Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#266): Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand. 

I didn't even know this book existed until recently! I read Uprooted back in the day and really enjoyed it (though I am in desperate need of a reread), and I can't wait to read this new book by Novik. Unrelated to Uprooted but no less exciting!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Double Cover Reveal: Bring Me Their Hearts and Umbertouched

Hello everyone! Today I'm excited to share not one but TWO cover reveals today! I'm combining the cover reveal of Bring Me Their Hearts and Umbertouched, two YA fantasy novels publishing later in the year. Are you ready to see the covers?

First up is Bring Me Their Hearts...

... and Umbertouched!

About Bring Me Their Hearts:

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
Book One of the Ruthless Song series
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Official Summary:

Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum: if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy Zera’s heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him—every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him—until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


About Umbertouched:

Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne
Book Two of the Rosemarked series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Official Summary:

The mission was a failure. Even though Zivah and Dineas discovered a secret that could bring down the empire, their information is useless without proof.  Now, with their cover blown and their quest abandoned, their only remaining hope is to get home before Ampara brings the full might of its armies against their peoples.

As Shidadi and Dara alike prepare for war, Zivah and Dineas grapple with the toll of their time in the capital. After fighting alongside the Amparans against his own kin, can Dineas convince the Shidadi—and himself—where his loyalties lie? After betraying her healer’s vows in Sehmar City, can Zivah find a way to redeem herself—especially when the Dara ask her to do the unthinkable? And after reluctantly falling in love, what will the two do with their lingering feelings, now that the Dineas from Sehmar City is gone forever? Time is running out for all of them, but especially Zivah whose plague symptoms surface once again. Now, she must decide how she’ll define the life she has left.

Together, healer and warrior must find the courage to save their people, expose the truth, and face the devastating consequences headed their way.

The Giveaway:

Livia Blackburne is offering signed copies of Rosemarked, Midnight Thief, and Daughter of Dusk, to celebrate the cover reveal of Umbertouched! You can enter HERE. Good luck!

What do you think of these covers?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: By a Charm & a Curse by Jaime Questell

By a Charm & a Curse by Jaime Questell
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for. 

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

What I Liked:

Someone needs to help me out here. Before I began reading this book, I went on Goodreads to pull link information to set up my review post, and I saw a slew of two- and three-star reviews, as well as DNF reviews. I respect the reviewers and their opinions, but a lot of the things they were complaining about were... wrong? Several reviewers were mad about "love" being thrown around too quickly; that's hilarious because that word is "thrown around" at the 3/4 mark of the book - nearly two months into the story. Anyway, I'm confused as to why reviews are so negative because I did not have the same experience. The first 5% or so was a little tough to get through, but I was hooked once Emmaline's entrapment began. This debut novel deserves a little more credit because it really was not a bad story at all.

The story begins with Emmaline and her friend Juliet attending the carnival in Claremore, Oklahoma. Emmaline has just moved there with her brothers, to live with their dad, since their mom is doing research in Guatemala. The carnival is magical and enticing, and it's not long before Emmaline gets swept up into the atmosphere. She agrees to hang out with a boy in a jack-in-the-box tent, during his break, and everything falls apart. Suddenly she is now in possession of the carnival's curse, which forces her to stay there and take the boy's place. She is cursed with no sense of touch, and she can only get rid of the curse by transferring it to someone else, just as the boy did to her. Emmaline is forced to travel with the carnival and leave her family behind. It's not just the curse she holds, but the carnival's charm as well. But what if she could break the curse? Will she risk it and doom the carnival - including the carpenter boy she has fallen for?

The first 5% or so was a little slow, and my interest kept fluctuating. It wasn't until Sidney transferring the curse to Emmaline that I really started to get interested in the story. Emmaline is trapped and completely helpless, and no matter how badly she wants to go home, she can't. The rest of the story shows her adjustment (or lack thereof), and how the charm starts to deteriorate for some strange reason... you'll have to read the book to find out why and how. 

In the beginning of the story, Emmaline is tentative and a little shy, with low self-esteem and little confidence in herself. It was easy for Sidney to selfishly pass the curse to her, because she was so taken by someone paying attention to her. She is helpless and lost when she realizes her situation, and angry too, but mostly lost. But as the story goes on, she starts to become more resolved to find a solution to her problems - like breaking the curse once and for all. It was nice to see Emmaline grow and strengthen herself, despite her situation. I felt so bad for her, being trapped as she was, but I also liked how selfless she was in never trying to pass the curse to someone else.

This book is told in dual first-person POV, the other person being Benjamin, as narrator. Benjamin is a young carpenter and painter - not a performer in the carnival, but one that does odd jobs and maintenance to keep things flowing. He is kind and clever, and also very stubborn and determined. He wants to reach out to Emmaline from the start, to help her, and he befriends her despite his mother warning him away from Emmaline. Benjamin is a sweet boy with a good heart.

The romance is suuuper slow-burn and really cute. Benjamin and Emmaline don't interact very much when she is first trapped, but Benjamin starts to approach her and is kind to her. He knows she needs a friend and he wants to help her fit in and feel less lonely. The romance goes at a slow pace, but the two develop strong feelings for each other. I personally didn't see insta-love here, ESPECIALLY since they don't really realize the depths of their feelings until about three-fourths of the way into the story - which was about two months since the beginning of the story. A lot of time passes, clearly. Their friendship becomes stronger and deeper, and though they dare not do anything about their feelings, the feelings are there. They don't kiss until the very end of the story. To me there was no insta-love or insta-lust - just a very sweet friendship-turned-romance. Also - no love triangle. It's all Benjamin and Emmaline.

The story focuses on Emmaline's adjustment to becoming the Girl in the Box (who is the most important person to the carnival - she holds the curse, and therefore, the charm). But then things take a sinister turn, with more accidents occurring, and several deaths following. The theory is that the charm is weakening - but how? And why now? I won't spoil anything, but everything goes right down to the end of the book. 

The ending, in my opinion, was very good! There was a bit of sadness to it, in terms of some secondary characters, but things worked out in a way. I will say that there is a HEA for the primary characters, but you'll have to read the book to know exactly what kind of HEA it is. I liked it! 

What I Did Not Like:

I don't think I have any specific complaints, besides the very beginning being slow! I could see some people DNFing the book after a few %, because of the slowness of the story in the beginning. But it's really not that bad. Just keep going!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like fiction centered around intriguing carnivals (who doesn't!), I definitely recommend this book! It's not as complex as The Night Circus, but I got some Caraval vibes, though it is VERY different from both The Night Circus and Caraval


4 stars. I am glad I decided to read this book, despite whatever the Goodreads reviews were saying! Sometimes I look at the reviews and think to myself, y'all didn't pay enough attention. But that happens. I'm glad this story worked for me. By a Charm & a Curse is a sweeping, captivating standalone tale that had me hooked and turning pages until the very end. I am definitely looking forward to more books by Jaime Questell!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review: Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

Sightwitch by Susan Dennard
Book 0.5 of the Witchlands series
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch follows Ryber Fortiza, the last Sightwitch Sister as she treks deep underground to rescue her missing best friend. While there, she encounters a young Nubrevnan named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he wound up inside the mountain. As the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, and as they brave one close call after another, a tentative friendship forms between them—one that might one day grow into something more.

Sightwitch is told through Ryber’s journal entries and her sketches, as well as through supplementary materials (such as other journals, pieces of songs, clippings from history books, flashbacks, etc.). Though meant as a companion novella, this story serves as a set up to Bloodwitch as well as an expansion of the world.

What I Liked:

I have a thing about novellas - I don't tend to read them. Novellas are often a little too short, and overpriced, and don't actually add much to the overarching story, the characters, or the series in general. However. When I saw the details of Sightwitch - that it would be a 200+ novella, that it would be published in hardcover, that there would be illustrations - I knew I would be reading this novella. This is basically an almost-novel, given the number of pages, and the fullness of the story. If you're like me and generally avoid novellas, break your rule for once and check out this one!

Sightwitch is an intriguing and heart-stopping addition to the Witchlands series, and it'll leave you wanting to both reread the previous books, and pine for the third book.

This novella is set a year before Truthwitch, and it tells the story of how Ryber became the last Sightwich Sister, and how she met Kullen. All of her Sightwitch Sisters had gone deep underground in the mountain, and she must find them because despite their disappearance being something indicated by the goddess Sirmaya, Ryber knows something is very wrong. She goes into the mountain to find her Sisters, and encounters much more than she ever expected.

Books written in journal-style are typically hit-or-miss for me, but this one was definitely a hit. It's Ryber's diary, and it has entries from Ryber, as well as clippings from textbooks, maps, illustrations, and also entries from Tanzi (Ryber's Threadsister), and Eridysi Gochienka, a famous Sightwitch who lived a thousand years before Ryber. There are ripped pages from essays, the rules of the Sightwitches, and Nubrevnan messages. Everything adds up and makes sense as the story goes on, so this will seem random to someone reading my review, but everything is important to the story.

I liked that there were different POVs, despite the story being told from Ryber's journal. We also see entries from Tanzi in the past, and from Eridysi (a thousand years ago). Both sets of POV are very important to the story, even if they may not seem so at first. Especially Eridysi's - we get so much insight into the lives of Sightwitches, a thousand years before Truthwitch is set. There is a lot of information that expands the world of the Witchlands, by exposing the past of the Sightwitches.

Ryber is the last Sightwitch, and the only one that has yet to be Summoned. But she breaks the rules and goes after her Sightwitch Sisters who were all Summoned into the mountain - but never returned (like they were supposed to, one day after being Summoned). It is in the mountain that she meets Kullen, part of the Nubrevnan crew who washed up nearby in a ship. Kullen has no idea who he is or how he got inside the mountain. Strange, no? It'll make sense by the end of the novella.

I loved Kullen and Ryber's first encounter. Ryber is instantly on her guard and ready for blood, and Kullen is a giant teddy bear who isn't at all dangerous (not that Ryber knew that at first). She doesn't like him at first and doesn't warm up to him, but she can't leave him, no matter how badly she wants to find her Sightwitch Sisters above all else. Though these two meet about halfway into the story, it felt like their relationship started to flesh out really well, from this early point.

I really appreciated the expansion of the Witchlands, the history of the Sightwitchs, the amount of character development and character background we get to see from both Ryber and Kullen. It's amazing how this story is told in journal format and yet it is just as full and complete as a "regular" novel in chapters. Dennard did an excellent job with putting together the story.

All credit to Rhys Davies, the artist of the illustrations in Sightwitch. The illustrations were lovely, and added a different depth to the story. I especially loved the ones of Ryber and Tanzi. There are many different illustrations sprinkled throughout the novella, and they were an added bonus.

While this novella may not be "required reading" for the series, it is a welcome addition and a really great story. I have no complaints. This novella felt very complete and even though it takes place before Truthwitch, I could almost feel it building up the series, which continues with Bloodwitch. I am very ready for book three and hope it and book four comes quicker than expected!

What I Did Not Like:

No complaints whatsoever! This was great fiction and a really good stepping stone.

Would I Recommend It:

I recommend the series in general, which started off really well (Truthwitch) and soldiered on (Windwitch) and has gotten even more intriguing (Sightwitch). Sightwitch might actually be my favorite installment of the series, perhaps because it is such a simple story, yet it is so complicated in the grand scheme of the series. A novella is never "necessary" to understand the rest of the series, but in some cases (like this one!), it is definitely better to read the novella! I definitely recommend it!


5 stars. Truthwitch was really good, but I think I like Sightwitch the most, of the three books in the series (well, two books and novella). It's definitely worthy of its hardcover status and I really appreciated the length and the illustrations. Susan Dennard, Rhys Davies, and the team at Tor have done an excellent job with this novella!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#266)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, January 21st to Saturday, January 27th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

From the publisher! I'm so excited to be on the blog tour. And of course to read this conclusion novel, which is actually already available in the UK! Thanks for the ARC, Penguin!

Blood and Sand swag

My preorder of the book is here! And some preorder swag - huge thanks to the author and Tor! I love the pin especially. You can read my review of the book HERE!

From NetGalley:


There are so many new HarperCollins Summer '18 novels on Edelweiss but I was successful in limiting myself to two! I'm very excited about both of these.

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the covers to go to my reviews!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

A post shared by Alyssa (@theeaterofbooks) on

What a week! I went to the gym four times this week again, which felt great (although I'm tired and sore!). I baked five dozen blueberry muffins on Thursday evening for work on Friday, and they were a hit! It was a good week overall. =)

Friday, January 26, 2018

My Favorite YA Books: Alphabet Style!

Hey friends! Today is another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, but did feel like posting something... so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my favorite YA foreign editions posts HERE

Here are some of my favorite YA books, based on the first letter of the title! One per letter of the alphabet. Ready?

Note: this isn't a definitive list! Some letters, like "T", have a lot of titles and a lot of favorites.

Altered (Altered, #1)

Altered by Jennifer Rush - seriously one of my favorite books of all time. There were a few other "A" books I had in mind, but I chose this one because it always should get extra love!

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke - one of my favorite debuts of 2013! Such an incredible Gothic fiction novel.

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield - another excellent 2013 debut!

Defiance by C.J. Redwine - yet another fantastic 2013 debut! 2013 was THE year, yo.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier - the conclusion novel of an international bestselling series. I adored the trilogy!

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh - I'll read anything Ahdieh writes! This one might be my favorite of hers so far.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers - my favorite YA book of 2013 and a favorite of all time. This is definitely the best 2012 debut I've read!

Haven by Mary Lindsey - this 2017 standalone novel was really good! Entangled published some really good ones last year.

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones - one of my favorite 2014 debuts! I've enjoyed everything the author has written since this book.

Jubilee Manor by Bethany Hagen - this was a great conclusion to the duology!

Keeping the Castle (Keeping the Castle, #1)

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl - this book was somewhat short for a YA novel, but so entertaining!

Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh - Another favorite 2014 debut! The series continued with Silver Eve but has since stalled. :(

My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick - a 2012 debut that shocked me! I don't usually enjoy YA contemporary but this book was amazing.

Nothing Left to Burn by Patty Blount - this book is powerful and also pretty swoony! I loved Reece.

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine - seriously underrated duology! I loved this book (and series).

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay - such a great standalone fantasy novel. I miss Stacey Jay.

(I have no "Q" favorites! On to R...)

Rook by Sharon Cameron - there are soooo many "R" novels. But this one is always a favorite! The author's books in general are very, very good.

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)

Sanctum by Sarah Fine - there were many "S" novels as well. I chose this one because I've reread it so many times, and it's the book that hooked me on Sarah Fine's fiction in the first place.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - I skipped all of the books starting with "The", and the choice was still really difficult! I loved These Broken Stars, and now I've reminded myself that I need to read Their Fractured Light. Whoops!

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell - best Peter Pan retelling ever! I've reread this book so many times. The romance is super swoony!

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst - an amazing desert fantasy novel and hey, a WOC on the cover (of a 2012 publication)!


Warped by Maurissa Guibord - I could reread this book over and over. I have a paperback copy that is looking a little worn, from all the times I've picked it up. This one, and Revel - such great standalones!

(I have no "X" favorites! On to Y...)

(I have no "Y" favorites! On to Z...)

Zodiac by Romina Russell -  Despite the love triangle, I really enjoyed this book! The series in general is just okay.

These are just a few of my favorites! I have plenty more but wanted to stick to one per letter. I need Q, X, and Y books to read! I've read a few starting with those letters but those books weren't my favorite. Please give me any recommendations of really good YA books that start with Q, X, and Y, if you have any! (Not a title starting with "The __" or "A __" or any other word, please!)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#261): The Defiant by Lesley Livingston

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from The Defiant by Lesley Livingston!

"... But I was hoping you might find the time-"

That was as far as he got before I lunged at him, reaching up to pull his head down toward me, and silencing him with the kiss I'd been waiting on for months. And months...

From his reaction, it seemed he'd been waiting on it too. I felt a rumbling in his chest that was almost a growl, and his mouth opened hungrily on mine. His arms wrapped around me and he lifted me off the ground. He smelled of horse and iron and leather and he tasted of salt and sunshine.

- ARC, page 55

A reunion scene! I love it. This is in the beginning of The Defiant, which takes place months after the ending of The Valiant. Cai and Fallon are adorable!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#265): Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton
Book One of the Heart of Thorns trilogy
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: July 31, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Inventive and heart-racing, this fiercely feminist teen fantasy trilogy from debut author Bree Barton examines a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.

Mia Rose wants only one thing: revenge against the Gwyrach—feared, reviled, and magical women—who killed her mother. After years training under her father’s infamous Hunters, Mia is ready. She will scour the four kingdoms, find her mother’s murderer, and enact the Hunters’ Creed: heart for a heart, life for a life.

But when Mia is thrust into the last role she ever wanted—promised wife to the future king—she plots a daring escape. On her wedding night, Mia discovers something she never imagined: She may be a Huntress, but she’s also a Gwyrach. As the truth comes to light, Mia must untangle the secrets of her own past. Now if she wants to survive, Mia must learn to trust her heart . . . even if it kills her.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Ivy Bookshop

Usually I'd be hesitant to start a trilogy (I am so bad at finishing them), but this one sounds really good. =)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About

I'll share some YA ones! Here are twelve...

  Hemlock (Hemlock, #1)  Auracle
Silver (Bandia, #1)  The Naming (The Books of Pellinor, #1)  Wake (Wake, #1)
  Storm (Elemental, #1)  Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)

I really want to reread some of these series, like the Article 5 series, Unraveling/Unbreakable, and the Books of Pellinor! All of these books/series are quality but I read them so long ago. I recommend all of them!