Thursday, May 26, 2016

Really Short Reviews: Star-Touched Queens and Summer Days

Summer Days and Summer Nights
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Release: May 17, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Review by Rose Red:

How do you review an anthology without spoiling any of the stories? The only way I could think of was to make my review a short one. 

I'm going to honest. I thought Summer Days & Summer Nights was just okay. I probably would have like it more if I had read the companion anthology, My True Love Gave To Me. At least one of the stories in this book was a continuation of the author's story in the companion. I only loved three of the stories. Most of the rest of the stories I thought were good and there was only one that I completely skipped. Several of the stories would have been better if they would have been a little bit longer.

The beautiful thing about this anthology is that it is a diverse collection of stories. It has LGBT couples and mental health and mental conditions like autism and relationships that don't end with a happily ever after. It's quite the diverse collection and there are enough different stories that there should be something for everyone. 

My favorites in this collection were Leigh Bardugo's and Libba Bray's stories. While my least favorite (aka the one I skipped) was the one by Francesca Lia Block. 

I'd definitely recommend picking it up if you're looking for a YA anthology with a diverse set of stories.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  3 / 5 Stars

The Star-Touched Queen
(The Star-Touched Queen #1)
Roshani Chokshi
Release: April 26, 2016
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.

Review by Rose Red:

The Star-Touched Queen was a wonderful read! The writing is straightforward and for once, we have a strong YA heroine who does not turn into a twitterpated mess around the love interest. I adored that the story was heavily influenced by Indian mythology. It was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the typical retellings we see in YA. I also loved that the story is quite lovely and without the drama and logic issues that are prevalent in a lot of YA books recently. Even though it's based upon Indian mythology, there seems to be a bit of influence from the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, in it. The thing that made this book for me is that it wasn't a normal YA tale of love and loss. It was unapologetic in its telling and it had enough detail that it wasn't overly simplistic or info dumpy.

Maya was very down-to-earth heroine and I enjoyed seeing the story unfold through her eyes. She is very brave and uses her intelligence to follow the dictates of her conscience. I loved the demonic horse that acted as a sounding board for Maya and their scenes were probably my favorite part of the book. The love interest wasn't bad either. :) The Indian culture felt authentic in the story from the harems of the Raja to the political squabbling to the reliance on horoscopes. The culture was treated reverently and lovingly and I really enjoyed exploring it through Maya's story.

The writing is smooth and straightforward but has the occasional clunky analogy after a particularly beautiful worded line. The world building was excellent and it was easy to become carried away in the story. This book itself is a stand-alone with a complete story arc but it has a companion novel set to come out next year sometime. I would highly recommend picking it up if you're looking for a out-of-the-norm retelling.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  4 / 5 Stars

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