House of Furies ★★★★★

houseoffuriesAfter 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?

Roux 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. Continue reading

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Episode #35: Bruja Born UNCUT

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Join us this week as we discuss Zoraida Cordova’s Bruja Born, the sequel to Labyrinth Lost. Eat your heart out Lula Mortiz, we’ve got some opinions.

This episode is the uncut episode for our patrons. Want to listen to the whole shebang AND a whole bunch of awesome interviews we have coming up? Visit patron.podbean.com/bookedallnight and support the podcast today for as low as $1 a month.

My Plain Jane ★★★★☆

myplainjane.jpgMove over, Charlotte Brontë. The authors of My Lady Jane are back with a fantastic, romantic, hilarious reimagining of Jane Eyre.

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows’s My Lady Jane was a New York Times bestseller, “an utter delight” (ALA Booklist, starred review), and “an uproarious historical fantasy that’s not to be missed” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Now they’re back with another irreverent tale of mischief, mayhem, and romance—perfect for fans of The Princess Bride or A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre begins 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 as one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood embark on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

I’m not a huge fan of the classics, but Jane Eyre has always held a special place in my heart. It’s got “ghosts,” it’s got mystery, it’s got a crazy lady in the attic burnin’ the whole place down, and a super creepy romance between a teenager and a man in his forties. But hey-love.

I enjoyed most of My Plain Jane, in ways that I certainly did not enjoy My Lady Jane. This was funnier, well written, and did a wonderful job tying in the source material while commenting on the original story in a modern way (mostly that Rochester is old enough to be Jane’s grandfather-gross)

Perhaps where it lost points for me was its attempts to draw in other elements of pop-culture like Lord of the RingsThe Princess Bride, and others. I would rather the authors relied on their own humor which was vastly more successful than the lines they stole from others.

Amazon . Barnes&Noble . BooksAMillion

Pub Date: June 26th, 2018

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Episode #35: Bruja Born

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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…

Join us this week as we discuss Zoraida Cordova’s Bruja Born, the sequel to Labyrinth Lost. Eat your heart out Lula Mortiz, we’ve got some opinions.

Labyrinth Lost ★★★★★

27969081.jpgCórdova 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…

Labyrinth Lost shows us a custom fantasy culture of brujas with a hefty helping of Spanish language and family traditions. My experience with “diverse” literature lately has been for the author to go overboard, effectively alienating readers.

Alex has a lot on her plate: trying to keep her powers a secret from her family and her best friends, dealing with her feelings for Nova (a boy) and Rishi (a girl), being tracked by demons, and–not a spoiler it’s right there in the blurb–making her entire family, the living and the dead, disappear.

Whoops.

An amazing action packed read, Labyrinth Lost never left me wanting more. Until the end. When I wanted more book because I need more of these characters.

Córdova even made me care about the antagonists, making me care about their general well-being.

Not only pushing for diversity but achieving it, not predictable, and in no way shape or form boring, Labyrinth Lost delivers more than you could ask for of today’s YA literature.

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Bruja Born Blog Tour (Giveaway and Excerpt)

Praise for Bruja Born

“Córdova keeps the flame on high as Lula and her sisters strike risky deals and face demons…Fantasy and zombie fans looking for flavor — organ-meat, in particular — will not leave disappointed.” —The New York Times

“Córdova blows the world of the “Brooklyn Brujas” series wide open…A fast-paced story sure to appeal to fans of the original and urban fantasy.” —School Library Journal

“An exciting read with a wonderful Latinx feel woven throughout.” —Kirkus

“Córdova is a fantastic storyteller! The continual world building is great… The Mortiz Sisters are a feisty, powerful trio and their bond unbreakable.” — Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Cincinnati, OH)

Summary:

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…

Goodreads

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes&Noble .  BooksAMillion .  !ndigoIndiebound 

Keep reading to read an excerpt and enter the giveaway!

Continue reading

Kissing Games Blog Tour

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From talented YA author Tara Eglington, comes the follow-up to her page-turning, funny and delicious romp of a debut.

Kissing Games_cover image (1).jpgIn KISSING GAMES (Wednesday Books; June 5, 2018), Eglington’s delightful leading lady Aurora is off on another adventure, involving even more kissing. Filled with sweet high school love, this novel has all the hijinks and HEAs Eglington’s fans have come to love. For a girl who shares her name with a princess (aka Sleeping Beauty), Aurora Skye’s romantic life seems fathoms away from a fairy tale. Sure, she’s landed her prince charming, Hayden Paris. And she got her wish—one first kiss with all the knee-trembling, butterfly-inducing gloriousness she’d hoped for. But instead of happily ever after, their second kiss landed Hayden in the emergency room. If that’s not mortifying enough, the whole school is now referring to her as “Lethal Lips.”

When Aurora’s best friend decides to run for class president and offers up Aurora’s matchmaking service as one of her campaign initiatives, the kissing games begin. Aurora has to convince everyone that her program works—but that might be hard to do when it seems like her own love life might be falling apart.

With the long lazy days of summer KISSING GAMES will have young readers in stitches and looking forward to making their own mark on the upcoming school year. An Australian favorite, Eglington will please her state-side fans and make new ones in the process in this charming sequel!

About the Author

Eglington, Tara_CREDIT Ted Sealey

TARA EGLINGTON grew up in Byron Bay, Australia. Her hobbies when she’s not writing include watching endless cat videos on YouTube, planning pretend holidays to the Maldives, and day-dreaming about who would play Hayden Paris in a film adaptation of How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, her first novel. She lives in Australia.

Read the Excerpt Here

Kissing Games EXCERPT

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For a girl who shares her name with a princess (Aurora from Sleep ing Beauty), my present circumstances were fathoms away from a fairy tale. My kissing skills had left both parties maimed—one case worthy of the emergency room.

Our first kiss as a couple, and my first-ever kiss, had been a melding of everything I’d heard kisses could be, all the glorious cli- chés in action—weak knees, my heart a field of fluttering butter- flies, life in Technicolor. Worth the wait.

With a start like that, I’d expected the second kiss to be as good.

Or at least not to end in calamity.

Four hours ago I’d had no idea I’d be spending half of my Thurs- day night in the local hospital’s emergency department, watching the on-call physician stitching Hayden Paris’s formerly perfect lower lip.

four hours earlier . . . Continue reading

Tips for BookCon!

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Hey there Book Nerds,

If you’re headed to BookCon this weekend (or any book convention this summer) we have a few helpful tips for you. These tips below are for BookCon 2018, held in NYC at the Javitz Center but can totally be applied to all sorts of cons.

Money

Duh. You’d think that. But hey, on top of your hotel room are the bills for food, travel, and swag. You will be in NYC, nothing is cheap and food isn’t near the Javitz Center. Be prepared for a $300 weekend. Yes. $300. $20 for chicken tenders and $5 for a bottle of water will burn a hole in your funds quick, kiddos.

$300. Better to be prepared and fed, than starving and broke. Continue reading

Bruja Born ★★★★☆

33918887.jpgThree 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…

booked.jpg

Where do I even start with this wonderfulness?

After the events of Labyrinth Lost, Lula Mortiz (sister to Alex) is still healing, not only physically but mentally. Her sisters heal her each day before school, but it’s not enough to get her through.

I loved watching Lula struggle. After the accident, when she sees… someone… the plot really starts rolling. Lula’s desire to save her boyfriend, to cling to something normal in the wake of her magical life, felt truly human.

We were also introduced more to magical Brooklyn and the community of witches, among other things. Meeting the Elders and talking more with outcast witches built the world out past Los Lagos (where we spent book one) and also gave us some more rules for the the Mortiz girls to break.

The middle sags ever so slightly but it’s well worth the read. I laughed, I considered crying (as you all well know I am a heartless monster so I didn’t actually cry), and I happily add it to our BookRecs category.

Barnes&Noble . BooksAMillion

Pub Date: June 5th, 2018

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Ghosts ★★★★★

25903764Graphic novels have always had a special place in my heart, and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier has taken my heart in its adorable fist and crushed it to smithereens.

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

Raina Telgemeier has a long list of great kidlit graphic novels, including DramaSmile, and her graphic adaptation of the Baby-Sitter’s Club. So Ghosts is another stellar addition to anyone’s library, and let me tell you, you need this book in your library.

Catrina is a great character, someone I would have heavily identified with as a kid–scared but loyal and a great big sister. Her younger sister Maya has cystic fibrosis and ends up stuck at home when she would rather be trick-or-treating or meeting ghosts in their new home in Bahía de la Luna. Bahía de la Luna is a town where the veil between the human world and the ghost world is thin, and so ghosts come into town every so often. But on Halloween night, every ghost comes into town to meet with their living family.

The art is adorable and the fact that Telgemeier shows all the little things about what it means to have cystic fibrosis is awesome; we see Maya’s nightly breathing ritual, how quickly a breathing attack can come on, how it affects Maya’s mentality about life and death. The juxtaposition of Maya’s inevitable passing and the reality of ghosts in town softens the blow that eventually Maya will leave her family in the world of the living, but it’s still so incredibly bittersweet.

Catrina grows and becomes courageous, not just for herself but also for her sister, and she meets the ghosts and makes new friends.

Ghosts by Raina Telegemeier is the perfect Halloween read for readers of any age.

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Episode #34: The Illuminae Files

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Viruses… IN SPACE! War… IN SPACE! Psychotic AIs… IN SPACE! You know Jess loves this series and now we’re finally talking about The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. And we have some thoughts… IN SPACE!

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For This Life Only ★★★★★

22608727I have a theory that Stacey Kade wants to watch me die from dehydration. A scene that’s absolutely plausible given how much I cried while reading For This Life Only.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him.

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Would you believe me if I said Jace’s loss of his twin is the least of his problems? He struggles to identify himself after the accident which claimed the life of his twin brother, Eli. Jace knew he was the screw-up and Eli was good. Jace knew that he was an athlete and Eli was a scholar. But after the accident all Jace knows is that he is alive and Eli is dead. And it was heart wrenching to watch him go through that struggle.

Jace’s characterization in For This Life Only is physical. He pops right off the page and sits down next to you to tell you his story. He is so, incredibly, aware of his situation in terms of what it is, what it was, and what it was supposed to be. Although his comparisons are constant, they are never overbearing.

When he finally begins to reach out and ask for help from “the last girl he should be turning to” it happens naturally like an un-dammed body of water rushing to find a new home. The pressure builds on him robbing him of his choice, causing him to let go of his prejudices and grow.

I loved the pacing in For This Life Only. I never felt rushed or like I was sitting in stagnant scenes. Kade got us where we needed to–when we needed to.

I do wish For This Life Only‘s ending were a bit longer, but I also feel that it was written exactly as it needed to be. For This Life Only gets released August 30th, 2016.

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The Girl and The Grove ★★★☆☆

35059797There was a lot I was expecting from The Girl and The Grove and everything that I wanted didn’t really come out. There were parts I really enjoyed and parts where I just had to put the book down. This one was a DNF from me.

Teenager Leila’s life is full of challenges. From bouncing around the foster care system to living with seasonal affective disorder, she’s never had an easy road. Leila keeps herself busy with her passion for environmental advocacy, monitoring the Urban Ecovists message board and joining a local environmental club with her best friend Sarika. And now that Leila has finally been adopted, she dares to hope her life will improve.

But the voices in Leila’s head are growing louder by the day. Ignoring them isn’t working anymore. Something calls out to her from the grove at Fairmount Park.

Leila, a recently adopted girl living in Philadelphia, lives with seasonal affective disorder. I loved that we got to have a brown girl with mental illnesses as the main character. That was the coolest thing ever.

But the writing itself threw me off too much for me to be able to happily finish the book. If you know me, I hate DNF’ing books. I’ll push myself through an ARC just to be able to feel like I can fully review it. But DNF’ing something also tells you a lot about the book itself.

I jumped at the idea of The Girl and the Grove when I first saw it. I love urban fantasy stories and I was already imagining all the cool fantasy elements this story would have–Leila’s a dryad! Living trees! Technology and nature existing in harmony!

But none of that really happened. I couldn’t get into it to really get to the meat of the story and the writing wasn’t nearly engaging enough for me to want to stick around in anticipation of a successful twist. Every time I tried to read more, I just got more bored and I’d rather go to be an hour early and sacrifice my pre-bed reading time than force my way through a book I wasn’t engaged with.

The Girl and the Grove
Amazon Barnes&Noble

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The Wicked Deep ★★★★☆

35297394The Wicked Deep was a creepy story with rich world building, beautiful language and amazing imagery. That, and the cover is amazing and so sparkly. I just need it on my shelves at all time, illuminated by a little spot light. But–there were plenty of issues too.

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I want to say, right off the bat, that The Wicked Deep took me a long time to get through. It was touch-and-go for a little while, and I wasn’t sure if I was really going to be invested enough in it to finish.

I absolutely loved the way that book set up the world and the setting. There were small snippets between chapters that just set the mood and the scene in just perfect, bite-sized ways that made me love the story. Shea Ernshaw is amazing at writing settings. All those little bits were the perfect mix of tense, creepy and beautiful.

But then there was the dialogue.

The dialogue all the characters had felt so… off. It felt stilted and a little bit dated. The voices didn’t feel genuine and every time I had to suffer through a patch of dialogue it was tipping the scales towards the DNF side.

I was intrigued by the story, but I couldn’t make it through big patches of the book at once thanks to the characters. Maybe it was just me. Maybe this book is exactly your cup of tea. For me? Not so much.

The Wicked Deep
Amazon Barnes&Noble . BooksAMillion

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The Lie Tree ★★★★☆

Lie Tree.jpgI’m always enamored by girls in stories that seem innocent and invisible but use that to their advantage to carve their own path — which is exactly what Faith Sunderly does in The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. It’s impossible to put down this historical mystery, set just after the advent of Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, where young Faith takes the matter of her father’s murder into her own hands.

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder—or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

Historical fiction has always been that tiny love of mine, the flame of a candle burning in the back of my mind while I busied myself with fantasy. It’s always forgotten while I adventure with dragons and goblins, but I’m reminded how brightly that candle burns when I read something like The Lie Tree.

When I opened Lie Tree up, I couldn’t close it until I was almost halfway through, and the only reason I did was because it was 3 in the morning and I had work in a few hours. Faith is an incredibly strong female character–and not in the ways most people expect when they hear those three words. She’s immensely flawed, selfish and brash, but she’s kind and brave and willfull too. She seeks the truth when everyone else is blind to it, and she puts herself in danger to get to the bottom of it.

Every detail comes full circle in every aspect; Hardinge is a talented writer who wastes no word.

My only gripe, if I really could call it that, is the huge cast of characters. Some are only mentioned in passing and others we physically see on the page, but they end up flowing into one another and often I find myself asking, “Wait, who is that?”

It’s not a good thing to have happen, especially in a murder mystery where everyone you meet is a potential suspect. You forget who wronged whom or when they were last seen, and it gets confusing.

But regardless of your favorite genre, whether it’s fantasy or historical fiction, you ought to pick up The Lie Tree as soon as you can.

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Ash Princess ★★★☆☆½

32505753A princess kept captive, ready to take back her kingdom, a smart girl lying in wait to snap at her abusers, a hidden power waiting to be unleashed. Theodosia was meant to be all of this, but Ash Princess just fell short.

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

I wanted to love Ash Princess more than I did. I wanted to root for Theo and see her take her rightful place. But there was just something about this book that fell short.

I loved how dark it was–but there were moments where I just felt hopeless and I wasn’t rooting for the main character, I was waiting for the helplessness to end. I wanted to see Theo rise up, but she often just let things happen to her.

Her emotions were real and I sympathized. But there were too many dark moments and not enough levity to bring a balance to the story.

I also found myself getting bored more often than I wanted to. I read a lot before bed, because it helps me unwind and gets me away from my phone and computer. There are some books I’ve read that have kept me up until 3 AM. But then there were books like Ash Princess that just made my eyelids droopier.

Then there was the unnecessary love triangle. I’m a sucker for love stories, things like friends to lovers or enemies to lovers really tickle my fancy. But the friends to lover trope made Ash Princess suffer. Blaise was a childhood friend of Theo’s, from before the conquering Kalovaxians’ arrival, and the way he treated Theo just rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe some people would love Ash Princess but it just wasn’t for me.

Ash Princess
Amazon Barnes&Noble . BooksAMillion

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Episode #32: An Interview with Chelsea Sedoti

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http://bookedallnight.podbean.com/e/episode-32-an-interview-with-chelsea-sedoti/

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It’s interview central around here this month! Joining us this week is Chelsea Sedoti, author of The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett and the recently released As You Wish. We had a wonderful discussion about anxiety and writing and how we all handle the pressure.

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Dread Nation ★★★★★

30223025I don’t remember the last zombie book I’d read–it might have been a few years ago–but Dread Nation is not one I’ll forget for a long time. It was thrilling, captivating and all around amazing.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Continue reading

Q&A with Adrienne Young

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What was the first scene you thought of and how did you know that the story was worth exploring?

The first chapter is the first scene I saw in my head and if you can believe it, it is published exactly as I first wrote it. I literally changed nothing about the first scene except a word or two from the first time I drafted it though all the edits. I think I knew it was worth exploring because of the way it made me feel. I was completely sucked in from the moment I started writing.

What inspired SKY IN THE DEEP? How did the idea and Eelyn come to you? Do you have any favorite Viking stories?

The sibling betrayal was definitely the first inspiration for this story. I was driving in the pouring rain on this country road and that first scene just hit me – Eelyn, seeing her brother on the battlefield after thinking that he was dead for five years. I pulled over on the side of the road and scribbled a million notes on an old envelope. I was immediately hooked to the idea and I wanted to know what had happened. I started writing that first chapter and I just never stopped.

What type of research did you do for your characters and world-building? What languages did you study to implement the languages that the Aska and the Riki speak? What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?

I did a ton of research for this story. I actually really love to research things so it was a lot of fun. Continue reading

Sky in the Deep EXCERPT

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“I saw him. I saw Iri.”

He wrapped the torn cloth around my arm, tying it tight. “What are you talking about?”

I pushed his hands from me, crying. “Listen to me! Iri was here! I saw him!”

His hands finally stilled, confusion lighting in his eyes. “I was fighting a man. He was about to . . .” I shuddered,

remembering how close to death I’d come—closer than I’d ever been. “Iri came out of the fog and saved me. He was with the Riki.” I stood, taking his hand and pulling him toward the tree line. “We have to find him!” Continue reading

Ice Wolves ★★★★★

35068585I’ve only ever read one other book by Amie Kaufman, and that was IlluminaeSo when I saw she had a middle grade piece about kids who turned into wolves and dragons well… I needed to get my hands on it! And Elementals: Ice Wolves did not disappoint!

Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragonsare sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives.

So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they’re family, Rayna is Anders’s only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away.

In order to rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all.

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Twelve-year-old scrappy orphan kids who suddenly become animals and have to join the institution they’ve been avoiding all their life? Oh, and one of them transforms into a dragon and is whisked away from her brother? A brother who depended on his sister for years while they lived on the street? Yaaaasssss.

This was such a cute book and a wonderful story about a little boy who turns into a confident kid when his life turns upside down. I couldn’t put Ice Wolves down for a second! It was not just cute, but Kaufman has a way with words. She doesn’t talk down to the kids that would be reading her book; she weaves a masterful story that’s intriguing and unforgettable.

So often, a middle grade piece sacrifices either a complex story or its vocabulary to be made “appropriate” for it’s intended demographic. People often forget that kids are smart and want deeper, complex books with a narrative that doesn’t talk down to them.

Ice Wolves didn’t sacrifice a thing. It showed the hardship of growing up on the streets, how hungry Anders and Rayna go when they’re not able to steal food or the sort of trouble they would face if they were caught pickpocketing. It shows how other kids on the street look out for one another.

And when Anders enters the Academy, he notes how everything there is more than he might have ever had in his life; the overabundance of food, a warm place to sleep at night, an education.

I loved the sense of found family Anders had with his pack, and how he never wavered in his quest to rescue his sister, despite finding out that she didn’t need rescuing after all.

And when I hit the last page, I was incredibly upset. Not because of the story, but because it was over and I knew it’d be at least a year before the second book came out.

So don’t hesitate to pick up Ice Wolves right now. You’ll thank me for it. Also, I won’t be alone in my suffering while I wait for book 2!

Ice Wolves
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Episode #31: An Interview with MarcyKate Connolly

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http://bookedallnight.podbean.com/e/episode-31-an-interview-with-marcykate-connolly/

Listen to this episode and other episodes of the podcast on Podbean.

This super special (totes late but you’ll love it) episode we were joined by none other than MarcyKate Connolly, author of Shadow Weaver, Monstrous, Ravenous, and more! If you’re unfamiliar with her work we highly recommend Shadow Weaver. You can, of course, listen to us gush over it in Episode #25 (which we also recommend).

Join us as we talk about middle grade literature, writing, Shadow Weaver, and play a little game of Burn, Re-write, Re-Read. Continue reading

The Darkest Corners ★★★★☆

25639296.jpgLooking for a nice, well-paced, slow build? You need to pick up a copy of The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

I should’ve known I would enjoy The Darkest Corners when it came packaged to me in an evidence bag.

Tessa Lowell and Callie Greenwood show signs of major anxiety disorders after having testified against the alleged killer, Wyatt Stokes. They also show two very popular ways to deal with: Tessa attempts to overcome it by ignoring it while Callie dives to the bottom of the bottle. Their character growth was both amazing and realistic. Too often, we see vices simply dropped without recourse and it was nice to see both cause and effect for these girls.

I certainly spent most of The Darkest Corners speculating “who dunnit?” which is exactly what I want out of a crime/mystery novel. Thomas does a great job slowly giving us information as Tessa and Callie remember fights and come to terms with their own actions. Without giving too much away, large revelations in the plot are given away as Tessa and Callie forgive themselves for their own actions and finally admit, both to themselves and each other, what actually happened ten years ago.

On the surface, we follow the case of The Ohio River Monster, a man who murdered girls and left their bodies to be discovered along I-70, but beneath that are other mysteries–all of which tie back to The Ohio River Monster and Wyatt Stokes. This was perhaps my one qualm with The Darkest Corners.

I wanted them to find the killer and Tessa’s other mysteries were a bit like road blocks. I was delayed from finding out the inevitable. I wanted Tessa to prioritize Wyatt Stokes over her personal issues.

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How You Ruined My Life Spotlight Tour

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Praise for How You Ruined My Life

 “Witty dialogue, ridiculous yet believable situations, and just the right note of self-deprecating introspection make this a perfect book for reluctant readers as well as those who are just not in the mood for angsty YA novels.”–School Library Journal

 “Readers will howl with laughter, cringing as the author twists the screws at perfectly placed intervals…A well-paced comedy”— Kirkus

 “Strand has a keen ear for dialogue and character interaction.” –Publishers Weekly

A new hilarious novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and Stranger Things Have Happened.

Rod’s life doesn’t suck. If you ask him, it’s pretty awesome. He may not be popular, but he and his best friends play in a band that has a standing gig. Yeah, it’s Monday night and they don’t get paid, but they can turn the volume up as loud as they want. And Rod’s girlfriend is hot, smart, and believes in their band—believes in Rod. Aside from a winning lottery ticket, what more could he ask for?

Answer: A different cousin. When Rod’s scheming, two-faced cousin Blake moves in for the semester, Rod tries to keep calm. Blake seems to have everyone else fooled withgood manners and suave smile, except Rod knows better. Blake is taking over his room, taking over his band, taking over his life! But Rod’s not about to give up without a fight. Game on. May the best prankster win…

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How You Ruined My Life EXCERPT & Giveaway

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Thanks for coming out tonight! Are you ready to rock?”

A couple of people in the audience indicate that yes, they are indeed ready to begin the process of rocking. A few others don’t look up from their cell phones, but I’m confident that they’ll discover their readiness to rock as soon as we start playing. The rest of the eleven or so people in the club haven’t bothered to walk over to the dance floor. Presumably, they’re waiting for the headline act before committing to whether or not they’re mentally and physically prepared to rock.

“We’re Fanged Grapefruit,” I say into the microphone. “This first song is an original called, ‘You Can’t Train a Goldfish to Catch Popcorn in Its Mouth, So Don’t Even Try.’ One, two, three, go!Continue reading

Beyond the Red ★★★★★

21414439.jpgWhen it comes to the broad sibling genre of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I’ve always been more in the favor of Fantasy. But Beyond The Red by Ava Jae showed me a whole new world within the Sci-Fi realm, and I have fallen in love.

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Continue reading

Inkmistress ★★★☆☆

Inkmistress_JKT_des2_CC15.inddI wanted to love Inkmistress. I wanted to so hard; I knew it was a prequel-companion type to Of Fire and Stars, which I hadn’t read yet but c’mon, queer ladies! I got about halfway through the book before I just had to put it down…

Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves.

But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does nothing to help. Desperate to protect her people, Ina begs Asra for assistance in finding her manifest—the animal she’ll be able to change into as her rite of passage to adulthood. Asra uses her blood magic to help Ina, but her spell goes horribly wrong and the bandits destroy the village, killing Ina’s family.

Unaware that Asra is at fault, Ina swears revenge on the king and takes a savage dragon as her manifest. To stop her, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom, becoming a player in lethal games of power among assassins, gods, and even the king himself.

Most frightening of all, she discovers the dark secrets of her own mysterious history—and the terrible, powerful legacy she carries in her blood.

A bisexual demigoddess! Searching for her love who’s on a hell-bent quest for revenge! How awesome does that sound! As a queer author myself, I wanted to devour this book immediately!

Unfortunately, it only sounded awesome. I was disappointed as I read the story. I was into it at first, the first few chapters revolving around Ina and Asra were great, but then things took a turn when Ina went off. Things stopped making sense.

There was no tension. A rogue group of bandits attack Ina’s village and burn it to the ground because Asra used her blood magic to force the future, but then when Ina takes her animal form–a great dragon (awesome!)–she immediately finds the bandits and burns them to a crisp. There’s no hunt, no tension, no “will Asra stop Ina in time to save these people who should be punished but not by dragon fire?” going on. It was immediate and not at all satisfying.

I couldn’t get into the rest of the story; once Ina had disposed of the bandits, she suddenly wanted to go kill the king–something that came out of the blue. That left Asra trying to run after her. Asra meets another kid of the wind god and she realizes that she’s not who she thought she was and she’s left wondering who her godly parents really is. For this plot point alone I would have kept reading.

But I just couldn’t get myself to enjoy the dialogue; it felt forced and stiff, a little too out of place for a high fantasy story.

But I didn’t hate the book. I loved its rich magic and Coulthurst had some amazing worldbuilding too. But Inkmistress just wasn’t for me.

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The Heart Forger EXCERPT

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He does not look so formidable, I lied to myself, staring at the warped, decaying body before me. I can defeat his will. I will break him. It is a wonder what Mykkie had ever seen in him.

It was not the first time I had deceived myself in this manner. Neither was this the first time I had raised King Vanor from the grave. But if I repeated that mantra enough times, I thought I could finally believe my words.

The dead king refused to look at me, his eyes distant. The royal crypts were built to strike both fear and awe in those who visited, but I had grown accustomed to the stone faces looking down at me with quiet scrutiny from their high precipices. But King Vanor’s continued silence unnerved me every time—more than I cared to admit.

“A wise philosopher once said,” Fox drawled from the shadows, “that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the mark of a fool.” Continue reading

The Heart Forger Spotlight Tour

Heart Forger Blog Tour

Praise for The Heart Forger

 “A dark, engaging fantasy series.”–School Library Journal

 “In this spectacular follow-up to the rich The Bone Witch, Tea’s quest draws the reader further in, setting them on a more dangerous yet intriguing adventure.”— Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

 “Rin’s beautifully crafted world from The Bone Witch (2017) expands in this sequel, which joins dark asha Tea on her crusade ofrevenge…Dark and entrancing with a third volume to come.” –Booklist, STARRED review

  

Summary:

33918881In this dark, engrossing sequel to The Bone Witch, Tea has mastered resurrection—now it’s time for revenge.

Tea, a bone witch who can resurrect the dead, is done with her self-imposed exile. She now possesses all seven bezoars she needs to revive the powerful daeva. With the help of these terrible monsters, she can finally enact her revenge against the royals who wronged her and took the life of her one true love.

Alliances and allegiances are shifting, and danger lurks in and out of the kingdom. But Tea’s heart is set on vengeance, even if it turns her against her now-estranged brother, who supports her enemies. War is brewing, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

Continue reading

The Secrets We Bury EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY

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Compulsively stirring my coffee in Nowhereville, New Jersey, I recognize I’m going to have to do a lot of explaining when Emily gets here. Well, assuming she’s figured out my code and picked the right coffee shop.

I look at my burner cell and check the time. 12:02. Not super late. Especially not for my cousin, who is less governed by rules than I am but still hates being tardy. Tardy is her word, not mine. Although I totally approve, because it feels specific to the situation of meeting with someone. I hate nondescript words. Continue reading

The Secrets We Bury Spotlight Tour

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Praise for The Secrets We Bury

 “A gripping novel that will tug on readers’ heartstrings until the very end.”–Booklist

 “A sensitive, funny, and sometimes awkwardly romantic story of survival and self-awareness.”— Kirkus

9781492654209-300RGB.jpgSeventeen-and-a-half year old Dylan Taggart is on the run. His family is trying to put him in a school for psychologically challenged students. Dylan realizes he’s had some anger issues and he’s a complete loner, aside from the friendship of his cousin Emily, who he calls the other pea in his pod. But he knows the Believers Charter School is not the place for him. As the investigators his mother has hired close in on him, he decides the Appalachian Trail, a hike that takes approximately six months––the exact length of time he needs to stay off her radar until his eighteenth birthday––may be the perfect place to hide out until he can legally drop out of school.

Except Dylan needs people more than he’d like to admit.  And  the biggest surprise is a hiker named Sophie, whom the other hikers call “the ghost.”  Dylan finds a bond with Sophie he’s never had before with anyone, and slowly they confide the secrets of what they’re each running from.  Trusting someone is scary, but Dylan is about to find out that sometimes love is more important than keeping promises, and some promises are made to be broken.

READ THE EXCERPT

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Children of Blood and Bone ★★★☆☆½

cbbZélie 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.

I’m a little torn over what to rate Children of Blood and Bone because I really enjoyed her world building but I had such issues with other elements of craft.

We spend no time in each conflict. I can understand flying on the way to Chândomblé so that we can get into the meat of the story, but every conflict is immediately resolved for Zélie. She needs to find the temple, she finds it in the next chapter. She needs her magic back, she is awakened almost immediately and has little to no trouble controlling or understanding powers she has never known. She needs to find a stone and only knows a little bit about where it was last, conveniently, she emerges from the desert in the exact town she needs to be in and the stone is there too. We never get to stew in the tension or let it rise at all. They find an arena, people take a single page to fight in the arena, Zélie discovers a little inconvenience about her magic.

Inan also shows immediate prowess with his powers and he should be fighting a lifetime of believing magic to be evil. His acceptance and use of magic should come much later in the book.

At least for the first 200 or so pages, I feel like a lot has been cut out. I’m missing some characterization. I’m missing some relationship building. I’m obviously missing some scenes because so much has happened in so few words.

It’s fantasy. I will readily read a 1,000 page book with giant leopards and magic tribes. All you need to do is make it available.

My other issue is that I was almost 3/4 of the way through the book when I finally felt like I was getting to the meat of the story, where the Inan and Zelie ship finally starts to sail.

That being said, I did enjoy the world building and the characters, even with a sizable chunk missing. The world is clearly it’s own and Adeyemi’s work is incredibly detailed. Her writing is wonderful and full of images, right down to the colors of fur on each of the mounts. I hope she slows down a bit for her next installment, which I eagerly await.

Children of Blood and Bone Publishes March 6th 2018
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Jessica’ March TBR

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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.

Continue reading

Giveaways

Jessica's Bigger Better Blog Header.png We like hosting giveaways here at Booked All Night and plan to host quarterly giveaways for our followers this year. We would love to host some more in between those.

The best way to get these giveaways to go live is to follow our blog, subscribe to the podcast (wherever you get your fix), comment on our posts and episodes, and leave reviews on iTunes and GooglePlay. Once we reach certain numbers, we’ll be giving away an ARC of an upcoming book or we’ll make your pre-order for you. FREE BOOKS! What is there to lose?

Other ways you can help out is to make your next purchase through our affiliate links. It comes at no extra cost to you and helps us out a little so we can afford to do more with each giveaway.

Unfortunately, we didn’t meet our goal to giveaway an ARC of Children of Blood and Bone. Make sure to tune in March 8th, 2018 for our discussion on Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel. And make sure to get your pre-orders in so you can read before we spoil it.

Support the podcast by using our affiliate links to make your pre-order.
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House of Furies ★★★★★

houseoffuriesAfter 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?

Roux 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. Continue reading

Sightwitch ★★★★★

35481848It’s no secret that I love a good fantasy book, and Susan Dennard sure knows how to write one. Sightwitch has catapulted to the top of my fave books of 2018 list and I have a feeling it’s going to stay there for a while.

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.

Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before TruthwitchSightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.

Companion novels or pre-quels are a hard thing to nail down. A lot of authors like to use them to retcon something or to reestablish canon. Sightwitch wasn’t that way. It took what we knew about the world and Ryber and expanded on it. We saw the world through a wider lens, learned more about the past than we did in the main series book, and came out of it richer for having read it.

The second I heard about Sightwitch getting published, I pre-ordered it that day. And it was a long wait to get it in my hands, but it was absolutely worth it.

I loved Ryber’s voice, I loved the interspersed stories from Eridysi, a sightwitch from hundreds of years ago, I loved everything.

Oh, and did I mention there were illustrations too?

They weren’t just illustrations depicting a scene we were reading, but it was supplementary, it built on our understanding of the story and how we could see what on the page even clearer.

Plus, I’m a big sucker for maps and art.

It was just a gorgeous book, okay?

The entire time I was reading, I just couldn’t wait to get back into the rest of the series and re-read the other books. It rekindled my love for the entire story all over again.

I 100000% recommend the Witchlands series since it’s a wonderful fantasy story, but also because Susan Dennard is just the bee’s knees.

Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine

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One month earlier April 13th

“You lucky bitch!” I drop back down on my pink bedspread, phone to ear, knowing Brandy is dancing on cloud nine and I’m dancing with her. I glance at the door to make sure Mom isn’t hovering and about to freak over my language. Again.

She isn’t there.

Lately, I can’t seem to control what comes out of my mouth. Mom blames it on too much daytime who’s-the-baby-daddy television. She could be right. But hey, a girl’s gotta have some fun.

“Where he’s taking you?” I ask.

“Pablo’s Pizza.” Brandy’s tone lost the oh-God shriek qual- ity. “Why . . . why don’t you come with us?”

“On your date? Are you freaking nuts?” Continue reading

GIVEAWAY: Children of Blood and Bone

cbbTomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

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.

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Every so often we like to run giveaways here at Booked All Night. They can be books, ARCs, or even our super special cozy booknerd kit.

Our next giveaway will be

February 22, 2018 – February 28, 2018

and we will be giving away an ARC (Advanced Reader/Reviewer Copy) of

Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi

so long as

we have 100+ subscribers to the podcast.

Listen on Google Play Music .  Listen on iTunes . PlayerFM
or use our FeedBurner link to add it to a podcast service you prefer.

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Dividing Eden ★★★★☆

diving edenTwins 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?

BEHOLD! FOR I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THIS BOOK! And it was amazing.

I’m working my way back into love with the fantasy genre and between Diving EdenA Court of Thorns and Roses, and Red Queen my interest has certainly been piqued. Continue reading

THE BELLES Giveaway Winner!

Belles Giveaway Winner.png

Our giveaway for THE BELLES has ended and congratulations to Dynal R for winning!

Didn’t win? Don’t worry! We’ve got more giveaways coming! Keep your ear out for the next episode of the Booked All Night podcast for another bookish giveaway!

Follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on all Booked All Night news and giveaways at @BookedOwlNight! Subscribe to our late night party podcast for a chance to enter our next event!

Follow Me Back ★★★☆☆½

followmeback.pngTessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

I love the cover. I love the format. And I love the alternating viewpoints. But I don’t love the third viewpoint or where it gets added. Continue reading

Episode #27: The Death Cure

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Listen to this episode and other episodes of the podcast on Podbean.

This week we’re talking about The Death Cure! The final installment in the Maze Runner series. The fact that we are talking about it is your warning for spoilers!

In the epic Maze Runner conclusion, Thomas leads the Gladers on their final mission – they must break into the legendary Last City, which turns out to be the deadliest maze of all!

Need to read the series?
The Maze Runner: Amazon . B&N
The Scorch Trials: Amazon . B&N
The Death Cure: Amazon . B&N

Need to watch the movies?
The Maze Runner . The Scorch Trials . (Pre-Order) The Death Cure


Other Books Mentioned in This Episode

  • Illuminae by Angie Kaufman: Amazon . B&N
  • Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly: Amazon . B&N
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older: Amazon . B&N
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: Amazon . B&N
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas: Amazon . B&N
  • Truly Devious  by Maureen Johnson: Amazon . B&N
  • Ember in the Ashes  by Sabaa Tahir: Amazon . B&N
  • A Conspiracy of Stars  by Olivia A. Cole: Amazon . B&N
  • Marked by P.C. Cast: Amazon . B&N

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@BookedOwlNight

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The Belles ★★★★☆

23197837Let me just say, The Belles made me so damn hungry. Hungry for snacks and hungry for more story. It was SO. DAMN. GOOD.

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

I was enchanted by The Belles from the moment I heard it’s announcement on Twitter forever ago. I managed to read an excerpt on BookishFirst and I was hooked. I needed this book in my hands ASAP. But I never expected to win their giveaway myself. I don’t win things! But soon, I had a beautiful copy in my hands and I read it immediately.

I couldn’t put it down. I was so entranced by this story and the world building and Dhonielle’s command of language. It was quickly rising to the top of my 2018 Faves list.

Camellia is a powerful Belle and her strength and beauty is revered throughout the story. I loved her and I rooted for her from the beginning.

The only reason I can’t give The Belles five stars was for some pacing issues. The middle slowed me down a lot. I put the book down for a day or two when I got to the middle, because I felt ridiculously slow and I wasn’t even sure how the plot would progress once I got there.

But once I hit the last third of the book, things started popping off like firecrackers one after the other, real fast and real hot that it didn’t even give me the chance to breathe and take what just happened. It was slow and steady in the middle, but the end happened so fast that I blinked and it was over.

But pacing aside, the story was still one I need everyone to read. The Belles is still a wonderful read, a fun, exciting story with horrifying plot twists and a villain that had me shivering. I loved it and wholly recommend it to all y’all booknerds.

And did you know we’re doing a giveaway for The Belles? Until February 14th 2018, enter our rafflecopter to win a copy! 

THE BELLES Giveaway!

23197837Howdy booknerds!

I seemed to have found myself with two copies of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles–a review copy I won in a BookishFirst giveaway and my pre-ordered copy. So I wanted to share this AMAZING book with y’all, so I’m giving away one of my copies! Just enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win! A random winner will be chosen on February 14th, 2018. International entries are welcome!

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Reign of the Fallen ★★★☆☆

DUuNrfuWkAAhYzS.jpgThere are two things you, dear booknerds, should have gathered about me if you listen to our late-night podcast: one, I’m a lover of all things fantasy and two, queer books are my absolute faves. But Reign of the Fallen fell short of my expectations despite being an awesome queer necromancer fantasy.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

The concept alone (and also the sparkly cover. I’m a sucker for sparkly covers) made me request it immediately when it was available on Netgalley. That and I follow Sarah Glenn Marsh on Twitter and she’s mentioned how it was a story about queer girls.

I was hyped. I was ready.

I ended up a little disappointed.

I want to establish how much I loved the concept. The concept was the coolest thing ever. I loved the idea of necromancers working for good, doing their best to keep the dead “alive”. I loved a kingdom that’s had the same king for hundreds of years, a king that outlawed change.

But nothing felt right when I read the book. Maybe it wasn’t for me, that happens. I felt the execution needed work. Few scenes felt tense, and the ones that did were immediately rectified by having the tension swept away. At one point, the main character sacrifices herself to kill a Shade–the undead monsters–by pulling it into a raging bonfire, since fire is one of two ways to kill the Shades.

That’s such a good moment! The main character sacrificing herself, her health, to save the people around her! She’s pulled out of the fire, horribly burned, and I just knew that was going to be a huge tension point for the entire book! She’s burned! She’s hurt, but she’s supposed to be the kingdom’s best necromancer, how will she defend everyone from Shades when she… oh… a healer came up. Okay, sure, he’ll take away the worst of the pain but she’ll still be worse off because of her rash actions… Oh. She’s 100% healed, good as new, like nothing happened. Well. Shit.

That, I think, was the worst that can happen in a story. Characters fall to ruin from their own actions but never feel the lasting consequences. Yes, they spend half a page thinking they’re going to die from the burning, but then by the next page they’re perfectly okay thanks to a healer’s magic and they learn nothing. I wanted to see characters suffer from their own misguided actions and become better for it–that’s how character development works! But it never happened within Reign of the Fallen and it sucked all the fun out of the book for me.

I have to give this one three stars for stellar concept, a pretty cover, lots of queers and badass ladies, a deep look into addiction and grief, and getting me to at least finish the book instead of DNF’ing it. Unfortunately, this won’t be one I’ll be revisiting or picking up a sequel to. Though I’ve seen lots of other people love it, so perhaps it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Court of Wings and Ruin ★★★☆☆

23766634I finally finished Court of Wings and Ruin. I feel like it took me forever to get through and that’s where it lost a few stars for me. Fair warning, this review will contain spoilers.

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

I loved almost everything about this book, so you might be wondering why I’m giving it three stars. I’ll get to that later. Continue reading

Fade to Us Excerpt

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✦ 1

Definite Opinions 

Fade to Us_CoverI had been chasing the Thomas twins around their house for a half hour, begging them to put on their clothes, when the garage door whined up. Their mother was home.

“Guys, come here,” I shouted as I flung myself onto the carpet. Five seconds later, I had two tiny bare butts bouncing on my belly. “Gotcha.” I sat up, locked my arms around their squirmy bodies, and shifted them onto my lap. I’d just wiggled a pair of Pull-Ups onto both boys when Mrs. Thomas walked in the door.

She hugged them as she smiled at me. “Were my little men good today?”

“Absolutely adorable.” I took the wad of cash she held out and shoved it into my pocket. “Thanks.”

“Brooke?” She squinted at the calendar hanging on the kitchen wall. “Can you babysit next Saturday morning? Eight to eleven?” Continue reading

Fade to Us Blog Tour

Fade to Us Blog Tour (1)

Julia Day’s Fade to Us is a story about found families, the bond of sisterhood, and the agony and awe of first love.

Brooke’s summer is going to be EPIC— having fun with her friends and a job that lets her buy a car. Then her new stepfather announces his daughter is moving in. Brooke has always longed for a sibling, so she’s excited about spending more time with her stepsister. But she worries, too. Natalie has Asperger’s–and Brooke’s not sure how to be the big sister that Natalie needs.

After Natalie joins a musical theater program, Brooke sacrifices her job to volunteer for the backstage crew. She’s mostly there for Natalie, but Brooke soon discovers how much she enjoys being part of the show. Especially sweet is the chance to work closely with charming and fascinating Micah–the production’s stage manager. If only he wasn’t Natalie’s mentor…

When her summer comes to an end, will Brooke finally have the family she so desperately wants–and the love she’s only dreamed about?

AUTHOR BIO:

Julia Day_CREDIT-Wes SmithJULIA DAY lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two twenty-something daughters, one geeky old husband, and too many computers to count. When she’s not writing software or stories, Julia enjoys traveling to faraway places, watching dance reality shows on TV, and making a dent in her To-Be-Read pile. Julia is the author of YA contemporary romances The Possibility of Somewhere and Fade to Us (Feb 2018).

SOCIAL LINKS:
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Episode #26: YA Movies Are in Decline?

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http://bookedallnight.podbean.com/e/episode-26-ya-movies-are-in-decline/

Listen to this episode and other episodes of the podcast on Podbean.

Since the latest (and final) Maze Runner movie, The Death Cure, only grossed $23.5 million in its opening weekend, apparently that means that YA movies are a declining fad. Jess and Maggie have some thoughts on that, thoughts that include almost twenty five YA titles that were optioned for movies just this year, as well as books they would love to see get some screen adaptations. Preferably TV shows for Jess so she can spend the day watching an accurate 19 hour production.


Other Books Mentioned in This Episode

  • Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: Amazon . B&N
  • Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly: Amazon . B&N
  • Sightwitch by Susan Dennard: Amazon . B&N
  • A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A Cole: Amazon . B&N
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: Amazon . B&N
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton: Amazon . B&N
  • A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J Maas | Amazon . B&N
  • War Storm by  Victoria Aveyard | Amazon . B&N
  • A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir | Amazon . B&N
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson | Amazon . B&N
  • Everless by Sarah Holland | Amazon . B&N
  • Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh | Amazon . B&N
  • Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian | Amazon . B&N
  • Dread Nation by | Amazon . B&N

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The Gallery of Unfinished Girls ★★★☆☆

9780062467775_82f13

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.

Episode #25: ShadowWeaver

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This week we’re talking about Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly. We advise you to actually NOT listen to this podcast and go buy a copy NOW.

DO IT NOW!

Okay, fine, listen to the podcast.


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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)

Episode #24: Booked All 2018

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LATE UPDATE: Sorry for the late update! Maggie and Jess were away at school and experienced a hectic couple of days.

It’s officially 2018! That means you need more books to read, right? Right. Duh. Well good news, night owls! Jess and Maggie have plenty of bookrecs for you.

 


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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.

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.

 

Between the Blade and the Heart EXCERPT

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Cover Between the Blade and the HeartWhen the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

ONE

The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between skyscrapers.

In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.

My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.

The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.

“He’ll be here soon,” my mother, Marlow, assured me. She leaned back against the brick wall beside me, casually eating large jackfruit seeds from a brown paper sack. Always bring a snack on a stakeout was one of her first lessons, but I was far too nervous and excited to eat.

The thick cowl of her frayed black sweater had been pulled up like a hood, covering her cropped blond hair from the icy mist that fell on us. Her tall leather boots only went to her calf, thanks to her long legs. Her style tended to be monochromatic—black on black on black—aside from the shock of dark red lipstick.

My mother was only a few years shy of her fiftieth birthday, with almost thirty years of experience working as a Valkyrie, and she was still as strong and vital as ever. On her hip, her sword Mördare glowed a dull red through its sheath.

The sword of the Valkyries was one that appeared as if it had been broken in half—its blade only a foot long before stopping at a sharp angle. Mördare’s blade was several thousand years old, forged in fires to look like red glass that would glow when the time was nigh.

My sword was called Sigrún, a present on my eighteenth birthday from Marlow. It was a bit shorter than Mördare, with a thicker blade, so it appeared stubby and fat. The handle was black utilitarian, a replacement that my mom had had custom-made from an army supply store, to match her own.

The ancient blade appeared almost black, but as it grew closer to its target, it would glow a vibrant purple. For the past hour that we’d been waiting on our stakeout, Sigrún had been glowing dully on my hip.

The mist grew heavier, soaking my long black hair. I kept the left side of my head shaved, parting my hair over to the right, and my scalp should’ve been freezing from the cold, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything.

It had begun—the instinct of the Valkyrie, pushing aside my humanity to become a weapon. When the Valkyrie in me took over, I was little more than a scythe for the Grim Reaper of the gods.

“He’s coming,” Marlow said behind me, but I already knew.

The world fell into hyperfocus, and I could see every droplet of rain as it splashed toward the ground. Every sound echoed through me, from the bird flapping its wings a block away, to the club door as it groaned open.

Eleazar Bélanger stumbled out, his heavy feet clomping in the puddles. He was chubby and short, barely over four feet tall, and he would’ve appeared to be an average middle-aged man if it wasn’t for the two knobby horns that stuck out on either side of his forehead. Graying tufts of black hair stuck out from under a bright red cap, and as he walked ahead, he had a noticeable limp favoring his right leg.

He was a Trasgu, a troublemaking goblin, and his appearance belied the strength and cunning that lurked within him. He was over three hundred years old, and today would be the day he died.

I waited in the shadows of the alley for him to cross the street. A coughing fit caused him to double over, and he braced himself against the brick wall.

I approached him quietly—this all went easier when they didn’t have time to prepare. He took off his hat to use it to wipe the snot from his nose, and when he looked up at me, his green eyes flashed with understanding.

“It’s you,” Eleazar said in a weak, craggy voice. We’d never met, and I doubt he’d ever seen me before, but he recognized me, the way they all did when their time was up.

“Eleazar Bélanger, you have been chosen to die,” I said, reciting my script, the words automatic and cold on my lips. “It is my duty to return you to the darkness from whence you came.”

“No, wait!” He held up his pudgy hands at me. “I have money. I can pay you. We can work this out.”

“This is not my decision to make,” I said as I pulled the sword from my sheath.

His eyes widened as he realized I couldn’t be bargained with. For a moment I thought he might just accept his fate, but they rarely did. He bowed his head and ran at me like a goat. He was stronger than he looked and caused me to stumble back a step, but he didn’t have anywhere to go.

My mother stood blocking the mouth of the alley, in case I needed her. Eleazar tried to run toward the other end, but his leg slowed him, and I easily overtook him. Using the handle of my sword, I cracked him on the back of the skull, and he fell to the ground on his knees.

Sigrún glowed brightly, with light shining out from it and causing the air to glow purple around us. Eleazar mumbled a prayer to the Vanir gods. I held the sword with both hands, and I struck it across his neck, decapitating him.

And then, finally, the electricity that had filled my body, making my muscles quiver and my bones ache, left me, and I breathed in deeply. The corpse of an immortal goblin lay in a puddle at my feet, and I felt nothing but relief.

“It was a good return,” my mother said, and put her hand on my shoulder. “You did well, Malin.”


Amanda Hocking NEW--credit Mariah Paaverud with Chimera PhotographyAmanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

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Copyright © 2018 by Amanda Hocking in Between the Blade and the Heart and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

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Enter the giveaway for a finished paperback copy of Between the Blade and the Heart.

 

Truly Devious ★★★★★

35008814Maureen Johnson has broken my heart in the past (I’m looking at you, Shades of London) and Truly Devious was no different.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Maureen Johnson hooked little Maggie’s heart with 13 Little Blue Envelopes when I was just starting to get into the YA age group. Then I fell in love with her Shades of London series when I started using Audible on my commutes to school. And now, Truly Devious has hooked it’s claws into my heart.

Maureen has a stellar command of mystery and magic, of tossing in a twist at juuuuust the right moment to keep you reading way past your bedtime. The choice to intersperse snippets from the 1936 mystery surrounding Truly Devious and the Ellingham murders never felt intrusive. Whenever those pieces came up in the narrative, I never felt annoyed or cheated out of Stevie’s story, which was set in the modern day. In fact, I enjoyed getting snippets of interviews between the detective and the suspects and chapters following Albert Ellingham. It informed my reading and built a richer story.

Beyond that, I loved Stevie. She was clever, witty, a bit of an outcast and her anxiety spoke true to my heart. Not only that, but the queer representation was stellar itself. It never felt like it was there for “Diversity Points” but rather it felt like a natural part of the world, which as it turns out, is exactly like our real world. Shocker, I know.

Truly Devious was another great read from a favorite author of mine and it’s got its claws hooked directly into my heart. I honestly can’t wait for the rest of the series!

Truly Devious releases on January 16th, 2018.

Conspiracy of Stars ★★★★☆

34848207I only recently came into Sci-fi and I’m glad I did, because it introduced me to Olivia A. Cole’s A Conspiracy of Stars and my emotions are still in tatters.

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.

You know the reading went well when you can’t write a review for at least a week after finishing the book because your heart has been stampeded on.

I won’t lie though; A Conspiracy of Stars did take me a hot minute to get into. It was a slow start and there were a lot of info dumps when the main characters were learning something in school, but once the story hit the road, it hit the road running and I just had to keep up.

Octavia is not just smart, she’s tough and curious and determined to do what she thinks she needs to do, even if it gets her in trouble. I loved her for it.

When the story really got started, I honestly couldn’t even put the book down. I just had to finish it, I had to know what was going to happen and when I did, it hurt in the best way possible. I would have given A Conspiracy of Stars five stars, had it not been for the fact that a lot of the problems Octavia ended up facing were fixed by Deus Ex Machina, a.k.a. an adult like a parent or teacher. She was given the answers to a lot of questions instead of figuring it out on her own. I would have liked to see her figure it out herself.

But the writing was solid and amazing, and that plot twist at the end had me literally screaming. The first thing I did was reach out to my good friend and fellow book nerd Jessica Henderson and text her to go and get this book. It was that good.

A Conspiracy of Stars releases on January 2nd, 2018.

Shadow Weaver ★★★★★

9781492649953_5aa32MarcyKate Connolly’s Shadow Weaver is a-maz-ing. A beautifully written spooky middle grade experience.

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.

I knew I was going to love this book after the opening scene. Here are just a few lines:

The first time my shadow spoke to me, I was a mere infant in the cradle. They say on the night I was born that even the stars fled the sky and the moon hid under a dark cloak… I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of my room.

And it smiled back.

Connolly fully immersed me in this comet blessed world. As I read through Shadow Weaver, I could tell that Connolly had a clear picture of how this world looked. Between houses, woods, cabins, soldiers, and even the magic–I was never at a loss for appearances.

Shadow Weaver is beautifully spooky right from the get go and Emmeline is beyond relatable to any reader of any background and any age.

Emmeline needs friends and caring family members and she lives most of her life without either. Her reliance on Dar, her shadow and only friend, makes so much sense that it hurts. And while we are led to mistrust Dar right from the start, we also grow more into that feeling and question her motives throughout the whole book.

The history of the world and it’s relevance to Emmeline’s story are laid out perfectly, sprinkled in all the right places making Shadow Weaver completely devoid of info dumping.

Seriously, just an amazing read.

 

Between the Blade and the Heart ★★☆☆☆

35425584I was really excited for this one. I’d read Amanda Hocking’s Freeks and enjoyed it, but Between the Blade and the Heart just sort of… didn’t work for me.

Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

Like, look at that description. That sounds awesome! A girl who can kill immortals? How cool is that? I’m choosing to ignore that tropey gorgeous new guy competing with the main character’s ex romance sub-plot. That had nothing to do with the fact that I had to DNF this one.

I liked Hocking’s writing in Freeks. It was punctual and flowed well. But something about Between the Blade and the Heart‘s writing just felt so damn boring that I couldn’t get back the 15% mark.

I’m not sure what it was. It was an interesting premise and a cool world, a little sci-fi, a little urban fantasy, and I liked the idea of it.

But liking the idea of something isn’t the same as liking the actual thing itself.

I was bored and annoyed with Malin, I didn’t care what happened to her and I just wasn’t connecting to the story. Not to mention how often I found myself rolling my eyes at every single page.

I couldn’t connect to the story; it happens. This one wasn’t for me.

Between the Blade and the Heart releases January 2nd, 2018.

Episode #23: Booked All Christmas

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IIIIIIIIIIT’S CHRISTMAS TIIIIIIME! Only a few days left before some weird old guy breaks into your house to leave you stuff… To celebrate, Jess and Maggie have a whole bunch of books that came out this year that should definitely be on your TBR.


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Before She Ignites ★★☆☆☆½

9780062469403_24007It sounded like it would be a great read. Fantasy. Anxiety. Dragons. But Before She Ignites fell short for me and I ended up putting it down about 75% of the way through.

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

At first, the out of order narrative was intriguing. We bounced back and forth learning just what got Mira thrown in prison in the first place. The first few shifts in time worked like flashbacks and added to the story in place. But as the book went on and I learned more about Mira, and her personality, the more these shifts worked against the book.

You might assume that being thrown in prison by those you trusted would sparked a certain amount of forced maturity on a person. It might be a wake up call to an absurdly naive and privileged character, like Mira. But the flashes just showed me the same character.

Mira before and Mira after, aren’t significantly changed. I would assume getting thrown in prison and being starved and taken from a world of comforts would change a person. I don’t see strength in Mira, I see naivete.

She gets warnings at every turn: you don’t know who you can trust in the Pit. And her first actions are to trust the people in her cell block. Her excuse is that the friendliness is a custom on her island, but that’s just not strong enough for me. The friendliness should from Mira before, and be something to work back to for Mira after.

Her lack of change comes through strongly in the out of order narrative and it’s where the book lost a lot of stars for me.

 

But it wasn’t all bad. The anxiety, the part of the story which really intrigued me, was really well done. Although Mira has panic attacks for legitimate things and I really wanted to see her have one for no reason at all to really drive home to readers who don’t suffer from them just how obnoxious and intrusive they can be, her coping mechanisms were spot on. Her reactions and frustration with losing control of her of her body were accurate and I really enjoyed them.

But the one thing which annoyed me to know end was how the dragons were referred to. Always by full Latin-esque names: drakontos quintus, drakantos mons, drakontos aquis, drakontos raptus, drakontos titanus, drakontos mimikus, drakontosrex, drakontos maior, drakontos sol, drakontos ignitus, and drakontos milus. I understand that Meadows is trying to create a species and keep us thinking is sizes and colors, but the jargon for her world was tiring and it made the descriptions sound unnatural.

People say, “I have dogs” not “I have a black Labrador, St. Bernard mixed breed canine.” I think this could have been a lot better if the academic classification of the dragons had been less integrated into Mira’s narration.

Episode #22: Maggie’s Lonely Little Podcast

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This week Maggie takes you on a little solo journey while Jessica catches up on school work and newly married life. Maggie talks a little about her current reads and her upcoming final semester for her MFA program. She’s only a little nervous… only a little!


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Winter Break!

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I have finally turned in my last packet of the semester. It might be crap but it’s done. Now on to my plans for winter break.

  • Sleep!
  • Put at least an extra 10,000 words into my work in progress.
  • Read a bunch of books to front load next semester.
  • Plan out the end of my work in progress.
  • Sleep!
  • Finish designs for the (hopefully) soon-to-be opened Booked All Night store.
  • Build up my TBR for the year.
  • Go on a requesting spree for the up coming year!
  • Sleep!
  • Make cookies!
  • Sleep!
  • Get back to agility practice with my dogs.
  • Compete and NOT be eliminated in an agility competition.

In all honesty though, I’m looking forward to putting some time into my WIP that doesn’t involve a deadline. I’m hoping a brief relaxing pace helps me to move the story forward.

The semesters are all coming to close, so what is everyone else planning to do over their breaks?

This Darkness Mine ★☆☆☆☆

9780062561596_305afI requested it because it was weird, and I like weird, but I don’t know… I just wasn’t feeling this.

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 sat on this one for a while. I mean, did I want to read a book that was going to so obviously end with split personalities? The longer I waited to pick it up the less interested I became in actually getting it off my review list.

And then I finally bit the bullet and opened it up.

The writing was confusing, at best. When it wasn’t confusing it was boring.

Part of what made my eyes roll is that Sasha is suddenly portrayed as “bad” the minute she has sex and the reason her unborn twin sister has any control is because Sasha absorbed her heart in the womb. Like I said, it’s “twist” is exactly what you thought it’d be.

I was really pushed out of the story for these issues, as well as the writing, and ultimately, I skipped around a lot just to look for the ending to confirm what I thought was going to happen.

And I want to put this out there: the synopsis says This Darkness Mine is about a “a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.” Being sexually active does not make you bad. The end.

Episode #21: Everless

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This week’s episode contains major spoilers for Sara Holland’s Everless! Jessi and Maggie talk about what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how the middle felt a little bit like a fat cat in the snow.

Follow Sara Holland on Twitter and be sure to get a pre-order of Everless before it comes out on January 2nd, 2018!


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Everless ★★★☆☆½

everlessTime is a prison. One girl holds the key. This is a thrilling, high-stakes new fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Red QueenThree Dark Crowns, and Six of Crows.

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is extracted from the blood, converted into coins, and used as currency or consumed to add to one’s lifespan. The rich aristocracy amass eons in their vaults, while the poor are forced to cut their futures short in order to survive in the present. And few families are richer than the Gerlings, who lord over the peasants from Everless, their palatial estate.

A fateful accident once spurred Jules and her father to flee Everless in the dark of night. But ten years later, in order to save her dying father, Jules must secretly return. Everless holds more temptations—and dangers—than Jules thought possible. Soon, she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets, and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

This dazzling debut novel, starring a fierce heroine and rife with high-stakes adventure, engrossing mysteries, star-crossed romance, and captivating magic all set in a richly built world, will leave you counting down the seconds until the next installment.

I’m mixed about this one. I definitely loved the prose and the very literal take on “time is money.” I really loved the greater world that Holland created here with the Sorceress and the Alchemist, and general fantastical elements that wove their way around this story.

But I hated the pacing and particular character flaw so much I put it down. Continue reading

Jessica’s December TBR

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Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha
Publication Date: March 6, 2018

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.

A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic
Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Blood Will Out

Author: Jo Treggeriari
Series: n/a
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Ari Sullivan is alive—for now.

She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed.

Until now, Ari was happy to spend her days pining for handsome, recent-arrival Stroud Bellows, fantasizing about their two-point-four-kids-future together. Safe in her small hometown of Dempsey Hollow. But now her community has turned very dangerous—and Ari may not be the only intended victim.

Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded

Author: Sage Blackwood
Series: n/a
Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.

Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her—but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?

Episode #20: National Not Writing Month

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This week we talk about the atrocious new policy regarding GoodReads giveaways, our participation (or lack there of) in NaNoWriMo, and share our thoughts on the cover for Victoria Aveyard’s next book, War Storm.


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Everless ★★★☆☆½

everlessTime is a prison. One girl holds the key. This is a thrilling, high-stakes new fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Red QueenThree Dark Crowns, and Six of Crows.

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is extracted from the blood, converted into coins, and used as currency or consumed to add to one’s lifespan. The rich aristocracy amass eons in their vaults, while the poor are forced to cut their futures short in order to survive in the present. And few families are richer than the Gerlings, who lord over the peasants from Everless, their palatial estate.

A fateful accident once spurred Jules and her father to flee Everless in the dark of night. But ten years later, in order to save her dying father, Jules must secretly return. Everless holds more temptations—and dangers—than Jules thought possible. Soon, she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets, and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

This dazzling debut novel, starring a fierce heroine and rife with high-stakes adventure, engrossing mysteries, star-crossed romance, and captivating magic all set in a richly built world, will leave you counting down the seconds until the next installment.

I’m mixed about this one. I definitely loved the prose and the very literal take on “time is money.” I really loved the greater world that Holland created here with the Sorceress and the Alchemist, and general fantastical elements that wove their way around this story.

But I hated the pacing and particular character flaw so much I put it down. Continue reading

Episode #19: Jessi’s Lonely Little Podcast

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http://bookedallnight.podbean.com/e/episode-19-jessi%e2%80%99s-lonely-little-podcast/

Listen to this episode and other episodes of the podcast on Podbean.

Hi there booknerds! I’m on my own this week while Maggie and I catch up with school and the podcast. I hope you enjoy my lonely little podcast and look forward to one of Maggie’s!

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Q&A with Lily Anderson

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About the book:

image002.jpgElliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

  1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
  2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
  3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mom’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

About the author:

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LILY ANDERSON is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You. Continue reading

Episode #18: Choose Your Own Scare

 

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http://bookedallnight.podbean.com/e/episode-18-choose-your-own-scare/

Listen to this episode and other episodes of the podcast on Podbean.

This week, Jess and Maggie are joined by the spooktacularly talented Mr. Robert Cook, who narrated our terrifyingly short adventures with time travel!

Sorry for the late upload!

Enter your favorite YA titles for a Night Owl! We’re taking nominees from now until October 31, 2017. Voting for the best of the best will begin November 24, 2017 and will be accompanied by a giveaway of some awesome Booked All Night swag and some of the best books of 2017!

Click here to nominate your favorite books for a Night Owl, the books that kept you up all night, all year.


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No Episode This Week!

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Just a reminder that Jessica is getting married tomorrow! And since Maggie is also in the wedding, there will be no episode this week. We’ll be back next week with all sort of bookish fun though!

Make sure to enter your favorite titles for a Night Owl! We will (hopefully) be adding winning titles into our end of the year giveaway so make sure to get your favorites in every day!

Entries close midnight EST Halloween. Voting opens November 24th, 2017 and will close December 25th, 2017. Tune into the New Year’s Eve podcast to find out which titles won the Night Owl!