Blog Tour: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

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ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: Four Dead Queens

Author: Astrid Scholte

Pages: 408

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

Four Dead Queens is, hands down, my most anticipated release of 2019. Once I saw the cover reveal I was deceased. Four queens ruling + murders? Yes please. Combining a mystery with royalty is quite possibly one of my most favorite things ever.

“May the queens forever rule the day. Together, yet apart.”

In the world of Quadara there are four quadrants; each quadrant specializes in a particular trade and they all rely on one another to live as one symbiotic nation. And these four quadrants are each ruled by a queen (and ONLY queens).


The four quadrants and their queens are:

Queen Corra of Eonia: Corra is 25 years old and her physical features are described as having dark hair and brown skin. Her quadrant specializes in technology, medicine, science, and stoicism.

Queen Stessa of Ludia: At 16, Stessa is the youngest queen. Her features are described as having dark skin and hair. Her quadrant is known for lavish clothing, celebrations, art, and entertainment.

Queen Iris of Archia: Iris is 30 years old and her features are described as pale with light colored hair. She is known to be stern and wants to keep technology out of Archia as much as possible. Archia is known for developing agriculture and providing food for the other quadrants.

Queen Marguerite of Toria: Marquerite is 40 years old and is the eldest and longest reigning queen. Her physical features are pale skin and auburn hair. Her quadrant of Toria provides imports and exports between the quadrants, and they value education.


Each of these queens also holds a deep secret that they absolutely cannot let other members of the court find out. Their secrets go against Queenly Law and could forever damage the balance of powers.

But then each queen is murdered and a girl (and thief) named Keralie gets thrown into the frenzy when she is assigned by her mentor, Mackiel, to pickpocket an Eonist messenger named Varin. However, Keralie doesn’t realize that the item she steals will forever change her life. Soon a murder mystery unfolds as Keralie and Varin try to help find out who committed the queens’ murders.

This book really packed a punch from the very first chapter. From there it was such a fast-paced page-turner of a book. You will not want to put this one down.

What I liked:

The character development. I was pleasantly surprised by how much background information we got about each of the queens. I was heavily invested in their lives and I loved the mystery behind each of them. Also, huge props to Scholte for not just glossing over the major events about each queen in a prologue.

The multiple POVs. Reading so many POVs actually helped move the story along smoothly and contributed to the fast pacing of the story. You get POVs from all the queens as well as Keralie.

The world building. The nation of Quadara was so fun to read about and I loved how each of the quadrants tied so seamlessly into each other. I really liked seeing how there was a balance between futuristic technology and old-school agricultural methods. I was especially invested in the medical practices (especially death days!)

The twists and schemes. If you like political intrigue, backstabbing, and twists galore… then you’re probably going to like this book, too!

This book is a standalone! Yay! Rejoice! I love when a book, especially a murder mystery, wraps up nicely!

What I Didn’t Like:

The villain(s). Without spoilers, I just wasn’t invested enough in the side plot regarding a certain “bad guy.”

The romance really felt like it was shoehorned in there and overall didn’t feel necessary. I would’ve much rather preferred a platonic friendship. I also feel like a certain character was too good for another certain character, and that they would’ve been better off without the other.

Some aspects of the end left me scratching my head a little bit because it felt a bit too outlandish. And I wish we received better explanations/visuals on how certain events unfolded.


Overall this was such a fun, well written debut novel. I’m so glad I picked up this book and got to be part of this blog tour. I know this book is going to be a hit for so many readers out there. Four Dead Queens comes out on February 26, 2019 and you can submit your pre-order receipt here for swag! (Offer ends February 25, 2019. US residents only.)

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Buddy read with Heather @ Bookables!

xx,

Amy

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3) by Seanan McGuire

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Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Series: Wayward Children, #3

Author: Seanan McGuire

Pages: 174

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

My review for Every Heart a Doorway, book 1.

My review for Down Among the Sticks and Bones, book 2.

I’m so sad to say that I thought this book was just… okay? Don’t get me wrong; I loved the Confection world SO MUCH and just how scrumptious the imagery was. If I could choose any world to transport into this minute, it would be a land of candy and cakes.

But unfortunately I wasn’t quite wowed by the storyline. In this book we meet Rini, who we learn very early on is Sumi’s daughter from another timeline/world. Now it’s up to the Wayward Children to help restore Sumi back to her… alive… state. Because Rini is disappearing before our very eyes in Marty McFly-fashion.

What I truly did love was being reintroduced with our OG characters from book 1. I really missed them in book 2 so getting to go on an adventure with them to another world made me so excited. I loved seeing them work together and finding ways to problem solve as a team (haha I’m making this sound like a corporate retreat.)

I really wish I could say I loved more but overall the plot didn’t quite sell me. I felt like nothing happened and everyone was on a wild goose chase. Maybe I expected more since I was so in love with book 2?

Seanan McGuire still blows me away with her words, though. So I do think this book is a must read if you’re a fan of the series!

threestars

xx,

Amy

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire

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Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Series: Wayward Children, #2

Author: Seanan McGuire

Pages: 187

Genre: YA Fantasy, horror

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

My review for Every Heart a Doorway, book 1.

Jack and Jill were some of my favorite characters from book 1, and I was really excited when I learned book 2 was going to be their back story.

From the very first chapter we quickly learned how severely controlling their parents were. How their father only wanted a boy and how their mother only wanted a girl. And how they decided to totally separate each of the girls into stereotypical gendered roles: Jill was the “tom boy”, who was allowed to play sports and get dirty. Jacqueline “Jack” had to be prim and proper, always wearing frilly dresses.

And then one day they discover a “door” in the bottom of their grandmother’s suitcase, and their lives are forever changed.

Seanan McGuire once again wowed me with her writing. I didn’t think I could love this one any more than the first book, but I was wrong! The world that Jack and Jill entered was so dark and intriguing. And what you may expect to lead to a sisterly bonding experience became anything but.

I loved how even in a different world, the two girls were already destined to be different sides of the same coin. Jack ends up choosing to work hard and be an apprentice for a Dr. Frankenstein-type of doctor, while Jill chooses to be a “child” for a vampire. The way their roles suddenly reversed was so well done and I absolutely loved how we slowly got to watch them evolve. There is also a f/f romance that left me feeling so shook!

This book was so fast paced that I quickly flew through it within a day. I think if you love any sort of story that will transport you to a dark, brutal world, then this may be your cup of tea!

Happy reading!

fivestars

xx,

Amy

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Couples

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Hi, everyone! This week’s topic is about our favorite bookish couples! I think I’ve done a similar post before, so some of my OTP’s are still here. But I added a few new couples, too!


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Kaz + Inej (Six of Crows): Art by AmandaDuarte


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Stella + Michael (The Kiss Quotient)


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Magnus + Alec (The Shadowhunters series): Art by Cassandra Jean


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Lazlo + Sarai (Strange the Dreamer): Art by taratjah


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Charlie + Nick (Heartstopper)


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Simon + Baz (Carry On): Art by SusanneDraws


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Ruth + Evan (A Girl Like Her)


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Jude + Cardan (The Cruel Prince): Art by MorganaOanagrom


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Lei + Wren (Girls of Paper and Fire): Art by Layla Rose Art


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Calla + Jonah (The Simple Wild)


That’s it for this week! I hope you are all having a wonderful day and enjoying your current read! ❤

xx,

Amy

Dragons & Tea Book Club: March Book Announcement!

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Hi, friends! I’m back with another book club announcement! Melanie and I had such a great time reading A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert with you all. Thank you so much for joining us! We hope our next read will be a hit, too!


Our March book will be:

LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE by Paul Krueger:

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The Dates & Breakdown:

March 4th — Ch. 1 – 2

March 5th — Ch. 3 – 6

March 6th — Ch. 7 – 10

March 7th — Ch. 11 – 14

March 8th — Ch. 15 – End

(Approximately 50 pages per day)

Why we chose this book:

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.”  <– I mean, that line sold me already. This is a new adult, urban fantasy that we hope will be a fun, yet dark, read! Also, author Paul Krueger is Asian-American, and the main character, Bailey Chen, is Asian-American, too! So this is an own-voices story we’re very excited about. 🙂

As of today this book is available in paperback on Book Outlet for $1.29. (This is not an affiliate link. I just want to let you know in case you want a physical copy for cheap!)


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads


 

ContemporaryAThon 2019 TBR: Round 4

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Hi, friends! Are you planning to participate in this round of ContemporaryAThon? ContemporaryAThon is a weeklong readathon taking place February 11-17 (host information below!) I didn’t do so well last year but I have high hopes I’ll do better this time! Below are the challenges and the books I chose for each one! I’m not sure if I’ll read all 7 books… so… wish me luck! Hahaha.


CHALLENGES:

1. Read your most recently purchased or acquired contemporary

Fence Vol. 2

2. Read a contemporary with blurple (blue or purple) on the cover

99 Percent Mine

3. Read a diverse contemporary (keeping in mind that it is Black History Month!)

The Bride Test

4. Read a dark, taboo, or emotional book

Forever, Interrupted

5. Read a contemporary you meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get to

Radio Silence

6. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format (ebook, audio, graphic novel etc)

The Legend of the Golden Raven

7. Read a contemporary with a picture on the spine (not a color or pattern but an image)

Check, Please!

(Double up and make as many of them work for as many books as you want!)


LIVE-SHOW: 2/16 on Chelsea’s Channel (Time TBA!)

THE HOSTS:

CHELSEA

JULIE

NATASHA

MELANIE

FOLLOW CONTEMPORARYATHON:

CONTEMPORARYATHON INSTA: https://www.instagram.com/contemporar…  CONTEMPORARYATHON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/bookhangover_


And in case you missed it, here’s my YouTube video of me discussing each book I picked!


xx,

Amy

I Joined Booktube!

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Hi, friends! I wanted to officially announce that I joined the booktube community! It’s been something I’ve been thinking about doing since 2016 (but I never uploaded those videos because… yikes… haha.) I finally made it a goal for 2019 and am so glad I did!

Click here to subscribe! 🙂

I’m still learning so much, so please pardon my rambling, awkwardness, or if I leave out pertinent info in my videos. I sometimes have a lot of trouble gathering my thoughts, but I hope I’ll feel more comfortable over time. Also, this past week I have been in iMovie hell. So if my blog seems quiet, it’s because I’m still learning how to edit and manage my time between blogging, bookstagram, reading, reviewing, and doing book club, all while still engaging with everyone! 🙂 I will still write reviews here and (for now) I’m still going to do Top Ten Tuesdays!

So if you’re a fan of videos instead of blog posts, I’d be so honored if you subscribed to my channel! At the moment I’ve uploaded some “typical” booktuber videos such as TBRs, hauls, and wrap ups. But I’m planning to expand more and offer book recommendations, mash up reviews, and the occasional reading vlog!

I’m so humbled and grateful for all the support I’ve already received over the past week. Your kind words of encouragement have meant so much to me.

I hope you will give my channel a chance, and if there are any video ideas you would like to see me do, please leave me a comment! ❤

xx,

Amy

Top Ten Tuesday: Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Hi, everyone! I am here with another Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s topic is to share upcoming releases I’m on the fence about, whether it be because of negative reviews, overhyped, or maybe series I may not wish to continue.

Okay, let’s go!


The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

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As of today this sequel to Truly, Devious is already out in the world, but I am hesitant to pick this up since I rated the first book 3 stars.


Courting Darkness by Robin Lefevers

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I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book however I received it a bit late so I may not have time to read it by pub date. I’m nervous to start it mainly because I haven’t read its companion series and I am worried I’ll be confused. I hear you don’t *have* to read the first series so I’m hoping for the best!


Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

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I thought Ash Princess was pretty good but I don’t know if I LOVED it enough to invest time in continuing the series?


King of Fools by Amanda Foody

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While I thought Ace of Shades was alright, I just didn’t love it as much as I expected I would. So right now I’m feeling pretty meh about continuing the series.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Ok, I’m a huge TJR fan but two of my dear friends whose reading judgments I trust DNF’d it…so now I’m hella scared!


Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

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This rom com sounds super adorable, and I’m hoping it isn’t suffering from the case of “the synopsis sounded more fun than the actual book.” But I think I’m going to give it a chance because the early reviews sound promising!


New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind

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Ah, this is another cute illustrated cover that pulled me in! The setting sounds really fun, but I’m on the fence about the whole “magician assistant” storyline.


The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

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I think this book sounds the most promising because it is ownvoices, enemies-to-lovers! I just haven’t seen any reviews for it yet.


Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

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The premise of running a home renovation business sounds so cute! I just hope it doesn’t stray into problematic-body-shaming territory.


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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I keep seeing my friends talk about this upcoming release, and the main character shares my namesake… so… I mean… I guess I should read it? Hahaha. But, really, it does sound quite cute!


Ok, let me know if you’ve heard anything good/bad about these titles, please! And if you’re interested in any of them, maybe we can try to read some together!

xx,

Amy

January 2019 Wrap Up

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Hello and welcome back to another wrap up! 🙂 I was traveling for quite a bit in January and didn’t read a single book during that time! But I did a bit of catching up once I got home. Overall it was a pretty good reading month.

Here they all are…


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The Wicker King ★★★★★

Melanie and I’s Dragons & Tea Book Club January pick!


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Four Dead Queens ★★★★

Buddy read with Heather! ARC by Penguin Teen.


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Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★


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Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★


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The Foxhole Court ★★★

Buddy read with Melanie and Sol!


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Truly, Devious ★★★

Buddy read with Melanie, Alexa, Abantika, and Heather!


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Snow Place Like Home: Diary of an Ice Princess #1 ★★★★★

ARC provided by Christina Soontornvat.


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Ruin and Rising ★★★

Buddy read with May!


Overall it was a good reading month and filled with so many memories: launching our first book club, buddy reading with some amazing friends, and discovering that I still have a weird thing for the Darkling. hahahaha. Reviews to come!

I hope you had a great reading month, too! ❤

xx,

Amy

February 2019 TBR

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Hi, friends! I don’t know if it’s just me but January was a blur, and February is already shaping up to be quite the wild reading month. I have a few books on my immediate TBR as well as ContemporaryAThon reads! However, I’m going to post my ContemporaryAThon TBR in a separate post. Below are the other books I plan to read this February!


The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco (The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger, The Shadow Glass). Buddy reading with Jen @ Pinot and Pages!


Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West. Buddy reading with Heather at Bookables!

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A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert. Our Dragons & Tea Book Club pick!

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There are also 7 more titles to add to this TBR, but that will go up in my ContemporaryAThon post. Stay tuned! 🙂

xx,

Amy