Tag Archive | Andrew Shvarts

REVIEW: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Series: Book #1

Read: May 9-11, 2017

Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 352

Reading Challenge(s): Flights of Fantasy, 2017 YA



Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


 I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to read this book when I requested it from NetGalley. I’ve read quite a few YA fantasies in the past year or so and they sort of start to blur in my head. This book though? I’m so glad I read it!

Royal Bastards was a unique fantasy read for me. The dialogue is often very contemporary and comical – which I love. The overall feel is like a watered down Game of Thrones—but without the dragons, and significantly less pages.

I love that this book really emphasizes the gray areas — as in, the world isn’t just black and white, good and evil. Tilla and Jax have a conversation about whether they’re doing the “right thing” by betraying their land and their people, and what it boils down to is, there is no right thing.

I loved the characters in this book.

Tilla is the bastard daughter of the Lord of Kent, his firstborn. She spends most of her time with her stablehand half brother, Jax (same mother, different father). She’s often crass and unladylike—especially in her internal dialogue—but secretly wishes to be legitimized and fully accepted by her father.

Jax is a stablehand, built like an ox, and quite the ladies man. He’s full of inappropriate things to say. He’s loyal and funny and charming. It’s hard not to love him.

Lyriana is the princess and though at first she comes across as very boring, prim, and proper, as she begins this adventure with her newfound friends, we realize very quickly that there is much more to her than meets the eye.

Zell is a “barbaric” warrior from a land not ruled by Lyriana’s kingdom. He’s incredibly sexy, tough, and though he’s everything she shouldn’t want, Tilla finds herself trying to prove herself to him. I have a little book crush on Zell.

Miles is a wussy pain in the ass. He’s a book nerd, but not in a cool way. He’s kind of annoying, but begins to get better. He’s also completely hung up on Tilla, even though she wants nothing to do with him.

There’s danger everywhere.

Some authors are afraid to put their characters in any real mortal peril. That’s so not the case here. There were a few times where I seriously worried that someone would die. There are creepy gross monster bug things, too.

Another cool thing this book does is represent diversity. Lyriana is described as having dark skin and hair, while I believe Tilla and Jax are described as more fair. I remember, as I read her description, being pleasantly surprised that the author decided to make the ruling people dark skinned. Such a nice change from the traditional choice of making dark skinned people either slaves or evil! I imagine the Zitochi (Zell’s people) as ancient Asian warriors, like Ghengis Khan. I could be completely off base with that though. I don’t always remember exactly how characters are described and instead come up with my own visualizations in my head.

The pacing of this book was excellent. There were no dull points in the plot and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

There’s also a really cool magic system that has its own twists in the story as well.

And finally, THE FEELS.

That’s right, this book had me full of feels. I was rooting for some things to happen, almost in tears over other things that happened. A book that makes me feel and/or really think like this one did, is a book that’s going to STAY with me.

So, should you read this?
YES. A loud and resounding yes. At this point in time, this is my top read of 2017 so far. I may even go out and actually purchase a hard copy to have on my shelf to re-read in the future and to have my daughters read (when they’re old enough – this is definitely an upper YA book with the language, violence, and insinuated—not graphic in the least—sexual content.)

Royal Bastards is on sale May 30, 2017, but you can preorder at the following sites:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

~ Add to Goodreads ~



(NOTE: Quotes are from an advanced release copy of the book and MAY be changed in the final printing.)

(NOTE 2: There are a lot of quotes here. This book is SO quotable, I couldn’t trim my favorites down anymore!)


“I was…um…” I scrambled for a plausible excuse. Bathing? I was too dry. Riding? I was too clean. Studying? No one would ever believe that.

You know that awkward silence where someone has committed a horrible social blunder, but no one knows how to react, so everyone is just staring at their feet? Imagine that, but in a hall with two hundred people.

The message was clear. Bow to the King or die by the Ring.

Lyriana Volaris, Princess of Noveris, was genuinely excited to sit with a bunch of bastards. That was just about the craziest thing I could thing of, on a day that was already feeling pretty crazy.

Jay shrugged. “I mean, Whitesand Beach is the perfect place to bring a girl if you’re looking to get laid.” Lyriana gasped. “Or…so I’ve heard some guys say. I, uh, wouldn’t know anything about that.”

I let out an amused snort. Zell just shook his head.

“Jax,” I said softly, “I’m so sorry…”

He glanced at me, one eyebrow cocked, the same sweet, goofy brother I’d loved my whole life. “Shut your face, sis,” he said, and walked off toward the outcropping.

I hadn’t paid much attention to my etiquette lessons, but I was pretty sure there wasn’t a standard expression for Sorry my dad killed your uncle.

I blinked. “You don’t know how to put on pants.”

“I’ve never had to. No woman in Lightspire would!”

Jax snorted.

Training with Zell that day consisted of him honing my reflexes by having me attempt to catch rocks. Mostly I just got hit with rocks.

With a particularly mushy smack, the orifice in the center of the starling’s head puckered open, drooling a yellowish gunk that sizzled against the stone. Four spindly tendrils shot out.

Holy shit. We’d been so focused on our disguises and backstories, we’d completely forgotten about money. We had to be the dumbest fugitives who’d ever lived.

My mind had been resisting what my body had wanted, but I’d been through way too much hell to give it that power anymore. He held me close and I pressed in closer, and damn if this didn’t just feel so, so right.

“Holy frozen hell,” Jax said. What happened to you guys?”

I was starting to think that Miles’s mom was a huge bitch, but that wasn’t really the point.

Mile’s face had never looked more punchable.

Was he hitting on me? That would be weird, right?



Stacking The Shelves #1

I am now known by many for my Goodreads addiction. I wish I could say that I don’t buy books, or request ARC’s from NetGalley, because I have so many from my Goodreads addiction, but that would be a lie.

I’ve been meaning to start a Stacking the Shelves post for a while now, which is why there are so many books in the photo above, I’ve been saving them in a stack to eventually photograph. I finally did it.

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly thing that Tynga’s Reviews started. You can find out more info on her blog, HERE, and also see other bloggers book stacks.

I’ve also decided to rate the books I receive 1-5.
1 meaning there’s very little chance I’ll ever actually get around to reading this book.
5 meaning unless something else arrives that I HAVE to read, this near the top of the list and there’s a likely chance that you’ll see a review of said book from me at some point.

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts – 3
I’ve never actually read a Nora Roberts book. A lot of people entered for this so I was surprised I won. I likely won’t read it before it’s release date, but I do plan to read it at some point.
Goodreads | Amazon

It’s Always The Husband by Michele Campbell – 4
I remember thinking this one looked REALLY good when I entered. I was pretty happy to win. I’m hoping to read this sooner rather then later. I don’t read enough mystery/suspense novels.
Goodreads | Amazon

Snowbirds by Crissa-Jean Chapell – 3
This cover just doesn’t call to me. I am interested in learning more about the Amish though, and it sounds like it could be a good mystery/suspense/thriller so I’m hoping I get to this one.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – n/a
Okay, so I actually already read this one through NetGalley. And I LOVED the cover, but the book not so much. You can find my review HERE. I may re-read this in the future if I get my hands on the sequel.
Goodreads | Amazon

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up by Dan Lyons – 4
Hatchette Books sent the BEST promo kit with this book, it was so fun and creative, I won’t soon forget this one! Plus it sounds really interesting, the real life misadventures of a 50 year old man trying to survive in the new open office style Internet start up. Plus the cover is really fun.
Goodreads | Amazon

Buddhist Economics by Clair Brown – 2
This book actually seems like it could be pretty cool and I do want to read it, but I don’t gravitate toward non-humor non-fiction, so if I’m being honest, I likely will not read it.
Goodreads | Amazon

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin – 2
This is chic lit. I don’t have a very good relationship with chic lit so the odds of me actually reading this one aren’t good. If I end up reading and liking Something Borrowed (which I’ve been borrowing from a friend for year, then I’ll probably read this one.
Goodreads | Amazon

Despite the Ghosts by Dylan Newton – 2
While this book sounds like it might be interesting, the cover SCREAMS low-budget indie book, which makes me think the editing might not be up to par. I may read this one, or it may fall by the wayside. Only time will tell.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Twilight Wife by A. J. Banner – 4
I LOVE this cover! The book itself sounds really good too. I don’t read enough psychological thrillers. This one sounds like it might be right up my alley with a woman who begins having visions (memories?) that lead her to believe the life she’s living isn’t the truth.
Goodreads | Amazon

NOVA by Margaret Fortune – 3
I could love this book or I could hate it. A reviewer I usually see eye-to-eye with gave it a 3.5, so I’m hoping I love it. I’m not sure where it will fall in the priority list. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but it is YA, even though the cover doesn’t look YA to me.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Cajun Doctor by Sandra Hill – 3
I don’t read a lot of straight up romance, but if I do have a hankering for one I think this would be a good choice. It takes place in bayous of Louisiana, a place I know nothing about, so I think that might be a fun place to “travel” to. Plus I love the colors/contrast on the cover.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Princess Problem by Teri Wilson – 4
This book is super short. And it has a princess. I’m a sucker for anything with royalty. The cover is super cute too.
Goodreads | Amazon

A Cowboy’s Wish Upon a Star by Caro Carson – 3
Just like royalty, I like movie stars. It’s that glamorous life I’ll never know that I’m drawn to. If I’m in the mood to read a (short) romance, this might be one.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins – 4
LOOK HOW CUTE THIS COVER IS!!! If I want a cute little contemporary romance I would snag this book up fast based on this cover.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – 4
Again – royalty! This one is a beast so I probably won’t be reading it very soon, but I absolutely plan to get this one read!
Goodreads | Amazon



Tainted (Demon Withinn #1) by Ginna Moran – 5
Buying this book was Katie @ Just Another Girl and Her Books fault. I read her review of…. the third book in the series and she really liked them and they’re paranormal and…. it was only 99 cents so I bought the book and I’ll give it a try. (Side note: The cover has been updated on Amazon since I bought the book 9 days ago. I LOVE THE NEW COVER!)
Goodreads | Amazon

Hunter’s Curse: A Destined for Dreams Short Story by Ginna Moran – 3
I always snag freebies from authors I’ve purchased books from. If I like Tainted I’ll quite likely read this one. Plus it’s short.
Goodreads | Amazon

Destined for Dreams by Ginna Moran – 3
See above. If I like Tainted, then I’ll read Hunter’s Curse, then I’ll read this one! (This was also a freebie at the time!)
Goodreads | Amazon

The Nightmare Inflictor: A Destined For Dreams Short Story by Ginna Moran – 3
I actually just found this freebie when I was putting together this post! See above.
Goodreads | Amazon

Royal Day Out: A From The Notebooks of a Middle School Princess e-short by Meg Cabot – 5
It’s Meg Cabot. And a freebie. Of course I’ll read it. Even though it’s for younger kids than I normally read!
Goodreads | Amazon

Shadowland (Mediator #1) by Meg Cabot
I own the paperback but I’ve been waiting FOREVER for a good sale price on this series for my Kindle! $1.99? SOLD! (If you don’t know this one, it’s a fun teen YA about a girl named Suze who can talk to ghosts, then moves across the country and ends up living in a bedroom haunted by a super hot and chivalrous 1850’s Spaniard named Jesse.)
Goodreads | Amazon

Size 12 Is Not Fat (Heather Wells #1) by Meg Cabot
I actually have yet to read this whole series by Meg Cabot, but I listened to the audiobook of the last book first and LOVED it! A former pop princess’ mother steals her fortune and she’s left to live a normal life working at a college. Somehow she always ends up entangled in murder investigations.
Goodreads | Amazon



Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown – 5
This is called a “double dip” because I also won it from Goodreads. Hopefully this is a good psychological thriller
Goodreads | Amazon

The Witchfinders Sister by Beth Underdown – 5
I like the historical aspect of this, using a fictional sister to tell the story of a real man from history who tried and killed many women for witchcraft.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen – 5
This cover is absolutely stunning. I had to have the book based on the cover alone, but this is also a historical novel that fatures royalty and spies and romance.
Goodreads | Amazon

The Falconer by Elisabeth May – 5
This looks like a cool YA fantasy series. The bonus for me for this book is that it’s an older title so it counts for my #BeatTheBacklist challenge! The downside is the formatting of the ARC is so wonky I can’t use text to speech on my Kindle at work. 🙁
Goodreads | Amazon

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts – 5
I heard this book was really awesome, but I’m not so sure yet. A bunch of bastards band together and witness a crime. Now they have to prevent a civil war. It could be really good, or it might not be for me. I’ll find out soon. This one releases in June.
Goodreads | Amazon