ARC Review of The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

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The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

Publication Date: September 13, 2018.

Publisher: Duet Books.

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, and LGBT.

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Purchase here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

myreview1Thank you, Duet Books, for my ARC of The Navigator’s Touch. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The Navigator’s Touch is about Ragna, a teenage girl and trained warrior who is hungry for revenge after she was kidnapped, her village destroyed, and family murdered. The story is inspired by Norse mythology which is seen through the involvement of Norse gods, one who has a very specific connection to Ragna and the magical maps displayed all over her skin.

Two years later, Sigrid gave birth to a girl. At first, the child seemed unremarkable. Astrid came into the world screaming, demanding attention and reverence, a small mirror of her mother. But a few days later, curious markings developed on the baby’s pale skin. Lines of latitude stretched across her chest and legs, and, as the days passed, cobalt continents and oceans of cerulean blue appeared.

As someone who grew up in Sweden, the use and influence of the language felt familiar and the new ways to portray the gods intriguing (although there is a lot about Norse mythology I have forgotten about because I learned about it ages ago). However, if you don’t have previous knowledge of the language or Norse mythology, the glossary in the back will delight and help you immensely.

The Navigator’s Touch is the sequel and a companion novel to the novel The Seafarer’s Kiss by the same author and that means you can read one without having read the other. However, if you read The Navigator’s Touch first, it will spoil the events of the first book. Having read both, I have to say that I loved the connection between the two. Ersel, who is the main character in the first book, is still very present in The Navigator’s Touch and the relationship between Ragna and Ersel continues on in this book, with both its ups and downs. However, this book is definitely less about romance and more about Ragna’s journey and what she must do to reach and achieve her endgame. Throughout the story, we see as Ragna evolves, she becomes stronger, a better captain and there is clear character development from start to finish.

The golden mare was nowhere to be seen, but this brave little beast had dragged me away from a fenrir’s jaws. He deserved the position of war mount.
“I’ll call you Vaskr.” I scratched his withers with my hook. The pony was fearless and deserved the name.

Vaskr, the pony, as well as the side characters you get to know throughout the novel really make The Navigator’s Touch amazing. In the beginning, there is clear resistance between Ragna and her crew but as they fight together, it becomes clear that there is also respect and love between them. The bonds they form through the hardships and battles they face, make the reward and the aftermath that much sweeter.

Now, command was starting to fit like a pair of new boots. It still pinched a little, but I was breaking it in, making it mine.

If you love young adult fantasy novels deeply rooted in mythology — in this case, Norse mythology — with a diverse cast of characters, you’ve found your next read in The Navigator’s Touch. This book is about Ragna finding justice for her family and the community she lost and about how she becomes a leader worthy of her own ship and crew. This is a book to keep on your radar and one you won’t regret buying and reading. A detailed list of the trigger and content warnings exist in the back of the book, which specifies in which chapters what content appears which I think will be very helpful for a lot of readers. The warnings can also be found on the publisher’s website. A few of these content warnings include violence and kidnapping.

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Review of The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Publication Date: November 1, 2016.

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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The Sun Is Also a Star is a book I have had on my to be read list for quite some time, and it did not disappoint when I finally read it. If you are in search of a young adult story that will pull you in, make you both laugh and cry, and at the same time be thought-provoking in the way it portrays what is meant to be and what choices shape our future, look no further. The Sun Is Also a Star has it all and is the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and bitter in the same way that reality and uncertainty is. The story’s two main characters are both of color — Natasha is Jamaican and Daniel is Korean-American — and the book itself shows the way immigration in the U.S. works.

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BLOG TOUR – ARC Review of Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

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Hi readers and welcome to my blog post for the Star-Touched Stories blog tour. Here you can expect a thorough review of the book, purchase links, early praise, and more. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Publication Date: August 7, 2018.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press.

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, and Short Stories.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice 

Synopsis: Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

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Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC of Star-Touched Stories. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Star-Touched Stories is an anthology filled with three stories from the world established in The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. The three stories are beautifully written and I was blown away by their excellence, their originality, and the way they made me feel. This book was so much better, so much more than I ever could have imagined. I have decided to review the three novellas separately for you to truly see what makes them magical.

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Review of Unrealistic Dreams by Yool Wie — A Poetry Collection

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Unrealistic Dreams by Yool Wie

Publication Date: June 11, 2018.

Publisher: Clavis & Somnium.

Genres: Poetry.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: For you, the reader. I hope this book will give you hope: the fuel to carry on. I root for you.

From within the darkness,
you gazed at the stars above.
Mesmerized by their beautiful light,
you thought you were in the sky, too.
Wake up!
Someone smacked the back of your head.
Stop looking at the stars!
Return to darkness.

Why? You wondered.
Because stars are unrealistic.

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Thank you to the author, Yool Wie, for my gifted copy of Unrequited Dreams. I received this review copy in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion.

The poetry collection Unrealistic Dreams by Yool Wie starts with a promise in its very first poem. This is a very bold move. A promise, like the following made by the author, ensures that there are expectations and these expectations have to be fulfilled when the reading experience is over with.

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ARC Review of Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

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Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Publication Date: November 21, 2017.

Publisher: Wednesday Books.

Genres: Young Adult and Contemporary.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

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Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC of Not Now, Not Ever. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. This book is funny, adorable, and perfect for anyone interested in a nerdy romantic comedy. This diverse contemporary young adult story is about Ever and her summer at a competitive camp for geniuses where she has the chance to win a scholarship to her dream school. The only catch is that everyone in her family thinks she is somewhere else and no one at camp knows her real identity.

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ARC Review of peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

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peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Publication Date: September 26, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Hispanic American, and Family.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: One of the most original performance poets of her generation, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated crowds across the country and online with her vivid narratives. Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best. The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.

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Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of peluda. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with the poetry collection peluda and for me, what makes peluda such a unique poetry collection is how brutally honest and charismatic it is. It’s funny, deep, and a must-read for contemporary poetry lovers. peluda is feminist and about body hair, family, friendship, Latina identity, and the immigrant experience. I believe poetry collections about, and written by, women of color should be celebrated, and this collection is no exception.

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{The Paths We Choose Release Week} ARC Review of The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day One – My ARC Review

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Hi, readers and welcome to day one of my The Paths We Choose Release Week. There are four days left until The Paths We Choose is released into the world and to celebrate I’m releasing a fun new post every day until the book is out. Today I have my ARC review of the book, and as you might have suspected already, I absolutely loved this book.

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The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis

Publication Date: April 6, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: New Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, and Romance.

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Selling points: Strong friendships, chosen family, and girls owning their sexuality.

Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.

A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs. Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

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Thank you, Maria Hollis, for my advanced review copy of The Paths We Choose. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The Paths We Choose is amazing in its simplicity and grace. It shows us the story of two very different girls, Lily and Mayte, who after a one-night stand start a causal relationship before Mayte leaves for Florida to study her masters. This story is about two women proud of their sexuality and even if their agreement to only be friends with benefits is kept somewhat a secret they are not afraid to be open with what their relationship is, to a certain degree. This book is definitely one I would recommend if you love seeing girls supporting girls and just girls being proud of their sexuality. There is a strong sense of friendship and family, in the sense that family is not blood but instead it’s who you choose to love and stand by no matter what. What I love about Maria Hollis’s books is that she makes you feel as if you are a part of the girl gangs she portrays in her books and that you’re just as awesome and supported as they are. Her books are really positive and uplifting.

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