Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.



Blog Tour: And I Darken by Kiersten White



New from Kiersten White, the author of the Paranormalcy series and the Mind Games duology, comes a novel reimaging the immensely cruel Vlad the Impaler.

Whit_9780553522310_jkt_all_r1.inddNO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Release Date: June 28, 2016

Holy Crap.

This novel has so much going on and so much detail.  Now, unlike some novels that seem bogged down by seemingly useless details and flowery language (looking at you, Charles Dickens), And I Darken seems to be carved from a rich mahogany and it is done purposefully and necessarily.  Side note: it can be a little overwhelming to take in so much so quickly, but push through!

Not only does White immediately establish the tense atmosphere of this ruling family, but she properly exhibits the dichotomy between Lada and Radu.  It is definitely my favorite part of the novel, the sibling love and devotion despite their differences.  As someone who doesn’t always get along with my sibling, I even envied it a bit.  Which is odd considering this is a story about Vlad the Impaler….

Anyway, I find the dual point of view format to be ridiculously helpful in this story, even if Radu’s parts in this are significantly shorter and more to the point.  I sort of wish that there was more of a first person narrative here, but third person limited is always a good alternative to this.

White did such an excellent job portraying the absolute brutal attitude of Lada and the Ottoman empire at this time.  I found it difficult to read at times, but in a challenging way not in a un-entertaining way.  It is something wholly unique to the young adult genre and I have a feeling it is going to inspire many more works not only from White (since this is a series), but from other authors as well.  I sincerely hope it challenges authors to look to new types of storytelling.  Plus, gender-bending classic stories is a huge thing on tumblr, so it isn’t like it would be unaccepted by the readers.

Unlike many heroines in young adult novels, Lada is set up almost immediately as an anti-heroine since we know exactly what the future holds for this brutal teen.  However, it is impossible to not sympathize with this leader born into such a patriarchal and backwards society.  (Does anyone else kind of think Lada would work really well alongside Amarantha and the King of Hybern in the Court of Thorns and Roses Series? )

This book will please you, make you uncomfortable, and make you root for the ultimate bad girl.

4.5 Bards






Book Review: Corsets and Clockwork by Various Authors

Dark, urban fantasies come to life in the newest collection of Steampunk stories, “Corsets & Clockwork.” Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements. Throw in epic romances that transcend time, and this trendy, engrossing anthology is sure to become another hit for the fast-growing Steampunk genre!This collection features some of the hottest writers in the teen genre, including: Ann Aguirre, Jaclyn Dolamore, Tessa Gratton, Frewin Jones, Caitlin Kittredge, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Dru Pagliassotti, Dia Reeves, Michael Scott, Maria V. Snyder, Tiffany Trent, and Kiersten White.

I will admit it; I judged a book by its cover. The cover of Corsets and Clockwork attracted me from the minute I saw it, and when I found that a couple of my favourite authors (Lesley Livingston and Maria V. Snyder) were contributors to this collection, I knew I had to read it. And then … it didn’t quite live up to what I expected. Maybe it was the different authors; maybe it was the subject matter was too broad, but there did not seem to be enough of a flow throughout the stories. Yes, they were all tied together by the idea of Steampunk, but that wasn’t enough to hold the book together. A couple of the stories were great, but others were definite let downs.

As I entered the Steampunk world of Corsets and Clockwork, the first story hit all the right notes. Rude Mechanicals, by Lesley Livingston was just what I have come to expect from her. It was a little Steampunk and a little Shakespeare with just enough of a twist to keep me guessing. Unfortunately, it was followed by Frewin Jones’ The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe, which hardly seemed to fit into the Steampunk genre at all. It was much more a fantasy/horror match up featuring a cannibalistic half-mermaid. There was no smooth transition from the first story to the next, and it was quite jarring to jump from one world to the next. The lack of smooth transition, or unifying theme throughout the book really affected my enjoyment while reading.

I did like that Corsets and Clockwork introduced me to some new authors. I will definitely be looking for other works by Ann Aguirre, who contributed the story Wild Magic to the collection, and Tessa Gratton, who contributed King of the Greenlight City. The possibility of discovering new authors is something that draws me to anthologies, so perhaps it is too much to hope for that I would love every story. If you enjoy a combination of fantasy and Steampunk, I do suggest picking up a copy of Corsets and Clockwork. If you are anything like me, you will find a couple of stories in it that make you wish it was all real, and a couple that make you very glad that it is all fiction. It is hard to come to an overall conclusion for the book since there were stories that I loved as well as stories that I did not enjoy at all. This also makes it hard to for me to conclusively recommend the book. My overall reaction was really one of ‘meh’, and that is not a strong recommendation at all.

3 Bards.






This review was submitted to A Midsummer Night’s Read by Sarah.


Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday


Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

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