#ARCstravaganza

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It’s time for another ARCstravaganza here! I’ve moved through my previous approvals and gone on yet another requesting spree.

Approvals

9781481471992_fca55Shimmer and Burn
Mary Taranta
August 8, 2017

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

First, I totally love this cover. But I actually requested it because of smuggling stolen magic and the danger of the addicts. It sounds like I will either love it or hate it.

 

9781492649953_5aa32Shadow Weaver
MarcyKate Connolly
January 2, 2018

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

I’ve actually already started reading this and I’m loving it. It’s so dark and I love dark middle grade. Review and fangirling to come.

9780062561596_305afThis Darkness Mine
Mindy McGinnis
October 10th, 2017

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.

I actually requested this because I wanted to see how the gaps in time were approached. My current MS has some gaps in time for my MC and so I’m using it both for review and for research.

Pending

Beasts Made of NightBeasts Made of Night
Tochi Onyebuchi
October 31, 2017

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

Did you read that synopsis? Because that’s why I requested it.


ARCapalooza is a weekly booktag hosted by YAandWine.

New Hunger Games, Twilight Movies

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Saw a little post on BookRiot and TeenVogue today about new Hunger Games and Twilight movies and I just have to say…

Could we not?

These things have passed. I understand wanting to capitalize on on fandoms, because you are greedy terrible people, but leave them alone.

Their time has passed. We have moved on. Look at Harry Potter.

But Harry Potter is going strong, you say. New products all the time! Even a new movie!

Yeah-have you watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Because I watched it on the plane recently and it was terrible. It felt like awkwardly written fanfiction with a terribly thought out OC.

Is that what we want for all our fandoms? Half-assed media just to have something?

We need to leave things alone. Stop killing the fandoms for franchises.

Sorry for the ranting, but I’m more than a little miffed. I feel like the industry is taking nine steps backward with this when they could be making cross/trans media for literally any other YA book out there.

Seriously, movie makers, go to the bookstore and pick one off the shelf. It’s not that hard.

Bring Your Own Book #14

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It’s Thursday again! Which means it’s time for Bring Your Own Book! Make sure to leave your answers in the comments.

Past Winners

—.

Here are the rules:

  • I’ll post the goal. (Lines from an action movie, currency in a dystopia, etc)
  • You post the answer and a citation. (The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas p19)
  • You can play with ANY book! Fiction, non-fiction, YA, Adult, picture book, even a newspaper or a magazine.
  • Borrow phrases or whole sentences-just make sure to cite it.

Ready?

3 Things on a Family Crest

Bad Girl Gone ★☆☆☆☆

31450580.jpgBased on the premise, I thought I’d really enjoy Bad Girl Gone. Well–I knew I’d have an issue with the “she’s blatantly dead why can’t she tell” part of it, but the rest of it I fully expected to enjoy.

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.­­­­

Echo is obnoxious and self-centered. I’m all for something focusing on personal development but I couldn’t make it far enough to watch her learn from her mistakes.

True to books I can’t stand–a love triangle is featured prominently. Echo loved Andy when she was alive. They even had obnoxiously disgusting nicknames for each other: rabbit and wolfie. Once Echo died, she fell for Cole. Because he’s super hot. Then she gets incredibly jealous when Andy is eyeballed by a new–living–girl and rushes to kiss Cole. And I wanted to hurl. Echo is literally every stereotype about teenage girls all rolled into one and it annoyed me to no end.

Everyone lacked a genuine personality and Echo’s mind reading power made her troubles too easy to get through.

Bring Your Own Book #13

Blog Features & Headers (1)

It’s Thursday again! Which means it’s time for Bring Your Own Book! Make sure to leave your answers in the comments.

Past Winners

—.

Here are the rules:

  • I’ll post the goal. (Lines from an action movie, currency in a dystopia, etc)
  • You post the answer and a citation. (The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas p19)
  • You can play with ANY book! Fiction, non-fiction, YA, Adult, picture book, even a newspaper or a magazine.
  • Borrow phrases or whole sentences-just make sure to cite it.

Ready?

Odd Directions on a Test

WoW: Shadow Weaver

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Shadow Weaver
MarcyKate Connolly
Sourcebooks Jaberwocky
Jan 2, 2018

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

THIS SOUNDS AMAZING! It is has the opportunity to represent so many things. I cannot wait for this book. I’ve requested it and I hope I get approved.

July Wrap Up

Blog Features & HeadersIn my personal life…

School starts this week which means I’m at residency. I’m actually sitting in the airport waiting for my currently delayed flight, but whatever. A lot of things are getting done for the wedding! Kiel picked out his tux and styles for his groomsmen, our gift for our guests came in, my shoes came in. It’s getting real everybody!

In my writing life…

I made it jut a little over halfway through a rewrite of my old MS and about 10k of the way through a new piece. I’ve also started a new middle grade MS that I’m hoping to pursue alongside my newer YA piece this semester. We’ll see how long that lasts since I’m getting hitched halfway through the semester.

In my reading life…

I’ve definitely had a slow month reading wise. I’m picking up more middle grade since I want to explore that more and hone in a good middle grade voice.

ARCs I’ve Requested/Been Approved For

On the blog…

I’ve already started posting less since school is back in swing. But I’ve tried to remain active for comments and likes since that’s what helps keep me visible. I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve done a book tag or a weekly other than Bring Your Own Book (which is fun so you guys should comment so I can tag you!) and I feel like I should stock up.

My July Reviews

 

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

 

August TBR

My TBR is a little short this month but I’m okay with it. Two of these books are ARCs (Shadow Weaver and Shimmer and Burn) and the other two are, obviously, already out. I’ve decided to blend my shelves to get to these things more sporadically because my ARCs are getting in the way of my purchases.  Continue reading “August TBR”

Little Monsters ★★★★☆

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I don’t know if this is obvious, I love thrillers.

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Recently, I posted a big long list of YA tropes, which you can view here. On it, are evil (cheerleader-esque) teenage girls. And there were a lot of them in Little Monsters. BUT… I love them so much. They’re so evil I love it. I’m a terrible person.

Kacey is a new girl in a small town. She had a big fight with her highly unstable mother and moved in with her father, whom she’s never met, and his family in Broken Falls. But lucky for her she made new friends: Bailey and Jade.

Queue my other least favorite tropes: girl goes to party, girl doesn’t make it home.

Okay, the party is presented like the usual “girl goes to party and tries drugs for the first time,” it’s a legitimate social gathering here and it’s huge, because Kacey wasn’t invited. As the summary says.

In a small town where everyone already has tight and long-form relationships, it’s not long before everyone suspects Kacey and she, rightfully so, begins to retreat inward and keep her loyalties to herself.

I did, despite many red herrings, guess the culprit, but I did suspect a few others before that.

I really loved the depiction of the small town, complete with its own local legends and universal small town culture. It really added to the general mood of Little Monsters.

I also loved the friendships. It was all so accurate about how complicated teenaged friendships can be. All the obsessions and jealousy was turned up for the sake of the story but it never popped me out of the book.

One thing that did bother me is Kacey’s “Mysterious Past,” which is never fully pinned down. It added to the mystery for sure, but definitely took away from the project as a whole. I think if Bailey’s journal entries, our only alternate viewpoint, could have been expanded to help us better understand Kacey.

Definitely a solid YA thriller and it’s already out! So go pick it up and… you know… don’t read it before bed. (You’ve been warned)

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls ★★★☆☆

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A little slow and a little weird, but definitely worth the read.

Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile since her award-winning piece Food Poisoning #1 last year.

Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is lying comatose in faraway Puerto Rico after suffering a stroke. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings.

Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.

At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she never has before. She can share her deepest secrets and feel safe. But Mercedes can’t take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. As her life continues to crumble around her, the Estate offers more solace than she could hope for. But Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.

Let’s start with the awesomeness that is a bisexual main character. I really loved watching her come to terms with her sexuality and how that inward struggle prevented her from addressing her passions, as many inward struggles do. Her front most struggle is to create a second painting in a series about… well… food poisoning… a little weird but you do you. But her real struggle is not only coming out to her best friend but also admitting that she has more than friendly feelings for her. All great things needed in YA.

And even with that–it’s not really a romance. Don’t go into this expecting a romance. Go into The Gallery of Unfinished Girls expecting a coming of age story. Because that’s what this is. And honestly, I think we need more “coming into feelings” stories and less “having feelings returned” stories.

Now onto other things. The writing is not bad. It’s not meh, either. It’s actually a very well written book, but I wasn’t ever really drawn into the book. I blame the flat opening. A piano suddenly shows up on the front lawn one day and then… nothing really happens for a few days… I think the opening would have benefited from more magical things occurring to keep us interested. Instead, there is a lot of introspective downtime in front of partially complete canvases.

Which is totally relate-able to as a writer who has sat in front of many a blank screen before, but I need that summed up in my fiction.

Ultimately, I enjoyed it and recommend that you pick it up, but it’s not a must have or don’t bother.