Shatter The Sun by Caitlin Sangster | Author Interview

SHATTER THE SUN BY CAITLIN SANGSTER

Synopsis:

No one is safe, not with a horrifying new strain of Sleeping Sickness tearing through the population. After fleeing the City with her friends, Sev has one goal: to find the cure her mother developed and put an end to the epidemic once and for all. But decoding her mother’s last words—to seek out “Port North”—is easier said than done.Nobody she talks to has heard of Port North, and with only Tai-ge and June on her side, Sev fears Dr. Yang will find the cure first, and that he’ll use it to start a new world order under his rule.
With no leads, Sev is running out of options—until she discovers someone hiding in the cargo hold of her heli plane. Someone she thought was dead. Someone with maps that could point the way to Port North, if only she could read them.
Unfortunately, the one person Sev never wants to see again might be the one person who can help her find the cure.

Release Date: December 4th 2018

GoodreadsAmazon B&N iBooks TBD

If you haven’t already read and check out the first book in the series before getting to Shatter the Sun by Caitlin Sangster!

LAST STAR BURNING BY CAITLIN SANGSTER 

Synopsis:
Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.
Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.
When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.
But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.-

Amazon B&N iBooks TBD Goodreads

INTERVIEW WITH CAITLIN

 Top 5 Things readers need to know about the Last Star Burning Series

It’s set in Post-Apocolyptic China, there’s a pretty epic cast of snarky characters, and lots of twists. The sickness in this book is based on a real one, so be scared.

Who/What was your inspiration for becoming a writer? How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing off and on since middle school, but didn’t take it seriously until I had already graduated from college. I used to sit and write almost compulsively thinking it was a waste of time. As for the transition between writing guiltily when no one was looking to becoming a writer, my sister was a huge inspiration. After years and years of writing, she got a book published and it suddenly clicked in my mind that books didn’t appear out of nowhere. People wrote them. That could write books if I wanted. (Her name is Sarah Dunster and you should probably read her books.)

Which of your characters would you say you are most like?

That’s a hard question. I feel like I write characters to be more than I am. They’re braver and smarter and more competent and do the things that I feel like most of us probably couldn’t in real life. From this book . . . I wish I could be more confident like Howl, or more optimistic like Sev.

Did you have to research anything for your book?

I have a whole bachelor’s degree that went into these books! They’re set in a sort of Maoist society with guerrilla warfare and bombs and legends that are an imagining of what could happen in China if chemical warfare killed off most of the rest of the world. Not to mention the fact that I knew nothing about guns or tracking or fighting of any kind before I started writing.

Did you always know this story was going to be more than one book?

Yes. There was definitely too much for one book. I planned three books from the start.

If your characters were in the hunger games who’d win? Which Hogwarts house would your main character be in?

It’s a toss up between Howl and June. Probably June. Howl’s too cocky. As for Hogwarts…I think Sev is a Ravenclaw. She’s analytical and thinks things through.

What’s on your playlist? Does the music go with your book?

I have the most eclectic taste in music ever. Bollywood Soundtracks. Strauss. Don Omar and old bubblegum pop. I used to be a choir nerd and spend months at a time only listening to Chanticleer. I’ll listen to just about anything except for really progressive rock, and super country country. I brainstorm when I run though, so that’s the music I associate with my books. Let’s see . . . Muse is a constant, which a friend of mine described as “the music that will be playing during the apocalypse”. Lately it’s been Grandson, Alt-J, Imagine Dragons, and My Chemical Romance. But also stuff like The Glitch Mob. I love anything epic with a huge build-up. You can probably get a feel for how slow I run just by listening to these groups!

Meet the Author:

Caitlin Sangster grew up in the back woods of California and would rather go hiking, running, swimming, or general outdoorsing than just about anything else. If there aren’t any mountains, it doesn’t count as a real place. At eighteen, she moved to XinJiang, and at twenty-one it was Taiwan. She did eventually buckle down and graduate from Brigham Young University with a BA in Asian Studies and is now that person you avoid at parties because she’ll probably start talking about Shang dynasty oracle bones.

Caitlin has been writing since middle school. She always thought of it as a silly sort of compulsive habit until she realized that people like reading stories and she liked writing them and there wasn’t much silly about that.

She currently lives in Utah with her husband and four children.

Website| Twitter| Facebook| Instagram| Goodreads

 

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of SHATTER THE SUNS, US Only

Rafflecopter link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2862/?

 

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour for Shatter the Sun by Caitlin Sangster

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

12/3/2018- The Pages In-Between– Spotlight

12/4/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

12/5/2018-My Books-My World Spotlight

12/6/2018- Lifestyle of Me– Review

12/7/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt

 

Week Two:

12/10/2018- Confessions of a YA Reader– Excerpt

12/11/2018- Falling Down the Book Hole- Interview

12/12/2018- Wishful Endings– Review

12/13/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

12/14/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt

 

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Holiday Blog/Vlog Happenings | 2018 Blogmas

Tis the season and so many from the book community participate in a variety of ways, whether that be blogmas/vlogmas  or read-a-thons! I thought I would put together a list of the ones I am aware of happening so that you can check them out and embrace all the cheer! Let me know if there are any I should add to this list! (all urls are linked in pictures)

Δ Tis the Season-a-thon Dec 3rd-9th

You can learn more about the challenge here on their Instagram or Twitter accounts.

Δ Bookmas 2018 host by HaileyinBookland on Youtube

Check out Hailey’s youtube channel everyday this month up until Christmas to check out her videos! (Below image was taken from Haileys instagram page @haileyinbookland

Δ Bookending Winter 2018

Whats included! Which also included blog prompts so you can participate in the blogging fun! (click the graphic for all information)

  • Posting a minimum of 3-5 blog posts (you can use the prompts or not, up to you)
  • Taking part in the Tidyathon
  • Joining in with Amy’s 12 Reads of Christmas Readathon

Δ Christmas Readathon by The Little Book Nerds in the Corner

This is a readathon that has challenges and everything!

Δ Vlogmas with Sam’s Nonsense 

Δ 25 Blogmas Post Ideas by Jenniely

Do you want toparticipate with blogmas but dont know where to start? Check out this post and the ways to make your blog more searchable this season!

Δ #DECINBOOKS18 hosted by @booksinglee on Instagram

Δ   Christmas Eve 24 Hour Read-a-thon 

More information to come soon! Check out my post from last year.

Are you participating in any blog/vlog type events this holiday season?

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan | ARC Review

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE BY NATASHA NGAN

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: November 6th 2018

Source:  James Patterson Books in return for an honest review

“I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.”

Synopsis:
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

Goodreads | Amazon

*I would like to thank James Patterson Books and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

This Asian inspired fantasy explores a unique caste system, a forbidden romance and some darker topics while showcasing a complex beautifully developed world with a cast of characters that have you feeling all types of emotions.

I am not even sure where to really start with this review, this book was packed full of everything that makes an amazing fantasy novel. I found the world interesting and unique and although it shared slight similarities with the more common European fantasy, it opened my eyes to a culture that I am not familiar with and loved being immersed into. The attention to detail and the dedication to developing the world and setting for the world in which Lei and the other Paper Girls were thrown into was done gorgeously. I found myself needing to google different foods, and clothing styles that I was not familiar with, but felt like I could visualize it before I search it.

I loved the wide variety of characters and personalities present in this story. All of the paper girls really grew on my by the end even though I was not a fan of some at the beginning. I loved that we got to learn about their backstory and some of the reasons they  were participating as a paper girl. Lei showed a strength that isn’t seen in many fantasy novels, so many times the focus is on physical strength, but Lei’s strength was an inner one, filled with courage and bravery. Sometimes the inner battles and emotional trauma can destroy you faster than the physical pain. The romance, I called from the beginning and I was so for it and rooting for it the entire time. It is the first time I have read a f/f that did it so well! Not only was it a f/f but it was forbidden which had me wanting it even more! Also let me just say this real quick, I was loving Zelle! There is so much I could say about the rest of the girls and other characters, but that would make this such a long post.

The concept of the caste system was such a nice touch to the book and felt like real life issues played a role in creating/developing this aspect of the story. The hatred and a certain caste being seen as lesser is a mirror to our own society. With that also the views of woman in the story I feel like has a large reflection on what is happening in the world today. It is always nice when a book can take a novel and in a roundabout way relate back to real life,  I think it is important for younger kids to read books like this to not only get immersed into a different culture but be able to see the monstrosity of society told in a different way so they can make the connection.

Overall I thought this book was amazing and exactly the fantasy book that I needed. It was unique, emotional and beautifully descriptive and well written. I did have a had time with some of the trigger warnings and the fact that these young girls were used as concubines and all the cruelty that was present in the book, but sometimes I feel like that is needed in stories to open the eyes to what goes on in the world, human trafficking is becoming such an issue and makes me so sad. This is a must read this fall! It had some beautiful quotes and some strong words about not giving up. I cannot wait for the next book after the way this one ended and holding out for more of Lei and the other paper girls story!

2018 Creatures of the Night | Book Tag

I originally did this tag a couple of years ago and first saw it as a booktube video by Katytastic. I also have a few other halloween/paranormal recommendations that you can check out as well! There is a Vampire book Rec , Top Ten Spooky Reads   , 2018 Halloween Season Reads Recs, Halloween Season Reading Guide. Some of these are going to be repeats because I havent read enough books that fit in those categories so I would love some recs for books that fall into some of those categories.

Vampires 

 

Halfway to the Grave very much reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at times. It takes the spin on bad and good vampires and has Cat who is half-vampire. It is an interesting take on the vampire genre and layered with tons of humor that make bloodsucking vampires even better!

 

 

 

Werewolves 

I read Bitten this year and I am in love with this world of Werewoves! The “family” of werewolves and they way it moves down the line is interesting. I like this type of werewolves that are more of shapeshifters that those that only turn at the full moon.

 

 

 

 

 

Zombies

World_War_Z_book_coverI haven’t read that many zombie books and would so love some recs on some good zombie books! This is a repeat from the last time I did this tag.  I am going to have to go with my favorite book that I have read so far that is about zombies and that is World War Z by Max Brooks. I really want to read a book that focuses more on zombies and not like Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, which I have already read. I thought World War Z was really interesting since it was all stories about different people and from people about their accounts with fight the zombies!

 

 

Ghosts


Within this past year I have read quite a few books that have featured or have the idea of ghost in them. The one that I have to say is one of my favorites so far is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake! It was so good and I loved Anna as a character. I thought Blake did such a good job with her and made the story of Anna as a ghost really come to life and a little spooky.

 

 

 

Witch/Warlock/Spellcaster

I am so happy I read this book this year! I very much enjoyed it and it had vibes of Harry Potter with witches at a boarding school. In this world there is a group of witches that are seen as lesser and the main character is one of those. It was also a story full of mystery and a little bit of suspense.

 

 

 

Fairy/Fae


I havent read many Fairy/Fae books and one that I really enjoyed was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, but one I read recently that I really enjoyed and had tons of humor and romance as well is Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout.  With a group of going after and killing the fae loose in New Orleans, Ivy finds out secrets that change her life. I loved that there were so many different types of fae both good and bad!

 

 

Demons

18006096This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following my blog or stopping by recently. My favorite demon(s) come from The Dark Elements Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I am so in love with Roth, the crown prince of hell! He has some awesome familiar demon tattoos. He is sassy and badass! The demon world and how it is all set up is also interesting and has many different types of demons.

 

 

 

 

Angels

18324459-1So many of these tags I have seen done have picked Angelfall by Susan Ee for this and although I did love Raffe and that the angels are kind of evil/bad. I wasnt a huge fan of this book. For this I am choosing Lailah by Nikki Kelly. I loved the story and background to angels in this world. I thought it was so interesting that it isn’t considered Heaven but a different world and dimension. What the angels have to do to survive and how they are paired is also very unique!

 

 

Aliens 


I haven’t read many alien books and it is something I should work on more! This one I read a couple years ago and think it is a very underrated book. I really enjoyed it and thought it did such a fantastic job building this world in which Kricket is taken to. I do not know if they really fit the category of aliens but they are from another world so I am saying it works!

 

 

 

Superpowered Humans 

UnknownThe only books that I have read that I think fit into this category is the Shatter Me Trilogy by Tarereh Mafi. It has a very x-men feel and I loved learning about all the different powers and how they all worked!

 

 

 

 

 

♠ Other Mythical Creatures

  • Phoenix

This is the first book I have ever read about Phoenix and absolutely loved it! The whole incarnation aspect is so intriguing and I thought Grimm did a fantastic job developing a creating a world/story revolving around this magnificent creatures!

 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking of adding Dragons to this list, but than I realized I haven’t yet to really read a book focused on Dragons.

I am not tagging anyone, but if you decide to do this link you post in the comments I would love to see everyone elses answers and see some different books I should pick up and read! 

War of the Wilted by Amber Mitchell| Release Day

Don’t miss this addictive fantasy series that readers are calling fast-paced, a must read and one of the best fantasy books they have read!

On sale now!

Like flowers denied water, people are wilting under the emperor’s tyranny.

Rose will not rest until the Gardener is dead. But there are bigger battles to fight, and Rayce—leader of the rebellion and the only man Rose has ever loved—believes their best chance at winning the war is to join forces with her sworn enemy.

Saving innocent people is more important than her quest for revenge. But their new ally can’t be trusted—and he knows her darkest secret. One betrayal could leave the war and Rayce’s life hanging in the balance, and Rose will need to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all. 

Get Your Copy Today!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Entangled | Goodreads

About Amber Mitchell
Amber Mitchell was born and raised in a small town in Florida. After briefly escaping small town life by attending the University of South Florida where she earned her degree in Creative Writing, she decided to ditch traffic jams and move back to her hometown. There she writes Young Adult novels, usually with a bit of magic in them, rolls D20s with her friends on Thursday nights and enjoys hanging out with her husband and four cats. Her other job involves crafting cardstock into 3D art and has allowed her to travel all over the US vending at comic conventions which has only increased her love for fantasy and fandoms. She is represented by Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literature.

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf | ARC Review

BRING ME THEIR HEARTS BY SARA WOLF

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Source: Entangled Publishing

Synopsis:
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

Goodreads | Amazon 

I do not even know how to write this review because I have so many thoughts and feels about this book. Let me start by saying this book was so unique and has for sure made it to my top favorites of the year, if not the top spot. It had everything I love in a good fantasy, an interesting world, paranormal/magical elements, and characters with such big personalities. This book had not only a great storyline/plot that had you wanting to know what was going to happen next but it also had such well developed and unique characters. There was so much work put into the characters that even the side characters or ones that made small appearances had me having so many feels about them. There were many twists and turns in the story and I was always guessing where it was going to go. Wolf put so much backstory into the book as well that I didn’t ever feel like I didn’t understand what was going on. Especially with the new idea/paranormal creature known as the heartless.

I loved what Wolf did with the paranormal/fantastical characters, she really made them her own. She took the commonly known idea of a witch and turn it upside down. Creating a society of witches and heartless that are at war with the humans. I really enjoyed the play on the “witch hunt” idea and it was so cool to see it play out in a fantasy setting. I am also a big fan of the big dresses and courtly intrigue.

Now let me tell you all about these characters! Zera was my favorite kind of female lead. She is strong headed, snarky and all about being her own person. She is dealing with her personal struggles, but also has such a big heart (for a heartless) and care so much about others. Lucien was a surprising character and definitely caught me off guard multiple times. I really enjoyed the kind of person he is and how he follows his own way of life. The romance was a nice slow burn and everything you want from a enemies romance.

I just cannot get over how much I enjoyed this book. It took me awhile to read it because I didnt want it to end. It pulled me out of a book slump and I was so happy that I read it before many other people because I was able to completely create me own opinions and enjoy for a short time my own feelings before others started to share thoughts (one of the best thing about reading ARCs) But now I want all the people to read an experience this amazing book so I have others to talk about it with. I absolutely love the idea of the heartless and cannot wait to read more about Zera when book 2 comes out!

The Wonder Of You by Harper Kincaid | Book Review

The Wonder of You by Harper Kincaid

Modern Alice in Wonderland Re-telling

Releasing February 13, 2018

Add the book to Goodreads

Synopsis:

What if Alice didn’t fall down the rabbit hole, but instead, traveled through
Lincoln Tunnel into another kind of Wonderland:
New York City.

The best day of twenty-five year old Alice Leighton’s life was the day she got to put her nothing special, lil Southern town in her rear-view mirror. Good-bye to phony ‘bless your hearts’ and ‘I’ll pray for you’ crap, all while talking trash behind her back. She’s New York City’s latest addition and she’s going to work her ass off proving she earned her spot in the country’s top grad program.
Never again will she let some jerk derail her future and break her heart. Oh, and no more players. She’s D.O.N.E with the ‘cool guys’.
Getting caught up in Dare Grangeworth, the art world’s resident bad boy, was not part of her Alice 2.0 plan, even if he is just her type, with his beard, tats sleeves and intense green eyes. When he’s not dodging the press or his cultish fan base, Dare’s making art that makes a statement. Women seem to lose their heads around him – all the more reason why he finds Alice’s candor refreshing. He’s used to women giving in – not giving attitude.
He has to get to know this girl, even if it means allowing himself to be the subject of her research. Before too long, he becomes more than a simple outlier she can explain away. And for him everything starts to feel larger than life and upside down, like a heady rush, all while desperately trying not to lose his heart.
Become lost and found in this re-imagined story of Alice and her cast of characters, in a world where Wonderland meets Sex-and-the-City.

*Thank you Inkslinger PR and Harper Kincaid for the chance to read and review The Wonder of You! *

I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland if you didn’t already know. This book sounded interesting and different from anything I have read and I was really intrigued by it.

I still am unsure how I overall feel about this book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it didn’t include Alice in Wonderland references. It was a little cheesy and the way the words associated with Alice in Wonderland were just thrown around, threw me off a bit. I think it would have been better if the characters were described more as the Wonderland characters rather than saying things like “his Mad Hatter nonsense” . I also thought the little line and cliches that Alice said all the time were a little annoying.

I did really like the characters though.Alice was a sassy fierce southern-belle and the other woman in the story were just as great! Dare was the tall dark and handsome type and had a great sense of humor.

Overall I still think I need some time to process and figure out how I really feel. I think I need to pretend like isn’t labeled as an Alice reimagining because that really has me caught up. It was a fun , short story with entertaining characters and of course the steamy moments.

Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout | Fan Cast and Playlist

I have marathon binged the whole Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L Armentrout. Sometimes when reading certain books I am inspired to do a little something extra with the books. While reading Wicked I could picture the main characters and could definitely pick out some songs that I felt went well with the story or would play if it was made into a movie. I wanted to share those with others and see what others that have read these books think. So onto my casting and soundtrack! 

 

  1. Down in New Orleans– Princess and the Frog
  2. House of the Rising Sun– Animals
  3. Carry On My Wayward Son– Kansas
  4. Can’t Fight The Moonlight– LeAnn Rimes
  5. Cosmic Love– Florence & the Machines
  6. Adieu LaMant– Zoie Palmer
  7. Lost Girl Theme Song– Jody Colero
  8. Dance with the Devil – Breaking Benjamin
  9. Dance in the Graveyards– Delta Rae
  10. Dreams– Fleetwood Mac
  11. Dark Horse– Katy Perry
  12. Royals– Lorde
  13. Castle– Halsey
  14. Ophelia– The Lumineers
  15. Love Me Like you Do– Ellie Goulding

 

By A Charm And A Curse by Jaime Questell | ARC Review

 

BY A CHARM AND A CURSE BY JAIME QUESTELL

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: February 6th 2018

Synopsis:
Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

Goodreads | Amazon | Entangled

 

Leslie smiles at the girl with a mixture of pride and tentative hope. “It took us a few days to get Sidney set up somewhere else, and I’m sorry about that. But this wagon belongs to the occupant of the box.” Leslie strokes the side of the ladder that leads to the door. “What you’re going through is terrible, we know it is, though we can never truly understand. It’s a small comfort, but we want you to have a place that’s just your own, a place that you can use to escape.”

A weak, wobbly smile lifts the corners of the girl’s mouth as her gaze roves over the outside of the wagon, a shadow of the smile I saw the other night, when she was with her friend. I wonder what it would take to get her to smile for real.

“What about Sidney?”

“Sidney can make do.” Leslie’s smile broadens into a grin. “Have you seen the way he’s been eating? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him waddle out of the cook shack one of these mornings like Templeton the Rat.” She dangles a small copper key from the end of a length of faded red ribbon. “It’s like I said—the carnival owes the person in the box. This is the least we can do for you in return.”

The girl’s hand shakes as she reaches for the key, and she wraps her slender fingers around it tightly, as though she’s afraid of dropping it. I lose sight of her as she steps inside, and all I can do now is hope she likes the wagon.

I turn to head home and feel the sickening lurch as my foot lands in a slick patch of mud and whips out from beneath me. I throw out my arm. A flash of white-hot pain flares through my hand, but I manage to keep my footing. I step out of the mud that had nearly sent me sprawling on my ass, unsure as to how I even missed it in the first place. Then my hand begins to throb.

A gash runs diagonally across my palm. Blood wells from the wound, filling my cupped hand. The pain sets in, a deep pulsing starting in my palm and radiating up my arm. I glance over at the trailer and see a splash of red smeared along a sharp flap of metal. I must have sliced my hand on that as I tried to grab onto something to keep from slipping.

Falling on carnival grounds doesn’t happen; the charm sees to that. But my bloodied hand begs to differ.

 

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 *I would like to thank Entangled Publishing greatly for the opportunity to read this book!*

It seems like the past year carnival books have been all the rage. I find them absolutely intriguing and think they are filled with so much magic. But for some reason this was the first carnival book I read in completion. I am beyond happy that I was given the chance to review this book because I needed it in my life! This book was the perfect combination of magic, mystery, characters filled with personality and childhood vibes!

At the beginning I thought this might be inspired from Pinocchio and was getting some major flashbacks to the movie BIG. By A Charm And A Curse was so much different then I expected and found the mystery behind the charm and the curse to be so interesting. Questell really painted a detailed picture of carnival life and the ties that bind so to speak of those individuals who make up the unique performers of the carnival. The characters were full of personality and their own little quirks. I found the whole love aspect a little too fairy tale for me with the whole curse, but enjoyed the story behind the charm and curse associated with Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic.

I enjoyed that this books was driven by the characters and their personal development and growth. Sometimes when there is the background of a carnival or something like it, I feel like it is sometimes easy for the author to focus on that event or element too heavily. Not that I do not enjoy world building or magic around things such as a carnival, but I absolutely hate when the characters are flat and stagnant. I have to admit at the beginning I was annoyed with Emma as a character, yeah a lot of horrible stuff happened but she was so whiney. I loved seeing her evolve throughout the story and was her biggest fan at the end of the book. I was a fan of Ben from the beginning and adored him all the way through. He was perfect and what every girl dreams of when in search of a love interest. It was nice to see that despite what happens to Emma he doesn’t see her as different and fights like crazy for her. There were some other characters that I quite enjoyed, but really wish more time was spent on some of them. I wanted to know more and learn more about them and their background.

Overall, Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic is a carnival I would want to runaway to a be a part of! They were such a family, they cared and defended one another. It was unique and magical. There were some issue with the story, I would have loved more details about the carnival instead of such a heavy focus on the romance. Because of that the plot fell flat at time, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read and has made me want to pick up more carnival focused books!

About Jaime Questell:

JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: jaimequestell.com

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimequestell/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaimequestell

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15396319.Jaime_Questell

Newsletter: http://jaimequestell.com/events/

Alice Inspired DIY| “Eat Me” Cake Shake

I thought it would be fun to do a DIY Post for a challenge with my Down The Read-A-Thon Hole Challenge. I set out to make Eat Me cakes, but with crazy busy life and little time they did not turn out very well at all. I decided to turn my failure into success and from that came the “Eat Me” Cake Shake and let me tell you it was absolutely delicious. So since this is a challenge that can earn point towards the read-a-thon I will give some instructions. The challenge is to create an Alice Inspired DIY project. It can be anything of your choice. Post about it with the pictures and instructions! Extra points for those who attempt the Eat Me Cakes!

Ingredients for Eat Me Cakes:

Cake:
♣ Cake Mix of you choice
♣ 3 Egg Whites
♣ Vegetable Oil
♣ Frosting (try to stick with white)

Mirror Glaze:
♣ 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
♣ 1 3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
♣ 1/2 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
♣ 3 Packets Unflavored Gelatin
♣ 3-4 Shades of Food Coloring
♣ 2 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips
♣ Edible Writing Gel

Directions:

1.) Mix together ingredients for the cake batter

2.) Spread batter into a greased 9×13 pan

3.) Bake cake in accordance to the directions on the box

4.) Pull finished golden brown cake out of the oven and let cool until completely set 

5.) Cut the cake in half (as pictured below)

6.) Then cut into small squares

7.) Start to frost the crumb coat on the two layers of the squares

8.) Start the mirror glaze by stirring the gelation, 1/2 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl and let it sit

9.) Add sugar, condensed milk, vanilla and 3/4 cups water in a saucepan on medium heat

10.) Stir until it begins to bubble and then add the gelatin mixture in and stir until dissolved

11.) Remove from heat and add white chocolate chips until melted .

12.) Divide among a few different bowls and add desired food color. Then let cool 10-12 mins.

13.) Mix colors in together by adding one coloring into the other making a pattern

14.) Set frosted cakes on a surface that catches drips. Pour glaze over cakes. Let drip for 10 mins. 

15.) Once glaze is set, take edible writing gel and write on the cake

Hopefully yours turns out better than mine, but if not then there is a yummy solution! 

 

♥ Ingredients for “Eat Me” Cake Shake 


♣ 1 Cup Cake from Eat Me Cake Failure
♣ 1 Cup Vanilla Ice Cream
♣ Frosting
♣ Rainbow Sprinkles
♣ 3/4 Cup Milk/ Almond Milk
♣ Whip Cream

Directions:

♦ Smash up cakes and frosting and mix up in a bowl

♦ Add milk, ice cream, cake, extra frosting and some sprinkles into the blender (may have to add more ingredients to taste)

♦ Take extra frosting and spread on the rim of the cup and then roll in rainbow sprinkles

♦ Pour blended mix into the cup, being careful not to spill over the frosting

♦ Add whip cream to the top and pieces of cake scraps and ENJOY!