Blog Tour: Mirage by Somaiya Daud (Review + Giveaway)

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I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for such an amazing book! If you want to check out the other stops of the tour, here’s the tour schedule.

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Book: Mirage (Book #1 in the Mirage series)

Author: Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

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.

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Mirage is a wonderfully written sci-fi story, with amazing characters and a rich setting, that provides a message about the importance of culture and traditions, especially for communities that have had a lot taken from them,  that it’s really important in the times we are living in. 

This is definitely a character driven story, the plot moves really slowly, not a lot of things happen and there’s no that much action. So if you prefer plot drive, action packed books, this may not be for you. BUT if you are like me and prefer character focused books, you’ll really enjoyed this one. I was absolutely captivated by the characters, especially Maram and Amani, the princess and the body double. In one hand, Amani is a relatable and likable character; she isn’t trained to be a fighter, she isn’t great at strategy, she is just a girl that is put in a difficult situation and manages to survive. On the other hand, Maram is cruel and arrogant, but as the story unfolds, her backstory is revealed and it’s easy to see that she is conflicted by a lot of the things that have happened and it’s trapped between what it’s expected of her and who she wants to be. Honestly, she is such a complex character and probably my favorite in this book. 

The romance is very prominent  in this story and, at the beginning, I didn’t know how to feel about it because I thought it was gonna be insta-love, but then as the story progresses, I realized there’s instant attraction, but then there’s enought moments and conversations between the two characters to show why they fell in love. They have a lot in common and they are in similar situations, so they understand each other.

Now, going back to the plot,  it was not the most original and unique plot. It follow the line of a girl from a lower class taken to the palace to perform some kind of task that put her life in risk to protect the conquering queen or king and then becoming friends with people in the palace and later on joining the rebelion.  BUT the fact that it is Moroccan inspired, added the uniqueness that was missing from the plot, there were so many elements of this wolrd, in term of history, religion and traditions that felt new and interesting and especial, because they haven’t been portrait in sci-fi before and that defintely made me enjoy this book more.

Another thing that I think it’s worth mentioning is that this felt a lot more like a fantasy than a Sci-fi book. I think that has to do with the fact that the plot has elements that are common in YA fantasy books and that maybe aren’t as common in Sci-fi. Also, there are mythological creatures and gods in this story and they are given a lot more attention than things like space travel and the technology behind the androids that serve as guards.

Mirage is beautifully written, it has complex and fascinating characters, Moroccan inspired setting and traditions that give it a unique touch, and a  mix between sci-fi and fantasy elements that also make it seem new and exciting. For those reasons I enjoyed my time reading it inmensly. 

Rating: 4,3 stars 

About the author:

SomaiyaDaud-Photo Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut, and is due from Flatiron Books in 8/28/2018

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Giveaway: 

  • Prize: One finished copy of Mirage by Somaiya Daud (USA only)
  • Starts: 8/22/18
  • Ends: 8/30/18
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid (Review+Giveaway)

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I was highly anticipating this book, it is the end of a series that I really enjoyed, but also it revolves around a couple that has been teased for a while and which I had been intrigued by for a long time. So imagine my surpise and my absolute joy when I recieved an email saying that I was getting an arc of this book as part of the blog tour. I was so excited that I felt like I was gonna start crying at my desk while all my coworkers were around me.  I say this to establish that my expectation for this book were extremely high, I’m not sure it enterily met those expectations but I was not disappointed either.

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Title: Marriage of Inconvenience

Author: Penny Reid

Publishing date:  March 6th 2018

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Pages: 510

There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit. Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.
Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity—and heart—all in one piece. Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent—or as trustworthy—as she thought?

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My favorite thing about this book is the main characters, Dan and Kat, and the relationship between them. Dan and Kat are very engaging characters that made me want to keep reading their story. I think Kat is relatable character with her shyness, anxiety and all her little quirks, but also with her caring nature and her strenght. On the other hand, Dan is patient, respectful and caring but also mischivious and funny. They complemented each other quite well and had some really good scenes together.  It was fun to watch their relationship grow as they became closer and as their bond became stronger. Also, the whole marriage of convenience is a trope that I really enjoy.

My second favorite thing about this book is that we got to see the camaraderie and loyalty between the women of the knitting group and their support of Kat throughout this story. They were there to defend her (there’s a scene where the ladies and their boyfriends/husbands confront Kat’s cousin and it’s such a great scene!). Also, they were there to help Kat through a very sad situation that she has to deal with. I think that’s what makes this series so especial to me: it’s about this group of woman supporting, loving and respecting each other throught all the ups and downs of life.

One of my issue with this book was the fact that it had some similar plot elements to other books in the series and since I read those books not so long ago, it felt like it was more of the same and it was a bit repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, there were things I liked: the  pharmaceutical  industry storyline was interesting ( even if it was solved a little too easily) and I think Penny Reid always chooses really thought provoking background themes for her novels. Nonetheless, elements like the kidnapping felt unneccesary and repetitive since it happens in a lot of the books in the series. Other issue I had with this book is that the villain of the story was not that smart, was not that interesting  and was pretty much one-dimentional.

Overall, the characters and the relationship between them is what makes this series , but particulary this book, so magical. Thanks to that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even if I did have some issues with the plot.  Before finishing this review, I just wanted to mention that I really, really, really want a longer version of the epilogue to be publish, please!!

Rating : 3,8 stars
If you want a signed set of the entire Knitting in the City Series by Penny Reid, you can participate in the giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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