Recent TBR Additions #2

recenttbradditions

Hi Everyone!

Since I’ve been crazy busy doing the N.E.W.T.s Readathon and finishing the end of term at school, I’ve been running quite a bit behind on writing up my reviews. I’ll have plenty of new reviews as well as a couple author guest posts I think you guys will enjoy coming very soon! But for today, I hope you don’t mind a bit of a shorter post. I’ve discovered and added a bunch of really interesting books to my TBR lately and I thought I would share the ones I’m most excited to read!

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 12.47.19 PM

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 12.49.12 PM

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 12.51.26 PM

Agency by William Gibson

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 12.54.03 PM

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz

Witchmark by C.L. Polk

What have you guys been reading lately? Have you made any recent TBR additions that you are particularly excited for? Let me know in the comments!

signaturetardis1

logo2

Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ziggy, Stardust and Me Blog Tour: Guest Post by Author James Brandon

ziggystardustandmeblogtour

Today’s post is a guest post by author James Brandon. His debut novel, Ziggy, Stardust and Me, released on August 8th. Since music is a central theme in the novel, I’ve asked him to tell us what theme songs he would pick for each of his characters. Ziggy, Stardust and Me is an absolutely beautiful novel about self-discovery, love, acceptance, and finding the strength to stand up for what you believe in. It is a beautiful story and I cannot recommend it highly enough, so please make sure to check it out! 🙂

What theme song would you choose for each character and why?

Such a great question! For me, music is the key to unlocking closed doors within our soul, doors we may be too scared to open ourselves or are afraid to face. This is why music is a huge part of Jonathan’s world; it’s his form of escape, his way of coping with the awfulness that continues to assault him in “the real world.” In fact, while writing the first drafts of Ziggy and discovering Jonathan’s character, I found a musicality to his voice that I think really speaks to the inner workings of his mind, and hopefully adds a more intimate connection to his personal journey.

Music of the early seventies was revolutionary: from glam rock to Soul Train, every faction of marginalized society was finding its voice in new modes of musical expression. And I wanted Ziggy, Stardust & Me to be a soundtrack of the time, a nostalgic look back at some of the greatest music ever created. So even before the initial drafts, I had a theme song in mind for each character because I knew it would allow me a deeper connection to their being…

For Jonathan, the obvious album is Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. (Ziggy Stardust is his Messiah after all.) But his theme song is “Rock N’ Roll Suicide.” I quote a lyric from this track at the beginning of Part Three because this is the song Jonathan plays on repeat as he faces some horrific battles in his life. Bowie screams, “You’re not alone,” over and over again at the end of the song, and those three words became Jonathan’s only lifeline to what was left of his spirit.

For Web, Jonathan’s love interest, his first obsession is Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of the Moon. And for good reason: the album is frigging genius and, when listened to carefully, can take you on a roller coaster ride to the depths of your soul. It’s confident, fearless and unapologetic, just like Web. But I’d also attach “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King to his character; it balances his feminine side while also directly speaking to his inner journey.

For Starla, Jonathan’s best friend, the song she’s currently playing on repeat is “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack. It’s soulful and powerful, spiritual and strong—all traits I think Starla possesses. I’d also add, “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” as her theme song; Starla’s a budding activist, a true believer in making your voice heard to effectively create change. And as she steps more confidently into this part of her being, she begins to discover her own inner power.

For Jonathan’s dad, his personal soundtrack is Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” or “Dream On” by Aerosmith. (Both of which you’ll find him singing in the narrative.) For lack of a better description, there’s a nostalgic aggressiveness to these songs I love for him. Jonathan’s father longs for lost memories, clings desperately to them, and is so lost in the past he won’t allow himself to see the love that’s right in front of him.

There’s a theme song for every character in the story, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what they are. 🙂 And if you want to enjoy any of the songs mentioned in the novel to fully immerse yourself in Jonathan’s world, I created a Spotify playlist to take you deeper on the journey: 

https://open.spotify.com/user/1261155990/playlist/477lx4RRdyv3Qse0laMLte?si=8_H0w_4HTRGaZBXlqBLEfQ&nd=1

Book Info:

ziggystardustandmeZiggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

Date Published: August 6th, 2019

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Penguin Random House

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.

____________________________________________________________

Author Bio:

18089438James Brandon produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is codirector of the documentary film based on their journey, Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s the cofounder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust and Me is his first novel. You can visit James Brandon at justbejb.com

Blogger Campaign Schedule:

Week One: Ziggy, Stardust and Me

August 5 – The Book Bratz – Covers inspired by favorite singers

August 6 – Goblet of Fiction – Creative Instagram Picture

August 7 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Author Guest Post: What theme song would you choose for each character and why?

August 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Playlist

August 9 – Velarisreads – Inspired by the Book: Makeup

Week Two

August 12 – Liv The Book Nerd – Review + Playlist

August 13 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review

August 14 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Raves and Craves

August 15 – LGBT YA Catalog – Author Guest Post

August 16 – @booksandbrandy – Creative Instagram Picture

 

Week One: As Many Nows As I Can Get

August 19 – Just Add a Word – Review + Playlist

August 20 – Evil Queen Books – Moodboard + Review

August 21 – NovelKnight Book Reviews – Author Guest Post: What are the benefits and struggles of creating a character-reader connection with a non-linear timeline? In other words, what is the process of writing characters that readers can become invested in while also alternating through the past and present?

August 22 – So She Tries – Creative Instagram Picture

August 23 – Thrifty Bibliophile – Playlist

Week Two

August 26 – The Geeky Yogi – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

August 27 – Two Points of Interest – Review

August 28 – Wishful Endings – Moodboard + Instagram Picture

August 29 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Author Interview

August 30 – High Lit Books – Review

 

Week One: We Speak in Storms

September 2 – Book Princess Reviews – Books that Blend Magic and Real Life

September 3 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Moodboard + Review

September 4 – Emma Reads – Review + Inspired by the Book

September 5 – Fiction No Chaser – Review

September 6 – The Bookish Chick – Playlist + Review

Week Two

September 9 – BW Reviews – Review

September 10 – Books and Wildflowers – Listicle: 10 Things to Keep You Occupied During a Storm

September 11 – Musings of a (Book) Girl – Listicle: Items you should pack for a Tornado

September 12 – ELA Everyday – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

September 13 – Book Fidelity – Review

 

Week One: The Stars and The Blackness Between Them

September 16 – Forever and Everly – Moodboard + Review

September 17 – The Paige-Turner – Creative Instagram Picture

September 18 – The Library Voice – Author Guest Post

September 19 – Books and Blends – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

Week Two

September 23 – GladiatorGlory – Inspired by the Book: Makeup

September 24 – The Heart of a Book Blogger – Moodboard

September 25 – The Baroness of Books – Favorite Quote Graphics + Review

September 26 – Fictionally Sam – Review

logo2

July 2019 Book Haul

july2019bookhaul

Hi everyone!

I haven’t done a book haul in ages and I figured this would be a good time to do one! My birthday was last week and I went on a bit of a shopping spree at the bookstore that day. Then, as if that weren’t enough, I went back to the bookstore with my best friend just yesterday (I’ll blame her for that one!). So, over this last week, I have gathered quite a few books that I’m extremely excited to read!

The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields

thebonecharmer

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.
On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.
Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

comefindme

After surviving an infamous family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Kennedy Jones has made it her mission to keep her brother’s search through the cosmos alive. But then something disturbs the frequency on his radio telescope–a pattern registering where no signal should transmit.
In a neighboring county, seventeen-year-old Nolan Chandler is determined to find out what really happened to his brother, who disappeared the day after Nolan had an eerie premonition. There hasn’t been a single lead for two years, until Nolan picks up an odd signal–a pattern coming from his brother’s bedroom.
Drawn together by these strange signals–and their family tragedies–Kennedy and Nolan search for the origin of the mysterious frequency. But the more they uncover, the more they believe that everything’s connected–even their pasts–as it appears the signal is meant for them alone, sharing a message that only they can understand. Is something coming for them? Or is the frequency warning them about something that’s already here?

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

godsofjadeandshadow

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

The Haunted by Danielle Vega

thehaunted

From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.
Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.
Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

Last Tango in Cyberspace by Steven Kotler

lasttangoincyberspace

Hard to say when the human species fractured exactly. Harder to say when this new talent arrived. But Lion Zorn is the first of his kind–an empathy tracker, an emotional soothsayer, with a felt sense for the future of the we. In simpler terms, he can spot cultural shifts and trends before they happen.
It’s a useful skill for a certain kind of company.
Arctic Pharmaceuticals is that kind of company. But when a routine em-tracking job leads to the discovery of a gruesome murder, Lion finds himself neck-deep in a world of eco-assassins, soul hackers and consciousness terrorists. But what the man really needs is a nap.
A unique blend of cutting-edge technology and traditional cyberpunk, Last Tango in Cyberspace explores hot topics like psychology, neuroscience, technology, as well as ecological and animal rights issues. The world created in Last Tango is based very closely on our world about five years from now, and all technology in the book either exists in labs or is rumored to exist. With its electrifying sentences, subtle humor, and an intriguing main character, readers are sure to find something that resonates with them in this groundbreaking cyberpunk science fiction thriller.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

thenearwitch

The Near Witch’ is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

nocturna

The first in a sweeping and epic own voices debut fantasy trilogy—set in a stunning Latinx-inspired world—about a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince who must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Leigh Bardugo, and V. E. Schwab.
To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.
As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

The Obsoletes by Simeon Mills

theobsoletes

Fraternal twin brothers Darryl and Kanga are just like any other teenagers trying to make it through high school. They have to deal with peer pressure, awkwardness, and family drama. But there’s one closely guarded secret that sets them apart: they are robots. So long as they keep their heads down, their robophobic neighbors won’t discover the truth about them and they just might make it through to graduation.
But when Kanga becomes the star of the basketball team, there’s more at stake than typical sibling rivalry. Darryl—the worrywart of the pair—now has to work a million times harder to keep them both out of the spotlight. Though they look, sound, and act perfectly human, if anyone in their small, depressed Michigan town were to find out what they truly are, they’d likely be disassembled by an angry mob in the middle of their school gym.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

therulesofmagic

In this sparkling prequel we meet sisters Frances and Jet and Vincent, their brother. From the beginning their mother Susanna knew they were unique: Franny with her skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, who could commune with birds; Jet as shy as she is beautiful, who knows what others are thinking, and Vincent so charismatic that he was built for trouble. Susanna needed to set some rules of magic: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles and certainly, absolutely, no books about magic…
But the Owens siblings are desperate to uncover who they really are. Each heads down a life-altering course, filled with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, and magic and love. Despite the warning handed down through the family for centuries – Know that for our family, love is a curse – they will all strive to break the rules and find true love.

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

theshadowofwhatwaslost

As destiny calls, a journey begins.

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.
As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.
To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…
And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir.

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

teethinthemist

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil’s Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations…
Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember–so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?
In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward–one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.
1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.
Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching…

Have you guys read any of these books? What are some of your recent bookish purchases? Let me know in the comments!

signaturetardis1

logo2

Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The Top 10 Virtues of The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren

ThisIsMe_BlogBanner

Today’s post is part of the blog tour for the recently released young adult novel The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren. Huge thanks to Penguin Teen for giving me the opportunity to participate and to help promote this fantastic book. This is the story of two teenagers who have spent their entire lives in a cult and how they deal with their newfound clarity about their situation as thrown into adulthood in the community. It is a novel that portrays the importance of not always taking what people in power say at face value, fighting for equality, and learning to accept others—and oneself—for who they are.

There are so many aspects of this story that appealed to both the book nerd and psychology nerd in me and I was completely absorbed from the start. So, while thinking about a topic for this post, I decided I would like to share what I found to be the strongest aspects (the virtues) of The Virtue of Sin!

Book Info:

thevirtueofsinThe Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren

Date Published: June 25th, 2019

Publisher: Philomel Books

Pages: 432 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

A compelling novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Tara Westover’s Educated.

Miriam lives in New Jerusalem, a haven in the desert far away from the sins and depravity of the outside world. Within the gates of New Jerusalem, and under the eye of its founder and leader, Daniel, Miriam knows she is safe. Cared for. Even if she’s forced, as a girl, to quiet her tongue when she has thoughts she wants to share, Miriam knows that New Jerusalem is a far better life than any alternative. So when God calls for a Matrimony, she’s thrilled; she knows that Caleb, the boy she loves, will choose her to be his wife and they can finally start their life together. 

But when the ceremony goes wrong and Miriam winds up with someone else, she can no longer keep quiet. For the first time, Miriam begins to question not only the rules that Daniel has set in place, but also what it is she believes in, and where she truly belongs.

Alongside unexpected allies, Miriam fights to learn–and challenge–the truth behind the only way of life she’s ever known, even if it means straying from the path of Righteousness.

A compelling debut novel about speaking out, standing up, and breaking free.

____________________________________________________________

Strong female lead

Miriam is an incredibly strong female lead right from the very beginning of the novel. She does not want to put up with the suppression and ill treatment of women that the men of the cult have turned into an accepted way of life. She gradually finds her voice and stands up for not just herself and the other women, but for everyone who is under the control of the Prophet. Headstrong and intelligent, Miriam makes a wonderful protagonist.

Distinct dual perspectives

This story is not just told from Miriam’s perspective but also from Caleb’s, the boy she’s sure she is meant to marry. Alternating between these characters and seeing every situation through two different sets of eyes made this an even more intriguing plot. Schuren writes these narrators well, making their voices distinct from the other, which can be a challenge when working with more than one point of view.

Beautiful writing

Schuren’s writing style is definitely one of the strongest aspects of this novel. I found it very easy to get into and it had a very captivating quality to it. It was not just the story but the way she told it and worded it that held me in the narrative. The writing and the message it sends are both beautiful.

Detailed and realistic worldbuilding

I found Schuren’s worldbuilding to be absolutely fantastic. She creates this extremely detailed and frighteningly realistic picture of what living in a cult is like. She forms both the physical world and the psychological world of these characters through her words. It feels like you are there in the desert—in the supposed safety of the community. You experience the raw emotions and the sinister atmosphere. She really brings this story to life.

Vivid and multi-dimensional characters

Both main characters and side characters alike are multi-dimensional in this story. They are clearly carefully crafted and they evolve and respond realistically to their environment and the events of the novel. They don’t feel flat—they are the driving force of the plot. I felt that I got to know many of the characters well, no matter what size part they play in the grand scheme of things. Just like the worldbuilding, the characters are equally as detailed and fully fleshed out.

Accurate portrayal of psychological aspects

I absolutely love anything to do with psychology—I am actually a forensic psychology major—and the psychology of cults is particularly interesting to study. Seeing the mindsets of both the members and the leaders is both fascinating and chilling. This novel primarily demonstrates how the beliefs and laws a leader comes up with are drilled into members. We see how this warps a person’s thoughts and view of the world and how incredibly challenging it is to break free of these beliefs. Schuren’s depictions of these elements of a cult are very accurate, enraging, and heartbreaking.

Plenty of diversity and a huge focus on equality

The primary subject dealt with in this novel is the unequal and extremely poor treatment of women within the cult. We see how the men silence them and do not allow them to make their own decisions. There are also other elements of unfair treatment of minorities in the plot. The importance of standing up for these types of injustices, whether you are part of that minority or not, and of treating others with respect are shown through this story.

Keeps you on your toes

I was surprised at how many twists there were in this novel that I did not see coming. And I liked every single one. Schuren takes the narrative in a number of unexpected directions. There are so many secrets spilled and revelations that propelled me through every chapter. This is a true page-turner.

Good character development

Tying in with what I said before about the characters being multi-dimensional, Schuren does a good job of clearly indicating how they develop over the course of the story. They learn and grow and evolve. The events that take place and the upheaval they experience consistently affect each character, their actions, and their views of life and the world around them.

An overall captivating story

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it absolutely did not disappoint. It was so easy to become engrossed in this novel and I found it extremely hard to put down. Schuren brings so many interesting elements together to create a story that will quickly draw in readers and open their eyes to topics that are very important and timely. I highly recommend picking this up.

Author Bio:

5190994Shannon Schuren (shannon.schuren.org) works as a children’s librarian at a public library and writes from a cozy she-shed in her backyard. Her short stories have appeared in various journals such as Toasted Cheese Literary JournalBig Pulp, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Shannon lives in Sheboygan Falls, WI, with her husband and three children. Follow her on Twitter @shannonschuren.

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One: The Virtue of Sin

June 24 – Cozybooknook – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

June 25 – The Book Shire – Playlist

June 26 – JeanBookNerd – Author Guest Post: What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on THE VIRTUE OF SIN?   

June 27 – The Quirky Booknerd – Listicle: The Top 10 Virtues of The Virtues of Sin

June 28 – YA Books Central – Author Guest Post: Ten Random Facts about The Virtue of Sins (or yourself)

Week Two: The Downstairs Girl

July 1 – Nerdy By Nature – Review

July 2 – YA Wednesdays – Creative Instagram Picture

July 3 – Awkwordly Emma – Author Guest Post: Her Research Process

July 4 – It Starts at Midnight – Moodboard

July 5 – The Reading Corner for All – Book Aesthetic

logo2

Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases of Summer 2019

10anticipatedreleasesofsummer2019

Hey everyone!

I can’t believe it’s almost summer already and we’ll be going into the second half of 2019! Just like with my last seasonal post, I have changed from “top five” to “top ten” because there are way too many amazing releases coming out this summer. This was difficult to narrow down, but I have finally picked out the ten books that I am most excited to get my hands on over the next few months!

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo (July 2nd, 2019)

teentitansraven

When a tragic accident takes the life of seventeen-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom–and Raven’s memory–she moves to New Orleans to live with her foster mother’s family and finish her senior year of high school.
Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. When strange things start happening–impossible things–Raven starts to think it might be better not to know who she was in her previous life.
But as she grows closer to her foster sister, Max, her new friends, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past…and the darkness building inside her.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures Kami Garcia, and artist Gabriel Picolo, comes this first graphic novel in the Teen Titans series for DC Ink, Teen Titans: Raven.

The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele (July 9th, 2019)

thelightestobjectintheuniverse

If the grid went down, how would you find someone on the other side of the country? How would you find hope?
After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a chance visit to his school. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be delivered from hardship if they can find their way to the evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue, who is broadcasting on all the airwaves countrywide. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to one another for food, water, and solace, and begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could, in fact, be a promising beginning.
But between Beatrix and Carson lie 3,000 miles. With no internet or phone or postal service, can they find their way back to each other, and what will be left of their world when they do? The answers may lie with fifteen-year-old Rosie Santos, who travels reluctantly with her grandmother to Jonathan Blue, finding her voice and making choices that could ultimately decide the fate of the cross-country lovers.
The Lightest Object in the Universe is a story about reliance and adaptation, a testament to the power of community and a chronicle of moving on after catastrophic loss, illustrating that even in the worst of times, our best traits, borne of necessity, can begin to emerge.

Changeling by William Ritter (July 16th, 2019)

changeling

Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.
Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.

The Doctor by Lisa Stone (July 25th, 2019)

thedoctor

How much do you know about the couple next door? 
When Emily and Ben move in next door to Dr Burman and his wife Anita, they are keen to get to know their new neighbours. Outgoing and sociable, Emily tries to befriend the doctor’s wife, but Anita is strangely subdued, barely leaving the house, and terrified of answering the phone. 
When Emily goes missing a few weeks later, Ben is plunged into a panic. His wife has left him a note, but can she really have abandoned him for another man? Or has Emily’s curiosity about the couple next door led her straight into danger? 
A gripping, sinister thriller with a twist you won’t see coming from the international bestseller Lisa Stone.

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells (July 30th, 2019)

shatterthesky

Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.
If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…
With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (August 6th, 2019)

houseofsaltandsorrow

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

The Whisper Man by Alex North (August 20th, 2019)

thewhisperman

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of suspense, as a father and son are caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool (September 3rd, 2019)

therewillcomeadarkness

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it? 
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes.

All the Impossible Things by Lindsay Lackey (September 3rd, 2019)

alltheimpossiblethings

Red’s inexplicable power over the wind comes from her mother. Whenever Ruby “Red” Byrd is scared or angry, the wind picks up. And being placed in foster care, moving from family to family, tends to keep the skies stormy. Red knows she has to learn how to control it, but can’t figure out how.
This time, the wind blows Red into the home of the Grooves, a quirky couple who run a petting zoo, complete with a dancing donkey and a giant tortoise. With their own curious gifts, Celine and Jackson Groove seem to fit like a puzzle piece into Red’s heart.
But just when Red starts to settle into her new life, a fresh storm rolls in, one she knows all too well: her mother. For so long, Red has longed to have her mom back in her life, and she’s quickly swept up in the vortex of her mother’s chaos. Now Red must decide the possible from the impossible if she wants to overcome her own tornadoes and find the family she needs.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (September 5th, 2019)

theturnofthekey

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

What upcoming releases are you guys looking forward to? Are we excited about any of the same books? Let me know in the comments!

signaturetardis1

logo2

Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Recent TBR Additions #1

recenttbradditions

Hi Everyone!

First off, I want to apologize for the lack of posts over the last few weeks. I’ve been having a major flare up with my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and needed to take some time to focus on resting and recovering. But I’ve missed you guys and posting so much! I’m hoping I can start getting some writing done over the next few days and get some new reviews up for you guys. For today though, I hope you don’t mind a bit of a shorter post. I’ve discovered and added a lot of really interesting books to my TBR lately and I thought I would share the ones I’m most excited to read!

Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 5.22.53 PM

Across a Broken Shore by Amy Trueblood

All the Impossible Things by Lindsay Lackey

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell

Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 5.26.47 PM

Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland

Shadowscent by P.M. Freestone

Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 5.29.43 PM

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Dragon Speaker by Elana A. Mugdan

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Screen Shot 2019-05-18 at 5.32.13 PM

The Perfect Son by Lauren North

The Shadow Writer by Eliza Maxwell

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

What have you guys been reading lately? Have you made any recent TBR additions that you are particularly excited for? Let me know in the comments!

signaturetardis1

logo2

This is Not a Love Scene by S.C. Megale Blog Tour

Hey everyone! Today’s post is part of the blog tour for an upcoming young adult novel, This Is Not a Love Scene by S.C. Megale. 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 May 7th!

Book Info:

41150303This Is Not a Love Scene by S.C. Megale

Date Published: May 7th, 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 320 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

This Is Not A Love Scene rings brilliantly true from the first page to the last.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Funny, emotional, and refreshingly honest, S.C. Megale’s This is Not a Love Scene is for anyone who can relate to feeling different while navigating the terrifying and thrilling waters of first love.

Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric. 

Suddenly, Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And the future might not wait for either.

This Is Not a Love Scene_Whim 1

____________________________________________________________

Book Excerpt

I liked being ridden, and offered the chance to pretty much every guy in Video II. I guess it made me feel as if I had something to contribute to the group.

So when Elliot jumped on the back of me and I felt his weight pull me down, I smiled. Pushed the wheelchair joystick. Increased acceleration. The smooth terrain of Jackson Memorial Mall was perfect for showing off.

“Kim Possible, I mean, I thought she was attractive— that doesn’t mean I needed to start jacking.” Elliot laughed behind me, full of life. He was eighteen, like me. Tall, black, he wore skinny jeans and the hoodie of a band I’d never heard of. We were debating which animated characters of our youth were worthy of sexual awakenings.

“Robin Hood could get it from Little Maeve,” I said. “The Disney one, the fox.” I don’t know. He had a mischievous smile.

“Disney?” said Elliot. He shook the handlebar of my wheelchair near my ear.

“Kim Possible is Disney,” I retorted.

“Disney Channel, completely different ball game.” “No way! Disney jack sesh!” I said.

“Maeve,” Mags, my best friend, reprimanded me from my right.

Air conditioners wafted along the scent of free-sample lotion and buttery pretzels. One of those pretzels was folded in a paper bag resting on my footplate. KC had dove in front of the register to buy it for me. I couldn’t lift my arm high enough to swat away his credit card.

“Abuse of the disabled,” I’d accused.

We cruised our way back towards the food court now, after a few loops of circling.
About halfway through Video II an hour ago, my classmates and I—Elliot, Mags, KC, and Nate—had decided to dip for the mall. Not that we’d been doing anything in class. Mags had been sitting on the floor at my wheels, reading Bridge to Terabithia, and I was swiping through last night’s fun with Hot Tinder Guy. “Mags, look.” I’d shoved my screen in her face. She looked up from her book and then away real fast. All she must have caught were the words swallow and babe.

“Oh my God, Maeve.”

I grinned and returned to the screen. I knew it was messed up, but I was proud I’d successfully sexted a guy from Tinder. I mean . . . after eighteen years of experience trying otherwise, it seemed like it could only happen on Tinder. With the photos I’d chosen, the guy couldn’t see the whole me.

“He’s so hot,” I’d said.

“He’s not, though.” Mags hadn’t looked up from her book.

She was petite with long, dyed red hair, and I was mad jealous of her in Video I until I realized having to reject a guy every day, like she did, sucked almost as much as never getting that chance, like I didn’t.

Despite my handicap, I looked all right, I guessed. Brown hair and eyes, almost acceptable weight at just under a hundred pounds. I sat a little crooked, but whenever someone held a camera up, I made sure to lean against my scoliosis so you could barely tell. My skin was nice. I always wore the same blue, low-top Converse shoes. And I had other things going for me—humor and dreams and an attempt at positivity. My life’s ambition was to be a famous director, and I had twelve scripts completed by the age of sixteen.

Mr. Billings, Seefeldt High School’s premier film teacher, had to combine Video I and II this semester in order for the school not to cancel both electives due to low enrollment. There was this really valiant entreaty at the beginning of the year in which Billings convinced the principal we were worth holding the class on block days, and the principal conceded with the requisite that Billings film the football games for the coaches every Friday. Then maybe he’d consider having Billings film baseball in the spring so we could have Video III. Billings literally took one for the team. But we were usually left to our own devices while he taught the newbies to render shit onto their Mac desktops. This was the first time things got bad enough for us to ditch.

The mall crowd’s chatter rose near the food court. We picked a table for three since KC and Nate had left for physics; it was just Elliot, Mags, and me. Elliot hopped off my wheelchair and took a seat to my right. I bulldozed aside a chair and it screeched on the tile as Mags sat on my left.

Flapping ears and a jingle of dog chains ripped through the air next to Mags, and I looked down. Technically, I wasn’t supposed to let Mags hold the leash of my service dog. His nonprofit company had strict rules. But the way she’d walked through the mall with her leash hand dangling down, blasé as shit (not to mention totally able-bodied) to match François’ blasé-as-shit expression amused me. Only two years old, François wore a blue-and- gold vest and silver choke collar. His half retriever, half Labrador fur was almost white, and everyone pretty much had to resist the urge to scrunch all that extra skin over his large brown eyes. I mean, that and the fact that his name was François.

Normally those eyes were dull and disinterested. Now, he looked up at me and gently swayed. Food.

I mouthed no warmly, and he kept wagging.

“Fam, I don’t know what we’re doing,” said Mags, gazing absently around the food court and twirling François’ leash on her wrist.

Elliot draped across the sticky linoleum table. “I know.” He covered his face. “We need these damn shirts.”

“I mean, we’re filming next week; that’s still enough time for eBay.” I lowered my left arm for François to slap with his tongue. My right was too stiff and weak to hang down that far.

“Do they have to be identical?” said Mags. “Can some of the actors just have, like, different uniforms?”

“Nah . . .” Elliot and I answered simultaneously. We were codirecting the group’s final project for Video II. I was glad we were on the same page. Most times.

“Imma get a wrap.” Elliot drew out his wallet and plucked a few bills. “You guys want anything?”

“No, thanks,” said Mags. He pointed at me. “Maeve?”

I smiled. “I’m good, thanks.” “Aight.”

Elliot left me with just Mags, his cologne pushing the air. They were comfortable with me—my classmates. I had that weird bubbling happiness in my chest that reminded me it’s not normal for me to feel normal. Being born with a neuromuscular disease that cripples your strength and locks up your joints and confines you to a wheelchair made normal an unrealistic standard. I had a form of muscular dystrophy, which is a pretty big sucky umbrella of genetic diseases that erode muscles and get worse as time goes on until you basically shrivel up like plastic sheets in the microwave.

As a baby, I’d begun to lose milestones rather than gain them. Only weeks after my first steps, I started to fall over and eventually never get back up. A shake developed. Making sure I could breathe whenever I came down with something became critical. But the severity of the condition varies for no explicable reason—there are those with my disability who use standers and others who are already dead. What’s really messed up is when I drag through Google images of others with my disease that’re frailer and more twisted just so I can think: Screw that, I’m not like you.

Yet.

Sometimes I’m an asshole, but only in my head.

“How are you doing?” said Mags. Her pretty eyes watched me with a mix of sympathy and refreshing nonchalance. Pain wriggled in my stomach. We’d been texting, and she knew I was depressed.

You’d think my reason for depression was, like, hospital visits and wheelchair parts on back order, right? I don’t grieve my disability; I grieve the shitty side effects of it. Sure, you make the best of being different. I’ve shaken a lot of hands and looked into a lot of tear-filled eyes of really rich people I somehow inspired to make a donation that won’t solve any of my problems. But for the most part? The pain of having a condition is about rejection and desires to feel human in ways that can never possibly be filled.

“Maeve?”

“Yeah, sorry.”

“You’re fine. Have you heard from R?”

Ugh. I don’t let my friends use his name anymore. “No.” I shifted.

“I’m sorry.”

I cringed. It sounded so final when Mags apologized. “I’m used to it,” I said. “I wouldn’t want me either.”

“That’s stupid,” said Mags. “Don’t say that.”

“It’s true.”

“Nah, fam, it’s stupid.” She never let me get away with bullshit and I smiled.

François sniffed the air gingerly with pushed-back ears and mollified eyes. He sort of looked stoned all the time.

“François,” I said. He looked at me. I’d meant to chastise him, but I actually chuckled instead.

“Oh my Gawd!” a middle-aged woman with long dark hair and Chanel sunglasses (in the mall?) squealed at our table and made us jump. She held a vegan wrap in her manicured nails—I could tell from the VEGAN! VEGAN! VEGAN! print spiraling the wrap paper.

“What a precious dog!” she said, and flipped that o pretty hard in her New York accent.

“Yeah, you can pet him,” said Mags, without asking my permission. “She’s not one of those crazy strict handlers.” She let go of the leash.

“Oh my Gawd.” The woman crouched and kneaded François’ ears in her hands.
With my previous service dog, Martin, now was the time when he’d look at me like: Why? Who is this? How is this supposed to help you?

But François was my European second love and we have an open relationship, so he started smacking his tongue out for her face.

I’d typically use this time to hardcore flirt with whatever guy knelt in front of me, but in general, I was a little less invested in François’ female catches.

“Yes,” the woman cooed. “Yes.” She made kissy noises at François, and Mags and I watched. Our boredom grew into furrowed brows as it started to get a little weird.

“Mwah!” The woman ended strong and rose, facing me. “So cute!”

IF SHE WERE A GUY: “You’re not bad either. Can you pet me now?”

BECAUSE SHE’S NOT: “Thanks.”

“Listen,” the woman said. Uh-oh.

“Have you heard of . . .” Insert charity organization for physical handicap I’ve never heard of.

“Nope.”

“Oh my Gawd, you’re kidding. They’re right here in Fredericksburg!”

“That’s wonderful,” I said.

“We’ve been trying to get a service dog team in to speak to our donors for months. The top investor is a huge dog lover.”
“Aww. Well, I could give you his company info,” I said. “Maybe they can hook you up with a trainer to come in and—”

“Oh, honey, no. The event is next week.”

“Ah,” I said. “What do you do for them?”

“I’m their CFO. Isn’t that right, sweetie?” She cooed down at François. No, I thought, François doesn’t know your career life choices. But François wagged.

“Anyway,” the woman said. “I’m Patricia. I think you would be perfect for inspiring these donors to help out the kids at the special needs camp.”

“Oh . . .”

Mags looked away and suppressed a grin. She knew she couldn’t save me. Anxiety already built in my throat.

“I’m flattered, but I don’t know . . .” I said. But gee, I always had a hard time saying no to special camp kids. “When is it?”

“It’s on the twenty-first; they’ll love you. Oh my Gawd, you’ll be a hit.”

Thank God—an out.

“Damn. I’m filming with my class all day that day.” I motioned to include Mags.

An anvil fell down the woman’s face. The tiny muscles in her expression stiffened. “Sigh.” She actually said sigh. Awkward silence stretched. “If you change your mind, let me know.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “How about I come this summer and read to the kids? Teach them about service dogs?” Blergh. “Do you have a card or anything?”

The corner of her mouth flicked up a little at my offer. “That’d be sweet. I’m out of cards. Just Google the camp. I’m at the bottom of their web page.”

“I will.”

When she left, I only had time to draw in breath at Mags’ comical look before Elliot plopped back down in his seat, wrap and fries on a pink tray.

“Who was that?”

“Some wheelchair charity person,” said Mags. She stole a fry and Elliot unfolded his wrap.

“So what else do we need still for the shoot?” I said as Elliot took a huge bite. “I handled the props. Location is locked. Do the actors know their call times?”

“Mmm!” Elliot hummed around his mouthful. He swallowed. “Bad news. Cole can’t make it.”

“What?”
“I know,” said Elliot.

“No,” I said. “Give me his number. Right now. He’s making it. Dammit.” I rolled my eyes. Actors.

Elliot laughed. “Okay, I will.” “Who is this?” said Mags. “Cole Stone,” said Elliot. “Like the creamery?”

“No,” I said, “like the actor.” Elliot huffed with humor.

“Yo, what did you and Nate 2.0 talk about last night?” Mags asked Elliot. Elliot and Nate went to the new Marvel film together. We call him Nate 2.0 because there was a really creepy Nate in Video I that we don’t talk about anymore.

“I don’t know.” Elliot laughed. “He’s wild.” “Sometimes,” I said. Nate’s humor was hit or miss with me.

“Why sometimes?” said Mags. I noticed she was starting to get defensive and inquisitive and highly interested in Nate.

“I dunno,” I said. “I think he’s really funny, but sometimes I think he doesn’t like me.” I wasn’t sure I really believed that. I wanted to see what they’d say.

“That’s stupid,” said Mags.

“Mmm . . .” said Elliot. We looked at him as he wiped a napkin over his mouth. “He can be insensitive.”

“How?” said Mags.

“He just says things to be funny sometimes and it’s not funny.”

“Like what?” said Mags.

Elliot rolled his shoulders uncomfortably.

“He said something about me, didn’t he?” I said. “What’d he say?”

“I dunno.”

“Come on.”

Elliot sighed. “He said something like . . . Maeve will be a virgin forever.”

Mags fell silent. I did too.

Elliot made a sad, shrugging face. “He’s just immature.” No. He was kind of right, though.
“Don’t listen to him.”

The humor and ease and acceptance I basked in extinguished. My teeth ground together and I nodded, staring across from them at the Chinese buffet. One thing I’ve learned from getting endless feedback on my scripts is that criticism doesn’t hurt unless you kind of agree with it.

“Well . . . that sucks,” said Mags, genuinely.

Elliot rubbed my hand and some of that love flowed back into my blood. “Love you, co-director,” he said.

“Love you, co-director,” I mumbled back. Elliot smiled. I ticked alight my phone on the table.

“My dad’s probably waiting outside,” I said. “I better head out.”

“I’ll walk you out,” said Elliot. “I’ll walk you out,” I said. “Eyyyy . . .” Elliot grinned.
I tapped my joystick and my wheelchair gave its mechanical clicking sound before moving. I froze. François always leapt up from the floor at that sound. I looked down beneath the table and choked.

François was gone.

Author Bio:

SC MegaleS.C. Megale is an author and filmmaker. She’s been profiled in USA Today, The Washington Post, and New York Newsday, and has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and the CBS Evening News for her philanthropic and literary work. As a humanitarian, she’s spoken on the USS Intrepid, at the NASDAQ opening bell, and to universities and doctors nationwide. She enjoys making connections all over the world. 

Megale was raised in the long grass of the Civil War, hunting for relics and catching fireflies along the banks of Bull Run. A shark tooth, flutes, and a flask are some of the items that hang from her wheelchair, and she had a fear of elevators until realizing this was extremely inconvenient. She lives with her family which includes her parents, sister and brother, service dog, and definitely-not-service dog.

Reviews:

Megale is a terrific new voice in the world of YAThis Is Not a Love Scene rings brilliantly true from the first page to the last. Megale’s prose is refreshingly original, her pacing already at a master level, and her storytelling abilities will pull hard on every emotion you have…Look out for this writer.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

A humorous, hearty novel about the realities (and fantasies) of being a teenager with a disability….Readers will want to zoom in on this [#ownvoices] story featuring a strong, sexually confident, disabled female character.” —Kirkus Reviews 

Informative and inspiring. It makes for an altogether thought-provoking and empathetic reading experience.” —Booklist

This Is Not a Love Scene is so good. S.C. Megale is remarkable… This book is the result of her unswerving determination and undoubted talent.” —John Flanagan, New York Times bestselling author of the Ranger’s Apprentice series

My ride-along with Maeve was a joy from first sentence to last. She’s authentic, unabashedly honest, fun to be with, and I still catch myself wondering what she’s been up to lately.” —Eric Lindstrom, author of Not If I See You First   

Megale’s pacing and style are absolutely wonderful. I feel deeply attached to her characters, and I can’t believe how perceptive many of her descriptions/observations are, especially disability related ones.”  —Shane Burcaw, author of Laughing at My Nightmare

This Is Not a Love Scene_Whim 2

logo2