December 2019 TBR

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Hi Everyone!

I hope you’ve all been doing well and are having a fantastic start to the holiday season! We’re finally into the colder months (my favorites!) and I am so ready to snuggle up and read lots of amazing books. I’ve been on a mission to start catching up on some popular books/series that I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and haven’t yet. So far I’ve been doing pretty well and I’m hoping to keep up the momentum this month. I’ve also done a fantastic job staying on top of new releases so I’ll be trying to continue that as well.

I apologize for my posts being a bit sparse these last couple of months. I’ve been dealing with a lot health-wise and my energy level has taken a massive and unexpected hit. I’ve have been struggling a lot with getting my writing done and I’m incredibly sorry. I am toying with the idea of taking a short hiatus later this month just to heal and recover so I can start strong in the new year with blogging!

On a more positive note, I’ve been reading quite a lot and have some wonderful books I’ve been dying to review for you guys, so I will definitely have plenty coming as I begin to ease back into the swing of things. Thank you all so much for being so supportive and patient with me, it means the world. ❤

Now, onto the books I am hoping to get to this month!

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Scythe by Neal Schusterman

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

What are you guys planning on reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

houseofsaltandsorrowHouse of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: August 6th, 2019

Publisher: Delacorte

Pages: 416 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: 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.

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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.

I completely and utterly fell head-over-heels in love with this book. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it did not disappoint. It was absolutely everything I was hoping for and so much more. This might not be a completely perfect novel for everyone—or just in general, as literature is such an objective thing—but it was perfect for me. A dark retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this novel had everything I love; suspense, intrigue, suspicious deaths, ghosts, curses, dark magic, all told in a beautifully eerie and captivating way. I was hooked from page one.

In this novel, we are transported to a manor by the sea called Highmoor where we follow a girl named Annaleigh. She was once one of twelve sisters, but death befalls sister after sister, placing the Thaumus family into a constant state of mourning. This unbelievable string of bad luck has caused the residents of their town to begin whispering about the family being cursed by the gods and they keep away from the sisters in fear.

When Annaleigh starts to experience vivid, ghostly visions of her sisters, she comes to realize that the deaths that have been written off as tragic accidents may not be accidents at all. On top of this, her sisters have been running off to go dancing at lavish balls each night, returning at dawn with their shoes completely worn through. But where are her sisters going? And who are they dancing with? Annaleigh must work to discover what is plaguing her family before more harm can come to them.

This is a hauntingly beautiful tale of a family under attack by an unknown force and the lengths Annaleigh will go to in order to protect the ones she loves. It is fast-paced and absorbing and I could not put this book down—it captivated me more than any book has in a while and it was wonderful. I am a massive lover of dark retellings that are both unique as well as faithful to the original story, and Craig completely nails this.

There is so much mystery and creepiness on every page of this story—moments that will make your heart pound and keep you riveted to each word. It is a complex and carefully woven tale filled with intriguing mystery, dark and frightening ghostly visions, and unexpected twists that constantly had me on the edge of my seat. I became so wrapped up in this story and these characters and I never wanted it to end.

All of the characters in this novel are created extremely well. Annaleigh is a very strong lead character. She’s intelligent, tough, and will do absolutely anything to protect her family no matter how confusing or out of control things appear to be. She maintains her convictions about what is truly going on at Highmoor despite facing disbelief from others. I feel like I connected with her right away—she is portrayed very clearly and is multi-dimensional.

Annaleigh’s sisters are also beautifully portrayed. I love that they feel so thoroughly fleshed out and that they are so realistic and three-dimensional. Verity is my personal favorite! And the relationships between all of them are done to perfection. They are realistic and believable, making it easy to come to care for them and to be eager to see their troubles end. Each sister’s personality is so vividly depicted and I was so glad to see that they played such a big role in the plot. Annaleigh’s love for them is so strong and the driving force of the story and the love they all share for each other is unshakable.

I actually ended up really loving the romance in this novel. This is something that I say very rarely, but Craig created such a sweet and lovely relationship that melted my heart. I was a little wary early on as a love triangle is hinted at briefly. However, it never actually happens, which I was very thankful for. There is quite a bit of insta-love here, but that is something I don’t usually mind, especially when the romance is well-constructed. Craig does one of my favorite things when it comes to romances in fantasy novels which is truly keeping it a side plot. Never once does it overpower the main plot and Annaleigh maintains her focus on her family and taking care of them.

Though I would have liked to hear more about his storyline and background, I really like Cassius a lot. Cassius is very caring and he and Annaleigh go together really well—you can definitely feel a strong connection between them. I wish he had been in even more of the story. The moments between Annaleigh and Cassius are so sweet and pure that they are a fantastic contrast to the rest of the novel. The progression of their relationship creates small breaks of light happiness among the darkness and sadness in the main storyline and that worked out beautifully. And frankly, it was just plain romantic, adorable, and enjoyable!

Now we come to my favorite part of this novel—the writing. Craig’s writing is completely and utterly beautiful. Her style is so lyrical and enchanting, bringing out a strong fairytale feeling in the narrative. At the same time, her words are haunting and emotional, flawlessly bringing out the darkness of the tale. Loss, longing, love, and hope all run throughout each page. It is a style of writing that is incredibly enjoyable to get lost in for hours.

The world-building is absolutely fantastic. Craig carefully constructs a detailed and intricate setting. Seamlessly blending the tone of the narration into the environment, she creates a vivid and entrancing experience for her readers. The setting is described so thoroughly it is very easy to place yourself there and feel it come to life around you. The atmosphere is dark and eerie—to the point where it is almost tangible—and fits perfectly with the narrative itself. It is extremely clear that Craig put a huge amount of time and effort into absolutely every aspect of this narrative. Her descriptions are so clear and detailed throughout and the way she constructs the Thaumus family’s life, traditions, and backstory is magnificent.

The only minor issue I had was with parts of the ending. Things happen very quickly and I found myself slightly confused at times. Mainly, I wish there had been a little more explanation of the religious/mythological elements—they appear to come somewhat out of the blue. I wish that those aspects of the plot had been developed a bit more and had a bigger part in the story, mainly because I was so intrigued by them. However, the ending, particularly the moments involving the main villain, was properly freaky and intense and it fit the tone of the story perfectly. And that small bit of confusion did not detract at all from my enjoyment of it.

As I’m sure you can probably tell by now, this is one of the newest additions to my list of all-time favorite novels. I connected with this story completely—it was right up my alley. The suspense, the intrigue, the characters, the world, everything was perfect. Erin A. Craig’s writing is so enchanting and beautiful and I loved getting wrapped up in it. I absolutely cannot wait to read more from her in the future! I very highly recommend checking this novel out if you haven’t already.

5.0 TARDISes

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O.W.L.s Magical Readathon 2019 TBR

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Hey everyone!

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

Profession:

Mind Medic

Exams Required:

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

Ancient Runes – Retelling

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Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

Arithmancy – Work written by more than one author

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Charms – Age-line: Read an adult work

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The Scorched Earth by Rachael Blok

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

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Recursion by Blake Crouch

Herbology – Plant on the cover

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Muggle Studies – Contemporary

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Keeping Long Island by Courtney Peppernell

Potions – Next ingredient: Sequel

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Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

Transfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Not Needed—Extra Credit!

Astronomy – “Star” in the title

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on the cover

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Divination – Set in the future

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Cress by Marissa Meyer

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago

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Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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

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Popping in for a Quick Update!

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Hey Everyone!

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

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

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

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

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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

Thank you all again for being so amazing ❤

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Top 10 Tuesday – October 15th, 2019

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

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

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

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

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

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

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

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

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

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

nakedmoleratsavestheworldblogtour

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

Book Info:

nakedmoleratsavestheworldNaked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

Date Published: October 15th, 2019

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 304 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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

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

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

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

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Book Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then she laughed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And anyway, details mattered.

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

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

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

Author Bio:

Rivers_Karen_Kelsey_Goodwin

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

Reviews:

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

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

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Blog Tour: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

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

Book Info:

thedarklordclementineThe Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Date Published: October 1st, 2019

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 336 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Algonquin YR

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

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

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Book Excerpt

NOT. CHIPPING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whittling.”

Author Bio:

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

Review Quotes:

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

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

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

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