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

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Change of Plans

Remember a few months ago when I was like “I want to read more diverse books. I’ll get you guys a list”? Yeah, about that . . .

I know originally I said I’d be providing a list of books with neurodivergent main characters. I still am (sort of), but I’ve decided to add in a few more things to keep it interesting. So I’m actually going to have MULTIPLE LISTS!! (cue the confetti)

First up we’ve got our list of neurodivergent MCs:

Next I thought I’d provide you with a few books with some lovely trans characters:

  • Transformed: San Francisco by Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey (amazon) (goodreads)

Thirdly we have our beautiful aces:

And finally allow me to present you with a list of books that have gorgeous bisexuals:

Thanks so much to my friend Caitlin for helping me compile these lists! You should all go talk to her. She’s cool I promise.

Yeah, okay, I know. This list is pretty pathetic. Do you want to know why? Because if I sat here and typed up every book I found, none of us would be going anywhere for a long, long while.

Here’s the deal: I found a lot of information. When I started researching, I was pretty overwhelmed. These books are definitely out there you guys. You just have to look for them.

I was so excited to share these titles with you. I actually started writing this post almost two months ago. At the time I had a more optimistic idea about it. And then I stopped and thought for a minute. There was no way I could read all of these books before posting this. It would take so much time, and I did want to get this list here for you. And the idea of posting a list of books I (or in this case someone I trust the opinion of) haven’t read? To me that is a terrible idea. They could be offensive or badly written or not representative in a good way. So, I went with listing a few books that Caitlin has read (along with a couple I have) because I trust her opinion on this and know she would never lead you guys astray.

But don’t think I’m just going to leave you guys at that. Nope, I found exactly what I needed in a Twitter thread. So, without any more babbling from yours truly, here is a list of trans #ownvoices authors, as recommended by Ana Mardoll on Twitter.

Here is a link to the neurodivergent #ownvoices tag on Twitter.

Here is a link to the bisexual #ownvoices tag on Twitter.

Here is a link to the asexual #ownvoices tag on Twitter.

I’m also going to plug Tristina Wright here because I’m so excited for her book 27 Hours it’s crazy. It’s got plenty of representation too (see you thought it didn’t fit in this post but it does)(I sometimes get stuff right).

If you guys want to do more research on this, I recommend just typing that into your searchbar to start. Yeah, you’re probably going to run into problems sooner rather than later, but it’s a place to start. And I would like to really, really stress the importance of supporting #ownvoices creators. Seriously. This is so important. I can’t even begin to explain how much it matters that you support your #ownvoices creators.

(Have you noticed I keep using the hashtag? Have you taken the hint and plugged it into your favorite social media yet? You should. Just saying.)

I know this isn’t what I promised. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what I thought this post would be. But I hope you explore the titles here and find some of your own that you love.

Well, I have editing to get back to. Bye!

Kailey

 

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

Happy new year!! A couple of days late, but the thought is still there. I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year. Since it’s only been two days, I don’t have much to say as far updates. I’ve gotten a little farther in outlining one of my stories? That’s about it. So, let’s get down to talking about books!

Alright so the title is a little bit misleading. Maybe these aren’t the “most” anticpated books of 2017. And I guess this isn’t an “official” list. But for my first post of the new year, I thought I’d share a few books that I’m looking forward to being released this year. So, without further ado, here’s my top ten books as of today that I’m looking forward to coming out this year:

  1. Windwitch by Susan Dennard. The sequel to Truthwitch, one of my top five favorite books of all time (I’m not exaggerating)(when I read this I devoured it)(I told the author and she gave me a hug). I’m looking forward to the continued adventures of Safi and Iseult, plus all of the other beloved characters that sucked me into their world last summer. I know how hard the author worked on this (all authors work hard but if you follow her you’ll know she worked herself into creative exhaustion for this novel). I can’t wait to see how that pays off. Take me back to the world of the Witchlands! Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: January 10th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  2. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. Carnivals, and illusions, and murder, oh my! This debut author caught my eye back when I was applying to Pitch Wars. She has woven a tale of murder and romance all set in a travelling circus that has me drooling in anticipation. And her novel aesthetics? Swoon. Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: July 25th. Putchase: Amazon B&N
  3. Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta. Yet another author I found through Pitch Wars. While working on revising I got to talk to Demitria a bit and she was kind enough to critique my query letter. The description of this particular book grabbed my attention when I was researching her and I’m excited and intrigued to see if it lives up to my expectations (here’s a hint: it will). A bit of mystery? That takes place in Scotland? Sign me up! Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: March 14th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  4. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright. LGBTQIA+ main characters? Deaf main character? Themes of friendship and romance and a story that is positively bursting with conflict? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes PLEASE!! This is a story I stumbled upon accidentally but that I quickly became excited to read. One of my goals for the year was to read more diverse books, and with these characters, this book may just top that list. Genre: YA Sci-Fi. Release Date: October 3rd. Purchase: Amazon
  5. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. If you’re like me, you love love love all things Shadowhunters (well, maybe not the tv show as much)(I’ve only seen a few episodes though. Still going to give it a chance). The Shadowhunters world is one of my favorites. Cassandra Clare is my favorite author. This next installment in the Dark Artifices series is highly anticipated, not just by me, but by all of those who love the characters and the stories, new and old. The continued conflict with the faeries and forbidden romance will make for another late night reading adventure that I cannot wait for. Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal Fantasy. Release Date: May 23rd. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  6. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen. So, Sarah Dessen is the reason I learned to love reading. She’s the reason I decided I want to be a writer. I’ve read everything she’s ever written, and I actually screamed aloud when she announced this book. The classic romance and lessons in learning to love and grow as people call to me with her books. I may or may not have a countdown set for it. If you like teenage romance and lessons in growing up, pick this up. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: June 6th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  7. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas. If you know me at all, you know that SJM is one of my biggest writing influences. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I want to be her when I grow up (no 21 is not grown up shhhh). Her work ethic and writing style leaves me in awe. The worlds she creates and the characters she imagines are close to my heart. I have a particular (very deep) love for Feyre and her sisters (both blood and not blood)(Amren and Mor are killer don’t you dare fight me on this), and I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for ACOWAR since last year when A Court of Mist and Fury came out. (I’m serious. I bought ACOMAF the day it came out and finished it that night. Then I turned to my mom and said I want the next book). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this comes out the day finals finish at my school (okay maybe it is but shh don’t ruin this for me). Reward for studying maybe? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: May 2nd. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  8. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. Remember that book from earlier with the queer characters? Remember my excitement? You don’t? WELL GUESS WHAT THIS BOOK HAS LGBTQIA+ REPRESENTATION TOO! I AM VERY EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK TOO! (How about now? Remember that energy yet? Thought so.) But, in addition to this beautiful thing called representation, it deals with very serious issues such as tragic death and mental illness. Mental illness especially is something I think needs more visibility in YA. It’s an issue close to my own heart and I want to see how it’s laid out here. Plus, I am a sucker for a love story gone wrong. I found this book, once again, by accident. Accidents might just be getting me some great new books this year. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: January 17th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  9. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. I have a minor (*cough* major *cough*) love for superhero movies (let me be clear here: I have never read a comic book. And I don’t care if I ever do. To me it’s all about the movies and novels). And I have a really major love for female superheros. You’ve gotta love women in positions of power being unashamedly badass. Plus, this novel holds basis in greek mythology which makes me go heart eyes (yes I know I’m a geek. Sue me). *Grabby hands* Can I buy it yet? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 29th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  10. One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr. Let me just say something about this author. She knows how to write faeries. Her Wicked Lovely series was a favorite of mine a while back, and I still pick up the first book sometimes. If you want a faerie book go buy hers. I’m serious. Go buy her books, read her books, and fall in love with her books. It’s that simple. Seven Black Diamonds roped me into her world of faeries and spellbinding love stories. I am more than a little excited to attack the sequel and get back into the adventures of these complex and addicting characters. Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: February 28th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Wow, those descriptions got long. I hope they tempted you to read some of these books though!

Keep in mind, these books were in no particular order (except for Windwitch)(because, I mean, come on. Truthwitch is in my overall top five)(Windwitch is clearly my number one anticipated). Also, all release dates are according to Goodreads, so I’m sorry if they are off. And, yes, there is a pattern of genres I like. Hint: it rhymes with Rung Madult Schmantasy. So there isn’t too much of a range of genres here, and I will be the first one to admit I need to broaden my reading horizons a bit. I’m working on it.

The reason I made sure to put that this is a list at the moment is because I’m always looking for new books. And there is always a good chance I might find a book I want to read more than one of these that comes out this year. There are numerous books being released this year and I can’t be aware of all of them right this moment. I’m looking forward to discovering them. Let me know some of your most anticipated releases below! Or talk to me on twitter! I’m always down to talk books.

Okay, I must get back to writing. I haven’t hit today’s word count yet, and I don’t want to develop bad habits so soon. Go read a book! Or buy one! Or write one! Just, go do something with books, okay?

Kailey