ARC Reviews, Reviews

Rules for Vanishing

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.


Well, what can I say? I enjoyed the hell out of this book.

I had no expectations when I picked up Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall. I had never read anything by Marshall before, YA horror was a genre I hadn’t read for years, and I had won this book in a contest before it was published, so- at the time, I didn’t even really know what it was about. I can now say that absolutely none of that mattered. I picked up Rules for Vanishing on a Tuesday night and finished it on a Wednesday afternoon. And not on purpose, mind you, but something about the eerie beginning of this story swept me up almost immediately.

Rules for Vanishing was everything I want around this time of year: eerie, mysterious, spooky, and full of questions.

There were so many things I liked about it that I’m just going to make a list:

One. The format of this book was so much fun to read. Rules for Vanishing is sometimes written like a traditional, first-person novel, but only in some chapters. Most chapters are something different: transcripts from videos found on various characters’ phones, interviews with police, school assignments. This changed the angle of perspective constantly throughout the book which only added a deliciously disorienting effect to an already mysterious story. If this was an homage to the trend of found footage in horror movies in the last few years, it was executed with a very thoughtful eye. It was compelling as hell.

Two. I liked all of the characters. Okay, some of them more than others, but- given they’re a group of teenagers, I feel like that’s only fair. I really felt for all of the main circle though and I feel like Marshall did a great job at giving each of them a unique and relatable vulnerability. They were teenagers, to put it quite simply. Some of them were vain or pretentious or dramatic, but they were also great friends. Their histories were varied and riddled with complications and old wounds and, because of this, their reunion through the story had a sentimental, electric effect. This book made me remember running around with a group of kids at that age, only never in such dire circumstances. I rooted for them.

Three. The main character, Sara, was particularly competent in a way that just makes me so happy. I love reading a character, especially when she’s a woman, that does the best they can and generally doesn’t do anything supremely stupid, barring normal human error anyway. People are flawed, and so is Sara, but it can also be refreshing to read about a character who is driven, prepared, and competent to do what they’re doing. Or- for the most part, at least. Especially in YA, I liked seeing her fortitude and drive being front and center.

Four. Damn, Kate Alice Marshall did a fantastic job of rendering The Road in all of its mysterious, terrifying, glory. The environments in this story are often shrouded in darkness or lost to the unknown, but the way that the author chooses to render them to the reader was done particularly well. Marshall’s descriptions were focused on all the right things to bring you right into the moment that these characters are living and forget about the world around you. I couldn’t put the book down, mostly because I just couldn’t stand not knowing what insane, spooky obstacle would come up next. The plot and the atmosphere are drenched in fog and confusion and malevolent spirits and I loved every twist.

Five. I love horror, scary movies, scary books, and all things Spooky Season so I’m not an easy scare. While I wouldn’t say this book “scared” me per se, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, wanting more. Too often with YA horror/thriller it feels like something is being held back, either in the writing or in the topics, but I didn’t feel that here. Marshall took me to some dark places, both in the story and conceptually, and I genuinely enjoyed myself along the ride. I commend her for taking those risks because they paid off.

So- I guess I really recommend this book. Especially if YA is your thing and/or spooky books are your thing! This book had a little bit of all of that and then a little more, and a ghost story on top of the whole thing. Rules for Vanishing is on shelves now! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank you so much to BookishFirst who provided me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


See you tomorrow! x

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ARC Reviews, Reviews

The Furies

In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead.

She’s posed on a swing on her boarding school’s property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death. Whispers and rumors swirl, with no answers. But there are a few who know what happened; there is one girl who will never forget.

One year earlier: a new student, Violet, steps on the campus of Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl’s boarding school on the outskirts of a sleepy coastal town. This is her fresh start, her chance to begin again in the wake of tragedy, leave her demons behind. Bright but a little strange, uncertain and desperate to fit in, she soon finds herself invited to an advanced study group, led by her alluring and mysterious art teacher, Annabel.

There, with three other girls–Alex, Grace, and Robin–the five of them delve into the school’s long-buried grim history: of Greek and Celtic legends; of the school founder’s “academic” interest in the occult; of gruesome 17th century witch trials. Annabel does her best to convince the girls that her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals, and that they are just history and mythology. But the more she tries to warn the girls off the topic, the more they drawn to it, and the possibility that they can harness magic for themselves.

Violet quickly finds herself wrapped up in this heady new world of lawless power–except she is needled by the disappearance of a former member of the group, one with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance. As her friends’ actions take a turn for the darker and spiral out of control, she begins to wonder who she can trust, all the while becoming more deeply entangled. How far will these young girls go to protect one another…or to destroy one another?


I am loving the “female rage novel” trend, aren’t you??

The Furies by Katie Lowe is another compelling addition to this developing genre. Following the new girl at the notorious Elm Hollow Academy, the Furies reads like The Craft, Mean Girls, and The Secret History all had a meeting and wrote a book together. It’s dark, explores the intense sides of humanity and female friendship, throws in a dash of witchcraft, and all for an enthusiastic Young Adult crowd.

I am always fascinated when a book explores female relationships as a primary plot point and this book definitely does that in spades. The girls in this book are sometimes brutal, mean, or downright wild but they are all one thing at their core: human. I loved the way the author played with mortality and fear and the ways we compete with each other whether we’re in competition or not.

Lowe’s writing style sets the perfect tone for this kind of story. Her descriptions are detailed and full, the plot is tight and interesting all the way through, but what I liked most was the way she wrote characters. Lowe’s eye to humans and their relationships is nuanced and examined and thoughtful, which gives the whole book an eerie speculative feel. The Furies does an excellent job of making the reader wonder what is going to happen next and if we really know the characters as well as we think we do.

Overall, The Furies was a great debut and an excellent contribution to the recent growth of “rage-lit.” It was fun, brutal, twisted, and consistently kept my attention on every page. I enjoyed feeling, raging, and going wild with the girls in The Furies, and I very much hope you will too.


Happy reading, friends! x

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WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

I somehow ended up reading a ton of horror this week…huh. I wonder why? *coughHalloweencoughcough* Halloween isn’t over till I say its over, so…it’s not over till I finish these next couple of books. This is the book everyone has been talking about and I have finally gotten my hands on a full copy instead of just a handful of chapters. I plan to be sucked into this huge beast of a novel every second I can be this week.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

My second scary story of the week! This is a somewhat-retelling of what could have happened to the Donner Party that was lost on their journey west all those decades ago. I’ve always been morbidly fascinated with this story, just because of the wild mystery of it all, so I’m eagerly looking forward to see what crazy explanation this author brings to the table. Plus I’ve heard this book recommended to me so many times that it’s about time I finally read it. Started it last night and am loving it so far!

The Return by Rachel Harrison

Haha I was reading this last week too and I thought I would finish it in a day. Honestly, I would have, it’s riveting! Except I have things that interrupt my reading like work and dinner and feeding the cat, and generally just adulting in general. So far this is still a great read though! Creepy and eerily confusing, I am having fun trying to work out the puzzle. Look for my review a little later, and this release date in March of 2020.

What I’ve recently finished:

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

I don’t want to say much here. This book was so so so highly anticipated by me after its predecessor, Wicked Saints, and I’m currently writing a full review for it. For now, needless to say, it was a wild, crazy, magical ride. I can’t wait to tell you more about it. (Am I being enough of a tease here?)

The Necromancer’s Prison by Alec Whitesell

I am so excited to have finally finished this wonderful little gem of a book. Its author, Alec Whitesell, reached out to me a while ago to take a look at this and I am only just now getting around to it because of life’s crazy whims (sorry, Alec!). I really enjoyed this though, it was fresh, original, kept me engaged and reading all the way till the end, and I can’t wait to share more of my thoughts in my full review within the week!

What I think I’ll read next:

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

I have been waiting for this book for so looooooong!! Or at least it feels like forever, but really it wasn’t all that long ago that I became a ride-or-die CL fan. I love their writing and their ability to make romance feel as sweet, layered, complex, simple, interesting, and sometimes tragic as it is. Reading a CL book means something light, something that’s going to make me feel happier all through the day, something that I can’t drag my nose out of. My copy arrives in the mail tomorrow. It’s going downnnnn, fam.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Mayhem in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

It is Non-Fiction November, after all, so I am going to try and knock out some of the NF books I’ve been dying to get to! This is at the top of my list. If you don’t know this about me already, I’ve always had a bit of a passion for the conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and its history. I’m a redhead of Irish and Scottish descent, but more than that it was just a period of time that’s fascinated me ever since I can remember. When I was in college, I studied abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland for a year, on a program designed to teach us first-hand about the history there and it was an incredible learning experience. I’ve read a lot on this subject, but this book has been lauded so highly this year and I am dying to dig into it. I’ll report back when I finish!


What are YOU reading this week?? Drop me a line in the comments letting me know! x

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WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading:

The Return by Rachel Harrison

I really should have waited to pick this one up, since its release date isn’t for quite a while, but I couldn’t help myself. The premise was just so intriguing: Julie, the main character’s best friend, goes hiking and doesn’t return. For two years. Until she’s back again, with supposedly no memory of where she was. Um. What?? Yeah, I had to read this, and its perfect for the spooky season too. I’m moving through this book so quickly and I don’t want it to end, which all bodes so well. Look for a review of this one as the release date approaches.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

First, let me just say, that I was so excited and proud and surprised when I was approved to read an ARC of this book through Netgalley. Wicked Saints, the first novel in this YA fantasy trilogy, was one of the most talked about YA novels of the last year and its sequel is highly anticipated as well. I liked Wicked Saints, though it wasn’t perfect, but the world that these books take place in is utterly fascinating to me. The mix of magic and religion is so intriguing, and I for one am really looking forward to seeing where this series takes us. I just started this one, so expect me to report back soon.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

I’ve been reading mostly horror or thrillers this month (cause duh, it’s October) but at one point I needed to take a break and this ARC fell into my lap. Taking place in the same world as Fix Her Up, Tessa Bailey’s debut novel, this Adult Contemporary novel is so many things. It’s about romance, how it starts and how it can fall to the wayside when life becomes difficult. It’s about falling back in love with yourself and with a partner you have drifted from. It feels so fresh to read a book that starts with a married couple and works through them finding a new romance together, instead of most romances that tend to end with a wedding. I am loving this so far and I’ll report back soon.

What I’ve recently finished:

No Exit by Taylor Adams

Holy hell. I will definitely be writing a full review of this book because I just loved it that much. I started it one morning and then…the whole day disappeared. I did laundry, I worked, I lived my life that day, but every single second I could grab in between all the adulting, I was sticking my nose back into this story. What. A. Book. No Exit starts off fast and intense and never, ever, once, lets up. I was tense, I was anxious, I was so attached to the characters and immersed in this world that I didn’t even notice it got dark while I was reading. If you’re looking for an adult thriller to make your day disappear, this is the book for you. Just make sure you don’t have anything else important to do that day, because all you’ll want to do is read.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

I also enjoyed this, but given I read it right after No Exit (which I just talked about how much I loved) it was a little bit of a letdown. Some of that is my comparison between the two, which is unfair, but some of it was earned by The Escape Room. Ultimately, I did enjoy this story. It was tense, mysterious, and something about it did keep pulling me back until I got to the end. I just needed to know what had happened to one of the characters. This book is told in alternating chapters of present day and the past and while I loved this format immensely, The Escape Room suffered from the unfortunate fact that- well, one of those storylines was just more interesting than the other. And I don’t think it was the one the author intended, given the title of the book refers to the present day timeline. Those chapters weren’t un-enjoyable, but I kept wanting to hurry through them just to get back to the much more intriguing story behind it all. If you like thrillers, I would still recommend this one. While it wasn’t perfect, I had a great time reading it and I felt satisfied at the end. Check it out.

What I think I’ll read next:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

I have been hungering after this book for SO long that all I want to do is start it. It’s been a battle to really focus on the books I’m reading now (which I’m enjoying) and not just jump right into this one. Leigh Bardugo is an author I highly enjoy and this is her first Adult Fantasy novel. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, also written by Bardugo, are two of my favorite books in the world and I am so excited to read her debut into the world of Adult fiction. Looking forward to this immensely!

Imaginary Friend by Steven Chbosky

This is another spooky novel I’ve been trying to get my hands on all month. A total departure from his previous work (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is a YA contemporary) this work is pure Adult horror and I cannot wait to dive in. I’ve read the first chapter of this book through Amazon and I am already hooked. Hopefully it’ll be just as spooky, creepy, and scary as I want it to be.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, & Jonathan Snipes

Black mermaids!!! This has been one of the most anticipated books of the season, at least for me, but I also see it being talked about everywhere. Mermaids and other magical sea-creatures have been a big trend as of late but the diversity in these books has been seriously lacking. This book is the answer to that unmet need and I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s in store in The Deep.


What are YOU reading this week? Drop me a line in the comments! x — A

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ARC Reviews, Book Tour, Reviews

Angel Mage ( + Giveaway!)

Hey all! I am so excited to share with you my stop on the Angel Mage Tour. I’ve got some creative content for you, a review of this awesome new book, and a giveaway down at the bottom! Hope you enjoy. x


“More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else. . .”

Goodreads | Amazon


When I heard that Garth Nix was releasing another book, I was SO excited. Then even more excited when I earned an advanced copy and a spot on this tour!

If you don’t know this about me, I used to read Nix’s Old Kingdom series when I was younger and it was one that I consistently went back to as I grew up. Starting with Sabriel, the Old Kingdom series was like quicksand for me, it sucked me in and never let me out again. But the wonderful thing about the way Nix writes is that it seemed to almost age with me: I noticed new things, I understood the relationships and complex world even better, it was a whole new experience.

Suffice to say, because of all this, I had high expectations for Angel Mage. After all, this is the same world as the Old Kingdom series…only 100 years later. If you’re familiar with the Old Kingdom series, you’ll recognize and enjoy callbacks and references to parts of the world you remember. But the real joy of the way Nix has written this book is that it can also stand alone. You don’t need any credentials to pick up and enjoy this book, aside from wanting to.

And Angel Mage starts off with a bang. Nix throws us into this insane world without warning and with plenty of action. Given that Nix has a writing style that not everyone finds easy to read, I was pleasantly surprised by how fast-paced, action-packed, and tight this book really was. The plot moves quickly and I found myself waiting, on the edge of my seat many times, just to find out what was going to happen next.

It wouldn’t be possible to talk about a Garth Nix book without pointing out what a beautiful job he does with the world-building and mythology in his work. The World of Angel Mage is so full of fascinating things to latch onto, question, and wonder about. The magical and ‘religious’ and/or angelic pantheon system that Nix has created in this story is immense and complex and so unique. I’ve yet to read anything else like it and it was one of my favorite parts of the book, figuring out how this fascinating new system of fantasy worked.

Another thing Nix always delivers well is a solid, character-driven story. Despite the plot moving full speed ahead, the characters that we travel with throughout this story have not been forgotten about in the least. I loved to hate the main character in the weirdest way: I empathized with her, felt so deeply for her, and also constantly wanted to shake her by the shoulders. Her drive and stubbornness are such a deep part of her character and mission that she felt alive.

Even Angel Mage’s side characters, of which there are four of note, are all unique and full and tangible. I felt their friendship for each other, which is another feat I appreciate so much in books, it felt so real. Their complex histories and personal drives were all so rich and woven into the story so as to dangerously intertwine at just the right moment.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Angel Mage was gripping, character-driven, quick, and wonderfully magical. Once you ease into the style of Nix’s writing, the world is immersive and beautifully written and I think anyone, adult or young adult, who enjoys fantasy might enjoy this too.


Sound interesting? I thought so! In fact I LOVE a good book that can take something so big and vast and complex as the topics of Angels and Gods and turn it into something fresh, original, and new.

Here are a few more of my favorite books that delight in showing off the most original facets of the Divine:

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

This might be my favorite take on angels today. (Yes, its also my favorite series, so I am biased, but still.) I hesitate to say too much here, for the simple fact that you might be reading this series and not have gotten to and/or realized the bigger picture of this bizarre and fascinating urban fantasy world. If not, you are in luck; there are huge, shocking, wonderful, horrible twists ahead for you. Butcher uses a myriad of references and entities to weave a bigger story into his narrative and it continues to blow me away. If you like your Angels and Demons smart, subtle, and truly old-as-time, this is the series for you. (Adult, Urban Fantasy)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Is there another book that uses gods and angels and higher beings so creatively? I’m not sure. American Gods is a big, wandering, complex book that is a wild ride to read, I’ve enjoyed it many times. What I love most about it though is how it uses America, a country that’s (ideally) known for being a ‘melting pot’ of different beliefs and cultures, to show a new side to how that might affect those gods being believed in. What happens to a god when their worshippers are driven from their homes and have to find a new way of life? What happens to a god when their people have to assimilate into a new culture? What happens to a god when they are forgotten about? There are so many questions, and so many more, that American Gods both answers and poses, but if these questions interest you then the book will too. If you like your Angels and Demons a little bit gritty, jaded, and all varieties of pissed off, this might be the book for you. (Adult, Urban Fantasy)

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Gaiman made this list twice. But given that these two list entries could not be more different from each other, I’m going to say its a fair count. Good Omens is the antithesis of American Gods in many ways, but also it’s just…its own wonderful thing. Good Omens is funny and irreverent, smart and clever, and full of Gaiman’s trademark profundity and Pratchett’s beloved sense of humor. The two of them come together to create something that is, all at once, a thriller, a coming of age story, a cosmic battle between good and evil, and also just a story of a boy and his dog. This book is hilarious, beautiful, sad, and sweet, and most of all, just a great time. If you like your Angels and Demons to be equal turns snarky and adorable, human-loving and rule-breaking, really into their organizations and maybe a little bit in love with each other too- this book is for you. (Adult, Fantasy)

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

I didn’t expect this series to have anything at all to do with gods or angels or the like, but Megan Whalen Turner has a way of surprising me in everything she does. While these books center on political and royal intrigues for the most part, the reader can’t deny that a bigger picture starts forming early on. The main character, Eugenidies, doesn’t want the gods’ attention and didn’t ask for it, but he seems to have it. Between being sent dreams, his fate being turned at a whim, and even direct contact, Eugenidies can’t ignore the very real truth that the gods want something with him. And they want something bigger, too. As each book builds on itself and his life changes in ways he couldn’t imagine, the picture starts to become clearer and so many things hinge on his trust in his gods. If you like your Angels and Demons subtle but direct, amused, and willing to change a person’s fate to meet their own ends, this may be the series for you. (MG/YA, Fantasy)

Both the Tortall and Winding Circle series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce has been a beloved author of mine since I was young, and I’ve read all her books. She’s written multiple series, but all of them fall into one of two worlds: Tortall or Emelan, named after the countries these stories spend the most time in. Each of these series are different, with different protagonists, struggles, and even magical and religious systems across the two worlds. There is so much variety in the way the people in these worlds worship, which gods they worship, and especially how magic factors into it all. In one world Pierce paints her gods as distant but accessible, benevolent. They exist but on a more practical, worldly level that each character can turn over and decide how it makes them feel. It feels fresh and honest and magically fascinating, and if that sounds like something you’d like be sure to check out her books in Emelan. In Tortall, the gods may feel distant for some but they are ever so very, very present. If you like your gods and angels and spiritual entities meddling and emotional, personal and relational, and potentially able to visit, that might be the series for you instead. Pierce has so much to offer in this arena.

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand

This series is relatively new; its a trilogy but only two of the books have been published so far, Furyborn and Kingsbane. I enjoyed them both. The most fascinating part for me, in both of them, was the way that Legrand writes this world: magic and religion and angels and science all wrapped up together into one complex thread that cannot be unraveled. If you like your Angels and gods to span centuries and stories, to do whatever it takes to complete their mission, this might be the series for you.

All of the books from Tolkien’s Middle-Earth

Oh, Tolkien. How could I not include Tolkien? I don’t know about you but I am a huge fan of Middle-Earth and all of its stories. Tolkien’s work may be dense, but what makes up for it, especially when it comes to angels, demons and gods, is the immense amount of culture and world-building that he manages to fit into every story. Tolkien’s world has gods and beliefs and cultures that go back so far into the history of Middle-Earth that most people on real Earth don’t know the half of it. If you like your Angels and Demons to be distant, more mythological than personable, more story than entity, this is the right world for you. There are so many facets to explore.

I had so much fun reading Angel Mage and honestly I had so much fun making this list. I could ramble on here about more ideas for the rest of the day, but I hope I’ve at least given you some new titles to check out for your next divine read. What a wild world it is.

Garth Nix has been a full-time writer since 2001, but has also worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Garth’s books include the Old Kingdom fantasy series, comprising Sabriel, Lirael; Abhorsen; Clariel and Goldenhand; SF novels Shade’s Children and A Confusion of Princes; and a Regency romance with magic, Newt’s Emerald. His novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence; The Keys to the Kingdom series and others. He has co-written several books with Sean Williams, including the Troubletwisters series; Spirit Animals Book Three: Blood Ties; Have Sword, Will Travel; and the forthcoming sequel Let Sleeping Dragons Lie. A contributor to many anthologies and magazines, Garth’s selected short fiction has been collected in Across the Wall and To Hold the Bridge.

More than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world, they have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today and his work has been translated into 42 languages. His most recent book is Frogkisser! now being developed as a film by Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Animation.

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Enter to win 1 of 2 copies of Angel Mage by Garth Nix!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 10/31/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

October 21

  • Dazzled By Books – Book Review, Creative Content
  • Library of a Book Witch – Book Review
  • The Layaway Dragon – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

October 22

  • Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
  • Books_andPoetrii – Creative Content
  • @tea.books.magic – Book Review

October 23

October 24

  • Novel Nerd Faction – Book Review, Creative Content
  • Becky’s Book Blog – Book Review
  • Story-eyed Review – Book Review, Creative Content

October 25

  • evelynreads – Book Review
  • The Book Bratz – Spotlight
  • Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Book Review, Creative Content
  • Clarissa Reads It All – Spotlight

October 26

  • The Reading Corner for All – Book Review, Creative Content
  • biblioxytocin – Book Review + Favorite Quotes, Creative Content

October 27

  • Popthebutterfly Reads – Book Review
  • Life With No Plot – Book Review

October 28

  • Book Blog London – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
  • Utopia State of Mind – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
  • Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

Angel Mage is out now!

What are some of YOUR favorite books that play with higher beings?? Leave me a comment, I want to know!

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Book Tour, Reviews

Lock Every Door ( + GIVEAWAY )

“No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.”

I had so much fun reading Lock Every Door.

I requested to get on this release tour as soon as I saw it; I’ve been a Riley Sager fan since I read his other two books, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. When my copy of the book arrived, I’d planned to read it over the course of a week, juggling my schedule between a handful of other books. That’s not what happened. I powered through this thing like it was my damn job, I could not put it down! This was the Summer Thriller that I wanted and needed at just the right time.

Lock Every Door is everything that I love in a thriller: creepy, visceral, paranoid, and just “over-the-top” enough.” I was pulled in from chapter one, I had to know! What is with all the rules in this building?? What’s the catch to this dream scenario?? What awful thing is waiting in the wings?? I got everything I wanted and more, in answers, in scares, and in fun.

This might be my favorite out of all of Sagers novels and I don’t think that’s by accident. This book was tight, sharp, and buttoned-up; its obvious that Sager has grown as a writer. Satisfying and addictive, Lock Every Door does a cool thing in creating a countdown on the first page. The use of time to further the visceral urgency in this book was a brilliant choice, causing me to turn moments over in my head, wondering how they might all link together at the end. The slow burn of this novel was part excitement, part dread, and part pure entertainment, and before you know it you can’t turn the pages fast enough.

One of my favorite things about Sager as an author is that, again, he delivers a competent and relatable female protagonist who makes a lot of the same choices we all would. Especially in the situation that she gets into (paid to live in a lavish apartment??), I appreciated the modern social concerns that she, as a single young woman, would feel. What’s the catch? (Oh, and you know there’s a catch.) I also appreciated that Sager took this chance to write a thriller that not only delivers pulse-pounding thrills, but also makes a statement about privilege and grief and social judgement. Really interesting and applicable, all while somehow maintaining a tone somewhere comfortably between The Shining and Scooby-Doo.

Lock Every Door is a wickedly fun adventure of a book and I wish I could read it again without knowing the “secret.” I whole-heartedly enjoyed this classic “locked room” chiller, full of Sager’s signature style. Fans of his, and those who aren’t, would be wise to pick up this addition to his work. I had a blast reading it and I hope that you do too.

“Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer.

Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July.

Giveaway!

7 copies of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

CLICK HERE

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ARC Reviews

Stargazing

“Moon is everything Christine isn’t. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic… and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known.

When Moon’s family moves in next door to Christine’s, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend―maybe even the perfect friend. The girls share their favorite music videos, paint their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around, and make plans to enter the school talent show together. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she sometimes has visions of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs.

But when they’re least expecting it, catastrophe strikes. After relying on Moon for everything, can Christine find it in herself to be the friend Moon needs?”

Stargazing is one of those books that I would love to hand to every kid in the world. And every adult, for that matter. This charming story about friendship, feeling alone in the world and defining who we are is a wonder of nostalgia and something that feels so original. I’m a huge fan of Jen Wang and she did not disappoint. One of my first reviews was another graphic novel by Jen Wang, The Prince and The Dressmaker, and I cannot recommend either of these books highly enough.

There are so many good things to say about this book that I don’t know where to start. The characters are real and relatable, their problems and fears are important and I felt their falls and victories like they were mine. Wang does an incredible job of bringing her own experiences and authenticity to Stargazing and it pays off in spades.

I loved so many things about Stargazing. Particularly, I loved the unique perspective that Moon brings to the story and the journey she undergoes. Though not for the same reasons, I too felt that I didn’t belong here as a child, that I was secretly from somewhere else and might one day go back there, where it all made sense and I fit. I felt her loneliness at learning that she is a child of this earth the way that we all are. I felt her loneliness at learning that some of us are always going to be looking upwards, looking for something fantastic, no matter how grown up we become.

Christine, the other primary character in Stargazing, takes us on a different but just as valuable story, in trying to figure out how she’s supposed to be. From painting her nails, to the music she listens to, to her values and the friends she chooses, Christine is at an age where we all asked ourselves so many of these same questions. Do I fit in? Do I have to be who my parents/community/expectations tell me to be? Do I like who I am? Who do I want to be? Her journey was so relatable, especially so for those living in a community like Christine’s where she feels there is a “right” and “rewarded” way to be, like everyone else.

I was so excited when I requested this ARC from Netgalley, and so lucky to have gotten my hands on it. Jen Wang has impressed me again with this beautiful, sweet, whole-hearted story of two new friends trying to find their way in the world. Stargazing is about friendship, forgiveness, and feeling otherworldly, but its also a powerful story of growing up. To anyone who has felt alone, that they don’t belong, or that there might be something greater waiting for them, don’t miss out on Stargazing. You won’t regret it.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This one hits shelves on September 10, 2019!

“We can’t change the past. But we can learn from the way we hurt the ones we love, and try to do better.”

ARC Reviews

Sink

Sink by Desireé Dallagiacomo is a raw, passionate, and adventurous exploration into the state of our world and our minds.

This wasn’t my first introduction to Desireé Dallagiacomo, I’ve seen her perform her poetry on Button Poetry’s channel on Youtube. While I missed her powerful performances, I still very much enjoyed this tender and emotional addition to her work.

Sink dances between tough topics with a lack of inhibition that is rare and special in the world of Poetry. Between love, grief, addiction, self-image, and smashing the patriarchy, Dallagiacomo alights on these subjects with deep empathy and a heart laid bare.

I read a lot of poetry and would recommend this to most of my poetry-loving friends and followers, as well as those who are looking to try it out. Dallagiacomo’s poems are relatable, brave and uplifting, a little meandering, and an ultimately a very enjoyable collection.

This book was provided to me through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Reviews

The She Book

“Come, sisters, let us sit around the fire.”

In The She Book, Tanya Markul delivers 114 short, emotive little poems that come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Reminiscent of Rupi Kaur or Lang Leav, The She Book was empowering, brave, soulful, and utterly readable.

I love the feminist women’s poetry trend that’s happening now and this book is another great addition. From her elegant and tender way of combing through the layers of emotions, to her modern and fierce declarations of womanhood, to her fun and powerful descriptions of women from each star sign, these poems made me want more.

Markul’s collection bounces playfully between poems about her own wounds and pain in life to the inspiring revelations they’ve brought her. She equally soothes and calls the reader to action. Her writing is responsive and relatable, making the reader feel as if she might be the “she” the book talks about instead. The author of this delightful collection uses repetition and simplicity with a masterful hand.

The She Book is about change and grief and self-love and healing and is written with so much heart. I will definitely be picking up a copy once this one hits shelves.

“What they thought  was a phoenix

 rising from the ashes, 

was really a woman.”

WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

I have started so many books this week, it’s crazy town here! Here are just a few!

I’m about halfway through Claire Legrand’s new release sequel to Furyborn, Kingsbane, and I am really enjoying it so far. The last book ended on such an interesting twist that I was dying to find out how it would impact the group and dynamic, and I have not been disappointed. Look for a review on my blog for this one soon!

I jumped on the Illuminae train late, but damn it is so good! I’m buddy reading Gemina with a couple of friends in my book club and it continues to consistently shock and surprise me. I have yet to be emotionally stable all the way through one of Kaufman and Kristoff’s space dramas, and yet that’s honestly half the fun. I look forward to finishing this series this month!

Baby Teeth, by Zoje Stage, is my book choice for the Mark-up Book Exchange I’m participating in this year! I’m a third of the way into this intense little gem of a novel, and can I just say, “wow?” I cannot believe some of the things I am reading. I find myself shaking my head at this story in disbelief over and over and over again. I can’t wait to finish it! My guess is that I’ll fly through this one, so look for a review sometime in the next week or two.

What I’ve recently finished:

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal was probably one of the most anticipated releases of the Spring, I felt like I was reading about it everywhere. I just finished it this morning and I have to say, It wasn’t what I expected but it wasn’t bad! This unique novel covers a lot of ground, both wildly unfamiliar and sometimes too familiar, but I enjoyed it all the same. Look forward to my full review this week.

Internment by Samira Ahmed has been out for a while but I had yet to read it until this week. Damn. What a wonderful, depressingly realistic, beautiful statement of a piece. This book follows a “what if?” scenario in 2018 America where Muslims are brought to Internment camps like we once did with the Japanese in WWII. The parallels to our current political system were loud, bold, and unapologetic, and I appreciate this book’s existence. Would recommend.

Bodega by Su Hwang is a charming little collection of poems that I was so graciously granted a pre-release of by Milkweed Editions in exchange for an honest review. Bodega is about one girl’s experience growing up in a Korean-American family and the bodega they own in New York City. I loved the description and tangibility of this book, and I can’t wait to share my review with you all this week!

What I plan to read next:

I’m so excited about both of these!

How to Build a Heart is another wonderful ARC I received from Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis, following a girl without roots trying to decide who she is, sounds heartfelt and compelling. I’ve heard good things about this author, so I’m excited to find out for myself!

With the Fire on High is the highly anticipated new release from Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X, which I also read this month. I loved The Poet X, Acevedo has such a vibrant and poignant voice. If the reviews are any indication, With the Fire on High is another hit, and I have been waiting eagerly to read it too.

Look for these reviews in the next few weeks.

What are you reading this week? What are you excited about? Tell me in the comments and have a great reading week!