November Novella Palooza!

Hello, bookworms! it’s been a while since my last post, hasn’t it? Things have been busy in my neck of the woods, though I never want to stop posting reviews. So I hope you’ll all forgive me, and stick with me as I bring you through some fun, short reads for you today. That’s right, I’m going to talk about novellas!

Why novellas? Well, it seems, by some twist of fate, that many authors I adore have written something short and fun and released them this very week. So why not celebrate them all?

Ice Mermaid (Salt for Air #0.5)

by M.C. Frank 

Blurb

“Darius.” It came out choking from his chapped lips, and his head jerked as he tried to look up into her face.
“What now?”
“‘S my name. Darius. Thank you.”
Of all the humans drowning around her, she had to be stuck with the one who bothered to mind his manners as he was dying. She bit back a laugh. “Well, good to know. Stay alive, Darius.”
“Death feels so warm,” he whispered, those brown eyes hooded as they looked into hers. “Didn’t know there were mermaids in heaven. Ice mermaids…So beautiful. Jewels for eyes, pearls for hair.”
Behind them, the great ship that had the words “Titanic” painted on its bow was cracking as it tilted into the freezing waters of the ocean.

Lorelei gave a frustrated sigh and tightened her hold on him.

Ice Mermaid is a Salt for Air novella about a mermaid who witnesses the sinking of the Titanic. It’s not necessary to read it before Salt for Air in order to understand the series, but it definitely adds to it.

Musings

M.C. Frank has done it again: and somehow, this time, in short-form brilliance.

When a passing mermaid witnesses firsthand the sinking of the Titanic, even she is moved by the immense loss of human life. What do you do in the face of such a catastrophe but latch on to one person, try to save just one – no matter the personal cost.

I loved this look into the Mermaid side of Salt for Air. In the first book of the series, we have a human perspective: in this prequel, we follow a character who is later quite important in SFA, a mermaid. We get to understand the upcoming war which plays a key part in the plot for SFA, but is in the background of this short.

The author’s signature style comes into play, beautiful, lyrical, and contemplative all at once. The importance of love and mortality in our own human nature is brought to the forefront, and makes for an excellent little philosophical quandry, if you’re into that. And if you’re not? It’s just a sweet, romantic moment.

This novella works great as a prequel since it doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the series to truly enjoy it. As a matter of fact, it makes for a perfect hook into the series: if you read this novella, beware, you’re going to want to read Salt for Air right away, so plan your reading time accordingly!

Get it FOR FREE right here!


Sip (The Audacity’s Horrific Horror’s, #1)

by Laura Loup

Blurb

Vampires, aliens, gore, and pyramid schemes await!

In a haphazard grab at eternal life for the short-lived May, Xan gets reeled in by a killer pyramid scheme. Will either of them survive? No. The answer to that is no, they won’t.

You’re about to enter a side of the Audacity you haven’t seen before. A dark side. Ghastly, gruesome, dreadful, and at times even spooky. We’re here to peek our heads through a tiny rip in the fabric of space and time and peer into an alternate reality wherein horrible horrors await our wholesome heroes and the only explanations are unexplainable.
If you’re squeamish, turn back now!
Rest assured dear readers, none of what follows is canon.

Musings

Now, I haven’t read this novella yet! All I know is I probably need to save it for Halloween itself, to really get the mood right. Sometimes you gotta plan these things just right to get the most out of it. I just adore Laura Loup’s writing (such obvious love for Douglas Adams!) that I know I’m going to love it, and you are too! Also, #Gayliens.

Preorder now to read on Halloween with me!


When We Were Young (Rose Haven #0.5)

by Elin Annalise

Blurb

It has been eight years since Emma last saw Oscar, the love of her life. Eight years since their messy breakup. She never wanted to see him again and relive that pain, but then she finds his photo album among her boxes of college things.

Oscar never met his parents. They died the day he was born, and the only connection he has to them is through the photo album his grandmother gave him. A photo album he thought he’d never see again.

When Emma returns the photo album to him, Oscar discovers it’s not just the album that’s been missing from his life for the last eight years. But can Emma ever forgive him for what he did?

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG is a prequel short story to Elin Annalise’s upcoming novel WHAT WE HAVE, the first book in the Rose Haven series.

Musings

While I haven’t read this one yet, it’s come to me recommended by awesome friends who tell me it’s a super sweet romance! Elin Annalise is a debut romance author who is releasing this prequel before the release of the first Rose Haven novel, adding some excitement for the upcoming book. I’ve been told it’s the perfect book to go with a cup of tea, one that will really make you smile.

Preorder now before its release tomorrow!


Head Over Heels (Starstruck #5.5)

by S.E. Anderson

Blurb

Guillotines, Ghouls, and Ghosts, Oh my!

Paris, 1793. Things go terribly wrong while trying to help Marie Antoinette, an old friend of Zander’s, escape the guillotine. Sally suddenly finds herself without a body and lost rolling through the streets of Paris, in need of a neck and a stiff drink.

Vienna, 1769. Zander’s undercover investigation into the disappearances of the Holfburg Palace staff takes a dramatic turn when the young archduchess starts stalking him. Armed with only some salad dressing and elaborate dance moves, he must solve the mystery before time runs out – all while helping the future queen of France deal with a teenage crush.

This short and spooky adventure takes place some undetermined time after the events of Starbound, but has no bearing on the next books in the series.

Musings

I’m a bit biased on this one… because it’s MY novella! Yup, this Starstruck short had a surprise release Saturday, and I’m hoping everyone is really going to love it. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s just for my wonderful funs, for being so, well, wonderful.

It’ll be free until Halloween, then available for kindle. Who knows, maybe I’ll make us a paperback someday!

Get Head over Heels for FREE!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

By Adrienne Young

Adrienne Young has done it again! I can’t get enough of her Viking fantasy novels. They’re wonderful and enthralling and have the most badass women in fiction, ever. 

Summary

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Musings

Fair warning, this book can be quite brutal. The author makes it very clear that absolutely anyone can die at any time. So many of your favorite characters will not make it until the end. That is just the brutality of war. One clan has learned to grow past it, to no longer want it – and another, with a power-hungry leader, want to take the opportunity to rule. After the events of Sky In the Deep, the newly merged tribes know war is the last thing they want – but they know how to fight. 

Halvard, the cute little brother from book one, has done a serious glow up. Ten years later and he’s tagged to be the next chief of the clan, a boy raised in peace to despise war. The book follows his growth as he learns to accept his new role and lead his people through a time no one wants for anyone. It is a heavy burden and he must learn not to shoulder it alone. 

But the Girl the Sea Gave Back is Tova, the other protagonist of this book, and she’s a mystery even to herself. An outcast in the Svell clan for being a Kyrr, she also has the ability to read runes and see the future. But what she can’t she is her own beginnings. This mismatch of identity and basically abuse at the hands of the people who sheltered her drives her growth in this novel. But Tova’s personal story almost takes a step back as we explore the greater story of immident war. The question that arises then is: what role does fate play in our lives? Is everything set in (rune) stone? Is war inevitable or inadmissible?

I absolutely loved how we returned to the world of Eelyn and Fiske but saw a completely different side of it. Old favorites return and we see how the end of their war has changed them. How people grow during times of peace. How a peaceful people prepares for a war they do not want. How, on the other side, power corrupts. 

It’s even stronger than Sky in the Deep. I loved it so much! 

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🌊 If you were blessed with a divine ability, what would it be? ☀️ Hello bookworms! Im so excited to be a part of the The Girl the Sea Gave Back Blog tour! If any of you are fans of Vikings, then you need this book. Adrienne Young @adrienneyoungbooks is an insanely talented author, and she weaves together an exciting novel that really transports you back in time. We follow character from Sky in the Deep, her first novel, but both are standalones and can be read without the other (even though I highly recommend them both). I loved this book even more than the first! 💨⛰✨ Short blurb: For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse. When her clan decide how they choose to survive, Tova must set in motion a series of events that could change her world forever. 🌊 💨🌙 Thanks to @titanbooks, I got to ask the author the same QOTD. Here’s what she said: I would probably want the ability to breathe underwater. I am really fascinated by the sea and sea life and I often have dreams where I’m under water and I’m not holding my breath. 🐟 🐠 🦈 The Girl the Sea Gave Back comes out TOMORROW! I’m so excited to be a part of the tour, a massive thank you both to Titan Books and Adrienne Young for letting me be a part of it. This intense Viking novel will have you on the edge of your Sea all the way until the end. It’s exhilarating! ✨🔥🌊 #thegirltheseagaveback #adrienneyoung #sea #ocean #booksandnature #booksandsea #bookstagram #blogtour #booktour #amreading #vikings #sunset #travel #france #marseillemaville #bookworm #mustread #titanbooks

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Sword and Pen Blog Tour – Giveaway and Exclusive Excerpt!

The Great Library #5
By Rachel Caine

It’s a bittersweet moment when a series you love ends. You’re excited for the grand finale, but at the same time, you’ve grown so close to the characters that you can’t imagine a world without them. Thankfully, Sword and Pen is an epic conclusion to one of my favorite series, and I’m so happy that it ended so wonderfully. I would have read it faster, but I just didn’t want it to end!

Needless to say, spoilers for the first four books here on out.

Summary

With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

Musings

We pick up immediately where we left off at the end of book four: the Archivist is on the run, and our little rebel family has taken over the great library. Now comes the toughest part: securing their victory. Saving the library from those who would rather destroy it then see it grow. 

Unlike the previous books, here we switch POV’s constantly. Jess is no longer the center of the tale: the entire team (talk about #squadgoals) gets their chance at the spotlight, and it makes the book so fast-paced it left me breathless. The archivist is fighting to regain control, the enemies are literally at the library gates, spies and traitors fill the ranks of even the most elite: it’s a non-stop roller coaster. 

I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. Suffice to say I was thrilled to go an adventure with Jess and the crew one last time. I’m definitely going to miss this wonderful little family, and the world that Caine has created. It’s so hard to believe it’s over, but it was a wonderful send off.

Expected publication: September 9th by Berkley Books 

And now, without further ado, an excerpt straight from Sword and Pen!

Jess

Brendan was dead, and Jess’s world was broken. He’d never known a moment without his twin existing somewhere, a distant warmth on the horizon, but now … now he shivered, alone, with his dead brother held close against his chest.

So much silence in the world now.

He’s still warm, Jess thought, and he was, Brendan’s skin still felt alive, inhabited, but there was nothing inside him. No heartbeat. No presence.

He was dimly aware that things were happening around him, that the bloody sands of the arena were full of people running, fighting, screaming, shouting. He didn’t care. Not now.

Let the world burn.

A shadow fell over him, and Jess looked up. It was Anubis, a giant automaton god gleaming with gold. The jackal’s black head blotted out the sun. It felt like the end of the world.

And then Anubis thrust his spear forward, and it plunged into Jess’s chest. It held him there, pinned, and suddenly Brendan’s body was gone, and Jess was alone and skewered on the spear … but it didn’t hurt. He felt weightless.

Anubis leaned closer and said, Wake up.

When he opened his eyes, he was lying in darkness on a soft mattress, covered by a blanket that smelled of spice and roses. Out the window to his left, the moon floated in a boat of clouds. Jess’s heart felt heavy and strange in his chest.

He could still feel the sticky blood on his hands, even though he knew they were clean. He’d washed Brendan’s blood away. No, he hadn’t. Thomas had brought a bowl of water and rinsed the gore away; he hadn’t done anything for himself. Hadn’t been able to. His friends had helped him here, into a strange house and a strange bed. He knew he should be grateful for that, but right now all he felt was empty, and deeply wrong. This was a world he didn’t know, one in which he was the only surviving Brightwell son. Half a twin.

He’d have taken large bets that Brendan would have been the one to survive everything, and come through stronger. And his brother would have bet even more on it. The world seemed so quiet without him.

Then you’ll just have to be louder, you moping idiot. He could almost hear his brother saying that with his usual cocky smirk. God knows you always acted like you wished you’d been an only child.

Giveaways!

Before I let you go, here’s your chance to win both your own copy of Sword and Pen AND an opportunity to maybe bring home the entire series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you just want your own copy of Sword and Pen, enter here for your chance to win. Every blog on the tour has their own unique giveaway which means every you have another opportunity to win!

Starbound Blog Tour – Exclusive Zander Excerpt!

Hello dear readers! While some of you know, but others who are newer may not, is that I don’t just review books: I write them, too. And my fifth novel comes out on Tuesday! Today is my stop on the Starbound blog tour, and I’m going to share with you part of the first chapter from Zander’s point of view (a big change from the other four books in the Starstruck Saga). But first, a little about the book!

Spoilers for the first four books if you haven’t yet read them!

Home is where the heart is. Or maybe the pizza.

There’s no better feeling than being back home after a long week exploring the galaxy, though being abandoned by one’s friends and left to fend off a glitching evil robot spoils it. All that’s left is to settle back into life, preparing Marcy’s wedding and job hunting. If only mysterious midnight SWAT teams and crop-circle crafting-sessions weren’t constantly getting in Sally’s way.

When an old foe returns, and Sally is the only person on the planet to recognize it, it’s up to her, her sullen ex, and an overly-excitable FBI agent to save the planet. But first they have to get the president safely out of his favorite sushi bar without starting the war of the worlds.

It’s hard maintaining a long-distance relationship when your crush is light years away and thinks you died of old age, but that hasn’t stopped anyone yet. Sally must save the planet, the universe, and herself – though maybe she’ll take a nap first.

Preorder your copy here!

I’m so excited to share with you this new book. So much happens, so many reveals and twists, that I was actually terrified of showing my publisher! But the outpouring of love and great reviews shows us that we made the right decision. Sally’s going to blow you all away!

And Zander will too: part of the book is from his perspective. Which I can promise you is not what you would expect…

CHAPTER TWO

Interplanetary Sibling Rivalry, Now in Technicolor

Sisters.

You love them. You hate them. They love you, support you, and then, just sometimes, they just they twist you up in knots and stab you repeatedly with every trick they know, not limited to those in the book. And sometimes that knife is quite literal. It’s the cost of having family. Of having someone who will stick by you for no reason other than she shares some genes with you.

Or someone who will destroy you for no farshing reason.

Case in point: Just when I was feeling happy, ready to have a nice cup of tea and, I don’t know, enjoy the feeling of being clean for the first time in days, my sister disintegrated me. Well, technically, she teleported me to who knew where, just when I was going to ask about the flower-scented soap in the bathroom and if it was okay that I had finished the bottle. In that case, good thing Blayde got me out of there because things could have deteriorated fast.

But jumping me again to some other place so I couldn’t get back? That was stone cold. A jerk move if I had ever seen one, and boy, had I seen jerk moves.

The second  my cells started stitching themselves back together, they were ripped apart once again, and I was sent reeling back blindly through the vast emptiness of the universe. I couldn’t see where I was going, I couldn’t see where I had come from, and I couldn’t see anything at all since my eyes technically did not exist.

It was at times like these  I seriously considered buying myself a spaceship. Nothing fancy. Just something with a good faster-than-light engine or a warp drive, a place to keep my stuff and make my travels through the universe more scenic. And maybe, just maybe, having my own keys would stop Blayde from farshing kidnapping me.

But, then again, parking’s terrible. And I hear the gas prices are worse than ever.

Suddenly, I was back in one piece, the ground firm beneath my feet once more. Instinct kicked in before I had gathered my wits about me, automatically making sure all my limbs were still attached to my body, counting off the arms and the legs, fingers and toes, even as they spread into a pounce.

My own roar rang in my ears as I flew through the air, arms outstretched and hands ready to go for her jugular. My fingers were wrapped around her neck before the neurons had fired from my brain. Fury burned through my veins like a poison, corrosive acid in my blood.

Blayde sidestepped easily, letting me crumple on the ground beside her. I felt the heat as my face slammed into the metal floor, my nose snapping from the collision.

But she did not return the attack. Flipping myself over, I brought a leg spinning under her. I used my own momentum to jump to my feet, dropping my center of gravity and swinging around to lash out with a right hook. She caught it square in the jaw, a tooth flying off in the air and lodging itself in a nearby wall. She scowled, blood pouring out of her lip, but I could already see the white enamel growing back to fill in the gap in her mouth. A bruise blossomed and wilted on her cheek.

I swung to hit her again, but her arm flew out to grab mine, holding it easily in midair. I struggled to break loose from her grip, but her fingers were clasped firmly around my wrist, and I could barely move it. Effortlessly, she gave it a twist, ripping my arm from the socket and effectively reducing the number of punching elements by half.

She said nothing, cocking an eyebrow, as if waiting for me to start. So, I did.

“What the veesh do you think you’re doing?” I shouted as I struggled to break free from the titanium grip. She blinked then wasn’t there, and suddenly I was face down on the ground, hands pinned behind my back, a knee on the back of my head.

“Weak,” she snapped, anger dripping from her lips. “Look at you, you’ve grown weak.”

She had underestimated me. In seconds, I had thrown her off my back and pinned her down, my elbow pressing  on her windpipe. My useless arm dangled  by my side, but I hardly felt it. She only smirked, unperturbed by the decrease in air flowing to her lungs.

“I’m not weak,” I snapped back. “You’ve grown paranoid. Look at you!”

“We held up our end of the deal,” she hissed. “We were free to go. Nothing left for us to do on that dull excuse of a planet.”

“But you jumped us twice!” I pressed down harder, but she only rolled her eyes. She motioned as if to say  there was no way she could reply if she had no air. I hopped on my feet, watching her get back up gingerly. I tried to cross my arms but failed with the dangler.

“I thought you might jump right back,” she replied with a shrug, oblivious to what I meant. I shook my head. I mean, screw her; that’s the part I was furious about in the first place.

“What if I wasn’t ready to leave yet?” I snapped. “She was making us tea!”

“Can you even hear the words  spilling out of your mouth?” she asked, leaning back against a shelf casually. “Oh, tea, yes, let’s all sit around and drink tea with the Earthling. When would you be ready to leave? Huh? A day? A month? Next year?” “I—” I sputtered. But I couldn’t reply. There was nothing I could say.

I hope you’re excited to read more! And remember, every preorder entitles you to a special gift. Working with Jessica from Paperly & Co, she has created these stunning character bookmarks which I can’t wait to put in your hands. Sally, Zander, and Blayde come to life and will happily keep your page in Starbound or any other book of your choosing!I hope you’re excited to read more!

Learn more about the preorder gift HERE.

And while I’m in the US, I finally have media mail! Which means SIGNED BOOKS FOR EVERYONE!

We have a massive sale on all signed books, dropping the prices even more when you get multiple copies. AND every order gets the cute character bookmarks made by Paperly&Co!

Either message me or order through Bolide’s website to order. Only 3 days until Starbound hits the shelves! https://bolidepublishing.com/

The Audacity

by Laura Loup

Ok, this is BY FAR the funnest and funniest book I’ve read this year! It’s a laugh fest that will have you in stitches. Turn the dial up on space operas to the max, and you’d have the Audacity.

Summary

May’s humdrum life gets flung into hyperdrive when she’s abducted, but not all aliens are out to probe her. She’s inadvertently rescued by Xan who’s been orbiting Earth in a day-glo orange rocket ship, watching re-runs of “I Love Lucy”. 

Seizing the opportunity for a better life, May learns how to race the Audacity and pilots her way into interstellar infamy. Finally, she has a job she likes and a friend to share her winnings with—until the Goddess of Chaos screws the whole thing up, and Xan’s unmentionable past makes a booty call.

Musings

I don’t even know where to start with the review. Do you like relatable main characters who are thrown into insane situations? Check. Do you love non-creepy, totally healthy, absolutely adorable men-women friendships? Check. Do you love mad, off the hook, oddball scenarios taken in stride? CHECK. This book has everything!

(Also, were you a fan of the lesbian purple goddess who just won the world cup? Um, this book has one. It totally predicted the world cup.)

The Audacity is a book written with so much love. Love to the genre; love to Douglas Adams; love to a chaotic universe and those of us just trying to live through it. That love oozes out of every page and gets you stuck like glue. May is one of the spunkiest characters I have ever read and I see so much of myself in her. And Xan, her crazy alien friend with Day-Glo hair and a ship which really shouldn’t be able to fly with him at the helm, is the BFF you always wanted to have.

It’s a fun book, a fun-loving book, and a loving-fun book. You’ve got love triangles here there and everywhere making shapes that should only be visible in the fourth dimension. Character growth which reaches peak heights. An alien invasion of Earth for all the wrong reasons.

Basically, if you want to have a fun time in space, you need this book!

If Douglas Adams got punted into a sticky orange pool of feminism and made sweet love to Futurama, you’d have something approximating The Audacity. 

Fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will appreciate the style, fans of Futurama will love the blend of laugh out loud humor and feels, fans of Steven Universe will enjoy that Space is Very Gay. 

If you’re tired of the same old cynical, militaristic sci-fi and crave characters who genuinely care about each other and an image of life in the Universe that isn’t all gloom and doom, you’re going to have a good time in the Audacity. 

The Grace Year

By Kim Liggett

I read this book in a day, it was so impossible to put down; and yet it took me a whole month to digest it, and figure out how to review. This might be one of the most powerful YA books I have ever read and my mind was (and remains) blown by the entire experience. 

Summary

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Musings

This book had me shaking. Anger, frustration, injustice. It was horrifying in the same way as the Handmaid’s tale was, aggravating in the same way the Crucible was. Yet it was also beautiful, taking this intense oppression and capturing the beauty of small (and big) acts of resistance. 

The city (or country?) where this novel takes place has a “The Village” sense to it. Isolated, the divide between people – and women – could not be more pronounced. If you are not married, you are nothing. You work, or you sell your body. There are only so many eligible young men, and they’ll pick their future wife and let the rest work out of sight. Subtle hints show that this city might exist isolated in the US we know today, or some dystopian version of it, which intensified the realism. 

Every girl is sent to spend their sixteenth year away, isolate, for fear that their “magic” will destroy the community they have fought so hard to build. Girls live their lives with oppresive rules, dare their :”Magic” escape and hurt the community. Men fear them in this year, but want their power as well: any girl who escapes her confinement during her Grace year can be caught and her body parts sold for medical purposes. It’s a grotesque and terrifying prospect. 

We follow a girl who would be quite content working the fields, who is crash and bold and can’t stand the oppresive nature of her village. She loves to tinker, loves science and logic (a girl after my own heart) and doesn’t give into the oppressive system. While sometimes this borderlines on a “not like other girls” trope, it made me wonder just how many other girls were conceiling these feelings just to fit in. It was something that TO BEST THE BOYS touched on, but THE GRACE YEAR is more subtle, which I think really works. 

The main core of the novel revolves around “The things we do to other girls”. How we’re raised to tear each other down, to stop us from banding together. Together, we are strong. Together, we’re terrifying. The only way to keep the girls meek is to force them to tear each other appart. And THE GRACE YEAR shows this in a violent, beautiful way. We tell ourselves that in a LORD OF THE FLIES situation, girls would prevail, but not if we’re raised to see every other girl as competition…

Nothing is expected: twists ruin everything, and not everyone is promised a happily ever after – even if they survive the violence. At first I found the ending anti-climactic, but the subtility of it was pure perfection.

Seriously. If you read one new book this year, try THE GRACE YEAR. It’s going to stay with me forever.

Expected publication: October 8th 2019 by Wednesday Books

Lose Me Now in Hardcover!

Hello bookworms!

Last year I reviewed the amazing retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Lose Me, by M.C. Frank. And now the book is out in glorious hardcover! It includes an exclusive Wes story and Wes and Ari original art That I’m so excited to see!

“Jane Austen meets Hollywood bad boys in this hate-to-love romance.”

The golden boy. Wes Spencer, aka Mr. Darcy, has it all: the face of a Greek god, millions of adoring fans, a mile-long yacht and a bored attitude. The last thing he needs is a crew member on his new film set nearly dying in his arms.

The stunt girl. That’s me, Ari Demos. I just landed a coveted job as a stunt double in the new Pride and Prejudice movie adaptation starring actor slash phenomenon Weston Spencer. Cue high dives and complicated car stunts along the narrow cliffs of Corfu -one false step and I could lose not only my job, but my life.

I wanted nothing to do with the arrogant English boy. Waking up to his kiss was something other girls dreamed of, not me. The movie star is the last person I’d expect to save my life. Falling in love was never supposed to be part of the job. Fighting to stay alive was never supposed to be part of growing up.

“Today is not the day I die.”

Grab your copy quick!

If you’re not sold just yet, check out my review and see why I think you’re going to fall in love too: review

Liminal Boy

The Opposition #2
Stefani Chaney

Two years ago I had the absolute pleasure of devouring MIDNIGHT, the first book in this series, and fell in love with the spunky Jo, a louder version of me who fights to save her brother and for what is right. I was so thrilled to hear a sequel was in the works, and when the author offered me an advance copy, I screamed for joy. I couldn’t wait to get back to Jo, Jamie, Langdon and the crew. What I got was completely different from what I expected, but amazing all the same.

Summary

An angel out of control. 

A thief who knows too much. 

A power destined to self-destruct.

These are some of the things that haunt Langdon Moore, the longest lasting survivor of a twisted experiment that transformed certain aspects of a person into a weapon. Nothing about Langdon has ever made sense, and his verve confirms it. Born twice and died thrice, he knows this is his final chance to get things right.
The rest of the experiments are at a loss, still recovering from a shocking betrayal and the disappearance of the weapon crafted from Jo Harding’s verve. After a fight over leadership fractures the already unstable bunch, Langdon finds it easy to take shelter in his old isolating habits, slipping away from everyone— except for his service dog.
Unfortunately, his plans for solitude are derailed when his quiet home becomes Jo’s new headquarters. To make matters worse, Midnight doesn’t go anywhere without her twin brother, the model Jamie Harding. When a mysterious thief foretells the arrival of Angel, the most powerful survivor of the experiment, Langdon must act quickly. As a harsh winter ices over Montreal, he makes one final attempt at saving a life… even if that means forfeiting his last chance of finally having one of his own.

Musings

TW: Liminal Boy has a much heavier focus on mental health than Midnight does. I found it was written with that in mind, like it was speaking directly to those of us whose brains work a little differently, and I loved it.

Liminal Boy has a complete tonal shift from Midnight. While the first book in the Opposition series follows the perspective of brash and rash Jo Harding, the second is set from Langdon’s POV, a few months after the events of Midnight. He has a quieter, more thoughtful way of approaching his issues, though he struggles with depression and social anxiety which sometimes tarnish his view of the world. Seeing Jo from his eyes was completely unexpected, and I loved the way the author’s character have such depth.

The pacing is also much slower: while Midnight was a superhero origin story, with wam-bam-thank-you-mam action scenes and immediate danger, Liminal Boy is more of a thriller. It’s more thoughtful and introspective, as Langdon tries to settle back into his life, while dealing with the aftershocks of what Morgan did to him and the other test subjects. But it has this fascinating intrigue: they still have to find what Morgan/Jude/Judas were actually doing, and dismantle the clinic that almost cost them their lives. Plus, how does one get unknown technology out of their friends before it’s too late?

At first I found Liminal Boy to be… confusing. Events seemed to happen to Langdon, sometimes in (what felt like) the wrong order. It took me a while to get into the style, but then it ‘clicked’ for me and I loved it even more. Langdon’s growth and struggle were deeply personal, and at times it was like I was reading a contemporary novel rather than a superhero/urban fantasy book.

But the ending… oh my gosh, that ending. In the last two chapters everything comes together, and now I’m sitting here, trembling in anticipation for book three!

If you liked the characters of Midnight, you are going to love Liminal Boy. Be ready for the tonal shift, but I promise you it’s worth it. It’s a love letter to all outsiders as well as being a brilliant superhero tale.

Liminal Boy is out TODAY! Happy book birthday, Stefani Chaney!

Division

Adaline #4
Denise Kawaii

The next installment of Adaline is here, and I am living for it! This Middle Grade series blew me away when I binge read it just a few months ago, and I had incredibly high expectations for this fourth book. It blew them all away, and then some.

Summary

Boy 62 and his friends are crossing the radioactive wasteland.

They’re searching for the jailhouse that will be their new home.

But someone already lurks the halls of the rugged building, and they don’t want company.

When Boy 1124562 and his friends trek across the desert, they’re expecting to move into an abandoned building where they can build their A.I. enhanced computer without the danger of Hanford’s oversight. But when they arrive, they quickly discover that the building isn’t empty.

A dangerous Woman with a sordid past is hiding in the shadows of the abandoned building. Can the secret she holds be the key to keeping Hanford’s residents alive?

Musings

62 has been exiled from the other survivors, and along with his friends needs to learn how to live in this hostile, radioactive wasteland on his own. They’re not without a few resources: they’re living in a semi-abandoned building and have a few resources from Hanford. But they’re also harboring a terrible secret: one of the women thought to be living with the Oosa has actually escaped with a story too gruesome for the boys to even know.

What’s brilliant about Kawaii’s writing is that anyone at any age can read it and enjoy it. I binge read it in two days, only putting it down for work (groan) and was terrified of Sunny’s story, though I realize she doesn’t actually outright say what happened to her. It’s vague enough that any actual child reading this will be in the same mindset as 62, but adults can fill in the blanks, which makes the horror all the more horrifying since we tend to imagine the worst. 

There were moments of sweetness, too. My favorite parts had the boys discovering their world, such as the snakes, new buildings, and even the sweet potatoes. 62 is actually doing well with food now, and I feel so happy for this adorable cinnamon roll of a boy. I just want the best for him, and I have no idea how the author will give them happy endings with just a single book left!

I feel like adults and middle graders will approach this book differently, while both loving it to bits. It’s a fantastic adventure and a beautiful exploration of what it means to be human, from the point of view of the sweetest, most innocent protagonist you will ever meet. Book four ups the tension, and I cannot wait to see how book five will tie everything up!

Don’t miss book four of the Adaline series!

Everything I Do – Blog Tour + Author Interview

by M.C. Frank

Happy release day to M.C. Frank for her newest novel. Everything I Do, a retelling of Robin Hood that will destroy your heart in the best possible way. I had the absolute pleasure of reading an advance copy of this book and fell totally and helplessly in love.

Summary

A robber and a princess.
A girl disguised as a boy.
A medieval reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood packed with adventure, sacrifice and romance.

Robin Hood, hidden deep in the Sherwood Forest, is fighting to restore the crown to its rightful king, surrounded by faithful friends, green leaves and clear skies. Burdened with secrets, betrayal and an incredible responsibility, he struggles to stay alive and keep the starving people fed. One day, a boy saves him from the Sheriff’s poisoned arrows. Robin, impressed by the slender youth’s courage and skill, takes the boy with him to the forest. 

Only, the boy is not a boy.

In the castle of Nottingham, a maid who used to be a princess is forced to obey the wishes of a tyrannical Sheriff. She dons on male clothes and trains to become a fierce assassin, vowing to catch the greatest criminal in the kingdom. But when she saves Robin Hood’s life nearly losing her own, she is rescued by the outlaws.
When Robin and the “boy” meet, two worlds collide, resulting in unimaginable danger and intense romance. Who will survive when they learn each other’s secrets? 
What happens when the assassin falls in love with her victim?

Musings

Let me preface my review with my one let down: I NEED MORE OF THIS BOOK. It was over so quickly I reached for the sequel only to remember that it’s not even in the works yet! Oh please of place I need more!

Everything I Do is Frank’s best work yet. It takes a classic tale and gives it a believable twist, and I could almost believe this is the real legend of Robin Hood. The cast of characters gives me total #squadgoals and I love each and every one of these forest muffins. It’s a recipe for success, and totally unforgettable. 

Robin and Ru’s playful relationship as outlaw teacher and student casts a sharp contrast to the backstory that is slowly revealed. I loved the twists – the biggest one being precisely at the midpoint of the book, which was brilliant – and the way the ending changed our entire perspective of the story. You can really feel the love she’s poured into it as she wrote it. I read old reviews for the first version of this book Frank worked on, and see she’s taken everything into consideration into making this book a success. 

As you can tell, I’m struggling to put my ideas in any precise order, but it’s because I’m so in love with this book that I’m just babbling about how awesome it is. It’s the beginning of a fantastic series, and I can’t wait to read what happens next – especially after that ending!

Get your copy here!

An Interview with M.C. Frank

I think the best place to start is at the start! How did the idea of doing a Robin Hood retelling come to you?

I have loved Robin Hood since I read his story  when I was nine or ten. From that day, I started plotting the story of Everything I Do in my head (as crazy as that sounds). Two characters from my childhood daydreams have even made it all the way to the book, can you believe it? Heavily of course, but still! It goes to show how much childhood stories stick with us.

In more recent years, the story came back to me, as I live in a country that’s being abused and tortured in the hands of evil and self-serving leaders. The sufferings of Robin’s people acutely remind me of my own, even though we’re centuries apart. So I felt the need to modernize the story, and share it with the world

Did anything from the first draft stick all the way through? Were the characters of Robin and Run always the way they are now?

No, pretty much nothing from the first draft is the same, except some basic things. But all of the names, characters have changed. Three major plot points are exactly the same since I started writing it years and years ago. But pretty much everything else is changed.

Who was your favorite one to write – the Robber or the Princess?

Ah, that’s a cruel question, Sarah, haha! As an author yourself, you know how impossible this is to answer. I loved the pain and despair behind the Princess chapters, but of course I have a soft spot for your tortured bad boy, so the Robber chapters always came out like a breeze. It always took me a moment to get inside his head, however, as I haven’t had personal experience with being so highly confident and capable as Robin is. So that took a bit of imagination.

One of the things I really liked was the team Robin has supporting him. As I said in my review, they’re ultimate #squadgoals. Do you have a favorite character outside of the two main ones? Which was the most fun to write?

I’m in love with that hashtag #squadgoals, it’s perfect! Of course, Will my poor baby is my obvious favorite, but I also loved Alis. She is so feminine but kickass, the opposite of Ru in many ways. She’s unapologetic and brave, but also very tender and mothers the boys. I love her.

Along those same lines, who would you have stand with you in a fight?

Robin, of course, since his fighting skills surpasses everyone else’s. However, he might not be available at the moment, since he’s got so many things going on (to put it mildly) I’d always pick John Lyttle. A gorgeous Viking giant to defend me from all the internet bullies, that’s what I need.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is a story that makes you think and feel. If the writer is invested while creating it, then the reader is more likely to relate and then the book will stick with them forever. I read somewhere that the mark of a good book is how long after reading it you remember everything about it. I completely agree.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Everything. Books, movies, my own daydreams. Memes, K-drama, Jane Austen… (I could go on forever).

I can tell you really took the readers’ comments into account when you rewrote this new version. I absolutely loved it, and I feel like it must be an entirely different book to the one that came before. Just how much has changed?

Thank you so much! As I mention on my blog, (read the full story of what happened here) I completely rewrote Everything I Do and republished it. The old version was live for a bit less than 2 months. So, I didn’t  just change the book, I rewrote it. Everything is different. Names, characters, scenes. Robin’s age changed, his looks, his motives, his backstory. Literally everything. Ru didn’t even exist in the old book. And so on about Robin’s men and the villains… The only thing that’s the same is the name Robin Hood, although Robin’s title and last name are changed as well!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing Everything I Do?

How a human being can be absolutely destroyed in a few days, and how it takes years and a lot of love to restore them to greatness. It never ceases to amaze me that it is possible to be redeemed, even if you are completely broken. I started writing Everything I Do in order to show this, and it was so hard to do as the story progresses in the series (but I think I’ve succeeded). Imagine how much harder it is in real life! But it is possible, that’s all that matters.

I absolutely loved the way the book ended – well, more like I screamed to the heavens, begging for the sequel! How long do we have to wait for the next installment? And what are your plans for the series?

Haha, that warms my heart! Thank you! I always want my readers to suffer… erm, or something. I talk frequently on my blog mcfrankauthor.tumblr.com and on my Instagram @mcfrank_author about my Robin Hood series plans, because they constantly change! So far, the first 5 books have been fully outlined, and of them, the first 3 are fully written! So you may expect the next installment in the fall or winter of 2019.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Reading! I am a bookworm (or actually a book-eater). I read about a book a day, to keep the imagination fuels full.

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