Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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wickedsaintsWicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

My Rating: 3.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Something Dark and Holy #1

Date Published: April 2nd, 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 400 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

Wicked Saints was one of my most anticipated novels of the year, though I was a combination of excited and wary to read it. This seemed like one of those plots that I would really get into or just not enjoy at all. And while I didn’t absolutely love it, it still ended up falling into that first category and I had a pretty good time with it. From the vivid characterization to the unique and intriguing magic systems, I was sucked into this novel very quickly. A dark tale full of diverse characters and a vividly depicted setting, this proved to be an interesting read.

The countries of Kalyazin and Tranavia have been locked in a war that has spanned nearly a century and there still seems to be no end in sight. Nadya, an orphan who has lived within a monastery all her life, is not only there for training but also for her own protection. She is the first Kalyazin in many years to possess magic—a magic that allows her to communicate with the gods and goddesses and receive powers from them. If she were to fall into the hands of the Tranavians it would mean the downfall of Kalyazin. As she runs from the Tranavians, desperate to survive and determined to keep the religion of Kalyazin alive, she must draw on her great bravery to try and end the war while accepting the help of some people she is hesitant to trust.

The narrative starts off extremely fast-paced—perhaps a bit too fast-paced. We are thrown into the action immediately and while I do like books that really get into things quickly, I felt that it would have been nice to have a just little bit more exposition in the first few pages. There is not a whole lot that lets us know who the characters are, their relationships, nor what their situation is. Also, we know very little about the initial setting before we are thrown out of it. This made it a little hard to form my first connections with the characters and I felt that the scene that ensues definitely needed that.

That being said, when Duncan begins to reveal more information and backstory throughout the following chapters, she does a good job of working it into the narrative. I found things to be a bit confusing for a little too long at the beginning, but I felt that everything was cleared up at some point. There are no major info dumps or any slowing of the pace as she reveals these facts, which is a trap that is quite easy to fall into.

Each piece of description about the characters and the magic system fits into the moment—they are relevant to what is taking place in the main narrative and are seamlessly sewn throughout the plot. Formatting the story this way also allows Duncan to show rather than tell while building the world. She does a great job of giving the reader knowledge of an aspect such as the characters’ personalities through showing their exchanges with each other and how they interact with the environment.

Speaking of the characters, they were a very strong element of this novel. She does a good job of not only creating three-dimensional characters but also depicting how they change and evolve over the course of the narrative. The good guys were easy to love and the villains were fun to hate. I particularly liked the portrayal of the gods and goddesses and how Nadya interacts with them. I also really liked Serefin and how Duncan built his character (at this point, I’m fairly sure I just have a thing for bad boys). I found him to be a particularly interesting and complex character who captured my attention right from the start. My only complaint character-wise was the romance. To be fair, I am extremely hard to please when it comes to romance in novels and this was one I was just not sold on.

Duncan builds the world in which this story unfolds very well. Her descriptions are very vivid and detailed—they truly pull the reader in. She has a wonderful talent for writing. Her words flowed beautifully and easily carried me all the way through to the final page. Very lyrical and captivating, her words were so enjoyable to read. I absolutely loved the Russian and Polish influences in all aspects of this book. Duncan clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into incorporating these cultures into the creation of everything from the setting to the magic systems.

The magic was one of my absolute favorite parts of the plot. Nadya’s magic as a cleric particularly caught my attention. As I said early, I found it to be extremely unique as it was completely based around the gods and goddesses of the world in this novel. I loved learning about each of the gods and goddess and what sort of powers they each bestowed on Nadya. I did feel that she fell a bit into the “special-snowflake” category, but that did not bother me as much as it can in some stories. And though she was not as strong a lead as I hoped she would be, I still liked hearing her story. Overall, I quite enjoyed this novel. I am definitely interested enough to continue on with this series as the next installments come out.

3.5 TARDISes

Author Bio:

Emily A. DuncanEMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Social Links:

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

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Reviews: The Day Is Ready For You and This is the Journey by Alison Malee

thedayisreadyforyouThe Day Is Ready For You by Alison Malee

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Series

Date Published: May 15th, 2018

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 144 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

Synopsis: I will tell you
again and again:
in some small way,
everything matters.

The Day Is Ready for You is a prose and poetry collection weaving together the fractured, gritty pieces of the past, and the light that can break through an open window if you let it.

This is the first book of a two-book series about grace, heartbreak, and breathing freely.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the first collection of poetry by Malee that I have read and I really enjoyed it a lot. It was such an inspiring and enlightening work, and I found myself completely captivated by her words. There tends to be a lot of repetition in modern poetry in terms of subject matter, and I believe it takes a special writer to truly distinguish their writing from the rest. Malee does this with such ease—she has a remarkable talent for expressing her thoughts and feelings both on her own experience and on society as whole. Her poems tackle very important subjects, such as feminism, that are especially topical right now.

Malee’s writing and imagery is beautiful and vivid, and the messages she wishes to convey shine through clearly. Her depiction of raw human emotion—happiness, love, grief, pain, strength—is incredibly relatable and will pull the reader into her words. Personally, I felt a deep connection with every theme within this collection. She puts into words that which feels so complex and challenging to grasp. She spells these feelings out in a creative way that makes every thought even more powerful.

4.0 TARDISes

thisisthejourneyThis Is The Journey by Alison Malee

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Series

Date Published: April 2nd, 2019

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Pages: 144 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: This Is The Journey is a stillness. A clean slate. A step back. An open window. 

The counterpart to The Day Is Ready For YouThis Is The Journey is a collection of poetry and prose to help bridge the space between wanting, waiting, and possibility.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the Journey is a follow-up to her previous collection, The Day is Ready For You. As the title would imply, she takes the reader on a journey throughout the work. This is both about her own personal journey as well as the reader’s. Not only does she write on very relatable emotions in general, the inclusion of actual events in her life adds that extra bit of humanity and realism into them. One of the main messages to take away from this collection is that we are not alone on our journey—we are bound together by similar feelings as we travel through life’s ups and downs.

Like the last collection, I found her writing to be equally as beautiful and powerful. She has a talent for really engaging a reader in each poem and pulling them into her words.  I was completely hook just on the gorgeous writing alone, but there are so many other ways that Malee’s words moved me. I felt a deep connection with the vivid emotions and imagery she uses to convey the meaning of each piece. In my opinion, her poems are complex and sometimes abstract and it works perfectly for the equally complex emotional journey she is writing about. I would highly recommend giving her work a try and I definitely plan to read more of it in the future.

4.0 TARDISes

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Review: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

theassassinsapprenticeAssassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: The Farseer Trilogy #1

Date Published: April 1st, 1995

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Pages: 392 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

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This is a spoiler-free review.

I went into this novel with what seemed like absurdly high expectations and it managed to not only meet but exceed all of those expectations. Having heard so many wonderful things about Robin Hobb’s novels, I was certain I would enjoy it, but I never expected to fall so in love with this absolutely beautiful piece of literature. Assassin’s Apprentice captivated me from page one. Literally. One day, I picked it up just to try out a few pages and there was no stopping me after that. I devoured every aspect of this narrative, was enchanted by the magic, enthralled by the political intrigue, and surprised by all the twists and turns. This world and its characters completely ensnared me and I never wanted to leave.

In this novel, we follow Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, and a royal bastard. As a young boy, he is abandoned and sent to live in the royal household where he is written off, shunned by most he comes across. He begins his time here living with the stable master, Burrich, and finding what little companionship he has with the animals he works and lives with. When a magical art, called the Wit, makes itself evident within him, he finds peace, and even love, with the intense link this power allows him to have with his animal friends. Despite the danger of it and the nobility’s distaste for such powers, it is his lifeline in a world that wishes he never existed.

From the day he gets dropped off at the Farseer door, we are witness to many years of Fitz’s struggle to fit in, grow up, and to simply just survive as a reluctantly tolerated member of this royal family. When he one day garners the attention of the king, he is thrust into a life of lessons that befit a child of the Farseer name—and there is something more. Under cover of night, Fitz is being trained to become a powerful, royal assassin. And with strange goings-on at court and the growing underpinnings of corruption among royals, Fitz may just have his work cut out for him.

Robin Hobb’s writing is some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read. She completely captures the high fantasy style of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which I have always thought had such a unique and particularly enchanting quality to it. This is the sort of writing that truly made me into the fantasy lover that I am today, and there was this very poignantly nostalgic feel that wrapped around me until the final page. To say she has a talent for crafting an emotionally vivid and intriguingly complex narrative is an understatement. The way she has woven each and every element seamlessly together to create a multi-layered and unforgettable tale is remarkable.

Now, when I say this novel is complex, I definitely do not mean that it is challenging to follow or understand. Personally, I was blown away by how easily I fell into the many branches of this storyline. There is so much intricate detailed poured into every moment—into every event and setting and relationship. Years go by and new knowledge, twists, and turns fill each page and never once does it become muddled or overwhelming. Hobb writes in such a way that effortlessly carries you over every single page, not allowing you to get lost along the way. So many stories and so many characters and so many twists, yet not one bit of it is left unresolved.

And as if I haven’t been gushing enough already, there is still the topic of the characters. These marvelous, three-dimensional characters that are the driving force of this novel. Fitz is an incredibly strong lead character, someone who is easy to connect and sympathize with. His story is equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-pounding, and it is impossible not to cheer for him all the way. He faces such massive obstacles and stands up to them, persevering in the most unlikely circumstances. Fitz is not one of those flawless heroes—every aspect of his life, every success and failure, is chronicled in these pages. His growth throughout the narrative as he fights to give himself a life is awe-inspiring.

Every single character Robin Hobb creates in this story is multi-dimensional and fully fleshed out. They are all made into a significant element of the overall narrative, contributing in some way, however small, to the unfolding of the plot. I thought Hobb did a brilliant job building each and every one of her characters with care and precision.

Chade and the Fool were two of my absolute favorites. From the second they enter, they are both depicted with a vivid and striking characterization that makes them unforgettable. Another favorite of mine was Verity Farseer. He is truly a gentleman—a compassionate, intelligent, and hard-working man who stands up for what he believes in and puts the welfare of his people above anything else. And, just on a side note, he may also be one of my new book boyfriends.

As I am sure you have already guessed, I adored this novel with all my heart, and it has turned me into a complete Robin Hobb addict. This was such a satisfying read and is one that will continue to stick with me throughout my entire life, both as a reader and as a writer. It is this type of work that inspires me so greatly when it comes to my own personal writing, as fantasy is my genre of choice.

It is rare to find a book that impacts me quite as much as this one did—one that rekindles that initial feeling I had as I discovered my love of reading—and which reminds me why I am so passionate about literature. The next book, Royal Assassin, is sitting in front of me as we speak, and I am so eager to throw myself back into this world. If you have not tried out Robin Hobb’s novels, I highly recommend giving this one a go.

5.0 TARDISes

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Review: The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

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thehuntforthemadwolfsdaughterThe Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

My Rating: 4.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Mad Wolf’s Daughter #2

Date Published: March 5th, 2019

Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Pages: 288 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: In this Scottish medieval adventure, after attempting a daring rescue of her war-band family, Drest learns that Lord Faintree’s traitorous uncle has claimed the castle for his own and convinced the knights that the lord has been slain . . . by her hand. Now with a hefty price on her head, Drest must find a way to escape treacherous knights, all the while proving to her father, the “Mad Wolf of the North,” and her irrepressible band of brothers that she is destined for more than a life of running and hiding. Even if that takes redefining what it means to be a warrior.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review, but does contain some spoilers for the previous novel, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter.

I read and absolutely adored the first novel in this series, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter but, at the time, I believed it would be a standalone. So a few months ago, when I discovered there would be a sequel, I was ecstatic. And this novel absolutely did not disappoint. It is impossible to not be pulled into this story and become wrapped up in the lives of these vivid characters. The plot is exciting and action-packed, filled with heart-pounding moments and intriguing twists that add further depth into this world Magras has created. It takes readers on an incredibly fun journey with a remarkably brave young girl and a tale of love and friendship at its center.

This novel picks up exactly where the last one left off, as Drest, her family, and her newfound friends are on the run from the traitorous Lord Oswyn and his knights. With her brothers free from Faintree Castle’s prison and Emerick rescued from his uncle, the group finds themselves facing a dangerous and powerful enemy. Their situation is made even worse as Drest finds out Sir Oswyn has put a large price on her head, which means finding trustworthy allies is all the more difficult. As they fight to take back the castle and restore the rightful ruler, Drest is determined to prove to her family that they deserve more than a life of running and fighting and, in the process, learn what it truly means to be a warrior.

This story is equally as captivating as its predecessor. As in the previous novel, Magras’ writing is absolutely beautiful. Between the strength of her narrative and the vibrancy of her world and characters, she creates a truly immersive experience. She clearly depicts the Scottish headland and gives the reader a good idea of the type of environment and terrain the characters are dealing with. The language and slang used further adds to the realism and allows the reader to easily imagine both the time period the story takes place in and the voices of each individual character.

Her writing style has this sort of classic fantasy novel feel to it, which personally transports me back to my childhood as I grew up devouring everything in this genre. It is a story that is very warm and inviting. Magras weaves the setting, the characters’ lives, and the political intrigue of the plot together in a way that enraptures the reader. The themes of love, strength, and courage—of loyalty to those you love the most—are depicted extremely well. Becoming wrapped up in this story is such an enjoyable experience, one that I never want to end.

Drest is a strong female lead—truly living up to her role as a warrior and a legend. I absolutely loved getting the chance to see more of her story and how she has and continues to grow and change. She is tough, feisty, and not about to be underestimated. Yet she is also not unrealistically powerful or without faults. There are times when she learns she still needs the help of her friends and family and that they are all at their best when they work together.

I really enjoyed getting to see more of Drest’s relationships with the other characters, particularly between her and her family. Her father and brothers are a huge part of the first novel, but their actual physical presence in the narrative is very short. In this one, we are given an even clearer view of their individual personalities and how they all interact with each other. And of course, it was wonderful to see more of Emerick and Tig. I absolutely adore the friendship between the three of them and how they support each other every step of the way. They are definitely one of my favorite character trios ever.

The only, very minor, problem I had with the plotline was the repetitiveness of some of the scenes. There were many instances of Drest arguing her point of not needing to be taken care of—that women can be strong enough to defend themselves, not always requiring protection. This is one of the key aspects of the plot and something that Drest’s father and brothers, as well as other male characters, come to learn through her actions, and it was a huge part of the first novel as well. She consistently shows that she is completely capable of fighting alongside them.

However, it felt like there were a few too many scenes where they stood around debating this instead of escaping their pursuers or working to fight back. All-in-all, it was not a huge issue and did not stray from the main message of the novel in any way. It was very realistic to see the difficulty the male characters had understanding the strength of a woman, particularly in a time where women are seen as maidens who need to be rescued. There were just times where I felt everyone became a bit too hung up on it when there was really no reason for it in those situations.

This series is definitely one that readers of any age will love. It is a wholesome, well-crafted story depicting the bravery and strength one can find within themselves in the toughest circumstances. Drest is a fantastic and inspiring heroine that not only fights for those she loves but also her ideas and confidence in her own abilities. I am unsure whether there are going to be any further novels in this series but, if there are, that would be absolutely wonderful. I would love to spend more time in this world with these beautiful characters. If you have not checked out these novels yet, I would highly recommend giving them a read.

4.5 TARDISes

Author Bio:

15572575Diane Magras is author of The New York Times Editors’ Choice, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, as well as its companion novel, The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter. She’s addicted to tea, castles, legends, and most things medieval. She lives in Maine with her husband and son and thinks often of Scotland, where her books are set.

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter

February 25 – Teachers Who Read – Interactive Classroom Activity

February 26 – Little Reader – Moodboard

February 27 – RhythmicBooktrovert – Listicle: Top Five Favorite

February 28 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Listicle: Top Favorite Quotes

March 1 – Some the Wiser – Character Recommendations

Week Two: The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter

March 4 – Teachers Who Read – Review

March 5 – Little Reader – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

March 6 – RhythmicBooktrovert – Review

March 7 – The Quirky Booknerd – Review

March 8 – Some the Wiser – Review + Favorite Quotes

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Blog Tour: The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras – Part One

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Today’s post is the first part in the blogger reread campaign for The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras. This is the second novel in a wonderful middle grade fantasy series about a young Scottish girl’s brave adventure to rescue her family and protect her friends from a corrupt ruler. For the first half of this blog tour, I am sharing my favorite quotes from the first novel, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter. The second part, which will be up on March 7th, will be a review of The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter.

If you want to check out my full review of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, click here!

Book Info:

themadwolfsdaughterThe Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Date Published: March 6th, 2018

Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Pages: 288 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

A Scottish medieval adventure about the youngest in a war-band who must free her family from a castle prison after knights attack her home–with all the excitement of Ranger’s Apprentice and perfect for fans of heroines like Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series.

One dark night, Drest’s sheltered life on a remote Scottish headland is shattered when invading knights capture her family, but leave Drest behind. Her father, the Mad Wolf of the North, and her beloved brothers are a fearsome war-band, but now Drest is the only one who can save them. So she starts off on a wild rescue attempt, taking a wounded invader along as a hostage.

Hunted by a bandit with a dark link to her family’s past, aided by a witch whom she rescues from the stake, Drest travels through unwelcoming villages, desolate forests, and haunted towns. Every time she faces a challenge, her five brothers speak to her in her mind about courage and her role in the war-band. But on her journey, Drest learns that the war-band is legendary for terrorizing the land. If she frees them, they’ll not hesitate to hurt the gentle knight who’s become her friend.

Drest thought that all she wanted was her family back; now she has to wonder what their freedom would really mean. Is she her father’s daughter or is it time to become her own legend?

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My Favorite Quotes

Be wary as the beasts-in-flesh loom tall, but be wary of the youngest most of all.”

‘So even a wee wolf like you has teeth.’”

‘You’re far kinder than most bloodthirsty villains I’ve met.’ He glanced at her face, and started. “God’s bones, you’re a lass.’

‘You say that as if I’m a three-headed goose. Have you never seen a lass before?’”

The sea hit Drest like a blow, freezing her mind, her breath, her movement—but only for an instant. In the next, the cold had seeped throughout her body and she felt one with the ocean.”

Drest pretended to look out at the water. ‘I don’t see anyone. Wait, there’s a duck. I think it’s coming to save you.’”

‘First rule of battle: Prepare yourself with weapons. Second: Control your anger as its own fine blade. Third: Get your rest and stay warm, for the field will be cold and you will often need to draw on the memory of that warmth.’”

‘That’s not the sound to make, lass. Cry out like a wolf instead.’ Wulfric’s deep voice. ‘A battle cry to send their blood running. Reach deep down inside yourself and roar.’ 

Drest closed her eyes and drew all her breath into her chest, then into her stomach, and then, with Wulfric’s voice still in her ears, let out in a deep, wordless roar, a voice that hardly sounded like her own.”

The figure was as tall and thin as a heron with long white hair like folded wings. A sharp nose, high cheeks, and glittering eyes made the face seem wild. The animal-skin cloak—of gray wolf, red fox, and speckled boar—added to that effect, and the skin’s rank odors filled the room.”

‘Resentment is not a plant we should wish to cultivate.’”

‘I’ve never been this sure of anything. And as I said before, Mordag and I will be of great service to you both. Now please, accept my help, or I’ll just trail behind you the whole way.’”

“As Drest slipped under Emerick’s other arm, she wondered: Was she truly strong? Strong enough to rescue her family from Faintree Castle without their help? Compared to them, she was but a wee lass, and a wee lass could never do such a thing. But Tig had called her a legend. And a legend could do anything.”

‘I’ve not been slain and I saved her, Emerick. Just me, against a whole village. Tell that to anyone who doesn’t think that a lass can fight and win.’”

‘What’s the difference between a witch and a warrior? Or a knight, for that matter. None. We’re all the same, if you take away our trappings.’”

‘Have you ever known in your heart who you are—not what people tell you, but who you really are—and tried to be that? If I could have any power in the world, I’d want it to be the ability to tear away the past.’”

‘The last part’s for the trade, lad, and the rest are all things my brothers would have done.’

‘You do more: Not slaying your bandit, going after your family like this—Drest, you’re the kindest person I’ve met.’

‘Nay, I’m not. It’s just my da’s code.’

‘Does it tell you to be a warrior with a good heart? No, that’s your own doing. That’s what makes you a legend.’”

‘You’re a good lass to come after us, but it’s been a hard journey, and the hardest part yet is to come. Steel yourself, Drest, and never forget who you are.’”

‘Lads on quests don’t need to be careful; we always escape true danger, thanks to our friends.’”

‘Your father, child, is mortal. He is as vulnerable to a sword as anyone. And so are you. Think carefully. Do you wish to go on? You will die if you do.’

‘I don’t plan on dying. I’ve come this far, and I’m not about to turn back.’”

‘You should cherish your own last moment,’ Drest told the red-faced knight. ‘And you’ve the brain of a minnow if you can’t see that I’m a lass. I’m Grimbol’s youngest, his only daughter, and I’m his most powerful weapon. I’m a legend, see.’”

‘You’re my own dear girl,’ he said, his voice harsh against her ear, ‘and I wish to the stars that I could keep you safe. But it’s time for you to be one of the war-band and take your place among your brothers. You’re braver than all of them put together, you know.’”

‘The lass has traveled for days with her wounded battle-mate, got a sound beating, freed us, then had to escape. Do you think she might be tired? Do you think she might need a rest—not just to close her eyes, but a rest from talk of fighting? We’ll be in the middle of it again soon enough. Let her find her peace tonight.’”

The old warrior kissed his daughter, and let her go. Drest sat back and watched him walk ponderously to his sons. He had listened to her—as his daughter, brave and strong in her own right, and as a member of his war-band. And he loved her—of that she had no doubt.”

Drest squeezed his hand. ‘I’m not leaving you, Emerick. When I said I was your guard, I meant it. Don’t even think of doubting me.’

The young lord turned his hand up to grasp hers. ‘Of course. There is not a knight truer or more chivalrous in Faintree Castle than you, Drest. I could not ask for a better guard.’

‘And friend. I’m your friend too, am I not?’

‘I could not ask for a better friend.’”

Sometimes words alone can save your life.”

Author Bio:

15572575Diane Magras is author of The New York Times Editors’ Choice, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, as well as its companion novel, The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter. She’s addicted to tea, castles, legends, and most things medieval. She lives in Maine with her husband and son and thinks often of Scotland, where her books are set.

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter

February 25 – Teachers Who Read – Interactive Classroom Activity

February 26 – Little Reader – Moodboard

February 27 – RhythmicBooktrovert – Listicle: Top Five Favorite

February 28 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Listicle: Top Favorite Quotes

March 1 – Some the Wiser – Character Recommendations

Week Two: The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter

March 4 – Teachers Who Read – Review

March 5 – Little Reader – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

March 6 – RhythmicBooktrovert – Review

March 7 – The Quirky Booknerd – Review

March 8 – Some the Wiser – Review + Favorite Quotes

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Top 10 Tuesday – February 19th, 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 you loved with fewer than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. I’m someone who tends to read books that are lesser known much more frequently than popular and/or hyped up novels, so this was a difficult list to narrow down! This is such a great topic because I absolutely love bringing more attention to these wonderful novels. So here are my top ten favorites (and, obviously, I highly recommend all of them!).

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1. The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz (Click here for my review)

2. The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras (Click here for my review)

3. Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid (Click here for my review)

4. The Road Between by Courtney Peppernell (Click here for my review)

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5. Alice by J.M. Sullivan (Click here for my review)

6. Sea of Doubt by Jeremy D. Holden (Click here for my review)

7. Paper Wishes by Spencer Hoshino (Click here for my review)

8. Remember, Remember by Anna Elliot (Click here for my review)

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9. Wherever Grace Is Needed by Elizabeth Bass

10. Songs With Our Eyes Closed by Tyler Kent White (Click here for my review)

What are some lesser know books that you guys love? I’m always looking for more, so definitely let me know in the comments!

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Blog Tour: To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

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I’ve done a number of blog tours before but this one has been particularly special. To go with the theme of this novel—pen pals building a friendship that stretches all the way from the East to the West Coast—we were paired up with a fellow book blogger from the opposite side of the country to create our posts.

I was lucky enough to be paired up with the lovely Marília from Happy Reading Co.! She is a wonderful blogger and such a sweet person—I am so glad that we got to meet and work on this together. This has been a truly fun and unique experience, and the two of us are definitely planning to keep in touch and hopefully collaborate again sometime soon!

For our posts, Marília (West Coast) and I (East Coast) talked about and picked out our favorite quotes from the novel. We also split our final list between each other’s posts, so make sure to head over to her blog to see the other half of our collab!

Book Info:

tonightowlfromdogfishTo Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Date Published: February 12th, 2019

Publisher: Dial Books

Pages: 304 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

From two extraordinary authors comes a moving, exuberant, laugh-out-loud novel about friendship and family, told entirely in emails and letters.

Avery Bloom, who’s bookish, intense, and afraid of many things, particularly deep water, lives in New York City. Bett Devlin, who’s fearless, outgoing, and loves all animals as well as the ocean, lives in California. What they have in common is that they are both twelve years old, and are both being raised by single, gay dads.

When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends–and possibly, one day, even sisters. 

But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can’t imagine life without each other, will the two girls (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?

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My Favorite Quotes

A moon appears. We make wishes on shooting stars. Words beyond words are spoken.”

The reason I chose this quote is very simple—it is absolutely beautiful. This is describing one of the key moments in the novel that sets in motion the events that truly bring together this patchwork family. Wording this moment in the way the authors have here emphasizes the beauty of the relationships that are formed between not only the two girls but their loved ones as well.

I did have another dad (named Phillip), but he died super long ago so we’ve adjusted to his being gone, but we will always miss him. Every year on his birthday we light a candle and then we look at the stars because he told my dad that his soul was going to stretch out across the sky.”

This quote is honestly one of the most touching quotes in the novel. It is a wonderful sentiment and, having just gone through a number of huge losses in the past year or so myself, it really spoke to me on so many levels. It demonstrates the pain of loss but also how love transcends everything. Though we may experience the loss of loved ones, they never leave us. They will always be woven into our lives and absolutely nothing can break that link.

No one’s supposed to tell anyone, “You two shouldn’t love each other.” But maybe, also, no one’s supposed to tell anyone, “You two should love each other.”

I love the message that this quote is conveying and it also perfectly sums up the deeper meaning of the story. This book is all about bridging gaps, accepting people for who they are, and what it truly means to be a family. Love is love without question—it doesn’t need to abide by a set of rules or conform to one single definition. Families are not just people related by blood or marriage. They are formed by the profound connections we have with those we care about that will always stand the test of time.

Marília’s Favorite Quotes

Maybe when it’s your own story, you’re always going to be an unreliable narrator.”

Some people are a lot more interested in raising kids than other people. From what I can see, the person most interest usually does the best job.”

Dancing is a way of setting your spirit free.”

Make sure to go check out Marília’s post to see the rest of our favorite quotes!

Author Bios:

Holly GoldbergHolly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent her childhood living in Holland; Istanbul, Turkey; Washington, D.C.; Berkeley, California; and Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from Wellesley College and spending some time as an advertising copywriter, she began writing family feature films, including Angels in the Outfield and Made in America. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Counting by 7s and Short, among other novels. 

Meg WolitzerMeg Wolitzer was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in the town of Syosset, on Long Island, and sold her first novel, Sleepwalking, while a senior in college. She is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous novels for adults, including The InterestingsThe Ten-Year NapThe Wife, and The Female Persuasion; the young adult novel Belzhar; and the middle-grade novel The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

Blog Tour Schedule

Week One

February 4 – Books4yourkids – Author Guest Post: What are the constraints – and freedoms – of writing an epistolary novel? Is it similar to writing a first person narrative?

February 4 – Two Points of Interest – Author Guest Post – what inspires you to write? 

February 5 – Pages and Pugs – Favorite Quotes 

February 5 – Amber After Glows – Favorite Quotes

February 6 – Read. Eat. Love. – Inspired by the Book: Food 

February 6 –  The Hermit Librarian – Inspired by the Book: Food 

February 7 – Book Loaner Blog – Listicle: Camp Activities Inspired by the Book 

February 7 – Books. Libraries. Also, cats – Listicle: Camp Activities Inspired by the Book 

February 8 – Happy Reading Co.  – Favorite Quotes

February 8 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Favorite Quotes 

Week Two

February 11 – That Reader Girl – Listicle: Camp Songs 

February 11 – We Live and Breathe Books – Listicle: Camp Songs 

February 12 –  Sam Maybe Reading – Review 

February 12 –  Randomly Reading – Review 

February 13 – The Reading Corner for All – Creative Instagram Picture 

February 13 – Dos Lit Worms – Creative Instagram Picture

February 14 – Laceydoeslit – Review + Playlist 

February 14 – The Bookworm Banter – Review + Playlist 

February 15 – YA Books Central – Author Q&A 

February 15 – Because reading is better than real life – Author Q&A

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