Top Ten Tuesday – December 19th, 2017

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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. 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 hope Santa brings! This is, by far, the easiest possible list that I can ever put together. These days, I never really want much when it comes time for a gift giving occasion—I much prefer giving gifts, and having people donate to charities in my name instead of giving me something. But when Christmas or my birthday comes around and I am forced to decide on at least a few things I want, I only ever have one answer—BOOKS! Um…do you want something other than books? …MORE BOOKS!

The Adventurers Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

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Few ever asked to join the Adventurers Guild. . . . Their members often died young.
In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone’s only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he’ll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild.
But just as it seems the boys’ dreams have come true, their lives take a startling turn . . . and they find themselves members of the perilous Adventurers Guild.
Led by the fearsome Alabasel Frond, the guild acts as the last line of defense against the Dangers-hungry, unnatural beasts from otherworldly planes. And when the boys uncover a conspiracy that threatens all of Freestone, Zed, Brock, and their new allies-Liza, a fierce noble, and Jett, a brave dwarf-must prove their worth once and for all.
This start of a thrilling new series is sure to be a hit with readers who like their fantasies clever and action-packed, with tons of humor and heart.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.
Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them. 
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world–but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.
But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.
It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin

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According to legend, the knight Tristan and the wizard Vithric had once defeated an ancient evil in an epic battle. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, then children. 
Edmund’s brother is among the missing. Now Edmund, with his mediocre skills in spellcraft, must find a way to save his brother’s life. He and his friends set out to battle the monstrous evil and discover their destinies. But what happens when the dark secrets of the past are unveiled?

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. 
Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.
She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains – this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.  
Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

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Alyss of Wonderland?
When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!
Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.
The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

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Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer.
Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year.
She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died. 
But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her.
And his name is Xander.
When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head.
Ryn can’t move on. 
But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start.
As moving as it is funny, The Chaos of Standing Still is a heartwarming story about the earth-shattering challenges life throws at us—and the unexpected strangers who help us along the way.

Bonus: Any of the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions!

What books are you guys hoping to get for the holidays, or what books are currently on your general wishlist? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 10 Tuesday – December 12th, 2017

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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. 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 your top ten favorite books of 2017. Though I’ve definitely been struggling quite a bit with many things (mainly health-wise) through the course of this year and I haven’t been posting as much as I would like to, I’m fairly pleased with how much I actually ended up reading (64 books, hopefully 70 or so by the end of the month!). I have also had the opportunity to meet and work with some absolutely amazing authors this year, which has been a complete joy!

I’ve had quite a wide range of ratings—however, there are a few books that really stood out and stuck with me. These books, as well as their authors, have certainly become new favorites of mine!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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For the most part, this list is in no particular order. However, I have to admit that this was definitely my absolute favorite read of the entire year! I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get around to reading this book. Victoria Schwab is already one of my favorite authors, and after only one book of this series, I am already completely obsessed. It’s filled with amazingly vivid worlds, expertly portrayed characters, an incredibly interesting magic system, and such a fun and captivating storyline. I can’t wait to read the rest of these books!

Click here to check out my full review!

The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz

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Sarah Jean Horwitz definitely makes it onto my list of new favorite authors! This is Sarah’s debut novel—the first in a series—and it was one of the most lovely and enchanting books I’ve ever read. It had this wonderful nostalgic feel to it, as it reminded me of the types of stories I grew up reading. This is the story of a young boy and a one-winged fairy who team up to save the fae realm and the city of Skemantis from a mad scientist. Mixing together magic, mystery, and steampunk-type technology means that this books was meant for me! I would recommend this modern fairytale to readers of absolutely any age—there is so much enjoyment to be found in it!

Click here to check out my full review!

Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell

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Courtney Peppernell is another new favorite author of mine, and someone who I was lucky enough to have the chance to work with a few months back! She is a beautiful writer and an equally beautiful person. I read both of her poetry collections (Pillow Thoughts and The Road Between) and absolutely adored them. Her work is stunning and her poetry touched me in so many ways—it brought me some light during a very dark time. She has such talent not only in writing, but in packing so much depth and meaning into her words. I’m just about to start one of her full novels and I am really looking forward to it!

Click here to check out my full review! Click here to read Courtney’s guest post!

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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The second I saw this novel for the first time, I purchased a copy immediately. This book was so beautifully written and crafted. I love anything that feels like a modern fairytale, and this definitely fits that category. It is an extremely unique take on fantasy and alternate worlds, dealing with how visitors to these worlds acclimate to reality once they return. It is a unique and haunting tale that I fell in love with right from the start.

Click here to check out my full review!

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

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This is the sequel (or technically the prequel) to Every Heart a Doorway, and I loved this novel even more! It addresses the lives of two characters from the first novel and their experiences in the other world they ended up in. The world was so dark and intriguing, vividly created, and I was completely wrapped up in this story from start to finish. I also loved getting to know these characters a bit better, and learning about where they came from. Another incredible read!

Click here to check out my full review!

Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles by J.M. Sullivan

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Retellings are some of my favorite types of novels to read, and Alice in Wonderland retellings have a particularly fond place in my heart. So of course, when I discovered this novel earlier in the year, I knew I had to give it a read. I was then presented with the opportunity to meet and work with the wonderful J.M. Sullivan, which made the whole experience even more amazing! I’ve loved getting to know her, and it was so interesting to learn about her writing process and the conception of this novel. Another new favorite book and new favorite author added to the list!

Click here to check out my full review! Click here to read J.M.’s guest post!

Paper Wishes by Spencer Hoshino

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Paper Wishes is a novel that I am so incredibly glad I took a chance on! Those of you who have been around here for a while know that my reading tastes lean more toward sci-fi and fantasy rather than contemporary/contemporary romance. But when Spencer contacted me over the summer, she really hooked me, and I knew I had to check this story out—and I ended up loving it! It was such a fun, light, and enjoyable read, absolutely perfect for the summer. It is one of those novels that just fills you with so much positive energy and puts a smile on your face. That’s another incredibly talented writer added to my favorites list, as well as a wonderful new (Whovian) friend in my life!

Click here to check out my full review! Click here to read Spencer’s guest post!

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

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I discovered Christina Henry’s novels through my wonderful friend Heather from The Sassy Book Geek, and I’ve been completely obsessed with her work ever since! As we already know, I’m a huge fan of retellings in general, but I particularly love dark retellings—and oh boy, are her novels dark. This one focuses on the story of Peter Pan, except from Captain Hook’s (Jamie’s) perspective, taking place much earlier than the tale we all know. I read this as a buddy read with Heather, and I would highly, highly recommend this one!

Full review to come! Click here to check out Heather’s review!

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

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This was such an enjoyable, action-packed, and fast-paced read that was a perfect start to my reading year. I also read the second book in this trilogy as well and absolutely loved it. This novel follows an incredibly strong and intelligent young woman as she goes on the run from corrupt law enforcement agents, all while trying to prove her innocence in a crime she didn’t commit. It is such an easy story to get sucked into, and each chapter will leave you wanting more.

Click here to check out my full review!

Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid

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When I started out on this novel, I had absolutely no idea I would end up loving it as much as I did. This is one of those books that pulls you in quite slowly, but by the end, you find yourself heavily invested and interested in the lives of all the characters. It was also a story that grew on me the more I thought about it after I had finished. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking tale of a family of four’s mutual and individual journeys to find themselves, where they belong in the world, and how they fit together.

Click here to check out my full review!

What were some of the best books you read in 2017? Did you find any new favorite authors? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases of Winter 2017-2018

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Hey Everyone!

I don’t know about you guys, but I am SO excited for 2018 to begin! One of the main reasons for this is the fantastic collection of new releases that will be hitting shelves throughout the year. It was difficult narrowing down my most anticipated releases for these first few months, but I’ve finally managed to choose the ones I am dying to get my hands on! 🙂

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu (January 2nd, 2018)

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Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy. 
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list. 
One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.
Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (January 9th, 2018)

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Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (January 23rd, 2018)

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Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (February 8th, 2018)

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A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie
‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. 
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

People Like Us by Dana Mele (February 27th, 2018)

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Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.
The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

What new releases are you guys looking forward to this winter? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Top 10 Tuesday – November 28th, 2017

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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. 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 on your winter TBR. Boy, was this a hard list to narrow down! I am feeling quite self-conscious about the size of my TBR pile! There are so many books on my list that I’m eager to read but I didn’t manage to get to this year, as well as plenty of 2018 ARCs to get started on. So here is a bit of my game plan for winter and the new year!

Keeping Long Island by Courtney Peppernell

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Kayden is about to start her final year at college. And while she’s always been a good listener, she’s never been good at sharing. At the suggestion of her therapist, she finds a safe place for her secrets between the pages of a daily journal. Just when Kayden thinks things are finally back on track, her life takes an unexpected turn – a mysterious letter from someone named Alex.
Courtney Peppernell, the best-selling author of Pillow Thoughts, brings a world of intrigue, exploration, and the struggle for identity to life in Keeping Long Island. Kayden must make a choice – is she brave enough to share her secrets with Alex, or will the weight of her fears destroy everything she has been fighting for?

The Crooked Castle by Sarah Jean Horwitz

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Shortly after saving the faeries of Skemantis, magician’s apprentice Felix Carmer III and his faerie companion, Grit, head out to see the world. They soon come across a mysteriously magical flying circus. As they get to know the outlandish world of Rinka Tinka’s Roving Wonder Show, it becomes clear there’s something not quite normal about this circus or its inventor—and that recent airship disasters plaguing nearby Driftside City may have a sinister explanation. 
Fans of the Wildwood trilogy and Lockwood & Co. series will love the thrills and chills of The Crooked Castle as it takes readers up in the air with a flying circus, under the sea to the evil Unseelie kingdom, through a terrifying magical snowstorm, and on a chase with the menacing Wild Hunt.

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

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Macy’s school officially classifies her as “disturbed,” but Macy isn’t interested in how others define her. She’s got more pressing problems: her mom can’t move off the couch, her dad’s in prison, her brother’s been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn’t speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms—complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete.

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller

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Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night. With Zenobia’s constant pushing, Elizabeth investigates the history of the house and learns that it does hold a terrible secret: Her father’s younger sister disappeared from the grounds without a trace years ago. 
Elizabeth and Zenobia is a wonderfully compelling middle-grade story about friendship, courage, and the power of the imagination.

The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned — from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren — an enigmatic artist and single mother — who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.  
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

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Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.
Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood. 
Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

The Elizas by Sara Shepard

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When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness. 
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.

Blink by Sasha Dawn

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When Chatham begins to understand more about a crime she witnessed a decade ago, she disappears . . . in a blink. Finding her means more than simply saving her. It could also be the key to the town’s longest unsolved mystery. Joshua’s in love with Chatham and he’s determined to find her and untangle the web of lies and mystery surrounding her. But who is Chatham really and what is her connection to the crime that was committed so long ago?

What books are on your winter TBR? What 2018 books are you most looking forward to picking up? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases of Winter 2016-2017

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Happy December, everyone!

Once again, I must apologize for my long absence! Though we are into one of my favorite seasons of the year, it is also never very kind to me in the illness department, and I’ve been in bed with a bad sinus infection for the past three weeks. But I’m back and finally feeling a bit more up to snuff, so it’s time to finish out 2016 and head into a new blogging year stronger than ever! And what better way to start out than looking ahead to some of my anticipated upcoming releases in the new year? 🙂

1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (January 10th, 2017)

thebearandthenightingaleA young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

2. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (January 17th, 2017)

carvethemarkOn a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not — their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuve, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive — or to destroy one another.

3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (January 31st, 2017)

caravalWelcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

4. Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer (January 31st, 2017)

wiresandnervesIn her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

5. Traveler by L.E. DeLano (February 7th, 2017)

travelerJessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

What books are you guys most looking forward to this winter season? Let me know in the comments!

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The Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s Book Tag

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I was tagged by Cristina from My Tiny Obsessions and Catia from The Girl Who Read Too Much to do the Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s book tag. Thank you both so much for the tag! This was created by Aimal from Bookshelves & Paperbacks.

Vanilla Caramel Fudge: pick a light, fluffy contemporary

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We are starting things off with a tricky one since light, fluffy contemporaries are really not at all my thing. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is probably the lightest and fluffiest of the small amount of contemporary novels that I have read in my life. It was overall adorable and hilarious, and I absolutely loved it! Two others that are not quite as light, but that I ended up really enjoying were The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith and The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder.

Mint Chocolate Cookie: a new release that you wish everybody would read

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I haven’t actually read any really new releases just yet, so I’m going to fudge this a little bit and say Winter by Marissa Meyer. Basically, I wish everybody would read (and hopefully enjoy!) the entire Lunar Chronicles series in general. I cannot gush enough about these novels!

Karamel Sutra Core: a last book in a series that you were completely satisfied with

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This may be an obvious choice, but I have to choose Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for this one. I don’t actually read series very often, and when it comes to those that I have read in the past, I have been disappointed by a lot of final books. However, this was one that I absolutely loved—in fact, it’s probably my second or third favorite novel in the series. It was a strong, epic, and satisfying conclusion to an overall fantastic series of books, and I was so pleased that the story was wrapped up so well.

Cherry Garcia: an ending that was bittersweet

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For this one, I’m going to have to go with the ending of Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander. This novel overall is incredibly bittersweet—both beautiful and painful. It is a very touching story with a positive underlying message, and the ending holds just as true to this format as the rest of the book. However, let’s just say this is also one book that makes the extremely small list of books that made me cry.

Strawberry Shortcake: a book containing your OTP of OTPs

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I’m not usually one to have OTPs, but if any couple is my OTP, it would definitely be Marko and Alana from the graphic novel series, Saga. Their relationship, though it goes through some bumps, is absolutely lovely; they are the very definition of soul mates. Their love for each other outweighs everything, despite all the hardships they face. I adore this pairing.

Milk and Cookies: two authors that if they collaborated, they would go perfectly together

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I’m definitely going to have to agree with both Cristina and Catia on this one and say Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi. To be honest, if they were book characters, they would have been my answer to the last question. They are such a wonderful pair, and are each individually very talented and imaginative writers. If they wrote a novel together, chances are high that it would be one of the most epic stories ever!

Boston Cream Pie: a book that had you turning your pages late into the night

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Oh man, so many books over the years have done this for me—take any of the Harry Potter or Narnia books for instance! If I were to choose a slightly more recent read, I would have to pick Gone Girl. I absolutely devoured this novel. I was completely engrossed from page one and it was nearly impossible to put down, which caused a number of very late night (or early morning, rather…) reading sessions!

Chocolate Therapy: a book that makes you feel better after a long day of life

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You guys know me well enough by this point to not be at all surprised with I say To Kill a Mockingbird for this answer. I’m fairly certain I’ve managed to mention this book at least once in every single tag that I’ve done—and that probably won’t be changing anytime soon! This is one of those stories that never fails to give me the warm fuzzies when I read it, due to both the deep and heartwarming story itself and the personal nostalgia factor—the many fond memories I have of this novel from over the years and its importance to me.

Coffee, Coffee, Buzzbuzzbuzz!: a book not yet released that you can’t wait to get your hands on

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This is a difficult topic to choose just one book for, since there are so many fantastic upcoming releases this year! My top most anticipated release of the year is Heartless by Marissa Meyer, but another one right up there with it would be This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. They are both authors that I discovered last year and instantly fell in love with, so I can’t wait to get my hands on any and all of their novels.

I Tag:

Kayla @ Bookedsolid1989

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Isabella @ Gryffindor Books

Richard @ The Humpo Show

Raquel @ Rakioddbooks

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Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag

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I was tagged to do the Dashing Through the Snow book tag by five wonderful book bloggers: Heather from The Sassy Book Geek, Loreva from La Book Dreamer, Ashleigh from A Frolic Through Fiction, Kayla from Bookedsolid1989, and Liam from Liam’s Library. Thank you all so much for the tag! Also, a big thank you to Astra from A Stranger’s Guide to Novels for creating this tag. Please make sure you stop by and check out all of these absolutely amazing book bloggers! 🙂

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The Rules:

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1. Name a book you would like to see under your Christmas tree.

This is (unsurprisingly!) an incredibly difficult question to pick just one for. Basically, my go to answer when anyone asks me what I want for Christmas or my birthday is BOOKS! …And Funko Pops…but mainly books! So here’s just a few books I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree this year.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I’ve been wanting to read this for so long now, but I’ve been holding out to get the hardcover edition because it is so beautiful!

Harry Potter Paperback Boxset – I only have a shared set with my family of the original editions of this series, so I’d absolutely love to have my own collection. And these covers…<3

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin – For any of you who have been following my posts lately, this will probably come as no surprise. I have become completely obsessed with Game of Thrones this year, so I must consume all related content immediately!

Soulless by Gail Carriger – This is another novel I’ve wanted to read for a while but haven’t gotten a chance to pick up a copy of yet. I definitely want to start this series in the new year.

2. A book you’ll be reading during the Christmas season.

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab is the book that I am currently making my way through in an impromptu buddy read with Heather from The Sassy Book Geek! Toward the end of the month, after all these years, I am finally going to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. There will hopefully be a few other books sprinkled in there, but these two are definite. It’s going to be a wonderful season of reading!

3. Favourite Christmas movie.

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My absolute favorite Christmas movie of all time is It’s A Wonderful Life. This is a fairly untraditional type of story for this time of year, and it is an absolutely beautiful and truly unique film. It also stars one of my favorite actors ever, so it is just a bundle of awesome!

4. Do you like snow?

I definitely have very mixed feelings about snow. Pre-Christmas snow is almost always wonderful…post-Christmas snow, not so much. It is absolutely beautiful to watch coming down and to see covering everything, but I hate when I or any loved ones have to travel in it. And by February, I’m usually pretty tired of it.

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5. Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with.

This was a really difficult one to decide on because there are so many characters I think would be awesome to spend Christmas day with. However, I ended up choosing Mr. Tumnus. He is such a lovely character and one of my favorites from the series. Everything about Narnia feels so perfect for this time of year, and I think he would be fantastic to have Christmas dinner with!

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6. To give or to receive?

I much prefer giving gifts over receiving them. I absolutely love shopping for my friends and family, especially since many of them are book lovers like myself! My favorite thing in the world is surprising people with gifts. It’s the best feeling ever to bring joy to someone any time of year, but particularly during the holidays.

7. What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

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I am going to have to agree with many other bloggers who have been doing holiday tags lately and go with Narnia. I just generally want to go to Narnia, but it would be especially wonderful to go there during the Christmas season. And this totally ties in with my answer to question five!

8. Fondest Christmas memory?

This is by far the most difficult question on here for me to answer because I have so many incredible Christmas memories. Spending time with my family at the holidays makes fond memories every single year. Also, as a singer, this is my favorite time of the choral year, with some of the most beautiful music and services. I love our Christmas Eves full of singing and the dinner in between services for the whole choir (my other family!).

If I had to pick one specific memory, it would probably be my first year singing the late service on Christmas Eve when I was seven years old. Back then, we started singing at 11pm, so by the time we finished, it was after midnight on Christmas Day. I got to ring in Christmas together with my family and a bunch of my friends, and it was an absolutely magical night!

9. Can you say Christmas tree then times FAST in a row (pronouncing it correctly!)?

I get tongue-tied so easily, but surprisingly enough, I can actually do this!

I Tag:

Emma @ The Terror of Knowing

Jen @ J.N. Cahill

Zezee @ Zezee with Books

Poppy @ Poppy’s Best of Books

Richard @ The Humpo Show

Daniela @ Daniela’s Bookshelf

Getting Through Anxiety

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