June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads in 2015 So Far

I'm almost glad to say I have fewer books in this post than I did for the one last year. Having a lot of favorites isn't a bad thing, but I've finally read most of the big YA titles so now I'm mainly reading newer books and therefore, the amount of titles added to my favorites list has dwindled.

1. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
A 2014 release that I didn't read until early January. My first favorite of 2015!

2. Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly

3. All Fall Down by Ally Carter

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4. The Archived and The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
2013 and 2014 releases. I was a bit slow to read these blogger faves. But at least I finally did and I loved them!

5. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

6. You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith
This was a 2009 release that I couldn't read until 2015 because my local library didn't have it. Then, when I got my card for the library near my university, I found out they had it. I've now read all of Jennifer's YA titles!

7. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

8. The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

9. Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

10. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

11. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Another 2014 release that's sneaking in because, once again, my local library (nor any of the libraries in the interlibrary loaning system) didn't have it.

12. Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

13. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

14. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

15. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

16. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

17. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

18. Nil Unlocked by Lynne Matson

19. Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Honorable mentions to The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman and Swept Away by Michelle Dalton.

June 29, 2015

Review: Ana of California

Ana of California by Andi Teran
Grade: C
Release date: June 30, 2015
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: A modern take on the classic coming-of-age novel, inspired byAnne of Green Gables

In the grand tradition of Anne of Green GablesBridget Jones’s Diary, andThe Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.

When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I was a weird preteen. I didn't like Anne of Green Gables at all. I loved it as a kid (I read an abridged version of the book and watched the popular movie adaptation too many times to count), but by my preteens, Anne annoyed me and I wasn't feeling the story anymore. Fast forward about five-six years, and I fell in love with the web-series adaptation, "Green Gables Fables." And I've decided Gilbert Blythe is one of my top book boyfriends. Suffice to say, I was very eager to read a contemporary retelling of Anne of Green Gables.
I appreciated the diversity in this book. Ana was Mexican. Rye (the Diana character) was part Native American. Most (or I actually think all) of the farm workers were Latino. None of them take on a cultural stereotype. However, I found Rye to be stereotypical in other ways. She was kind of that best friend who's an outsider and thinks they're better than everyone else. She also was a bit of a hipster and just went against the flow so much that it grated on my nerves. I liked Abbie and Emmett, though. They were kind of the reverse of Matthew and Marilla, in my opinion. Abbie was warm and open and Emmett was gruffer and less welcoming of Ana at first. Ana was dramatic and poetic like Anne; she was more into art than wanting to be a writer, but I liked that she was still creative. She was a hard worker who screwed up occasionally, as teenagers are apt to do. Her relationship with Cole (the Gilbert of the book) was interesting. I don't think it quite lived up to Anne and Gilbert, though. Cole wasn't an outstanding love interest or anything. 
The writing style was interesting. It definitely seemed more for adults than teenagers. It seemed a bit distant, which made it hard to connect with the narrative and characters.
Mild foul language. Kissing and making out. Rye does drugs (that's the equivalent of the raspberry cordial incident). Cole and Ana steal sparkling wine to drink.

The Verdict: Overall, a good book, but I'm still looking for a really great Anne of Green Gables retelling.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.

June 28, 2015

Rewind & Review #40

Rewind & Review

Well, guys, this is it! This post covers my last two weeks in Illinois. We're hopefully leaving for Virginia tomorrow. The next few weeks are going to be a bit chaotic, but I have posts scheduled and I'm sure I'll still have a few books in the next Rewind & Review post. Can't wait to tell y'all about my adventures in our new house, city, and state!

Books I Received for Review
Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins (from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley)
Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon (from Bloomsbury via NetGalley)
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (from Random House Delacorte via NetGalley)
Whippoorwill by Joseph Monninger (from HMH Kids via NetGalley)
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel (via Read Between the Lynes)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Don't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche (via trade with Raquel)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (via trade with Emma)
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (via trade with Casey)
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano
Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites by Clotilde Dusoulier (gifts from my OTSP Secret Sister)

Books I Bought
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

Books I Read
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (4 stars)
Finding Paris by Joy Preble (2 stars)
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan (3 stars)
Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (reread)
Something Rotten by Alan Gratz (4 stars)
School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Claytton (3 stars)
Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott (2 stars)
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (3 stars)
What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 6/15-6/20)
   (From 6/21-6/27)
  • Review: Ana of Calfornia by Andi Teran
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books in 2015 So Far
  • Goodbye, Illinois
  • Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
  • So You Like... #15
  • Review: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
  • Taylor Swift Book Tag
  • Hello, Virginia
  • Review: Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  • Random Friday: Fun Facts About Me
  • Are You Reading Diverse Books?

June 27, 2015

Review: The Fixer

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Grade: A
Release date: July 7, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury USA Childrens via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Jennifer Lynn Barnes has done it again. She has written an addictive story that kept me hooked. Tess was such a normal girl, despite all the craziness she went through and all the things she was thrown into. She had a bit of sass to her, and she has a strong moral compass. She loves her grandfather and Ivy, even if she tries not to show it. And I genuinely love this cast of characters, y'all. They're much different than Cassie and the team in The Naturals. Most of them are less jaded, but they're still well-rounded. Vivvie is great, and I can't wait to see her friendship with Tess develop further in book two. Henry was interesting, and I found myself to be a fan of him in the end. I liked that his goals didn't always align with Tess's. It's enjoyable when secondary characters want good to win in the end, but they may not always agree with the protagonist. (Also props to Jennifer for mentioning straight off that he's biracial. Yay for diversity! And I'm pretty sure Vivvie is Middle Eastern or Indian.) Emilia was interesting too - sort of the mean girl but not. She cares about her brother, and she's smart, and she enlightens Tess about STEM. She's not really the enemy; I could tell she didn't really like Tess, but she didn't actively seek out our protagonist to be mean to her. Then there's Asher. For most of the book, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to smack him or date him myself. He's witty and a bit pushy and flirty, but he seemed to only want friendship with Tess...for now at least. There's minimal romance in this book, y'all. There's flirty tension between Asher and Tess but not once do they kiss or confess feelings for each other or anything of the like.
The mystery, which is most of the plot, was a wild ride. I never knew who quite to suspect, and I didn't guess the real culprit at all. Jennifer really knows how to write a mystery. There's a plot twist towards the end that I did guess much earlier on and the reveal was a bit dramatic, but I like where it took the story. Some of the fall-out is going to be great in book two, I just know it. (And seriously, I could take a giant series about Tess and her adventures.)
One final note, this is definitely great for fans of Veronica Mars. There's intrigue and scandal and cover-ups; since I recently watched the whole series for the first time, it was fresh in my mind and I could see a few small parallels.
Mild language. Mild violence (nothing's really shown).

The Verdict: So amazingly good. If you love Veronica Mars or Ally Carter's Heist Society, this is totally a book for you.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Heck, yeah. I've preordered it!

June 26, 2015

Random Friday: Book Covers That Belong in a Museum

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
Book covers can either be horrifically bad or works of art (ok, and sometimes in between). I'm using this week's Random Friday post to showcase some of the best. And I'll be including the cover designer's name where I can because I'd like to give credit where it's due.

1. Starflight by Melissa Landers

2. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

3. A Thousand Pieces of You/Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray (ATPOY designer credit: Elizabeth Clark)

4. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

5. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

6. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

7. Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (Designer credit: Elizabeth H. Clark)

8. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (Designer credit: Lindsey Andrews and Maggie Olson)

9. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Designer credit: Elizabeth H. Clark)

10. Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke (Designer credit: Lizzy Bromley)

11. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (Designer credit: Amanda Bartlett)

12. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Designer credit: Erin Fitzsimmons)

June 25, 2015

From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

It's been awhile since my last baking post. I had to wait until I was home from college and had a full kitchen at my disposal once again.

For this post, I was basically scanning my recently-added recipes on Pinterest and looking for ones that would match with books. Then it hit me - I've kind of become obsessed with cooking show books lately. So I knew pairing pizza pull-apart bread (basically pizza monkey bread) with Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous was the way to go.

It doesn't require much equipment, thankfully - just a bundt pan, a bowl, and measuring spoons and cups. (I also wore food preparation gloves just because I didn't want olive oil and cheese and seasoning all over my hands.)


Pull-Apart Pizza Bread
2 cans of pizza dough or biscuits
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1 c. parmesan cheese
2 T. Italian seasoning
1/3 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 t. minced garlic)
8 oz. pepperoni/cooked, crumbled sausage (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pizza dough or biscuits into quarters. If using pepperoni, cut each piece in half. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss so that everything is evenly coated. Place in a greased bundt pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is brown and the center is thoroughly cooked. If it isn't, cook in 5-minute increments until done. You can cover with foil if it's getting too brown. Flip over onto a serving plate as soon as you remove from oven. Serve warm with marinara for dipping sauce. [Which I didn't have the time to whip up.]

Voila! Cheesy pull-apart pizza bread.

Have a recipe/book suggestion for From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen? Comment below or email it to MDBCnumber1fan [at] gmail [dot] com.

June 24, 2015

Review: Silver in the Blood

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Grade: C
Release date: July 7, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury USA Childrens via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I really ought to read synopses better, shouldn't I? I didn't expect Silver in the Blood to take that paranormal twist. But clearly, I should've known it would happen, thanks to that Goodreads synopsis. Because I don't like paranormal and shape-shifter stuff, my opinion of the whole book is based mostly on that. I enjoyed Dacia and Lou - they're strong characters who try to do what's right and stand up for themselves. The romances lacked some chemistry for me; I knew they would end the way they did, but I wanted to be able to root for the girls and their love interests.
The beginning dragged, and I knew I was forcing myself to continue for a good chunk of the book. I kept with it once the action kicked in, even though, like I said, the paranormal stuff was not my scene. I did like how Jessica Day George incorporated Bram Stoker's Dracula, and I kind of got used to Dacia's and Lou's abilities. However, I found the transformations and special abilities came much too easy. I felt like the girls needed to mess up or not be great right off the bat. (That was a great unintentional pun.)
Foul language was mild, if nonexistent. There was a fair amount of nakedness because of the shape-shifting. The villain attempted rape a couple times.

The Verdict: Not what I hoped.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Sadly, no.

June 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite TTT Topics

Although I love making lists of books, it's nice to occasionally make a list of something else. In this case, it's my favorite topics done for Top Ten Tuesday.

A lot of my early YA reads were thanks to Kate and Kelly. I don't know what I'd do without them as my friends.

2. Reading Wishlist (1/21/14)
It was like #RBWL, only in Top Ten Tuesday form!

I could probably add more characters to this list now, but I enjoyed thinking about the characters who I want to be more like.

I enjoyed writing this one so much that I turned it into my ongoing So You Like... post series.

5. Books in My Beach Bag (6/3/14) (Bonus: Books in My Travel Bag [5/26/15])
I really enjoyed deciding what books I'd want to read at the beach/pool or on a trip.

The topic for this week was ten books you'd recommend to someone new to the genre. I decided to be a bit more clever with the title. And there's so many more books I'd add to this post if I could do it again!

Can these characters just come to my university and be my lunch buddies, please?

I was supposed to pick books for my current book club (doesn't exist) or if I were to have a book club. But since I have such deep-rooted love for Heather Vogel Frederick's series about a book club, I knew I had to put a little spin on the topic. It was so much fun picking which ones I'd want them to read.

If you know me, the wiggle room in this week's topic was perfect because I'm always dying to recommend books that seem like T-Swizzle inspired them.

10. Author Bucket List (5/12/15)
Can I just meet all the authors, please?

So what were your favorite TTT topics? Leave a link to your post in the comments below and I'll try to check it out.

June 21, 2015

Sunday Street Team: Interview with Rachael Allen

The Author

Rachael  Allen

Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. In addition to being a YA writer, she's also a mad scientist, a rabid Falcons fan, an expert dare list maker, and a hugger. Rachael is the author of 17 FIRST KISSES.

The Book

The Revenge Playbook
The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

Don’t get mad, get even!

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

The Interview
Emma: What inspired The Revenge Playbook?
Rachael: A bunch of different things! The scavenger hunts my friends and I used to do in college. And just my friends, in general. I love my girlfriends dearly, and I have no doubt that we’ll be friends for the rest of our lives. And then combined with that, I really wanted to write a book about girls getting revenge on boys. I started reading a lot of articles about girls who had been treated terribly by boys, girls who had been raped, girls who had had their voices silenced. And the story shifted - from girls going after revenge, to girls trying to change the way the world worked in their small town. And even though the story has this deeper thread, it’s still full of shenanigans and spy missions and epic plots made over ice cream. Because I’m a firm believer that you can change the world and have fun at the same time.

E: How did writing your sophomore novel compare to writing 17 First Kisses?
R: It went MUCH faster. Partly because I had to write it faster because I was pregnant and getting closer to my due date every day (I turned in the first draft of the book and had my baby the very next day). And partly because it just flowed. It wasn’t one of those books I had to agonize over to figure out what would happen next. I felt like these girls were real people, and I knew what they’d do and how things would play out. Also, I had feedback from my agent and editor along the way which was amazing.

E: What's the best writing advice you've ever received?
R: I once read that you have to write a million bad words before you can write a book that’s ready to be published. I really believe in the idea of working on your craft and writing (and reading) as much as you can. Even though The Revenge Playbook is my second published novel, it’s the sixth book I’ve ever written. (The first three were terrible!)
E: I know that feeling! My first few "novels" are insanely bad.

E: So you're working on a PhD in neuroscience (or have you received it now?). How has that affected your journey as an author?
R: I have it now! I’m officially Dr. Allen! (Not that anyone has to call me that.) On the one hand, it takes up a lot of time, and I always wish I had more time to write. But on the other hand, it takes up a lot of time, which means that when my agent is reading pages or I have a book out on sub with editors, the time just flies by. I think it’s less stressful having your brain occupied with something else during the waiting phases.

E: Fill in the blanks: If you liked ____ and ____, then you'd like The Revenge Playbook.
R: If you liked Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Friday Night Lights, and John Tucker Must Die then you should try The Revenge Playbook.

E: What's next for you, writing-wise?
R: I always have a ton of ideas whirling around in my head, but the one I’ve worked on the most is about a boy with Tourette Syndrome who falls in love with the girl next door.

E: What's your cure for "writer's block" or whenever you get stuck on a part when you're writing?
R: One thing that helps if I’m stuck because I don’t know what a character would do is starting over from the beginning. I read and edit and think about my character, and by the time I get to that point where they’re stuck, I usually know them well enough to know what they’d do.
Another thing I do when I'm stuck on a scene and need to get the fun feelings back is throw in something completely random. It's almost like a game. Can I write this meet cute scene so it ends with her shoving a tampon up his nose? Can I make this scene include a glittery statue of David Bowie?
It probably sounds weird, but it makes it more fun, and when I'm having fun, I feel like it really shows on the page.

E: How did you react when you got the news 17 First Kisses was going to be published?
R: I did a happy dance even though I had just sat in brain juice (I know! Gross!). I wrote a story about that day here: http://amie-corner.blogspot.com/2014/07/guestpost-giveaway-17-first-kisses-by.html

E: Are there any upcoming YA books you're excited for?
R: YES. So many. UNDER THE LIGHTS by Dahlia Adler, DARKTHAW by Kate Boorman, DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy, LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca, SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli (which is already out and in my hot little hands!), and HELLO, I LOVE YOU by Katie Stout, and I could seriously go on and on.

E: Finally, my signature question: what's your favorite fairytale and why?
R: I LOVE THIS QUESTION!!! 12 Dancing Princesses is my favorite fairytale, and I really want to write a retelling some day. I just love the idea that these princesses are sneaking out every night without ever leaving their rooms, and that they’re doing it under the King’s nose, and no one can figure out how. Plus, there’s a secret world. I’m a sucker for those.

E: Thanks for your time, Rachael!

R: Thank YOU!! I loved interviewing with you! :)

The Giveaway

June 19, 2015

Review: Tangled Webs

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross
Grade: C
Release date: June 23, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: For an historical fiction novel that promised pretty much everything that's my catnip, Tangled Webs fell pretty short. I felt kind of meh about most of the story until about page 149 of my ARC. Certain characters felt too much like caricatures; their dialogue and actions just seemed too fake. And Arista herself had moments where she was intelligent, clever, and pretty darn cool, and then she would turn into a naive, bumbling, unobservant girl. I also got the feeling that she wasn't as experienced with that knife as she portrayed herself. The contrast was a bit unbelievable. The plot was fairly cut-and-dry, which can be a good thing, but I was expected more...tangles, particularly since I'm very certain the synopsis gives away the whole story. There was also a mini sideplot with Sophia Sinclair that I thought could've had a lot of potential since Voltaire was involved, but it went nowhere. Also pertaining to the plot, I saw that Tangled Webs is the first of a series and I'm not sure that's necessary. The plot, simple as it was, wrapped up fairly well in just one novel.
As for the romance, I kind of liked it at first because Grae and Arista clearly irritated each other. But she was also immediately taken with him, which I thought was cliche. Then she started obsessing over him and eventually, they were saying they were in love when I'm pretty certain the two had only known each other for a few weeks. I quickly became disenchanted with the romance and no longer cared if their relationship survived the book.
Some foul language, nothing too major, though. There were violent moments. There was kissing and talk of many low-cut dresses (and their effects) and brothels.

The Verdict: Ultimately, not the YA historical fic I dream of.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Leaning towards no.