O.W.L.s Magical Readathon 2019 TBR

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Hey everyone!

So, I know I’m extremely late getting to this AND I’ve already taken (and passed!) my N.E.W.T.s, but I feel my Hogwarts studies are incomplete. Since I didn’t find out about the O.W.L.s until it was too late, I figured I would spend the next month taking them so I can officially call myself a Mind Medic! So from November 1st to November 30th, I will be participating in my own little O.W.L.s readathon! And here is my planned TBR for the month.

Profession:

Mind Medic

Exams Required:

Ancient Runes
Arithmancy
Charms
Defense Against the Dark Arts
Herbology
Muggle Studies
Potions
Transfiguration

Ancient Runes – Retelling

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Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

Arithmancy – Work written by more than one author

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Charms – Age-line: Read an adult work

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The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

Defense Against the Dark Arts – Reducto: Title that Stars with “R”

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Recursion by Blake Crouch

Herbology – Plant on the cover

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Muggle Studies – Contemporary

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Keeping Long Island by Courtney Peppernell

Potions – Next ingredient: Sequel

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Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

Transfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Not Needed—Extra Credit!

Astronomy – “Star” in the title

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on the cover

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Divination – Set in the future

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Cress by Marissa Meyer

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago

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Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The N.E.W.T.s readathon back in August went so well and I got through more books than I have in a month for a while, so I’m hoping that will be true this month as well! If you guys participated in the O.W.L.s this year, make sure to let me know in the comments how you did and what you read!

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Top 10 Tuesday – October 29th, 2019

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish, and it is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is a Halloween freebie, so I’ve decided to do the top ten books I would recommend reading around Halloween. I have done at least one Halloween reading list at some point in my time blogging, but I know that I usually focused on spooky/horror books. This time around, I do have some new favorites but these are not all horror novels—they are a mix of different genres that all have those autumn vibes. They are perfect to read on a chilly, cozy day (with a nice cup of tea, of course!). I’ll also leave links to any (always spoiler-free!) reviews I’ve done.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (My review)

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

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The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney (My review)

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (My review)

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His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler (My review)

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The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

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City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (My review)

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (My review)

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What books do you guys enjoy reading around this time of year? What are some of your most recent reads that have had those autumn vibes? Let me know in the comments!

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Popping in for a Quick Update!

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Hey Everyone!

First off, I want to thank all of my newest followers for joining our little family! We just passed 850 book nerds and I couldn’t be happier! And thank you to all my long-time readers for always coming back. Your support and your lovely comments never fail to make my day. I feel so lucky to not only be able to write this blog but also to have such a wonderful and supportive community. I love and appreciate every single one of you more than I could ever express and your support is so incredibly meaningful to me. So thank you all so much for sticking with me! ❤

Now, on to a few quick updates about what’s to come the rest of this month as well as in November!

I have been in a bit of a writing slump, mainly due to health/sleep issues. I have also been very focused on starting off my current weight loss journey and this new diet I’m on is working…and completely kicking my butt! 😛 However, as I am improving my body and health, I am also aiming to improve my blogging (particularly my reviewing!) and reading as well. It’s been a bit since my last review, but I have many in the works that will be coming very soon for you guys!

Here’s just some of what you can expect to see during the coming weeks:

 

 

 

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Also, since I did not find out about the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon until it had passed, I was only able to do the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon. So I am planning to have my own little O.W.L.s Readathon during November so I can officially complete my studies at Hogwarts for the year! I’ll have my TBR for it posted at the beginning of the month. And if any of you feel up for a readathon, feel free to join me! 😀

Thank you all again for being so amazing ❤

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Top 10 Tuesday – October 15th, 2019

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish, and it is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is the top ten books that you think have extraordinary titles. I have interpreted this prompt as I am meant to choose titles that truly stand out among the vast sea of novels. The titles I have picked out are ones that I find beautiful, unique, and very enticing. These ten are books that have some sort of impact on me just from reading the titles, which make me want to know more about them.

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

What book titles do you think are extraordinary? What do you think of these ones I’ve picked out? Let me know in the comments!

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Book of the Month YA – October 2019

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Back in August, I officially became a Book of the Month YA affiliate! I’ve been subscribed to the adult BOTM box for around a year and have absolutely loved it, so I’m incredibly happy that I get this chance to help spread the word about the YA boxes!

Every month you get to pick one book from a selection of five newly released YA novels to receive in your box for the month (spoiler alert: their book choices are always fantastic!). You can also add on up to two extra choices from the selections for the current month and any of the previous months. In my time using Book of the Month, I’ve always found it to be a really fun, budget-friendly subscription box. And the deals we get on the add-on books are music to my wallet! ❤

Here’s what you get with your membership:

  • A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
  • Add up to two extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
  • Skip any month you want, and you won’t be charged
  • Free shipping, always
  • This month, get your first book for just $9.99 by using the code PSL5.

If you’re interested in signing up (and supporting my blog in the process), check them out by using my affiliate link. I do get a small commission from every new sign-up using this link that will always be put toward further building my blog.

Now, let’s get into a bit more of the specifics!

How It Works:

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Book of the Month YA gives you one book of your choice (from a selection of five) for $14.99 per month and always with free shipping! You can add up to two extra books to your shipment for only $9.99 each. These extra books can be selected from the current and any of the previous months selections. If there’s a month where none of the selections appeal to you, you can skip any month you want, and you won’t be charged. I wholeheartedly love this subscription box and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Here’s a quick look at all the selections for this month!

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The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

To give you even more of an idea of what the options typically look like each month, here are the September 2019 selections!

September 2019 Book Selections:

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If you do sign up or are already a Book of the Month YA member, make sure to let me know what your book choice for October is in the comments!

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Blog Tour: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

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Hey everyone! Today’s post is part of the blog tour for an upcoming middle grade fantasy novel, Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers. Below, you can find some basic information on the book and the author as well as an exclusive early excerpt from the book itself. And if you like what you see, make sure to check out the novel when it releases on October 15th!

Book Info:

nakedmoleratsavestheworldNaked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

Date Published: October 15th, 2019

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 304 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world?

Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When she’s stressed, she turns into a naked mole rat.

It first happened after kit watched her best friend, Clem, fall and get hurt during an acrobatic performance on TV. Since then, the transformations keep happening—whether kit wants them to or not. Kit can’t tell Clem about it, because after the fall, Clem just hasn’t been herself. She’s sad and mad and gloomy, and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.

A year after the accident, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have transformed—both inside and out. When their secrets come between them, the best friends get into a big fight. Somehow, kit has to save the day, but she doesn’t believe she can be that kind of hero. Turning into a naked mole rat isn’t really a superpower. Or is it?

____________________________________________________________

Book Excerpt:

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KIT’S MOM HAD A TATTOO THAT WOUND AROUND HER LEFT WRIST.

The ink was faded like something that had been washed so many times it had gotten thin and holey and was now just a blurry memory of black.

If you looked closely at the tattoo, you could see that the leafy, twining ink wound its way around three tiny, fancy letters—k and i and t—which stood for keep it together. It also spelled kit’s name, which was kit, not Kit, because when kit was a baby, her mom said she was much too small for capital letters. Back then she fit inside her mom’s two hands, a funny wrinkled thing that looked not-quite-ready to be alive, more like a hairless baby animal than a human being.

“My little naked mole rat,” her mom would say every time she saw the first photo ever taken of kit, which had been stuck on the fridge for most of kit’s life. Then she would put her hand on her heart.

One day, kit took the picture down and slipped it into a drawer and her mom didn’t say it as much anymore, which was good because it didn’t exactly feel like a compliment.

Kit’s mom had had the tattoo for years before kit existed at all.

“Because I knew you were coming,” she said.

Kit’s mom often told people that she was searching for kit for her whole life and the tattoo was the map that she followed to find her. She said that when she found kit, she was saved.

Found made it sound to kit like she was not someone who was born, but instead someone who just appeared, maybe in a box on the doorstep. Even though kit knew this wasn’t true, she sometimes dreamed of scraping her fingernails against cardboard walls, scrabbling to get out.

She also thought that being responsible for saving her mom was an awful lot of pressure. Not that she’d ever say anything; she knew her mom loved that story and the way she told it made kit feel things she didn’t usually feel. It made her feel heroic and kit normally had a pretty hard time imagining that she’d ever be able to save anyone from anything. She was too small to be a hero.

She could still sometimes fit into clothes labeled 6x. That’s how small.

“The size in your shirt should be the same as your age,” Clem told her once when they were shopping at the Brooklyn Flea, which was the best place in the world to find stuff you didn’t know you needed, and kit had felt worse than if Clem had reached over and punched her right in the nose.

Clem was also small, but not nearly as small as kit. She was normal-small. Like kit, Clem and her twin brother, Jorge, had been born too early. But unlike kit, the only fallout for them was that Clem had super bad allergies and Jorge had had to wear glasses since the age of two.

Small-ish and small were two  different  things. That was the day kit had bought her favorite hoodie, the black one with the small rainbow star on the front and the bigger rainbow star on the back. The color was as faded as kit’s mom’s tattoo. It had cost $5, which was the exact amount their moms gave them each to spend. “That looks . . . comfortable,” Clem observed, but she meant, “That looks old.”

Kit didn’t care that Clem didn’t like it. It was big and soft and as soon as she saw it, it looked like it belonged to her. It was already familiar. The fact that it was way too big only meant she wouldn’t grow out of it anytime soon. Clem had spent her $5 on a small glass turtle. “It’s not a very turtle-y turtle,” she said. “Don’t be such a turtle!” she told it.

A lot of what Clem said didn’t make sense, but it was funny anyway or maybe it was just funny because it didn’t make sense. They had both laughed so hard that they had to sit down, right there on the pavement, the crowd parting around them. Clem clutched the non- turtle-y turtle, tears running down their cheeks, while Jorge looked dreamily off into the distance, not quite paying attention to what was so funny. Jorge was like that. There, but not always entirely there.

“He has a rich inner life,” Clem said, which made kit picture a whole miniature world existing inside Jorge. “But his outer life needs work.”

Then she laughed.

Clem was someone who was almost always laughing, at least back then. At first, kit had been friends with Jorge because she was friends with Jackson and Jackson was friends with Jorge. It had been the three of them. Clem had bugged her, with her always laughing thing. But after not very long, kit started to find the same things funny that Clem did, and soon kit and Clem were the closest friends. Their friendship grew to be the biggest and the best. So even when Jackson and Jorge were busy—Jackson with his sports and Jorge with his “rich inner life”—Clem and kit were either together or talking on the phone.

Clem was the most important person in kit’s life, other than her mom.

And Clem got it. She understood what kit’s mom was like. She knew what kit’s life was like and that kit had to look out for her mom because her mom had issues.

Kit’s mom’s main issue was that she was afraid. She was scared of cancer and bad guys and fire. She was terrified of traffic and heights and crowds. She was afraid of spiders and germs and blood. The list was pretty long and always growing.

“K.i.t., keep it together,” kit would say, and her mom would put on her brave smile and hold up her wrist so that kit could see she was trying.

Sometimes, kit and her mom would go in the bathroom and perform magic over the tub or sink so the oils and “potions” didn’t spill anywhere that couldn’t be easily cleaned up. They had a whole glass shelf of bottles and jars, labeled with things like bravery and truth or rosemary and sage.

Kit’s mom owned a hair salon. She was a hairdresser, not a witch, but kit thought her only employee (and her best friend), Samara, might be both. If you didn’t know Samara, you’d think she was just a nice, funny person— she loved riddles—but once you got to know her, you’d find out that she also believed in magic the same way kit did. She believed in spells, believed they could give them courage or love or money or luck, believed in the possibility that herbs and oils and words could really and truly fix any problem.

Mostly it seemed to be luck that kit’s mom was conjuring, but kit thought she should specify whether she wanted good luck or bad. Everything was either one or the other, if you thought about it.

And anyway, details mattered.

“You’re as small as a detail and the details tell the story. You are the best story of all,” kit’s mom liked to say. “I’m not a story!” kit used to always say back, but now that everything had happened, she wasn’t sure this was true anymore.

After all, everybody has a story, even if the story doesn’t feel like a story when you are the one who is living it.

It’s only afterward, in the telling, that it becomes the thing it was meant to be all along.

Author Bio:

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Karen Rivers’s books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she’s not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usu­ally be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at karenrivers.com and on Twitter: @karenrivers.

Reviews:

“Rivers realistically portrays the challenge of living with anxiety and the pressures of family responsibility. Complex and moving, this story takes an unvarnished look at what it means to be true to oneself as well as loved ones.”
Publishers Weekly

“Rivers threads rich veins of metaphor and personal transformation into this tale of preteen trauma and recovery . . . Along with folding in this whiff of fantasy (kit’s not the only character here who, at least seemingly, has an animal alter ego), Rivers handles all the domestic and interpersonal drama with a light touch that keeps things from turning soapy . . . Readers will come away admiring her knack for resolving issues and conflicts.”
Booklist, starred review

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Blog Tour: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

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Hey everyone! Today’s post is part of the blog tour for the recently released middle grade novel, The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz. Sarah is a wonderful author that I have been a massive fan of for quite a while and this newest novel is her most fun and enchanting one yet! Below, you can find some basic information on the book and the author, as well as an exclusive excerpt from the book itself. And if you like what you see, make sure to check out the novel which just released on October 1st! My full (spoiler-free!) review of The Dark Lord Clementine will be up later in the week!

Book Info:

thedarklordclementineThe Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Date Published: October 1st, 2019

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 336 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Algonquin YR

The new face of big evil is a little . . . small.
 
Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.

Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?

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Book Excerpt

NOT. CHIPPING.

Clementine Morcerous awoke one morning to discover that her father had no nose.

This was not exactly unexpected. Several mornings previously, the Dark Lord Elithor Morcerous had greeted her with slightly less nose than usual, and a bit of a weaker chin. The difference was so small that Clementine, who was quite small herself, barely noticed it. She did notice something different about him—he was her father, after all—but she thought perhaps he had gotten a rather unflattering haircut.

An unflattering haircut could not explain the next few days, however, as the Dark Lord Elithor’s nose became skinnier and skinnier, and his chin weaker and weaker. It could also not explain why his skin took on the raw-looking texture of freshly chopped wood, or why the ends of his fingers sharpened first into long points, and then shorter and shorter ones. It was as if every day, something were eating away at him—chipping away at him, Clementine’s mind helpfully suggested—but the Dark Lord carried on as if nothing were the matter, even when the tip of his finger snapped off as he was ladling out the pea soup at dinner.

It was so light it barely made a plop as it landed in the tureen. They ate the soup anyway.

Clementine Morcerous knew that if the Dark Lord Elithor had three gifts in this world, they were:

  1. The invention and implementation of magical Dastardly Deeds
  2. Math
  3. Not Talking About Anything

But the day she sat down to breakfast, rubbed the last bits of sleep from her eyes, and looked up to see her father sitting across the table from her, quite alarmingly nose-
less . . . well. Clementine decided that was the day they were going to Talk About Something.

“Father,” Clementine said as she watched him spear a piece of melon on the tip of his pointy wooden finger. “I do believe you have been cursed.”

The melon cube paused on its journey to his poor thin lips.

“Ah,” said her father, his thick eyebrows rising. “Do you?”

He then returned his focus to his plate, as if she’d merely made a comment on the weather. His finger had sliced through the melon cube. He picked it up again with some difficulty.

“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?” demanded Clementine. “Something is . . . well . . . chipping away at you!”

Clementine regretted using the word “chipping” as soon as it was out of her mouth. Yet a consequence of Finally Talking About Anything is that words, once set free into the world, aren’t in the habit of going back where they came from.

The only sound in the room was the Dark Lord’s labored breathing, a thin whistling from the two tiny slits left in his face where his nostrils should’ve been. His eye- brows threatened to meet in the middle. He looked down at his plate again, and even the melon seemed to turn a paler green under the force of his glare.

“No . . .” he said softly. “Not. Chipping.” He spat out the words like they were curses themselves and finally looked up at a very concerned Clementine.

“Whittling.”

Author Bio:

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Sarah Jean Horwitz
is the author of the middle grade fantasy series Carmer and Grit and the recently released The Dark Lord Clementine. She grew up next door to a cemetery and down the street from an abandoned fairytale theme park, which probably explains a lot. She currently lives near Boston, MA. Find her on Twitter, @sunshineJHwitz
Instagramher Goodreads page, or at sarahjeanhorwitz.com.

Review Quotes:

“Horwitz primes readers to expect the unexpected—and delivers. . . .Horwitz’s ingenuity for bizarre enchantment and characterization proves boundless . . . In a wry, satisfying ending, Clementine hints at future enchantments ahead.”
Publishers Weekly

“The descriptions of magical beings are fittingly awe-inspiring  . . . this inventive fantasy twists conventions while involving readers through good storytelling laced with irony and wit.”
Booklist

“After luring readers in with wordplay and tongue-in-cheek, genre-savvy humor, the plot takes an emotionally rich thematic turn, dwelling on community and forgiveness—all the while building toward a mythical, mystical arc involving the unicorn. The few action sequences are mined for utmost impact, as are the slice-of-life scenes and flashback vignettes . . . Absolutely delightful.”
Kirkus Reviews

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