Blog Tour: Secrets of the Great Fire Tree by Justine Laismith (Excerpt, Interview + Giveaway)


Happy Sunday! Welcome to our stop in the Secrets of the Great Fire Tree blog tour! This was suppose to go up a few days ago, but Amber messed up a few things and we sadly had to move it to today. Regardless we are still super excited for this amazing book to be visiting today! Make sure to check out the excerpt and then head over to the other blogs that are participating! Today we have an exclusive excerpt, interview and giveaway!!! 

πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳

ABOUT SECRETS OF THE GREAT FIRE TREE! 
Title: Secrets of the Great Fire Tree
Author: Justine Laismith
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Aurelia Leo
Date Published: May 28th 2019
Summary: A Boy. His Pendant. A Magical Tree. In rural China during the New Year celebrations, Kai receives devastating news. A poor harvest spells disaster unless his mother accepts a job in the city caring for a wealthy family. Abandoned in his mountainous village, Kai is desperate to bring his mother home. He gives in to superstition and unlocks the secrets of the Great Fire Tree. The Great Fire Tree will grant Kai’s wish—for a terrible price. With the help of his new friend Xinying and his trusted piglet, Kai will make a sacrifice to make his family whole. Justine Laismith weaves together Chinese mystique and rural charm in an enchanting tale of an antidote that kills and an amulet that curses. 

 πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳

Excerpt!

Kai fetched his basket. It was wide and deep enough that if he curled himself into a ball, he could fit in it. Two pieces of cloths were tied to it in a loop shoulder length apart, forming the shoulder straps for him to carry the basket on his back. Yee Por held the basket for him while he threaded his arms through.

With the bucket inside and Piglet on a rope, Kai descended toward the thick bushes. Down the mountain path and past the soft green that grew around the clearing to his favorite Dragon’s Pearl Tree, the tall tree with enormous fruit that went uneaten. To Kai, it was such a wasted effort; even more so last year when the tree tried to brighten up the dry season with heavy blossoms. They were unusual flowers; instead of branches, they stuck out directly from the trunk. But like any flower, the petals fell and produced its fruit.

“The birds would not eat them, so we mustn’t eat them either.” He remembered what Ma had said.

Every tree and every rock down that familiar path to the river reminded him of Ma, how he used to charge ahead with Pink Belly, whacking the bushes and frolicking in the clearing until Ma caught up with them.Today, he did not feel like playing with the new piglet in the same way.
He had always gone with Ma to fetch the water. She was stronger and carried the bigger bucket. He carried the smaller one. It only took fifteen liters.

Without Ma, the road back was windier and more treacherous. The burden of the water weighed him down as he lumbered upward. Thank goodness Piglet was only tiny and seemed to know how to handle the uneven terrain, grass or rock, upward or downward. He rested his tired legs and shoulders every few meters. But each time he stopped, he listened for voices. He did not want to be caught resting by the school bullies. Especially now he was on his own.

On one of these breaks, he heard a rustle. Then a pair of huge feet appeared on the path. 

πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳

INTERVIEW!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I grew up in Singapore and studied Chemistry in London. After my PhD, I worked in the pharmaceuticals industry. Since then I have also worked in the chemicals and education sectors. I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was in industry, I wrote scientific papers. While I did write fiction occasionally, it really only took off around the time I returned to Singapore in 2010. There I entered a local writing competition. As a winner, my children’s book The Magic Mixer was published. It’s a chapter book about two women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). By that time, I was already in the midst of writing Secrets of the Great Fire Tree. This was the encouragement I needed to keep going.

When did you want to become an author?
I first wanted to be a writer when I was seven. However at school I never did well in languages or literature. When it came to choosing subjects, I would have had to make the difficult decision of choosing what I liked, or what I was good at. My teacher saved me from this. She had expected me to take the Arts/Humanity subjects, because ‘girls are better at them, and boys are better at Math and Science.’ Right there and then I chose the Science options to prove a point.  Over the years, even though I pursued a Science career, the enjoyment of turning blank pages to words never left me. I continued to write poems and stories as and when they came to me, but these were for my eyes only. I also channeled this into my work and wrote scientific papers on my research. After some years, I took a career break. With a break from science, the logical side of my brain took a back seat and let the creative side of my brain dominate. I started writing in earnest.

What inspires your work?
My inspiration comes from all around me. I now pay a lot of attention to my surroundings and how it makes me feel. Then I challenge \myself to describe it in words. When I watch a movie or show, I don’t just take a seat and enjoy the ride. I think about what makes me root for the characters, or hate them. I also analyse how and why two personalities who started off with nothing in common come together as the story develops. When I’m out and about, I take pictures of nature and buildings. You can check out them out on my Instagram account (www.instagram.com/justinelaismith). The collection might seem like random lots of pictures, but they help me crystallize my thoughts on the setting in my stories.

Can you tell us how Secrets of the Great Fire Tree came about?
I returned to Singapore after living in the UK for twenty years. Even though, when I left the UK it was in the summer, it struck me how, in Singapore, the place is teeming with life. Not because it is a bustling city, but because there is growth everywhere I look: the tall trees with buttress roots, the thick waxy leaves, the climbers that form green veils and the ferns that live on other trees. The long absence from Singapore meant I saw this tropical country with a new set of eyes. Instead of taking my surroundings for granted, I appreciated their uniqueness, in particular, the many magnificent tropical trees in Singapore. While I have read books set in tropical forests, they tended to be about survival in the wilderness. I wanted to highlight some of the unique trees instead. So the Great Fire Tree was born. As for the main characters, the story came to me over the dinner table during Chinese New Year. I was told this story: A group of charity workers had found a little boy living on his own. He had a pig. His parents had gone away to work and his sole responsibility was to look after the pig until his parents’ return to celebrate Chinese New Year. He lived in a mountainous area, and his house was the only one in the area. They reckoned he was about six years old. It wasn’t a first-hand account, and I never verified the story’s details. But it moved me. To leave behind a six-year old and let him fend for himself for an entire year, the conditions at home had to be desperate. When I delved deeper, I learnt about left-behind children. I needed the world to know about this. This was how I started weaving a plot around the Great Fire Tree.

What was the best part about writing Secrets of the Great Fire Tree?
I grew up in Singapore, a country proud of its multicultural identity. This exposed me to a plethora of languages and Chinese dialects. I am also part-Paranakan, which is a unique blend of two cultures: ethnic Chinese people who speak and practise Malay customs. To give my heritage its representation, I subtly incorporated these diversities in a story that’s supposed to be set in China. A native Singaporean might to spot these ‘anomalies’. Nonetheless, because I also wanted to make this story authentically Chinese, I carried out a lot of research. I enjoyed going right back to my roots. Ultimately, the Chinese diaspora’s experience of their culture will be different from the indigenous Chinese. Part of this research included a trip to China, where I made several notes about their lifestyles. I’ve documented them in a series of blog articles. (https://justinelaismith.wordpress.com/great-fire-tree/setting/)

What are you most excited to share when it comes to Secrets of the Great Fire Tree?
I am most excited about sharing the rural life in China. As I mentioned earlier, I see myself as a third-culture kid, who never really knew her roots. China holds a quarter of the world’s population and consists of over fifty ethnic minorities. Naturally, I cannot tell everything in one story, but I hope I managed to give a flavor of this fascinating culture.

Are you planning on writing other books?
Absolutely. Ideas just keep popping into my head. I started another middle-grade book which is set in ancient China. I am finishing off two chapter books. I also have two general fiction books on the go. In the last few weeks, a dystopian world has been brewing in my mind. Just before I started this Q&A, I penned the first words of a non-fiction book. In case you follow me on Twitter or Instagram and ever wondered about my train of thought, all these different worlds collide together on social media!
πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳

GIVEAWAY!

πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳πŸ”₯🌳

TOUR SCHEDULE!



NOV 11


NOV 12


NOV 13


NOV 14


NOV 15


NOV 18


NOV 19


NOV 20


NOV 21


NOV 22



Thank you so much Justine for reaching out for us to be a part of your book tour! We had a blast and can't wait for you to stop by again! πŸ’—

Blog Tour: Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh (Spotlight & Giveaway!)


Hi! Happy Friday and welcome to our stop on the Crown of Oblivion blog tour that is being hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. We are super excited to be a part of this tour since Amber LOVED Julie's debut duology and has been eagerly awaiting Crown of Oblivion! Make sure to follow to check out the rest of the tour to see some amazing reviews, quotes, playlists and inspiration boards and enter the giveaway to win a finished copy of Crown of Oblivion


πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔

ABOUT CROWN OF OBLIVION!
Title: Crown of Oblivion
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 12th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship. But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail. From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.
Buy CROWN OF OBLIVION!

πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔

ABOUT JULIE!
Julie Eshbaugh is a YA writer and former filmmaker. She made two short films and then spent several years producing an online video series for teens which received several honors from the Webby Awards. Her new YA fantasy standalone, CROWN OF OBLIVION, is coming from HarperTeen November 2019. IVORY AND BONE (HarperTeen 2016) and OBSIDIAN AND STARS (HarperTeen 2017), her prehistoric fantasy duology, are out now. You can learn more about Julie’s writing escapades by visiting www.julieeshbaugh.com.
 Keep up with Julie: 

πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔πŸ‘‘⚔

FOLLOW THE REST OF THE TOUR!

Click the banner to be redirected to the rest of the blog tour! 



Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Rest of the Story
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 440 Pages
Published June 2019


Summary: Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges. Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl. When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her. Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well. For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

I have always been a huge Sarah Dessen fan, so when I found out about this book, I immediately added it to my TBR and couldn't wait to get it. So, of course, I immediately purchased a copy at BookExpo this year, and had been eagerly holding onto it and waiting to read it, but my summer job and work and the ARCs I had to read ended up getting in the way, so I didn't get around to reading the book until September. But then, lucky for me, Sarah was in town for the Brooklyn Book Festival this year, and I got to meet her and have my copy signed, so that was really exciting since she's one of my YA author heroes. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Emma Saylor finds her summer plans falling apart, which means she has to stay with her deceased mother's side of the family up in a quiet lake town for a few weeks. At first, she's dreading it -- she doesn't remember meeting these people at all, and her father seems less then enthused about sending her there, but can't find any alternate options before he leaves for his honeymoon with her stepmother. But the longer Saylor stays at North Lake, the more she finds out about her complicated family history and the lives that she didn't know about there, and it grows on her more and more...much to her father's displeasure. 

This book was just as much of a heartwarming delight as the rest of Sarah's novels. As someone whose family takes yearly lake vacations that are very similar to what is described in the story, reading this book gave me a happy sense of nostalgia that made me think of all of the great memories I had there. It's just such a feel-good book -- even though some of the topics (such as Saylor's mother's addiction, her death, the haunted memories she had of the lake town, etc.) were pretty heavy, there were so many moments of fun summer nights, bringing back my teenage years and making me smile a little bit. And it made me feel really good.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Roo, who was so sweet and kind and there for absolutely everyone. I found myself swooning over him pretty much right from the get go. I also really appreciated Saylor's transformation throughout the book, as she started to find more and more of herself as she met everyone else in her family. The only thing I didn't super-duper love about this book was the fact that the ending felt a little bit rushed to me, and I found myself wanting to know more about what was going on, since it went down in such a short couple of pages in a pace that felt much quicker than the pacing of the rest of the book.

The only thing I regret is that I wish I had started this book over the summer like I had intended to, when I was on my family vacation to a lake town almost identical to the one described in this book -- it would've been the perfect vibe! However, I still enjoyed reading this book in the fall, because it gave me the perfect summer vacation flashbacks. There's something about a lake vacation that you just can't beat!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Rest of the Story. If you're interested in a feel-good book with perfect summer vibes and a strong, powerful story arc about finding yourself, the complexities of family, and how to blend two worlds that had felt so separate to you for so long, I would absolutely recommend picking this one up. Hats off to Sarah Dessen for another great read, as always -- can't wait for her next one! :-)

Image

The picture of me meeting Sarah at the Brooklyn Book Festival this year!! :)



 

Spotlight: The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney






Hi everyone! We have something exciting for you here on the blog today -- a spotlight post for a new gender-swapped Phantom of the Opera story -- if any of you are around the blog a lot, you know Jessica and Emily are HUGE fans of Phantom! So without further ado, let's get into it!
ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: 
The Monsters of Music
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Publisher: Rebecca F. Kenney
Ebook, 237 Pages
Published October 2019


Summary: A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice. Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protΓ©gΓ© isn't as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan SΓ­dhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother's obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn't only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan SΓ­dhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage. To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.
Excerpt


1
Budapest

Having a front-row seat at a singing competition wasn't as exciting as Mel had hoped. 
​First of all, her seat wasn't exactly in the front row. She perched on a beam high above the stage in the vast, gloomy auditorium of the Leroux School for the Performing Arts. Her ripped black skinny jeans and dark gray Beatles T-shirt blended with the shadows shrouding the ceiling, making her invisible, exactly as she wanted to be. From her perch, Mel could see the judges seated at their table, and she could look down on the heads of the singers who clomped hollowly, one at a time, across the boards beneath her.
All day, the hopefuls trotted onto the stage, spilled out condensed versions of their favorite songs, endured the judges' quips, and skipped or slouched to the exit door. Some of them took defeat gracefully, with a nod and a forced smile. Others snorted and stamped like agitated horses, fun to watch, but not to wrangle. Mel wished for some popcorn, settling for the smashed fruit bar she had jammed into her pocket before climbing up to the beam. 
The beam was broad enough for her to lie down on her back when her butt grew numb. In this position, she could still hear the voices without seeing the singers, and sometimes that was better. She didn't want to judge a person's potential by their looks, no matter what her aunt said. 
"Choose someone sexy," her aunt had advised. "You can't do much with certain features or figures, darling. It's too bad, but the world works the way it does. We can't change it, much as we may want to." And she'd reached out to touch the right side of Mel's face, where the skin writhed with hard, lumpy scar tissue. 
Mel raised her fingers up to the scars, tweaking the ridges and tracing the grooves. Prodding the sagging right eyelid. Somehow she had retained most of the vision in that eye. A miracle, the doctors said, and her aunt had scoffed. "Some miracle."
Ten-year-old Mel had endured her treatments in such dogged silence that the nurses praised her constantly. "Such a tough little thing! So strong, so brave!"
They hadn't known that inside she was screaming. Disconsolate. 
Mel sat up on the beam, swinging her bare feet in midair. That was then. Seven years ago. A time and place not worth thinking of, not now, when she was trying to find her first protΓ©gΓ©. 
But everyone who had passed across the stage today lacked the spark—the magic, for lack of a better word. She smirked. Humans threw around the word "magic" like confetti, as if its use made a thing more special. Real magic was raw. Visceral. More primal than ornamental. And it certainly couldn't be used to repair a girl's once-pretty face. 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A lifelong lover of stories, I majored in English with a minor in Creative Writing, then took a job in the marketing department of a small educational publisher. I had two kids and transitioned to freelance writing from home. Last year, I took an idea I'd been pondering for years and turned it into my YA contemporary fantasy trilogy. Now I have 15K wonderful followers on Twitter and a new book always in the works!

We'd like to thank Rebecca for being awesome enough to reach out to us about this, and as fans of Phantom, we loved talking about it! So go add this book to your TBR right now! :-)

Review: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Title: The Great Believers
Author: Rebecca Makkai
Publisher: Penguin Books
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 448 Pages
Published June 2018


Summary: In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

My college book club ended up choosing this book for the fall semester, and if I'm being entirely honest, I definitely started off a little bit unsure, because I don't read a lot of adult books (as you all know, YA is my jam), so I wasn't quite sure if I was going to enjoy it or not. Luckily for me, I ended up really enjoying this book, and I clung to it until the very end! So without further ado, let's get into my review.

As the summary explains, this story is told in a dual point of view, with Yale's perspective in 1985 and Fiona's perspective in 2015. In each time period, the characters are going through profound struggles and lost, in different ways, on different scales, but as the story goes on, the two stories begin to intertwine more and more. This book is heart-hitting, gripping, and will have you clinging onto the narrative until the very end.

I really, really enjoyed this book! It started off a bit slow for me at first, but after a few chapters, I really started to get into it and I found myself wanting to open the book and read whenever I had a spare second. I found it really easy to fall into the story, and even though there were so many different characters, I didn't have any trouble distinguishing between any of them at all. This is such a complex, emotional story, and by the time I finished it, I was in tears and already texting the other members of the club to let them know how torn up I was. All I can say (without giving anything away) is that this book definitely has tons of plot twists that you don't expect, and the ending will certainly take you by a really emotional surprise.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Yale. I felt so bad for him throughout a lot of the story, for a variety of different reasons -- none of which I'm going to explain, because you need to read the book to find out! -- but throughout it all he was such a good friend, an honest man, and it was clear that he was trying to be the best person that he possibly could. It didn't take me long to start cheering him on, and I loved his chapters any time they showed up in the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Great Believers! I'm so glad that my college book club ending up choosing this book for the fall semester, because I found a great new read that I know I'll definitely be recommending to a lot of my friends. If you're hesitant about reading an adult book as an avid YA reader, I'm here to confirm that The Great Believers was still an incredible book that I really loved, and I'm kicking myself for judging it before I had a chance to pick it up! Add this to your TBR right now -- you need this incredible experience!



 

Mini Review Round Up!

Happy November! There aren't enough days in a month and I requested to many books yet again (I keep saying this will change, but it never does!) and there was just not enough room to post them. Here are some mini reviews for The Guinevere Deception, Scared Little Rabbits, Day Zero, Anyone and Pax Novis




Source: Delacorte Press via NetGalley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Summary:
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot. There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl. Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom's borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution--send in Guinevere to be Arthur's wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king's idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere's real name--and her true identity--is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old--including Arthur's own family--demand things continue as they have been, and the new--those drawn by the dream of Camelot--fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur's knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free. Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

I am actually really sad. I love Kiersten's writing and her previous series, so when I heard that she was going to be publishing a Camelot retelling I was hyped. Anything King Arthur and Merlin related should have my name written on them, because I am here for it. But As much as I wish I could say that I loved this story, I didn't.

My biggest problem is that I felt like the reader is kept in the dark for way to long. I get that not everything is going to be revealed in the beginning and there is going to be a build up, but you do get little answers that help the world building and progression of the story. But I felt like in this case that as the reader I had no idea what was happening. I know that Guinevere isn't the real Guinevere but actually a witch sent to protect King Arthur, but other then that: nothing. 

Overall The Guinevere Deception wasn't for me sadly, but I still say that if you are looking for a King Arthur retelling that is going to put the female character as the hero then this book is one you should check out! 



Source: Source Books Fire via NetGalley
Publisher: Source Books Fire
Publication Date: December 3rd 2019

Summary:
We stand in a tight cluster, high above the lake. One-by-one, we made our way up the narrow trail from the edge of campus. Now, we wait shoulder to shoulder behind the police tape. Nineteen summer students. All but one. When Nora gets accepted into her dream summer program at the prestigious Winthrop Academy, she jumps at the chance to put her coding skills to use. But then a fellow student goes missing—and the tech trail for the crime leads back to Nora. With no one else to trust, Nora must race to uncover the truth and clear her name...or she might be the next to disappear.


I still don't have words to describe my thoughts on this book. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't like it. I am in a weird in between. The concept and idea behind it all is intriguing but other then that there was nothing to it that kept me wanting to keep flipping the pages. The reason I gave it a 2.5 star rating is because I loved the technology and the app that the students had developed. It is something that I can see happening in the real world. It's basically a virtual reality Tinder and I loved it. But that is the only thing I loved about this book. 

Sadly this one wasn't for me and isn't going to be something I recommend. But if it is on your TBR and you are debating on it, I say go ahead. Because you may end up loving it!  


 
(2.5 stars!)



Source: Inkyard Press via NetGalley
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: November 12th 2019
Summary:
If you're going through hell...keep going. Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby. But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos. In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?
Day Zero started off really strong and had me captivated, but bu the halfway point I found that I dragging myself to the finish line. I like books about drastic changes in societies, the beginnings of apocalypse and thrillers in general so I was really hyped for Day Zero and I am really bummed that I ended up no loving it. 

I think me not liking this book was more of a me issue rather then the actual book. I couldn't relate the main character, which does happen. But for me character connection is one of the biggest things when I read. If I can't relate to the main character then the book isn't going to work out for me. I also wasn't a huge fan of the secondary characters. I thought Kelly's plot was awesome but her characters are what did me in. 

If anyone is debating on this book I said go for it. It did keep me on the edge of my seat in certain aspects and was thrilling. I know this isn't a dystopian/post apocalyptic novel but it gave me those vibes and I loved that. 




Source: Harper Perennial via NetGalley
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: December 3rd 2019
Summary: 
Charles Soule brings his signature knowledge—and wariness--of technology to his sophomore novel set in a realistic future about a brilliant female scientist who creates a technology that allows for the transfer of human consciousness between bodies, and the transformations this process wreaks upon the world. Inside a barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a scientist searching for an Alzheimer’s cure throws a switch—and finds herself mysteriously transported into her husband’s body. What begins as a botched experiment will change her life—and the world—forever… Over two decades later, all across the planet, “flash” technology allows individuals the ability to transfer their consciousness into other bodies for specified periods, paid, registered and legal. Society has been utterly transformed by the process, from travel to warfare to entertainment; “Be anyone with Anyone” the tagline of the company offering this ultimate out-of-body experience. But beyond the reach of the law and government regulators is a sordid black market called the darkshare, where desperate “vessels” anonymously rent out their bodies, no questions asked for any purpose - sex, drugs, crime... or worse. Anyone masterfully interweaves the present-day story of the discovery and development of the flash with the gritty tale of one woman’s crusade to put an end to the darkness it has brought to the world twenty-five years after its creation. Like Blade Runner crossed with Get Out, Charles Soule’s thought-provoking work of speculative fiction takes us to a world where identity, morality, and technology collide.


I am going to keep this review brief because I feel like readers are either going to love this book or it just isn't going to be for them. Sadly I fall into the later group. I love dystopian novels and the way society works about huge scientific discoveries, but Anyone just fell short. The concept of the story was intriguing but I feel as if the execution could have been done differently. Sadly this one just wasn't for me. 



Source: Entangled Teen via NetGalley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 4th 2019
Summary: 
Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—the cargo ship captained by her mother that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences. She has successfully kept her secret…until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn’t do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with... And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now. Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace. And Pax Novis is next.
I tried so hard to get into Pax Novis but I had the hardest time. I am trying not to beat myself up over the fact that I didn't love this one. I wanted to so so so bad. I made it about 20% in before I made the decision to put this book down. 

I wasn't enjoying it and I knew that if I forced myself to finish that I wouldn't be rating it above 2 stars. I can already tell that Pax Novis is going to be loved by so many sci-fi fans, it sadly just wasn't for me.

DNF! :(

have you read any of these books!? If so which ones and what did you think? 


ARC Review: Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf

Title: Find Me Their Bones
(Bring Me Their Hearts #2)
Author: Sara Wolf
Genre: Fantasy, Romance 
Source: ARC sent via Entangled Teen
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 5th 2019

Summary:
No one can save her. In order to protect Prince Lucien d’Malvane’s heart, Zera had to betray him. Now, he hates the sight of her. Trapped in Cavanos as a prisoner of the king, she awaits the inevitable moment her witch severs their magical connection and finally ends her life. But fate isn't ready to give her up just yet. With freedom coming from the most unlikely of sources, Zera is given a second chance at life as a Heartless. But it comes with a terrible price. As the king mobilizes his army to march against the witches, Zera must tame an elusive and deadly valkerax trapped in the tunnels underneath the city if she wants to regain her humanity. Winning over a bloodthirsty valkerax? Hard. Winning back her friends before war breaks out? A little harder. But a Heartless winning back Prince Lucien’s heart? The hardest thing she’s ever done.
I loved Bring Me Their Hearts, so I was so excited when Entangled sent me the promo box for Bring Me Their Bones. Out of all the promo boxes I have received so far this by far has been my favorite! I am obsessed with the custom book mark and the enamel pin of Zera with her sword 😍



I am going to start my review with confessing my undying love for Lucien and how I just want him and Zera to have their happily ever after already.*Sobs* After the cliff hanger in Bring Me Their Hearts I was jumping at the chance to read this book. I had so many unanswered questions from Bring Me Their Hearts that I couldn't wait to have answered. Bring Me their Bones answered these questions but left me with so much more! My. Heart. Hurts.

Zera is one of my favorite literary characters. She is sassy, a smart ass and though she tries to be this big bad wolf I find her to be a marshmallow. Her wit and humor constantly had me laughing out loud, as well as her inability to keep a straight face during serious moments. I really enjoyed getting to see her growth as a character from book one to where she is now and she is still growing. I am super excited to see where Wolf is going to take her in the next novel. 

Overall I did really enjoy Bring Me Their Bones and I can't wait for more of this world and these characters. My mind is reeling with the possibilities of the things that could happen next and quite honestly, I just want to smash Zera and Lucien's face together. Just. Let. Them. Kiss.