Book Review: ‘The Cresswell Plot’ by Eliza Wass

CreswellPlot

I received my review copy of Eliza Wass’s The Cresswell Plot buried in a wooden box full of dirt. Needless to say, it piqued my attention. Everything about the book, from the unsettling cover to the eerie blurb makes you think you’re in for an extremely creepy read. And yeah, The Cresswell Plot is definitely creepy, although it may not be creepy enough to satiate readers hoping to be truly unsettled. Continue reading

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An Interview with ‘Autofocus’ Author Lauren Gibaldi

Lauren Gibaldi (Image Credit: KV Photography)

Lauren Gibaldi (Image Credit: KV Photography)

I read Lauren Gibaldi’s debut novel, The Night We Said Yes, earlier this year and I couldn’t put it down. A YA novel about young love lost and found and it was exactly what I needed. Lauren’s next YA novel, Autofocus, comes out this summer and I can’t wait to pick it up.

lgibaldi_headshot_KV_Photography

Lauren Gibaldi (Image Credit: KV Photography)

Pulled from Goodreads, the brief synopsis sums it up without giving too much away:

It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren was kind enough to answer a few questions about her new book, her life as an author, and what’s next:

 

What inspired you to start writing?

Lauren Gibaldi: I’ve kept a journal since I was in 4th grade, so I kind of always wrote. (Obviously it wasn’t very interesting back then; I mostly wrote about how annoying my younger brother was.) I’d write short stories as a kid, mostly putting myself in Grave Danger where I’d have to leave the haunted forest or something. They lasted for about two paragraphs. I stopped writing for fun, and more for school, and ended up majoring in English in college. I wrote articles for newspapers and magazines and eventually wanted to try fiction again. And quickly I learned, for me at least, that fiction is way more fun!

 

Tell us a little bit about your next book, Autofocus.

LG: When Maude is given a school photography assignment to capture what it means to be “family,” she decides to search for information on her deceased birth mother, whom she’s never known. She goes to Tallahassee, Florida, where she was born, and stays with her best friend Treena. While there, she learns more about her mom (and her best friend’s new social life) and wonders if who we are is determined at birth, or if we can change as we grow.

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

Do you write characters based on anyone you know?

LG: Nope, everyone is fictional, though there are bits and pieces of my real life I thrown in. For instance, I went to college in Tallahassee, so many of the landmarks are places I enjoyed. In my first book, The Night We Said Yes, the guys in the band The Pepperpots are fictional, but I stole the name from my friends’ high school band. It’s a little shout out to them. They came to my release party to celebrate, too!

 

Have any of them been based on you? Would you base a character on yourself?

LG: Nope, but I think there’s part of me in the characters. Ella in The Night We Said Yes is very much like me, but she’s not based on me. We have some similar perceptions on friendship; on standing out. In Autofocus, Maude and I are different, but I can still find pieces of myself in her.

 

Would you ever write a series?

LG: I don’t know about a series, but I’d be happy doing a related story. After The Night We Said Yes came out, I wrote Matt’s Story, a novella told from the main guy’s point of view. I loved re-visiting the characters in a new way. Honestly, if I could write an entire book about Jake, I would. That said, I wouldn’t want to do a sequel to TNWSY. Ella’s story is done there. So I’ll never say never! But right now I like doing stand-alone books.

 

Who is your favorite author? Or multiple if you can’t choose?

LG: Aside from being a writer, I’m a librarian, so this is a very hard question! Let’s go by categories. In picture books, I (and my daughter) love Mo Willems, Dan Santat, and Tammi Sauer. In middle grade, I adore Rebecca Stead (her newest book is fantastic), Lois Lowry (my childhood favorite!), and of course JK Rowling. In adult fiction, I enjoy Nick Hornby, Nicole Krauss, Lauren Groff, Curtis Sittenfeld, and J Courtney Sullivan. Also David Sedaris. In classics, F Scott Fitzgerald and Charlotte Bronte. And in YA, EVERYONE. I can’t choose favorites. They’re all fantastic. (My writer heroes are Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Stephen Chbosky.)

 

What was the last book you were really obsessed with and couldn’t put down?

LG: I have a toddler, so I don’t read much (sad!). I read The Rosie Project for my library’s book club, and really enjoyed it. And Outrun the Moon, a YA novel about the San Francisco earthquake and a girl left in the wake, is tremendously good.

 

Follow Lauren on Twitter and make sure to check out The Night We Said Yes and pick up Autofocus when it hits shelves June 14th.

Book Review: ‘The Last Star’ by Rick Yancey

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You know that feeling of anticipation you get when the final book in a beloved series finally comes out? It’s that feeling where you’re partially super excited because you really want to know how it ends, but you’re also kind of anxious that it’s not going to meet your high expectations? So yeah, that’s where I was at when I picked up the final book in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series, The Last Star.

I loved The 5th Wave. It had a lot going for it – a unique spin on the oft-rehashed post-apocalyptic scenario, a strong female lead, a survival story, and aliens. The story felt immediate and engaging, making it one of my favorite reads of the year. When the sequel, The Infinite Sea, came out, I wasn’t disappointed, exactly…just cautious. I liked the book fine, but something about it just felt different. That x factor I loved about the first book was missing, replaced with a bit too much philosophy and metaphor for the likes of me. But perhaps it was a bridge book issue. Maybe I’d find that thing I was looking for in the final book, The Last Star.

Did I? Yes and no. A large portion of the book did feel a bit truer to the original vibe of the series than The Infinite Sea – a fast-paced survival story that just happens to include aliens. I was really interested to see how Yancey could possibly tie up this epic story. To his credit, he manages to both provide a satisfying conclusion without wrapping things up too neatly for a story of this magnitude.

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I appreciated that Yancey had a clear plan for his story progression; there are some confusing bits here and there but for the most part The Last Star helped me make more sense of what was happening in The Infinite Sea, and everything seemed to tie together fairly well. I tend to prefer sci-fi stories that are at least somewhat reality-based, in that I can imagine them being within the realm of possibility and not complete fantasy. This series stays in that realm quite well for the first couple of books, but some of the events at the end, in particular, strayed a bit too far into the unbelievable for my taste. And on that note…

I kind of hated the ending. I understand why it ended the way it did, and I would even go so far as to say it makes more sense than any other ending. I think the problem I had was that I was expecting some sort of major revelation or twist. Throughout the series, there’s this sense of secrecy and conspiracy and I just kept waiting for something new to come to light that really changed my understanding of this story. It just didn’t happen, and that left me disappointed.

And, without getting too spoilery, there’s a super cliche and unnecessary story thread in The Last Star that feels like an afterthought throughout the entire book, until it gets forced down your throat at the end. It’s a common storytelling device; it’s symbolic, whatever…I was just hoping for something a little more original when the series had so much promise of being unique from the get go.

What’s really disappointing is that overall, The Last Star is a fantastic book. Aside from playing a little fast and loose with its core group of characters, the story is cohesive, suspenseful, and exciting. Leading up to the final section of the book, I was feeling pretty darn optimistic. Unfortunately there’s no way for me to talk about this book as a series ender without dwelling heavily on the actual ending, and sadly that piece was a major letdown for me. Still, I’m glad I read The Last Star and, had I not had several years’ worth of series ending expectations built up, it’s very likely my overall impression, ending included, would have been better.

I’d also like to mention how grateful I am for the existence of this series, because I do think it has opened the door for more YA sci-fi books to see the light of day, and encouraged interested authors to pursue the genre more. Oh, and I’m just one person – there are plenty of readers out there who absolutely loved The Last Star and thought the ending was perfect. So I say – take your chances. Regardless of your thoughts on the ending, it’s an exciting ride.

3 Amazing Book Series with Unsatisfying Endings

(Image Credit: Scholastic)

(Image Credit: Scholastic)

As an English major, books are my everything. Becoming completely enthralled in a world and reading until the sun comes up is one of my biggest hobbies. But every now and then, a world and characters I have grown to love disappoint me in the end. As a writer I can sympathize. Endings are so hard. No ending will satisfy every single reader. But here are a few books that have massive dissatisfaction. Spoilers ahead, obviously.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

As a book lover, I can guarantee to if you go poll a bunch of readers and ask what novel ending disappointed them the most at least half will say the final Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows. I love Harry Potter, I really do. It shaped my entire childhood. I even have a Deathly Hallows tattoo! But I will always admit how much the epilogue sucked. Pairing every single living character up and having kids seems like such an easy way out. And don’t even get me started on the children’s awful names. I suppose with 7 books worth of death and destruction J.K. Rowling just wanted some happiness, but who really wants that? Happy endings  just seem cheesy and disatisfying.

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Allegiant

Allegiant is the final book of the Divergent trilogy. Throughout the whole series, we follow Tris and see her world of factions. It was a very interesting dynamic for a series and definitely caught my attention. I read the first two books in a matter of days, then I had to wait a year for the final book. And then Allegiant came out and Tris got away from the factions all together by leaving her city. The idea of pure and damaged genes are introduced when they go to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, and it is all mostly uninteresting. Then at the end of the book, Tris dies, sacrificing herself to save her awful brother. Allegiant fast forwards two years and shows Chicago at peace and factionless. All in all, I was devastated that this strong female character ended up needlessly sacrificing herself. The movie comes out this month and is being split into two parts. Maybe the movie will do it better?

mockingjay

Mockingjay

I read The Hunger Games in high school and I was obsessed. I was absolutely enthralled in this post-apocalyptic chaotic society. After I read the first two novels, I had to wait a couple months for the final book to come out. During that time, I spent a lot of time on Tumblr and was introduced to the idea that Katniss was asexual and that’s why she was kind of indifferent to both Peeta and Gale when it came to anything more than friendship. Her kissing them was just a way to make them happy and stay in her life when she didn’t know what else to do. I absolutely loved this theory because it put a spin on the classic love triangle and also put the spotlight on a sexuality that doesn’t get talked about much. However, in the end, Katniss ends up having children with Peeta and I was very, very disappointed.

 

As I said before, endings are hard. I understand I’m not always going to enjoy the endings the author chooses to write. The fact I was disappointed with these three novels doesn’t mean I renounce them all together. I still reread the Harry Potter series every summer! Disappointment happens but it makes us realize that these very talented people wanted to share their creation and we should appreciate them for creating these worlds for us to get lost in.

Book Review: ‘Map of Fates’ by Maggie Hall

Book Review: ‘Map of Fates’ by Maggie HallI’m a little late boarding the Conspiracy of Us train. The first book has been on my to-read list since before its release, but I finally got around to reading it once I received an ARC of book two in the series, Map of Fates. While I enjoyed The Conspiracy of Us, I was still pleasantly surprised at how much Map of Fates hooked me. If you haven’t read The Conspiracy of Us and don’t want it spoiled for you, you know the drill – back away slowly from this page!

There’s a pretty intricate plot in these books, but a brief summary of book one for those who need a memory jog: “Normal American Teenager” Avery West learns that she’s heir to an extremely powerful group of of families known as The Circle. Not only that, Avery happens to be “the girl with the purple eyes” that has long been prophesied as having a hugely important impact on the fate of The Circle, particularly when there is a union with Avery and “the One,” who we discovered in The Conspiracy of Us is Stellan, a “Keeper” (AKA “unusually young and attractive security”) for another family in The Circle and the one of Avery’s two Keeper accomplices that she’s not kinda-sorta in a relationship with. Awkward.

Oh and also, there’s this adversary group called The Order that kidnapped Avery’s mom and wants Avery’s help to find this very abstract, never clearly defined source of power that is apparently in Alexander the Great’s tomb or something. And Stellan being The One is a secret, so The Circle thinks The One could be any dude from one of its families, basically, so they’re all desperate for Avery to marry into their family. I mean…the story is fun but the details…don’t think too hard about them, mmmkay? Your head might start literally spinning. So much for a brief summary, eh?

Map of Fates catches up with Avery and her actual-sort-of-not-really-because-he-might-get-killed-for-it Keeper boyfriend Jack as they investigate clues left behind by their shared mentor in an attempt to trade info for Avery’s mom. This eventually leads to an agreement with Avery’s father, who starts parading Avery around to various countries with Circle families with eligible bachelor sons. Avery and Jack, along with some help from Stellan, use this as an opportunity to research potential clues in the countries they’re visiting. And so begins a whirlwind of visiting different countries, dressing up pretty to meet marriageable guys, and then sneaking out to comb museums and historical sites for clues.

There’s a decent amount of action and mystery in Map of Fates, and I appreciate the plot despite it being a bit…well, fanciful. But it’s executed well, so long as you aren’t expecting a straightforward thriller but are fine with some boy drama and pretty dresses being involved as well. I should probably address the dreaded love triangle. Yup, this series has one. But Hall handles it exceptionally well. She maintains the integrity of all three characters while shifting the story around them in a believable way, without straight manipulating you as a reader. It’s one of the best (or, as a love triangle skeptic might say, least-awful) love triangles I’ve ever read in YA, so there’s that.

Map of Fates takes the elements of Conspiracy of Us and amps them up a bit, and it becomes clear that Hall’s true talent lies more in the realm of contemporary YA than action and intrigue. Not that she can’t manage the action and intrigue, but the best parts of this story are the ones that focus on characters and relationships, not globetrotting action and high-power conspiracies. I dearly hope Hall has plans to write a straightforward contemporary at some point, because I have no doubt she’d excel at it.

This book is also a real page-turner, particularly once you hit the halfway point. There are twists and turns; some unexpected and some not so much, but all are engaging. Map of Fates also deftly avoids bridge book syndrome by seeing a major plot line through while setting up a new one for the final book in the series. Hall seems to have a knack for finding the balance in drawing out the things that need to be but not stretching out the things that don’t. (Perhaps Ms. Hall should be recruited to write for Pretty Little Liars; she could teach them a thing or two.) Hall is a frequent traveler, which I both love and hate – it’s great that her descriptions of Avery’s travels are authentic; that really shines through in her writing. I’m just bitter that I don’t have the kind of lifestyle where I can jet around the world constantly. 🙂

As much as I enjoyed The Conspiracy of Us, it wasn’t until finishing Map of Fates that I realized I am fully on board with this series and excited to see how it ends! If you need reprieve from the winter reading rut, I highly recommend this series to tide you over until spring’s exciting slate of new releases.

 

If you’re itching for more Map of Fates, be sure to check out the blog tour running through March 22nd – you can find the first top, as well as links to additional blog tour stops, at Fangirlish.

Life Lessons from ‘I Was Here’ Author Gayle Forman

Life Lessons from ‘I Was Here’ Author Gayle FormanGayle Forman has a knack for writing prose not only beautiful, but impactful. Regardless of what she’s saying, it always packs an emotional punch. In honor of the paperback release of Forman’s I Was Here, we’re participating in a giveaway of Forman’s entire paperback collection –  and I’m going to share one of my favorite quotes from a Forman novel.

Forman’s Just One Day tells the story of Allyson, a girl who spends a life-changing day with a near-stranger, Willem, during a trip abroad. The follow-up book, Just One Year, tells Willem’s story as he attempts to track down Allyson, without even knowing her real name. Throughout the course of the book Willem struggles with the line between leaving everything up to fate and making his own fate. Just when Willem is starting to give up hope, he gets this much-needed reality check:

“Nothing happens without intention, Willem. Nothing. This theory of yours – life is ruled by accidents – isn’t that just one huge excuse for passivity?”

I love this quote because it doesn’t discount the fact that strange, unexpected things can happen that change the course of your life, but realistically points out the necessity of trying when there is something you want. It’s easy for teenagers to romanticize the idea of fate and things happening for a reason. It’s a nice notion, until you end up with the short end of the stick and think that’s just the way it is. But it’s really not – through Willem, Forman shows the importance of making an effort. Things may not always go your way, but sometimes they will, and you never know if you don’t try.

Keep reading for a giveaway, and let us know your favorite Gayle Forman quotes or life lessons in the comments!


Giveaway

And now for the giveaway! Whether you’re a longtime Gayle Forman fan looking to complete your collection, or you’re just getting started, this giveaway will give you everything you need to catch up on all things Gayle Forman.

Five winners will receive paperback copies of:

  • I Was Here
  • Just One Day / Just One Year / Just One Night (Box Set)
  • If I Stay / Where She Went (Box Set)

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Open to US addresses only. Prizing courtesy of Penguin Young Readers. Giveaway closes 2/15/16.


To learn more about Gayle Forman, visit her official website or follow her on twitter @gayleforman.

Book Review and Giveaway: ‘Frozen Tides’ by Morgan Rhodes

(Image Credit: Penguin)

(Image Credit: Penguin)

Head’s up – there’s a giveaway for Frozen Tides at the end of this review. I think I avoided spoilers completely in my review, but if you’re uber cautious about it, you may want to jump to the bottom of the page for the giveaway!

Call me crazy, but I jumped into Frozen Tides having not read any of the previous Falling Kingdoms books (despite my best intentions). I had read A Book of Spirits & Thieves, which has some crossover universe stuff, but the story and characters are basically totally different. I thought maybe it would be hard for me to get into Frozen Tides without context, but to my surprise, it wasn’t even a little hard! I realize if you’re reading this, you’re probably more familiar with the series than I am, so I’ll avoid recapping and get to the point and hopefully this will make some sense!

The book is told from several alternating perspectives who readers familiar with the series probably already know – Cleo, Jonas, Magnus, Amara, and Lucia.. I did consult with the list of characters at the beginning of the book a few times when I first started reading, just to help me keep track of how the characters were related to each other, but it didn’t take me long to pick up. Context for the characters’ backstories was readily available within the narrative without being distracting. And story-wise, Frozen Tides totally stands on its own. It’s possible that there may have been more of an emotional punch at certain points of the story if I had three books’ worth of investment in the characters involved, but I didn’t feel like my experience with Frozen Tides was lacking.

Another surprising thing for me was how I wasn’t particularly put off by the magical piece of this story. I’m not a big fan of fantasy books, particularly when they involve magic (or magical creatures), but as it was presented in this book, I actually enjoyed it. Maybe it’s more of a layman’s take on fantasy and that’s why I enjoyed it, or maybe it’s just Rhodes’ writing style, but it totally worked for me. The story feels epic, with elements of danger and adventure and romance and fantastic world-building, so there’s a little something for whatever tickles your fancy.

I don’t want to spoil things, of course, but throughout the course of Frozen Tides, some characters find themselves making unlikely alliances (and betrayals!) and others reassess their plights. It was interesting – and quite enjoyable – for me to try to sort out who is supposed to be good and who is supposed to be bad at this unique time in the character development when many of the characters fall into a gray area. I particularly enjoyed Cleo & Magnus’s storyline and complex relationship, but all the perspectives were unique and engaging, and ultimately tied together in an important way. I also loved how the Amara character continually challenged my perceptions. Is she really a villain when her intentions are based in something good?

Related: It’s great that Rhodes gives these characters reasons for their actions, although by the end of the book I was like, “C’mon guys, enough with the avenging,” as it appears book 5 will feature more of that. At a certain point the vengeance starts to feel very juvenile, although I think that’s part of Rhodes’ point.

Even with juggling a pretty hefty pile of character perspectives, Rhodes managed to make me feel a connection to each narrator, even without having any context to them from previous books. I also get the feeling that she really knows where she is going with this story and is building each book carefully to reach that ending.

When it was all said and done, rather than being frustrated or overwhelmed by jumping into the middle of a series, I found myself truly enjoying Frozen Tides and bumping up all the Falling Kingdoms books on my to-read list. I hope other readers who are a bit hesitant about fantasy will consider giving this series a chance; you may also be pleasantly surprised!


And now the giveaway! Whether you’ve been waiting with bated breath for Frozen Tides to come out or are new to the series and had your interest piqued by my review, this is a great chance to get your hands on a copy of the book – just enter below.

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Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing courtesy of Penguin Publishing.

Giveaway: ‘The 5th Wave’ Movie Tie-In Prize Pack

Has anybody else been counting down the months until the release of the movie adaptation of Rick Yancey’s YA alien invasion novel, The 5th Wave? The book is seriously fantastic, and all signs point to the movie being fantastic as well. It seems like it’s been a long wait, but we’re finally in the home stretch. A full trailer for the movie debuted recently, and now you can pick up a movie tie-in edition of the book.

To celebrate both the release of the movie tie-in book and the upcoming release of the film, we’re featuring a giveaway of some seriously fantastic goodies.

2 winners will each receive:

  • 1 copy of The 5th Wave movie tie-in edition book
  • 1 paperback copy of the sequel, The Infinite Sea
  • 1 Fandango gift certificate for $25 (so you can lock down your 5th Wave movie tickets ASAP!)

You can enter the giveaway below, and don’t forget to preorder your copy of the final book in the series, The Last Star, which will be out May 24th, 2016. I know, I know, it’s a long time to wait to find out the fate of Cassie and her crew, but hey, at least you’ve got the movie to look forward to in the meantime!

 

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Open to US addresses only. Giveaway closes 12/3/15.
Check out Rick Yancey on Twitter @RickYancey or at his official website.

An Interview with ‘Revolution of Ivy’ Author Amy Engel

EI 001

The Revolution of Ivy author Amy Engel is a TDQ favorite, and we were thrilled to have the chance to ask her a few questions about completing The Book of Ivy duet and what she has coming up next. The Revolution of Ivy is available now, so if you’re itching to find out what is on the other side of Westfall’s fence, be sure to pick up a copy…and keep reading for our interview with Amy! Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Revolution of Ivy’ by Amy Engel

The Revolution of Ivy by Amy EngelIt’s pretty rare for a story to end on a literal cliffhanger, but Amy Engel’s The Book of Ivy came awfully close, and I’ve been waiting a year to find out what happens next! Finally the sequel, The Revolution of Ivy, is available, and we get some answers. This is where you need to stop reading if you don’t want The Book of Ivy spoiled for you.

Okay, all good? Excellent. The Revolution of Ivy picks up exactly where The Book of Ivy left off – our heroine, Ivy, has been forced outside the fence surrounding Westfall, left to fend for herself as punishment for her ploy to kill Bishop. Of course we know Ivy is actually doing this to protect Bishop, but that doesn’t make it any easier for her to leave him behind. And surviving on her own without basic resources for food, water, and shelter…it’s no easy feat.

The Revolution of Ivy begins purely as a survival story as we follow Ivy as she simply tries to stay alive beyond the fence, but eventually evolves into a story of community and family, and, finally, redemption. I was a little worried about how the story would take shape with the environment changing so much between books, but I actually really enjoyed the story of Ivy’s survival outside the fence. Engel did a lovely job of using it as a means of character growth for Ivy, but also tying it back in with the larger story of political upheaval in Westfall.

Some familiar characters make appearances (yes, we do encounter Bishop again, although I won’t spoil the context or to what extent) and some fantastic new ones are introduced. I enjoyed Ash and Caleb, Ivy’s new friends and partners in survival beyond the fence, and their presence added some really interesting layers to the story overall.

I found The Revolution of Ivy to be a fast-paced, quick read…and if I had to pinpoint a weakness, it would be that the end almost feels a little too fast-paced. Things get wrapped up very quickly and neatly. I didn’t mind the events themselves, but they seemed to come up very suddenly and then were over so fast I wasn’t really able to work up an emotional investment in what was happening.

Fortunately I already had enough investment in the main characters at that point that the events at the end of the story were less important to me than the resolution for the characters, and I was happy with that. And I don’t want to nitpick a handful of chapters when the dozens leading up to them were solid, it’s just a shame the end of the series felt rushed after such a lovely set-up.

It seems like these days female narrators in dystopian series are almost obligated to go through some kind of severe mental breakdown. Even if it’s brief, there’s always this moment in every series where the main character is frustratingly weak. There may be a good reason for it, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Sometimes it would just be nice to see a girl suck it up and get through it while keeping herself pretty well together. And that, in a nutshell, is what I enjoy most about the The Book of Ivy series. There is no point in time where Ivy just completely gives up, or does ridiculous or stupid things because she’s at a breaking point. Even though she has plenty of challenging moments, she handles even near-death with a pretty no-nonsense attitude.

I’d recommend the The Book of Ivy series for readers who enjoy strong female leads, like dystopia but don’t mind if world-building is secondary to story and character development, and who appreciate a quick read over a long series. It’s actually a pretty unique combination to find, and it makes The Book of Ivy and The Revolution of Ivy a fun change of pace.

GIVEAWAY: Alexandra Bracken’s ‘The Darkest Minds’ Novella Collection, ‘Through the Dark’

DarkestMindsseries

Here at The Daily Quirk, we’re big fans of The Darkest Minds series, about a dystopian world where a disease affecting only children left adults in fear of kids with new special powers. (Check out the trailer here.) Continue reading

‘The Revolution of Ivy’ Exclusive Trailer Release and Giveaway

The Revolution of Ivy by Amy EngelIf you’re a fan of Amy Engel’s The Book of Ivy, you’ve probably been waiting (rather impatiently) to see what becomes of Ivy in the book’s sequel, The Revolution of Ivy. I know I have. Continue reading

Giveaway: ‘A Thousand Nights’ prize pack and sneak peek

AThousandNightsCover-199x300Now that we’re turning the corner into fall, the days are getting shorter and cooler, the perfect opportunity to settle in with a book full of mystery and magic. E.K. Johnston’s A Thousand Nights may be classified as young adult, but this retelling of 1,000 Arabian Nights will appeal to all readers thanks to its unusual narrative style and lack of common YA tropes.  If you’re not familiar with the source material, check out the description of A Thousand Nights:

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow.  But back in their village her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air in it’s place.

Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments.  She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun sets and rises, and she is not dead. Night after night Lo-Melkhiin comes to her, and listens to the stories she tells and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

The words she speaks to him every night are given strange life of their own. She makes things appear.  Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to rule of a monster.

To celebrate the release of A Thousand Nights, The Daily Quirk is hosting a Pretty Things in a Dangerous Place giveaway. One winner will receive:

  •        A copy of A Thousand Nights
  •        A branded nail polish set & tea bag dispenser

Enter below for your chance to win, and click here for a sneak peak at A Thousand Nights and more information on author E.K. Johnston.

 

A Thousand Nights Prize Pack


**Giveaway Closed**

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Open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided courtesy of Disney-Hyperion.

Percy Pack: ‘Magnus Chase’ Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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Happy fall, Percy fans! The release of Rick Riordan’s newest novel, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, is just around the corner on October 6th. But we have some special treats for those of you that just can’t wait to get your hands on Magnus Chase. Continue reading