The Uncrossing – Review

Greetings all!

I hope everyone is enjoy this beautiful month. Or, surviving at least. This might end up being my last blog post if Net Neutrality gets repealed tomorrow. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. (Side note: I know this isn’t book-related but call your reps. Please. This is ridiculously important.)

Anyway. Onto my review.

So I really enjoyed reading The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake. I originally decided to read this as a comparison text for the Rapunzel tale type & my paper in my fairy tales and sexuality class. (It wasn’t as cool as it sounds but it was pretty cool.) I’m glad I chose this book to read.

A brief summary from Amazon:

“Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can’t break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn’t be falling for.

Jeremy’s been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something’s missing. Jeremy’s family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it’s tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can’t uncross. If true love’s kiss fails, what’s left for him and Jeremy?”

I thought the premise of the novel extremely intriguing. Male Rapunzel? Curses? Two lovable characters trying to make it work against the odds??? Give me ALL of this please. In spades.

I’m a sucker for this stuff, okay? I will not be ashamed.

The characters really made the story worth reading. This setting was good, the dialogue was decent, but the characters! They made the novel. Jeremy, in particular, was relatable and loving. He was layered in a way characters in retellings can sometimes . . . not be. He wasn’t always likable, and I really enjoyed that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the guy. I related a lot to his emotions and his reactions. But authors can shy away from making their main characters truly unlikable in key moments.

I did have a couple of things I that disappointed me in the novel. First, I would’ve LOVED more from Luke’s sister, Camille. Camille was badass. She wasn’t a main character, so it makes sense that she wasn’t the focus. Still, I think we could’ve benefited a little bit more from more Camille. Second, there was quite a bit of ambiguity in places. Some moments weren’t explained very well, and there were certain world-building elements that I felt could’ve been laid out better.

Overall though, I had very few issues with the novel. I certainly enjoyed it quite a bit, and will no doubt end up re-reading it in the future. It was a really good read. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I’d definitely recommend this one!

I’m off to read some more books. My goal to is to read another ten books before the year is over. Good thing I’m on winter break. Wish me luck!

Kailey

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Top 10 Books of 2017 (So Far)

Hello all!

Now that the year is winding down and NaNoWriMo is complete (for me at least), I thought I’d post an update to my reading life.

Update: it’s been pretty quiet. I didn’t get to read too much this year, but what I have read I’ve enjoyed for the most part. So for everyone who is looking for a good book since November is ending or something to grab during the holidays (books make great gifts y’all!) I thought I’d provide a few of my favorites for the year so far.

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and go do it right this very second. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in my life. It cracked the top five, which is not actually easy to do. But there is a reason Angie Thomas is the Queen of YA. Do yourself a favor and read her book.

2. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody Okay I dedicated multiple posts to my obsessive love of this book. If you didn’t expect to see it on this list you haven’t been paying attention very well.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli This book has all the good things. I made me smile, laugh, and want to hug everyone SO MANY TIMES! I cannot express my love for this novel enough. If you loved Simon you’ll more than love Molly. (Which, if you didn’t love Simon, I’m not sure we can be friends)(Okay, we can be friends, but you have to re-read Simon VS and gush about it with me.)

4. Geekerella by Ashley Poston I actually didn’t really know about this book until recently. I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, and saw it when I was shopping in B&N. I read the description and my inner fangirl went *squeeeeeeee* (no I really made that noise in the middle of Barnes & Noble). I didn’t buy it though until Thanksgiving night. I sat with my Kindle This was my surgery recovery read, and it did not disappoint. Cute and smart writing left me ready for more from these characters. No idea if there’s a sequel coming or not (the ending was wrapped up nicely) but I know I’ll be reaching for this one again in the future.

5. the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace Something most people don’t realize about me is that, in addition to YA & NA, I also write poetry. This is . . . fairly recent. I started working in the world of poetry my sophomore year of college (I graduate in May) and I’ve had the same professor voluntarily ever since. She made me go from hating poetry (and talking very loudly about it) to loving it and writing it. I owe this find to one of my best friends. She’d been looking for this for a while and picked this book up in a Target in Columbus, Ohio (we are not from Columbus just so you know)(we’re not even from Ohio we just spend a lot of time there for some reason). She opened Princess to a random page and the poem printed there hit home. I did the same to the only other copy on the shelf and BOOM same thing happened to me. Naturally we both bought it.

6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas I know there’s quite a bit out there about how the queer rep in SJM’s books is not the best. I agree. I love her books, and her writing, but this is something that needs to be addressed. However, aside from that point, I loved ACOWAR. I never really got around to posting a review for it, but I thought it was a great ending to the trilogy, and was more than happy to spend the extra time in the world SJM has created. If you haven’t read ACOTAR or ACOMAF yet, you need to read them first for sure. But if you have the time and you love a good YA fantasy, this is a great novel.

7. Windwitch by Susan Dennard WHO HERE REMEMBERS MY FANGIRLING OVER THIS BOOK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR? I think I scared away any readers after that. My opinions about this book are positive and happy even though there is so much angst (in the best way). It’s been a while since I’ve talked about it, but it’s one of my favorites of the year for sure. Would recommend 110%.

8. Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron Listen to me. LISTEN TO ME! This book. Is so good. Bisexual rep. Asexual rep. Intersex rep. Different settings. Vivid characters. Flowing plot lines. Familial ties. The importance of consent. A group of people who shouldn’t be able to survive in this harsh environment is going to do their damn best to do it. This book is one of the best I’ve read this year for sure. (Also the sequel comes out soon so if you’re looking for multiple holiday gifts here you go!)

9. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee Okay it counts if you’re currently reading it right? I’m saying yes. I’m in the middle of it right now, and I wish I currently had more time to devour this book (*shakes fist at final papers* curse you!). So far though it’s fantastic. I’m hoping I’ll get to finish it by the end of the year and reiterate that, times a thousand.

10. One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr Y’all know I have a problem when it comes to fantasy. I guess it’s not really a problem exactly, but more of an all-encompassing love. And I really have a thing for fae. This sequel hit all the marks with me. I adored the first novel, and pretty much the same can be said of the second. Great book, by a great author. If you’re looking for something good this coming holiday season, I would recommend some Melissa Marr.

Now, keep in mind these are my favorites of the books I read this year. I have so many books that have been sitting on my shelf all year, and that stack just keeps piling up. Some books that I bought this year that I did not get to get to, but have, heard are fabulous, and am mad at myself for not getting to them sooner are:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

There are probably so many more amazing books I’m missing. Please feel free to add your favorites of the year so far in the comments! It was not as heavy of a reading year as I had hoped, and a lot of these books are ones I intended to read right away, but just never got the chance to. This has been such a busy semester for me, and I wish I’d had more time to read, but sadly I did not. I’m aiming to remedy that after finals and over winter break.

I hope you like some (or all) of these titles! Again, feel free to comment some of your faves so far this year. I’d love to hear them.

Alright, I’m off for now. Sadly, not to read. Final papers & presentations abound in my apartment, and I must work on mine. Byeeeeeee!

Kailey

PS – the links I included are all to Amazon, but if see if your local indie bookstore has these books!

National Novel Writing Month 2017

Hi. Hello. Salutations my friends. Happy Halloween the 12th.

Yeah, I’m being weirder than usual. Sorry about that.

Today’s post is brought to you by a caffeine headache, my favorite hockey team failing at hockey, and staring at a project I haven’t touched in a year for an hour without typing a single word. These should help explain my scrambling.

Today I want to talk about NaNoWriMo. I did a post about it last year as well, but some things have changed. For starters, I know how hard it is to write a novel in a month now. (Confession: after I hit the 50k word limit last year I put the project away and haven’t touched it since. It’s still only 2/3 of the way done, almost a year later.)

Writing 50k words in 30 days sounds daunting on its own. Once you try it? You realize it’s beyond daunting. It’s horrible. And I’m not talking about the experience. I’m talking about “I actually wrote this? These are words that actually came from my brain and I thought they made sense? I thought this was good???”

My NaNo draft from last year needs a lot of work. And I’m not talking about just being unfinished. NaNoWriMo is tough, and requires a TON of editing after the fact, just like any other first draft.

So, I know what you’re thinking. “This is the part where she tells us she’s not doing it this year. It’s too hard to finish. She can’t do it. That’s what’s changed.”

Well, you would be WRONG.

I announced my NaNo novel two nights ago, and I’m nervous and unsure if I can really manage it this year, but I fully plan on participating. You can read all about the story I plan on writing here. (Also–be my friend! I need more writing buddies!)

Now I’ve probably confused you. “If she’s participating, what’s changed?”

I am SO glad you asked! I have a few things to say, along with some advice to go along with them.

  1. I am actually writing with a full outline this year. Yeah. I don’t recommend being me last year, only using a partial outline and hoping for the best. Really, it’s not smart. If you don’t like outlines, hey more power to you. I’ve been bitten in the butt too many times without one. I now require one before starting to write. But please, if you’re going to outline (and I recommend it) use a good one. Detail it. Have a plan. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you sit down to write your 1,300 words for the day.
  2. I will be working around a full schedule. Unlike last year, when I was mostly working around school, I’ll be doing Actual Adult Things in November (but also school). Between major papers, presenting at a conference, and other important obligations, I’m getting a taste of what a deadline looks like with a busy life. Which, this will hopefully be what my life looks like after college. So, I’m looking forward to working like this. Nervous, but it’s practice for the real world, so looking forward to it.
  3. I’m working in my comfort zone. Last year I tackled a multi-POV contemporary suspense (is that a thing? I’m saying it’s a thing). I’ve worked in dual POV before, but never more than that. My novel last year alternated between SIX points of view. Not to mention I’d never so much as touched a suspense plot before. This year I’m working with one point of view, in a genre I’ve worked with before. I’m always one for pushing the comfort zone and making yourself into a better writer, but when you’re hitting so many words in so little time, sticking to your comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing. If you think you can handle it, then absolutely push your limits. But don’t push so far that you end up leaving the project in a folder for a year, not because you don’t love the idea, but because it’s just so bad and pushing yourself caused that.

Honestly, I love the idea of giving my inner editor time to rest. She is so overworked. Giving her this project off is something I am very much looking forward to doing.

If you want information about National Novel Writing Month go to their website! I hope to see all of you in my writing buddies list very soon.

Enjoy the rest of your Halloween the 12th!

Kailey

PubforPR

Hey all!

This is just a quick post to say that there is an amazing contest going on RIGHT NOW until tomorrow (October 5th) at 10 PM! 

PubforPR is an auction with several book/writing/publishing-related items to bid on. All the money will go to benefit Puerto Rico after the recent hurricane. There are so many things to bid on from ARCs, to critiques, to tuition for writing conferences!

You can access their website HERE to bid. Remember the auction closes tomorrow (October 5th) at 10 PM. BUT if you want to donate after that they have links for places to donate to as well (go here and here). And if, for some reason, there’s nothing you want to bid on or, (like me) you get outbid, by donating you get entered to win a surprise raffle prize. The guidelines for this along with their bidding guidelines are located on the PubforPR website.

Make sure you check this out! Sorry for the late notice and quick post, but this is a great way to raise money for Puerto Rico and I think you’d all love to donate if possible and help out (plus the many prizes are all amazing as well).

Thanks for reading my mini-post and go check this out before it’s over!!

Kailey

Daughter of the Burning City – Review!

Hey all! 

I feel like I always start these posts with “It’s been a while. That’s a theme I’m working on changing.” so I’m not doing that this time. I will tell you that I have some (super secret) plans, but for now you’ll have to accept this review as a start.

I have a few life things first I’d like to share with everyone. So I started my senior year of college(!) about a month ago. I’m doing some stuff to prepare for the final things I have to get done this semester and next. Working on some grad school applications. Prepping a paper to present at a conference in November. All the fun stuff, you know?

I haven’t been able to write much because of all this. Or read much, sadly. BUT two nights ago I FINALLY finished DOTBC and I’m so ready to tell you guys all about it!

Let’s do this.

From Amazon:

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires 

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show. 

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered. 

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.”

Back in July I made a post with Amanda Foody about why you should read this book. Now that I HAVE read this book, I’m going to tell you guys again: you need to read this book.

Okay, obviously you don’t need to do anything. But I highly recommend you read this book. Here’s some reasons why:

1. The plot will keep you guessing.
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know my absolute adoration for a good plot twist. Don’t give me obvious ones. Don’t do it. I will hate it. I did not hate these.
Sorina’s investigations into the murders of her family is one that has a lot of potential suspects. The way she goes about identifying people, and the lengths she’s willing to go to to protect them are unsurprising. She has a lot of love for her illusions, her family, and there’s not much she isn’t willing to give up to keep them safe. 

2. The characters are my loves. Again, if you’ve read my previous reviews, you know I want my characters layered. I love a good, complex character who doesn’t always fit with what we would consider the norm.
Sorina is The Girl Who Can See Without Eyes. She can be selfish and stubborn, indecisive and frustrating, and will do anything to protect her family, even when “anything” isn’t always the best course of action. So, naturally, I think she’s amazing. She’s also bisexual. But that’s a later point.
Her illusions are all complicated individuals as well. Despite being created by Sorina for her company, they all have distinct personalities and don’t necessarily mesh well with her. They’re vividly described and each have their own lives. When it comes to characters that aren’t exactly “real” this can be difficult to convey, because you’re trying to balance the idea of a “real” person with that of an “imaginary” one. Lines can become blurry and authors might slip into language that clearly shows “these are not real people don’t forget that” (not that all authors do this. Most don’t. But it’s very easy to slip into that language unconsciously). We never really forget that Sorina’s family were created, not born, but we don’t care about that. They appeal to us as people because they are just as lively as the “real” humans are. Sometimes even more so.

I will not say anything about Luca other than he is very special to me, as he reminds me a bit of a close friend of mine. Luca must be protected at all times. Unless you want to slap him for being an ass, which he can be. Then by all means please slap him.

3. It’s set in a traveling circus. The coolest one too. It’s a pretty badass place to grow up and, honestly, I would’ve loved to see more of it. We’re given pretty good descriptions of a few different places in the Gomorrah Festival, but one thing I wish we could’ve gotten some more of was the darker part of the city. I want to be transported there when I read–and for the most part I was–but I would’ve liked just a little more. Still, it’s a setting I loved and I think most readers will adore as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it in the future . . .

4. The diversity is EVERYTHING. We get characters of different racial backgrounds, diversity in appearance and ability, and so much LGBTQIA+ rep my heart was full.

Take Sorina, for example. She’s a Down-Mountainer by birth and was a slave as a child. She’s described as having distinguishing features (no not just her lack of eyes) and isn’t looked down upon by her fellow performers because of it. The festival is full of people from all backgrounds. It’s the Up-Mountainers you’ve got to look out for.

You’ve also got your lovely, lovely LGBTQIA+ rep. Sorina is bisexual. Nicoleta is a lesbian. Luca is, from my reading, demi-sexual and demi-romantic, putting him in the Ace spectrum. Villiam, again from my reading, is aromantic and asexual. Let’s just take a second to appreciate this, okay? Let’s just take one moment to take a deep breath and enjoy this rep.

Did you do it? I did.

5. The overall role of religion. This. Was. Fantastic. I don’t want to get into too much detail here because this is something I think you guys should read for yourselves. But it’s worth mentioning because it plays a HUGE role in the background of the world. Religion and religious fanatics are painted in a way that a lot of us can recognize. It’ll be familiar territory for some, and eye-opening for others. But I think the choice to have it be so prominent in this world Foody has created is ultimately a well-done and slightly twisted (in the best way) one.

So basically what I’m trying to say here is that I really loved this book. I think it was well-written, full of diverse characters, and a fantastic debut. I gave it a 5/5 on Goodreads and I’m fully recommending you guys get this book. From your library, from a bookstore, from a friend, whatever you want! But I really think this is worth the read.

I have free time for the next few days, so I’m off to do a little more reading. Hope this was helpful!

Kailey

Pitch Wars & Currently Reading

Hi!!

I’m still editng. Thought I’d just jump right in and let you all know. I’m still editing. I feel like that’s my life lately. It’s alright, it’s necessary. And it can be fun. Sometimes. And it’s only going to continue in the next few months, if I make it into Pitch Wars.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? It’s almost Pitch Wars time!!

The mentor blog hop went live last week. I may or may not have attacked it as soon as the wishlists went live. (Alright I did.) It’s a great opportunity to get to know exactly what the mentors are looking for, and who is a good match for you.

More on that in a few minutes though. Before we get to that I want to talk about something that’s very important. The book I am currently reading.

Daughter of the Burning City was released today. And yes, I did go to Barnes and Noble and buy it as soon as I could. And yes, I will be starting it in less than an hour. And YES, I am VERY excited.


See? Excited! You should be excited too. Just saying. I’m excited enough for all of us though.

I wrote an entire post on why you should read this book, so I won’t pressure you guys here. But I absolutely feel like you should get it (*cough* it’s available on Amazon and B&N *cough*).

And, unrelated, look how pretty it is!


So pretty. I took this this morning when I found it out in the wild (aka Barnes and Noble). Anyway, I’ll be reviewing this one as soon as I finish it. Be on the look out for that to come soon!

Now, onto Pitch Wars.

If you don’t know, Pitch Wars is a (free) contest where you can submit a finished Middle Grade (MG), Young Adult (YA), New Adult (NA), or Adult (A) manuscript to four mentors of your choosing. These mentors will then go through all of their submissions and choose one person to help with their manuscript for two months. At the end of the two month period, the shiny manuscript goes up for the agent round. Participating agents will then peruse the manuscripts posted, and decide whether or not to request.

The submission window for Pitch Wars opens next Wednesday, August 2nd, at midnight EST. It runs through Sunday August 6th at 10 PM EST. Then the mentors (you can find a list lower in this post) have until August 23rd to pick one person who submitted to them to mentor. I’ve heard there’s an occasional war over potential mentees, but you’ll have to ask the mentors about that one.

(Psssssst there’s an entire askmentors hashtag going over on twitter! They’re really helpful! If you have questions, I’d recommend asking.)

That’s the really basic explanation. I’m bad at making really awesome things sound interesting sometimes. This is one of those times, because this is a really awesome competition. I made a few friends from it last year, but I’ve already made some new ones this year as well. This is an invaluable experience for a writer. There’s so much support and love going around right now. It makes me smile seeing everyone hopeful and banding together. There have been numerous times people have offered me advice, or given me a critique on the Pitch Wars forum, or offered to swap pages with me. And this is true for everyone. It’s a great place to help grow as a writer.

Since I’m terrible at explaining things today (but apparently super gushy), I’ll link you to everything you need to know.

Here is the contest information.

Here is the mentor blog hop.

Here is the mentor lists broken down by category, thanks to my lovely CP Katy (she’s the best you guys, I swear.)

Here and Here are the lists of agents participating.

Here is the forum link (also found above).

Here is a link to donate and get extra mentors (or just donate to be a cool person).

Here is query help.

Here is synopsis help.

And here is the link to Brenda Drake’s twitter. Because she’s amazing for organizing this (with some help)(my suggestion is follow everyone because they’re all super nice and helpful).

Phew. That’s a LOT of links. But they’re all more helpful than I am, so I think you’ll be grateful that I linked everything instead of trying to (badly) explain it all myself.

This year I’ll be entering my New Adult contemporary manuscript. It has romance, a lot of (very subtle)(most of the time) How I Met Your Mother references, and was inspired by one of my favorite bands (they were very excited when I told them). This has been my baby for a year and a half now, and I’ve gotten great responses from my critique partners. I’m so nervous and so excited to send it out my chosen mentors next week.

If you have a finished manuscript (seriously, it has to be finished. And polished. Don’t send in a half-finished one!) I’d totally recommend entering Pitch Wars. (Unless you’re writing NA, in which case *hisses* stay away from my potential mentors.)

(I’m kidding. Like 98% kidding, I swear.)

It really is a lot of fun, even when you’re crazy nervous about who’s getting chosen. This kind of experience is invaluable, and you won’t regret it if you do enter.

Must go back to editing now. I have two chapters to finish before I can start Amanda’s book. And I should probably study for the GRE at some point. I don’t want to think about that though. That’s adult stuff.

Alright, wish me luck! And if you decide to enter Pitch Wars come say hi to me on twitter! We can freak out together during the submission period.

Kailey

Daughter of the Burning City – AKA My Excitement

Hi! Hello! Salutations!

I hope all of you U.S. people had a good (and safe) holiday this week. I didn’t really celebrate beyond glancing out the window at the fireworks. So much work, so little time.

BUT I have a LOT of energy right now. Presumably it’s from the extreme amounts of caffeine I’ve consumed in the past week (editing life, gotta love it). However it is ALSO from how excited I am for Amanda Foody’s debut novel Daughter of the Burning City (which comes out on July 25th)(just an FYI).

Here’s a little bit about the book, from Goodreads:

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

Okay, but how awesome does that sound?

Anyway, in honor of this release, I thought I’d share some of my reasons that I’m excited for this book. Or a, “here’s why you should read DOTBC” post, if you will.

But (special announcement) I am not the only person here to gush about the book today. The wonderful, amazing, and extraordinarily talented Amanda Foody herself has been so kind as to agree to be a part of this post. (everyone be sure to tell her how awesome she is so I look super good and she wants to be my friend)(I’m kidding of course)(except she is awesome. Her twitter is pretty cool).

So, without further ado, here are our reasons.

Amanda’s Five reasons to read Daughter of the Burning City:

1. The spin on the carnival setting. I absolutely adore the Gomorrah Festival, the carnival where Daughter takes place. Not only does it have all your typical carnival attractions, from freak shows to menageries to excellent food, but it’s huge, as big as a city, and it’s known for all things debauchery. Also called the Festival of Burning Desires, you could find just about anything at the Festival…no matter how sinful, no matter how seedy. You just might stumble across a few of these attractions in the book.

2. The heroine. As a lover of YA fantasy, I read a lot about heroines who are totally badass—which I adore. But as a teenager, I’d grown a touch tired with girls who wield bow and arrows and don’t realize they’re pretty until that ball scene halfway through the book. We all love our tropes—that’s why they’re popular! But I set out to write a different sort of character. Sorina is a performer, not a warrior. She’s selfish, haughty, and at times, immature for her age. She longs to be beautiful in a way that, due to her unique facial disfiguration, she never will be, and a lot of her arc is coming to terms with her own acceptance and empowerment. Writing her, she felt like a real person, not a character in a tale, and that really helped pull me into the tragedy of the murder mystery, of a girl who felt so “freak-ish” that she used her powers to create her own family…only for them to be murdered.

So if you’re on the hunt for a girl who rocks her lipstick, who cries, whose bravery is more than rushing into battle, I’d definitely recommend Sorina. I threw my heart into her.
3. The LGBTQIA+ elements. A lot of the characters in Daughter represent the LGBTQIA community. Most notably, the love interest is on the ace spectrum, which plays a large factor into his character and their relationship. Sorina, the protagonist, is bisexual. Because empowerment and beauty and romance are all sort of intertwined at their age, their sexualities and preferences come into play a lot over the course of the story, since they’re both navigating something new, something uncomfortable at times, and something they never thought they’d have. I might not have written any super overtly sexual scenes (I can always save those for my next book), but their relationship, for me, always felt honest, real, and endearing. I like to think the reader will still be smiling and avidly turning pages even with some frank discussions about consent, comfort, and pleasure. 😉

4. Twists. There are some twists throughout the novel. Some you might be able to guess—one I wrote specifically to be guessed. Another one, as far as I’ve been told, no reader has yet to guess. Maybe you’ll be the first?

5. It’s a stand-alone. Ok—I’m a huge fan of fantasy series. I get hooked on characters and worlds and never want to leave them. But writing Daughter has really taught me the beauty of a single work. As a writer, I get to do something different with my ending; I’m trying to leave an impression rather than drop a cliff-hanger. As a reader, I love how a stand-alone manages to tell one, intimate story without needing to develop into a sweeping, multi-arc narrative. Stories like UPROOTED, THE SCORPIO RACES, THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and THE SECRET HISTORY all got me loving the art of the stand-alone. Plus, it’s good for our future TBR piles! (My next book is one of those sweeping fantasy series, and I’m currently plotting and writing book 2, so this perk seems extra perky to me at the moment.)

Kailey’s five reasons you should read DOTBC:

1. LGBTQIA+ Rep. Okay, so this was already brought up. But I’m really excited for it. As you might remember from my semi-recent post, I’ve been on the search for books with queer rep that isn’t necessarily gay or lesbian. I like seeing diversity in the books I read. DOTBC? Bisexual MC. AKA something I’ve been hunting for a lot lately. I’m kinda (ahem: extremely) excited for Sorina.

2. Different beauty. Again, already mentioned (sort of) above. Sorina has facial disfiguration that causes difficulties in her life. She has no eyes. She’s never going to be traditionally beautiful. I think it’s very important for girls reading YA to know that not every single girl is going to be the drop-dead gorgeous model often described as the heroine. The genre is moving towards more realistic depictions, but it’s still got a long way to go. Sorina is a good step in the right direction.

3. The world. If you’ve read more than this post, you know my love of YA fantasy. I’ve read more than my fair share of this genre, but I can’t think of a single one that takes place in a carnival. It’ll be worth the read just to see another new world and another new setting.

4. The novel aesthetics. Okay so this isn’t technically a reason but I’m making it one. Here are a few examples.

Convinced yet?

5. It’s a debut. Supporting an author this early in their career is not only great for them, but it’s good for you too. You’re helping them gain an audience every time you recommend their book. You’re showing them that someone out there is reading their work, reading something they’ve worked a long, long time on. But not only that, you’re getting the chance to watch them grow as a writer. When you find an author from their debut, and can read their subsequent books, you get to watch as their works explode into creations you could never have imagined getting better, but somehow they do. They always do. Amanda’s next novel comes out in April of 2018. And while Daughter is set in an entirely separate world from it, you’ll still get to see how much her writing has improved since then. And an improvement from Already Seriously Talented™ is going to be something we all want to read.

Okay, so those are our reasons. Hopefully we’ve convinced you. If we haven’t, sad face. If we have, here is where you can purchase the novel on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re as awesome as I know you all are, you can follow Amanda on twitter (feel free to follow me as well)(we can chat about books and things).

Hope you guys are having a good night. I’m off to get some more editing done for Camp NaNo. It’s never-ending, I swear. Fingers crossed that it’ll be finished come Pitch Wars.

Oh, speaking of Pitch Wars, here is a link for information on it. And here is my post about it from last year. It probably isn’t too much help (it was my first year participating and I mixed up some of the details) but I’ll make a new post once the blog hop goes live later this month.

Must edit. Wish me luck.

Kailey