Shimmer and Burn ★★★★☆

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Don’t you just love when you pick a book for the cover and the writing is just as beautiful?

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.

Shimmer and Burn ★★★★☆

9781481471992_fca55Don’t you just love when you pick a book for the cover and the writing is just as beautiful?

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.

There were so many wonderful fantasy elements in Shimmer and Burn, and Taranta’s writing is so immersive that it was easy to get lost in it.

The opening scene is so powerful and dark and amazing and I knew after I’d finished the first chapter that I was going to be recommending this book to everyone. Faris’s mother attacks her on page one. There are so many emotions, questions, and eye openers in just that one scene there is literally no way for you to put the book down.

And it only got darker. Taranta was totally unafraid to kill these characters and there is no where, on any page, where I believed anyone was safe.

Faris’s characterization is wonderfully new in the world of YA. She is in no way, shape, or form a perfect little snowflake and I loved reading her. She makes mistakes and harbors a lot of guilt for them. She is incredibly well written.

The only place that Shimmer and Burn lost points for me was the romance, and that is really only because I’m tired of seeing that in my fiction. I always feel like romances take away from a character’s autonomy.

Shimmer and Burn is alluring and terrifying and deserves a very special place on your shelf.

 

#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.

June Wrap Up

In my personal life…

I have officially started moving out! I actually packed up all of my hardbacks and they are at my fiance’s place along with new my brand new desk. Next week I’m hoping to get my shelves over there… although… no idea where those are going…

In my writing life…

I’m roughly halfway through re-writing my novel from a different viewpoint. I’ve got to say-my new MC is a psychopath. I can’t wait to introduce her to you.

In my reading life…

I have been L-A-Z-Y. I look at my TBR and I’m like… yep! Those are books!

E-ARCs I’ve Requested

These were on my list for last month, but I was approved for them so expect reviews to come out for them.

On the blog…

I’ve definitely been a lot more active. I even started doing my own weekly. It’s Bring Your Own Book, which is an actual game you can get at Barnes and Noble. Lot’s of you have liked the posts but so few have commented so far. It’s a lot of fun to play I promise!

My June Reviews

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Just the one review. I was really slow this month.

ARCing Spree

Both of my Edelweiss and NetGalley shelves are EMPTY! *GASP* SO I’m changing up #ARCapalooza just a smidge just to let you know what books I’ve requested.

I can’t be the only blogger who goes on sprees when the shelf gets empty. I just sit there like “Yeah, that sounds good. *click* Request!” And then I play the waiting game. I remember one publisher approved my request the day before it archived on NetGalley. I was so mad.

Shimmer and Burn . Mary Taranta . 08 August, 2017

cover113119-medium.pngTo 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.

The cover, I think, is gorgeous. But I also requested it because of “stolen magic.” I’m intrigued to know just what that is in this world.

May Wrap Up

In my personal life…

I finally started making the centerpieces for my wedding. Need something to do with those ARCs? Wrap them in scrap book paper!  But seriously, these books look amazing and I can’t wait to stack them up. Also-every time I tell people we’ll add the candle next to the book everyone responds with “BUT THEY’RE FLAMMABLE!” Like-uh huh-and did you forget about LEDs? Because they exist for that exact reason.IMG_20170519_091607

In my writing life…

As a punishment–er–present to myself this summer I am rewriting one of my pieces from a different character’s POV. I’m also currently working on two other peices, one of which is with Magdalyn Ann.

I’m hoping to finish the re-write this summer so that it’s done and I can focus on edits, but the other two pieces are still fresh little babies. One of them, I actually just pantsed a lot of it and it was amazing to just let my creativity ride. But I’m finally at a point that I have ten end-game scenes and only a few things to begin with and I’m looking for the bridge in between them.

As so the co-written piece: We are planning some bare bones with it and jumping around like bunnies on that thing. But I think we have to. We can’t both write the same scene and it works really nicely to connect my work to someone else’s. I’ve no idea how Maggie is holding up with that because she is not a jumper.

I’m becoming a jumper.

Poor Maggie.

In my reading life…

I read–like–no books this month. That’s a lie. I read 3. I think. My history says 4. More like 4 1/2 since I’m still in the middle of one.

E-ARCs I’ve Requested

  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Cast No Shadows by Nick Tapalansky
  • Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
  • Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

On the blog…

I’ve actually been pretty active this month and I’ve definitely delved more into the community. Especially now that it’s summer and I have the time to do so.

My May Reviews