Posts By: Rashika

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Good to be Reunited With Some Beloved Characters: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

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Good to be Reunited With Some Beloved Characters: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi
Star-Touched Stories
Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2.5
Genre: Short Stories, YA
Publication date: August 7th, 2018
by St. Martin's Press

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Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes. 

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram's new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love. 

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?
-A copy was provided by St. Martin's Press for review-

Roshani Chokshi has already earned herself a place on my auto-read list so it is unsurprising that even though I am a shit head who hasn’t read A Crown of Wishes, I still needed to read Star-Touched Stories. Chokshi has a distinguished writing style that just calls out to me, I guess.

Short stories set in a favorite world are always fun and I love how Chokshi really does somehow manage to bring the Star-Touched queen world to life even through this short snippets into the lives of beloved characters. WHICH. I know I’ve read Star-Touched Queen so I have some context but its been two years so I really didn’t remember much and yet, THE STORIES WERE SO WELL WRITTEN that I didn’t really need to remember much.

Of course, two of the three stories are about characters from A Crown of Wishes so… I wouldn’t have context even if I had amazing memory but it did make me want to read the book EVEN MORE. I just have a very long tbr so I keep putting off reading all the sequels I’ve wanted to read for ages. (excuses, I know. I am a terrible person)

SO.  Here is the low-down on the shorts themselves.

‘Death and Night’ follows the first meeting on our main characters from The Star-Touched Queen: their playful flirtations, romance and courtship. It is so easy to immediately root for these two because they are both so deserving of that happiness.

‘Poison and Gold’ follows the the story of Aasha, a Vishakanya who is, in oversimplified terms, having an identity-crisis. She no longer feels quite like a vishakanya or a human being and hasn’t really found an inbetween that works for her. When Gauri and Vikram recommend her to be the next poison-master she finds her calling and a potential mate (who also just happens to hate vishakanyas.)

‘Rose and Sword’ shows a grown up Gauri telling the story of how Vikram died and was brought back to life to her granddaughter. We get to see the world that Maya now calls home and also just see what has become of some beloved characters.

Yes. I have a favorite story and yes it is ‘Poison and Gold’ but also, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE stories is absolutely lovely because Chokshi is an amazing writer and I will be shocked the day I read something she writes and don’t immediately fall head-over-heels in love. Anyway, so yeah, if you’re a fan of the books, read the stories. THEY ARE WORTH IT.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

The Best Romance You’ll Read this Year: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

The Best Romance You’ll Read this Year: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted by on 08/22/2018 • 1 Comment

Earlier this year, I read and fell head over heels for A Princess in Theory. It was definitely one of my top reads of the year and when I dove into A Duke by Default, I expected to love it but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to love it more than A Princess in Theory.

For someone who has been reviewing for six years, it is quite baffling how easily words can escape me when it comes to a truly good book but you know, there you have it.

A Duke by Default is probably THE romance novel of the year for me. The one that has swept me off my feet and even a month after reading it, I cannot stop thinking…

The Romance Podcast You Have Been Waiting For: One True Pairing

The Romance Podcast You Have Been Waiting For: One True Pairing

Posted by on 08/06/2018 • 1 Comment

Pop culture, juicy romance and hilarious conversations come together in the recently Cosmopolitan featured One True Pairing podcast! Join Erica Martirano and Marissa Sangiacomo as they talk romance and revisit their favorite couples from across TV, movies, books, and pop culture. From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Ross and Rachel, this roller coaster of bad boys, break-ups, and HEAs (Happily Ever Afters) combines love, feminism, sex, and relationships with the gossip you love.

Romance Awareness Month Q&A With the Hosts

Can you introduce yourselves and tell me how you got into romance?

Marissa: I’m Marissa Sangiacomo and I’m a marketing manager at St. Martin’s Press where I work on romance and commercial women’s fiction. I’ve loved romance novels ever since I was young and would share books with my…

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Posted by on 07/19/2018 • 0 Comments

For someone who has had Vikki Wakefield on her tbr for over half a decade, it has taken me a surprisingly long time to finally pick up a book by her. I went in with the expectation that I would at least like it but ended up being surprised in pleasant ways.

OZ YA, in my opinion, tends to be much grittier than US YA so its always refreshing to find myself lost within the pages of an OZ YA. Ballad for a Mad Girl is many things. Its partly a paranormal murder mystery, partly an exploration of mental health and partly a coming of age.

Grace Foley is a bit of a prankster. She takes risks few people are willing to take and has a whole lot of fun…

Giveaway: Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Giveaway: Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Posted by on 07/16/2018 • 10 Comments

Hi guys! We are huge fans of Paula Stokes over here so we’re really honored and excited to be bringing you a giveaway for Paula’s latest book! It’s a return to mystery and it sounds amazing! Turning over to Paula now!

Paula: Hi peeps 🙂 A big thank you to Rashika and Giselle for having me on Xpresso Reads to talk about my forthcoming mystery, HIDDEN PIECES, releasing on Aug 28. Of course there is a giveaway, but first here’s a little info about the book in case you’re unfamiliar.

Character Profiles

Embry:

Embry Woods is an 18-year-old girl who likes photography and the ocean, but isn’t sure what she’s going to do after she graduates from high school. Her mom is recovering from breast cancer, and even…

Imperfect but 100% Lovable: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Imperfect but 100% Lovable: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Posted by on 07/11/2018 • 3 Comments

So, even though When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my most anticipated books of 2017 and I winded up with two/three copies of it, I actually never ended up reading it. Of course, Sandhya Menon is a champ and regardless of whether or not I had read When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle, With Love was already on my TBR and most anticipated for 2018. Of course, May went back, Twinkle came out and I still hadn’t read it because that’s WHO I AM. A PROCRASTINATOR. But. then. I decided to do a thing. I decided to read the GODDAMN BOOK and it was absolutely, 100% worth it. 

I think it is worth it to mention that I found that Twinkle wasn’t as easy to get into. It’s written exclusively in letters so it…

Amazing Secondary Characters: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Amazing Secondary Characters: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted by on 07/09/2018 • 1 Comment

Sarah MacLean is one of my favorite romance authors and after finishing The Day of the Duchess. I was eagerly anticipating the start of a new series and some new characters to fall in love with. I think the best way to state my relationship to this book is that while I wasn’t as invested in the storyline of the two main characters, I was incredibly invested in the overarching plot of the series and the placement of this book within it. I LOVED the secondary characters and I am eagerly awaiting their stories in the future installments. 

SO. I didn’t love Wicked and the Wallflower but I am in love with the The Bareknuckle Bastards series?? The question marks at the end because I feel like that is a confusing statement and…

8 Anthologies Out in 2018 You Should Have On Your TBR

8 Anthologies Out in 2018 You Should Have On Your TBR

Posted by on 07/06/2018 • 2 Comments

This year feels like we’ve seen the highest number of anthology releases. I keep finding them and adding them to my TBR because SO many sound SO good. I decided to do a short list of some of the ones I’ve found over the course of the year in case you missed them! 

1. Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles

2. All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

3. Habibi: A Muslim Love Story Anthology

4. How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

5. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

6. Fresh Ink: An Anthology

7. Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

8. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the…