BLOG TOUR + EXCERPT: I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns + Melinda Metz (eARC)

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TITLE: I Do Not Trust You

AUTHOR: Laura J. Burns + Melinda Metz

RELEASES: 11 September 2018 by Wednesday Books

GENRE: YA Fiction

SYNOPSIS

Memphis “M” Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.

Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help.

From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to saving him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroying the world.

REVIEW

Memphis (M) is a really interesting character from the off. She’s had an amazing upbringing and then suffers an overwhelming loss – that of her father who is her closest person. When she meets Ash and discovers he’s still alive, everything changes. And her quest begins!

M is hands down my favourite of all the characters (although, Mike runs a close second) because she reminds me a lot of myself at 18. She’s strong and smart and fiercely loyal to those she cares about – she goes above and beyond to try to save her father. She also seems very adult for her age at first, but then she begins to become a bit more immature. I think a lot of it is down to stressing about her father and the most recent part of her life. She’s also hilariously funny and I loved that she used words like bananapants!

Ash I didn’t like so much. I loved how well-formed his character was, but I hated that he was always hiding things from M, which is slightly hypocritical of me seeing as M is doing the same. I think the difference for me was the reasoning behind it for each of them. He’s doing it for his religious beliefs, and M is doing it to save her father. I suppose they are both in the right, but a human being’s life is a lot more important than a cult. In my eyes, anyway! He is flawed, yet still interesting. I found myself trying to figure out what his motives were more than once – clearly they don’t entirely align with his cults designs.

I loved the use of mythology and mysticism entwined throughout the story. It made it that much more intriguing, and mythologically-themed fiction is my favourite!! One of my favourite scenes is when M makes the point that all mythology was once a societal belief system. It made me ponder the likes of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc., and wonder how long will it take for those to become nothing more than mythology and for some other belief system to take over.It’s interesting to see how once the majority of people no longer believe something, it becomes mythology.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. It was a really good read and I would absolutely recommend it to friends! I found it different to what I would usually read, which was really refreshing and totally raced through it.

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing me with a proof copy. All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final release.

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EXCERPT

“You should’ve seen Miss Memphis here get into it with Nick last period,” Brianna said, squeezing in between M and Inez at their usual spot in the cafeteria. “She shut him down with her crazy ancient cultures voodoo.”

“He’s an ass. He’s lucky he’s hot,” their friend Ayana commented, waving her spork in Nick’s direction.

M shrugged. “I wouldn’t try to debate him in Physics. I just know more about Rome than he does.”

“What about AP Chem? Would you debate him in that?” Inez asked in a fake-serious voice. “Would you debate him in German class?”

“She’d debate him in German, in German,” Brianna joked. “And if he tried to fight back, she’d switch to Greek.”

M threw a French fry at her. “I can’t help it. I grew up speaking different languages.”

“And learning about pharaohs. And becoming well versed in the history of the Etruscan people,” Ayana said, putting on a fake accent that was probably supposed to be British. “Oh, and setting broken bones in the bush.”

“That only happened once,” M muttered. Her friends laughed.

“Anyway, it was epic. Thanks,” Brianna said. “I can’t stand fighting with people, and Nick always goes after me.”

“He knows you hate it,” M pointed out. “That’s why he does it.”

“An ass, like I said.” Ayana shrugged.

“You think he’s coming to the party tonight?” Brianna asked.

“Probably. Everyone else is,” Inez replied. “Even Memphis.” M made a face. “Anything to get out of the house. Bob and Liza would expect me to play board games with them otherwise.” Her friends exchanged a glance. M winced. “No offense.”

“Oh, were you offending someone?” Nick piped up from behind her. “Good girl.”

Immediately Bri looked down, while Ayana rolled her eyes. Inez just smirked, glancing back and forth between M and Nick.

“I was not offending anyone. I only meant I don’t like parties,” M said. She didn’t bother to turn toward him. It didn’t matter; he inserted himself onto the bench next to her anyway. A little tingle ran up her spine as the scent of his co- logne hit her nostrils, spicy and warm.

“Mmm, they’re boring. Everyone talking about the prom or the senior trip or whatever. I’m over it,” Nick said.

Me too, thought M, wishing she didn’t agree with him. She loved her friends, but even they were all about high school. M just didn’t care. High school was nothing more than what she had to get through before she could leave. After the crash, after the shock of Bob and Liza becoming her guardians, she’d asked if she could go off to college early, either Boston University or the University of Sheffield in England. Both had the kind of archeology program she wanted and would’ve let her in with no questions. They knew her father. They knew high school was a waste of time for someone like her.

But her guardians said no. They said she needed stabil- ity and normalcy after losing her dad. Never mind that traveling the world and taking care of herself was normal for her. While she and Dad technically lived in Boston, she’d never spent more than a few months there during the school year. They traveled. Half the year spent on digs. She missed it.

“What’s with this thing, anyway? Is it to fight off bad guys?” Nick teased, finding an excuse to touch her. He reached for M’s collapsible bo staff, tucked in the inside pocket of her jacket like always. But before he touched it, be- fore his flirty smile registered in her mind, M had already grabbed his hand, twisted it back to the breaking point, and used the pain to push him off the cafeteria bench and onto the floor. With her other hand, she whipped out the stick and shoved it up against his throat.

M froze. He’s just hitting on you. Her friends were aghast, and everyone nearby watched, openmouthed. Nick’s eyes were wide with panic.

“Sorry.” M stood up, leaving Nick on the floor. “I’m really sorry.”

“Freak,” he muttered, climbing to his feet. He glanced around, noticing the barely concealed laughter from onlookers. “Jeez, I just wanted a fry,” he joked, as if he hadn’t been humiliated, then hurried out of the cafeteria.

“What. The. Hell?” Inez asked. “He was flirting with you and you beat him up!”

“I know.” M groaned, shoving her staff back into her pocket. “I didn’t mean to. It was just reflex.”

Her friends were silent. She’d freaked them out. Should she explain the years of self-defense and martial arts training? That she and Dad ended up in some rough places? Her friends lived in a city, they understood danger. Sort of. In a nice, upscale Boston kind of way.

M sighed. There was no point in trying to explain. No- body understood her life.

“You kinda push all the guys away,” Brianna pointed out quietly. “Maybe not like that, but still . . .”

“I don’t do romance,” M replied. She was done with love, period. She’d loved her parents, and they were both gone. Love hurt too much. It was better to steer clear of it.

They all ate in silence for a minute.

“I mean, he is an ass,” Ayana said finally. And everybody laughed.

 

M: You up?

MIKE: It’s a 12 hr time difference. Of course I’m up.

M: Like you never sleep in on weekends.

MIKE: Fine, your text woke me.

M: I don’t think that glyph is a lotus. It’s bending the wrong way.

MIKE: It has to be a lotus. If it’s not, the whole phrase is wrong.

M: The rest of the phrase never sat well with Nefertum anyway.

MIKE: Your dad said it was a lotus.

Sadie by Courtney Summers (eARC review) and an excerpt!

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TITLE: Sadie

AUTHOR: Courtney Summers

RELEASES:September 4th 2018 by Wednesday Books

GENRE: YA Contemporary

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

I can’t take another dead girl.

This book broke me apart. It is absolutely one of my most anticipated releases for the year and probably in my top 5 favourite reads this year. It was so compelling and beautiful, yet gut-wrenching. I read this more than two weeks ago and it’s still lingering in my mind. I don’t think I’ll be letting this fade anytime soon. I honestly do not have the words to properly review this novel because it was just that devastating to my soul. I must have cried at least 4 times. I remember I was only 3% into it when I first got emotional…

Except it’s not in my head, it’s in my heart and she’s the same woman who told me if you’re going to follow anything, it might as well be that.

Sadie is for all the lost girls seeking to make the world a better place. This is one of those novels that sinks into you, grips you by the feelings, and refuses to let go. It has really changed me as a person for many reasons. With the upbringing I had, I wasn’t too far off being Sadie. Courtney Summers has written a book for the lost girls and the ones who feel they never quite fit, but still believe in good and love and loyalty.

It all suddenly, and belatedly, felt too real, the things these girls had gone through, what can happen to missing girls.

I loved the way Sadie was written – part crime drama podcast, part Sadie’s narration. It was unique to me and hearkened to all of the crime dramas I find myself so addicted to so often. It was interesting to get so many perspectives throughout the novel – and to realise that no matter your upbringing or socioeconomic status, little girls (and all children, really) are vulnerable, even if we do our best to keep them safe always. That’s not to say we shouldn’t let them have experiences and do things, but pay attention! It’s important to make sure they know they have a voice. Go out there, friends, and be kind, but speak up when you need to do so. And hug your loved ones!

Please go read Destiny’s review because she puts this all into words so much better than I ever could…find it here.

TW: child abuse, sexual abuse, addiction, addiction-shaming, mental health issues, abduction, violence, death

 

About the author:

COURTNEY SUMMERS lives and writes in Canada. She is the author of What Goes AroundThis is Not a TestFall for AnythingSome Girls AreCracked Up to BePlease Remain Calm, and All the Rage.

Summers, Courtney_CREDIT Megan Gunter

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing me with an eGalley. All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final release.

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Scroll for excerpt:

THE GIRLS

 

EPISODE 1

[THE GIRLS THEME]

WEST McCRAY:

Welcome to Cold Creek, Colorado. Population: eight hundred.

 

Do a Google Image search and you’ll see its main street, the barely beating heart of that tiny world, and find every other building vacant or boarded up. Cold Creek’s luckiest—the gainfully employed—work at the local grocery store, the gas station and a few other staple businesses along the strip. The rest have to look a town or two over for opportunity for them- selves and for their children; the closest schools are in Park- dale, forty minutes away. They take in students from three other towns.

 

Beyond its main street, Cold Creek arteries out into worn and chipped Monopoly houses that no longer have a place upon the board. From there lies a rural sort of wilderness. The highway out is interrupted by veins of dirt roads leading to nowhere as often as they lead to pockets of dilapidated houses or trailer parks in even worse shape. In the summer- time, a food bus comes with free lunches for the kids until the school year resumes, guaranteeing at least two subsidized meals a day.

 

There’s a quiet to it that’s startling if you’ve lived your whole life in the city, like I have. Cold Creek is surrounded by a beau- tiful, uninterrupted expanse of land and sky that seem to go on forever. Its sunsets are spectacular; electric golds and oranges, pinks and purples, natural beauty unspoiled by the insult of skyscrapers. The sheer amount of space is humbling, almost divine. It’s hard to imagine feeling trapped here.

 

But most people here do.

 

COLD CREEK RESIDENT [FEMALE]:

You live in Cold Creek because you were born here and if you’re born here, you’re probably never getting out.

 

WEST McCRAY:

That’s not entirely true. There have been some success sto- ries, college graduates who moved on and found well-paying jobs in distant cities, but they tend to be the exception and not the rule. Cold Creek is home to a quality of life we’re raised to aspire beyond, if we’re born privileged enough to have the choice.

 

Here, everyone’s working so hard to care for their families and keep their heads above water that, if they wasted time on the petty dramas, scandals and personal grudges that seem to define small towns in our nation’s imagination, they would not survive. That’s not to say there’s no drama, scandal, or grudge—just that those things are usually more than residents of Cold Creek can afford to care about.

 

Until it happened.

 

The husk of an abandoned, turn-of-the-century one-room schoolhouse sits three miles outside of town, taken by fire. The roof is caved in and what’s left of the walls are charred. It sits next to an apple orchard that’s slowly being reclaimed by the nature that surrounds it: young overgrowth, new trees, wild- flowers.

 

There’s almost something romantic about it, something that feels like respite from the rest of the world. It’s the perfect place to be alone with your thoughts. At least it was, before.

 

May Beth Foster—who you’ll come to know as this series goes on—took me there herself. I asked to see it. She’s a plump, white, sixty-eight-year-old woman with salt-and-pepper hair. She has a grandmotherly way about her, right down to a voice that’s so invitingly familiar it warms you from the inside out. May Beth is manager of Sparkling River Estates trailer park, a lifelong resident of Cold Creek, and when she talks, people listen. More often than not, they accept whatever she says as the truth.

 

MAY BETH FOSTER:

Just about . . . here.

 

This is where they found the body.

 

911 DISPATCHER [PHONE]:

911 dispatch. What’s your emergency?

Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller (eARC review)

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TITLE: Ruin of Stars

AUTHOR: Linsey Miller

RELEASES: August 28th 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

GENRE: Teens + YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

As Opal, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and most importantly the ability to hunt the lords who killed their family. But Sal has to figure out who the culprits are before putting them down. Which means trying to ignore the fact that Elise is being kept a virtual prisoner, and that the queen may have ulterior motives.

And the tales coming out of north are baffling. Talk of dark spirits, missing children, and magic abound. As Sal heads north toward their ruined homeland and the lords who destroyed everything, they learn secrets and truths that can’t be ignored.

In this follow up to Mask of Shadows, Sal continues the mission to avenge Nacea. With a list and the go ahead from Our Queen, they hunt down those who released the shadows on their lands a decade ago. The plot in this instalment goes a bit slower, but no less interesting. Sal questions themself frequently in their quest, but sticks to the moral code they’ve created that they feel goes against the Lady, but is also justifiable given the circumstances. When they meet a key character, they realise that not all is as it seems and maybe the lack of information they have regarding Nacea is their saving grace. All Sal has ever wanted is to be accepted for who they are and not forced into socially accepted roles. And to be Nacean.

“Mercy’s dead,” I whispered. “… You killed mercy, but vengeance remains.”

Full of action, intrigue, amd badass protagonists, we follow the story of a person who is finding themself while avenging their heritage. I loved this story and kind of wish we got a little more from the epilogue, but it was still really good. It kind of mirrors what’s going on in the world to a point. And we definitely need more diverse books in the world!

This is a story of acceptance and finding your place in the world.

Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an eGalley. All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final release.

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Golden Chains by M. Lynn (eARC)

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TITLE: Golden Chains

AUTHOR: M. Lynn

RELEASED: 12 July 2018

GENRE: YA Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling

Never fall in love with the enemy.

If only it were that simple.

Persinette Basile has always known the ruling family of Gaule were meant to be her enemy. With no other choice, she fought to join them anyway.
And they will break her now that they know her true name.

As she sits in her prison cell, she wants one thing: for the Kingdom of Gaule to burn to the ground.

But they need her. 

When the king is kidnapped, the kingdom turns to the only person who could possibly find him: the woman tied to him by magic. Etta. 

Life-altering secrets. Magical duels. A love that could tear two kingdoms apart.

Inspired by the Rapunzel series, this is the golden-haired princess as you’ve never seen her before. 

This was just as good a read as book 1! In some ways, I actually enjoyed this one more than Golden Curse. Etta discovers so much about her family, the curse, and her people in this one. I felt like it was revelation after revelation for her! Some good, some terrible, but well worth the read. She also has a lot of character development in this segment of her story.

I’m slightly worried bout book 3 due to how this one ended.. Holy cliffhanger, Batman! I’m not sure I can wait much longer to find out what happens between the Queen of Bela and the King of Gaule, but now I’m invested, so it must be done!

Golden Curse by M. Lynn (eARC)

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TITLE: Golden Curse

AUTHOR: M. Lynn

RELEASES: 5 October 2018

GENRE: YA Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling

A curse. A hidden identity. A dangerous love.

Ten year old Persinette Basile was forced to flee the palace of Gaule for her life.
Now at eighteen, she must find a way to return in order to obey a curse on her family line.
The prince won’t know who she is. Not anymore. But she knows him and what he will do if he discovers her true name.
Made to fight for her life to earn her place, she vows to find a way to break the curse no matter the cost.
——-
To. The. Death.
The words describing the tournament turn Prince Alexandre Durand’s blood to ice.
The last warrior standing will win a spot at his side.
As he’s thrust onto the throne, forbidden magic, dangerous betrayals, and a complicated love could tear his reign apart.
When the secrets begin to unravel, will Alex stay true to the laws and traditions of Gaule or will he give it all up for a woman who deceived him?
Inspired by the Rapunzel story, this is the golden-haired princess as you’ve never seen her before.

MY THOUGHTS: This retelling of Rapunzel was entirely unexpected. Aside from knowing it’s a retelling, I wasn’t sure which direction it would go, but I’m so glad I picked this up! I found the beginning a bit slow, which isn’t uncommon for me, but this was truly a great book! After the tournament and meeting Edmund, I was hooked! Etta is super cool and isn’t in it for the glory, even though she totally could be with her skill set. In her world, magic is forbidden and punishable by death. Her curse stems from magic and puts her directly in the path of those who are most likely to throw her under the bus. The characters are really well written and the story itself is brilliant. I already have book 2 on my kindle ready to go.

 

There’s a bit of magic, a lot of lies, and just enough drama, intrigue, and romance to keep you going. I found Etta’s personality really interesting. She fights an internal battle due to her family’s curse and the situation in which she finds herself following the tournament. I sympathise with her, though. She makes the best of a really tough situation. And that cliffhanger!!! Ugh, so good. I love Etta + Alex. Although, I am disappointed in Alex. I get his position, but he could start making better decisions. Politics suck!

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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TITLE: Mask of Shadows

AUTHOR: Linsey Miller

RELEASED: August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

GENRE: Teens + YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

This was an interesting novel to read. You know how sometimes you pick up a book based on the cover, dive right in without reading the synopsis, and just get totally swept away? Yeah, that was this book for me.

There is a lot going on in this novel that, as a cis female person, I just do not feel comfortable deconstructing and discussing for various reasons, but I loved that this was a different /and complex/ storyline. I loved Sal so much. The confidence they emit throughout the novel is refreshing, but the sense of not belonging is necessary for the progression of the plot. Their need to avenge Nacea drives them without controlling their entire life. I loved the interactions between Sal and other characters because Sal’s sense of humour is unique and a bit gory sometimes. I was a bit shocked at a few stages throughout the novel, but loved it still. It’s not often I’m shocked by YA fantasy novels!

blinked back tears and sniffed. I still loved her. But I did not trust her.

The romance was also pretty sweet, but not the main focus of, or even necessary to, the plot. It’s the first time I’ve ever read this particular kind of romance, but I felt it was well done.

I was also lucky enough to have Ruin of Stars waiting for me to dive in after I finished this, so that review still be up soon!!

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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (eARC review)

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TITLE: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

AUTHOR: Stuart Turton

RELEASES: 04 Sept 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark

GENRE: Mystery & Thrillers

I’m a man in Purgatory, blind to the sins that chased me here.

I couldn’t put this down at all once I started it. The level of detail and intrigue is unreal and unmatched by most other crime thrillers I’ve read previously. I would put this on par with the like of b.a.paris if I had to compare it to something. It doesn’t just go into one category, though. There’s the bit of sci-fi in it with the Plague Doctor that appears randomly and the fact that Adrian relives the same day 8 days in a row in various bodies. What even is this world?? I was so confused at first, as I didn’t read the synopsis before I began. Once I caught up to what was happening, though, I was entirely hooked!

“Do you know how you can tell if a monster’s fit to walk the world again, Mr. Bishop? If they’re truly redeemed and not just telling you what you want to hear? You give them a day without​ consequences, and you watch to see what they do with it.”

When Aiden’s entire objective changes from finding the murderer to saving Evelyn from being murdered at all, there is a bit of push back from a few other characters. His moral compass is so interesting, but I found myself asking if I would be making similar choices. Or would I have only gone as far as to figure out who was murdering Evelyn? There were so many inconsistencies in the original story of Evelyn’s homecoming and those closest to her, so it really made for a wonderful novel!!

How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home?

If you’re a fan of whodunit thriller novels, then you’ll love this novel. The characters not only work on discovering who they are and what they value most, but are also in the middle of a murder mystery! This crime thriller will have you on the edge of your seat exploring every little nook and cranny in which potential evidence could be hiding!


How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for providing me with an ARC. All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final release.

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