Category: Guest Post

Dark, Tragic, & Spine-Tinglingly Terrific: Halloween Book Recommendations from the God of the Underworld | Author Guest Post

Posted September 29, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

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 Laure Holt, author of Fathoms Above, to the blog to present spooky book recommendations from Hades himself!


“Dark, Tragic, and Spine-Tinglingly Terrific”
Halloween Book Recommendations from the God of the Underworld

Ever wonder what the god of the Underworld does in his spare time? Well, when he’s not stealing souls, entertaining himself with trivial mortal pursuits, or trekking through spooky forests, ghoulish ruins, hidden underwater halls, and haunted trains in an effort to break a curse, he relishes nothing more than sitting quietly with a wicked read like these. (Curled up on a throne that’s as black as his dark little heart in front of a hearth of blazing hellfire, of course.)

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Hades has been around for a long time (like several million years). So, a historical retelling written in haunting prose that centers around creepy character Houdini, the famous escape artist, is right up his alley. Especially when the main character’s love interest has his own brand of dark, sardonic wit. In Hades’s opinion, if this book doesn’t get you in the mood for Halloween, he doesn’t know what will!

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

Any book that has the word “dark” in the title makes it onto Hades’s tbr, and this next book in the Three Dark Crowns series is no exception. He is especially intrigued with the fact that Kendare Blake got the idea for this story from observing how all the queens but one in a bee colony are killed. Talk about freaky fabulous! The god of death can’t wait to see which queen comes out on top, though, if truth be told, he’s rooting for Katharine. Using the powers of dead queens and poisoning are, in his opinion, the best way to run a kingdom.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

From the vampiric hills of Transylvania to the lightning-struck tower of Victor Frankenstein, one look at the spookerific covers of Kierstin White’s latest masterpieces, and Hades was hooked. He is a secret sucker for shiny things (though he likes to blame his collection of bobbles on his raven harbingers). Still, even Persephone had to admit that these books looked pretty good on the shelf next to all of his human skulls and glowing soul jars.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

It should come as no surprise that Hades’s favorite holiday is Halloween. Not only is he death personified (though please don’t expect him to show up on your doorstep in a black hooded cloak carrying a scythe. That look is so nineties.) But when you live in an underground castle in the land of the dead guarded by a small army of mythical nasties, you’ve already won the house decorating contest. At that point, all you can do is embrace the inherent darkness. And Shea Ernshaw’s debut book, with witches, spooky magic, small town legends, and curses, sounds chock full of chills and thrills. Needless to say, Hades is super excited to give this one a try!


Fathoms Between by Laura Holt
Series: Star Crossed #3
Self-published on October 2, 2018
GoodreadsAmazon

It worked.

Cather Stevens thwarted the curse of star-crossed love that has plagued the women in her family for centuries. All it took was a marriage to Peter Ganis, the last living descendant of Pyramus’s bloodline, whose sway over her grows stronger with each passing day. The pieces of Thisbe’s soul are still out there, though. To erase the curse, Cather must travel to Greece’s most mythological places and track each one down with the help of her husband and Hermes, the Book Keeper and Messenger of the gods, who still holds a piece of her heart that neither is willing to give up.

But when an unexpected tragedy befalls Peter, Cather is forced to put her trust in none other than Hades, god of the Underworld and Zeus’s biggest rival. With magical assassins on their tail and danger lurking around every corner, they must work together to reunite the soul pieces before Ares, god of War, who was sent to Earth to stop them, destroys them and dooms Cather, her family, and both the men she loves forever.


About Laura Holt

Laura Holt 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 Merlin on Netflix, 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.

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The Dragons of the Fallen Isles by Jodi Meadows | Author Guest Post

Posted September 20, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 2 Comments

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 Jodi Meadows, author of the the Fallen Isles trilogy (Before She Ignites and As She Ascends), to the blog today to talk about the magical and wonderful dragons that live in the Fallen Isles! As She Ascends just entered the world on September 11, 2018, and it’s filled with action and excitement and so many dragons!


The Dragons of the Fallen Isles

by Jodi Meadows

For the Fallen Isles series, I wanted to share a world filled with lots of different kinds of dragons, because I — like lots of other kids — had a fascination with dinosaurs. It faded over time, but I remember being completely awed by them, and storing a ton of random facts about them in my head, and as the little kids in my life get to the age where they first learn about dinosaurs, I see it in them too. I wanted to capture that feeling for my main character, Mira, but I wanted it to be about dragons, and I wanted it to be something that never left her, even as she got older.

So when building the Fallen Isles, I thought about what kind of dragons might be interesting to learn about as a reader, and what someone like Mira would know about each of them.

I came up with several different species, but a few of the ones that make it into the story:

Drakontos raptus: A small ferret-sized dragon that can be trained to hunt, like a bird of prey. They come in many different colors, but the two who show up on the page often are gold and silver — LaLa and her wingsister Crystal.

Drakontos ignitus: These are medium-sized dragons that are dull brown as juveniles, but turn fire-colored with age. They can ignite the air around them, as well as breathe fire.

Drakontos mimikus: Dragons that can change the color of their scales and the timbre of their voices as protection.

Drakontos rex: Impressively large dragons, often jewel-tone colors. In the past, warriors rode them into battle, as they had long jets of fire and could destroy cities from far above.

Drakontos titanus: The largest species of dragon, with a roar like thunder and wings that can black out the sun.

There are several other species of dragons in the world, many who pop up throughout the series, and it’s always fun to describe them through Mira’s filter of love and wonder.

Before She Ignites had mostly Mira’s memories of dragons, plus a few real-time interactions with them, but As She Ascends is all dragons all the time. It was a little complicated to figure out how characters would go about their plot with an armful of dragons, but in the end it was worth it. Because dragons.


As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows
Series: Fallen Isles #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 11, 2018
Add to Goodreads 
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MIRA, THE HOPEBEARER
Mira Minkoba is on the run with her friends after a fiery escape from the Pit, where she’d been imprisoned for defending the dragons she loves. And she wants answers. Where have all the dragons been taken? Why are powerful noorestones being shipped to the mainland? And did the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sell out the Fallen Isles to their enemies?

MIRA, THE DRAGONHEARTED
As her connection to the dragons—and their power—grows stronger, so does Mira’s fear that she might lose control and hurt someone she loves. But the only way to find the truth is to go home again, to Damina, to face the people who betrayed her and the parents she’s not sure she can trust.

Home, where she must rise above her fears. Or be consumed.

The second page-turning novel in Jodi Meadows’ Fallen Isles trilogy scorches with mysterious magic and riveting romance as one girl kindles a spark into a flame.


About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at Website: www.jodimeadows.com

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An Entreaty for Under-Represented Mythological Creatures In Recent Fantasy | Blogger Guest Post

Posted September 17, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 3 Comments

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 welcome Amber of The Literary Phoenix to the blog today to share with us her strong feelings on the subject of lesser-used mythological creatures in recent fantasy novels!


An Entreaty for Under-Represented Mythological
Creatures In Recent Fantasy

If you would humor me, I would like to open this post with a bit of a game. I will list a series of names, and Dear Reader, I challenge you to find what they have in common.

Edward Cullen
Barnabas Collins
Jean-Claude
Eric Northman
Dracula
Spike
Lestat de Lioncourt
Adrian Ivashkov
Kurt Barlow
Marceline

If you are thinking, “They’re all vampires!” then you would be correct! The ten names listed above are a mere handful of famous vampires, one of the most popular creatures to grace fantasy novels since their invention in 1887 with Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

There was a time when it was almost impossible to pick up a new YA fantasy and not find a vampire lurking inside. There is a list on Goodreads with 385 teen vampire books and 1594 adult vampire books. I could start reading right now and it would take me about 20 years to read all the books on these lists.

While vampires are fun, there are a lot of other mythological beasts out there begging for some attention in fiction. Today, I’m going to introduce you to three underused magical creatures with a lot of potential.

The Phoenix

The phoenix is grossly underused in fantasy. As a creature, it is a symbol of renewal and rebirth. In Egypt, it was called “Bennu” and sacred to Heliopolis (god of the sun). In Greek myth, the phoenix lived several centuries before burning up in a nest of myrrh and other finery, and being reborn from the ashes. Chinese legend recognizes it as “Feng Huang” – it was part of the union of yin and yang, representing the Empress.

Despite its majesty and the respect it held in ancient culture, the firebird is oft forgotten in fantasy novels. You can find the phoenix in a variety of supernatural romance novels, but I believe the most famous example is Fawkes, Dumbledore’s pet and companion in the Harry Potter series.

Goodreads has a list of 43 books tagged “phoenix”.

The Gorgon

Gorgons are a bit less common than phoenixes, as they are exclusively found in Greek Mythology. The most famous gorgon is Medusa, who was slain by Hercules, but she also had two sisters just as vain as herself who were transformed into hideous monsters by the gods. As far as the mythos goes, there’s no in-depth mention of them… what are their stories?

Goodreads has a list of 23 books tagged “medusa”.

The Selkie

Finally, the selkie is a form of shapeshifter. I first learned about selkies a couple years ago when I was listening to S.J. Tucker’s “For the Girl in the Garden“, a companion album to In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente. The selkie comes from Scottish legend, and is a creature capable of shedding its seal skin and becoming human. Unlike your traditional shapeshifter, selkies require their seal skin in order to return to their original form.

This is asking for an epic quest of a selkie girl trying to retrieve her stolen skin from a hunter! It would fit really well into YA fantasy, so someone please get on top of this.

Goodreads has a list of 153 books tagged “selkie”.

These three are but the tip of the iceberg as to the opportunities available to in the world of underused fantasy creatures. Many of the creatures J.K. Rowling features in her Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have a mythological background, and that book is a good starting point if you’re interested in learning a little more about magical creatures.

I would like to beseech you, dear readers and writers: before picking up a pen or your next great read and seeking out a vampire, witch, or werewolf… try something a little different! Take a chance on a minotaur. Try your luck with a banshee. You never know what stories these other creatures have to tell.

About Amber

Author of half a dozen unpublished fantasy tales, book blogger, Ravenclaw, cat lover, and dreamer. Historian. Seeking first class tickets to Oz or Neverland.
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Fairytale Retellings In the Real World: Melanie Dickerson’s Medieval Fairy Tale Series | Blogger Guest Post

Posted September 14, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 5 Comments

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 welcome Rachel of Bookworm Mama to the blog today to share her love of Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings, set in medieval times!


Fairytale Retellings In the Real World:
Melanie Dickerson’s Medieval Fairy Tale Series

by Rachel of Bookworm Mama

Fairy tales have always held a special place in my heart. The romance, the charming prince, rescues, fights, daring adventures…And let’s not forget the gorgeous dresses. Please tell me, I am not the only one who still can’t decide if the blue or the pink “Sleeping Beauty” dress is the prettiest…

There is just something magical about getting lost in a fairy tale. Singing mermaids and flying carpets however, aren’t real. What if…these fairy tales were told in a REAL world setting? Sure, they may not be any glowing hair that heals people, but THIS Rapunzel, could have actually been a real person…in fact, I’m convinced she is real.

Enter Melanie Dickerson’s books. The first book I read by Melanie Dickerson was The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, part of her three book A Medieval Fairy Tale series, which my husband surprised me with for my birthday a few years ago. In each of the Medieval Fairy Tale books, we see a combination of fairy tales. Swan Lake and Robin Hood for example is what you will find in The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. I was instantly hooked and desperately needed to get my hands on more of her stories. From Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and Aladdin….Melanie’s stories take you to the era of knights and dukes through Medieval Fiction. The Hagenheim series currently has 8 books with the 9th (a Mulan retelling) releasing soon. I still have a few of these stories to catch up on myself, for they are worth savoring.

Written as Young Adult books, I believe fairytale fans of all ages will enjoy Melanie’s books.

Be prepared to fall in love when you pick up one of these stories. Whether you start from the beginning of the series or dive into your favorite fairy tale story first, you are sure to want more. You can find all of Melanie’s books listed on her website.

What is your favorite fairytale?


About Rachel

Rachel enjoys reading, reviewing books, and sharing her passion for literature at www.bookwormmama.org. She’s a virtual assistant and shares the small-town life with her husband and children.

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A.J. Pine’s Summer Reading Recs | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event (+ Giveaway)

Posted August 15, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway, Guest Post / 0 Comments

A.J. Pine’s Summer Reading Recs | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event (+ Giveaway)

A.J. Pine’s Summer Reading Recs

During the months of the school year, I’m a high school librarian. I’m also a mom of two fabulous kiddos. Add writing into that, and you probably wonder where I find time to read. The answer? Audio books! I get to “read” while doing other things like driving…or less enjoyable activities such as laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or blow drying my hair (yay earbuds!). Also, I just plain love audio books, so here are a few of my recent listens that you should definitely add to your audio list!

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: I read this book for my summer book club, and it blew me away. I could talk about this book for days—and have. There’s so much to discuss, and I can’t do it justice without spoiling it, but what a fascinating exploration of self vs. projected image we let others see; of how parents see their children and vice versa; of how prejudice can so easily blind someone to the truth; and of what it truly means to be a mother.
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton: Dual timelines, dual narrators, forbidden love, exile from Cuba, family secrets—this book has so muchAnd that cover??? STUNNING. A must read!
  • It Happened on Love Street by Lia Riley: I’m a sucker for small town romance. And men who are good with animals. So a southern veterinarian hero and a heroine who is—shall we say—dog averse? Puh-lease. You had me at Rhett Valentine and Pepper Knight.
  • Burning Up by Jennifer Blackwood: Sometimes I just need a good romcom, and Jennifer Blackwood’s humor always has me legit laughing out loud. As an educator myself, I love a strong school teacher heroine. And I mentioned before my penchant for men and their dogs. Even sexier—a man who’s a good dad. Did I also mention he’s a firefighter?
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: I just started listening to this one but know it’s going to be spectacular. Bahni Turpin is one of my favorite audio book narrators, plus the story has fantasy, magic, and romance yet also a storyline that deals very much with the reality of the world we live in. I’m sure I’ll be flailing about this one on social media when I’m done!

 

 

A librarian for teens by day and a romance writer by night, A.J. Pine can’t seem to escape the world of fiction, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. For more on A.J. and her books, please visit AJPine.com.

 

 


Tough Luck Cowboy by A.J. Pine
Book #2 in the Crossroads Ranch series
Published by Forever on August 28, 2018
Genres: Adult – Contemporary, Romance

The only girl he ever wanted was the one he could never have.

What’s the saying, bad luck comes in threes? If so, Lily Green is due for something good. First, her divorce is finalized—on her birthday, no less. Then the first job she lands for her catering company turns out to be for her ex-husband’s wedding. To top it off, she’s stuck working the event with Luke Everett, the sexy-as-hell best man who’s never been able to stand her. When can a girl catch a break?

For years, Luke has kept his feelings for Lily safely hidden. Hitting on his best friend’s ex-wife would definitely break the cowboy code of honor. But ever since an injury sidelined his rodeo riding, the two of them keep getting thrown together. It’s only a matter of time until his true feelings come to light. When that happens, it will either be the biggest mistake of his life, or a sign that his luck is about to change.

 

 


Keeping Up With the Debuts: Tricia Levenseller | Daughter of the Siren Queen Blog Tour

Posted February 28, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Guest Post, Keeping Up With the Debuts / 2 Comments

Keeping Up With the Debuts: Tricia Levenseller | Daughter of the Siren Queen Blog Tour

Keeping Up With the Debuts is an original That Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I bring back former debut authors and give them the opportunity to talk about what they learned from their debut novel and what’s next for them!

I’m so excited to welcome Tricia Levenseller to the blog today as part of the official blog tour for her sophomore novel, Daughter of the Siren Queen! Tricia’s debut novel, Daughter of the Pirate King, came out exactly one year ago today on February 28, 2017. What better day than today to invite her back to the blog to tell us what’s she’s been up to over the last year, and what’s on the horizon!


Keeping Up With Tricia Levenseller

Guest post by Tricia Levenseller

Being a debut author was, in a word, magical. It was unreal having complete strangers read my work for the first time, and it was even more surreal when they wanted to discuss themes and topics that I hold dear. I’ve loved getting to know so many bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers. The book community as a whole is very welcoming and fun.

Doing book events was a new experience. I loved being able to connect with readers directly, instead of solely over the internet.

In some ways, however, being a writer was exactly the same. I was working on my next project as soon as DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING released. The sequel, DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN, was already done, and so I had to be thinking about the next project I wanted to try to sell to my publisher.

I’m excited to share that I have sold two new books! The first of which is a Viking fantasy titled WARRIOR OF THE WILD, which will release in 2019. It’s about a teen warrior who is banished after failing her coming-of-age test. With only two boys who were banished the previous year for company, she must survive the monster-filled wild and kill her village’s oppressive deity if she is ever to return home.

My current task is my first round of edits on WARRIOR OF THE WILD. It’s been a fun break from pirates, and I’m excited to for readers to get to read Rasmira’s story next year!


Daughter of the Siren King by Tricia Levenseller
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King #2
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 27, 2018
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads
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Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


About Tricia Levenseller

Tricia Levenseller writes historical fantasies for young adult readers. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, is set to release Feb. 2017 from Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

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Visit the other tour stops!

2/20  Love is Not a Triangle – Guest Post on research about lady pirates
2/21  Page Turners Blog – Moodboard
2/22  Fiction Fare – Author Interview
2/23  Avid Reader – Fancast
2/24  Mundie Moms – Character Interview
2/25  Stories & Sweeties – Quote Highlights
2/27  Moonlight Rendezvous – Playlist
2/28  That Artsy Reader Girl – Keeping Up With the Debuts


Brittany Pearlman’s Favorite Winter ’17-’18 YA Books | Guest Post

Posted December 27, 2017 by Jana in Guest Post / 1 Comment

I’m so excited to welcome Brittany Pearlman, publicist at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, to the blog today to share with us some of her favorite books coming out this winter! I’ve been excited to read many of these, and now I’m even more excited!


Hi Bloggers!

I am so excited to share some of my favorite books coming out this winter! I’m always looking for new books to dig into (especially when I’m cold and don’t feel like braving the NYC weather), but I’m usually in the mood for something very specific so here is a list of rec’s broken down by my favorite categories as well.

Wishing everyone a very “Belle in the library surrounded by books and a warm fireplace” kind of holiday!

High Fantasy:

Working in YA right now, I read a lot of fantasy (I’m not complaining at all, that’s just a fact). It’s really rare that I come across a YA fantasy that feels as remarkably original as Tomi Adeyemi’s debut, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, does! This is an entirely new world inspired by African culture and mythology– with a fascinating magic system and an even more compelling story. You will root for Zelie as she tries to bring magic back to her disenfranchised people, and you will come to love the whole cast of characters that entirely real. Thoroughly engrossing, you won’t remember what year it is let alone that it’s 12 degrees outside when you start this one.

Jane Austen Vibes:

If you’re like me, you can never have too much of Jane Austen. Unfortunately, the pool original work is rather small, and I’ve basically already read everything published that is somewhat related. Enter THE FORGOTTEN BOOK by Mechthild Gläser! It’s a standalone YA that combines the magic of books with Jane Austen vibes to create a beautiful world that feels super reminiscent of your favorite Austen classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Emma!

Pirate Adventure:

I have been obsessed with pirates ever since that fateful day I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl in theaters in the summer of 2003, and ever since I have been an apologetic sucker for any and all things pirates. If you haven’t read the first book in this duology (Daughter of the Pirate King), you need to stop whatever you’re doing and pick it up IMMEDIATELY. It’s a dashing high seas adventure with a badass female pirate and a super sexy romance. In the sequel, DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN, Tricia Levenseller delivers on the promise of the first book– and I promise you that this book will keep you nice and toasty on a cold winter day ;)!

Modern Retelling:

I love Emma Mills. Everything she writes gives me all the feels and FOOLISH HEARTS, her modern retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is no exception. If you’ve read either of Emma’s first two novels (First & Then and This Adventure Ends), you know that NO ONE does dialogue better and that is certainly still true in Foolish Hearts. With a super sweet romance and a heartfelt friendship story at its core, FOOLISH HEARTS is the perfect read when you’re in the mood for something light, breezy, and ultra satisfying.

Contemporary:

Sometimes you just need a good cry. Listen, seasonal depression is a thing (at least it is for me) and sometimes I just need a book that will let me get out all my feelings. IN SEARCH OF US is that book. Ava Dellaira’s sophomore YA novel explores the complicated relationship between a single white mother and her biracial daughter, told in dual points of view of each of them at the age of seventeen. The story unfolds to reveal secrets from the past that inform the present, and both of their coming of age stories. This will make you think and it will make you cry, so get your tissue box before you pick this one up. It’s so worth it!!

Graphic Novel:

It took me a long time to get into graphic novels. I just couldn’t figure out how to read them! If you’re like me and you struggle with learning how to really enjoy this format, then I’d recommend transitioning from a world you’re familiar with (like The Lunar Chronicles), and reading the next adventure in graphic novel form. WIRES AND NERVE Volumes I and II by Marissa Meyer are the perfect introduction. They have all the trappings of the bestselling novels, but give you a new and refreshing visual perspective to accompany your reading experience. After you’ve dipped into these, there are several other amazing graphic novels coming out this winter, including THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER and BRAZEN that I’d also recommend!

Mystery:

Who doesn’t love a good mystery during the cold winter months? Snuggle up with Caleb Roehrig’s sophomore YA mystery, WHITE RABBIT, and find yourself caught up in an enthralling, high-stakes thriller! Full of teenage angst, queer romance, and of course, MURDER, White Rabbit is an entirely modernized take on what would happen if The Hardy Boys realized they were actually gay, and I never knew how badly I needed this in my life.

Which of Brittany’s favorites are you excited to read?


Harker’s Favorite Bookish Christmases | Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 20, 2017 by Jana in Guest Post / 5 Comments

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

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I’m so happy to welcome Harker, book blogger at The Hermit Librarian, to the blog today to talk about some of her favorite bookish Christmases! I really, really love reading Christmas scenes in books and I couldn’t agree more with some of the magical Christmases she has chosen to feature today.

Harker’s Favorite Bookish Christmases

Christmas is a magical time of the year when you focus on the lights and the good food and adamantly force yourself to ignore the rampant consumerism of the real world. I work retail, this is hard, trust me. So what to do in the face of that? Think about what bookish worlds I’d like to spend the holidays in. When everything is crashing down around them, whether it be an evil witch or something more real world like, the characters in a book seem to be able to enjoy a little bit of time with each other, whether it be a whole day or an hour or two.

I’m going to share with you my picks for the worlds I’d spend my Christmas holidays in, whether they take place just on the other side of a brick wall in London or through a wardrobe in the countryside estate of an old professor. Thank you for joining me today, and a happy Christmas to you.

Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This might sound like an odd choice, given that for half the novel Christmas doesn’t exist because the White Witch has forbidden it, but with the arrival of the Pevensie children her curse begins to break and life begins to return to Narnia. With it, the figure known as Father Christmas is able to travel to this land again and even brings them presents that aide them in the rest of their adventures this time around. There are many trials while in Narnia, but there are also good times, such as tea with the Beavers and being welcomed at Aslan’s camp. Christmas in Narnia, with eternal winter banished, is sure to be a wonderful thing indeed.

Hogwarts/The Burrow, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Harry’s first Christmas in the series is my favorite because I think it has the most impact on him. While arguably his 11th birthday, on which he learned that he was a wizard, is more monumental overall, his first Christmas at Hogwarts was a holiday he had the ability to share with friends. By that point, he had friends to share the wonder of the place with: the decorated trees, the enchanted crackers, the feast. Later on in the series he is welcomed to the Burrow for the holiday and, while this is usually overshadowed by something dark happening at school, there is still the overwhelming happiness made by friends that have become something like family.

I would love to be in the midst of all that magic and mystical wonder. I think it would take a very long time, if ever, before it wore off. The crackers alone sound like a lot of fun. Imagine all the little things that would pop out: enchanted hats, toys that play back, etc. The mice would make great pets because I’d rescue them. At the Burrow, Mrs. Weasley would no doubt have a ton of family traditions that she’d include any guests in. Any guests are family, from what I’ve seen, and that’s touching.

The Enchanted Forest, Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Cimorene, the protagonist of most of the Enchanted Forest books, was the first princess I can remember reading who was not the usual sort of princess. She wasn’t satisfied with being taught to sew or to curtsy or how to scream while being carried off by giants. She wanted to fence and speak Latin and learn magic. What she eventually did was leave her father’s castle and become a dragon’s princess, willingly, and thus found her own story in the Enchanted Forest.

The cast of characters she meets, most important of which is Kazul the dragon, would be so much fun to spend Christmas with. Not only does Kazul have a magic pot that can cook amazing food for large groups and a cavern of caves to explore, but the friends that Cimorene makes include a witch and another princess who learns to come out of her shell.

Explaining the customs of a human holiday might be a bit odd with a host of dragons as guests, but I think it would be a lot of fun trying to play Christmas games with them and the feast would certainly be something to behold. Imagine, if only they would be kind enough, the snowy flight over the Enchanted Forest. Cold but breathtaking, I’d wager, if your dragon is a kind one.

The Carnegie Library, In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages

A short story in Firebirds Rising, In the House of the Seven Librarians tells the story of seven librarians at the Carnegie Library, an old-fashioned library at the edge of a forest that is abandoned when a newer one is built closer to the town’s mall and main road. Rather than leave their books, the seven librarians stock up on supplies and stay. Soon they are forgotten by the town and make their lives within the walls of the library, which takes care of them in turn by leaving little treats and, I assume, keeping their food stocked up. It has its own sort of magic, it seems.

One day, as payment for an extremely overdue book of Grimms fairy tales, someone leaves a basket in the drop box containing a first born child. This child’s upbringing shows the reader more about the power of the library and about the librarians from the day she is left to the day she grows up and decides to see what the world outside is like, knowing that her librarians will always be there for her.

I think this would be a splendid place to spend the holidays. While time is fluid within the library (the child’s birthday, which is decided to be July 5th and is celebrated in the middle of a snowstorm) and holidays might not be celebrated on quite the right day, they would be cozy and warms. Tea would always be at the ready and there’s a good chance the library would leave a tin of biscuits for the guests to enjoy between friendly debates about the various subjects on the shelves and games of literary inspiration.

What are some of your favorite bookish Christmases?


Presents Jodi Meadows Would Give Her Before She Ignites Characters | Author Guest Post

Posted December 18, 2017 by Jana in Guest Post / 4 Comments

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

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I’d like to welcome Jodi Meadows, author of the Newsoul trilogy, the Orphan Queen duology, and the Fallen Isles trilogy, to the blog today to tell us what she would give the characters in her most recent book, Before She Ignites. I read and reviewed Before She Ignites [read my review here] in September and really loved it, so I’m excited to see what Jodi would give these beloved characters!

Jodi’s Presents for Her BSI Characters

While the people of the Fallen Isles don’t celebrate Christmas, they do have another holiday at the end of every year: the Hallowed Restoration. Those are the five (sometimes six) days at the end of the year where families gather together to reflect on the previous year, look forward to the new, and argue while they eat too much food. There are often parties involved, and occasionally there’s gift giving.

If I lived in the Fallen Isles and could give presents to my characters in Before She Ignites, here’s what I would offer them:

Mira
Mira is not a girl lacking in Stuff, so I wouldn’t give her something else to clutter her bedroom. Instead, I’d want to offer her a hug and some self-confidence. Maybe I’d write a letter detailing all the ways I think she’s a fabulous human and deserves love.

Ilina
Ilina is a practical person, so what she really wants is something useful, and probably something related to dragons. I’d like to give her an entire library of dragon-related texts to help her be the best dragon trainer in the Fallen Isles.

Hristo
Probably some kind of weapon, like a nice dagger or sword, but forged in his homeland. He takes sentimental value very seriously, so the more thought put into a gift, the more it matters to him.

LaLa and Crystal
Since these tiny dragons are so adorable, they probably deserve cute bows and sparkly hunting gear.

Aaru
If you’ve read the book, then you know Aaru really likes his peace and quiet. In that way, he’s definitely a boy after my own heart. So I’d give him noise-canceling headphones. The fancy kind that really do cancel the noise, not just the ones that pretend like they do.

Gerel
We have to be honest about Gerel. Whatever I get her, she’ll just return it for cash. So I’d probably just give her cash or a gift card. That’s really all she wants anyway.

Chenda
Chenda is fancier than I will ever be, and so I can’t even guess as to what she would want. If I thought I could afford it, I’d take her to some kind of high-end shop and let her pick out her own present.

Tirta
Somehow, Tirta got a job cooking. Tirta is a terrible cook, it turns out. As a gift, I’d probably try to arrange for some kind of cooking class and a few basic cookbooks.

Altan
Altan isn’t a nice person. Even without Santa in the Fallen Isles, I’d still give that meanie a lump of coal.

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 12, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
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Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at Website: www.jodimeadows.com

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Alyssa’s Christmas Traditions | Book Blogger Guest Post

Posted December 17, 2017 by Jana in Guest Post / 3 Comments

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

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Today I’m welcoming my friend Alyssa, book blogger at Books Take You Places and host of the On the Same Page Secret Sister Project! She’s here (on her birthday, by the way!!) to tell us about her Christmas traditions. I love traditions and any excuse to form a new one.

Hi all!

I am so happy to be on Jana’s blog today to help her celebrate A Bookish Little Christmas! Today I will be talking about some of my Christmas traditions growing up and the kinds of things I like to do to celebrate nowadays.

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Growing up, Christmas was always my favorite time of year. Yes, this was in large part because I was a spoiled brat and got ALL THE PRESENTS, but that wasn’t the only reason why I loved the holiday so much. My earliest memories of Christmas were when my grandmother had a tiny third floor apartment in a town nearby. She had this tiny living room and would put up a tiny tree on top of a table in between two of the most comfortable chairs ever. She decorated the tree with tinsel and those ornaments that look like apples and she only ever used colored Christmas lights. The best part was that every year we would make new ornaments out of walnuts and glitter and my grandmother would act as if they were just the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. My grandmother collected Santas and they were alllll over the living room. Everywhere you looked, there was a Santa. I still covet this collection and ask her every Christmas if she is ready to bestow her giant collection to me – no luck thus far! Now, my favorite “Santa” will come as no surprise to those who know me. My uncle bought my grandmother a statue of Black Peter one year and I fell in love. He had these switches in his sack that I would take out and hold while watching different Christmas movies. I LOVED this guy, and every year I peruse Ebay and debate buying him for myself (Justin, do you see this, honey?)

black peter

So anyway, why did I love Black Peter so much? This weird tradition came from my great grandmother from Germany and my mother and her rather macabre likes. I grew up learning about Belsnickel. An easy explanation is that Belsnickel is akin to Saint Nicholas. He brings treats to good children but instead of coal, he brings switches to beat the naughty children. His companion is Krampus, who is often the one who does the beating. These stories turned into a new tradition in my family where we began to celebrate Krampusnacht. On the evening of December 5 we would leave out our shoes for when Belsnickel and Krampus visited. In the morning, if it was filled with treats then we knew Santa was coming to bring us gifts. If I had been particularly bratty around that time, I would get some rocks thrown in there to remind me to be on my best behavior, or Krampus was going to come and give me the switch. Interesting family I grew up with, eh? So ANYWAY Black Peter is another companion to Saint Nicholas, and for some reason I found these complex beings a lot more interesting than the traditional Santa Claus.

That being said, have you read Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom? I HIGHLY recommend it if you enjoy dark fantasy and authors such as Neil Gaiman. For readers looking for a dark and harrowing story on the origins of Santa Claus, differences between Christmas and Yuletide, or a vivid novel steeped in Norse mythology, this novel is highly recommended.

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So what am I doing this year? Let me tell ya! I am going to be making Christmas cookies with my mom (head over to Sarah’s blog to see some yummy and easy recipes for some of those) and sitting by my tree A LOT. As of writing this, it is less than one week until I go and pick out my Christmas tree for a day of decorating! I already have it in my calendar as “CHRISTMAS TREE DAY” because I am SO EXCITED. I always watch those old school Christmas movies like The Year Without a Santa Claus and The Muppet Christmas Carol while decorating and have the best time ever. I will then spend the next few (yep, FEW) months bundled up on my couch next to my tree. It is my very favorite thing to do. Finally, around Valentine’s Day I will make myself take down my tree because by that time it will probably be droopy and sad looking.

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What will I be reading? I am weird because I always choose my last book of the year months in advance. I have ELEVEN books to go on my Goodreads goal (LOL why does this always happen?!) but I have a few end of year reads in mind…

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The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle – I have owned this book for YEARS and have yet to read it. This is just one of those classics that somehow slipped by me as I was growing up and I cannot wait to read it.

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Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus by Kate Wolford – This book was gifted to me by my secret sister and I cannot wait to delve in this holiday season! Short, horror, Krampus-filled stories? Yes, please.

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The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories by Tara Moore – This one I have been coveting for a while now and no libraries have it so if I don’t receive it from Santa (or Belsnickel) I might have to just treat myself. I mean…hello…CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES!

…and finally…my last read of the year…

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition – I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ONE! I have refrained from buying it just so I could hold off and have it be my last read of the year. I am SO excited to fall into this world and ring in the new year with my favorite characters.

What will you be reading this holiday season? Sending you all of the best wishes! XO

 

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