Waiting On Wednesday: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Today I am aiming the spotlight on…

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About the Book - purple

Title: Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Publication date: July 25, 2017
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository

RAVES

  • First, this cover is magnificent–I love the circus tents and ALL the purple!

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  • Any book that clashes mystery with a carnival/circus theme is always moved to the top of my TBR list ASAP. 

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  • Sorina, the main character, sounds like the ultimate badass heroine. She has the gift of being an illusion-worker, which sounds so amazing. GAH! GIVE ME THIS BOOK NOW!

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

The Best Kind of Magic
by Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

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Synopsis:
 
Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works ather mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?


The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.
 

RANTS AND RAVES MAGIC

I am obsessed with anything related to witches, and The Best Kind of Magic is one of my best “witchy” books I have read in a long time. As a first-person narrative story, told through the eyes of Amber Sand, I was fully wrapped in the thoughts of a teenage protagonist entwined with the realities of high school and the consequences of magic. Even though, at first, I thought Amber was going to come off too angst-y for my liking, I really liked that she matured as the book progressed.

Although Amber does not have the powers of a typical witch, she does have the gift of “matchmaking,” in which she is able confirm with couples if they are perfect for each other.  In The Best Kind of Magic, matchmaking is on the lowest step of the magical realm ladder, but Amber still takes pride in her magical ability. I liked Amber as a storyteller and being in her head throughout the story. She is funny, smart, rational, and has a cautious nature in her reactions to most situations. Amber often questions why people get mad when she tells them that they are not with their soulmate, but as the story unfolds, she starts to empathize with these people and understand heartache more.

I was also a big fan of Amber’s friends, Amani and Charlie. Amani is a great best friend, and as the series continues, I look forward to reading more about her pre-cog gift and how her life unfolds, especially in the romance realm…EEEK. I also liked Charlie because he is classy and mature, and I think he has a good head on his shoulders. I really liked that he doesn’t runaway from his problems or conflicts–instead he faces them with open communication and an open mind.

The Best Kind of Magic
leaves room for all the characters to grow and understand life’s ability to throw you into loops. This story is quick-paced, lighthearted, and often times hilarious, but the book also focuses on serious matters. I enjoyed that the novel does not set up a heroine on her way to a happily ever after ending. Instead, reality is complicated and through Amber’s eyes we see her ponder real life complexities and worries. Amber faces difficulties in a story that questions fate and predestination. Do the “powers-that-be” control our lives or do we in fact have choice to control our own lives? Are there truly soulmates or do we control our own destiny with love? As these themes and questions are explored, the story unfolds in some unexpected turns.

Overall, The Best Kind of Magic is a great introduction into a series that I know I will continue to read. The book has a lot of sassy and sarcastic banter, which I love in young adult novels. There is also mystery, great friendship dynamics, and a slow burn of swoons *sigh*.  I cannot wait for book two to come out; I’m not a big fan of book twists but I’m excited to see how the series continues. 

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

FAVORITE QUOTES

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With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

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WIN ONE FINISHED COPY OF THE BOOK

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Open to only USA/CANADA.
Every blog on this tour is running their own giveaway (that’s 19 chances to win). Please feel free to enter each blog giveaway, but if you find out that you have won 2 blog giveaways, we ask that you please decline one of the wins and only claim one copy of the book in order to allow someone else to win their own copy of the book. Good luck!

Friday Raves: Author Signings with Emery Lord, Emily Henry, and Brittany Cavallaro

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FRIDAY RAVES is a feature on my blog, in which I “RAVE” about authors, book events, books, novelties, and/or other bookish announcements.

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This week my local bookstore, Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, hosted two author signing/book events. I am currently on a “book-signing high,” and I cannot wait to share my pictures and memories from each event. 

Monday, May 15, 2017
Emery Lord with The Names They Gave Us

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I love whenever Emery is able to stop by and visit the bookstore. She’s a local author, so I never miss a chance to see her again. She’s so funny and smart, and every time I meet her I feel like I can conquer the world and write my own book. Emery also brought along some homemade treats (chocolate chip cookies with toffee pieces and potato chips in them) to share with us, and they were delicious!

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Emery was able to sign both my ARC and hardcover of The Names They Gave Us. Thanks, Emery!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Release Day of A Million Junes
with Emily Henry and Brittany Cavallaro

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On Tuesday, I got to meet these authors for the very first time: Emily Henry and Brittany Cavallaro. Both of these women writers are so witty, funny, and courageous. I asked both authors, “what was the initial dandelion seed that inspired each of their books?” Brittany pointed out that there are hundreds of adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, but only one female adaptation, so out of fury she wrote her own Sherlock Holmes series with a female lead. YES!!! Emily emotionally explained that A Million Junes is her grief book and that it all began with the passing of her dog two years ago. 😦

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Emily’s mom made these Jack’s Tart Cherry Cupcakes, which were inspired by the book.

And when I went up to meet Emily, she gave me a hug and I thought we were both going to cry. I love my dog, and I shared with her that two years ago I also lost my best friend, my poodle named MiaBella. At that moment, I think I found a new understanding of why I love A Million Junes so much (which, by the way, is my favorite book of 2017). Emily also gifted me an A Million Junes poster, which I cannot wait to find a frame for this weekend. I also got both of Brittany’s books signed, and I’m really looking forward to reading this series! 

Wow! I feel really spoiled with all the local book-event love, and I cannot wait to attend the next one.

What has been your best author/book event you have attended? 

Excerpt Reveal: ROAR by Cora Carmack

From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Releasing June 13, 2017, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below!

About ROAR (Stormheart Series #1):

New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack’s young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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Add to your Goodreads

EXCERPT:

There was a hole in her chest, an awful, gaping hole that screamed like she wanted to. Like a cyclone, it seemed to suck up everything in its path until her knees were curled into her chest and her body hunched, and she just kept collapsing in and in and in. Suddenly unable to breathe, she clawed at the beaded fastenings that connected her headdress and necklace. One of her fingernails bent and splintered as she scrabbled for the hooks; when she could not find them, she took hold of the beaded cord and pulled until it broke, beads scattering across the stone floor around her.

The headdress tipped sideways, tugging painfully on her hair. Again and again, she pulled at the ties until her palms felt raw and beads littered the floor around her. The headdress began to sag, and she was nearly done, nearly free when someone stepped through the archway, and she froze.

Novaya.

Thank the skies. The dark-haired servant held an urn full of steaming water in her hands, and she stared in horror as if she had stumbled upon a monster rather than a crying girl. Nova had been Rora’s closest friend before she cut herself off from everyone at her mother’s command. Girls with secrets the size of Rora’s could not have friends. Nova took a step forward, paused, then knelt down, her large brown eyes carefully blank.

“Should I call for your guards? The queen?” Nova asked.

“No!” Softer, Aurora said, “No. Please don’t tell anyone.”

Once upon a time, Nova had kept all her secrets. Now the two rarely even looked at each other in the eye when their paths crossed, and it was all Aurora’s fault.

“Your Highness? What happened?”

Rora shook her head and returned to tugging at the headdress still tangled in her hair. She couldn’t say the words aloud, couldn’t let anyone see how much of a fool she was. Aurora had become accustomed to her shortcomings as a Stormling, as an heir. But she’d thought she had her mother’s strength, tenacity, and intelligence. But maybe that was wishful thinking. Maybe she was altogether…inadequate.

“Stop, Princess. You’re hurting yourself.” Nova put the water aside, crawled forward, and grabbed Rora’s wrists. “Aurora, stop.”

All the years spent missing their friendship came rushing back, and she froze at the sound of her name. Not Princess. Not Your Highness. Aurora. But the moment she stopped moving, it all came crashing down on her. Her naïve plan to kiss him, to experience something real. She should have known that her future would hold only more lies. As if she knew anything about real life, real anything. She lived in this palace, protected and pampered and put away like a doll on a shelf, too fragile for anything but appearances. And it seemed that’s all she would ever be.

Cassius wanted control of the city for himself. He thought he’d have to fool her to do it, but the moment the world found out that Rora had no magic, he’d become the ruler in truth, and she’d be the puppet at his side. He wouldn’t have to feign interest in her then. He wouldn’t need her at all.

She wound her arms about her legs and rested her forehead on her knees. Nova moved closer, and Rora sat still and silent as the girl worked to remove the headdress. Her old friend had grown into a beautiful young woman—flawless bronze skin, shiny black hair, stunning features. She’d recently begun assisting the royal seamstress in addition to her position as a maid. She probably had more friends than she could count. Aurora could not help imagining how different her life would be now fi she had never become heir.

The headdress finally gave way, and Nova slipped it off and laid it on the stone floor beside them.

“Tell me what happened.”

Rora leaned back against the wall. It was cool against her abused scalp, and she muttered, “Nothing happened.”

At least she had that much. She hadn’t kissed that beast. But what she had done felt worse. She had hoped. And hope broke more hearts than any man ever could.

“Should I get someone? A friend?”

Rora let out a bleak, cold laugh. As if she had any of those. Softer, she said, “I don’t want to see anyone. I just need this dress off. The makeup too. I need to breathe, and I can’t do it through all this mess.”

“I can do that. I came to help remove the headdress and gown. Stand up and we’ll go to your room. Everything will be fine, Your Highness.”

She didn’t tell her old friend how wrong she was, not as she peeled the dress off her and unlaced the corset. Not as she wiped away the powder that was smudged and striped on Rora’s face, thanks to falling tears. Another maid came in with more steaming water for a bath and Rora let them clean her up, wishing it was as easy to wipe away the last few hours.

She sat in the bath until the water grew cold and her skin shriveled like dying fruit. She had to face the facts. The Rage season was coming, as was this sham of a wedding. And she didn’t know how to fight it any more than she knew how to stop a storm.

But she would not give Cassius any more opportunities to see her vulnerable. Nor was she giving up. If there were no other way, she would marry Cassius.

But she had six days. Wars had been won, empires toppled, and cities leveled in less time. If there was a way out of this, Rora would find it.

About Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA fantasy, Roar. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

W…W…W…Wednesday: 05/17/2017

W…W…W…Wednesday

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W…W…W…Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

(Click on the book cover to be linked to its Goodreads page)

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m so excited about this book. I love the cover and the synopsis sounds amazing. I am part of a blog tour for the book, so that will be up next week. YAY!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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This is a reread for me. Back in 2014, I read Second Chance Summer; it was my first Morgan Matson book, and I was a mess of feels after reading it. During mother’s day I was in a funk and super sad, and I needed a good cry. So once again, I read Second Chance Summer and let my emotions take over. I laughed and I cried (more like bawled my eyes out), and loved every page of this story. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ is one of my favorite contemporary books, so I cannot wait to see how Ramona Blue’s story unravels. 

How does your week of reading look?

Book Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

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Title:
Long Way Home
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication date: January 31, 2017
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


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The Thunder Road series is quite a reading addiction for me. Katie McGarry has written a group of stories about teenagers caught in the most edgy and excitable situations. The stories center on young couples that are growing up and falling in love, all while they are part of a motorcycle club family. I loved the first two books of this series, so I was so excited to finally get my hands on Long Way Home, which finally gives the much anticipated, fist-clenching, tension-building relationship between Chevy and Violet to unravel.  

Although, this was not my favorite book of the Thunder Road series, Long Way Home still captivated my attention with the character development and high-tension plot. Violet was too angsty for me, but I can very much understand where all her frustration and anger comes. And Chevy is such a good guy all around. Both characters are going through a lot family secrets and adolescent dilemmas, and I think they handle their situations the best way they can, especially as teenagers. 

Katie McGarry has become one of my favorite contemporary writers, and once again she does not disappoint with Chevy and Violet’s story. Overall, I enjoyed Long Way Home, and I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed that more stories are written in this guilty-pleasure series. 

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NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.