Friday, May 26, 2017

Inspiration for A Million Junes by Emily Henry!

Publisher: Razorbill
Pub Date: May 16th 2017
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
There are two things everyone in Five Fingers knows about the O'Donnells and the Angerts. One: They've been there the longest, ever since the town was first founded in the Gold Rush days. Two: They hate each other.

June O'Donnell—a.k.a. Junior, a.k.a. Jack, a.k.a. Jonathan O'Donnell IV, a.k.a. the first female O'Donnell first-born—has always been haunted—in more ways than one—by her family's complicated legacy. When June's father and best friend, Jack III, died suddenly seven years ago, she made up her mind to skip college and live the life of adventure that her dad always wanted for himself. Now seventeen and heading into her last year of high school, June is itching to leave her ghosts behind in Five Fingers and travel the world. It's not that she's not happy—she is, mostly—grief has left her with an emptiness that she believes only real life experience can fill.

But then what kind of O'Donnell would June be if an Angert didn't swoop in at a crucial moment and ruin everything? Enter Saul Angert, the eldest son of Eli Angert, a.k.a. June's father's mortal enemy, back in town from a writing career in the city to care for his ailing father. Somehow June's path just keeps getting tangled up with Saul's, no matter how creatively she tries to avoid it, until the unthinkable happens: She finds herself intrigued by this gruff, taciturn, yet strangely tender boy whom she was born to loathe.

But when June and Saul accidentally stumble into a bit of the forest magic, they are allowed a glimpse into the past at the fateful, horrible moment that started all the trouble between their families. Now, everything is different. The only problem is, June doesn't know if this new discovery means she should hate the Angerts even more, or if it's finally time for her—and all of the O'Donnells before her—to let go.
Emily Henry is the author of The Love That Split the World. She is a full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.
Connect with Emily: Twitter
Finding A Million Junes
By Emily Henry

A Million Junes is the story of a magical town in northern Michigan and the two families who have been feuding over it, in small ways, for roughly a century. The story follows the two youngest members of these families, June O’Donnell and Saul Angert, as they try to uncover the truth about what started the history of hatred between their families, after lifetimes of hearing conflicting and larger-than-life stories about both the feud and the magic of the land the two families live on.

That’s, on a literal level, what the book is about, what happens in it. But for me, premise and theme are usually two distinct elements whose connection is unclear until I’ve written to the end of a first draft. And with this book, more than any other, revision felt like an archaeological dig, a search for the true meaning of the story’s events. From its first conception (then titled Ghost House) to every iteration after (when it was The First and Last Temptation of Jack O’Donnell and when it was We Are Just Moments Drifting in the Light and when it was a half-dozen other books), this book has become clearer and clearer in my mind. Each draft allowed me to chip away at the muck and mire of the initial draft until I finally understood what I had written and why I had written it.

When I talk about A Million Junes, I often call it my “Grief Book,” and while I didn’t knowingly set out to write this particular kind of book, grief was something I was dealing with and meditating on as I worked. This book first began to pop up in my thoughts a few days after my family dog passed away, and over the following weeks, it grew and grew until I knew I had to write it. While I’d lost a handful of family members and friends before losing my sweet dog-friend, there was something about that loss that shook me. It occupied a lot of my thoughts then and even now, I still sometimes surprise myself with the new little waves of grief I experience over losing my best friend, my strange animal confidante. I think, in a way, mourning her opened up a door in the wall I’d built around grief. And once I opened that, I began to experience grief for the people I’d already lost, and grief for all the people I know I someday will.

I didn’t know when I began writing A Million Junes that I was writing about death—I only knew I wanted to write a dreamy romance set in the wilds of Michigan, something strange and magical with a whole lot of heart—but looking back, I understand that writing this book was my way of wrestling with grief and the surprising ways it hits us, again and again, the way that it never wholly lets up, and the fact that we have to find meaningful ways to go on. 

The first and deepest seeds for this book truly came from that summer of saying goodbye, and in the later stages of drafting, when I realized that, the whole book clicked into place for me. I understood the two married thoughts that form the spine, and how I’d gotten there.

The first was a thought about loss. It started with a very specific realization: when you choose to adopt a pet, you’re agreeing to an unspoken contract that you’re going to love something that you will very likely outlive. You’re intentionally bringing something into your life that you will have to say goodbye to. You’re saying that the benefit of loving this animal will outweigh the pain of losing it. 

But beyond that, the truth is, anytime you give yourself a chance to love someone, you’re entering into the same agreement. Because whenever you love someone, you have to accept that eventually you will lose them. And for a sensitive person, for someone who values love above all else, that can be an earth-rattling realization.

In A Million Junes, both Saul and June have lost the people they most identified with in the world, the people who they feel made up, in large part, who they are. Years later, Saul and June are as defined by these losses as they are by the people themselves. They’re both still wrestling with grief, with the fear of losing these people more and more as time wears on, and with defining themselves in the wake of their losses.

But there’s another important element of the book, which is the stories. Both Saul’s family, the Angerts, and June’s family, the O’Donnells, are known around their small, northern Michigan town of Five Fingers for having these mythic legacies, full of larger-than-life stories. As descendants of the “founders” of the town, these two families are seen almost as folk heroes around town. And of course June and Saul have inherited these stories from their parents. So while they’ve both lost the people who helped define them years before, they have this wealth of stories that can’t possibly be true, both because they’re so strange and because the two families’ accounts are often conflicting. 

The way they interact with these stories is very different. For Saul, who’s had a rocky relationship with his father from the very beginning, the stories are a source of resentment. They’re “proof” that his father was a liar, that he was self-aggrandizing and self-important. The stories are something he’s spent his life trying to escape from, so he can just be himself, rather than his father’s son. For June, who adored her father above all else, the stories are a benchmark. They’re everything that made her father great, everything that she should aspire to be. 

And strangely enough, this was the second seed of story I found in losing my family dog. I was struck by the fact that something that small—an animal you can’t even have a conversation with, a creature that’s spent most of its short life in one house and one yard—could leave such a profound mark on my entire family. So often we think of “leaving a mark” as doing big things, important things, and it can be. But I also was and am blown away that such a tiny, contained life could bring so much joy and comfort into the world. By the way you can feel so known and so much like you know someone (or some-dog) even without being able to know everything about them. 

It might sound silly but I can honestly say that losing my dog changed my perception of what makes a life valuable. I realized that when I get to the end of my life, I want to look back and know that, if nothing else, I loved my handful of people and the plot of grass around me very, very well. 

So as much as this is a book about two teens uncovering the truth about their Big Stories, it’s also about something else. It’s about two teens realizing that sometimes, the epic stories a person tells aren’t the most important ones. 

Sometimes it’s the small stories that are most precious. That the things that really define us are the quiet moments when we loved our people well. These are the moments that outlast everything.

Brittany: Thank you so much for this wonderful guest post, Emily! :)

Week One:
May 15 – The Paige-Turner – Review & Mood Board
May 16 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Author Q&A
May 17 – The Innocent Smiley – Favorite Unsolved Mysteries
May 18 – Arctic Books – Review
May 19 – Twirling Pages – Review

Week Two:
May 22 – ButterMyBooks – Book Look
May 23 – Ex Libris – Review
May 24 – The Children’s Book Review – Guest Post
May 25 – The Young Folks – Review
May 26 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Guest Post

Week Three:
May 29 – Mundie Moms – Review
May 30 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Q&A
May 31 – Fiction Fare – Podcast Author Q&A
June 1 – YA Bibliophile – Guest Post
June 2 – Forever Young Adult – A Million Junes Cocktail

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of A Million Junes by Emily Henry (ARV: $16.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 15, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 2, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 7, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WoW: Reign of the Fallen & Daughter of the Siren Queen

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan
Pub. Date: February 27th, 2018
Buy Links: Amazon | Book Depository
Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Riden, still unfairly attractive, is a constant distraction, but at least he’s under her orders this time.

But when the villainous Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared pirate king. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first. . . . After all, she’s the Daughter of the Siren Queen.

I really enjoyed The Daughter of the Pirate King last year, it was such a fun and sassy read! Judging by the title (I refuse to read the synopsis because I don't want to get spoiled), we're going to learn more about Alosa's siren side!

Tricia Levenseller writes historical fantasies for young adult readers. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, released earlier this year from Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.
Connect with Tricia: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr  

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Random House
Pub. Date:  January 23rd, 2018
An LGBT fantasy series that follows a talented necromancer who must face down a deadly nemesis who has learned how to turn her magic into a weapon.

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?

A lavish fantasy with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core, Reign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read that will grab readers by the throat and never let go....

I'm kind of cheating with this one because I was fortunate enough to read an early draft of this book and I LOVE IT! 

However, I needed to share this one with all of you, to make sure you have this beauty on your TBRs. I am currently re-reading it and when I'm finished I'm going to tell you all about it!

Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult fantasy novels full of danger, mythology, and kissing. Sometimes she writes children's picture books, too.

She lives, writes, and paints things in Virginia, supported by her husband and four senior greyhounds.

If she could, she'd adopt ALL THE ANIMALS.

Oh, and she'd love to be your friend here on Goodreads, or over on Twitter!
Connect with Sarah: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Are these books on your TBR? Or is this the first time you're hearing about them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh Blog Tour: ARC Review

Format: Paperback ARC, 392 pages 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR/Penguin Random House
Pub. Date: May 16th, 2017
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

Renée Ahdieh is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog.
Connect with Renée: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB | Pinterest

Flame in the Mist was one of my most anticipated books of 2017 and it's everything I expected out of a Renée Ahdieh book — atmospheric setting, a sassy female lead, and misunderstood boys with dark pasts. The style of this book reminds me a lot of Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes, with the elegance of Memoirs of a Geisha, combined with Inuyasha and a sprinkling of Naruto for all the ninja stuff. I know that may sound like a really strange combination, but it totally works, okay? 

The story flowed right off the page and into my soul. It made me want to read more books set in Japan and to watch all of my favorite anime over again (if that wasn't already obvious). Flame in the Mist truly transported me to Feudal Japan, and I enjoyed every second of my stay. I can't wait to find out what's up next in this fantastic duology. 

1) This book is so extremely well-researched. I knew that it would be because Renée Ahdieh has expressed how important research is to her when writing books, but it really stood out to me here. I have been obsessed with Japanese culture for as long as I can remember, and this book incorporates so many of the things I love about it. I was especially impressed with all of the Japanese words, terms, and honorifics that she put into the story in such an organic and effortless manner. All in all, Renée she elegantly captured the culture and aesthetic of Japan's feudal era.

2) I loooove Ōkami. He definitely stood out amongst all of the Black Clan, and I was incredibly interested in his past, his personality, and his intriguing powers. His character had so much depth that we could have ten books focused solely on him, and he'd still have plenty of secrets to share.

3) If you're a fan of the anime Inuyasha, like I am, then I think you will really love this book because it gave me so many similar feels! Besides the fact that they are set in the same era, the fantastical and mythical aspects have a comparable vibe, given all the ninjas, yokai, drama, and bloodiness. Honestly, Mariko seems like what you would get if you combined Sango and Kagome into the same character.

4) While frustrating at times, I still really enjoyed Mariko as a character. When she failed, she would try again and again until she persevered. No matter how many times people told her to quit or how many obstacles she had to face, she was undeterred. I really appreciated her gumption and her spirit.

5) I adore a good bromance, and the one between Ōkami and Ranmaru reminded me a lot of Khalid and Jalal from The Wrath and the Dawn duology. It's complicated but still very sweet. I loved all of their moments and their gibes. Those two beautifully depicted how family is not always defined by the blood that runs through your veins.

1) This point is hard to describe without spoiling the book, but I'll try. There is a twist in Mariko's "she's not who they think she is" reveal to the other focal characters, and the result seemed oddly . . . underwhelming? I suppose I am still hoping for more of an explanation for this in the sequel.

2) I needed more romantic and kissy moments between Mariko and her love interest. However, the way their relationship developed is pretty common from what I've seen in many other Japanese-inspired books, anime, manga, and dramas. The whole "we seemingly hate each other until at one point, we finally kiss and surprise—we've actually been in love the entire time" thing. Because I'm so used to this happening, I didn't particularly mind. BUT . . . because I know how fantastic Renée Ahdieh is with swoony scenes, I desperately wanted more in this book. So hopefully in the sequel, then? *fingers crossed*

I chatted with Renée Ahdieh about Flame in the Mist for Penguin Teen on Tour. Check it out here!

Week One:
May 8 – Two Chicks on Books – Author Q&A
May 9 – The Eater of Books! – Mood Board
May 10 – Book Hounds YA – Guest Post
May 11 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
May 12 – A Page With A View – Review + Photos

Week Two:
May 15 – The Young Folks – Guest Post
May 16 – Once Upon a Twilight – Author Q&A
May 17 – The Fandom – Guest Post
May 18 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style File
May 19 – Fiction Fare – Review

Week Three:
May 22 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Review
May 23 – ButterMyBooks – Review + Photos
May 24 – Mundie Moms – Author Q&A
May 25 – A Perfection Called Books – Review
May 26 – Novel Novice – Flame Pinsperation

Week Four:
May 29 – Twirling Pages – Review + Photos
May 30 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Guest Post
May 31 – Oh the Book Feels – Review
June 1 – Dark Faerie Tales – Author Q&A
June 2 – The Book’s Buzz – Japanese Lesson

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (ARV: $17.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 8, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 5, 2017. Open to residents of thefifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 10, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. 
FTC Disclaimer: I received my review copy of Flame in the Mist in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Becoming of Noah Shaw & Pacifica

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #1)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: November 7, 2017
In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

My favorite character of the entire Mara Dyer trilogy was definitely Noah Shaw, and now this long-time book boyfriend is getting his own book!

However, the synopsis suggests the sinking of my ship, and I will not have this!

This series definitely has the potential to kill me haha.

Michelle Hodkin is the author of the Mara Dyer Trilogy, which was a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling series. The trilogy, which includes The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer, was described as “haunting and dreamlike” by Cassandra Clare and “darkly funny, deliciously creepy, and genuinely thoughtful” by Veronica Roth. Lev Grossman has called Hodkin “One of the greatest talents in Young Adult fiction.” The novels were praised by Romantic Times, MTV’s Hollywood Crush, and the Los Angeles Times, and books from the series appeared on several state reading lists. Additionally, The Retribution of Mara Dyer was selected as one of’s Top 10 YA Books of 2014. Hodkin grew up in Florida, went to college in New York, and studied law in Michigan, before finally settling in Brooklyn last year.
Connect with Michelle: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | InstagramTumblr  

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub. Date: March 6th, 2018
The critically acclaimed author of Article 5 and Metaltown brings her trademark action, romance, and frightening prescience to this tale of high seas adventure.

For too long our people have suffered, plagued by overcrowding, disease, and lack of work. We have only just survived for too long. Now we must take the next step and thrive.Pacifica.A new beginning.

Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water. An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt.

A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream.

The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the First Five Hundred really going?

To say that I loved Kristen Simmons Metaltown is a severe understatement. Her writing is so realistic and relatable and I can't wait for her new book. 

Kristen Simmons is the author of the ARTICLE 5 series, THE GLASS ARROW, and METALTOWN. She has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her delightfully rambunctious son.
Connect with Kristen: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Are these books on your TBR? Or is this the first time you're hearing about them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! :)