Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith (ARC Review)

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Title: Bloodleaf

Author: Crystal Smith

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Edition: ARC

Pages: 373 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

 

 

 

synopsis

Perfect for fans of RED QUEEN and UPROOTED, Crystal Smith’s debut novel, BLOODLEAF, is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm Fairy tale “The Goose Girl” that takes a ghostly mystery and sets it inside an epic fantasy world.

Aurelia is the first princess born to the Renalten crown in two hundred years, destined to fulfill a treaty by journeying to marry Valentin, the prince of Achelva – Renalt’s greatest enemy. Rumors of an unwell, cruel prince abound, and the only thing that eclipses Aurelia’s apprehension of her impending marriage is her fear of those who’d kill her to prevent it.

When an assassination attempt forces Aurelia to use forbidden magic to save a stranger, she is driven from Renalt by the witch-hunting Tribunal and a mob out for blood. But before she can claim asylum in the court of her betrothed, her travel party turns on her, forcing her to trade places with her treacherous lady-in-waiting, Lisette.

Now penniless in Achleva and bereft of her identity, Aurelia must decide if she wants to surrender to her new life or fight for her old one, all while navigating the complicated ties binding her to the enigmatic prince, the unquiet ghost of an ancient queen, and a poisonous plant called bloodleaf.

Aurelia is a pawn in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war— and if she can’t extricate herself from it before Lisette marries Valentin in her stead, she may face losses far more devastating than her crown.

 

review

Thank you so much to HMH teen for granting my request and sending me an ARC in exchange of a review. This doesn’t influence my review or opinion about the book.

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Are you looking for a new fantasy read that will let you swoon and be mesmerized by the plot line? Then look no more as Bloodleaf is the one you are actually looking for your next great read.

Bloodleaf is the debut novel of Crystal Smith. And oh boy oh boy, all I can is that it is such a magnificent and fantastic read for those whore are fantasy lover.

Just like in the movie Final Destination, the main character Princess Aurelia also foresee events where a person dies. Every time the Harbinger  show herself to her she already knows that someone will die. Aurelia can also see the reason why a certain person dies.

Reaching the first 70 pages I’m already hooked with the story. Funny how there’s this scene where the Harbinger where introduces and I got scared because its night-time that I want to stop reading. But with how great the story is despite being scared with the Harbinger I’m more motivated to continue reading the story rather than to sleep.

With these scenario and experience, I already told myself that this books will be a 5 star read. And in the end, I wasn’t disappointed because I really end up rating it a 5 star.

The plot and characters are so incredibly written that when reading the book all you wanted to do is continue reading it and do knowing but to finish it. I love how Crystal Smith wrote the story line. I like how it really penetrate the souls of  the reader upon reading and discovering the beauty of the book.

The theme of the story is also lovely as it talks about how beautiful sacrifices, love for family and friendship is. The turns and twist of the story is also one of the factors that will surely love by the reader.

There’s this part where I cried a lot with a certain scene that I’ve been force to stop reading and cry and continue reading it again for me to cry again. This experience is one of the main reasons why I enjoy and love the book. And I know that this kind of thing will be loved and cherish by the reader upon reading.

In general, Bloodleaf is one of the book that I’ve read that I’m surely will have a great impact for readers out there. It  is a kind of story where readers will talk about it and recommend it non-stop to other people.

Kudos to Crystal Smith for writing this beautiful and tight griiping book that will surely loved by all who got the chance to read it.

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MY RATING:

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

5 stars

 

Grim Lovelies (Book Review)

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Title: Grim Lovelies

Author: Megan Shepherd

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Edition: ARC

Pages: 374 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes and NobleBook Depository

 

 

 

synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.

 

review

 

Dark, enchanting,  captivating and surprisingly wonderful.

Grim Lovelies is the book you shouldn’t wanna miss if you love politics, fairy tales, magical realism and plot twisting story.

The book started when five beasties Anouk, Beau, Luc, Viggo, Hunter Black and Cricket found out that their mistress was found dead in her own bedroom. Without their Mada, the beasties embark on a journey where they needed to know who the killer is before the spell that keeps them to be human vanished.

Anouk the protagonist is such a lovely character and a fresh breath of a person. I love how innocent she is at the beginning and how she gets stronger and stronger as day passed. She is the character that you will surely love immediately. Her relationship with the other beastie is one of the most adorable thing that I found about her. Love how she handle every situation well and how brilliant she is when coming up with a plan.

The other beasties and characters are also well portrayed. I love how each of them has complimented each other and how their friendship grows throughout the story.

With regards to the plot. The magical system in the story is so good that reading the story enables you to feel that magic is true. I love how the plot twist gave the readers more reason to finish the book and learn what will happen next in the story.

The story takes place in Paris. With this, I found and experienced how lovely Paris is even though I haven’t visited it yet in real life.

I found Grim Lovelies to be an interesting and amazing book. I can’t wait to read the next book to know what will happen.

 

MY RATING:

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

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Mirage (Book Review)

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Title: Mirage

Author: Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Edition: Paperback

Pages: 320 pages

 

 

 

synopsis

 

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

 

review

 

First of all, I would like to say thank you to Kaleena of  Reader Voracious for creating the Flapping Pages and Heather for passing her copy. Again, my deepest thank you to Kaleena and Heather.

 

In a world full of science fiction novels, Mirage is the only sci-fi fantasy book that hooked me for the year of 2018. Hooked in a way that there are times that I want to continue finishing it. And sometimes it frustrate me that I just don’t want to continue reading it. 

It has the elements of surprise where you seem to enjoy reading it as it gives as  the pleasure to be mesmerized on how the world was built. The story line is interesting as well as the character also.

What I like about the characters is how they are developed. How strong they where and it let you feel what they are feeling in the story.

The relationship between Amani and Idris is amazing. The love story on their part is not just like others where they feel in love with each other immediately. But it is where it let them grow and learn to know each other first.

With how rich the world building is the reason why you will also be bored about reading it. With this, you will be confused how many cultures, religions, plot lines are there in the story. That in reading it you just want to get a pen and paper and jot down all the info you are learning every time you are reading so that you will not forget it. And be confused on what is happening on the latter part of the story.

In general, I could say that Mirage is just a well balance book where you will definitely torn between enjoying it and not enjoying it. Because of this, I can’t seem to decide whether I should read the next book. But you can never can tell……

 

MY RATING:

3/5 STARS

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FLAPPINGPAGES PROGRAM

As I said below, I received the ARC from Heather through the use of FlappingPages Program which Kaleena build.

For those who didn’t know, the FlappingPages is where you can donate ARCs that you don’t want anymore or simply you want to share for our International friends who don’t have much access with it. The program also supported Intl. bloggers who want to receive books for review.

Attached here is where you can find more about FlappingPages Program.

 

 

 

 

PH Blog Tour: Empress of All Seasons (Review & Favorite Quotes)

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Title: Empress of All Seasons

Author: Emiko Jean

Publisher: HMH Teen

Edition: ARC

Pages: 366 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

ISBN: 9780544530942

 

Hello everyone! I would like to say that welcome. Welcome to the first day of the PH Blog Tour for the Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean.

I’m so happy and grateful to HMH Teen for granting me to host this tour and providing all the eARC to my fellow participants for the tour. Thank you also to the author, Emiko, who is kind enough to send me the ARC of her mothers for me to review and grace this PH tour.

To Rafael, my co-host, thank you. Thank you for the patience and teaching me all the things in hosting a tour. As to be honest, I don’t have any idea in hosting a tour as it is my first time.

And lastly, to all the participants. Thank you also for joining this PH tour and supporting me and Raf.

 

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synopsis

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

 

review

“Is this all there is? Marrying men, stealing their fortunes, and having babies?”

A standalone fantasy, Empress of All Seasons talks about the life of Mari — a yōkai (supernatural creatures) who’s trained all her life to compete in the Imperial City and marry the prince and steal his fortune.

Reading Empress of All Seasons is like reading The Hunger Games with The Selection. The Hunger games because Mari and the other girls is competing in a specific room (which is the Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring room) or place where there is a specific task to do. The Selection because just like it, they are competing in and the girl who will win will have the chance to marry the prince and be a princess. The different yōkai in the story has also some similarities with the creatures in Greek mythology. That’s why when the author describe them, you can easily imagine what they really look like.

In regards with the story, its like you are not reading a fantasy novel but a contemporary novel with its simple and fast-paced kind of pacing. There are new words or terms for the things and monster in the book that you will encounter. But as you read it, you will not find it difficult to understand as in the end of the book you will find a glossary. Nevertheless, you can still know what it means as it is explained in the following lines.

Not like in other novels, the characters are very different. The main boy protagonist, Taro, I think has the less exposure in the story. Which is new to me, as it should be him, the main boy protagonist that should have a lot of exposure and development. Aside from that, I can really compare Taro with Hephaestus, Greek God of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture because just like Hephaestus, Taro loves working projects that in fact he had made a metal butterfly, tiny insects, a giant crane, and collars. and such more. I was surprised with Akira’s character in the story. Surprised because he has more exposure and development than Taro. And he is just the second boy protagonist. But with this scenario with the two, as still love them both and  still they are lovable.

You will feel sad that the ending is just like that but when you really do look at it closely, you will understand why the author ended the story that way.

What I really love about the whole story is that it doesn’t gives me the signal at first that it has a feminism side kind of story. The only moment that I’ve known that it has this element is when at the end of the book, I read the line that says “We love our brothers. BUT NOT EVERY HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER INCLUDES A MAN.” With this line, I know now why the Animal wives only marry men for their fortunes, why in Mari’s village they kill their sons and only kept their daughters, why Mari and Taro’s character is not that fully develop and lastly, why Hanako a girl, is the weapons master.

To sum it all, Empress of All Seasons is the fantasy novel you shouldn’t miss reading with its deep, delicious and breathtaking plot. And one more,  it has all the complete ingredient that you need in a novel.

 

MY RATING:

5 stars

 

 

FAVORITE QUOTES

“Silence is the cousin of invisibility.”

“Funny how love can drive you to hate.”

“Not everyone is all good or all bad.”

“A life lived in chains is no life at all.”

“Nature is the most vengeful of patterns.”

“To love is to suffer”

“I believe everything in life that is worth anything is people — those you love and those who love you.”

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

November 12 

Rafael of The Royal Polar Bear Reads

Carmel of Bookablereads

Jonathan of Wander with Jon

Nikki of Take Me Away

 

November 13

Vivian of Vanilla Angel Pages

Jen of Jen D Bibliophile

Jenny of Levicorpvs Blog

Hanamae of The Wraith Reads

Cristina of Girl in the Pages

 

November 14

Shaine of Wanderer in Neverland

Akisha of akithroughbooks

Ela of The Ultimate Fangirl

Princess of  Princess and Pages

 

November 15

Leilanee of ofsparksandmagick

Salwa of Salwa’s Reading Solace

Dexter of Dexterous_Totalus

Avery of B for Bookslut

Kat from Novels and Waffles

 

November 16
November 17

Myrth of Cliste Bella

Justine of Bookish Wisps

Athena of The Night Faerie

Ramnele of Bookdragonism

Erika of The Nocturnal Fey

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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When Emiko is not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.

QUICK FACTS

Name: Emiko, Emi, Emmers Bemmers Boo Boo (only my mother calls me this)

Occupation: Writer and reader, most days reader before writer

Location: Vancouver, WA

Family: Yes. One husband. Two children – b/g twins!

Previous Occupations: Bug tamer, teacher, florist, candlestick maker and vagabond. My friends and I once (poorly) fixed up an old van. We drove it across the country. The bumper fell off and we lost the brakes in the Redwoods.

Qualifications: None. But I strongly believe in “fake it till you make it” and asking for forgiveness rather than permission.

Favorite foods: ALL OF THEM. Though I do have a special place in my heart for girl scout cookies, frosted animal cookies and anything with pasta.

Favorite time of year: Fall. I also love Christmastime (even though I’m Jewish).

Favorite music: Depends on mood and activity. For writing: Mumford and Sons, The Strumbellas, The Head and the Heart, Queen, Bowie, Pink Floyd … For general work (building this website, creating graphic etc.): Anything hip-hop, specifically Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Dyme Def, Atmosphere, Matisyahu …

Favorite authors: Too many to count.

Last concert: Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne

Favorite television shows: Antiques Roadshow, Call the Midwife, anything BBC, anything real housewives (no judgement please)

Least favorite things: The word “moist” – I dare you to find it in one of my novels.

Unusual talents/facts: I am fantastic at finding four leaf clovers. I can also make three loops with my tongue. I’ve also won my fair share of Texas Hold’em tournaments.

Author Links

Website

Mammoth (Book Review)

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Title: Mammoth

Author: Jill Baguchinsky

Publisher: Turner Publishing

Edition: ARC

Pages: 333 pages

Buy Link: Amazon 

 

 

 

synopsis

 

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

 

 

review

Thank you to Turner Publishing for sending me an in exchange of a review. 

The saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is the one who justify whats Mammoth all about. 

The story is about Natalie, a plus size paleontology geek slash fashion blogger. Who ventures into an upside down adventure when she started to be an intern at Ice Age dig site.

What I love about the story is how we can see a plus size protagonist which we seldom see in books. I like how every part of it tells us and taught us how wonderful to be what we are and not minding the people who judge us.

One thing  I don’t seem to understand is why Natalie deleted some harsh comments she received from her blog. I know for a fact that there are really people who don’t mind if they hurt other in commenting bashful things. But I hope that Natalie shouldn’t delete it and let it be a weapon for her to be stronger woman.

Aside from that, what people gonna love about the story is how we learn more about STEM or what paleontologist really do. It also shows us lots of learning about mammoths, dinosaur and different kinds of animals and the their skeleton.

We can also see the other side of fame and what celebrities do. In which what we see sometimes in social media are not the things that we see. That sometimes they are edited and they sugarcoat it for the sake of the network and the people who will see it.

In regards with the love relationship of Natalie. I love how her relationship with Cody is not rash or its a slow romance. Not the insta love we always see that are too way cliché now.

Over all, what I love about the entire story is how the author show us the beauty of each person. That not because you are fat you can’t do what normal size people can do. That sometimes being different and unique with others is the way you can totally show what you can do and what you really are as a person.

How I wish that Mammoth is the start where we can read more story that the protagonist are unique and different from the protagonist we always read in books.

Highly recomment reading the book if you are looking for a fresh new story.

 

MY RATING:

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Ph Blog Tour: Wildcard (Excerpt + What to Expect….)

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Title: Wildcard

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: September 18th 2018

Edition: ARC

Pages: 232 pages

ISBN: 9780399548017

Buy Links:  National Bookstore / Amazon / Audible / B & N / Kobo / iTunes / Google Play / Indigo Books


SYNOPSIS

Return to the immersive, action-packed world of Warcross in this thrilling sequel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

In this explosive sequel to the New York Times bestselling Warcross, Marie Lu delivers an addictive finale that will hold you captive till the very last page.


What to Expect about Wildcard

  1. First, be amazed for the nth time how incredible Marie Lu writing style is.
  2. Expect to be bombarded with lots of twist you surely don’t wanna miss.
  3. Expect to love and hate new and old characters.
  4. Expect that you can finish the book in one sitting as it’s a fast paced book.
  5. Expect new learning about the ginormous things technology can do in our daily life nowadays.
  6. Expect that you will cry in the end as you want to read more about the book but sadly it is just a duology.
  7. Expect to read diverse characters
  8. And lastly, expect that you will spend money TO BUY AND PRE-ORDER THE BOOK, as it is one of the book that you should add to your gigantic and never ending TBR and collection of books. ( Attached is the link where you can enter and get amazing swags by pre-ordering the book. Pre-order link

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EXCERPT

Chapter 23

One Day until the Warcross Closing Ceremony

I don’t stir until the first rays of dawn enter the room, casting a weak palette of light against  my tangled sheets. For a moment, I can’t remember where I am — an unfamiliar room, in an unfamiliar bed. The space next to me is empty. The room is rocking  ever so slightly. A boat?

Slowly, the memories from the night before come back to me.

I frown, gathering the blankets around my chest and pulling myself up into a sitting position. Did Hideo leave? I look around the room until my eyes finally settle on a sliding glass door left ajar, beyond which the silhouette of a man stands bathed in gold, leaning against the ship’s railing and looking out at the city.

I let myself watch him for a moment. Then I reach for my clothes, pull them on, and slip out of his bed.

The air outside is still cool, smelling of salt and sea, and my skin prickles as I stop to lean against the open door. Two steaming mugs sit on a small table beside where Hideo’s standing. Morning dew lingers on the doors’ glass. I run an idle finger along it, noting the feel of the moisture, and remind myself that I’m in the real world now, not in a virtual one.

Hideo looks to his side so that I can see the profile of his face. “You’re up early,” he says.

“You knew I’d be,” I reply, nodding at the two mugs of coffee. “Or you wouldn’t have poured me that.”

He glances briefly at me, a small smile on his lips, and takes a sip of his coffee. He looks pale this morning, dark circles still under his eyes, but other than that, I wouldn’t be able to tell what he went through. Every vulnerability that he had exposed to me the night before has been neatly stores away again, and for a moment I’m afraid he’s gone back to not trusting me again. Thinking this was all a huge mistake.

Then I meet his gaze, and in it, I see something  open. No, he hasn’t retreated entirely. The real Hideo I’ve been searching for is here.

When I still linger by the door, he nods for me to come join him, handing me my mug of coffee as I reach him. “Taylor expects you here,” he says quietly, his eyes going out to the stirring city.

I nod. My mind returns briefly to Zero. They might be watching us right now  from some unknown place on shore. “They want me close to you,” I reply as I put my mug back down on the table.

Hideo’s eyes flicker, and I know he’s thinking about his brother. Whatever it is, though, he doesn’t say it out loud. Instead, he reaches for me and pulls me to him. His hand are warm from the coffee mug. I stuck in my breath as he turns me around so that my back is against the balcony, and his arms are pressed against the ledge on either side of me, pinning me in.

“This is what they expect to see, isn’t it? he murmurs, his face tilted toward my ear.

“Yes.”  My skin tingles at his closeness, and all I can think of is what happened last night. He’s right, of course, and if the Blackcoats are watching, it’ll help my case for them to see me with Hideo. Again, I find myself thinking of my dream of shattered glass, where Zero was watching us from the other side of the bedroom. It’s enough to make me glance to my side, half expecting him to be here on the yacht.

But it’s just us.

Hideo gives me a half smile, leans close, and presses his lips against my neck. “Kiss me, then,” he murmurs, and pulls me toward him.


My Rating:

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I would like to express my gratitude to kuya Raf of The Royal Polar Bear for giving the opportunity to be part of this blog tour. Thank you also to Penguin Random House for giving us the copy of the book and allowing us to review the book.


About the Author

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Marie Lu is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites, as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles with her illustrator/author husband, Primo Gallanosa, and their dogs.

Author Links:

Website / Goodreads / Twitter