Blog Tour: Daemon Blood by Mary Maddox Exclusive Excerpt

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Daemon Blood

Author: Mary Maddox
Series: Daemon World, #3
Publication date: March 8th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Horror

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Our war will not unfold in your imaginary heaven. We will fight on Earth with human beings as pawns and weapons.

Lu Darlington is a seer, bound to the daemon Talion through ritual and blood. It’s not a role she enjoys, but she has little choice: daemons take what they want and destroy whoever stands in their way.

So Lu’s surprised when Talion doesn’t punish her for her newfound ability to keep him from possessing her whenever he likes. In fact he’s pleased. The stronger she is, he explains, the more powerful he becomes.

And he needs that power, because a war is brewing in the daemon world, a war that will be fought by—and through—humans.

Lu’s friend Lisa Duncan can’t see daemons but she’s seen what they can do and so has stayed far away from Lu for years. After a bizarre attack on Lisa leaves half a dozen people dead and she learns it’s just the first skirmish in the daemon war, Lisa realizes the safest place to be is with Lu.

Then Talion sends Lu away to teach her skills to another seer and Lisa must stay behind to look after Lu’s son Solly, conceived through a daemon ceremony with Talion. At four years old Solly’s seer abilities are already so strong Lisa is sometimes more afraid of Solly than for him.

As Talion’s enemies grow bolder, Lisa and Lu face attacks from every direction. There seems little hope any of them will survive—until Talion and his allies devise a plan.
The only problem is how much it will cost.

As she hands the beer to Galen, she wonders why she didn’t tell him to get it himself. Lisa realizes that she wants him to like her. She thinks, How sad for you both.

She sits on the couch, closer to him this time. “You ever hear from Adam?”

“He emails once in a while.”

“You went to his wedding?”

“Yeah.” Galen eyes her with something like pity. “I took a plane to California and stayed at his house.”

She remembers the photo in Adam’s bedroom, the other woman’s skin—velvety and luminous. Not like FrankenFace. But he loved you, Lisa reminds herself. He stayed with you all the way through. “Was the wedding nice?”

“It was a Jewish wedding. I never went to one before. Adam stepped on a wine glass, which means something or other. There was lots to drink at the reception.”

Lisa hesitates before asking, “What’s his wife like?”

“Come on, Lisa. Whatever I say is gonna make you feel like shit.”

“Not if you say she’s awful and he wishes he married me instead.” She tries for a semi-joking tone but instead sounds whiny and pathetic.

“Okay. She’s awful and he wishes he married you. Too bad you never answered his emails or texts.”

“I was in rehab.” And writing to him afterwards was just too hard.

“Adam didn’t know that. He thought you ghosted him. What else was he supposed to think?”

“I don’t know.” Her arms are folded tight across her chest with her hands cupping her elbows. A defensive pose, Sandi the therapist said. A victim’s pose. Lisa unfolds her arms and lets her hands fall into her lap. “It was a horrible time. I guess everyone wanted to forget it.”

“Adam cared about you, okay.”

“I know that. He’s the only one who ever has.”

“Don’t say that. You got your parents, don’t you? And Lu.”

And Lisa is grateful for them. Except their love isn’t the same as Adam’s love. She leans forward and picks up her beer, mostly for something to hold. She no longer wants to drink it. “Why does Talion possess you?”

“Because he needs a body to get what he wants.”

“Which is what?”

“A human connection with the kid, mostly. He wouldn’t mind a sexual relationship with Lu, but she keeps shutting him down.”

“She kissed him at the airport.”

“Yeah, she’ll put on a show for the kid.”

Lisa hesitates and then almost whispers. “He possessed me last night.”

“And made you come. He told me.”

FrankenFace transforms her blush of embarrassment into burning pain.

“It’s step one of breaking you in. Pleasure and pain, your basic conditioning.”

Lisa’s mouth is full of dust. She’s paralyzed inside, as if the daemon was a spider and she was starting to feel the effects of his poisonous bite. She looks at Galen and sees her future. “I can’t stay here.”

Galen laughs. “You think you can leave? Go ahead, try.”

Mary Maddox is a suspense, horror, and dark fantasy novelist with what The Charleston Times-Courier calls a “Ray Bradbury-like gift for deft, deep-shadowed description.” Born in Soldiers Summit, high in the mountains of Utah, Maddox graduated with honors in creative writing from Knox College, and went on to earn an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She taught writing at Eastern Illinois University and has published stories in various journals, including Yellow Silk, Farmer’s Market, The Scream Online, and Huffington Post. The Illinois Arts Council has honored her fiction with a Literary Award and an Artist’s Grant.

Blog Tour: The Dawn and the Prince by Day Leitao Review + Favourite Quotes

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The Dawn and the Prince

Series: Kingdom of Curses and Shadows #3

Author: Day Leita
Publisher: Sparkly Wave
Release Date: June 18th, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

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The games are over and the stakes are higher in this exciting conclusion of the Kingdom of Curses and Shadows.

Desperate to save her beloved and break the curses plaguing her land, Zora joins unlikely allies in a search for a way to defeat the the Shadow Kingdom. But when the dangers become much more difficult and the enemies much more powerful than she ever expected, she’ll have to find extra strength, resilience, and courage. And when everything seems lost, she’ll have to latch onto her hope. Hope and fury.

I did not enjoy the first book as much as I wish it did, but I am fairly pleased to say that this 3rd book finished off with a bang.

This time we got multiple different perspectives throughout the book, which was insightful especially considering how many past events in the earlier books of the series were mentioned through the various perspectives. On this specific point, I want to point out how interesting it is that the perspectives revolve around characters who are heading in different directions, instead of revolving around characters from different directions that are heading together. It’s something new that caught my attention and is quite interesting.

So yeah, overall I’m happier with this book than the earlier ones, so I enjoyed it fairly well!

favorite quotes

“Riadne felt a small pang of jealousy, and it wasn’t for he youngest prince. While he had been kind of fun, it had never been anything special. Perhaps the jealousy was for that kind of love. Wihich was stupid, as it mostly caused suffering. Zora had felt the taste of love, but then it become the cruelest pain. The girl tried to bury it, but her agony was like a thick mist around her.”

I’m originally from Brazil but I’ve been living in Canada for over 10 years now. I have some influence from Brazilian writers and Brazilian culture, but I also read popular books in English. I watched some Anime as a kid, my favorite being Yamato. I’m a longtime Star Wars fan and I’m active in the fandom podcasting at  Lords of the Sith as Denise. 

I’ve always loved to write stories, and I like to always include romance, action and humor in my writing. I think stories can touch us deeply. I live in Montreal, Canada, with my son. 

My books include the Ya fantasy series Portals to Whyland, and the sci-fi standalones The Sphere of Infinity and Star Spark. 

Blog Tour: Dead Calm by Dead Calm Annie Anderson Exclusive Excerpt + Exclusive Giveaway!

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Dead Calm

Author: Annie Anderson

Series: Grave Talker, #3)

Publication date: June 29th 2021

Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

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There’s not enough coffee or tacos in the world to deal with Darby Adler’s family. If it’s not her death-dealing father, her back-from-the-dead mother, or her ghost grandfather, it’s her long-lost siblings and their bid for power.

With the ABI radio silent and her siblings to find, Darby’s got a major problem on her hands–especially when the local coven figures out that her father is no longer bound.

Can Haunted Peak, TN handle this family reunion?

exclusive excerpt

“Take care of him, will you? This is…” I trailed off, letting my gaze drift over everything. “This is a lot.”

“It’s a lot for you, too, kid.” He said it gently, even though he likely knew it would earn him a frown. “Yeah, yeah. Emotions are for the weak,” he muttered, pulling me into a quick squeeze. “Give the new medical examiner hell, will you?”

I pushed back to look Cap in the eye.

“That douche canoe is the new ME?” I hissed under my breath, affronted on every level. Who in the high holy hell had thought that was a good idea? The poor guy didn’t look old enough to vote, let alone do the job he was solidly fucking up just at a glance.

Cap inclined his head before giving me a gentle slug to the shoulder. “Do me proud.”

I expected the smile on my face could rival The Grinch in evilness.

“That’s my girl. Let Cooper know he’s lead, will you?”

Nodding in answer, I took off in the direction of the crowd, it, too, parting like the one outside the cemetery but for a vastly different reason. As the reigning queen of pranking on staff at the Haunted Peak Police Department, I was feared on every level, but no more so than when it came to fucking up crime scenes. Usually, I was a live and let live kind of gal, but all it took to make me a raging bitch from the depths of Satan’s anus was to jack with one of my scenes.

Sal took one look at me and sent a pitying glance at the poor shmuck kneeling over the deceased. I thought I heard a muttered “Good luck” before he shook his head. I gave him a wink, and the aging detective shot me a smile, likely happy as hell it wasn’t him on the receiving end of my wrath this time.

I let my gaze fall to the body, zeroing in on the woman’s face that was pulled into the waxy mask of death. My gut pitched as I studied her features, my mind trying desperately to make them anything but what they appeared to be.

X’s note was correct.

My mother most definitely would not be able to help me anymore.

giveaway

Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life… interesting.

Top 12 Best Special Abilities/Super Powers in Young Adult Books

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Super abilities are one of the most effective ways to spice up characters, stories, and world-building. This is a list of my top 12 most favorite superpowers from young adult books. That could be because of either the strength, potential, uniqueness or general appeal-ness of the power.

#12:

Katsa – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Ability: Survival

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Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

At the beginning of the book, Katsa’s grace was recognized as “death”. This is due to her apparent ability to be able to kill anyone with anything in any situation. Because of this “grace”, she was used and manipulated by his uncle, the king, to be his own personal weapon to terrify his subjects and finish off his dirty desires.

The reason Katsa is on this list is because of the unique nature of her abilities. The ability to basically beat anyone in physical combat and kill anyone in any situation is never unusual in fictional works, but I remember being really impressed by the twist of how the nature of her power not being dead, but actually survival. It was one of the most creative and well-done twists to such a simple and commonly used idea that I have ever seen, which is why she is on this list.

#11:

Meghan – The Iron King by Julie Kaawa

Ability: Manipulation of iron

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Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Meghan’s ability is very simple, but that’s exactly why it’s so powerful. The power itself has the disadvantage of having a very obvious weakness, but despite that, in a world where iron is literally everywhere, this ability has extremely dangerous potential.

“Simple is the most beautiful”, isn’t it? The simplest things are often the most powerful because that also meant how it has a broader range with fewer limitations – perfect for a superpower.

If enjoyed The Iron King, I highly recommend you to read Winter by Audrey Grey! Both books had enemies to lovers romance with fae princes (with both female protagonists ended up being more than just simple mortals).

#10:

Reyna Ramírez-Arellano – The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Ability: Manipulation of large crowds

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PERCY IS CONFUSED. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

HAZEL IS SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

FRANK IS A KLUTZ. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

Especially when compared to the vast variety of superpower abilities we’ve seen throughout fictional works, Reyna’s is not…very physically useful. However, her abilities as the daughter of Bellona is extremely unique and useful especially in her position as a leader. Her ability to manipulate large groups of people allows her to be an excellent commander and chief and definitely contributed to her high-level of bad-ass-ness. In states of panic and disarray, her ability to calm, unite, and even motivate crowds is extremely useful.

#9:

Carter and Sadie – Kane Chronicles

by Rick Riordan

Ability: Egyptian magic

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Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants—school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for—time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Carter and Sadie – being the main characters of the world of Kane Chronicles – are “special” thanks to the special combination of their “royal bloodlines” from both their parents (I can’t elaborate because it’s falling under spoilers territory).

What makes Carter and Sadie’s unique is the fact that they are the physical hosts of gods. This means that they get access to the gods’ powers (while cooperating with them), allowing them to do some pretty amazing things. Combine that with the cool magic “spells” from Egyptian hieroglyphics? Total badassery.

#8:

Nico di Angelo – Percy Jackson and

the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Ability: Summon and manipulation of the dead

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Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Nico di Angelo is one of the few children alive right now that is a child of the “big three” – Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades – meant that is also one of the most powerful demigods alive. Nico can summon the dead anywhere at any time and he can command the dead to do whatever he wants. However, he’s not completely overpowered, and this power does take a great toll on him after extensive use. He’s seen to just go to sleep after using his powers, leaving him completely vulnerable. But it can’t be denied how much potential he has, which is why he’s on this list.

#7:

Percy Jackson – Percy Jackson and the

Olympians by Rick Riordan

Ability: water control

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In my personal opinion, one of the most powerful types of supernatural ability is the ability to manipulate the earth’s elements. This is due to how easily accessible it is and how the generalized nature of these kinds of abilities gave it a wider range of use and fewer limitations. Anyone who knows anything about the PJ series knows that Percy is arguably the most powerful demigod in the entire series. To give you an idea – just use your imagination. From hurricanes to manipulating the water in our bodies’ system, this guy can do it all.

#6:

Juliette – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ability: Lethal touch, super strength, invulnerability

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One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air. One touch, and she can kill.

No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon.

Juliette has never fought for herself before. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.

Juliette is literally overpowered – full anime style. Like, her superpower started off as lethal touch and then somehow managed to spiral into superstrength…like, are you kidding me. She is so broken – she’s completely invulnerable and overpowered with practically no weakness, that’s not good writing.

But at the end of the day, overpowered still means damn right powerful, so here Juliette is, on this list, despite how broken she is.

I also would also recommended this book to people who like

#5:

Bella Swan – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ability: Mental shield

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Okay, I fricking love this power. This power is so useful and actually pretty unique. Its concept is simple – immunity to other powers, the ultimate defense power. But the fact that it’s actually like an imaginated “shield” and how that can be manipulated based on the user’s imaginations made it EXTREMELY powerful because of how now that can be used to shield other people

#4:

Renesmee Cullen – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ability: Tactile through projection and shield penetration

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What is really interesting about Renesmee’s powers is that her powers are both kind of “opposites” of her parents’ powers. She can penetrate people’s mental shields (opposite of her mother’s) and she needs to do it by touching someone (opposite of her father’s because Edward doesn’t need to touch anyone to read minds).

#3.

Rhysand – A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Sarah J. Maas

Ability: Darkness manipulation, winnowing, Daemati powers, glamouring, flight via wings, misting, and (so many) more.

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The difference between Rhysand’s “overpowered-ness” and Juliette’s “overpowered-ness” is that Juliette’s is really illogical and feels like it came out of nowhere. But Rhysand’s actually make sense (which I would not elaborate due to spoilers). All I would say is no one (and I mean no one) can compete with Rhysand when it comes to power and strength in the ACoTaR universe. That’s how powerful he is.

#2.

Chelsea – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ability: Relationship manipulation

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It was such a shame that this ability wasn’t included in the movie. It was a really important ability to the story too – it was thanks to Chelsea’s ability that the Volturi is able to stay so united. There’s a whole manipulation cycle going on (which if you want to know it’s summarized really well in the Twilight Saga Wiki website) that is pretty impressive and complicated. Chelse’s “relationship manipulation” gave her the ability to mess with people’s relationship and bonds.

However, her powers do have weaknesses. It cannot as easily influence the ties of people that are stronger, such as love or truly deep friendships.

By influencing emotional ties between individuals, she can enforce loyalty, break ties to get people to betray, which is extremely dangerous but also impressively unique. I personally found her powers fascinating.

#1.

Alina and the Darkling – The Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo

Alina’s Ability: Sun Summoner

The Darkling’s Ability: Shadow Summoner

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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Alina and the Darkling – two sides of the same coin. The true beauty of their powers is not just the powerful nature of it, it’s the symbolic meanings behind their power that made these abilities so beautiful. IThe way these powers – and their characters in the story respectively – reflect off each other so perfectly through these powers is so satisfying.

Aside from that, another reason why I love their powers is because of how the ability to control light and darkness in the world of Shadow and Bone is just really cool.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy other similar posts such as the me listing out the most stunning heroines in YA/NA books, as well as the list of characters I hate so much I would want to feed to the pigs.

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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The Queen of Nothing

Author: Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air #3

Publisher: Little, Brown

Genre: Fantasty, YA

Goodreads | Amazon

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

my review

This review has spoilers. You have been warned.

Okay, so I either I somehow read the wrong copy, but did we just get a happy ending?

Oh my god, we got a happy ending.

We got it.

We actually got it.

I’m going to cry.

There is such a popular concept where people believe tragedies equals good writing, and so if your story has a happy ending it’s “cheesy” and hence “badly written”. But I’ve been getting really, really sick of that. I read books, watch TV shows, and movies so that tI can escape reality. If I want pain, I can just to back to reality and stop reading. The reason I read is that I want to live through happy endings in the form of novels.

I cannot be happier with the ending of this series. This series has proved itself and to use readers that you can have the most tortuous and cruel storyline but still end up with a happy and satisfying ending. Although I feel like it is a bit rushed, and logically Cardan’s bad tendencies should take a longer time to be fixed. The entire snake storyline was random and it was over before I knew it. I could see this being one of the biggest hated points in this entire series. However, because I just so goddam static that Cardan and Jude ended up in a happily ever after as High King and High Queen that I completely said “screw it” and threw all the problems this book has out the window.

Now, if you can excuse me, I’m going to go off in my little celebration 🎉.

Rating: 5/5

about the author

Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library.

Blog Tour: The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson ARC Review + Exclusive Giveaway

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The Hand on the Wall

Author: Maureen Johnson

Series: Truly Devious #3
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 21st 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

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———————-

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

my review

I received a free copy for an honest review.

This is why I love reading series at one go. I managed to survive because I was able to binge through the entire series. There was no way I could’ve survived the cliffhangers this series had. I genuinely felt so bad for the people who had to wait for the next book.

The most interesting thing I can think of regarding this series, in general, is how intricate and interesting everything was, but it still managed to feel like a young novel at the same time. I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan myself, which is why I’m very happy to be able to say that this book did Sherlock Holmes justice.

Stevie felt like a genuine Sherlock Holmes fan. The references, her flow of deductive logic, and her narration, in general, felt like what a true Sherlock Holmes would think. Especially a murder mystery fan who is striving to become a detective.

This is why one of the reasons I enjoyed this series so much is because I was able to fan-girl (a bit) over all the different murder mystery references. If you are a fan of any murder mysteries, I strongly recommend you to read this book.

Because this is a blog tour review, I have to post this review first, then I would subsequently post the reviews for the first and second book as well. The series was very well-paced in its mystery. Although the first book was a bit slow-paced, it picked up speed gradually (and not forcefully) as the series progressed, and The Hand of the Wall was an ‘epic’ finale that did not disappoint.

I like how everything is connected and written, but I can also see how others may be a bit annoyed with the constant switching narrations and timeline. It can be confusing and annoying at first but depending on who the reader is it can really add on to the reading experience.

exclusive giveaway

PRIZE: Win a copy of THE HAND ON THE WALL by Maureen Johnson (US Only)

STARTS: 21st January 2020

ENDS: 4th February 2020

about the author

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

This Week Recap #38: Amazing progress this week for ARC haul

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I’m working at an internship where I’m working with historical archives for 4 weeks, and I’m talking about this now because I realized that I never mentioned this. It’s a really cool experience, handling real historical primary sources/documents while learning how they are stored and handled.

Aside from this, not too much else is happening in my life. I’m trying to get back from my blog, and it’s a little bit upsetting to see that my visitor counts had dropped TREMENDOUSLY, which was expected because I didn’t focus for a while to focus on school but still really hard to see. I just hope that I can at least get it back to the same level again.

I’m also super proud of my ARC haul this week – seeing all those amazing books that I’m so excited to read really re-ignited my inner reader-maniac. Also, I’ve recently just finished Pirate Nemesis Audio-book, so look out for that review soon.

this week on the blog

Blog Tour: Alarum by Talis Jones Book Spotlight

Book Review: The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

Guest Post: Author Victoria Corva – “How My Username Became My Pen-Name”

ARC Haul this week

ARc finished this week

book promotion of the week

I believe every book and all its effort behind its creation should be recognized. As a book blogger, even though my platform is not as big as others is still a platform that is mine, and I will use it as a tool to help promote every effort behind the art of literature. If you are interested in being featured in this section, please shoot me a message in my message box or message me! Writers and readers are two sides of the same coin, and I’m just doing my part to support them.

War of Mist

Author: Helen Scheuerer

Series: The Oremere Chronicles #3

Genre: Fanatasy, YA, fiction

View on Goodreads

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War is here.

Toxic mist drives all life to the brink of destruction and the conqueror queen, Ines, has her talons in the kings of the realm.

Bleak, having discovered her true heritage, must now scour the lands for the one thing that might save them all. But the search is a treacherous one – and it will push her to the very limits of endurance.

Amidst secrets, lies and the intricacies of battle, Bleak and her companions learn just how far they’ll go for the ones they love.

But will it be enough?

As deadly forces grapple for power across the continents, families, friends and allies unite to take one final stand.

Explosive revelations, heart-wrenching betrayals and breathtaking magic soar in the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s bestselling trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.

ARC Review: Love You S’more by Beth Merlin

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Love You S’more

Author: Beth Merlin

Series: The Campfire #3

Genre: Romance, Chick Lit, Contemporary
View on Goodreads

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Having successfully designed the wedding gown of the century, Gigi Goldstein is on top of the world –that is until it all suddenly comes crashing down around her. When the paparazzi captures her and Perry Gillman in a compromising moment the night of the royal wedding, she finds herself entangled in a scandal of global proportion. Convinced her carelessness has ruined every relationship in her life, she’s surprised and moved by her boyfriend, Gideon’s, sudden proposal of marriage and accepts it without a second thought.

Four months later, Gigi’s living at Badgley Hall contemplating an entirely new kind of life while guilt, regret, and obligation keep calling her back to her old one. Will Gigi stay in South Gloucestershire, marry Gideon, and become the Countess of Harronsby?

Or, will unfinished opportunities and an old flame bring her back across the pond to confront her past and reclaim her future?

my review

I received a free copy for an honest review.

Due to complications, I had to read this book as a standalone instead of an actual series.

I was a little bit wary of starting on book three of a series, but according to the publisher, it won’t be as bad for this series specifically because of how it’s written. To have a better reading experience despite this obstacle, I also read some reviews to get a better sense of the background information and what was going on.

I’m happy to say that this book was a pleasant read not because it provided an idealistic escape, but more like dumpling over me a bucket of pure reality and reliability through the realism in the story and the portrayal of the relationship. Because of this, for those who don’t like much realism in reading experiences because they seek escape, be warned. For those who love realism like this, I recommend this book. For those who are willing to try new things, view this as a friendly reminder.

I don’t think I would ever call this book the best contemporary book I’ve read ever or in this month, but I do want to explicitly acknowledge its realism in the story. It can be very powerful and influential depending on each individual reader.

As the book progressed for me, I realized that although I appreciate the romance, I feel like I’m more reading it for the story about this romance than enjoying the actual romance (if you know what I am talking about). A lot of times I read romance books for the sake of enjoyable story-lines and entertaining couples, but the realism of the book really caused me to be more serious when reading this book and more invested in the “story’ than the “romance”.

Rating: 3.9/5

about the author

Beth is a native New Yorker who loves rom-coms, Broadway, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

View on Goodreads

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Lara Jean is having the best senior year.

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

MY REVIEW

The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series is one of those series that is really hard to be “critical” towards because of the series’ goal is obviously just purely for entertainment. It’s not trying to be the best book of the year, so it’s quite frank and not-ashamed when it comes to just having a really innocent, simple, and realistic storyline. However, in my opinion, simplicity is also beauty. Hence with Jenny Han’s efforts to make a simple story, she made an excellent book and finale as a result. Less is more in a lot of scenarios, people.

Ultimately, that is the most I can say without spoilers. The thing is, what’s most impressive about this series is not its “uniqueness”, amazing characters or unusual storylines. It’s just how…everyday it is that made this series what it is (and how identifiable it is) in the best way possible.

The conclusion for Lara-Jean and Peter is cute, satisfactory, and conclusive. Even though we didn’t get the usual”flash-forward” so the readers could be completely assured that they did end up together, I liked how…peaceful this finale was. I really appreciated how Jenny Han did not purposely force in extra unnecessary drama just to “spice it up”, so Always and Forever, Lara Jean did its job perfectly to leave a good impression for me as a reader.

Rating:

4/5

about the author

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of Shug, The Summer I Turned Pretty series, co-author of the Burn for Burn series, and most recently, the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. She is a former children’s bookseller and children’s librarian. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

ARC Review: When To Fear The Living by B.L. Brunnemer

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When To Fear The Living

Author: B.L. Brunnemer

Series: The Veil Diaries #3

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, YA

Format: Audiobook

View on Goodreads

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Hi, I’m Alexis Delaney. I’m your average 17-year-old girl. Except I can see the dead. And talk to the dead and help them move on. So..okay, I’m not your average 17-year-old girl. Right now, the Veil is shut off, and the Way is closed. Which means the dead can’t move on, so, they are camping out on my lawn. I’m trying to open the Way, juggle school and, well, deal with my feelings for two of my best friends.

If that isn’t enough, notes have been showing up in my locker since I got back from Christmas vacation. Things are getting creepier as time goes on. He’s actually starting to scare me, to be honest. But with the guys, I’ll be fine. They’ve got my back. No one is crazy enough to take on Zeke. Right?

MY REVIEW

I received a free copy for an honest review.

This review contains spoilers.

I appreciate the subjects that this book brought with its story, but at the same time, it further highlighted Alexi’s stupidity that made me even more infuriated with her and disliked her even more.

When to Fear The Living Continued the relationship developments between her and the guys (as expected), and it’s in this book we finally started to see how their relationships have finally detoured from the originally intended friendship route.

Daniel had basically been demoted from a beloved boyfriend (and good friend) to a hated stalker (damn, how the mighty have fallen). I actually do like how Daniel screwed it up. The black and white (debatable) nature of his actions brought further depth to this side of the story, and the quality of the story in general. I’m really curious about what other people think regarding this, do you support Alexis’ decision to cut Daniel completely off? Or you think Daniel truly loved her and deserve a second chance? To be honest, I’m not that sure either. But I can understand why the guys would be mad – they didn’t even hesitate when they saw her in her worst state, and that makes then very unusual in the best way possible. Daniel reacted more like what a realistic person would do, but it is still very disheartening what he did. So, do you agree?

I’ve read some reviews, and apparently, there were some people who didn’t like how Daniel stuck around in they because they found his presence “useless”. I really disagreed. I think it made more sense for Daniel to act this way not only to not completely “villainize” this character, but also how he should act like this especially if he was truly in love with her.

Remember how right at the begging of the review how this book made me dislike Alexis more because of the stupidity she had shown in this story? I don’t know if it’s because I’m just a more cautious person, but her lack of awareness to her surroundings really pissed me off, especially for her, who is being stalked by a crazy stalker. The perfect example would be when the white car drove by her at least five times in a very suspiciously slow pace. She didn’t even notice it until Zeke pointed it out and at that time I was literally ready to abolish my kindle in pure anger and annoyance.

I am surprisingly happy with the fact that Zeke was the first one to kiss her. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea how this was going to go, and I’m very happy that I was not disappointed. How the kiss went down was also really touching and sweet, and it’s definitely one of the “sequel worthy” ones. The contrast between Zeke’s huge size and Alexis’s tiny height is adorable.

The thing is though, even though there technically is nothing wrong with a tragic backstory, it’s been used as a tool to create more “dense” characters that it’s basically a cliche. So this is why that even though Zeke’s story is tragic and I do feel bad for him, to me, it’s nothing different from anything and everything I’ve read before and hence I find myself a bit apathetic toward it.

I guess I’m giving it a 4/5 score because despite being really hard for me to bear through (not because the story was bad, but because of how painfully scary Alex’s experience in this book is), it was good enough to continue to keep up the momentum of the series and want to make me keep on binging to the next one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.L.Brunnemer has been a devoted reader since she was young. As a child, she was instantly attracted to horror stories. The plot, the suspense, the action. She loved it all. Which, as she grew, branched out into several other genres. But a strong female character always caught her eye. Through the years romance became a big part of her reading. Then she found the Young Adult/New Adult genre. But she had a problem. She never found the romance between most characters to be realistic enough for her. At least in the paranormal romance section.

So, she decided to fix that. She’d been writing for years already and had always struggled to finish a manuscript. Until, she decided to write what she wanted to read.

B.L. Brunnemer doesn’t have any other publications at this time. She’s just a woman, who loves a good story with great characters. And she hopes you’ll love them too.

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