BLOG TOUR: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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Written by: Kerri Maniscalco
Release Date: September 20th 2016
Pages: 336, hardcover
Series: Untitled Trilogy, #1
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AAHHH!! I’m so excited to be part of this blog tour!! Stalking Jack the Ripper was such an absolutely amazing book. I cannot wait for everyone to go get their copy and read it. Then you can message me and scream with me about how amazingly great it is!
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Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

LetsTalk

I was quite literally the first person to pounce on Little Brown at TLA to get my hands on Stalking Jack the Ripper, I was so excited to read this one I couldn’t wait to read it when I got home. I’ve always been just slightly obsessed with Jack the Ripper, Probably slightly more than I should’ve been if I’m being quite honest. I had very high expectations for this book, while it didn’t meet every single be of my expectations, I was so thrilled with this book overall, I can’t.

I am so excited that it has been announced that this book is going to be continued as a trilogy, I’m not sure where it’s going to go, which that alone has me super excited. What I really loved was that the characters were so unique. They really had their own voices and made me as the reader fall head over heels in love with them all.

Didn'tWork
So here’s the thing, I love mysteries, I love watching them, I love reading them. Unfortunately because of that I wind up picking up on a lot of tropes. In Stalking Jack the Ripper I was decently easy to pick up both of the large plot twists, but the amazing part of this? It didn’t take anything away from my experience of this book. Yes I knew whodunit. But it didn’t change anything.

I wanted something from Thomas’ point of view. I loved him as a character, he was so interesting, and his mind worked so amazingly, I fell in love with him as Audrey Rose did. I wanted to get into his head and see a chapter from his POV. I think it would’ve helped us as the reader to get a little closer to this character. But really he was a wonderful person overall.

DidWork

This book was sold on it’s twisting of actual fact with Manscalo’s own story. It was sold by these characters. It was sold by the simple way that it all worked together in this absolutely amazing wonderful quirky way.

I think that this book is totally one I’m going to suggest to people who don’t normally read YA, not because of its amazing mystery, but because it is something that is easily accessible to people. I think that a lot of people could get into the way that Jack the Ripper was reimagined. It became something far more than I expected as it rolled along, which is something that I really think a lot of people could enjoy.

I really loved the humor in this book, oh my god the wit and humor was so great. Audrey Rose and Thomas had such great interactions that had me actually laughing out loud. I think the two of them worked so well as both a duo to solve murders, but also as a couple. I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Pickup

I absolutely think that you need to give this one a shot. Don’t go into it expecting a huge mystery. But expect something that is an amazing retelling of history.

Sondra

Be sure you also follow Kerri and learn all you can about this amazing series before it’s released!

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Guest Post and Giveaway: Jessica Cluess!! Sunday Street Team!

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Book Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Written by: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 20th 2016
Pages: 416, hardcover
Series: Kingdom on Fire #1
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I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

LetsTalk

Guys I am SO SO SO EXCITED to be a part of this!! I can’t get over how great that book sounds! But I also know you’re not here to hear me ramble. So I’ll just make with the images and move onto the amazing Jessica’s post!

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I grew up with Harry Potter, so whenever I create a new cast of characters I can’t help but sort them into their Hogwarts houses. Call it a good character building tool. Sometimes, a character stays exactly where I put them. Sometimes with a little more work, I find that they change houses. It’s always fun when that happens; I like finding out my characters know themselves better than I do.

The four main characters of A Shadow Bright and Burning also just happen to slot nicely into each of the four Hogwarts houses. So, without further ado:

Henrietta Howel definitely wavers on the edge of Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. She’s got to fight a war filled with enormous monsters, after all, and that requires a lot of courage. She doesn’t let herself get pushed around. However, you can choose your house, and based on personal preference, Henrietta would much, much rather spend her life reading books and chasing knowledge than seeking fame and glory. Because of that, she’s a Ravenclaw, though by a narrow margin.

George Blackwood is the only main character who doesn’t waver on any line. He’s a Slytherin. Really a Slytherin. Likes discovering people’s weaknesses and foibles so he can use those against them later? Slytherin. Has a problem with ‘low-blooded’ people? Very Slytherin. Broods repeatedly, usually by the fire? Extremely Slytherin. Has an affinity for the color green? You get the idea.

Julian Magnus was originally a Gryffindor. I thought that choice was easy: he’s the best warrior in the house, he loves chasing glory, and he adores the sound of his own voice. But then I realized there were other things about him, like the fact that he is extremely loyal to those he cares about, or that he enjoys nothing more than some good food and drink with his friends around him. He thinks everything in life is just a riot. He’s probably a blend, but at the end of the day, he’s clearly a Hufflepuff. He might be a little annoyed that he’s a badger, but he’d get over it quickly. He gets over most things quickly.

Finally, there’s Rook, who had Magnus’s opposite situation. I thought he was a Hufflepuff originally, since he has a pretty sweet and even temper. But he’s got a terrible illness that he’s been battling more than half his life, and he never once complains or shows fear in the face of it. He’s willing to throw himself into the path of horrible monsters in order to save those he loves, and he doesn’t think twice. To be as calm and collected as he is in the face of his sickness and the hatred people have for him because of it requires real courage. He is absolutely a Gryffindor.

So those are my four houses for my four main characters. I like to think they’d be happy where I’ve placed them. And if they aren’t, well, I’m not like the Sorting Hat. I’m fine with a change.

About the Author:

JESSICA CLUESS is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.

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THE DARK TALENT by Brandon Sanderson Release Day Blitz!

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Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: September 6th 2016
Pages: 304, hardcover
Series:Alcatraz #5
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The Dark Talent is the fifth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. This never-before-published, fast-paced, and funny novel is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary—known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders—the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

“Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Author Bio

BRANDON SANDERSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Rithmatist and Steelheart, both of which were selected for the American Library Association’s Teens’ Top Ten list. He’s also written many popular and award-winning books for adults. His middle grade series, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, is now available in deluxe editions

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ARC Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

ARC

Written by: Kathleen Glasgow
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Pages: 416, hardcover
Series: standalone
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Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

LetsTalk

This is the kind of intense dark book that, I think, some people will only be able to read in quick bursts, and others would prefer not to read at all. The main character, Charlie, has a lot of things heaped onto her–abuse, the loss of her best friend, homelessness, and self-harm are just a few. Kathleen Glasgow does not pull punches. Nothing is easy, and every bit of Charlie’s upward progress feels earned, narrative-wise. And I have to give her credit, because Charlie’s voice, her struggles, and her growth still ring so true that the book was still able to hit me hard in the emotions like it was supposed to.

Even if dark contemporaries normally not your kind of book, I recommend giving it a try. From the distinct characters to the gorgeous poetic prose to the focus on female relationships to the message of hope, Girl in Pieces is an extremely powerful novel, one that I think will help many people.

Didn'tWork

 

Pacing-wise, I feel like Girl in Pieces could have been about fifty pages shorter. The middle section, particularly the parts dealing with Charlie and Riley’s relationship, was on the slow side and I think it got just a bit too repetitive. While it should be noted that for the mast part this book did NOT feel like pain for the sake of pain, I think this section approached the closest to that kind of atmosphere.

DidWork

As I said, I’ve read a lot of books dealing with self harm, and one problem I’ve found with them is that the main characters tend to run together. I am very happy to say that Charlie stood out. I loved that she was quiet and reserved, and that this didn’t go away when the book ended, but that she found her voice nonetheless. I loved the moments of humor in her inner monologue and how hard she was willing to fight. I love how real her struggles and setbacks felt, and how much it made me cheer her on. 

The female relationships in the book were so important! From the best friend she loved and lost to the angry woman in her therapy group (who turns out to be fiercely loyal and loving) to her artist landlady with a tragic past to her recovering alcoholic supervisor at work, Charlie meets and develops bonds with a variety of women who affect her journey in so many ways. Charlie comes out of the hospital hoping for romantic love to save her, but her friendships with other women turn out to be so much more important.

(On that note, I don’t know if this was the author’s intent, but I definitely read Charlie as bisexual.)

After Charlie leaves the hospital, she meets Riley, who gives her a job at a coffee shop and has a heap of issues. From the synopsis and his intro, I kind of expected the relationship to be romanticized, but it wasn’t! The toxic aspects (the age difference, Riley’s drug use, Charlie accepting his terrible treatment of her because she doesn’t think she deserves better and Riley taken advantage of that) are all addressed in a very nuanced way. Riley’s addiction is presented sensitively, but never in a way that excuses his actions. I finished the book not really sure how I felt about Riley as a person, but very satisfied with the direction his and Charlie’s stories had gone.

One last thing I’d like to address is the writing, which is lyrical and emotional and sends chills down my spine. There are subtle shifts in both writing style and chapter length that match with Charlie’s mental state at the moment, something I appreciated.

Pickup

I would definitely recommend this if you’re in the mood for a nuanced, unique, moving dark contemporary with an amazing voice. 

Sondra

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: As I Descended by Robin Talley

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Written by: Robin Talley
Release Date: September 6th 2016
Pages: 384, hardcover
Series: standalone
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LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

 

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Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

 

LetsTalk

I don’t think I’ve referenced this on here yet, but like almost any theater kid, I love Shakespeare, and Macbeth is my favorite of his plays. It’s a wonderful story that, one would assume, would be difficult to adapt. But setting it in an old Southern boarding school, replacing the witches with some of the creepiest spirits you have ever seen, and making Macbeth and Lady Macbeth an f/f couple are all pretty amazing ways to do so.

I’ve been a fan of Robin Talley’s since I read Lies We Tell Ourselves, but this is my favorite of her books so far. It’s scary and beautifully written, with characters who are sympathetic even as they make bad decisions. It does a good job preserving the themes of the original play, and all the deviations are exactly what the story needs to keep it flowing and have it make sense in modern times. Even with the changes, the story never loses its high stakes, and I appreciated that.

I should also note that the four main characters are all not straight–a (Mexican) bi girl, a (disabled) lesbian, and two gay guys (one of whom is fat and has anxiety; the other one is Mexican).

Even though it comes out about two months earlier, As I Descended is a perfect Halloween read that will make you want to crawl under the covers in fear and then make you cry.

Didn'tWork

Certain developments with Maria and Lily towards the middle of the book, while they felt natural with where the characters were going in general, also appeared a little abrupt. The change made sense, but it could have occurred more smoothly. Lily’s character arc in particular felt somewhat incomplete as a result.

A minor quibble is the police-are-incompetent-for-plot-convenience trope. The police in the story made some decisions that I did not find believable at all.

DidWork

I wasn’t expecting to love the supernatural aspect of this book so much–I was more focused on the “f/f Macbeth” thing–but it ended up being a high point for me. Every scene where the ghosts appear or speak feels appropriately horror-movie-ish in the best way possible. A certain scene in Lily’s bedroom made me want to never sleep again. Robin Talley uses Mexican mythology to develop the ghosts, which makes sense with Maria’s character and gives the story another layer.

As I Descended features multiple POVs, and all the narrators are fleshed out. The motivations are very believable, which can be tricky with a story as…well…murder-y as this one. I particularly loved Lily’s voice–her rational and ruthless thought process, how her disability and sexuality motivated her actions, her fierce love for Maria even as she disagrees with some of her decisions. Lily is the ideal modern adaptation of Lady Macbeth. And I loved Maria, whose conflict always felt believable and whose decisions I completely understood. Without giving away too much, her ending is a small deviation from the original end of the play, but perfect for this story.

There are small nods to the original play throughout this book that were a lot of fun for me. For example, a game exists where the player has to put items that were mentioned in the witches’ scene into a cauldron. I thought that was a pretty cool addition.

I heard someone say that reading this book felt like watching the original play, and I agree. Robin Talley nails the atmosphere perfectly, and her writing is top-notch. As I Descended was just the right mix of new and old material, and I can’t wait for all of you to get the chance to read it.

Pickup

Definitely! Complicated messy teens + ghosts + good representation = a fantastic book.

Sondra

ABOUT ROBIN TALLEY:

I live in Washington, D.C., with my wife, our baby daughter, an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. Whenever the baby’s sleeping, I’m probably busy writing young adult fiction about queer characters, reading books, and having in-depth conversations with friends and family about things like whether Jasmine’s character motivation was sufficiently established in Aladdin.

My website is at http://www.robintalley.com, and I’m on Twitter and Tumblr.
LINKS: Website | Twitter Facebook | Tumblr

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Giveaway:

3 Finished Copies of AS I DESCENDED (US Only)

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Q&A Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

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Written by: Katie McGarry
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Pages: 496, hardcover
Series: Thunder Road #1
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An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

1) Best Part of this Book?

I was excited to read a new series by McGarry, I loved all of the characters in Pushing the Limits and I couldn’t wait to see new characters and see what could be done with them. The best part of this book was the new world, it was a community and I see exactly where McGarry can pick up all kinds of new characters for this series. This is such a wonderful world and I want to see it developed down the road.

2) Favorite character?

I really adored and loved Olivia. She was such a wonderful character that was so beautifully fleshed out. It was also a side character that really stuck out to me. I loved so many of the side characters in this series and that makes me so excited to go forward with it.

3) Worst part of this book?

I feel like this book was so fleshed out. That it was so well developed that nothing really stuck out to me as bad. I enjoyed the fact the club is legal, and how that is dealt with both within and without the club. Especially Emily’s Dad.

4) Favorite Quote?

Emily hops up on a stool and props her elbows on the bar. “You wear the crazy crown. For real, who carries a knife and, seriously? Who walks in with a bra on and is okay leaving without one? Those things are expensive.”

5) Was it what’s expected?

Not exactly. I expected this to be an illegal club, I’m glad that it wasn’t, I liked how it worked within the world and the story. Overall I was just really happy with this book. I can’t wait to dig into the next one because Razor seems like such an interesting character.

I do also want to go off topic just a bit, but as someone who has an adopted sister, I loved the way that Emily’s adoption with her Dad was handled, it was handled so well and I’ve seen adoption go badly in books. This was so great and I thank McGarry for it.

 

Pickup

 

If you aren’t sure about starting with McGarry’s books since there’s four in the other series you can absolutely start here, it doesn’t go off her old books at all and it’s really fresh and different.

 

Sondra

Q&A Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

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Written by: Katie McGarry
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Pages: 577, hardcover
Series: Pushing the Limits, #4
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Bonus novella included: Crossing the Line.

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

1) Best Part of this Book?

I really loved seeing West’s character, I knew in Crash Into You he had a lot more to his story, just like with Beth there was something really cool about her that made me interested. West had me interested. I wasn’t disappointed I loved seeing him grow into something that is so much more than she could be.

2) Favorite character?

Hmmm, I think in this one I really liked both West and Haley equally. I think that the two complemented each other so well. Obviously all of the couples complemented each other well, but I just loved the push and pull of these two.

3) Worst part of this book?

I really expected just a tiny bit more of Rachel and Isiah. I know we didn’t get much about the other couples after they were done. But with this being West’s story I expected to see something of her, more than just a couple scenes. Call me selfish. I wanted more. I love her okay.

4) Favorite Quote?

“Don’t think of it as falling. Think of it as jumping- with me.”

“How is jumping better?”

“Falling happens. Jumping you choose.”

5) Was it what’s expected?

I wasn’t sure if this book would include a lot of the other couples or if it would just wrap up with their story. While I was hoping that it would include the other characters I was really happy that West and Hailey got their full story told. I’m really happy for the two of them.

 

Pickup

 

So I binged this entire series so hard. I can’t even begin to recommend it to everyone. I’ve already made some friends read it and I will probably push this series on everyone who enjoys books like these. I know that I need so many more.

Sondra

Q&A Review: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Q&A

Written by: Rachel Hawkins
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Pages: 264, hardcover
Series: Rebel Belle, #3
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Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

1) Best Part of this Book?

The fact that a large portion of it was an all-female road-trip, with three very different girls fighting evil together! I love the role that Harper’s relationships with Bee and Blythe played in the series, and how much we got to learn about Blythe. The humor in the series is, as always, on point.

2) Favorite character?

Blythe plays a bigger role in the book than she did in the previous one, and I appreciated every moment of her–her practical, ruthless thought process, her sass, the parallels between her and Harper, and the relationship they developed.

3) Worst part of this book?

The ending fell really, really flat for me. Pretty much the second they walked into the cave, I knew exactly what was going to happen. It was forced, and predictable, and I have never ever read a book where the particular trope the author used actually worked.

4) Favorite Quote?

“What’s a pretty thing like you want with a sword anyway?”
“She’s going to use it to castrate guys who ask stupid questions,” Blythe answered for me, her voice flat.

5) Was it what’s expected?

Yeah, pretty much. It was predictably, but fun and lady-centric and generally a fitting end to the series.

 

Pickup

If you’ve read the first two books, you’ll probably read this one anyway. But yes, this series is worth finishing.

 

Sondra

Mini Review: Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

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Written by: Matt Phelan
Release Date: September 13th 2016
Pages: 216, Hardback
Series: Standalone
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Award-winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan delivers a darkly stylized noir Snow White set against the backdrop of Depression-era Manhattan.

The scene: New York City, 1928. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar characters: a young girl, Samantha White, returning after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of the Follies, years earlier; her father, the King of Wall Street, who survives the stock market crash only to suffer a strange and sudden death; seven street urchins, brave protectors for a girl as pure as snow; and a mysterious stock ticker that holds the stepmother in its thrall, churning out ticker tape imprinted with the wicked words “Another . . . More Beautiful . . . KILL.” In a moody, cinematic new telling of a beloved fairy tale, extraordinary graphic novelist Matt Phelan captures the essence of classic film noir on the page—and draws a striking distinction between good and evil.

Mini

 

I’m not completely sure where this review is going to go. Snow White was an amazing idea, it was an amazing concept with taking this classic story to the 1920’s. There were so many amazing ways to update the story into something that easily worked, in fact the ideas were so effortless that it made perfect sense. So in reality I should be gushing about this story, and in a way I am gushing about the way that the story worked, about the ideas that Phelan used to turn this story on it’s head. I loved the idea of the mirror being ticker tape, I loved the way the seven dwarves were brought into the story. I loved so many amazing plot ideas of this graphic novel that it’s insane.

So what was the problem? Well, often times I was confused. I couldn’t figure out on the art alone what was going on. I had a few pages sometimes where I gave up on the story and just moved along until I was able to see exactly what was going on again. I got the gist of the story, I understood what was going on, but I don’t feel like I got the full story that Phelan wanted to present.

Here’s where things get really interesting though, because I read an ARC the images were in low resolution, and they weren’t in color. Does that mean that when the finished copy comes out I’ll be able to follow each panel of the story? I’m not sure. I do know for sure that I’ll be picking up a finished copy to look at it. Because if this story does become much clearer then I am completely absolutely sold on this concept and idea.

Sondra

Q&A Review: District Ballet Company Series by Katherine Locke

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Written by: Katherine Locke
Release Date: April 13, 2015
Series: District Ballet Company

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Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight…

Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.

When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance—and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them—their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had… or destroy the fragile recoveries they’ve only started to make.

 

1) Best Part of this Book?

I have three things to talk about here, and I’m not how to because they’re all intertwined: the writing, the love story, and the portrayal of mental illness.

When I say love story, I don’t just mean between Aly and Zed (though that too, they’re absolutely beautiful and electrifying and soul-shattering together) but between both characters and ballet. And this is where the gorgeous, lyrical writing comes in–the way Aly and Zed think about each other and about dance is powerful and brimming with emotion. During some of the dance numbers in the series, I could actually hear music in my head.

And then Aly has anxiety and an eating disorder, and Zed is a recovering alcoholic, and the portrayal of that is excellent as well. There are short chapters where Aly talks to her therapist throughout the books, and a lot of what she says completely mirrors what’s in my head at times. Also, I love that the series consistently treats mental illness not as something to be fixed, but as something to be managed.

2) Favorite character?

Aly has a special place in my heart, just because her issues with anxiety mirror my own so much. She also has very good taste in tea.

3) Worst part of this book?

The pacing was not great–particularly a quarter of the way into the second book, when Aly and Zed were rehashing the same issues over and over, which is true to real life but not the most interesting thing to read about. I was also very bored by the prequel, though maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it after the other two and not before.

4) Favorite Quote?

“There will be bad days. What if the bad days are too bad?”
“There were bad days before this, and we’ll handle any bad days to come. I promise. That’s what we do, Aly. We’re pretty good at weathering storms.”

5) Was it what’s Expected?

In terms of the general outline of the story, yes. In terms of the writing and its effect on me, definitely not. I ended up a lot more invested than I thought I would be.

 

Pickup

Yes! If you’re interested in ballet, or second-chance romance, or mental illness (and physical disability) representation, or writing that will make you Feel Things, you should definitely pick up this duology.

Sondra