Sunday, February 19, 2017

done dirt cheap: stardust arc reviews

Done Dirt Cheap 
by Sarah Nicole Lemon

release date: March 7 by Amulet Books

☆☆☆☆

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

full review under the cut!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

piper perish: stardust arc reviews

Piper Perish
Kayla Cagan

Pub Date: February 28

☆☆☆☆

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and into art school in New York City, the better. It's been Piper's dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she's never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper's sister's tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper's art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she's always known? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this ridiculously compelling, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she's missing any one of these things?

top ten tuesday: i love love!!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish! "February 14: All About Romance Tropes/Types -- top ten favorite hate-to-love romances (from books or movies or tv), top ten favorite (or least favorite) instalove romances, favorite slow-burn romances, favorite starcrossed lovers, etc. etc. Can go so many ways with this one)."

I did an enormous post about all of my favorite couples in fiction last year, which you can find here, so I am just going to augment that with all of the couples that I have been loving in the year since then.
2016-2017 Favorite Couples

1. Damen and Laurent – Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
2. Natasha and Daniel – The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
3. Jesper and Wylan – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
4. Mare and Denna – Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
5. Lena and Ren – Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
6. Jane and G – My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows and Cynthia Hand
7. Andie and Clark – The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
8. Amani and Jin – Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
(BONUS TV SHIPS)
9. Jake and Amy from Brooklyn 99
10. Even and Isak from Skam


Monday, January 30, 2017

january wrap up

Hi and welcome to another monthly wrap-up here at Stardust and Words. I feel like January lasted 87,000 years and I am so glad that it's over, even if it means we're one month closer to the hot weather (which I hate). I do often love the month of February, so I am looking forward to seeing what this month brings. I ended up reading 14 books in January, which isn't too shabby if you ask me. I posted five reviews as well! I hope you guys had a good January :)

1. Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions and Heretics – Jason Porath ☆☆☆☆

Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog.

Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . .

Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princesses turns the ubiquitous "pretty pink princess" stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place.

An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas


2. Captive Prince (Captive Prince #1) – C.S. Pacat ☆☆☆☆* 

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…


3. Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince #2) – C.S. Pacat ☆☆☆☆☆*  

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…







4. King's Rising (Captive Prince #3) – C.S. Pacat ☆☆☆☆☆* 

Damianos of Akielos has returned.

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity—can it stand against the Regents final, deadly play for the throne?


5. Passenger (Passenger #1) – Alexandra Bracken ☆☆☆☆☆*  

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.


6. Wayfarer (Passenger #2) – Alexandra Bracken ☆☆☆☆  

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.


7. Green But For A Season (Captive Prince Short Stories #1) – C.S. Pacat ☆☆☆

Green but for a Season is the first of a series of four Captive Prince short stories. It follows the relationship between Jord and Aimeric and is set during the events of Prince’s Gambit.











 
8. The Summer Palace (Captive Prince Short Stories #2) – C.S. Pacat ☆☆☆☆

"When all this is over, we could take horses and stay a week in the palace..."

Set after the events of the Captive Prince trilogy, The Summer Palace is a story about Damen and Laurent. It's an epilogue of sorts to the Captive Prince series.










9. It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover ☆☆☆

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

  
10. The Two Gentlemen of Verona – William Shakespeare ☆☆

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is commonly agreed to be Shakespeare's first comedy, and probably his first play. A comedy built around the confusions of doubling, cross-dressing, and identity, it is also a play about the ideal of male friendship and what happens to those friendships when men fall in love.










  
11. I'll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson ☆☆☆☆☆*

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
 

12. The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden ☆☆☆1/2


At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


13. History is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera ☆☆☆☆ 

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

  
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce ☆☆☆1/2

The first, shortest, and most approachable of James Joyce’s novels, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man portrays the Dublin upbringing of Stephen Dedalus, from his youthful days at Clongowes Wood College to his radical questioning of all convention. In doing so, it provides an oblique self-portrait of the young Joyce himself. At its center lie questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. Exuberantly inventive in style, the novel subtly and beautifully orchestrates the patterns of quotation and repetition instrumental in its hero’s quest to create his own character, his own language, life, and art: "to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race."



xx
Caroline 

spotlight on: hey the world is falling apart

Hi and welcome to another installation of Spotlight On, which is a monthly series here at Stardust and Words. The rest of the Spotlight posts can be seen here. Today, I thought I would use the Spotlight post to talk about something that I'm sure you guys are all aware of: the utter trash fire that is America right now! Whatever your politics, it's super clear that everything is extremely messy right now, and if you're like me, there is a fair amount of anger and fear just mixed in with your every day existence now. So I figured I'd take to the blog and give some recommendations of books that will not only allow you to escape for a minute from the craziness of the outside world, but also books that are A+ with representation of people and things that this new political landscape threatens. In supporting these books, we are supporting these authors, some of whom stand to lose a lot in this new landscape, but who are still fighting and creating things that are beautiful.

1. The Sun is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon
2. History is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera
3. I'll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
4. The Female of the Species – Mindy McGinnis
5. When the Moon Was Ours – Anna Marie McLemore
6. When We Collided – Emery Lord
7. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
8. Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Graudin
9. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
10. To All the Boys I've Loved Before – Jenny Han
11. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (support it when it comes out – February 28)
12. All American Boys – Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
13. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
14. Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
15. I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

xx
Caroline

history is all you left me: stardust reviews

History is All You Left Me

Adam Silvera

☆☆☆☆

goodreads/b&n/amazon

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.


full review under the cut! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

the bear and the nightingale: stardust arc reviews

The Bear and the Nightingale

Katherine Arden

☆☆☆1/2

goodreads/amazon/b&n

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


full review under the cut! 

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