Book Review: the Beholder

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81rm0bu22tlSelah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

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This book was a wild ride. I was actually really worried that I was going to hate it, because it took a turn I wasn’t sure about but IT CAME THROUGH, Y’ALL.
It’s been forever since I wrote a review so this is guaranteed to be a hot mess.
I read this book really fast(especially considering I’ve only read two books since June). This book is impeccably written. The world is built with care and history, and the prose is gorgeous. It’s written in a way that is beautiful, editing on poetic at times, without using huge confusing words and without losing the story in pursuit of pretty sentences.
I think Selah is an amazing protagonist. I’m absolutely certain she’s going to be criticized by others as being too dramatic, too flighty, too emotional. But let’s keep in mind that she is EIGHTEEN and also the standards of emotional stability that society enforces are ridiculous and nobody is that okay. personally? I think that Selah was perfectly wonderful and strong as she was. Crying is not immature. Reacting in a normal human way to the moments at hand isn’t immature, I think, if I had been forced into a similar situation, I probably would’ve reacted similarly. She was sent away from everything she knows and everyone she loves, and the way she perseveres through it all is stunning. I adored her as a character, and I think she was just as should should’ve been.
Something I loved so much in this book is the emotion-driven storyline. The book very much focuses on building Selah as a character, from the naive and quiet girl we start with, to the fiery girl at the end, who takes ownership of her own destiny. Selah at the beginning is so starkly different from Selah at the end, in all the best possible ways. This book have been criticized as nothing happening but I think that’s a one-sided way to look at it. For a plot-driven book—there isn’t much action. But when you view this is a character and emotion driven books, it is astounding how much happens. And while not a lot happens in the larger arc of plot in the series, there are several great plot twists and it does have a plot.
I think one feature in this book is Selah’s struggles. She starts out the book having proposed to her childhood best friend and being very publicly rejected.(ouch!) but as the book progresses, we see her encounter three chances to see and learn about love and romance. The final romance is so evolved and wonderful and I don’t think it would’ve been that way without the two that came before.
While the official romance happens very quickly, I think it’s developed enough and I don’t doubt it as a romance. It didn’t feel insta-lovey to me at all. But also, as an MK, I dive deep into relationships really quickly so I didn’t really bat an eye. It’s not like they knew nothing about each other. There are strong scenes where they get to know each other really well, as friends and partners. I think, while they don’t know everything about each other, I don’t doubt the love.
I also loved everything about the part of the book that happens in Norge. I loved the relationships and friendships that are forged there, with all the brothers, and all of the growth in Selah’s character as she finds a taste of freedom with them.
Overall, I think this book explores romance on a deeper level, with stunning growth in our protagonist, and a very real TEENAGE(remember that, y’all, next time you criticize TEENAGE characters) girl protagonist who grows in strength and who isn’t afraid to show her emotions.

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How are you today? Have you read anything good lately? Let’s chat in the comments! 

 

another messy post ~ on progress and the human fear of change (I don’t know where I’m going with this one)

(I’ve been doing a lot of these posts lately but idk I guess I’m just in that headspace rn. I guess these posts kind of help me process)

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So change. I think it’s a very human thing to fear it. I’m coming to terms with the fact that, in normal life, everything is constantly changing.
which, by the way, is freaking terrifying.
Maybe it’s the stage of life I’m in. It could be. But I think change is to be expected. As someone with anxiety, the idea of expecting everything to always change…. oof.

There have been a lot of changes for me, especially in the last 6 months since I turned 18. A lot of them I’m still working on my issues with. In example, one of the bigger ones is that I’ve read two, maybe three books since April. I know it’s just the season of life I’m in and that it isn’t a permanent change, but my reading has changed so much of the last couple of years(I went from like 15 books a month to 4 at one point), that more change, specifically in the reading less department, that’s terrifying. But here’s the thing.

Change helps us grow. I’ve wrestled with my blog even over the last six months, posting less, and wondering if it’s worth it (spoiler: it is). I love blogging. It’s an amazing outlet for me, and a platform where I can truly express myself. But when you don’t read as much as you used to, these things get called up into question. And not all the changes I’ve experienced have been hard. I’ve been writing more(my own books!) in the last couple of months than I have in years.

I’ve always been thinking a lot about the future. I think that’s completely normal but it’s scary to not know where I’ll be a year from now. Fear is powerful. It’s held me back a year in school because I am absolutely terrified for things to change. I think fear holds me back a lot as a person. I know there have absolutely been times where I’ve let it rule me. But I’m working on it, I’m working on pushing past.

Here’s the big takeaway I’ve gotten from all of this. Accept yourself as you are. I’m not saying don’t try to improve, don’t get me wrong. But accept yourself where you are at. If you’re trying to work out and you can only get through half a workout–that’s more than if you hadn’t done anything. If you’ve only read two books in six months–that’s more than if you hadn’t read anything. Accept your little victories. We are our own worst critics, but we don’t have to be.  That’s all for me today, y’all. Thanks for being here, reading what I have to say.
You’re absolutely okay how you are, and change is good even when it hurts. You are truly an amazing human being. Have a wonderful day.

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Leave some positive encouragement in the comments for other readers or even yourself! Spread positivity today. ♥️

on writing and our inner critic ~ this post is a mess but that’s okay

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I’ve recently started trying to rewrite an old and unfinished story of mine. I wrote this book mainly in 2014, so about 5 years ago. I think that reading through something you wrote 5 years ago is like reading your facebook posts from 5 years ago. It’s mostly a lot of: WHY GOD WHY. and also sudden urges to burn it all.

But, as reflection on the past often does, I began to slip into a contemplative mood. I think, as writers, we are often so hard on ourselves. Here’s the thing; we grow so dang much as people and as writers, we often take things out of context of time. 5 years ago I was a little sad and a lot lost. I wrote as mostly an outlet, and nearly everything I produced was bare bones. But I got it out. And I’m so glad I did. Because as awful as rewriting is, nothing is scarier than an empty page. And if I had never written this book, as much as I could, in that time, it would’ve never left my mind and made it to a page.

I think also, looking back, we need to have a certain appreciation. Because writing this book 5 years ago made me feel alive, and you can feel that in my words. I think as writers we can be so hard on ourselves, and we are constantly our own worst critic. And while being aware of our faults can help immensely in editing, it can cheapen the stories we breathed out. I think if the constant focus is in the grammar and the plot and even the writing style, we don’t tap into the emotion that drove the story in the first place.

This post is a bit messy, and most likely doesn’t make sense, but next time you’re editing or rereading or rewriting, remember who you were and be thankful. Be thankful you’ve grown, but also be thankful that you got that pen on the page, or that you had an outlet, or just be thankful for who you were and who you are. Love yourself. You are an amazing writer, and don’t give up on the stories you love, no matter how flawed the writing or the story is. Remember the heart of it all. xx

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I’m not going to leave some comment prompt here to spark conversation, but just leave a little note of positivity and encouragement for anyone battling their inner critic XX

Book Review: There’s Something About Sweetie

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50184f51148eaf780f4e2b669661b495Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

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I highlighted so much of this darn book, y’all. I want to come on here and talk about how important and wonderful it is, but first, it just feels amazing to have a fat girl as a lead(and not the funny side kick), and also have a romance where weight comes up only in other people’s perception of Sweetie, not in the feeling that Ashish has for her, nor in his attraction or perception of her beauty. She’s beautiful. Not in spite of her fat. Not because of her fat. She just is. Beautiful.

And that’s something I wanted to say before I talk about how important the book is. It’s one of the reason’s why this book is so important. It is so important to me the sheer normalcy the is felt in integrating Sweetie as a fat character. Other books with fat leads that I’ve read have felt forced, or the same old, same old. The kid of fat stories we’ve been reading forever. Where the world revolves around her size, and hating her body, and everyone loves her in spite of her fat when they realize she’s got a great personality. Let me just say: THANK GOD THIS BOOK IS DIFFERENT. I am so dang sick of the fat stories we’ve been reading for a millennia  and this book is a breath of fresh air. Also the moment that Ashish meets Sweetie and is like talking about how pretty she is? DANG SON YES

This book takes all the stereotypes about fat people and smashes them to bits. She’s a runner. And she’s fat. UM YES THANK YOU. People just assume fat people are sedentary and that’s that, but we play sports, we exercise, we don’t just sit on the couch and eat junk food all day(I walk like 3 miles a day. And I’m fat) I’m not sure if I’m conveying my point correctly so here’s a quote from the book that conveys it perfectly: “She’d finally begun to accept what  she’d always believed in her core–that her weight did not signify anything bad about her, that she was just as worthy and talented as any thin person–was true, in spite of what anyone else might say.”

I honestly can’t even line my emotions up at this point. This book means the world to me. The body positivity, the empowerment, this book is the exact thing I needed as a teen/tween who was hearing the same horrible things and the same hate, but also the same “helpful” comments that Sweetie was hearing. I wish I’d had someone in my life who told me I didn’t have to wear baggy clothes and maxi dresses and maxi skirts. I could wear something tight, I could show some skin, and, gosh, I wish someone had told me how great I looked in skinny jeans before I’d had a chance to realize it myself.

I also love that Sweetie doesn’t realize she’s beautiful just because a guy is into her. The guy and the romance isn’t the foundation of her awakening and that’s important. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, you can be fat and beautiful. It doesn’t matter if no guy has been into you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been told you’re beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. SCREW ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE.

This is first of all, a romance. so we’re going to talk about the romance. I LOVE IT. I love ASHISH. I love Sweetie, I love everything about them together. Ashish is so sweet and caring and I just love how he treats Sweetie. He’s loyal and he just really cares. Also the kissing is really great. REALLY GREAT.

This is getting crazy long now(for me) so I’m going to end in a second but first I HAVE TO talk about the friend groups. Both Ashish and Sweetie have amazing supportive friend groups and while there’s some drama, there’s so much love. And the way Sweetie’s friends went off on Ashish in that one scene was SO GOOD. I love how crazy protective they are over her!

The ending was so perfect and satisfying. While the romance did progress a little quickly, it is a chic-flic so that’s to be expected some what. I probably forgot to say a million things, so here’s the important thing:  this book is worth the read. 100%

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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK??? If not, go read it. Have you read any of Sandhya Menon’s other books? I’ve read all but When Dimple Met Rishi.
What book would you give your teen/tween self?

Tips for Putting the Books You Love in Storage

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So you may know(because I’ve mentioned it approximately 560 times), I recently moved out on my own. And well, I own over 300+ books so moving into a 475 sq ft apartment was going to be a challenging. After much measuring and deliberation, I realized that I couldn’t take all my books. And I for sure didn’t want to sell them. Luckily, my parents have a great attic so I was able to store them all there(a storage unit would work too if you don’t have an extra attic lying around). So. I researched and learned some things that may be helpful if you’re in a similar situation where you need to put your books in storage! Let’s dive into this.

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Please, for the love of everything written, do not use boxes!

Okay, so you’re moving. You’ve got lots of boxes lying around. It might make sense to use a box to store your books. STOP. DON’T DO IT. Boxes may seem like the cheap, easy solution but they have serious issues. Even if there isn’t a year round mice problem, during the winter most homes(and storage units!) have mice. Mice can chew through boxes and leave your with a box full of shredded books. There’s also bugs. Cockroachs eat paper, by the way. And what if there’s suddenly a leak? Rain or anything wet(like mice pee) will go straight through that cardboard. So pick yourself up, spend a little on rubbermaids and save in the long run. Don’t get the cheapest rubbermaid. You can get some really strong ones for $7 rather than the flimsy trash that walmart brand passes off as rubbermaids.

Be careful of how you place the books in your rubbermaid.

If it’s in a slightly curved corner, or slightly open, it could stay like that forever, because books tend to hold a form after awhile. Make sure when you are carrying the rubbermaids that the books are placed so they don’t move around and get bent. Place the books you love more closer to the top so that you can access them easier.

ORGANIZE. Make a list. Check it twice. don’t wear red while doing this or you may get mistaken for Santa.

This takes some time, but it is so worth it. Sit down with your computer, your books, and write down each title as you fill the rubbermaid. Use duct tape as a removable label to number each rubbermaid. Then you know which books are in which rubbermaid if you need to find one while it’s stored. I also taped a copy of each list to the outside of each rubbermaid to help. This was great because I ended up with 7 rubbermaids so if I had to dig through each one to find one specific book it would take forever. I would recommend typing the list up as you go so it’s in a editable doc just in case you don’t completely fill a rubbermaid and need to edit it as you add more books. Also, this helps in case you have the books in storage and forget what you have, so you don’t buy duplicates. You can check your list before buying new books.

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I hope this was helpful! I had to figure all this out on my own and I kind of wish there had been some of this info for me to find. Maybe there was, but I hadn’t seen any.

Was this helpful? Moving and storing books is hard! I hope I was able to help, even just a little. LET’S CHAT!! what tips would you give for putting books in storage?

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To the Perfectionist Blogger

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Hey. It’s okay. It’s okay to go a month without posting. It’s okay to post something an hour later than you wanted. It’s okay to make a typo. It’s okay if it doesn’t turn out exactly how you imagined it.

At the point of writing this, my last real blog post was posted on May 3. And it wasn’t a hiatus announcement. And, well, I’ve spent the last four months beating myself up for that.

You can’t beat creativity into yourself. It’s okay to not feel like posting. It’s okay to go radio silent sometimes. Your blog is for  you. No one else. Nobody. And if it doesn’t give you the joy it used to, or if life gets crazy, it is okay to step back. To give yourself a second to breathe. No creative process is worth your sanity.

I’ve missed blogging like terrible, but I’m actually glad for the space and time I’ve had away. I’ve been doing this a long time. Like since before puberty. And sometimes when you’re posting and trying to keep up, you forget to check in and make sure you’re still happy with what you’re doing. So here’s the short of it. Take a moment, check in with yourself. Breathe. Is what you’re doing creatively something you enjoy? Do you still enjoy it? It’s okay if you don’t. If you do, I wish you all of the creativity to serve you the rest of your life. If you don’t, that’s good too. There’s so many things in this world you can do, don’t cry over the things that just aren’t you anymore.

So to the perfectionist blogger: It’s okay if it’s not perfect. It’s also okay if you aren’t perfect. It’s okay if your blog isn’t perfect. As long as it is still something that makes you happy, it’s okay. Breathe.

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I kind of felt like I needed to get that off my chest. If this helped you in any way, let me know!! I love hearing from y’all. 

Book Review: Romanov

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81gavxbdtvlThe history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

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I fought to get this book finished and it was well worth it. It may be the longest I’ve taken to read a book. I read this from MAY 5 to AUGUST 21. woof. that’s a hella long time. Usually if a book takes that long, I drop it. I’m going to take a second to explain why it’s taken so long and then I’ll dive into talking about the book(you know, the actual point of this post)

Let me lay out my summer for you. I got the book on May 5, started reading it immediately/ May 7, I had a college visit which ruled out all reading for the time being. Every day I didn’t have something going I was working, and that was back when my shifts were shorter so I had a little reading time. BUUUUT then I went to Texas for my brother’s graduation, and that was the last time I touched the book before, well, now. I read a little bit on the trip and when I got back I actually mailed the book to the next human in the traveling ARC tour. I knew it would take me awhile longer to read it and I did have an ebook copy too. Long story short, since then I have started a second job, started working longer hours at my first job, my brother got married, and I moved out of my parents house. So…. Basically no reading time. But! Despite all this, I managed to finally read the last 70% of this book last night and this morning.

Okay, this is supposed to be a review of a book someone wrote, not me writing a novel of excuses. 😛

this book is entirely captivating and heartbreaking, and everything I wanted and needed from it. I was obsessed with Anastasia as a younger human(who wasn’t tho??) and when I heard the premise of this book it was all I needed to get me obsessed with this book. And, well, it didn’t disappoint.

I think that this book has a lot of strengths. It’s two main strengths however, are the characters and the history. The history, which is the aspect of the book that most people come in looking for, had to be perfection. It had to be true enough to sell the idea of the story, to make it seem real, but have space for the liberties that were taken in the story telling. It was exactly that. The story was well researched and well written, with all of the complexity of this time in history and adding in the complexity of the magic system. I think Anastasia is the perfect legend for this, because of the mystery in certain parts that allow for the liberties taken.

I loved the characters. Each one, complex and jumping off the page. The guards at Ipatiev House, seemingly unreachable at first, but human at their core, slowly softening until everyone at the House was just human. The Romanovs were no longer royalty, just human. The guards were just human. I loved the relationships forged in such close quarters and rooted for them all. I loved the blossoming relationships between Maria and Ivan, Zash and Nastya.

The plot that wraps everything together, the history, the characters, the plot that drives the story, was full of twists and turns and in the end, it’s what you expect but yet not at all. Here’s the thing. We all know how this story ends. Anyone who knows anything about Anastasia knows what goes down in that basement. But that just makes it have all the more impact. You know what’s coming, but you can’t help but fall in love with those it’s coming for.

I think it’s important to examine the structure of the magic system. It’s very straight forward, and it doesn’t take over the story. It’s important, and help drives it, but I think that it takes a seat when we need history, or character, or anything else to drive the story. It’s a great support to the story and I think in that way it’s really good. I’m actually glad it didn’t have a bigger path in the story, because I loved the historical aspect and the relationships that happened while they waited on the magic. The system itself, I think, is well built. It’s not crazy complex, but I think that’s good, because a mistake a lot of writers make is making their magic system too complex and then even just trying to understand it takes over a lot of the story.

I loved the strong ties of family that really drives the story. In the first half, we really have the whole family and just seeing how they loved each other and how nothing else mattered but that, family. I think that is such a wonderful thing to read and feel. I loved so much about the family, and the relationships between the siblings and the parents and just that they would do absolutely anything for each other.

Another aspect I think is so wonderful is well, the romance. We all know I’m a fan of slow burn romance…. Well, this delivered! I loooooved the slowburn. IT’S GOTTA SLOW BURN SO MUCH IT HURTS, Y’ALL. Like, we all know they’re in love but they’re stubborn and also have a lot going on. Soo good. When it finally does happen, it’s so, so great. Very great.

Well, now that I’ve basically written a novel about how great this book is, it’s up to you to read it! It’s got it all, action, adventure, romance, extremeheartbreakthatwillinfactmakeyoucry, and just the most wonderful character dynamics. READ IT.

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BEFORE YOU GO….

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Okay, okay, tell me: were you also obsessed with anastasia as a kid(or now tbh)??? HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? if not, what are you doing with your life?? What was the last book you read? I miss y’all!! Tell me all of the things.

Interview with Charlie Holmberg(bestselling author of the Paper Magician)

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HI! IT’S ME. this isn’t a joke. I am posting!! hopefully this leads into more and more posts but for now I’m here, one post at a time. I’m doing what I can ❤ SO. this is a post I’ve been working on since January and I’m so glad I’m finally posting it! Charlie and her team have been so incredibly patient with me and I’m thankful.

I have Charlie Holmberg here with me today to talk about her newest release, SMOKE & SUMMONS! I really enjoyed coming up with questions for her, and I love her answers! So… let’s jump in!

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Hi and welcome to the blog! For the readers who don’t know you, could you take a minute to introduce yourself and your previous books?

Sure! My name is Charlie N. Homberg, and I write young adult and adult fantasy books that have kissing in them. 😉 (To be honest, I write new adult, but that’s not officially a thing so we just go with the flow.) I write both high and historical fantasy, and I like to explore unique takes on magic.
I’m most well known for my debut series, The Paper Magician series, which is currently a total of four books. The first three have been optioned by Disney! Between that and my new Numina series, I’m a standalone writer. My first standalone novel, Followed by Frost, was a finalist for the RITA in young adult fiction. I then have Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, which is a high fantasy about a magic bakery; The Fifth Doll, which is a historical fantasy with magical matryoshka dolls; and Veins of Gold, a historical that takes place in Utah territory during the California gold rush.

Family is an important part of SMOKE & SUMMONS. Have you received much support from your family in your writing career? How have they helped you pursue it?

I have! I am very fortunate, for every writer who has family support, there’s three writers who don’t. My husband is my biggest supporter, even before we were married and I was published. He reads all my books and never minded me taking time to work on my manuscripts. My sisters have also critiqued for me, and my oldest sister is the one who got me into fanfiction, which ultimately got this train going!

It’s not often we see advanced technology in a fantasy world, and I find it so fascinating. Why did you decide to include it in yours?

The tech in the Numina series is about on par with steampunk, except it’s not all steam-powered. I think I was partly inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, where factories were starting to dominate England. I wanted a corrupt and dirty city, so throwing my story in the midst of industry seemed like a good route to take. That, and I hadn’t yet explored that kind of setting.

I’ve heard you’re a geek! (me too) How has geek culture shaped your writing?

Well I do write fantasy novels for a living. 😉
But yes, I very much am a geek! I grew up being obsessed with anime and X-men, all of which has had its influence in me. Really, spec fiction is a part of geek culture, so I’m influenced by every book I read (and every movie adaptation I see!). Most prominently, geek culture built in me a desire and fascination to create worlds where magic exists.

SMOKE & SUMMONS tackles some heavy topics, such as slavery, child labor, mass incarceration, and corruption. What was it like to include these in your fantasy world? Have you experienced much backlash because of it?

One of the points of writing fiction, fantasy especially, I think, is to experience things you wouldn’t experience in real life. Things like riding a dragon, wielding magic, or being royalty. But there are other things to experience as well (and I pray we never have to experience them in real life). Some of these things, like child labor, come with the setting—a city ruled by industry needs every pair of hands it can get. It mimics history. The rest is a source of conflict and natural outcomes for the sort of story I wanted to write. This series is certainly the darkest I’ve penned to date.

I never set out to write a story with political implications or societal critique. But the story I wanted to write needed these elements. Who would willingly volunteer to be possessed by a monster and used as a weapon? No one, so they would have to be forced. Thus the presence of slaves. I wanted to make the setting dark and despicable; crowded and dirty. I could raise the stakes by making a high-kill prison. I didn’t set out to paint a pretty picture.

I think most readers realize that just because an author writes about something doesn’t mean he or she supports it. I mean, the slavers, the wardens, and the government officials are all bad guys. It’s a book where, hopefully, we want to see the protagonists triumph.

You’re a mother and a writer, basically a modern day wonder woman. That must be a lot going on! How do you balance the two in your day-to-day life?

Honestly? My husband. He’s a stay-at-home dad who makes all of it possible. He lets me be an author in the morning and a mom in the afternoon. It would be much harder without him around.

You’ve said that SMOKE & SUMMONS is your best book to date. What makes you feel this way about this book specifically?

It’s a little bit of everything. I really love my magic system and the reveals I get to do with it throughout this book and the rest of the series. I like Rone and Sandis. And, while this might sound sadistic, I’m mean to my characters in this book than in any other. I up the conflict and break them. And . . . well, it’s kind of fun? Fun in the sense that I can rip emotions from them and splay it on a page, and then piece it all back together again. Smoke & Summons has higher highs and lower lows, and that overall contributes to a stronger story, methinks.

SMOKE & SUMMONS is the first book in a new series from you, called the Numina Trilogy. Without spoilers, what’s next for Rone and Sandis?

Many feelings and fights. Problems bigger than they could even imagine. The betrayal is not over, and the battle is only beginning. I’m very excited for the next two books. I think readers will be surprised.

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BEFORE YOU GO…

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SMOKE AND SUMMONS COVERA captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.
Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

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Holmberg-Photo-2017-NoCreditBorn in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician Series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.

 

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Aren’t you intrigued? Charlie’s books sound so intriguing! I have a copy of Smoke & Summons and I can’t wait to dive in! Leave some love for Charlie in the comments! 

Life is Wild, y’all

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I literally just opened my computer for the first time in over a week. I haven’t touched my current read in almost as long. I’ve missed talking and posting on here. Life is wild and sometimes you lose time for the things you love. Adulting is hard. Sometimes it means giving up something you love sometimes. Now, I’m not leading into quitting blogging. I swear I’m not. I just want to say, I’m still here. I can’t guarantee a post every week, or that I’ll stick to my schedule. But I’m alive, I’m trying, and I’m here. I love you guys. Thanks for sticking with me.

to be continued…..(when I have time to breathe haha)

Book Review: The Boy Who Steals Houses

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26968351._sy540_Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie. 

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

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Oh hi! It’s me and I’m crying over a book again. also this review, like any other review I write, is most likely going to be a mess and may not make sense. Yay. We might have to get used to this. This book was wildly good, and it made me so happy yet here I am. Crying. Wow. HOW RUDE.
Also I read somewhere that Cait tried to write this is a happy book… if this is her try at a happy book, I’m for sure screwed when I read A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES. like for absolutely sure.
This book is gorgeously written. Like WOW. I was highlighting every few sentences in my ebook copy, because it was all just SO GOOD. can I highlight a whole book??? Please say yes.
I will say. It took me a little while to gather up the courage to read this. I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn’t like it. I’m saying all this for the sake and our honesty. I’m going to be transparent: reading a book by someone who you’re friends with and admire so so much and then reviewing it is A WHOLE ENTIRE TRIP. it was rough. But I really shouldn’t’ve been worried, because this book is absolutely amazing and wonderful and I CRIED SO MUCH. okay thanks, let’s continue with the review now.
Have you ever heard of like cinnamon roll boys who are soft and sensitive and wonderful and respectful and basically hufflepuffs and must be protected at all costs? THAT’S THE LOU BOYS. someone protect these boys pls, I can’t even.
Okay so. Trying to add a little structure here to organize my thoughts. So maybe this next bit will have less flailing? Haha sure.
In examination of the plot, I found nothing really lacking. I think the pacing was exactly how it should have been, and while the ending is a little open ended, I think it had a solid arc, inciting incident, and finale. In examination of the characters, each one was complete. They are felt extremely real, and the ones who drove the story had a solid motive and you were really able to understand where they came from.
In contemporaries, there isn’t always a villain like what we see in a fantasy or action novel. But I find that villains in contemporaries take a different kind of role. In this story, we had a couple villains who Sam had to overcome and “defeat”. There’s no defeat of the villain per se, but we get to see Sam overcome the obstacles and I think it helps with the sense of closure at the end of the story.
I loved loved loved loved the De Laineys. Like wow. I thought their role in the story was amazing and I loved the emotion that they bring to the story and their love and acceptance of Sam. It was amazing.
Speaking of the De Laineys!! We have to talk about Moxie. She’s easily my favorite character and I love her. I am scared of her but I also want to be her best friend at the same time. She’s an absolutely badass.
Also. Moxie and Sam. YES YES YES YES. I love everything about their relationship. I love them together, how Moxie takes care of Sam when no one else does, and how he so fiercely protects her. TALK ABOUT A POWER COUPLE, Y’ALL.
I can’t personally speak for the autistic rep, but I believe this is ownvoices and I think that Cait handled it very well. I loved Avery so much and as a sister of someone with special needs and communication issues not completely unlike Avery’s, I understand what Sam felt and loved how he stood up for Avery and protected him, I also loved how Avery stood up for himself as well and how he took care of Sam in the end. Everyone looked to fix him, but he wasn’t broken, just different.
I also love the mental health rep. Sam is not okay. And I think it’s so important that in the end, he has a support system and gets help, rather than everything magically being okay at the end of the story.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: abuse, anxiety, bullying, violence (if you know of more, comment them and I’ll add them!)

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Have you read this book?? It’s amazing, right? Or if not, what did or didn’t you like? Have you read any of Cait’s other books? Let’s chat!!

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Favorites of the Month!

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I have a confession??? I only read one book in April. It was a WILD month. I bought a car, turned 18, and I work like a lot. Also I’m terrified that I’ll hate my current read so I’m only, like, a chapter in. Buuuuuuut the only book I read this month I really loved so it’s not an awful situation!

UPDATE: finished my current read!! it’s a definite favorite so I’m going to include it!!

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918wj6xhrflThis book was amazing. It’s the perfect empowering, feminist read. It’s action packed, with a badass female lead who is smart and amazing and she’s basically a scientist too!
There’s also some amazing romance, wonderful friendships, and it’s just a really good book, y’all.

26968351._sy540_I was absolutely terrified to read this. I was so scared that for some reason I  wouldn’t like it! Thank god that was just fear talking! This book is amazing. I cried a bunch. It also made me amazingly happy and Sam and Avery must be protected!! at all costs!! okay I’m done now.

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So that actually wasn’t a horrible reading month! I only read two books, but I absolutely loved both of them. It balanced itself out.

What did you read in April? Any new favorites? anything you hated? Let’s chat!!

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My Favorite Adult Books

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So apparently I turn 18 on Saturday. WHAT. That’s messed up. So I’m going to be an adult I guess(legally at least). HELP I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO ADULT. Anyway, in celebration of my impending doom(*cough* I mean, adulthood), I thought I’d round up my favorite adult books that I’ve read(there isn’t a lot, haha) and flail to y’all about them! Let’s do this…

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20Did you think I wasn’t going to mention Tamara Leigh’s books? HAHA. I’m predictable, y’all. I’m talking about allllll her books, but I used the Age of Faith series here for the graphic because the first book in that was my first Tamara Leigh book! (I was HOOKED). Honestly she’s my favorite romance writer, especially of the adult genre!

md_3369c3233cd7-acotarWe covered the fact that I’m predictable. This series and the next is like every YA reader’s favorite adult series. Buuuut with this one I’m actually talking about A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. While I don’t have a favorite Tamara Leigh book, ACOMAF is definitely my favorite ACOTAR book and my fave Sarah J Maas book! BECAUSE I’M BASIC, Y’ALL.

a-darker-shade-of-magic-ve-schwab-series-book-covers-1024x513hello it’s me. you might’ve not recognized me because–OH WAIT YOU KNOW IT’S ME, I’M RECOMMENDING THE SAME FAVES AGAIN. But y’all. this series tho. It’s gorgeously written, emotionally charged, with a stunning magic system and the best cast of characters.  IT’S REALLY GREAT.

stormlight(my thoughts on this series pertains to the first two books, as I am drowning in my TBR pile and have not read the 3rd book yet)
These books are epic, high fantasy at it’s best. They are long AF but seriously worth it! When I first read the Way of Kings, I finished it in 2 days. It’s so long, but well plotted. The plot isn’t dragged out to lengthen the book, we don’t have super boring sections. It’s interesting at every turn and full of twists!

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it’s kind of crazy to think I’ve only got two years left to be a teen?? wow. that’s ridiculous. but I’m actually excited for my birthday(maybe because there’ll be cheesecake), and I thought this was a fun way to celebrate this milestone in my life!

What are your favorite adult books? Have you read any of the ones on my list? What did you think of them? Let’s chat!!

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