The Mortal Instruments: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 by Cassandra Clare & Cassandra Jean

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fourstars

Title: The Mortal Instruments: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1

Author: Cassandra Clare & Cassandra Jean

Pages: 208

Genre: Graphic novel, YA, fantasy

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The first installment of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling urban fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments, is adapted into a graphic novel series!

Hanging out with her best friend, Simon, is just about the most exciting thing in Clary’s life…that is, until she realizes there are people only she can see. But when her mother disappears and a monster attacks her, Clary has to embrace a world that she never even knew existed–a world full of vampires, werewolves, demons, and those who fight for the humans, Shadowhunters…

Okay, I’m going to be real for a second: I originally rated the novel version of this book 2 stars. Well, maybe it was more like 2.5 stars. But, nevertheless, I just did not love it and when people saw my rating I was… met with some rather unhappy responses.

Here’s my opinion on The Mortal Instrument series: they’re fun and consumable, and they have stood up well over the years. They have good world building, action, and romance. But what grips me the most is the very complex history and connections between all the characters/families. I think Cassandra Clare does such an amazing job in building the Shadowhunter/Downworlder worlds and each book gets stronger and stronger. Are they literary masterpieces? I mean, that’s not my decision to make. And I’m not going to drag anyone who likes these books because you are allowed to enjoy what you want. This series has overall been really fun for me to read and I will continue to read however many more books Cassandra Clare publishes.

Now with that being said, I did not love book 1 in this series because it read like bad Harry Potter fanfic. However this graphic novel was a wonderful new way for me to dive back into this world. I really recommend this if you’re wanting a refresher or cliffnotes version of what happened in book 1 (but keep in mind this graphic novel is only a portion of the novel.) And, dare I say it? But I found Jace so much more likeable in the graphic novel version!

However, I don’t love the art. At times some panels looked really poorly drawn and it was confusing during some action sequences. And there were a few times where I thought Clary and Izzy looked oddly drawn. However, I really love the cover art and wished we could’ve gotten the entire graphic novel in full color.

Overall I really enjoyed diving back into this world. There were a lot of things I forgot (like, hello, Hodge. I forgot about you) and it was fun to be able to visualize it all. I thought Jace’s falcon story was depicted very well and all the pertinent information wasn’t glossed over. I really think if you’re a huge fan of this series then you may enjoy these graphic novels, too!

fourstars

xx,

Amy

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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fourstars

Title: One True Loves

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 352

Genre: Contemporary romance

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

I think this is one of those books where you’re either going to end up loving or hating the ending. I fell into the “love it” camp, but I totally understand why others may not agree!

I am also always intrigued by “what would you do?” scenarios. And I know Taylor Jenkins Reid is quite the master at weaving those kind of stories. This book felt very pure and realistic, and I very much fell in love with all the characters.

In a nutshell, this book follows Emma. She marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They both felt trapped and bored in their home town, so once they got married, they vowed to always travel and be on the move. They lived very spontaneous and adventurous lifestyles. Until one day, Jesse is presumed dead from disappearing after a helicopter crash.

Emma moves back to her home town and eventually pieces her life back together. She finds happiness in running her parents’ book shop and then becomes engaged to Sam. After all those years, she finally was able to move on with her life. Then Jesse returns.

This book completely resonated with me because it really does split a life into “before” and “after”. Do you have one of those moments that split your life into two? For me it was falling ill with an incurable illness. One moment I was health and happy, and then “after” I was sickly, bedridden, and unable to achieve the goals I previously wanted. This book really hit me because I really did change as a person between my late 20’s and early 30’s. And after a lot of time grieving that part of me that I “lost”, I am now in a much better head space and happier.

I loved how this book followed not just Emma’s relationship with Jesse but also her relationship with Sam. Each man in her life was not painted in a negative light, so it was difficult to decide who to ‘ship’ her with. But ultimately I’m happy with the decision she made in the end. It all felt very realistic (despite some of the decisions Emma made.) I will warn you that Emma does sleep with both Jesse and Sam, and that cheating is still cheating. So please keep that in mind if that’s something that will bother you.

Overall I truly loved this book and recommend it. I really loved how TJR was able to seamlessly weave together Emma’s “before” and “afters”, and how it is okay and normal to change the paths in our lives.


fourstars

Buddy read with Melanie and Sue!

xx,

Amy

 

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7) by Sarah J. Maas

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threestars

Title: Kingdom of Ash

Series: Throne of Glass, #7

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 992

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

This review will contain spoilers from all the books in the Throne of Glass series including book 7, Kingdom of Ash. I also want to preface this by saying this won’t be much of a “real” review, but rather more of my personal feelings (ranting and raving, I guess?) on the characters and how this series wrapped up.

However, despite my soon-to-be rant, I want to also say that I really did enjoy this book and I am overall satisfied with how things ended. I think SJM’s writing has improved so much in each book, and she really does know how to write a kick ass battle/action scene. And while I did think this book could’ve been shortened by at least 200 pages, I was loving the action and felt like I was transported in the middle of it.

Okay, so here is a messy hodgepodge of my thoughts! SPOILERS BELOW!


⇒ Right away I felt like the book progressed SO SLOWLY. Aedion and Lysandra’s POVs was boring me to tears, and Aelin’s captive scenes really dragged and dragged. This book really needed to be shorter because it gave me the worst slump of my life.

⇒ Speaking of Aelin, her “prison break” scene was my absolute favorite part. It was so wonderfully executed and I felt every single piece of raw emotion. Brilliant, I tell you! And when she reunited with Rowan for the first time and gasped, “Fenrys” (implying he needs to go back and get him)? I died. Such a great scene.

⇒ So, let’s talk about how The Thirteen got SCREWED. Is it just me or does SJM think they’re the most “disposable” characters in the series? Because they seriously got the shaft. Asterin was one of my favorites but she and the Thirteen were basically used as a plot device. I actually cried and I am NEVER a crier.

⇒ What was up with Dorian shapeshifting? *insert major eye roll* I really, REALLY do not like it when an already-powerful character all of a sudden discovers another powerful ability. Oh, how convenient! Now he can shapeshift so he can spy on Erawan. And when he shifted into a woman? Dorian, THEY’RE LEGS. They’re not any different than the legs you have as a dude. It was like reading a really cringy scene written by a male author who doesn’t understand the female body: “And then she walked down the stairs boobily in just her panties.” Legit expected that. *bangs head against desk*

⇒ So, uhh, was Chaol even in this book?

⇒ I really love Yrene and I’m glad she ended up having a huge role in the end. At first I was convinced she and Chaol were going to die after they were bonded in Tower of Dawn. But then I realized SJM was pregnant while writing this book and there was no way she’d kill off a pregnant Yrene.

⇒ Unpopular opinion time: I don’t like Lysandra’s shapeshifting powers. I love Lysandra as a characters but, again, I feel like shapeshifting is too CONVENIENT of a power to have in the fantasy world, and it gives me no suspense when she’s in a battle scene.

⇒ Nesryn and Sartaq were just… there? More plot devices, I suppose.

⇒ Lol @ Maeve. That is all.

⇒ My thoughts on Rowan still stand: Dude is a dud.

⇒ I wildly giggled when I read the Rhys and Feyre cameo. But Aelin flying through different worlds immediately made me think of the wild, psychedelic scene from Doctor Strange. And then imagining Rhys give her a little “boost” made me chuckle. But, my Rhys-loving heart was living for that scene. SJM would probably get so much hate but I’d fully support a TOG/ACOTAR crossover.

⇒ I would read an entire book on Lorcan and Elide’s romance. Forever and always.

⇒ The ending wrapped up a bit too… perfectly. I mean, I’m glad no one else died (but I’ll always be bitter about the Thirteen) but it was just a neat ending. Perhaps a little too tidy, especially when just ten days after the war everyone is dancing. But I guess SJM would want to leave it open to any possible future spin offs?


So overall I really did enjoy this finale despite my rants above. And I do think that if you’ve been a fan of this series from the get-go then you’ll like how it all wrapped up. I personally was disappointed with how many scenes dragged and dragged, and how horribly the Thirteen got thrown under the bus. But I hope my random thoughts weren’t offensive to anyone, and I truly hope you enjoyed this book! If you didn’t, I’d love to hear why!

threestars

xx,

Amy

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

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ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review

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Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Series: A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Pages: 496

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

My Rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.


I’ve been dreading writing this review because I know so many early readers have praised this book. While I did enjoy reading it with my dear friends, I just wasn’t blown away and, sadly, don’t have much interest in the sequel.

This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but darker. Each season a girl is kidnapped to be forced to fall in love with the beast. If it fails, the beast has to relive each season over and over again until he can break the curse. Also, each season he turns into a different kind of monster that kills everyone in his path. However, the season Harper is kidnapped into his world will be the last season. Either she is to break the curse or he will die.

While I love the premise of this book, I was just not in love with the world building and I found Lilith a completely cringy, cheesy villain. I also thought the beginning of the book was such a huge mess and provided very little back story about Harper’s family. I really couldn’t even fall in love with the romance because the entire plot revolves around a kidnapping. And the “big twist” I could see coming from a mile away.

But what I did love was how this book brought awareness to cerebral palsy. Harper is on the higher-functioning spectrum of CP and it was nice to see such a strong heroine represented in this book. I found her to be extremely likeable and badass. The humor sprinkled throughout this story also had me smiling a lot, too.

I felt like the story started to really pick up by the last 1/4 of the book. What brought a unique twist to the story was how it weaves modern day Washington, DC alongside the magical realm. Seeing modern day characters transported into magical worlds is always my cup of tea.

So I did enjoy this book, and I found myself always wanting to keep reading once I picked it up. But I just didn’t fall in love with it like I thought I was going to. I didn’t love the writing and I wish the world building was more intricate. But I do think so many readers will love this book and I think you should give it a chance!

threestars

Buddy read with Melanie, Julie, Chelsea, Jules, Jen, and Chelsea!

xx,

Amy

Snow in Love by Kasie West, Nic Stone, Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman

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Book provided by Scholastic

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Title: Snow in Love

Authors: Kasie West, Aimee Friedman, Melissa de la Cruz, Nic Stone

Pages: 256

Genre: YA Contemporary

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

What’s better than one deliciously cozy, swoon-worthy holiday story? Four of them, from some of today’s bestselling authors.

From KASIE WEST, a snowy road trip takes an unexpected detour when secrets and crushes are revealed.

From AIMEE FRIEDMAN, a Hanukkah miracle may just happen when a Jewish girl working as a department store elf finds love.

From MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, Christmas Eve gets a plot twist when a high school couple exchange surprising presents.

From NIC STONE, a scavenger hunt amid the holiday crowds at an airport turns totally romantic.

So grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up, and get ready to fall in love…

I had the privilege of co-hosting a readathon with some amazing ladies this December, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out! Thank you, everyone, from the bottom of my heart, who read along with us, shared their progress on twitter and instagram, and posted the daily photo challenges. We can’t wait to host TistheSeasonAThon again next year!

The first book I read during TistheSeasoAThon was Snow in Love. Snow in Love is a collection of four short holiday stories. We chose this as our group buddy read and overall we had similar thoughts regarding each story. I’m going to briefly give you my thoughts and ratings about each one!


Snow and Mistletoe by Kasie West ★★★★★

This story is a road trip-lover’s dream. Snow and Mistletoe follows Amalie, an opera student who is stranded at the Denver airport. There she runs into a classmate, Sawyer. Sawyer, his sister Heather, and two friends (Wes and Logan) decide to rent a car back to Fresno and they invite Amalie along. From there it’s the cutest story ever told; from driving through snowy towns, stopping in motels, buying souvenirs at random pit stops, all while watching a romance bloom.

But this story also addresses anxiety and absent parents. There’s so much character development packed into just 70 pages. And while the outcome was predictable, I couldn’t help but feel so soft after reading it!

Working in a Winter Wonderland ★★

Okay, yikes. I really, REALLY did not like this story, and that makes me so sad because it’s set in NYC DURING CHRISTMAS TIME. This story follows Maxine, a Jewish college student home from college. She gets a job working as an elf in a department store just so she can save up enough money to buy a pretty dress. She also falls in love with a very cocky guy who is the son of the owner of said department store.

Y’all, I really hated that guy. He was arrogant, self-absorbed, and led Maxine on. And she was so blinded by wanting to buy a pretty dress just so she could go to a NYE party with him? I just can’t. And the rest of the characters were just… there. The other love interest randomly appeared at the end of the story. It was such a mess.

Also, this story is heavily themed around consumerism, which I feel is relevant, but it really did not seem to teach Maxine a lesson at all!

The Magi’s Gift

I originally gave this story 2 stars but… I had to down grade it. The more I think about this story, the more I hated it. I’m not going to delve into this deeply because if you’re familiar with the original story this is based on (The Gift of the Magi) then you’ll know how this ends. And while this is supposed to be a story about sacrificing things you love for others… I just couldn’t deal with how these teens handled their gift-giving dilemmas. Look, there is NOTHING COOL about selling off your family heirlooms to buy your SO a present. Consult an adult. Please.

Grounded ★★★★

This story was just SO FUN. Grounded is a story about being stuck at an airport with your crush. Leigh finds out she’s delayed in ATL but her crush, Harper, is there as well. Leigh hasn’t come out as gay yet to her family, and she’s nervous about Harper finding out, too. But they soon start texting each other and Leigh finds it easy to open up to Harper. They then invent a scavenger hunt throughout the airport — and it is so damn fun. But not only is this book about love and games, but it brings up so many issues about systematic racism (both Leigh and Harper are black). The story is also mostly told in text message format, which made it very quick to fly through!


Overall this puts my average rating around 3 stars, which I feel is right. I just did not love the two middle stories at all, so that makes me quite sad! But I do hope you enjoyed this book, and it’s definitely worth picking up for the first story alone!

threestars

xx,

Amy

Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky

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ARC provided by Turner Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

fourstars

Title: Mammoth

Author: Jill Baguchinsky

Pages: 304

Genre: YA Contemporary

My rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

When I heard this book is about boosting women in STEM and is all about paleontology, I knew I had to request this. While the writing and plot was more of a 3-star read for me, I found the subject matter very near and dear to my heart. So, sorry in advance if this gets a little personal!

Natalie is a plus-size fashion blogger with a passion for paleontology. She gets the opportunity to intern at a dig site (museum) in Austin, TX but she soon learns that it’s impossible to wear cute clothes and look “trendy” while digging in the dirt. And to top it off, she gets the chance to meet her idol, world renowned paleontologist, Tom Carver.

But things take a bad turn when Carver takes credit for one of Natalie’s finds, and Natalie tries to find her footing in the paleontology world, while finding balance between her own happiness and self-confidence.

What I loved most about this book was how much it reminded me of my childhood. My dad was a geologist, and he has a huge collection of fossils, books on dinosaurs, and scale-model dinosaurs. It’s what sparked my desire to go into the paleontology field. But my university didn’t have a paleontology program so I went into a different science field. What resonated with me about Natalie’s story is that I, too, went into a male-dominated field. I was 1 of 3 women to graduate in my aviation class, and later worked in aviation where I was the minority. Like, I totally felt for Natalie having to feel the constant need to prove herself that she belonged in paleontology. And I was living for all the educational scenes where we got to follow along on their digs.

But aside from the paleontology, I loved how fashion was woven into the story. Fashion is Natalie’s armor, and it was nice to see her slowly shed that armor and discover herself. I was also loving how Natalie’s “Look of the day” and blog post started a new chapter.

As far as the story goes, it was fast-paced and an easy read. I wasn’t a huge fan of the rest of the characters and found Tom Carver to be a non-magical version of Gilderoy Lockhart. There’s also a very gross scene between a male love interest and Natalie that happens rather early on in the book. And I was really cringing at some of the stupid decisions Natalie made in the second half.

However I found that the end was realistic (to a degree) and was glad that not everything was sunshine and rainbows; that it’s realistic for young people to make mistakes and for them to receive the consequences for making those mistakes.

I recommend this book if you’re looking for a cute book that has a badass female in the STEM field. I wish we saw more of this in YA literature and I’m going to keep rooting for stories like this!

Trigger warnings: fat-phobic thoughts and comments, self harm (snapping an elastic on wrist), unwanted sexual kissing/touching, food avoidance.

fourstars

xx,

Amy

The 12 Days of Holly Chase Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, Future

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Hi, friends! Welcome to my stop on The 12 Days of Holly Chase Blog Tour hosted by Your Book Travels! I’m so excited to share this book with you! Also, please don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a Christmas Prize Pack at the end of this post. 🙂


Because The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a spin on the classic, A Christmas Carol, I thought it’d be fun to share some books based on the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future!

Ghost of Christmas Past: Historical Fiction

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Coincidentally my favorite historical fiction (with a magical twist!) is My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows! I love this story based on Lady Jane Grey (the Nine Days Queen.) It is riddled with humor (think Monty Python), adventure, romance, and perfect for fans of the Tudor dynasty.


Ghost of Christmas Present: Contemporary Fiction

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I’ve recently become an Alice Oseman fan and I just adore her writing. Her characters are so lovable and she knows how to write a heartwarming story while still tackling serious, relevant topics. Solitaire follows a cynical girl who stumbles upon a mysterious blog. I think this would be perfect for Rainbow Rowell fans!


Ghost of Christmas Future: Sci-Fi

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I cannot recommend this series by Neal Shusterman enough! Scythe follows a perfect world where there is no more disease, war, or death. In order to control the population, people known as Scythes have one job to do: select people to kill off. It’s morbid, but such a fun page-turner!


Thank you so much for stopping by my blog tour! And don’t forget to enter the amazing giveaway below!


About the Book

The Afterlife of Holly Chase

“On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .”

WHERE TO BUY: HarperCollins / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Indiebound


“Holly-day Prize Pack” Giveaway

U.S. Only

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The winner will receive a signed copy of a Cynthia Hand novel of your choice, a set of red fingerless gloves (knitted by Cynthia), a holiday spice candle, a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas, two peppermint mocha bath bombs, a peppermint cream and pomegranate raspberry lip balm set, a “make your own ugly sweater kit,” a pair of reindeer glasses, a Christmas mug that reads: “Holi-yays,” Christmas pencils, candy cane Christmas kisses, and a limited edition Holly Chase ornament (signed by Cynthia). Digital download of The Afterlife of Holly Chase: An Alternate Christmas Carol by Lindsey Hunt.

ENTER HERE: Rafflecopter Link


About the Author

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Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and the upcoming novel THE HOW AND THE WHY (Fall 2019). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with a husband who’s addicted to typewriters, two kids, two cats, one crazy dog, and a entourage of imaginary friends. www.cynthiahandbooks.com


Tour Schedule

12/3 Little Book Worm Reviews Aesthetic post

12/4 Haunted by Books Review & book playlist

12/5 The Ultimate Fangirl Downloadable bookmarks

12/6 The YA Book Traveler Top 5 Reasons Why The Afterlife of Holly Chase Needs to be on your December TBR!

12/7 Vicky Who Reads  5 Holiday Songs You’ll Think About When Reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase (+Giveaway!)

12/8 Novel Knight  Holiday Gift Guide for the Book Lover in Your Life

12/9 A Court of Crowns and Quills Ghost of Christmas Past/Present/Future

12/10 That Artsy Reader Girl Favorite Fictional Scrooges

12/11 Wild and Wonderful Reads Top Ten Tuesday + Review

12/12 The Clever Reader Dream Cast

12/13 BookCrushin Review

12/14 Mary Had A Little Book Blog Review + instagram post

Heartstopper: Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman

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Graphic Novel: Heartstopper: Volume 1

Chapters: #1-2

Author: Alice Oseman

Pages: 278

Genre: YA contemporary

My rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

From the author of Solitaire and Radio Silence comes a bind up of the first two chapters of Heartstopper, an ongoing webcomic.

Look no further if you want something heartfelt, cute, pure, emotional, and important, with beautiful art and the most lovable characters! Y’all, this comic melted my heart. I binged the entire webcomic on Tapas and then I ordered Alice Oseman’s self-published edition of Heartstopper: Volume 1 (it will be officially published by Hachette in February 2019!). I honestly love everything about it.

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This comic follows Charlie, an openly gay student at an all-boys British grammar school. His classmate, Nick, is captain of the rugby team, and they become close friends. But then Charlie begins developing feelings for Nick, and Nick starts to question his attraction to Charlie, too.

This comic checked off so many boxes for me:

  • Diverse characters & LGBTQIAP+ rep.
  • A romance you will ship SO HARD.
  • Set in England.
  • Amazing art work.
  • The cutest dog ever.

Not only is this comic a coming-of-age story about young love and friendship, it is also a story that addresses bullying and homophobia. Charlie was outted when he was not ready yet, and the aftermath of that follows him throughout the story.

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I fell in love with both Charlie and Nick. Charlie is such a sweet and supportive friend, while Nick is the most kindhearted soul you will ever meet. And you will be rooting for these two from the very first page as you watch them navigate through their day to day lives playing rugby, studying together, and going to school.

And you will meet some other characters that help shape this story too. There’s Tao, Charlie’s best friend, Tori, Charlie’s cynical sister, and Tara, Nick’s old crush (but she’s now dating Darcy and they’re my faves! Oh, and we have the same birthday!)

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I hope you pick up this book and enjoy it as much as I did! Just a reminder that this webcomic is ongoing, so what you find on Tumblr and Tapas does not have an “end” yet. This copy in my photo is from Alice Oseman’s Kickstarter campaign, and it contains Chapters 1 & 2 of the webcomic. You might be able to still purchase the Kickstarter edition (and other merch) from Alice’s art shop, or pre-order the official publication edition (due to drop in February 2019).

(Photos of Nick, Tara, and Charlie’s bios are from Alice Oseman’s website)

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fivestars

 

xx,

Amy

 

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

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fourstars

Title: Solitaire

Author: Alice Oseman

Pages: 392

Genre: YA Contemporary

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.


I recently fell in love with Alice Oseman’s webcomic, Heartstopper (you can read the entire thing for free on tumblr and Tapas, but Volume 1 will be published in February 2019) and my excitement level skyrocketed when I found out that the main characters from Heartstopper are in Solitaire.

This book starts out with Tori, a high school student who enjoys blogging, but prefers to be antisocial and doesn’t have a close relationship with her family (except with her brother, Charlie.) One day she discovers a mysterious blog called Solitaire. And then the anonymous creator of Solitaire begins pulling pranks at her school. What even makes it more mysterious is that these pranks seem to have some significance to Tori.

And like the tag line on the cover says, “this is not a love story”; which is kind of true. Yes, there is a very subtle romance, but it doesn’t overpower everything. Michael Holden was the shining light for me in this book and I really hope we get to see more of him in Alice Oseman’s future works.

I think this book may not be for everyone, though, and that is because the main character, Tori, is very pessimistic and cynical. I mean, she’s relatable to me, but I can understand if the “negative teen” character might not be for you. I totally get it. But keep in mind that this book addresses some serious themes; the biggest being depression. Depression is something Tori suffers from on a daily basis and this story follows Tori as she comes to terms with her mental illness and accepts support from her friends and family.

And this story is also about how we change as we grow up, and how it’s normal for our old friends to drift apart and for new people to enter our lives. But that it is also okay to reach out to our friends and to have a support system when we need it the most.

I loved how Alice Oseman was able to tug at my heartstrings with her writing. And the fact that she’s always inclusive with LGBTQIAP+ rep is what we need more of in the world. I truly believe her work deserves more hype and I can’t wait to read her other books!


Trigger warnings: self harm, eating disorders, OCD, suicidal thoughts, bullying, anxiety, depression.


fourstars

xx,

Amy

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1) by Seanan McGuire

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fivestars

Title: Every Heart a Doorway

Series: Wayward Children, #1

Author: Seanan McGuire

Pages: 169

Genre: YA Fantasy, mystery

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.


This little book blew me away and it was such a damn page-turner. I devoured it within a day and cannot wait to binge the rest of the series. I totally fell in love with Seanan McGuire’s gorgeous writing. Everything was so vivid and atmospheric. Seriously, please please pick up this book!

In short, this is a story about children who have returned from magical lands. You know how Alice fell through the rabbit hole? Or the kids went through the wardrobe to Narnia? Imagine magical, strange worlds like that — these children have been there. But now they’ve returned to the real world, and they do not feel like they fit in with society. They miss those faraway worlds so much that the idea of going back totally consumes them. So, they go to live in a boarding school that’s meant to help rehabilitate these children.

Nancy has just returned from the Underworld, and she wants nothing more than to go back. She befriends several children in the school, but then horrible things start happening, and pretty soon a story about healing turns into a full-blown murder mystery.

And even though this book is small, it is full of so much inclusion. The main character is ace and becomes best friends with a trans character. There is also very straight forward talk about sex, gender roles, gender identities, and sexual orientation.

Along with the amazing diversity, I loved reading about the different worlds these children went to. There are dark worlds that have death and vampires, and also more fairytale-like worlds. But what’s even cooler is that some of these children have brought back their own magic and skills from those worlds and practice it at the school.

But what I totally did not expect was the last half of the book to turn into a murder mystery, and it definitely felt like I was reading a horror novel. It was such a treat and I loved trying to guess whodunnit.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about the “darker” side of fairy tales and magical worlds. You will love Seanan McGuire’s writing and how she shapes each character to be so unique yet relatable. Like give me all her books now, please.

fivestars

Buddy read with Jakob!

xx,

Amy