May 31, 2016

Introducing the 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour Signups!

Summer is coming, and I couldn't be more ready for it here at The Book Bratz! MY favorite part of the summer is definitely our Summer Blogger Promo Tour (meme to come), which was unveiled for the very first season here two years ago. Now it's the third season of this awesome event, and I can't believe that it took off as well as it did! For those of you who have never heard of it, here's a quick explanation (and even if you followed or participated in the tourfor the last few years, some things have changed a little bit):

There are 9 Sundays in July/August total this year. We're going to be selecting 40 book bloggers through a signup process (and this process is first come, first serve this year, and the cap is DEFINITELY 40.) The bloggers will be divided into various groups of 8. Each blogger in the lineup will put up a post on their blog every Sunday throughout July and August. Each week, your post will be featuring another book blogger involved in the tour. (You will be emailed a schedule in late June that will tell you which book bloggers to feature on which Sunday.) You could do an interview with the blogger, explain what you like about their blog, something fun or creative, a booktuber collaboration, etc. Whatever you want--it's up to you! All you have to do is make sure that post basically swags out the assigned blogger/book blog. In return, they'll do the same for you and your blog when it comes time for them to cover yours.

So long story short, you will be given a schedule of 8 different bloggers to collab with on your own blog each Sunday throughout the summer. (There are 9 weeks this summer, though, and the 9th week will be your wrap-up post.) You will be given the contact information for all of the blogs you have to feature, and it will be your responsibility to reach out to the scheduled blogger each week and come up with an idea of what to do on your blog.

Some of the awesome things that took place during the last few years were book quizzes, interviews, trivia games, fancasts, book discussions, co-reviews, guest reviews, and more! 

The way the rotation will work is that all of the 8 blogs in your group (there will be Groups A - E) will be featured each week. Your blog will be talked about on 8 other blogs at different points for 8 entire weeks. (For the 9th week, everyone will be doing a wrap-up post about their tour experience, otherwise you'd be swagging out YOUR blog for the 9th week, which makes no sense). The purpose of this tour is just to highlight new and different YA book bloggers and get to get the word out and learn about them and promote them, while having them do the same for you in return. And the system has proven to be successful - since we started the Summer Blogger Promo Tour three years ago, blog traffic on all participating blogs has increased tenfold, and some of our most lasting blogging friendships and partnerships were formed as a part of this tour. 

Every Sunday throughout July and August will be filled with interviews, discussions, shoutouts, and tons of other fun! This is going to be a super awesome tour that we're so excited for--and we launch on July 3rd

So many awesome friendships have been formed through the Summer Blogger Promo Tour over the years, and this year will be just as awesome! Some awesome friends we met and bonded with over the 2014 tour were: Dana Square, EndlesslyreadingAna Loves...The YA ClubCaught Read HandedInk on the ShelfThe YA's Nightstand and SJ Bouquet!

So, how do you sign up?

Sign ups for the 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour will be taking place from now until Tuesday, June 14th. (If we reach our 40-blogger limit before then, signups will be closed earlier.) After that date, sign ups will be closed and you will all receive a welcome email and another email with your individual tour schedule! The signup process is first come, first serve. The first 40 bloggers to sign up are guaranteed a spot on the tour. All blogs, big or small, are welcome! There is no follower/view/blog traffic minimum. If you're willing to participate, you're welcome aboard! 

The only thing we ask is that before you sign up for the tour, you make sure that you are definitely able to put a tour post up on your blog every Sunday of July and August. The tour posts do NOT have to be the top post of the day, so if you have another event scheduled on your blog, double-posting is fine. We just ask that everyone signing up for the tour promises ahead of time not to slack off - because if other bloggers are sticking to their schedule and promoting you, but then YOU slack off and skip the day you're supposed to promote THEM, that isn't very fair. So everyone has to promise to work together and be on-time! :-)


Signups for the 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour have officially been closed. Welcome emails will be sent out within the next two weeks! 

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about and sign up for the 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour - I can't wait to see you this summer! :-)


May 30, 2016

Guest Review By Emily: The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass


26074181
Title: The Crown (The Selection, #5)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 279 Pages
Published May 2016

Summary: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone. Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.


Guys! Oh My God Guys! I am so extremely happy with the ending of this book (and series). *cry face emoji*

At first I was hesitant to start The Selection series, but I kept hearing great reviews and everyone was in love with it so I gave it a chance. 

When I read The Heir I didn't really like Eadlyn too much. She seemed too full of herself and didn't seem to really care about her selection. But the events that take place at the end of the book, and the fact that she may be falling for someone, Eadlyn continues her Selection.

When The Crown began, Eadlyn cut down her Selection right the the six Elite. As America is recovering from her heart attack, and Maxon watching every move she makes, Eadlyn ascends the throne. Eadlyn, much to everyone’s surprise, continues her Selection. Trying to fit in time for dates and now ruling Illea, she doesn't realise the one she is truly in love with.

Beware, time for spoilers.

Eadlyn ends up falling for the least expected boy. He is technically not even a contestant of the Selection. Ekkio and Eadlyn, or Erik, Henri’s translator, fall in love and it’s the cutest yet saddest thing. Kind of like a ‘so close but yet so far’ type of situation. When it’s time to pick her new husband, in the heat of this, she ends of banishing Kile (so he can live his dream of architecture) and asking Henri for his hand. Before The Report, Eadlyn confesses to her love for Ekkio to her father and he agrees to let her break the rules of the Selection

The ending the The Selection series is truly a Happily Ever After and can't express how happy I am with the way this series ended. 





May 29, 2016

The New Authors on The Block: Excerpt + Giveaway







For the last post this month we have an excerpt of The Star-Touched Queen
"The Star-Touched Queen transports us to a world unlike our own, rich in mythology and the desire to turn things right for the ones you love, The Star-Touched Queen will have you in its clutches from the first page to the last." - Amber, The Book Bratz

Excerpt:

In Bharata, no one believed in ghosts because the dead never lingered. Lives were remade instantly, souls unzipped and tipped into the streaked brilliance of a tiger, a gopi with lacquered eyes or a Raja with a lap full of jewels. I couldn’t decide whether I thought reincarnation was a scare tactic or a hopeful message. Do this, so you won’t come back as a cockroachGive alms to the poor, and in your next life you’ll be rich. It made all good deeds seem suspect.
Even then, it was a comfort to know that there were no ghosts in my country. It meant that I was alive. To everyone else, I was a dead girl walking. But I was no ghost. I was no spectral imprint of something that had lived and died and couldn’t leave this place behind. It meant I still had a chance at life. 
By the time the funerary procession ended, the sun had barely begun to edge its way across the sky. The mourners had dispersed as soon as the royal announcement ended and only the flames presided over Padmavathi’s burial. When the noonday bell rang throughout the palace, even the smells — smoke and petals, salt and jasmine — had disappeared, scraped up by the wind and carried far into the shadowless realm of the dead.
Before me, the halls of the harem glittered, sharp as a predator’s eyes. Light clung to the curved torsos of statuettes and skimmed the reflections from still pools of water. In the distance, the great double-doors of the harem yawned open and the mellow midday heat crept in from the outside. I could never trust the stillness of the harem.
Behind me, the living quarters and personal rooms of the harem wives and my half-sisters had melted into shadow. The caretakers had set the children of the royal nursery to sleep. The tutors had begun droning to the betrothed princesses about the lands and ancestries of their soon-to-be husbands.
I had my own appointment. My “tutor of the week.” Poor things. They never lasted long, whether that was their decision or mine just depended on the person. It wasn’t that I disliked learning. It was simply that they couldn’t teach me what I wanted to know. My real place of study hovered above their heads. Literally.
Outside, the thunder of clashing gongs drifted through the harem walls. Parrots scattered from their naps, launching into the air with a huff and a screech. The familiar shuffle of pointed shoes, golden tassels and nervous voices melted into a low murmur. All of my father’s councilors were making their way to the throne room for his announcement.
Within moments, my father would reveal his solution for dealing with the rebel kingdoms. My heart jostled. Father, while never on time, was nonetheless efficient. He wouldn’t waste time on the frivolities of the court, which meant that I had a limited amount of time to get to the throne room and I still had to deal with the most recent tutor. I prayed he was a simpleton. Better yet — superstitious.
Father once said the real language of diplomacy was in the space between words. He said silence was key to politics.
Silence, I had learned, was also key to spying.
            I slipped off anything noisy — gold bracelets, dangling earrings — and stashed them behind a stone carving of a mynah bird. Navigating through the harem was like stepping into a riddle. Niches filled with statues of gods and goddesses with plangent eyes and backs arced in a forgotten reel of a half-dance leaned out into the halls. Light refracted off crystal platters piled with blooms the bright color of new blood and flickering diyas cast smoke against the mirrors, leaving the halls a snarl of mist and petals. I touched the sharp corners. I liked the feeling of stone beneath my fingers, of something that pushed back to remind me of my own solidity.
As I rounded the last corner, the harem wives’ sharp laughter leapt into the halls, sending prickles across my arm. The harem wives’ habits never changed. It was the one thing I liked about them. My whole life was crafted around their boredom. I could probably set my heartbeat to the hours they whittled away exchanging gossip and suspicions.
Before I could run past them, a name rooted me to the spot…my own. At least, I thought I heard it. I couldn’t be sure. No matter how much I wanted to plant one foot in front of the other and leave them behind, I couldn’t.
I held my breath and stepped backwards, pressing my ear as close to the curtains as I could.
“It’s a pity,” said a voice sultry from years spent smoking the rose-scented water pipes.
Mother Dhina. She ruled the harem with an iron fist. She may not have given the Raja any sons, but she had one enduring quality: life. She had survived seven pregnancies, two stillbirths and a sweating sickness that claimed eight wives in the past three years. Her word was law.
“What is?”
A simpering voice. Mother Shastri. Second-in-command. She was one of the younger wives, but had recently given birth to twin sons. She was far more conniving than Mother Dhina, but lacked all the ambition of real malice.
“It’s just a pity Advithi didn’t go the same way as Padmavati.”
My hands curled into fists, nails sinking into the flesh of my palms. Advithi. I didn’t know her long enough to call her mother. I knew nothing of her except her name and a vague rumor that she had not gotten along with the other wives. In particular, Mother Dhina. Once, they had been rivals. Even after she died, Mother Dhina never forgave her. Other than that, she was a non-descript dream in my head. Sometimes when I couldn’t sleep at night, I’d try to conjure her, but nothing ever revealed itself to me — not the length of her hair or the scent of her skin. She was a mystery and the only thing she left me was a necklace and a name. Instinctively, my fingers found her last gift: a round-cut sapphire strung with seed pearls.
Mother Dhina wheezed, and when she spoke, I could almost smell the smoke puffing out between her teeth. “Usually when a woman dies in childbirth, the child goes too.”
Mother Shastri chided her with a hollow tsk. “It’s not good to say such things, sister.”
“And why is that?” came a silvery voice. I couldn’t place that one. She must have been new. “It should be a good thing for a child to survive the mother. It is a shame Padmavathi’s son died with her. Who is Advithi—”
Was,” corrected Mother Dhina with a tone like thunder. The other wife stuttered into silence. “She was nothing more than a courtesan who caught the Raja’s eye. Mayavati is her daughter.”
Her? The one with the horoscope?”
Another wife’s voice leapt to join the other’s — “Is it true that she killed Padmavathi?”
Bharata may not believe in ghosts, but horoscopes were entirely different. The kingdom choreographed whole lives on whatever astral axis was assigned to you. Father didn’t seem to believe in horoscopes. He spoke of destiny as a malleable thing, something that could be bent, interpreted or loosened to any perspective. But that didn’t change the mind of the court. Whatever magic had unearthed meaning in stars, my celestial forecast was shadowed and torn, and the wives never let me forget. It made me hate the stars and curse the night sky.
 “She might as well have,” said Mother Dhina dismissively. “That kind of bad fortune only attracts ill-luck.”
“Is it true then?”
I dug my nails into my palms. How many times had I asked myself that question? I tried to convince myself that it was just the idle talk of the harem wives and a series of bad coincidences, but sometimes… I wasn’t so sure.
 “The Raja needs to get rid of her,” said Mother Shastri. “Before her plague spreads to someone else.”
“How can he?” scoffed another. “Who would marry her with that horoscope? She brings death wherever she goes.”
The new wife, with the silvery voice, piped up eagerly. “I heard her shadow doesn’t stay in one place.”
Another voice chimed in. “A servant told me that snakes bow to her.”
I pushed myself off the wall. I  knew all the rumors, and I didn’t care to hear them again. Their words crawled over my skin. I wanted to shake off the insults, the laughter, the shadows. But all of it clung to me, thick as smoke, pushing out the blood from my veins until I pulsed with hate.
The second gong rang in the distance. I walked faster, feet pounding on the marble. As I ran through the gardens, sunlight slanted off my skin and a feeling of wrongness struck me. It didn’t dawn on me until afterwards, until light knifed through the fig trees and striped me like a tiger, until I caught the shadow-seamed imprint of a leaf against the paved walkway to the archival buildings.
My shadow.
I couldn’t see it.

About Roshani: 


Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. The Star-Touched Queen is her first novel.

Stay connected with Roshani on: Instagram / Twitter / Goodreads


About The Star-Touched Queen


Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Hardcover, 352 Pages 

Summary:
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen? Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire... But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget

Buy The Star-Touched Queen: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Indie Bound  


What to expect this month: 

  • May 1st: Introduction of Roshani + Giveaway
  • May 8th: Makeup Look
  • May 15th: Q&A 
  • May 22nd: 10 Facts about The Start-Touched Queen 
  • May 29th: Excerpt

Giveaway:

Roshani is giving away a signed copy of The Star-Touched Queen! US Only. 

May 28, 2016

Review: The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass

26074181
Title: The Crown (The Selection, #5)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating:
Hardcover, 279 Pages
Published May 2016


Summary: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone. Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.




I've loved The Selection series from the start, when Amber convinced me to give it a try a few years ago. I've always had a soft spot for books about royalty, not that I know why - I just found them endlessly fascinating. So, needless to say, I fell in love pretty quickly. And I could only hope that the final book in this awesome series would tie everything up and leave me satisfied as a reader, since I've been following The Selection from the very first book. 

(Spoilers ahead so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read the book yet!) There was only one thing about this book that I wasn't crazy about. I felt that, towards the end, things got a little rushed and happened way too quickly...there's also the fact that I totally shiped Eadlyn and Kile and they didn't end up together but hey, that's just a personal opinion that I won't (and can't) fault the book for. But yeah, I just felt that things happened way too quickly, almost as if Cass was in such a rush to wrap up the story and she just wanted to put it to bed. (Which I really hope isn't the case, because this is an excellent series!)

As for what I did like, I admired Eadlyn's character. She possessed such a strength that I don't think I would've been able to have at that age, having to juggle between finding a husband and taking care of my mother and ruling a country. Even when she had her moments where she wasn't the country's most desirable monarch, her perseverance for doing the right thing managed to shine through. 

I also enjoyed all of the boys, especially Henri. They each had their own personalities and Eadlyn's interactions with each of them were all entirely different, and that's what was good. The boys didn't all blend into one another like the girls did in the earlier parts of the series. It was also really nice to get to see a Selection from the eyes of the prize instead of from the eyes of a contestant, as America had once been. It was definitely an interesting change in perspective. 

All in all, I really enjoyed The Crown. I'm sad to see the series go since I've been such a fan since the beginning, but on the other hand I also can't wait to get my hands on more books by Cass (such as The Siren!), because she's an excellent writer and I've enjoyed every book of hers thus far and I don't think I'm about to stop now. 

If you're looking for a sweet romance with a touch of drama and even a little bit of suspense, I definitely recommend The Selection series! I'm so glad that Amber got me to try it out a few years ago, because it's been one of my favorite series of all time. :-)





May 27, 2016

Five Things You Learn From Your Blogging Friends

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Hey guys! Since a lot of people found my other "list" post funny last week, I figured I'd do another one. (If you haven't read my post on The Seven Things You Learn From Book Conventions, I recommend checking that one out!) So today I'm here to talk about the five things that you learn from your blogging friends. 

1. Internet friends aren't any less of your friends than the people you see in your everyday life.

Because come on, even if you guys live halfway across the country or the world, they're still the people you want to talk to when exciting book news comes out, and they're the same people you want to vent to when the blogging world gets stressful. 

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2. Meeting people at events doesn't have to be a scary experience. 

Normally I am so shy when it comes to talking to people I don't know, but every time I've been at a book event and met up with you guys, my fears instantly melted away. When you get to know people through working with them on the internet for blog-related things, you already have a semi-established relationship, and things aren't so scary. 

hello hi hey greetings greeting

3. How to divide and conquer. 

BookCon Day game plans are a thing of legend. You learn how to split who goes where and who picks up what swag/books so everyone gets to accomplish everything they wanted done.

thedudeperfectshow  cmt teamwork the dude perfect show go team

4. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Working as a team to collab on a blog post or event is such a rewarding feeling. And there's always strength in numbers!

community teamwork group hug hang out hanging out

5. Having someone to fangirl over stuff with all of the time is so, so awesome.

This one doesn't even need an explanation. It's just awesome. 

little mix fangirl fangirling

So I hope you guys enjoyed this post about some things I've learned from some of my blogging friends! If you are one of those blogging friends, shoutout to you guys, because I love and appreciate you all!


May 26, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Heart's Journey Home by Nikki Jackson


The Heart’s Journey Home: A Layover in Doppelganger-Ville
Nikki Jackson
(The Heart’s Journey Home, #2)
Publication date: April 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Picking up where The Heart’s Journey Home: California Blend Summer Vacation leaves off, book two in the series follows seventeen-year-old Tori Logan as she and her best friends, AJ and Kalea, accompany Tori’s archeologist father to Israel.
Tori Logan is used to her life looking a little different from the lives of other girls her age. She’s also used to having plenty of adventures, so when she and her best friends see an excavated quarry in one of Jerusalem’s most famous archeological sites, they waste no time checking it out for themselves. Adventurous and fiercely independent, Tori leads her friends into the quarry where they happen upon what appears to be a secret passageway. As the trio laughs and jokes, small rumblings turn into big quakes and the walls start to crumble around them. Kalea and AJ escape, but the site collapses before Tori can find her way out.
When she comes regains consciousness, Tori realizes she’s traveled back in time to ancient Jerusalem. With her quick wit and drive to survive, she concocts a story about why she, a foreigner, is there and finds shelter with a widow woman named Judith – who looks exactly like her father’s live-in girlfriend, Rachel.
As Tori encounters other people who are spitting images of loved ones back at home, she must reconcile truths about herself with the hard realities about the situation in which she finds herself. But will these lessons last once she’s back at home?
Will she even make it home?
Guest post by Nikki Jackson
My Weird Fascination….
I have a weird fascination and its scary movies.
I have sworn off them more times than I can remember because I actually find them so terrifying but like a little chocolate addict my hand finds its way back to the box. I can only blame it on a mildly warped fascination with the fact that that someone wrote, out of their own imagination, something that could cause such physical, emotional and psychological reactions in the reader (or if it’s a movie – the viewer).
I remember back in the day when the movie The Exorcist debuted. It was 1973 and no movie like it had ever really be made and it was the scariest thing in town. To this very day I’ve never seen that movie. I read the reviews and watched the news spots and that was more than enough to keep me away from it. There were reports of moviegoers crying, fainting and throwing up (especially during the head spinning around part), all because they’d been so affected by what was going on with the little demon possessed girl.
The scariest movie I’ve ever seen in life to date was The Ring. I got caught up in the premise: watch the video, get the phone call, dead in seven days. The curious side of my brain just knew there was a safe, logical way out of this and I wanted to see how the latest victim would beat the curse. I still don’t know how the movie ended. When that little kid came out of that well I started screaming.
I was screaming at the guy watching this play out on his TV to turn it off and get out of there. He didn’t hear me. He just sat there spellbound while that kid came out of that well and was moving, like some weird stop-action closer and closer, and then shocks of shocks….when that kid climbed through the TV set….I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t call the police, I was a hot screaming mess. It was like she’d climbed through my TV set and into my living room. That’s the last thing I remember.
I turned on every light in the house (why did I watch it at night, alone?), made sure all the doors and windows were locked (twice) and I spent the night on the sofa with a blanket over my head praying to still be alive with the new day’s dawn.
Here’s what’s so intriguing – that hot mess of a movie was first a writer’s creation. Somebody sat down and imagined it and then wrote it down. As traumatizing as that movie was to me, the thought that a writer wrote it is fantastic. Don’t you see? I was scared and traumatized and ready to throw-up and pee all at the same time – I was physically and emotionally and yes, psychologically effected and caught up and spent and I didn’t even last the whole movie!
As a writer I don’t want to scare the bejeezus out of anyone, but I want to take the reader on an exhilarating, crazy wild rollercoaster ride. I want the reader to be giddy, shocked, angry, moved, excited, teased, floored, bowled over – and happily spent when they finish reading a book of mine. I want to pull the reader out of their present setting and take them on the journey of a story with me and my characters. I want to give the reader a break from life as they know it and I want them to eagerly join me on an imagined adventure.
Sure, I’d like to make a million bucks writing, but when I really think about it? I’d rather prefer making a million friends.

Author Bio:
Nikki Jackson considers herself to be an Indie Writer, Journeyman and Traveler. She's camped out in the Grand Canyon just to see the sunrise over a stupendous backdrop and she yet dreams to travel to Mount Everest, not to climb any part of it but to simply stand at the North Base Camp and take it all in, in person. Nikki's love of adventure was inspired at an early age at the local library where she spent summers reading about young travelers going cross-country and around the world. She loved the adventures that took her out of the bottom bunk of her bed (her favorite reading spot) and had her soaring across the clouds to lands filled with wonderful and diverse people. It was then and there Nikki decided she wanted to be a writer - she wanted to have the same effect on people reading books had on her. The Heart's Journey Home is the beginning of the adventure.

Hosted by:

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I'd like to thank XPresso Tours for allowing The Book Bratz to be a part of this tour and giveaway! :-)


May 25, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #62: Heartless

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Amber's Waiting on:


Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer  
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling 
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: November 8th 2016

Summary: 
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back! 


May 24, 2016

Review: Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die, #3) by Danielle Paige


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Title: Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die, #3)
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 270 Pages
Published March 2016
Read my review of:
Dorothy Must Die (Book #1)
The Wicked Will Rise (Book #2)

Summary: Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy—and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all.

I first became a fan of these series a few years back when I met author Danielle Paige at BookCon and got myself a copy of Dorothy Must Die. Since then, I fell in love with this totally riveting and outlandish retelling of one of the world's sweetest stories, The Wizard of Oz. I loved the second book as much as I loved the first, and the third book (the one I'm reviewing right now), was even good as well, even if I didn't see it as up to par with the previous two.

My problem with this series is that I feel it would've been better as one book, or maybe a duology, but that's about it. A fourth book is currently in production, which a lot of people are excited for but I personally feel is a bit overkill, only because the series was so great that it shouldn't be dragged on, because that's when it starts to lose its value. (Spoilers coming up ahead so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) The fact that they managed to kill Dorothy in this book seems a bit sketchy, because they didn't actually kill her, and if there's anything that you can call that evil snot of a girl, it's resilient. So I'm already predicting that she's going to come back from wherever she was banished and wreak more havoc. Which ultimately rids the fourth book of its entire shock factor, which already makes it lose some value in my mind.

What I wasn't big on in this book was the fact that it just seemed to be one giant chain of things. As soon as one issue was solved, another one popped up less than an hour or so after. (Occasionally you were given a 12 hour reprieve while the characters were sleeping.) I get that the point of the story is to grip you and pull you in, but reading this book started to actually make me feel a little bit exhausted, because it was just one constant plot point after another, and everything felt way too crunched in and rushed. Too much definitely felt like it was happening too fast. 

However, there were aspects of this book that I did enjoy. The actual story itself is something super fascinating - the idea that Dorothy went back to Oz and transformed from the sweet girl she once was into someone worse than all of the witches combined. Seeing all of the story's famous characters in a new (and particularly evil) light definitely opens your eyes and catches your interest. Danielle Paige has no shortage of creativity in this series, that's for sure! 

All in all, I enjoyed Yellow Brick War. It was a fast-paced novel that picks up where the previous book left off in the fight to end Dorothy and her reign of evil once and for all. With the way this book ended, I can definitely say that there will be a fourth book coming (and Goodreads seems to agree with me). Although I wish the series wouldn't continue so it can end on a good note while it doesn't feel dragged on, I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series because I'm curious to see what happens to all of the characters and to Oz itself! 



May 23, 2016

Guest Review by Emily: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga, #2) by Nikki Kelly


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Title: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga, #2)
Author: Nikki Kelly
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 384 Pages
Published October 2015 
Read Jessica's review of Gabriel!



Summary: Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

I recently finished reading Gabriel by Nikki Kelly.  I absolutely loved Lailah and couldnt wait to read the sequel.  To begin, while reading Lailah, I was totally Team Gabriel, but… now I'm not so sure.

The book started with Lailah awakening after Zherneboh came for her in book 1. After she wakes, it’s clear she’s having trouble remembering who is with her, Gabriel, as she’s referring to him as “her protector”.  I’m sorry, but how do you forget someone as beautiful and charming as Gabriel? She eventually regains that memory pretty fast.  Now with Lailah discovering what she truly is, half angel half vampire, Gabriel wants to run to protect her, only stuff gets in the way and of course that doesn't happen. Meanwhile, Lailah is desperately trying to deny the darkness in her and is refusing to feed on blood so Gabriel will still love her. The Pureblood Vampires find out she’s alive and now comes in Lailah, trying to save the day and sacrifice herself to save her loved ones.

One thing that annoys me is the fact that she is denying part of herself, on the verge of killing herself, because she’s too afraid of Gabriel not accepting her. Um hello, if he really truly loves her, he should be able to accept that part of her!

In the beginning of the book, Laliah doesn't remember Jonah. Yes I was a little shocked by that. Jonah is on the verge of death and Lailah’s blood can heal him. But one thing, If Jonah drinks her blood, the Purebloods with know she’s alive. Lailah, drawn to Jonah, for reasons she can't remember, heals him.

Now Lailah remembers Jonah and she’s torn between Gabriel and Jonah. Not really surprised because who can't love both of them?

I won't share the ending because i've probably spoiled enough for you, but let's just say, I was completely  surprised by what Gabriel did. I knew Lailah would do what she did though and now I cannot wait to see how Jonah plays out. 




What's this?

Our best friend Emily is currently on board to become the third (and newest!) Book Brat, so instead of throwing her into everything full-force, she'll be starting by posting some guest reviews here and there of some books she's read. So throughout the next few months, expect to see more frequent posts coming from her! :-)

May 22, 2016

The New Authors on The Block: Roshani's 10 facts about The Star-Touched Queen + Giveaway







This week we have Roshani's 10 facts about The Star-Touched Queen!

"The Star-Touched Queen transports us to a world unlike our own, rich in mythology and the desire to turn things right for the ones you love, The Star-Touched Queen will have you in its clutches from the first page to the last." - Amber, The Book Bratz

10 Facts:


1. The name “Maya” means “illusion.” It’s also my Filipina mom’s Indian nickname!

2. Hindu mythology has many Otherworlds. The one that most inspired the Night Bazaar scene is a place called Patala, a sort of demon realm filled with beauty.

3. Many Hindu folklore tales have reincarnation aspects. For example, a princess in the epic poem, the Mahabharata, featured a princess (Amba) who is reborn as a man (Shikhandi) just to kill the man who had scorned her.

4. I love Otherworldly fruit and drink. In Hindu mythology, the drink of the gods is known as “soma.”

5. It’s not uncommon in ancient India for a king to have more than one wife. There’s also a famous example of the reverse situation with Draupadi, a princess in the Mahabharata who was married to all five Pandava brothers.

6. When performing funerary rites, the body’s feet are supposed to face south, which is where Hell (Naraka) resides.

7. In Hinduism, hell is just a temporary state of existence. Souls spend time in both Naraka (for bad deeds) and Svargaloka (for good deeds) before reincarnation. 

8. Swayamvaras are marriage ceremonies where the woman chooses her husband from a line of suitors. 

9. Kamala, the flesh-eating demon horse, was inspired by the kelpies of Scotch-Irish folklore.

10. Maya’s favorite dessert is rasmalai. 

About Roshani: 


Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. The Star-Touched Queen is her first novel.

Stay connected with Roshani on: Instagram / Twitter / Goodreads


About The Star-Touched Queen


Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Hardcover, 352 Pages 

Summary:
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen? Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire... But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget

Buy The Star-Touched Queen: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Indie Bound  


What to expect this month: 

  • May 1st: Introduction of Roshani + Giveaway
  • May 8th: Makeup Look
  • May 15th: Q&A 
  • May 22nd: 10 Facts about The Start-Touched Queen 
  • May 29th: Excerpt

Giveaway:

Roshani is giving away a signed copy of The Star-Touched Queen! US Only.