Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"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's selection is:

By: Sarah Mlynowski
Published By: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: I see London, I see France
I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.

Why it's Wanted:

I love Sarah Mlynowski's stories. They're smart, fun, quick reads that leave you wanting more. So a story set in Europe with adventure and romance? Sign me up!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (108)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I gasped. 'Imposs--'

'Don't say it,' muttered Mal.

Then chaos erupted."

Taken from pg. 119 of RUIN AND RISING
by Leigh Bardugo

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Sketch: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

By: Stephanie Perkins
Published By: Dutton
Release Date: Aug. 14, 2014
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Pages: 339
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

First Thought After Finishing: Stephanie Perkins is a master of contemporary romance!

I read Stephanie Perkins’s first two books a long time ago, and I always wanted to read Isla’s story. I’m so glad that I finally picked it up! From the Paris setting once again to a romance that was both too good to be true and unflinchingly real, I devoured the pages in this book.

Isla has had a crush on Josh since her first year at School of American in Paris. She is convinced that Josh would never look at her. But one night, when she’s home over the summer and a bit loopy from pain meds, she runs into Josh at a café. After their conversation, she hopes that things might finally be different. When they’re back in school in Paris, to her complete astonishment, Isla discovers that Josh really does have feelings for her. Only her life isn’t a perfect fairy tale, and happily ever after will not come so easily. But with help from their family and friends, and a little guidance from their hearts, they might just be able to make it work.

Only Stephanie Perkins could write a novel about a couple who is already together and have it be something that I wanted to read. Isla reminded me so much of myself—quiet, keeping to only one or two close friends, dedicating most of her time to her studies. More than once, I found myself wondering what it would be like if the boy I liked in high school would have suddenly started paying attention to me. Josh is the classic guy you want to love—he has a bad-boy exterior with a teddy-bear interior and an artistic flair. I appreciated that there was a reason for them to be a couple beyond mere attraction.

"Our fingers are in each other's hair, and his breath is in the hollow of my neck, and I wish the world would swallow us here, whole, in this moment.And that's when it hits me that this--this--is falling in love."

Isla and Josh certainly have their share of troubles, which is to be expected for any teen relationship. While Josh turns to his art, Isla turns to her best friend, Kurt. I loved reading about a character with high-functioning autism who wasn’t portrayed quite as extreme as some others have been (think Sheldon). Isla also has her sisters, Genevieve and Hattie. I enjoyed seeing how their family relationship developed as well. This book was full of so many vivid emotions, and that made for an engrossing reading experience. It was bittersweet to reach the ending and realize that not only was it time to say goodbye to Isla and Josh but also to bid final farewells to Anna, St. Clair, Lola, and Cricket. These books made me fall in love with contemporary romance, and I can only hope to find more like them in the future.

Most Memorable Aspect: I loved the descriptive settings, particularly one Spanish city view. Reading books like this one helps satisfy my wanderlust!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Sketch: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

By: Laini Taylor
Published By: Little, Brown, & Company
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3
Pages: 613
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera's rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited - not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as - from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond - humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

First Thought After Finishing: Only Laini Taylor could have pulled this off!

The benefit of being so far behind in my reading was that I didn’t have the dreaded wait between the second and third books. Imagine, reading sequels when you remember every detail like you just read it—because you did! As sad as I am to see this world draw to a close, I have to say that with what is in the books, Laini Taylor did not disappoint.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. Once upon a time, they hoped and dreamed of a different world. Once upon a time, the fate of that world fell into their hands. Karou and Akiva thought that they knew what battles lay ahead of them. They thought that bringing the chimaera and the seraphim together could solve the world’s problems. But that was only the beginning…

Writing reviews for the last book in a series is something that I have always found challenging. How does one gush enough (or complain enough) without spoiling anything in the previous books? Even though Dreams of Gods and Monsters has been out on shelves for some time, I imagine that somewhere, someone like me has not yet read the book. And if that is the case, then I must ask you, what are you waiting for?

“Once upon a time…a journey began, that would stitch all the worlds together with light.”

This is a book of epic proportions, but that doesn’t mean that there are no familiar faces. The characters that we have come to know and love are back. Karou, Ziri, Zuzanna, Mik, Akiva, and Liraz all have their part to play. The character transformation throughout the trilogy was fantastic, but in this book, Liraz is finally allowed to shine. I have a soft spot for the “tough” characters who are finally allowed to have their moment, and I loved the story that Liraz was given. There was also Ziri, who went from someone I wanted to hug in comfort to someone I wanted to hug in joy. He might not have been Akiva, but he is certainly the good guy that you cannot help but love. Lucky Ziri, indeed. There were also new faces here, like Eliza. She was interesting from the beginning, and when her story begins to converge, the true brilliance of Laini Taylor’s writing begins to shine through.

“Absence has presence, sometimes, and that was what she felt. Absence like crushed-dead grass where something has been and is no longer. Absence where a thread has been ripped, ragged, from a tapestry, leaving a gap that can never be mended.

That was all she felt.”

I love fantasy books because the worlds amaze me. As a reader, it’s fascinating to see how worlds can overlap or how one small change can create a huge ripple effect beyond imagination. I fell in love with Karou’s world all the way back in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and that never changed. The chimaera and the resurrectionist were highly original when the book debuted, and they remained so. The only thing that I felt like this book lacked was some of the gorgeous prose found in former books. This book had more action (and also more of the character’s thoughts) rather than expansive descriptions creating atmosphere, and I missed that. Still, the author has just released the first book in a new series, and I am eager to dive into that world and all that it has to offer.

Most Memorable Aspect: The world here was beyond expansive. I love how the mythology was connected and the full history was finally revealed—I wish I had imagination like this!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Blog Tour & Guest Post: Breaking by Danielle Rollins

By: Danielle Rollins
Published By: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Series: None
Pages: 352
Genre: Thriller
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…

Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.

~ ~ ~ GUEST POST ~ ~ ~

5 Secrets To Immediately Improve Your Writing

I’m twenty-one-years old, and sitting at a table in a café. Two older, more established writers sit at the table with me, casually sipping their coffees and reading my pages. It’s my first real critique group, and I’m so nervous I’m about to wet myself.

Finally, Sharon puts my pages down. “It’s a good chapter, but you use too many adverbs,” she says, with all the confidence of someone who actually took writing classes in college.

I stare back, dumbly. “Oh?”

I’d never heard that rule before. Unlike Sharon, I didn’t go to writing classes in college (it was a timing thing, they were usually in the morning, when I had to work) so I’d missed out on juicy little nuggets of wisdom like adverbs = bad. Over the course of the next hour, Sharon would proceed to spout out a lot of rules I’d never heard before, and I would feel increasingly like a fraud. I’d never gone to creative writing classes. I felt like I was years and years behind.

Now that I’m a fulltime, professional writer, I can tell you that it wasn’t true. I wasn’t years behind just because I missed a few creative writing classes, but there were a few tips and tricks I didn’t learn. It took me a while to figure them all out, but you don’t have to go through that same pain and struggle, because I’m going to write them down here, in a neat and easy-to-read list.

1. Adverbs

Sharon was right about the adverbs. All my uses of words like “adorably” and “scathingly” and “waspishly” weren’t spicing my pages up, like I thought they were. They were watering them down. For an easy way to immediately improve your writing, try doing a document search for “ly.” Highlight those nasty adverbs and try to find ways to cut them out.

2. Just, that, very

While you’re on a search and destroy mission, include the words “just,” “that,” and “very.” Most of the time, cutting these words doesn’t even require you to restructure your sentence. You can just delete and move on.

3. He said/she said

Writers have mixed reactions to dialogue tags. Some writers think the only tags you should ever use are “said” and “asked” while others happily include “whispered” and “screamed” and “shouted,” among others. I’m in the middle on this controversy. I like to sprinkle a few exciting dialogue tags into my writing, but try to keep it to one or two a page.

4. Blocking

If you aren’t one for dialogue tags at all, you can try out something I like to call blocking. It’s when an author doesn’t tell you who said a line of dialogue at all, but uses clever descriptions to imply who’s talking. For instance:

“That’s insane.” Lucy placed her coffee cup on the table too hard, causing a dribble of brown liquid to slop over the edge.

Now you not only know that Lucy said the line of dialogue, but that she’s getting worked up enough to spill her coffee.

5. Say it simply

Most of the time bad writing isn’t exactly bad, it’s just complicated. The writer is trying to do something clever and fun with words, and it comes out confusing. This type of writing makes a reader stop and scratch her head, which completely takes her out of the story.

I was often guilty of this early on in my career, so much so that I came up with a rule for myself—say it simply. Whatever I was trying to say, whatever feeling I was trying to get across, my goal was to write it in the simplest, most straightforward way possible. Then, if I wanted to dress it up later, I could go crazy.

I used this little trick a lot in my book BREAKING, which comes out June 6. BREAKING is sort of like STRANGER THINGS meets THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, and I desperately wanted the first chapter to have an eerie vibe without being outright scary. I knew the mood I was going for when I read it, but I had no idea how to accomplish the task myself. I took my own advice and, instead of trying to come up with something complicated and beautiful, I challenged myself to do the opposite. Write short, clear sentences about what was happening. Focus on small details—leaves beneath feet, wind on the back of the neck—rather than big, overarching themes. The result was a chapter—and book—I’m deeply proud of!

Now I want to hear from you! What are your favorite writing tips? Tell me in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @vegarollins.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I'm currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.

Find Her Online: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
5/29/2017 - The Cover Contessa - Interview
5/29/2017 - A Dream Within A Dream - Review
5/30/2017 - YA Books Central - Guest Post
5/30/2017 - a GREAT read - Review
5/31/2017 - Pandora's Books - Excerpt
5/31/2017 - Sweet Southern Home - Review
6/1/2017 - BookHounds YA - Guest Post
6/1/2017 - Dazzled by Books - Review
6/2/2017 - Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Interview
6/2/2017 - Don't Judge, Read - Review
Week Two:
6/5/2017 - Wandering Bark Books - Guest Post
6/5/2017 - Pretty Deadly Reviews - Review
6/6/2017 - Two Chicks on Books - Excerpt
6/6/2017 - Novel Novice - Review
6/7/2017 - Literary Meanderings - Guest Post
6/7/2017 - YA Book Madness - Review
6/8/2017 - Mama Reads Blog - Excerpt
6/8/2017 - A Gingerly Review - Review

6/9/2017 - Portrait of a Book- Guest Post
6/9/2017 - Storybook Slayers - Review


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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"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's selection is:

By: Sandhya Menon
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Why it's Wanted:

How cute is this cover? I've heard really good things about this one, and it sounds like a good story. Plus, I love learning about other cultures and reading books in dual perspectives.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Sketch: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

By: Robin Talley
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Series: None
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex.

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.

First Thought After Finishing: This is a book for teens, and I'm glad it exists for the teens who need it.

I'm always drawn to books with foreign settings, perhaps because I'm too poor right now to travel everywhere that I want to go. I also liked the idea of this book addressing a teenager exploring her sexuality on a church mission trip. Because this can be a contentious issue, especially the intersection of religion and LBGTQIA+ rights, I was curious to see how Robin Talley addressed it.

Aki is only fifteen, but she is ready for her life to begin. On her mission trip, she and her best friend make a pact to have a hookup before they go home. Enter Christa, a girl from another church who Aki finds fascinating. once they start talking, Aki is convinced that she wants her summer fling to be with Christa. Only that means keeping some secrets. And then a few more secrets. And Aki isn't the only one. Even with her family and her best friend Lori, it seems like what happens in Mexico might not stay in Mexico.

Confession time: This is the first YA book with a bisexual female that I've read. I wasn't positive what to expect, but I thought the author handled the subject matter well. Aki was ready to dive into new experiences headfirst, and her youthful enthusiasm shine through here. She and Christa were both sweet together and also a good reminder of what that first "real" crush can feel like. The thing I was most surprised about here was the discussion on safe sex for females--and it is part of why this book can be so important for teens. Sex is going to happen, but protection is important.

But this book isn't just about romance and sex. Aki and her friends discuss major issues in the world, exploring whether or not these issues should be supported. Aki also has to deal with secrets, keeping some for others and some of her own. Honestly, this book made me glad that I'm not a teenager anymore, where every action and word can be so easily documented. The drama these teens created for themselves, the challenges to lifelong friendship, and the mind games are all so accurate to what teens face and so saddening to me as an adult. I wanted to hug some and shake some sense into some others. But ultimately everyone found support somewhere, which is so essential for the issues they were dealing with.

Most Memorable Aspect: This book has real talk about a lot of issues, from sex to gay marriage to international war. But no matter who you're choosing to be, somewhere there will be a friend or family member who will be there for the ride.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Air and Ash by Alex Liddell

I am so excited that AIR AND ASH by Alex Lidell is available now and that I get to share the news! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Alex Lidell, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a finished copy of AIR AND ASH & a copy of A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas, International, courtesy of Alex and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

By: Alex Liddell
Published By: Danger Bearing Press
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Series: Tides #1
Pages: 284
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.

After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails.

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battleworthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.

AIR AND ASH is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and Naomi Novik.


My breaths come quick, my side vision a blur of sand. The horses rear, showing their bellies and hooves. When Red turns to the beasts, I crash into him. The impact ricochets through me. I drop my rock.

Red staggers but remains standing.

I wrap my arms around Red and draw the other pistol from his waistline even as he throws me to the ground. I land in a heap and breathless, but my hands still clutch the gun.

Inconveniently, the bloody weapon is as much a danger to me as to the men. It bucks in my hand, yielding to the natural pulse of Clay’s uncontrolled magic. Rising to one knee, I move the barrel between Bald and Red. “Stop,” I command. “All of you.”

Three sets of eyes grip me. None give a sign of recognition. I little blame them—having spent most of my life aboard an Ashing ship, the only people who’d reliably recognize me are those I’ve served with. This Felielle trio is unlikely to recognize even Thad outside the throne room, or think twice if they heard my name absent salutation.

My palms are moist, but I know better than to let the fear slip into my voice. “I believe the man has understood your message,” I say.

Clay’s dog chooses that moment to run up beside me and bare its teeth. Its low growl leadens the air between us. One heartbeat stretches after another, punctuated by the break of waves and the horses’ snorts. My breaths come quick and shallow. I’m unlikely to miss at this range, but the pistol is good for one shot only.

Bald squints. “What’s your stake in this?”

“A broken law and a bound man.” I shake my head. The constant foreign presence in Ashing is a necessary burden for now, but I hope to see it end after the war. “One pistol has fired already, gentlemen. I expect the Ashing patrols are en route to investigate.”

Red scowls at me, likely calculating whether he might knock me to the ground before I squeeze off the trigger or the horses scamper. He probably can.

I scowl back, hoping the thugs’ employer paid them too little to risk their hides so greatly. “I would wager you will pay with your horses and backs if the patrols come upon us now.”

Bald snorts and makes a decision. “Is the lady correct, Domenic? Has the message penetrated?” He lands a vicious knee in the man’s abdomen.

Domenic’s jaw tightens, and he has to draw a breath before he can speak. “I have a debt.” His voice is steadier than I had expected. “I will pay it.”

“Why, that is all we wished to hear in the first place.” Bald pats Domenic’s shoulder and turns away, then twists back and punches Domenic’s jaw as an afterthought. “A pinch of a memory aid.” He chuckles at his joke and, accepting the reins from Red, swings into the saddle. The horses neigh and pick up a gallop, eager to be away, and I raise my free arm to shield my eyes from the flying sand.


Alex Lidell is an avid horseback rider, paramedic and ice cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s lifelong love for YA fantasy books. Alex’s debut novel, THE CADET OF TILDOR, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards finalist. Her second book AIR AND ASH releases in May 2017.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Instagram


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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova

Today Elise Kova and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE DRAGONS OF NOVA, which releases July 11, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win assigned ARC of the book! And now, without further ado, I present THE DRAGONS OF NOVA by Elise Kova!

Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons. Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.


“They’re coming from the front!” Nora screamed over the crescendo of the engine gaining speed. On cue, the train lurched as an endwig was splattered to a bloody mess on the point of the engine’s pilot.

“Bloody cogs,” Florence cursed. The Vicar Alchemist had sent her to protect the mission as the Revolver, but one of her wasn’t going to be enough. “I’m going to the engine.”

“What are we going to do?” The usually self-sure Nora had the face of a cornered hare.

“You’re going to fight.” Florence passed her a weapon.

“I’ve never shot a gun before.”

“Now is a great time to learn.”

“I’m an Alchemist!”

Seriously, Florence was a breath away from shooting the woman herself. “You’re dead if you don’t adapt! There’s three more bombs exactly like the ones you just used, right there. Just fend them off until the train gets up to speed. But don’t use any other disks.”

Florence had no more time to waste as the train lurched again. They just had to survive until the train reached full speed. For all the endwig were, they certainly couldn’t keep up with a locomotive.

She hoped.

The wind whipped her hair around her face as she stuck her head from the train car. Florence reached out for the ladder to the right of the door, scaling up before another endwig could emerge. She swung up just in time as an explosion nearly blew her foot clean off.

“By the five guilds, you two only had three bombs!” she screamed over the wind, not knowing if they could hear. “Ration them a bit!”

Standing, Florence looked in horror at the tracks ahead. Dozens of endwig lined the path, running eagerly to meet the train. She loaded six canisters at once.

Jumping to the tender, Florence lost her footing atop the moving train car. A nail snapped clean off as she sought a grip that would prevent her from being thrown to certain death. If she fell now, she would never get back on the vessel. She’d be torn limb from limb.

Gritting her teeth, Florence rose to her knees, shooting two endwig in the process. She wedged herself between two grooves on the top of the tender. Blood pooled around her shins as she dug them into the metal for a grip where there was none, but she was stable enough to take aim, and that meant she could open fire.

Five shots down, and Florence reloaded her gun. Endwig came relentlessly like a never-ending nightmare. But the train didn’t gain any more speed. She repeated the process, waiting for the vessel to be like her bullets, whizzing through the night at deadly speeds.

“Anders, now would be a great time to open her up!” she screamed.

There was no reply.

“Anders, Rotus, we need speed, get us out of here faster!”

Five long claws curled around the door of the engine in answer. Florence watched in horror as the white silhouette of an endwig, dotted in the black blood of a Chimera, pulled itself from the engine room. Florence swallowed hard. They were without Rivet and Raven, stumbling through the darkness, enemies at all sides. She raised her gun slowly, looking fearlessly at the face of death itself. Her revolver was steady over the rocking of the train. “You think I’m not used to this?” Her mouth curled into a mad grin. “I’ve been fighting my way out of the darkness my whole life. And you’re not going to stop me now.”

Gunshots echoed through the forest.


Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

Find Elise Online:
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"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's selection is:

By: Mary O'Connell
Published By: Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Gilmore Girls with magical realism! Dear Reader is an original, poignant modern-day take on Wuthering Heights, as a high school senior searches for her teacher and meets a boy who may just be Heathcliff come to life.

For seventeen-year-old Flannery Fields, the only respite from the plaid-skirted mean girls at Sacred Heart High School at is her beloved teacher Miss Sweeney’s AP English class. But when Miss Sweeney doesn't show up to teach Flannery's favorite book, Wuthering Heights, leaving behind her purse, Flannery knows something is wrong.

The police are called, and Flannery gives them everything—except Miss Sweeney's copy of Wuthering Heights. This she holds onto. And good thing she does, because when she opens it, it has somehow transformed into Miss Sweeney's real-time diary. It seems Miss Sweeney is in New York City—and she's in trouble.

So Flannery does something very unFlannery-like: she skips school and sets out for Manhattan, with the book as her guide. But as soon as she arrives, she meets a boy named Heath. Heath is British, on a gap year, incredibly smart—yet he's never heard of Albert Einstein or Anne Frank. In fact, Flannery can't help thinking that he seems to have stepped from the pages of Brontë's novel. Could it be?

With inimitable wit and heart, Mary O'Connell has crafted a love letter to reading, to the books that make us who we are. Dear Reader, charming and heartbreaking, is a novel about finding your people, on the page in the world.

Why it's Wanted:

Gilmore Girls and magical realism? Yes please! Add in Wuthering Heights, and this book sounds like it has the potential to be a new favorite. I'm definitely excited for this one!

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