The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae #1 by Sylvia Izzo Hunter Review

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20821047The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae #1 by Sylvia Izzo Hunter 

Paperback, 417 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Ace
Physical Book: provided by Bloggingforbooks.com
In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost.

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                                                             My Quick Review

Even though this book came out in 2014, I enjoy discovering new books to read no matter how old. I was lucky enough to receive a copy from Blogginforbooks in return for an honest review. I am glad I picked this book. From page one, I was drawn in by the writing. The Midnight Queen is the sort of book I feel people will love, but don’t nearly read enough about. It creates a world that you want to be a part of. It is a story of adventure, danger, betrayal, love, and murder.  This book had many different feels to it. It can often feel like a  historical novel and a fantasy book all in one, which is great if you are a fan of both genres. The world felt very realistic with an undercurrent of magic throughout. It is a setting that I really really love. anything that provides a magical place with wizards, spells and intrigue around every corner, is one that I want to read about.

  The Midnight Queen stands on its own exceptionally well. I’ve already read the second one, Lady of Magick (which is just as good) and I can’t wait to get the third book soon. If you like character-centred stories, magic, action, alternate histories, a love story and a story of someone learning that they can be who they want to be – read this.

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Arc Review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Wild Beauty

 
Hardcover, 320 pages
 
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
 

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens. The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family. 

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                                                                  ♥My Thoughts♥

                                                               (sorry for my lateness)

Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore deserved a special font (which wordpress wouldn’t allow me to use 😦 ). This is the first book that I have read from this author and it did not disappoint. Reviewing Arc’s is tricky because you don’t want to give anything away but at the same time you want to tell people how much you love this book. Wild Beauty took me on a wild ride with multiple ups and downs and that is a good thing. For me, this is the sort of book that you would have to read more then once to fully grasp the beauty within the pages. I truly loved the magical realism, the floral imagery, the family loyalty as well as the strong female characters. I enjoyed the freedom of love and the fear that came along with it. Wild Beauty is filled with magical intrigue, mystery, and the power of love and family. This book should be on your list of what to read this fall and I hope you all pick up a copy or pre-order.

Anna-Marie McLemore

ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelitCamera Obscura‘s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. She is the author of The Weight of Feathers, When the Moon Was Ours, and Wild Beauty. She lives in Sacramento, California.

 

                       Some Book Love

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photo by: Asma Iceybooks via Goodreads

 

                                     Other Books by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Arc Review: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

           Black Bird of the Gallows

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Release date: September 5th 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pre-order: Barnes&Noble

Synopsis via Goodreads:
 
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.
 

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town.

When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

 
What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of 
death.
 
 

                              Praise

💖💖💖💖  “One of the most successful elements of Kassel’s debut novel is its myth making. Rather than drawing on tired tropes such as vampire, werewolf, or fairy lore, she creates an original set of cursed beings with hints of a still-wider mythology…
—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Gorgeous writing, unique mythology, and epic sacrifice. Do not miss this one!”
— New York Times best selling author Pintip Dunn
 
“A dark, twisty thrill ride from beginning to end.”
— Mary Lindsey, author of Shattered Souls and Fragile Spirits
 
 

                                                       ¥♥♥♥♥♥My thoughts♥♥♥♥♥
                    Meg Kassel created a Book you thought you never needed.
 
 
 
 
I was lucky enough to have both gotten a copy and met the author, who was amazingly nice. I don’t want ti give too much away because I really want everyone to enjoy this book as much as I did (i don’t recommend reading while crossing the street). ‘Black bird of the Gallows’ follows Angie Dovage, our heroine and Reece Fernandez. Reece’s arrival brings about a variety of alarming incidents in Angie’s hometown– crows arrive in large numbers and begin behaving strangely( i don’t really know how normal crows behave), if that isn’t strange enough bee start stinging people and making them act crazy in the middle of winter. Between Reece’s familiarity with the crows and his warnings to keep away from the bees, Angie is certain there is something unusual about this boy. Nevertheless, she feels continuously drawn to him despite her better judgment, and despite his dodgy behavior. So you guys get the point and are thinking how is this story any different from books you have read in the past. well, its all about the story itself and the unique mythology around it. I love when authors stray away from whats common and safe and develop their own unique path that can compete with the rest of the book world (if that makes any sense). The story itself is unique. I haven’t read anything in the past or recently about crows or deranged bees. some of the elements in this book reminded me of the movie ‘The Birds’ directed by Alfred Hitchcock, instead the evil villains were the bees. Like all debut books, there are going to be little things you didn’t like or wish that were added. for me, i wanted an ultimate showdown between the beekeepers and the harbingers of death. Hopefully the story continues and I get my wish. From the cover to the story, i definitely enjoyed the originality of this book and the the drama escalated as the story came to an end. For a debut book, it ranks high on my list. Meg Kassel created a fascinating tale with crows and bees that will capture the attention of many readers. I truly wish this book great success when it comes out in September and hope everyone will pick up a copy and enjoy it.
I will never look at the birds that congregate outside of my window the same again.
 
 
 
 
Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s always been creating stories, whether with visuals or words. She worked as a graphic designer before realizing the thing she did for pleasure (writing) was something she should do for real. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. A fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her family, hoarding peanut butter cups, or playing video games. She is a two-time finalist and the 2016 winner of the RWA Golden Heart© contest in YA.
 

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Books I’m excited for…to be continued

The Girl in the Tower

by Katherine Arden
Series: The Bear and the Nightingale #2
352 p.
Published: 1/9/18
Publisher: Del Rey

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

I enjoyed the first book so I’m curious about this one!

An Enchantment of Ravens: ARC Review

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From the gorgeous of gold to golden black-brown, I instantly loved the cover without even caring about what this book was about. But once  I read the description,  I knew that I had to read this book.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumn lands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, than love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

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*** THIS BOOK GOT ME OUT OF A READING SLUMP :)***

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My BookExpo/BookCon Experience

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Man…where do I begin?

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I was excited that BEA &BookCon were coming back to NYC. Since I am a  New York native, getting around was extremely easy and convenient.

Rule 1: never go alone

Rule 2: Never Ever buy food there. The Javits Center is disgustingly over priced.

Rule 3: be extra patient

This was my first time going to BookExpo and BookCon and the two left me totally exhausted, physically & mentally. Part of me is still tired from the 5 day event but I also wanted to share my experience as a first time attendee.

Over the years, I’ve watched BEA/Bookcon through the eyes of the industry — from publishers on twitter, book bloggers, pictures and videos. This year, I decided to spend my birthday going to my first BEA/Bookcon and share in the excitement with my fellow book nerds.

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My expectation for BEA/BookCon were the Lines. Galleys everywhere. Crowded. Grabby hands. Pushing. Fighting. Sore feet. Aching back. Confusing layout. Authors everywhere. Highly anticipated books. Everything I was expecting came true. For me, BEA was better organized than BookCon was and less hectic. The lines were sorter, the chaos was limited, time wasn’t rushed and you had the opportunity to converse with people who loved books. But on the show floor, I quickly realized my day would amount to…a lot of standing around in lines. Everywhere I went, no matter what time of day or where it was, a new line was forming. People jumped into lines without even knowing what they were for. Celebrities signing books, Getting to hear Hillary Clinton speak, standing a foot away from Chad Michael Murray, Seeing the enthusiasm for Lawrence O’Donnell and the excited chaos for Leigh Bardugo was what BEA/Bookcon were all about and I was glad to be a part of the chaotic fun.

 

  • First thing’s firstfood. It is a smart thing to buy food outside of the Javits Center. I went to a local Walgreens and Dunkin Donuts if i didn’t want to bring any food from home.

 

  • Shoes: As a Bookseller, being on my feet wasn’t a problem, so my feet knows what it’s like to work nearly 40 hours a week constantly moving and standing. But standing on lines for more than an hour was tragic. My feet were so sore, walking became a struggle when it was time to go home.

 

  • Galleys. To prevent a billion galleys shoved my way that wouldn’t be read, I made a list of books that I really really wanted to read and focused solely on that. Anything else that appeared interesting I gave to friends who could not attend BEA/Bookcon. there were a lot of  galleys being passed out on the floor or in panels— if I didn’t want it, I didn’t grab it. It’s perfectly fine to do that. Someone else is on the hunt for that copy. With all the excitement going around, it is easy to fall into the trap of grabbing every book you see and a lot of people did just that. As I walked around, I would see books lying around and think to myself (“how selfish that person was…someone else could have wanted that book”)

 

  • Books I really wanted: FireBlood by Elly Blake. WarCross by Marie Lu. Wonder Woman WarBringer by Leigh Bardugo. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Dear Martin by Nic Stone. and An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.

 

  • Be kind. I didn’t witness shoving and fighting during BEA, but BookCon was a different story. There were a lot of disorganization going on in different booths that created unnecessary chaos and confusion.

 

  • Network! Since I went alone this is, it was important for me to mingle with educators, librarians, publicists, editors on the floor and get a feel for what the book world is really all about. As a future writer, its important for me to know what i’m getting myself into and what to expect from the reading public.

 

  • Keep calm. and most importantly…HAVE FUN!!

BEA is not a competition over how many books you can grab. It’s a place to reunite or make new friends, discuss writing, books you’ve loved and can’t wait to read, and make connections with the industry you want to be a part of. Many of the books that I managed to get along with ones from my own personal library are going to be donated to different organizations that are in need of books to provide to kids. Being a writer and avid reader, its important to share that love with others who don’t have the financial means to always get new books. That’s what its all about for me.

Thank you for tuning in for my recap. Year One of BEA/Bookcon was a success.

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P.S. definitely only sticking to BEA next year 🙂 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

May Book Recs

The 18 Most Anticipated YA Books To Read in May

IT’S GONNA BE MAY. We’re not entirely sure how our bookshelves are going to handle all the new hardcovers. You may have to get another bookshelf…or two or three. Can’t decide what to read next? Let this list decide for you! Browse through to see what the YA community is most excited to read in May!

The 18 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in May 2017

 

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

This is the third book in this series! Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

 

2. LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare

This is the sequel to Lady Midnight! Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

 

3. FLAME IN THE MIST by Renée Ahdieh

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

 

4. ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

 

5. WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. 

 

6. THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, an ordinary hero takes on an extraordinary mission. Includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey.

THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner

 

7. THE CROWN’S FATE by Evelyn Skye

This is the sequel to The Crown’s Game! With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

 

8. THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

 

9. WHEN IT’S REAL by Erin Watt

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend. 

 

10. ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. 


 

11. DREAMFALL by Amy Plum

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong. Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. 

 

12. AVENGED by Amy Tintera

This is the sequel to RuinedEmelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory. But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

 

13. RAMONA BLUE by Julie Murphy

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

 

14. IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

 

15. COLD SUMMER by Gwen Cole

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

 

16. HOUSE OF FURIES by Madeleine Roux

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved. Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

 

17. IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET by Misa Sugiura

Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore.

 

18. ELIZA & HER MONSTERS by Francesca Zappia

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try. Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea‘s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. 

 

Spring Book Recommendation

 

 

 


PREVIEW

The Girl from Rawblood

Love stinks. Yeah. Yeah.

As a Villarca, Iris, the protagonist of Catriona Ward’s The Girl from Rawblood, is marked with the knowledge that to love and wed means awakening the deadly curse which has marked her family for centuries. Though Iris vows to her father that she will remain cloistered in their mansion, she finds her promise impossible to uphold, when, at age 15, she finds love. With a nod to the Gothic novels of old, the narrative travels back in time and from England to Italy, in order to bring to life this haunting, mysterious tale.

On shelves: March 7


BUY

Witchy Eye

We are family

Appalachian magic, emperors, wizard-priests, and dragoons populate the world of D.J. Butler’s Witchy Eye, where 15-year-old Sarah Calhoun is on a quest that might just mean the end of her family. Even though she would prefer to be left alone and forgo her skill for hexing, after a thwarted kidnapping attempt, she learns of her heritage and seeks to claim it. This is a must-read, according to the starred review in Publisher’s Weekly: “Sarah is the epitome of the downtrodden hero who refuses to give up until she gets what she needs, and her story will appeal to fantasy readers of all stripes.”

On shelves: March 7

The Wanderers

Some people call me the space cowboy

Exploration is never easy. The explorer is out at the edges of the Earth, away from all that is loved and known, making it a lonely and sometimes terrifying pursuit. Even simulated exploration can stretch one beyond one’s limits. It is at those limits that you find Meg Howrey’s The Wanderers, within which three astronauts vie for a place on the first exploration to Mars. By engaging in a 17-month simulation, the astronauts are tested nearly beyond their personal breaking points. According to the Kirkus review, “Although the contours of a space drama may seem familiar to a 21st-century readership, Howrey, through the poetry of her writing and the richness of her characters, makes it all seem new.”

On shelves: March 14


BUY

The Collapsing Empire

Go with the Flow

Within the pages of The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi(author of the Old Man’s War series) civilizations are connected by an ever-shifting network called The Flow. During some shifts, entire worlds have been isolated from the rest of humanity. When The Flow begins to shift in an entirely new and terrifying way which threatens to separate all of the worlds from one another forever, a scientist, starship captain, and empress band together to find a way to change this dangerous course and save their empire, and ultimately, mankind itself.

On shelves: March 21


BUY

Luna: Wolf Moon

There’s a bad moon on the rise

Ian McDonald’s Luna: Wolf Moon, the sequel to Luna: New Moon, follows the surviving family members 18 months after the fall of Corta Helio, which was one of five family corporations that ruled the moon. At the center of the narrative are Lucas, who sets out on a journey in search of allies, Lucasinho who redeems himself through an act of bravery, as well as several other survivors. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly promises, “Fans of the first volume will love this one and eagerly look forward to the next.”

On shelves: March 28


BUY

Waking Gods

What’s a god to a nonbeliever?

In Waking Gods, book two of the Themis Files and sequel toSleeping GiantsSylvain Neuvel once again bends genres and examines the lines of human and alien contact. Physicist Rose Franklin and the Earth Defense Corps are dedicated to studying the unearthed colossal, humanesque robot. But for Rose the quest is personal: When she was a child, she found the enormous metallic hand that led to the discovery. Now, a second robot has entered the world, bringing with it destruction and fear. But this is only the beginning, as more machines rain down upon Earth, and Rose and her team race against time to save humanity.

On shelves: April 4


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Borne

Born(e) to be wild

Borne, title character in Jeff Vandermeer’s latest, is difficult to discern. Professional scavenger Rachel finds Borne trapped in the fur of an enormous tyrannical bear which roamed through the Company, a biotech firm, until breaking free and causing fear in the nearby city. Rachel is troubled by Borne, but she is also clearly intrigued by Borne’s origins. Against her best judgment, Rachel feels drawn to Borne, which is something she heartily resents, as caring is a weakness. In fact, Borne reminds her of her island home, which was covered over by rising sea levels. In convincing her lover, Wick, not to render Borne into material for his salable drugs, Rachel opens herself up to the discovery that she might, indeed, be sleeping with the enemy.

On shelves: April 25


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Walkaway

Do the walk of life

Hubert, Etc. is an everyman of the new world order in which the rich have gotten richer and everyone else has given up on aspirational thinking. In Cory Doctorow’s latest adult novel, Walkaway, the reality is that one need not live within a society at all because basic necessities are easily met by pressing “print” and creating what you need. On the surface, this world seems ideal, even to those who are not wealthy. But once Hubert and his ragtag crew find a way to preserve consciousness online, everything is set off kilter, suggesting that maybe knowledge truly is power.

On shelves: April 25


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Within the Sanctuary of Wings

She sells sanctuary

Marie Brennan’s Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the fifth and final book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, which spans nearly five decades. Though much is now known of Lady Trent, there is clearly more to learn about this explorer and dragon expert. Here, Lady Trent’s legendary adventure in search of a new type of dragon is revealed, as she journeys through enemy territory where she discovers what appear to be the remains of a Draconean god. Only then does her final adventure to the Sanctuary of Wings begin.

On shelves: April 25


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Radiate

Turn on your heart light

Radiate, the third book in C.A. Higgins’ Lightless series, is a genre-bending fusion of science fiction, drama, and suspense, following sentient AI, Ananke, on her quest to understand her creators and, in the process, maybe even find love. Accompanied by her mother-figure, Althea, Ananke is in search of the the programmer who brought her to life, Matthew. Unbeknownst to her, he is on a quest of his own. The three of them race toward a conclusion that promises to produce as big a bang as creation itself.

On shelves: May 23

Blood Rose Rebellion

9781101935996Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

“A magical tale unlike anything you’ve read before.” —Bustle.com

“[A] richly imagined 19th-century historical fantasy.” —EW.com, A-

The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

 

REVIEW: Eves’ debut novel and the first of a trilogy, “Blood Rose Rebellion” is action-packed but slow-paced, filled with magic and incompatible romance in an alternate European history. With vivid descriptions, Eves’ diverse characters challenge societal norms concerning sexism and classism — especially Anna, who is a strong, smart and courageous female character teens can relate to. Blood Rose Rebellion opens in an alternative Victorian England where magic and bloodlines mean everything. Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden would give anything to live in society, and at first glance, it appears she should be in the thick of it. Anna’s family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic. The Luminate rule the world. But Anna is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells, and so she lives on the fringe, observing from the edge while her family enjoys the privileges that come with power

Overall, and without spoiling too much in this review, I think that Eves did an okay job with this debut novel. The historical aspect of it was good, period clothing and transportation etc. seem to be consistent and I absolutely LOVE that she references various classic literature throughout! I believe there can be some improvement in the development of characters, I haven’t quite decided if the vagueness is just a personal issue that I’m having with it but even in finishing the book I didn’t quite feel connected to Anna at any point. The story although slow at points is well developed, so looking past these few quirks I can say that I would tell other  readers to keep an opened mind when reading  this book. Overall, this book didn’t hook me like I wish it had. Even though I wasn’t really into this book like I thought I would be based on the cover and description, I would still recommend this one for people who really like the historical paranormal aspect. I do like how it gave us a different history.

 

**(Received this book from bloggingforbooks.com as an exchange for an honest review)**

As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

9781524713416As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Six of Crows—this international bestseller is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that chills to the bone, and not just because of the icy winter setting.

Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. But Lumikki’s rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally.

A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back—no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite his lavish parties and notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she’ll have to uncover the entire operation.

 

REVIEW:Simukka follows in the same line of storytelling as Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo by introducing the reader to brilliant characters that are a bit rough around the edges and slightly introverted. As Red as Blood introduces us to Lumikki, a girl minding her own business until she finds blood stained money hanging in a dark room. From here the main character is pulled into a whirlwind attempt to help a trio of students find the source of the money. Overall, this book was a bit uneven and boring at times. It took me a while to finish it as it wasn’t as engaging as I thought it would be. Readers, I’m sure were tantalized with allusions to Lumikki’s tragic backstory throughout the story, but in the end, the backstory is just dumped on readers in one big sodden lump. The ending, while perfectly logical given that we’re talking about four art students, three of them useless, squaring off against a well-equipped murderous gang, seems somewhat abrupt. It struck me, not as the best ending for this novel, but as a plot device calculated to set up the next two books in the series. Yet I must admit that it does so successfully.

****(Received this book from bloggingforbooks.com as an exchange for an honest review)****