Sunday, September 30, 2018

New Shelf Goodies {204}

For New Shelf Goodies, I'll be showing you what lovely books I acquired this week, whether from publishers, or the library, or from whatever half-crazed book-buying binge I happened to go on. :D (Inspired by Tynga's Stacking the Shelves) .  My Sunday post is also where I'll share a little recap of my week, the books I've currently got my nose in and such. ;)

Whoa I haven't done one of these haul posts in ages! Here's what snuck into my mailbox in the last few weeks:

From Inkyard Press {Harlequin Teens's new name, have you heard?!}:

From Bloomsbury:
Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden

From Penguin:
Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Tarot by Marissa Kennerson
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

 Signed Pre-Ordered:
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

And, of course, with the preorder, I got a gorgeous set of  tarot cards!! 
Here they are featured on my bookstagram!

So excited for all of these! Even the ones that came unsolicited look intriguing so I'm excited to try them out. 
In case you missed it, don't forget to swing back to my Boneless Mercies Q & A post and enter to win a copy of the book and a custom-made matching necklace!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Boneless Mercies: A quick Q&A and a giveaway!

So excited and honored to be today's stop on the tour for
The Boneless Mercies
by April Genevieve Tucholke!!!

I am a ridiculously huge fan of April's work---(exhibit A & exhibit B LOL) her writing just completely mesmerizes me every time. She is a master of eerie atmosphere, a queen of the unexpected plot twist, and has a beautifully bizarre storytelling and writing style that just speaks to me. So you can imagine my thrill at seeing her tackle a fantasy retelling of Beowolf! I've just started in on it and I can tell you, her words have already got me entranced. ♥

But today, I have a lightning quick Q & A with April herself and {ta-da} a super awesome giveaway of a gorgeous finished copy of Boneless Mercies and a custom-made necklace! 

~Q & A with April Tucholke~

•What three women from history or literature would you want on your Boneless Mercies crew?
Amelia Earhart
Lyanna Mormont

•Are there any characters in Boneless Mercies that are inspired by people in your own life?
Trigve was inspired by an art student that I knew in college, but I created the other characters out of thin air.

•What kinds of books did you read as a teen and who is your favorite author of all time?
I read a lot of fantasy as a teen—The Chronicles of Narnia, Sabriel, Watership Down, A Wizard of Earthsea, and sci fi—A Wrinkle in Time (and the entire Time Quintet series), Ender’s Game, andInterstellar Pig. I also read the goths—Poe and the Brontes, as well as classic mysteries like Sherlock and Agatha Christie. The only contemporary realistic books I can remember reading was the great Austin Family series by Madeleine L’Engle.
Favorite author of all time? Susanna Clarke.


April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Between the Spark and the Burn, and Wink Poppy Midnight. She also curated the horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. She has received five starred reviews and her novels have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild, Kids' Indie Next picks, and YALSA Teens Top Ten. When she's not writing, April likes walking in the woods with her two cheerful dogs, exploring abandoned houses, and drinking expensive coffee. She has lived in many places around the world, and currently resides in Oregon with her husband.


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

*        *        *        *        *

And on to the giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway sponsored by the lovely folks at Macmillan! US addresses only please.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab {review & setting spotlight}

Something a little different with this review! I just recently finished reading City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab after finding out that it was set in the beautiful city that I had just visited only weeks before!! What a fun coincidence! Not to mention, I've missed it from the moment I got back from my trip, and this book was the perfect way to revisit it! So I've slipped a few of the photos from my own adventure into the review since I'd visited so many of the same places as City of Ghost's main character, Cass!

City of Ghosts
by Victoria Schwab
♦publisher: Scholastic Press
♦release date: August 28th, 2018
♦hardcover, 285 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦series, Cassidy Blake, book 1
♦source: arc from publisher for review consideration
Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

{Becky's Thoughts & a virtual tour of City of Ghost sites!}

City of Ghosts, Victoria Schwab's dive back into middle grade fiction, was such a fun adventurous tale. Perfect for young fans of the paranormal. Also, this book was a veritable love letter to Harry Potter and the city of Edinburgh---fair warning, my review may be slightly biased as someone who's just recently left my heart in this gorgeous city! ;P

Cass's 12-year-old life is definitely not an ordinary one.  Since being brought back to life after a drowning accident, she sees ghosts everywhere. One of them, Jacob---the ghost who saved her in the accident---is now her best friend. On top of that, her parents are experts on opposing sides of paranormal theories, which lands them a TV show gig traveling the world chasing ghost stories, and of course, taking Cass along for the ride!

First stop is Edinburgh, Scotland---a city absolutely teaming with ghostly legends. There she meets Lara Jayne, a girl with a similar gift, and the first person who may actually be able to help her understand her own powers. These three characters were such a fun group together. Cass is snarky, clever, and definitely has an adventurous streak, Jacob is cautious and a little bit chicken (especially for someone who is, himself, a ghost LOL), and Lara is a bit snooty and bossy, but she has a soft side, too. I loved how it's told as Cass sort of telling the audience the story---it really pulls the reader right in. Their banter and her inner dialogue were really well done and kept what was a fairly dark premise on the lighter side.

The only negative thing I would say about this is that the story did seems a little rushed at times, a little short, and...over-simplified? It's hard to judge that since, obviously as a middle grade book, this is not written for adult readers. But with so much complex and strong storytelling in middle grade out there, this just seemed a little too light at times. Still, it was absolutely enjoyable and fun, witty characters, beautiful setting and a few good spine-chilling moments.  I can't wait to see what city Cass and Jacob take on next! 

The story truly used the sites and sounds of Edinburgh to it's full advantage. 

When Cass and her family first step off the bus, she's steps out onto Waverley Bridge---same as we did! 

This is the old town skyline, probably the first view Cass would have had after stepping off the bus and the side of the city where she and her family stayed (there is a New Town and Old Town). Gorgeous, isn't it??

Cass mentions seeing the Edinburgh castle and a huge garden by the bridge. That would be Princes Street Gardens, pictured here, with the beautiful castle looming far above. 

One of the scariest parts of Cass & Jacob's adventure takes place when they go into the Edinburgh castle. Here's the gateway they would have taken to get in!

Cass is a die-hard Harry Potter fan (my kind of girl!), so one of the places she is most excited to come across is the Elephant House cafe. Known as the "birthplace of Harry Potter" because JK Rowling wrote a good portion of the first book sitting right at one of their tables. 

Cass visits the eerie but absolutely beautiful grounds of the ancient cemetery, Greyfriar Kirkyard a few times in the course of the story. The exciting climax actually takes place here and you can almost picture the villainous Raven in Red haunting these dramatic ornate graves.

Cass also has creepy times at Mary King's Close and Grassmarket (which I had no idea how I don't have good pics of since we literally walked this area every day LOL)

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of some of City Of Ghosts settings! I hope you enjoy reading City of Ghosts! 


Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems. 


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Joann Ruth Meyer

hitting shelves January 15th, 2019  
from Page Street Kids
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart after her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an offer: for her to come and live with him for a year. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up—otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.

My thoughts:  This looks like a gorgeous fairy tale retelling of  East of the Sun, West of the Moon! I'm always there for a good retelling, especially when it seems to stay in the style of old tales while still bringing it's own spin. Plus, how can I resist with the promise of sinister talking wolves, an enchanted library, and a fantastical mystery to solve!
What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Ink, Iron, & Glass by Gwendolyn Clare {review}

Ink, Iron & Glass
by Gwendolyn Clare
♦publisher: Macmillan/Imprint
♦release date: February 20th 2018
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Ink, Iron, & Glass, book 1
♦source: received from publisher for review consideration
Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

{Becky's Thoughts}
 This was such a cleverly built world! I loved the idea of worlds being written into existence by a few gifted "scriptologists" and really appreciated how much Clare explained the way this alluring magical gift worked and what went in to creating a new a world.

Elsa climbs out of her home world and falls in with a group of new friends, all part of a secret society for people with different gifts.  I loved the sometimes troubled dynamic between Elsa, Porzia, Leo, and Faraz, as they each seem to hold secrets of their own and all had fairly strong personalities. The steampunk aspect was fun and interesting without getting way too technical (as steampunk sometimes does for me lol) and I loved reading about all the mechanicals both in their daily life and some that came up as they worked to solve the mystery of Elsa's missing mother. The story unfolded through a series of riddle-like dilemmas for the characters to solve and kept me constantly guessing! I really enjoyed the way they had to each work together and pull on each of their strengths to face each dilemma. The pacing was a little up and down throughout the story, but most of this unique tale had me enthralled with it's mystery, discoveries, family secrets, and few great fight scenes.

The second book in the series, Mist, Metal & Ash is coming in February 2019, and I can't wait for the continuing story. Especially because the exciting end of Ink, Iron, & Glass left it's readers on a heart-stopping, back-stabbing cliffhanger!


Gwendolyn Clare's debut novel -- INK, IRON, AND GLASS -- is the first in a steampunk duology about a young mad scientist with the ability to write new worlds into existence, out now from Imprint. Her short stories have appeared in ClarkesworldAsimov's, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, among others, and her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. She holds a BA in Ecology, a BS in Geophysics, a PhD in Mycology, and swears she's done collecting acronyms. She lives in North Carolina with too many cats, too many ducks, and never enough books. 


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Madeline J. Reynolds

hitting shelves November 6th, 2018  
from Entangled Teen
In 1898 London, a magician has just performed the greatest illusion the world has ever seen. Intent on stealing his secrets, another magician sends his apprentice, Saverio, to befriend his rival’s apprentice, Thomas. Get close. Learn the trick. Get out.

But Sav is not a card to be played. He has a plan of his own: abscond with every secret for himself so he can finally step out of his master’s shadow and become the world’s most famous magician.

Then Sav discovers the truth—that Thomas performs real magic and is responsible for his master’s “illusions.” This trick cannot be stolen or duplicated. And worse, Sav finds himself falling hard for Thomas, the one person who can never discover his true purpose.

Their forbidden romance sets off a domino effect of dangerous consequences that will leave their love—and their lives—hanging in the balance.

My thoughts:  I love when stage magic and real magic collide, don't you? It has me very curious about this one! Plus Victorian London, forbidden romance, secrets and danger!! Sounds like a great story!

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What the Woods Keep by Katya De Becerra {review}

by Katya de Becerra
♦publisher: Imprint/Macmillan
♦release date: September 18th, 2018
♦hardcover, 352 pages
♦ intended audience
♦series: ?? (hoping!)
♦source: ARC from publisher for review consideration
On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She's getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it's all catching up with her: her mother's mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father's outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden's own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden's mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

 {Becky's Thoughts}

This was such a fun surprise read for me! Not at all what I expected---for some reason (now that I look back at the synopsis, I really don't know why) I was expecting a mythical, ethereal, Hazel-Woodsy type atmosphere from this, and I was excited for it then..BUT it turned out to be a snarky but dark urban fantasy with a mysterious streak, hinting around every tree and stone at something dangerous and ancient. I loved the modern paranormal romance style. This one caught me off guard more than once!  My mind immediately assumed some sort of fairy shenanigans, but again I was completely thrown by the direction this story went! It was such a unique story all the way through.

Hayden definitely is a character with her plate full of off-kilter stuff. Mother disappeared into the woods. Father forced out of his career and status by his obsession with a certain mythical creature, and Hayden herself expelled for an attack on a schoolmate she doesn't even remember. But still, she's managed to distance herself and find some normalcy living on her own with her best friend Del. Then she turns 18 and finds that she'd inherited their old house in the woods--but only with the promise of discovering it's secrets and finishing what her mother started.  

Strange things start to ensue almost immediately after the two girls get to the manor. Creepy things. I loved each and every chilling moment as Hayden unearths her mothers secrets, planting little morsels of doubt in her mind about everything she thought she knew. She encounters a few sinister small town folk claiming to know her mother, sparking her own past memories back to life. She also crosses paths with a boy she used to know, one she's wondered and worried about since her father moved them away. I do always enjoy a good slow-burn love story with lots of history behind it, and this is definitely one of those.

The ending actually had me a little bewildered---it was left kind of finished but open, if that makes sense.  And while there is no continuation announced quite yet, I really hope there is more to come! I need more info on the creatures we encounter and where Hayden's bizarre dreams may lead. I don't think this hidden world is quite finished with her yet!

All in all, an excellent read, kept me turning pages late into the night (and sometimes too creeped out to turn the lights off!) Sign of a good book, definitely!


Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep is her first novel (out in September 2018). Katya's second book, Oasis, is forthcoming in 2019.

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. A spin-off of the meme called "Can't Wait Wednesday" is now hosted at Wishful Endings. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.
by Addie Thorley

hitting shelves February 26th, 2019  
from Page Street Publishing
After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.

Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant Dauphin. Forced to hide in the derelict sewers beneath the city, any hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible—until Josse’s path collides with Mirabelle’s, and he finds a surprising ally in his sworn enemy.

She's a deadly poisoner. He's a bastard prince. Together, they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed?

My thoughts:  Ok, people. You give me a story of 18th century France and tell me there will be alchemy and murder, secret societies and royal intrigue, mother/daughter rivalry and rebellion---you've pretty much got me swooning already.  Gimme, sil vous plait. ;) 

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?