FairyLoot September 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot September 2020: Under the Sea

๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ: Fable by Adrienne Young

Not the best picture, but the edges are sprayed a gorgeous glittery aquamarine colour
Authorโ€™s signature

๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐—น๐˜† ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

๐—ง๐—ผ ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฎ ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐— ๐˜‚๐—ด: designed by @gabrielleragusi

Quote: โ€œItโ€™s like holding a story rather than a poison she feels wild and infinite in my arms.โ€

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ ๐—ช๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฒ: designed by Ink and Wonder

๐—›๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ฟ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ต: with a nautical design

๐—ข๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฟรฉ ๐— ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐˜€: with quotes โ€˜โ€™make wavesโ€ and โ€œbeach pleaseโ€

๐—จ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ž๐—ฒ๐˜†๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป: designed by Ink and Wonder

Quote: โ€œPoor Unfortunate Soulsโ€

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—”๐˜๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐˜€: illustrated by @taratjah

What are your thoughts on this box?

My thoughts: I absolutely love nautical themes and aesthetic, however, this didnโ€™t have the same oomph factor as last months for both items and design. For me, I believe itโ€™s due to the fact that there are so many avenues one can go with a nautical theme. It feels like this month has focused on the โ€˜Little Mermaidโ€™ rather than an overall sea setting or books with a sea setting. I guess this is reflective on the name of the theme. ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜…

In terms of items, I like how useful the mug, hairbrush, and reuseable straws are, but I usually prefer buy my own type of hairbrush. Also, this hairbrush may not be useful for all types of hair. However, I thought the resuseable straws were a great idea.

In terms of design, I love how cohesive this theme is for colour. I love the use of blue and aquamarine. However, the pencil case is not my favourite item nor do I feel like I have much use for the enamel keychain. Nevertheless, the items are gorgeous.

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Have you read Fabled? What are your thoughts on it? Otherwise, what did you think of this box?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Iโ€™m so excited to read Fable! Iโ€™ve heard so many great things about ๐Ÿ˜„ plus I absolutely love books with a sea setting ๐ŸŒŠ

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The Thursday Murder Club | Currently Reading

This year I decided to venture off to genres I donโ€™t often readโ€”thrillers, mystery, and sci-fi. And guess what? I love them. ๐Ÿฅฐ

The Thursday Murder Club is a Goldsboro Premier book pick and Iโ€™m really enjoying it so far. Here, we follow a group of retirees as they use their knowledge, skills, past connections, and perhaps dubious methods to solve cold cases. One day, thereโ€™s a murder close to home and who better to pick up the case than the Thursday Murder Club?

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: If you had to solve a murder with the protagonist of your last/current read, who is it and would you crack the case?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Iโ€™d be working with the unorthodox members of the Thursday Murder Club (Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron) and Iโ€™m sure weโ€™d crack the case ๐Ÿ˜

I wanted to showcase the gorgeous details of the stencilled edges.
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Library Haul | Book Haul

Growing up, my family always utilised the library. There’s something special about the library and I love them so much. The other day, I decided to ignore my unread books on my shelves and acquire more books without my wallet cursing and crying at me. As a result, I went to my local library.

One thing I love about my library is how it allows you to borrow ten books at a time. I tried to be realistic and borrow the maximum books I think I can read within two weeks, so I managed to pick five books. Here are my pics:

โ€ข ๐—ข๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—”๐—น๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ by Justin A Reynolds

โ€ข ๐—ช๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—›๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต by Elizabeth Acevedo

โ€ข ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ซ by Elizabeth Acevedo

โ€ข ๐——๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป by Justina Ireland

โ€ข ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป by Samantha Shannon

A few of these books have book on my tbr for a while and now I can devour them to my hearts content ๐Ÿ˜ Iโ€™ve already started Dread Nation and omgggg I stayed up so late and now Iโ€™m hating/loving myself right now ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜‚

(Ps please ignore how I forgot to showcase The Bone Season ๐Ÿ™ˆ)

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Have you read any of these books? Do you use the library? Whatโ€™s the last book you borrowed? Otherwise, whatโ€™s the last book you bought?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Finally!!! There was some free Elizabeth Acevedo books at my library and you bet I swiped the books and ran out ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’จ

I originally made this as a reel for Bookstagram, however, I can’t play the music I added with this so let’s just pretend I’m singing in the background *Cue off-pitch singing and cats crying*

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FairyLoot August 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot August 2020: Let the Games Begin

Featured Book: Star Daughter by Shveta Thakar

Monthly Character Cards: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

An Ember in the Ashes inspired Book Sleeve (Laia & Elias): designed by @monolimeart

Hunting Prince Dracula inspired Hardcover Notebook: by @noverantale with artwork by @taratjah

Aurora Rising Enamel Pin: designed by @ironandinkdesigns

Nevernight (Mia & Mr Kindly) Metal Bookmark: designed by @taratjah

Golden Egg Bath Bomb: created by @littleheartgifts

Scythe inspired Magnet: by @tararjah

Upon opening my box I actually gasped. This box left me speechless. Iโ€™m so in love with everything ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿคฉ FairyLoot definitely spoiled us with this book. One could say everything here was out of this world ๐Ÿ˜โœจ

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The Midnight Bargain | Book Review

Title: The Midnight Bargain
Standalone
Author: C. L. Polk
Publisher: Erewhon Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
Where can I get this? GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction set in Regency era, themes of politically arranged marriages, and feminism
CW: themes of misogyny (women wearing collars after marriage to subdue their magic and protect potential children)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis below!

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatriceโ€™s first kiss . . . with her adversaryโ€™s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marriesโ€”even for loveโ€”she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

โ€œYou will dance. You will eat cake. You will see starlight. You will have a kiss by midnight, and then our bargain is done.โ€

I liked how this book explores and woven the themes of gender equality, womenโ€™s freedom, and independence into the novel. However, I felt like this novel lacked nuance in some areas. I appreciated the rhetoric regarding equality, however, at times it felt too heavy-handed and on the nose, thereby affecting my reading experience towards the 80% mark of the story. In saying that, I do agree that the discussion regarding equality and independence is crucial, and whilst I may find it a bit on the nose at times others may not find it so.

Also, I liked how driven and determined the protagonist (Beatrice) was throughout the story. My two favourite characters were Beatrice, Nadi, and Ysbeta. I particularly liked Beatrice and Nadiโ€™s dynamic. And I liked how Beatrice and Ysbeta grew together, fostering a great friendship.

However, unfortunately, I could not come to love the love interest (Ianthe). I felt like the romantic interest was too perfect in the sense that he was consistently understanding, open-minded despite living in and taking part in a world that constantly benefited him. It felt unrealistic. From the top of my head, I canโ€™t think of any flaws. I mean, the love interest is even good looking and rich.

Despite the constant focus on the romance, the romance felt underdeveloped and rushed. I didnโ€™t feel emotionally invested nor understood the romantic connection between the characters. I feel that there was no romantic build-up for me to really cheer for the two characters.

In terms of the world-building and magic system, I liked how intriguing the magic system was. However, this could be due to my lack of understanding, but I found the magic system vague. Despite that, I did find the magic system fascinating and enjoyed it.

Without getting spoiler-y, I both liked and not-so-liked the ending. I found it unrewarding in the sense of how it opposes certain themes presented throughout the novel regarding marriage, children, and Beatrice pursuing her passion. I felt the ending felt too convenient to be believable. Despite that, I did like how Beatrice chose and paved her own path for both career and family (Iโ€™m trying to be as vague as possible here).

GUSH:

  • ย Gripping, I devoured this book in one sitting –
  • Interesting world and magicย 
  • Determined protagonist wanting to pursue their passion and a strong sense of women empowerment

GRIPE:

  • I didnโ€™t feel too invested in the romance
  • Not enough information regarding the world-building and magic –
  • The ending felt too convenient

ย 

๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ: ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜บ (๐˜ˆ๐˜™๐˜Š) ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ซ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Erewhon Books) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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Kingdom of Sea and Stone | Book Tour | Review

Hello and welcome to my stop. This stop includes a book review with favourite quotes.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

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BOOK INFO:

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone
Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl #2
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher:
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sisterโ€™s place, sheโ€™s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Norโ€™s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessedโ€”and theyโ€™ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer themโ€ฆ

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Review

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
Recommended for: fans of YA Fantasy, sea settings,

Writing:
Like the first novel, Kingdom of Sea and Stone was a delight to read. I found the writing style straightforward and engaging. Rutherford describes scenes well without weighing the narrative down with too many descriptions. I liked how I could read both books in a single sitting.

Characters:
First and foremost, this novel is solely told in first POV of Nor and I appreciated Norโ€™s character growth depicted here. As we journey through the story we witness as she takes action and courage whilst remaining the same empathetic and kind-hearted she was in the first book. This book takes a shift and explores themes such as freedom, purpose, and love.

However, akin to the first book I found Norโ€™s internal struggle to take centre stage (romance in the first book and self-discovery in the second). I appreciate it when books explore a characters internal struggle, however, I found the increased focus on that aspect to downplay other aspects (such as the war, etc.) in the book thereby affecting the pacing. Despite it being slower paced, I appreciate how this book went into great length into Norโ€™s journey both physically and mentally.

Also, one major aspect I loved in the first book was the twinโ€™s relationship. I adored their strong love for each other and I rejoiced to see them reunite here. Luckily, we get to witness more of Zadie and her interactions with Nor (as well as Zadie/Nor/Sami but the three best friend dynamic wasnโ€™t as depicted as I wouldโ€™ve liked it). I liked how

There were few recurring characters and some new faces. I quickly grew fond to a few of the new characters and liked how they spiced the story up. There were hidden agendas, unclear motivations, and unexpected twists and I was here for all of them.

Romance:
Whilst some may disagree with me, stating the romance was lacking in comparison to the predecessor, I preferred the romantic resolution presented in this novel. Perhaps I wasnโ€™t as invested in the romance due to it being a little too convenient for me in the first book. However, I did get frustrated at some parts of the book where I feel that a simple straightforward conversation wouldโ€™ve prevented certain situations but hey, I did enjoy the drama of it all so… ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Anyway, I canโ€™t complain with how the romance ended (but mind you some may find it lacking).

Setting & World-Building:
I liked how this book explores further than Varenia and Ilara, journeying to a land named Galeth. Rutherford described the scenery well, incorporating little details of the land and culture throughout the story which helped grounded me into this fantastical world. Galeth was refreshingly different to Varenia in various ways (ruling, customs, expectations, etc.). I initially fell in love with how Rutherford depicted Varenia so exploring different lands was quite fun (though I missed the sea).

Overall, this was a pleasant conclusion to the highly anticipated sequel. There is a different shift in terms of pacing and themes compared to the previous book and I did enjoy the thoughtfulness and depth that went behind it all. Be prepared to meet new faces, see new places, and a fun ride!

Recommend for: fans of YA fantasy with political intrigue, character growth depicted in first POV

CW: violence, death


Some of my favourite quotes:

Please note: the quotes listed here are cited from an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and may be subjected to change upon publication.

Father kissed my forehead. โ€œMy girl, take heart. No journey worth taking was ever easy.โ€

I loved this. Iโ€™m a sucker for a good parent/child dynamic and this interaction highlighted a tender moment between Nor and her father. Little do we know how much this quote really sets our story!

โ€œHope is like a kite. Hold on to it tight enough, and even the fiercest storm canโ€™t claim it.โ€

A great nod to book one! I adored this!

โ€œBecause that was what it meant to be free: I could choose.โ€

โ€œCeren had said love was my weakness, once. But I knew now that love was the strength that would sustain me out there in the world, and it was the bond that would ensure I always came back.โ€

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MARA RUTHERFORD

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Masterโ€™s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When sheโ€™s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. She is the author of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL (2019), its sequel, KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE (2020), and LUMINOUS (2021).

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copy of Kingdom of Sea and Stone (US Only)

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK! 

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

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Monstrous Heart | Review

51041086._SX318_SY475_

Title: Monstrous Heart
Series: The Monstrous Heart Trilogy #1
Author: Claire McKenna
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†
Where can I find this? GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia
Recommended for: Fans of gothic atmosphere, flowery writing
CW: sexual assault, attempted rape, and violence

In Monstrous Heart, we follow Arden, tasked to keep the lighthouse burning with her magical blood. Readers are promised a gothic feel so thereโ€™s a melancholic voice in the narration which works well with the story. However, there were some instances where the prose felt excessively flowery to the point of confusion (at the beginning). Despite that, I did like how the narration complemented the story and overall atmosphere of the novel.

Unfortunately, the world-building felt lacking in some areas. Whilst there was focus on certain aspects (such as characters) which was great, the narration never solidified the world thereby leaving readers confused and baseless. For example, terms and concepts were presented yet never fully explored. Also, the novel utilised words and places from our world (โ€˜Fictionโ€™ and โ€˜Manhattanโ€™) as names of places which felt jarring upon reading.

Despite that, I did like how Arden was portrayed to be determined and hard-working. I also liked and was intrigued by the concept of sea monsters and the world. I just wished the world-building was fleshed out more.

Monstrous Heart held so much promise, however, I feel that this book wasnโ€™t for me. If youโ€™re a fan of flowery writing and a determined protagonist, this may be for you. The elements in this story held great potential and I am curious to see more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers (Harper Collins) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The Faithless Hawk | Blog Tour | Author Interview

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Hello Everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen hosted by TBR and Beyond. This stop includes an exclusive Q&A with the author and I am so excited to share it with you.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

ABTB-MO

The Faithless Hawk cover

BOOK INFO:

Title: The Faithless Hawk
Series: The Merciful Crow #2
Author: Margaret Owen
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: August 18th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble |Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owenโ€™s The Merciful Crow.
As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still sheโ€™s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusanaโ€™s merciless bid for the throne.
With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crowsโ€”and add numbers to her monstrous armyโ€”Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, theyโ€™re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.
A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusanaโ€™s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crowsโ€”secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.

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BWJ-AI

Can you share with us something about The Faithless Hawk that isnโ€™t in the blurb?

Margaret: There is a DRASTIC increase in the number of cats involved!

Without revealing too much, what was your favourite scene or moment to write in The Faithless Hawk,ย and why?

Margaret: I always enjoy writing the endings, the big final clashes and the dust settling. It’s when all the dominos you’ve set up get to fall, and the pattern you’ve been building finally reveals itself!

What song would you choose as the theme song for The Faithless Hawk?

Margaret: “The Bleeding of Mercy” by the Telepathic Teddy Bears! The first time I listened to it, I was really captivated by the mournful yet hopeful tone. In particular, the line,ย “Don’t mourn the setting sun, for it will rise again”ย struck me as particularly close to home for this book.

I adored your charactersโ€”especially how Fie is so unapologetic, unafraid, and full of grit and determination. How did you choose the names for your characters?

Margaret: Thank you so much! For Fie, I wanted her name to evoke a sense of both spite and mischief, and the word “fie” seemed perfect. I wound up compiling a list of old-timey insults for the other Crow names, according to their customs, and I tried to match them up with their personalities the best. The rest of the names I made up, though there’s a bit of a naming convention for the ruling families to adhere to, where the firstborn child’s name is based on the name of one of their parents. (For example, Jasimir’s mother was named Jasindra, and we learn Rhusana’s son is named Rhusomir.)

Looking back, what was the most difficult and what was the most enjoyable part of the whole process of writing and publishing your books?

Margaret: There was a period of time last year when I felt like if I wasn’t making everyone happy, I was failing. That meant if people didn’t like my book, or if I wasn’t able to deliver things on time, or if I wasn’t able to provide cool incentives to preorder my book, I was going to fail as an author, and my career would be over. Needless to say, I was struggling quite a bit to write at that point. There’s a phrase I wound up writing on masking tape and pasting on my desk, which isย “The only way out is through,”ย which was true but a little bleak, so underneath I added,ย “but you can make it.” And I did!

I’d say the most enjoyable part has been seeing howย The Merciful Crowย andย The Faithless Hawkย have touched people, especially when it inspires them to create something themselves. When people reach out to me to say “I loved this part!” or “those monsters were so gross!” or “I HATE this character so much!”, it’s a similar feeling as when your friend texts you as they watch a movie you really love, and they’re super into it. But it’s even better, because I made that movie! (Kind of.)

The Merciful Crow was such an intense and enthralling read. What can fans expect from you in the future? Can you tell us about any future projects?

Margaret: Thank you so much!ย The Faithless Hawkย wraps up the duology, so there aren’t any plans for more books in that universe at the moment, but I never say never. However, I do have a third book due out, likely sometime next year. It’s a loose retelling ofย The Goose Girl,ย from the perspective of the fairytale’s villain, a wicked maidservant who stole the princess heroine’s identity. When we meet our narrator, she’s spent the last year or so using the princess’s identity to make it into high society parties and pull off a string of jewelry heists. Then she steals from the wrong family, crosses a local deity, and winds up cursed to turn into jewels herself… unless she can make up for everything she’s taken. It’s a lot of weird magic, scammers scamming scammers, and unorthodox uses of breakfast foods, so all in all a good time! Well, for everyone but our narrator.

Quick-fire questions:

Thereโ€™s a zombie apocalypse! Which four YA protagonists would be on your team and why?

  1. Katniss from The Hunger Games, she’s got all the outdoor survival knowledge of a Girl Scout on steroids, plus she’s killed before and will kill again.
  2. Jane McKeene from Dread Nation,ย she isย literallyย trained to kill zombies.
  3. Amaya from Scavenge the Stars,ย because she can sail a boat, and honestly zombies are less of a problem at sea, I feel.
  4. Nina Zenik, so someone can help me hold down the waffle situation. (And heal the wounded, and possibly control the zombies? But waffles first.)

What would be your supervillain name and powers?

Margaret: Margaret Owen, and making people cry, probably.

Okay, okay, it would probably be something like Her Majesty, because I would 100% be down to do a hivemind-type situation and make people do things like recycle and wear masks and, if we can rope Bezos into this, donate their massive amounts of money to charity.

And finally, whilst there is an endless amount of writing resources online, if you could share one unique piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Margaret: I would say a lot of the time you hear “eyes on your own paper”, and to a certain extent, that’s solid adviceโ€”everyone’s publishing journey is different, and you really can only control your own work. That said, I would say don’t be afraid to look around the room, actually. Don’t be afraid to compare notes with people you trust. I can guarantee that the discrepancies revealed by #PublishingPaidMe are neither the first nor the last, and that opacity is not for your benefit, but for that of the publishing industry. The only way that changes is by making informed decisions, so don’t be afraid to seek out that information yourself.

A huge thank you to Margaret for your time!

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ATA-MO

Margaret Owen

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.

The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powellโ€™s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.

Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.

MARGARET OWEN

Websiteย | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

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Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copies of The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk (US and Canada Only)

Start date: August 23rd, 2020

End date: August 29th, 2020

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK!ย 

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

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Monstrous Heart | Review

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Title: Monstrous Heart

Series: The Monstrous Heart Trilogy (#1)

Author: Claire McKenna

Publisher: Harper Collins

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†

Where can I find this? GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia |

Recommended for: Fans of flowery writing, dark romance

 

In Monstrous Heart, we follow Arden, tasked to keep the lighthouse burning with her magical blood. Readers are promised a gothic feel so thereโ€™s a melancholic voice in the narration which works well with the story. However, there were some instances where the prose felt excessively flowery to the point of confusion (at the beginning). Despite that, I did like how the narration complemented the story and overall atmosphere of the novel.

Unfortunately, the world-building felt lacking in some areas. Whilst there was focus on certain aspects (such as characters) which was great, the narration never solidified the world thereby leaving readers confused and baseless. For example, terms and concepts were presented yet never fully explored. Also, the novel utilised words and places from our world (โ€˜Fictionโ€™ and โ€˜Manhattanโ€™) as names of places which felt jarring upon reading.

Despite that, I did like how Arden was portrayed to be determined and hard-working. I also liked and was intrigued by the concept of sea monsters and the world. I just wished the world-building was fleshed out more. Monstrous Heart held so much promise, however, I feel that this book wasnโ€™t for me. If youโ€™re a fan of flowery writing and a determined protagonist, this may be for you. The elements in this story held great potential and I am curious to see more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CW: sexual assault, attempted rape, and violence

 

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Bear | Review

Copy of Copy of to kill a kingdom (1)

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๐“๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž: Bear

๐€๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ซ: Ben Queen

Illustrator: Joe Todd-Stanton

Publisher: Archaia

Genre: Childrenโ€™s Fiction

๐‘๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ : โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜… โ˜…

In Bear, we follow the paw steps of a guide dog named Bear. As a guide dog, Bearโ€™s job is to assist his owner Patrick, who is blind. Patrick and Bear happily live their lives in-sync until the unthinkable happensโ€”Bear loses his sight. Scared heโ€™ll no longer be useful to Patrick and lose his job, Bear then follows the racoons to find a mysterious bear to teach Bear magic for his sight. Despite making friends in unlikely places, Bear finds trouble and then gets lost.

Bearโ€™s search is rewarded and reunites with Patrick. Upon their reunion, Bear undergoes surgery for his eyes. Whilst Bear states he wasnโ€™t โ€œone hundred per centโ€ after the surgery, he notes that he gained something far greater than what he thought he ever wantedโ€”he becomes Patrickโ€™s friend.

Bear is such an endearing character and I found it easy to emotionally invest in him and his endeavours. I enjoyed the themes explored in this book and liked the unique premise of the story and how it highlights the importance of guide dogs. The book also educates the readers regarding how blindness impacts people.

This is a heart-warming read with themes of identity, friendship, and perseverance woven into Bearโ€™s journey. Through his blindness and his tireless search, Bear discovers true friendship and acceptance. His emotional journey for purpose showcases resilience in the face of adversity.

Also, I LOVE the illustration! The artwork is adorable and colourful. The art panels are engaging, successfully evoking intended emotions upon reading the book.

This is a book Iโ€™d highly recommend and Iโ€™d definitely buy a copy. I canโ€™t wait to read this to the kids.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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