#CruelPrinceReadalong Week Two: Chapters 8 through 14

Thanks for joining me for my re-read of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

This week everyone read through Chapter 14.

What do you think of it so far?

I won’t be able to host a live chat this week BUT be sure to watch the hashtag on Twitter where I will be posted a thread of discussion questions you can answer at your leisure.

Leave a comment with your thoughts and reading progress. (No spoilers if you’ve read ahead please!)

Week in Review: December 15

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

Don’t forget! #CruelPrinceReadalong is happening all this month!

I’m finally off antibiotics and actually had a restful weekend. What a time to be alive.

Here is my favorite post that I shared on Instagram this week:

How was your week? What are you reading?

29 Dates: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for 29 Dates by Melissa de la CruzJi-Su is an average student in her prestigious school in Seoul filled with overachievers. Hoping to help her stand out in college applications both in South Korea and abroad, Ji-Su’s parents decide to send her overseas to San Francisco.

There isn’t even enough time to say goodbye to her two best friends before Ji-Su is on a plane to California. Being so far from home doesn’t that mean Ji-Su is completely free to focus on her photography and having fun though. Instead Ji-Su is expected to focus on her schoolwork (which she would do anyway) and continue going on the seons (blind dates) that her parents have set up for her through a matchmaker.

Usually adults go on seons when they’re ready to settle down. But as far as Ji-Su’s mother is concerned it’s never to early to find your perfect match. Ji-Su doesn’t put much stock in the seons but it seems like an easy way to keep her parents happy and maybe even make some friends.

Just when Ji-Su starts to think she is getting the hang of being at a new school in a new city (and maybe even seons) she realizes that all of that is easy compared to falling in love for the first time in 29 Dates (2018) by Melissa de la Cruz.

De la Cruz’s latest contemporary has a unique perspective in Ji-Su’s first person narration. Each of Ji-Su’s twenty-nine seons are detailed between chapters. These are fun exchanges though their structure as dialogue only is jarring compared to the traditional prose in the rest of the novel.

The blend of romance and humor is tempered well with Ji-Su’s focus on school as she works on college applications and has to decide what to do as she ends up waitlisted at some of her schools.

29 Dates is a super cute romantic comedy perfect for fans of the genre. Recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhatena, 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, American Royals by Katharine McGee, Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills, Lucky in Love by Kasie West, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

#CruelPrinceReadalong Week One: Chapters 1 through 7

Thanks for joining me for my re-read of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

This week everyone started the book and read through Chapter 7.

Remember you can also follow the hashtag cruelprincereadalong on Twitter at 4pm EST on Sunday December 9 for a live chat about the book so far.

What do you think of it so far? Any favorite scenes or characters?

Leave a comment with your thoughts and reading progress. (No spoilers if you’ve read ahead or are re-reading please!)

Week in Review: December 8

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

Don’t forget! #CruelPrinceReadalong is happening all this month!

Plot twist: The cold I had since November turned into a sinus infection. I’m about halfway through my antibiotic regimen and I’m feeling so much better (in addition to feeling dumb for letting myself be sick for so long).

I’m going to try to really take this as a wake up call to take better care of myself and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is my only “big” illness this winter.

I entered a Rep Search on instagram. I don’t know if my account is fancy enough, but I’m proud of my entry and staying optimistic. If you are on instagram and haven’t given it a like yet, I’d be so grateful if you would:

Here is my favorite post that I shared on Instagram this week:

How was your week? What are you reading?

#CruelPrinceReadalong Week One: Live Chat This Sunday!

Hey everyone! This is a quick post for anyone participating in my Cruel Prince readalong.

I’ll be hosting a live chat on Twitter this Sunday at 4pm EST for participants to discuss their thoughts on chapters 1 through 7 of the book.

You can search the hashtag #cruelprincereadalong to join and also follow me @miss_print on Twitter.

See you there!

Realm of Ruins: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“Please let me be powerful.”

cover art for Realm of Ruins by Hannah WestTrouble follows Valory Braiosa wherever she goes.

Raised in Calgoran during the Age of the Accords, Valory is surrounded by elicrin magic and elicromancers. As a descendant of the legendary Queen Bristal and King Anthony, everyone assumes Valory will become a powerful elicromancer herself. But now she is almost at the end of her time at the Academy with no signs of power manifesting. With her chances of receiving an elicrin stone from the Water dwindling, Valory is forced to consider her greatest fear: a life without magic or power.

Touching the Water is no guarantee of receiving an elicrin stone. Even with careful vetting from the Academy candidates may still be deemed unworthy and drowned in the Water, their bodies lost forever. Valory’s attempt to save her cousin from such a fate proves disastrous. In the aftermath her cousin is dead, the Water is gone, and Valory now has dangerous power no one understands and which Valory can’t control.

Branded a murderer and a rogue, Valory is forced to travel far from home to try and clear her name. Across Nissera it’s apparent that a dark presence is rising and Valory might be the only one powerful enough to stop it. As danger mounts and loyalties are tested, Valory will have to embrace her power to face this danger. But all power comes at a price and this time the cost may be steeper than Valory can pay in Realm of Ruins (2018) by Hannah West.

Find it on Bookshop.

Real of Ruins is the second book in West’s Nissera Chronicles which begins with the companion novel Kingdom of Ash and Briars.

Realm of Ruins is set one hundred years after the events of West’s debut novel Kingdom of Ash and Briars and follows a new generation of characters. An elaborate family tree at the start of the book and sly asides throughout offer nods to events of the first book although this novel can easily be read as a standalone. (A companion short story, Fields of Fire, can also be read for free online.)

Valory is as pragmatic as she is reckless. Although the implications of her new power are obvious she is still quick to jump to conclusions and easily falls prey to the manipulations of others while she tries to understand her dramatically changed circumstances.

Her efforts to clear her name are soon sidelined as she learns about the emergence of a dangerous new threat known as the Moth King or the Lord of the Elicromancers. Drawn into a hunt to stop this new enemy Valory plays a part in side plots that draw heavily from elements of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. West manages a convoluted and sometimes bloated plot admirably bringing diverging threads together to explore larger themes of power, collective memory, and the dangers of both if left unchecked.

While Valory is initially a slave to circumstance, forced repeatedly into reactive positions as her situation shifts from bad to worse, Realm of Ruins is largely about agency and choice. It is only when Valory chooses to embrace her power–and the difficult decisions she must make about how to wield it–that she is able to regain control of her fate and try to claim what she sees as her rightful power in the realm.

Realm of Ruins is an intricate and original fantasy. West blends her unique magic system with a vivid world and fairy tale elements to create a story that is entirely fascinating. Recommended for fans of fairy tales, high fantasy, and bloody revolution.

Possible Pairings: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, Frostblood by Elly Blake, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly, Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen, For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig, Stain by A. G. Howard, Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee, Furyborn by Claire Legrand, The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Kingdom of Ash and Briars: A Review

cover art Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah WestBristal’s life changes forever when she is kidnapped. Her humble life as a kitchen maid ends the moment she survives touching the Water and receives an elicrin stone.

Now Bristal is an elicromancer—one of only three people over the centuries to have survived the Water intact.

Immortal and able to wield powerful magic, Bristal is meant to take her place as a peacekeeper and kingmaker. With so much potential power at her command Bristal will have to accept her magic and embrace her destiny despite the dangers in Kingdom of Ash and Briars (2016) by Hannah West.

Find it on Bookshop.

Kingdom of Ash and Briars is West’s debut novel and the first book in the Nissera Chronicles which continues in Realm of Ruins. (A companion short story, Fields of Fire, can also be read for free online.)

Kingdom of Ash and Briars introduces a richly layered world with a unique magic system. West’s novel is informed by numerous fairy tales (most notably Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty) positioning a reluctant Bristal in the role of fairy godmother.

Bristal’s ability to shape shift and disguise herself informs much of the story as she begins to change her appearance to manipulate individuals and, indeed, entire courts pushing Nissera toward peace and prosperity. These secondary stories play out on a larger stage as Bristal comes to terms with her newfound immortality and learns to control her magic while facing an elicromancer who would rather rule over humans than serve and protect them.

While not as all-seeing as her mentor, Brack (a character I wish we had seen more of in this novel), Bristal is patient and introspective willing to put in the time and sacrifice to do what is needed for Nissera. Her thoughtful planning and analytical nature are nice counterpoints to an otherwise frenetic plot and an often predictable villain. Romance enters the story late in the game with a lasting impact for generations to come.

Kingdom of Ash and Briars is a rich and original fantasy with a memorable world readers will want to revisit. Recommended for readers who enjoy complicated plots, wheels within wheels, and unlikely heroes.

Possible Pairings: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta, Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats, Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, Stain by A. G. Howard, A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier, Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch

*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Week in Review: December 1 (Still sick and reading like it’s going out of style)

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

Don’t forget! #CruelPrinceReadalong is happening all this month!

I’m sort of over my cold but it also sort of turned into a sinus infection so I’m in a holding pattern to see if I need to go to a doctor or what. (I’m hoping not.) I had more time off for my mom’s birthday. I wish I had been feeling better because I had plans BUT I’ve been reading a lot of books from my owned shelves to try and finish a bunch before the end of the year (just for my own satisfaction–I completed my reading challenge weeks ago) and if I end up not loving them I also can add them to my stack of books and ARCs that I’m going to drop at a Toys for Tots donation site so it’s a win win.

Here is my favorite post that I shared on Instagram this week:

How was your week? What are you reading?