Palace of Silver by Hannah West

Palace of Silver (The Nissera Chronicles #3)
Author: Hannah West
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: April 28th 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

Return to the land of Nissera, home to spectacular magic. An uneasy peace reigns now that Valory has vanquished the Moth King and settled into her rightful place as queen of Calgoran. New leaders Glisette and Kadri hope to usher the neighboring kingdoms into an era of healing and prosperity. All should be well.

But there’s a fourth queen in charge: Ambrosine, banished overseas to Perispos. Driven by vanity, she vows to become the most powerful and beautiful ruler in the world, even if it means oppressing the mortal kingdom she is meant to protect. Meanwhile a dangerous uprising led by elicromancer-hating rebels gains momentum. Rot spreads through the Forest of the West Fringe. Valory goes missing. Facing enemies on all sides, Glisette and Kadri must reckon with the role of magic. How far will they go to defend their power—and can they build an uprising of their own?

West intertwines homages to Snow White and Bluebeard with her imaginative magical setting for an exhilarating installment in the acclaimed Nissera Chronicles. Stunning hardcover edition includes a two-page map and family tree.

Palace of Silver is another fantastic installment of the Nissera Chronicles, where Queens and Princesses kick butt all over the place. I really enjoyed the POVs and how fast paced the story moved along.

So Kingdom of Ash and Briars is the first installment in the series and what starts the bloodlines we follow now. That book, however, is much easier to read as a standalone. It does enhance the reading experience to have that history for the next two books. We then move into Realm of Ruins, which happens much later in the same world. Palace of Silver is actually a direct sequel to Realm of Ruins. So at first since it’s been a while since I read the last book my mind needed to be jogged. Which I think they do a pretty decent job doing at the beginning. So many things happen in each book that you would go crazy if a character summarized it perfectly but between Kadri and Glisette I finally got the pieces to fall in place in my brain.

So the Nissera Chronicles always have an undercurrent of fairy tales. Palace of Silver had Snow White. Even though I’m not a very big Snow White fan, I loved the way it was incorporated into the story. It was so well done.

I also really liked that we took a break from straight up Elicromancers and follow more along with a religion in Perispos. Where there are Holies and the Fallen. I thought of them like Angels or I guess Saints and Demon. Even though Elicromancey is a big part of Kadri and Glisette. They actually rely a lot more on themselves than they do magic. I loved seeing both girls grow as rulers and as people.

We have the four queens and we get the perspective of three of them because Valory has gone missing. Kadri, Glisette and Ambrosine. I loved all three actually. I think for Kadri and Glisette you get to see these really strong women. With Ambrosine you get the part of the story that you don’t always get, what makes her make the choices that she does. Ambrosine was on trial with Realm Alliance by the end of Realm of Ruin. So as we start Palace of Silver we see that they decided to not execute or completely strip her of powers. Instead they put her powers on probation and married her King Myron of Perispos for a chance at redemption.

There is a lot that happens but I loved how fast moving I felt the plot was. Once I was really into the story I couldn’t put it down. The only part I struggled with was the beginning and that’s only because I needed to make sure to get my brain straight. There is a family tree in the front of the book so I was able to use that in order to follow the lines I know and jog some things. The end hinted at a fourth possible book. I would think with these same characters but maybe not. I don’t know if I would want that or another jump in time. I’m excited for any of it though.

I don't want to delve too much into information because I think there are a lot of interesting plot turns that I don’t want to give away. I loved this installment though if you are a fan of the series I think you will be really happy. If you haven’t read it, I think you should. Especially if you love the inclusion of Fairy Tales. I would start from the beginning you could start from Realm of Ruins. I just think you get a lot of rich history starting from Kingdom of Ash and Briars though.

I'm the author of young adult books including The Nissera Chronicles series and The Bitterwine Oath. I've been writing fantasy since kindergarten, when I penned my first tale about a princess who ran away and lived at the top of a flagpole with two loaves of bread. But it wasn't until I studied abroad in Orléans, France during college that the premise for my first novel materialized. The fairy tale castles, the snowy winter days, and a Disney princess pencil that arrived in a care package from my parents provided the inspiration that allowed me to wrangle all my untold and unfinished stories into a novel.
I currently live in the Dallas area with my husband and our two rambunctious rescue dogs.

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Starts: April 22nd 2020
Ends: May 6th 2020
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The Silence of Bones by June Hur

The Silence of Bones
Author: June Hur
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: April 21st 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction

I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

The Silence of Bones is a murder mystery in 1800 Joseon (Korea). We follow Police Damo, Seol, who is serving out her indentured servitude. I absolutely the writing in this book and the way the story kept you riveted as the mystery unfolds.

Seol is a bright and clever girl. She has a very analytical mind and often sees things in this very clinical way. She is very curious and thirst for knowledge and also has a very good memory. We navigate this story and world with her as she can’t help but feel a need to help solve the case. Her motivations change as she goes on her journey but the fact of the matter never changes that this is fuel for her bright mind.

I loved the way the plot unfolds. There were certain things that I figured out because there are clues all over but I didn’t necessarily know how they fit together until I was supposed to. I thought the pacing and discovering of information was perfect. I was never like come on Seol, I felt like she was figuring out things at the same rate the reader was for the most part. Which I think always makes a murder mystery more enjoyable. I don’t want to give anything away though so I don’t even want to talk about the other characters. Like all mysteries there are offshoots of other things that are happening to the characters, besides the main case.

There was a point in the book that I felt mad at everyone except for Seol. Ha ha

I found 1800 Joseon really interesting too. Just the culture references and the way the class system works. The treatment of women was really interesting. It’s made me want to research more about the era. I think June Hur did a wonderful job of incorporating it in a way that made you feel like you were there. I love the way the mood was set.

I loved the book. I thought it was well written and super intriguing up until the mystery is finally solved.

JUNE HUR (‘Hur’ as in ‘her’) was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works for the public library. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020.

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

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Starts: 15th April 2020
Ends: 29TH April 2020
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Crave by Tracy Wolff

Author: Tracy Wolff
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: April 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

Crave is that addicting, suck you in kind of book. Once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop.

I love boarding school or camp stories. Especially when they are of the paranormal variety. I think it’s nice to be able to bring a bunch of people into one place and with YA it makes a lot more sense to me when kids are running around without any parent supervision.

What I really enjoyed about Crave is that it’s not limited to just vampires and werewolves. It also involves other paranormals like Dragons and Witches. I love adding a little more of a mix in there and having them all interact. I kind of wish I could read some research books about them in the capacity of the world of Crave though. I have many many questions. Ha ha. There is a cute little nod to Twilight in the story too that made me laugh.

I really like Grace. She is someone who is coming from a totally different world, and I’m not even meaning that from the paranormal perspective. She’s going from perfect weather San Diego to freezing cold Alaska and without her parents. I like that her grief is not just glossed over and how sometimes she will fine one minute and the next it will hit her like a ton of bricks. She’s going through a process and I think it’s good to show it. I also really love that she is getting closer to her cousin Macy. I love my cousins and I’m sad we live so many states apart. I kept thinking this would be like if my one particular cousin and I got to go to boarding school together and it made me love it even more. I also like how Grace is pretty no nonsense especially when it comes to Jaxon. I think it’s one of those things that come with major loss, is that you kind of see the world a little differently. Like okay I don’t need this drama let’s cut to the chase here. She doesn’t play games and she doesn’t let Jaxon wander off from her truth.

Now Jaxon is his own brand of complex. Which I think he has every right to be. He has a lot going on in life and around him but I love the way he is with Grace. When he can be. I’m nt saying he has to rescue her all the time, she makes it clear that they are more of a team then one person only saving the other. It’s cute though the way he is around her. I also like the Order because they remind me of F4 but I think every group of guys reminds me of F4 (Boys Over Flowers).

I enjoyed the plot. The book is very fast paced and like I said, I couldn’t put it down. Of course the ending left me with so many questions but I can’t wait to see what happens next. I also really enjoy that at the end there are chapters written from Jaxon’s point of view.

This is just a great YA Paranormal with all the vampires, romance and drama you could hope for. I loved it.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—in second grade, around the same time she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. A one-time English professor with over fifty novels to her name, she now devotes most of her time to writing romance and dreaming up heroes. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.

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Starts: 7th April 2020
Ends: 21st April 2020
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Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost

Elysium Girls
Author: Kate Pentecost
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 14th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

Elysium Girls is a really interesting and unique story. A part of the world becomes a game board for the Goddess of Life and Death and winning becomes a matter of life and death.

I really liked the plot and the way things progress in the game. Nothing was too overwhelming and the characters felt like they were mostly on equal footing. Even though you got perspectives from Sal, Asa and even Lucy. It didn’t feel like characters were standing out as the main ones. It felt like everyone was a main character in their own way. It’s hard to explain but when you read it you find different people standing out for different reasons.

I did like Sala and Asa as a team though. They form this kind of loose friendship that turns into a real friendship as they have a little more advantage in the game. Knowing that there are other things at play working against them. They did not overshadow other peoples accomplishments and value you though. I really liked Lucy and Olvia as characters, they have important threads in the story as well.

Of course I loved the band of Elysium Girls that we find in the desert. Plus the mechanical horses!! I’ve always loved the idea of them. Although for some reason I kept thinking of the four horsemen with these. We are talking the end of the world here. I like that they are a close knit family looking out for one another.

There is no overpowering love story and you don’t really need one because it’s more about people coming together and supporting each other. That kind of love as opposed to romantic love. I didn’t mind, it didn’t really need one. Not saying this isn’t anything it’s just not the focus at all.

The story has many threads that come together at the end in a whirlwind. Some things you might suspect. Some things you might not. I do kind of want to know beyond the ending but it was a good ending for the story.

I did really enjoy the story and that it’s a standalone that is well paced. It’s a great book if you need a break from long trilogies.

Kate Pentecost was born and raised on the Texas/Louisiana border, where ghosts and rural legends lurk in the pines and nothing is completely as it seems.

She holds an MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was recently nominated for a Rhysling award for her poem "Small Town Witches."

Her debut novel, Elysium Girls, is forthcoming from Disney Hyperion in 2020 in print and audio formats.

She is obsessed with the Romantic Poets and can be identified by the enormous tattoo of Percy Bysshe Shelley on her arm. She lives in Houston (H-Town, Space City, etc.)

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Prize: Win a copy of ELYSIUM GIRLS by Kate Pentecost (US Only)
Starts: 8th April 2020
Ends: 22nd April 2020
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