBELS! You've seen Kanan's last adventure as a Padawan, now witness his first! The boy who was Caleb Dune must find his feet as the Clone Wars rage all around him. When the Jedi Temple comes under attack, what can a mere Padawan do to make a difference? Caleb and his new master, Bilaba, will take command of their own clone troop, and lead them into the furious Battle of Mygeeto. But lying in wait for them there are a pair of Separatist Generals, one of whom is one of the most deadly threats in the entire galaxy! Can Caleb and Bilaba survive Grievous?




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Review: I love that this comic takes place in the Clone Wars era. My favorite Star Wars comics were the ones that are now Legends that took place during this era. Depa Billaba is featured in this book and its so cool to see her interacting with Kanan. Depa doing the tests blindfolded was really cool.

There is a lot of action in this book. The art style is perfect for it.

Of course, there are references to other Star Wars characters. Rae Sloane!!! And I thought I saw the younglings from the Clone Wars tv show, but I may have been mistaken. The crew of Rebels also appears and they are drawn more realistic.

I give this book a 4/5. I definitely recommend it to Star Wars fans of the tv shows Clone Wars and Rebels.

--PAUL


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Demoniac (A Dominion Mystery #1) by Kat Ross - Excerpt + GIVEAWAY!




Good morning! We're so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Kat Ross' newest release, The Demoniac! This book is really fantastic, and we've got an excerpt for you to read so you can get just as hooked! There's also a giveaway, so be sure to enter to win your very own copy by completing the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

And, as always, don't forget to visit all of the other incredible stops on this tour! You can find the complete tour schedule by clicking the banner above.

About the Book


The Daemoniac
by Kat Ross
(A Dominion Mystery, #1)
Publication date: October 12th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.
But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.
From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.




Read an Excerpt!

The scream hung in the air, then stopped abruptly. As though the person's air supply had been suddenly cut off.
I looked up and down the street, but there was no one else in sight. The carriage had vanished, turning the corner perhaps. Never was I so glad to have followed Myrtle's advice. I rummaged around in my bodice and retrieved the pistol. The grip was slippery with perspiration, but its metallic weight was reassuring in my hand as I took a deep breath and entered Central Park at the Seventy-Ninth Street transverse.
I ran down the winding road, trying not to trip over my skirts. I had been to the park many times with John and his brothers, but always during the daytime. We would bring a picnic lunch and they would play rugby on a large lawn called the Green, while I read a book or just lay on my back watching the clouds. I knew the Green was a bit to the south near a ladies' restaurant called the Casino. I was less familiar with this area.
Newly installed electric lamps illuminated a fork in the road. I caught a glimpse of the lake through the trees to my left, not the water itself but the red and blue lights of the hired pleasure boats. We skated there last winter, John, Connor and I, before the blizzard. When the ice was frozen solid, all the omnibuses and horse cars would fly white flags and word would spread that "the ball is up in the park!"—meaning the red ball had been hoisted on the Arsenal and it was safe to skate.
Connor wasn't living with us yet, but John had taken an immediate fancy to him. I think he enjoyed showing Connor new things, things he couldn't even have dreamt of before he tried to rob Myrtle and ended up getting a job instead. I smiled at the memory. A frosty January morning, just after New Year's. The sky was a lustrous, bottomless blue. We'd gone to one of the nearby cottages afterwards and sipped hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. John told a ghost story, something about the restless souls of smallpox patients haunting the Gothic-style hospital on Ward's Island after its closure two years ago…
All was silent. I began to wonder if what I thought was a scream had actually been wild laughter.
I paused at the entrance to a heavily wooded area that could only be the Ramble. In the sunlight, it was reputed to be one of the most beautiful parts of the park, a rustic paradise of gurgling brooks and wildflowers. Tonight, it just looked dark and impenetrable.
"Hello?" I called, feeling idiotic. "Does anyone need help?"
Not even a cricket replied.
I was turning to leave when I heard a noise. It had a wet, squelching quality that made my skin crawl. With very little effort, my mind conjured up the image of a deer carcass being dressed with a sharp knife.
I switched the pistol to my left hand and wiped the sweat off my right palm. Then I returned the pistol to my right and cocked it.
"You really are a fool, Harry," I muttered.
I began to walk cautiously deeper into the Ramble. Trees laden with vines pressed close on both sides. The lights of the main thoroughfare faded behind me. I tried to be stealthy, but my dress rustled like a pile of autumn leaves with every step. Then the breeze died, leaving an airless void. Stinging beads of sweat popped out on my forehead and rolled into my eyes.
It was so dark that I tripped over the body.
All I knew was that my left foot caught on something in the middle of the path. I pinwheeled my arms and tried to recover, but when I looked down and saw the white flash of skin gleaming in the moonlight, I let out a shriek and went arse over teakettle, as Connor would say, into the undergrowth. The pistol flew from my hand.
I lay there, gasping for breath that wouldn't come. My chest felt like a locked door with no key. My eyes still worked though. And what I saw lifted all the hair on my body straight up.
A rough stone wall crossed the path ten paces away. It was broken by a narrow archway, through which the night poured black as pitch. But something even darker stood just within the shadow of the arch. Watching me.
I groped for the pistol but my hands came away empty. Empty and wet.
I was lying in a pool of blood.
The whole scene was so surreal, my mind simply rejected it. This couldn't be happening. Not an hour ago I was dancing with John in a brightly lit ballroom filled with people. Maybe not the nicest people, but still, regular people.
How easy it is in New York City to tumble down the rabbit hole. It just takes a few wrong steps. One or two poor decisions. The abyss is always waiting for the unwary. A hidden signal, and the trapdoor suddenly opens beneath your feet, dropping you into a lightless pit, a charnel house like the one in the Benders' cellar.
A beam of moonlight caught the glint of metal in the archway. Just a glimmer, but it was at about the height where you'd expect to see a knife if a person held it dangling point-down at their side.
I watched, breath still trapped in my throat like a wild animal clawing to get out, as the blade moved gently back and forth. A grotesque waggling gesture. Like some demented children's rhyme.

Round and round the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey thought it was all in fun…

My fingers scrabbled frantically through the dirt.
The blackness within the archway looked bottomless, infinite, like a hole torn in the fabric of the universe. The words Mrs. Rivers uttered at the séance, in that horrible chorus of overlapping voices, came back to me:
           
            Abyssus abyssum invocat

Deep calls to deep
           
The figure shifted, moving slowly into the moonlight. I saw a pale hand, and a knife as long as my forearm, mottled heavily with some dark substance. The glint of a brass button at the cuff.
I clenched my teeth and drew a ragged stream of air into my lungs. It wasn't enough.
You're going to die here, Harry, I thought dimly. And the killings will just go on and on and on…


GIVEAWAY!





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Thursday, October 6, 2016

BOOK BLAST: Loyal by Yasmin Shiraz

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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Book Blast for
Loyal: The Prequel To Retaliation
by Yasmin Shiraz!

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In the prequel to Retaliation, brother and sister, Khalil and Tashera find themselves on different sides of loyalty. Khalil's loyalty to his gang threatens the loyalty he should have to his family. This book illustrates the dynamic between a brother and sister and shows their love, challenges and desire to be there for each other.
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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

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About-the-Author2
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Yasmin Shiraz is the author of The Blueprint for My Girls as well as The Blueprint for My Girls in Love. She is an empowerment speaker and program developer who has delivered programs and keynotes based on her books.
She is the author of the ALA's Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers selection, Retaliation. She has spoken at over 100 colleges nationwide on topics such as empowerment, black history and hip hop culture.
She is an award winning film director as her film, Can She Be Saved? won 4 film awards including Best New film.
When not writing books, she produces documentaries for her company, Still Eye Rise Films

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

RELEASE DAY CELEBRATION: Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon - Excerpt + GIVEAWAY!

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Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for
Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Happy Book Birthday, Cindy!

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Sacrifice, the sequel to Serpentine, plunges Skybright into the terrifying underworld where demons are bred and whisks her up to the magnificent Mountain of Heavenly Peace where the gods dwell.
Stone is stripped of his immortal status and told to close hell's breach, which mysteriously remains open, threatening mortals.
Zhen Ni, Skybright's former mistress and friend, has been wed to the strange and brutish Master Bei, and finds herself trapped in an opulent but empty manor. When she discovers half-eaten corpses beneath the estate, she realizes that Master Bei is not all that he seems.
As Skybright works to free Zhen Ni with the aid of Kai Sen and Stone, they begin to understand that what is at risk is more far-reaching then they could ever have fathomed.
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Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books


excerpt
He gripped his dagger tighter as he leaned down to seize a large branch from the forest floor, his eyes never leaving the undead creature. The other six had long since crumpled to the ground, filling the forest with the harsh stench of burned clothes and hair. When the last corpse was near enough, Kai Sen stabbed the long branch into the corpse’s throat, and it halted, skewered like a beetle, yet it still fought to stagger toward him, scrabbling its skeletal fingers in the air. It was strong, but so was Kai Sen. He had the advantage of training and muscle, and this thing was mere rotten flesh.

Forcing the thick branch even deeper, he shoved the corpse back until with a final thrust, the thing toppled onto its back. He was on the creature before it could rise again, stomping on its extended arms with furious kicks, breaking them, before driving the branch into the earth and pinning the corpse. It struggled still, thudding its feet as Kai Sen crouched above it, one hand clutching the branch tight as he hacked at its neck with his dagger. It was exhausting and gruesome work, but the undead could only be killed with fire or decapitation. He needed to train and fight in every capacity, by magic or weapon or with his own hands. As a warrior, he knew it was crucial to his survival.

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

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SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.
Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.
When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.
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About-the-Author2
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Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent novel, Serpentine (Month9Books, 2015), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and VOYA. The sequel, Sacrifice, releases this September. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei, will be published by Simon Pulse in summer 2017. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art at http://cindypon.com.

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!




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Thursday, September 22, 2016

COVER REVEAL: My Junior Year of Loathing by Jennifer DiGiovanni + GIVEAWAY!

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
My Junior Year of Loathing
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Be on the look out for this upcoming release from
Swoon Romance!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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Junior year is supposed to be tough. Exams, term papers, homework, college tours, and participation in extra-curricular activities can all add up to non-stop stress. But Melinda Banner has goals to achieve and dreams to make real. This year, she’ll be unstoppable. But even over achievers need a break.
While walking in the woods to take a break from the stress of it all, Melinda meets a boy named Connor. After a few more run-ins, the two settle into an uneasy friendship, if you can even call it that.
But Connor's closed and mysterious. Whenever Melinda asks too many questions, he suddenly has to go or is no longer interested in talking. When they’re together, she’s torn between wanting him to open up and running away as fast as she can. Still she can't seem to shake her budding interest in him.
Connor has his own way of looking at the world, and his views often conflict with Melinda’s practical nature. Can you like someone and loathe them at the same time? Is he even worth the emotional tug on her heartstrings or distraction from all things Junior year?
And, as if she needs another project right now, Melinda starts to obsess over the abandoned estate she passes on the way to school each day. Between Connor and the old estate, Melinda's beginning to think she's taking on too much.
But Melinda's smart. She finds a way to indulge her interest in the estate and fulfill her obligations. She will uncover the truth behind the aging edifice for an epic article in the school newspaper.
But when her investigation reveals a connection between Connor and a tragedy long-since forgotten, Melinda has a choice: put off her junior year achievements to save a local landmark and a boy who constantly pushes her away or put them both out of her mind for good and focus on making the grade.
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My Junior Year of Loathing
by Jennifer DiGiovanni
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Pre-order:
Amazon

About-the-Author2
Jennifer DiGiovanni

Jennifer DiGiovanni is the author of the School Dayz Series. When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to try new sports and activities from archery to ballroom dancing, with varying degrees of success.

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

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BOOK BLAST: The Carver by Jacob Devlin + GIVEAWAY!

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Hello readers!
Are you looking for your next read?
Well, let us help make things easier for you!
Welcome to the Book Blast for
The Carver by Jacob Devlin
presented by Blaze Publishing!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Looking for more books to read?
Read on and find a book that's waiting for you to devour!

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THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers...
THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .

THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .

Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.

With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
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The Carver by Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing


WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:


"an inspired vision that felt fresh and unique; and something that would be entertaining for all ages" - Silvia's Reading
"The descriptions were vivid and I could easily see it in my head!" - Kindle and Me

"It brings you great laughs, tears and a special twist on all the fairytales we know from our childhood." - Goodreads Reviewer

About-the-Author2
jacobdevlin

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

YOU SHOULD ALSO CHECK OUT...

Asleep EBook (1)

Seventeen-year-old Rose suffers from terrifying, painful nightmares that leave her bruised, exhausted, and questioning her sanity. Desperate to hold on, she makes a choice: Trust her doctor who claims he can cure her, or listen to another patient who swears the asylum will kill them.
add to goodreads

Asleep by Krystal Wade
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing




Because I Love You

When Sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton discovers she’s pregnant, she also learns the truth of her adoption. Overwhelmed, Andie must choose what’s best for the baby, but after hearing the heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able let go.
add to goodreads

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing


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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2) by Kat Ross - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!


Good morning! Today, we're so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Kat Ross' newest release, Blood of the Prophet. Ashley has been waiting all year for this book, and can't wait to share her review with you. We've also got a giveaway, so be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post to enter to win your very own copy of the first book in this fantastic series, The Midnight Sea!

Also don't forget to stop by all of the other wonderful stops on this tour! You can find the full tour schedule by clicking the banner above. 

About the Book

Title: Blood of the Prophet 
Author: Kat Ross 
Publication date: September 12th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis: Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…




Purchase Links: Amazon  | B&N | Kobo

Purchase The Midnight Sea: Amazon

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads






Ashley's Review

It's no secret that I loved the first book in Kat Ross' Fourth Element series, The Midnight Sea. I quickly fell in love with the characters and the incredible world that Kat built, and I have been so anxious to jump back into the action with Blood of the Prophet. I expected to be taken on a wild journey, but this book was just so much more than I hoped for!

Blood of the Prophet picks up shortly after The Midnight Sea ends. Victor is off trying to retrieve the Fire from Neblis and Nazafareen, Darius, and friends have gone their own way to find the Prophet before Alexander storms Persepolae. Kat does a really great job of putting in bits and pieces of important information from the first book that I didn't necessarily remember without making it seem like a recap. Everything flows nicely from The Midnight Sea to this book, and I really appreciated that.

Even though Nazafareen and Darius spend much of their time in the same city, this book didn't feel like it was dragging. There is a lot of set-up, but it bounces between people and perspectives and keeps things feeling fresh and exciting. I found that I was always looking forward to the next page, the next chapter, just because I needed to know what was going to happen next. Especially in Balthazar's chapters, because he is one scary mofo. I do not ever want to be on his bad side with those crazy necromancer chains and all.

I also didn't think that there could be much world-building since the first book had so much, but I was sadly mistaken! There is just so much in this world that I didn't know about, and I was glad to learn more as Nazafareen learned more. I also really enjoyed seeing things from other peoples' perspectives, because it gave me much more background on the places they traveled to and from. Kat has this incredible way of expanding her worlds without making it overwhelming and actually showing things instead of telling. I could read these sections all day and never get bored!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a YA fantasy with traces of historical fiction. Some of the names and places will be familiar to readers who know anything about the Persian empire, but everything has been changed and twisted into something different and exciting and completely of Kat's own making. Her beautiful prose just add to the overall effect and make for an incredible book that does not suffer from the typical sophomore slump. I can't wait to read the final book in this part of the trilogy! 5/5 would definitely recommend.

The Giveaway!