Friday, December 8, 2017

18 Books We Can't Wait To Read in 2018

January 2018

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A Women's fiction/romance debut about  high powered young professionals who turn a  forced proximity/fake girlfriend situation into love.

Everless by Sara Holland
In this debut YA fantasy, time is a currency.

February 2018
A Princess In Theory By Alyssa Cole
A prince goes undercover to find his betrothed.

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston 
This is being described as a space opera Anastasia and I am here for it. Also at 480 pages I have a feeling this is going to be epic.

March 2018
No Earls Allowed by Shana Galen 
This historical romance series has special ops regency soldiers pitted against smart plucky women who they might just need saving from

Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood   

Set post- WWI, a former wing walker sets her eyes on joining an aviation expo.

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu 
This is a thing written by Marie Lu. Shut up and take my money.

Emergency Contact by Mary M.K. Choi

Debut YA novel from  essayist, podcaster and Vice correspondent  Mary M.K. Choi follows the romance between first year college students.

April 2018

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Civil War and Zombies are two particular subcultures I'm not into but I'm
curious how the two blend together.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
Described by Julie Murphy as the "queer, fat girl rom-com of her dreams" this book follows what happens when a high school graduate lands a fashion internship at a local boutique.

Now A Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy
A teenage girl travels to the set of the movie production for her Grandmother's popular book series.

Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
A new book from this dynamic duo ? Give.It.To.Me. This book follows a set of twins throwing one last high school party before graduation.

May 2018

The Lies They Tell by Gillian French 
French is masterful at creating settings and she is taking us back to another small new england town to pull back what lies beneath.

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
This book is about a girl saving a local ice cream shop  and on Bustle it was said to have a fun feminist twist so... intrigued.

I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting
This is an enemies to lovers, house-flipping romance. The official blurb for this book has all of the house renovation puns. 

June 2018

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim 
Three Muslim college students take an antic filled road trip to New Orleans. 

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean (Bareknuckle Bastard #1)
In this historical romance The bastard son of a duke and a spinster team up to exact revenge.

It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday
This romance takes place during a joint bachelor and bachelorette party in Vegas, baby !


Honorable Mention

Harlequin Dare 
Not so much a book, but this is a new steamy contemporary series from Harlequin that appears to be a smexier,  modern  and glitzy update to the Blaze category.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Rating: ★★★★★ | Release Date: 05/30/17 | Contemporary | 385 pages | Buy Now !

At school Eliza Mirk is the weird girl with no friends who never talks. At home she’s the black sheep among her athletic-obsessed family. She doesn’t think anyone can truly understand her until she meets the new boy in school, Wallace Warland. They bond over their love of Monstrous Sea, a popular fantasy webcomic. He’s the first person who gets what it means to have internet friends and be apart of an active online fandom--Wallace and his friends are BNF fan creators in the Monstrous Sea fan community. But what Wallace doesn’t know is that she’s not just any fan, she’s LadyConstellation--the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea.

This book absolutely captivated me, I devoured the whole thing in in one day and I haven’t done that in years. Zappia (who I believe used to be a book blogger) has this amazing handle on the importance of online friendship, what it means to negotiate your online self with your IRL self, the inner workings of rabid online fandoms while also incorporating  important themes about mental illness and self care for creative people.

This book could be seen a spiritual successor to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and in a lot of ways it is but I think Zappia’s specificity in relation to how fandoms work brings this book to a whole new level. There are just these casual mentions of things like shipping, cosplay and fanart. I’ve spent some time lurking around fandoms and she got it all down perfectly

 Eliza’s parents don’t understand her online life and have no concept of how popular Monstrous Sea has become. They’re only dimly aware she has a webcomic (which I related to as an adult with parents who are only dimly aware of this blog) but as the book goes on her parents make efforts to understand. I also liked that they were sex positive and instead of freaking out when she starts seeing Wallace they just take her to the gynecologist for birth control without making a big deal of it. Speaking of Wallace and Eliza, I dislike most romance in YA books, but I was here for this one.

I do think this book is probably best read in print format. There are interstitial snippets from the webcomic in the text and while you can see them on the Kindle version I read I have a feeling it’s much better in the print version.

There is this John Green quote about nerds being unironically enthusiastic about stuff and this book is basically that quote in book form.

I read this book around the same time I read Fast Connection by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson. This a  very adult M/M romance novel  but there is a subplot about  one of the hero’s teen sister losing herself in gaming fandom to escape the chaos in their home and these two books actually paired really nicely together. It was like seeing the outsider perspective.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

AudioFile Magazine's 2017 Best Fiction Audiobooks

If you are looking for the best and most dynamic voices in audiobooks look no further than AudioFile Magazine's 2017 Best Fiction list ! AudioFile Magazine is the place to go for audiobook reviews, behind the scenes videos and narrator interviews. To see all of AudioFile's 2017 picks check out the AudioFile E-zine !

ANNE BOLEYN: A KING'S OBSESSION by Alison Weir, read by Rosalyn Landor

BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman, read by Marin Ireland

THE ESSEX SERPENT by Sarah Perry, read by Juanita McMahon

FIVE-CARAT SOUL by James McBride, read by Arthur Morey, Nile Bullock, Prentice Onayemi, Dominic Hoffman

FOREST DARK by Nicole Krauss, read by Gabra Zackman

THE GOLDEN HOUSE by Salman Rushdie, read by Vikas Adam

ISADORA by Amelia Gray, read by Jen Tullock

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders, read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and a Full Cast

MANHATTAN BEACH by Jennifer Egan, read by Norbert Leo Butz, Heather Lind, Vincent Piazza

THE REASON YOU'RE ALIVE by Matthew Quick, read by R.C. Bray

REFUGE by Dina Nayeri, read by Mozhan Marno, Youssif Kamal

THE RULES OF MAGIC by Alice Hoffman, read by Marin Ireland

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward, read by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley, Chris Chalk

TRAJECTORY by Richard Russo, read by Amanda Carlin, Arthur Morey, Fred Sanders, Mark Bramhall

WHITE TEARS by Hari Kunzru, read by Lincoln Hoppe, Danny Campbell, Dominic Hoffman

Friday, December 1, 2017

AudioFile Magazine's 2017 Best of Young Adult Audiobooks

Hear this ! Kat and I are so excited to be partnering with AudioFile Magazine to reveal their 2017 Best of Young Adult audiobooks. This is an amazing list featuring contemporary,  science fiction, poetry and even some Books and Sensibility favorites ! These are the audiobooks you'll want to carry over into 2018.

AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi, read by Robin Miles

THE BOOK OF DUST by Philip Pullman, read by Michael Sheen

THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee, read by Christian Coulson

THE GO-BETWEEN by Veronica Chambers, read by Karla Souza

THE GOLD-SON by Carrie Anne Noble, read by Gerard Doyle

GOODBYE DAYS by Jeff Zentner, read by Michael Crouch

THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, read by Bahni Turpin

HONESTLY BEN by Bill Konigsberg, read by Dan Bittner

THE INEXPLICABLE LOGIC OF MY LIFE by Benjamin Alire Saenz, read by Robbie Daymond

LANDSCAPE WITH INVISIBLE HAND by M.T. Anderson, read by M.T. Anderson

LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds, read by Jason Reynolds

LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT by Josh Sundquist, read by Pat Young

NYXIA by Scott Reintgen, read by Sullivan Jones,
Dominic Hoffman

THE PEARL THIEF by Elizabeth Wein, read by Maggie Service

SOLO by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess, read by Kwame Alexander

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green, read by Kate Rudd

To see all of AudioFile's 2017 picks check out the AudioFile E-zine !

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Audiobook Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Rating: ★★+.5 | Release Date: 09/20/16 | Fantasy| 9 hours 52 minutes

I’m slowly learning fantasy just  may not be my genre, I read a couple a year and have always been lukewarm on most of them but this book came through on my holds the same week the sequel hit the bestseller’s list so I decided to check it out.

Now, I do remember this book being talked about during BEA 2016 and Three Dark Crowns is pretty much What You See Is What You Get; Three sisters; Mirabella, Arsinoe and Katharine must kill their sisters in order to take the crown and become Queen of their island nation.

What I wasn’t expecting is just how much of a prequel this book is to that major plot point. For most of the book we follow the sisters, who were separated and raised on separate parts of the island territories, as they prepare for Belltane-- the official event that means they can start trying to kill each other. I liked getting backstories on all of the sisters but it was just a lot. We have to learn the customs, magical abilities, culture and a host of side characters for three different areas. It felt like reading three books at once.

I think my biggest hurdle with this book is that I couldn’t get on board with this way of governing. In the back of the book Blake hints that the idea of sisters killing each other to be queen is based on what happens in beehives when more than one queen bee in born but I’m not sure it tracks with humans. It gets explained as being part of their religion and “this is the way things are” type thing, but I don’t see why each sister couldn’t just be queen of each territory ?

Speaking of territories, the sisters are supposed to have a magical ability native to the people in the territory they are raised in. These abilities are kind of treated like a race and the primary abilities just felt real incongruous. Like, Mirabella is a elemental so she can control the elements like fire and water, Arsinoe is a naturalist so she can control animals and plants but then like Katharine is poisonser which means she has a tolerance for poisons and also...knows how to make poisons ? I just don't get how that is an ability.

 Three Dark Crowns exists in a heavily matriarchal society so there are a lot of  different female character and audiobook narrator Amy Landon has an expansive  range of female voices. The audiobook was especially helpful with the pronunciations but that said, it’s helpful to have the map in the physical version.

By the way shout out to the character of Billy (yeah, this book also has a weird Arieth and Bob situation too) who is from the mainland and comes to the island nation as a suitor to the queens. We don’t get into how the mainland and island are connected but Billy isn’t familiar with the how anything works on the island.  Literally every other line of dialogue is him either asking a question or going “WTF is this place.” I’d been more annoyed with him if I didn’t have the exact same questions he did.

Will I do the sequel ? Probably, because that cliffhanger tho !

Saturday, November 25, 2017

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Rating: ★★★+.5 | Release Date: 09/05/17 | Contemporary-ish ? | 8 hours 29 minutes |

They Both Die At The End is the Final Destination meets The Sun is Also A Star you didn’t know you needed.

It’s a little after midnight in New York City when 17-year-old foster kid Rufus Emeterio and 18-year-old Mateo Torrez get the phone alert from Death Cast, a mysterious service that somehow knows that within 24 hours you will meet an untimely death. When they both finds themselves unable to be with their loved ones on their End Days they connect on the The Last Friend app. With less than 24 hours left to live these two unlikely strangers are going to have to try the best  last day and they're doing it together.

I’m a little conflicted over this book. Silvera is an great storyteller; his characters are interesting and he creates this great alternate universe that is only a few ticks off from our own world but you never feel confused or like you are getting an info dump. He just eases you into his imagination perfectly. But there were times when the story felt slow and stagnant and the over earnestness levels were at an all time high. Like at one point these New Yorkers bury a dead bird on the street and later they sing American Pie at karaoke, which if you aren't familiar is a song with the chorus "Singin' this'll be the day that I die."

Mateo is sa socially anxious homebody and he makes a big deal about wanting to really live his last day but they spend a lot of time cryptically saying goodbye to people and things. They don’t really do things that could be seen as “living life” until the last 30%...but like maybe that’s the point ? Like, really living doesn’t always mean doing big things ?

 You want this on audio. I’ve talked about both Michael Crouch and Robbie Daymond before and these dudes can read my grocery list and I’d drop an Audible credit. Crouch gives this very reserved, slighly sheepish narration for Mateo and he just makes some really interesting performance choices. He’ll add little laughs, sighs and inhalations that aren’t in the dialogue and it just makes the reading feel  natural. Robbie Daymond has this confident swagger with a bit of playfulness that fit Rufus’s character perfectly. Bahni Turpin also makes an appearance for short third person interstitial chapters and wow, does she have range. I’d always been kind of hesitant because I though she sounded too old for YA but I may check out one of her YAs.

I do think it’s worth noting that while the our protagonists are Cuban and Puerto Rican neither of these narrators are Latino ( Crouch is white and Daymond is Native American) and while I love the narration it’s interesting they didn’t get narrators who fit the characters ethnicity.

Adam Silvera is doing something really interesting in YA these days, it seems like he came out of nowhere and is just changing the game. He made this cryptic tweet a while ago:

I wonder what this is about ? A sequel ? A Hulu show ? 

Me to all the people on They Both Die At The End's Goodreads page asking if an Adam Silvera book is sad:

Friday, November 24, 2017

#BFRAT Cover Challenge 2017 Challenge !

Good afternoon  #BFRAT participants ! It's the afternoon in my neck of the woods  and now it's time for the cover challenge ! Below are 20  thumbnails of books that came out in 2017. The goal of this challenge is to figure out which books the thumbnails are from. 

Enter your answers in the GoogleForm below. The person who guesses the most correctly will win a $10 Amazon or Starbucks gift card!  The winner and answers will be posted Saturday, November 25, 2017 so check back for the answers.

Hint: These are mostly YA and adult fiction

(click to enlarge)

Contest Closed! The Winner is @bernmckoy ! 
Here are the answers:


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