Rule – Review

Hey all!

Wow I’m tired. Fall came with a vengeance–not in weather (is it ridiculously hot where you live too? No? Just me?) but in my body for sure. As in, I got sick, right on schedule. I thought “hey I’m not in school so it must be better this year” and that was my first mistake. September arrives? Sickness piling on right on time. On the plus side, it gave me a lot of time to read, having to be off work a couple days to get better. Hence, why I’m able to get this release day review to you all.

So. Rule. Let’s do this thing, yeah?

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From the Barnes & Noble website:

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos. Or rather, three unexpected options…

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her people. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But she could be hanged for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny…to rule. 

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this heart-stopping fantasy debut.

Fun fact: I actually almost sold a copy today when I was at work. I had this lady all set and ready to buy but she ended up going with Six of Crows instead. Which, if you’re going to get put back for another fantasy book, that one is a good one to lose to. But, anyway, review.

I’ll be honest here, I didn’t expect much of this one. I got the advanced from work and started it while I was home sick last week. Before reading I was pretty meh about the whole thing. The summary sounded a little too “Three Dark Crowns rip off” to me. But I was sick and wanted to try and see if I could read it by release day (I didn’t have much hope for that) so I picked it up.

Y’all. I was wrong.

Allow me to explain: I spent the majority of the time I read this book so engrossed that I am told I had entire conversations with people I do not remember. My family swears this is a thing that happened. This is not the first time that’s held true, but it only ever happens when I’m really into a book.

Were there a few moments where it felt a little TDC-esque . . . well, sure. They share a similar premise after all. But it didn’t feel like following along on the heels of that series, if that makes sense. It’s for sure its own story.

Now that I’ve explained how I horribly misjudged this book initially, let us move on to the review itself, shall we?

First of all the characters were great. I loved and hated each and every one of them in turn. Except Akeylah. I could never hate Akeylah. If you hate Akeylah we can’t be friends anymore. Or, okay, we can, but you have to explain in detail why you make bad life choices.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Characters.

So the characters are developed well. I’d say there’s a tendency to fall a little bit into stereotypes at times but I don’t think it’s too bad. They’re overall pretty good, but there are moments when I feel like certain parts of their story lines all drop off without warning. I assume those loose threads will be picked up in book two, but parts did feel somewhat abrupt. The general development was smooth, though, and fed into a stronger overall story line.

If I had one real complaint about this book it’s the fact that everything two of the sisters did before the book began led up to and partly necessitated the calling up of all three girls to compete to become queen. Two of the sisters. The third has a secret and she definitely did something Big and Bad like the other two, but if you take the other girls’ backstories out, you have a totally different book. You don’t even really have a book. If you take out the third’s you not only still have a book you have a book mostly unchanged as far as plot goes. It’s just . . . disappointing. The rest of the story was really good, and I liked it a lot. But I could not get this point out of my head. I ended up knocking an entire star off of my review because of it (and some smaller, unimportant reasons).

Other than this mishap, though, I think the story knocked it out of the park. Especially the ending. Oh man, that ending. I don’t know what you guys are going to do when you get to that ending. No spoilers here, but I will say this: there are cliffhangers and then there are cliffhangers. Guess which one Rule is?

Yeah I don’t have too much to say beyond this. The setting was nicely developed, though I wish we’d seen a teeny bit more of it. The characters were well-rounded and fleshed out well. There were a few moments I wished would’ve been expanded on or left alone entirely but they weren’t often enough to deter reading. I think the best part of the book was the importance placed on family and the strength familial bonds can have and grow into. It’s by no means a finished story (did I mention the cliffhanger?) but it’s a great one. If you like fantasy stories and sisters and mystery and blackmail, this is the story for you.

I gave Rule 4/5 stars on Goodreads. I stand by that. I think it was a solid book. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. It could be your next favorite. Or not. But I would say pick it up for yourself, at the library or your local indie or B&N or wherever you buy books. It’s worth a read, I think.

Alright, that’s all from me. I’m off to dive back into Elizabeth Frankenstein. God I love Kiersten White. That’s another one I’ll have a review for soon. First I’ve gotta finish the book, though. Which I’m gonna work on now. Okay. Bye!

Kailey

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Sadie – Review

Hello friends, how are we this lovely Labor Day weekend? I’m doing pretty well. I have, as you’ve guessed, finally finished Sadie.

You guys. This book is so good. This book is so damn good.

This is going to be a fairly short review because spoilers but I’m going to do my best to explain my reasoning for you all right now. So, let’s just dive right in, shall we?

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From the Barnes & Noble website:

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial—like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

First let’s get into the format of the novel. Sadie’s story is told through two differing points of view: her own and that of West McCray. Sadie’s chapters are written in the traditional novel format. However, when we follow West as he follows Sadie’s journey, his version is seen through podcast transcripts. I thought this was a bit different style–or at least one that you don’t see too often. This is kind of a random comparison (especially considering the content is nothing alike) but I was remind of Meg Cabot’s “Boy” books. Now, you may have guessed, I really liked those books. And I really like Sadie.

I think the way the novel is set up helps to show the reader something important, something we might forget sometimes: we only know what we can piece together. We make assumptions, form opinions and draw conclusions, based on the information we’re given. But that information isn’t always correct. A lot of what we see following both points of view shows us that appearances can be misleading, and we might never know the full story. It can be incredibly frustrating, I won’t lie. There are moments where West is following leads, or Sadie is doing something, and you just want to tell them to stop right now because the other person knows it’s bad. They have the benefit of being closer, or farther from the situation. But that’s a major part of what makes this story so good.

So, I think we can all tell I feel the format is a huge part of what makes this novel so successful.

Also, we have the story itself. Sadie is chasing down answers regarding her sister’s death. She has a lot of questions and a lot of leads–and so does West when he starts following her trail. The entire novel is filled to the brim with suspense and twisting plot points. How it came together . . . no I didn’t see a lot of that coming. And the ending? Oh my god.

I was screaming at the book. I actually closed the book, looked at the cover, and yelled at it for doing that to me. I can tell you right now that you’re not prepared for it. You’re not prepared for any of this. The way Courtney Summers wrote the ending felt deliberate to me. Maybe that’s obvious to everyone who has already read it, but in regards to the subject matter, the way this ending is done . . . yeah. I think it’s authentic to how a lot of stories like this–real ones–end up. And that’s emotionally taxing, but there’s also a great deal of satisfaction knowing that it’s not written with rose-colored glasses on.

Yes, this story is dark as hell. I do need to warn you this book is heavy. It will be hard for a lot of people, but that’s not a reason not to read it. I think it’s more of a reason to read it honestly. If we don’t read the painful books we will never fully understand that pain. We will never fully understand that pain anyway, unless we’ve experienced it.

I feel the need to warn you that if you find books involving child abuse triggering please take steps to make sure you will be alright before reading. Your mental health always comes first. And, while there is no explicit abuse on the page, it is mentioned and a major theme, so please keep this in mind.

Other than just general gushing about the beautifully way this novel is written (and I could do this all damn day but I won’t because it would be too spoiler-y) I don’t have much to say beyond I really liked this book. Like, I really liked this book. The characters are complicated, messy, and sometimes downright unlikable. Oftentimes downright unlikable.

And they’re real. The story is honest. It’s painful and horrifying and emotional and I love it so, so much. If you can I would recommend reading it when it comes out on Tuesday (9/4). You can buy it at Barnes & Noble or IndieBound through those links, or pick it up at your local library. If your library doesn’t have a copy I recommend asking them to order one. I’m going to ask mine next time I get out there.

It should come as no surprise to any single person reading this that I gave Sadie 5/5 stars on Goodreads. I mean, come on, have you read a word of this review? Yeah, that’s what I thought. But, if you’ve read it as well, or when you do, come talk to me (in the comments or on Twitter) about what you thought! I’m excited to hear about your opinions.

Okay I’m finishing up making a bookmark for a friend, so I’m gonna go do that. Go read some books! (Please.)

Kailey

September Releases

Happy fall! I suck at life! Or blogging anyway.

What’s up world? How are we today? Are we so excited September is finally here? If the answer to that question is not a resounding “YES” then we can’t be friends anymore. This is my birth month and I am super excited damn it.

So, August was an eventful month for me. I went through a lot of FUN (not even close to fun) personal issues during the month that I will actually be talking about sooner rather than later hopefully in a post. Don’t worry they have to do with writing. I’m not going to go off on any random as hell tangents on you. No more than usual anyway.

In addition to Stressful Things happening almost all last month, some fun ones did as well. I finally finished my rewrite on my WIP and entered in into Pitch Wars. I barely made it. The submission window closed an hour after I turned everything in. Haha you wanna talk about stressful . . .

I also discovered that sometimes I can write with music. Everyone in the world does it besides me, so I thought I’d try it out. Turns out I can do it, but only for fight scenes and it has to be Super Intense Stuff. If anyone has a really good playlist they use for fight scenes please send it my way! I can’t do fluffy scenes with music, though. Not that there are many fluffy scenes in my angry, murder-y book, but I do have other projects . . . those are a secret though. And I’m not touching them for a while. Did I mention I barely finished my rewrite in time to submit to Pitch Wars? Yeah. I’m taking a little writing break for a while. Just for a couple weeks while I catch up on reading and reviewing.

WHICH REMINDS ME I have a few reviews heading your way this month, of books you’re most likely going to want to pick up. I’m in the middle of a few right now (namely Sadie, but I’ll squeal about that in it’s own post) and guys. Books are great. These books are so great. So many amazing books coming out this month.

So I suppose I should tell you what the amazing books coming out this month are, huh? Strap in and get comfy because you’re gonna be here for a little while.

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LET’S GET STARTED!!

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White Taken in by the Frankensteins at a young age in order to befriend young Victor, Elizabeth has found herself inseparable from him ever since. But as she gets older and it gets harder and harder to keep Victor’s temper in check, she has to become more and more calculating. Keeping Victor happy is the goal. Her life just might depend on it. YA historical horror. Release Date: September 25th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Sadie by Courtney Summers When her sister dies, Sadie disappears. She’s had a hard enough life as it is, so the one person she cares about leaving her hits her hard. No one knows the truth about what happened except for her, or so everyone thinks. When her disappearance is picked up by popular radio host West McCray the world starts to follow along with her story. But will they get the answers they need, and find Sadie, before it’s too late? YA contemporary. Release Date: September 4th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Rule by Ellen Goodlett The king is dying and the kingdom only has three options to choose from before they descend into anarchy. Or rather, three people. There’s Zafi, who can never let the world know how far she has gone to protect her band of Travelers. Akeylah, who is so desperate to escape her abusive father she makes a dangerous decision. And Ren, who has been trying to claw her way out of the servant’s chambers her entire life. All share one secret: they are the king’s illegitimate daughters. And one is destined to rule. YA fantasy. Release Date: September 11th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney Trained to battle the Nightmares in the dream-realm known as Wonderland, Alice refuses to let them come so close to killing her again. Yet life isn’t as simple as waking up to escape. The Nightmares are starting to encroach on her real-world life, and keeping them away is becoming a full-time job. When her mentor is poisoned Alice has to go deeper than ever before into Wonderland to find an antidote. But if she’s not careful she might lose more than she bargained for. YA fantasy. Release Date: September 25th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco In the third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Audrey Rose and her partner Thomas Cresswell travel to New York to solve another murder mystery. Along the way across the Atlantic they are charmed by the entertaining passengers on their ocean liner. It’s all fun and games until wealthy women begin to turn up missing. Now Audrey and Thomas have to piece together what’s going on before anyone else can end up dead. But when all signs point to the next victim being someone she loves, can Audrey find the killer in time? YA historical mystery. Release Date: September 18th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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to make monsters out of girls by Amanda Lovelace A moving and highly personal exploration of how an abusive relationship leaves a mark on you. I cannot even do this one justice with a description. The first in an illustrated duology that will question how one heals, or if one even does, from such experiences. Highly recommend checking out the other blurbs and Goodreads reviews on this one for further explanation. Release Date: September 18th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes Zane just wants to explore the volcano near his home with his dog, Rosie. According to the new girl though, that’s not going to happen. Zane is destined to free a Maya god from the relic he’s imprisoned in, unless he can find and remove it first. But when he tries he discovers that he’s at the center of an all-out war between the gods. And one of those gods is his father. To survive he must become the Storm Runner. But that’s a lot of pressure to put on a boy who needs to walk with a cane. MG fantasy. Release Date: September 18th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake As this is the third book in the series I will give no summary because spoilers. BUT I will say this series is deliciously dark and incredibly fun to read. I love Kendare’s work and recommend these books to anyone who likes fantasy and badass girls making the world bow to them. It’s truly one to devour. YA fantasy. Release Date: September 4th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Pride by Ibi Zoboi Zuri Benitez is proud of her neighborhood and her Afro-Latino heritage. But pride isn’t going to be enough to safe her home from gentrification. When the Darcy family movies in down the street Zuri wants nothing more than to avoid them. Except her sister is falling for their older son. Which means she has to deal with the irritating and arrogant Darius. Except, maybe he’s not so irritating. But when everyone in her life wants something different from her, it starts to tear her apart. Zuri needs to figure out where she belongs, and fast. YA contemporary. Release Date: September 18th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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For A Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig Jetta’s family is one of the most acclaimed shadow players across the land. Their talent is so great it lands them a spot on a ship to Aquitan. The secret? Jetta sees recently-departed spirits, binding them to her puppets. But this magic is forbidden since the colonizers took over her land. Now she seeks the promise of a healing spring in the Mad King’s territory in Aquitan, as seeing spirits isn’t the only problem she has. But in a land poised for rebellion promises of safety aren’t all they seem to be. YA fantasy. Release Date: September 25th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer Nita isn’t the person who kills the supernatural beings to sell them online. That’s her mom’s job. But when she refuses to help dissect a live creature her mother brings home, Nita ends up being sold in it’s place. Now she has to work to find her way out of her cell, and make sure she never ends up back in this place again. YA fantasy/paranormal. Release Date: September 4th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman Rumi Seto doesn’t have all of the answers, and that bothers her a lot. But one thing she does know is that she wants to keep making music with her younger sister, Lea. But when Lea dies unexpectedly and her mother sends her away to live with an aunt in Hawaii, Rumi is left to deal with her grief alone. With some help from the boys next door she might be able to figure out how survive in a world where her sister no longer exists. She may even make her way back to the music she left behind. YA contemporary. Release Date: September 11th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Wildcard by Marie Lu Sequel to Warcross. No summary posted on my end because, again, spoilers. BUT I have heard insanely good things about the first book and those who’ve had the opportunity to read and advanced copy of Wildcard have had many good things to say. Marie Lu remains a phenomenally talented writer who everyone should read. YA Sci-Fi. Release Date: September 18th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green It’s three a.m. and all April May wants to do is get home. But when she finds the first of the Carls–exquisitely crafted statues–she and a friend take a video with it and upload it to YouTube. The next day she wakes up a viral sensation. Now she has to learn to adjust to her new life in the spotlight while figuring out exactly where these statues came from and what they mean. Fiction. Release Date: September 25th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Black Wings Beating by Alex London In the land of Uztar nothing is more sacred than the birds of prey that take to their skies, and the falconers who control them. Kylee wants to escape her fate as a falconer while her twin Brysen wants nothing more than to be one. Kylee has almost found her way out, until war makes its way to their home. Now the twins must seek out the Ghost Eagle to protect themselves, those they love, and their futures. But they’re going to have to find it quickly to escape those who hunt them. YA fantasy. Release Date: September 25th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Vengeful by V. E. Schwab Yet another sequel. Listen these books are good okay? They’re worth reading. Especially when it comes to V. E. Schwab. This book is the second in the Villains series. I’m telling you that you absolutely need to pick up anything written by this author but especially this one. Seriously. Read it. Fantasy. Release Date: September 25th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

Also, this isn’t a release but these editions of The Hate U Give will be coming out in September and they’re super pretty so I’m just gonna put the covers here because I love them. Don’t forget the movie comes out this fall!

The Hate U Give Collector's Edition            The Hate U Give Movie Tie-in Edition

And, speaking of movies, has everyone read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? By Jenny Han? You, of course, know what I’m talking about. If not I don’t know why you are still reading this when you should be reading the book and squealing over the movie on Netflix. I’ve watched it four times already. I gotta say, if there had been a guy like Peter K in my high school, maybe I would’ve dated. Or college. Is there an adult Peter K somewhere? If there is someone should find him and send him my way. Or have they all been snatched up by the time adulthood rolls around?

Right. Tangents.

Anyway that’s it for today! As you can see September is gonna be a bad month for my bank account, but a great one for my TBR. Speaking of which, one of these days I’m going to count how many books are actually on it. The estimated answer? Too many. Not enough. You get the idea.

Okay, I’m off to finish Sadie and scream about it to anyone who will listen. I’m sure my co-workers are glad I’m not working today since I’d probably be like “Y’ALL LOOK AT HOW AWESOME THIS BOOK IS EVERYBODY READ IT” and then they’d run away or fire me for being annoying. Which I’m surprised hasn’t happened already. You’ve probably already come to the conclusion I’m pretty annoying. Now imagine having to work with me. Yeah. Bet you’re grateful you only have to deal with my blog posts now.

Cool so I’m gonna go read. Review for Sadie coming very soon! Bye!

Kailey

August Releases

Miss me? No? Too bad. I’m back.

I gave you guys a week between posts so that you wouldn’t have to deal with me. That’s what nice people do, right?

Okay, you caught me, I wasn’t being nice. I was just busy and couldn’t get this posted right away. It’s back to school time and work sucks. But at least I’m getting paid for it, so it evens out.

I know you guys are so looking forward to all the releases this month. Me too. I was actually at Barnes & Noble last weekend and couldn’t wait for the coming weeks to see some books on the shelves. There are a few titles I’ve been waiting several months for releasing this month, and I’m so excited to squeal over them. What are they you ask? Well, I’ll tell you right now!

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These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch Adeluna is a soldier, but when the war is over and the peace accords fall apart she has to try and track down the missing delegate before bloody justice can be fulfilled. Devereux is a pirate, a stream raider, and, when the diplomat goes missing, a target. Benat is a prince with an impossible task–make Argrid stop fearing magic. Together, the three of them must team up to bring peace back before war starts once again. YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 7th (today!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Pillow Thoughts II: Healing the Heart by Courtney Peppernell A poetry collection that will capture your soul. Yes, I had the chance to read an early copy (thank you NetGalley) and yes, it tore my soul to shreds and put it back together again the way only good poetry can. Following the first collection, Pillow Thoughts II is a comfort and healing for anyone who has ever been heartbroken. Poetry collection. Release Date: August 7th (today!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N Indiebound.

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A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan Despite that King Midas gave up his golden touch, his daughter Kora still wears her golden skin. She spends her days hidden away until a duke comes to visit. Kora is just starting to feel like maybe someone out there isn’t afraid of her curse when a thief takes everything the royal family has. Now it’s up to her to get it all back. Along the way she learns maybe her curse is more than she realized–and maybe she’s not ready to pay the price for it. YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 14th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas Selina Kyle has returned to Gotham, two years after escaping its slums. Of course, she waited until Batman was out of town, and certainly wasn’t going to use her real name. Left behind to protect the city while Bruce Wayne is gone, Luke Fox is eager to prove his worth as Batwing. And what better way to do it than take down a thief who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn? Selina and Luke are about to go head to head, and both might not walk away from this fight. YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 7th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Seafire by Natalie C Parker Caledonia has been captaining her ship since warlord Aric Athair murdered her family. Her crew is made of women and girls like her and they’ve dedicated their lives to bringing down the warlord who ruined them. Everything changes when Caledonia’s second-in-command gets injured. Now Caledonia has a hurt crew, a rogue Bullet supposedly looking to defect from Aric’s army, and a whole lot of questions. YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 28th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab Cassidy is an In-Betweener: she can see ghosts. Her parents? Not so much. But, they’re the ones with the ghost-hunting TV show. When the show goes to Scotland Cass and her best friend Jake tag along. Well, no one else knows about Jake, him being a ghost and all. Until Cassidy meets Lara, an In-Betweener like her. Now she has more questions than ever about her power, but no time to find answers. Dangerous ghosts are drawn to Cass, and one of the most dangerous just set its sights on her. MG Fantasy. Release Date: August 28th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram Darius is taking his first ever trip to Iran and he’s kind of nervous. It’s a lot for him to deal with on top of his depression, lack of friends, and a father who doesn’t do anything to hide his disappointment. Still, it’s not that bad. Getting to know his Iranian family is pretty cool, and getting to know Sohrab, the boy next door, is even better. Sohrab makes everything seem like it will be okay. But what’s going to happen when Darius has to leave Sohrab behind at the end of the summer? YA Contemp. Release Date: August 28th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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See All The Stars by Kit Frick Ellory’s friend group used to be inseparable. Now? They’ve been torn apart by secrets, lies, and something even worse. After a two-month suspension and an entire summer away, Ellory returns for her senior year alone and defeated. Some people support her, some hate her, some seek her out for advice. One person leaves her notes, reminding her of everything that happened and her complicity in it. Moving forward through all of this is going to be nearly impossible. Nearly. Release Date: August 14th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Toil & Trouble by Tess Sharpe All the witches across all the lands unite for these fabulous stories. An anthology of fifteen witch stories crossing genre lines to bring readers multiple diverse points of view. Contributors consist of Anna-Marie McLemore, Zoraida Cordova, and more. As it’s an anthology spanning across several different genre lines I can’t say much regarding content but I’ve heard good things and I’m excited for it. Release Date: August 28th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Mirage by Somaiya Daud All Amani wants is an adventure beyond her isolated little moon. She knows there’s a fate out there for her that doesn’t involve living under the Vathek occupation. Too bad no one ever gets what they want. When Amani is kidnapped by the royal family she finds out her true fate is to serve as the, truly despised, princess’s body double. Things aren’t all bad in the palace, but if Amani ever wants to see her family again, she has to play her part perfectly. If she doesn’t it’s her life on the line. YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 28th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi A set of short stories that take place in the world of the star-touched queen. As someone in love with Chokshi’s writing (have you seen her lush settings and gorgeous characters? No? What are you doing with your life?) I am personally looking forward to this collection immensely. That’s my version of a summary for this one. Get it. YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 7th (today!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Our Stories Our Voices by Amy Reed An essay collection containing stories from twenty-one different authors about empowerment and injustice in America. With contributors like Maureen Goo, Sandhya Menon, and so many more this anthology discusses what it’s like to grow up as a girl in America, and what that means when race, religion, and ethnicity are brought into the conversation. Release Date: August 14th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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We Regret to Inform You by Ariel Kaplan Mischa should have had no problem getting into her top choice colleges. She’s practically the poster-child for well-rounded after all. So why are all of the schools she applied to saying no? Even her safeties turn her down. In order to get to the bottom of things she and her best friend/sometimes crush Nate must team with a group of hackers to find out what’s really going on. But will it be enough to salvage the future Mischa had in mind? Release Date: August 21st. About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube Marianne is not alright and it’s not just because her personal life is sort of messed up ever since she quit dancing. She’s blacking out and things keep breaking whenever she gets near them. She isn’t sure what exactly is happening but she knows it’s time to try and fix it. That’s when things go from bad to worse. Now Marianne has to find and deliver whatever the demon presence believes it’s owed or she’s going to end up trapped on the wrong side of the veil forever. Release Date: August 7th (today!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

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Mother Knows Best by Serena Valentino We all know the story of Disney’s Rapunzel–kidnapped by an old witch so she may stay young forever but the princess escapes and gets her happily ever after. But what we don’t know is that’s only one side of the story. What made the witch the way she was? What is her story? A tale of mothers and daughters, magic and mundane, that is her story. Release Date: August 7th (today!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: B&N IndieBound.

So who here thinks they can read all sixteen of these books this month? I don’t. I can’t do it. Sixteen books in a month is insane to me. If you can do it though I swear I’ll buy you your 2019 release of choice because that’s impressive. I do hope y’all read some of these books though. I am on my way to pick up my copy of Catwoman from the library in just a few minutes, so there’s one for me! (Yes I pre-ordered a copy but it won’t be here until later this week and I am hugely impatient to read this book and LIBRARIES RULE DON’T FIGHT ME ON THIS.)

Okay I have a ton to do today and my to-do list still has more boxes open than checked and it’s driving me nuts. Must go. Read books. Enjoy them. Bye!

Kailey

 

The Cheerleaders – Review

Hello world, I am alive!

Bet you thought I was long gone after radio silence this month. It’s been a busy time, that’s for sure. I finished my WIP (it has a NAME now you guys it has a NAME!!) so I’ve been editing that like crazy. Plus, I went on a road trip with my best friend for our graduation vacation. Pro tip: if you go on a road trip to five different Vans Warped Tour dates, make sure you put rest days in there. We would’ve been so run down without them. Still feeling so awful for all of the bands and crew who don’t get rest days, but they all killed it up there! So happy for all of them. Especially my boys in Waterparks. Go listen to my boys in Waterparks because they’re my faves.

Alright, today’s tangent is over. If you want to compare concert stories, for sure come talk to me on twitter. For now, let’s talk books.

So, as I said, I finished my WIP. Personally, I think it’s a disaster zone, but my CPs have read the first few chapters and seem to think it’s got a lot going for it at the moment. Hopefully after edits it’ll be even better (I mean, if it’s worse I should probably just stop, right?). But all that writing doesn’t mean I haven’t had time for reading. Believe it or not I’ve been reading voraciously this past month. Even if I did only finish two books. I finally got the chance to finish Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (I am dead) and on Sunday I wrapped up The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (why yes that is the one I’ll be reviewing today, thank you for noticing!).

I was lucky enough to be able to grab an ARC of this one through work and, y’all, I cannot even tell you how grateful I am to be a bookseller right now. Like, thank god for my job. I snagged this one off of the shelf before any of my co-workers could realize what a gem was sitting in their midst and started it on a trip up to my uncle’s earlier this month. I’ve been devouring it on and off since and finally finished the end on Sunday.

(In case anyone feels the need to yell at me for depriving my co-workers of the chance to read this I would like everyone to know that I offered to bring it back when I was done and was told it was alright I could keep it so don’t yell at me for hogging this beauty please.)

Wow that’s a lot of words that aren’t a review. I should probably get to the actual review. REVIEW TIME!

From Barnes & Noble:

From the author of The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters comes an all-new edge-of-your-seat thriller set in upstate New York about an eerie sequence of seemingly unrelated events that leaves five cheerleaders dead.

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident–two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they’d lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget.

Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

First of all let me talk about what I didn’t like, so I can get that out of the way super quickly. There are maybe three things and they’re all super tiny in the scheme of things so this won’t take long.

MINOR MAYBE SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS KEEP SCROLLING.

One: there was a little bit confusion whether or not Monica (MC) was pregnant. Nothing was ever outright stated. I had to come to the conclusion she was no longer pregnant based on context clues. This I did not like but it was a minor plot point that fed into a larger one, so it wasn’t too significant.

Two: I could never decide if Ginny was genuine or not. This is a bit more important, as Ginny is a bigger character. Sometimes I honestly felt like Ginny was a sociopath. Other times I couldn’t believe in the sincerity of her character. Again, this feeds into the overall story so it’s important we as readers don’t necessarily trust Ginny. But I would’ve liked to feel more of a connection with Ginny in general. This could also be just an issue I had, so I’m not putting too much importance on it.

Three: Certain moments read like they fell into place too easily. There were a lot of times I had to suspend my belief in order to think “hey this would totally happen”. I think this has more to do with how I relate to mystery/suspense novels more than anything else. There are just times when I don’t think finding a phone in a drawer or having a reporter who just happens to know a private investigator email you back no problem is realistic. But, then, I’m no detective. Maybe things like that do happen. Don’t know.

Anyway those were the few things I didn’t like about the book. Blah blah blah they’re not overly important I just wanted to share so y’all know why I didn’t give it a perfect review. Now let’s talk about what I loved (there will be more points here).

NO SPOILERS WILL BE GIVEN PAST THIS POINT IT IS SAFE TO STOP SCROLLING.

One: I LOVE ALL THE FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS THEY GIVE ME LIFE. Okay so listen. We all know friendship is hard. There are ups and downs. You make some friends you lose some. Friends fight. People. This book did a kickass job of depicting female friendships accurately. And, I mean, a lot of books do a good job of this. But it’s a huge deal for the story that these friendships are not stereotypical, or always super supportive, or girls tearing down other girls for no damn reason. The friendships and the inner-workings of them were one of my absolute favorite parts of this dark and twisty novel.

Two: It’s not just a mystery. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a huge fan of a mystery/suspense novel that ONLY focuses on the mystery. Obviously I want it to be the main topic, but I like there to be something else going on as well. Usually that’s a romance of some sort. This time I didn’t need a romance because I had ridiculously serious topics to focus on. Serious topics like suicide, friendship, loss, and sexual assault. Speaking of which: TRIGGER WARNINGS. There’s nothing overly graphic about any of these things but they are described and discussed at length throughout the novel, so be aware. I was not triggered but it was an emotional experience for me reading about these moments. They balanced out the suspense nicely, and reminded everyone that there are huge things everyone has to deal with, even if you’re trying to solve a murder at the same time.

Three: I actually wouldn’t have guessed the killer. No, I’m serious. I’ve read a lot of mystery novels. So many that I’ve actually stopped reading mystery almost entirely as a genre because I can usually guess the killer/criminal almost right away. It’s rare for me not to be able to accurately pin down the killer by about a third of the way through the novel. Just habit from being so familiar with the genre, you know? But this time I wouldn’t have thought the person who did it really did. I had my own ideas and was proven semi-right in a couple of them, but the big reveal? Nope. Never would’ve thought. That ending threw me y’all.

Four: Despite what I said above there were moments that showed not everything falls into place and there aren’t always answers. This works for me, because it feels like real life. You don’t get everything you want in life. You just don’t. You don’t get everything you want in this book either. It can be frustrating but in a good way. It adds to the conclusion and closure of the ending.

Five: I don’t even know just . . . it all worked together super well. Good characters? Check. And good storylines? Well fucking duh. And general goodness of life and writing? Yessssssssss. So many, SO MANY books have a lot of the elements but miss one or two. And those books are still good–you guys know how much I read and you know I wouldn’t be reading these books if they weren’t still good–but they just don’t have that thing that makes everything all click into place. (Side note: I know as a writer I should have a better description than ‘that thing’ but I don’t so you all can deal). The Cheerleaders has it. There’s a cohesiveness about it that makes you feel content (even when you’re frustrated as hell with Monica or Ginny or Jen or whoever else because you get frustrated with everyone at some point that I promise you. No spoilers just facts).

THAT WAS SO HARD TO DO WITHOUT SPOILERS YOU HAVE NO IDEA OH MY GOD I SUCK AT THIS. But for real I put in some effort to keep this one spoiler free because all I want to do is be like “and then this happened which was cool but then this happened that made go whoa and then I cried but then” and, I mean, you get the idea.

I’m not kidding about the crying thing by the way. I did. Twice. There were moments of true gut-wrenching heartbreak in this book that I will cling to forever because of their authenticity.

In conclusion, obviously I hated this book. HA I FOOLED YOU I’M JUST KIDDING seriously I loved this book a lot. Gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Highly recommend for all my mystery lovers out there. Even if you don’t like mystery all that much I think you should check this one out. It’s emotionally resonant in ways I don’t think many mystery books are, and for that reason alone I’m going to yell at everyone I know to read it.

SPEAKING OF WHICH it came out today. No, this is not a coincidence. Yes, I did wait until release day to post my review so that everyone might be able to go out and buy this beautiful novel for themselves. Or get it from their library. Or convince someone else to buy it for you. I don’t know what y’all do but try to get your hands on this book, okay? I’ll drop some purchase links down below for you.

Okay, well, that’s it for today. Sometime this week expect my August releases post. Hopefully this month I’ll be able to get to that writing class post for you as well (just in time for back to school! woo!). We’ll see. Here’s hoping though.

Alrighty, I’m headed back into the revision rabbit hole. See you all on the other side!

Kailey

PS – here are those purchase links

B&N

IndieBound

July Releases

Hello!!

So, we survived June (wow that feels like a miracle, doesn’t it?) and now we are truly in the swing of summer. The 90+ degree weather was a dead giveaway for that I’m betting, though, right?

Today is going to be an incredibly quick post because I am really busy lately (which is why this is so freaking late). Sorry 😦 BUT I am off work today (that hasn’t happened in a while) and climbed out of my writing hidey-hole to bring you the July Book Releases!! Here are some books coming out this month that you should check out.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas Five years ago tragic accidents befell the cheerleading squad, leading to their disbanding. Now Monica, the sister of one of those dead cheerleaders, has been chosen to help honor the fallen on the five year anniversary. Except, she just wants to forget. But that’s not about to happen. What went down five years ago was only the beginning and Monica is about to find that out firsthand. Release Date: July 31. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White The epic conclusion to the best-selling Conqueror’s Saga. NO SPOILERS HERE (I can’t give any anyway. I’ve only read book one). All I’m gonna say here is there’s a reason everyone I’ve talked to is in love with these books. Release Date: July 10 (TODAY). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Dilga The world is at war and the royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end things once and for all. Prince Zach is one of the most skilled swordsmen in the kingdom. They need to work together to win this war. Now if only they could put aside their differences and actually do it. Release Date: July 3 (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning Before there was the Little Mermaid, there was a sea witch. And before there was a sea witch there was a girl. Evie has been an outcast since her best friend Anna drowned. But when a girl who looks eerily like Anna appears off-shore, Evie will do anything to help her save her humanity. But does ‘anything’ mean sacrificing the heart of the prince she loves? Release Date: July 31. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Yeah I wasn’t kidding when I said this was going to be short. I’m on fire with my WIP (and also in the middle of The Cheerleaders which you should all buy on July 31st). I hope you guys see some books you like here and that you’ll read! Bye!

Kailey

 

The Unbinding of Mary Reade – (Mini) Review

Hey all!

So this is going to be a pretty quick review just because I’m finally having a breakthrough in my WIP and I don’t really have too much to say about the book. So, let’s dive right in shall we?

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From Barnes & Noble:

A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.

There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate. 

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.

I enjoyed this book. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction so I don’t have much to say on that front. Usually, not gonna lie, historical fiction can be boring to me. This wasn’t boring. I want to make that perfectly clear: at no point during this book was I bored. That’s rare enough for me with this genre.

The reason I don’t have a lot to say about the book itself? The writing. There was nothing wrong with it, really. It was good writing. It was nice, solid . . . average. And here lies my issue. The writing was average. This, to me, made the story average. There’s nothing wrong with an average story–far from it to tell you the truth–but it doesn’t stand out as much as I’d hoped because of this.

I love the idea of the story. I liked the story itself. Do I think it lived up to the promise at the end of that summary? No, I don’t, not in my case anyway. But I think it will for a lot of other people and I hope it’s a book a lot of people pick up, be it from your local indie bookstore (this is the preferred place if you can afford it) or from Barnes & Noble (next preferred place)(again, if you can afford it) or even your library (do you think I’m not gonna advertise going to your library? Come on. Libraries are beautiful places. Please utilize yours.) or wherever you choose to shop/get books.

I gave this book 3 stars on goodreads but only because half stars don’t exist there. I give it 3.5 stars because of the writing but the premise is to die for, so I seriously recommend picking it up. It comes out tomorrow (6/19) so go get it and tell me if you liked it or what you thought of the writing or just how you felt about the characters . . . idk just talk to me!

Also one last thing lately I’ve been thinking about giving away some ARCs and bookmarks I have either here or on twitter. If you do read these posts sometimes I’d appreciate if you could comment and let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in.

Alright that’s all for today. Told you it would be a mini review. I’m off to finish making my characters miserable *cue the evil laughter*. Bye!!

Kailey