April First Impressions

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

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

The Best Week That Never Happened by Dallas Woodburn

Pub: April 21, 2020

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

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

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

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


Thoughts

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


The Loop by Ben Oliver

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

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

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


Thoughts

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


Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova

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

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

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

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

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


Thoughts

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


Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcran

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

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

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

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


Thoughts

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


So This Is Love by Elizabeth Lim

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


Thoughts

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



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The Shadows Between Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shenanigans: ensued.

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

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐


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S4 E5: The Vinyl Underground

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

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

Having trouble listening here? Listen directly on Anchor.fm



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How To Make Dragon Jars For Your Bookshelf

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

You Will Need

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

Step 1: Remove Cat From Table

Repeat step throughout project as necessary.

Pick a Style and Follow Along

Hidden Hatchlings

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

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

Push the figure into the lower side of the filler.

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

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


Book Wyrm’s Reading Nook

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

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

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

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

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


Little Book Wyrm’s Fairy Lit Nook

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

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

Add about an inch of filler over the lights.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Upcoming April 2020 YA Titles

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

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

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

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

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

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

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

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

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

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

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

Pub Date: April 21st, 2020

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios

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

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

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

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

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner

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

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

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

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

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

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

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

Pity you’re not.

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

Or kill her.

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020

Diamond City

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diamond City, Francesca Flores
January 28th, 2020

Heists!

Assassins!

Dark magic!

Action? Coherency?

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

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

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

My rating:

⭐⭐


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Don’t Check Out This Book! Spotlight

Get to the Bottom of Appleton’s Juiciest Scandal.

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

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

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

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

Kirkus Reviews (The Show Must Go On!)

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

-BookPage (The Show Must Go On!)

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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

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

Selected

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

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

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

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

Selected, Barb Han
February 3rd, 2020

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

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

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

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

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

9 Bookish Craft Ideas for National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month! As hard as it is to cut up old books, we guarantee you’ll be dying to after you see these bookish crafts.

Old Books As Planters

If you can stomach dissecting a beloved hardback, then this would be the perfect idea. Carve out the text and fill it with soil and succulents. Don’t forget to water it!

Found Poetry

Find a line or two you love and mark out the rest. Try covering it with different art using paint markers, or cut out your favorite lines and make a collage.

Old Book New Box

Make a few hidden compartments and hide all your dice for DnD… is that not a common thing to hide? No? Forget I said anything.

Cottage Chic Mini Cabinet

Cover your littlest chest of drawers in your favorite pages and accent it all with the best baubles.

Book Pillows

I’m going to make an entire library for my couch. These would be the perfect accent for any nook!

Book Clutch

This would be perfect for holding a kindle, or organizing pens, or even as an actual clutch.

Pictures On Pages

Oh goodness, just imagine a library covered in framed book pages with gorgeous photos printed on them.

Felt Bookmarks FTW

I ruin my bookmarks regardless of material so it sounds like a good idea to make one that can take a beating.

Tick, Tock, It’s Read O’Clock

It’s always time to read and I can honestly say that I love me some naked books. Just think about the most beautiful spine hanging on your wall, reminding you it’s time to finish that chapter.


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March First Impressions

Spring is so, so close! So we need to hide away from the last of the winter frost with some upcoming March titles. Let’s see what’s coming up!

Bone Crier’s Moon – Kathryn Purdie

Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

Bone Crier’s Moon, Kathryn Purdie
March 10th, 2020

I love me a good story about people fighting off the dead. Having to kill their one true love though? Ehhhhh.

The cover art makes me think of late 2000s book covers with too many girls in dresses. It’s a little plain and not too eye catching. I would have loved to see something more artistic. Also I’m tired of white girls (and boys) standing and looking at the reader on the cover. Gimme something more fun and that pops.

The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister. 

The Kingdom of Back, Marie Lu
March 3rd, 2020

I’m a sucker for anything by Marie Lu. She had me with Legend when I first read it ages ago and I’ve kept coming back to her books since.

And so we’ve come to The Kingdom of Back, a historical fantasy about Mozart?! Color me intrigued. That tagline on the cover also makes it sound even more enticing and I’m so pumped to get my hands on this one. Though the cover itself isn’t nearly as eye-catching as I’d hoped.

Havenfall – Sara Holland

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . . 

Havenfall, Sara Holland
March 3rd, 2020

Oh man, what a beautiful cover. It’s so shiny and I love the colors and composition. Not to mention, it took me ages to see that there’s a face on it.

A magical intersection inn sounds so awesome, and a murder and a mystery and a monster to boot! I’m sure I’ll love this just like I loved Holland’s other books. I know Holland has this amazing ability to draw you in from the beginning and really set up the world on page one, so I can’t wait to get my hands on Havenfall.

Imagine Me – Tahereh Mafi

The explosive finale to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars.

Ella Sommers.

Which is the truth and which is the lie?

Now that Ella knows who Juliette is and what she was created for, things have only become more complicated. As she struggles to understand the past that haunts her and looks to a future more uncertain than ever, the lines between right and wrong—between Ella and Juliette—blur. And with old enemies looming, her destiny may not be her own to control.

The day of reckoning for the Reestablishment is coming. But she may not get to choose what side she fights on. 

Imagine Me, Tahereh Mafi
March 31st, 2020

You know, I’ve never read any of Tahereh Mafi’s books. I’ve heard middling things about Shatter Me and it’s never really pulled me in. Imagine Me is the sixth book in the series, and as expected, the cover means nothing to me. But I’m sure it’s dropped some serious truth bombs.

But the cover is lovely and shiny and I do love shiny things.

Harley in the Sky – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams. 

Harley in the Sky, Akemi Dawn Bowman
March 10th, 2020

I loved Akemi Dawn Bowman’s previous books and Harley in the Sky sounds like another amazing story that will end with me sobbing.

A trapeze artist gone to a rival circus and secrets!

Also that cover is bright and wonderful and eye-catching. I can’t wait to see how this one goes.


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Yes No Maybe So

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

Yes No Maybe So, Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed
February 4th, 2020

Since the first time I read the back cover of Yes No Maybe So I have been excited to get my hands on this collaborative piece. I first found it at Target for 20% off, which based on the contents of the book is perfect, but I didn’t grab it then. Later that day I went to an independent book store called Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And wouldn’t you know that I then found a signed first edition copy. On the same day. What’s the chances? Better chances than a Democrat winning a special election in the deep-red of Georgia? Probably, especially since I had nothing but regret for not grabbing it when I did.

And boy-oh-boy! am I glad that I picked up this amazing political love story by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed! A cynical version of myself would maybe scoff at reading a 436 page love story told from the perspectives of the two in the relationship. I mean shifting narrators ain’t normally my jam (insert evidence that states otherwise on my review of Belle Revolte) but this is a story that it flows so perfectly between the two that you really can’t help but want to read the next chapter to see how the other person has viewed what’s happened. The dual narrative not only pushes the story forward, but it also keeps the pace of this story so by the time you’ve read 436 pages you feel like you read 43.6 pages. Don’t ask how you would read .6 of a page, okay? You get my point.

“But Davis…” I hear you impatiently asking. “What about the political stuff? THAT can be a very tricky thing to write, especially in a YA novel. How does Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed handle that? And why did I use an ampersand in asking?”

Good questions reader! Now, is the book biased towards one side of the political spectrum over the other? Well, frankly, yes. That being said, GOOD! Now, is this lovely reviewer biased towards that same side of the political spectrum, also yes. That being said, this book does an expert job at showing a reader and making a reader feel the frustration of being dog whistled by seriously racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and all-around hateful people and legislature. I know, it sounds like a lot, and that’s because it is a lot. Especially in today’s political climate where there are politicians being openly hateful and citizens forgetting what it means to be civil and, more importantly, a decent person.

The use of hate-based symbols, the gaslighting done to Jamie and Maya, and the dog whistling done to them in Yes No Maybe So has to getting so viscerally upset that it can only be considered a master class in writing. Especially when you, as a curious reader, decides to Google the hate signs mentioned only to find that there is an entire database of hateful signs, logos, and phrases. Next thing you know, you’re editing your work in progress to make sure that nobody who would believe these hateful things could possibly interpret parts of your work as sign of secret hatred towards people. Why do I mention that? Because that’s the power of Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed‘s powerful story. It makes you want to do more, to make the world a better place, and to be the good you want to see in the world.

“But Davis,” I hear you once again asking. “Tell me more about this love story? Is it really one you can get behind and believe in?”

Jamie and Maya feel like the luckiest people in the world the second they meet each other. As the back cover says, “Mastering local activism is one thing; navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.” And that’s true. These two may have grown-up together, but it’s been nearly a decade since they last saw each other. People change immensely over ten years. That being said, two friends that work together that develop a crush, and maybe more? Yes, it does sound sort of like Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly, if Jim was a super awkward Jewish boy and if Pam was a cool, calm, and collected Islamic girl. And they were both seventeen. Sure, is it strange to think that the Jim & Pam relationship from The Office is so widely known (and I guess old enough, oh god!) to be a trope? A little, but that being said, the way that Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed write this love story makes it feel fresh, original, important, and one that you’re a bit envious you aren’t in. Jamie and Maya, even after one read, feel like they deserve to be corner stones of YA Romance canon. Young Adult writers should look at their relationship to see how to write a romance, or should I say slowmance.

At the end of the day, this book should be on everyone’s top list of favorite YA books of all time, if not favorite books of all time. If you think I’m wrong, then read Yes No Maybe So. And when you finish it I’ll be waiting to talk to you about how much you love Jamie and Maya.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Chirp

From acclaimed author Kate Messner comes the powerful story of a young girl with the courage to make her voice heard, set against the backdrop of a summertime mystery.

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget.

Mia’s change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram’s thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram’s farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she’s been hiding–and find the courage she never knew she had?

In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

Chirp, Kate Messner
February 4, 2020

I came across Chirp (and Kate Messner) while at the SCBWI NYC 2020 conference. She was a keynote speaker and she talked at length about this book since it just came out a few days before. The conference was February 7-9. Hearing Kate Messner talk about this book got me intrigued and reading it now has me fascinated.

Chirp is a fantastic middle grade novel about Mia, who is moving back to her home town in Vermont. Mia enjoys sitting on the couch and watching Dealing with Sharks (a spin on Shark Tank) and American Warrior Challenge (a spin on American Ninja Warrior), eating snacks, and not doing much else since she broke her arm at gymnastics. So, obviously, instantly able to relate to, am I right?

The issue with that though is that Mia’s parents don’t want her spending her whole summer sitting on the couch. So, Mia is forced to join two summer camps, “something for [her] body and something for [her] brain’ as her mother orders. Mia joins Warrior Camp as well as Launch Camp, which is like a camp for future entrepreneurs.

But what does all of this have to do with the word that is the title, Chirp? Right? Well, the business that Mia decides to focus on is saving her grandmother’s cricket farm. What’s a cricket farm? Good question. It is a place where Mia’s grandmother raises and harvests crickets for people to eat. Let that sink in. For people to eat. Now, prior to reading this book, would I ever have considered eating bugs. No. No chance in heck. Absolutely not. After reading Chirp, I wish I had them as snacks right now. Sure, that sounds crazy but that’s the power of Kate Messner’s writing.

Now, there’s another issue in Chirp that needs dealing with. Mia was assaulted by her gymnastics coach where she previously lived. I believe that Kate Messner does a masterful job at introducing the idea, discussing it in a natural and realistic way, and showing young readers how to navigate the scary reality of getting help after being assaulted. Now, Kate Messner does not have some out-of-nowhere visceral and grotesque assault scene for Mia. Thank god! But there is sincere scenes of Mia talking with several people about her assault. Honestly, I was wiping away tears on a plane reading the scenes. They are amazing.

I hope everyone gives this book a chance and reads it. This book is one I bought, read, and loved so much that I needed to review it. Kate Messner has written an amazing book here and everybody owes it to themselves to give it a read. It should be on everyone’s bookshelf and in every classroom.

My Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Upcoming Titles for March 2020

Woo! New books! Time to take a peek at what might slide onto your bookshelves in March. You ready? We’re ready. Here we go.

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, Marie Rutkoski’s The Midnight Lie is an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down, and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away, who whispers rumors that the High Kith possess magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

PUB DATE: March 3, 2020

Open Fire by Amber Lough

A dramatic page-turner that captures the devastating toll of war and the impact of women’s struggles and solidarity, through the lens of a little-known slice of history.

In 1917, Russia is losing the war with Germany, soldiers are deserting in droves, and food shortages on the home front are pushing people to the brink of revolution. Seventeen-year-old Katya is politically conflicted, but she wants Russia to win the war. Working at a munitions factory seems like the most she can do to serve her country—until the government begins recruiting an all-female army battalion. Inspired, Katya enlists. Training with other brave women, she finds camaraderie and a deep sense of purpose. But when the women’s battalion heads to the front, Katya has to confront the horrifying realities of war. Faced with heartbreak and disillusionment, she must reevaluate her commitment and decide where she stands.

PUB DATE: March 3, 2020

When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

For fans of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay and Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me, this heartfelt and ultimately uplifting novel follows one sixteen-year-old girl’s friend breakup through two concurrent timelines–ultimately proving that even endings can lead to new beginnings.

“Stunning.” –Nic Stone, bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

You can’t rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

Now Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding friendships with other classmates–and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom–Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.

“Breathtakingly beautiful….Woodfolk has a way of making words sing and burst with light.” –Tiffany D. Jackson, award-winning author of Monday’s Not Coming and Let Me Hear A Rhyme

PUB DATE: March 10, 2020

Sparrow: A Novel by Mary Cecilia Jackson

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Mary Cecilia Jackson’s devastating but hopeful YA debut is about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future.

There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey
I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.
My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.
And I am still prey.

Though Savannah Rose—“Sparrow” to her friends and family—is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed—“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”—will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe.

But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….

PUB DATE: March 17, 2020

Brown Girl Ghosted by Mintie Das

We Were Liars meets Riverdale with a supernatural twist in this timely thriller about mean girls, murder, and race in a quiet Midwestern suburb.

Violet Choudhury may be part of the popular clique at school, but as one of a handful of brown girls in a small Illinois town, all she really wants to do is blend in and disappear. Unfortunately for her, she’s got a knack for seeing spirits, including the dead—something she’s tried to ignore all her life. But when the queen bee of Violet’s cheerleading squad ends up dead following a sex tape that’s not as consensual as everyone wants to believe, Violet’s friends from the spirit world decide it’s the perfect time for Violet to test her skills and finally accept the legacy of spiritual fighters from whom she’s descended. Her mission? Find the killer. 

Or else she’s next.

PUB DATE: March 24, 2020

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Jinxed

Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the  “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one. 

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.

Jinxed, Amy McCulloch
January 7th, 2020

So what happens when you mix The Golden Compass with robots? You get Jinxed and it’s AWESOME.

Jinxed follows the story of young Lacey, who dreams of becoming a companioneer for Moncha Corp. A companioneer is like an engineer that builds companions,called bakus, which is what smart phones evolved into in this fictional near-future of North America. Basically, someone made daemons from The Golden Compass, but they’re smartphones and also your best friends. I loved this idea from the get-go.

Lacey wants to get into Profectus, an elite academy with direct ties to Moncha, but she doesn’t have the funds to do so. She works her butt off every day to get into Profectus and when she gets her decision letter, she’s heartbroken.

Then one day, she finds an abandoned baku after being chased by some bullies and works the entire summer to fix it. This baku, Jinx, is state-of-the-art and cutting edge, and he’s got the sarcastic tongue to prove it. He and Lacey become hesitant friends, since bakus aren’t supposed to talk, and she finds out the school’s decision has been reversed.

But Profectus isn’t what it seems, and the people Lacey has idolized for years suddenly lose their gleam when the cameras are off. Lacey soon finds herself in a heap of trouble, all thanks to Jinx.

That may have been my least favorite part of the book. Every plot point was made not by our main character, but by Jinx. And I can understand why, in the long run, and seeing Lacey figure her way out of the problems was great, but I wanted more agency from her. Lacey just ends up running frantically after Jinx for most of the plot, instead of Lacey getting herself into trouble.

Still, Jinxed was a fantastic read and I loved its imaginitive take on robotic companions.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Winter Cover Wraps

There’s nothing quite like a good ol’ aesthetic, isn’t there? It’s pretty and soothing and lots of fun to make. You’re not really procrastinating on your writing if you’re making a mood board full of aesthetics, are you? It’s an integral part of your process, by jove!

Once upon a time, we made posts called Cover Wraps. We’d take that month’s upcoming titles and make an aesthetics collage of some real pretty nail wraps that went along with the cover. Cause of course we judge a book by it’s cover!

So welcome to our Cover Wraps, Winter edition! Here are some of this winter’s coolest covers, alongside some aesthetic nail art.

Note: These nail arts belong to BeneYou, formerly known as Jamberry. This is not an affiliation post, nor are we sponsored by them. You can find all of these wraps and more on their website.

Infinity Son

Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Dark and Deepest Red

With McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

All the Stars and Teeth

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

Of Curses & Kisses

From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Havenfall

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

All Your Twisted Secrets

This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.

The King’s Questioner

From the author of ‘The Midnight Dance’ comes an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.

Kalen has been cursed with a gift: he’s a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.

But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’ mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.

With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.

The King’s Questioner, Nikki Katz
January 14th, 2020

The King’s Questioner had such great promise. It was an awesome premise; a mental picklock, secrets, magic, drama! But the execution…

It fell short of every expectation. The characters were one-dimensional, there was a lack of pacing and nothing to hook me. I was intrigued enough to get nearly 1/4 of the way through, but I just kept turning the page, hoping something would be better than on the previous one.

That was never the case.

I ended up constantly thinking about other books I could be reading instead of this one and it sucked. I wanted to like it. The King’s Questioner had so many elements I love, but it just didn’t work for me.

My Rating:
DNF.


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February First Impressions

February is the month of chocolates, dates, and staying in to finish that book. Is romance your guilty pleasure genre? Because I don’t think it’s mine.

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics. 

A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She’s made the United States’ gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She’s on top of the world. 

The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most–but not all the gymnasts are as supportive. 

With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach’s ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn’t date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world? 

Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn’t need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she’s not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey’s determination be enough? 

Break the Fall, Jennifer Iacopelli 
February 18, 2020

The pain and drama in the first three bits really had me excited to read the rest of the back cover. A story about gymnastics is definitely a sport I know nothing about. Other than the fact that the Olympians are in way better shape than I’ll ever be in my entire life. And they have better focus while flipping upside down than I do sitting down to write. Plus, add on whatever the “horrifying news that rips the team apart” that is that one of Audrey Lee’s teammates has been hurt by the one person they trusted most” has my mind spinning with excitement. 

But then comes the paragraph about Leo, the coach’s son. I hope reading this book, Leo is actually a Z story. Yes, not A-story, not B-Story, not even C-Story. I want that romantic relationship or crush as far away from the plot as possible. Is that an anti-Valentine’s Day thing to say? Yes, most definitely. But alas, Leo is going to have to be a mix of Ryan Reynolds with Trevor Noah and a dash of Idris Elba for me to give him the time of day. 

The only thing that makes me hesitant about this story is the romantic aspect, otherwise though, I would probably still pick up. Depends the importance of Leo though that would keep Audrey Lee’s story by Jennifer Iazopelli in my shopping cart though.

The Upside of Falling – Alex Light

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone. 

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse. 

 Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives? 

The Upside of Falling, Alex Light
February 18, 2020

The cover has me hesitant. If I’m being honest. It looks cute, sure, but it makes me wonder what separates it from other Young Adult romance novels out there. I hope there’s more to this story than a modern novelization of She’s All That. The concern being that I want a story that pushes the Young Adult romance genre forward, not retreats back into tropes. 

Figuring out what makes this story would be the catch for me. What is there about it that makes me want to recommend this to someone? Or what is there that makes me want to read this again? There’s quitter a bit of intrigue about what is going on in Becca’s life that was so bad to make her give up on true love at the age of seventeen. Some trauma that is years old could certainly make this sweet looking book have some savory flavor to it. Also, Brett Wells is hopefully made more dynamic than a jock with eyes on the future. 

I would love to know what about their lives is fake versus real and so I would definitely pick this up to review, but I’m not quite sure if this book would get a buy from me yet. I guess that means the backside does its job, but indifference isn’t exactly what back covers are aiming for.

Miss You Love You Hate You Bye – Abby Sher

Zoe and Hank (short for Hannah) have been inseparable since they met in elementary school. The leader of the pack, Zoe is effortlessly popular while Hank hides comfortably in her shadow. But when Zoe’s parents unexpectedly divorce, Zoe’s perfect facade starts cracking little by little. Sinking under the weight of her broken family, Zoe develops an eating disorder. Now she must rely on Hank for help. 

Hank struggles to help Zoe; after all, she is used to agreeing, not leading. How can she help her best friend get better before it’s too late? 

Written partially in letters from Zoe and mostly in narrative from Hank’s perspective, Miss You Love You Hate You Bye is a poignant and eye-opening novel about friendship, mental health, and learning to put yourself first. 

Miss You Love You Hate You Bye, Abby Sher
February, 18, 2020

A story of friendship will always catch me, especially one about a friendship where actual jeopardy is at stakes. From this back cover I am already in love with the friendship of Zoe and Hank and want them to be best friends forever. That being said, how can you not want to root for Hank and Zoe here? It is very interesting to me that the novel is mostly from Hank’s perspective. I think a story about seeing a friend go through these mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging situations is an interesting choice by the author, Abby Sher. 

Also, the cover? Gosh is it cool. Whoever designed it should get ten free coffees and a raise or something because it forces your eyes to see it and your hands to grab it. I think this book would be heartbreaking to read and yet important for young readers as well as older readers to experience. 

This one will certainly have my eyes on the prowl for it come publication day to learn more about Zoe and Hank (short for Hannah)

Yes No Maybe So – Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

Yes No Maybe So, Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
February 4, 2020

The “Yes” of this back cover has to be the political intrigue. A story about political canvassing, especially in today’s political climate, is so incredibly important. I am fascinated to know the way that both Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed develop this story for Jamie and Maya. 

The “Maybe So” about this back cover is the cross-cultural romance going on. Sure, I can’t poo all over every love story coming out in Valentine’s Day otherwise a cherub with a bow and arrow will take me out on my walk to the bookstore. This romance has me going “maybe so” because of the stage it’s on. It’s in a book tackling political issues during an already controversial election year. If that stage for two lovers doesn’t interest you, then you really do need a visit from Cupid. 

The “No” of this back cover is simply no I will not pass up on getting this book. A comedy about politics and young love sounds fantastic. Sure, that last sentence had like three negatives, but still…I had to make the joke work somehow. This is a definite buy for me.

The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus. 

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him. 

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch. 

The Gravity of Us, Phil Stamper
February 4, 2020

I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed this book on the podcast a few times. If not, maybe I just talk to people on the phone about it regularly. Very few books get me as excited as this book does. As far as I’m concerned it has everything! 

Space! 

Young gay love! 

Being contemporary! 

Everything I’ve ever wanted in a book. To be clear, the young lovers are not in space, they are on Earth. But who cares when there’s sparks flying between them. (Also, see I don’t hate love.) Now all that’s left is to see if Phil Stamper’s debut novel is a total blast or if we’re going to be calling Houston with a problem. Yes, I will see myself out now so I can go to the bookstore and pick this up.


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Book Quote Valentine’s Day Cards

Every Other Weekend

Can life begin again…every other weekend?

Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.

Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.

Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.

Every Other Weekend, Abigail Johnson
January 7, 2020

How do I sum up this emotional rollercoaster in one of our short reviews? I don’t get emotional. I’m a self-proclaimed heartless monster. But I felt close to these characters and their pain was mine.

As a child of divorce, Jolene’s story hits especially close to home. And it’s an all too familiar story for so many. When people get divorced they have so much to divide and they often forget that children are people and not property.

Adam and Jolene are forced to grow up quickly and their slow-building reluctant friendship is truly touching to watch.

The characterization in Every Other Weekend was so well done that I’d believe it if these two walked straight off the page.

My Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Upcoming February Titles

Love is in the air and it’s between us, and these books.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Pub Date: February 4th, 2020

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

Pub Date: February 4th, 2020

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Pub Date: February 4th, 2020

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. 

Pub Date: February 18th, 2020

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

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

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

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

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

Pub Date: February 25th, 2020


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The Friendship Lie

Cora Davis’s life is garbage. Literally. Her professor parents study what happens to trash after it gets thrown away, and Cora knows exactly how it feels–to be thrown away. Between her mom and dad separating and a fallout with her best friend, fifth grade for Cora has been a year of feeling like being tossed into the dumpster. But Cora has learned a couple of things from her parents’ trash-tracking studies: Things don’t always go where they’re supposed to, and sometimes the things you thought you got rid of come back. And occasionally, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, which Cora and Sybella learn when they come across a diary detailing best-friendship problems. Told in two intertwining points of view, comes a warm, wry story of friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. Written by Rebecca Donnelly, author of How to Stage a Catastrophe (an Indies Introduce and Indie Next List honoree), The Friendship Lie will speak to any reader who has struggled with what to hold on to and what to throw away.

-The Friendship Lie, Rebecca Donnelly

I was drawn right into the story with “Cora Davis’s life is garbage.” Is there anything more true to the tweenage experience? I say to you, no. Cora and Sybella are best friends, they have their own world, inside jokes, and the sheer ability to read each other’s minds through body language.

But a few things get in the way: Cora’s parents separate and Cora gets a little jealous that Sybella’s parents are still available; someone finds a poem that Cora wrote about her best friend that doesn’t paint her in the best light; and instead of talking to one another–both Sybella and Cora avoid each other like the plague.

The Friendship Lie is told through the best points of view: yours, mine, and the Truth. The alternating viewpoints gave us the whole truth of the situation, which is often something you don’t get in life or literature.

Perhaps the most accurate scene of social anxiety and depression, is when Cora begins to spiral downward as a bully begins to split up her friendship. Oh, no, Sybella saw the poem! Oh, no, I wrote the poem! But I don’t think it’s true! But maybe I do… The guilt that both parties feel about having hurt their best friend and the immense shame that keeps them from reaching out is well worth the read.

A great lesson on friendships and how each one is its own unique journey, The Friendship Lie should find its way onto your pre-order list and nestle its way onto your bookshelf.

Goodreads
Pub Date: Aud 1, 2019
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Belle Révolte

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work. 

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts. 

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives. 

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies. 

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller
February 4th, 2020

Reviewing fantasy books usually has me saying, “Oh, no…” but Belle Révolte had me cheering “Oh, hell yes!” the entire time. 

When a book’s first chapter starts with the line, “My mother did not shackle me despite my last escape attempt” you immediately fall in love with that character, Emilie, and the book. Then, when the next chapter starts off with the line, “I ate dirt as a child” you feel bad for ever loving anyone else before you met Annette. This story of Emilie and Annette switching lives in order to study the magic they are connected to is the epitome of what every switched identity story should be. 

Emilie de Marais is a very well-off noble that has more money than she knows what to do with, but she wants to prove that a person who helps by getting their hands dirty can help more than money can. She wants to study healing magic regardless of the tole it will take on her body. She’s what would happen if the “billionaire with a heart of gold” character actually did something for once instead of just throwing money at a problem until it goes away. That’s what makes Emilie, not only shine, but grow as a character as well as in your heart. 

Now, Annette Boucher. Enough cannot be said about Annette Boucher and how great she is. There are no words that can prove how great Annette is better than the ones that Linsey Miller has already written. She dreams of a greater life for herself just like everyone else, except because of her socioeconomic standing, she has to work harder than anyone else. That is, until Emilie de Marais gives her the shot to prove how great she is. They switch lives and find themselves in worlds they have never experienced before. 

Obviously the whole story is not just about Emilie and Annette. There’s plenty of other amazing characters that make you wish you were living in a world where the rebellious Laurel was attempting to overthrow a cruel king. Whether it’s Annette’s roommates, Coline and Isabelle, or Emilie’s classmates, Charles, Rainer, and Madeline, you’re going to wish that they were your roommates and classmates. Not only are they all incredibly funny and sincere, and feel like they deserve their own books (hint-hint wink-wink Linsey Miller, please?) but they also make you feel like you are in the world with them. 

Linsey Miller crafts a beautiful story of magic, sacrifice, and identity. This story is about more than rebellions to overthrow the corrupt rich and asking the question, “What would you sacrifice for the ones you love?” Belle Révolte explores what it really means to define yourself and your own destiny. Emilie proves that you do not need to follow others blindly. Emilie shows how people can truly make waves of change in the world through the smallest acts of independence and persistence. Meanwhile, Annette shows how no matter one’s roots, you decide what you want to grow to be. Annette’s story is one of defiance of fate and the strength of determination. Through this story, they both have many chances to quit. They have many chances to give up and live the lives they are expected to, but they do not. Emilie and Annette are more than amazing magical characters, they are inspirations of how you can overcome anything. 

I could not properly write a review of this book without talking about the magic. In Belle Révoltein order to do magic, there are physical sacrifices made by the caster. How frickin’ cool is that? Like if you want to heal someone’s broken arm, it’s going to burn the skin on your arm and your arm is going to hurt for days or weeks. So, now think about it. One of the characters, Emilie the rich girl, decides she WANTS to perform this kind of magic. Are you kidding me? She has the money to have people perform that magic for her, but she wants to be that caster, that healer, for other people. 

Why is that important? (Other than the obvious fact that this is a fantasy novel so, like, how the magic works is kind of like a major aspect of the story?) The rich and well-off casters, in the world of Belle Révolte, use the poor casters to make the sacrifices needed to cast magic. What? Yeah, you read that correctly. The rich feed off the poor magically in order to cast spells and no, the rich aren’t all like Emilie. So, I’m sure you can see where that might be a problem for some like those of the rebellious group known as Laurel. 

This book is one of those books that you want everyone to read so you can talk to them about how awesome it is and how emotionally painful it was for you. It’s also the type of book, that if your Dungeons and Dragons party has read it, will understand the choices you’re making for your new character that you just had to play as. As a person who normally loves contemporary stories and stays away from even the slightest hint of magic, unless it’s satirical, this book had me hooked from the beginning and left me demanding more. And yes, that’s also as a person who hates series and yet is begging Linsey Miller for more books in the Belle Révolte universe. 

If you like books about friendship, identity, queer love (yeah I didn’t even mention that because this book has everything), rebellions, magic, war, royalty, and diverse characters then pick this up. And if none of that tickles your fancy, then also pick it up because this book is so beautifully written you’ll find yourself wanting to read more fantasy books about awesome magical worlds. 

My Rating: 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Interview An Author With Us!

We recently switched podcast hosting to Anchor.fm and we’re having all sorts of fun with it. One feature that we’re absolutely loving is MESSAGES! you can leave us a message at any time right here, but only our newsletter subscribers will know who’s coming up on the podcast.

As soon as we have a set date for an interview, whether it’s a week away or a whole month, we send out a special edition of the newsletter to let you know who’s stopping by.

Here are some authors you’ve already missed because you weren’t subscribed to our newsletter!

Linsey Miller

Emma Steinkellner

Sarah Jean Horwitz

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The Good Luck Girls

Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

The Good Luck Girls is so incredibly unique and thrilling that I enjoyed reading every last bit of it. It was that lip-biting, nerve-wracking, gritty western with just a hint of magic that ticked off every box of mine. The writing was amazing and I couldn’t stop reading it.

There were a few things that needled me though. Some descriptors felt lacking, and I wanted more so that I could better picture everything. We start in Clementine’s perspective (which is, of course, a great place to start) but we never go back to her point of view. We go to Aster in the next chapter, and I ended up assuming we’d be switching between all the girls. But we stayed with Aster.

It was just jarring and never let me settle since I was always expecting a switch to another girl’s perspective. It never happened and I felt a little letdown. Mostly because that would have really solidified each character and given them a unique voice and perspective whereas they start to get muddled in the middle. There are a lot of characters traveling all at once and it’s too much to get to know everyone. I started to get lost.

But the story kept me going, at the very least, though I would have loved a deeper dive towards the end. It felt rushed on the back end, and I can see that it was an attempt to sell it as a standalone, despite there being a second book in the works.

I just hope we get the answers and the deep dive I wanted in The Good Luck Girls in its sequel.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

An Excerpt from A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – via EW

Last summer, Scholastic announced that the Hunger Games world was getting a prequel. Which excited us book nerds who were, strangely, eager to return to Panem. Slowly, very, very slowly, we got more information. TITLE: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. PUB DATE: May 19th, 2020. And now, courtesy of EW and Scholastic Inc., we have a preview.

The grand staircase up to the Academy could hold the entire student body, so it easily accommodated the stream of officials, professors, and students headed for the reaping day festivities. Coriolanus climbed it slowly, attempting a casual dignity in case he caught anyone’s eye. People knew him—or at least they had known his parents and grandparents—and there was a certain standard expected of a Snow. This year, beginning this very day, he was hoping to achieve personal recognition as well. Mentoring in the Hunger Games was his final project before graduating from the Academy in midsummer. If he gave an impressive performance as a mentor, with his outstanding academic record, Coriolanus should be awarded a monetary prize substantial enough to cover his tuition at the University.

There would be twenty-four tributes, one boy and one girl from each of the twelve defeated districts, drawn by lottery to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. It was all laid out in the Treaty of Treason that had ended the Dark Days of the districts’ rebellion, one of the many punishments borne by the rebels. As in the past, the tributes would be dumped into the Capitol Arena, a now-dilapidated amphitheater that had been used for sports and entertainment events before the war, along with some weapons to murder one another. Viewing was encouraged in the Capitol, but a lot of people avoided it. How to make it more engaging was the challenge.

Excerpt from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes © 2020 by Suzanne Collins. Provided courtesy of Scholastic Inc.


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Diana Princess of the Amazons

Cut off from the rest of the world, Diana had an idyllic childhood on Themyscira. But now 11-years-old, she’s beginning to feel more and more isolated. Though she has many “aunties” and a loving mother, she is an only child. THE only child, in fact.

After an escapade goes wrong, Queen Hippolyta chastises Diana for not living up to the Amazon standard. Diana just can’t seem to measure up, no matter what she does! Literally every other person on the island is an adult proficient in their trade and mighty in body, while she is gangly, sometimes clumsy, and not particularly proficient in anything. She’s not Wonder Woman yet. What Diana needs is a friend; someone her own age whom she can talk to. But when she decides to take matters into her own hands — she may just make a monster instead. 

Diana, Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale. Illustrated by Victoria Ying.
January 7th, 2020

Y’all. This book! It’s SO. CUTE.

It’s not a secret that I love Wonder Woman. The 2017 movie was the most empowering and wonderful movie I’ve ever seen. I’m PUMPED for the sequel. And Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is the perfect middle grade graphic novel to get all those little Amazonian Princesses (and Princes and other royals) in your life excited about girl power and friendship and belonging.

Diana, in this version of our favorite butt-kicking superhero, is not yet at the confidence and strength of the adult Diana. She’s eleven and unsure of her place on Themyscira among all the adults who know their strengths and where they fit into in society. Diana is lonely, without anyone her age to play with, and without someone who understands how she feels. She gets pushed to the side as all the busy adults in her life get to work.

So when Diana gets the idea from her own birth story to make her own friend, she makes Mona, a girl made of sand and Diana’s wishes. And for the first time ever, Diana has a friend. They talk all night and play in the woods, they explore and pull pranks.

Then things start to get worse. Mona gets Diana into trouble. Big trouble. The monsters behind the protected gate are released and it’s up to Diana to save her home.

Focusing on the idea of belonging, and discovering when a friendship goes bad, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, was an incredibly wonderful read. Fans of The Okay Witch and The Witch Boy will love it!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Mooncakes

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Mooncakes, Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker
October 22, 2019

Y’all. I’ve been following the artist, Wendy Xu, on Twitter for ages. Then I saw her promote Mooncakes and I was THROUGH THE ROOF.

Queer, beautifully written and drawn, and such a cute story! This one is entering the Hall of Favorites for sure.

It’s got magical elements, a nonbinary character, and FOOD. What’s not to love?

Sure, the ending felt a little rushed, but graphic novels tend to read quick anyway so I wasn’t too bothered by it. Regardless, whatever Wendy and Suzanne have planned next, count me in.

My Rating: ★★★★☆


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What Bookimal Are You?

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

Book Owl

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

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

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

Book Cat

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

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

The #bookcat fits me purrrrrrfectly.

Book Rabbit

AKA: book bunny, page hopper, rabbit reader

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

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

Book Fox

AKA: the foxy reader

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

Oh for fox sake, I’m a #bookfox

Book Bat

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

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

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

Book Giraffe

AKA: a pain in the neck, a tall order

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

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

Book Raccoon

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

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

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

Book Dog

AKA: a good boi, dog ears

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

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


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

The Abyss Surrounds Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating: ★★★★★

January First Impressions

Happy New Year, Book Nerds! Let’s get down to business. Actually, let’s get down to books. Business is boring. We’ve gone ahead and rounded up some upcoming titles. Let’s see if we’d request them.

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

With Anna-Marie McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

Pub Date 14 Jan 2020

Anyone ever see the musical episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer? If Rosella exits her house singing about a mustard stain I will give this a whole five stars. I’m more curious about the history than I am about Rosella’s story, but I think we’re supposed to be. I’m curious to know if the shoes will make anyone Flashdance.


Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden

From acclaimed author Tonya Bolden comes the story of a teen girl becoming a woman on her own terms against the backdrop of widespread social change in the early 1900s.

Savannah Riddle is lucky. As a daughter of an upper class African American family in Washington D.C., she attends one of the most rigorous public schools in the nation–black or white–and has her pick among the young men in her set. But lately the structure of her society–the fancy parties, the Sunday teas, the pretentious men, and shallow young women–has started to suffocate her.

Then Savannah meets Lloyd, a young West Indian man from the working class who opens Savannah’s eyes to how the other half lives. Inspired to fight for change, Savannah starts attending suffragist lectures and socialist meetings, finding herself drawn more and more to Lloyd’s world.

Set against the backdrop of the press for women’s rights, the Red Summer, and anarchist bombings, Saving Savannah is the story of a girl and the risks she must take to be the change in a world on the brink of dramatic transformation.

Pub Date 14 Jan 2020

The setting will be integral to whether or not this is a good book. Savannah sounds spoiled and unlikable and I haven’t even met her. I’m put off by another book about a rich kid learning how the other half lives. It’s very “Royalty leaves palace for first time ever. Discovers kingdom sucks for everyone else.”


Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard by Echo Brown

“Just brilliant.”—Kirkus Reviews

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age story for fans of Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together and Ibi Zoboi’s American Street.

Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor.

Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Pub Date 14 Jan 2020

Echo Brown sat down at a computer and was like “You want Black girl magic? I’ll give you Black girl magic.” Black Girl Unlimited sounds like an amazingly emotional read and I’m just gonna add it to my TBR now.

Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers

A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.

Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.

All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!

Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.

Pub Date 21 Jan 2020

Says it’s a Cinderella retelling… reads more like a Star Wars ripoff? Every princess flees arranged marriages these days. Anywho, princess has snarky pilot on stolen spaceship and rebel conspiracy. All I see are space buns and wookies.

The cover is pretty though.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

“A witty rom-com reinvention … with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest

“An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Pub Date 21 Jan 2020

I hate contemporary. I want to read this. It sounds adorable, relevant, and hilarious.


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The Night Country

The highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, New York Times bestselling debut The Hazel Wood!

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…

The Night Country – Melissa Albert
January 7th, 2020

I wasn’t a fan of The Hazel Wood. In fact, I DNFed it pretty quickly. But I was a little deeper invested in the events of book two.

After a quick internet dive to get a full synopsis of the first book, I put on my headphones and began listening to The Night Country.

While I was a little confused at first, even with the found information, Melissa Albert did a wonderful job reminding readers what happened in the previous installment, an issue I often find in book series.

I made it through book two but didn’t find much stayed with me. Alice’s characterization felt inconsistent. Does she like Finch? Is he just a friend? Is she mad at him? Does she understand his actions? Even Alice doesn’t know.

I flipped back and forth about my rating. I didn’t hate it, the writing flowed smoothly, but I also didn’t love it. Somewhere in the middle I experienced a story.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐

Buy THE NIGHT COUNTRY on Libro.fm and support local bookstores and get more books for Booked All Night.

Blood Heir

This hot debut, perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and An Ember in the Ashes, is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

Blood Heir, Amelie Wen Zhao
November 19, 2019

We begin as Ana is trolling a prison looking for a specific prisoner to help her clear her name. Desperate to keep her Affinity (magic) hidden from the guards, Ana spends a lot of time telling us she’s trying to keep it under control.

There is, perhaps, too much backward information at the beginning of Blood Heir. Her father is dead but we didn’t see him die, she’s on the run because people think she did it, but we’re not sure why, she somehow knows this prisoner will help her, but we don’t know who he is.

I was certainly intrigued by the action of the opening chase scene but it wasn’t enough to keep me going with all my questions.

The other reason I put it down was the way the writing flipped. Some parts were very well written. They felt perfect for a YA audience. But other parts felt overly informative and talked down to the reader. Basically, I don’t need a description for a sword so much as I do for the magic system.

I ended up not finishing.

My Rating: DNF

Upcoming January Titles

New year–new books! Who else is excited for a whole new year of fresh books? My New Year’s resolution is to read all of these!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war. 

Pub Date: January 7th, 2020

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.

Pub Date: January 7th, 2020

One of Us is Next by Karen McManus

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

Pub Date: January 7th, 2020

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

Pub Date: January 14th, 2020

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

Pub Date: January 21st, 2020

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