COVER REVEAL: Society of Wishes by Elise Kova & Lynn Larsh

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Society of Wishes (Wish Quartet, #1) by Elise Kova & Lynn Larsh

Amazon  –  Goodreads

Release Date: 29 January 018

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Category: New-Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid.

With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence.

Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom.

Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of her existence itself.

Today is the exciting and fantastic cover reveal for a new novel from Elise Kova & Lynn Larsh entitled SOCIETY OF WISHES. The first book of an urban fantasy quartet, Elise & Lynn use their mutual support of one another and their personal experiences to bring Jo Espinosa to life as the main character. Desperate to save her friend as they both lay dying, Jo uses familial magic to summon salvation and unknowingly starts a chain of events that will open her eyes to the reality of the phrase “be careful what you wish for”.

Having been a fan of Elise’s Air Awakens and Loom Saga books, I was pleased to hear  that she would have a new adult series with a co-author. It sounds like something completely new and fascinating, from an author I love and a new one that intrigues me.

This is also the first cover that Elise designed herself, so not only do we get great writing (in a month, but who’s counting?) but we get a gorgeous cover that is equal parts dark, exciting, and BEAUTIFUL.

Today is the release date for the official cover reveal and the summary. I think you’ll like Society of Wishes as much as I do and hopefully you’ll add it to your Goodreads TBR and maybe even preorder it on Amazon (it’s a big deal right now – $3.99!).

Below you’ll find an interview with the authors about becoming co-authors and why they chose new adult, where some of the inspiration comes, and why writing in the first place.

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORS

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E = Elise’s Answer
L = Lynn’s Answer

1) What made you want to start writing?
L: Is saying fan fiction too lame? Because it was definitely fan fiction.
2) What was your favorite part about working on this project?
L: Honestly, just being able to work with original characters and concepts was so exciting for me. And having someone so talented to collaborate with just made the whole experience that much more fun.
E: The collaboration was definitely an exciting and new element. Lynn really helped bring a fresh perspective to my writing and a new voice to draw from—especially regarding her personal heritage that really gave the character Jo so much more depth.
3) What part of the process did you find the hardest?
L: Everything was so new for me, but I probably had the hardest time keeping on myself to make sure I didn’t fall behind. I wasn’t used to working on a schedule, but I think I handled it well enough!
E: I really wanted to make sure that the work was divided evenly and it was our story. I’m so happy with the final product though. I really think it’s the perfect merger of both of our abilities.
4) Who is the character you relate to most and why?
L: Probably… Wayne? Because I’m charming and debonair and possibly, despite my heart of gold, most likely an annoyance to all. I also occasionally call people doll face.
E: Likely Nico. I was a studio art minor in college and was that girl who always had paint staining her fingers. Plus, even if I don’t always succeed, I really like making people smile.
5) Why the switch to new-adult, and urban fantasy?
E: I always want my work to be growing, changing, and evolving. I don’t want to be an author where people always know the story they’re going to get before they even pick up the book. Plus, it was really fun to write some super steamy romantic tension!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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Elise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens series, Loom Saga, and Wish Quartet.

In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.

Twitter  –  Website

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Lynn Larsh considers herself to be a serial hobby-dabbler. She got a bachelors degree in music (which she used for all of four months), studied aerial acrobatics and classical piano for many years, worked briefly as a stunt woman in a Wild West stunt show (it’s a long story), and eventually settled down into the bar tending business in St. Petersberg, FL. When she’s not acting as a purveyor of fine libations, you can find her diving head first into her newest venture as a New Adult author, or simply writing Voltron fan fiction on Archive of Our Own.

Twitter

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Debut Author Bash: Review & Interview with Karina Yan Glaser, author of The Vanderbeekers of 141st (Plus a Giveaway!)

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 3 October 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Category: Middle Grade/Fiction

The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.

Rating: 5 Stars

Books about families working together are a lot of fun to read because while they are usually working toward a common goal, there’s still a lot of room for personalities to shine through and many adventures (or misadventures sometimes!). Think the Pevensies, the kids from the Spiderwick Chronicles, etc. They go through a lot and we get to experience these things with them.

New this year are the adventures of the Vanderbeeker children, trying to save their home when the landlord won’t renew the lease. All twelve and under, each of the five children brings something unique to the effort along with ideas about how to endear themselves to Mr. Bierderman the landlord.

While one might think that the book will solely be about the Vanderbeekers and their effort to stay in Harlem, there are layers to the story: Jessie and Isa, the twelve year old twins, and what it means to be growing up and with different interests; Mr. Beiderman and why he’s a shut-in that won’t renew their lease; Oliver being the middle child and only boy. It all unfolded wonderfully, sadly, emotionally.

The side characters were as well developed as the Vanderbeeker children. Miss Josie and Mr. Jeet upstairs, Benny Castleman and his family at the bakery, Oliver’s friend next door, and a few others. Even the parents weren’t background one dimensional people like I’ve seen in some middle grade adventures. It was pleasant to be as interested in these characters as I was the individual children, learning about their interests, their interactions with the kids.

Reading this was a funny adventure because you never knew what each kid was going to come up with next. It was also very tense because, while it is a middle grade book and I usually expect happy endings, I wasn’t wholly sure that the Vanderbeekers would be able to pull the plan off or not. Do you think they will? Nail biting, I tell you!

Finding out the reasons behind things, like the motivations of Mr. Biederman and of Jessie regarding a new turning point in her and Isa’s lives, was both expected (Jessie/Isa) and saddening (Mr. Biederman). My heart was breaking near the end when things were looking particularly bleak.

Alongside the story of saving their home, the Vanderbeekers have drawings and letters included that bring their situation, whether it be Jessie’s Rube Goldberg machine or Oliver’s challenging their neighbor/landlord to a duel. These simple line drawings are fun and informative. Sometimes I have trouble picturing layouts in regard to buildings and whatnot, so seeing the Vanderbeekers brownstone sketched out was a blessing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who’s ever enjoyed the adventures of particularly determined children and seeing how they surmount their odds.

Now, please enjoy an interview with the author, in which I ask about the story behind the Vanderbeekers and about herself.

 


 

Interview with Karina Yan Glaser

The Hermit Librarian: What was it that made you want to set The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street in Harlem?

Karina Yan Glaser: I have lived in Harlem for the past eight years and am raising my two kids here. It’s a beautiful neighborhood and community, and I loved the idea of writing about a place I’m so familiar with and have such a strong connection to.

 

THL: The Vanderbeeker children are amazing in their individuality and their coming together to save their home. Is there a fictional family that influenced them or that you found important to your reading growing up?

KYG: I loved stories of big families growing up, especially All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. Those books definitely influenced me as I wrote about the Vanderbeekers.

 

THL: The side characters were a delight as they seemed as fully fleshed out as the Vanderbeekers themselves. Do you find it easier or harder to craft them as opposed to main characters?

KYG: Thank you! I found them easier to craft, since they only slipped in for small portions of the book.

 

THL: Which Vanderbeeker do you think you have the most in common with?

KYG: Hyacinth!

 

THL: If you were to choose an adventure for the Vanderbeekers to go on, what sort do you think they’d enjoy the most?

KYGI’d love to see them on a farm. How would those city kids react?

 

THL: Jessie and Isa are responsible for making the family meals on Tuesdays. Do you enjoy cooking, no matter what the rest of the family might think? What’s one dish you think is a must for holiday dinners, ala Christmas Eve dinner in the book?

KYGI do enjoy cooking, although my kids are instructed to be polite at the dinner table regardless of whether they like the meal or not. I don’t really have a dish I always make for holidays; I like cooking all sorts of food. Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of Indian and Ethiopian dishes.

 

THL: Have you ever played an instrument, like Isa with her violin?

KYG: I played the piano for a couple of years when I was eight. It did not go well! My two daughters play the violin.

 

THL: Oliver reads a great many comics and books, including Treasure Island. What’s your #1 book to recommend to people in need of one?

KYG: I can’t give just one recommendation! I read a lot for my work at the book media website Book Riot, so lots of amazing books come across my desk every day. If you’re interested in seeing the books I recommend, sign up for “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter at Book Riot, or browse my posts here.

 

THL: Jessie loves scientific pursuits, especially Rube Goldberg machines which lead to the creation of one for her twin’s birthday. Do you have a favorite Rube Goldberg machine?

KYG: I like the book page turner one.

 

THL: Hyacinth thinks best when surrounded by comforting things. For her it’s buttons and ribbons. What makes a space more homey or comforting for you?

KYGBooks, tea, and fluffy blankets!

 

THL: Laney is ever the optimist and quite the love bug with her hugs. Is there something that you can think back on that gives you the optimism Laney has when times are tough?

KYG: My younger daughter definitely has a similar personality to Laney. She’s very optimistic and loves giving hugs. Somehow she makes the world a more hopeful place.

 


 

Thank you yo Karina Yan Glaser for answering my questions about herself and her debut novel, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. You can get your copy today from one of the retailers listed above or your local library (request it if unavailable/possible!). 😀

Now to the giveaway! Karina would like to send 5 readers swag packs based around The Vanderbeekers.

To enter, check out my Twitter at @hermitlibrarian  for the Tweet to RT! Don’t forget to follow or the entry won’t count. Open INT!

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author as part of the Debut Author Bash in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Waiting on Wednesday: Give Me Some Truth By Eric Gansworth

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event created by Breaking the Spine in which we highlight a title we’re looking forward to reading. You can find their website here.

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Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth

Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble

Published: 29 May 2018

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Category: Young Adult

Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school and desperate to make his mark, on the reservation and off. A rock band — and winning the local Battle of the Bands, with its first prize of a trip to New York City — is his best shot. But things keep getting in the way. Small matters like the lack of an actual band, or the fact that his brother just got shot confronting the racist owner of a local restaurant.

Maggi Bokoni has just moved back to the reservation from the city with her family. She’s dying to stop making the same traditional artwork her family sells to tourists (conceptual stuff is cooler), stop feeling out of place in her new (old) home, and stop being treated like a child. She might like to fall in love for the first time too.

Carson and Maggi — along with their friend Lewis — will navigate loud protests, even louder music, and first love in this stirring novel about coming together in a world defined by difference.

I haven’t heard a lot of talk about this book yet and to be honest I don’t remember how it ended up on my to-be-read shelf, but when I wanted to feature a book today this one stood out. It’s not just because it’s a book about music, which is a good feature to have for me to read it. Carson seems to have a lot of passion for his art, despite not actually having a band yet.

It’s because I haven’t seen a lot of books featuring Indigenous young adults. Carson, one of the main characters, looks to be a young man who has lived his whole live on a reservation and wants to make his mark via music both on and off of it, but faces racism, particularly because of the death of his brother at the hands of a local restaurant owner.

Maggi, the other main character, is also looking to figure out her place in the world through her art, using it in a new way rather than fall into the mold of traditional art. It makes me wonder how this will play out. Will she want to break away entirely? Are there still traces of her heritage in the conceptual pieces she creates? Will we get to see any of those pieces as illustrations in the book? How will Maggi and Carson relate to each other and their personal relationships with life on the reservation?

Eric Gansworth was raised in Tuscarora Nation and is an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation, so I think this qualifies as #ownvoices. It feels like it will be an interesting piece of writing. I hope there’s some more buzz about it as we get closer to publishing time so I can get a better sense of it before the publication date.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 19 December 2017

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Category: Contemporary/Young Adult/Romance

Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear “You’re Dusty’s sister?” ever again. Life is real enough for Dylan—especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV. As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises—including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.

Rating:  5 Stars

Prince in Disguise is a good, sweet, fluffy romance that was a great read in the lead up to Christmas. Dylan is the younger sister of Dusty, the winner of the titular show, who is now preparing for her wedding to Ronan (who, actually, is a Lord, but still…). Roped into the filmed special about the wedding, Dylan goes to Scotland for the Christmas Eve wedding and finds that, while a lot of what she feared about having a camera in her face 24/7 is true, there are some benefits to being there too.

The setting being in Scotland, I liked the mysterious castle that belongs to Ronan’s family and the description of the Atholm Arms, the local pub. I might have appreciated a bit more description of the landscape and what have you, but considering it was the middle of winter and shortly after Dylan arrives and it snows heavily, I’m not terribly upset, especially since this weather did lead to some fun dates.

Dusty meets Jamie, a groomsmen of Ronan, who turns out to be a great friend and, eventually, date material. Not quite sure I’d say boyfriend, but romantic interest for sure. Bonding over their dislike of being filmed constantly, their friendliness grows. Jamie is a boon for Dylan, with his constant quotes and sense of adventure. Exploring the castle, secret passages included, is a relieving activity, considering they have to deal with Florence, Ronan’s mother and Dusty’s #1 fan (HAH! Not really…), and Pamela, the coordinator of the show who DOES NOT CARE about anyone unless there’s value to the show and even then she’s a horrible person. I get that she has a show to create, but I didn’t get a good sense of her humanity, if it exists. These two were easily the “villains” of the piece, what with their behavior and the shenanigans they orchestrate/get up to.

Dylan has a strong family and you can really see it. Dusty and her aren’t the closest siblings for two reasons: Dusty is a bit older than Dylan (ten years at least is my guess) and they’re interested in different things. Dusty was a pageant princess and is more interested in all the accompanying activities and Dylan is interested in running and eating (food challenges, etc.). Their mother, who raised them mostly on her own, is doing the best she can in the scope of reality t.v. and even with that hovering over their shoulders, she has her Mama moments when you see the kind of person she is off-camera.

One of my favorite things about the book was that, while there was a romance for Dylan, it wasn’t a forced instalove situation. Both she and Jamie do mention that they could love each other, and they certainly like each other quite a bit, but they never have one of those over-the-top I Love You scenes. I think it would have been one step too many for their budding relationship. It’s not certain whether these two sixteen-year-olds will stay together at the conclusion of the story, primarily because they live on separate continents, the way in which the final page ends is hopeful and I like to think they do.

The big “twist” in the book was not quite obvious; I think I figured it out about half way through, but up to that point I will say that I didn’t suspect it. It was kind of an “oh s*&$” moment when I realized where the story was going and I was excited to get to it, rather than realizing what it was and being disappointed. There was also one other small “twist” that I thought was well written, particularly when we got to see the main cast and others reacting to it, Dylan’s keeping it a secret, and then the reveal, both to Dylan’s family and the show’s staff.

All in all, this was a fast read I would recommend for when you’d like a fluffy read. It was relaxing and easy to sink into. The only thing I might have liked a bit more would be seeing Ronan more, but as this was Dylan’s story more than Dusty and Ronan’s, I was happy with the glimpses we got. The reality show process cannot be easy and while I might not like the majority of them in real life, reading about Dylan’s experience made it obvious on the page that there are real people behind these cameras, these personas that the network wants to create. Whether they’re good or not is another story, of course, but in this instance, Dylan and Jamie and their families were wonderful. Funny, caring, intelligent, and sometimes unexpected.

What a great way to spend Christmas: at a castle in Scotland or, at least, reading about it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Paperback Release Giveaway: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 28 November 2017 (Paperback Edition)

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Category: Fiction/Young Adult

A love letter to the 1980s and to nerds everywhere—The Impossible Fortress will make you remember what it feels like to love someone—or something—for the first time.

Billy Marvin’s first love was his computer.

Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

It’s May 1987. Fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd. Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of their idol, Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert computer programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.

Back in March I reviewed The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (review here) and found in it a tribute to nerds of the 80’s as well as a fun game online and a musical playlist that was the perfect accompaniment to the novel.

The book itself was quite funny and outlandish at times, but you can really feel the joy of the author as he writes about the admittedly silly and sometimes dangerous antics of these boys growing up when a computer hard drive was only 20MB and the most fascinating thing for them was the possibility of snagging a copy of Playboy.

Aside from that, though, there was real passion for computer programming and other aspects of a typical 80’s nerd and while I missed living it myself (being between 0-5 years old at the time), it evoked a nostalgic feeling. I think nerds new and old will enjoy reading about Billy and his love of computers. It’s all on level so even if you’re not familiar with coding, things make sense. Whew!

To celebrate the paperback release of The Impossible Fortress, Simon Schuster is sponsoring a giveaway of the book! The Rafflecopter below will show you all the ways you can get an entry.

The giveaway will be open starting today, December 10, and run until December 17 at 12:00AM EST. Open US only.

While you’re entering and waiting for the winner to be announced, be sure to try out the game Jason Rekulak created bearing the same name. 3 levels of dodging baddies and collecting “coins”. Easy, right? Heh heh… 😉

The Impossible Fortress Game

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

#ReadersCrossing Readathon – My TBR

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Aentee @ Read At Midnight is at it again with a fun as heck readathon based around another of my fandoms: Animal Crossing! Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has finally been released worldwide (to my knowledge) and, while Australia had a bit of a head start, now everyone can play camp site manager, doing all the fun things you do as an Animal Crossing avatar.

The reading challenges are based around four of the different themes within the game. Since I chose Natural when I first started the game and as Goldie, a Natural character, is my favorite, I decided to start my reading challenge off with that pathway.

Set In The Wilderness

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Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things by Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw

 

Animal On The Cover

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

 

A Classic

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

Yellow Cover

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 

Set In Your Country

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Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

 

Are any of  these books on your #ReadersCrossing tbr? Which one would you start first? Let me know in the comment section as well as: which center space challenge would you like me to try first?

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Review: The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 8 August 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Category: Young Adult/Contemporary

A fresh, funny, and thought-provoking debut YA novel about a fifteen-year-old Iranian-American named Daria, who is launched on a journey of self-discovery when she discovers she was adopted

Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.

But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.

With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. With everything in her life changing—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Caution: there is some discussion near the end of the book about difficulties during pregnancy, miscarriages, and a stillbirth.

Adoption is a story I’m interested in because my own family has experience with it and I’m curious in how it’s portrayed in fiction. Add to that that I cannot recall many books with Iranian-American main characters and I was curious to see what The Authentics held in terms of storytelling and character building.

Daria’s confusion and hurt at finding out about her history and identity because of a school project for which she submitted a DNA swab felt brutal in its honesty. It can be a difficult choice to come to, whether or not to tell a child they’ve been adopted, when to tell them, etc. There are so many facets to the decision that one book couldn’t possibly cover them all. Her hurt, and the things we learn about her mother Sheila, showed more in common than I think even Daria realized.

I liked Nazemian’s writing because the events of the book, even the parts I didn’t care for as much, felt like they kept a good pace. There were a few parts that were emotionally tense, whether it was Daria and her mother Shelia confronting each other about something or Daria having a revelation about herself or even a fight between friends, and each was written so that I could feel those things in the pit of my stomach. While it took me awhile to get through this because I was distracted by other books, I think it could easily be finished within a day or so if you have the time and energy.

What I didn’t like about the book comes from two parts: one being a character’s toxic judgement of a former friend and the other being a relationship the author wanted me to believe in, if only for some of the book.

Daria had some moments that made her difficult to like as a character. The event that leads to her identity crises is intense and I don’t doubt that she would have been overwhelmed, but it’s about her aside from the feelings expressed towards that revelation. She makes some comments about Heidi, a former friend, that come off as toxic because Heidi is now popular and has started dressing in American fashions. Daria’s attitude toward this doesn’t seem to come from Heidi treating her badly as a friend (which she does, but that’s irrelevant to my point), but from the fact that she’s changed. Her judgement against Heidi, for her clothes and popularity, was misplaced. Dislike her because she’s a bad person, not because how she likes to dress now.

The “romance” between Daria and Iglesias felt weird. There was of course the fact that he was the stepson of her biological mother and while they’re not related by blood, it still seemed a bit strange to get into some kind of relationship in that situation. It didn’t seem to bother them until the end of the book, though, when the parental figures all around found out and voiced their objections. Then it was…over? They’re friends and nothing more now? It was oddly abrupt and while I didn’t care for it to begin with, if it was a relationship that I was supposed to put any stock in, I think it failed because both parties seemed to change their minds about it on a dime.

One part I’m not entirely certain how to feel about is Daria’s genealogy presentation at the end of the book. It’s what started her on the process to figuring out the secret of the book and the conclusions she draws came out badly in the text. The quote “part of an Iranian, Mexican, Chinese, American, Muslim, Jewish, and agnostic family.” felt poorly worded because it felt to me like she was assuming parts of the cultures, for example, of her Chinese brother-in-law. We don’t see much of him in the book and Daria’s only met his parents once. Her biological father is Jewish, but her one interaction with him was without either of them knowing the other’s identity. Being a part of a family that is all these things is not the problem I have, more the wording chosen to express it.

I hope to read more from this author, as I think his writing is a style that would yield more interesting books. While there were some issues, overall I think the work was a good one, both as a fun read and one in which something could be learned, whether it was about empathy or discovery or finding your family, whoever makes up that group of people.

 

 

 

 

 

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Debut Authors Bash 2017 Spotlight: Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling

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Where I Found You (Sea #1) by Heidi R. Kling

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Published on December 4th, 2017

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Goodreads  –  Entangled Publishing

After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

About the Author

Heidi R. Kling writes about normal girls in fantastic situations. PAINT MY BODY RED, a romantic thriller about a girl fleeing secrets from home launches November 2 with EntangledTeen, followed by several more novels on various Entangled imprints. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School, but has been writing books, plays and screenplays since she could practically hold a pencil.

Her first novel, SEA (Putnam), was a Gateway Readers Award Finalist & Northern California Book of the Year nominee, was a Summer 2010 Indie Next Pick and a Goodreads “Mover and Shaker”.

Website  –  Goodreads  –  Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Burning Magic by Joshua Khan

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event created by Breaking the Spine in which we highlight a title we’re looking forward to reading. You can find their website here.

 

Burning Magic (Shadow Magic, #3)

Burning Magic by Joshua Khan

Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 28 April 2018

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Category: Fantasy/Middle Grade

In Book 3, when Lily, aka the “witch queen” and bat-rider extraordinaire Thorn travel to Sultanate of Fire, things go terribly wrong. Instead of celebrating a reunion with their old friend K’leef, they are thrust into royal murder, an epic quest, and a deadly battle for the throne. While investigating the murder, Lily learns shocking truths about her life that could destroy all she has achieved. Yet, among the ruins of her old life, she has the opportunity to become someone greater . . . and more terrifying. Thorn and the magnificent bat, Hades, join the timid K’leef and the idiotic Gabriel Solar in a quest to find a phoenix. These fire birds are the key to saving the sultanate, but they nest within the Shardlands. The boys must defeat not only the monsters of that magical wilderness, but also rivals eager to claim the throne for themselves. Rivals that include a renegade from House Shadow . . . Chilling surprises, ghostly encounters, and belly laughs are just some of the treats in store for readers of this burning-hot desert adventure.

I’ve been a fan of Joshua Khan’s since I first read Shadow Magic, the first book about Lily and Thorn. This being the third book, I am anxious to see what happens to my favorite characters next, particularly since they’re visiting new territory only spoken about previously.

Things can’t be simple though, can they? It sounds like all the danger and adventure of home will be following them as they travel to visit an old friend and are faced with new dilemmas.

I am hoping this won’t be the final book in the series because they’re really fun reads and, since Lily and Thorn are fairly young, there’s always the possibility of following them for many more years/adventures.

 

 

 

 

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Review: The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais (Illustrator/Author), Andrea Colvin (Editor), Jeremy Melloul (translator)

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 3 October 2017

Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors – Lion Forge

Category: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Childrens/Fantasy

A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good.

Rating:  5 Stars

I’ve heard of retellings before and am quite a fan of them. However, one that I had never considered before, at least not at great length, was what if it was the wolf going through the forest and a young girl that lured him off the forest path on the way to grandmother’s house?

Freely inspired by Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood, Amélie Fléchais turns the classic story into a tale of her own with a renewed point of view while still retaining the darkness of the original story.

The little wolf has the mannerisms of the main character of a fairy tale. He wants to trust, but his good heart is too good and it gets him into trouble when he meets the young girl who lives in the forest with her hunter papa. Through her he learns not only why he should fear humans, but why he should heed the warnings of his parents.

What is interesting about Amélie Fléchais’s version of the Red Riding Hood story is that we get a little more story to the feud, so to speak, between the adversaries. The young girl tells the little wolf why she and her father hate the wolves and, at the conclusion of the book, we find out why this isn’t the only side to the story. It’s an good metaphor for real life because there just as in Little Red Riding Wolf, there is always more than one side to a story.

Fléchais’s artwork was a blessing for the story because it enhanced the story. I’m not entirely certain of the methods used, but to hazard a guess I’d say a mixture of watercolors and graphite pencils. Whatever was used, the colors were blended well to bring to mind a fairy tale story, muted when the narrative called for a subdued tone, and bright when the little fox had hope and his family was there for him.

I’d recommend this book for fans of all ages, though caution parents that they may need to explain why the little fox is bringing a visible rabbit to his grandmother to eat/snacks on it along the way. The visuals are not graphic, exactly, just alluded it in a way that might inspire questions from some astute young ones.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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