Language of Spells ★★★★☆

langaugeofspells.jpgTitle: The Language of Spells
Author: Garret Weyr
Illustrator: Katie Harnett
Pub Date: June 26, 2018
Cover: ★★★☆☆

Grisha is a dragon in a world that’s forgotten how to see him. Maggie is a unusual child who thinks she’s perfectly ordinary. They’re an unlikely duo—but magic, like friendship, is funny. Sometimes it chooses those who might not look so likely. And magic has chosen Grisha and Maggie to solve the darkest mystery in Vienna. Decades ago, when World War II broke out, someone decided that there were too many dragons for all of them to be free. As they investigate, Grisha and Maggie ask the question everyone’s forgotten: Where have the missing dragons gone? And is there a way to save them? At once richly magical and tragically historical, The Language of Spells is a novel full of adventure about remembering old stories, forging new ones, and the transformative power of friendship.

Definitely an adorable cozy read. Part of my love for it comes from mature conflicts and real life social issues, which makes it fun for everyone and not just for kids. And let’s face it: the best kids lit is fun for parents too.

Dividing Eden ★★★★☆

diving-eden.jpgBEHOLD! FOR I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THIS BOOK! And it was amazing.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

House of Furies ★★★★★

houseoffuries.jpgRoux uses language like Austen and plots like Brontë. House of Furies is simply amazing and if you think it isn’t up your alley-you’re wrong. Do not smile. Do not frown. Do not, under any circumstances, put this book down.

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.

Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora ★★★★☆

25226215.jpgDefinitely one of my favorite pieces featuring a second language since Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost.

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL?

For Arturo, summetime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of Jose Marti.

So You Want to Start a Book Blog

So you want to start a book blog, or vlog, or podcast, or bookstagram, or literally anything online having to do with an awesome book you’re reading. Great! Good luck!

I love finding new book blogs to follow, so whether you’re just reviewing or having discussions, feel free to leave the URL in the comments.

There are lots of things to consider when you start a book blog:

Do you have the time to blog?

No. Really. Blogging takes a lot of time. Between drafting content and actively promoting your posts you can easily get sucked in and lose a lot of time. Think about blogs and website that you like to check out: do they post once a month or multiple times a day? Chances are they post multiple times a day because they have many people working on that one site.

And they always have pictures or videos.

Are you prepared to get your hands dirty with code when you have to?

You are one person. You will need a schedule to keep a regular amount of content flowing. I highly recommend the following time frames for different media:

  • Blogs & Vlogs: no less than once a week
  • Instagram (bookstagram): reviews at least once a week, pictures at least once a day.
  • Podcasts: As little as monthly, but should probably be accompanied by a weekly blog to keep your fans interested in your project

Do you have the time to read?

I read mostly middle grade and young adult books, many of which are very quick reads but I have often come across books which take a few days to a week to finish. If you aren’t going to be able to keep up with the reading I would think of a significant amount of filler posts. BookTags and image-heavy posts are always a good idea to have on hand in case of a long period of downtime when you’re reading or just living your life.

Do you have access to newly published material?

Yes. New. Recent. It’s great that you have a whole shelf of classics but new books come out everyday. You can always contact the publisher or use services such as NetGalley and Edelweiss to request an advanced copy. Don’t forget to support your local library system and use tools like Hoopla and Libby to check out some recent releases.

Keep in mind that when you request ARCs (Advanced Reader/Review Copy) that the more followers you have the more likely you are to get an advanced copy. The same goes for timely material.

So if you are reviewing books years after they came out, you’re not exactly timely.

Are you a picky reader? Should you be a niche/genre blogger?

I. Hate. Contemporary. There I said it.

But knowing that I am not a fan of the contemporary genre, I specifically do not request or accept requests for it. I won’t enjoy it and I could better spend my time with a book I do like, and not add a bad review to an otherwise good book.

If you have a fantasy addiction-stick to it. Niche blogging is great. If all you blog about is fantasy YA, it gives your reviews a sense of authority.

The same goes for the other side of the spectrum. Do you like to read… anything in which the print is legible? Blog your heart out.

It’s about what you are going to be comfortable with.

Are you socially savvy or a newbie?

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. If you’re on everything… great! If not… also great! But promote your new blog on something that is not your blog. Imagine only telling your mother about your new book and then getting mad that your friends haven’t read it.

Get on and get used to using social platforms and learn about scheduling links for your posts. It will make your life that much easier.

If you’re prepared, then so am I. Over the next few weeks I’m sharing tips and tricks for all book bloggers to fill my schedule up until December. If any lesson sparks a question, feel free to leave it in the comments. And if I haven’t covered something that you’re curious about, feel free to ask about that too.

March TBR

My TBR has two sections really: things to review and things I can read in my own time. I feel like both of them are like hydras anymore. Read one book and two more appear. The growth for my review pile is crazy because I have to wait for approval. Will I get it? Will it be a day before I need to post a review? Will I actually have time with other approvals? All amazing questions.

And I think it goes without saying, I’m probably not going to read all of these in March, but this is what my TBR looks like as of today.

For Review

34728667Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author(s): Tomi Adeyemi
Pub Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Buy Links: Amazon . B&N

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

brujaborn.jpgTitle: Bruja Born
Author(s): Zoraida Cordova
Pub Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Buy Links: Amazon . B&N

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

myplainjaneTitle: My Plain Jane
Author(s): Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Pub Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen
Buy Links: Amazon . B&N

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

Free Reading

 

conspiracyofstars.jpgTitle: Conspiracy of Stars
Author(s): Olivia A Cole
Pub Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Buy Links: Amazon . B&N

Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

gemina.jpgTitle: Gemina
Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Pub Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf Books for young Readers
Buy Links: Amazon . B&N

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

February TBR

Jessica's TBR (1).png

A few titles are back on my TBR after the holidays and with the semester starting. I’m trying to read more middle grade this semester since I feel like I haven’t touched a lot of it. And I have three ARCs on the list. If anyone has any good, recent, sci-fi bookrecs, please leave them in the comments!

Labyrinth Lost ★★★★★

Córdova immerses us in fantasy, language, and LGBQT in a way I haven’t seen done successfully in today’s YA literature.

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…