April First Impressions

Stay inside. Order books. Watch your author visits get canceled. Cry. Rage. Tea. We get it. These are trying times. But it’s a new month, one that hopefully brings us closer to lifted quarantines. Without much further ado, let’s jump into some first impressions.

BOOKED ALL NIGHT URGES YOU TO STAY HOME WHEN POSSIBLE! WASH YOUR HANDS! AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE! AND CONTINUE SOCIAL DISTANCING!

The Best Week That Never Happened by Dallas Woodburn

Pub: April 21, 2020

What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life—but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?

After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.

But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?

Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human. 


Thoughts

I love the “woke up and have no idea what’s going on,” trope. I’m most intrigued to see how the relationships pan out. It sounds like there will be as much pain as there was when I read They Both Die at the End. So I think I will add this one to my TBR.


The Loop by Ben Oliver

Life inside The Loop-the futuristic death row for teens under eighteen-is one long repetitive purgatory. But when news of the encroaching chaos in the outside world reaches the inmates and disorder begins to strike, the prison becomes the least of their worries.

It’s Luka Kane’s sixteenth birthday and he’s been inside The Loop for over two years. Every inmate is serving a death sentence with the option to push back their execution date by six months if they opt into “Delays”, scientific and medical experiments for the benefit of the elite in the outside world. But rumors of a war on the outside are spreading amongst the inmates, and before they know it, their tortuous routine becomes disrupted. The government issued rain stops falling. Strange things are happening to the guards. And it’s not long until the inmates are left alone inside the prison.

Were the chains that shackled Luka to his cell the only instruments left to keep him safe? He must overcome fellow prisoners hell-bent on killing him, the warden losing her mind, the rabid rats in the train tunnels, and a population turned into murderous monsters to try and break out of The Loop, save his family, and discover who is responsible for the chaos that has been inflicted upon the world.


Thoughts

It sounds very Hunger Gamesy to me. And I loved The Hunger Games. Specifically the Delays sound like adding your name for extra meals and such. But believe me when I say I perked up at “experiments for the benefit of the elite.” I know, it’s tropey, but I love it. Okay? Love it. And did I see GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED RAIN!? Because that’s awesome. Excuse me. Mama needs to put this on her TBR.


Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything. 


Thoughts

I wonder how the stolen lives work. Like, will there be a bleeding effect that gets in the way of her normal every day life? I hope so.


Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcran

‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold … Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on each another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other … 


Thoughts

The back copy is… confusing? Teenage ruler. Got it. Corrupt uncle. Yep. Bankrupt kingdom. Uh huh. Who is Xania’s father exactly? Because if Xania is Lia’s cousin and she’s there to kill family then that’s a big draw for me! But everything else… sounds like books I’ve read before. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for some cliches and tropes. But this just doesn’t feel original enough to stand without them.


So This Is Love by Elizabeth Lim

What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper? Unable to prove that she’s the missing princess, and unable to bear life under Lady Tremaine any longer, Cinderella attempts a fresh start, looking for work at the palace as a seamstress. But when the Grand Duke appoints her to serve under the king’s visiting sister, Cinderella becomes witness to a grand conspiracy to take the king-and the prince-out of power, as well as a longstanding prejudice against fairies, including Cinderella’s own Fairy Godmother. Faced with questions of love and loyalty to the kingdom, Cinderella must find a way to stop the villains of past and present . . . before it’s too late.


Thoughts

So the other Twisted Tales all start the same way as the movies, minus the opening Disney logo, of course. I do like the idea behind them: what if that one key point in the story doesn’t happen? I especially love dark re-tellings of the classics and I really want to know who the villains of the past and present are (other than Lady Tremaine and her ugly children). I think this one deserves a chance.


The Shadows Between Us

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

The Shadows Between Us, Tricia Levenseller
February 25th, 2020

So I wasn’t quite sure if I’d like The Shadows Between Us when I first started it. It was slow going and I found it hard to connect to Alessandra and the other characters.

But I just couldn’t put it down and boy, am I glad I kept going.

A lot like Serpent & Dove, the beginning of The Shadows Between Us was slow. But the middle made me weak in the knees. I sold TSBU to Jess as Serpent & Dove meets The Selected, but if America was trying to kill Maxon the whole time.

The Shadow King’s magic makes it so that no one can get close to him. Alessandra has killed before, and she’s ready to do it again to gain the power she needs to take over the kingdom. She gains his favor; he wants a friend and needs a fiance to throw the council off his back.

Shenanigans: ensued.

They get closer over the course of the book, there’s some skinny dipping, some betrayal, scheming and assassination attempts. I think I have a weakness for idiots that don’t know they’re in love. Alessandra is the perfect Slytherin heroine who goes just a little soft when it comes to her Shadow King. The Shadow King is a hard-hearted man that goes soft for his little heathen.

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

S4 E5: The Vinyl Underground

This week we discuss The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus and Maggie’s strange phobia of all things quadrilateral. Also, Jess has a meltdown about the music and Dan spoils the third act.

Dig it. During the tumultuous year of 1968, four teens are drawn together: Ronnie Bingham, who is grieving his brother’s death in Vietnam; Milo, Ronnie’s bookish best friend; “Ramrod,” a star athlete who is secretly avoiding the draft; and Hana, the new girl, a half-Japanese badass rock-n-roller whose presence doesn’t sit well with their segregated high school. The four outcasts find sanctuary in “The Vinyl Underground,” a record club where they spin music, joke, debate, and escape the stifling norms of their small southern town. But Ronnie’s eighteenth birthday is looming. Together, they hatch a plan to keep Ronnie from being drafted. But when a horrific act of racial-charged violence rocks the gang to their core, they decide it’s time for an epic act of rebellion.

Subscribe to Booked All Night wherever you get your podcast fix

Anchor.fm . Apple Podcasts . Breaker . Castbox . Google Podcasts . Overcast . Pocket Casts . RadioPublic . Spotify . RSS

Having trouble listening here? Listen directly on Anchor.fm



Want to ask our next guest a question? Sign Up for our newsletter.

How To Make Dragon Jars For Your Bookshelf

Spring is almost here and it’s high time to decorate your shelves accordingly. But we’re bookworms, not gardeners, and we like wyrms, not worms, so we should put together something adorable and easy to take care of while we finish a book or ten.

You Will Need

  • a mason jar (8oz)
  • some sort of fill
  • a flower/succulent sheet (can be found in the floral section of your favorite craft store)
  • a dragon figurine
  • fairy lights
  • a solar mason jar lid

Step 1: Remove Cat From Table

Repeat step throughout project as necessary.

Pick a Style and Follow Along

Hidden Hatchlings

Fill the mason jar up a little less than halfway. Don’t fill the jar more than halfway or there will be too much filler in the jar. Then tilt the jar so that the filler rides up the side.

The jar should be tilted about 45°. You don’t want to shake too much fillter away from the side of the jar or you’ll decrease the size of the wall.

Push the figure into the lower side of the filler.

Add the succulents/flowers in the wall of filler, keeping the jar tilted while you do. It’s best to dig the stem into the filler to the point that the top also rests in it.

The final step is to seal the jar. You may have to re-screw the lid on multiple times before the light sits correctly over the figurines.


Book Wyrm’s Reading Nook

If you’re not particularly crafty, this is the easiest option.

You will only need about an inch worth of fill for the dragon jar. You can do more if you wish, but definitely not less.

Place your succulents/flowers into the fill. Make sure to push them in so they hold they’re place.

Place your figure next to the succulents and push it into the fill. Place a dollhouse book in front of it to give it something to read.

Screw on the solar light lid! You won’t have to re-screw this one because there’s very little in the way to block the light. Good news for our little reading friend.


Little Book Wyrm’s Fairy Lit Nook

Remove the cat from the table. He’ll only get in the way.

The fairy lights have to go in first. This way they can be worked in with the succulents/flowers and figures instead of later knocking them over. Only add a few rings of lights as the rest will be above the filler.

Add about an inch of filler over the lights.

Curl the fairy lights around the succulent/flower stem before pushing it into the filler. You can also wrap the light through the leaves/petals to add more light around the objects.

Gently, work your figure through the wires from the lights and place it into the filler. To add the book, you may need to use tweezers to place and push it into the filler.

Guide the unprotected wire over the lip of the jar and pinch it to the rim. Then screw the lid on tight.

Glue the protected part of the wire around the lip, keeping it beneath the lid. Then guide the wire down the back of your jar and glue it in place.

Now the battery pack fits wherever you need to place it.

Make your own and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @BookedOwlNight!

Upcoming April 2020 YA Titles

April showers bring plenty of time to stay inside curled up books. Here are a few we’re looking forward to.

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

May is a survivor. But she doesn’t feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn’t know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through–no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her.

Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister…and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won’t let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band.

Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

Pub Date: April 21st, 2020

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios

One wave: that’s all it takes for the rest of Mae and Hannah Winters’ lives to change.

When a tsunami strikes the island where their parents are vacationing, it soon becomes clear that their mom and dad are never coming home. Forced to move to Boston from sunny California for the rest of their senior year, each girl struggles with secrets their parents’ death has brought to light, and with their uncertainty about the future. Instead of bringing them closer, it feels like the wave has torn the sisters apart.

Hannah is a secret poet who wants to be seen, but only knows how to hide. The pain pills she stole from her dead father hurl her onto the shores of an addiction she can’t shake and a dealer who turns her heart upside down. When it’s clear Hannah’s drowning, Mae, a budding astronaut suddenly launched into an existential crisis—and unexpected love—must choose between herself and the only family she has left.

Little Universes is a book about the powerful bond between sisters, the kinds of love that never die, and the journey we all must make through the baffling cruelty and unexpected beauty of human life in an incomprehensible universe.

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner

Fifteen-year-old JL Markham’s life used to be filled with carnival nights and hot summer days spent giggling with her forever best friend Aubrey about their families and boys. Together, they were unstoppable. But they aren’t the friends they once were.

With JL’s father gone on long term business, and her mother suffering from dissociative disorder, JL takes solace in the in the tropical butterflies she raises, and in her new, older boyfriend, Max Gordon. Max may be rough on the outside, but he has the soul of a poet (something Aubrey will never understand). Only, Max is about to graduate, and he’s going to hit the road – with or without JL.

JL can’t bear being left behind again. But what if devoting herself to Max not only means betraying her parents, but permanently losing the love of her best friend? What becomes of loyalty, when no one is loyal to you?

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

A gilded menagerie rules a Gilded Age: Bears and Bulls are not only real, but dominate humanity in The Glass Magician, an amazing historical fantasy by Caroline Stevermer

What if you could turn into the animal of your heart anytime you want?

With such power, you’d enter the cream of New York society, guaranteed a rich life among the Vanderbilts and Astors, movers and shakers who all have the magical talent and own the nation on the cusp of a new century.
You could. If you were a Trader.

Pity you’re not.

Thalia is a Solitaire, one of the masses who don’t have the animalistic magic. But that is not to say that she doesn’t have talent of another kind—she is a rising stage magician who uses her very human skills to dazzle audiences with amazing feats of prestidigitation. Until one night when a trick goes horribly awry…and Thalia makes a discovery that changes her entire world. And sets her on a path that could bring her riches.

Or kill her.

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

Diamond City

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more! 

Diamond City, Francesca Flores
January 28th, 2020

Heists!

Assassins!

Dark magic!

Action? Coherency?

I was so intrigued by Diamond City by Francesca Flores and the concepts it tried to present me. Key word: tried.

I wanted to love the characters and the setting, but there was just something I couldn’t connect to. The worldbuilding was interesting but not clear. I got 15% of the way through and realized pretty quickly that the story was less fantasy than it was a series of undefined tropes strung together very loosely.

There were some interesting things going on, especially in terms of the magic system using diamonds and those diamonds seemingly involved in some sort of dark magic/substance abuse situation, but it wasn’t enough to keep me hooked.

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Don’t Check Out This Book! Spotlight

Get to the Bottom of Appleton’s Juiciest Scandal.

Praise for Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise’s Three Ring Rascal Series:

“The Klise sisters are no newcomers to the world of children’s fiction. Their work is cute and fun with a great message”

-New Orleans Advocate (The Show Must Go On!)

Entertaining [and] ‘smafunderful’ (smart + fun + wonderful).”

Kirkus Reviews (The Show Must Go On!)

“True to form, sisters Kate Klise (author) and M. Sarah Klise (illustrator) use clever jokes, wordplay, and adorable illustrations to guide their readers.”

-BookPage (The Show Must Go On!)

In the fully illustrated epistolary novel Don’t Check Out This Book!, fifth-grade reporters follow a trail of phone messages, emails, articles, texts, letters, reports, receipts, and more to clear the name of their beloved librarian and clear the local school board of bad apples with criminal intentions. Behind text and images ripe with laugh-out-loud humor and abundant wordplay, including too many puns to count, lies an important message about censorship and readers’ rights to choose their own books. Sisters and collaborators Kate Klise (writer) and M. Sarah Klise (illustrator) have been publishing visual novels for middle-grade readers since long before the current graphic novel explosion. Together, they’ve created more than twenty award-winning books for young readers, including Regarding the Fountain, the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, and most recently the Three-Ring Rascals series. 

In Don’t Check Out This Book!, Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian, Rita B Danjerous. Not everyone in Appleton likes her unconventional methods or her infamous Green Dot Collection, which allows students to borrow books discreetly, without actually checking them out. Under Rita’s influence, students like Reid Durr and Ben Thinken, and even the absent-minded principal, Noah Memree, are staying up way too late reading. While Rita inspires the students and faculty alike, the new school board president and impeccably mannered shop owner Ivana Beprawpa is busy working to shut down the library and force students into uniforms available only at Beprawpa Attire. But what’s behind Ivana’s school uniform policy? A team of fifth-grade sleuths is determined to get to the bottom of Appleton’s juiciest scandal ever. 

Author Kate Klise’s books are “fresh, funny, and a delight to read” (School Library Journal). Here she uses her skill and wit to introduce kids to serious topics, such as censorship and abuse of power. “I was really motivated to cook up a book-banning character who could embody all the pettiness and corruption we see in the world today,” Klise says. “I also wanted to create some book-loving characters who could prevail in the end.” 

Beneath Appleton’s mystery, there is a pure, unabashed celebration of words, and the rights of all readers to choose their own books. Hilarious, empowering, and exciting, Don’t Check Out This Book! is filled with clever winks to the audience, as if to say “You’re a reader. You get it.” And by the end, we do. 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Kate Klise is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young readers, many of which are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. On her way to becoming an author, Kate Klise worked as a babysitter, waitress, ice-skating instructor, and rosebush pruner. She was also a journalist and spent 15 years reporting for People magazine. When she’s not working on a new book, she enjoys traveling around the country, sharing her best writing tips and tricks with aspiring authors of all ages.

M. Sarah Klise has always had a fondness for creating colorful book reports, which began in elementary school with yarn-bound volumes on states and countries. In college, she enjoyed writing heavily illustrated letters home to her mother. Years later, she still does variations of all that when she illustrates books for young readers. She also teaches art classes in Berkley, CA.

Selected

After a polarized nation was broken by the threat of civil war, States have now become countries. And in New Maine, things have gotten worse.

Giving my family a better life is everything. And my selection to attend an elite prep school suddenly offers my family a dramatically different life—food on the table, a roof over their heads, and a fighting chance at a future.

Everything is going great until some of my friends begin ghosting me, and then disappear. Soon it becomes clear this “chance of a lifetime” isn’t the Holy Grail I was promised. And the attention from one of Easton’s elite has me questioning why a boy with a golden future wants to risk it by being seen with me.

But when I find out why I’m really at this school, I may have to trust him if I want to live.

Selected, Barb Han
February 3rd, 2020

The worldbuilding really pulled me into Selected, but the struggle of the characters kept me engaged. In the future, the United States are no longer united nor states. They are fifty separate countries. We watch the story unfold in New Maine.

Much like it has always been, high school is made up of labels: Cerebrals, Athletes, Tech Nerds, Legacies, and the Sponsored. And everyone is competing for the best scores to get into college. Victoria, Tori to her friends, is a Sponsored student. She was admitted to Easton because of her special skills in dancing. While she is a student her family will have food and housing, but she has a very strict set of rules to follow otherwise she’ll lose that status and her family won’t be cared for.

She tries hard to stay in line but it’s not long before she realizes students are disappearing. Determined to find out where they’ve gone, Tori enlists the help of her boyfriend Caius, a Legacy. Slipping out at night risks Tori’s sponsorship, and her family’s well being.

I hope there are more books planned because the world left me wanting more (in a good way). This system, these new countries, and the history are all incredibly intriguing.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What Bookimal Are You?

We’re tired of being labeled as worms, wyrms, or fire breathing dragons. We wanna be other bookish creatures. Adorable bookish creatures. So we outlined some for your viewing, saving, and sharing pleasure.

Book Owl

AKA: bookish owl, hoot’n’reader, know-it-owl

  • likes to stay up late to finish the page… err… chapter…. uhh book.
  • immediately has to tell everyone about the book they just finished
  • reads as many books as they can fit in their wingspan
  • tends to be very sleepy during the day (because of all the night reading)
  • eats mice

Owl did you know that I’m totally a #bookowl

Book Cat

AKA: pitter patter reading catter, page purrrruser, The Great Catsby, F. Scott Fitzferal, Shakespurr, Purrrnest Hemingway, Oedipuss

  • Enjoys offering you a new book and then bothering you constantly while you read it
  • Constantly plays with the tassel on their bookmarks
  • Greatly offended by dog eared pages
  • Mad at anyone who interrupts their reading time
  • Also eats mice

The #bookcat fits me purrrrrrfectly.

Book Rabbit

AKA: book bunny, page hopper, rabbit reader

  • Reads books lickity split
  • Often hops between the pages of two entirely different books
  • Really wants to tell you about the book they just finished… but… you know… quietly…
  • Prefers reading to company but will sit with company so long as company is quiet while reading is occurring
  • Prefers not to answer questions about the book they are reading until they’ve finished reading it.

I’m hopping mad that I’m a #bookrabbit

Book Fox

AKA: the foxy reader

  • Loves to burrow away and curl up with a good romance novel
  • Often heard screaming “OH FOR FOX SAKE!” when ships do not sail
  • Easily spooked when reading
  • Eats book bunnies

Oh for fox sake, I’m a #bookfox

Book Bat

AKA: the alphabat, the bat pack (when in groups)

  • Unusually batty about good books
  • Often just wings their book reviews
  • Enjoys reading but prefers audiobooks
  • Can listen to the same book more than once
  • Prefers odd reading positions, such as hanging upside down from the ceiling.

I’ll just be hanging around reading like the #bookbat I am.

Book Giraffe

AKA: a pain in the neck, a tall order

  • Enjoys long walks through the bookstore
  • Will proudly recommend a book to you and then watch over your shoulder while you read it
  • Always on the lookout for the next great story
  • Always orders a tall latte at Starbucks
  • Has a colossal TBR

Get me a tall latte, I’m totally a #bookgiraffe

Book Raccoon

AKA: trash panda, an adorable little trash fire, the garbage gang (when in a group), book-coon

  • Enjoys used books
  • Fervently into terrible stories with groan-worthy scenes
  • Loves puns
  • Stays up all night with the Book Owl, but only makes noise when looking for another book
  • Enjoys lending terrible books to good friends

My taste in literature is absolute garbage. I love being a #bookraccoon

Book Dog

AKA: a good boi, dog ears

  • Dog ears pages with good quotes on them
  • Loves to tell people about books
  • Really loves to tell people about books
  • Hey, did you read that book yet?
  • Because it was the best book
  • You should read it
  • Here, I’ll give you a copy
  • You should read it

Let me retrieve you a good book, like a good #bookdog

Which bookimal are you? Or did we miss you entirely? Let us know in the comments!

The Abyss Surrounds Us

24790901If there’s anything that can be said for me, is that I love my fiction to have a hearty dosage of pirates. And queer girls. And queer pirate girls. The Abyss Surrounds Us is that, and more. So much more.

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.

Cas became one of my absolute favorite characters in 2016. She’s smart, cunning and strong. She’s not afraid to face off against a pirate queen and a legion of pirates for what she believes is right. She’s loyal and best of all, queer. It’s always so hard to find good representation in fiction; but The Abyss Surrounds Us was great representation of lesbian and POC characters. There was nothing to not like about this book. Emily Skrutskie knows how to weave a good, action-packed story and can wrench your heart out of your chest with all the strength of a Reckoner pup.

The semi-futuristic not-quite dystopian setting was perfect for pirates and sea monsters. It felt a little old-timey and a little futuristic and it was totally perfect for the story.

Cas’s relationship to Swift, the pirate girl that’s meant to keep an eye on her when the pirates kidnap Cas, grows naturally and out of mutual respect and fondness. The possibility of Stockholm Syndrome and it’s problematic nature within the story is brought up between both characters. But it never comes to feel like Stockholm Syndrome is the reason these girls fall in love.

The whole story was tense–will Cas escape, will Bao survive, what’s going to happen to Cas and Swift–but the finale was quite possibly the tensest thing I’d read all year. Literally edge of my seat. Well, bed. You get the point.

The Abyss Surrounds Us is everything I ever could have wanted and more. This is the book you need on your shelves if you like pirates, sea monsters or queer representation. Perhaps all three.

My Rating: ★★★★★