Waiting on Wednesday: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

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.

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Title: Serpent & Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publication date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all. 

Goodreads Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Friday Raves & Giveaway: Dumplin’ is now on Netflix!

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Title: Dumplin’
Author:  Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen 
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

NOW a Netflix film–featuring Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, and Dove Cameron, as well as a soundtrack from Dolly Parton!

The movie tie-in edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller and feel-good YA of the year—about Willowdean Dickson, the fearless, funny, and totally unforgettable heroine who takes on her small town’s beauty pageant.

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.

With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does.

Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Julie Murphy is the leading voice in body positivity for teens in the YA space. Willowdean is a heroine rarely seen in teen books and movies—she is confident and unafraid.  Her struggle with body image issues is a subject every teen can relate to. But Will doesn’t have to lose weight to be happy at the end of this book—or to fall in love.


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You guys! One of my favorite books of 2015 is now a NETFLIX movie! AHHHHH!!!

I teamed up with the amazing Wunderkind-PR and we are giving away a free copy of the paperback movie tie-in book.  

Dumplin’ was previously released in 2015 and is a New York Times #1 bestseller. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

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Please note that Wunderkind-PR is kindly giving away a movie tie-in edition of Dumplin’. Open to all US residents. All you need to do is Retweet my tweet, and I will pick a winner Friday, December 14. And if you win, the book will be sent by Wunderkind-PR straight to your mailbox. How awesome is that, Y’ALL?!

TWEET TO RETWEET:

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER HERE:


Praise for Dumplin’

 “Murphy (Side Effects May Vary) successfully makes every piece of the story—Dolly Parton superfans, first love, best-friend problems, an unlikely group of pageant entrants, female solidarity, self-acceptance, and Willowdean’s complicated relationship with the mother who nicknamed her “Dumplin’ “—count, weaving them together to create a harmonious, humorous, and thought-provoking whole.”
   — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 “Will’s singular voice compels readers to think about all that goes into building-and destroying-self-esteem…Splendid”

 Booklist (starred review)

“DUMPLIN’ should be required reading for anyone who has ever felt even slightly uncomfortable in his or her skin. Julie Murphy’s star continues to shine with this groundbreaking, poignant story that will surely change lives.”
   — John Corey Whaley, award-winning author of Noggin and Where Things Come Back

“I’m obsessed with this book. Wickedly funny, heartbreakingly real, full of characters to love and cheer for. DUMPLIN’ is such a star.”
   — Katie Cotugno, author of How to Love and 99 Days

Awards and Other Acclaim

  • ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • An ALA Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Readers 
  • An Indies Choice Best Young Adult Honor Book
  • Best Book of the Year & Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel by Romantic Times
  • New York Public Library Best Book of the Year 
  • Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year 
  • Tumblr Reblog Book Club Pick
  • Amazon Best Book of the Year
  • B&N Best Book of the Year
  • Booklist Editor’s choice
  • Spirt of Texas High School Reading List
  • Tayshas (Texas Teen) Reading List
  • Indigo Best Book of the Year

ABOUT JULIE MURPHY…THE QUEEN

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Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time. When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure. She is also the author of Puddin’ and Side Effects May Vary. You can visit Julie at www.juliemurphywrites.com.

 

Waiting on Wednesday: Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

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.

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Title: Sherwood
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

Robin of Locksley is dead. 

When news comes that he’s fallen in battle at the King’s side in the Holy Land, Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on. Betrothed to Robin, she was free to be herself, to flout the stifling rules of traditional society and share an equal voice with her beloved when it came to caring for the people of her land.

Now Marian is alone, with no voice of her own. The people of Locksley, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, are doomed to live in poverty or else face death by hanging. The dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sherriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley, and Marian’s fiancé. Society demands that she accept her fate, and watch helplessly as her people starve.

When Marian dons Robin’s green cloak, and takes up his sword and bow, she never intended that anyone should mistake her for Robin, returned from the Holy Land as a vigilante. She never intended that the masked, cloaked figure she created should stand as a beacon of hope and justice to peasant and noble alike. She never intended to become a legend.

But all of Nottingham is crying out for a savior. So Marian must choose to make her own fate and become her own hero…

Robin Hood.

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AHHHH…I NEED THIS BOOK SO BAD. I love Robin Hood and Robin Hood retellings. Plus, Hunted by Meagan Spooner was one of my favorite books of 2017. COME ON BOOKISH GODS, BLESS ME WITH THIS BOOK ASAP!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review of My Plain Jane

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Title:
 My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Historical, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.


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My Plain Jane is a unique story that combines a quirky retelling of Jane Eyre with a hint of ghost-hunting shenanigans. The book does have some funny moments, but I think the supernatural and ghost-busting were my favorite elements of the novel. I also thought it was clever that the authors took a Victorian classic and used the plot to subtly hint at a lot of our current political and cultural events/people.  

As some of you might know, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is my all-time favorite book. As a Victorian fanatic and anglophile, I love Jane Eyre for so many reasons. I love Jane’s proto-feminist attitude. My favorite scene of the novel takes place among the foggy moors. I love that the original novel incorporates the supernatural and some creepy laughing in Thornfield Hall. But I also like the brooding Mr. Rochester and the chaos that haunts his life. My Plain Jane incorporates a lot of the characters and events found in the original classic, and by focusing on the Gothic elements of the original novel, the authors of My Plain Jane add their own twists and fates to the characters. 

All of the characters are unique with their own set of flaws, and even though My Plain Jane is a “supernatural” story, the characters made the story seem realistic. If I had to pick a favorite character, I would go with Charlotte Brontë. Her character is determined, bold, and smart. I love that she is not afraid to show her witty side and her epic “can-do” attitude. I also characterized her as the “Veronica Mars” throughout the story, because she is so good at sleuthing. 

Overall, I found the My Plain Jane to be a fun and quick read. If you’re in the mood for a Jane Eyre retelling, some sleuthing, and a band of ghost-busting misfits, give My Plain Jane a read. It definitely has a Jane Eyre meets Scooby-Doo feel.   

3 star rating

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

Review of Beyond a Darkened Shore

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Title:
 Beyond A Darkened Shore
Author: Jessica Leake
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology

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Synopsis:

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores. 

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world. 

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world. 

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.


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This year has been the year for Viking books, and I was so excited to finally sit down and read Beyond A Darkened Shore. I love the cover because I am a sucker for anything with birds on it, and the synopsis kept screaming, “Cassie, you need to read this!” Sadly, after struggling and forcing myself to finish, I did not end up loving the book. Beyond A Darkened Shore had some good twists, turns, and “whoa” moments, but in the end, the story and the characters did not win me over. 

Ciara, the main character, is a fierce warrior and holds a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Throughout Beyond A Darkened Shore, she has to be physically and mentally strong for her little sisters. But as she starts learning more and more about her past and the people that she believed to be her “enemy,” she starts opening her eyes to a new world and embracing her magic that is frowned upon by her community. However, throughout the book, I always felt like Ciara was holding herself back. In many chapters, Ciara seemed to be pulling herself away from moving in a positive direction in many aspects of her life. Her hindrance and actions often left the story stagnant, which left me debating on if I should actually finish the book.

One of my favorite parts of Beyond A Darkened was the high potential of a enemies-to-lovers relationship (one of my favorite tropes to read). I did enjoy reading the scenes where Ciara interacts with her nemesis, Leif. Their friendship and relationship is great to watch blossom throughout the chapters, but they also have this playful banter that’s hard to ignore. However, even though I was a fan of the potential romantic aspects of the Beyond A Darkened Shore, the book fell short for me. Beyond A Darkened Shore didn’t blow me away, but the unraveled truths and twists at the end of the book did make me hopeful that if there was ever a second book, Ciara’s character will be developed more, and we can get more Leif and Ciara scenes. 

1-star-rating

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

Waiting On Wednesday: The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

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.

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Title: The Looking Glass
Author: Janet McNally
Publication date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis

GIRLS IN TROUBLE.

That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister Julia renamed their favorite fairy tale book, way back when they were just girls themselves. Now, Julia has disappeared—and no one knows if she’s in trouble.

Sylvie is trying to carry on Julia’s impressive legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy, but Julia, ever the star of the show, can’t stay hidden forever. And when she sends Sylvie a copy of their old storybook with a mysterious list inside, Sylvie begins to see signs of her sister everywhere she goes. She may be losing her grip on reality, but Sylvie has to find out if the strange, almost magical things she’s been seeing have anything to do with Julia’s whereabouts.

With the help of her best friend’s enigmatic brother and his beat-up car, Sylvie sets out to the beat of a Fleetwood Mac playlist, determined to return to New York with her sister in tow. But what Sylvie doesn’t expect to learn is that trouble comes in lots of forms—and that the damsel in distress is often the only one who can save herself.

Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi

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Title:
 This Tiny Perfect World
Author:  Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

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Synopsis:

Penny loves her small-town Florida life, and she has her future mapped out. She’s going to community college after graduation to stay close to home and her best friend, Faye. She’ll take over the family diner that her dad has been managing since her mother died. And one day, she’ll marry her high school sweetheart, Logan.

But when she unexpectedly lands a scholarship to a prestigious summer theater camp, she is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And suddenly, her future gets a little hazy. As she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that maybe the life everyone (including her) expects her to lead is not the one she was meant to have.


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Once again, Lauren Gibaldi has written another book with so much emotional power behind her characters. In This Tiny Perfect World, we are streamed through the world and emotions of the main character, Penny. It’s currently Penny’s summer break, and while her friends are pursuing jobs, she is participating in a summer program for actors. Penny is from a small town, where no one really leaves. But in this story, Penny begins to see that her passion for acting may not be just a hobby and the small-town-world she has perfected with great friends, a loving dad, and a caring boyfriend, might not be enough for Penny to stay after she graduates high school. 
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One of my favorite things about Gibaldi’s writing is that she makes her characters so real and honest. In This Tiny Perfect World, Penny’s inner dialogue is so gritty and vulnerable. I enjoyed watching Penny challenge herself to push forward; she dares herself to take on acting roles that are so different to her normal lifestyle. But it’s through  theater camp and her play-acting friends, Penny discovers there are dreams and goals beyond her small town walls. Penny thought she already had her life planned out after high school, but she acknowledges that not everything is black and white. Situations change. People change. And people, like herself, are on a continuous journey of figuring who they are and what they want in life. 
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Overall, This Tiny Perfect World is different that Gibaldi’s other two books., because it is not as swoony and romantic-based. Instead, the focus in this book is on Penny’s individual character development. I like that Penny’s life begins on such a narrow and focused path, but by the end of the book, Penny realizes her world is wide open to more possibilities. This story is very straight-forward, thought-provoking, and will have you engaged in internal dialogue of a teenager who has a loving soul and a fierce spirit to mature and discover the world around her. 

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giveaway

WIN 1 copy of THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD by Lauren Gibaldi
(OPEN INTERNATIONALLY-as long as the Book Depository ships to you)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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US ONLY…Comment below and win a swag package from the author (picture below). I will randomly pick one (1) winner on March 12, 2018 at noon.

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about the author


Lauren Gibaldi is a public librarian who’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and daughter. Her books include THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, AUTOFOCUS, and the forthcoming THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD.

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February 27th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

February 28th

Broadway World– Guest Post
Jill’s Book Blog– Review
Belle’s Book Blog– Review

March 1st

Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile– Review & Favorite Quotes
We Live and Breathe Books Review & Meet the Characters
Bookwyrming Thoughts– Review

March 2nd

Two Different Worlds– Interview
BookCrushin– Review & Creative Post

March 3rd

Here’s to Happy Endings– Story Behind the Cover
A Thousand Words A Million Books– Review

March 4th

Blushing Bibliophile– Review & Favorite Quotes
Literary Meanderings– Guest Post

March 5th

Little Library Muse– Interview
Becca’s Lost in Lit– Review & Book Style
The Candid Cover– Review

 
Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to HarperTeen for providing me an e-galley to read and review the book for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.