The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (ARC review)

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TITLE: The Boneless Mercies

AUTHOR: April Genevieve Tucholke

RELEASES: October 4th 2018 by Simon & Schuster UK

GENRE: Teens + YA Fantasy

A dark and gorgeously drawn standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory. Won in a major six-house auction!

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig.

Wayfarers, this just might have made top reads of 2018 for me! It’s been marketed as a genderbent Beowulf in alternative Scandinavia. Now, having never read Beowulf, I can’t say how true that is or not. However, I can say this story delivers all the things I love: soft-hearted boys, strong-willed girls, and an epic adventure to save a village. DOES NOT DISAPPOINT!
Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are ferociously driven girls who give no fucks about what the world thinks of them, and I love it! They navigate their world with their own moral compass, staying true to each other and their own minds.

I also really loved Trigve. He’s so kind hearted and sweet. He really adds a certain element to the story. I did think his relationship with Frey was a bit odd, though.

Their journey brings them into contact with so many interesting characters. It’s a brilliant novel that is extremely well written. I’ll definitely be reading it again.

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster UK 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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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?

The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody (ARC review)

geographyTITLE: The Geography of Lost Things

AUTHOR: Jessica Brody

RELEASES: October 2nd 2018 by Simon Pulse

GENRE: Teens + YA Contemporary Fiction

His words are so spot-on, his comprehension so profound, I flinch and look at him.

Ali’s outlook on life really spoke to my soul. Even if I have very different character traits, there were still a lot of very relatable aspects to her, such as her goal of becoming a vet (I wanted to be a vet for the longest time!), her job in a dog hotel (I worked in one last year), and her desire to go to UC Davis, which was one of my top choices when I was applying to schools!! I felt like this book was pretty much written about me…minus the adventure with the ex-boyfriend. Their trip was unreal, though. I loved seeing Nico’s social experiment come together and their chemistry was phenomenal. *swoon* I think I might be in love with him.. I just loved this book start to finish!

“You must be looking for something…or you wouldn’t be here.”

Ali’s emotional and internal journey is so moving. I found myself rooting her on so many times, but also thinking ‘wtf are you even doing?’ Kind of like you do when you’re watching your sister or a close friend going through something and you just want to tell them what to do, but can’t. Yeah, that’s how I felt! Her father has died and she’s struggling to come to terms with the way life was when he was still alive. She had a very complicated relationship with him, which I must say I completely understand, and still has a few things to resolve when she goes on this road trip. What starts out as a simple journey to sell a car she can’t wait to be rid of turns into a much deeper coming-of-age journey. The people they meet along the way all have a lesson to teach, even if they don’t necessarily want to learn. And the relationship that we see grow between Ali and Nico is f*cking amazing. She learns to let him reveal himself and his past in his own time, rather than demanding answers when she wants them, and learns they may have more in common than she initially thought. I also loved Nico so much. He has such a massive impact on her in this short time.

And I’m definitely a different person now than I was five days ago.

This was one of those books that touches your soul and makes you all the better for it. It’s stayed with me since I finished it, and I think it’ll be resonating in my mind for a very long time to come.


In this romantic road trip story perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, a teen girl discovers the value of ordinary objects while learning to forgive her absent father.

After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?

Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.

He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.

And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.

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

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

thewickeddeepTITLE: The Wicked Deep

AUTHOR: Shea Ernshaw

RELEASED: March 6th 2018 by Simon Pulse

GENRE: YA Fantasy

“The Swan sisters had a charm that was born into their blood, like their mother: Men could not resist the softness of their skin or the gleam of their aquamarine eyes” 

MY THOUGHTS: I don’t know why I put off reading this for so long…because I LOVED it!! The cover is stunning, but it is completely complemented by the writing inside. The story was interesting, surprising, spooky, and entirely enthralling. It was original with themes of redemption, revenge, and love woven throughout. It definitely reminded me of Hocus Pocus, but with it’s own story. The writing is beautiful, lyrical in places, and transports you straight to Sparrow with Penny, Rose, Bo, and the Swan sisters. I felt as if I was there alongside Penny and really could not put it down!

“Like looking through a thin pane of glass, or beneath the surface of a lake all the way down to the sandy bottom.”

Penny, the narrator, has had a difficult life, but still manages to take care of herself, her family, and be a great friend to Rose. She does keep to herself a bit, not allowing people to become her friend, because she already feels too much responsibility to her family and the lighthouse on Lumiere Island. When she meets Bo the same night of the Swan party, things are set in motion that she never expected. Hell, I didn’t see them coming – and I’m usually pretty good at predicting what is going to happen! She’s a captivating character, and I found myself wanting to know more about her and her life the more I learned.

“I don’t allow myself to look away from him – I need him to speak, to wash over my words with his own.”

The novel brings up some questions for me: What would I do if I discovered someone I loved wasn’t who they’d pretended? Could I forgive an unforgivable act? Do I have the kind of compassion for people’s potential to change? Can someone ever really change entirely? And does the ultimate act of sacrifice level us with past transgressions? Also, (and yes, I realise this is fantasy) if you were possessed and unable to control your body, how would you feel then learning about the actions you committed while under possession? This was a heavy book if you allow yourself to get deeper into the themes and stuff, but it’s also just a really great spooky read!

“And it has tilted my universe off center, the frayed edges of my life starting to unravel. Loving someone is dangerous. It gives you something to lose.”

Now, I cannot wait to see Netflix’s adaptation of The Wicked Deep!! I truly hope it lives up to Shea Ernshaw’s writing…

AMAZON * GOODREADS * BOOKDEPOSITORY


“But I know who the sisters really are”

BLURB: Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge – and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them down to their watery deaths.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything…

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

“We wait for death. We hold our breath.

We know it’s coming, and still we flinch when it claws at our throats and pulls us under.”

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Furyborn by Claire Legrand (ARC review)

TITLE: Furyborn

AUTHOR: Claire Legrand

RELEASES: May 22nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

GENRE: YA Fantasy/New Adult

“You saved us. You saved everyone. Astavar still stands free. The Empire fleet has been destroyed. You did that, Eliana, and you should be proud of it.”

MY THOUGHTS: I had a serious book hangover after reading Furyborn. It was a phenomenal book and a top 10 read of the year – I can already tell! Loads of action and adventure, but also love; although, it was nice to read a book that wasn’t centred heavily on the romance aspect – it just kind of spices things up a bit. There’s some kissing, but it doesn’t make or break the book. There’s also a whole load of betrayal and distrust, which makes my heart pound! There’s magic, angels, plotting, killing, assassins, trials, and wraiths. The writing was AMAZING! Compelling and detailed, while not being overly descriptive. Claire Legrand keeps you interested by never revealing too much about each character while alluding to things happening outside of the spotlight.

“Dread,” he murmured … “is only a feeling, easily squashed. But wolves, my dear, bare teeth.”

Milla-Marry-MeRielle, having all 7 kinds of elemental magic, is an interesting character – of course you can’t have a main character that isn’t if you want to write a great book. She starts out with what seems the best of intentions – going through trials to prove that she is the prophesied Sun Queen – but is too easily influenced by an external force…I still have so many questions about what’s going on, though!!

“Some say the Queen was frightened

In her last moments

But I like to think she was angry.”- The Word of the Prophet

246855721000 years later, enter Eliana – bounty huntress and all around badass. She keeps most everyone at arms length due to her profession and rarely lets anyone close to her, unless it serves her. Initially, she seems very self-important and arrogant. Her entire world is shaken to its core just when she feels most invincible and sets her an a soul searching journey with her little brother across her kingdom in which she finds that things are not as she’s always thought. She really has to examine her own ethics and goals throughout the story. The juxtaposition of how she treats her little brother versus how she treats everyone else makes me love her story. I think she may be my favourite….

“Watch and learn, little Dread.” “Call me ‘little’ again, and I’ll punch you.” “You know just how to entice me.”

Claire Legrand is super talented and I truly cannot wait to read the rest of the series….actually foaming at the mouth while I wait.. Exceeded all of my expectations and then shattered them to bits.

AMAZON * GOODREADS * BOOK DEPOSITORY

*********************************************************************************

BLURB: The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

“The Gate will Fall. The Angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens – one of blood, and one of light.One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it.Two Queens will rise.They will carry the power of the Seven.They will carry your fate in their hands.Two Queens will rise.”

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.
All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final product. Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (ARC review)

93bd4-sitdTitle: Sky in the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Releases: April 24, 2018 by Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

My Thoughts: Compelling, gripping, beautiful novel that I already see myself rereading for many years to come. I feel rent open by the love and loyalty Eelyn feels and how it shifts throughout the story in response to the things she discovers. This is an amazing telling of one girl going through many hardships to find out that her clan really isn’t all that different from the one she’s been raised to hate, and they have the same basic needs and desires as herself and her clansmen. How do you continue to hate a culture once you begin to view them as fellow humans? She feels betrayed by her brother’s choice, but, as much as she fights it, slowly comes to accept it and his newly claimed family. When the Herja attack, she realises more about herself and her life than she expected.

“I was the ice on the river. The snow clinging onto the mountainside.”

Eelyn’s journey drew me in from the first page and I absolutely loved every minute of it. This girl is a strong Viking badass who takes shit from no one and will cut your balls off for your trouble. I think I’ve developed a girl-crush! Of course, the protagonist wouldn’t be so interesting without some flaws, right? Well, hers are very relatable. She’s grown up in a culture who’s told her that the Riki are the blood enemy due to some god’s clash ages ago. She’s stubborn and believes in the tradition of her people…until she doesn’t. How can she continue to believe that these are the enemy after all she’s seen? Still, trust is hard won and it takes time to change thoughts you’ve been entrenched in from the time you’re young.

Vegr yfir fjor – honor above life.”

Fiske, her captor, is not all he seems from the beginning. I love his part in her story and I thoroughly enjoyed that even though he ‘owns’ her, he’s still fair and just. He protects her time after time when he really doesn’t have to do anything and I love him for it. Yes, partly because they share a brother, but also because he is just a good guy. He’s a phenomenal character who just gets better as their journey progresses.

“Home felt an entire world away.”

To be entirely honest, I wanted more of this story. simply because I never wanted to leave Eelyn’s world. To say I loved this book is an understatement. I was shocked to learn this was Adrienne Young’s debut novel. She has written an amazing novel that I can’t wait to dive into again and again. I’ve already bought a few copies to give to friends…

GOODREADS . AMAZON . BOOK DEPOSITORY . B&N

 


Blurb: OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Early Praise for Sky in the Deep

“With Sky in the Deep, Adrienne Young has brought to life fascinating, multi-dimensional characters in a starkly beautiful world. Everything is rich and evocative. The ice melts against your skin at the same time the adrenaline takes hold of your heart. This is a gripping story, richly told.”

-Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn

 

“Fearless in its exploration of family, forgiveness, loyalty, and love, Sky in the Deep is fierce, vivid, and violently beautiful. This book will wage a war with your heart as brutal and as bold as the battles inked in its pages.”

– Stephanie Garber, New York Times Bestselling author of Caraval

 

“Brutal and beautiful, with breakneck pacing and starring a heroine that will make you want to run into battle with her, Sky in the Deep is a stunning debut that will leave readers enchanted and breathless all at once.”

– Roshani Chokshi, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Star-Touched Queen

 

“A dangerous and brutal world navigated by an equally fearsome girl—Sky in the Deep is a delicious tale filled with fierce battles, shocking betrayal, and a slow-burn romance that’s as hard fought as the wars raging between the two clans. Readers will welcome this vivid gift to the fantasy genre, as will fans of darkly lush historical settings. Wholly unique and instantly addictive, I was captivated from its opening lines.”

– Kerri Maniscalco, New York Times Bestselling Author of Stalking Jack the Ripper

 

“Bleak, beautiful, and deadly, Sky in the Deep is both a gritty, gut-wrenching tale of war and a thoughtful meditation on identity, family, and faith–a story with the ferocity of its main character as well as her raw and tender heart.”

– Traci Chee, New York Times Bestselling author of The Reader

 

“Heartrending, heart-mending: this book broke my heart into a thousand pieces, then put it back together even stronger than before.”

– Kayla Olson, author of The Sandcastle Empire

Available for pre-order:

Coming in 2018 from the following publishers:

United States & Canada: Wednesday Books (April 24, 2018)

Germany: Harper Collins

The Netherlands: Unieboek Spectrum

Czech Republic: Albatros

Spain: Urano

All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final product. Thank you so much to Wednesday Books via Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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