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

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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.

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Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

34076952The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Leigh Bardugo & Sara Kipin (illustrator) 

4.42/5 stars

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Publisher:  Macmillan/Imprint

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

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Review:

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo is a gorgeous anthology of six fairytale-like illustrated stories set in the Grishaverse. Whether you’ve read every Bardugo book or the Grishaverse is entirely new to you, there will be a story to enchant and frighten you. The illustrations were stunning and truly made the stories.

The format of the book: the writing would be in the usual place, taking up most of the page with illustrations surrounding it.

I loved that as you turned the page, the illustration would be added to, as if you’ve been given another clue as to how the story will end. The more you read, the more hints you’re given. The pages that followed the end of the story would be a completely illustrated two-page spread. It just added so much to the anthology.

The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars was because sometimes I get annoyed with that common fairytale narrative “a couple had a daughter but she was boring/ugly/useless so they treated her more like a servant but the daughter became used to it so oh well” or “she was so beautiful everyone wanted to marry her but also very kind”. I know they’re central aspects of a fairytale but they still annoy me.

Here are my individual ratings and thoughts on each short story:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood – 4/5 stars – I liked this one and it was definitely the right story to start the anthology. Bardugo explains in the author’s note where her inspiration for this story came from, but I saw different fairytales and myths in this one.

The Too-Clever Fox – 5/5 stars – This is probably my third-favourite story in the collection. I loved Koja, the “too-clever fox” and I didn’t guess the plot twist until it was too late.

The Witch of Duva – 3.5/5 stars – I’ve read this one before so it didn’t entertain me as much as the first time but I still didn’t guess the ending until halfway through.

Little Knife – 5/5 stars – I absolutely loved this one! This is probably my favourite out of all of them, simply because the ending truly wowed me. I didn’t see it coming and now I’m imagining so many possibilities, of what happened after the ending. Just superb!

The Soldier Prince – 4/5 stars – I liked the last half more than the first. I really loved the way it ended. This one was set in Kerch and when I read Six of Crows (hopefully soon) I’ll be looking for hints of this story in the SoC duology.

When Water Sang Fire – 5/5 stars – This one would’ve been my favourite because mermaids! if the ending of Little Knife hadn’t wowed me so much. This story deserves a gold star or something for drawing the most emotion out of me. I felt joy, sadness, anger and a need for revenge!! The ending had closure and I can pretty much guess what a sequel would entail but I still need one.

SPOILERS BELOW

That being said, the more I think about the ending, the more angry I am. I would’ve taken a happy ending over a character who’s fate is basically to become an anti-hero or villain. I actually thought Ulla and Signy would end up throwing the prince away and rule together as queens. I don’t know, that’s what I got from the way they interacted with each other.

SPOILERS END

I would still 100% recommend this book.

Book Review: Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

tinaconnollySeriously Wicked

Tina Connolly

4/5 stars

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Tor Teen

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

Synopsis on Goodreads:

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?

Review:

Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly is such a fun and original take on magic and witches in the modern world – I loved this from start to finish! I can’t wait to read the next book, it’s a very entertaining and well-written series.

I loved Cam and immediately connected with her. Her sense of humour was perfect for this story and this book was so well-written! On the surface, there’s lots of humour and fun but at the same time, there’s some serious character development. I loved that the author was able to weave those two things together. The serious side of this book I wasn’t expecting (a pleasant surprise) and it’s one of the main reasons I’m continuing onto the next book.

I was also happy with the fact that no romance occurred between Cam and the demon living inside Devon’s body, which was something I half expected and was worried about. Considering the demon is trying to destroy Devon’s soul (so as to remain on earth permanently) it’d be a bit problematic. There was romance between Cam and Devon which I found super cute and awkward (first loves/crushes) – and I loved every moment of it.

I think teens who were adopted or are really conflicted/unsure about their place in their family will find solace in this book. Cam was adopted and ends up confronting her adopted mother, the “Wicked Witch”. Their relationship has so many cracks, especially when it concerns Cam’s adoption. Seriously Wicked is told in Cam’s POV and it ends up being a case of an unreliable narrator because even though Cam wholeheartedly believes she was adopted, the Wicked Witch says the opposite. This was one of the more serious aspects of the book and a very important thing for Cam and her mother to overcome.

This is great for contemporary readers who want a bit of magic in their lives and fantasy readers who are in the mood for something light and funny. I recommend this series for those wanting humour, heart and a diverse cast of characters.

Book Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

29939390Windwitch (sequel to Truthwitch)

Susan Dennard

5/5 stars

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Publisher: Tor Teen

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

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

Review:

WINDWITCH by Susan Dennard was incredible from start to finish. Filled with action, heartache and some of the greatest moments of character development I’ve ever read, this book is sure to become a favourite of 2017. The world-building is so rich, it practically leaps off the page. Enemies become allies and allies become enemies in this stunning sequel to TRUTHWITCH.

I want to take a moment to talk about the writing. It was so beautiful that I’d take the time to analyze every paragraph, every sentence, and every word. I feel like, in a way, Dennard’s writing can be compared to the gorgeous, imagery-like writing of Laini Taylor. I’ve never really considered this before, but the world-building and character development is so complex, so rich, it’s reached that level. This is the best Dennard book to date.

Like in TRUTHWITCH, this novel is told in 3rd person, multiple POV’s. We have characters already familiar to us: Merik, Safi, Iseult, and Aeduan. However, Dennard adds a 5th voice: Vivia Nihar, Merik’s older sister. Having this many voices in one book can go really wrong, but Dennard is flawless. In fact, WINDWITCH is one of the best examples of a book told in multiple POV’s. The transitions were so smooth, that when character A’s POV ended, even though I wanted to know more about character A, I was satisfied enough to continue on with character B. There have been times when I’m reading a book with only two different POV’s and the voices weren’t different enough. I understood that these two characters had different personalities, traits and ambitions, but the voices sounded too similar; as if I were reading a book with 1.5 POV’s rather than 2. I’m really astounded at how flawlessly Dennard pulls this off.

Moreover, Dennard usually followed a specific pattern that helped make these transitions smooth. The first couple chapters had only 1 POV per chapter but eventually a POV would change mid-chapter. These POV “pairings”, as I’m calling it, were usually Merik and Vivia, Iseult and Aeduan, or Merik and Safi. Merik and Vivia, and Iseult and Aeduan were usually in the same location or general vicinity, so it made sense to have pairings like these. Like I said, this is one of the best books with multiple POV’s and if you’re writing a book like this or planning to, I’d recommend you study Dennard’s style. I think it’d be really helpful for writers to see why this style worked for Dennard and whether or not it could work for you.

The character development is so amazing, along with the sort of relationships we see between different characters. This book is Merik’s arc and the focus is mostly on him. He has so much rage and grief and regrets, that it’s funnelled into a new identity: the Fury. There’s also a focus on Vivia, and Merik & Vivia’s relationship as siblings/rivals. This relationship was the most prominent and I loved every moment of it!

Iseult/Aeduan fans will be very happy with this book. These two create a temporary alliance and start traveling together in the Contested Lands. Their chapters ended up being my favourite, mainly because Aeduan is my all-time favourite character! There was the makings of a slow burn romance and I mean slowww, but this book starts them off as could-be-friends and allies, which is something I’m really happy about.

Some readers might be a bit disappointed because, in a way, that strong friendship between Safi and Iseult, the one that drew readers to TRUTHWITCH isn’t as prominent. Safi and Iseult are definitely fighting to reach each other in WINDWITCH but it ends up more about how these two fight for survival without the other. These two characters are so strong together, but how do they fare without the other to lean on? Some very tough and heartbreaking decisions are made in this book. The reader ends up seeing a different side of the relationship we first encountered in TRUTHWITCH and I really liked that. WINDWITCH takes the characters we loved from the first book and has them forging new, exciting and sometimes difficult paths.

I was slightly confused at the beginning because a character death (that happened in TRUTHWITCH) is mentioned and I honestly couldn’t remember it happening. This was more on me than the book. I did read book #1 about 1.5 years ago.

The last couple of chapters, the POV’s would change three or four times in one chapter and my heart was actually racing. All I could think about was getting to the end, it was so good! I’m very excited for book #3 BLOODWITCH – which happens to be Aeduan’s arc 🙂 – and now plan to re-read TRUTHWITCH. I cannot recommend this series enough.

Also, because of something that happened near the end of the book I feel like I know what book #4 will be called. Okay, I’m not totally sure on the exact title but I kind of felt a foreshadowing of events to come in book #4. Dennard mentioned in a chat I think, one of the Witchlands novels was supposed to be called THREADWITCH (Iseult’s arc) but B&N wouldn’t accept that title so she had to change her plans. This ended up worrying me because I started thinking “Oh no! Everyone gets a book named after them except Iseult?!”. However, I am not worried anymore 🙂

Cover Reveal: THE BROKEN ONES by Danielle L. Jensen

It’s finally here!! I am so happy to be able to help share the cover of THE BROKEN ONES by Danielle L. Jensen! This cover is so, so gorgeous and could possibly be my favourite, of all of Jensen’s book covers. TBO is a prequel novel to Danielle L. Jensen’s The Malediction Trilogy, one of my all-time favourite series and I can’t wait to read it. I was really satisfied with WARRIOR WITCH, the final book in the series, but I love being able to return to this beautiful world. For those not familiar with the series, I’d recommend reading STOLEN SONGBIRD (book #1), then HIDDEN HUNTRESS and WARRIOR WITCH. Even though TBO is a prequel, I always feel the official first book in a series has a better hook while prequels provide a bit of insight into characters you already know and love.

Without further ado, here’s the full synopsis, the cover and other important details. You can also find my review of HIDDEN HUNTRESS here and my immediate reaction to finishing WARRIOR WITCH here. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom! Angry Robot is giving away four sets of paperbacks (to be sent when the finished copies of The Broken Ones are available), plus signed swag (bookmarks & bookplates). This giveaway is international.

THE BROKEN ONES by Danielle L. Jensen

Angry Robot | June 6, 2017 | Goodreads

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

Synopsis:

A prequel to the USA Today bestseller and Goodreads Choice finalist Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy).

Below Forsaken Mountain, a revolution stirs with the aim to overthrow the tyrant king of Trollus, and Marc is the right hand of its leader. It’s a secret more than one troll would kill to possess, which is why he must keep it from everyone, even the girl he loves.

Since a tragic accident revealed her affliction and ruined her sister’s chance at the throne, Pénélope is an anathema to her father, the Duke d’Angoulême. Deeming her life worthless, he gives her one chance to survive: find proof that the boy she loves is a leader in the sympathizer revolution.

Marc and Pénélope must navigate the complex politics of Trollus, where powers on all sides are intent on using them as pawns, forcing them to risk everything for a chance at a life together.

Except being together might be the greatest risk of all.

Now the cover!!

thebrokenones_144dpi-676x1024

Isn’t it amazing?! Usually there’s only one character/model on Jensen’s covers, so I love that both Marc and Penelope are on it. The artist for THE BROKEN ONES cover (and the covers for the rest of the series) is Steve Stone. WebsiteArtist Partners Profile.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

GoodreadsAmazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

GoodreadsAmazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

GoodreadsAmazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

About the Author:

DaniellView More: http://heatherpalmer.pass.us/danielle-jensene L. Jensen was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous, and it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.

Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malediction Trilogy: Stolen SongbirdHidden Huntress, and Warrior Witch.

Follow Danielle L. Jensen on Amazon

My website: danielleljensen.com

Twitter: @dljensen_

Instagram: danielleljensen

Facebook: @authordanielleljensen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7091823.Danielle_L_Jensen

Rafflecopter:

raffle-1-300x200

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Angry Robot is giving away four sets of paperbacks (to be sent when the finished copies of The Broken Ones are available), plus signed swag (bookmarks & bookplates). This giveaway is international.

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

21414439Truthwitch

Susan Dennard

5/5 stars

Release Date: January 5, 2016

Publisher: Tor Teen

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

Synopsis on Goodreads:

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Review:

I love reading an author’s second series because of books like TRUTHWITCH. Dennard’s writing is gorgeous, and her characters fresh and original. The world of TRUTHWITCH is huge and it’s because of Dennard’s experience as a writer that the reader is never overwhelmed by it all. This is the book that will be talked about for years to come, a book that deserves every bit of hype.

TRUTHWITCH is the tale of two threadsisters and Dennard is able to perfectly balance their stories, so that it never feels like one is more significant than the other. This is a multi-POV book; told in the POV’s of Safi (our Truthwitch), Iseult (Threadwitch), Merrik (Windwitch), and Aeduan (Bloodwitch). In a lot of cases, this is a big undertaking because there needs to be enough space given to each character. Dennard is absolutely perfect when it comes to this. The switch between POV’s is smooth and I felt like I got enough time with each and every character.

I loved all four of our main characters. Safi was funny and ambitious, someone who acts before she thinks. Iseult was my favourite, mainly because I felt our personalities were very similar. She was introverted and calm, and I felt like she was very selfless, in the sense that she’d give up everything if it meant her friends and family were happy. Merrik is someone who would do anything for his country and is desperately fighting for its survival. He also has a lot of rage, which fits so well with his witchery. Then there’s Aeduan, the infamous Bloodwitch. Like Iseult, he was another favourite and I can’t wait to find out more about him. He’s very mysterious and a bit of an anti-hero, but that kind of makes me love him more haha. The characters go through some serious character development and I especially loved the actions of Safi at the end – it showed her growth.

I usually mention this in my reviews, but world building is my absolute favourite and Dennard did not disappoint. If you’ve seen a map of this world, you might have noticed that it looks like an alternate version of Europe. I loved that! Dennard is so strong when it comes to giving the reader a good visual of her world. There are so many different cultures, but again we are never overwhelmed. We’d glimpse the world through the characters actions, through music and poetry, myths and legends. It was also great seeing both the good and bad of the world. For example, we experienced the discrimination of the Nomatsi through Iseult, which is her ethnicity.

I actually think if you liked Avatar: The Last Airbender, you’ll like this. The world is based upon elemental magic and the scale of the world (very big!) is about the same. I also sensed a bit of Zuko in Aeduan, which was great.

Dennard is truly a Wordwitch when it comes to writing. With magic and suspense at every corner, TRUTHWITCH is a must-read. The writing is visually stunning and the world equally so. Dennard has created a beautiful start to a fantastic, new series.

Disclaimer 1: I won an advanced readers copy from the author, this has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.

Disclaimer 2: I wrote this review about a year after reading it, but I based it on notes written immediately after finishing it, so everything in my review is accurate.

 

May + June Wrap-Up Post

tumblr_o94xrqi3dh1sefywro1_1280I didn’t have a chance to blog about what I read in May so I’m combining it with June’s wrap-up post. I read a lot in May, but it was all novellas – no full-length novels so I’m a bit bummed about that. That made me determined to read more novels in June, which I did but not a lot. I did finish ACOMAF which is basically three books in one, so that’s got to count for something. 🙂

 

 

May:

The Black Knife by Jodi Meadows

The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo

The Siren by Kiera Cass – unfortunately this one was a DNF

The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster

Vampire Knight Volumes 7-10 by Matsuri Hino

June:

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard

I loved ACOMAF! It’s definitely my favourite Maas book to date and one of my favourite reads of 2016. It’s the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses and I totally recommend it.

How did everyone do with their reading last month? Any good books to recommend?

So I was looking at my Goodreads Currently Reading shelf and noticed I have 10 books on there. 10! I’ve also started a couple other books that I haven’t added onto there, so I am determined to finish a couple of those this month. I’m also planning to finally start some books that have been sitting on my shelf for almost a year. Anyone else have the same problem?

ICYMI:

Movie Review: The Jungle Book (2016)

Review of Rabbit Ears + Interview with Maggie de Vries

Nefarious Tales: Disney Villains & their Backstories

Nefarious Tales - Villain week

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Nefarious Tales Blog Event, hosted by Mishma from Chasing Faerytales. This week is all about celebrating our favourite villains. I was so happy to be chosen for this because I love villains (who doesn’t 😉 ). Be sure to check out the stops below as well as a special giveaway. A villain inspired mystery pack will be given away and it’s open international.

I’ve already mentioned that I love villains but I also love all things Disney so:

Villains + Disney = Pure Gold!

Recently it seems like there’s a market, whether in books, film, or television for telling the backstories or POV’s of villains and anti-heroes. Here are some disney villains that I’d love backstories of. I feel like learning a villain’s back story helps so much more with the character – sometimes you even feel sympathetic towards them.

Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

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I first became interested in Maleficent’s back story when the 2014 film Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie released. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a re-imagining of the 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. I definitely recommend watching it because it’s such a gorgeous portrayal of Maleficent and her side of the story. Jolie is a perfectly terrifying villain. Anyways, I really want to know why the other fairies had an issue with Maleficent and why King Stefan decided to involve himself in this fairy feud. I’m not an expert on this matter, but I’ve heard the worst thing you could do is invite every fairy but one.

 

 

 

Ursula from The Little Mermaid

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Ursula is another favourite of mine. If you don’t remember, Ursula is known as the sea witch by the merfolk and looks a lot like an octopus. In The Little Mermaid, Ursula mentions that she used to live in the palace, before her banishment which has always intrigued me. Who was she, what sort of role did she have and why was she banished? Most importantly, was she always an octopus? I think the fact that she turns every merperson she catches into tiny plants reinforces that idea – a sort of revenge for having lost her own tail. Plus, Poor Unfortunate Souls was one of the best songs in the movie – it’s both thrilling and a cautionary tale.

Hades from Hercules 

I’ve always loved Greek mythology and the various myths surrounding Hades definitely captivate. Add in a bit of Disney magic and you get a villain that, despite his unpleasant place in the pantheon, is still able to see the humour in life (pun intended). Actually, when I started writing this post I realized Hades is pretty much funny all the time, even when he’s losing – of course, I doubt Hades is amused by this but the viewer definitely gets a laugh. So what I’d love to know is how does a greek god who got the short end of the stick find the time to be both mad and witty?

*spoilers for The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis below

Jadis, the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

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I’m cheating a bit with this one as the Witch Witch is technically half-disney – the book series by C.S. Lewis inspired the 2005 movie. When I read The Magician’s Nephew, I immediately wanted to know more about Jadis. She came from a world separate from both Narnia and our own, called Charn; a world that started out good, but soon fell to evil. Jadis was a powerful sorceress who battled with her sister for control of their world. The White Witch reigned terror over Narnia for 100 years but before that, destroyed her own world rather than be defeated. Now imagine TWO of these villainous queens battling for control of Charn – sister against sister, villain vs. villain. That makes for a pretty incredible book.


Nefarious Tales Blog Stops:
Monday April 18:
Wren @ Bookmato Chronicles – Ten Reasons why all Victors want to be Victor Vale
Holly @ The Fox’s Hideaway – Villains I’d Join the Dark Side for
Maha @ Younicorn Reads – Why Villains Actually Make the Decisions They Make
Tuesday April 19:
Lisa @ Lost in Literature – Favourite Villains
Emily @ Paperback Princess – Villains of Harry Potter
Maryam @ Once Upon a Story – What if villains rule the world
Crini @ It’s all about Books – Why we love villains
Wednesday April 20:
Cee @ The Novel Hermit – The older I get, the more I appreciate villains
Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secret – Evil Edits: How I imagine villains to look like

Zoe @ Stories on Stage – Favourite Villains

Thursday April 21:
Erica @ The Novel Ink – President Snow
Emily @ Emily Reads Everything – People We Love to Hate
Lynette @ Charmingly Simple – Fancasting of Disney Villains
Crini @ It’s all about Books – Favourite and Least Favourite Villains
Friday April 22:
Nicole @ Quality Fangirls – Villain Aesthetics
Emz @ Paging Serenity – Why I Love Anti-heroes
Denise @ The Bibliolater – Why Do We Need Villains
Saturday April 23:
Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout – 11 Common Villain Tropes as Pokemon Moves
Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts – Awesome Villain Powers
Nova @ Out of Time – The Darkling Formula
Sunday April 24:
Meleika @ Endless Pages – Why Everyone Needs a Villain in their Life
Adriyanna @ Life Writings of a Reader – Disney Villains & their Backstories
Ava @ Bookishness and Tea – Favourite Villains and Why I Love Them
Monday – My ultimate list of favourite fictional villains
Tuesday – Let’s talk about antiheroes!
Wednesday – Disney Villains (Jillian)
Thursday – Types of Villains
Friday – Villain Songs
Saturday – Why YA needs villain protagonists

Sunday – Favourite movie villains


Contest:

One person will win a villain inspired mystery pack, open INT. Enter through the rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

23310784Trial by Fire

Josephine Angelini

4/5 stars

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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

Synopsis on Goodreads:

The exhilaratingly seductive new series from the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

Review:

Trial by Fire incorporates Salem witches, spirit walking, and alternate universes. Alternate universes are my absolute favourite and Angelini doesn’t disappoint – it’s creative and well-done. Lily lives in our world but is brought to an alternate Salem through her other self, Lillian. What’s worse, Lily learns magic and witches reign supreme and Lillian is the ruler and villain of this new world. Angelini gives us an incredible world that I loved reading about!

The book starts off in our world, introducing Lily, her family, and best friend Tristan. Lily is frequently sick and diagnosed with more allergies than she can count, so her social life consists mainly of Tristan. Lily’s had a long-time crush on Tristan, which I found a bit cheesy especially when the reader learns Tristan is the school’s most popular boy. The author doesn’t have enough room to make this popular trope unique so in my personal opinion it should have been avoided. Before the start, the two had a steamy kiss, but they hadn’t discussed where their relationship lies so when Lily see’s Tristan making out with his ex at a party, she runs off with a broken heart. This creates the perfect opportunity for Lillian to bring Lily to her world – Lily has to willingly agree to leave and of course, she’d like to be anywhere but here.

The world-building is phenomenal and my favourite aspect of the book. I was actually expecting a pre-1800’s Salem, but I think it’s set in or around present day because technology exists, although influenced by magic. You have things like bioluminescent trees and giant walled cities – the cities are reminiscent of the Thirteen colonies. When it comes to science and magic there’s a really interesting dynamic. The growth of science is controlled by the ruling coven so that it can’t become bigger or independent of magic. If a citizen needs clean water or medicine, they have to hire a witch because using science for something like that is illegal. Ironically magic is more expensive than science, so this further divides the witches and non-magic people.

I loved Angelini’s version of witches and magic. Everyone has a Willstone, which is a small rock usually worn as a necklace and acts as an extra limb. A Willstone also allows a witch to bond with other people and share their magic. It’s very sensitive so if destroyed or in the wrong hands can be very painful for the witch. There’s also people called Mechanics, someone a witch is expected to bond with and is supposed to make sure the witch’s body and soul is in good condition. In exchange, they get a lot of magic to use at their own disposal. Outlanders like Rowan, people born outside the city walls and therefore not a citizen, fear bonding with a witch because there’s a chance the witch will control their thoughts and use them like a puppet.

When it comes to the Outlanders, there wasn’t the same sort of creative development like with witches and magic. It borders really close to “Native Americans are savages and the Europeans civilized” and other racist, misperceptions. It makes the author look like A: did not do a lot of research on Native American history and/or doesn’t feel like they need to because it’s an alternate universe largely focused on Salem witches and B: a product of the American education system that isn’t overly focused on teaching accurate Native American history.

I loved Rowan and the romance between Lily and him. Some characters like Juliet (Lily’s sister) and Tristan exist in both worlds, but there’s no Rowan in Lily’s world so both the reader and Lily get to learn about this person at the same time. We find out Rowan and Lillian used to have some sort of romantic relationship so I’m not 100% sure how I feel about that when it comes to the romance between him and Lily, BUT I still ship the latter.

I expected to see a lot more of Lillian and as this great villain she’s been advertised. I like reading about the villain and seeing their POV because things aren’t just black and white. She’s presented as a person who’s resorted to the no-other-option to save her world and I just wish we’d seen her more as the villain and interacting with Lily. The reader learns about her dark acts from other characters so I hope we get to see more of her in the sequel.

Something that wasn’t made clear is whether Mechanics are only males and if females can become Mechanics, but it’s just rare. There are male witches, but not many and most probably don’t know they’re witches. I was also disappointed with the lack of female characters. Lily didn’t interact with any on a regular basis, other than maybe her sister, Juliet and doppelgänger Lillian. Even in her own world she didn’t seem to have any female friends. It’s really important to me that a heroine of a book have at least one good female friend.

Overall I loved this book and will be reading the sequel (already bought it). Cheesy parts aside, the world-building is incredibly strong and Angelini’s world stands out so much to me. If you’re looking for a new original take on Salem witches and magic, this book is for you. There’s so much about the world that I loved and it’s impossible to write about it all in a review, so read the book!

Book Jar Recs: Time Travel

Book Jar Recs is a weekly feature where I recommend three books based on an idea, theme, or random word. Each theme has been randomly pulled out of a jar (inspired by a TBR jar). If you have any ideas you’d like me to put in the jar, feel free to share them in the comments below. You can also read my introduction post on this feature here.

This week’s theme is ‘time travel’. I’ll be sharing some books that are based around that concept.


23310784Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini has to be one of my favourite reads of 2015. The main character, Lily Proctor has been sick for most of her life, diagnosed with more allergies than she can count. This in turn prevents her from living life like a normal teenager. Then a humiliating event has her wishing she could disappear and Lily is suddenly sent back in time to a different Salem – brought by her other self Lillian, the strongest and cruelest witch of all.

What I loved most was the world-building. Angelini gives us an alternate Salem that has been shaped by witches and magic. It’s not made clear about the rest of the world, but America hasn’t advanced very far due to the terrifying monsters that roam the land. The only safe places are walled cities like Salem, all connected and ruled by the Thirteen Colonies. I also loved that magic worked in conjunction with technology, and science played a big role in explaining things, like how Lily got here, or the stones/gems that are a Crucible’s [witch] source of power.

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


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Winds of Salem is the third book in Melissa De La Cruz’s Witches of East End series and a fantastic end to the series. Freya Beauchamp is sent back in time to 1692 Salem (yes, another Salem book!) with no idea of who she is. Her mother, Joanna, and sister, Ingrid are stuck in the 21st century, trying to figure out how to rescue her. I’ve always loved the way the author took witches and Norse mythology, and brought them together.

In the book, the reader gets a first-hand look at a Salem witch trial along with other historical details like marriage and inheritance. I’ve found all of De La Cruz’s books to be fast reads and the Witches of East End series seems tailored for an adult or new adult audience. While delving into witches and myth, these books have a magical realism feel to it rather than urban fantasy. I recommend Witches of East End for a first time reader of De La Cruz’s works.

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


14288198Writing up this post had me realizing I haven’t read a lot of time travel books, so I’m cheating with this last rec (a non-fiction) where the reader travels through multiple times and experiences instead. Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee is a memoir that details the author’s life experiences living in the Middle East from the 1960’s all the way to his life in the 2000’s living as a gay man in Toronto, Canada.

I rarely read non-fiction, unless it’s a required reading for school and probably only read this because it was on the Canada Reads 2015 Shortlist. The author has an incredible story to tell and I loved the last half of the book more than the first. What’s most interesting is the author realizing, as a young adult, the steps he needs to take if he wants to live somewhere more tolerant. I also loved that not only does the author touch on his own experiences and realizations, but he also delves a bit into the history of his parents and from times as a child that he wouldn’t remember, but his older siblings do. I personally found the writing ordinary and didn’t enjoy the introduction but this a great, short read for both the fiction and non-fiction reader. It’s a book that sheds a lot of light on the Middle East and great for informing the reader on things they might not have known or were ignorant of.

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