Thursday, July 20, 2017

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Published: May 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 352
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Summary: Goodreads


Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . 


I had not heard much about this title until after I had read it.  And now that I've scanned the reviews, I'm shocked to see that most people either LOVED it or HATED it.  How can there be so much disparity? Well, I'm in the category of.... LOVED IT!!  Yes. Andrew Shvarts, I think you did a great job.  For me, it was a fresh take by following the family underdogs on an adventure.  

Personally, I felt that Mr. Shvarts did a great job with character development and had a very promising storyline.  It flowed fairly well and there were only a few situations where I wished to have more information. For instance, at the beginning of the novel I would have liked to learn more about the rings.  We learn more towards the end of the novel but I did not understand much of Lyriana's people and their connect to magic until much later in the story. Tilla, her status in the family and her relationship with her father was interesting.  I think at one time or another, many of us feel like outsiders in our own clan so it was very identifiable.

I would also like to see more on the history of how Tilla's people were conquered by the Mages.  How did the war come about? What have Lyriana's people done to improve or change the lives of the people? Are all ill feelings toward the Mages from the war or from other things as well? So many questions.  Perhaps some good jumping points for a prequel or short-stories? I do hear that Royal Bastards is book 1 of a trilogy so I will definitely be adding it to my list of titles to continue.   It is not quite as complicated and intricate as A Kiss of Deception but it has the potential to skyrocket to complete awesomeness.  There are so many humorous moments that I thoroughly enjoyed as well. The characters are slightly awkward but very likeable.  And somehow, they all work well together.

It's hard for me to comment too much on details in the story without giving things away.  There was enough action and romance to keep me interested and continually reading.  As some of you know, I don't have much time to read (mostly in the evening at during my commute to work) but I did read this title quite quickly.  It was highly enjoyable.

On a sidenote, I didn't realize how invested I was in this novel until one HUGE tragedy struck and I became very emotional by the results. I love books like that. Where the characters slowly evolve in your head, enough to be important to you.  Well done Andrew. I look forward to seeing how book #2 goes (we know how difficult that one is....I would be a horrible author....I don't know how authors do it....)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - Because you Love to Hate Me

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Summary (by Goodreads)

Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

I don't know the BookTubers but I do recognize some of the authors!  What a great idea! It is like a biographical account of "how I became the bad guy" by villians!  Love it!

- Christinabean

Waiting on Wednesday - I See London, I See France - by Sarah Mlynowski

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Summary (by Goodreads)

I see London, I see France
I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.

What I love about this is that I haven't read a Sarah Mylnowski book in AGES plus, she is Canadian!  Doesn't this sound like a fun read? I'm just going to take a guess but if you like Sophie Kinsella and Katie Finn, you will probably like this title as well.  I know I'll be picking it up for the summer!
- Christinabean