Treat Yo Shelf: August 2019 Recap

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August 2019: Monthly Recap

Welcome to my monthly recap post, in which I highlight the books I read in the last month, bookish items I acquired, book events I attended, bookish news, and/or subscription boxes I received this month.

what did I read

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me  35126152._SY475_  Have a Little Faith Book cover  all the bad apples

well met  IMG_9194  sapphire flames

what did i review

(Click on the banner to be linked to blog post)

HELLO GIRLS TOUR BANNER

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Banner Iron and Magic

HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME TOUR BANNER

publishers and authors

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Thank you to Penguin Teen for inviting me to participate in their Daring Debuts tour, and sending me both the ARCs and finished copies of the four featured books. 

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August Book Haul

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  • Book of the Month: Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  • Owlcrate: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • Online Bookstore purchases: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
  • Book Outlet: Persuasion by Jane Austen; Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka; and Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
  • Penguin Teen ARCs and Finished copies: Ziggy Stardust & Me; As Many Nows As I Can Get; The Stars and the Blackness Between Them; and We Speak in Storms

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How did you treat your shelves in August?

Raves & Craves: Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me
Title:
Ziggy, Stardust and Me
Author:  James Brandon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, Historical
Source: Physical ARC from publisher

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Synopsis:

The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA.


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Hi everyone! Today I am hosting a Raves & Craves post for Penguin Teen’s Daring Debuts campaign! I hope you are ready for a yummy treat paired with a raving review of Ziggy, Stardust & Me by James Brandon.

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My heart is so content and heavy by how unbelievably earth-shattering, tear-inducing, and beautifully written this book is. Ziggy, Stardust & Me reads like a song that you want to hear for the very first time all over again. James Brandon’s words will flood your soul with tears of sorrow and intense pride.

Set in the 1970s, this novel clinches the historical realities of corrupt government scandals, blatant racism, and the treatment of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Mesh these wrongs with abstract lyrics of self-acceptance, change, hope, love, and the perceptive of humanity, and you encompass the heart and struggles found in Ziggy, Stardust & Me.

Jonathan (also known as Johnny), the main character, is going through so many life-changing experiences at once, which sets up his adolescence in a galactic spin of hardships, falling in love, and finding self-acceptance. Ziggy, Stardust & Me will immerse your heart in a coming of age story that is very relevant to today’s young generation who, like Johnny, struggle to find their own voice and find pride in who they are.

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One of my favorite parts of this book was watching the friendship and relationship develop between Johnny and his new classmate and American Indian friend, Web. They share a love for music, imagining the moon as their safe haven, and accepting ice cream as a peace offering. I was constantly highlighting and tagging scenes and quotes between these two characters. Some of my favorite quotes that inspired this blog post snack are:

“You know, Carl Sagan says we’re all made of star stuff. Everything is made of it. When stars die they fall into our atmosphere and turn into these chemical compounds that become things. Sometimes they become people.”
“Far out.”
“I know. I hope one day we’ll all see each other without these stupid labels and instead see each other for who we really are. Starfolk.”

“And remembering a quote President Kennedy once said: ‘We choose to go to the moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.’
I think I finally get it now. It’s a lot like love, isn’t it? It’s hard work, but if you don’t give up and keep pushing forward, the rewards are infinite . . .”

“We can always go there, you know? To the moon. It’s safe at least . . .”

“Just us, remember? To the moon,” he whispers.

In reference to these beautifully written scenes, I was inspired to make my own bowl of comforting ice cream sundae. While Johnny’s favorite ice cream is bomb pops and Web’s are Push-up pops, I thought I would put my own “To the Moon” sundae spin with my favorite ice cream, cookies ‘n cream. 

Ingredients:

  • Ice cream (vanilla)
  • Oreo
  • Cherries
  • Sprinkles (stars and moons, if you got them)

Instructions:

Scoop up your favorite flavored ice cream and place it into a bowl. Then add all your favorite toppings. In this case, I have added large crumbles of Oreo cookies, cherries (because the flavor reminds Johnny of Web), and a sprinkle of stars to represent their friendship and being ever-loving starfolk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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James Brandon
 produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is codirector of the documentary film based on their journey, Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s the cofounder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Powwow Steering Committee for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust and Me is his first novel. You can visit James Brandon at justbejb.com

TOUR SCHEDULE

Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Week One:

August 5 – The Book Bratz – Covers inspired by favorite singers
August 6 – Goblet of Fiction – Creative Instagram Picture
August 7 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Author Guest Post: What theme song would you choose for each character and why?
August 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Playlist
August 9 – Velarisreads – Inspired by the Book: Makeup

Week Two:

August 12 – Liv The Book Nerd – Review + Playlist
August 13 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
August 14 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Raves and Craves
August 15 – LGBT YA Catalog – Author Guest Post
August 16 – @booksandbrandy – Creative Instagram Picture

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Note: A huge thank you to the Penguin Teen for inviting me on this blog tour and for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Waiting on Wednesday: All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

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: All the Bad Apples
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publication date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

Synopsis

The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of When the Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry

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Title:
 When the Sky Fell on Splendor
Author:  Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:

Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.

In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.

Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.

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You guys, where do I even start. Emily Henry wrote one of my favorite books in the world, A Million Junes, and I could not wait until her next book to knock me off my feet. And here it is–When the Sky Fell on Splendor–another Henry book that takes the strong elements of the contemporary genre and splashes in frames of science fiction and fantasy. As supernatural elements are spread throughout the pages, the characters are thrown into strange phenomenons as they are dealing with cracked remnants of grief etched by loss.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor is a constant page-turner illuminated with small-town, Midwestern vibes, the disarray of a tragic event, and a group of teenage misfits. About five years ago a local steel mill explosion failed to spare well-loved neighbors, family members, and local heroes. Each character is internally processing the events that rattled their lives, and as summer unfolds their lives are suddenly changed again when they witness the crash of an unidentified flying object.

I really enjoyed When the Sky Fell on Splendor because the book focuses a lot on friendships and love. The book has the atmosphere and nostalgia of 1980’s movies, bringing in a close-knit group of friends (and a cute dog) who often engage in the exploring legends and unexplained events. Each of these teens are going through the motions of grief, loss, growing up, and self-acceptance. Overall, I loved getting lost in this story of amazing weirdos who one night are tossed into an eerie, unexplained event of bright lights, a glowing humanoid, special powers, and “what the hell is going on with the cows?”  

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Note: Thank you to good friend Emma at Miss Print for gifting me an early copy of this book. 

Waiting on Wednesday: Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

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: Give the Dark My Love
Author: Beth Revis
Publication date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her. 

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague. 

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.

Goodreads Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour: A Playlist for THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold

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Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All except his Strange Fascinations . . . 

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.


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Told in first person point of view, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a coming-of-age story that explores the strange and fascinating life of Noah Oakman. Noah is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. After being hypnotized, Noah starts noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. As Noah explores these odd occurrences, he also starts contemplating the definition of being alone versus alienation. Throughout the novel, Noah delves into his life choices while backpacking his favorite authors, books, musicians like David Bowie, and iconic songs along for the ride. Check out my 5-star RAVING review HERE

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Music and notable musicians play important roles in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and throughout Noah’s mind-boggling life he highlights the most fantastic tunes. But what fascinated me the most is that Noah’s world is surrounded by great people who inspire the perfect playlist. Below, check out some of my favorite quotes which sparked an eclectic playlist of songs. 

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WEEK ONE

May 7 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
May 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + My Strange Fascinations
May 9 – Forever Bookish – Review
May 10 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Playlist with Graphic Quotes
May 11 – Adventures in YA Publishing – Author Q&A

WEEK TWO

May 14 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 15 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Graphic Quotes
May 16 – BookCrushin – Review + Playlist
May 17 – Mind of a Book Dragon – Review
May 18 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post:  What Would Your Strange Fascination Be?

WEEK THREE

May 21 – Pop! Goes the Reader – Wallpaper
May 22 – The Young Folks – Author Q&A
May 23 – Page Travels – Creative Instagram
May 24 – Bookfoolery – Review
May 25 – Dazzled by Books – Candle Creation Post + Review

WEEK FOUR

May 28 – Paper Trail YA – Author Q&A
May 29 – Snowandbooks – Review + Aesthetic Board
May 30 – Reading Writing and Me – Book Review
May 31 – The Radiant Reader – Playlist + Creative Instagram Picture
June 1 – We Live and Breathe Books – Review + Moodboard

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David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.

 

 

WEBSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK 
 /   
INSTAGRAM

 

 


Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that I do not own or have rights to any of the music, lyrics, quotes, or videos shown in this blog post. All quote images were created by me.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold

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Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All except his Strange Fascinations . . . 

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.


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First off . . . WHOA!

There is no one way to explain the profound literary oddities and beautiful complexities of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. But for me, this book was a combination of my favorite movie, one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite TV shows. Mix the quirks and cerebral explorations found in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, add in a dash of Holden Caulfield’s blunt honesty and independent drive and the uncensored monologues of Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, and you get the perfect tome called The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a modern-day coming-of-age story that highlights and explores the emotional aspects of being alone versus loneliness. Told in first person point-of-view, Noah (the main character) explains to the reader that he is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. He is tired of everyone expecting a traditional path for his future, when he honestly doesn’t even know what he wants. So after drinking the fruitiest of alcoholic beverages and ranting to a random stranger, Noah is hypnotized and wakes up noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. The only constant in his life is his hilarious and good-hearted sister, Penny. For months, Noah unravels his own thoughts and exerts himself into the lives of lonely strangers. And in the end, Noah wakes up to a world of panic, concerns, heartache, but more importantly, love, compassion, and a triangular friendship.

David Arnold is one of my favorite young adult writers because his novels always encompass so much passion; his characters are so authentic and his storytelling always provides a realistic truth and the raw grittiness of teenage life. So when it comes to The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, once again, David wrote a book that took my love for his work to the next level.

This contemporary book, with a sprinkle of science fiction, made me laugh so hard but also tear up in other scenes.  The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik made me want to listen to Bowie non-stop and watch my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls. And oddly enough, this novel made me think about how much I love my younger brother and how I appreciate that he is that stable constant in my life. If you love humming to the theme song of Friends and following a eccentric character that takes you on an unbeaten path, pull up a chair and open the pages to Noah’s strange and fascinating life known as The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

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David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.

 


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BSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK   /   INSTAGRAM

 

 

Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Review of Royals by Rachel Hawkins

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Title:
Royals
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. 

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.


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Royals by Rachel Hawkins is a fun and fluffy read. This story has everything from cute princes, a snarky female lead, angst, and my favorite, all the swoons. Although the main character Daisy is forced to spend her summer in a new country and in the spotlight with royalty, I think she handles her situation very well. She is told what not to do, what to do, and is oftentimes forced to put on a show for society. I often felt like I was watching a 90s movie, where change is inevitable, but the female lead allows herself to rebel against society’s standards and be who she wants to be. 

I honestly felt sorry for Daisy throughout the book. She did not ask to be thrown into this world of royalty and proper etiquette. In one part of the book, her and her best friend had a whole trip planned out to meet their favorite author and I hated that her sister’s engagement to a prince ruins those plans. I had to grit my teeth because Daisy was forced to go with the flow and do what other people want. So not fair! But what I liked about Daisy is that even though she is forced to put on a show, she still puts her foot down when needed. She doesn’t allow herself to get lost in this royalty mess. 

Overall, I found Royals to a very quick and cute read. However, I felt like it was missing something–that spark that makes it different and “wows” me. I never felt that spark. I did, however, love the ending and I hope there is a lot more in store for Daisy and Miles. 

3 star rating

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Note: Thank you to Penguin Random House’s First to Read program for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Waiting On Wednesday: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

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: Royals
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publication date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour: Raves & Craves of Given to the Earth by Mindy McGinnis

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Given to the Earth Cover

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Title: Given to the Earth
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Putnam’s Childrens
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa’s marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she’s untouchable. But being Queen hasn’t stopped her heart from longing for the King’s stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn’t stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.

While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra’s leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri. 

As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.


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Given to the Earth follows a few months after the captivating ending of Given to the Sea. Also, told in multiple points-of-view like its fantasy duo, this book focuses on how Khosa’s thought-to-be tragic sacrifice to the sea has now turned into a chance to live and be queen. But with these new changes in motion, the Earth begins to literally crumble beneath them and the loyalties among the characters are challenged. Love becomes a triangle of complexities–trust and forgiveness are tested. McGinnis writes a beautiful epic story, where lives at social and cultural classes are pushed to survive. She takes each of her flawed characters, and gives them a chance to save themselves, their family and friends, and in some cases, their own people and kingdom.

What I loved about this book the most was the many shocking secrets that are revealed. We delve into an action-packed book that is filled with tragic traditions, political gain, and secretive histories. In Given to the Earth, we are thrown into layers of political intrigue, betrayal, heartbreak, and some tragic endings. And in the end, I loved the last chapter, which brilliantly and beautifully provides a heartfelt conclusion.

 

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In several scenes of Given to the Earth, Khosa is mentioned to be eating bread or munching on bread crumbs. Now I love me some good, warm homemade bread, but I also have a sweet tooth. While reading these scenes, I could not stop thinking about my mom’s famous monkey bread. So of course, I quickly whipped up a batch of monkey bread and ate it during the last few chapters of the book. Both the monkey bread and the last chapter made an ooey-gooey mess with my heart.


Ingredients:

Canned biscuits (1 to 2 cans)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of white sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of butter or margarine

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease a bundt pan
  3. Mix the white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl or plastic bag
  4. Cut up biscuit dough into bite-sized pieces
  5. Mix and coat the bite-sized biscuit dough in the sugar-cinnamon mix
  6. At medium heat, boil the butter and brown sugar in a pan to make a sauce
  7. Add and arrange the sugar-cinnamon biscuits pieces into the greased bundt pan.
  8. Pour the buttery-brown sugar sauce over top the coated biscuit pieces in the bundt pan
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes and flip onto a plate. You can now slice the cake or pull pieces off. YUM!

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Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion.


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Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.