Let’s Talk About…Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter

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He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.

Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war. Torn between love and duty, Ry finds herself on a perilous mission to help the rebels and convince the kingdom of Pythus not to honor its pact with the corrupt king of Jerar—all the while deceiving the most powerful mage in the realm, the very man sworn to protect the Crown and hunt the rebels at all costs: her husband.

She’s one step ahead, but sooner or later the curtain will fall.

Sooner or later, she’ll have to fight.

Witness the epic conclusion of The Black Mage series, and see just how far one girl will go to save her kingdom and the boy she loves—even when that boy has become the enemy.

Add to Goodreads | About the Author | Buy the Book

Guys….I finished my first series of the year and I am so sad to see it go! I started out on this journey a few years back when the author herself approached me to read her book…I was immediately drawn in and I haven’t looked back since. The characters in this series have so much to offer and the action and adventure is amazing.

My feelings on finishing the series:

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It took me forever to write this post after finishing Last Stand. I really didn’t know how I could put into words how much I adored this series. (And if you haven’t heard of this series or read the first book called First Year, I suggest you go get it now because you won’t regret it! ) This last book was literally a roller coaster of emotions for me. So many twists and turns that I wasn’t sure which character was on which side and who to trust to not break my heart.

First and foremost the character development throughout the series just got better and better. I felt that each book there were new angles that you saw each character in and Carter couldn’t have done a better job. Since Ryiah is the main character, you see the most growth out of her. She still makes mistakes throughout the book but her heart is pure and you know she is trying to do whats best for her country. She sacrifices so much and you see how she struggles with decisions she makes. Ahhh I would tell you more but you have to read the book. The other character I love and so glad she shows up in this last book a little bit is Ella. She has been one of my favorite side characters in a series since day one. There is just something about her that always makes me happy when she comes into the scene, she is smart, genuine, and always tries to steer Ryiah in the right direction. Darren also changed quite a bit in this series and you see the softer side of him. But I hurt so much for all the decisions he had to make and they weren’t the easiest ones either. In the end there are so many characters that show their true colors in this final book and you don’t realize what’s about to happen until it hits you square in the face.

The type of magic in this series is also different and I like how we learn more about it as you progress in the series. Not everyone in the book has magic and there are the different types too. And also as the series moves on, you find out how important mages are too the kingdom of Jerar. That magic doesn’t go very far outside of the kingdom of Jerar. And not to give away anymore but there is even more ways to use magic that you find out in this last book.

And lastly…the ship that I loved…Ryiah and Darren. I swear by the end of the book that I was going to have my heart break in two with those two but I couldn’t have scripted it any better than Carter did. There were parts that I was cheering and knew they were meant for eachother. Then there were other times that I was about to cry my eyes out cause I couldn’t believe what was happening. In the end I believe Carter wrote a perfect ending and my heart and head were happy.

I just want to thank Rachel Carter for giving us a great adventure these last few years and I will be recommending this series to every YA reader out there. Can’t wait to see what else she has in store for the future. Till then I will be patiently waiting. 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors We’re Dying to Meet.

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey Everyone! We are back for another Top Ten Tuesday this last week of March and this weeks theme is authors we are dying to meet. I don’t know about most of you but I haven’t been lucky enough to meet some of my favorite authors. Neither of us is super near a big city so it would be a little drive to get to some of these book signings but…. these authors here would be totally worth it! We decided to do a combined list this week since we would probably have most of the same authors. So without further ado…. Ten Authors We are Dying to Meet:

J.K. Rowling

Sarah J. Maas

A. C. Gaughen

Marie Lu

Marissa Meyer

Leigh Bardugo

Usher S. Evans

Suzanne Collins

Jodi Meadows

Rachel E. Carter

QUESTION: What authors are you dying to meet? Have you met any on our list?

Why You Should Read A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

29939047Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Add to Goodreads | More about Roshani Chokshi | Buy this Book

Initial thoughts after finishing this book:

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Wow guys. Just wow. If you remember, I reviewed A Star-Touched Queen way back when, and though I loved the book and it’s writing, I really struggled with the world. NOT THIS TIME! I think I was more prepared for it this time, and I think that there was more that I connected with. This book followed different characters, and the things that these characters dealt with in the plot created even more of a page turner in my eyes. I really liked A Star-Touched Queen, but I LOVED A Crown of Wishes. Why did I love this book?

  1. The writing. Roshani has, once again, blown me away with her writing. She created this absolutely gorgeous world that I am always longing to learn more about. The world lived alongside with the plot. It changed as the story changed. It created more questions for the characters, more challenges for them. It evolved with them. And the plot…OH MAN THE PLOT. It was full of twists and turns, full of ways to further develop the characters and get them to think about what was happening. Her writing is perfection.
  2. Guari and Vikram. Unlike A Star- Touched Queen, this story follows Guari and Vikram as they compete in the Tournament of Wishes. Though I loved Maya and Amar I felt like I connected even more with Guari and Vikram. Something about these two characters just clicked with me. The banter between the two of them was fabulous. I felt like I got to know the personalities of them within the first couple chapters of the book. They fed off of each other so well, even with the feelings of somewhat dislike between the two of them. You watch their relationship grow and develop until the feels kind of hit you hard. I won’t give much more away about them, but MAN did they give me a serious case of the swoons. Both were tough individuals that could easily hold their own but relied on each other to get even further. I loved watching them grow and make more sense of the world and their lives.
  3. The Tournament of Wishes. I really though this was cool. I was constantly left guessing because this tournament did not follow a particular pattern. I thought winning two trials and making a sacrifice seemed pretty straightforward, but there were so many things that I didn’t even think of that happened. This is a tournament that challenged the characters and helped them to grow beyond what they even thought they were capable of. I loved that the book centered around this, but yet added a little more at the end.

BONUS: Aasha (new character that was honestly a friend I would love to have), Fantastic ending, feels galore.

I absolutely loved this addition to The Star-Touched Queen story line. I found that when I did have the time to sit down and read (I got busy for a bit and reading just didn’t happen as often as I wanted it to) that I was unable to stop. Definitely on the list of one of my favorite reads of 2017 so far. If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend you start. And if you were unsure of continuing, I think you should reconsider. This book blew me away. It comes out TOMORROW (March 28th, 2017). Don’t miss out!

QUESTION: Have you read this series? I would love to hear your thoughts!

emily

Feature Friday: Books that are Green Part 4!

Welcome to our celebration of books that just happen to be green. In honor of St. Patrick’s day we have each given you a few ideas of books that we liked with the common color on their cover. Obviously St. Patrick’s day was last week, but we though one more week of talking green books can’t hurt right? We have talked about books that we have read with green covers (part 1, part 3) and we have talked about some books that we want to read that have green covers (part 2). This week we will be bringing the last of the green books that we want to read.

So what books with fabulous green covers do we want to read?

Emily:

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Thorn by Intisar Khanani

This book popped up on my radar unexpectedly. I honestly can’t quite remember how it got there, but it is now sitting on my tablet just begging to be read. The first line of the synopsis snagged my attention, “For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.” It sounds so backwards. How is it that you never had a choice until you were betrayed. So basically the first line left me with some unanswered questions. This story is a retelling of sorts of The Goose Girl (sucker for retellings right here!). There is some body switching and some tough choices that need to be made. I personally think this sounds like an awesome indie, and I am super excited to read it.

Arika:

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

This book caught my eye at first because of it’s cover. I was scrolling through twitter and someone shared the authors post about her book and I thought….that looks so cool! It is about a girl in East Asia who has been destined to be an Empress, although she grew up in a forgotten village as a peasant. She has a cruel aunt who is a witch and she also has to hurt the one guy that loves her. To me this sounds like a great book with a little bit of everything thrown in…from magic to romance to an evil aunt. The only bad part is waiting until October of this year when the book is released! But there is no doubt I will be getting this book, and most likely in a hard cover because the cover looks so cool!

QUESTION: Have you read any of these books? We would love to know your thoughts (and if we should bump these beautiful books up the list).

“But I have the conch!”-Emily Reads Lord of the Flies

I don’t think I am alone when I say that there are a lot of Classics that I haven’t read. I think I have at least an entire shelf of classics that I SWEAR I am going to get to soon, but it never happens. Lord of the Flies by William Golding was one of the books on that shelf.

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I was feeling like I was reading a lot of fantasy a few weeks back. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fantasy. But sometimes you read too much of a particular genre and it starts to blend. You get to the point where you just need a break. I was there, so I asked my husband to pick a book for me. He stared at the shelves for awhile and walked back with this book (making sure to let me know this was one of his favorites). With that pressure in mind I gave it a shot, and really enjoyed it. In the end, there is ONE thing that Lord of the Flies taught me….

I really need a conch.

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Think about it. That conch seems to have powers over everyone. If you are holding on to it then everyone is listening to you. It has the power to stop EVERYTHING  and get all the eyes on you. That conch would save me a lot of trouble. The students I work with would obviously listen to me more as would my family. Don’t act like you guys don’t tune me out from time to time.

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The conch has the power to call assemblies. If something really important needs to be said or discussed all you need to do is blow into the conch and it will happen. This means that all the times when I need help at my house I would simply blow into it and all who lived with me would come running. And since I would already be holding it they would listen to every word I was saying.

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The conch gives you an idea of who you should focus on, and tells others to be quiet. When Piggy was holding the conch everyone was supposed to be listening. If someone else wanted to talk after him he would just pass it off so that they could talk. If I had a conch I would avoid the confusion that comes with everyone talking at the same time. I would be able to get what I needed to say out and then to pass it off so someone could add in.

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The conch would make a great decorative piece. The conch is fairly big, colorful, and kind of shiny. Can you imagine what that would look like in one of your more decorative shelves? I think it would be a definite conversation starter.

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Seriously, I need a conch.

But in all seriousness, I did enjoy Lord of the Flies. Is it my favorite classic ever? Nope. But I do think it was worth the read. I think it’s an excellent lesson in how you treat people and on the importance of knowing the facts before jumping to conclusions. It shows the importance of working as a team and shows what can happen when we don’t. It was dark and a bit gruesome. There were definite things that I was not fully anticipating happening, but I got through it. Not having it as required reading probably helped in my liking it, but I did enjoy a lot of the books that I read in high school so who knows.

I am pretty excited to have knocked a classic off of my TBR. I wonder which classic I should tackle next.

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite classics? Also, do you have a conch?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Read Incredibly Fast

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Raise your hand if you have sat down and read a book in one sitting?

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Yep, we have too. Isn’t that just the best feeling. That moment you pick up a book and get completely and totally lost in that world. You are so immersed in the book that the day gets away from you and…YOU FINISH IT! It’s a feeling that we love, though with the business of our daily lives it’s something we don’t get to do that often. This week for Top Ten Tuesday we are counting down the books we read in 1 sitting. We think this means that within a 24 hour period you finish an entire book. So what books have we knocked out in a day?

Emily:

I hardly ever get through a book in a day. When I do, oh it’s a great feeling. Last year during my spring break I read a book a day, and I am planning on doing that this year as well (I may even get a picture of my stack and keep track of my progress on here for you guys. I have a great pile going right now!). So…what books have I finished in a day?

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios | Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay | All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Ruin and Rising by Leigh Barudgo | Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson | Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn | How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

QUESTION: What books have you read in a day?

Feature Friday: Books that are Green Part 3

Happy St. Patrick’s Day all! And if you don’t really celebrate it…HAPPY FRIDAY!

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We are back again this Friday with some book recommendations for you with covers that just so happen to be green. And how perfect is it that St. Patrick’s day falls on a Friday and we can continue the green book celebration with you ON the actual holiday? So far we have each shared a book we have read that is green and a book we want to read that is green.

This week we are telling you about another book that we read and enjoyed that just so happened to be green. So…what books do we have for you this week?

Arika:

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Splintered by A.G. Howard

So my second book with a green cover is the book Splintered. I am a big fan of anything retelling. This series is a really cool retelling of Alice in Wonderland! I’ve read this book almost two years ago and while it wasn’t my favorite Alice in Wonderland retelling I still really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the world A.G. Howard created and how she combined the two together. Though I did have a problem with one part of the series…and most people know I don’t like when authors do this but sometimes it is necessary…a love triangle! Ugh there was a pretty big love triangle in this series and while I know why she did it, it still got on my nerves quite a bit. But I don’t think that should detract anyone from reading it! It’s a cool series with lots of twists and turns and some cool characters!

Emily:

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Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Ok, this book is like a blue-green but oh well. As I looked through books that I have read I realized that I don’t really read a lot of books with green covers. Odd right? Anyway…you may remember me talking about Fear the Drowning Deep awhile back (like right here to be precise). This was a book that I had expected more people to chatter about, and get I found that not as many people were talking. This book is kind of creepy. There is just something beautiful and haunting about the atmosphere of the book that made it seem slightly creepy, but in a good way. The author really built up this world with it’s dreary environment, which lead to even me being a little suspicious about the Ocean. There was so many interesting things going on in this story, and you are eventually totally sucked in and waiting to see just what happens to Bridey. I mean she is afraid of the ocean and lives on an island. I had so many questions throughout the entire story. Besides the atmosphere and the characters I found the writing to be beautiful and I was completely entranced from the beginning. If you are looking for a sort of eerie book, I would highly suggest picking this one up.

QUESTION: What are some green books that you have read and enjoyed?

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring 2017 TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hi everyone! After taking a break from Top Ten Tuesday we are SO excited to be back. A temporary hiatus is necessary sometimes, and we hope that they are feeling rejuvenated just like we are. This week we are talking about the books that we plan to read this spring. And man, do we have some good ones coming up. What are we planning to read?

Emily:

738 Days by Stacey Kade | The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine | Geekerella by Ashley Poshton | The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith | Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott | The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | Candidate by Rachel E Carter | The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig | Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

*TBR subject to change and written in no particular order. Spring Break may bring a few new books to my TBR.

Arika:

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi | Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder | The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg | Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers | Morning Star by Pierce Brown | The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine | The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh | The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

QUESTION: What are you planning to read this spring?

Catching Up on books with Emily

Hi guys! I feel like it’s been FOREVER since I have talked to you about what I have been reading. As far as books go, I have been slaying the reading portion and failing on the reviewing portion. I have been feeling a lot of stress and anxiety lately, and I think I escape into books so much easier than I do reviews. But I hope that’s about to change.

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I have reading quite a bit this year. I have gotten really into listening to audiobooks while I am driving lately, which has really helped me to knock some books out of my TBR. Today I am just going to talk about a few of the books I read. I do have a couple that I am working on entire posts for due to various reasons, but the books listed below are all fantastic. I have really enjoyed the reading I have accomplished this year so far, and honestly…very few low starred books for me. So, without further ado…here is what I have been reading…

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

One of the reasons this book doesn’t get it’s own post from me is because Arika has already discussed this book not too long ago. I was so on the fence about this book, but Arika changed my mind. And I was pretty excited to find the audiobook at my library so I could dive right in. At first this book confused me. I understood that there were 3 sisters, but I didn’t quite understand the transition between all of them. As the book progressed I became more familiar with how it was set up and was able to really enjoy it. I really enjoyed this story. The choice of taking it slow with the writing in the beginning really worked in the author’s favor, in my opinion. Because of how she wrote the book we were able to really get to know each of the sisters. We got to know how each of them go about their days and how different (and somewhat similar) their personalities were. Because we got to know them in that way the action was much more intense and the ending was that much more shocking. What a dark story. I am definitely going to be looking into the next book when it comes out, and am super excited to see what comes of it’s adaptation.

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The Moth & The Flame by Renee Ahdieh

If you know me then you know that I am absolutely in love with The Wrath and the Dawn duology. So when I FINALLY had the opportunity to read one of the short stories…well, I jumped on it. I absolutely loved reading about Despina before The Wrath and the Dawn started. It gave me a little bit of a taste of what she has always been like, and the type of person she is. Also, I love Jalal, so this was a fantastic story to read. Obviously you need to wait to read this until after you have finished the duology. Gives away a few spoilers, and it kind of dives right into the story without really giving you any hint to the world and what happens in it. A quick read, a fabulous read, a wonderful trip back into a world I love so much.

Hawkeye volumes 4, 5, and 6 by various authors

I am a sucker for the Hawkeye graphic novels. I absolutely loved the first three, and I loved who the authors made Hawkeye to be. He is just your average guy that seems to be super gifted with a bow and arrow. These stories follow him as he continues to live his life and deal with the consequences of his actions. I was a little worried because 1-4 are done made by one set of authors and then 5 and 6 are done by another set. I was worried the art would change and the story wouldn’t be the same, but it all worked out. I really liked taking a break from all the longer books and series I have been reading to go back into the Marvel world. Graphic novels are something I am still trying to read more of, and I am glad that I was able to read more Hawkeye.

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The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

This was another audiobook that I started listening to on my drives to and from work, and oh.my.gosh. I was absolutely and totally addicted to this story! I was completely drawn into the world, in a similar way that I was drawn into The Selection. I am not saying they are the same, but I just felt connected to it in the same way. I was so interested in Adelaide’s world and why she was choosing to leave such a privileged life for an uncertain future. Watching her disguise herself as someone of a lower class was interesting, and the challenges she faced were not what I would expect. Her friends were awesome. They were caring, honesty, and friends that I would want to have. And then, there was Cedric… Oooooh Cedric, what a sweet man. I was drawn to him from the beginning and was so curious what his role in everything would be. This plot was full of the drama that you would expect when reading about a house full of girls trying to rank higher than the others. Add that to the more real (to their world) drama that could make or break the characters…man, the book becomes a page-turner (or, in my case, it becomes a “I-can’t-leave-my-car-quite-yet” sort of listen). The twists, turns, and surprises that continued to pop up in this book have me just DYING to get my hands (or ears) on the next book!

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

I finally got to this book, after owning it for months, and got it knocked off my Rock My TBR list! I was not prepared for this book. It went into a lot of details about the human body, and cutting it up, that I was not at all anticipating. Once I adjusted to that the book went pretty smoothly. The atmosphere of the book is breathtaking. No details were spared in transporting the reader to England, and eventually I was venturing through the streets alongside Audrey Rose and Thomas. The plot to this book was crazy good. I had some suspicions as to who The Ripper was, but at the same time I was completely and totally surprised. I seemed to skim over a few important details. With that being said, the author does a fantastic job creating a story that makes you want to continually turn the pages. The only thing that slowed me down was the creepiness of the details. If that is something that you don’t think you could handle, then I would suggest really thinking about if you want to read this book. In the end, I fell in love with the plot and setting. I am not at all sure how I feel about the characters at this point. All of them kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but the plot was so good that it didn’t even matter in the end. Definitely interested to see what is next in this series!

QUESTION: What are some books that you have been reading recently?

Feature Friday: Books that are Green part 2!

Hey Everyone!

It’s been like a week since we have written anything! How sad is that. We have both been kind of all over the place, and Arika has some awesome visitors down South right now so blogging just hasn’t happened. But we both promise that we are ready to get back at it. A little break now and then never really hurt anyone, right?

Welcome back to another Friday. Second Friday in March already, can you believe it!? As you know, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day we are talking about some awesome books that just so happen to be green. Last week we both talked about some books we have read and loved that are green, this week we are going to each share a book that we want to read that is green.

So, what are our green selections for this week?

Emily:

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Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe

This book is one that was recommended to me personally. When I was participating in OTSPSecretSister I absolutely loved getting recommendations from whoever happened to have me. They would see what books I enjoyed and maybe leave a few suggestions in the letters, etc. Well this particular round I was gifted this book as a recommendation, which I think is awesome. She sent me one of her favorite books in hopes that I would also read and love it. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to it yet. You know how those TBRs go. But I swear I will. Brave Story is about a young man who finds that life is not quite what it seems. Things are suddenly completely messed up and he begins to search for a way to alter his fate. At 800 pages it’s a lengthy book, but it sounds like an excellent adventure that I would love to be a part of.

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Arika:

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Most people who know me know that I love a good retelling, especially a fairy tale retelling. So when I heard of a highly anticipated Beauty and the Beast retelling…I was super excited! One thing that I love about a fairy tale retelling is the spin the author puts on it. Whether that be reversed rolls or different time eras, there is always a way the author can make it their own. This story of Beauty and the Beast seems to be set in a Russian setting and that Beauty herself is a huntress…sounds good doesn’t it! Better yet…this book is coming out March 14th! So it might find a way on my kindle by the end of next week if I’m looking to cross off another book on my TBR. (Oh and I know everyone is as excited as me for the Disney Beauty and the Beast to come out in a few weeks too!)

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QUESTION: What are some books on your TBR that just so happen to be green?