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.

 

Awake by Natasha Preston ★☆☆☆☆

9781492618522_35ba1Scarlett Garner doesn’t remember anything before the age of four—but a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her…and a secret that could get her killed.

Awake has a lot of problems. Let’s start here:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

missperegrine_334x518Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children came out in July of 2011. So I’ve literally waited 4 years to get this book. Let me tell you why: every time I went to the book store I really only had money for one book, a sad, sad, position to be in I assure you. I would invariably pick up Miss Peregrine’s and some other book I wanted and then flip a coin and then sigh as I put Miss Peregrine’s back on the shelf.

Then recently I went hunting for the book again. I went to my local Barnes and Nobles, only to find they didn’t have it in stock. I stopped at the Quirk Books booth at BookCon, only to find they only had one there for display only.

Finally, I decided to just get the kindle edition. Which brings me to another point: I specifically did not want to get the kindle edition of this book.

Write with Round Robin Writes!

I know that I shamelessly plug my work on this site all the time but now you can too! RRW is opening its doors to new writers!

applyfeatureDo you like to write picture books, middle grade, or young adult? Do you love to read and get free books? Enjoy blogging? Social Media? Working with others?

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We’re looking for new teams of writers, made up of four people, to create wonderful stories, writing prompts, and book reviews. If you don’t have your own team–that’s cool–we’ll hook you up!

We accept full teams as well as individuals.

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The Year in Recap

It’s been a pretty big year for me. I’m in a loving, committed relationship, I graduated college, my dog died, we have two furry additions to the family, I was accepted to grad school…

I graduated with my BA this summer and I am seriously just amazed at myself. Growing up, I wasn’t what anyone would call an Honor Student. Yet, here I am, in a national honor society, with Magna Cum Laude on my degree. Man, if all those teachers could see me now. And you know what the weirdest part is? It wasn’t hard, it was just hard work. I just woke up one day and cared.

It hasn’t all been fun this year, though. Back in February we had to put my Belgian Shepherd, Precious, down. She was 14 years old, a month away from being 15, and couldn’t walk anymore. She suffered a stroke on a Saturday and we took her to the vet that Monday. It was so hard to put her into a box and wrap her up with a blanket that last time.