Top 5 August Releases

I’m so excited to be sharing my top 5 book releases for this month! You should definitely add these to your TBR and buy or request them at your local library. You can learn more about my Top 5 feature here.


jack5.500x8.500.inddThe Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Context Literary Agency, LLC | August 13, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore.

Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?


37777083._SY475_Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Inkyard Press | August 27, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.


33224061The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Putnam | August 13, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.

While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.


43352274I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Sourcebooks Fire | August 6, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.


36596442._SY475_Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry

Katherine Tegen Books | August 6, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

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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Blog Tour: The Trouble with Shooting Stars by Meg Cannistra

The Trouble With Shooting Stars_Blog Tour Banner

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Trouble with Shooting Stars by Meg Cannistra. Today I’m sharing a guest post from the author, which I loved reading. Be sure to check out her absolutely incredible middle-grade novel, out today!

37245432._SY475_The Trouble with Shooting Stars

Meg Cannistra

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |  Kobo

Synopsis:

Wonder meets Mary Poppins in this heartfelt debut novel about magic, healing, and the importance of family. Twelve-year-old Luna loves the nighttime more than anything else. It’s when no one gives her “that look” about the half mask she has to wear while healing from a disfiguring car accident. It’s also the perfect time to sit outside and draw what she sees. Like the boy and girl from the new family next door…zipping out of the window in a zeppelin and up to the stars.

At first she thinks she’s dreaming. But one night they catch her watching. Now Luna spends her nights on adventures with them, as they clean full moons, arrange constellations, and catch jars of stardust. She even gets to make a wish on a shooting star they catch.

But Luna learns that no wish is strong enough to erase the past—as much as she may hope to.

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Making Magic in the Real World

The Trouble with Shooting Stars is set in present-day Staten Island (a place that on the surface doesn’t feel very whimsical) and has a quiet magic humming under the surface. Balancing the magical world with that of the real one was tricky at times. There were many sleepless nights where I’d be lying in bed, furiously tapping world rules into my notes app. These nights were often followed by an overwhelming desire to break those rules and magic Luna’s troubles away because, hey, magic exists and that’s an easier solution than making Luna work for her happy ending.

But there’s zero fun for the reader if the author breaks into the story and makes everything better by breaking her own rules. That’s the biggest challenge – creating sensical rules that work in both a magical and realistic setting. Rules that get these two opposing forces singing in perfect harmony.

Creating magical rules for a realistic setting is like telling a convincing lie. Some details need to be accurate and there should be some ugly bits thrown in so it’s not too slick. But you also can’t give away everything or else it’ll feel fake. 

The fireflies in The Trouble with Shooting Stars, for example, are attracted to magic – even on blustery winter nights. Luna and the Sapienti kids have seen fireflies before. And that detail is accurate. Both Staten Island and Italy have fireflies so they would realistically know what fireflies are and how unusual it is for them to be out and about in cold weather. Now, fireflies being fantastical creatures who swarm even if it’s too chilly for them is the rule. It’s grounded by a realistic detail, but then evolves from that into a magical rule that makes sense in a real-world setting.

Another hard and fast world rule was having the constellations the kids visit be those only seen in the northern hemisphere in winter months. It wouldn’t make sense for the Spazzatrici’s to work out of Staten Island only to to fly up to space and tend to constellations on the other side of the world. Grounding their nightly trips with the fact that they only interact with specific constellations helps keep the magic from consuming the entire story and opening a Pandora’s box of questions.

Ultimately, as with any story, accurate worldbuilding and a solid set of rules are the best way to combat the challenge of blending magic with a realistic setting. With a strong foundation, braiding magic into your world will come as naturally as wishing on a shooting star.

aboutauthor

MegCannistraHi! My name is Meg and thanks for visiting my website. I write middle grade and young adult books that are mostly magical and sometimes spooky. I grew up in Sarasota, Florida — a circus town that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Ever since I was a child, the best books included three things: Lush worlds, enthralling mysteries, and kickass female protagonists. Some of my favorites growing up were Harriet the Spy, The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. These books were my anchors and could often be found messed up in the blankets on my bed.

After graduating with a BA in English Literature from Flagler College, I moved to New York City where I worked full time while pursuing an MFA in writing for children and young adult’s from Hamline University. In 2017, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, with my fiancé and two cats — Gloom and Doom.

In addition to writing books and working in digital marketing, I’m the co-chair of We Need Diverse Books’ mentorship program. When I’m not reading fantastical stories or writing my own, I like cooking highly involved meals, playing with my cats, collecting taxidermy, and watching bad reality TV shows. Check out my blog for more stories, writing tips, and weird pictures from my life.


THE TROUBLE WITH SHOOTING STARS_Blog Tour

Don’t forget to check out the blog tour posts by Austine and Cody, and the host, Cake Literary.

Top 5 August Sequels

Today I’m sharing my most anticipated sequels, all coming out this month! I hope you add these to your TBR and buy or request them at your local library. You can learn more about this feature here.


36639688._SY475_Of Ice and Shadows by Audrey Coulthurst

Balzer + Bray | August 13, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

The long-awaited sequel to Of Fire and Stars—in which Mare and Denna travel to a new and dangerous kingdom where Denna must be trained to tame her magic by a mysterious queen who is not all she seems. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce.

Princesses Denna and Mare are in love and together at last—only to face a new set of dangers.

Mare just wants to settle down with the girl she loves, which would be easier if Denna weren’t gifted with forbidden and volatile fire magic. Denna must learn to control her powers, which means traveling in secret to the kingdom of Zumorda, where she can seek training without fear of persecution. Determined to help, Mare has agreed to serve as an ambassador as a cover for their journey.

But just after Mare and Denna arrive in Zumorda, an attack on a border town changes everything. Mare’s diplomatic mission is now urgent: She must quickly broker an alliance with the Zumordan queen to protect her homeland. However, the queen has no interest in allying with other kingdoms—it’s Denna’s untamed but powerful magic that catches her eye. The queen offers to teach Denna herself, and both girls know it would be dangerous to refuse.

As Denna’s powers grow stronger, Mare does her best to be the ambassador her kingdom needs. Her knowledge of Zumorda and its people grows, and so too do her suspicions about the queen’s intentions. With rising tensions and unexpected betrayals putting Mare and Denna in jeopardy and dangerous enemies emerging on all sides, can they protect their love and save their kingdoms?


40942588These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Balzer + Bray | August 27, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

The thrilling sequel to These Rebel Waves—full of deadly magic, double crosses, and a revolution—from Sara Raasch, the bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series.

As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.

Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.

Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?

As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.


36254449._SY475_Song of the Abyss by Makiia Lucier

HMH Books for Young Readers | August 27, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Ancient grievances, long-held grudges, and dangerous magic combine in this sweeping standalone fantasy perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Rachel Hartman.

They came in the night as she dreamt, in her berth, on a ship sailing home to del Mar. After, they would be all Reyna thought about: two carracks painted scorpion black. No emblem on either forecastle, no pennants flying above the mainmasts to hint at a kingdom of origin.

Never a good sign.

As the granddaughter of a famed navigator, seventeen-year-old Reyna has always lived life on her own terms, despite those who say a girl could never be an explorer for the royal house of St. John del Mar. She is determined to prove them wrong, and as she returns home after a year-long expedition, she knows her dream is within reach. No longer an apprentice, instead: Reyna, Master Explorer.

But when menacing raiders attack her ship, those dreams are pushed aside. Reyna’s escape is both desperate and dangerous, and when next she sees her ship, a mystery rises from the deep. The sailors–her captain, her countrymen–have vanished. To find them, Reyna must use every resource at her disposal . . . including placing her trust in a handsome prince from a rival kingdom.

Together they uncover a disturbing truth. The attack was no isolated incident. Troubling signs point to a shadowy kingdom in the north, and for once, the rulers of the Sea of Magdalen agree: something must be done. But can Reyna be brave enough to find a way?


40096288._SY475_Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Pérez

Imprint | August 27, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Iseult, Wild Savage Starsis the spellbinding sequel to Sweet Black Waves.

Branwen has a secret powerful enough to destroy two kingdoms.

Her ancient magic led to a terrible betrayal by both her best friend, the princess Essy, and her first love, Tristan. Now this same magic is changing Branwen. Adrift in a rival court, Branwen must hide the truth from the enemy king by protecting the lovers who broke her heart―and finds herself considering a darker path.

Not everyone wants the alliance with Branwen’s kingdom to succeed―peace is balanced on a knife’s edge, and her only chance may be to embrace the darkness within…


42800505._SY475_Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning

Katherine Tegen Books | August 6, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love.

Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.

Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?

Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.

Spotlight: Shadow & Flame by Mindee Arnett

40042001Shadow & Flame (Rime Chronicles #2) by Mindee Arnett

Balzer + Bray | June 4, 2019

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository |  Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

From acclaimed author Mindee Arnett comes the thrilling conclusion of the stunningly epic, action-packed, and romantic fantasy adventure about a powerful girl possessed of strange magic, the outcast prince she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.

Kate and Corwin are on the run, desperate for allies in a new world of war among the kingdoms of Rime. As the book opens, Kate suffers a massive loss, one that will shape the struggle for freedom of all wilders and magic folk—that is, if Kate can learn to control her own power.

Mindee Arnett’s latest book was released just over two months ago so I decided to do a spotlight post! SHADOW & FLAME is the sequel to ONYX & IVORY, a young adult fantasy duology with dragons and forbidden magic. Need I say more?! I’m a huge fan of Arnett’s writing and you will definitely not be disappointed. If you decide to read it, please also consider requesting it at your local library and posting a review on book retailer sites. These help authors so much!