Winged Reviews A young adult book blog for those a little bit older.

Blog Tour: Storm Sisters by Mintie Das

Blog Tour: Storm Sisters by Mintie Das

I’m very excited to introduce you all to one of the Storm Sisters from Mintie Das’ new ebook series. The first, The Sinking World will be publishing next week!

Storm Sisters Profile

Meet Liu

Liugraphic

Age: 15

Roots: Chinese

Expertise: Inventions

Personality Traits: Cool headed—stays the calmest out of anyone, keeps her anger down below but when she’s ready to fight—watch out, unique bond with animals

Distinctive Physical Traits: Molasses colored hair, wears a long, navy coat like Corto Maltese, skinny but strong legs that make her the strongest swimmer out of all the girls.

Detailed Description

Like her mother, Mai, who blazed her own path as a cartographer and a pirate, Liu challenges convention with everything she does. From an early age, Liu became fascinated with her mother’s nautical equipment and reading charts. With a natural inclination to take things apart to see how they work and then put them back together again, she’s the ship’s engineer, maintaining and fixing it as needed.

Tall and lanky, she makes up for her slight frame as a strong swimmer able to go for long distances in the roughest waters. Her love for animals means that she simply can’t digest the idea of eating any of her friends and therefore is strictly vegetarian To supplement her diet, Liu tries to grow an herb and vegetable garden on board but despite her detailed graphs on air and water conditions, her plants usually end up dying. She’s also guilty of stealing a few carrots or apples when she finds them.

Liu is opinionated and doesn’t hold back from expressing her views. Initially cautious with strangers, once she is comfortable with someone, she gives her whole heart and soul to them. Her love and devotion for the girls is unwavering.

Liu has her own definitive style. Usually wearing her molasses colored hair in a long braid, she prefers highly tailored long navy waistcoats (a la Corto Maltese).

Realizing the value of her father’s money and his extensive network, Liu needs to reconcile with Zhang Tao if she wants his help in finding out what happened to her mother. But as she soon discovers, everything with dear old Dad comes with a high price.

About Storm Sisters: The Sinking World

Storm Sisters by Mintie Das

Five girls. One hell of an adventure

The Sinking World is the first in the Storm Sisters series, an empowering and exciting adventure about five brave and unique female pirates, all named after real female pirates from history.

On the Day of Destruction, Charlie, Sadie, Raquel, Liu and Ingela lost everything they knew, including their families. Ever since they have been sailing the Seven Seas as sisters, searching desperately for the truth. But when they steal a ship from Liu’s surviving and vengeful father, they’re soon sailing for their lives.

The girls call themselves the Pirettes to hide their true identity. They are members of a secret organization, the Storm, ancient guardians of the sea charged with protecting those in need and destroying their enemies. But how long will their disguise keep them safe? And is it such a good idea to join forces with a group of rebellious boys from their past?

About Mintie Das

Mintie Das was born in India, raised in America and now lives in Finland. Her heart is Indian, her spirit is American and her soul is Finnish. She studied a combination of sociology, political science and women’s studies at the University of Minnesota before going into PR. For the past ten years, she has worked for a UN consulting agency, organizing VIP symposiums for Ministries of Interior/Justice in Bulgaria, Dubai, Hungary, India, Malta, Macedonia, Sweden, and US.

Her father’s job as a Human Rights expert for the United Nations gave Mintie the opportunity to see and experience the far corners of the world. Her childhood was an invaluable gift that has served Mintie her entire life and inspired her love of adventure, exploration and travel; a love which is at the centre of her writing.

For as long as she can remember, Mintie wanted to be a writer but she only found the confidence to start writing twelve years ago. Then in 2010, Mintie moved back to her ‘soul city’ Helsinki, having lived there for a year when she was thirteen. It was there in her tiny flat that overlooks the Baltic Sea that Charlie, Sadie, Raquel, Liu and Ingela were born and Storm Sisters was brought to life.

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

Storm Sisters blogtour

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Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance by Grace DravenRadiance
Author: Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date: January 2015
296 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the BookGoodreads

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

“You might have a face to turn my hair white, but your honesty is handsome.”

Radiance starts out pretty strong. The characters were emotionally mature and charming.
Their first meeting actually managed to have some swoon, despite the fact that they found each other  physically repulsive. Their reasonable temperaments and lack of self pity or wallowing over their situation was refreshing. I was pretty sure I was going to love this. However as the story goes on, though we are told the stakes are high and much is made out of the awkwardness that comes when these two cultures blend,  there didn’t seem to be enough momentum or actual plot. I never believed in the urgency or lack of safety.

This was primarily a romance with almost all the focus being on the development between Ildiko and Brishen as they graduate from deep emotional connection (which happens very quickly) to physical attraction and love. I appreciated that this was a love story where the focus was first on respect and emotional compatibility between two people. Watching them come to see each other as beautiful because of their emotional bond (when neither meets the others cultural bias for beauty) added to the romance. Sadly there wasn’t enough else to get me hooked into the story.

The middle portion dragged due to lack of action. Neither Ildiko or Brishen seem to progress as characters, partly because they are a bit too perfect to start out with. Once Ildiko arrives in the Kingdom of Kai, chapters are spent featuring her being thrust into  one supposedly challenging social situation after another, all which she carries off with nearly effortless aplomb. She never seems to make any mistakes or have any trouble handling the alien culture she has been handed off to. Brishen’s parents, the King and Queen, are one dimensional villains who act as a destabilizing force and so that we can contrast them with the perfect paragon of goodness that is Brishen at all times. When real danger and tragedy finally come into play during the last quarter, it still doesn’t seem to have any lasting impact on the characters. It happens, they deal with it, and after they are still the same perfect people they were. Part of the point of major events is to come out changed or to have learned things. I’m not certain what the point of this was other than to make good on the danger we already knew was there, however this is a duology and maybe some of that will come into play in the second book.

I really wanted to love this and think it has good bones, but ultimately suffers from a thin plot and a black and white approach to characterization. However, if you are in the mood for a romantic fantasy about two good-hearted (and often times funny) people this may work better for you than it did for me.

3.5 Stars

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterBlue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: September 2014
389 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal
Buy the BookGoodreads

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue exceeded my expectations and is quite possibly my favourite book in the series so far. Having read the second book in the Raven Cycle series, The Dream Thieves, I wasn’t entirely impressed and although I enjoyed it, I was expecting a lot more given the popularity it has with many people. Blue Lily, Lily Blue most definitely delivered following my disappointment from the previous book, and has me excited to read the final book in the Raven Cycle series. There are no spoilers in this review, as I know that there are still people out there that haven’t read this series/book yet!

I felt that there was so much more going on in this book in comparison to the previous novel, and that the story was really beginning to come together. The plot of BLLB is one that flowed together so nicely and really begins to build up the the final part of this series. It featured some important parts that really contributed to the story line, and just thickened the plot out a bit more. Without revealing anything, there were some particularly important parts that I really enjoyed in BLLB which featured the introduction of two new characters and some key moments that made the book just that little bit more enjoyable for me.

This book really opened some questions, while also tying up some questions that I had from the previous book which probably contributed to why I liked the book a bit more, as I love it when books actually answer the questions you have from previous books in a series! I felt that there was a lot of character development, especially in regards to relationships which I personally think added to the plot.

As always, my favourite character in this book was Blue. I love her attitude and just the way she is in general. Following closely behind is Gansey (obviously). I feel like the relationships in this novel were really beginning to form even more than previous novels, and without revealing any spoilers, things that had been mentioned in the first book were really beginning to show. BLLB also featured some new characters which was a great addition. I felt that every character introduced really added something new to the books, and it was refreshing to have quite a few characters brought in! In relation to the characters, I still love the different character point of views which vary every chapter, although I think Blue’s chapters are by far my favourite.

In conclusion, Blue Lily, Lily Blue has, in my opinion, set up the last book The Raven King really nicely and I am really looking forward to how this series will conclude. I’ve heard mixed reviews but here’s to hoping that I enjoy it!

4 Stars

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The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica KhouryThe Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Publisher: Razorbill
Date: February 2016
352 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the BookGoodreads

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

“You’re a -you’re a -“

Say it boy. Demon of fire. Monster of smoke. Devil of sand and ash. Servant of Nardukha, Daughter of Ambadya, The Nameless, The Faceless, The Limitless. Slave of the Lamp. Jinni.

“… a girl!”

In this Aladdin retelling, the focus is not Aladdin himself but Zhara, a several thousands year-old jinni whom history does not remember kindly. Zhara’s past affection for humans did not play out well and the narrative moves back and forth in time to relate the story of her friendship with a long-dead queen and her current struggle as old themes resurface in new forms. She is intelligent, lonely, and loving.

As far as retellings go, I felt this had the right amount of new and old in it’s pages. There are certain landmark events within the Aladdin story you will recognize here, with newer themes revolving around female leadership and friendship added in, not only in the form of Zhara, but in that of the Princess and her cadre of Watchmaidens. It’s always good to read of females being supportive as opposed to competitive. Aladdin himself also feels both old and new. A charming (but slightly edgier) thief with a vendetta against the royal family and an enthusiasm for alcohol. I felt there was a somewhat missed opportunity in the form of the Princess’s cousin Darian, who remains a one-note villain showing little complexity. I felt as though everything the was wrong with how men treat women, and how the wealthy treat the poor was put in to this one character to serve as a contrast to everyone else. The let down in this is we see during private scenes that his father emotionally abuses and belittles him, material was there to flesh out and make him more sympathetic but is never really followed up on or looked at beyond those few scenes.

What I loved best was the beautiful writing. This is a world of moonlit deserts and flickering lanterns, smokey drug dens and lush palaces. The environmental description is sensory, surrounding the story in scent, sound, and color. This is my favorite aspect of world-building and I always enjoy a novel more when it is done well.

The love story between Zhara and Aladdin was…nice, I guess? They were both interesting and likable and there was a blend of both tension and swoon, yet somehow I didn’t get fully invested in it. This didn’t have anything to do with Zhara’s age. Supernatural beings involved with mortals is a long standing trope in fantasy and not one I have an issue with. I also felt due to the narrow scope of her existence, Zhara feels more young than old, making her connection with Aladdin feel less unlikely than some between very old and very young beings can be. The book takes place over the period of about a month, so perhaps the brevity of the time frame had some bearing on the matter. Regardless, their scenes and conversations range from amusing to deep and reading about them together was never dull.

If retelling’s are something you enjoy then I’d definitely suggest this one due to the quality writing, sumptuous setting, and positive representation of females.

4 Stars

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New Bloggers: Vicky, Diane, Sophie and Mara!

New Bloggers: Vicky, Diane, Sophie and Mara!

I’m so pleased to announce a whole host of new co-bloggers here at Winged Reviews! Thank you to everyone that applied. It took so long because it was extremely hard to choose, but I’m so happy with my new co-bloggers so please give them all a warm welcome!

 

Vicky

Hiya, I’m Vicky! I’m almost 21, from England and about to go into my third year at uni in September studying History! Aside from reading, I love cherry bakewells, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, photography and the beach!

I’ve always loved books since I can remember! I didn’t read much in high school or college, but 2 years ago I discovered book blogs, read Anna and the French Kiss and have kept on reading ever since!

My favourite books are Anna and the French Kiss, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Throne of Glass, The Lunar Chronicles, A Mad, Wicked Folly and Since you’ve Been Gone! My favourite genres are fantasy, most definitely and Contemporary! I want to read more Historical Fiction though!

I aim to write honest and friendly reviews, I like to write like we’re talking! Also, I’m exploring YouTube and video making so expect to hopefully see some videos!

You can find Vicky on: Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

 

Diane

Hi! I’m Diane. I’m a mother of two, humanities graduate, and life-long reader. Fantasy is my favorite genre but I also enjoy classics, historical, contemporary, and romance. I have enormous love for smart characters and am more excited by that than whether or not they are good with a weapon or have special powers. The first book I fell in love with was The Secret Garden when I was eleven years old. I still identify with Mary Lennox and mourn the fact that my days are not spent exploring walled gardens and creepy old manor houses. Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, Marie Rutkoski, and Laini Taylor are just a few of my (many!) favorite authors.

I live in Florida and love the outdoors, so when I’m not reading I can be found in my garden, at the beach, or at one of the local nature centers with my kids. I worked in a health food store for seven years and picked up a ton of interests so if the weather is not good (and I am read out) I’ll probably play around with my aromatherapy oils or make something weird to eat.

You can find Diane on: Twitter, Goodreads, and Litsy (DianeL).

 

Sophie

Hello, I’m Sophie! I’m so excited to start blogging for Winged Reviews and I thought I’d tell you a little about myself.

I’m from the South of England, I’ve been an aspiring YA writer for pretty much forever but have been seriously writing for 4 or 5 years. I love to read and my favourite genre is probably Fantasy or Sci-Fi – I like big world fantasy like the Harry Potter and Shadowhunter novels. I love the experience of getting lost in another authors imagination. I think there’s a lot to be said for Young Adult Contemporary at the moment though and it’s a world I’m enjoying exploring – I think a contemporary book with a really strong central voice and unique, memorable characters are wonderful.

I’ve done some blogging on my own blog, but it was always a bit sporadic and never book centred so I’m looking forward to writing for Winged Reviews and using it as a platform to share some really amazing books with you all.

Happy reading!

You can find Sophie on: Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads

 

Mara

Hi there, my name is Mara, I’m 24 years old and from a pretty small German town called Aachen. I’m currently doing my Masters degree in English and American Studies. I’ve mostly been doing the bookstagram thing for the past 2 years but am so excited to be joining the lovely Daphne and her team of co-bloggers on here.

I grew up in a family of readers (my mum would get up extra early everyday to cram in some reading time in the AM, my dad wouldn’t leave the couch for days when he was reading one of his big fantasy tomes, and my older sister was the real-life equivalent of Rory Gilmore), so it isn’t surprising I turned out to be an obsessive bookworm and fangirl over the years as well. For me my love for reading and literature started at a very boring family dinner, when my sister read me an extract from a book she was then reading, and I just knew books were it for me.

Reading for me isn’t just a hobby, it’s more of a lifestyle. Books and the people I’ve connected with because of them have become my friends and inspirations, which is why I’m so excited Daphne has given me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the bookish adventures I go on with everyone on here. While I love going on any kind of adventure, really, my favourite genres include fantasy and science fiction and a dash of contemporary, mostly in the YA age category. My favourite authors include Victoria Schwab, Leah Raeder and Leigh Bardugo (just to name a few).

You can find Mara on: Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads

 

Please wish them all the warmest welcome! Their reviews and posts should be up on the blog soon!

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