Thursday, July 11, 2019

Review: SPIN THE DAWN by Elizabeth Lim


Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Add to your Goodreads TBR



Okay, so if I'm being honest the pitch for this book did not catch my attention. But as I saw some of the early reviews start to come in, I became increasingly more intrigued. SPIN THE DAWN is said to be a mix of Project Runway meets Mulan. I feel like that only describes the first half of the book. I would describe the second half as more of a mashup between Aladdin and an adventure/quest (think Percy Jackson) mixed with something I can't quite place my finger on.

Maia is the daughter of a renowned Tailor and when tragedy strikes their family (from multiple fronts), Maia is left to carry the burden of keeping their shop running. But no one can know. Women aren't allowed to become tailors. Between her father's illness, her brothers' absences, and the war causing business to dwindle, her family is struggling to survive. Now that the war has ended, the Emperor is searching for the perfect tailor to make his new fiance's wedding dress and become the Imperial Tailor. When the Emperor's people come knocking, there's only one thing to do.... impersonate her brother and try to win a spot as the Imperial Tailor.

I loved this book from the minute I started reading it. Lim did a fantastic job of immediately grabbing my attention and keeping me interested throughout the whole story. I found it refreshing to have a story told through a single point of view. The author dreamed up many intriguing characters, but just like Maia caught the court magician's eye, he caught mine! The Enchanter is sassy, swoon worthy, and cloaked in secrecy. If you love a fantasy full of adventure, betrayal, mystery, mythology, and a slow burn romance, then look no further! This may be Lim's debut novel, but it didn't feel like it. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this story and anything else she writes.


Elizabeth Lim, author

Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, "Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that's kinda cool!" But after one of her teachers told her she had "too much voice" in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English. 
 

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and she turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel -- for kicks, at first, then things became serious -- and she hasn't looked back since. 
 

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She grew up in Northern California, with a brief stint in Tokyo, Japan, but now lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.
Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with a degree in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies, and completed her graduate degrees at The Juilliard School.
She is represented by Gina Maccoby of the Gina Maccoby Literary Agency


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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Review: TEEN TITANS: RAVEN (A Graphic Novel) by Kami Garcia, Illustrations by Gabriel Picolo



When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth's foster mom--and Raven's memory--she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn't easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can't remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before.

But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she's ready to face what's buried in the past...and the darkness building inside her.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia and first-time graphic novel artist Gabriel Picolo comes this riveting tale of finding the strength to face who you are and learning to trust others--and yourself.

Add to your Goodreads TBR or buy now!


This year I have ventured into the world of Graphic Novels. BOY AM I GLAD I DID!!! I've always been a fan of Kami's books so, even though I had never heard of Teen Titans, I knew I had to read her first Teen Titan Graphic novel.

I sat down on Friday afternoon to start it and the next thing I knew I was done. I flew through and was completely taken by the story. As I mentioned I knew nothing about Teen Titans and not once while I was reading did I feel lost or wonder who the characters were. Kami did a wonderful job of giving new life to characters that already exist. I'd be interested to hear what readers who know more about this world think.
When I finished I wasn't ready. I wanted more. More words, more pictures, more of this story. I'm so excited to see that this is the start to a new series. But OMG 2020 for book 2?!? UGH. It doesn't end on a cliffhanger, so that was nice but I'll definitely have to read through this one again.

Now, I'm new to reading graphic novels, so I don't have a ton of exposure to different artists but I LOVE Gabriel Picolo's illustration style. Since I read an ARC copy, I'm very curious to see whether the art inside my finished copy looks different. I may have to do another read through when it arrives.
If you're like me and new to reading these, I definitely recommend picking TEEN TITANS: RAVEN up. If you're a seasoned graphic novel reader, I hope you check this one out and enjoy it as much as I did.

Catch Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo on tour!


TEEN TITANS: BEAST BOY (Teen Titans #2) coming in 2020
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Kami Garcia
Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages, and the film Beautiful Creaturesreleased in theaters in 2013, from Warner Brothers. Kami’s solo series, The Legion, includes the instant New York Times bestseller UNBREAKABLE, and the sequel UNMARKED, both of which were nominated for Bram Stoker Awards. Her other works include THE X-FILES ORIGINS: AGENT OF CHAOS and the YA contemporary novels THE LOVELY RECKLESS and the forthcoming BROKEN BEAUTIFUL HEARTS (February 2018).
Kami was a teacher for seventeen years before co-authoring her first novel on a dare from seven of her students. If she isn’t busy watching Supernatural, Kami can teach you how to escape from a pair of handcuffs or bake a Coca-Cola cake. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Visit Kami at www.KamiGarcia.com.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Book Review: SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson



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All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.



I read Margaret's first book last year, when I saw the synopsis (and cover... duh) for her second book SORCERY OF THORNS and she had my attention immediately. Great libraries, magical grimoires, sorcerers and monsters. Are you intrigued yet?

I feel like every book nerd will be enchanted by this story. The libraries will make you green with envy, there are magical books, a sassy and swoon worthy sorcerer, and a bad-A leading lady. Oh and did I forget to mention a murder? Watch this story unfold when Elisabeth is wrongfully accused and forms an unlikely partnership with Nathaniel Thorn. Nathaniel and Elisabeth must work to save the libraries, but what they uncover could bring their world to ruin.

I honestly loved reading SORCERY OF THORNS, the plot and the characters kept me want to stay up late into the night getting lost in the pages of this book. The settings were beautifully described and truly mesmerizing. I am a sucker for a sassy character and Nathaniel was perfection. Elisabeth doesn't put up with his s**t, but he finds a way into her heart anyways!

If you're on the fence about reading this book, I highly recommend it. Seriously, it's a book and fantasy lovers dream. Such a unique storyline, I can't remember the last time I've felt this spellbound (Hehe, see what I did there? Magic and books?). SORCERY OF THORNS is available now on all platforms, you don't want to miss it.



You can also grab Margaret's first novel AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS now.

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A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.



Prior to writing her first book, Margaret Rogerson worked a variety of jobs ranging from canoe livery counter girl to graphic designer. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. An Enchantment of Ravens is her debut novel.
(Bio found on the Official Simon & Schuster site)



Website || Twitter || Tumblr || Goodreads



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Release Blitz: HEARTACHE AND HOP by Jay McLean


Heartache and Hope, the first book in Jay McLean’s
Heartache Duet is now live
and available in Kindle Unlimited. 


Ava Diaz needs saving.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next
to on the first day of senior year.

He thinks she’s a brat.

She thinks he’s entitled.

Maybe first impressions don’t always last…

Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.

He just doesn’t know why.

$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
http://bit.ly/2YdxgH9


Download your copy today or Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!


Excerpt:

They look like fireflies. The way the water falls from the sky, illuminated only by the streetlamps.
I stand in the middle of the road, barefoot and barely breathing, my arms out, face to the sky. 
I don’t know how I got here. 
When I climbed out of my window, the sun was just setting and now… now I’m surrounded by
dark skies and false hope. 
I know I should go home. 
That I should face my fears and tackle them head-on. 
My mind travels the right roads at the right time to get me there, but my heart…
My heart takes me to Connor. 
Outside his bedroom window, mud seeps between my toes, and the frigid air creates
goosebumps along my skin. I raise my fist and tap, tap, tap on the glass. 
A moment later, a light turns on. And then nothing. I tap again, my heart racing.
The blind lifts and Connor appears, his eyes squinting. It’s clear he’d been asleep, or close to it.
Hair a mess, he’s shirtless, the obvious beginnings of bruises mar parts of his torso, and I look down,
shame filling every part of me. I bite down on my lip as he slides the window up. “Jesus Christ, Ava.
What the hell are you doing?”
His warm palms meet my soaking wet elbows, and then his entire body is cocooning mine,
lifting me off my feet and into his bedroom. My feet land on his soft carpet, and I look down at the mess I’ve made.
“I’m dirty,” I tell him. 
Inside and out. 
Dirty, dazed and damaged. 

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Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader,
writer of New Adult and Young Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator.
When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found running after
her three little boys, investing way too much time on
True Crime Documentaries and binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh,
make her hurt and make her feel.

Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where
music is loud and laughter is louder.

For publishing rights (Foreign & Domestic) Film or television,
please contact her agent Erica Spellman-Silverman, at Trident Media Group.

Connect with Jay:
Newsletter:  www.jaymcleanauthor.com

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