Blog Tour: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

I’m so excited to be part of the Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky blog tour! I had the incredible honour of interviewing the author, Kwame Mbalia. The moment I heard about this book, it was an instant add for me. Check out my interview below and then preorder or request TRISTAN STRONG at your local library. Every one of the books from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint have been standout so far; you won’t be disappointed.


imageTristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |  Kobo

Synopsis:

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia’s epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it–is that a doll?–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world.

Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

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Q: What inspired TRISTAN STRONG? What made you go ‘This is it. This is the story I’m writing now’?

A: Tristan Strong was written a few months after my father died, and my daughters were really struggling with this idea of grief. Along with that, I’ve always wanted to write a story retelling the folklore I grew up reading and listening to, so when the opportunity presented itself, I had to jump on it.

Q: Tristan is struggling with the grief of losing his best friend and the disappointment of losing his first fighting match. What do you hope readers will gain from the battles Tristan goes through – both internet and external?

A: Above all, I want to convey the idea that it is okay to grieve, to express grief, and that process can take anywhere from a month to forever. It’s natural. Tristan gradually learns what it means to lose something, whether it’s a match or a person you loved, and to continue through life.

Q: What has writing TRISTAN STRONG taught you? What’s your favourite part of the book?

  1. It’s my debut book so it taught me how to write, lmaoooo. A lesson I’m still learning and will continue to learn into the future. 
  2. My favorite part of the book is probably the ending scene when everyone’s on the page at the same time. I really got to put folktales and gods on the page. That makes me happy. 

Q: Your book is based on Western African gods and African-American legends. What kind of research did you do? Was there anything you wanted to include in the book but couldn’t?

A: Have you seen how large the book is? 496 pages. What didn’t I put in the book. No, but seriously, there are plenty more folktales and stories I couldn’t incorporate, but that’s what sequels are for, right? As for research, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and other historians who collected folklore in their travels were of immense help.

Q: What were the challenges of creating a magical world with a modern setting?

A: Everything. Worldbuilding is hard, yo.

Q: If Tristan existed in our world, what would he be reading and watching right now?

A: He’d be reading everything from Read Riordan Presents… and watching replays of the Spence/Porter boxing match, YouTube compilations of old Vine clips, and Steven Universe. 

aboutauthor

DSC_1811Kwame is a husband, father, writer, and pharmaceutical metrologist in that order.  His debut middle-grade novel, TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY (October 15, 2019) is published by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion.  A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, he enjoys impromptu dance sessions and Cheezits.

 

 

 

 


TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY_Blog Tour (1)

Be sure to check out the other blog tour stops as well as the host, Cake Literary.

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Blog Tour: Witchlands Box Set by Susan Dennard

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Today one of my favourite fantasy series is being released in a brand, new box set with refreshed covers and a map poster! I am absolutely in love with these covers and I think they match the series so well. The new Truthwitch and Windwitch covers were redesigned by Cliff Nielsen, who already did an amazing job with Bloodwitch. The new, elaborate map was made by Jessica Khoury and it looks incredible. This box set is worth its weight in gold, so definitely go out and buy it! Not sure if this series is for you? Click on the titles above to read my reviews.

810QVVn65uLThe Witchlands series

Susan Dennard

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Publisher: Tor Teen

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N

Synopsis:

For the first time, experience the first three volumes of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series–Truthwitch, Windwitch, and Bloodwitch–now together in the Witchlands Hard Cover Boxed Set.

Magic. Adventure. Romance. War. … Welcome to the Witchlands.

On a continent ruled by three empires, many people are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others. Some command the wind, some the water, some fire, some metal. And some can master the truth, or time, or even death itself.

Now, as war breaks loose and magic is dying, two young women–a Truthwitch and a Threadwitch–may hold the key to a centuries old prophecy that could control the world…if they can survive.

Witchlands-HCBox

I think this new Truthwitch cover may be my favourite! Which one do you like best?

aboutauthor

DSC_5091editedSusan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series, as well as the New York Times bestselling Witchlands series, and she also hosts the popular newsletter for writers, the Misfits & Daydreamers. When not writing, she is slaying darkspawn (on her PS4) or earning bruises at the dojo.

She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about her on her twitterinstagram, or newsletter.


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Don’t forget to check out the other blog tour posts from now until October 15th by following the hashtags #Witchlands #WitchlandsBoxSet. Also, these amazing blog tour graphics were made by Kaite from My Way By Starlight.

Mini Review: The Red Pyramid – The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan

13101785The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel

Written by Rick Riordan, adapted by Orpheus Collar

5/5 stars

Release Date: October 2, 2012

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

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

Synopsis:

Since their mother’s death, Sadie and Carter have become near-strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, Carter has traveled the world with their father, the famed Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane.
One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings to the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that all the gods of Egypt are waking, and that Set now has his sights on them. To stop him, the duo embarks on a dangerous journey across the globe, one that brings Carter and Sadie ever closer to the truth about their family and its connection to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

The heart-stopping action and magic explode off the page in The Red Pyramid, The Graphic Novel, based on the worldwise best-selling novel by Rick Riordan.

Review:

I loved this! Although I haven’t read the novel, I felt it was a very well-done adaption. The artwork was gorgeous and made me want to read the full-length novel. I connected with the characters of this book much faster than PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF but I have always loved Egyptian mythology more than Greek. The more I read, the harder it was to put down.

The beginning, however, felt a bit rushed, as if I’d skipped important scenes. Like with all graphic novel adaptions, things had to be cut from the original so I tried not to let that influence my rating and enjoyment of the book. This is one of the reasons I want to read the full-length novel – I feel as if I’ve missed certain things by reading the graphic novel.

I will definitely be reading the two sequels: THE THRONE OF FIRE and THE SERPENT’S SHADOW. This graphic novel is a must-read, especially if you’ve read and loved THE RED PYRAMID. I hope you check it out!

Spotlight: Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

42504812._SY475_Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5) by Rachel Caine

Berkley Books | September 3, 2019

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

With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

The Great Library is one of those series I’ve been meaning to read for years. Every time I see or hear about this series, I’m like “why haven’t I read this yet?!”. It sounds like the perfect book for a booknerd. I recently checked out the first book in the series, Ink and Bone, from the library and I’m so excited to read it! Be sure to pick up the latest instalment from Rachel Caine!

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!

Spotlight: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

39863277Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #4) by Susan Dennard

Tor Teen | February 12, 2019

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

Love. Death. War. Betrayal. Magic. Destiny.

New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard returns to the epic Witchlands series with the story we’ve all been waiting for.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan and the Threadwitch Iseult race for safety as the Raider King’s attempts to subdue the Witchlands gain momentum. Now, his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. Despite differing goals, Aeduan and Iseult have grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. But trust is a tenuous bond…

War has come once more to the Witchlands. Perhaps if the Truthwitch Safi and Iseult were united, their powers could bring peace. Yet Lady Fate’s knife comes for us all, and the Bloodwitch Aeduan can no longer hide from his past.

Today marks the release of the fourth book in my favourite fantasy series by Susan Dennard! I’ve been highly anticipating BLOODWITCH for over two years, so to say I’m excited is an understatement. Here’s a special spotlight post to help spread the word about the incredible THE WITCHLANDS series. If you like complex world-building, strong characters, and political intrigue this is the series for you. If you’re new to the books, I’ve linked reviews of the first three below. Please consider picking up these fantastic books or requesting them from your local library – you will not be disappointed!

Book One: TRUTHWITCH

Book Two: WINDWITCH

Book Three: SIGHTWITCH

10 Perfect Halloween Reads

Happy Halloween! Today I’m sharing 10 incredible books that are perfect for reading on Halloween – or any occasion! Definitely add these to your TBR and request them at your local library. I’d love to know what books you’re reading this Halloween?


31371752Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

HarperTeen | July 24, 2012

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

New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard adds a “never before in print” e-novella and a gorgeous new cover to the first book in the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series.

Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. After discovering the Dead are rising and wreaking havoc in Philadelphia, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. Yet as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life hangs in the balance.

In Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard weaves together beautifully imagined scenes of action, adventure, and vivid Victorian life to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers will be intrigued from the start.

This is the debut novel of one of my favourite authors and let me tell you, this book is an excellent Halloween read. It has steampunk and necromancers and zombies! I will forgive you for not having this on your shelf, so long as you add it immediately.


36952594A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Imprint | September 25, 2018

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

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

This is pitched as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Alice in Wonderland – what’s not to love? I’ve been dying to read this!


34198648The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Viking | October 30, 2018

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

For Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one.

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost.

I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time, but every time I hear someone talking about it, THE BRILLIANT DEATH gets higher and higher on my TBR.


36671146Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

HarperTeen | August 28, 2018

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

Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move…is murder.

This twisty thriller from Paula Stokes should be at the top of your TBR pile! Filled with secrets, high stakes and murder, HIDDEN PIECES is the perfect Halloween read.


Certain Dark Things HC Mech.inddCertain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Thomas Dunne Books | October 25, 2016

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

Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

I started reading CERTAIN DARK THINGS and it is incredible – this should be on everyone’s TBR! I love the cover and the characters just draw you in.


27414411Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Feiwel & Friends | February 20, 2018

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

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you’ll hear.

I’m almost finished my binge of Riddick movies and this will be the perfect book to read afterwards. I love anything to do with space and aliens. Definitely add this to your TBR!


23168806Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Tor Teen | May 5, 2015

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

The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch…will that mean she’s wicked too?

I loved the humour and heart in SERIOUSLY WICKED! I read this last year and I really liked the author’s take on witches and magic.


27414389A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Roaring Brook Press | October 25, 2016

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

A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.

I’ve heard so many incredible things about A DARKLY BEATING HEART and it’s everything I love to read in a book. A must-have for Halloween.


35068650Contagion by Erin Bowman

HarperTeen | July 24, 2018

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

It got in us.

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

Most are dead.

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

Don’t set foot here again.

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

Erin Bowman is another fave of mine so I was super excited to read this. I love sci-fi and this just sounds so intriguing. Also, this cover is to die for!


BONUS BOOK:

39863277Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Tor Teen | February 12, 2019

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

Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

Bloodwitch doesn’t come out until February, but this is the perfect Halloween read and I just had to share some preorder links. I love this fantasy series so much (this is book #4!) and you can check out my reviews of Truthwitch, Windwitch, and Sightwitch.

Blog Tour: ARC Review of Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

91QrCSFmO3LSightwitch (companion novella to Truthwitch and Windwitch)

Susan Dennard

5/5 stars

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Publisher: Tor Teen

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |  Kobo

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.
Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before TruthwitchSightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.

I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the Sightwitch blog tour and to help promote Susan Dennard’s next book! The Witchlands series are one of my all-time favourite fantasy books. Sightwitch is the third book in the series but set before Truthwitch (book #1) and Windwitch (book #2). Check out my review below and don’t forget to pick up a copy. If you haven’t read the first two books, I talk about my recommended reading order below. This review is also spoiler-free, for those who haven’t read any of the books in the series.

review

SIGHTWITCH by Susan Dennard is a book like no other. The third book in Dennard’s fantasy series, this illustrated novella is set one year before TRUTHWITCH and is made up of journal entries, sketches, maps, letters, notes, and records as well as songs, prayers & rules pertaining to the Sightwitches. There is so much to this novella, but it is never overwhelming. Dennard’s writing skills have reached new heights. SIGHTWITCH is one of the most creative forms of the novel.

This book has two main POV’s: Ryber Fortiza, a character we met in TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH, and Eridysi, a Sighwitch Sister who lived a 1000 years ago. Separated by time and connected by the thread of fate. The character development Ryber experiences is incredible! At the beginning, Ryber wants so bad to be summoned and given the Sight. That desire was so strong and I wanted that for Ryber, so badly. This desire to be summoned by Sirmaya is one of the strongest I have ever felt from a character, in all the books I’ve read. Then Ryber goes on this journey and she grows so much – I loved being able to witness it all. She also meets Kullen Ikray, an Airwitch we first read about in TRUTHWITCH. I loved having him in the book because we saw a deeper, more honest side of him. He is truly a precious cinnamon roll. I don’t think I could ever read a Dennard book and be disappointed – the character development was phenomenal. The development of Eridysi, a character who lived a thousand years ago, was also great because we learn about an actual person, and not a legend or someone’s over exaggeration of Eridysi’s life. I connected so much with this character that I wouldn’t mind an entire book (or series) from her POV.

World-building is always my favourite and I especially loved the way I got to experience it here. The journal entries and sketches made up most of the book and were amazing to read. However, it was the notes and the songs and the Sighwitch rules written to the side that completed my experience. Being able to learn about the Witchlands and Dennard’s characters in this way was undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. Here’s a quote from the finished copy that I love re: the world-building:

38. THE RULE OF DISPUTED TRUTH

Oftentimes, Memory Records offer different accounts for the same event. As such, all Memory Records are true and all Memory Records are false, for what is life except perception?

Page 118.

SIGHTWITCH has changed my perception of the Witchlands – both past and future. Which brings me to my final point: we are introduced to a darker, more ominous side of the Witchlands, a side we saw hints of in the first two books. The suspense I felt in this book, the way my heart raced, other books cannot even compare. There are Death Maidens and shadow wyrms and much, much more. Fans of TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH will not want to miss this highly anticipated, new release from Susan Dennard. Sighwitch: The True Tale of the Twelve Paladins. The illustrations in this book were created by Rhys Davies.

My recommended reading order: Truthwitch, Windwitch and then Sightwitch. Although Sightwitch is set a year before Truthwitch, I feel your reading experience will be much more positive if you’re already familiar with the world of the Witchlands. Also, things happen in Sightwitch that would be kind of spoilery to people who haven’t read Truthwitch or Windwitch.

Here are some more of my favourite quotes:

Tanzi had recognized that the stars, the Rules – none of it was real. It was only what we chose them to be.

Page 205.

I rested my hands on either side of his face – that beautiful, lined face that I had grown to love. “This is what the Goddess wills, and so we must obey”. Then, when he had made no move to turn, I murmured the only No’Amatsi words I knew: “Mhe verujta”

Trust me as if my soul were yours.

Page 219.

And if I was being honest, I wanted to find him.

But there is always the sharp, hidden side of Lady’s Fate’s knife, where what we want is not what we ultimately get.

Page 225.

I received an eARC from the publisher. This has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.

aboutauthor

stdennardSusan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the New York Times bestselling books Truthwitch and Windwitch, and when not writing, she’s usually slaying darkspawn (on her Xbox) or earning bruises at the dojo.

She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about her on her blognewslettertwitter, or instagram.