Today I’m excited to participate in the Bookstagram & Creative Tour for Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z. Lee hosted by MTMC Tours! Love and Other Moods is a coming-of-age story set in contemporary China, about falling in love, learning to adult, finding strength, and discovering one’s place in the world. Make sure to visit all the stops in the tour & to enter the tour-wide giveaway!
About the Book
Title: Love and Other Moods Author: Crystal Z. Lee Publisher: Balestier Press Publishing Date: December 10, 2020 Genres: New Adult Contemporary Romance Rep: Own Voices Asian American
Love and Other Moods is a coming-of-age story set in contemporary China, about falling in love, learning to adult, finding strength, and discovering one’s place in the world.
Naomi Kita-Fan uproots her life from New York to China when her fiancé’s company transfers him to Shanghai. After a disastrous turn of events, Naomi finds herself with no job, no boyfriend, and nowhere to live in a foreign country.
Amidst the backdrop of Shanghai welcoming millions of workers and visitors to the 2010 World Expo, we meet a tapestry of characters through Naomi: Joss Kong, a Shanghai socialite who leads an enviable life, but must harbor the secrets of her husband, Tay Kai Tang. Logan Hayden, a womanizing restaurateur looking for love in all the wrong places. Pan Jinsung and Ouyang Zhangjie, a silver-aged couple struggling with adapting to the ever-changing faces of their city. Dante Ouyang, who had just returned to China after spending years overseas, must choose between being filial and being in love. All their dreams and aspirations interweave within the sprawling web of Shanghai.
This multilayered novel explores a kaleidoscope of shifting relationships——familial friction, amorous entanglements, volatile friendships——in one of the most dynamic metropolises of the twenty-first century.
You know, this book is everything I want my life to be and then some given all of the COVID restrictions we’ve been surviving through. I don’t know about you, but I always find it so exciting to move to a new place and I couldn’t even imagine the thrills (as well as nerves) of moving to a new country. And while this is a highly enjoyable story, it also takes the time to touch on some important aspects of life.
I really love a book that is entertaining yet still takes the time to expertly cover contemporary social issues. And Love and Other Moods definitely does just this! There are so many layers and elements to the story that all come together to make something so entirely unique. Which is also why this book is just such a good read. And I really loved not only learning about the characters but also about this multilayered city.
This was one of my favorite reads so far this year and I really just loved so many different things about it. It’s a book that I could see a variety of individuals coming together and enjoying for many of the same and different reasons.
About the Author
Crystal Z. Lee is a Taiwanese American bilingual writer and a member of the Asian Authors Alliance. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She was formerly a public relations executive who had worked with brands in the fashion, beauty, technology, and automotive industries. Love and Other Moods is her first New Adult novel. Her debut children’s book is forthcoming in 2021.
Today I’m excited to participate in the Bookstagram & Creative Blog Tour for The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast! The Key to Fear is the first book in a young adult dystopian trilogy publishing on October 13, 2020 from Blackstone Publishing!
About the Book
Title: The Key to Fear Author: Kristin Cast Series: The Key #1 Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Publishing Date: October 13th, 2020 Genres: YA Dystopian
No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.
For fifty years, the Key Corporation has defended humanity against a deadly virus that spreads through touch. Lovers don’t kiss, or even hold hands. Personal boundaries are valued above all. Break the laws, and you’ll face execution.
Elodie, a talented young nurse, believes in the mission of the Key and has never questioned the laws that control her life. But Elodie is forced to break the rules when she sets out in search of a terminal patient who goes missing while under her care.
From the outside, it seems like Aiden was given everything he could want from the Key—a purpose, an education, and a future. But Aiden knows more than he’s letting on, and the dark secrets he’s keeping could tear the Key’s strict society apart.
When Elodie and Aiden’s lives collide, the fallout will be devastating. What do you do when the brutal system that once kept you safe hunts you down? Run.
Kristin is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who was born on an Air Force base in Japan and grew up in Oklahoma where she explored everything from tattoo modeling to broadcast journalism. After battling addiction, Kristin made her way to the Pacific Northwest and landed in Portland. She rediscovered her passion for storytelling in the stacks at dusty bookstores and in rickety chairs in old coffeehouses. For as long as she can remember, Kristin’s been telling stories. Thankfully, she’s been writing them down since 2005.
Head over to my Instagram account where you can enter the Instagram tour-wide giveaway for another chance to win a copy of The Key To Fear + signed bookplate! There will be two winners. (Make sure to also check #TheKeyToFearMTMC hashtag for more tour posts!)
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
Kingdom Above the Cloud (Tales from Adia, #1) by Maggie Platt Publisher: Ambassador International Release Date: April 17th 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Allegory
The future. Damien hated the thought of the future. He hated how little he could control without knowing for certain the identities of those four conquerors and if he had really put an end to them.
What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?
Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.
It seemed like the walls were closing in, and she felt dangerously close to being crushed by the weight and enormity of death.
Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?
Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?
There was an unspoken understanding on the mountain: anyone who valued his life pretended that gloves were in fashion. No one spoke of the heart beneath.
Kingdom Above the Cloud is one of those achingly beautifully written stories. You’re just immediately taken into the story and the writing is so intricately beautiful that you instantly fall in love. Plus there is a lot of world building, and if you know me you know I salivate at the thought of that. I blame it on my love for Lord of the Rings. This is definitely a story that is going to make you think about how we grow as a person.
Instead, she sat very still, entranced by the danger of their proximity and the way his voice caressed the words.
Now, this book is listed as an allegorical fantasy. And, if you’re like me, you might have to admit to not knowing what the genre allegory is (you know, until I looked it up). Basically it’s quite simple and means that there will be themes of morality and often religion. Reading Kingdom of the Cloud while knowing this I was able to pick up themes of Christianity throughout, but there was nothing explicitly stated and I think it worked really well with the overarching style of the book.
When someone dies, they go into the eternal sleep. We bury their bodies outside of the city. No one just disappears.
I really enjoyed this story and found myself plunging into the world. The characters were all really intriguing and I enjoyed seeing how they developed and grew throughout the story. Because there is a lot of world building, some might find that the beginning had a slow start. I personally didn’t feel that way because I like finding everything out about the world and not feeling confused about how everything works, but I know that not everyone likes that type of stylization. But even still, the story is amazing and it does “pick up” in pace.
About the Author
Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and she lives in a cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.
Murky black eyes shining with reflected fire searched the mural for anything he could have missed. In the half-light of bracketed torches, the ruby on King Damien’s finger looked as black as his hair.
As he studied the images all around him, a dozen stealthy and agile guards stood at attention in the glittering throne room on the other side of the stone wall. Each guard wore a simple black bodysuit with attached gloves and held two long swords, one in each hand. There were sheathes crisscrossing their backs, but they would only stow the swords when the king was no longer in their presence.
Warm light from the domed glass ceiling made everything in the enormous outer chamber appear golden. The chains of chandeliers reached up into the heights, and a brightly painted mural covered every inch of the walls. It was this same mural that the king pondered, but his eyes fell on the darker portions, the hidden stories on the other side of the wall that were kept in deepest secret.
There were terrible mysteries waiting here, prophecies recorded with paint and brushes on upright stone slabs. King Damien had tortured and killed his own people in efforts to understand, and he felt growing frustration that he still had no answers. He could not let this forecasted future come to pass.
The king was alone, hidden within a protected corridor in the center of his vast palace. He wore the customary clothing for the mountain kingdom’s royal men: black trousers, shiny black shoes, black leather gloves, and a crisp white shirt. The back of his shirt had a large circle cut out of the fabric, exposing intricate black designs that covered his skin. Most of the markings were the size of a fist, and there were seven of them forming a large ring from his shoulders to his waist. Hissing snake. Pointed crown. Unbalanced scales. Heavy chains. Thorny rose. Sharp diamond. Twisted flames. Taking up the center of this wreath was a much larger image — a highly-detailed heart, strangled by ragged veins.
His palatial estate sat on top of a low, squat mountain in the very center of the known world. Mount Damien — named for him — was encircled by a thick layer of cloud separating the civilized peak from the wild frontiers on the slopes below. When looking out from the palace’s highest tower, the city looked as if it floated in a sea of white cotton with brief glimpses of greener lands beneath. Most of the mountain’s inhabitants had never ventured below the clouds.
King Damien looked closely at a troubling span of the mural. It was the same spot he had obsessed over a million times before. It portrayed four warriors atop his mountain with victory in their expressions and armies coming behind them. The next scene was a barren landscape, with nothing but a small mound of rocks where Mount Damien used to be. Then, the mural stopped.
With each year of his reign, more of the painted prophecies came to pass. All that was left was this last corridor behind the curtain. Would these final scenes come to be, too? Had he done enough to stop these conquerors? What if he had been wrong about their identities? How exact were these paintings, and did he have the power to change them?
He had a nagging suspicion that he had missed something. He daily paced along this wall looking for any hint that would lead him to answers. His middle-aged son and heir, Prince Ajax, sometimes joined him, but he didn’t share his father’s enthusiasm for deciphering the future.
The future. Damien hated the thought of the future. He hated how little he could control without knowing for certain the identities of those four conquerors and if he had really put an end to them. But how could he ever learn these things when the artist who painted the scenes left the mountain nearly fifty years ago? It was enough to drive him mad.
It was in this madness that he had created a bit of a game. Six months had passed since he gathered seven of his most powerful up-and-coming leaders, named them the Council of Masters, and sent them below the cloud to the land of Adia, where the painting prophet had fled. The rules were simple. They must brand an Adian with the symbol of their specific expertise and bring the victim back to the mountain. The first to do so would earn a large chest filled with gold, a fortune that could fund the most lavish lifestyle for several years.
They didn’t need to know that there were many deeper reasons for bringing an Adian above the clouds. He longed to interrogate one and find out if there were more prophecies, to find out if there were more murals, to find out if Adwin was still in Adia. Even more so, he salivated over the thought of Adwin himself coming to the mountain to retrieve the victim. Could he finally have Adwin in his grasp after all these years?
The click of heels against tile made his ears perk, and the king quickly passed through the thick red curtain that separated the dark corridor from the glittering throne room. He squinted at the sudden onslaught of light. The guards let him pass before reclaiming their positions.
He moved toward the center of the room and pondered the seven young people as they entered. They were his kingdom’s finest weapons. Formidable. Hardened. Lethally clever.
The three men wore the same white shirt as the king, but their trousers and gloves were gray instead of black. The four women wore loosely draped gowns of varying gray hues with gloves to match. All seven looked beautiful, uneasy, and dangerous.
Damien addressed them quietly, each syllable articulated and precise. “I must admit I’m disappointed. Six months and you bring me nothing from Adia. Is the task too difficult?”
They remained silent, staring back.
“I asked you a question,” he declared, his vision going dark for a split second as the veins in his eyes pulsed. “Do you think the task is too difficult? Too much for you?”
“No, Your Majesty,” they responded in unison.
“Maybe the reward has been too small?”
“No, Your Majesty.”
“Well, I am a gracious king. You do not ask for more incentive, yet I am prepared to offer it. If mere gold does not entice you, would an entire kingdom suffice?” He allowed the words to sink in before going on, enjoying the play of emotions as these young weapons tried to understand. He ascended three marble steps and sat on his emerald-encrusted golden throne. His son, Prince Ajax, sat just below him to the left. Ajax’s son was not present, so the seat on the king’s right remained empty.
“If you are the first to mark an Adian and bring the fool to this mountain,” Damien continued, shifting forward for a better view of their faces, “You will be the rightful king or queen of Adia. I will send my armies to defeat that rebellious land, and I will place you as the crowned ruler. It would all be yours.”
That would get their attention. None of their demeanors had changed a bit, but he had always been good at reading stony faces. Hunger and greed glowed in many of their eyes, terrified panic in a few. Some of them were growing soft.
He stood from his throne and approached them once more, starting with the far end of the line. Xanthe had long lemon-yellow hair with one thick aqua stripe that reached from scalp to tip. She was tall and slender, with excellent posture that betrayed the hours and hours her mother spent turning her into a perfect young woman. Xanthe’s eyes were intensely purple, and they were dull and cold as they stared at the far wall. She was betrothed to the king’s grandson, Prince Jairus, who was not in the room. As Damien drew near, Xanthe took a sharp breath and lifted her chin, but her gaze remained unfocused and distant.
“What’s wrong, Xanthe?” the king asked with over-exaggerated concern, stroking her smooth cheek with his wrinkled finger. “Don’t you want to rule your own kingdom one day?”
“Of course, Your Majesty,” she replied with no sign of emotion. “But not Adia.”
“Not Adia?” Damien prodded, poison creeping into his voice. “Why not Adia?”
“I will be this mountain’s queen one day when Jairus is king. I have no need for another kingdom.”
“If you were truly invested you would want both. So, you will not continue in this quest. You may leave.”
“Your Majesty, I didn’t say —”
“You will not go back,” he ordered forcefully. “Leave us.”
Xanthe’s eyes locked on the king and flashed with hatred as she turned to leave.
“Is there anyone else who would like to leave these ranks? This Council of Masters?”
No one moved.
“That’s what I thought.” Damien sauntered along the line, eyeing each weapon and looking for signs of cowardice. He took an especially long time examining Eryx. He was huge — an excellent athlete and fighter. He had recently shaved his head, which added to his menacing aura. He towered at least six inches over the next tallest Master, and his highly-defined and powerful body was crisscrossed with white scars, trophies of his time in the fighting ring. “What about you, Eryx? Enjoying this game?”
With great articulation but no fervor, he answered, “It’s not a game, Your Majesty.”
“Oh? Isn’t it?” Damien asked with feigned innocence.
“‘Game’ is too trivial for this assignment, Your Majesty. Your orders are law.”
Damien loved the words, but he hated the monotonous delivery. “Hmm. Thank you for this passionate speech, Eryx. You will do well to use this spirit and zeal in the next fight.”
“You haven’t put me in a fight for years!” Eryx bellowed, a sudden fire lit in his tone. “It is below my status as Master.”
“You argue with me?” Damien asked softly and dangerously, standing toe to toe and looking up into Eryx’s face. “You will fight when I tell you to. You will prove you are still able to harness your power. Now, off with all of you. You have much work to do.”
His eyes bounced to each of them in turn as they filed through the door. Without looking at his son, he asked, “Ajax, what are your thoughts? Who is leading this race?”
“You already know I don’t care for your stunts, Father. You should just send the armies now if defeating Adia is what you’re after.”
“That’s just it,” he said softly, dreamily, as he imagined a better world. “Defeating Adia is only a small part of what I’m after. Yes, I want their land. Yes, I want its rich resources and fertile soil and clean waters. But I want so much more. I want Adwin to quake in fear at the mere mention of my name. I want him to hurt. I want him to break.”
“Adwin? This is about Adwin? Wouldn’t defeating Adia make him ‘quake’ as you call it?”
This snapped the king back to attention. Sternly he asked, “How old are you, Ajax?”
“In forty-nine years, you still have not learned. We could burn every tree and building in his village to the ground, and it would not shake him nearly as much as marking one of his beloved Adians with my symbols.”
“I doubt that very much. But you didn’t answer my question. Why have you never mentioned to me that this silly game is about Adwin?”
“My son, when will you discover that everything is about Adwin?”
Hey all! The Juniper sisters in LAST GIRLS don’t go anywhere without a backpack (what they call an EDC: Every Day Carry) and they take great pride in their artwork. Honey paints, Birdie draws comics, and Blue uses embroidery to fancy up her clothes (when she’s not spending time with her beloved falcon, Achilles). To honor the sisters’ talents, I’ll be sending one lucky winner some artistic inspiration by offering up a fabulous pre-order Grand Prize. But don’t worry, everyone who orders will receive a gift with purchase. And, as a bonus, I’m including a 2nd prize that holds a special place in my author heart.
ALL PREORDERS WILL RECEIVE: Last Girls 5×7 Glossy Art Print & Signed Bookplate
ALL PREORDERS WILL BE ENTERED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THE GRAND AND FIRST PRIZE.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: (chosen at random on or before 5/19) will receive a BUILT NY grey & blue camouflage backpack with thermal lunch compartment. Inside you’ll find a mini acrylic painting kit (From Honey), a sketchbook & pen (From Birdie), an adorable 10″ peregrine falcon plushie and mini sewing kit (from Blue), a flashlight (with batteries), a rosy tinted lip balm, camouflage band-aids, a 3-pack of portable tissues printed with positive messages, and a dehydrated camping meal like the one the sisters eat in the book.
FIRST PRIZE: (chosen at random on or before 5/19) A signed hardcover copy of my debut novel, DIVE SMACK, to round out your collection (Surprise! There’s a big Dive Smack Easter Egg hidden in the pages of Last Girls).
TO ENTER: email proof of purchase to email@example.com before May 5th. You’ll get one entry for each copy of the book you purchase.
Available wherever books are sold. Whenever possible, please support Indie Bookstores by buying through www.bookshop.org Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego will have signed copies (not bookplates) and offers Free shipping for media mail rate within the U.S. on orders over $35. https://www.mystgalaxy.com/book/9781250256522
One of my favorite genre of books are survival stories, so you best believe I love books about doomsday preppers. I just find it so interesting getting a look inside the lives of those who prep and learn survival skills. I mean, in a weird sense there’s some logic behind it! I personally could probably stand for some additional survival skills, lol. So you can imagine that I went into Last Girls with high expectations, and quite honestly I was blown away.
I want to torture her, let her puzzle it out, but there’s no time.
The first thing I really need to point out is how amazing a writer Brodsky is. I love lyrical yet strong writing (if that makes sense), which is probably why I typically prefer fantasy to contemporary books. I often find that contemporaries are written in a much more matter of fact tone, but Last Girls had such beautiful prose. It was everything that I look for in writing style and everything I usually find lacking in contemporaries. Color me impressed!
And nothing that happens going forward will ever refute the fact that for a long time we were the Juniper sisters.
And the second thing I need to point out is the timeliness of this story. I mean, this book couldn’t be coming out at a better time! I wasn’t sure if I would absolutely love a prepper story right now or find it too “much” given the current state of things, but I was happy that it fell into the adored wholeheartedly category. But, it’s also probably because I’ve been in a I need to camp and leave society mood lately. But seriously though, the characters were just so fascinating that you couldn’t help but want to read more and the plot move quickly enough to keep the story interesting, but not too quickly to give you whiplash. This was honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a while!
About the Author
DEMETRA BRODSKY writes twisty thrillers about dark family secrets. She is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned full-time. A native of Massachusetts with a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Demetra now lives in Southern California where she’s always exploring and researching, looking for clues to things that might feed into her next book. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack, her debut YA Thriller, is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection, an (ALAN) Pick (The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE), and a Publishers Marketplace Buzz Book for Young Adults for Spring/Summer 2018.
▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @demebrodsky ▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @torteen ▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit) ▪︎Answer the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering: If you had to prep for the end of the world, what five things would you take?
▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know in a comment you follow). Check everyone’s Instagram handles below: @bookish_rantings @popthebutterfly @love2dazzle @thecleverreader @fictitiouswonderland @jypsylynn @trappedinsidestories @belleeeey_ @_.sleepydoe._ @emeliesbooks @pnwbookworm @TheReadingCornerforAll @bookcrushin
T&Cs & Disclaimers:
▪︎Giveaway ends on May 13th (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc. ▪︎Open to residents of US only ▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram.
The winner will be announced after May 15th 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN US ONLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram.
*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Magic by Midnight Series: The Librarian’s Chronicles #1 Author: Allison Bass Publishing Date: July 1st, 2019 Genres: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Felicity, a young librarian, is certain her only adventures will come in the form of the books she reads. When her uncle reveals that the palace librarians have the secret gift of interpreting fairy tales, stories that control the fate of the kingdom, she is thrust into a new world of magic. Between rescuing Cinderella, charming a prince, and battling an evil force trying to sabotage the fairy tale, Felicity realizes orchestrating a happily ever after ending is going to take all of her wits.
However, it’s her heart that is put to the real test. She finds herself having to choose between her own happy ending or protecting the fairy tale she’s been tasked with completing. After the clock strikes midnight, Felicity discovers her world will change forever and some fates are stronger than magic.
What do librarians and magic have in common with me? An easy hook to make me NEED it. Magic by Midnight was just such a delightful read that gave me both of those aspects and then some! Plus it has the whole fairy tale aspect! And while I say I’m a snob regarding fairy tale retellings, I generally wind up liking the ones I pick up. I was especially happy since this wasn’t another Beauty and the Beast retelling, but the featured fairy tale was Cinderella.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy book, which is a shock since it’s my favorite genre, so I was really excited to pick up this one for my stop on the tour! And it was the perfect book for my cravings because it had all of my favorite fantastical elements! Plus it was just such a fun read, which is another really important thing for me right now. I have been needing things that just take my mind off of everything.
I also really loved all of the characters. They were all so quirky and snarky and unique and cinnamon-bun-y. But even the side characters tried to steal the show. Which, I love when I can love side characters! Everything just came together wonderfully and it was such a fun read!
About the Author
Allison grew up a voracious reader who daydreamed about stories filled with romance, adventure, and magic. One day, she decided to put those stories on paper. Her debut novel Magic by Midnight is the result. Like any 21st century fairy tale heroine, she met her own prince via the Internet. They do not live in a castle, but they have a beagle who acts like a court jester. When she’s not spending time with her husband and son, she enjoys finding new stories for her personal library.
Spectacle (#1) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: February 12, 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.
Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
Sensational (Spectacle #2) by Jodie Lynn Zdrok Publisher: Tor Teen Release Date: February 11, 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Sensational is the thrilling follow-up to Spectacle in which a killer haunts the Paris World’s Fair of 1889.
The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.
Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.
Ah Paris, how I love it! The drama! The fashion! The culture! The food! I mean, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It is actually the only city I could ever see myself living in. When I visited I just instantly fell in love and felt right at home. So, as you can guess, I always love to read books set in Paris! There’s just something so magical about the city, and I love when the books add in their own sets of magic to one of my favorite places.
I have come to realize that I actually really love duologies. It’s probably because they always leave me wanting more. I like feeling like I need more over feeling like the series is dragging on and on. I also extra love when these duologies are set in one of my favorite settings AND involve magic. I also really love how well Zdrok interwove the history of the times into the story. It makes it seem more plausible and really brings to life the characters and themes.
I also loved all of the pettiness in Sensational! I’m a petty person myself so I enjoy the snark and pettiness when characters start to let it eek out. The second book takes a little bit to take off compared to the first, but once it does the story really starts to come full circle. And I love that aspect about the duology, it makes it more impactful when elements from the first book begin to affect the characters in the next one. It’s just so much more realistic to life.
Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. She enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, traveling, doing races (to offset being a foodie), and posting cat photos to Instagram. She works in technology and lives in North Carolina by way of Massachusetts.
The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens Publisher: Thomas Nelson Release Date: March 3, 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
The Gemini Thief could be anyone. Your father, your mother, your best friend’s crazy uncle. Some country music star’s deranged sister. Anyone.
The Gemini Thief is a serial kidnapper, who takes three boys and holds them captive from June 1st to June 30th of the following year. The June Boys endure thirteen months of being stolen, hidden, observed, and fed before they are released, unharmed, by their masked captor. The Thief is a pro, having eluded authorities for nearly a decade and taken at least twelve boys.
Now Thea Delacroix has reason to believe the Gemini Thief took a thirteenth victim: her cousin, Aulus McClaghen.
But the game changes when one of the kidnapped boys turns up dead. Together with her boyfriend Nick and her best friends, Thea is determined to find the Gemini Thief and the remaining boys before it’s too late. Only she’s beginning to wonder something sinister, something repulsive, something unbelievable, and yet, not impossible:
Ahhhhh! This book was so good! I’m a sucker for a classic styled mystery, so of course I was immediately interested in this one. Add in some of the dark and broody elements and I’m sold! I mean, the writing is just so delicious and elevates the story.
The bulk of this story is about Thea trying to figure out who the Gemini Thief is after her cousin becomes one of his yearly victims. Basically, the Gemini Thief operates under this weird yearly schedule where he steals three boys and holds them captive for thirteen months before letting them go alive. The only problem is that one of the kidnapped boys suddenly turns up dead.
I think that this book is coming out at the perfect timing too. This truly sounds like something you would hear about on a true crime podcast. Which also helps add to the eerie feel of the story. The realness of the horror these characters are facing is palpable, allowing you to descend into the madness of what is occuring.
About the Author
Courtney “Court” Stevens grew up among rivers, cornfields, churches, and gossip in the small town south. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, Olympic torchbearer and bookseller at Parnassus Books. These days she writes coming-of-truth fiction and is the Community Outreach Manager for Warren County Public Library. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and several novels with her name on the spine.
Malice by Pintip Dunn Publisher: Entangled Publishing Release Date: February 4th 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
What I know: a boy in my class will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.
What I don’t know: who he is.
In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved….
Malice is a high octane sci-fi thriller with a bit of fantasy mixed in. It is such a fun and quick read! A certain character also made me giggle quite a lot, much to my chagrin a few times in class. What can I say? I love some good sarcastic banter. It also goes to show that I was so invested in reading this that I willingly read through class. Not that I would EVER in ANY other circumstance willingly not pay attention.
So I only have Malice as an ebook and I’m kind of sad. AKA, I think Imma buy a physical copy. I mean, it is really pretty! And even though I don’t have any shelf space left I DO reread books with characters who make me giggle a lot…. Probably more than I should. Which leads me to how I wasn’t sure if I would love this book. Throughout the years I have been wary of sci-fi. I don’t know why, but it’s just not something I always naturally love. BUT, this year I decided was going to be the year that I really get into this genre. And I’m so glad I chose Malice for this! It was the perfect selection and with the wit, the banter, and the thriller-esque experience I was absolutely hooked!
I loved the diversity amongst the characters. It was diversity without including diversity for diversity’s sake. PHEW, that was a lot of diversities! But it’s something that continuously frustrates me while reading, when you can tell that an author includes diversity just to say they did. So I really appreciated the flawless addition of diversity in Malice. Each character was their own unique person!
About the Author
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.
Her novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix del’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the TomeSociety It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.
Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.
So, I think I have found my niche in dream casts! I also just might like making mood boards. Who knows, I sure don’t! So, I hope you like my dream cast selections! I definitely went with a color based *aesthetic* this time, I guess I was just feeling the pastels.