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!

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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.

 

Blog Tour Giveaway
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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! 

By A Charm And A Curse By Jaime Questell | Author Interview

BY A CHARM AND A CURSE BY JAIME QUESTELL

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.

Release Date: February 6th 2018  Amazon| Barnes & Noble 

INTERVIEW WITH JAIME

– Top 5 Things readers need to know about the book
1. This is my first novel published, but my third novel written.
2. I have four fabulous critique partners and this novel wouldn’t exist without them
3. This novel also wouldn’t exist without support from my family (seriously, it takes a village)
4. Leslie and Lars are kind of based on Leslie Knope (if Leslie were jaded after having lived for decades and decades) and Ron Swanson
5. Yes, Mrs. Potter totally go her name when I was stumped for a surname and happened to glance up and see my Harry Potter novels on my bookshelf
– Who/What was your inspiration for becoming a writer? How long have you been writing?
This will probably sound cheesy as all get out, but my best friend, Jeylan. She was writing a novel and when I told her that I was, too, she basically withheld her novel until I showed her mine. It sounds so cruel when I write it out, but if I hadn’t traded manuscripts with her, there’s a good chance CHARM would never have made it to this point. 
– Which of your characters would you say you are most like?
I like to think I’m like Leslie, willing to make tough choices and something of a caretaker. But probably I’m also (at least a little bit) Whiskey, who lives life like she doesn’t owe anything to anyone.
– What (if anything) was your inspiration behind By A Charm And A Curse?
I first had an image of a girl falling from a great height while listening to Coin-Operated Boy by the Dresden Dolls, and I wrote a short story (what’s now chapter three, essentially) in one day while listening to that song on repeat. But as it grew into a novel, I was inspired by fairy tales and I wanted to try to invoke some of the same feelings a person has when they read those kinds of stories. 
– If your book was to be turned into a movie who would you cast as your leads?
Taron Egerton for Ben and Kara Hayward for Emma. 🙂
 
– Did you have to research anything for your book?
I did! First I looked up vintage photos of circuses and carnivals, because I wanted LeGrand’s to feel like it had been around for ages. I also wanted inspiration for acts there would be in the carnival. Marcel is a knife thrower because of some of the fantastic pictures I found, and once I found a photo of a small girl (four or five) standing bareback on a horse, I knew I needed equestrians. There were a few things that didn’t make it; I really wanted to feature fire eaters more than what’s currently in there. And I also looked up circus jargon so I could pepper those in to make everything more grounded in reality. 
– In 5 words how would you describe By A Charm And A Curse?
Cursed kisses and real-life magic.
– Which Hogwarts house would your main character be in?
Emma is a Slytherin, with a little bit of Gryffindor mixed in, but Ben is ALL Hufflepuff. 
– What’s on your playlist? Does the music go with your book?
Music is super important to me when I write. Whenever I wrote Emma, I listened to this band called Kitten, their song Johnny, Johnny, Johnny in particular. And for Ben, it was The Rubens and their song Elvis. When I needed to capture the feel of the carnival in general, I’d go back to Coin-Operated Boy or Rasputina’s cover of Rock and Roll.

– There were a lot of awesome performers in Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic, what would be your act if you were part of the carnival?
Um, so I’d really, really, really want to be a performer in a sparkly costume, but I know I’m uncoordinated and I’m better off slinging fried foods. 😀

Meet the Author: 

Website: jaimequestell.com
Twitter : @JaimeQuestell
Instagram: @JaimeQuestell
Goodreads

 

The Wonder Of You by Harper Kincaid | Cover Reveal

Today we are sharing the cover of THE WONDER OF YOU by Harper Kincaid. This is a modern-day, romantic re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. Check out the teasers and blurb below. Follow Harper’s newsletter for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.

 

Pre-order Now on Amazon for a special price of $1.99

Price goes up after release!

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.


Pre-order Now on Amazon for a special price of $1.99

Price goes up after release!

————–

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

 

Born in California and raised in South Florida, Harper Kincaid has moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on her head ever since. For years, she was a jill of all trades and a master of none, but is now tickled hot pink to pen stories that break and mend people’s hearts for a living. Kincaid believes seduction occurs from the neck up, which is why her characters are smart, sexy, and slightly quirky – and definitely worthy to be your next hard-core book crush.

When not writing, she adores listening to indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds), and making those close to her laugh ’til they snort. She is a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but has now happily settled in the cutest lil’ town, Vienna, Virginia.

AUTHOR LINKS:

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October Young Adult PageHabit | Book Subscription Box

 Each month, PageHabit partner with a different organization around the world and support their efforts in spreading literacy throughout their community. Our donation helps support building schools, public libraries, and community centers to ensure that every child has access to books.- The month of October was The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster – I have not heard much about this book before it arrived in my package, but I am really intrigued! I am so excited to read this with the authors annotated notes throughout!

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale- This is also another book I have never heard of before but a fantasy horror novel seems right up my alley!

Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead by Carmen Maria Machado- a short story published partnered with PageHabit. I am excited to see what this is about.

♦ Albert Einstein bookmark- “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the way to the Library”

♦ Pumpkin Keychain- this little keychain plays creepy music and lights up!

♦ Cute Fox Coaster- This is so adorable and absolutely perfect addition to my growing fox collection. Plus coasters are much needed in my apartment.

♦ Dinosaur Tea Infuser- I have been wanting a tea infuser for awhile now so I am excited to have this!

 

Have you read either of these books? Do you get PageHabit boxes?

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | Excerpt Reveal

I’m seriously questioning the wisdom of coming here. Who is this boy? Who are these people? I may not want these answers. Whatever illusion I had been weaving about this being a normal family can’t be true. This is a family, yes, but one putting on an elaborate show to appear to be something they are not. “Everyday life can’t be so bad,” I say lightly, eager to change the subject before I start luring myself down a hole. “You have a beautiful home, a nice family. You’re popular at school. Kiera Shaw certainly likes you.”

He turns his gaze to me, slowly. “Kiera Shaw? You think I like her?”

“I don’t know what you like.” I don’t blink. I don’t look away. “I know only what I’ve seen.”

Reece leans close, gently entering my personal space. Close enough to put me on edge, but not close enough to intimidate. His voice is silk on gravel. His narrowed eyes glitter down at me. “And what, exactly, have you seen, Angie?”

Shivers race up my skin. I want to defuse this so badly, but I feel like this is a challenge I can’t lose. “I’ve seen and heard things that don’t make sense. Things I can’t understand.” I shift my gaze to my crow sitting on a branch above my head. It watches me with an intensity that would scare me if I wasn’t accustomed to it. “Tell me about the crows.”

He shakes his head. “Sorry. Either you know about them, or you don’t.”

My jaw tightens, even as I step toward him. I can feel his body heat. His clean, guy scent fills my senses with a unique magnetism that draws me close. Closer still. “I will find out.”

His gaze sweeps my face, lingering on my lips. “I hope not.” His breath warms my temple, sending a shiver under my skin. “There are worse things out there than a few watchful birds.”

“Like what?” I’m breathless, damn him. My words are barely audible.

His lashes fan low over his eyes. The narrow space between us crackles with tension. “Oh Angie, you don’t want to know.”

Look for Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel 9/5!