Tea & Book Chat: Fairest By Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #0)

Fairest by Marissa Meyer acts as a prequel to The Lunar Chronicles series and it gives us the full backstory of Queen Levana.  (I’ve previously reviewed the first book in the series, Cinder.)  The book was marketed as a full length novel with illustrations but it’s only about 200 pages and the only illustration is on the front and back inside covers.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolutely stunning illustration of the palace on Luna and I could stare at it for hours, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  We also get to read the first three chapters of Winter which is the final installment in The Lunar Chronicles which is being released in November (after being pushed back).

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It’s so rare for us readers to get a full 200 page novella dedicated to a villain’s past and I’m so grateful that we were allotted the opportunity with Levana.  However, her backstory did not make me pity her or help me to understand why she is the way she is.  Levana is a terrible person through and through and she’s been making awful decisions since she was a child.  She is manipulative and constantly uses her powers to get what she wants.  She feels no remorse about taking the lives of those who oppose her and enslaving those who she craves acceptance from. I loved getting to read about the early stages of the development of letumosis, and about the younger versions of Princess Selene and Princess Winter.  I also can see why Levana is acting the way she currently is towards Prince Kai in the current storyline.

Fairest is a quick paced read that any reader would be able to consume it in one sitting.  I didn’t like that it wasn’t broken up into chapters (but instead with little section breaks).  It also did nothing to make me feel pity for Queen Levana.  If anything, I just want Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Prince Kai to defeat her even more.  At times it was hard for me to read Fairest because the things Levana did made me really uncomfortable.  While it’s not necessary to read Fairest if you’re involved in the quartet, I think it enriches the story which makes it worth checking out.  I’m glad that I finished the book despite how mad it made me at points.  There are so many past events that relate to what’s transpiring in the main storyline that any Lunar Chronicles fan will be pleased overall with the novella.  Plus it’s a small fix to help us until Winter!

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In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series. (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss #1)

I’ve been reading these books in order (I still have to read Isla and the Happily Ever After but I also have to wait for the paperback because I’m OCD about my book buying), but I’m reviewing them out of order.  Anna and the French Kiss is the first book by Stephanie Perkins in her companion trilogy but I’ve already written about the second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Both stories are contemporary young adult and if you’re in the mood for a great slow burn romance, prepare to swoon.  I actually preferred Anna to Lola, but only ever so slightly.  And I think it’s because of the setting.  Anna’s story takes place in Paris which is the city of love and a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting.  She gets sent to boarding school and throughout the novel she explores the city while gradually falling for Etienne St. Clair.  And oh my goodness, the feels I have for this boy. *fans self*

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 A big reason of why I fell in love with St. Clair is because he’s such a real teenage boy.  There are things he does which make me want to shake him and scream “NO! STOP!” in his face until he handles some of his emotions better.  I also really appreciated how long it took for the Anna and St. Clair to acknowledge their feelings towards one another.  They connected deeply and formed a strong friendship because they bonded over a mutual love of the arts (Anna for films and St. Clair for art).  Anna was also authentically teenage and I appreciated her quirks (like her OCD neatness which I can relate to).  She’s very shy but she’s also sarcastic so her internal monologue is really pleasing to be part of.  I love that Anna is so passionate about films and I can relate to her wanting to see as many as possible and continue to improve the way she writes reviews.

Anna and the French Kiss is packed with swoonworthy moments and a healthy dose of drama.  It didn’t feel like the drama was overly dramatic or too romantic-comedy like.  It’s a very natural progression for the story to flow into.  I was absolutely rooting for Anna and Etienne since the moment they became friends and Stephanie Perkins’ story left me feeling oh so satisfied.  I am even considering re-reading the book soon.

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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? (via Goodreads)

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My First BookTube Video!

Now that I’m hosting videos for THINKAboutTheINK which deal strictly with comics, I decided it was time to revamp my personal YouTube channel and post about my other true love, books.  The first video which I released yesterday is my January Book Haul.  I hope you like it!

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional Couples I Ship

5 Fandom Friday is getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit!  Our topic this week is about which fictional couples we ship.  Anyone who identifies as a fangirl or a fanboy has VERY strong opinions about which characters belong together.  Here are the ones that I feel most strongly about!

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1) Peter Parker & Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man) – Gwen > MJ.  No question.  Gwen loves Peter and MJ loves Spidey.  Gwen and Peter connect on a deeper level and I wish that they would’ve been able to explore their relationship further.  Stupid Green Goblin *cries*

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2) Cath & Levi (Fangirl) – This pair is adorable.  Levi gets Cath to be open to new experiences and it’s the best thing for her.  Their love is so innocent and ahhh.

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3) Anna & Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss) – I just wrote a full review of this book which will be posted this weekend and it explains ALL of my feelings about Anna at Etienne but trust me, this pair will make you swoon.  It’s a slow burn romance and it’s so so satisfying.

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4)  Lupin & Tonks (Harry Potter) – The FEELS.

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5) Chuck & Blair (Gossip Girl) – Chuck and Blair’s relationship was such an emotional roller coaster for me.  I had read the books so at first I thought that the idea of something between them was absurd, but Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick (*swoon*) have the best on screen chemistry possibly ever.  I think they may be my OTP.

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PAST & UPCOMING TOPICS

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February 13th – Favorite Fictional Couples I Ship (Valentine’s Day)
February 20th – Things I’ve Bought But Haven’t Read/Watched/Played Yet
February 27th – Characters I Would Name My Kids After
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March 6th – Favorite Snacks/Drinks To Consume While Blogging
March 13th – My Fictional BFF’s
March 20th – My Comfort Films
March 27th – One Fandom Item Styled Five Different Ways
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The Duff Film Release Giveaway

I’m so excited to be hosting a giveaway to celebrate the release of The Duff film which is based on Kody Keplinger’s novel of the same name.  I’ve heard such great things about both the book and the film and I’m really looking forward to reading this one soon.  You can enter below for a $25 Visa gift card, a t-shirt, a copy of the book and a mini-poster!  Plus, Mae Whitman is in the film and she’s totally awesome!

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About THE DUFF

#TheDUFF – In Theaters February 20th A comedic snap shot about what it’s like to be a teen today

Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos). Now, despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong), she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman), and enlists Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison (Bella Thorne) and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF.

Based on the Novel by Kody Keplinger.

Official Websites

Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Visit the Official Website

Follow TheDUFFMovie on Snapchat for exclusive chats and content debuts

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The Prizes

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Prize pack value, $85

Open to US mailing addresses only.

Prizing provided by CBS Films

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Eye Candy: (Valentine’s Edition) Red & Pink Book Covers

People always say not to judge a book by it’s cover but I’ve picked up some amazing books in the past by breaking this rule.  I can’t help it.  I am a visual person who loves and appreciates artwork so when I see a great cover, chances are I’m going to pick up that book.  Here are some of the loveliest red & pink book covers in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.

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Tea & Book Chat: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (The Reckoners #1)

This book was sent to me by the publisher for review consideration.  This is no way swayed my opinion.

Wow. Wow. Wow.  I do not say this lightly.  Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson is one of those rare books that is immediately fascinating from the first page.  It begins with a flashback recounted by the protagonist David from when he was 8 years old.  It does a fantastic job of introducing the reader to the state of the world and the Epics who’ve destroyed it.  Epics are similar to superheroes but none of them use their powers for good.  They’ve overthrown all forms of government because no one can control them or have any chance of stopping them without knowing their one unique weakness and they show no remorse for killing normal humans.  In the flashback, we also learn why it’s become the protagonists sole purpose in life to exact revenge on an Epic named Steelheart.

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Like any nation where the mass population is not looked out for, a group of rebellious citizens have banded together with one goal: kill Epics.  They strategically plan their hits and they never stay in one city for long. Their existence is a rumor but David has spent so much time tracking them that he manages to cross paths with them when they visit Newcago.  The way that David tells the story is part of why I loved it so much.  David is only 18 so his youthful sense of hope and believing in being able to do the seemingly impossible shines through in all of his decisions. He’s both clever and fearless and his understanding of the world has mostly been learned from books.  Also, his inability to craft proper metaphors is very charming.  I can honestly say that there was never a dull moment or lull in the plot while reading.  All of the minor characters were fully developed and while most didn’t like to offer tidbits of their past, they all had such unique personalities that you could get a sense of where they came from.

If you enjoy reading about superheroes and you’ve thought about what it might be like if they actually existed, Steelheart is the perfect read.  I’m so happy the second book is out already because I don’t think I would be able to wait to find out what’s going to happen next.  I am so charmed by this underdog story and I constantly found myself rooting for the average people to emerge triumphant.  Brandson Sanderson really gets how to craft a story and I’m definitely going to be picking up everything else he’s written.  Before researching more about him, I hadn’t realized that he took over the Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordan.

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Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning – and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge. (via Goodreads)

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YA Book Releases January – April

I spend the vast majority of my time on Amazon searching new book releases, debating whether or not to preorder them and adding them to my planner more than anything else I do.  I decided to round up a quarterly list on my site since there are just too many in all of 2015 to notate in one post.  The first section includes January – April.  But if you’re looking for 2015 TV show and release dates, you can find those here!  And if you want any descriptions of what to expect, I highly suggest checking out Goodreads!

JANUARY

6th: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
113th: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall120th: Inked by Eric Smith 120th: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2) by Rob Thomas220th: Embassy Row by Ally Carter127th: Fairest by Marissa Meyer127th: I Was Here by Gayle Foreman1

FEBRUARY

3rd: Invaded (Alienated #2) by Melissa Landers
13rd: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
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5th: Scripted by Maya Rock
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10th: The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson
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10th: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
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10th: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
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10th: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
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17th: Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
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24th: Vendetta by Catherine Doyle

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MARCH

3rd: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

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3rd: Dorothy Must Die Stories(No Place Like Oz, The Witch Must Burn, The Wizard Returns) by Danielle Paige
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3rd: Mosquitoland by David Arnold
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10th: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman
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17th: Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Leviathan
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24th: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
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24th: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
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31st: The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige
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31st: The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
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31st: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

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APRIL

7th: Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins

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17th: Denton’s Little Death Date by Lance Rubin

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21st: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

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21st: City Love by Susane Colasanti

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28th: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

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28th: Rook by Sharon Cameron

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28th: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

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28th: How to Be Bad by Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart & Sarah Mlynowski

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I hope this post is helpful for all of your future book shopping trips!  What are you most looking forward to reading this year?

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Tea & Book Chat: The Conspiracy of Us By Maggie Hall (The Conspiracy of Us #1)

I had really been looking forward to picking up my copy of The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall ever since I read that it is being marketed as the YA Da Vinci Code.  I loved the idea of a story that combines action and historical mysteries with fashion and Alexander the Great.  I started it almost immediately and I basically devoured it.  Although the book did not completely live up to my expectations, it was a very enjoyable read.

Avery West is a girl with violet eyes who spent her childhood moving from city to city because of her mother’s position in the military.  She never knew her father and she had never been able to get too close to anyone since she never spent enough time in any one place to build any lasting relationships.  Right before her latest move, Avery decides to defy her mother’s wishes and attend her junior prom with a boy named Jack who had been expressing an interest in her.  At the prom, Avery is told that her father’s family is interested in meeting her and she gets whisked away to Paris.

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One of the best scenes of the book is when Avery gets attacked in Prada.  One of the twelve ruling families has the store shut down so she can shop for a dress.  She’s supposed to be heavily guarded but while she’s changing between beautiful silver and gold gowns, she’s almost killed by a member of The Order.  I did not however, enjoy the love triangle that forms while Avery and the Keepers search for the key to the mandate.  Jack is a sweet guy who cares about Avery and Stephan is a jerk and it just kills me when young female protagonists are attracted to bad guys because of their looks.

Another positive that came from reading The Conspiracy of Us is that I am definitely adding the Russian word toshka to my vocabulary.  It has no official translation but it means that you feel a sense of longing for something.  Even if you’re not sure what that something is, that nagging feeling is present and it’s what pushed Avery to get into that plane from prom.  The Conspiracy of Us also makes the reader feel as though they are traveling the world and visiting a ton of interesting historical destinations all within the 334 pages of story.

If you’re interested in a fun read and you appreciate a good historical mystery, you should check out The Conspiracy of Us.  The book ends with a cliffhanger which left me craving more, even though I didn’t have a huge attachment to any of the characters.  I will be continuing the series in the hopes that there will be more character development as we delve deeper into the mystery of Alexander the Great’s tomb, the Diadochi and the circle of twelve.

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Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.

To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.  (Via: Goodreads)

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GIVEAWAY: Steelheart & Firefight (The Reckoners Books 1 & 2) By Brandon Sanderson & Morphie Portable Charger

I am so excited to be giving away the first two books in Brandon Sanderson’s #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Reckoners!  The giveaway is celebrating the release of the second book in the series, entitled Firefight, which celebrated it’s book birthday on January 6th.  Everyone that I have ever spoken to who has read a Brandon Sanderson novel has RAVED about how they must read everything he writes so I’m also looking forward to reading and reviewing the series here as well!  In the meantime, you can read an excerpt of the second book, Firefight, here.

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ABOUT FIREFIGHT

Brandon Sanderson is back with a vengeance in FIREFIGHT, the follow up to the #1 New York Times bestselling Steelheart.In the book that Kirkus Reviews is calling a “rare middle volume that keeps the throttle open,” Sanderson takes readers on another a thrill ride and “presents a Marvel Comics-style mix of violently destructive battles, fabulous feats and ongoing inner wrestling over morality and identity.

David Charleston still can’t believe it. Steelheart is dead, and he died by David’s own hand. Even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic, but the invincible has fallen and now Newcago is free. Despite attaining revenge for the murder of his father and living his dream as a team member of the most elite Reckoners cell, David finds he has more questions than ever before, and he won’t find the answers in his home city.

Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as Manhattan, could hold the key. Ruled by the mysterious and ambivalent High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is a place flooded with water and painted in neon, where the inhabitants spend most of their days lounging and nights partying. David can’t seem to understand the complacency of the city and its residents, but what he does understand is that being positioned here, risky as it may be, could lead him to the answers he so desperately seeks. Because there is an emptiness in him, one left behind after killing Steelheart, that was filled unexpectedly by Firefight, who is just plain Megan to him. And David will stop at nothing to find a way to understand Epics and bring her back to him. Hopefully for good this time.

The second book in the Reckoners series and follow up to the highly acclaimed Steelheart, which Publishers Weekly called “an absolute page-turner,” FIREFIGHT is filled with spine-tingling adventure and heart-racing action that promises to satisfy fans both new and old.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BRANDON SANDERSON is the author of the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy. In 2007, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series following the author’s death.  The concluding book in that series, A Memory of Light, was released on January 8, 2013, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction List., just as his two previous Wheel of Time books had done.  His work has been published in over 25 languages and his books have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah. Visit him at BrandonSanderson.com or connect with him on Twitter @BrandSanderson.

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Prizing & samples courtesy of Random House

Giveaway open to US addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

OFFICIAL LINKS

Visit the author online at www.BrandonSanderson.com

Follow Brandon on Twitter: @BrandSanderson

When sharing on social, please use hashtags:

#Steelheart #Firefight

#ForgetNothing

PRAISE & ACCOLADES FOR STEELHEART

  • #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • IRA Young Adults
  • ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • ALA-YALSA Teens Top Ten
  • Amazon Best Book of the Year

“Sanderson has written a riveting dystopian adventure novel . . . Snappy dialogue, bizarre plot twists, high intensity action, and a touch of mystery and romance; it’s a formula that sucks readers into the prologue, slings them through on tension-filled encounter after the other, and then . . . leaves them panting for the sequel.” —Booklist, starred

“Sanderson’s whiz-bang imaginings, and a fully realized sense of danger (the brutal opening scene alone will hook many) make this an absolute page-turner.” —Publishers Weekly

“Perfect for genre fans who love exciting adventure stories with surprising plot twists. Readers will be rooting for David.” —School Library Journal

“Unfortunately for my ego, Steelheart is another win for Sanderson, proving that he’s not a brilliant writer of epic fantasy, he’s simply a brilliant writer. Period.”  —Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times bestseller The Name of the Wind

“Fantastic! The suspense is relentless and the climax explosive, with a resolution that I’ll be thinking about for a long time.” —James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series 

“A tense, fast-paced adventure. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy sci-fi writers working today.” —Christopher Paolini, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller Eragon

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