[Blog Tour] Mirage by Somaiya Daud


ABOUT

Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1 
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: August 28th 2018

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.

I was sent an advance copy from the publisher as part of the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read an excerpt of this book yet? If not, you can find a long excerpt right here!



Mirage follows Amani, a girl from a backwater moon and from a lineage of farmers. She is living under the cruel and oppressive regime of the Vathek empire and it is difficult for someone such as Amani who has dreams and aspirations larger than her farming background and her place in the Vathek regime. On the celebration of her coming of age, the Vathek attack and kidnap Amani to the royal palace where she learns that she is identical to the half Vathek princess of the empire. Princess Maram is cruel and unloved by her people as the Vath are, but the Vath do not see her as truly one of their own either. In order to protect Maram in public, Amani is to play as her double and be ready to die for her. As she is forced into this role, she learns that she can find beauty in the place she is trapped in. But she must not become complacent, as her failure leads to death.

This book is beautiful in the way that it's written with the lush poetry and the incredible world building. Seriously, it's really easy to tell that a lot of thought and time was put into fleshing out the world of Mirage. We learn about the occupation and oppression of Amani's people and the way that they are prevented from flourishing. We learn about the differences between the Vathek and the Andalaan peoples. Where the Vathek are cruel and cold, the Andalaan thrive in poetry and coyness. As Amani loves poetry and aspires to write great poetry herself, there is a large emphasis on it throughout the book. The world that Daud builds in this book is really great and lush.

While this book does take place on various planets and moons, it feels less like a science fiction novel and more of a fantasy novel. You would barely know that it was a science fiction novel if it weren't for the brief mentions of travelling to different planets or Amani having come from a moon. I'm not complaining of course, because I do love a good fantasy. I just wish it had slightly more emphasis on "yes this is happening in SPACE".

Amani is a dreamer and of course dreamers do tend to be romantic. Princess Maram is betrothed to Idris, the last surviving heir of his Andalaan tribe. His family died in the Purge of the rebels as his family was one of the ones who lead the revolt. As a result, he was promised to Maram. He grew up speaking his native tongue of Kushaila, but because he had to grow up in the Vathek courts and learn to survive in them, he has lost the ability to do so. His situation is tragic and so is his budding romance with Amani. Their time spent with one another was really one of my favourite parts of this book.

While this book is beautiful and the world well thought out, I had a problem while reading the book where it felt like Amani was never in any real danger. Nothing terrible happened for her as she played Maram and as she made some moves that she thought were best. The entire book, I was waiting for that other shoe to drop and for Amani to go through a stumble here or there. I just didn't feel that edge of the seat, heart pounding feeling of fear for Amani's situation.

Overall, Mirage is a beautifully crafted novel with clear inspirations and wonderful world building. I'm very interested in seeing where Amani will go next and how she will deal with her situation. Also, seeing more of Idris and Amani together hopefully!


You can find the rest of the blog tour at the following stops!




Happy Reading!
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Seafire: Ladies Kicking Ass and Taking Names


ABOUT

Title: Seafire
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Series: Seafire #1 
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: August 28th 2018 

Synopsis:
After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all...or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?


Indigo Teen Staff Pick -- Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart


ABOUT

Title: Grace and Fury 
Author: Tracy Banghart 
Series: Untitled #1 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 31st 2018 

Synopsis:
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace - someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

[Blog Tour] Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi + Excerpt!

Hello everyone!! I have some exciting stuff for y'all today!

Thanks to the lovely people at St. Martin's Press, I got to read the Star Touched Stories early and I get to share an excerpt from the first story in the collection of series!

Here's some information about the book and also my thoughts on it!


ABOUT

Title: Star-Touched Stories
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star Touched Queen #2.5
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 7th 2018
Goodreads Page

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

Death and Night

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

Poison and Gold

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

Rose and Sword

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

I received an advance copy of the novel as part of the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.


The Star Touched Stories is such a wonderful and beautiful addition to the series that Roshani has written. I'll admit that I don't remember much of The Star Touched Queen so reading the first story, Death and Night, I saw it with fresh eyes. As I continued to read it, more of the first book came back to me and it's a really great standalone story, but it does add a lot to The Star Touched Queen. Death and Night switch points of view as we get to watch their courtship and how their relationship blossomed.

Poison and Gold is about Aasha, our beloved vishakanya who can kill a man with her poisonous touch. It's the story of life after A Crown of Wishes as she works to become Vikram and Gauri's spy mistress. She is sent to train with another spy mistress where she faces her own insecurities and grapples with her vishakanya abilities. She also might find love along the way *winky face*. Of course, since this short story follows Aasha, Vikram and Gauri are kind of there only tangentially, but b o i when they make an appearance, it is banter-y and full of love. I LOVE THEM.

The last short story, Rose and Sword, kind of broke me. In the best ways of course. We're seeing through the eyes of Hira, a princess of Bharata-Ujijain. As her sister faces her approaching wedding, little Hira doesn't understand why her sister has changed and she pays a visit to her grandmother who recounts a tale of a Queen whose bridegroom died on the eve of their wedding. CAN YOU GUESS WHO SHE'S TALKING ABOUT AND WHO THE GRANDMA IS???? This chapter gave me all sorts of Red River's epilogue chapter vibes and I had so many feels as the story is told. It gives my faves a great ending and solid wrap up to their story.

The anthology is a wonderful addition to the series and it is very clearly Roshani's swan song for these characters. It wraps up all their story lines and gives us just that smidgen more content to savour. If you loved The Star Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes, this collection of stories is a must read.




Now are you ready for the excerpt????


HERE IT IS:





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched series and Aru Shah and The End of Time, book one in the Pandava series.

She grew up in Georgia, where she acquired a Southern accent but does not use it unless under duress. She has a luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She is the 2016 finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and a 2016 Locus finalist for Best First Novel. Her short story, The Star Maiden, was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.


Happy Reading!
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