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Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott

Title: HEAR THE WOLVES
Author: Victoria Scott
Pub. Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 240
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

It’s survival of the strongest in a contemporary, girl-versus-wild middle-grade debut from Fire & Flood author Victoria Scott!

Sloan is a hunter.

So she shouldn’t be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it’s been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight — it makes her too scared to be on her own.

When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she’s already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn’t stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that’s tied there — their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.

But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That’s when the wolves start hunting them .

Hear the Wolves is another captivating tale told by Victoria Scott. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading. The characters, the wolves and the fight for survival are all addictive elements in this story.

The main character Sloan is struggling with anxiety of being alone. After her mother left her alone to run off and Sloan got lost in the woods chasing her. She has trouble not keeping someone in her sights. In order for her to get over her fear, her father and sister leave her behind. Unaware of the events that are put into motion by the blizzard that ransacks their small town. After finding other people who stayed/were left behind, they have to make the journey to the town of Vernon in order to find a doctor for someone severely injured. I really loved Sloan, she is strong but also has lots of insecurities. It’s not just her anxiety that holds her back but the fact that she is missing a certain pizazz. She learns along the way that being “smart” and “brave” are actually broad terms that can be interrupted in many ways.

I loved the misfit crew that forms on the way to Vernon. Each character had their own part to play in the story. There are definitely some heartbreaking moments and I’m not just talking about the loss. Each character exposes a piece of themselves as they are going along. I think each character has to face themselves in the mirror of the others.

You can really tell that Victoria researched the habits of wolves. I liked how information about them was spread out throughout the book. One character would mention something they know here another there. So it wasn’t info dumping about wolves but interesting to get the next tidbit. I like the emphasise that wolves are not dogs. Of course I also like to emphasize dogs are still animals (I’ve had my face bitten off by one, literally). I think people sometimes have the misconception that they can be tamed. At the zoo where I live they have a sensory room. My son was really interested in wolves because of Twilight Princess (Hey Zelda can teach you many things) so we went into the room. They make it pitch black and then all you hear is the wolves howling all around you. It’s pretty freaky. I thought about it many times while reading this.

I absolutely loved Hear the Wolves. I felt like the characters, writing, pacing and everything was spot on. The minute you pick it up you can’t put it down.

Victoria Scott is the author of eight novels including Titans, Fire & Flood, Salt & Stone, the Dante Walker trilogy, Hear the Wolves (March 2017), and Violet Grenade (May 2017). She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.

Victoria’s latest novel, Titans, received two starred reviews, and Fire & Flood has been selected as a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program book. Victoria’s novels have been bought and translated in fourteen foreign markets. The author currently resides in Philadelphia, and loves hearing from her readers.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:
3/20/2017- YA Books Central- Interview
3/21/2017- Just CommonlyReview
3/22/2017- Falling For YAGuest Post
3/23/2017- MEREADALOTReview
3/24/2017- BookHounds YAInterview

Week Two:
3/27/2017- A Backwards StoryReview
3/28/2017- A Gingerly ReviewExcerpt
3/29/2017- Book BriefsReview
3/30/2017- Mundie MomsInterview
3/31/2017- Library of a Book WitchReview


Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead

Title: Myths of Mish (Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2)
Author: Katie Hamstead
Genre: YA Space Opera/Scifi/Fantasy
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Curiosity Quills Press

Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he's about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.
Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel's quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she's discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.
The problem is, Hansel's paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they're all being hunted.


Books in the Series:
I really enjoyed Myths of Mish. I’m always a fan of any kind of sci-fi, especially ones that include flying ships. I thought the mixing in of the fairytales was perfect.

The story takes the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel and gives it a new twist. The brother and sister pair are now grown up but still living with the stepmother that left them in the woods. Hansel is convinced that what happened to them as children was no accident and becomes obsessed with finding proof. In fact he has spent since they were lost until now trying to do that.

Hansel and Gretel might be the foundation of the story but my absolute favorite character is Wilhelmine or Minna. She is extremely strong and caring. Kicking butt and taking names, saving Hansel’s butt even when he doesn’t deserve her kindness. I really loved her personality and the rational ways she approached situations.

I would find Hansel to be the most interesting character because he changes so much from beginning to end of the story. He is cruel at the beginning to everyone except Gretel. I couldn’t believe the things he often said to Minna. She should have thrown him overboard from the start. I liked that she could see there was more to him. There is no excuse for his actions and she knows that but she helps to coax out the softer side of him. Also his paranoia is what makes him so crazy but as pieces start to finally fall into place, I think it tames his madness. By the end of the story he is still the same person but also not. He finally feels validated.

I had difficulty liking Gretel. I know that she is sheltered but she is such a ninny. I’m glad she stayed by her brothers side for the most part but even Minna had to point out to her why Hansel was the way he was. His main focus is protecting Gretel. I couldn’t understand how she couldn’t see that Berta was no good, even with Hansel showing her things that seemed suspicious. Believe the person who lost you in the woods or the person who saved you from being eaten in the woods? I feel like that shouldn’t have been a tough choice.

I loved this plot so much. Not only do we have the witches from the original Hansel and Gretel tale but also Merfolk and Sirens mixed in. There is the appearance of Elves, Fairies and Pirates even if only for brief moments. They really enriched the story. I love a good adventure and Hansel’s quest for Mythos definitely brought plenty of that. Even if they don’t end up finding what they were originally looking for. It was such a fun story to read!

I’m not a big fan of the cover for this book. It does relate to the story but still.

I would definitely say pick this one up. I really liked the writing and the plot and can’t wait to go back and read the Princess of Tyrone. Since I haven’t had the chance yet. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Born and raised in Australia, Katie's early years of day dreaming in the "bush", and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

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Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Title: Dating the It Guy
Author:Krysten Lindsay Hager
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: March 21st 2017

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.

Dating the It Guy is a cute story. That takes a typical teenage experience and shows how insecurities can have an impact on our relationships.

Emme is a sophmore in high school and just starting to get the feel of having relationships. Her previous boyfriend, John, cheated on her with his ex. This causes Emme to be cautious and insecure. When she is paired with Brendan for a school assignment, her insecurities come into play. Brendan turns out not to be what she quite expected. Instead of being a rich boy with a pretty face that gets everything handed to him. He’s actually a hard worker and kind person. Eventually this leads to their relationship.

I had mixed feelings about Brendan. Although he is definitely a sweet and caring guy. He works hard and doesn’t take the easy way out of things. I think he had a tendency to be oblivious to things. I know that Emme has insecurities but he often did things that no boyfriend should do. Like letting girls hang off him. There comes a point where you say, hey please stop hanging off my arm I have a girlfriend. I understand he argues that she should trust him but I could argue back that he should respect her.

I think in the beginning of the book, Brendan and Emme have more of a surface relationship. I think as they learn and grow, that changes toward the end.

I really liked the side story of the families and the grandparents. I loved how kind Brendan’s parents are because being wealthy doesn’t automatically make you mean. You could see that they loved thier sons no matter what they were doing. I also like Emme’s close fit family and felt sad for her with the issues her grandparents were having. She dealt with it in a very teenage way and I like how that added to the story.

I did think this was a cute story. If you enjoy the blossoming of a new relationship, I think those parts are definitely sweet. There were some times where it felt a little slow but it definitely leads to a great conclusion.

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is also the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series (True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, and the soon to be released, Landry in Like) and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Title: A Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Published: March 28th 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin
Buy: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.


I had loved The Star-touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes definitely holds up as a companion. I enjoy how Roshani Chokshi weaves the mythology into her stories and the characters she creates.

I loved the Fox Prince, Vikram. He was such a fun character, I loved that he wasn’t necessarily a strong knight but he was cunning and clever. Using his mind to get out of situations and to get himself in trouble. He made me laugh and I liked that he was always engaging Gauri in banter. Purposely pushing her buttons, knowing she would rise to the occasion.

I felt sad for Gauri. I had loved Maya and her relationship in the first novel and it made my heart break she had to go through so much strife. I also like the twist that between her and Vikram, she is the soldier. She knows not only to fight with a sword but also with her beauty. It made her someone really interesting and someone to be reckoned with. I would get frustrated with her lack of trust though, especially when Vikram would show her time and time again that he was her partner. She slowly softened as the story moves along but it definitely took a lot of convincing. She learns a great deal about her true self.

Aasha was a great addition. I loved how the story begins to branch to include her. She was one of my favorite characters, if not the favorite. Especially when she would try to eat anything just to experience it. Her willingness to follow her curiosity.

Always great side characters. I loved all that were included in the story from the monsters to Kubera himself.

The tournament. I always love plots that involves games and tournaments of some kind. I think there are so many creatives things that can come out of it. The Tournament of Wishes is no exception. Again I loved the way the mythology is woven into the tournament itself. I found those parts to be absolutely fascinating.

I really enjoyed the story and I’m glad to have a little more of this world. I can’t wait to see what Roshani writes next.


The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Bone Witch (#1)
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learn-ing to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

The Bone Witch caught my eye because I loved Rin Chupeco’s writing in her The Girl from the Well stories. She has this way of making things have this haunting feel to them that really brings the best out of stories like these. I really enjoyed her writing once and again as well as the story itself.

I love how this story is told. Present Tea is relating the story of how she got to where she is to a bard. It was interesting to go back and forth because you start to see Tea in a different light as things begin to match up. I loved her as an MC. She was just such an interesting character, especially for the fact she often mentions that it feels good to draw from the dark magic. As the story goes along you start to wonder what side is she one. Is she good or bad? The lines all seem blurred. I loved how intelligent she is, even if at times she can be impulsive. I love her fondness for her brother and her Asha sisters. I also really like that Tea wants to do the right thing by her friend, who is a boy but loves to dance and sing more than be a soldier. She understand why he has to be forced into a role he doesn’t want.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Memoirs of a Geisha, but I have to say the Willows reminds me of that a little. I guess the Asha are similar to Geisha except of course they have magic. They also have their own political world outside that of the kingdom politics and each House is kind of like it’s own kingdom. The Asha system used to be a bigger part of the political game I think but then they started to veer off in their own agendas. We spend a large amount of the story with Tea learning to be an apprentice and the ins and outs of the world. It’s very intriguing. I also love the time that is taken to describe all the different outfits and adornments. An Asha’s Hua can tell a lot about her.

I find the relationship and the Oracle to also be intriguing. It’s only lightly explored in this book but I’m curious to see how much more details there are in the next book. As Tea walks this line between what is considered to be good and evil (I think the considered is important), I want to know what part the oracle is really playing.

There are some other great side characters. Like the Heartforger and his apprentice, the different shop owners and of course other Asha. Of course there is the light love interest, again it’s not deeply explored...yet.

So the ending….leaves you like, okay I need the next book. It’s a cliffhanger of sorts. I really liked it though and am looking forward to see more of the story.

So Rin made these adorable chibi characters of the different Asha. I'm in love with them.
Arhenkosho, Daanoris, Kion

 
Istera, Yadosha, Drycht

Tresea, Odalia
Rin Chupeco wrote obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and did many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fairy tales but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She wrote The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and The Bone Witch, the first book of a new YA Fantasy trilogy. Find her at rinchupeco.com.

Open International
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(2) Tea Crocheted Dolls






Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Title: Seven Days of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 7th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?


Seven Days of You takes a cute and emotionally charged story and puts in the amazing setting of Tokyo. I loved not only being transported into the story but to another country as well.

I loved many things about this book. Most of all the setting. I have every subscription box under the moon, Japanese snacks, Japanese noodles, Japanese toys, Japanese cosmetics,...but I’ve never been to Japan. It’s definitely something on my bucket list. So there were things they talked about that I completely recognized. Whether if it’s from watching Anime or trips to Japantown in San Francisco. I loved how submersed in the setting I felt when reading the book. I felt like I could picture all the different places in my head and would get excited like a tourist. Ohhh I know about how you are supposed to wash for a shrine! And so forth. It was fantastic.

I also really really loved the friendships. In all their complicatedness. When the story starts out with characters it a twinge of familiarity. I can’t say they are exactly like anyone in my friends group in high school but there was something about the dynamic. It might not be exactly the same characters but the dynamic definitely felt like typical high school.

I loved the high running emotions of Sophia. She is moving from a place that she loves, from friends she loves and from the familiarity of the the things she does. Of course you should be an emotional mess. So everything that happens around her feels ten times worse because she is already in the emotional turmoil. Plus she is starting to see things that she decided not to see before, especially with her family. It’s an emotional roller coaster of seven days.

Sophia and Jamie. They hooked me the night they spend all night out together. Running all over the place. I like how the are getting re-acquainted and re-understanding each other after being separated for so long. It’s not all ups for them either. Again Sophia’s personal turmoil does have an impact, which it should. It only makes sense. I really like how their romance is played out. Although there is a part where I’m like, seriously Sophia what are you doing!

I really enjoyed the book. I love different settings like this and just all the emotions.



I was born in France but then moved to Japan. And then to the States. And then back to Japan. And then back to the States. When I was 18, I moved to New York where I was homesick for nearly seven years. After that, I got a job in a cold, snowy city in northern Japan and, from there, I headed to Scotland where I got my master's in creative writing and lived off tea, writer tears, and Hobnobs.

I still live in the U.K. and spend most of my time writing, reading, baking, and getting emotional over Tori Amos albums. Hobbies include pretending Buffy the Vampire Slayer is real, collecting a lipstick to match every Skittle flavor, and listening to a thousand podcasts a day.

A pup named Malfi and a Renaissancist named Rachel are my favorite things in the world. That, and books. I should probably mention the books again.

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Hunted by Megan Spooner #BookReview

Title: Hunted
Author: Megan Spooner
Published: March 14th 2017 by HarperTeen
Buy: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

I have so much love for Hunted. My grandparents were immigrants from Russia/Lithuania and one of the stories I devoured as a child over and over again were that of the Firebird. Taking the story of Beauty and the Beast and combining it with one of my favorite mythical creatures made my heart happy. Megan Spooner’s writing of the story was spot on and I devoured every single word.

I loved so many things about this story. Yeva is the kind of main character that I really enjoy. She’s strong and independent but also has her moments when I get frustrated with her. She feels like there is something she is missing and is searching for it, not settling for her life the way it is. I also like that she is able to take a step back and see things that are not in plain sight.

I really like how the POV is done with the Beast because he is obviously taken over by the more feral self. I like that we see glimpses in his humanity by the way he thinks.

The writing is just perfect and lyrical for the story. I really loved how Megan was able to capture that Fairytale style. I also really liked the pacing of the plot, although I always get impatient when main characters are separated. That’s just me though.

I felt like this was a story of Beauty and the Beast but also with other stories weaved through. It’s definitely a read if you are looking for a Fairytale retelling.


Swinging at Love by Kendra C. Highley


Title: Swinging At Love (Suttonville Sentinels #2)
Author: Kendra C. Highley
Publication Date: March 13, 2017
Publisher: Entangled TEEN Crush

Outfielder Tristan Murrell has a problem. As the number two slugger for the Suttonville Sentinels, his team is counting on him to make their very first run at the state championship. But he has a secret—his swing has totally deserted him. As in, he can’t hit anything. He needs to fix the issue, and fast, but how?

Ballerina Alyssa Kaplan has a problem, too. The shiny new sports complex in town has left her family’s batting cage business on the verge of going under. Nailing her audition for a prestigious dance company is everything, but there’s no way she’s letting her some shiny big-box company destroy her family’s livelihood.

Tristan needs a miracle. So does Alyssa. And maybe, just maybe, Tristan’s secret weapon might be the girl of his dreams…

Disclaimer: This book contains hot, shirtless baseball players, kisses that bring a ballerina to her knees, and a lot of baseball smack-talk.

Swinging at Love is really cute baseball love story. I really liked the best friends like same person element. I can’t remember if I’ve seen that in a story before, but it is something that used to happen when I was in high school. I also like the struggle of the family business (my parents had their own business) and the loss of Kyle’s swing.

Alyssa is a tough cookie. She’s an ex-softball player and current ballerina. Even though she gave up softball for dance she still has a soft spot for the game. She works at her family’s batting practice facility. A task she loves to both help people with their game and up keeping the equipment. When a large franchise comes in and threatens to put Swing Away out of business it throws Alyssa through an emotional loop, which leaks into her dancing.

Tristan is a ball player who has lost his groove heading into playoffs. He tries to get some peace and quiet to work on his swing at Swing Away where he meets Alyssa.

I thought the romance was really cute. Alyssa and Tristan bond over baseball. She doesn’t just help him with his swing by being a muse, she also knows the sport and his able to give him tips. It gives them something in common besides just finding each other attractive. I also like the best friends having crushes on the same people. I thought it was a little different twist. Although I would have rather them being honest, they thought they were doing the right thing not to distract anyone with so many important things on the line. Plus even though Alyssa is a strong girl, she sometimes lacks in the confidence department. Especially with her best friend. The only part that really frustrated me was when Alyssa believes the bad about Tristan immediately instead of hearing his side. Besides that they were really cute.

I thought the ending was sweet and cute. There is a lot of baseball woven into the story with the playoffs and then of course Swing Away going out of business. So it was definitely the right ending for the book.

This is a fun and cute read. It’s one of those that it’s not to take a break with, plus if you like baseball then this is perfect.
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.

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The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins #Giveaway

Title: THE GREAT PURSUIT (Eurona Duology #2)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 512
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: 
Amazon, B&N, iBooks, AudibleGoodreads

In The Great Pursuit, the dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great Hunt, Wendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom.

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.

The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.

Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.

Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.
Grab the eBook 1 THE GREAT HUNT for just $1.99!



Excerpt




CHAPTER ONE




A new beast roamed the kingdom of Lochlanach, killing at will. A second unnatural monster created by the hands of Rozaria Rocato, granddaughter of the most infamous and hated Lashed One of all time. Princess Aerity Lochson’s mind was a blur of piled-up worries as she rushed from High Hall of the castle, away from the frightened commoners and guests who’d come for her betrothal ceremony, and toward the office of her father, King Charles. She turned at the sound of heavy footsteps behind her and found both her childhood friend Lieutenant Harrison Gillfin and her betrothed, Lord Lief Alvi, following. Lord Alvi looked every bit the hero—his broad stature striking, with elk furs about his shoulders and a black kilt to his knees above leather boots. His blue eyes were filled with bright passion and hunger, but those emotions were not for her. They were for the beast. The new hunt.




He had killed the first creature, thereby earning her hand in marriage. The thought twisted Aerity’s stomach with discomfort and turned her mind to the man who’d disappeared weeks before when the beast was killed—the Lashed man who’d taken her heart with him and would likely never return. She clenched her jaw. This was no time to think of Paxton Seabolt or her drowned desires. The kingdom was suffering again—rendering everything she’d sacrificed to have been in vain.




Her eyes shifted from Lord Alvi’s to Harrison’s and found a fierce, protective comfort there. Harrison stood tall, lean, and capable. Never faltering. The thought of her noble friend fighting yet another beast filled her with sharp fear. So many lives had already been lost, including Harrison’s cousin Breckon, who’d been the true love of Aerity’s cousin Wyneth. Half a year was all it had taken to trample the dreams and futures of so many.




Aerity gave the men a nod to follow her. She lifted her long white skirts and moved quickly down the tapestry-lined hallway to her father’s office. Guards and soldiers ran past, shouting orders, fully armed with bows, swords, and lines of throwing daggers strapped across their uniformed tunics.




She opened the door without knocking. No fewer than twenty faces shot toward her. She recognized the burgundy red hair of her mother, along with her aunts and uncles, military elite, and royal advisers. Her father invited them in with a quick flick of his fingers.




When the door closed he asked her, “What is the state of things in High Hall?”




“The people seemed to have calmed for the moment, Father,” Aerity said. “And supper is being served.”




“Your daughter gave a rousing speech,” Lord Alvi pro- claimed in his rumbling voice. “She is to thank for the calm.” Aerity’s face flushed with heat at the unexpected compliment. Then he put a heavy hand on her shoulder and pulled her close. Aerity fought the urge to shrug away. For the sake of the kingdom, she had made a commitment to become his bride, and she would follow through regardless of what her heart wanted, and regardless of the fact that she was certain feelings had grown between Lief and Wyneth.
“Did she?” The king’s eyes softened with pride, and her mother, Queen Leighlane, smiled at Aerity and Lief, no doubt thinking what a lovely couple they were. If she only knew.




Behind them Harrison cleared his throat. “Are we to begin hunting the creature, Your Majesty?”




King Charles nodded, his face lined with anxiety. “Aye. But most of the hunters have dispersed.” Or been killed, Aerity thought with sorrow, remembering the men who’d come from all over Eurona and even a huntress who’d lost her life.




“I can have a message sent to Tiern Seabolt,” Harrison said. “I’m certain he would return with haste.”




Aerity’s abdomen tightened. Tiern was Paxton’s younger brother. He’d nearly been killed by the first beast and had been saved by Paxton’s Lashed magic. It was the very reason Pax had fled the kingdom—using magic was illegal, even to heal. Aerity didn’t want Tiern to hunt again. She didn’t want Paxton’s sacrifice to have been a waste.




“And his older brother?” the king asked.




“Nay.” Harrison paused. “He disappeared after the hunt. We don’t know his whereabouts.”




“Must you call Tiern back?” Aerity asked. When her father’s eyebrows drew together she emended, “He’s . . . so young.”




“He’s the same age as you, Daughter,” the king reminded her. “Seventeen. A man who’s already proven himself in the hunt.” Aerity pressed her lips together and nodded. She could not keep Tiern safe any more than she could force Harrison to stay out of harm’s reach. Their heroic hearts would urge them forward.




“Can we send word to the Zandalee?” Aerity’s uncle Lord Wavecrest asked.




The king shook his head. “I’m afraid not this time. The letter from the Rocato woman stated that her creatures have now been released in all the lands of Eurona. The Zandalee will be needed to fight in their own drylands of Zorfina.”




A fearful silence fell over the room. Each kingdom was on its own with its own beasts to battle now. Lochlanach was a quaint kingdom of fishermen and crop villagers, farmers, that had enjoyed many years of peace. The people had risen together to fight the first beast, but how much more could the king expect from them? It was too much. To imagine this kind of horror inflicted on innocent people all over Eurona sickened Aerity.




“Perhaps another proclamation?” Lord Wavecrest suggested carefully. At this proposal from Aerity’s uncle, the men in the room glanced around at one another, and the hairs rose on the princess’s arms. The queen caught her daughter’s eyes, and they both went still.




The last proclamation had offered Aerity’s hand in marriage to whoever killed the beast. The only thing left to give was the second princess, Aerity’s fifteen-year-old sister, Vixie. Her father stared down at his desk.




“No.” Aerity stepped forward, out of Lord Alvi’s embrace, her body trembling. “You cannot offer Vixie’s hand.”




The king’s hazel eyes, filled with regret, rose to hers. “I have nothing left to give.” With Vixie’s hand would come her dowry of lands. Using Vixie as a prize would surely smother her soul. Aerity wouldn’t stand for it.




“And why should you oppose it?” her uncle Preston asked haughtily. “The first proclamation provided you with a fine match. It can do the same for Vixie.”




Aerity stilled, forcing back the torrent of words that flooded her mind: unfair, poor match, confinement, no joy, no love. She was to endure those things for her kingdom, but the thought of Vixie losing her freedom to choose her future . . . it gutted Aerity. She knew how it appeared to the world—that she’d landed a handsome, noble, brave lord—but the heart didn’t care about appearances. It wanted who it wanted.




“And then what?” Aerity asked. “Who shall we offer for the next beast, and the one after that? Your own Wyneth? Or perhaps six-year-old Merity?”




Lord Wavecrest scowled.




“Enough, Aerity,” Queen Leighlane said quietly. Aerity met her mother’s eyes and felt an understanding there. No one knew better than the two of them how this would crush Vixie’s spirit. These men couldn’t possibly understand.




“Vixie’s nearly sixteen,” Lord Wavecrest pressed. Aerity wanted to claw out his eyes and force him to stop speaking.




“A proclamation offering Vixie’s hand will be my very last resort,” King Charles said, standing taller. “It is my hope that the people will rise of their own free will to protect their families and lands as they did in the last hunt. I will not hinder them with further curfews.”




Lord Wavecrest shook his head and crossed his arms. Aerity breathed a temporary sigh of relief.




“Sire, we should address the other part of the Rocato woman’s letter.” This was from the king’s oldest adviser, Duke Gulfton. This duke had been the closest adviser to Aerity’s grandfather King Leon. His views on the Lashed were legendarily conservative and strict, and he was a proponent of keeping the Lashed lists up to date. All persons with Lashed capabilities and their families were notated in the records and checked regularly for markings.
The stooped man wore a sea-green robe around his shoulders and a perpetual serious frown on his face. He leaned on his cane. “We cannot do as the Rocato woman demands. We cannot burn our records of Lashed Ones in these lands, or give them rein to take over our kingdom.”




A few of the other older men murmured their agreement.




Harrison stepped forward. “What if we made a copy of the list? Then it wouldn’t matter if one was destroyed.”




“I’ve got scribes copying pages as we speak,” the king responded. “But the Rocato woman has called for the records to be burned by sundown. The copy won’t be complete. There are thousands of names.”




Thousands of persons with Lashed blood in Lochlanach. Amazing, Aerity thought. Only a small percentage of those on the list actually had magic, though. Paxton’s family was not on the list. Aerity wondered how many others of magical blood had been able to elude the system.




“How will the madwoman know the difference?” Duke Gulfton asked. “Burn papers to appease her, then kill her and her monsters once and for all. End of story.”




“Here, here!” a few men shouted, as if it were that simple. As if they wouldn’t have done it by now if they could.




The king’s jaw was set. “I have a terrible feeling this woman has eyes and ears everywhere.”




The room quieted and a sense of unease spread as heads turned and everyone eyed the others present. Her father’s council was a small group of family and a mere handful of wise advisers, all landowners, who’d been loyal to the kingdom since her grandfather ruled. She couldn’t imagine this group being compromised.




“With all due respect, gentlemen,” Lord Alvi said to the room, “we will find every beast and even Rocato herself, but we cannot guarantee immediate success. The last hunt took two months.”




“Aye,” Harrison added. “And she’s threatening to kill seven men each week.”




“You’ll have to work faster this time,” Duke Gulfton told them.




The room tensed. During the last hunt they’d had a hundred men. They’d sought the monster nearly ten hours a night and spent the days scouting and preparing. The lands of Lochlanach stretched far and wide. Yet people like Duke Gulfton were expecting a miracle of the sea.




Queen Leighlane cleared her throat. “The fact of the matter is that we’re going to have to at least put on a show of honoring her wishes. We need to buy time as we plan.”




Another elder, Duke Streamson, asked, “What are you proposing, Your Highness? Rocato is demanding that all Lashed be allowed to freely work magic.”




Magic that wasn’t all bad, Aerity thought. Magic that had saved Tiern and could save others. If only she could get them to embrace that.




“I have an idea.” Aerity’s brain whirred as all eyes turned to her. “What if we set up a public area just outside the royal lands and invited Lashed from throughout the kingdom to come, and any Unlashed who wishes to seek their healing can receive it?”




Duke Streamson made a choking sound. “Round up the people of Rocato to turn against us in one place? That’s precisely what she wants!”




Aerity rushed on. “I don’t believe all Lashed are ‘her people.’ The entire area would be heavily guarded so that if any Lashed got out of line, they could be dealt with immediately.” The old dukes scoffed at her.




One of the military advisers stepped forward. “Our numbers are not as large as they once were. Our troop sizes have been modest in the past fifty years. I’ve got to keep men patrolling the seas and borders, and we’ve lost many in the past months. I worry that a large-scale showing of the Lashed will bring crowds.”




The room broke out into fervent debate. Those who were against Aerity’s idea were adamant, passionate in their fears. Those in favor seemed on weak, shaky ground.




“Given permission to put their hands on innocent people, it could be a massacre!”




“What if the Lashed overwhelm our guards?”




“They’ll rise up throughout the lands!”





“. . . commoner revolts . . . war . . .”





Aerity felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Harrison, his light brown eyes showing the never-faltering respect he seemed to hold for her. She gave his hand a quick squeeze of gratitude before he released her. Aerity caught Lord Alvi watching the exchange with curiosity, so she turned her gaze forward again—she would let him think what he wanted.




“Enough!” King Charles’s voice silenced the room. “I will think on it. I must put safety first. I’m not ready to overturn our laws—” Aerity opened her mouth to argue that she wasn’t suggesting a complete overturn, but a one-time, enclosed, secure circumstance. Her father held up a hand to stop her. “This blasted parchment from Rozaria Rocato is bound to have our people in terror. If I take the stability of our rules away, it will cause chaos. Tonight on the lawn we will burn whatever pages my scribes have managed to copy, to keep Rozaria satisfied, but the original lists remain with us. I pray to the sea this works.”




He looked at the hunters. “Lord Alvi. Lieutenant Gillfin. Gather as many hunters as you can and begin hunting this new beast immediately.” They nodded and took their leave. Aerity watched them go, swallowing a dry lump in her throat. The king looked to his military advisers. “I want every soldier on duty, and round-the-clock patrolling of royal lands. I want Rozaria Rocato, dead or alive.” He turned to his top castle guard. “Send messengers to the other four lands to let them know of our new foe and to find out their circumstances.”




Without another word, the king swept from the room with Queen Leighlane and a line of advisers close behind.




Aerity felt the brush of velvet on her arm and peered




down at the old man beside her. It was Duke Gulfton, his eyes glistening. “I mean no disrespect, Princess, only a piece of advice. In times of fear and upheaval, absolute routine and stability in the law are called for. Any slight change can set the people off.”




“As I recall,” Aerity said steadily, “Mrs. Rathbrook healed your ailing heart last year.” Mrs. Rathbrook was the royal healer—the only Lashed allowed to work magic.




He grasped the top of his cane with both hands. “Aye.”




“Should we not allow the people of this land to benefit from magic as you have?”




He looked down at his hands, nodding solemnly. “Not all Lashed are as trustworthy as Mrs. Rathbrook. You saw the Rocato woman face-to-face. You know the evil of which she is capable.”




“I suppose everyone is capable of evil, Duke Gulfton. None of us is immune, Lashed or not. But I choose to believe the best in people until they show me otherwise.”




Duke Streamson, waiting in the doorway, cleared his throat. Duke Gulfton peered up at Aerity and patted her hand. “Once they show you otherwise, it is often too late. As a rule it is not safe to take such chances. Seas help Lochlanach in our time of need.”




As Duke Gulfton shuffled away, Aerity whispered in return. “Seas help us, indeed.”
Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue.
Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University. She is represented by Jill Corcoran of the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.

(2) Winners will receive the grand prizes (The Great Hunt Paperback and The Great Pursuit hardback from HarperTeen, and signed swag from Wendy Higgins! Plus an ARC of ROAR by Cora Carmack!), US Only.
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Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Published: February 28th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Buy: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

I have a strange love of pirates, ever since I was a kid and watched Captain Blood. So the idea of a book of a girl pirate, my secret dream, is definitely right up my alley. I loved the adventure and piracy of Daughter of the Pirate King.

The book captures what I love best about old pirate movies. Not only are they full of adventure but also have a lot of witty dialogue. At times Alosa is quite humorous, especially when she banters with Riden. It gave the book a little bit more of a light heartedness that I enjoyed.

Alosa is a spirited, fierce and quick witted. She has been trained by her father to be ruthless and tuck her emotions away. Although she doesn’t follow this all the time, she has great affection for her hand picked crew. Which predominantly consists of women. She is also very observant and she rewards kindness. She is by far a force to be reckoned. She does greatly seek her father’s approval which can sometimes dictate her actions.

Alosa’s romance with Riden is a slow burn. They are adversaries, friends and then teetering on something more. Riden is loyal to his brother, through thick and thin. It’s admirable and stems from what had happened in their past. I like how he challenges Alosa in ways she did not expect and that he chooses to use his wit rather than sword to get the information he needs.

I really enjoyed the plot. There were interesting aspects that you didn’t always see coming. At first you think of the world being confined to the one boat but as things unravel it because bigger than that.

Like I stated earlier I love a good pirate novel and add a female pirate, you’ve got an enjoyable tale. I can’t wait to see how the story continues and if you are looking for something when a strong lead and fun adventure. I can say this is the story for you.