Friday, May 26, 2017

Me on Eliza and Her Monsters

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can't imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try. Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea's biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza's secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she's built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Eliza and Her Monsters is smart and serious, a look at creativity and fame and pressure, at art and fandom and community. At how we isolate ourselves and how we connect with other people.

Eliza is shy, creative, and totally okay with being a loner when she's at school. She's fine with it, because her friends are somewhere else. Easily reachable on the internet. She doesn't need the real world with her health-conscious parents pushing at her to do something else with her life or her sports-focused younger brothers. She knows what she's doing, what she'll keep doing after high school and college. She'll continue on with her webcomic Monstrous Sea, continue chatting with the giant mass of fans online who devour each and ever page. Fans who don't know that a high school student is the comic's creator, which is totally fine with Eliza. Anonymity is something she craves. But then she meets Wallace, then she finds out he's one of her comic's most popular fanfiction writers. Then she wonders if talking face-to-face with people isn't so bad. If there's more to life than Monstrous Sea.

A big part of this story is all about creativity and passion. Eliza came up with Monstrous Sea because she was inspired, because she had a story to tell. And she was happy. But then it blew up, then it became popular. Then it gained an audience of fans, superfans, and trolls alike. Then came the pressure and the expectation. It turned less into something Eliza did for fun and something more for other people so they wouldn't rage in the comments if she had a down week and the art wasn't as good or if she got busy and missed an update or two. The webcomic becomes her life, becomes everything, but that isn't healthy. She's more than an artist, than the person who created the universe of Monstrous Sea and its cast of characters. She struggles with finding the balance between work and play, between school and family and the comic. I think this book accurately covers what a lot of creative types and creators go through, the balance between life and working to pay the bills that many search for on a daily basis.

This book is serious and thoughtful, about the struggles of art and the strain it puts on artists. About the ways we isolate ourselves when we don't want to interact with certain parts of the world. About the ways we can connect to people halfway around the world, have meaningful connections and conversations with them over a shared interest. About how so many can love one idea, like a TV show or comic, because they found something moving and meaningful in it. About how online communities and interactions can be both supportive and a hindrance. About the realities of anxiety and panic, how keeping it bottled up inside isn't healthy. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the author's previous book, for those looking for an honest look at the intersection of art and fandom and mental health.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (332)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: A Line in the Dark
Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.

Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.

“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”

A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.

New Malinda Lo? And it's a creepy sort of murder mystery? YES.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Me on House of Furies

Title: House of Furies
Author: Madeleine Roux
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house's mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved. Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

House of Furies is haunting, eerie, and mysterious. It's a tale of fate and judgement, of good and evil and the unknown that lurks in the shadows.

Louisa is alone, homeless and poor. Relying on the kindness of strangers for pennies in order to keep on living. Huddling in the rain telling fortunes. A chance encounter with a strange old woman brings her to Coldthistle House, a boarding house in need of a maid, but soon Louisa learns that the house is no normal boarding house. That the owner is no normal owner, that he is no normal man. Know that she knows the truth, know that it is near impossible for her to leave, Louisa struggles with her new lot in life. She's torn between running from the house and staying in order to keep a new friend safe from the house's clutches. But how can she trust anyone when everyone has something to hide? How can she trust anyone when there's something just as dark and secretive in her own past?

Stories like this rely on atmosphere, on the setting to be suitably off-putting, on the tone to be mysterious and suggestive of the paranormal and the unnatural, and I do think it works here. The house and its nearby spring are haunting, those working at Coldthistle House aren't exactly human, and the shadows that drift the halls are more than meets the eye. It has the same sort of historical and eerie tone of the movie The Others and other haunting period dramas. I imagine fans of the author's previous books will enjoy this, as will fans of gothic-esque historical horror and tales of the paranormal.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (259)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello! It's finally been sunny for more than a single day in the week. It sort of feels like we're heading into summer, but I don't A) want to jinx it, or B) want it to be super hot and unbearable this summer.

I went out to VanCAF on Saturday, soaked up a bunch of indie comic and art fun and creativity that will hopefully last me for a few months. There are pictures of the comics I picked up over on Instagram. :)

Reviews going up this week will feature House of Furies by Madeleine Roux (Tuesday) and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (Friday). :)
Bought/borrowed/received:
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones (ARC from Hachette Book Group Canada)
Odd & True by Cat Winters (e-galley from Amulet Books through NetGalley)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Me on Some Favourite Things (3)

Hi! These recap of favourite things posts seem to be popping up ever couple of months, so I think I'll keep on doing them. :)

Let's start with another webcomic rec. Flowerpot by leehama! This is the story of Ben, a college student with an unusual disease. He's super kind, super friendly, and super quiet, preferring to stay in the background and avoid attention. When Ben was a kid, he was patient zero for a disease called Fleurine when flowers appear and sprout from people's bodies. It wasn't so bad for Ben, his condition means he sprouts dandelions from his scalp, but it was different for others when flowers burst from their skin, from their ears and eyes. When petals would fill their lungs. This is a world where people fear flowers, where people avoid them and those with Fleurine because they don't want to be infected. Ben's happy living a quiet life, but an encounter with a photographer with a project and a plan starts to change Ben's way of thinking, of what it means to be a 'flowerpot.' This comic is super cute and fun, the artwork is bright and colourful, and it's rather diverse in terms of race and disability and illness, both visible and invisible. Here's a link to the start of the comic. :)

Speaking of comics, VanCAF! I love going to VanCAF, seeing what people are doing in terms of their own art and original characters as well as fan art. As someone who can be super visual, who likes comics and isn't that artistic on their own, I really enjoy it. It's the act of creating art, of telling a story through a medium other than straight prose. And it's a chance to support local artists as well. I've been looking forward to going for months and it's finally happening this weekend.

Because we're heading deeper into spring now (where I live) and summer is approaching, here's a quick shout-out to taking walks. I don't know what it is, but it turns out I like going for walks. Especially on my own when I can stick headphones is and listen to music and go for easy-going walks in the sunshine. This sort of started last year when Pokemon Go came out, but walks on their own are also fun. If there are parks or green spaces near you, check them out when it's nice out.

I'm behind on so much Netflix watching, I promise I'll get to you one day, season 2 of Sense 8. And I think I'm pretty much on board for the new Star Trek: Discovery show after seeing that trailer earlier this week. Oh, sci-fi. Kid me loved you so much.

Considering these posts keep happening, see you again with other list of fun things in July! :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (331)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Tentacle & Wing
Author: Sarah Porter
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)

From Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old Ada is a Chimera, born with human and animal DNA thanks to a genetic experiment gone wrong. Because being a “kime” is believed to be contagious, she has kept her condition—complete with infrared vision—hidden. But a surprise test outs her, and Ada is shipped off to a quarantined school for kimes. 

 There Ada meets kids of many different shapes, stripes, and appendages, such as a girl with dragonfly wings and a seal-boy. As she adjusts to her new life, Ada senses that the facility is keeping a secret that could upend everything the world knows about Chimeras. But will someone put a stop to her efforts to uncover the truth?

Ooooo, intriguing-sounding middle grade. I sounds like a mash-up of The Girl Who Could Fly and Monstrous, about kids with differences and monsters and secrets. Considering it's written by Sarah Porter, I wonder how dark it'll be. Vassa in the Night was pretty dark, but it's also YA.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Me on Princess Princess Ever After

Title: Princess Princess Ever After
Author: Katie O'Neill
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Oni Press

When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They'll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress, who wants to get rid of Sadie once and for all. Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what happily ever after really means -- and how they can find it with each other.

Princess Princess Ever After is sweet and magical, a brand new fairy tale that draws from tradition and then spins it around on its head. It's a story about strength and weakness, about characters who don't fit into expected boxes and would rather do things their way.

Amira is a take charge kind of girl. With her sword and her trusted unicorn Celeste, she's ready to roam the land and search for people to help. Because that's what she's looking for. Something to do, people to assist. Action. Not what she left behind in her family's kingdom. Sadie is sweet and kind, a compassionate girl. She's all about listening to problems and helping people. Even though she's stuck up a tower. After Amira helps her down, Sadie's ready to travel, but her past creeps up on her. Her anxieties and insecurities creep up on her. And she'll have to face her fears if she wants to finally be free.

The artwork is bright and fun, it fills the page with lots of rounded corners and expressive faces on the characters. It's very clear whenever Amira is embarrassed or upset, with Sadie is laughing or crying. And both girls don't look like traditional princesses. Amira has brown skin, walks around in pants with a sword at her hip, and has the biggest fancy shoulder decorations on her military-style coat. And she has some kick-butt hair. Sadie is in a bright blue dress, she wears a crown in her blonde hair, and she's fat. She also has a chubby blue dragon at her side. They don't look like princesses, but they look like princesses.

There's so much humour here, so much fun being poked at traditional princes saving princesses tales. From flowers appearing at Amira's intro and Sadie calling her on it to an ogre smashing up a town because of his stifled creativity. I do wish there was more to the story, though. In some ways it feels short. I really hope kids read this and see a different side to fairy tales and to princesses in particular. That they can be strong, wielding swords and fighting evil. That they can be weak, afraid and alone. That they can be tall or short, thin or fat, black or white or any skin colour. That a princess can fall in love with another princess. I would recommend this to anyone, especially kids looking for new fairy tale stories, kids who love the no-nonsense attitude of Elizabeth in The Paper Bag Princess.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (258)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello! We're getting into longer spurts of sunshine these days, but the rain is still a thing. It makes yardwork tricky.

I've been struggling with sharing thoughts and ideas and opinions for the last little while. It's weird, wanting to talk about a bunch of stuff but being afraid that no one will find it interesting. *sigh* It's turned most of my confidence to garbage. It's also that I'd like to talk more about webcomics and manga and anime, but I don't know about doing it here.

Reviews going up this week will feature Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill (Tuesday) and a 3rd favourite things post going up on Friday. :)
Bought/borrowed/received:
Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill (borrowed from library)
The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (borrowed from library)
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Me on The Shadow Cipher

Title: The Shadow Cipher
Author: Laura Ruby
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Walden Pond Books (HarperCollins imprint)

It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction. Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

The Shadow Cipher is enchanting and mysterious, a delightfully layered puzzle steeped in history. The story of three kids and their mission to save their home, the story of a city full of secrets and the desire to uncover them, no matter what they may hide.

Tess and Theo are smart siblings with quirks and flaws, living in an apartment in a Morningstarr building with their teacher dad and cop mom. Tess is kind and empathetic while Theo is practical and stoic. They butt heads, they don't always agree, but in their own ways they care about what happens. Especially when they find out they're being kicked out by a developer who just bought the buiding. When they decide to try and save their home, neighbour and amazing artist Jaime falls in with them. Jaime's artistic and observant, living with his grandmother, wishing his father wasn't so far away. Little do they know how strange and complicated the Morningstarr's puzzle is and where it will take them.

One of the things I loved about this book is how layered it was. Yes, it's a book about secrets and mystery, about the Morningstarr twins and their puzzle, about their different inventions and their impact on this timeline's present day, but in the little moments it's about home. It's about what makes a home, how it's not necessarily a building but being with people close to you. Tess and Theo's family have lived in their building for decades. Jaime's grandmother has been fixing up the building for ages. No one wants to leave. But change never cares about what people want.

I think it's foolish to hide how much I enjoyed this. The puzzles and the clue-searching, the alternate history and unique technology. The diversity in the characters in terms of race and neurodiversity and financial background and family structure. The impossibility of so much in a world with already seemingly impossible machines. The little hints at altered pop culture, like multiple Wonder Woman and Storm superhero movies, like how it's called Starrbucks. I would definitely recommend this to middle grade readers who love puzzles and mystery, books like Chasing Vermeer and The 39 Clues series.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (330)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Speak Easy, Speak Love
Author: McKelle George
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.

I'm such a sucker for Much Ado About Nothing retellings. This sounds funny and lush with 1920's speakeasy charm and mob intrigue.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Me on The Traitor's Kiss

Title: The Traitor's Kiss
Author: Erin Beaty
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan imprint)

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they'd call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them. As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

The Traitor's Kiss is a story about a girl looking for her own place in a world were she doesn't want to act like other girls, a girl who ends up involved in mystery and intrigue, but in some ways this book doesn't work.

Sage is an intelligent young woman. A non-traditional young woman, considering the comments on her temper, her temperament, and her upbringing. She's wild and bold, opinionated. Given the chance to instead apprentice with the matchmaker instead of be married off is something she's welcome to do, but she's dismissive of almost everything and everyone around her. Like the work of the matchmaker, whose plots and plans are full of subtlety that Sage often misses. Like the young ladies they're escorting off to the brides, young ladies Sage considers to be flighty, foolish, and spoiled. It's not that she has to like them, she's welcome to not want to marry or spend her days bearing children, but the fact that she's rather quick to judge them spoiled makes her sound snobbish.

The book is told in other points of view. Some from the soldiers that Sage and the matchmaker come across, some from the main enemy. I won't name names, just in case I give something away. The point of view of the soldiers was different, they somewhat highlighted how the kingdom and its military were run. The soldiers come across as practical, determined, and focused, not necessarily interested in escorting a group of young women on their way to be married.

I do think this book had promise, there was something about it that felt different from other fantasy setting with no magic stories. There were moments of humour, of intrigue. Some more world-building would've been nice, I was sort of lost as to why matchmaking was so important in this kingdom. But when a group of antagonists was only described by their dark skin tone and how their tattoos were foreign, and the ways in which Sage was resentful towards the other girls, put me off. It felt somewhat similar to The Remnant Chronicles and The Winner's Trilogy, but again, there were moments were character descriptions were racist and characters were unnecessarily cruel.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (257)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! Not much rambling this week as not much happened plus I spent Friday all kinds of sick and sleepy. But I did make it out to the Raincoast Books meet-up on Saturday in order to hear about what fall and heading into winter books they're excited for.

Reviews going up this week will feature The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beaty (Tuesday) and The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (Friday). :)
Bought/borrowed/received:
Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (e-galley from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley)
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (ARC from Raincoast Books event)
The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb (ARC from Raincoast Books event)
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (ARC from Raincoast Books event)
Berserker by Emmy Laybourne (ARC from Raincoast Books event)
The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller (ARC from Raincoast Books event)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Me on The One Memory of Flora Banks

Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin imprint)

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

The One Memory of Flora Banks is an intriguing look at memory and perception, at a girl who has no short-term memory but can suddenly remember a kiss, at what makes her feel brave, but it missed the mark with me.

Flora is kind, sweet, and friendly, mostly because much of her personality is stuck at the age at which the amnesia first took over her memories. She's a ten-year-old in a seventeen-year-old's body. Because of her type of amnesia, she struggles to keep recent memories in her head. Her life is full of gaps and confusion, notes and post-its and messages scrawled on her arms in thick marker. But then she kisses Drake, her friend Paige's boyfriend, and hours later she can remember it. Days later, she can remember it. This new memory sets off a journey for Flora, away from her home and towards Drake, but there are certain things that some people have been keeping from her.

The premise of this book is interesting, I was drawn in by Flora and her lack of memories of the last seven years. At the idea that she could suddenly remember something. At the idea that something was being kept from her by someone close to her. Reading this isn't like other books, Flora's life happens in spurts and moments, full of repetition and reassurances. But it just didn't click with me, not completely. I felt both interested and not, curious about where Flora would go while waiting for something else to happen. While this didn't completely work out with me, I do think some will enjoy this, those who like contemporary stories with gentle intrigue and mystery about them, those who like lost and unreliable narrators.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Penguin Random House Canada.)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (329)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Curses
Author: Laure Eve
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books

From Goodreads:

Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.

At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.

This riveting sequel to The Graces is saturated with magic, the destructive cost of power, the
complications of family, and the nature of forgiveness.

I rather liked The Graces when I read it last year, it was different and complicated and I was never sure if the magic was real or not. I'm still not sure if it was real or not (but I kind of hope it is). Considering the description for this book, I think it might be, sort of, in some sense, but considering the first book, what more could happen that hasn't happened already??

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Me on Avenged

Title: Avenged
Author: Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory. But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn't as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir's betrothed in Lera, she's started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em's romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement. Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she's the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

Avenged is dangerous and complicated, the next step in saving the Ruined, in rebuilding their home. But other kingdoms have other plans, and Em still has to deal with a rather furious sister hellbent on claiming her revenge.

Em is sure that, with Olivia rescued, they'll be able to return to Ruina. That the Ruined will finally have a home again, that they won't be hunted across the land and driven away by those that fear their abilities. But Em is also sure that Olivia is furious and bloodthirsty, full of rage from her being imprisoned for the past year, that she won't rest until every human who stands against her is dead. Until every royal in Lera is dead. And that includes Cas. On the other side, Cas is busy worrying about what to do next now that he's been named king. Now that his cousin is pressing him to declare war on the Ruined. Now that his advisers are losing faith in him. Now that he's not sure if he even wants to be king when all he really wants is to be back with Em.

There's a lot that happens in this book, much more than I was expecting. Revenge and death, plots and plans and subterfuge, political deals and calls to war. Em worrying about how far Olivia will go in her quest for vengeance, in her desire make Lera pay for what they did to her. At the rate events are unfolding, at how many people are dying around them, I imagine the third book will be the final explosion where every party will come together. And who's to say who will still be alive at the end?

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)