Review: The Black Key – Amy Ewing

Review: The Black Key – Amy EwingThe Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
on October 4th 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

I started on the journey of The Lone City (The Jewel, The White Rose, and The Black Key) in 2014 not really knowing what to expect. I had just gone on a binge read of The Selection series and I needed more book crack. To be honest I picked up The Jewel because of the cover. I’m not going to lie. It had a pretty dress and I just finished a series that had pretty dress covers. Thankfully it 100% worked because I fell in love with the story and the characters and the unexpected twists that lead to The White Rose and once again being sucked in. And luckily, The Black Key followed suite. I didn’t love it as much as books 1 and 2, but it really was a satisfying ending for a series I was very immersed in.

I can’t really say too much without giving away some of the plot twists of the other two books so this part is going to be very very vague. What I can tell you is that I loved the changes and the growth that happened for Violet. In the beginning she was so naïve about life and the world surrounding her. She was sheltered and unsure about everything. But by the end she was so strong and self-assured. She still made mistakes and didn’t always do what was the best thing, but she did do what she thought was the best at the time of the decision. She really grew up as the trilogy progressed and that was by far the best part of the series as a whole. I also loved how she was willing to be a leader. She took a ragtag group of people and made something out of them. It was very reminiscent of the final season on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it really worked in this story.

The other thing I liked was the gender switch that took place a lot through this series. Instead of a woman acting as the role of “escort” it was actually the role of men to play that part, to be the (for lack of a better word) whore. That was actually refreshing. And it was refreshing to see Violet, the woman, be the one telling Ash, her companion, that he couldn’t do something so that he would be safe. That doesn’t happen a lot in books. Stereotypical gender roles are almost always followed so I love that Ewing went a different route.

Basically, I can’t believe this series is over. It has been 2 years that I have been wrapped up in this world that Amy Ewing created and now it is over. I’m half sad and half satisfied, but really I just want more Ash and Violet in my life. Okay and all the other fantastic characters, and Amy’s writing. I don’t think that is too much to ask. Pick up this series if you’re looking for something entertaining to read.

Reviews: The Jewel || The White Rose

Continue Reading

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)

Over the summer I did two separate posts (HERE and HERE) about books On my Radar. Sadly I wasn’t that great with my August post, but such is the way of things. I still plan to read those…I hope…but I have 5 more books to add to that list. Now these I really hope to get done in October/early November, but we shall see:

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
on October 4th 2016
Amazon, Goodreads

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Published by Scholastic Press
Amazon, Goodreads

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories -- of parents, children, love, life, and self -- are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence -- before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Amazon, Goodreads

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Amazon, Goodreads

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Published by Scholastic Inc.
Amazon, Goodreads

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What are the books on your radar?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Blog Tour: The Black Key – Amy Ewing (Top 10 + Giveaway)

bk

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Amy Ewing’s final book in the The Lone City trilogy, The Black Key. I have been a fan of this series (and Amy) since the beginning so I am very happy to take part in this tour and share one of Amy’s top 10 lists.

I had given Amy 3 options to pick from and I must admit I’m happy she went with the one she did!

Amy’s Top 10 Favorite Fictional Boys!

Because fictional boys are the best.

bk110. Legolas from The Lord of the Rings. Yes, Aragorn is also sexy as hell, but I always loved Legolas. Maybe because he’s sensitive and can commune with nature. Maybe because of his badass bow and arrow skills and his amazing hair.

9. Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights. He’s a classic bad boy with a heart of gold and the way he looks at Lyla Garrity makes me weak in the knees.

8. St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. Not only is St. Clair funny and smart with a sexy accent, but he is shorter than Anna. As a tall girl, this made me so happy.

bk27. Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier). Is it wrong that I like totally tortured guys with a dark past?

6. Khalid from the Wrath and the Dawn. See explanation for #7…

5. Dr. Reid from Criminal Minds. First of all, yes, I admit it, I love Criminal Minds. Call it a weird guilty pleasure. And I find a super genius nerd with an eidetic memory and long crazy hair to be extremely sexy.

bk34. Edward Cullen from Twilight. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but Edward Cullen made me swoon and I’m standing by that.

3. Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but I don’t care. Stefan Forever. Also he’s who I (physically) based Ash on.

2. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games. Peeta is sweet and sensitive and could make me bagels in the morning. I never understood the attraction to Gale when there was Peeta. True story: being single in New York can be hard, so sometimes I take out my battered copy of The Hunger Games and just read the Peeta parts. Peeta makes everything better.

bk41. Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. I feel he requires no explanation. Just…Jon Snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blog Tour: The Black Key – Amy Ewing (Top 10 + Giveaway)The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
on October 4th 2016
Amazon, Goodreads

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Amy Ewing

Amy Ewing earned her MFA in Writing for Children at The New School and received her BFA at New York University. The Jewel started off as a thesis project and became her debut novel. She lives in New York City. You can visit Amy online at www.amyewingbooks.com or on Twitter @AmyEwingBooks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tour Schedule

Week One:
9/26/2016- The Cover Contessa– Interview
9/27/2016- Once Upon a Twilight– Excerpt
9/28/2016- Take Me Away To A Great Read– Guest Post
9/29/2016- Andi’s ABCs– 10’s Post
9/30/2016- A Dream Within A Dream– Interview

Week Two:
10/3/2016- Lisa Loves Literature Excerpt
10/4/2016- Literary Meanderings– Guest Post
10/5/2016- Fantasy Book Critic– 10’s Post
10/6/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
10/7/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book– Excerpt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE JEWEL & THE WHITE ROSE. US Only.

Save

Save
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Books: The Jewel || The White Rose

Continue Reading

Blog Tour: The White Rose – Amy Ewing (Giveaway)

wr1

The White Rose by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City, #2
Published by HarperTeen
on October 6th 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Author
Amazon, Goodreads

Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can't escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel's glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

Book series worry me. You read the first book and are wowed by the addictiveness, by the story, by the characters. First books are new and different and can easily pull you in. You have the beginning of a romance, the beginning of the story, the beginning of everything. But a first books leads to a second book which can sometimes not live up to the expectations built by book one. Luckily for The White Rose that was not the case. Amy Ewing delivered and delivered it precisely.

The White Rose picks up where The Jewel ended. Violet is on the run after all hell broke loose when she and Ash were discovered. Now Violet, Ash and Violet’s best friend Raven are being helped by unexpected allies to get out of the Jewel and to a mystery house in the Farm. But as the 3 make it closer and closer to safety they all learn things about themselves and each other that could change everything.

action

Holy cow was there action in The White Rose. The book moved fast. Very fast, but not so fast that you had no idea what was actually going on. Basically it moved fast in the way that the story progressed. There was a lot of information about the past and what it meant for the present and Violet specifically, but it wasn’t overwhelming. All the action and information did was make me more and more invested in the plot and Amy’s narrative. Plus you can never go wrong with a good rebellion in a story. 😉

backdrop

The thing I like the most about the setting of this series is that they almost play a character themselves. The Jewel is a very vibrant place where the most colorful and powerful people live. While the Smoke and the Farm are the working sectors. Just the names of these places alone can tell you what they are about and that is what I love about this story. First names and last names and places tell a story all by themselves and leave you with an image in your head that is clear and easy to pinpoint.

characters

There is no denying what brings me back more and more for The Lone City series, the characters. I just love them. Violet is so naïve yet she is learning how things really work in the world and by learning she is growing. Raven hasn’t had it easy at all yet she continues on even with the struggles she faces on a daily basis. And Ash, oh my Ash. I just love him. He is different than any male character I have come across as he is the one with the “improper” job but he did what he had to do for his family. He struggles a lot in The White Rose for his place in all of this and his place with Violet, but they are understandable troubles and I love him even more for it. And don’t even get me started on Lucien and Garnet. They are two eggs I would love to crack and see what they are made of. 😉

final

I love this series. I love the story. I love the characters. I love the setting. I love the author. I can’t help it Amy has sucked me in and sucked me in good. She has tormented me with endings that are just not fair and yet I come back for more. Seriously I can’t wait for the last part of this addictive story.

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

About Amy Ewing

Amy Ewing earned her MFA in Writing for Children at The New School and received her BFA at New York University. The Jewel started off as a thesis project and became her debut novel. She lives in New York City. You can visit Amy online at www.amyewingbooks.com or on Twitter @AmyEwingBooks.

 

giveaway

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE WHITE ROSE. US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

  Week One: 9/28/2015- Seeing Double In Neverland– Interview 9/29/2015- Moonlight Gleam Reviews– Review 9/30/2015- A Book and a Latte– Guest Post 10/1/2015- Dark Faerie Tales– Interview 10/2/2015- Fiktshun– Review   Week Two: 10/5/2015- Andi’s ABCs– Review 10/6/2015- Once Upon a Twilight– Guest Post 10/8/2015- Two Chicks on Books Interview 10/9/2015- Fiction Fare– Review

Continue Reading

Review: The Jewel – Amy Ewing

 

Review: The Jewel – Amy EwingThe Jewel by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Published by HarperTeen
on September 2nd 2014
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

What the what was that??? Holy crap I have new book crack.

That was my immediate thought after I finished The Jewel. Which basically summed up my thoughts on the whole book. Simply put, I’m in love!

I was first attracted to The Jewel when I saw the cover. With The Selection series “ending” I knew I was going to need a new book I was addicted to. And when I saw the dress on the cover I hoped The Jewel would fill that void. Then I read what it was about and I was intrigued. I was not a fan of The Handmaids Tale so I was leery since surrogacy was a huge theme in both books, but I wasn’t ready to back off. And thank goodness I didn’t. This book was just amazing! I was hooked right off the start.

The Jewel is about Violet, a teenager that has been tested for certain abilities and forced into surrogacy. When Violet reaches a certain age she is auctioned off to the royals that live in The Jewel and forced to carry a child for the woman that buys her. With all choices taken away from her Violet has resigned herself to the life she must live of abuse and invisibility. That is until she meets a boy that changes everything. As Violet learns more about The Jewel and the royals and gets closer to the guy she shouldn’t her world unravels in a way she never expected leaving her not knowing who to trust and how she will survive.

What really pulled me into The Jewel was the concept. The idea that these poor girls had no say over their bodies, that they became property to these rich women, was both interesting and disgusting. My heart completely ached for Violet. Not all was she taken from everything she knew but she was no longer in control of her own life or her own body. But even with everything against her Violet was still herself. She refused to lose her personality or her drive. She maintained her compassion for others and wasn’t afraid to take a chance. Especially when it came to Ash.

Oh Ash, what a complicated story with Ash. First he is just adorable. He did this half smirk, try to hide a smile thing and I swooned. He was just enough parts innocent and arrogant and he was a risk taker for things that mattered. But what really fascinated me about Ash was his job. His character wasn’t in a job that is typically connected with the male sex. I thought Ewing’s choice to go this way was interesting and a little gutsy. It switched things up and made it fresh and interesting. Plus his chemistry with Violet, insta or not, was spot on. The two of them yearned to want to feel love and to be wanted and not to just be a piece of property that was sold and passed around like they had no feelings or emotions. They both just wanted to be considered in decisions regarding their emotions and their bodies and connected so profoundly because of that. They gave me the tummy flutters guys, tummy flutters!

Anyway, I was basically addicted to The Jewel. It had a compelling plot, great characters and interesting developments that left my mouth hanging open and my heart pounding. I was invested and that’s thanks to the amazing narrative Amy Ewing created. I wanted to finish but I knew finishing would suck because I would want more. And more I want. Get on that Ms. Ewing, get on that.

Side note: Pay attention to the character names. It says something about each person that I found pretty cool.

Also, I think this is the first time that I have liked the US cover more than the UK cover. That never seems to happen lately.

jeweluk

 

Continue Reading