Out Now: Queer We Go Again! edited by Saundra Mitchell: Blog Tour Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Out Now: Queer We Go Again!
By Saundra Mitchell
On Sale: May 26, 2020
Inkyard Press
YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Diversity & Multicultural | YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Romance/LGBT
9781335018267; 1335018263
$18.99 USD
 416 pages

about the book

A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom…aliens run from the government…a president’s daughter comes into her own…a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer…a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots
and barbershops…skateboards and VW vans…Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page! This essential and beautifully written modern-day collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors and stories.


As we enter the first week of Pride Month 2020, I recommend those of you that want to start reading LGBTQIAP+ books from queer authors read Out Now, which is in fact OUT NOW. This book contains short stories each with their own unique story set mostly in the modern day such as the first story from Candice Montgomery, Kick. Push. Coast about skateboarding, Julian Winter’s Victory Lap about finding a prom date and being on the swim team. Some with more fantastical and sci-fi elements in them such as Caleb Roehrig’s What Happens in the Closet which features vampires, Tara Sim’s One Spell to Many featuring Bi witches running a bakery and Fox Benwell’s Once Upon a Seastorm about trans selkies.

The diversity is a major plus for this anthology. We see teens that are trans, gay, lesbian, ace, bi, pan, demisexual, questioning, non-binary, Black, Choctaw, fat, Taiwanese, Pakistani, Latinx. It’s a beautiful thing to see so much diversity in not only the main characters of each story but the subtle representation of side or mentioned characters. I appreciated to see not only the stories where the characters are PROUD of who they are but also their struggle with their identities. There’s a big emphasis on romance, but also with friendships and family.

As with most anthologies, not ever story is going to be the perfect match. There were a few stories were a bit more fleshed out than others. Some stories i actually wished were full on novels. But I’m overall just satisfied to see these kind of stories in 2020. We need these stories and these authors to be flourishing.

MY PERSONAL FAVORITES

Kick. Push. Coast by Candice Montgomery
What Happens in the Closet by Caleb Roehrig
Victory Lap by Julian Winters
Floating by Tanya Boteju
One Spell Too Many by Tara Sim


about the author

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children and makes paper for fun. She is the author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine series, the upcoming novelization of The Prom musical, and the editor of Defy the Dark. She always picks truth; dare is too easy. Visit her online at http://www.saundramitchell.com.

Social Links:
Author website: wwww.saundramitchell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saundra-Mitchell/164136390442617
Twitter: @saundramitchell
Instagram: @smitchellbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52172088-out-now

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Out-Now-Queer-We-Again/dp/1335018263
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/out-now-saundra-mitchell/1133810272
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335018267
Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Out-Now/Saundra-
Mitchell/9781335018267?id=4861510030088
AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/out-now/id1481649552
Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Saundra_Mitchell_Out_Now?id=0SeyDwAAQBAJ


Thanks for reading!

My Must-Read 2020 Releases by Black Authors

Hey everyone! I wanted to share some books being released by Black authors this year. Also especially since this is Black History Month and I really want to hype up Black authors coming out with some of my most anticipated books of the year. Add these to your TBR because you don’t want to miss out on these amazing books. I mostly feature young adult but I do have a few adult releases that piqued my interest. Genres range from hit hard hitting contemporaries to

This post was originally going to come out earlier this month but there were many covers revealed. Covers that I think are important to highlight because of the visual representation of Black teens on covers.

YOUNG ADULT

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

ADD TO TBR

Aliens + Music + Demi-Ace Rep = A fantastic sounding book. Also I’ve been waiting for more alien books in YA.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

ADD TO TBR

BLACK GIRL SIRENS!!! Like I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t think this sounds cool. But it sure fucking is. I’ve been in the mood for fantasy set in the contemporary/modern world and this fits the bill.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

ADD TO TBR

A queer black girl who decides to run for prom queen only to fall for the competition! This sounds fun and the representation sounds amazing. Add this if you want more F/F romance from Black sapphic authors!

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice C. Caldwell

ADD TO TBR

“Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals” This sells this whole anthology for me. I’ve been wanting to read more speculative fiction from black authors and I feel like this is a perfect remedy for that. Also the cover is out of this world.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

ADD TO TBR

This is a West African inspired fantasy that deals with immortal people, demons, and powers. This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Also the cover is so gorgeous!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

ADD TO TBR

We have another West African inspired fantasy. This features one of my favorite romance tropes, enemies to lovers!!!

Now That I Found You by Kristina Forrest

ADD TO TBR

“A YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places”. You had me at eccentric grandma! I’m iffy on stories about famous people but this sounds super cute and also I think its important to support cute love stories featuring Black teens because we need to see Black teens in every kind of story.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

ADD TO TBR

This is a Nigerian inspired fantasy. This one sounds like it has some found family stuff and dark magical stuff. Which are top notch things I like to see.

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

ADD TO TBR

Tiffany D. Jackson is known for writing stories that have twists and darker themes. This one sounds like its tackling an issue that has hit the music industry as of late, that of predatory men. I can’t wait to see what the author will do this difficult topic.

The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters

ADD TO TBR

I LOVE BOOKS ABOUT SUMMER. I LOVE BOOKS ABOUT BOOKSTORES. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this author’s other books and I’m here for any book about a black queer boy. As much as we need stories about hard topics and “issue” books about Black teens, its just as important and necessary to also have contemporaries with low stakes.

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

ADD TO TBR

A “smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again” Speculative contemporary is one of my favorites and this sounds so good. I still haven’t’ read Opposite of Always yet but I really hope to read that one soon.

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

ADD TO TBR

I saw this on Twitter pitched as “Queer Black girls overthrowing the patriarchy” and that alone is enough to sell me on reading this. Fairytale retellings are so common nowadays but I think they’re still worth looking into especially if there is a unique and diverse spin on a classic one such as Cinderella. I like that this is taking a darker fantasy approach.

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

ADD TO TBR

Yay to books about teens voting! Yay to books set on one day. Yay to YA contemporaries by Brandy Colbert. I’ve only read one book by her, Little & Lion, but I instantly fell in love with her writing style. Her stories are very slice of life and that’s my favorite kind of contemporary.

When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

ADD TO TBR

While its get to have a plethora of YA about romantic breakups, I think its refreshing to see one about friends breaking up.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

ADD TO TBR

Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut The Poet X gave me chills. It was so powerful and I’ll read anything she writes. This is about two half sisters whose father dies. I adore books that explore complicated family dynamics and I’m excited to see what this talented author does.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

ADD TO TBR

Do you want to read an Arthurian inspired YA story that doesn’t feature another white dude because society has convinced us Arthurian figures need to be white (they don’t because they weren’t REAL PEOPLE lol).? Then I think we should all look into this new YA series featuring Southern Black Girl Magic. I’ve also been following this authors twitter account I love her personality and taste (she’s a Loki fan). I decided to stan once I made that discovery.

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh

ADD TO TBR

Through reading books like The Poet X and Blood Water Paint I discovered I really love novels told in verse. “Every Body Looking is a heavily autobiographical novel of a young woman’s struggle to carve a place for herself–for her black female body–in a world of deeply conflicting messages”. I cannot wait for this. Also this is apparently this is the first in a series and I kind of really want contemporary series to be bigger thing.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

ADD TO TBR

Based off true life events, the Rodney King Riots during 1992 Los Angeles, this is also a coming of age story about a wealthy Black girl and the events that unfold during that period of unrest and injustice . Fun fact this had already been optioned for an adaptation!

ADD TO TBR

I feel like people are going to say that this is a “The Hate U Give” knockoff but I say that we’ll always need stories like this especially with the current state of America. We need to read about about stories about the racial injustices of the past and the ones happening now.

ADULT

ADD TO TBR

2020 is the year of the witches not only in YA but also in adult fiction. This is a dark fantasy about witches of course but also about living in a Puritan society that sounds very cult like (which is always something I’m weirdly interested in).

ADD TO TBR

This is described as part The Handmaid’s Tale, part The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Both of which explore the darker sides of the patriarchal and whiteness that is Western society. There looks like there will be some body horror as it deals with experimentation on humans.

ADD TO TBR

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is one of my favorite novels ever and I’ve been waiting so long for another from her. Pretty much an auto-buy author. “Transcendent Kingdom revolves around a young woman named Gifty, now studying to become a neuroscientist, who grapples with faith, salvation, and science after her brother, once the star of his high school basketball team, becomes addicted to opiods”.

ADD TO TBR

I take special interest in debuts novels that sound like an author whose written several books already. This take places during the Civil War in the U.S. and from three POVS; a mother, a daughter, and the daughter of a slave owner. The mother and daughter can heal so there’s a magical element.

ADD TO TBR

Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience” YES TO ALL OF THIS.

ADD TO TBR

This piqued my interest because it sounds similar to Nella Larson’s Passing which is a classic novel that is also about being a white passing black person. This one is about two generations of women. One side who live as Black women. and the other who live as White women.

ADD TO TBR

The synopsis for this is so vague. Ancient evils trying to take over New York City is still such a great premise. I have no clue whether this could be some Lovecraftian/Eldritch horror stuff or Mythology. But I love not knowing what I’m getting into (sometimes). Also NK Jemisin is such a prolific author and I know this is probably going to be amazing.

ADD TO TBR

Atmospheric Gothic mystery about an elite prestigious school? This sounds like it has dark academia vibes and I’m here for it.

ADD TO TBR

I’m not going to lie and say my interest in this book only goes as far as one of the protagonist is the young black babysitter rather than the white mom blogger.This is in fact as like all the books on here own voices and it seem like it will tackle the “whit savior” trope that is found in media about black women. Also if Reese Witherspoon puts her sticker on it there’s probably a good reason.

ADD TO TBR

I’ve seen this hyped recently. I also need to read more from queer black men so I’m up to read this.


Thanks for reading and y’all found some new books for your TBR!

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith – Blog Tour Stop Review

Don’t Read the Comments
Eric Smith
On Sale Date: January 28, 2020
9781335016027, 1335016023
Hardcover
$18.99 USD, $23.99 CAD
Ages 13 And Up
368 pages

SUMMARY

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.


I honestly won’t have too much to say but this book was so delightful and fun!

WHAT I LIKED

  • DIVYA AND AARON – Both of the main characters are truly likable and feel so much like the teen I used to be. Which is super nerdy and trying so hard. I liked that both of their stories centered around these wanting to achieve their dreams but also wanting to support their families because its harder than it looks.
  • Both Divya and Aaron are teens of color (Divya is
  • Divya loves her mom and I do too (love Divya’s mom and my mom that is)
  • I overall just really liked the family element in this story.
  • I also love reading about supportive friendships (my fave being Divya and Rebekah)
  • THE REFERENCES!!! I adored the video game references (shouout to Garrus the Cat!) There’s also references to bookstagram and some popular YA titles! Overall the references were well done, relevant, and not forced.
  • Also shoutout to the author for referencing the very good game Remember Me!!!!
  • Cute romance that isn’t a big focus but it still amused me
  • The conflict between Divya/Aaron and their harassers is well done and important given concern over racism and sexism within the gaming community which is something that needs to be addressed towards teens especially going into these communities and being bullied.
  • The video game itself Reclaim the Sun sounds so cool. It’s this open world sci-fi adventure game. I wish I could play it.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

  • I can’t play Reclaim the Sun in real life

Anyways that’s my review and if you like video games and want more YA about it, it’s OUT NOW!!!

BUY IT HERE:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Read-Comments-Eric-Smith/dp/1335016023
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-read-the-comments-eric-smith/1131303425#/
Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Dont-Read-Comments/Eric-Smith/9781335016027?id=7715580291810
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/don-t-read-the-comments
Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335016027
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Eric_Smith_Don_t_Read_the_Comments?id=Go6PDwAAQBAJ

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/
Twitter: @ericsmithrocks
Instagram: @ericsmithrocks
Facebook: @ericsmithwrites

My Most Anticipated Horror, Thriller, Mystery Books of 2020 – Part Three

This is the final one of these posts and this time its’ the rest of the 2020 releases but the ones that as of me typing this up, have no covers. But y’all know we should never judge a book by its cover because I think most of these have so much promise.

Click on the titles to to add to your Goodreads TBR! Also feel free to tell me some 2020 releases like these that I may have overlooked.


HARROW LAKE BY KAT ELLIS

A YA horror-thriller in which the daughter of a famous movie director is swept up in real-life terror when she’s sent to the sinister small town where his most iconic movie was filmed, and she questions whether she’ll ever get out alive. Publication is set for summer 2020.

MY THOUGHTS

This basically sounds like a Friday the 13th style story and I couldn’t be any more thrilled. I’m always in the mood for a slasher story in YA. 🔪

CEMETERY BOYS BY AIDEN THOMAS

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and he can’t get rid him.

Bestowed by the ancient gods of Maya, Yadriel and the gifted members of his Latinx community can see spirits: women have the power to heal bodies and souls, while men can release lost spirits to the afterlife. But Yadriel, a trans boy, has never been able to perform the tasks of the brujas – because he is a brujo.

When his cousin suddenly dies, Yadriel takes matters into his own hands and successfully summons a ghost. The only problem is, it’s not his cousin, it’s Julian Diaz, the resident bad boy of his high school. Worse, he’s pissed about his death and demands answers.

Yadriel agrees to help Julian discover how he died. In exchange, Julian will let Yadriel release his spirit, finally proving himself a brujo. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less Yadriel wants to let him go, and time is running out.

MY THOUGHTS

This book is #ownvoices for queer, Latinx, and trans rep which is so awesome. I’m always looking for more stories about brujería ever since I read Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. I also love a good ghost story. 👻

HORRID BY KATRINA LENO

A girl who loves Agatha Christie. A girl who loves spooky stuff and mysteries… until that spooky stuff starts happening to her.

MY THOUGHTS

This is a pretty vague and short synopsis but I’ve heard amazing things about Katrina Leno’s previous thriller novel, You Must Not Miss. I’m also anticipating this because of it being inspired by Agatha Christie. From further inquiry into this, it’s also set in Maine which is Stephen King’s favorite spooky setting for his stories. 💀

A SONG BELOW WATER BY BETHANY C. MORROW

The Originals meets Nic Stone’s Dear Martin in Bethany C. Morrow’s debut YA, A Song Below Water, about two best friends discovering their magical identities against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

MY THOUGHTS

Did I mention how great it is that we’re getting more stories about characters of color in spooky, fantasy stories? The Originals comp caught me by surprise but also this has black girl sirens. BLACK GIRL SIRENS! 🧜🏿‍♀️

THOSE WHO PREY BY JENNIFER MOFFETT

THOSE WHO PREY is a YA thriller about a shy college freshman who is seduced into joining a campus cult, leading her on a deadly mission trip to Italy. Publication is scheduled for fall 2020 (Atheneum, Simon & Schuster).

MY THOUGHTS

If you’ve been following me long enough you should know that I like reading about cults and secret societies. I’m also quite interested in the Italy aspect of this and how this all going to unfold. But anyways, CULTS! 😈

THE FELL OF DARK BY CALEB ROEHRIG

The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town. Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it. An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.

MY THOUGHTS

VAMPIRE TOWN? SUPERNATURAL DRAMA? HOT VAMPIRE BOY? QUEER REP? I’M SOLD. 💕

BURN OUR BODIES DOWN BY RORY POWER

Stuck in a rundown apartment in the Middle of Nowhere, Nebraska, Margot has spent her whole life trying to get closer to her secretive, mercurial mother. When she discovers the name of her mother’s hometown, Phalene, she thinks she’s found the key. But Phalene is home to a hundred secrets, hidden between the floorboards of her grandmother’s farmhouse, buried under the cornfields. And if Margot’s not careful, she’ll end up buried there, too.

MY THOUGHTS

The ominous vibes I get from reading this are 👌🏻. According to the author this is about a complex grandmother/mother/daughter relationship and angst. The MC is a lesbian. And a lot of corn. 🌽

FLY BY NIGHT BY TARA O’CONNOR

Fly by Night tells the story of Dee, who suspects a magical creature may be responsible for her sister’s mysterious disappearance. But in her investigation, she discovers that the culprit may be less supernatural than she fears.

MY THOUGHTS

II’m usually always tempted to read a book if it has the same of a favorite song by a book I like (Rush). This sounds like an X-File episode in the making. 🦇

RUINSONG BY JULIA EMBER

Pitched as This Savage Song meets The Phantom of the Opera. Set in a world where magic is sung, a gifted teen girl is forced by a tyrannical queen to use her powerful voice to maintain control over a kingdom. Meanwhile, a girl who grew up in the palace with her tries to encourage her to use her voice to fight back, while the two wrestle with their feelings for each other.

MY THOUGHTS

F/F hate to love!! Phantom!! AHHHHH!!! 🎼

A BETTER BAD IDEA BY LAURIE DEVORE

Pitched as End of the F****** World meets Sadie. When Evelyn Peters burns down her home to protect her sister from the threat inside its walls, she’s forced to go on the run with Ashton Harper, the boyfriend of the dead girl Evelyn once desperately wanted to be. Publication is scheduled for 2020.

MY THOUGHTS

This book has the audacity to be compared as two of my favorite things from the past couple of years. This book tempts me so much with its power. 🔥

I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING BY TOM RYAN

Ten years after witnessing her best friend’s kidnapping, a teen copes by anonymously launching a podcast to help solve missing persons cases, but when a new abduction is revealed to have links to the original case, she has to decide how much she is willing to reveal to discover the truth

MY THOUGHTS

Another podcast related thriller 👌🏻🎧👌🏻


So that’s the last of these spooky/creepy reads posts for the year. As I’ve said in the previous two related posts, feel free to comment down below some I may have missed and what your thoughts are on these. 🎃

THANKS FOR READING

My Most Anticipated Horror & Thrillers Books for 2020 – Part Two

Part two of my need to tell everyone about spooky reads. 2020 features a wide spectrum of interesting horror/dark concepts from thrillers, dark fantasy, retellings, and other creepy stuff. 2020 is also the year for queer & POC rep in these kind of stories and I couldn’t be happier. You’ll notice most of these books feature both kinds of representation.

If you see anything you want to add to your TBR just click on the titles and it’ll take you to Goodreads!

WITCHES OF ASH AND RUIN BY E. LATIMER

COVER DESIGN BY PHIL BUCHANAN

Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that’s impossible to put down.

MY THOUGHTS

#ownvoices rep for OCD and bi rep! Celtic mythology and witchcraft! Sounds fun! On a side note I do have some mixed feelings about the fact that the character is outed HOWEVER I’m glad that it actually states in the synopsis instead of people having to find out without warning, so applaud whomever wrote the synopsis for that.

WHEN WE WERE MAGIC BY SARAH GAILEY

A sly, witchy dark comedy about four teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.”

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

MY THOUGHTS

MORE QUEER WITCH STORIES! Also I enjoy dark comedy which I know is very niche but if that is your cup of tea, join the club.

FOREST OF SOULS BY LORI M. LEE

COVER DESIGN BY LAURA BENTON AND ART BY CHARLIE BOWATER

Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first lightwender in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a lightwender can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

MY THOUGHTS

Forest of Souls seems to lean more towards the fantasy genre but it still gives off horror vibes so it fits the bill. Spiders are spooky y’all. According to the author “this book features Asian-coded characters being warriors and shamans, queens and mentors, villains and friends, all within a secondary world fantasy.” Also I’m in love with the cover! So haunting and gorgeous.

GHOST WOOD SONG BY ERICA WATERS

COVER DESIGN BY JENNA STEMPEL-LOBELL & ART BY ALIX NORTHRUP

Shady Grove is her father’s daughter, through and through. She inherited his riotous, curly hair, his devotion to bluegrass, and his ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle.

That cursed instrument drowned with him, though, when his car went off the road, taking with it the whispering ghosts, nightmares, and the grief and obsession that forced her daddy to play.

But Shady’s brother was just accused of murder, and so she has a choice to make: unearth the fiddle that sang her father to the grave and speak to the dead to clear her brother’s name, or watch the only family she has left splinter to pieces.

The ghosts have secrets to keep, but Shady will make those old bones sing.

MY THOUGHTS

A Southern gothic story and it apparently takes place in Florida and features a Bi MC.

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND BY JANELLA ANGELES

COVER DESIGN BY KERRI RESNICK & ART BY MICAELA ALCAINO

A debut fantasy duology pitched as The Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge, the story follows Hellfire House’s star showgirl who, haunted by a dark past, must enter a magician’s competition in order to secure her freedom from the handsome, enigmatic keeper of the club, even as mysterious accidents seem to plague her every move.

MY THOUGHTS

Not much to go on but Phantom meets Moulin Rouge is a very great way to get to read this. I’ve had this on my TBR ever since it was announced so I’ve been dedicated to this book for a long time. Also support Filipino authors!

YOU’RE NEXT BY KYLIE SCHACTE

When a girl with a troubled history of finding dead bodies investigates the murder of her ex, she uncovers a plot to put herself—and everyone she loves—on the list of who’s next.

Flora Calhoun has a reputation for sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. After stumbling upon a classmate’s body years ago, the trauma of that discovery and the police’s failure to find the killer has haunted her ever since. One night, she gets a midnight text from Ava McQueen, the beautiful girl who had ignited Flora’s heart last summer, then never spoke to her again.

Just in time to witness Ava’s death from a gunshot wound, Flora is set on a path of rage and vengeance for all the dead girls whose killer is never found. Her tunnel-visioned sleuthing leads to valuable clues about a shocking conspiracy involving her school and beyond, but also earns her sinister threats from the murderer. She has a choice—to give up the hunt for answers, or keep digging and risk her loved ones’ lives. Either way, Flora will regret the consequences. Who’s next on the killer’s list?

MY THOUGHTS

So I am going to point out that there’s already a great horror film called You’re Next that I really like but this obviously seems to be very different. Also there seems to be some sapphic vibes so even better.

BLOOD COUNTESS BY LANA POPOVIC

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

MY THOUGHTS

Historical YA horror is all I ever wanted and Elizabeth Bathory is the perfect subject.

THE SILENCE OF BONES BY JUNE HUR

COVER DESIGN BY KATIE KLIM & ART BY KASIQ JUNGWOO

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

MY THOUGHTS

This sounds so refreshing. A murder mystery set in 1800s Korea. This by far is one of the most interesting premises for a mystery I’ve read in a while. I also have to give props to the cover. The shades of blue make this feel so noir-ish.

FROZEN BEAUTY BY LEXA HILLYER

BEFORE
Everyone out in Devil’s Lake, Michigan, knows the three Malloy sisters: perfect big sister Kit; tomboy Tessa, who shares more with Kit than most people realize; and Lilly, the baby of the family, determined to make her own mark. Yet as close as they are, there are certain things sisters don’t tell one another. And one of them is keeping a secret that will turn their little world inside out.

NOW
No one knows exactly what happened to Kit in the woods that night—all they have are a constellation of facts: icy blue lips and fingers cold to the touch, a lacy bra, an abandoned pick-up truck with keys still in the ignition. Still, Tessa, even in her fog of grief, is certain that her sister’s killer wasn’t Boyd, the boy next door whom they’ve all loved in their own way. There are too many details that don’t add up, too many secrets still tucked away.

But no matter how fiercely she searches for answers, at the core of that complicated night is a truth that’s heartbreakingly simple.

Told in lush, haunting prose, Frozen Beauty is a story of the intoxicating power of first love, the deep bonds of sisterhood, and a shocking death that will forever change the living

MY THOUGHTS

Horror stories with sisters is a great combination. I wasn’t even sure what genre this was until actually looking into the synopsis, but this sounds quite haunting indeed.

I KILLED ZOE SPANOS BY KIT FRICK

COVER DESIGN BY DEBRA SFETSIOS-CONOVER & ART BY LEVENTE SZABO

What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried.

When Anna Cicconi arrives in the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened on New Year’s.

Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession’s is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?

Inspired by Serial and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this thrilling story of psychological suspense is told in three interwoven timelines, including the transcript of a fictionalized true crime podcast.  ‘

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve had this on my TBR since it was known originally as Windermere. It’s interesting to see that podcasts have made their way into YA novels. I loved that aspect in Sadie by Courtney Summers, and I hope it works here too.

THE DARK TIDE BY ALICIA JASINSKA

COVER DESIGN BY NICOLE HOWER & ART BY HELEN CRAWFORD WHITE

A fast-paced, well-plotted fantasy retelling of an ancient Scottish fairy tale ballad, this exciting debut will appeal to fans of Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL, Shea Ernshaw’s THE WICKED DEEP, and Kendare Blake’s THREE DARK CROWNS.

Every year on Walpurgis Night, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a young boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Convinced her handsome brother is going to be taken, sixteen-year-old Lina Kirk enlists the help of the mysterious Tomas Lin, her secret crush, and the only boy to ever escape from the palace. Working together they protect her brother, but draw the Queen’s attention. When the Queen spirits Tomas away instead, Lina blames herself and determines to go after him.

Caught breaking into the palace, the Queen offers Lina a deal: she will let Tomas go, if, of course, Lina agrees to take his place. Lina accepts, with a month before the full moon, surely she can find some way to escape. But the Queen is nothing like she envisioned, and Lina is not at all what the Queen expected. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

MY THOUGHTS

Sapphic. Witches. Scottish Fariy Tale. Enemies to lovers. What more can I say?

RED HOOD BY ELANA K. ARNOLD

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.

MY THOUGHTS

Getting real here but I don’t often seek out retellings but I do find myself enjoying them especially if they subvert the original story’s ideas and themes and challenge them. This being a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, this has the opportunity to be fantastic or messy. This does sound promising.

THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US BY TRICIA LEVENSELLER

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

MY THOUGHTS

This sounds like it’ll enemies to lovers and also full of morally grey characters so I’m into that stuff. Especially a female lead who is morally grey.

SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS BY COURTNEY ALAMEDA & VALYNNE E. MAETANI

COVER DESIGN BY ERIN FITZSIMMONS & ART BY SAM WEBER

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

MY THOUGHTS

YAY for more Japanese inspired supernatural stories. I know Courtney Alameda is known for her horror stories so I’m hoping to see that in this.

ALL YOUR TWISTED SECRETS BY DIANA URBAN

This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.

Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

MY THOUGHTS

Okay this isn’t a book that high up on my TBR but its still a thriller and sometimes that’s all I need to know.

VAMPIRES NEVER GET OLD EDITED BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA & NATALIE C. PARKER

A YA fantasy anthology featuring fresh takes on old souls with vampire stories.

MY THOUGHTS

Vampires are here to stay y’all. Also the title is so perfect. I see a lot of great authors here and I can’t wait to see the different vampire stories we’ll get.

INK IN THE BLOOD BY KIM SKEJKAL

A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

MY THOUGHTS

Tattoo magic? This sounds so bizarre but so fascinating.

LITTLE CREEPING THINGS BY CHELSEA ICHASO

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day, and her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down.

But then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

MY THOUGHTS

Of course to really scare me just throw a creepy doll on the cover. If I’ve learned anything from scary stories about kid’s toys is to not mess with creepy baby dolls.

My Most Anticipated 2019 Horror,Thrillers & Mysteries – Part One

2019

I thought I’d start this little series with some newly released and upcoming releases that sound perfect for Halloween. I did two posts like this last year and had fun with it. You can read part one here and part two here.

Feel free to add any of these to your TBR by clicking n on the titles which will take you to Goodreads!

THE BONE HOUSES BY EMILY LLOYD-JONES

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

MY THOUGHTS

The cover is haunting first all. Skulls are always the perfect aesthetic for a spooky book. Apparently this features zombies or at least “the undead” and curses and I’m interested to see how this novel tackles zombies since there’s so many ways to use zombies.

THE TENTH GIRL BY SARA FARING

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

MY THOUGHTS

I think I was already sold by it being a “gothic psychological thriller” but the fact that its base in Patagonian myth seems like it’ll be a more refreshing tale. This is also an #ownvoices Latinx horror!

THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN BY A.J. HACKWITH

In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.

MY THOUGHTS

The premise is stands out to me. I mean, a library in Hell, characters unfinished stories emerging and probably causing chaos.

NINTH HOUSE BY LEIGH BARDUGO

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve never read anything by Leigh Bardugo. I’ll admit the the hype for her Grishaverse series makes me intimidated to even begin reading them. But this one caught my eye because its not Grishverse related and its about secret societies in Yale. I know this will be a bit darker than what she’s known for but I enjoy reader darker stories sometimes. Also this already has TV deal so I really want to see if I like it before the show starts.

THE BEAUTIFUL BY RENEE AHDIEH

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR BY A.M. STRICKLAND

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …

MY THOUGHTS

This is one of my most hyped for the year. It’s got a villain romance, #ownvoices ace rep & demi-biromantic rep. Dark fantasy is thriving this year folks.

GRAVEMAIDENS BY KELLY COON

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

MY THOUGHTS

I honestly haven’t look much into this because I want to go without knowing what I’m getting into. But it does sounds unique and compelling.

WINTERWOOD BY SHEA ERNSHAW

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep comes a haunting romance set deep in the magical snow-covered forest, where the appearance of a mysterious boy unearths secrets that awakens the enchanted, but angry, woods.

Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

MY THOUGHTS

The Wicked Deep was so good that I had to immediately add Winterwood to my TBR. Shea Ernshaw’s stories are very atmospheric and I hope this one is as well. I think one of the best things a scary story can be atmospheric.

SONGS FROM THE DEEP BY KELLY POWELL

A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

MY THOUGHTS

Speaking of atmospheric, this one also fascinates me. I’m loving that we’re getting more sea-related horror and SIRENS!


Anyways, those are some books that you should check this spooky szn. Feel free to add your thoughts on these books and other books from 2019 that are great for this season!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger BLOG TOUR REVIEW

I received an eARC copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Many thanks to Wednesday Books for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for my honest review! Quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC and may not match final publication.

Hello fellow book lovers! Join me today as I embark on my FIRST EVER blog tour post. I’m reviewing Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candance Ganger (as the title suggests).

This is an #ownvoices book for the following mental health representation (social anxiety; generalized anxiety disorder; OCD; PTSD) as well as biracial rep. There is also pansexual/bisexual rep but I’m sure whether this part is ownvoices.

CONTENT WARNINGS: death of loved ones (mentioned several times); descriptive details and representation of mental disorders such panic attacks, instrusive thoughts, mention of a suicide attempt, PSTD, grief, anxitey, OCD.

SYNOPSIS

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

MY THOUGHTS

I finally get to read a story where I see several parts of my own mental health experience represented and it felt VALIDATING AS FUCK.

Both our protagonists, Naima and Dew are on the same messy, complicated adventure we call life, but have the downside of dealing with their mental illnesses and grief over losing their loved ones together.

NAIMA

Naima was my favorite character to read about because I felt her frustration/anger and I relate to many of her struggles with mental illness. Like Naima, I also live with GAD, depression, and intrusive thoughts. Reading her thoughts was like listening to myself.

“I’m still learning how to be my own hero. My deepest darkest fear is, maybe I never will”

I like that she has a fiestiness and snarkiness to her, because people tend to believe that the quiet types are the ones with mental disorders, but Naima shows mental health isn’t relegated to one kind of person. I liked that we get to see her flaws or perceived flaws.

DEW

I found a few things in common with Dew, such as his social anxiety and his panic attacks. The first panic attack we see was a difficult part to read for me knowning that I’ve been through that many times before, but it felt great to see it at the same time. I know that’s weird how I explained it, but it just worked for me. I also relate to how he is undecided with his own future.

His description of his panic attacks just hit me with the reality of my own panic attacks I’ve had.

“Nevertheless, my body crumbles in exhaustion. My panic attacks, the conselor explained, may without warning, but the triggers are related to my parents, PSTD…”

I felt a little annoyed with him at first, his behavior towards Naima is a little awkward and creepy (he referes to her as a manic pixie dream girl BUT he did admit its problematic! so we stan I guess?). But I do realize that his way of coping and living with his anxiety is a little different than mine and that’s valid.

SOME OTHER NEAT THINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK

  • As stated earlier, I mentioned biracial rep (Naima and Dew are Latinx – Naima is Puerto-Rican and white!!)
  • GOOD GRIEF REP
  • JJ and Kam are excellent grandparents
  • Faith is the best sister who is into WWE like I used to be so that brought some nostalgia
  • Strained relationships with parental figures!
  • NAIMA IS A PANSEUXAL QUEEN

She doesn’t even acknowledge my taste in people-because gender is fluid-and if I were into any person, it sure as hell wouldn’t be that kid.

  • Therapy, counseling, and medication is mentioned which is awesome because it needs to be featured more in stories.
  • Naima and Dew’s friendships is well developed and I just want to see more platonic f/m friendships in YA.

I’ll be honest and admit that this was a difficult read for me because of said mental illness descriptions because its what I go through EVERYDAY. I want to read books about my experience but also not because its like reading your own life.

Naima and Dew’s mental health experiences are not EXACTLY like mine but it doesn’t have to be for me to feel a connection with their collective stories.

So my final message is to let teens (and people in general) with all mental disorders tell their story and let them exist.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks
Link to retailers: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250116246

Upcoming 2018 YA Anthologies I’m Excited For

One of my reading goals this year was to read something different than the normal novel, so I figured I’d pick up some anthologies, and there are SO MANY interesting and diverse ones coming out this year. I have yet to read an anthology so I hope these make me more interested in other anthologies from previous years.

*DISCLAIMER – release dates can be changed at any moment so these release dates aren’t 100% confirmed!!*

UPDATE (April 20) : Cover Revealed for Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens 


Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
RELEASE DATE: August 28th

toi & trouble

A young adult fiction anthology of 16 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

I always love a good story with witches in it, but 16 stories is even better. Also the fact that there will be some diversity in this is awesome. Some of the writers I already enjoy such as Zoraida Cordova, Emery Lord, Tess Sharpe, and Nova Ren Suma. But I’ve also heard of some of the other writers and I can’t wait to see what witchy stories they have to tell.

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America
Release Date: August 14th

our stories

This collection of twenty-one essays from major YA authors—including award-winning and bestselling writers—touches on a powerful range of topics related to growing up female in today’s America, and the intersection with race, religion, and ethnicity. Sure to inspire hope and solidarity to anyone who reads it, Our Stories, Our Voices belongs on every young woman’s shelf.

YAY a YA feminist book with diverse authors is a plus!! Also it sounds all too relevant in today’s environment.

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages
Release Date: February 27th 2018

all out

Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. 

So by the time I put out this post the book will have already been released but STILL. This sounds like such a great anthology.

Fresh Ink: An Anthology
Release Date: August 14th

fresh ink

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

So this needs like a really great #OWNVoices anthology. wow my money is going to be blown on all these anthologies!!!

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Release Date: June 26th

a thousand beginnings and endings

Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. 

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

East and South Asian folklore & mythology??? Written by Asian authors??? I’m immediately sold.

The Radical Element  (A Tyranny of Petticoats #2)
Release Date: March 13th

the radical element

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

So this is a sequel anthology, to A Tyranny of Petticoats, which is also on my TBR. I believe that these stories are based off of historical figures and famous women, which I’m 101% here for! Again like so many of the other anthologies features plenty of authors that I have enjoyed in the past.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy 
Release Date: October 2nd

dont call me cray

Algonquin Young Readers has acquired an anthology from Kelly Jensen titled (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, which will explore, through essays, artwork, poetry, and other ephemera, the ways that mental illness impacts individuals, family and friends, with contributions from Victoria Schwab, Adam Silvera, Libba Bray, Esmé Wang, Yumi Sakugawa, Mike Jung, s.e. smith, Meredith Russo, and Stephanie Kuehn, among others. A publication date has not been announced.

This one really hits home for me, because I suffer from mental illness and its super important to not only hear stories from other people who also suffer from mental illnesses but also to give those who don’t understand what we go through.

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens
Release Date: September 18th

unbroken anthology cover

A YA Anthology of short stories featuring disabled teens, written by #OwnVoices disabled authors. The stories reflect a range of genres and disabilities; contributors include bestselling authors Kody Keplinger and Francisco X. Stork, as well as newcomers Fox Benwell, Keah Brown, and more.

I just found out about this the other, and the fact that its #OWNVoices rep really makes me hopeful for this particular anthology.


My main take away from all these is that I’m definitely going to read these this year not only just because all of them have GORGEOUS and STYLISH covers (like wow props to the illustrators and cover designers!!!) but also something I really admire about all of these anthologies is the inclusion of marginalized voices such as POC/LGBTQA+/disabled voices. 

Thanks for reading! Also comment down below whatever you want like what you think about these anthologies and some you’d recommend me to read!

Thanks,

Sav