Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke {review + giveaway}

The Boneless Mercies
by April Genevieve Tucholke
♦publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
♦release date: October 2nd, 2018•
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone, retelling
♦source: from publisher for review consideration
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.

I've long been a fan of April Tucholke's signature bizarre and stylistic storytelling, and when I heard she would be putting it to a high fantasy tale, I couldn't have been more excited. Her gorgeous writing has always given such a fantastical and eerie feel to contemporary stories, I could only imagine how unique her take on the mythical tale legend of Beowolf would be. I admit, I wasn't that familiar with the source material but it didn't stop me from diving headlong into this retelling.

The Boneless Mercies What a dynamic group of women. Frey, Juniper, Ovie, and Runa--a sisterhood in the best sense of the word. Each had their own strengths and complicated weaknesses.  Each had their own reasons for being in the life they led...and for maybe wanting out. I love how closely they worked together, how they knew each other so deeply and bolstered each other up. I love that it was a gender-bent, feminist take on this legend without making all men villainous and hateful. There was even Trigve, a man who traveled with them and fought by their side---his backstory and his unconventional relationship with Frey added so much to the story.  For each of the characters in turn, there were moments of anger and passion and quiet inner searching as they journeyed to try their hand at defeating a legendary beast. This story was hideously bloody at times, heartbreaking at many times, and thoughtful and completely unputdownable(*) though the entire thing.  April Tucholke does it again. 

(*On a side and very personal note, I say unputdownable, even though I did at one point, actually put it aside. In the beginning, it takes the time to really show what the Boneless Mercies do--they are, quite literally, human reapers. They are paid by the sick or suffering or their family to take someone's life as a mercy killing and it shows them doing this for people of all ages.  Because of things going on in my life, this was too painful and too emotional of an idea for me and I had to set it aside.  Still, a while later, I was called back to this book, a journey and battle that I knew April would make into a beautiful story, so I picked it up again. It lured me in and, yes, after that it was unputdownable!)


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

International Giveaway!
Winner's choice of edition: US Hardcover or UK Paperback
Both are gorgeous so I wanted to give you the choice! :D
Ends 11/15 at 11:59 PM
Must be 13 or older or have parent permission.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 7, 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 Jennifer L Armentrout

hitting shelves June 11th, 2019  
from Inkyard Press
Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

My thoughts:  So---this says it's book four in the Dark Elements series (which I haven't read) but it looks likes its a new set of characters? I'm hoping this means its more of a stand-alone companion, just in the same world. This looks amazing, and I've been a long-time fan of Jennifer's books. It's a long wait for this one, but so excited!!

What book are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes {review}

by Nadine Brandes
♦publisher: Thomas Nelson Books
♦release date: July 10th, 2018
♦hardcover, 448 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

{Becky's Thoughts}
For those readers out there that fall hard for a grand historical with an irresistible magical twist (me! me!!), Fawkes is definitely a must-read.  This one really had so much to entwine readers into it's spell. I wasn't all that familiar with the true story of Guy Fawkes (aside from it being the inspiration for some wild bonfire gatherings in the UK--thank you Sherlock), but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of watching this creative take unfold.

17th century London finds itself enchantingly altered, as we follow Thomas Fawkes, son of the infamous Guido Fawkes through a journey to find his magic, his father, love, and finally, his true self.  

Brandes fills this alternate London with such rich detail, from the terrifying Stone Plague that will cut Thomas' life short if he doesn't find a way to stop it's spread, to the complicated war between the Keepers and Igniters, both wielding a unique form of magic called color magic. I loved the idea that each person wielded a distinct and beautiful mask to control their power with---it gave the entire world an atmosphere that was like an ongoing masquerade on the dark gray streets of London.

Thomas was at times clever and clear thinking, but would often veer into petulant territory when it came to getting his mask from his father. His frustration was palpable and he definitely had me rooting for him, but yes, the whining was also a little grating.  He struggles constantly with living up to his father's name, earning his respect, and being able to decide for himself what is right. Emma is an incredibly character, her story adding layers and layers to the romance, the diversity, the challenge and the danger of the entire plot. She was fierce with her magic and so smart but also kind. Many instances, I definitely thought she stole the show!

With a plot this is a satisfying labyrinth of twists and a romance that beckoned me to figure out if they could overcome their extreme differences to let love win out, Fawkes was a wonderful twist on history, and I'm absolutely looking forward to more historical magic from this author.

• About the Author •

Nadine once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She's the author of FAWKES and of the award-winning The Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine and her Auror husband are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

Author Links:   Website  •  Twitter   •   Instagram    

Find the book:   Amazon • BookDepository • Indiebound