BLOG TOUR STOP: What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka [Review + Giveaway!]

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Hi, welcome to my stop on the What I Want You to See blog tour (hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club)! I’m so psyched that I was approved to participate in this blog tour! Make sure to read the whole post if you want to learn more about this read & its author, hear my review, and enter the giveaway!


ABOUT THE BOOK

book coverWHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE

by Catherine Linka

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: February 4th, 2020

Genre: Contemporary

Age Category: Young Adult (tho technically New Adult)

Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | iTunes

SYNOPSIS

Winning a scholarship to California’s most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine Reye’s awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs.

But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined. Colin Krell, the renowned faculty member whom she had hoped would mentor her, seems to take merciless delight in tearing down her best work—and warns her that she’ll lose the merit-based award if she doesn’t improve.

Desperate and humiliated, Sabine doesn’t know where to turn. Then she meets Adam, a grad student who understands better than anyone the pressures of art school. He even helps Sabine get insight on Krell by showing her the modern master’s work in progress, a portrait that’s sold for a million dollars sight unseen.

Sabine is enthralled by the portrait; within those swirling, colorful layers of paint is the key to winning her inscrutable teacher’s approval. Krell did advise her to improve her craft by copying a painting she connects with . . . but what would he think of Sabine secretly painting her own version of his masterpiece? And what should she do when she accidentally becomes party to a crime so well -plotted that no one knows about it but her?

Complex and utterly original, What I Want You to See is a gripping tale of deception, attraction, and moral ambiguity.


REVIEW

This book was the perfect fun read to compliment the “Intro to Art History” class I’m currently taking (and the drawing class I took last semester!). What I Want You to See was a captivating contemporary coming-of-age story mixed with romance, mystery, and of course, art.

One of my favorite elements about this novel was that it not only followed an aspiring artist, but that it followed a protagonist going to college, which technically makes it New Adult (even though it’s being marketed as Young Adult). As a creative writing major, I could definitely relate to the protagonist’s struggle with pushing herself creatively and doubting herself as an artist. And the friendships! Making friends in college can be so hard, so I liked seeing Sabine yearn for connection and friendship. Eventually Sabine gains a couple of quality friends, and I appreciated that they were a constant thread throughout the novel, and weren’t shoved aside in favor of romance like so many YA contemporaries have a bad habit of doing. Sabine’s constantly juggling work, homework, art, friends, romance, and stress, which is honestly so accurate to college.

An aspect that took me by surprise was how much I enjoyed reading about Sabine’s character. Initially, I was a bit skeptic, but as I continued to fly through chapters, I really started to admire her portrayal. Sabine is a girl with a lot on her plate, and I mean a lot. She’s constantly torn and unsure on how to approach things, her emotions consistently making her change her decisions, and I really liked the realism in this. Teens/young adults are constantly questioning and doubting themselves (or at least it feels like I am, lol).

There was one thing that didn’t quite work for me and that was the pacing. The novel is divided into weirdly short chapters, and while I liked the shortness at times, there were definitely multiple times where I questioned the choice of chapter breaks in specific scenes. Additionally, I felt the ending was a bit…anticlimactic? It felt oddly stretched out and the climax felt pushed up too close to the end. The ending felt a bit too convenient and definitely not explored enough. I really wanted more of an aftermath.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read. It wasn’t astounding, but it had a unique premise and I really appreciated reading a contemporary set in college. I would love to read more books like this one!

Trigger Warnings: loss of a parent, homelessness, grief, stealing, lying, manipulation

Rating: 3.5 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I paint an intriguing picture, but I’m not quite a masterpiece.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author(2)

Catherine Linka is the author of the young adult novel WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE as well as the dystopian series A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONE. A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS was an ABA Indie Next Pick and won the Young Adult Novel Award 2014 from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. A frequent speaker at writing and teen conferences, Catherine received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and worked as a young adult book buyer for an independent bookstore for seven years. Prior to pursuing a career in publishing, she studied international politics at Georgetown University followed by a master’s degree in business at the University of North Carolina. Catherine is married and lives with her husband in the San Gabriel foothills. Visit her at http://www.catherlinelinka.com.

Website| Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook


GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a finished copy of WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE by Catherine Linka (US Only)

Start Date: January 29th, 2020

End Date: February 12th, 2020

ENTER HERE


If you want to check out other stops on this blog tour, here’s a link to the schedule!

Have any of you already read What I Want You to See? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments!

BLOG TOUR STOP: The Vine Witch [Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway!]

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Hi, welcome to my stop on the The Vine Witch blog tour (hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club)! I’m so honored that I was approved to participate in this blog tour! Make sure to read the whole post if you want to learn more about this read & its author, hear my review & fav quotes, and enter the giveaway!


ABOUT THE BOOK

BOOK COVERTHE VINE WITCH

(Vine Witch #1)

by Luanne G. Smith

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books

SYNOPSIS

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.


REVIEW + FAV QUOTES

There’s nothing like spending the last 7 years as a toad, is there? Right off the bat, this book had me intrigued, eager to see where this story would take us.

How could she wish for anything else but to be part of the vineyard? Its terroir was her blood, its mist her breath, its soil her bones, its harvest her unborn child.

I adored this historical fantasy world and all the magic that it contained. I love the idea of all these different types of witches who secretly specialize in the creation of everyday products. Like, I would gladly consume witch-made wine and witch-baked pastries. There was a lot of cool magic involved and the world was abundant in detail. But while I enjoyed this world, I did find myself wanting to know more, specifically in terms of the rules of magic and the witch community.

What the eye couldn’t see, the imagination filled in. We put names to the unexplained. Cast it as something to either fear or worship. And yet just because a thing can’t be seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

But as I hinted at in the previous paragraph, while this was an interesting read, I wanted more: more worldbuilding, more character development, more pages. Don’t get me wrong: it was decent as is, but it could have been so much better fleshed out. I also found the romance completely underwhelming. The protagonists’ are quick to romanticize love, but it felt unsupported by the lack of interactions we saw between the two characters. They felt like they never moved passed infatuation.

Pain has always been the prosecutor’s handmaiden.

Overall, The Vine Witch was an interesting read, and I would definitely check out another book that explores this world. If you’re craving wine or seeking an easy witchy read, give this book a try!

Rating: 3 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I’m an amusing read, but I didn’t quite bewitch you.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHOR(1)

Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in the series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.

Website| Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter


GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a finished copy of THE VINE WITCH by Luanne G. Smith (US Only)

Start Date: October 1st, 2019

End Date: October 15th, 2019

ENTER HERE


If you want to check out other stops on this blog tour, here’s a link to the schedule!

Have any of you guys read The Vine Witch yet? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments!

BLOG TOUR STOP: Smoke & Summons [Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway!]

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Hi, welcome to my stop on the Smoke & Summons blog tour (hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club)! Ahhh, I’m so grateful that I was approved to participate in this blog tour! Not only did the gorgeous cover suck me in, but so did the story. Make sure to read the whole post if you want to learn more about this fun read & its author, hear my review & fav quotes, and enter the giveaway!


ABOUT THE BOOK

SMOKE AND SUMMONS COVERSMOKE & SUMMONS

(Numina Trilogy #1)

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: February 1st, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon |Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

SYNOPSIS

A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…


REVIEW + FAV QUOTES

***I received a free ARC of this book in the mail in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour***

GUYS, I struggled SO MUCH to put this book down, as in, I really didn’t do anything besides work and read during the few days I was flying through this book. Immediately after finishing this book I went onto Netgalley and got the sequel (and because the book gods love me, it was available for all to read!). Smoke & Summons is quick-read fantasy filled with stressful escapes, demons, and the importance of family.

One of my favorite things about this book was the magic. Vessels that can be used to summon and host demons?! An ancient device that can grant you a minute of immortality every 24 hours? How cool is that?! There seems to be so much legend and lore brimming beneath the surface; I can’t wait to see it (hopefully) expanded on in the sequel.

Sin was branded into her with flair and expense.

And this book does not disappoint as an on-the-run adventure! I think this is why it was so hard for me to set this book aside; Sandis and Rone were constantly having close calls and there was never a boring scene. As I was reading this before bed, I constantly kept telling myself, “Just one more chapter.”

His essence braided into her own in a way it never had before, filling her nostrils with the scent of molten iron, her skin with ripe agony, her heart with…a strange sort of pressure. Like an embrace.

But while I had a blast reading this book, I would like to note that it’s not perfect. Some of the interactions and actions of Sandis and Rone gave me faint late 2000s/early 2010s YA, which was slightly cringey (Rone, why are you growling so much??), but it didn’t hinder the story too much. I would also like to say that this book is less YA and more like NA, given that Sandis is 18 years old and Rone is 25 years old (tho it’s a relatively “clean” read: there’s not any romance, only hints of attraction).

A wreath of white fire encircled the numen’s breast, and flames cascaded down its neck and back and formed a narrow, whiplike tail, like the appendage was made of molten steel. Its eyes were blacker than coal, and two sets of horns jutted out from the top of its head—two forking skyward, and two curving forward.

I won’t say that Sandis’s character was weak, but she did have a tendency to come off as a Mary Sue/special snowflake. But then again, she’s also a traumatized woman who was held as a slave for four years, so…I guess I’ll wait till the next book to fully judge her character? Hopefully her personality will brighten later as her character develops.

Overall, Smoke & Summons was a really fun read and I can’t wait to pick up the sequel and see how the story continues. I would recommend this book to anyone intrigued by the premise and who is looking for some nostalgic YA feels.

Trigger Warnings: slavery, imprisonment, murder, threat of torture, and brief physical abuse (I believe it was slapping)

Rating: 3.5 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“Not quite, but catch a whiff of me and I’ll most likely cling to you like smoke!”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a finished copy of SMOKE AND SUMMONS by Charlie N. Holmberg (US Only)

Start Date: February 10th, 2019

End Date: March 5th, 2019

ENTER HERE


If you want to check out other stops on this blog tour, here’s a link to the schedule!

Have any of you guys read Smoke & Summons yet? What did you think? If not, is it on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments!

 

BLOG TOUR STOP: Mirage [Review + Giveaway!]

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Hi, welcome to my stop on Mirage blog tour (hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club)! I’m so excited to be a part of this tour and to promote this gripping book!

(Also, make sure to stay for the whole post, because the link to the giveaway is included at the end!)


ABOUT THE BOOK

Mirage-Cover

MIRAGE

by Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | IndieBound | iBooks

SYNOPSIS

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.


REVIEW

Mirage was not what I expected it to be, but it was a fun and unique read nonetheless. I quickly devoured the story, eager to see the dynamics between Amani, Maram, and Idris play out. With a unique and enthralling world, I can easily see how this book will be a new favorite for many (I’ve already seen so many raving reviews).

On a small moon orbiting a large planet, in a small farmhouse in a small village, there was a box, and in this box was a feather.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the setting! The world is founded on a Moroccan inspired culture; something I’ve never witnessed before in the book! Additionally, this book falls into the space set, science fiction genre, which normally I don’t gravitate towards, but this aspect totally worked for me in this book! Mirage was subtly sci-fi, with droids, spaceships, advanced medical technology woven into the setting. There was no technological concepts that I struggled to understand. I think this light science fiction background will appeal to many fantasy readers, given how it emulated kingdom/empire vibes typical of YA fantasies (does that make sense?), to the point where half the time I forgot it was science fiction. My only complaint about the world, which is probably merely due to me having an e-ARC, is that I wish there had been a glossary for all the terminology used. There were so many times I clicked on a term in the kindle app, trying to figure out what it was, only to have it tell me there were no definition available.

And endurance was strength, to be sure, but even a rock wore away to nothing if asked to endure enough rain.

To coincide with this, I think another great characteristic of this book was the people, especially when it comes to the conquered Andalaan people. I think Daud did an amazing job of exploring people’s different reactions, feelings, and coping methods to living under an oppressive, tyrant government. This was such a powerful and compelling dimension of the novel.

So I took each memory, folded it over and over again, and put it away.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the ever-shifting relationship between Amani and the princess, Maram. My favorite scenes were when Amani imitated Maram’s cold, hard personality and when Amani & Maram interacted. I loved their dynamic and how they brought out different sides of each other.

I liked to think I was brave and filled with conviction, but I was untested.

Now, as I mentioned before, this book was a lot different then what I expected it to be. First off, it was a lot more character driven than plot driven, which is not a bad thing in itself, just not what I anticipated. Additionally, I was super sad to discover that this book utilized my least favorite trope, insta-love, when it came to the romance between Amani & Idris (not a spoiler; this is very much implied by the synopsis). As soon as this aspect took stage, it seemed that the whole plot swung around to focus on it, which I found rather disappointing.

Any and every end I imagined for the two of us as one mired in tragedy.

Overall, I think this book was a decent contribution to the YA sci-fi world and will be compelling to many. As long as you don’t mind (intense) insta-love and a few other clichés, I would recommend this book to all YA fantasy & sci-fi lovers!

Rating: 3.25 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I’m not quite yours, but I could easily tattoo myself on someone else’s heart.”

*Note: These quotes are taken from an uncorrected galley and may differ from the final, published version.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SomaiyaDaud-Photo

Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut, and is due from Flatiron Books in 8/28/2018.

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook


GIVEAWAY

Prize: One finished copy of Mirage by Somaiya Daud (USA only)

Starts: August 22, 2018

Ends: August 30, 2018

Enter Here: Rafflecopter giveaway


If you want to check out other stops on this blog tour, here’s a link to the schedule!

Are you guys excited for Mirage? If you’ve read the book already: what did you think? Let me know down in the comments!