Thursday, August 25, 2016

20 Exciting 2016/17 YA Books by Black Women | #DiversityBoost



This is the first post for my new blog feature, #DiversityBoost - created solely to boost and highlight diverse books and authors!

Do yourself a favor, diversify your shelf, and add all those fantastic books to your TBR on Goodreads.





2016

PEAS AND CARROTS by Tanita S. Davis
A Black girl coming to live with a White foster family and I absolutely need to read this book! This sounds so great. (Feb 2016, Knopf Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

THE SMALLER EVIL by Stephanie Kuehn
A fast-paced fantastic thriller featuring a gay teen with anxiety! I've been excited for this for months. (Aug 2016, Dutton Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

INTO WHITE by Randi Pink
This is about a Black girl waking up White one day and I need it in my life SO SO SO badly. You need it, too. (Sept 2016, Feiwel and Friends) Goodreads

PASADENA by Sherri L. Smith
A noir thriller in the vein of WE WERE LIARS, oh my! Give me all the unreliable narrators, I am ready for this. (Sept 2016, G.P. Putnam's Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN by Sarah Everett
This has a gorgeous cover and features one of my favorite tropes - memory loss and trying to recover those memories. I'm excited. (Oct 2016, Knopf Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

STEALING SNOW by Danielle Page
You can't go wrong with fairytale retellings and this particular one absolutely had me at "high security mental hospital".
(Sept 2016, Bloomsbury USA Children's) Goodreads


THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon
A gorgeous contemporary about love and fate from the fantastic Nicola Yoon. (Nov 2016, Delacorte Press) Goodreads

FATE OF FLAMES by Sarah Raughley
Four girls with the power to control elements fighting against nightmare monsters. Love me some girl power, this sounds great.
(Nov 2016, Simon Pulse) Goodreads


(other covers yet to be revealed, but not any less exciting!)

PLASTIC WINGS by C.T. Callahan
Angels and humans fighting to the death, I've always been a sucker for a good angel story, so all the thumbs up for this! (Nov 2016, Three Little Books Co.)  Goodreads


2017 


ALLEGEDLY by Tiffany D. Jackson
This sounds like a marvellous thrilling read: The protagonist is accused of having murdered a child.
(Jan 2017, Katherine Tegen Books) Goodreads

BINTI: HOME by Nnedi Okorafor
Granted, this one is a short story, but if you haven't read part 1, BINTI, you are missing out. African-inspired sci-fi. You need this. (Jan 2017, Tor.com) Goodreads



AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi
This is about a Haitian immigrant pursuing the American Dream, and I am already in love. (Feb 2017, Balzer + Bray) Goodreads

(other covers yet to be revealed, but not any less exciting!)

THE HATE U GIVE by A.C. Thomas
This tackles the very important topic of police brutality and I cannot wait to read this and recommend it to everyone I know. (Jun 2017, Balzer & Bray) Goodreads

THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton 
Girls who can manipulate beauty. Give me this fresh concept and fantastic idea immediately, I need this! Ahhhh (Dec 2017, Disney Hyperion) Goodreads

DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone
This one makes me already love it by its fantastic blurb. Police brutality, Martin Luther King, Blackness. Yes. (2017, Crown Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

YOU DON'T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU by Rebecca Barrow
Accidental pregnancy, adoption, secrets! Yes! (2017, HarperTeen) Goodreads

UNRAVELING LOVELY by Ashley Woodfolk
Social media, diversity, and dealing with a tragedy. Sounds exactly right up my alley and like it will rip my heart out. Yes. (2017, Delacorte) Goodreads

LITTLE & LION by Brandy Colbert
A black and jewish teen and mental health! Ah, this sounds like a dream come true. (2017, Little Brown Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

THE YEAR I LEARNED EVERYTHING by Roxane Gray
Not much has been revealed yet but Gray is a name you can expect nothing short from perfection of. Looking forward to this. (2017, Balzer & Bray) Goodreads


Which upcoming novel sounds the most interesting to you?




#DiversityBoost is a new monthly feature on my blog where I boost and highlight diverse books or books by diverse authors. 

I'll periodically be making posts like this, so if you're a diverse author/ have written a diverse book and would like to be in one of my posts, follow my twitter to never miss a submission call!

All posts here.

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Recommendation: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) - Claudia Gray: Dimensional Travel and Parallel Universes





In A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, Marguerite is determined to hunt down Paul Markov, the man that killed her physicist father and subsequently fled into a parallel universe.

What intrigued me: Time travel books are my krypronite. This is only dimensional travel, but well - close enough.

YES to parallel worlds

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU teases with a killer premise. Parallel worlds. Science. Physics. Sci-Fi. Action.
And the strange thing is, it actually delivers. The first page hooked me and I was absolutely invested in the story. The world building is impeccable, the parallel worlds Marguerite and side kick and other love interest Theo travel to are both fascinating and shockingly plausible. 

Yep, this one is one of the dreaded YA read with a love triangle - but hear me out: Gray actually manages to make this one quite endurable because Marguerite never really develops more than brotherly feelings for one of them. I'm not going to tell which one, it would spoil all the fun. The romance we get though, is breathtaking.

Emotional punch to the gut

It's a literal punch to the gut. I was so invested in the romantic storyline that would, and sometimes wouldn't happen, depending on which parallel universe they were in. Gosh. I suffered with Marguerite, I swooned with her, I cried with her.

Gray has this wonderfully easy to read, clean writing style, but whenever we have a romantic scene, she bang out sentences that just make you look up and reevaluate your life. Or start ugly crying. Seriously, if you want swoon and all the feels, this is your pick. For the love of god, I lost my heart in the Russian parallel world. If you've already recognized it, Saint Basil's Cathedral is pictured on the cover. A huge chunk of the novel is spent in Moscow in a wonderfully Romanov-era storyline that WILL murder your feelings. 

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is really a spectacularly written, unpredictable book version of a box of chocolates. From high tech worlds, to regency worlds, to something inbetween, I promise you'll enjoy at least one of the fantastic worlds Claudia Gray has so incredibly carefully crafted. And hey, the time travel plot is also pretty neat. And the love interest.  Dear God, the love interest. Prepare to have your heart broken.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is the parallel world novel that I've been waiting for. If you love a good romance with a side of fast-paced action, pick this gem up.



Additional Info

Published: November 4th 2014
Pages: 360
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Parallel Worlds
ISBN: 9780062278968

Synopsis:
"Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected."(Source: Goodreads)

Do you know some good books about parallel worlds?

Continue Reading...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

[Review] Cursed - Jennifer L. Armentrout: Deadly Touch and Familiar Vibes





In CURSED, Ember McWilliams was resurrected by her younger sister Olivia after she died in a car accident. But Ember came back with a supernatural power herself: everything she touches dies.

What intrigued me: I had Armentrout withdrawal.

Copycat storyline?

Armentrout wrote an intriguing novel with an amazing character voice here. What I enjoy most about Armentrout's novels are always the spot on teenage voices with super sassy, sarcastic heroines. Ember is a very strong character and I really enjoyed reading the book from her perspective.

Sadly, CURSED is too reminiscent of a lot of books I know to stand on it's own. The setting in the manor with the evil father reminds me of WITHER, the concept of the deathly touch of SHATTER ME, the gifted children of MISS PEREGERINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, and Adam, the quirky childhood friend is an absolute YA stock character. It seems like there isn't an ounce of originality in this. 


Forced chemistry

A huge chunk of the novel takes place at the Cromwell residence, and from there it just goes downhill for me. The novel severely lacks in world building and is simply just not well-thought out. Protagonist Ember gets kidnapped a third into the novel by people with similar gifts. Hayden, who lives in said house is also gifted, immediately expresses an interest in her after stalking her for months, and their "tension" is very forced, disturbingly sexual from the start, and just overall awkward.

CURSED wasted a lot of potential, relying to hard on the romance and not backing the story up enough. I could have loved this if there was more behind those abilities, less lusting, and more brains. It's hardly believable how easily Ember let's the Cromwells get away with taking her and her family, especially because she's literally a girl with a deadly touch and could kill anyone she wanted.

I wanted Ember to be a strong, kick-ass protagonist given her extraordinary ability. CURSED disappoints me, because yet again a strong heroine forgets how dangerous and perfectly capable of fighting for her rights she is, simply because there's a pretty boy in sight. Sigh.


Rating:


☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I realize that the rating is probably a little to low for this excellent character voice, however there is just too much material that I've seen in other novels before. The tropes that Armentrout borrows aren't even executed extraordinarily, it just reads like an average novel with little to no planning or world building. CURSED absolutely disappoints by being too similar to novels who have simply done it better before. 


Additional Info


Published: September 18th 2012
Pages: 304
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: YA / Urban  Fantasy
ISBN: 9780983157274

Synopsis:
"Dying sucks
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. 

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Introducing #DiversityBoost: I'll be promoting and boosting #ownvoices and #diverse Authors! | Blog News




As you might know, the topic of diversity in publishing is very close to my heart. 

So, a couple of weeks ago I came up with the concept of #DiversityBoost. Basically this feature will mainly consist of book recommendations and content promoting upcoming and recently released books.



#DiversityBoost will solely focus on boosting and spotlighting recently released and upcoming books that either are diverse or are written by diverse authors.

That may include:
  • Authors of Color, no matter their gender
  • Authors who are otherwise marginalized (e.g. disability, lgbtq*, non-christian, illness)
  • White Authors who write about diverse characters

I'll be offering different opportunities for those periodically. The first post for #DiversityBoost will go live on August 25th and focus on exciting new and upcoming YA by Black women. Many more posts including many more marginalized voices are to come. I'm looking to make this a monthly feature, to be published towards the end of the month respectively.

You will be able to find all those posts starting from August 25th here, and I will be periodically announcing submission calls and opportunities for authors to get featured. 

How you can help:
  • Authors
If you are a diverse author and you'd like to be featured, follow me on twitter, the only place where I'll be announcing those submission calls. Any and all #ownvoices authors can submit guest posts to my blog anytime, as long as the topic relates to diversity and publishing. Contact me here.
  • Readers/Bloggers
If you'd simply like to help out, I'd love for you to participate. To do something similar and start reading diverse books only or to launch a feature just for that! Contact me here or leave a comment linking your feature.

Do you have a similar feature? I'd be happy to collaborate on something to help diverse authors out.

If you have a specific request on what you'd like to see, I'm happy to take suggestions anytime.

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Recommendation: Because I Love You - Tori Rigby: Teen Pregnancy and #Feels

In BECAUSE I LOVE YOU by Tori Rigby, Andie gets pregnant after sleeping with her best friend.

What intrigued me: I haven't read many books about teen pregnancy.

Page-turner with perfect pacing

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU truly is a pleasant surprise. With incredibly powerful and strong writing, it absolutely sucks you in.
Rigby tells this story without ever missing a beat, it's perfectly paced and told from the perspective of a very relatable teen. I truly loved reading about Andie, was really invested in her struggles, and felt like her thoughts and actions are very authenic. The voice and characters are on point, and I genuinely loved every second of reading this book. Rigby has an uncanny ability to make you care about this story and the characters and I came to dearly love Andie and care for her.

The perfect pace is genuinely my favorite thing about BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. It just makes you want to continue, and that quickly, because Rigby just knows where to end a chapter. Cliffhangers galore! But not the forced kind, the kind that makes it very difficult to just put the book down and stop. You have to keep reading. This book cost me a couple night's worth of sleep.

Quiet and emotional

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU is pretty close to perfection. It really follows this super simple storyline of a girl getting pregnant and the baby's father not supporting her, but it's unique in so many little ways; the writing, the emotions, the characters - not once did I find myself able to predict what's going to happen next. Rigby is very subtle in her way of telling the story of Andie and her baby, making this a somewhat quiet, yet very emotional read. 

You won't find any stock characters in BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. Love interest and ex-boyfriend Neil for example, is one of those bad boy type of characters I certainly have seen before, but the way Rigby writes him makes him incredibly smypathtetic, adorable, and swoon-worthy. In the story, he becomes Andie's confidant and new love interest and their relationship will have you swoon and day-dream.

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU is easily one of my favorite contemporary reads of the year and a must-read for fans of the genre.


Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU will definitely rise to the top reads of 2016 for me. If you love contemporary and gut-wrenching stories and want to be overwhelmed by emotions 200% of the time, you cannot and should not miss BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. Read it.



Additional Info

Published: May 17th 2016
Pages: 232
Publisher: Blaze Publishing
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ASIN: B01BUQM50A

Synopsis:
"Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant. 

Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby. 

Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she's forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go."(Source: Goodreads)



Do you know great books about teen pregnancy?

Continue Reading...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Blog Makeover: I've Got a Logo & Button Now! | Blog News


I've always wanted a blog button and distinct logo for my blog. 

When a friend of mine recently got a commission from a fantastic artist done, my jaw dropped and I had to go ahead and get one of my own.






So I'm sure you've seen the new logo already! Isn't it gorgeous?! If you didn't know what I look like, well, now you know! For the really curious there's more pictures of me here on the blog, and here.

I'm definitely open to adding some more art to my blog. I've recently been super infatuated with the blog design on Pop! Goes the Reader. Jen has these super pretty comic style renditions of her all over her blog and there are new ones for every feature she does. It's really pretty, you should check her blog out. It definitely inspired me to finally go & search for an artist to design a logo for me. 

If I happen to get rich overnight, I'm definitely knocking on my wonderful artist's (virtual) door again to get some more commissions from her. 

I also messed with the colors on my blog a little, maybe you've also noticed that if you're really observant! I decided not to go all crazy and wild and simply make small changes. I like the clean look for now, I probably won't ever go for any crazy colors on my blog.  BUT I've been thinking about making those white tiles beige. I love the beige I used to have and I'm kinda worried that the white is too bright and too clean. What do you think?

So that's about it, I'm linking the lovely girl who drew my icon below, she's open for comissions right now and as you can see, fantastically talented. 

Harrison: Tumblr | Email: harrison1997@me.com



What do you think? Do you like the new look? 

If you like, feel free to grab my button on the left! Let me know. Any feedback's appreciated.

Continue Reading...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Don't Accept Books without LGBT* or POC Representation for Review Anymore & What 2016 Has to Do with That


Maybe you've already seen that I changed my review policy significantly; a couple of weeks ago I decided to completely stop accepting books without any diversity for review.

And there is one hell of a reason for that. 


2016 has already been a tough year for everyone I think. I feel like we're waking up to a new tragedy every day, starting from that one American politician who shall not be named, to Brexit, to the refugee crisis - the world's seemingly completely falling to pieces. 

Maybe you already know where I'm going with this. All these three things (yes, I'm deliberately calling them things) have in common that they are somehow making people more and more afraid of foreigners, other cultures, concepts and people they haven't seen before.

If you don't believe me, I'd like to remind you of what happened at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Of what happened to Mike Brown, Korryn Gaines, Philando Castile, and most recently Jesse Romero. Marginalized people are deliberately being targeted, murdered, persecuted. It's the most obvious and apparent in the police brutality you've (maybe) seen on the news in the US, and the terrorist attacks in Middle Europe. And don't forget what happened in Japan.

Long story short:
  • I'm the child of an immigrant. 
  • I'm a multiracial person of color. 
  • I consider myself to belong to the LGBT* community. 
  • I'm chronically ill. 
I'm marginalized in many ways and all those tragedies directed at people like me hit close to home. The least I can do is support the movements on social media, tweet about every single POC that gets killed by the police, and - on my good old book blog - boost diverse reads as much as I can. 

I will no longer consider pitches for books that aren't diverse. I'll try to publish as many reviews and recommendations focusing on diverse reads as I can. I'll take any opportunity to help diverse authors out to the best of my ability.

There are lots of books that don't feature diverse characters and aren't written by diverse authors and I'm aware that I may be missing out by declining to review those. But that hardly matters to me and is missing the point.

I know you probably realize this but I'd still like to say it:
  • This does not mean that I hate all books that are only about white and straight and abled and Christian people.
  • This does not mean that I hate all authors who only write about white and straight and abled and Christian people.
  • This does not mean that I think you are a bad person for liking or reading books about white and straight and abled and Christian people.
  • The only thing that this means is that marginalized lives matter


POC, Disabled, LGBTQ*, and otherwise Marginalized people need OUR - YOUR - support now more than ever. And you know what? It's free. 


In the wake of all those tragedies - there's one thing you can do no matter where you are, no matter who you are: You can support diverse creators. 

If you're a blogger, I strongly encourage you to do the same. It doesn't cost you any money or effort. We need diverse books now more than ever, because diverse books show that
  • Marginalized people do have a future. 
  • That Marginalized people can get happy endings. 
  • That Marginalized people can succeed. 
  • That we can live.
I invite you to join me in this, and support the heck out of diverse authors and authors who write about diverse characters. Launch support features! Read more diversely! Share deal announcements and cover reveals and nice reviews for diverse reads! Help diverse authors out.


If you want to make me really happy, please tell me about how you'll be taking initiative. 

Even if it's through sharing posts on social media. Every little bit helps.

Continue Reading...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

[Review] The Darkest Minds (#1) - Alexandra Bracken: Dystopian Concentration Camps and Road Trips





In THE DARKEST MINDS an illness epidemic is causing children to either die or develop supernatural abilities. The government's reaction to that is to stick all survivors into correctional facilities. After five years, Ruby Daly manages to escape.
What intrigued me: Recommended by a friend. I had no idea what this is about.

Concentration camps in dystopian YA? Yikes.

THE DARKEST MINDS starts off with pages and pages of backstory from the protagonist Ruby's childhood to establish the world. 
The concept is nothing that I haven't seen before (similar to SHATTER ME or THE PROGRAM), and it just didn't knock my socks off. Thurmond, the facility that Ruby is imprisoned in for the first 100 or so pages, is a very sloppy and uncanny version of this world's concentration camps. It's there for nothing but shock value and it doesn't even do a great job at that. 

I was simply bored and contemplated quitting multiple times because there was just nothing interesting about this because Bracken does her best to withhold as much information as she can get away with. Ruby's experiences at Thurmond are nothing but a plot device, and this book would do so much better if it had just started right at Ruby's escape instead of torturing the reader with a whopping 80 pages of info dump world building backstory that's absolutely unnecessary to understand what's going on.

Your average road trip story

I didn't find the world of THE DARKEST MINDS extensive enough to really get to me - superhero-like abilities in dystopia are very difficult to pull off and require a lot of world building to get me really into it. I crave explanations, especially in dystopian novels and the lack thereof didn't really make this more enjoyable for me. 

Essentially this is a "rebels on the road" kind of story. It really reads like an elongated road trip, and as charming as the characters are, the weak premise just can't carry this. It reminds me a lot of UNDER THE NEVER SKY, which in my opinion had the same problem - too much pointless running around instead of actual story. I found it really boring and not really living up to the promising start at Thurmond. 

Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

You aren't really missing out if you skip this one. I did like the characters, but found the whole concept not groundbreaking enough to want to read the sequels.



Additional Info

Published: December 18th 2012
Pages: 488
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781423157373

Synopsis:
"When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.' to
 "(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite Dystopian read?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Recommendation: Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) - Zoraida Córdova: Witches, Latinx, and Demons





In LABYRINTH LOST, Alejandra discovers that her witchy powers are stronger than she thought when she accidentally sends her entire family into limbo.

What intrigued me: I can't pass up books about witches, even less books about Latina witches!

Brujas > Witches

LABYRINTH LOST will show you witches in a way you definitely haven't seen them before. 

Córdova skillfully manages to merge Latin American tradition with magic in a way that makes it seem natural and extremely believable. I thoroughly enjoyed how she doesn't shy away from adding lots of diversity, lots of cultural influences, and lots of little nods to Latinx people. The world building is impeccable, I probably won't ever be able to read about witches again without thinking of Córdova's brujas. 

Paranormal Romance AND Fantasy Adventure in One!

Love interest Nova, fellow brujo and troublemaker deluxe grew close to my heart and became my favorite character throughout the novel. To save Alejandra's family, she bribes him into coming with her to magic limbo, or Los Lagos. Their adventures there differ a lot from the first impression I had of this. On the surface, LABYRINTH LOST is a typical paranormal romance novel, but halfway in changes into an epic magical, mythological-feeling fantasy adventure. 

This is difficult to pull off, to change the entire tenor of a novel so far in, but I think Córdova did a fantastic job. Exactly the fact that we have the first half to get to know her family, raises the stakes and personally made me invested. I needed Alejandra to save her family just as much as her, and I sucked up every little bit of information and lore about Los Lagos

I generally feel like the world building is the core and reason why I consider LABYRINTH LOST to be a gem in the genre. All those stories about the Deos/Gods La Mama and El Papa, the little snippets from the Books of Shadow of Alejandra's ancestors - where is Córdova getting all this from? Regardless whether this is based on real lore, it's fresh, it's fun, it's fantastic.

I need to have a separate bonus novella with a collection of all those little spells! LABYRINTH LOST has the potential to be the beginning of a truly epic and memorable series and I am already in pain when I think about how long I'll have to wait for the sequel. 


Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

LABYRINTH LOST is a fantastically magical book about family, adventure, and first love. I can wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone, especially because of the wonderfully and skillfully interwoven Latin American base frame.


Additional Info

Published: September 6th 2016
Pages: 339
Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Witches and Wizards 

Synopsis:
"Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…"(Source: Goodreads)


Can you recommend some witchy books to me?

Continue Reading...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Why Book Bloggers Don't Reply To Your Review Requests and How to Fix It





Again, it is time for another "I'm so upset about the sheer volume of ridiculous emails in my inbox that I write a post about it".

This time in the only form people seeking reviews seem to be able to read: Bullet points.

Again, this is mostly directed at inexperienced authors. Please, if you're reading this, take my advice. it works wonders.

I don't know how often I've said it, but the #1 remedy is always reading a review policy. I have specific instructions in mine, and if you're not following them, I'm not even opening your email. Be respectful.


Addressing

OKAY

  • "Hi/Hey/Howdy/(greeting of choice)/ Dear [Name]"
  • "Hi/Hey/Howdy/(greeting of choice)/ Dear [Blog Name]"

NOT OKAY

  • "Hi/Hey/Howdy/(greeting of choice)"

Why: If you're not even bothering to write my name, pretty sure it's a mass email. Delete.

First Line

OKAY

  • [jumps right to pitch]
  • Personalization
  • Tell me why *I* am the right blog for this

Why: I like a good personalization. If you show me you read my blog, reference one of my tweets/interests, you've already got a foot in the door. Even if your book isn't for me, chances are I might give you some helpful feedback. Make me feel special and I'll be nice to you. IT's okay if you jump right to the pitch as well if you can't think of anything.

NOT OKAY

  • "I know you don't like this genre"
  • [pitch for a genre I don't read]
  • "I know you don't read this, but"
  • "I know you receive many submissions/are you so busy, but"
  • I'm a big fan of your blog (Note: almost always a lie, I react allergic to it at this point)

Why: Lies are never good. Just say nothing instead of lying. Don't try to guilt-trip me into reading something, and don't try to talk me into trying a genre that I don't want to read. You'll fail.

Negotiating

OKAY

  • I'm offering you a free copy for review

NOT OKAY

  • I'm offering you a free copy for review on the following sites:
  • I'm offering you a free copy, if
  • If you're not interested, can you promote my book anyway

Why: Book bloggers know what they're doing. You come across as patronizing. We're not going to change our habits because of you. Who do you think you are to even suggest that? Delete.


After You Sent the Book

OKAY

  • asking whether I received the book

NOT OKAY

  • reminding me of the launch date
  • giving me a deadline à la "have you read it yet, if not read it by"
  • asking me how much I read
  • asking me when I'll post the review
  • following up in any form whatsoever

Why: Chill out. Your book will be read if I said that it would be. The only thing you'll achieve is that I won't ever work with you again. Maybe decide to not even read the book and cancel our whole arrangement because you're annoying to work with.


Tips:
  • Don't listen to any tips you get from people who aren't bloggers and reviewers
  • Don't listen to any tips you get from people who have successfully spammed their way into getting a lot of reviews
  • Read review policies (!!!!)
  • Personalize your requests and pick the bloggers you target carefully
  • Read review policies


Authors: If you have any more questions, there's an option to submit a comment anonymously. 

Bloggers: Any pet peeves to add?

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