*First Line Friday 3/6/20* When We Were Magic- Sarah Gailey

49623757. sx318 sy475 A moving, darkly funny novel about six teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.” 

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

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“I didn’t mean to kill Josh Harper. Really, I didn’t. It’s just that I was nervous, and condoms are more complicated than I was expecting, and one thing led to another and- well. Now there’s blood everywhere and he’s dead.”

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 3/2/20

Wow, it’s Monday again and I almost forgot to post what I plan on reading this week.

What are you reading this week?

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Flowers in the Attic- V.C. Andrews

43448. sx318 sy475 Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!

It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed….

‘Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent struggling to stay alive….

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Everything’s Not Fine- Sarah Carlson

49186332. sy475 Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town Sparta, Wisconsin and achieve her artistic dreams at Belwyn School for the Arts after she graduates. Painting is Rose’s escape from her annoying younger siblings and her family’s one rule: ignore the elephant in the room, because talking about it makes it real. That is, until the day Rose finds her mother dying on the kitchen floor of a heroin overdose. Kneeling beside her, Rose pleads with the universe to find a heartbeat. She does – but when her mother is taken to the hospital, the troubles are just beginning. Rose and her dad are left to pick up the pieces. Now all that matters are her siblings. Rose doesn’t have room to do her schoolwork, let alone pick up a paintbrush. Until Rose is forced to do the homecoming mural with Rafa, a new senior at Sparta High. Rose and Rafa don’t have an ounce of school spirit between them, but Rose discovers her brain still has room to paint. As Rose fights to hold everything together, and her dreams of the future start to slip from her grasp, she must face the question of what happens when – if – her mom comes home again. And if, deep down, if Rose even wants her to.

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Camp Spirit- Axelle Lenoir

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Summer camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden… But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?

Summer 1994: with just two months left before college, Elodie is forced by her mother to take a job as a camp counselor. She doesn’t know the first thing about nature, or sports, of kids for that matter, and isn’t especially interested in learning… but now she’s responsible for a foul-mouthed horde of red-headed girls who just might win her over, whether she likes it or not. Just as Elodie starts getting used to her new environment, though — and close to one of the other counselors — a dark mystery lurking around the camp begins to haunt her dreams.

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The Best Week That Never Happened- Dallas Woodburn

48902976What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life—but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?

After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.

But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?

Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human.

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*Blog Tour + Review* Havenfall by Sara Holland

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Title: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: March 3rd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: 

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost. New York Times bestselling author Sara Holland crafts a breathtaking new contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Holly Black.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Sara Holland takes the lush fantasy that captured readers in Everless and Evermore and weaves it into the real world to create a wholly captivating new series where power and peril lurk behind every door.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Book Depository

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Author Information

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Sara Holland grew up in small-town Minnesota among hundreds of books. She graduated from Wesleyan University and worked in a tea shop, a dentist’s office, and a state capitol building before heading to New York to work in publishing. These days, she can be found exploring the city’s bookstores or finding new ways to put caffeine in her bloodstream. EVERLESS is her debut novel.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

“Lots of things that can kill you are beautiful.”

I’ll start off by saying Sara Holland is one of my favorite authors. Everless, her first book, had me hooked from the first sentence and from there, she easily became an auto-buy author. So, you can probably imagine my excitement when she announced her next book, Havenfall. And to me, this book did not disappoint.

In Havenfall, Holland introduces a new world to her readers, one filled with many magical worlds and captivating people. And a storyline that quickly takes a dark turn. It’s a book filled with hidden darkness and intriguing interactions; it’s a story that may easily capture the hearts of many readers, like it captured mine.

“The great thing about Havenfall–well, one of them–is that I’m the least remarkable person here.”

Maddie is the protagonist in Havenfall, and throughout the whole story, she felt real, even if most of her problems had to deal with magical beings and hidden worlds. She’s always wanted to be the Innkeeper of Havenfall (a place where magical beings can seek refuge), it’s been her big dream for as long as she can remember. And it was still her dream after her brother was murdered and her mom was placed on death row. But when that position is unexpectedly handed to her, she doesn’t know what to do. She’s not ready for the role but she accepts it to keep the peace and to figure out what exactly happened that fateful night a Solarian escaped.

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One of the things I liked about Maddie is that she fought for what she wanted, even if nothing turned out how she expected. She’s a fighter and a survivor and those things made her a strong character in her story. Her relationships with some of the characters, like Brekken and Taya (especially Taya), really brought her characterization to light and I really enjoyed those heartfelt interactions. Taya was most definitely my second favorite character. She’s spunky and sassy and I was rooting for her the whole time (and, yes, she is very much a love interest :D). But overall, I found everyone’s characterizations to be on point and fit well with the story, even if some did prove to have a dark and dangerous past.

“What happened to her family was no one’s fault. Mine, though–those secrets are ugly. And looking down at the water, at who I could be, I know I want none of those memories at Havenfall. They are my past, but this place is my future. It has to be.”

I loved the whole idea behind the concept of these ancient worlds being held behind doors, and that they’re hidden unusual, yet beautifully scenic, inn. The depictions of each world were great, and I liked how Holland included many worlds, but only focused on four (the fourth being Earth). I didn’t know I was craving a book about multiple worlds until I read Havenfall, and Holland easily brings a unique idea to life with her storytelling.

Holland’s writing, as usual, is elegant and visually stunning. It’s a book filled with beautiful prose and lush world building. I could easily picture the many worlds and characters. I loved her world building, especially with the depictions of each world outside of Haven (Earth). The worlds felt magical, and Holland created some beautiful scenery that easily made Earth feel magical. I will say I found the pacing to be a tad slow, but I felt that the characters and the plot twists made up for that. There were a few plot twists I guessed were coming but there was one that threw me through a loop and, because of that twist, I immediately devoured the last several chapters.

All in all, Havenfall is an exciting new addition from Sara Holland, filled with some illustrious magical characters, a charming scenery that readers are sure to get lost in, dark secrets that beg to be let out, and unforgettable prose that will have Everless readers remembering why they fell in love with Holland’s writing.

With how this book ended, I can’t wait for the sequel. I’m so excited for my hardcover preorder to arrive on Tuesday because this book is definitely going to be part of my 2020 favorites collection.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers on this tour!

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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It’s Monday (On a Tuesday), What Are You Reading? 2/24/20

Happy Tuesday!

I know that I usually post this on Monday but I was feeling kind of crummy yesterday. So here is what I’m going to try to read this week.

What are you reading?

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Be Not Far From Me- Mindy McGinnis

46139175The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off-trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.

 

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The Princess and the Fangirl- Ashley Poston

39725622. sy475 The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

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The Dilemma- B.A. Paris

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It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

 

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Vampironica- Greg Smallwood

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When Veronica is bitten by a centuries-old vampire, her thirst for blood threatens to turn Riverdale into a haven for the undead. Will she put an end to the vampire threat or give in to her blood lust? Archie Horror’s latest series paints Riverdale red in the vampiric first collection by siblings Greg & Megan Smallwood.

 

 

 

 

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 2/10/20

 

This week I’m going to read two books that I picked up at ALA Midwinter and two books that I recently purchased from Barnes and Noble.

What are you reading this week?

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We Unleash the Merciless Storm- Tehlor Kay Mejia

40522133In this nail-biting sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, La Voz operative Carmen is forced to choose between the girl she loves and the success of the rebellion she’s devoted her life to.

Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.

Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers, taken in when she was an orphaned child and trained to be a cunning spy. She spent years undercover at the Medio School for Girls, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.

There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?

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The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy- Elizabeth Kendall

47875636Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 memoir, detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, long out of print, now reissued with startling new material from the author and her daughter. Elizabeth Kendall’s memoir, The Phantom Prince, was originally published in 1981. Molly Kendall, her daughter, considered Bundy a father figure between the ages of three and ten.

Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history and one of the most publicized to this day. However, very rarely do we hear from the women he left behind—the ones forgotten as mere footnotes in this tragedy. This updated and expanded reissue of Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 book The Phantom Prince chronicles her intense, six-year relationship with Ted Bundy and its eventual unraveling. Featuring a new introduction and a new afterword by the author, never-before-seen photos, and a new chapter from the author’s daughter, Molly, this gripping account presents a remarkable examination of obsession, intrigue, and the darkness that love can mask.

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Harleen- Stjepan Šejić

47357622Dr. Harleen Quinzel has a theory: mental illness is a survival mechanism. As she seeks to help the broken souls of Gotham City piece together their sanity she will become the one thing she fears the most: one of them. A bold new retelling of the tragic origin of Harley Quinn told through the eyes of the only person who knows her better than anyone: Harleen.

A young psychiatrist with a potential cure for the madness that haunts Gotham City, Dr. Harleen Quinzel must prove her revolutionary theory to a skeptical establishment by delving into the disturbed minds of Arkham Asylum’s deadliest inmates. But the more time she spends with her criminally insane subjects, the closer she is drawn to one patient in particular–and the further she falls away from reality. The birth of legendary antihero Harley Quinn and the shocking origins of her twisted romance with the Joker are revealed in Harleen, a stunning new tale of love and obsession written and illustrated by renowned comics storyteller Stjepan Šejic (Aquaman: Underworld, Sunstone).

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Shades of Magic Volume One: The Steel Prince- V.E. Schwab

43404416. sy475 Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book prequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy!

Delve into the thrilling, epic tale of the young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic!

The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape.

There, he encounters an unruly band of soldiers, a lawless landscape, and the intoxicatingly deadly presence of the newly returned pirate queen, Arisa…

Collects Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #1-4.

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 1/20/20

Happy Monday!

This week is going to be a short reading week because I’ll be on the road. All three of us are heading to my hometown of Philadelphia for ALA Midwinter.

Are you attending ALA this year?

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I’ll be reading a book that Macmillan sent me this week.

What are you reading?

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Squad- Mariah MacCarthy

32048835. sy475 This darkly comic debut novel by an award-winning playwright is like Mean Girls meets Heathers with a splash of Bring it On.

Jenna Watson is a cheerleader. But it’s not some Hollywood crap. Cheerleaders are not every guy’s fantasy; they are not the “popular girls” or the “mean girls” of Marsen High School. They’re too busy for that. They’re literally just some human females trying to live their lives and do a perfect toe touch. But that all changed after Raejean stopped talking to Jenna and started hanging out with Meghan Finnegan. Jenna stopped getting invited out with the rest of the squad and she couldn’t tell if it was on purpose or if it was all in her head.

At times heartbreaking, at others hilarious, Squad follows Jenna through her attempts to get revenge on Raejean and invent a new post-cheer life for herself through LARPING (live-action role-playing) and a relationship with a trans guy that feels like love—but isn’t. In the end, Jenna discovers that who she is is not defined by which squad she’s in.

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*First Line Friday 1/10/20* We Used To Be Friends- Amy Spalding

43908961. sy475 Two best friends grow up—and grow apart—in this innovative contemporary YA novel 

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. Funny, honest, and full of heart, We Used to Be Friends tells of the pains of growing up and growing apart.

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“By the time you realize that you’re thirsty, it’s too late. You’re already dehydrated. Therefore, it stands to reason that if you feel the end coming, you’re already there.”