Today I’m taking part in the official Launch Blitz for Melissa Lander’s newest book, Starfall, which is the second book in the Starlight series. In honor of the releases, I have a message from Melissa to share with you, some praise for the first novel in the series, some exciting news regarding the first e-book and a giveaway!!
I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m so excited to launch STARFALL, the second and final book in my Starflight duology! This story picks up shortly after the first book ends, but now Cassia and Kane are the main characters, with Doran, Solara, and the rest of the Banshee crew pitching in to help take down an intergalactic mafia. (You know, just an ordinary day in space.) And while saying goodbye to characters is never easy, I think I gave the crew a proper sendoff with plenty of humor, heart, and action. I hope you love STARFALL as much as I do! Haven’t read the first book? You’re in luck, because for a limited time, Starflight is on sale for 99 cents in all e-formats. Now you can binge read the entire duology in one sitting!
Praise for Starflight:
“Smart, action-packed and utterly addictive!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman
“Starflight has the cinematic appeal, warp-speed action and unlikely heroes of Star Wars.” –Justine Magazine
“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist
“A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal
If you love sci-fi adventure with a dash of romance, I hope you’ll pick up the Starflight duology today. Starflight and Starfall are both available in stores and online.
STARFLIGHT (book 1)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2kjs57n
Book Depository (free international shipping): http://bit.ly/1OoN2WD
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1IIMPx7
STARFALL (book 2)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2ddKuih
Book Depository: http://bit.ly/2k98EvN
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/2dhMLry
To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a Starflight duology swag pack, complete with bookmarks and two signed mini posters! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.
Best of luck, and happy reading!
Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.
Personal Thoughts: I love all things Jack the Ripper! I’ve always found his case to be mysterious and intriguing so pretty much anytime a book wants to further explore the possibilities surrounding his murders, I count myself in. Add to that a female main character pushing the boundaries of societal norms in Victorian London and I am even more enthused.
Plot Summary: Audrey Rose is an atypical seventeen year old who’s the daughter of a lord, but is way more interested in solving crimes and performing autopsies as an apprentice to her uncle than she is in acting proper and finding a husband. She assumes a faux male identity in the evening and sneaks to her uncle’s where she learns about anatomy and how to make incisions on corpses. When Jack the Ripper starts wreaking havoc in London, she’s eager to help solve the case no matter how improper it may be but suddenly things seem to be hitting much closer to home than she expected.
Critique: I thoroughly enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. Audrey is an intelligent protagonist and it’s a pleasure to read the story through her eyes. The lengths she is willing to go to follow her passion and break free of societal norms is so refreshing. She does display a certain amount of give and take in her interactions (never thinking her treatment is fair or not worth fighting for) and it makes her drive and tactics that much more plausible. Then there’s Thomas Creswell who is undeniably awkward in a savant-like way and he’s also incredibly charming. He and Audrey become close in their pursuit of Jack the Ripper and the romance between them is adorable. Thomas never assumes she can’t do something because of her gender and he’s very supportive of her extracurricular activities. Another thing I loved about Stalking Jack the Ripper is that despite taking place in the late 1800’s, the writing is very accessible. There are certain nods to the time period that are slipped in, but it’s never a challenge to follow and the communication between characters reads crystal clear. Be warned that if you’re a bit squeamish, all of the medical terms during the autopsies may get to you.
Do I Recommend?: Definitely! I really enjoyed this story despite being able to predict the ending and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula!
As per usual, my haul this month is jam packed with way more books than I was expecting to purchase, but in my defense, I didn’t buy all of them. And even better, there’s a Squirrel Girl giveaway I’m holding which I talk about in the beginning of the video! I partnered with Marvel Press to be able to offer this giveaway to everyone so I wish you good luck and happy reading! If you don’t win, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World is currently on sale in bookstores everywhere. You can read an excerpt from the book or the synopsis below:
Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her fluffy tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of… a squirrel!
After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, like a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born!
She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and prevents vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl is archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go… NUTS?
One (1) copy of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale and branded Squirrel Girl ears.
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Marvel Press.
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Personal Thoughts: After listening to an extensive number of reviews about Sally Thorne’s debut novel, The Hating Game, I knew it would be a book I would love. I even heard several people compare the writing to that of Rainbow Rowell’s which caused me to move it up to the very top of my TBR. While I did enjoy The Hating Game, it was lacking that special wow factor for me which makes me sad since I was so ready to love it and count it as a new favorite. Maybe my expectations were just too high and I’ll forever be wary of anyone comparing anything to Rainbow Rowell.
Plot Summary: The Hating Game follows Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeton, executive assistants to the co-CEO’s of their newly combined companies. And they hate each other. So as if tensions between them weren’t running high enough, they’re informed that their company will be creating a new position directly above Lucy and Josh and they’re the top two contenders for the job (which translates to Lucy or Josh will become the other person’s boss). But as we all know, there’s a very thin line between love and hate.
Critique: My favorite part of The Hating Game is all the witty banter between Lucy and Josh. Josh is your typical stick in the mud kind of numbers guy. He has a weekly schedule for which days of the week he wears which shirt, he’s ruthless toward coworkers who aren’t pulling their weight, and he wouldn’t dream of touching anything with sugar in it. Meanwhile, Lucy is colorful and fun. She’s a people person and she would rather work overtime killing herself and her social life than endure a confrontation with anyone no matter how much they’re walking all over her. She comes from a humble background, her parents own a strawberry farm and she’s struggling with her new life in a big city. I love hate to love relationships and this one is no exception but I was somehow just expecting more from it. Both Josh and Lucy have more going on than meets that eye and as they finally start to open up to each other between feuds, a small flame starts burning brighter. The Hating Game came enormously hyped and overall, I didn’t feel like it totally delivered. It was a quick, fun and enjoyable read but it didn’t resonate with me the way it seems to have with so many others. I can absolutely see The Hating Game being made into a rom-com and I would definitely go and see it once it hits theaters.
Do I Recommend?: I do! I seem to be the black sheep when it comes to The Hating Game so if you enjoy contemporary romances I would recommend checking it out!
This month Cassie and I met to discuss Windwitch by Susan Dennard for the Spines With Wines book club! It was a really fun one because we had opposite opinions on a lot of the story so you’ll get both points of view. You can view the full video below:
February Book Club Pick
I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for Corey Ann Haydu’s newest release, The Careful Undressing of Love. This most recent story of hers is Corey’s first foray into magical realism in the YA genre. I can honestly say that I was completely enthralled by the end of the first page and I could not tear my eyes away from the mystery surrounding the women of Devonairre Street which is why I’ll be giving you 5 reasons you should read The Careful Undressing of Love after this brief synopsis:
The girls of Devonairre Street have always been told they’re cursed. Any boy they love is certain to die too soon. But this is Brooklyn in 2008, and the curse is less a terror and more a lifestyle accessory—something funky and quaint that makes the girls from the shortest street in Brooklyn special. They wear their hair long and keys around their necks. People give them a second look and whisper “Devonairre” to their friends. But it’s not real. It won’t affect their futures.
Then Jack—their Jack, the one boy everyone loved—dies suddenly and violently. And now the curse seems not only real, but like the only thing that matters. All their bright futures have suddenly gone dark.
The Careful Undressing of Love is a disturbing and sensual story of the power of youth and the boundless mysteries of love set against the backdrop of Haydu’s brilliantly reimagined New York City.
- Beautiful prose – What struck me the most while reading The Careful Undressing of Love is the beautiful way that Corey Ann Haydu relays how our main character Lorna experiences the world. She has a way of turning the most simple observations into something worth examining. One of my favorite sentences in the book is on the very first page of the first chapter and it has stuck with me long after I finished reading. Lorna is watching a balloon float away from Devonairre Street on her shared birthday and she thinks “I think I wouldn’t mind being a red balloon against a blue Brooklyn sky, looking down over Devonairre Street.” It totally sets the mood for the story since the reader is technically that balloon, hovering over Lorna and co., getting inside information about their lifestyle without ever having to experience the grief of being fully involved.
- Complex feelings of grief and loss – The Careful Undressing of Love takes place in an alternate reality which is very close to ours but instead of 9/11, the characters are all Affected by a bombing in Times Square where they lost their loved ones. In this strange new future, everyone is required to learn the names of the Affected and there is a minute of silence each day to remember those who were lost, and those who survive them. But, this is not the only coping mechanism for loss and grief that’s present but I’ll explain more in my fifth reason.
- An intriguing curse – According to Angelika, the driving force in perpetuating remembrance of the infamous curse, any man that a woman of Devonairre Street falls in love with is destined to die soon after. An overwhelming number women on the street have lost their husbands in the Times Square bombings and widowed women have been dwelling on Devonairre Street for years. Angelika has her reasons for believing in the curse and she checks each girls faces on their shared birthday each year for any sign of love. She reminds them constantly to never fall in love or else it will be their fault when an innocent man dies.
- Delicious food descriptions – Lemons, lavender tea, honey cake and vanilla tea are the foods that stick out to me most after reading this book. They’re definitely the most prevalent but there’s one other scene that stuck out in my mind. Lorna would often imagine Future Lorna and in one possible future she sees herself crashing weddings and having a stomach for champagne & cake and it just made me so happy that I have some upcoming weddings to attend.
- Cult-like behaviors of Devonairre Street – Some of the eccentric behavior of the women of Devonairre Street is done as a preventative measure to avoid falling in love. Other habits are superstitious and nonsensical and others are a coping mechanism. The girls of Devonairre Street wear keys around their necks. The never cut their hair and they wear a ton of wool clothing. When a male they’ve doomed passes away they console each other with lemons and lavender tea and they leave their driveway lights on overnight because according to Angelika, “love happens at night.” (Or luf as she would say in her Polish accent.)
Enter for a chance to win one (1) of three (3) signed copies of A Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on January 30, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 13, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 14, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting. This week I’m choosing When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I’ve been so EAGERLY anticipating this one that I can’t even put it into words. I absolutely love the concept of the story- an Indian girl and boy head to a summer program for web developers. Dimple is interested in going and escaping her parents who keep pressuring her to find the perfect Indian husband. Meanwhile, they’ve actually set up an arranged marriage with Rishi’s parents and Rishi is a traditionalist and a romantic. He’s so excited to go to this program, meet his future wife and sweep her off of her feet. The parents hadn’t planned on introducing their children so early in life but since they’re both gravitating toward the same program, they figure, why not! I’ve never read a contemporary book about an arranged marriage before and I’m so excited to learn more about the tradition with a summer program for web developers as a setting! I’ve actually never screamed so much upon receiving an ARC. My husband and brother were both overwhelmed by my enthusiasm and I had to excuse myself from conversation IMMEDIATELY so I could go photograph my new book<3
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Top Ten Tuesday’s are a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which anyone who participates creates a Top Ten list of books based on a weekly prompt they provide (the list for advance topics can be found by clicking the link above).
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is graphic novels and comics so I decided to include manga as well! It’s been a while since I’ve done a comics post on my blog so I’m excited to be putting together this one today. In recent years, I’ve found myself gravitating away from the toxicity of the comics industry in favor of full length novels and manga. There were a bunch of personal experiences with creators that turned me off to comics in general which breaks my heart because I love the medium dearly but I think it’s helped me identify the stories that are right for me. My comics and graphic novels TBR is much shorter than it ever has been but I’m genuinely thrilled for all the books I have to look forward to. Here they are!
- Archie Volume Two by Mark Waid and Veronica Fish – I LOVED the first volume of the rebooted Archie and I picked up the second volume as soon as it was released but I have yet to read it. Last week I watched Riverdale and it really sparked my interest in continuing the series ASAP!
- Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat Volume 2: Don’t Stop Me’ow by Kate Leth and Brittney L. Williams – Patsy Walker is probably my current favorite Marvel superhero (yes, even more than Spider-Gwen!). I really loved the first volume from Patsy’s sass to the trendy clothes and the inclusion of She-Hulk and I can’t wait to dive into volume 2!
- Phonogram by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie – I’ve been meaning to read this one for years. I love Gillen and McKelvie collectively as a creative team (Young Avengers is like, my favorite thing ever) and I’m so curious about this one of their earlier works! I love that it centers around music and I really need to read it already.
- The Wicked + The Divine Volume 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie – See, here they are again. I loved the artwork and the unique story concept in the first volume but I haven’t gotten to volume 2 just yet. Must rectify!
- & 6. Giant Days Volumes 2 & 3 by John Allison & Lissa Treiman – I wish there were more titles out there like Giant Days! It’s a slice of life story following three very different roommates during college. Each character is completely lovable in their own way and I can never chose a favorite because I love them all so much!
7. Fruits Basket Volume 2 by Natsuki Takaya – I loved this anime and I read the first volume when it was released. Thankfully, these beautiful collector’s editions of Fruits Basket have been released so rapidly! I honestly can’t keep up with how often each new volume debuts but there are no complaints here! I actually have volumes 2-8 currently sitting unread on my shelf and the 9th should be coming out shortly!
8. Princess Jellyfish Volume 3 by Akiko Higashimura – This is one of my favorite manga series that’s finally being released in the U.S.! I devoured the first two volumes but I haven’t yet read the 3rd. I’m actually having the opposite issue of Fruits Basket, I hate not having another volume to look forward to once I finish so I’m saving it for closer to when volume 4 comes out!
9. Komomo Confiserie Volume 3 by Maki Minami – This manga is so much fun. It’s honestly not the best story but I’m completely in love with the illustrations. I didn’t get really into it until the end of the second volume, but I love the dresses and pastries and it’s only 5 volumes so I’m planning on finishing up soon.
10. Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches Volume 8 by Miki Yoshikawa – I basically inhaled volumes 1-7 of this series! I swear I never binge read a manga series so fast in my life but I loved the characters and the concept of this unusual story. I took a short break since I didn’t have too many volumes left to read but now I’ve got 8-12 calling to me!
Welcome to my reading challenges recap for 2017! This is a monthly post where I’ll be updating my progress throughout the year by challenge so you (and I) can see a breakdown of what I’ve read and which goals those books apply to. I’m always open to suggestions in the comments as well! If you’re interested in learning more about any of the challenges below, you can view my sign-up post!
Read so far: 9
Books Read: The Amateurs by Sara Shepard (The Amateur #1), The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Fixer #1), A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #2), P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #1), Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg, Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse, The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu
Read so far: 2
Favorite Read of the month: I can’t pick, I loved them both!
Read so far: 3
Favorite read of the month:
Read so far: 2
Favorite read of the month: tbh, they were both a bit disappointing for me :-(
Read so far: 2
Favorite read of the month: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Goal: 51-75 points
Points so far: 2 points
This month, I’m also hosting a giveaway for up o $50 worth of books from Book Depository! I recently surpassed 10,000 subscribers on YouTube so I wanted to show my appreciation for all of your love and support by gifting someone with new books! The only requirements to enter are 1) you must be subscribed to my booktube channel and 1) you must live in a country that Book Depository ships to. I’ll contact a winner once the contest ends and if I don’t receive a response within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck, and thanks again!!!
Personal Thoughts: After finishing and loving P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, I decided I was on a contemporary kick and jumped right into one of my most anticipated of 2017. Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse is a book that I got an ARC of at BEA and I’d been meaning to read it before it’s March release date so I could review it here on the blog. What initially peaked my interest in Seven Days of You is the fact that it’s set in Tokyo. I love all things Japan so my heart felt ready to dive in and run around Tokyo in my head while ignoring the Nor’easter weather conditions here in NYC.
Plot Summary: Seven Days of You is the story of a girl named Sophia who has only one week left in Tokyo. She’s lived there with her mother and her sister for more combined years than any other location and she’s not ready to leave her best friends, her school and everything familiar in her life behind and head to New Jersey right before she begins her senior year of high school. As Sophia is getting ready to leave, Jamie, the boy she’s harbored a huge grudge against for the past couple of years, arrives back in Tokyo and their relationship dynamic begins to change when he helps her pick up the pieces of everything falling apart around her. But despite the change of heart, Sophia and Jamie are dealing with an impending deadline of Sophia’s inevitable departure.
Critique: I’m sad to say that Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse did not live up to my expectations. My initial interest in the Tokyo setting ended up being the only thing that kept me going throughout the whole story. I loved anytime the characters would meet up at a tourist destination in Tokyo, would go to karaoke, or would indulge in Japanese snacks. It was really fun to pick out some favorites and wish I were there eating with them! There was also a mention in the beginning of the book that reminded me of one of my favorite manga series (Nana by Ai Yazawa) so I was very hyped. Unfortunately, my love of the book ended there. I didn’t completely dislike the book but none of the characters were very memorable, and I struggled with the plot. Sophia and her friends Mika and David are immature. David treats Sophia horribly yet she spends a good portion of the story harboring a crush on him anyway. I really disliked the way the situation between the three of them was handled from beginning to end. Then there’s the love interest Jamie who seemed like such a good guy. He’s way too good for everything that Sophia puts him through and it was sad to see him hang around her. Mika seemed like she had potential to be an interesting character but it was difficult to ever fully understand her or the motivation behind her actions and David is just awful. Another thing I found strange is that Japanese words would be in italics the first time they were used. I’m unsure if this is because I read an ARC version or if it was an intentional way to show readers that an object is Japanese. I’ll be very curious to see if that’s the same in the finished version. One thing I did like is that each chapter has a countdown in the chapter header showing us how many more days, hours, minutes and seconds Sophia has left before she leaves Tokyo. Seven Days of You is an enjoyable read for the Japanese references but it’s not something I would re-read and I know the story isn’t one that will stick with me.