WELCOME From some of the most exciting bestselling and up-and-coming YA authors writing today…journey from Ecuador to New York City and Argentina to Utah, from Australia to Harlem and India to New Jersey, from Fiji, America, Mexico and more… Come On In. With characters who …
Title: Bent Heavens Author: Daniel Kraus Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Genre(s): “YA” Horror, Contemporary Subject(s): Alien abduction, torture Release Date: Feb 25th, 2020 Page Count: 304 (hardback) Rating: 8.0/10 Liv Fleming’s father went missing more than two years ago, not …
I’m thrilled to present a spotlight and a giveaway (US only) for Kate Williams’ upcoming The Babysitters Coven! I’ll be posting a mini review for it after the tour ends.
Title: The Babysitters Coven
Author: Kate Williams
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 17th, 2019
Genre(s): YA Paranormal
Subjects and Themes: Witches, Female Friendships
Page Count: 368 (hardback)
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.
Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.
And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.
Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?
The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”
Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
About the Author
I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California. I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.
The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.
Giveaway (US ONLY)
You have a chance to win 1 finished copy of the book! ENTER HERE
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookmark Lit – Review + Cover Colours
TBR and Beyond – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
The Reading Chemist – Review
Musings From An Addicted Reader – Review
Here’s to happy Endings – Review
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flipping Through the Pages – Review
Phannie the ginger bookworm – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Bibliophagist – Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Ambivert words – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Art of Living – Review
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky – Review
The Book Dutchesses – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Book Nut – Review + Playlist
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile – Review
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream – Review
Bookish Geek – Review
Artsy Draft – Review + Favourite Quotes
We Live and Breathe Books – Review
Bookish In Bed – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Desert Bibliophile – Review
Wishful Endings – Review
Novel Nerd Faction – Review
Lili Lost in a Book – Review
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist
Lost in Storyland – Review
Title: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep Author: H.G. Parry Publisher: Redhook Release Date: July 23rd, 2019 Genre(s): Contemporary Fantasy Subjects and Themes: Stories about Stories, Siblings Page Count: 465 (hardback) Rating: DNF @ ~40% For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has …
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now being hosted by The Artsy Reader. This week’s topic is Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone, but I’ve modified it slightly to “books that took me out …
Title: All the Bad Apples
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: August 1st, 2019 (UK); August 27th (NA)
Genre(s): YA Contemporary, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction
Subjects and Themes: Family, Women’s Rights, LGBTQIAP+ (lesbian mc, queer side characters)
Page Count: 319 (hardback)
CW: Rape, homophobia, and a myriad of casual atrocities against women (historical and modern)
When Deena’s wild older sister Mandy goes missing, presumed dead, Deena refuses to believe it’s true. Especially when letters start arriving–letters from Mandy–which proclaim that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions but a curse, handed down to women from generation to generation. Mandy’s gone to find the root of the curse before it’s too late for Deena. But is the curse even real? And is Mandy still alive? Deena’s desperate, cross-country search for her beloved sister–guided only by the notes that mysteriously appear at each destination, leading her to former Magdalene laundry sites and more–is a love letter to women and a heartbreaking cathartic journey.
“This novel was, in part, fueled by rage”
It’ll be a cold day in hell when I don’t finish a blog tour book at the last minute, it seems, so this is gonna be shorter and less effusive than I want it to be. But don’t let my procrastination take away the fact that I loved this book.
All the Bad Apples checks all my boxes: a road trip to uncover family secrets, a spotlight on women, ancient magic bleeding into the modern, and the use of past tense in a contemporary(ish) YA. It’s also the closest thing to Kali Wallace’s The Memory Trees I’ve read in the past two years, and I can’t tell you how giddy that makes me.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the prose alone makes me want to read everything Fowley-Doyle has written and will ever write in the future (and I’m kicking myself that she hasn’t been on my radar until now). It’s quiet, addicting, and sensual, and it winds through you like a drug. Add to that the atmosphere of it all–curses and storms and the scent of apples moving through the air–and you have a recipe for pure decadence.
The story is contemporary interspersed with magical realism, and the latter are appropriately magical and chilling, but what amazes me is that even the contemporary bits feel textured and rich. So very old and loaded with everything–magic, history, the lives of their ancestors reaching forward to touch them. The book understands that there are places in this world that share a space with the past. Places where the past is so looming and loud that you almost feel it as a physical presence. You move from one rundown location to the next throughout the story, all of them spilling with history, and the author makes sure that you feel the weight of each one. It’s beautifully done.
At the core of it, though, is a poignant story of a teenage girl’s attempt to break a cycle of bigotry and secrets and abuse that left me touched and seething in each equal measure.
“You tell your story and the story of your family. You speak your truth. You shatter the stigma. You hold your head up to the world and speak so that everyone else who was ever like you can recognize themselves. Can see that they aren’t alone. Can see how the past will only keep repeating itself as long as we’re kept powerless by our silence.”
I do wish the second half of the book had been a bit longer, though, and that the events leading up to the end were more drawn out. The follow through on the side characters (minus Deena’s sisters) was also kind of disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all very interesting and had the foundation to be complex characters, and the romance between Deena and Cale (“short-haired punky witch girl,” in Deena’s words) was developing nicely, but their stories get neglected in the last 1/3 of the book, which is a massive shame because I feel like they had so much more to offer.
But those are small complaints.
Ultimately, All the Bad Apples is a book that deserve a place on your shelf. It’s got the atmosphere of a fable and the anger of the best feminist stories that exist in the world, and it’ll leave you with the lingering taste of apples in your mouth.
Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies. Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was published in summer 2017, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.
You can win 1 of 3 copies of All the Bad Apples HERE.
Check out all the other stops on this tour HERE.
Happy Monday, everyone! Originally I wasn’t going to write an entire post about this because I don’t like voluntarily courting drama (unless it involves someone coming after a person I care about. Then I start sharpening knives), but the more I thought about it, the …
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now being hosted by The Artsy Reader. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll try out a TTT topic for over a year now, but I never actually took the plunge. But I …
Title: Destroy all Monsters
Author: Sam J. Miller
Release Date: July 2nd, 2019
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Contemporary
Subjects and Themes: Mental Health, LGBTQIAP+
Page Count: 400 (hardback)
Solomon and Ash both experienced a traumatic event when they were twelve.
Ash lost all memory of that event when she fell from Solomon’s treehouse. Since then, Solomon has retreated further and further into a world he seems to have created in his own mind. One that insulates him from reality, but crawls with foes and monsters . . . in both animal and human form.
As Solomon slips further into the place he calls Darkside, Ash realizes her only chance to free her best friend from his pain is to recall exactly what happened that day in his backyard and face the truth—together.
CW: Child abuse
So. I really, really like Sam Miller. The first reason being that he’s one of those writers who takes outlandish ideas and doesn’t hesitate–just dives headfirst into them. I mean, his novels so far include a cyberpunk rebellion story starring a woman who’s an orcamancer, a villain origin story about a boy whose eating disorder gives him superpowers, and now a dual perspective story about a girl with magical camera powers and her best friend who lives in his imaginary world filled with monsters and dinosaurs. Even though they don’t always work (ahem, foreshadowing), they’re still memorable and push the boundaries of what speculative fiction can achieve. And I’ll always love creators who take chances.
The second reason is that there’s always a heavy thread of compassion running through his stories. You can tell he’s writing them because he truly cares about people–the marginalized, the lost, the broken–and wants to shine a spotlight on their struggles.
Or maybe reading The Art of Starving flipped a switch in my brain and now every book of his I read feels like a heart-to-heart conversation. Either way, genuine goodness and imagination makes for a lethal combination.
Well, Destroy all Monsters has both of those, which is fantastic, but for me it severely falters in the storytelling department, ultimately making this a disappointment.
The main culprit behind the issues? Alternating PoVs.
We switch back and forth between Ash’s chapter, which shows the MCs’ lives as normal highschool students, with Solomon dealing with severe trauma, and Solomon’s chapter, which takes place in an alternate fantasy world where Ash is a princess-in-hiding. The problem is that the blurb and the early part of the story has you thinking that Solomon’s chapters are all occurring in his head. So I spent half of the book trying to figure out where the two PoVs line up, because surely some aspects of Ash’s PoV should be seeping into Solomon’s.
But they don’t line up–at least, not until the end, and even then the connection is tenuous.
The characters in Solomon’s PoV are the same people as the ones in Ash’s PoV, but their personalities, actions, and motivations differ (well, only slightly with the personalities). So basically you’re getting two different plots–starring two sets of characters–crammed into one 400-page book, and neither of them is developed enough to be engaging.
Also, friendship is a huge theme in the story but because of the alternating format, we don’t spend enough time with either sets of Ash and Solomon to get a good feel of what their relationship is like.
But the reveal at the end regarding Solomon’s world has to be the biggest letdown because it turns the narrative from a “Exploration of Mental Health via Fantasy” story to a “I’m Suffering from an Identity Crisis” story. It strips away the emotional impact that the previous chapters were building up to and I found the result messy and unsatisfying.
So yeah…Sorry, Sam.
I really dig Solomon’s dinosaur mount, though.
Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.