It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 8/19/19

This week I’ll be finishing up a book that I started yesterday, a book that my friend got me at BEA, an arc the publisher sent me a few weeks back, and a surprise book.

What are you reading?

The Lost and the Scarred- T. Marie Alexander

47147360. sy475 ROX
When I was six, Wran Belmont found me buried in snow and gave me a place to live.

He became my best friend.

When I was fifteen, I gave him all of me—only for him to abandon me.

Now, he’s back and expecting the lost, scarred girl he’s left behind. I’m not that girl anymore. And while I may still have secrets, it will not be as easy for him to retrieve them this time around.

WRAN
When I was eleven, my father lost his job and became a pathetic excuse for a father. A few months later I found Roxanna Raine buried in snow, barely hanging on to life.

Her father was the reason mine was an alcoholic, and I thought about letting her freeze to death.

One look in her eyes and she became my kryptonite. I swore I would get my revenge, though, even if it was on the fair-skinned beauty.

When I was nineteen, I left Rox without an explanation—broken-hearted and even more lost.

Now, I’m back and I’ll do anything to make up for the stolen time.

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Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death- Caitlin Doughty

43785830Best-selling author and mortician Caitlin Doughty answers real questions from kids about death, dead bodies, and decomposition.

Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. What would happen to an astronaut’s body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking funeral?

In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, Doughty blends her mortician’s knowledge of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five distinctive questions posed by her youngest fans. In her inimitable voice, Doughty details lore and science of what happens to, and inside, our bodies after we die. Why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? And why do hair and nails appear longer after death? Readers will learn the best soil for mummifying your body, whether you can preserve your best friend’s skull as a keepsake, and what happens when you die on a plane. Beautifully illustrated by Dianné Ruz, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? shows us that death is science and art, and only by asking questions can we begin to embrace it.

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Hello Girls- Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry

36596442. sy475 Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

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The Year They Fell- David Kreizman

40864750When a horrible tragedy unites five very different high school seniors, they discover the worst moment of your life can help determine who you really are in the powerful YA novel, The Year They Fell.

Josie, Jack, Archie, Harrison, and Dayana were inseparable as preschoolers. But that was before high school, before parties and football and getting into the right college. Now, as senior year approaches, they’re basically strangers to each other.

Until they’re pulled back together when their parents die in a plane crash. These former friends are suddenly on their own. And they’re the only people who can really understand how that feels.

To survive, the group must face the issues that drove them apart, reveal secrets they’ve kept since childhood, and discover who they’re meant to be. And in the face of public scrutiny, they’ll confront mysteries their parents left behind—betrayals that threaten to break the friendships apart again.

A new family is forged in this heartbreaking, funny, and surprising book from award-winning storyteller David Kreizman. It’s a deeply felt, complex journey into adulthood, exploring issues of grief, sexual assault, racism, and trauma.

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 8/12/19

This week I’m reading a book a friend just sent me and two arcs that I’ve had for over two years.

What are you reading this week?

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An Enchantment of Ravens- Margaret Rogerson

30969741. sy475 A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

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Not Even Bones- Rebecca Schaeffer

37570585Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

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When Dimple Met Rishi- Sandhya Menon

28458598Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

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

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

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

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The Lost and the Scarred- T. Marie Alexander

47147360. sy475 ROX
When I was six, Wran Belmont found me buried in snow and gave me a place to live.

He became my best friend.

When I was fifteen, I gave him all of me—only for him to abandon me.

Now, he’s back and expecting the lost, scarred girl he’s left behind. I’m not that girl anymore. And while I may still have secrets, it will not be as easy for him to retrieve them this time around.

WRAN
When I was eleven, my father lost his job and became a pathetic excuse for a father. A few months later I found Roxanna Raine buried in snow, barely hanging on to life.

Her father was the reason mine was an alcoholic, and I thought about letting her freeze to death.

One look in her eyes and she became my kryptonite. I swore I would get my revenge, though, even if it was on the fair-skinned beauty.

When I was nineteen, I left Rox without an explanation—broken-hearted and even more lost.

Now, I’m back and I’ll do anything to make up for the stolen time.

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*First Line Friday 8/9/19* A Dress for the Wicked- Autumn Krause

42650795. sy475 Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.

As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

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“When I was growing up, the rector of our parish told me, Don’t judge people by the way they dress, there can be angels in rags and demons in silk.”

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 8/5/19

This week is a very exciting week for books and I can’t wait to start all of these.

What are you reading this week?

Ziggy, Stardust and Me- James Brandon

36472241. sy475 The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.

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Tunnel of Bones- Victoria Schwab

43319657Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab returns to the spooky and heart-pounding world of City of Ghosts, delivering thrilling new adventures and an unforgettable spin on friendship. (Because sometimes, even psychic ghost best friends have secrets. . .)

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Slay- Brittney Morris

43723509By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

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You Deserve Each Other- Sarah Hogle

46862557For fans of The Hating Game, a debut lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about two unhappily engaged people each trying to force the other to end the relationship–and falling back in love in the process.

Naomi Westfield has an Instagram-perfect life, including the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family every bride dreams of being a part of. They never fight, complain, or disagree. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And they are miserably and utterly sick of each other.

Tired of contorting herself to fit the ridiculous standards demanded by Nicholas’s family, Naomi wants out of the relationship. But there’s a catch: Whoever calls off the engagement will have to foot the enormous bill for the wedding. When Naomi finds out that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of wills to see who can annoy the other into surrendering through pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves. They’re having so much fun getting on each other’s nerves that it starts to feel like something else entirely. As Naomi discovers hidden feelings for Nicholas buried under three years of simmering resentment, she wonders if he feels the same way. Suddenly, the countdown to the wedding that may or may not come to pass feels more like a race to mutual destruction–and Naomi doesn’t want to be left alone at the finish line.

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 7/29/19

This week I’m going to read a book my friend got signed for me at BEA, a book that I requested from the Library, and a book that was purchased for me off of my Amazon wishlist.

What are you reading?

Ninth House- Leigh Bardugo

43263680The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

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Death Wins a Goldfish: Reflections from a Grim Reapers Yearlong Sabbatical- Brian Rea

40537336. sx318 Even Death cares about his work-life balance…

Death never takes a day off. Until he gets a letter from the HR department insisting he use up his accrued vacation time, that is. In this humorous and heartfelt book from beloved illustrator Brian Rea, readers take a peek at Death’s journal entries as he documents his mandatory sabbatical in the world of the living. From sky diving to online dating, Death is determined to try it all! Death Wins a Goldfish is an important reminder to the overstressed, overworked, and overwhelmed that everyone—even Death—deserves a break once in a while.

If you enjoyed Brian Rea’s work in Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club: A Memoir or in the New York Times‘ popular Modern Love column you’ll love his delightful illustrations of Death in this funny, heartfelt collection of works.

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Pretty Reckless- L.J. Shen

39709060. sy475 From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes an intense, high school enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist.

Penn

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.

Daria

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.

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*Release Blitz + Giveaway* Severance- N.N. Britt

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Today we have the release day blitz of N.N. Britt’s SEVERANCE! Check out the release events and grab your copy today!

Book Information:

Title:  SEVERANCE

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

45037049. sy475 They say first love doesn’t last. Alana’s ends on the night her boyfriend Dakota dies in a deadly shooting at a Portland club.

In an attempt to look for ways to deal with her grief, Alana reaches out to Dakota’s older brother Mikah, who’s struggling with moving on himself.

Both damaged beyond repair, neither Alana or Mikah know how to cope with their loss. What’s worse, they have zero idea how to handle the unexpected feelings they start developing for each other.

Grab Your Copy Today!

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Exclusive Excerpt:

I shove away the damp blanket and prop myself against the headboard, my eyes darting around the dark room, searching for something familiar, searching for something to latch on to, but there’s nothing. Nothing except for the package I’m too scared to touch.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Stay down! Don’t move.
I can’t seem to catch my breath. There’s a scream stuck in my lungs and it desperately wants to come out.
She’s bleeding. Get a paramedic here.
How many fingers do you see? Can you hear me, sweetie?
I pull my legs up to my chest and rock my body, wanting to stop the noise from getting into my head.
Is anyone still inside? I’m looking for my brother.
Sweetie, I need you to let me see your hands.
Up until now, the memories of the aftermath have been only a shapeless blur. I’m not sure why it’s all coming back to me now, at four in the morning. I remember the police arriving and more gunshots. I remember the paramedics taking me outside. I remember sitting in the van while some woman in uniform is trying to talk to me, and I remember watching Mikah moving through the crowd outside the club. There’s blood dripping down his cheek, but I don’t think he’s hurt. I think the blood is mine. He stops one of the officers and asks him questions, and I can tell by how fast his hands move that he’s panicking. There’s a short exchange and then they’re gone.
Now I’m in the hospital, and my parents tell me Dakota was shot to death during the attack. That’s all I get. No details. They don’t tell me how many times he was shot or where he was standing when it happened or if it was an instant death or a slow one where he lay there, terrified, watching the horror around him.
I replay this moment in my head several times, wondering if I should have said or done something differently. Cried maybe. But I didn’t. I just sat there in silence, my hands and my face bleeding. I sat there waiting to wake up, waiting to snap back into my normal life. But it never happened.

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Giveaway:

Click on the image below to enter. Good luck!

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Author Bio:

N.N. Britt is a Los Angeles-based music journalist and photographer whose articles appeared in numerous publications. Her photos have graced t-shirts, billboards, and CD covers. When she is not writing or drinking coffee, she is probably reading or attending a heavy metal show.

Author Links:

Newsletter sign up ⇨ http://bit.ly/readersvip
Website ⇨ http://bit.ly/2Iimx7s
Facebook ⇨ http://bit.ly/2WIESDL
Instagram ⇨ http://bit.ly/2Z4ui7G
Goodreads ⇨ http://bit.ly/3166suh
BookBub ⇨ http://bit.ly/2Weooz1
Twitter ⇨ http://bit.ly/2HVGQsv
Pinterest ⇨ http://bit.ly/3166zpH

*Mini Review* A Curse So Dark and Lonely- Brigid Kemmerer

43204703. sy475 Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? 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.

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My 100 words or less review:

 

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

This is the best and most unique Beauty and the Beast retelling that I have ever read. Wow!

Nothing about this was ordinary. It was one of those books that held me with every page and I couldn’t stop reading. It was an instant love from the first sentence and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book.

Don’t hesitate picking up this book like I did. You won’t be lead astray.