A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

A Curse of Roses is the kind of book you read once and it sticks with you for a while. A beautiful blend of a historical setting with fantastical elements woven in, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something almost tangible in the sheer feeling it encapsulates. For more of my thoughts, read on!

Genre: Historical fantasy

Publication date: December

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Length: 352 pages

17-year-old Yzabel of Aragon is engaged to the young King of Portugal, and under her touch, food turns into flowers…

With the populace starving, and barely surviving herself, Yzabel doesn’t only need to end her curse—she must reverse it somehow. Turn flowers into food. Desperate, she sets to find Fatyan, an immortal rumored to live nearby, but she is imprisoned by an old enchantment. So they must strike a bargain: Fatyan will teach Yzabel how to master her magic, and Yzabel making a deal with Fatyan will release the magical bonds holding her captive.

As she learns to control her power under Fatyan’s guidance, they grow closer in a way Yzabel has never felt for her betrothed. But she must keep this part of their relationship secret, or else lose her claim to the throne. If Yzabel is forced to leave Portugal, shamed for loving another woman, the people she was determined to save will surely die.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Books I Think Would Make Cool Adaptations

Hi everyone, it seems I’m back with a new post! I’ve mentioned adaptations before on here, because they’re often a topic of discussion in the book community, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about what exactly I’d want to see adapted (that hasn’t been optioned for screen already).

This post was inspired by The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch. Now, this book isn’t actually on this rec list, because just as I finished it and was thinking about how cool an adaptation could be, the announcement that the rights were optioned happened! I found this a funny coincidence, and I think it’s really cool for the author to have his debut optioned. I can definitely see it doing well as an adaptation.

I’ve chosen a selection of some books that I quite enjoyed, so here are eight of the books I think would make cool adaptations, complete with what format I’d love to see them in!

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Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Sweet & Bitter Magic is a really enjoyable standalone fantasy, with a cool magic system and an even cooler antagonist. Exploring familial relationships and the consequences of actions, no matter how right you think they are, this book also features a very shippable f/f relationship and I definitely recommend it.

Genre: YA fantasy

Publication date: March 9th 2021

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuester)

Length: 368 pages

Add on Goodreads / StoryGraph

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Like a Bedtime Story: My Favourite Audiobooks

It took me a while to get into audiobooks, because I’ve got some minor auditory processing issues, but I’ve been listening to more of them recently and I’ve found some really enjoyable ones! My primary criteria for this post is listen-ability, because narrators can have such an impact on how enjoyable an audiobook can be. I’ve also taken into account how much I enjoyed the book itself, but since I’ve enjoyed all the audiobooks I finished, that wasn’t really a problem! All of these were audiobooks that I also enjoyed the story for, so all these recommendations are ones that I did like in their entirety.

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

If you like audio dramas, I would definitely recommend this one. The Infinite Noise is written from two perspectives, with two different narrators which really adds to the complexity of the characters. One of the POVs is also narrated by one of my favourite voice actors (who also happens to voice the same character in the podcast) so that was really cool! It’s a bit of a risky book to read without having listened to the Bright Sessions podcast (that’s what I did the first time) but if you’re okay with it being a little light on the details, it’s a really good audiobook!

If you want to see more of my feelings on The Infinite Noise, you can check out my previous post here!

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War has so much depth to it, and Emily Woo Zeller does a fantastic job of bringing that depth to life. It’s a pretty sizable book, both in length and in content, and I found listening to the audio made my reading experience for this book that much better. There is a caveat to this, because The Poppy War has some trigger warnings to be aware of before starting it, and listening can be a more immersive experience, so if you’re away that the content may be hard for you, I would advise caution with the audiobook. I actually got the audiobook as an add on to the Kindle ebook, so if that’s an option for you, I would highly recommend being able to switch between reading and listening.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is a graphic novel, which is the format that I read this in originally, so I was a little bit unsure about how well this would work. However, I think they did an absolutely amazing job with adapting it to audio, with a full cast and sound effects, as well as appropriate description to help flesh out the parts of the story conveyed through illustrations originally. Both the graphic novel and the audiobook are very immersive experiences, and I would absolutely recommend both of them, especially together. It’s also a fairly short audiobook, so it’s great for dipping your toes into audiobooks!

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

Technically, You Started It is written in a format that lends itself so well to audio. It’s a texting format, so it reads like dialogue anyway, and the two narrators just bring the whole thing to life. I really loved how they conveyed the tone of the texts too, instead of just reading, so listening to this was an absolute treat. The writing was snappy and felt very natural, which is sometimes a concern in audiobooks but it all worked out really well. It’s a really cool story too, with a lot of plot elements that I like (mistaken identity, nerds, and conventions) aside from the epistolary format, so having it brought to life in this way was really awesome.

If you have access to Spotify, it’s free on there so definitely check it out if you’re interested!

Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

For the Star Wars fans out there, I highly recommend the audiobook for Ahsoka – it’s read by Ashley Eckstein who voices Ahsoka in the Clone Wars, which I thought was fantastic because of how much her experience playing Ahsoka impacted her reading of the book. It’s a Disney production, so it was slightly larger scale in terms of there being music and sound effects and the whole shebang, which I loved. There’s really nothing that adds to a listening experience more than the swell of the familiar Star Wars scores as the tension builds in a fight scene, and this was such an awesome experience.

It’s definitely more specific in terms of the background knowledge you need to fully enjoy the story, and I would say you definitely need to have seen The Clone Wars for it to make sense, but if you’re into Star Wars, this really is a great addition to the GFFA!

Do you listen to audiobooks? What is your go-to audiobook recommendation?

Marley out!

P.S. I know I’ve been gone a while, but I’m done with my exams so I’m finally able to get back into the blogging groove! I’m working on building up

The Book Blogger Tag

Long time no see everyone! I accidentally went on an impromptu hiatus through April, which will probably stay in place for most of May because of school. But for now, I’m here with a book tag that the lovely Soph tagged me in a (very long) while ago. This is only the second tag I’ve done on my blog, and I really liked the questions for this, so thanks for tagging me!

How many times do you check your email every day?

I’m the kind of person who hates having unread emails, so I check my email a lot. It’s probably a few times a day on a light day, but sometimes it’s whenever I check my phone, so a lot more than that!

How many times a day do you go on Goodreads?

Lately I’ve been going on Goodreads only when I mark a book as reading or read, which has been sporadic at best. If I had to guess, it would probably be a couple times a week maximum!

How long does it take to you to edit your posts?

I actually edit my posts as I go – this may not necessarily be the most time-saving approach since it can distract me, but it’s worked for me so far. I do usually give them a quick once-over when I hit post or schedule, and if it’s been a while since I started the post, I often do a more intense edit before finishing the rest of it.

What kind of laptop do you use?

I’ve got my trusty Acer laptop (named Grogu because I’m a nerd) that has served me well for all the things I have asked of it. I’m super happy with it, especially considering the amount of thinking that went into choosing it.

How often do you check your Twitter?

Like Goodreads, this can vary a lot! There are some days when I spend about an hour total on it, and others when I completely forget it exists. I’d say that on average, it’s probably two or three times a day, unless I’m trying to avoid someone and then it’s more.

Why do you use Blogger, WordPress, etc?

I went with WordPress because I’ve had some experience with it already, and because a lot of the bloggers I read before starting my blog were on WordPress! I was a little confused when I went to sign up because I didn’t really get the difference between .com and .org, but so far I’ve been decently happy with it.

Are you good at keeping up with your reviews, tags, etc?

Considering it’s been a couple months (apparently August was when I was tagged? Which sounds wrong but that’s the date on the original post) since I was tagged in this, I think the answer is fairly obvious. I do try to stay on top of reviews, but sometimes they get a little out of hand. Right now I’m working on a small backlog, which I hope to deal with entirely by the end of June.

How many times a week do you post?

Normally, I aim to post twice a week, with one review and one other content post. I’ve not been able to stick to this schedule for the past month and a bit because of school, but hopefully once I’m done with that I can get back to this schedule!

Thanks for sticking around! I’m going to leave this tag open to whoever wants to do it, so if you’re seeing this and feel like it, go for it!

Marley out!

The Sky Blues Book Tour // Review and Favourite Quotes

Hi everyone, today I’m bringing you a review/favourite quotes post as part of the Sky Blues Book tour! I really liked this book, so I’m very happy to be part of this book tour. Make sure to check out the welcome post here, which also has the other tour stops listed!

The Sky Blues
by Robbie Couch
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Releasing on April 6th, 2021
YOUNG ADULT FICTION–Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads | Preorder Links

Sky’s small town turns absolutely claustrophobic when his secret promposal plans get leaked to the entire school in this witty, heartfelt, and ultimately hopeful debut novel for fans of What if it’s Us? and I Wish You All the Best.

Sky Baker may be openly gay, but in his small, insular town, making sure he was invisible has always been easier than being himself. Determined not to let anything ruin his senior year, Sky decides to make a splash at his high school’s annual beach bum party by asking his crush, Ali, to prom—and he has thirty days to do it.

What better way to start living loud and proud than by pulling off the gayest promposal Rock Ledge, Michigan, has ever seen?

Then, Sky’s plans are leaked by an anonymous hacker in a deeply homophobic e-blast that quickly goes viral. He’s fully prepared to drop out and skip town altogether—until his classmates give him a reason to fight back by turning his thirty-day promposal countdown into a school-wide hunt to expose the e-blast perpetrator.

But what happens at the end of the thirty days? Will Sky get to keep his hard-won visibility? Or will his small-town blues stop him from being his true self?

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Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas | Blog Tour

I’m really excited to be bringing you my review of Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas as part of the blog tour! I really enjoyed this dark, complex fantasy inspired by Peter Pan, and I really liked how everything was woven together. Don’t forget to check out the other stops on this tour here, and if you’re interested in winning a copy, scroll down to enter the US/CAN giveaway!

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Four Reasons to Read The Sword in the Street by C.M. Caplan

The Sword in the Street is a brand of fantasy that I don’t see often but like a lot, with more a focus on people, duels and the workings of the world but still with the hints of magic. I really enjoyed reading it, and I thought that it would be a good idea to do something slightly different to a traditional review for this book. So, without further ado, here are four reasons why I think you should read this book if you like fantasy, swords and interesting world building on a city level!

Genre: Adult fantasy

Release date: March 3rd, 2021

Trial by battle is a holy rite on Hillside. Hired blades bleed their foes in savage duels, settling everything from petty grievances to the corporate laws that keep their citizens in line. Embroiled in these cutthroat political games is John Chronicle, an impoverished swordsman with no better prospects, seeking the duel that will free him from the Dregs.

Meanwhile, John’s boyfriend Edwin, an autistic university student, befriends a fellow scholar who claims to study the arcane art of thaumaturgy. When she offers to teach Edwin this subtle magic, he hopes that he can use it to bolster John’s skill with a blade. But thaumaturgy is a dangerous magic, and the forces that drive it have other plans.

The couple soon find themselves entangled in the web of intrigue surrounding the swordsmen and their sponsors, and they’re forced to question how bloody they’re willing to get to escape poverty — and they don’t come away with the same answer.

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As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper // Book Review

I really liked Stamper’s debut, The Gravity of Us, and I was very intrigued by his sophomore novel. What really drew me in was the fact that Marty is a musician, an oboe player, and as a clarinetist, I love reading about fellow musicians. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations, unfortunately, but I did enjoy it overall.

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

Publisher: Bloomsbury UK

Release date: March 4th, 2021

Genre: YA coming-of-age contemporary

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Time Travel for Love and Profit by Sarah Lariviere / Book Review

Time Travel for Love and Profit was a surprising book for me. I was intrigued by the concept itself, because it’s not something that I’ve seen much of in YA, and not a genre that I’ve seen much of either, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot.

Genre: YA contemporary/science fiction

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Release date: January 26th, 2021

When Nephele has a terrible freshman year, she does the only logical thing for a math prodigy like herself: she invents a time travel app so she can go back and do it again (and again, and again).

Fourteen-year-old Nephele used to have friends. Well, she had a friend. That friend made the adjustment to high school easily, leaving Nephele behind in the process. And as Nephele looks ahead, all she can see is three very lonely years.

Nephele is also a whip-smart lover of math and science, so she makes a plan. Step one: invent time travel. Step two: go back in time, have a do-over of 9th grade, crack the code on making friends and become beloved and popular.

Does it work? Sort of. Nephele does travel through time, but not the way she planned–she’s created a time loop, and she’s the only one looping. And she keeps looping, for ten years, always alone. Now, facing ninth grade for the tenth time, Nephele knows what to expect. Or so she thinks. She didn’t anticipate that her new teacher would be a boy from her long ago ninth grade class, now a grown man; that she would finally make a new friend, after ten years. And, she couldn’t have pictured someone like Jazz, with his deep violet eyes, goofy magic tricks and the quietly intense way he sees her. After ten freshman years, she still has a lot more to learn. But now that she’s finally figured out how to go back, has she found something worth staying for?

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