Blogmas Day 4: Anticipated New Book Releases

I hope everyone’s December is off to a merry start!

New book releases get me super excited! Here are some anticipated titles I’m looking forward to in December!
**I came across all of these selections through Goodreads**

December 3

Children of Virtue & Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

Dead Astronauts by Jeff Vandermeer

Diamond & Dawn by Lyra Selene

December 6

The Moments Between by Natalie Banks

December 10

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

December 17

Hearts, Strings, and other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

WWW Wednesday: December 4

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Thank you Wunderkind PR for providing me a complimentary copy of this book! So far I’m really enjoying this world ruled by Automae (robots, in a sense).

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Thank you NetGalley for providing me an eARC of The Silvered Serpents! So far I’m about 25% through. A couple shocking revelations already took place!

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

This book was so emotional and so adorable! I can’t wait to read the second book, A Dog’s Journey. My review for A Dog’s Purpose is posted here.

Knot on Your Life (Yarn Retreat #7) by Betty Hechtman

Thank you NetGalley for providing me a digital ARC of this story! This was a fun tale with a reliable character, as she navigates a murder mystery!

Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

The holiday season is here, so it’s time to read some Christmas-themed books! I can’t wait to read this seemingly adorable love story!

WWW Wednesday: November 13

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Becoming by Michelle Obama
I’m really enjoying this story! It’s a tell-all about Michelle Obama’s life growing up in Chicago, and the joys/challenges she experiences with her family. Michelle is such a headstrong person!

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
I’m about 50 pages in with ‘A Dog’s Purpose’, and I’m so in love with it! Following life through a dog’s perspective. It just melts your heart!

Deadly Deceit by Natalie Waters
I had a fun time reading ‘Deadly Deceit’! I’m becoming newly aware of Romantic Suspense stories, with Christian overtones. It was a very good read!

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
I received this story through NetGalley a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait to finally begin this sequel!

I hope everyone’s week is going well so far!

WWW Wednesday: November 6

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Home for Christmas by Catherine Lanigan
I’m reading Home for Christmas for a tour stop on Prism Book Tours. Now that Halloween is behind us, books focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas are plentiful. I will share my thoughts on this endearing book next week!

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
I was really surprised while reading Lock Every Door! It began at a slow pace, yet it picked up as the book progressed. I will share my full thoughts on this novel in my next post!

Deadly Deceit (Harbored Secrets #2) by Natalie Waters
After reading a Thriller, I’m looking forward to reading another suspenseful story! I can’t wait to see what this story is about.

WWW Wednesday: October 30

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

This is the follow-up to Wicked Saints. Thank you NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy! I’ll have my thoughts on this story soon!

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

A thriller set in NYC’s Upper West Side! I’m about 50 pages in, and so far I’m liking it!

Keeping Her Close by Carol Ross

I received a complimentary copy of Keeping Her Close as part of Prism Book Tours. I very much enjoyed reading this story!

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I’m finally giving myself a chance to read Becoming! This is the November book club selection for my local library. Michelle Obama still remains an influential figure in today’s world!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

‘Wicked Saints’ by Emily A. Duncan/A Review

‘Wicked Saints’ by Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Length: 384 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Book 1 of 3
Release Date: April 2, 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

My Thoughts:

I received Wicked Saints through OwlCrate several months ago, but haven’t gotten to reading it until very recently. Since it was Spookathon last week, I made it a point to read this book, since it’s a very appropriate, dark setting!

‘Wicked Saints’ is Emily A. Duncan’s debut novel, the first installment in the ‘Something Dark and Holy’ trilogy. It centers around a young Kalyazi cleric named Nadya, gifted with the power to communicate with the gods in order to wield powerful magic. The story opens with Nadya’s monastery getting attacked and destroyed by the Tranavian army, the unfortunate consequence of a war waging for a century between the two nations. This leaves Nadya on a mission to defeat the King of Tranavia and overthrow his empire. Along the way she meets Malachiasz, a blood mage who holds his own secret agenda, and represents everything Nadya stands against. Despite their tumultuous (and at times fiery) chemistry, they devise a plot to gain access into the Tranavian empire, whose High Prince Serefin is swept into a complicated political game that’s equally entertaining and devious.

Of course, I know that a huge focal point of Wicked Saints is the romantic plot line, (and it certainly made waves!), but I was also drawn into the religious discourse between Nadya and Malachiasz. They both use magic for their own personal gain, yet use different methods in reaching that goal. Their banter involving faith and religion throughout the book was very insightful, as Nadya’s argument stems from her ability in communicating with her gods, while Malachiasz describes a vastly different, method in attaining magic (using spell work to reach his goal). Nadya and Malachiasz are two powerful beings who steadfastly hold onto their beliefs. This heated discourse strengthens their desire toward each other. They both know it’s a forbidden attraction, yet the need becomes increasingly harder to ignore.

Wicked Saints is a multiple perspective novel, as it alternates between Nadya and Serefin’s (High Prince of Tranavia) point of view. After their initial contact in the beginning of the story, their paths diverge on their own journeys. As you follow each perspective, you learn that both characters have their personal goal to attain, trying to live up to their ultimate destinies that becomes increasingly harder to grasp in their minds from startling revelations. Their paths hold their own separate road, culminating to a significant plot twist.

This book displays the perfect ‘hate-to-love’ reading trope, as Nadya and Malachiasz’s lengthy discussions lead to quite a bit of romantic tension throughout the novel. And I loved the portrayal of Serefin, and how his purpose to end the war somehow shifts when his father aimed to distract him, for his own personal gain.

I’m glad that I finally gave Wicked Saints a read, and I can’t wait to find out what’s next among these three characters!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

‘A Dream So Dark’ by L.L. McKinney/A Review

A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney
Publisher: Imprint Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Release Date: September 24, 2019

Still reeling from her recent battle (and grounded until she graduates), Alice must abandon her friends to complete her mission: find The Heart and prevent the Red Lady’s rise. But the deeper she ventures into Wonderland, the more topsy-turvy everything becomes. It’s not until she’s at her wits end that she realizes—Wonderland is trying to save her.
There’s a new player on the board; a poet capable of using Nightmares to not only influence the living but raise the dead. This Poet is looking to claim the Black Queen’s power—and Alice’s budding abilities—as their own.
Dreams have never been so dark in Wonderland, and if there is any hope of defeating this mystery poet’s magic, Alice must confront the worst in herself, in the people she loves, and in the very nature of fear itself.

My Review:
‘A Dream So Dark’ wastes no time in picking up where ‘A Dream So Dark’ left off. The raw emotion reverberating off Alice reeling from the shock of the Nightmare attacks, paired with her mother’s anguish in wanting to know the reason of Alice’s change of behavior, is written beautifully. I knew that I was in for a ride!

Alice returns to Wonderland in order to discover why Nightmares (creatures generated out of fear) have suddenly invaded both sides of her world in a big way. The Dreamwalker stops at nothing to find the answers, and finds herself in different areas of Wonderland that she’s never traveled before. This fun retelling of Alice and Wonderland reintroduces special characters from Lewis Caroll’s tale in a delightful manner, while keeping the modern, action-packed story line in place. The story was well paced, and the world building continues to expand vibrantly with these new characters and settings. Among the things I really appreciated about the novel were:

Multiple Perspectives
Along with Alice’s point of view, readers also get inside the mind of two other popular characters in Wonderland lore. It certainly opens your eyes on the story of Wonderland before (and during) the great war takes place!

Strong Representation
This story is richly diverse, featuring Dreamwalkers from many ethnic backgrounds. There is also strong Queer representation here, which is very refreshing to read! L.L. McKinney is very aware that a large audience reads her books, and she stops at nothing to include many voices in this novel.

Family Connection
Along with a deeper understanding of the world of Wonderland, we also get to learn more about Alice’s family. The conversations between Alice and her grandmother were funny and adorable! Alice has a strong family unit in the midst of trauma and loss (and Chapter 7 almost brought me to tears!).

If there one thing that I didn’t appreciate in the story, it was the way the book concluded…knowing that a third book in the Nightmare-Verse series is being released in the future (woo!), the story didn’t leave many mysteries unsolved. I’ll still buy the third book, though, to discover that big unanswered question still lingering in Wonderland!

‘A Dream So Dark’ by L.L. McKinney is a great sequel in the Nightmare-Verse, and it continues to feature a strong, Black female taking charge in a leading role. If you enjoy an action-packed, fairy tale retelling, then you will definitely love this one!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

September Reading & Writing Blog: Week 2

My writing has been kicked into high gear this month! I’ve been so inspired reading the many writer pitches in my Twitter feed that I’ve returned to my writing projects. I’m steadily toiling away with my next book idea, editing scenes and adding to my word count. As far as the genre, I’m still figuring it out! I have the main characters as two sisters, but the direction I want to take them varies day to day.

My reading progress is also coming along. I finished reading ‘Sweet Melody’ by Heidi McCahan, in time for the blog tour. I enjoyed reading a story that’s outside my usual reading preferences! I’m currently tackling ‘Tunnel of Bones’ by Victoria Schwab. I’m about halfway through the story, and it’s very good! Cassidy is having such an eye-opening adventure in France! She’s getting more acquainted with her gift in crossing the Veil!

In non-related book news, I crocheted a few rounds of a pumpkin with no pain in my hand. I’m making progress day by day!