For today’s post, I’ll be interviewing three lovely book bloggers who are all so talented and inspiring! Jessica, Amber, and Emily run The Book Bratz blog, where they post amazingly detailed book reviews and entertaining bookish blog posts. (You can click the link to read their tag-team blog post!) If you aren’t following their blog now, you definitely should. This post is extra-special today because today is my ONE YEAR blogging anniversary, and The Book Bratz were the first people to welcome me to the blogging community!
This Q&A is different because we each sent each other 10 completely different questions to answer, so you have to visit both of our blogs to see different answers!
Enjoy the Q&A and learning more about The Book Bratz!
1. If you could visit one mythical world (found in a book or movie), where would you go?
Jessica: This is a hard one since I read so much contemporary, but I'd definitely love to work at the publishing company in Sally Thorne's The Hating Game.
Amber: Ketterdam from Six of Crows and cause some havoc with the rest of the gang!
Emily: Gatlin, South Carolina from Beautiful Creatures
2. Do you have a specific book that you read when you just need an escape?
Jessica: I don't actually, because I am the WORST at rereading books. I just can't do it. Not even with my favorite books. It's a terrible trait of mine!
Amber: Not really, I typically have a lot of review copies to go through. So sometimes I’ll read one that I wasn’t planning on reading yet.
Emily: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
3. Where would you like to see your blog at the end of 2019?
Jessica: I'd hopefully like to have made even more close blogging friends, as well as hopefully hitting 6K Twitter followers, of course!
Amber: Honestly? I’m not all too sure. We’ve exceeded so much in the past couple of years that I’m not sure.
Emily: I would love to see us hit an all time high for page views and followers!
4. What are some of your hobbies outside of blogging?
Jessica: I'm really into writing, and starting to get into bullet journaling. I also really love listening to music! (Twenty One Pilots and Jon Bellion are my faves!)
Amber: Outside of blogging I love to play around with makeup (there was a point where I wanted to be a makeup artist!), write and watch a lot of Netflix!
Emily: Ummmmmm, studying? Nursing School has quite literally taken over my life.
5. Which food do you love the most, and which food do you dislike the most?
Jessica: Burritos. I can literally eat them 24/7. I even got published in a literary magazine and dedicated my poem to them. But the two foods I absolutely can't stand are olives and seafood. No real explanation why!
Amber: I LOVE Mexican food. There is the restaurant in my town that serves the best California style Mexican food and I have an extreme soft spot for it. I really really dislike Sweet Potatoes. I don’t know why. I just do!
Emily: My favorite food would probably be anything potato related (fries, hash browns, breakfast potatoes, roasted potatoes.....) I can go on forever. Least favorite is probably Brussel sprouts, ew.
6. If you could meet one celebrity right now, who would it be and why?
Jessica: Jon Bellion! We actually live a few towns over from him, and a lot of his songs reference places we've been or like to hang out...ugh. I love him.
Amber: Ummm... this is a tricky one. I think Prince Harry if he counts. I’ve had the biggest crush on him since forever. But shhhhh! Don’t tell my boyfriend!
Emily: I would love to meet Tyler Joesph and Josh Dun of Twenty Øne Piløts. Their music has helped me through a lot mentally and physically.
7. What’s your favorite genre to read, and your favorite book from that genre?
Jessica: I am an absolute sucker for contemporary romance, and one of my favorites is They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera!
Amber: I have two favorite genres. Fantasy and Sci-fi. I can’t pick a favorite because there are a lot because I really like books by Leigh Bardugo, Astrid Scholte, Crystal Smith, Aime Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Erin Bowman and many many more!
Emily: Contemporary and please don’t make me choose! If I had to, probably anything by Colleen Hoover.
8. The Disney song that’s always stuck in your head?
Jessica: Literally anything from Aladdin, but specifically Never Had a Friend Like Me. One of my favorites that makes me want to dance!
Amber: Anything High School Musical! Forever ingrained into my memory.
Emily: It’s not so much Disney but a DCOM. Introducing Me by Nick Jonas from Camp Rock 2 will always be my jam.
9. If you could give one tip to someone wanting to start a book blog, what would you say?
Jessica: Do it for you and nobody else. There is no recipe to success. We started this blog to talk about books that we liked and never had high expectations or chased stats, and somehow we grew to be as big as we did. And the people that stressed over stats and tried to generate content just for views never seemed to gain as many followers as we did -- I still strongly believe that it's because we focus on putting out content that we love instead of chasing numbers or trying to be on trend to get views. Hopefully that passion comes through in our posts.
Amber: Have fun with it and don’t stress about the numbers. I remember as I New blogger I was easily discouraged by blog stats. They are something that come in time and they aren’t something that is going to happen overnight. Post content that you want to post and not what everyone else thinks you should post. Most importantly be your unique self.
Emily: Have fun! Don’t stress yourself out, it’s all about expressing your love for books so just go with it.
10. What’s your favorite book quote?
Jessica: "Impossible is just an excuse not to try" from Contagion!
Amber: “Better terrible truths than kind lies.” - Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
Emily: “I’ve spent my life folded between the pages of books.” - Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me
11. A very important bonus question…Gale or Peeta?
Jessica: Peeta. Always. 100%. Don't even try to convince me of anything different. I'm not saying your opinions are invalid but I'm strong in my love for that adorable little bread boy.
Amber: Sigh. I have an unpopular opinion on this one as I get older.(I read the trilogy when I was 13 and now I am 20.) Neither? Team Katniss. #girlpower
Emily: PEETA ALL THE WAY
I don’t know about you, but I had the best time reading Jessica, Amber, and Emily’s answers! 😄 Make sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram to get blog updates, and you can also follow their blog straight from their home page!
Thank you for reading today’s post!
THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi
(This book was received for free in exchange for an honest review from St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books).
Roshani Chokshi’s THE GILDED WOLVES is a masterfully written historical fantasy set in pre-industry Paris. It follows the story of Severin and his brilliant accomplices as they search for an ancient artifact that holds the key to Severin’s true inheritance. THE GILDED WOLVES is a captivating, exciting, powerful, and thrilling adventure into a world rooted in real-life truths and stories, and this book is now on my “Best of 2019” list!
(Here’s a short summary from Amazon.com:
It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history--but only if they can stay alive.)
I need to stop gushing about this book long enough for me to write a decent review. Without giving away any spoilers, the plot of THE GILDED WOLVES was very unique. It’s based on the Tower of Babel (a story from the Bible), and Chokshi weaves her own backstories and mythology to go along with that starting point. The final result is an organization that has four different Houses that stemmed from when the Tower was destroyed by God. The world (ancient Paris) the story is set in is lavishly described, and the reader is never wanting for detail. There is the perfect amount of detail in TGW: not too much, not too little. TGW has one of the most intriguing plot lines and settings I’ve read about…it hasn’t been done before, and everything is fresh and exciting.
If you’re a fan of the camaraderie in Six of Crows and the heist action in Ocean’s Eleven, then THE GILDED WOLVES is for you. When I mention SoC, I do want to make it a point not to compare books to each other (or “book bash”), and I only mention other books/movies in my reviews if I think fans of another series or genre will enjoy the book I’m reviewing. If you did enjoy SoC, and want to read a story along those lines + frequent humor and banter, you’ll definitely enjoy TGW.
Now, *rubs hands,* let’s get to the incredible characters.
Folks, I’m here to introduce you to the new squad of 2019.
I instantly fell in love with the characters the most, and I love every one of them equally. Because the characters are so well-written with brilliant descriptions, I connected with each of them. Their individual personalities shine through, and aid in the reading process because you can easily tell which character is speaking. Here’s a quick character list I typed up:
Severin: the serious hotelier who may or may not like Laila…he hasn’t quite decided yet. He takes risks while making sure his crew (especially his brother-figure Tristan) is safe.
Laila: a beautiful dancer for a popular Parisian dance-house who may or may not like Severin…I think she’s decided. She’s also a baker and a fierce woman who stands up for herself.
Enrique: an amazingly funny historian (I laughed at almost all his lines) who is an optimist, but also has mixed feelings about his relationships.
Zofia: a fierce engineer who has OCD and struggles to fit in with everyone else…she’s such a powerful character, and really inspirational.
Hypnos: the dark, mysterious man who is eager to help the group, but carries a secret that he’s not sure if he wants known. (I don’t want to give away more for fear of spoiling him!)
All these characters are SO COOL, and it’s all I can do not to write this in all caps so I can shout their magnificence to you. Each chapter is written from a different characters’ perspective. Some books don’t pull this off too well…there’s always *that* character you don’t enjoy reading about. I am happy to say that each one of the characters in THE GILDED WOLVES was so entertaining, I was always excited for the next chapter because I couldn’t wait to read from another perspective. Honestly, I wish the book was longer; I enjoyed it that much.
While I enjoyed the world-building immensely, I did become confused at times either because of the many artifacts being discussed or keeping up with the fast-paced action scene at the end. Again, like with most of the books I read, it’s nothing a second read-through won’t fix.
I hope I did my best not to spoil anything, but still made you want to read THE GILDED WOLVES! This is such a good book, I wouldn’t ever want to spoil it because you have to read it for yourself. I haven’t ever read any of Roshani Chokshi’s books before, although that will change soon, because after reading this I have to see what other books she’s written. It’s not often I express how genuinely well-written a novel is, especially a YA novel. It seemed like there was the perfect amount of everything in THE GILDED WOLVES; from descriptions, character development, plot twists, setting, and villains! Roshani Chokshi has written a masterpiece that future YA readers will place at the top of the genre’s best.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fantasy, magic, and roguish characters you won’t help but fall in love with.
THE GILDED WOLVES receives 5 stars out of 5.
(You can purchase THE GILDED WOLVES from my Amazon affiliate link below. I make a small commission from your purchase, and every little bit helps!)
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS by Olivia A. Cole
(This book was graciously sent by Olivia A. Cole in exchange for an honest review).
A Conspiracy of Stars is an innovative new YA science fiction novel that follows the journey of Octavia, a girl who wants to uncover the mystery surrounding their planet in order to save their society and all the creatures inhabiting their world. ACOS is brilliantly written, captivating, and once you start this book, it will be hard to stop!
Here’s a short summary taken from Amazon.com:
(Octavia has always dreamed of becoming a whitecoat, one of the prestigious N’Terra scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. So when the once-secretive labs are suddenly opened to students, she leaps at the chance to see what happens behind their closed doors. However, she quickly discovers that all is not what it seems on Faloiv, and the experiments the whitecoats have been doing run the risk of upsetting the humans’ fragile peace with the Faloii, Faloiv’s indigenous people. As secret after disturbing secret comes to light, Octavia finds herself on a collision course with the charismatic and extremist new leader of N’Terra’s ruling council. But by uncovering the mysteries behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family, she threatens to be the catalyst for an all-out war.)
I love books that seem to transport me to a new world, and ACOS does just that. The world-building – as well as the descriptions – are enough to give me a vivid picture of the beautiful world of N’Terra, but not enough to bog down the action. In my opinion, that’s the best kind of writing; losing the pace of the story is sometimes enough to make one not want to finish the book, but that doesn’t happen in ACOS. The whole story is fast-paced and entertaining, and you’ll definitely want to stick around until the end to find out what happens to Octavia, Rondo, Alma, and the rest of the characters.
If you’re a fan of Fantastic Beasts or Jurassic Park, you’ll enjoy A Conspiracy of Stars! The plot focuses on Octavia and her friends being able to finally go to study in the lab they’ve always dreamed of visiting. There, they discover many new creatures. It was great to have a description of each creature; it helped me individualize them and keep them separate from each other. Even though each creature had a description, I did find myself wondering back to what they were when their names were brought back up later in the story. While I was reading along in the book, I thought it would be so neat if in another edition of ACOS there were small illustrations added in the back of the book that gave a vivid picture of the creatures. (Kind of like a mini visual dictionary, with an illustration, the creatures’ names, and small facts about them!) I think that would be a beautiful addition to the book, as well as help keep all the different animals and species straight.
Octavia’s mom is a great scientist, and even though Octavia respects her mother, I like that Octavia wasn’t trying to follow exactly in her mother’s footsteps. I liked that she was making her own path, even if it wasn’t the path she necessarily would have chosen (no spoilers here). Octavia’s dad is a scientist as well, but he is rather mean, and the reader immediately gets the feeling that he’s untrustworthy. While he doesn’t have a good attitude through the book (and he makes some unfortunate decisions), I got the feeling that toward the end, he was regretting his actions and would maybe change in the second book. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I would love to see Octavia finally have a good father-figure in her life. Alma is such a great character – and a good friend to Octavia. I think I liked her the best, and I would *love* to see her have a bigger role in the next book.
Now, onto Rondo. Rondo is a boy that Octavia had generally avoided because he was strange, As the story progresses, we see Octavia’s heart soften and she ends up really liking Rondo. While I like Rondo’s character, I wasn’t really a fan of Octavia and Rondo’s romance. For my tastes, it moved a little too fast. I would have enjoyed seeing their relationship grow over time, instead of it just -*bam*- happening. Honestly, that was the only thing that I didn’t like about ACOS. But, Octavia and Rondo are very sweet, and it’s a nice, mutual romance.
Toward the end of the story, Octavia meets one of the women indigenous to their planet (called the Faloii). The woman enlists the help of Octavia to free her father, who is being held captive by the Council of N’Terra. Octavia realizes that in order to have a truly perfect society, they need to accept the Faloii and let them have control of their lands once more. I really enjoyed reading about the Faloii and learning more about their culture, as well as the way they communicate (via mindspeak).
If you’re looking for an adventure story, political intrigue, vivid landscapes, entertaining characters, and amazing creatures, then ACOS is for you. I would hands-down recommend it for YA fans who don’t want to dive into a world full of science fiction elements right off the bat; I know some sci-fi stories can be confusing at times because of all the new terms and fundamentals involved. A Conspiracy of Stars is a delightful book where the sci-fi terms are easy to understand, but still create that sense of wonder when reading them for the first time. Plus, the cover is simply gorgeous! I really hope this book is an option to vote for on Epic Read's Book Shimmy Awards 2019!
Thank you again, Olivia, for sending the book! I really enjoyed it!
Pick up a copy of A Conspiracy of Stars from Olivia’s website, or from using my Amazon affiliate link below!
A Conspiracy of Stars receives 4.5 stars out of 5.