ARC Review & Giveaway: The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley

 Scholastic/Amazon/Barnes and Noble/BAM!/Bookmark It/IndieBound/Powell’s/Goodreads

review

***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and Scholastic

The Princess and the Page is a magical mystery that combines an intriguing glimpse into French history with imaginative sleuthing skills fit for any modern day Nancy Drew. 

I don’t normally review children’s or middle grade books on my blog, but when I heard that Christina Farley had one coming out, well, she’s one of my go-to authors. Somehow she always manages to put a twist on history, folklore, and culture to make it captivating for any reader, i.e. her Gilded series, which is AMAZING. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to review this book that is sure to be a favorite of any tenacious young girls and boys with a knack for mysteries and a love of writing. 

The Princess and the Page is a blend of history, fairy tale, and fantasy. The castle and historical events are real and the author does a wonderful job discussing the history and her own experience visiting the castle at the back of the book. The way the history swirled into the mystery made me ask questions and dive into the history mentioned. I loved the tragic unhappily ever after aspect of Gabrielle and Henry IV. It was gutting and yet, balanced with Keira’s heroic efforts to change the past.

The concept of Word Weavers is awesome. I love the idea of bringing fantasy to life with words and altering history. It truly shows the power words have from the page first and how they resonate into real life, spreading from reader to reader, and everyone the reader came into contact with. Words have power. They can alter perspectives, change lives, and sometimes destroy them. Keira learns this the hard way, she makes mistakes, and puts people in dire situations with her reckless use of her power. Honestly, I thought this was the best part of the book. Teaching kids that what they say, what they write, and how they use their words in every manner has consequences.

The mystery was compelling. Keira uses her Nancy Drew-channeled detective skills to make observations, find clues, and uncover mysteries. She has lists of suspects, thoughts, and ideas that guide the reader and force them to come up with guesses of their own. The story is super interactive.

Characters, down to the fleeting secondaries, have loud and memorable personalities. Bella has so much sass and confidence, it’s remarkable. She’s mature, goal-oriented, and still feels like a little girl with big dreams. Though I have my doubts that any adult would give her that much power with a credit card. Chet is devious, playful, and always getting himself into trouble. He lives for adventure and leaps into danger. He livened up the story and won over my heart. 

Some of the plot points were a little oversimplified and resolved quickly, but that may be usual for books geared towards a younger audience. 

Overall, the story is didactic, inspires courage, confidence, and never giving up. Keira makes mistakes, she faces challenges, and she continues to fight for her dreams. That’s a heroine anyone can get behind. 

 
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author

CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the bestselling Gilded series. Prior to that, she worked as an international teacher and at a top secret job for Disney where she was known to scatter pixie dust before the sun rose. When not traveling the world or creating imaginary ones, she spends time with her family in Clermont, Florida with her husband and two sons where they are busy preparing for the next World Cup, baking cheesecakes, and raising a pet dragon that’s in disguise as a cockatiel. You can visit her online at ChristinaFarley.com.
 
 

CONTINUE THE BOOK TOUR

Mar. 23th – Ana Loves Books
Mar. 24thYA Book Madness
March 25th – Literary Rambles
March 27th – Twinning for Books
March 28th – Mundie Kids
Mar. 29thAll Things Christine
Mar. 30thYA Book Divas
Mar. 31stWord Spelunking
Apr. 3rdMine of Books
Apr. 4th The AP Book Club
Apr. 5th Middle Grade Ninja



giveaway

 
One (1) lucky winner will receive:
 
$25 gift card to their favorite book vendor. Giveaway open internationally. Enter below or HERE.
 

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Magical reading, 

Jordan

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Brazen-Christina Farley

BRAZEN cover

Today we’re celebrating the release of BRAZEN by Christina Farley! BRAZEN is the third and final book in the Gilded series about a sixteen-year old girl who must use her martial art skills and wits to save her family, friends, and country from an evil Korean god.

To learn more about this series, visit the Gilded Series website. Watch GILDED’s book trailer here!

Be sure to pick up the letter for this stop at the end of this post to earn extra points in the Kindle Fire or $50 Amazon gift card giveaway! Collect all the letters during the blog tour to spell out the secret message to earn more points.

review
*** I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author 🙂 
From the beginning of this series, I fell in love with the rich Korean culture and myths that leapt off the pages and made reading magical again. The balance of light and dark, the lies, the danger, and suspense all culminate in an explosive and unexpected finale. 
PROS:
  • Jae has come so far from the sort of timid girl we were  introduced to. The fate of the world rests in her hands, her love for her heritage, her culture, and the legacy of her family propel her through dark and harrowing times. Jae is faced with horrific decisions, she’s incredibly real, she makes mistakes, and at her heart is a fierce young woman with her heart on the line asking to be loved. 
  • A dizzying combination of suspense, matrial arts, legend and Korean gods, the beautiful, structured portrait of South Korea interwines with the etheral, whimiscal worlds of the “good” gods and the sadistic, twisted one of Kud. 
  • Some parts are edge-of-you-seat thrill rides mixed with BA fight scenes and epic magical battles. Others are moments of heartache and loss. As Jae collides with her past, her sacrifices become more raw, more painful. She starts to wonder if what she gave up was worth it? Jae is resourceful and courageous, she butts heads with the gods and refuses to back down, and while she can’t be sure of her choices, she questions and I love tha about her, she won’t go down without a fight.
  • The tension between Jae and Kud is suprising and a little horrifying. Humanity is at odds with knowledge. Their antagonistic, playful, and yes, sometimes violent interactions were a twist that had me questioning what would happen next.
  • Marc and the other warriors are full of awesome traditions and the keepers of history. As if that’s not cool enough, their marital arts skills are on point. Marc is at war with himself. His history with Jae, the wounds that are still fresh, and feelings that never melted away make him choose a side in an impossible situation. Moments between Jae and Marc are complex BUT SWOONY. 
 CONS:
  • Parts were action after action in style and it felt a bit robotic. Especially the first few chapters but as the story progressed, things flowed much better. 
auth
CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the Gilded series, a YA contemporary fantasy series set in Korea. GILDED was nominated for Korea’s 2014 Morning Calm, Ohio’s 2015 Buckeye award, and the Tome’s It List. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. Christina’s adventures sparked her to write stories, infusing the real world with fantasy. Currently she writes from home in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown.


To celebrate the release of BRAZEN, Christina is giving away a Kindle Fire (US only) and a $50 Amazon gift card (international). The letter for this stop is _E__Collect all the letters from the blog tour to earn more points!

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Jordan

ARC Review & Giveaway: Silvern-Christina Farley

SILVERN final coverGoodreads/Amazon/BAM!/Indiebound/Barnes & Noble

YA Fantasy

Release Date: September 23, 2014

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via the author and Elana Johnson

Praise for GILDED, the first book in the series:

“An amazing contemporary fantasy that explores the vast legends of Korea, this richly detailed novel kept me turning the pages well into the night. Jae Hwa starts off as a strong character and ends as a noble one, using both her brains and her brawn to win the day–she’s exactly the kind of girl YA literature needs.”

~from Beth Revis, NY Times Bestselling author of Across the Universe series 

“Farley brings South Korea’s fascinating culture and mythology into vivid detail in this shining debut, and Jae is a compelling heroine. An exotic, thrilling read, GILDED had me utterly entranced!” 

                        ~from Jessica Khoury, author of ORIGIN and VITRO

cooltext1648529215 copyJae Hwa Lee has destroyed Haemosu, the dangerous demi-god that held her ancestors captive, and now she’s ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Then the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. Jae escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it.

But Kud is stronger and more devious than Haemosu ever was. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.

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4/5 Stars

“‘Not so fast, Fighter Girl. As enticing as this food is, it gains no entrance here.’ He cups my chin with his hand. ‘It’ll have to be something more lasting than that.’ Then his lips are on mine, and the bag of food slips to the floor, forgotten. I drink in his kiss, long and soft. He pulls me closer and kisses my forehead, as if he doesn’t want to ever let me go. ‘I missed you,’ he whispers in my ear.”

PROS:

  • Having read Gilded only yesterday, the story is fresh and alive in my mind, and I can without a doubt say that out of the two, the suspense and violence in this book was greater. There’s a spooky, almost carnivalesque quality to all the mythical creatures that’s reminiscent of Spirited Away. They’re sinister, foul beings with the desire to kill and corrupt. The descriptions are graphic and some of these monsters are downright horrifying.
  • The battle scenes were epic. Christina Farley knows how to write sword play and movement as if you were in the room watching it in live action. It’s brilliant and breathtaking how she paints the straining muscles, the agony, and the swift lines of the weapons as they collide with their target. 
  • Jae is one seriously BA warrior princess. She’s limber, packs a crazy punch, and will attack without warning. The way she tackles these grotesque creatures, dodging fangs and throwing off injury is astounding. Jae is strong and courageous, she will never accept defeat and makes huge sacrifices to save and protect her loved ones. Jae’s life is never as important as her family and friends and she will take down anybody be it an immortal or bloodthirsty dragon to keep them safe. Jae is also fairly complex. She’s torn between the worlds of a simple mortal girl who yearns for normalcy and the power that comes with being chosen to combat an evil in the form of an entity. Jae is drawn to and tempted by the Spirit World and that magnetism is hard to resist. 
  • I loved the uncertainty of the outcome. It was terrifying, nail-biting, and gruesome as Jae and her friends fought Kud and his lackeys. The suspense will near kill you as thing begin to look more and more grim. The final battle was leave you in a flurry of emotional chaos. The urge to punch something, to cry, to hate is so strong that you’re unsure which emotion to embrace. 
  • Marc. Marc is just perfect. He’s protective and sweet, and a whole lot hotter in this book. He’s been working out and his sword-fighting skills are enough to make any red-blooded girl swoon. The way he is with Jae, so gentle and playful yet encouraging and appreciative of how strong she is. It’s like he’s in awe of her. 
  • The Spirit World continues to enchant and scare. It fluctuates between dazzling beauty and nightmarish decay. 
  • The juxtaposition between North and South Korea makes the reader think and question, it brings awareness to humanitarian efforts needed in war-torn countries that many of us (it’s sad to say) tend to glance over. 
  • A plot twist that will leave you reeling. There’s just enough doubt to question everything.
  • Kang-dae is sexy. He’s flirty with a hint of mystery and that motorcycle, he sure knows how to make an entrance.

CONS:

  • I’ve never been to South Korea but the constant description of smell as kimchi was redundant and got a little annoying.
  • The folklore, specifically the story of Bari and the 9 dragons that guard the waterfall wasn’t as flushed out as it could have been. The connection to Bari and how her fate aligns with Jae’s was loose and it felt as though something was missing. This story arch wasn’t solid as a foundation and sort of collapsed or was forgotten at some points in the book. There were many questions left unanswered.

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Author Christina FarleyWebsite/YouTube/Facebook/Tumblr/Goodreads/Twitter

CHRISTINA FARLEY, author of Gilded was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. She taught at international schools in Asia for ten years, eight of which were in the mysterious and beautiful city of Seoul, Korea that became the setting of Gilded. Currently she lives in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown. Gilded is her first novel. For more details, check out her website at www.christinafarley.com. Christina holds a master’s degree in education and has taught for eighteen years. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading, 

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