Monthly Archives:: September 2017

Beneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan | Mini Book Review

September 29, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 1 ★★★★★

Beneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan | Mini Book ReviewBeneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan
Series: Merfolk Trilogy #3
Published by Fanfare on August 1, 1993
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 437
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought on Amazon Marketplace
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5 Stars
Beneath the shimmering, sunlit surface of the ocean there lives a race of rare and wondrous men and women. They have walked upon the land, but their true heritage is as beings of the sea. Now their people face a grave peril. And one woman holds the key to their survival...

She was a sultry siren with an undiscovered heritage.

A scholar of sea lore, Meredith had come to the Greek island to follow her academic pursuits. But in one magical meeting she gazed into the mesmerizing blue eyes of a proud, determined warrior of the sea...and was eternally linked with a world far more elusive and mysteriously seductive than her own. For she alone possessed a scroll that held the secrets of his people. She alone was their only hope. And she alone would surrender to the powers of a love destined by the tides.

He was an azure-eyed warrior of a long-forgotten race.

With eyes that told the stories of eternity, Galen lured this exquisite woman to join him in a battle for power beneath the sea. For now Galen's clan faces two enemies: Anastas, who wars against his own people, and a deadly unseen foe. He will cross into Meredith's world to choose her as a bold warrior for his people—and as his only love. He will share with her the secrets of a realm beyond time and imagining, and together they will emerge victorious as the keepers of its fate...or see its fragile beauty destroyed forever.

(Even though this is book 3 in a trilogy, each novel is a stand-alone)

I read a raving review for this book on a romance column and was so interested by the unique storyline that I had to buy it! I went on Amazon to order it and found that it was out of print. I kind of panicked because most good books that are out of print are extremely expensive. I found one for a penny, though! So exciting!

Meredith, a landwoman and historian, goes to the Greek islands to study ancient legends about the sea. While there, she comes across Galen, a mysterious and very sexy man with rippling muscles and long dark hair. He claims to also be a scholar and offers to show her around. Meredith soon learns that Galen is different. He can read an ancient language even the most learned scholars can’t identify, he has no problems at all with being wet, and he has heightened senses. She soon learns he is a merman.

Galen’s people and friends are dying of a mysterious illness that apparently only Meredith can remedy. Galen knows this, but Meredith has no idea who she is or the knowledge she possesses. As Galen sets out to gain this knowledge, he falls in love with her and she with him. A lasting bond is formed between the two of them as they begin their journey together to save Galen’s people and learn the truth about Meredith.

I must say that it was SO worth the effort I put in to getting a copy of this book in my possession. I loved it! The descriptions Jessica Bryan writes are beautifully written. I felt like I was the one swimming through the water, gazing at all the scenery, and feeling all the feelings the characters felt. I got so wrapped up in the story and the characters that I became unaware of my own surroundings. LOVED this amazingly beautiful and magical romance.

This review was originally posted on April 24, 2012 and was re-posted for some extra love.


Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, & a Girl with a Golden Slipper by Laura Holt | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

September 28, 2017 Giveaway, Guest Post 0

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


Today I’m welcoming author Laura Holt to the blog to talk about the inspirations behind her Star Crossed series! Laura posted an excerpt of the first book in the series, Fathoms Below, at Bonnie’s blog a couple weeks ago, so check that out if her post piques your interest!

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, and a Girl with a Golden Slipper: The 11 Tragic Love Stories, Fairy Tales, and Greek Myths that Inspired the Star Crossed Series

Thisbe and Pyramus

Why tragic love stories? Because what is more heart-rending, nail-biting, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat than the possibility of not having a happy ending? Take Thisbe and Pyramus, for example. Theirs is the story of a pair of lovers who grew up next door to one another, yet, because of a feud between their families, were unable to be together. When they ran away to elope, Zeus, king of the gods, sent a lion to trick Pyramus into thinking that Thisbe was dead so that he would kill himself and then she, upon finding him dead, would do the same. Tragic? Yes, so much so that some scholars speculate that Shakespeare based the premise of his Romeo and Juliet on this story. Speaking of Shakespeare…

Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra

As soon as I realized I was writing a book about tragic love stories, I knew that I had to turn to the master for inspiration. Enter Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra, two more tales in which love doesn’t turn out so sweet for our heroes and heroines. For Romeo and Juliet, it ended with a dagger and poison. For Antony and Cleopatra, a snake bite and a sword to the gut. But wait, it gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Echo and Narcissus

This tale encompasses every quiet person’s unspoken fear: that the person they fall in love with will never notice them. In Echo’s case, Narcissus was too self-involved to notice her attention, and because she could only echo the things that other people said, she was unable to tell him how she felt. Instead, she got to watch him pine after himself until he wasted away. Definite devotion there, but also a little creepy, seeing as how he never knew she was watching him.

Hero and Leander

One of my favorite tales of tragic love because the lovers in it keep fighting to be together until the bitter end. The basic plot? Hero and Leander meet, fall in love, but their families don’t want them to be together, so they lock Hero in a tower on the other side of a large strait. Does Leander let that stop him? No way! He buys himself a boat and crosses the strait every night to visit his love, until he drowns, and unwilling to live without him, Hero throws herself out of the tower window onto the rocks below. Take that, fate.

Guinevere and Lancelot

Anyone who knows anything about Arthurian lore (or anyone who is a huge fan of the TV show Merlin, like me) is familiar with how Guinevere, though married to King Arthur, fell in love with Lancelot, one of the bravest knights of the round table, and brought about the ruin of Camelot. Poor Arthur. He should have known that not even the sword in the stone was powerful enough to stand against true love, but hey, points to him for trying. Never mind that he and Lancelot both died, and Guinevere had to spend the rest of her days in a nunnery.

Pelleas and Melisande

A lesser known French tale about a girl who marries a nobleman only to fall in love with his brother later and bring about the ruin of his entire household. Rife with wishing wells, forest trysts under the cover of darkness, sword fights, and a line that inspired one of my favorite quotes from the Star Crossed series: “Only I know that it will be the turn of the poor little child soon.”

Paris of Troy and Helen of Sparta and Tristan and Isolde

Who said that you could write a book series about tragic love stories and not include Paris and Helen and Tristan and Isolde? Not me! From the gates of Troy to the shores of Cornwall, here are two women who know what it means to give up everything for the man you love. Too bad they both lose them in the end.

Cinderella and Cupid and Psyche

Did you know that there are more than a dozen different versions of Cinderella in existence? It is arguably the most popular fairy tale ever written, and also one of the most well-known. So when I set out to write the Star Crossed series as a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella, I wanted to do it in a way that was different from all the other versions and retellings that are already out there. Step one: make it dark. Everyone thinks of Cinderella as a pretty blonde in glass slippers surrounded by helpful blue birds and singing mice. But for those who aren’t familiar with the Grimm fairy tale, the story wasn’t always so lighthearted. There were slippers filled with blood, self-inflicted dismemberment, and birds that peck your eyes out. Hence, the tragic love stories and curses. Add a few monsters to the mix (a sea monster here, a gorgon there), and voila! Step two: tie it in with Greek mythology. Why? Because the roots of most fairy tales can be found in Greek mythology, including Cinderella, who’s original version was about Rhodopis, a Greek girl who was taken to Egypt to be a slave until she caught the eye of the pharaoh and was made his wife. And who better to play fairy godmother (or in this case, godfather) to a Greek Cinderella but Cupid, god of Love? And if the godfather turned out to be the prince charming in disguise, well, that’s just one of life’s interesting little twists. This, of course, is where the myth of Cupid and Psyche comes in, with a few of my own personal touches, like stolen slippers, reincarnation, and volcanic eruptions. The rest, as they say, is history. Or, as Hermes would say: “Stories are more than just words written on paper. They are pieces of our soul.” But will there be a happy ending for our Sinderella and the other characters in the Star Crossed series? Or will they all end as tragic as the rest? That, readers, is up to you to find out.


Fathoms Below by Laura Holt
Series: Star Crossed Series #1
Published by The Book Patch on November 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings
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Cather Stevens doesn’t love.

Not now, not ever. She has spent her entire life watching love ruin her mother, her aunts, her cousins, her grandmother, and she made a vow a long time ago that she would never let that happen to her. But when she meets a winged boy named Hermes who tells her that she is the key to ending the star crossed curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries, she will have to redefine everything she knows about love, life, and herself.

With more than just her own heart on the line, she must find the location of her great-great grandmother’s diary. It was hidden long ago, fathoms below her town, and holds the answers to all of her questions, especially one: are the fairy tales and Greek myths that she grew up hearing actually fiction like she was taught to believe, or are they something more…something real?


About Laura Holt

Laura Holt is the author of Fathoms Below and Fathoms Above. She is from a small Georgia town, where she lives with her daughter. Growing up as the oldest of three sisters, Laura used her imagination to make up stories as a way to escape from the sometimes crazy-making monotony of everyday life. As she got older, her love of stories grew into a love of books, especially fantasy, and eventually, she wrote her own stories down as well. When Laura isn’t busy writing or thinking up a new way to promote the Star Crossed series, she can be found curled up on the couch reading, working out, or spending time with her daughter. A few of their favorite pastimes include watching shows like Once Upon a Time, shopping, and going treasure hunting. Laura is also active in the children’s ministry at her local church, is addicted to Pinterest, loves anything chocolate (as long as it doesn’t have soy in it), and is always looking for a new way to get her daily adrenaline fix. You can follow Laura on Instagram and Twitter at @authorlauraholt.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

September 27, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book ReviewA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Also in this series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on May 3, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Pages: 626
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

So… I have been struggling and struggling with how to review A Court of Mist and Fury since I read it almost a year ago. I almost considered not reviewing it at all because it seemed so overwhelming to me. It’s a huge book, filled with so many things that I loved so much that writing down all my feelings and thoughts seems impossible. BUT… I want to be able to look back and remember how I felt, so this “review” is really just for me. It’s an unorganized list of feelings and impressions and fangirliness. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Everything that happened in ACOTAR that I thought I loved so much was replaced and/or outdone by everything that happened in this book. For example, I was totally on team Tamlin… until I wasn’t. The book starts out with a very emotionally destroyed, almost traumatized Feyre, and Tamlin sucked so bad. I literally hated him within the first few pages. How the crap did this even happen? I LOVED him! But Rhysand… *swoon* He made me fall in love with him even more, even though I hated his villainous ways in ACOTAR. He’s still his normal mischievous, cunning, slippery self, but he’s also passionate and tender and so caring and protective of those he holds dear. I was sold. My loyalties were flipped on a dime. I had no idea I was capable of loving Rhys, but now I can’t imagine feeling any differently. That’s what this book did to me!!

2. The reason Feyre and Rhys fall in love is super sweet and magical, at least in my opinion. I thought Tamlin and Feyre were meant to be, but these two are on a completely different level.

3. The romance… I just can’t. It was everything I hoped for and more. I love so many romantic passages and quotes, but here are some of my favorites:

“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.”

“I heard every word between you. I knew you could take care of yourself, and yet … ” He went back to his pie, swallowing a bite before continuing. “And yet I found myself deciding that if you took his hand, I would find a way to live with it. It would be your choice.”
I sipped from my wine. “And if he had grabbed me?”
There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.”

“I was his and he was mine, and we were the beginning and middle and end. We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.”

4. There is so much emotion in A Court of Mist and Fury. There’s so many feelings, and I felt them right along with the characters. Feyre has been through a lot, if you’ll remember the end of ACOTAR and the whole Amarantha debacle. She’s very delicate and is having to recover from the trauma and abuse she went through. I related to her a lot, and found it refreshing that she didn’t just jump right back into her hardened, brave, strong self. I liked seeing the impact those prior events had on her. Even strong people have to process the bad in life. The author could have had them all recover during the break between books and then come back and show us strong characters. Tamlin is struggling, Rhys is struggling, others are struggling. Life is hard for these characters and I liked being able to witness it instead of hear about it after the fact.

5. I LOVED The Night Court and the secret, beautiful city of Velaris. The setting was just so pretty and magical. I also loved the people there, and all the new characters I got to meet.

6. The writing was wonderful. I love all the details and the feelings that Maas put into words.

7. This is the first time I have felt that the second book was better than the first. I never thought I’d see the day!

Basically… read it. Read. It. A Court of Mist and Fury was my hands down my favorite book of 2016, and I’m actually considering a re-read which I rarely ever do. Do yourself a favor and et invested in this series.


Top Ten Books Featuring Mythical/Magical Creatures

September 25, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 12

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

This week, in honor of Magic, Myth, and Mischief, I put a bit of a spin on the topic and chose to list books that have mythical or magical creatures instead of specific character types! I love reading about creatures of all kinds, so I thought this would be a fun topic.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Scary monsters live in the Shadow fold. Plus, there’s the ancient, mythical Morozova’s Stag whose antlers hold magical powers.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
This is an obvious choice, but I’m just now reading this series for the first time in my life. There’s SO many mythical and magical creatures in this book including Hedwig the owl, a centaur, a troll, and a poltergeist.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
There’s the Beast, obviously, but also a firebird!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Fae! There’s High Fae, the Suriel, the Bogge, and the Puca.

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
The earth in this book is ridden with very deadly monsters including, “chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts.”

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Mythical beasts roam the dark and barren desert, including Skinwalkers, Demdjii (offspring of Djinns and mortals), and Nightmares. There’s also a mythical horse that Amani and Jin escape on.

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
One of my favorite things about this book is that the books fly off the shelves and turn into hawks.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
We’ve got chimaera of all kinds, seraphim, goddesses, and monsters.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Dragons and sylph!

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
There’s a cute little gargoyle who likes to voice his opinions, and there’s a ghost!

 


Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

September 25, 2017 Blog Tour, Giveaway 1

Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Nicole Conway’s Savage, hosted by Chapter By Chapter Book Tours! I helped reveal the cover for Savage earlier this month, and now I’m welcoming Nicole to the blog to tell us about Savage and how it ties in to her previous series.


This series is marketed as a companion follow-up to the Dragonrider Chronicles. Tell us about that series and how this one continues that story.

You absolutely do NOT have to have read The Dragonrider Chronicles in order to read this series! Here’s why:

The Dragonrider Chronicles deals with the origins of Jaevid Broadfeather. Each book from that series covers an important time in his life. It’s about how his journey began, how he became a dragonrider, how he was trained to becoming a knight in the king’s service, and how he impacted their world. At the end of that series, Maldobar has finally achieved peace after 20 years of war because of Jaevid’s sacrifice.

The Dragonrider Legacy takes place 40 years after the end of the first series and will tell the second portion of Jaevid’s journey. However, unlike the first series, a majority of it will be told from the perspective of an entirely new cast of heroes. Many of these characters are the children and grandchildren of the original cast from the Chronicles. Because the events of the first series are now legends and tales of heroism told to the current characters, readers new to the world shouldn’t feel alienated. They will be given any information from the first series they absolutely need. My hope was to generate feelings of nostalgia for those who are already fans of the first series, and to also pique the curiosity of new readers about just who this Jaevid guy is whenever parts of his epic story are told.

Overall, The Dragonrider Legacy has been so much fun to write! Having that curtain of history behind it from the original series makes the world feel all the more realistic and immersive. It’s really been an emotional experience for me, especially since this will be my last visit to Maldobar. Training, battling, and soaring with the Dragonriders has been an incredible journey for me as a writer. I hope it’s one that readers will enjoy as much as I have!


Savage by Nicole Conway
Series: (Dragonrider Legacy #1)
Published by Month9Books on September 26, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
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Savage begins the Dragonrider Legacy series, a thrilling companion to the international bestselling Dragonrider Chronicles.

Never send a hero to do a monster’s job.

Forty years have passed since Jaevid Broadfeather brought peace to Maldobar and Luntharda. But that fragile truce will be tested as darkness gathers on the horizon. The vicious armies of the Tibran Empire have crossed the far seas and are threatening to destroy Maldobar completely. Not even the dragonriders can match the Tibran war machines. And after an attempt to awaken Jaevid from his divine sleep fails, the fate of Maldobar is looking grim.

Reigh has never known what it means to be a normal human. Raised amongst the gray elves in the wild jungle of Luntharda, he’s tried everything to fit in. But the dark power within him is bursting at the seams—refusing to be silenced. And while his adoptive father, Kiran, insists this power must be kept secret, Reigh knows he’s running out of time.

As Maldobar burns, the world is desperate for a new hero. Destiny has called, and one boy will rise to answer.


About Nicole Conway

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book. Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation. Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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The Debut Dish: Lana Popović, Chelsea Bobulski, Rebecca Barrow, & S.F. Henson (+ Giveaways)

September 24, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Lana Popovic (Wicked Like a Wildfire), Chelsea Bobulski (The Wood), Rebecca Barrow (You Don’t Know Me But I Know You), and S.F. Henson (Devils Within).


Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
August 15, 2017 from Katherine Tegen Books
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All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Witchy twins and family curses.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Most of my favorite scenes are spoilers with High Drama and Magic, but without giving away too much, the scene that actually sparked this story is the one captured in the twins’ shared dream after their mother is attacked. The atmosphere of dark, ancient magic worked by fierce women against a wintry Montenegro backdrop lived with me for a long time before the book was written.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was working from home, and it was the end of a work day in which I’d also been finishing up a deal for an author client. So when the offer from Katherine Tegen Books landed, it was a total “cup overfloweth” moment. I was by myself, and I didn’t have any rakija–which is the Serbian go-to drink for pretty much anything that can be considered a celebratory occasion–so I poured two shots of vodka, cheersed with myself, and then poured one of them out in thanks.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Nachos made with Doritos, then smothered in melted sharp cheddar, black bean salsa, and Greek yogurt. Seriously, try it. Then join my support group.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Part of my desk is a makeshift curio cabinet, so it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to calling out the weird stuff. I think it’s currently a tie between the crystal fractal tree my partner brought back from Sweden in honor of Wicked, and the herbal spell candles that hang from my cabinet knobs and are made by a very crafty friend.


The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
August 1, 2017 from Feiwel & Friends
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After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Haunting, atmospheric, dangerous, magical forest.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character realizes why the fabric of time is so important, and why we shouldn’t mess with it, even when we have the noblest intentions.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my house. I got the phone call after having a real heart-to-heart with God that morning about whether or not I was doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. It had been five years since I’d started on my journey to becoming a published author, and the doubt monsters were really creeping in, making me wonder if it would ever happen. I felt God tell me to trust in Him, and that night I got the call! It was one of the most magical, amazing, heart-stopping moments of my life.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Oreos. Kit-Kats. m&ms. Chocolate in general.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A hair dryer.

Don’t ask.

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You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow
August 29, 2017 from HarperTeen
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Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose. Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder—what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Art, love, choices, hope, reality.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favourite scene is kind of a spoiler so let’s go with my second favourite, where Audrey and her best friend Rose hang out in an empty dance studio.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was leaving work and remembered I’d gotten an email while I was closing up so decided to check it before I got in the car. Then I drove home blasting Beyonce at an obnoxious volume.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chips (or French fries as you probably call them!)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Um…batteries and a tape measure.


Devils Within by S.F. Henson
October 31, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
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Killing isn’t supposed to be easy. But it is. It’s the after that’s hard to deal with.

Nate was eight the first time he stabbed someone; he was eleven when he earned his red laces—a prize for spilling blood for “the cause.” And he was fourteen when he murdered his father (and the leader of The Fort, a notorious white supremacist compound) in self-defense, landing in a treatment center while the state searched for his next of kin. Now, in the custody of an uncle he never knew existed, who wants nothing to do with him, Nate just wants to disappear.

Enrolled in a new school under a false name, so no one from The Fort can find him, he struggles to forge a new life, trying to learn how to navigate a world where people of different races interact without enmity. But he can’t stop awful thoughts from popping into his head, or help the way he shivers with a desire to commit violence. He wants to be different—he just doesn’t know where to start.

Then he meets Brandon, a person The Fort conditioned Nate to despise on sight. But Brandon’s also the first person to treat him like a human instead of a monster. Brandon could never understand Nate’s dark past, so Nate keeps quiet. And it works for a while. But all too soon, Nate’s worlds crash together, and he must decide between his own survival and standing for what’s right, even if it isn’t easy. Even if society will never be able to forgive him for his sins.

Like a teen American History X, S.F. Henson’s Devils Within is gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, no-holds-barred look at the plague of white supremacy in contemporary American culture that may have you examining your own soul.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A YA American History X.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is in one of the early chapters. The main character, Nate, is describing how it feels to kill someone. He killed his father, a white supremacist leader, in self-defense, and as hard as it was to take a life, he’s happy his dad is gone. Because with his father dead the beatings stopped, both to him, and to anyone who looked or thought or acted different. With his father gone, Nate finally has some hope of moving past the hate that has always controlled his life.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Standing in my kitchen with my husband. I might’ve literally screamed and almost dropped then phone, and there might’ve been some happy tears, and most certainly was a lot of jumping up and down.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything sweet. Gobstoppers are my favorite writing candy, but otherwise I always gravitate toward chocolate. Especially if it’s covering peanut butter.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hmm, probably two lighters. I love lighting my favorite candle (Snuggly Sweater from Target) while I’m writing, so I keep a lighter handy. Or in this case, two of them, just in case.

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Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Blog Tour (+Giveaway)

September 23, 2017 Blog Tour, Giveaway 2

Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Blog Tour (+Giveaway)

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Kerri Maniscalco’s sophomore novel, Hunting Prince Dracula, hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! I read and loved Stalking Jack the Ripper (see my review) last year, so I was obviously eager to get my hands on this sequel. Today I get to share with you some of my favorite quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula! Don’t worry, they will not include any spoilers! It was really hard to narrow it down to just a few, but these were my absolute favorites.

Please note: The quotes below were pulled from the advance reader copy of Hunting Prince Dracula, and not from the final published edition. As such, page numbers were not included and the actual wordings might vary.


My Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula

“Science could not explain the power of love or hope.”

“The world is vicious.”
Thomas brushed a lock of hair back from my face, his gaze thoughtful. “The world is neither kind nor is it cruel. It simply exists. We have the ability to view it however we choose.”

“Winding our way through the narrow path, we finally pulled to a blessed stop outside the castle. Fingers of moonlight reached over the spires and slid down the roof, casting our shadows in sinister shapes. This castle was eerie and I haven’t even stepped inside.”

“Curiosity was a disease that plagued me and I’d yet to find a cure.”

“I have a feeling you haven’t invited me here for kissing. Though it never hurts to ask. You’re dressed for sneaking about Dracula’s castle. Be still my thawing, dark heart. You certainly know how to make a young man feel alive, Wadsworth.”

“For there are no limits to the stars, their numbers infinite. Which is precisely why I measure my love for you by the stars. An amount too boundless to count.”


Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 19, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery,
Pages: 448
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Book Depository • Kobo
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Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.


About Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Website | Twitter | Instagram


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Follow the Tour

September 20th

Pink Polka Dot Books & My Thoughts Literally – Welcome Post

September 21st

Book Crushin – Review
Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review
Novel Ink– Favorite Quotes

September 22nd

YA and Wine – Review
Never Too Many To Read – Promo
Goldilox and Three Weres – Creative Post

September 23rd

Reading is My Superpower  – Review
Ticket to Anywhere – Promo
That Artsy Reader Girl – Favorite Quotes

September 24th

The Clever Reader – Review
Chapter by Chapter – Review
Books Boys, and Blogs – Creative Post

September 25th

Wishful Endings – Review
The Hermit Librarian – Promo
YA Under My Skin – Review 

September 26th

Book Princess Reviews – This or That Interview
Life Within Pages – Review
Latte Nights Reviews – Review

 


Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings | Book Blogger Guest Post

September 22, 2017 Guest Post 2

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


I’m so excited to have my friend Morgan (The Bookish Beagle) on the blog today to talk about her favorite fairytale retellings! I’ve added a bunch of her recs to my TBR. Thanks so much, Morgan!

Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings

When Jana approached me about being part of the Magic, Myth, and Mischief event I jumped at the chance! I love all of those things, especially in books. And I particularly love retellings, the way they are able to take a favorite, familiar story and twist it into something original and new. I also love being able to find allusions to the original tale! Any sort of retelling is great, including Jane Austen and historical, but for this post I’m focusing on fairy tale retellings. Without further adieu:

Cinderella Retellings

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: a classic! Ella Enchanted was my very favorite book until Harry Potter came along. I loved her bravery, the fairy tale twist, the made up languages, CHAR! The ball was fabulous and the ending was so perfect I cried. Gail Carson Levine’s writing is wonderful and whimsical and never feels too young.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: one of the first YA retellings I read, and book one in The Lunar Chronicles, this futuristic sci-fi take on Cinderella is action-packed and filled with characters to root for! It also has some wonderful Cinderella references.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: the perfect mix of geeky fandom culture and A Cinderella Story with a diverse cast of characters. It made my heart squeeze.

Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison: Disenchanted does a wonderful job of capturing a diverse group of characters within its pages, everything from race to culture to class. It’s timeless but modern and I love all the allusions and details from the first book and from fairy tales. It’s also very romantic and focuses as much on Ella’s character growth and her family as it does the more traditional Cinderella plot points.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge: As much as I would love this to be a full-length novel, it works so very well as a novella. Gilded Ashes dovetails nicely with Cruel Beauty; it is dark and horrifying and sorrowful, yet romantic and full of love. I loved how the story unfurled and I loved the echos of Cinderella mixed with unconventional details.

Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas: This Cinderella/mash up retelling isn’t for everyone- it’s dark and a little confusing at first, but it also has one of the most original villains/story mechanics I’ve ever come across.

 

Other Retellings

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: the rare book that has everything I love in a fantasy and also manages to be an original retelling/sequel of sorts to Sleeping Beauty.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis: A sci-fi retelling of Snow White! Essie is self-sufficient, badass, and brave, and I loved the droids. The world building was extensive but not confusing, the villains were disturbing, and I loved all the Snow White allusions.

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schultz: A really fun Peter Pan-inspired adventure! The writing was sharp and descriptive and had that humorous winking bite, and Jocelyn is a heroine worth following.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Beauty and the Beast meets Greco-Roman mythology in this lush, strange, and darkly romantic retelling. It’s a little confusing but worth the read!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: a marvelous, enchanting, and oh so heartbreaking retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It also made me want to bake all the things!

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan: an extremely unique, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking Sleeping Beauty retelling set in a futuristic world.

 

Bonus: Retellings On My TBR

Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson: a fantasy romance inspired by Cinderella.

The Secrets of Eden by Brandon Goode: a m/m Cinderella retelling with magic!

The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo: Cinderella retelling at a theme park! Be still my Disney heart.

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember: a Norse-inspired f/f Little Mermaid retelling.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: a lush, magical retelling of Indian mythology.

Hunted by Meagen Spooner: a Russian-inspired Beauty and the Beast tale.
(Note from Jana: This one is AMAZING. I loved it!)

What are some of your favorite retellings? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned? Thanks again to Jana and Bonnie for letting me take part in Magic, Myth, and Mischief!


Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle

Well-rounded nerd. Bookworm. Blogger. Fangirl. Disney enthusiast who watches too much WWE.

The Bookish Beagle | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

 

 


The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais | Graphic Novel Review

September 22, 2017 Book Review, Graphic Novel 1 ★★★★

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais | Graphic Novel ReviewThe Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
Published by Lion Forge on October 3, 2017
Genres: Fairy Tale, Retelling
Pages: 80
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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4 Stars
Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais' spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him... but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

This is a French retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, which was published in 2014 and has now been translated into English. In this version of the story we have the Little Red Wolf, who lives in the beautiful forest with his family. He has been taught to fear humans, and to not go into the forest of dead wood in order to avoid the vile hunter and his daughter. One day his mother sends the Little Red Wolf to his grandmother’s house to bring her a freshly killed rabbit. But the little wolf gets hungry on his way and ends up eating the entire thing! Plus he gets lost. A very pretty and sweet little girl offers to help him, but lures him into a rather dangerous and scary situation. The storytelling is like an old fashioned fairytale, with dark, humorous, and sweet elements. The writing style is magical, and very flowing. I really enjoyed reading it.

I absolutely love the illustrations in this graphic novel. They are beautiful! And the Little Red Wolf is absolutely adorable.

As I said before, the Little Red Wolf ends up in a pretty scary situation. Things get dark and the illustrations get a little scarier. I probably would not recommend it to younger children. But I honestly loved the magical storytelling, beautiful illustrations, and different spin on the traditional fairy tale.


Debut Dish Special Edition: Heather Fawcett and Even the Darkest Stars

September 21, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish 0

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?


Today I’m welcoming Heather Fawcett back to the blog to tell us more about herself and her debut book, Even the Darkest Stars. Heather guest posted earlier this month as part of her blog tour, and I had to invite her back to tell us more about the amazing world she created in her book.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
September 5, 2017 from Balzer + Bray
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

1. Describe your book in 5 words or less.
Magic, monsters, and girl mountaineers.

2. Tell us about your experience as a debut author.
I’ve enjoyed it. Becoming an author means becoming part of a community of like-minded people who are all as passionate about books as you are. It’s fantastic to connect with fellow authors, readers, and bloggers.

3. What makes your book magical, mythical, and/or mischievous?
Love this! I’m going to answer for all three.
Magical: the primary magic system in this world revolves around talismans and incantations. It’s a very specific, controlled sort of magic. Anyone can do it, but some people are better than others.
Mythical: the story features heroes and monsters, and some characters who tread the line between the two.
Mischievous: Some of the animal characters fit this description!

4. When you think of the dragons in your story, what do they look like?
They’re small–perhaps a bit bigger than your average house cat, with a sinuous, almost snake-like shape. They are bioluminescent, like fireflies, with a light in their abdomen that is usually either green or blue.

5. Would you rather be a hero or a villain?
As a Gryffindor with Ravenclaw tendencies, I’d say hero, of course!

6. Who do you feel are the most romantic couples from fairytales or mythology?
Ah, good question. One of my all-time favourite myths (because, yes, I have favourite myths. Ravenclaw.) is Orpheus and Eurydice. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with Beauty and the Beast.

7. If you could be any mythical creature, which one would you choose to be and why?
Probably a hobbit, honestly. They’re not very glamorous, it’s true, but they generally seem to be very happy creatures who like good food and have a sense of fun. What more could you want?

8. If you could live in any fairy tale or mythical world, which one would you choose?
There are so many worlds I’d love to visit, but in terms of *living* in one, I’d have to say the Oxford of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I’ve always wondered what my daemon would be.

9. Do you have any images you used as inspiration for your world or characters that you would like to share with us?
I looked at a lot of images of the Himalayas, particularly at night under starry skies. In fact, that’s my current desktop background.

10. What magical power do you wish you had?
I love this question, though my answer tends to change depending on my mood! Immortality usually ranks near the top. Not invulnerability, because I think you’d stop appreciating life if yours was never in any danger. Actually having time to get through my TBR would be great.