The Bird and The Blade by Megan Bannen

The Bird and the Blade
by Megan Bannen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father as they flee from their enemies across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless love.

Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.

Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of ... even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.

When I saw the The Bird and the Blade is based on an opera, I thought uh oh. I admit I love bittersweet endings (I'm still not over Uncontrollably Fond or Scarlet Heart Ryeo) but I knew I would have to be prepared. I'm not sure if I've ever heard of an opera not having causalities. I enjoyed The Bird and The Blade to be a rich story along with the tears.

I loved the fact that the characters are Mongolian. After I saw Mulan, I actually did a lot of research on the Mongolian Empire because I found it really interesting. It's a section of history you know about but don't necessarily get a lot of information about. I loved how this story tied some of that in. I did find some of the politics confusing at first and I did appreciate the glossary of who was who. I had to refer to it a little.

I loved the characters. All interesting in their own way and unique in the way they are shaped by their experiences. It's a different kind of romance as well. One that can endear tragedy. It's a beautiful story and I think it held on to that opera quality while making into novel form.

Megan Bannen is a librarian and the author of THE BIRD AND THE BLADE. In her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas col-leges and universities. While most of her professional career has been spent in public libraries, she has also sold luggage, written grants, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, their two sons, and a few too many pets with literary names. She can be found online at

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Prize: 1 copy of THE BIRD AND THE BLADE (US Only)
Starts: 5/31 ฀Ends: 6/12
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Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Tile: Love & Luck by
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admitted-ly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Love and Luck is a really cute story. That not only deals with heartbreak but also family dynamics.

Love and Luck found a soft spot in me. I have three older brothers myself so seeing the family dynamics made my heart happy. Just so much like my own family. My two oldest brothers are 12 and 10 years older than me. So they kind of paired off, so if there is something to discuss about me. I wouldn’t doubt they would talk to each other. The younger of the three is closer in age to me so we were the pairing. It just happens that way. Which he had a falling out and haven’t spoken in a while. A long while. So Ian and Addie felt very familiar. Their trip to Ireland just reminded me of a time when the all of us went on a trip together and my oldest brother was throwing peanuts at my head on the airplane (planes were different back then). So I absolutely loved how much family is a part of the story. Especially the sibling conflict. Everything seems so much more dramatic sometimes and as you grow older you change and I thought this story captured this perfectly.

Addie’s secret is one of those that you can picture happening. Once you find it out you just keep thinking of all the consequences of it. I loved that she finds the Guide for the Heartbroken and uses it as a way to heal. Nothing is perfect but it definitely helped keep her mind off of things.

So I thought the interactions between Addie and Rowan are cute but I loved the relationship of the three more. I just enjoyed the story so much that I didn’t need anything else. They were all finding themselves in their own way.

It’s a great story and just has that uniqueness about it to make it something you want to keep reading. I enjoyed the writing, the characters and the story.

Jenna Evans Welch was the kind of insatiable child reader who had no choice but to grow up to become a writer. She is the New York Times Bestselling author of LOVE & GELATO and the upcoming LOVE & LUCK.

When she isn’t writing girl abroad stories, Jenna can be found chasing her children or making elaborate messes in the kitchen. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and two young children.

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• Prize: 1 copy of LOVE & LUCK
• US Only
• Starts: 5/9
• Ends: 5/22

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