It Started With Goodbye – Christina June

It Started With Goodbye – Christina JuneTitle: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
Publishing Info: May 9, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 7, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

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I was so excited to read IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, Christina June’s debut novel! I’ve known Christina since we were first both bloggers way back in the day and it was such an honor to be able to read her debut novel and hold a physical copy of her ARC in my hands! I received a copy of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE from the publisher and it was so neat to read a book written by someone I had met and talked and to watch their journey to become a published author! The fact that I know Christina June does not affect my review in anyway aside from the fact that this was a big reason of why I wanted to read this book!

This book was very quick and easy read and a lovely modern take on Cinderella! Contemporary adaptations of fairy tales are always so interesting because I love seeing how magical things get adapted to a real world. I really loved the nod to the original fairy tale and how Christina June fit the story to a modern-day teenager. There were even some direct references to Cinderella which were so fun to note, along with the general story line that paralleled it.

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE was a great book about finding yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. It’s hard as a teenager (okay, it’s hard as an adult sometimes too) and it made things even worse for Tatum with a stepmother who always seems to have it out for her and a stepsister who can do no wrong, following in her stepmother’s footsteps. Much like another recent Cinderella contemporary adaptation, GEEKERELLA, the modern take here also focuses on the redemption of the family members and the main character realizing that sometimes there is more behind that “evil” facade than meets the eye.

I actually wish there was more focus on the relationships in the beginning of the book because it was a little slow to start for me despite the fact that this was a very quick read. I wanted to just race through it and I found myself hitting rough patches with the direction of the plot and was hoping for more of a focus on the core relationships instead of branching out to include other acquaintances first. Especially with how short the book was (which I appreciated, actually!), I would have loved a stronger focus on the best friend and romance specifically, along with the family, instead of adding in more minor friends. I wasn’t as interested in the secondary characters and some of their stories seemed to take focus where I would have rather read about Tate, although I know a lot of my friends enjoyed those other friendships.
Also with the split of Tatum from her best friend, she felt sort of solitary throughout the first half of the book and I felt like she didn’t really have anyone to share the story with so secondary characters were forced into the mix. I would have loved to see some more heart-felt dialogue with someone she could share more secrets with and I was really missing that best friend vibe, or even just someone close that she could have talked to in the beginning. The cute little romance didn’t catch me right away, I think because the initial meet-up was crowded with other characters, so the warm-fuzzies got a little bogged down in the character relationships all around.

The family dynamic was the hit of this book for me and I really enjoyed how things progressed with each family member. Tatum establishes new relationships with her stepmom, stepsister, and even her dad, who had really always been in her corner but reached a point in this book where their relationship hit a turning point. With the kids growing up and stepmother Belen often in charge while he is out of town, Tatum’s relationship with her father really began to change and then mature throughout this book. I also really liked that the father-figure was just traveling for work and that was was created his frequent and long absences instead of death. We did have the absence of Tate’s mother but I liked that she wasn’t orphaned for this book!

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE was an easy and quick read with some really well-founded family concepts. I didn’t quite connect with it like I had hoped but I feel like it’ll do great with the teen crowd (who is really its intended audience) who are going through the same situations with best friend fights, family relationships, and first-time big crushes. The Cinderella adaptation adds a really nice touch to this book and it’s a great pull into the story and motivation to pick it up!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Modern adaptations of fairy tales. I was so giddy when I found direct references to the original Cinderella fairy tale! I think this adaptation and concept were spot on and I loved the modern take.
Left Me Wanting More: Relationship focus. I felt like there was a strong focus on the family throughout the whole book but I was missing the best friend and/or crush vibe in the beginning. I think I’m just so used to reading young adult books that are constantly surrounding those two relationships that are so prominent in teenage lives that I come to expect that to the be the focus of every book. They were definitely still featured here but it didn’t feel like the strongest relationship of the book for me, which was okay but a little bit of a surprise for me.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE was a fun and quick read! I loved how the concept fit together and

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BOOKS LIKE IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS

Book and a Beverage [174] – Kasey from The Story Sanctuary

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

In case you don’t know the deal about Book and a Beverage, it’s a very simple yet fun feature: We read books, we drink beverages, we take pictures of them and then I share your photos and a little about you to the blogging world!

Give a big welcome to Kasey from The Story Santuary!

Name & Blog Name: Kasey @ The Story Sanctuary
Tell us a little about your blog! I started The Story Sanctuary in 2013 because I wanted to create a place where readers could find information about new books and what kinds of content they contained. I was a pretty sensitive reader growing up, so I wanted to make a site that would list information about violence, profanity, or sexual content without being judgmental about why those things are included in a book. I’m a solo show at present, so I only read/review about 150 book per year, but I take suggestions from readers as much as I can.h other book lovers and share my passion for all things literary. My blog primarily features Young Adult fiction, and I share reviews, book lists, playlists, and more.
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? My favorite post is about a costume my mom made for me as a birthday present last year. She took some of the stories I love most and incorporated them into a Steampunk Book Fairy costume. I wore it to YALLFest last fall in Charleston and to ApollyCon in March in Orlando.
Got anything special coming up we should know about? One of the ARCs I was super excited about getting is the third book in the Great Library series by Rachel Caine. I can’t wait to share my review, which will be posted in the first week of July.


Whatcha reading?
The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc) I write reviews for an organization called Children’s Literature and they sent me a review copy.
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? Yes! I met Kami Garcia at ApollyCon in March and really enjoyed chatting with her. I already had The Lovely Reckless on my list to read of course, but talking with her about writing and her process made me want to read it even more. She is awesome.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it?c I think at first glance, this book looks like a typical good-girl-falls-for-bad-boy type of story, but there are some things that make it way cooler than that. Frankie, the heroine, has PTSD resulting from seeing her boyfriend beaten to death. She’s forced to move in with her dad, who’s an undercover cop and change schools to a public school in a rougher part of town. She makes friends with some kids into street racing, and finally starts to feel alive again after her boyfriend’s death. Then all these high stakes parts of her life– the unresolved murder, an open case her dad’s working, and her new racing friends begin to collide, and I feel pretty desperate to know whether Frankie makes it out okay! I’m on page 229 right now, and so far, I definitely recommend it.


Whatcha drinking?
I am drinking iced coffee with a splash of coconut milk.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? Yeah, okay, usually I’m boring and drink water while reading. Sometimes I’ve been known to live it up with a glass of red wine, probably Apothic Red. 🙂
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! You know what I LOVE and don’t get to have nearly enough of is Thai iced tea. That stuff is SO good. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite of all time, but it’s gotta be pretty close.

What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Oh, man. Only three??? Hmmm. I’m gonna go with Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage because it’s one of the most amazing southern fiction books I’ve ever read, Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine because it’s one of the coolest re-imagined history/dystopian books I’ve ever read, and Freedom’s Just Another Word by Caroline Stellings because it’s a really fantastic story about music which follows a biracial girl in her search to become a great singer like Janis Joplin in 1970s Texas.
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment? I’ve loved getting to meet some of the authors whose work has inspired me and changed me as a person. That’s pretty cool. But I guess my proudest moment has been those times when my own readers come back to me to tell me they’ve read and fallen in love with a book they heard about on my blog. It’s hard to imagine anything better than that. 🙂
Anything else you’d like to share? Earlier this year, I became an author myself! After working with a number of indie authors interested in having books reviewed, I found myself saying the same things over and over as I tried to coach them through the process. A friend of mine suggested collecting the information and putting it together in an e-book as a guide for indie and small press authors looking to network with book review bloggers. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback so far. The book is called Reviews Wanted and is available at Amazon.


Thanks, Kasey! Congrats on becoming an author! That’s such an amazing accomplishment!! Thank you for being on Book and a Beverage today!! 

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Kasey! Connect with her at the links below!
Blog // Twitter // Facebook

If We Were Having Coffee… April 25, 2017

Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner has been doing a series called “If We Were Having Coffee” that’s a nice blog series started by many bloggers out there to catch people up on the odds and ends of life that doesn’t fit into a pretty blogging box. Since I apparently missed my five year blogoversary the other week (which is kind of a big one, especially to miss, no?), I thought I’d do a “If We Were Having Coffee” post of my own to catch you up a bit with what’s been going on! 

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that it’s been hard to keep up with the blog lately, though I’m sure you’ve noticed that. I haven’t been posting as often and it’s hard to stay as excited as I once was with blogging.

If we were having coffee… I’d let you know that I still love my blog but life has been BUSY. I switched over to a new position at work and where I used to have a lot of free time before to read and blog and chat and hang out on Twitter, I’m working very hard all day, every day now. (Although I guess isn’t that what you’re supposed to be doing at work??) I don’t have those little moments where nothing is happening to catch up on my blog because there’s always something happening and I’m constantly trying to catch up.

If we were having coffee… I’d let you know that part of the reason why I’m behind is partially because I was off of work for two months. (I mean, I’d still be “behind”  because of the way the job was left to me when I took over, but this is also part of why I haven’t caught up yet.) My husband was inpatient in a hospital out of state being seen by a specialist and going through high-dose chemotherapy. I stayed with him the entire two months and fortunately my employer was gracious enough to let me stay with him throughout the whole treatment because I don’t know how we could have gone through that if they didn’t.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you yes, I didn’t end up telling Twitter/Instagram/the blogging community know what we were going through during this time. It was a hard time for us both and it’s been and on/off battle with cancer for two years. It’s hard to tell a very large group of people about something so personal because it changed our lives in so many ways and it’s also very hard for me as an introverted person to share that piece of my life. It’s hard to update so many people and keep them constantly updated, reply to comments, reply to questions, and stay “on” while going through a hard time. It may be a surprise but it’s okay to talk about now that it’s all over. You can read a bit more about our story on this Instagram post (click on the link to access the full photo + caption).

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

If we were having coffee… I’d say yes, thanks for asking! He’s doing much better now. Ever since my husband left the hospital, his tumor markers have normalized and he’s starting to recover and feel back to normal.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I meant to do sooooo much blogging and reading and catch up in the hospital but I ended up doing a LOT of work on my new website for my candle business, Novelly Yours. I built the website from a template, designed the store, added all of the listings, and set up all of the extras while in the hospital. It was a really, really long process (it literally took me months of working on it to get it all set up) but I’m so happy with how everything looks now! It’s still a lot of work maintaining my own website and store so that’s still taking up a lot of time too.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that Novelly Yours is going great! It’s busier than ever, which a great thing, but also quite exhausting while I’m still working a full-time job. The hours are long but at least I love my candle business!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I had a candle in April’s Owlcrate box! It’s been so amazing working with Owlcrate and I’m just honored to have been a part of their box. I can’t even tell you how it feels to see that many people receive your candle!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I’ve been in a horrible, horrible reading slump. I think it’s just that I’m SO busy all the time and don’t have any time to take a break and just sit down and read. Things are constantly going which is good and keeps me busy but I don’t know how to relax anymore. Even the books that I’m loving I’m only able to read 20 minutes at a time so they’re just all broken up.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I went to go see Laini Taylor in the beginning of April! I’ve always wanted to meet her and only met her VERY briefly at BEA last year so it was great to hear her speak and get all of my books signed!

If we were having coffee… I’d let you know that I missed my five year blogoversary!!! I realized about ten days too late that I missed my blogoversary, and a big one at that. It’s kind of crazy that I’ve been doing this for five years and I’ve known some of you amazing people for five years! I definitely still love blogging but I miss the time I used to have for it. Before I made candles, I had so much free time and now I have none so I’m looking to find time to write posts and come up with unique topics like I used to. I want it to still be fun and I don’t want to do it because I feel like I have to keep up.

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that sadly, I’m not going to BEA this year. I usually go with my best friends, Alyssa and Amy, and we kind of all have had a lot going on this year. I don’t have any more vacation time left since I used it all staying at the hospital so I can’t take the time off to go to BEA mid-week and I can’t afford to stay in New York City just for BookCon. Truly, I won’t really miss the ARCs. I’ve been having a very hard time keeping up with ARCs in the first place and I’ll kind of be happy not to have the temptation to grab things I won’t be able to read right away. But I will absolutely miss seeing my blogger friends that I only get to see once or twice a year and publishing friends that I only get to see at BEA!

If we were having coffee… I’d let you know that instead of BEA, I’ll probably go to ALA Annual because it’s in Chicago this year! That should be an easy one to do and who knows where I’ll be by mid-summer. I could have a lot more free time by then!


Thanks for sharing this coffee date with me! I’m glad I got to catch everyone on up on everything that’s been going on. Life has been non-stop, with so many things to do, and I really am trying to keep up with my blog because I’m still so proud of it and so happy with this little corner of the internet. I’m okay with slowing down and things being a little bit different but I definitely don’t want to lose it!

Book Title Buzzwords | DARK

Book Title Buzzwords

I love noticing title trends in the YA world (and in adult books too!) and I can also tell that there are certain words I latch onto. Book Title Buzzwords features books that I’ve read (or want to read) that follow some recent trends! 

There’s something about our nature that’s drawn to darkness. Especailly when reading, sometimes it’s fun and interesting to take a peek into the darker side of life without having to actually experience it ourselves. “Dark” is a work that’s tended to poke its way into book titles recently so here are a few dark titles for you to enjoy!

INTO THE DARKNESS

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab | Book one in the Shades of Magic Trilogy| Tor | February 24th, 2015

Sometimes there are books you try even when you’re not a fan of the author. I ended up finally reading the Shades of Magic trilogy despite my feelings for the author and I’m really glad that I did because this really was a set of books that appealed to my favorite kind of fantasy. I’m such a sucker for anything that involves parallel or alternate worlds and I enjoyed this take on different Londons. I was worried it would be too similar to Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE since I know V.E. Schwab is a huge Gaiman fan and that’s the primary premise of NEVERWHERE but the series really did stand on its own aside from that large-scale concept. I really enjoyed the whole series, although the first book, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, remainds my favorite of the three.
Find it on Goodreads

THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken | Book one in the Darkest Minds trilogy | Disney Books | December 18, 2012

I really, really enjoyed THE DARKEST MINDS when I read it a few years ago! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and it turned out to be such a wonderful book. I sadly haven’t finished the series yet and I really, really need to. I was intimidated by the size of the second book and then decided to maybe listen to the rest on audio so I had been waiting for a sale to come around. Hopefully this can be something I finish this year or sometime soon because I remember how much I loved THE DARKEST MINDS, although at this point, I totally need a refresher on what happened!
Find it on Goodreads | Review


THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake | Book one of Three Dark Crowns series | HarperCollins | September 20, 2016

I started reading this book not knowing it was a series and boy. It REALLY threw me off. I was definitely interested in the concept and story but I also felt like a lot more could have happened in this first book. Once I found out it was a series (AFTER it ended), things made a bit more sense but even still, I wanted just a little bit more development from this one. Lots of people REALLY enjoyed it though which is why I’m including in my “dark” list today. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series but it was a big hit with a lot of people and I actually really enjoyed the way it wrapped up!
Find it on Goodreads | Review

DARKER STILL…

Dark Triumph - Robin LaFevers kara thomas 

DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers
Don’t try to put off this series by saying it’s historical fiction. Yes, it is, but I loved this series from start to finish and it is historical but the politics are amazingly worked out, the characters are wonderful, and the romances are soooooo swoony.
Find it on Goodreads | Review

THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black
I still haven’t read this book but I also think it’s a book I’ll appreciate more now than when I first picked it up at BEA a couple years back! I’m glad to still have it on my TBR. I wonder if the audio is good…
Find it on Goodreads

THE DARKEST CORNERS by Kara Thomas
There was soooo much hype surrounding this book before its release. I’m a big fan of mysteries and thrillers so I definitely picked it up! It was a good read from start to finish but it wasn’t as amazing as the hype built it up to be. Still very solid and I’d still recommend it!
Find it on Goodreads | Review

AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White
I’ve actually never had success with Kiersten White’s books but I thought I would give AND I DARKEN a try since it was something totally different. It really just wasn’t the kind of book for me and it was another book that took a lot of time to develop things. Combined with historical fiction (though a reimagined version), it was just not really my sort of read. I actually made it pretty far in the audiobook but ended up deciding not to finish. Others loved it but I could tell it just wasn’t a “me” book! 
Find it on Goodreads | Review


Do you like “dark” books? Are any of these books some of your favorites? Which dark reads would you recommend?

False Start [2] – The Traitor’s Kiss, The Impostor Queen, Nevernight

false_start

I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s time or if it’s the books I’m picking up, but I’ve found that lately, not a lot of books are sticking. I’m trying to figure out whether I want to finish the books that don’t grab me right away or just put them down and find something that I’m passionate about. On FALSE START today, I’m talking about some recent books that are currently in limbo for me!


THE TRAITOR’S KISS by Erin Beaty

I received a copy of THE TRAITOR’S KISS from Macmillan for review and I was so excited to read this book! Then once I started, I kind of felt like it wasn’t like how I remembered the synopsis when I first added it to my TBR. The beginning of this book felt a little too cookie-cutter, following popular YA tropes and Sage was a little too typical “rebellious/not-a-proper” girl and it just didn’t feel unique. I had a hard time starting this one and from the tone, I’m not sure I want to continue. I really tried to push forward but I kept getting stuck.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I’m not sure yet. I think I’ll wait for more reviews to come out but this might be one of those that I put down and don’t make it back to because I’m not feeling it.


THE CURSED QUEEN by Sarah Fine

I actually really loved the first book in this series, THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN, but I just hit a wall starting this book. It’s a companion so I was left wanting more of the main characters from the first book (although it does feature those characters from a different view point early on) and the characters just felt so forced. I just really wasn’t into it and had a hard time continuing, no matter how much free time I had.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I might ditch it. Once I hit that wall, it’s hard to recover. I know there’s a third book but I don’t know if I want to push myself to finsih this.


NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff

This was just a case of poor format! I started this via egalley months ago but it didn’t have the footnotes that everyone was talking about so I decided to wait for my print copy to arrive. By then I had other books lined up that I had to read and I just didn’t have the time to come back to this. I enjoyed the little bit that I read but this has been hanging out there ever since the summer.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? Definitely finish! I just need to find the time to get back to my print books. This is definitely high up on my list of things to read.


Have you read any of these books? What have you thought? Did you love them or leave them?

Blog Tour: The Traitor’s Kiss | Book Scents + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: The Traitor’s Kiss | Book Scents + Giveaway!

Welcome to the blog tour for
The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty

I’m so excited to share today’s blog post which is my blog tour stop for THE TRAITOR’S KISS by Erin Beaty! Thanks to the amazing team at Macmillan for having me be a part of the tour and share some of my favorite parts of any book… the scents! Being a candle-maker, I’m obsessed with the different scents described in books and there were a few lovely aromas in THE TRAITOR’S KISS that caught my eye. On today’s stop, I’m sharing some of those and have a special candle giveaway too!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: The Traitor’s Kiss | Book Scents + Giveaway!Title: The Traitor's Kiss (Traitor's Trilogy #1) by Erin Beaty
Publishing Info: May 9, 2017 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 18, 2017

An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.


BOOK SCENTS: THE TRAITOR’S KISS

Ever since I started making candles, I’ve been so much more in tune with the sensory notes in the books that I read. I feel like aromas in a book are easily skipped over and forgotten once a reader has finished because noticing and committing a smell to memory is such a unique experience that it’s harder hang onto if you haven’t experienced it first hand. I know at least for me, when a book draws on a familiar smell, I’m instantly hit with memories and nostalgia that have the potential to tie me to a book more than any other scenic description so I feel like those smells that add to the atmosphere are not to be overlooked!

Drawing upon my newly heightened awareness, I’ve started keeping tracking of specific scents described in book and how they really paint an even more vivid picture for a reader! Today on Book Scents, I’m sharing some of my favorite aromas from THE TRAITOR’S KISS! They immediately had me thinking back on what fragrances I would use to mimic each experience and I’ve included each one below. (Now how do we make these posts scratch and sniff?)

It still smelled like him. Like the pine pitch and tallow salve Father made for cuts and scrapes.

Inspiration: Sage’s father’s salve
Fragrances: Pine, outdoors, oakmoss

There were honey-colored freckles he’d noticed last night scattered across her nose and cheeks. This close, he could also smell the lavender and sage scents in her dress, which he much preferred to the floral perfumes the other women were drenched in.

Inspiration: The scents of Sage
Fragrances: Lavender, sage, honey

He smelled indefinitely better — like soap with essence of evergreen… clean linen… leather… and something indefinable that left her only wanting to breathe more deeply. 


The scent of his leather jacket mingled with the evergreen shaving lather he used.


This close, she couldn’t help breathing in the scents of leather, evergreen soap, and linen — a mix that was distinctly his.

Inspiration: The scents of Ash
Fragrances: Clean soap, pine, clean cotton, leather, musk

The scent of spearmint with a hint of orange drew Sage to her side.

Inspiration: Sage’s roommate Clare and her tea
Fragrances: spearmint, orange, earl grey tea

The Great Hall was decorated with garlands of spring flowers imported from somewhere much warmer than Tegann, and rushes on the floor released sweet scents as they were trod upon by the multitude of guests.

Inspiration: The Great Hall
Fragrances: Tulips, jasmine, tropical flowers

So what do you think?! Which scents do you think are the strongest sensory inspirations? Which are your favorites?


SECRET MESSAGE & BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

“Well-schooled, high and mighty about it”

Each blog on the blog tour also has a SECRET MESSAGE! Check out each stop on the blog tour to collect all of the messages for one final passage!!

BLOGGER BLOG DATE CONTENT
Brittany Smith http://www.bookaddictsguide.com 20-Apr Scented Candle
Flo Kizza http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/ 22-Apr List of Favorite Literary Female Spies
Becky Vosburg http://www.storiesandsweeties.com/ 23-Apr Guest Post: Intro to main characters with pics
Katie Bartow http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/ 24-Apr Guest Post: Top 10 Things All Spies Need
Crystal Leach http://bookiemoji.com/ 25-Apr Top 5 Reasons to read The Traitor’s Kiss
Rachel Clarke http://www.fiktshun.com/fiktshun/ 26-Apr Guest Post: Favorite & Most Challenging Scene to Write (and Why)
Mandy Curtis http://foreveryoungadult.com/ 27-Apr Guest Post: YA “matchmaker”
Beth Edwards http://www.yabookscentral.com/ 28-Apr Guest Post: What gave you the inspiration for this book?
Michelle Adams bookbriefs.net 29-Apr Guest Post: Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Sage & Quinn
Amy Thau http://www.trippingoverbooks.com/ 30-Apr Mood Board
Michelle Bucud http://darkfaerietales.com/ 1-May Guest Post: What’s the most daring thing you would do for a mission?
Sarah Fletcher https://whatsarahread.com/ 2-May Mood Board
Jennie Cresswell https://booklovingnut.com/ 3-May Playlist
Liza Rodriguez http://quitethenovelidea.com/ 5-May Alternate Cover
Kelly Gunderman http://www.herestohappyendings.com/ 6-May Q&A
Brooke Goldetsky http://brooke-reports.blogspot.com/ 7-May Sage Character Interview
Michelle Santiago http://booksandmakeup.blogspot.com/ 9-May Fancast

GIVEAWAY

Because of the scent inspiration of today’s post, I’ve actually taken one of these concepts and turned it into a candle! The candle giveaway is for one 8oz tin called “Forest of Ash”, inspired by male lead in THE TRAITOR’S KISS with a play on the evergreen scents that are constant throughout his scent. This candle smells like clean pine, cotton, and leather with hints of masculine musk. Open to US entries only. Must be 13 years of age or older to win. Candle giveaway open from 4/20/17 – 4/27/17. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) – Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) – Alwyn HamiltonTitle: Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton
Publishing Info: March 7, 2017 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 17, 2017
Related Posts: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)

Rebel by chance. Traitor by choice.
Gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.
When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.
Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

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TRAITOR TO THE THRONE was one of my most-anticipated reads of 2017. I absolutely loved REBEL OF THE SANDS when I read it last year and it wasn’t just an enjoyable book for me — it was one of my favorites from the entire year. I was so incredibly excited to read and ended up being quite intimidated by its size. Before I get into the actual review, let’s talk about some THINGS. The book is over 500 pages long and REBEL was only about 300 (320? Something like that) so 200 extra pages right off the bat was a LOT. Don’t get me wrong — I love long books. They’re amazing when you get lost in them and there’s so much an author can do with so many pages… but I didn’t think TRAITOR needed that many pages. There was a lot of pressure to read this for many reasons (anticipated read, long book, reading for a blog tour, reading on a time crunch, not having finished a lot of books recently and then starting a long book) and that did affect my read a little bit BUT I know that if I’m really enjoying a book, I’ll save something that is lengthy and not dread how much more I have to finish.

TRAITOR ended up being more intimidating than enjoyable and I reached a point where I didn’t feel like things were moving forward. The book is over 500 pages and it spent a lot of time in the same places with not a whole lot of plot moving forward. Some of it I really felt like could have been handled in a few chapters and then we could move forward with really anything. As I’ve said in many reviews before, I don’t “need” action to enjoy a book but this felt like the plot was stagnant. I didn’t feel like the story was moving forward and I really think it could have progressed in far fewer pages. I enjoyed REBEL in part because it was concise and didn’t add extra pages for the sake of drawing out a fantasy novel. Sadly, TRAITOR fell victim to the extra pages and I wonder if that’s because of the success of REBEL. If it was moving, I don’t doubt that I’d want to read all 500+ of those pages but it just didn’t seem to go anywhere.

This is where it will get minorly spoilery. Still just plot points, nothing like reveals or deaths or anything, but WARNING WARNING if you want to avoid any potential spoilers, skip to the next paragraph! 
Soooo I did not like where this book went. At all. Amani ends up being captured and taken prisoner in a harem which felt like such an easy direction to take this book and something I’ve already read so many times. I’m tired of girls being trapped by men, especially when sexually persecuted (although not particularly Amani, but that’s the general idea of being trapped in a harem) and just no, no, no. Amani was FIERCE. She was one of the guys! She was strong! She was independent! She was getting stuff done and JUST discovering her abilities in the first book! All of that got taken away for at least 50% of TRAITOR and I was just so disappointed. Why build up a power to have it taken away in the next book? Why create an awesome, strong female to have her become helpless and trapped? Literally, could not help herself. I guess in the end, she makes some stuff work, but that took for-ev-er to happen. The harem was literally half of the book so I definitely struggled for a long time.

Really when it comes down to it, I just didn’t feel like this was the same tone as the first book at all. The squad is all over the place so there’s a serious lack of squad goals. The author chose to do that book two thing where the couple is split up for half the book, even though the swoons and banter were such a big reason why I loved the first book. There are so many characters on top of the ones that were in the last book so I started to get lost with everyone. As with any series, I kind of got lost with some of the secondary characters since it had been a year since I read the first book and the addition of even more characters started to really lose me. The book also started six months after REBEL so those six months were just kind of summed up and I didn’t get to experience them. Things happened and I had to hear it secondhand… and a lot of stuff had happened. I can deal with time after the first book but it really felt like it was picking up in a whole different place and didn’t quite continue the first adventure.

I’m not sure if I’ll read the third book in this series which is such a shame. Once I hit this point, it’s kind of hard to go back to the point where I had loved this experience. So much of the middle could have been cut out or condensed and TRAITOR could have stayed as action-packed as the first, minimized time apart from Jin, and kept me way more interested. I just don’t even know what to feel about this series now so I guess I’ll wait until the third book comes around and reassess then. As of right now, I just don’t see it happening though.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Not much. You know, it’s sad when I don’t even know what the highlights of this book were for me. I just keep remembering my disappointment and struggle.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot movement. This just need to be far fewer pages and keep the characters more together.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I can’t tell if I’m the black sheep on this one or it really did suffer from second in a series syndrome.

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