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Author: Sara Biren
Release date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief.

Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.


Note: This review is based on a finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.

The Review

THE LAST THING YOU SAID is a beautifully written, heartachingly sad, and absolutely breathtaking story of friendship, loss, and love. Told from the perspectives of Lucy and Ben, the story takes place over the four months of summer, nearly a year after the death of Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister Trixie. It is a poignant, emotional, and heartrending read that is easily relatable and easy to love, whether or not you’ve experienced the pain of loss.

On the day that Trixie died, Lucy lost more than just her best friend, she lost Ben and the possibility of something more between them. Ben’s guilt at not being able to save his sister has caused him to push Lucy away, leaving them both heartbroken, angry, and alone with their grief.

They managed to avoid each other during the school year, but when summer rolls around they can’t seem to stay out of each other’s way, serving as a constant reminder of Trixie’s absence, of how things used to be, and of what might have been. Their interactions are often filled with silences or angry words, but until they are willing to confront their feelings for one another, they won’t be able to move forward. And unless they are able to find a way through their sorrow, they won’t be able to move on.

Sara Biren’s debut is exquisite and fragile and incredibly affecting. The author perfectly captured the emotions – the anguish and emptiness and anger – that follow the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one. She revealed wonderful and touching memories of a character readers never got to meet, but didn’t make her into a saint. And she gave readers two characters who made mistakes, who were hurting, who were lost, who needed each other, and whose love story was not yet finished.

An impressive and expressive first from Author Sara Biren, THE LAST THING YOU SAID is gorgeous and delicate and without a doubt promises to be a tearful read.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

A note on the printing…

The finished hardcover was printed in purple ink, which enhanced the reading experience, adding to both the beauty and sadness of the story.

About Sara Biren

Sara Biren lives just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and their two children. A true Minnesotan, she is a fan of hockey, hotdish, and hanging out at the lake. She enjoys seeing live bands, watching movies with her family, and drinking coffee. Her love of cheese knows no bounds.

Sara is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.


A CROWN OF WISHES Blog Tour Review

I am super excited to be a part of the A CROWN OF WISHES Blog Tour. Author Roshani Chokshi has created a series that is so beautifully written and magical that I can’t wait for everyone to discover it and fall in love with her writing and her characters.

If you haven’t yet read THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN I would definitely recommend reading it prior to A CROWN OF WISHES. And because A CROWN OF WISHES releases today you can read both books back-to-back without having to wait.

For my stop today I’m sharing my thoughts about this amazing sequel. If you’d like to know what I thought, scroll down for my review. There’s also information on both full-length books in the series, and a few excerpts if you want to get a sneak-peek. And if you’d like to know more about the author, her details and places to find her online are at the end of the post.

Oh… and a prequel novella, DEATH AND NIGHT, is releasing on May 2nd. If you’d like to add it to your Goodreads TBR pile, just click HERE.


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Title & Series: A CROWN OF WISHES (The Star-Touched Queen #2)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Release date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffn
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook



Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels. Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.


NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.

The Review

A CROWN OF WISHES is the epic, action-packed, magical, and completely captivating second book in Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen series. With writing that is gorgeous and poetic, a setting that is enchanting and dreamlike, characters who are dynamic and whose personalities balance one another, and a journey that offers the promise of a wish, this sequel is certain to keep the pages turning.

Vikram wanted to be seen as more than just a figurehead for the Council of Ujijain to control. But not having royal blood running through his veins meant that they would always deem him unworthy and never give him the power to rule.

Gauri cared deeply for the people of Bharata. She couldn’t stand idly by while her brother’s callousness, selfishness, and indifference destroyed her home. But when her attempt to overthrow him and take the throne failed, she was banished, imprisoned, and sentenced to death.

Being a champion in the Tournament of Wishes is their only hope of becoming more than their empty titles – the Fox Prince and the Jewel of Bharata. It is the only way they believe they can achieve their dreams. They just need to find a way to trust each other, to pass whatever tests they’re given, and to figure out how to circumvent the rule that says only one of them can leave when the contest is over – that is if they both survive that long.

Roshani Chokshi brought to life a story that is myth and adventure and romance and magic. She imagined a world of injustice and cruelty and one of hopes and dreams and desires and vengeance. She introduced beings of terrifying beauty, those with a deadly touch, those who are cursed, those who long for something they don’t have – fantastical and interesting and bizarre creatures who make this tale fascinating and exciting and absolutely wonderful.

A CROWN OF WISHES will transport readers, with its beautifully written passages and stunning imagery, into both its human and mythical worlds. It will keep them transfixed as Gauri and Vikram confront their fears and put their lives on the line in their attempt to become champions and earn their wishes. And it will make them hope for each character’s happy ending and for the possibility that their happy endings will entwine.

A quick pace, intriguing Hindu mythology, and a riveting storyline make this sophomore novel a must.

[Note: A reading of the first book in the series is not required to enjoy this sequel, but it is strongly recommended.]

The Rating


Named “One of the Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2017” by Entertainment Weekly, Teen Vogue, Bustle, BookRiot and B&N Teen Blog

“Careful plotting, multiple viewpoints, high-stakes action, and a slow-burn relationship make this heady fantasy completely engrossing. A first pick for YA collections.” —School Library Journal, STARRED review

“Chokshi’s debut, The Star-Touched Queen (2016), was lush and gorgeously written, and Chokshi has only improved; this lovely companion tale boasts a stronger narrative structure in addition to the delightful prose.” —Booklist

“With a happily-ever-after reminiscent of beloved fairy tales, this is a great pick for voracious readers who like their bejeweled princesses to have hard edges.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Set against this vivid backdrop is a story with two skill- fully drawn protagonists…this gem will likely send those new to Alaka back to the companion story as its fans wait for another invitation to Chokshi’s luminous world.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Lush and ornate ribbons of language… rich and dizzying.” —The New York Times Book Review on The Star-Touched Queen

“The sentence-level beauty of this book often stunned me: There’s a smooth, understated loveliness to the writing that kept catching me off guard. In Chokshi’s prose, voices have substance and texture while light has color and flavor; never have I wanted to munch on books so much as after reading…Solidly crafted and very engaging, this is a smooth, lovely and assured debut.” —NPR.org on The Star-Touched Queen

Read an Excerpt

Download (PDF, 51KB)

About Roshani Chokshi

Credit: Aman Sharma

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.


Other Books in the Series

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Title & Series: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Release date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook



Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.



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Author: Marianna Baer
Release date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?


The Review

Marianna Baer’s THE INCONCEIVABLE LIFE OF QUINN is a unique and unusual story of a girl who discovers she is pregnant, but has no recollection of how, when, or with whom it might have happened. Mainly told from her point of view, but with a number of brief chapters from several others in Quinn’s life, she attempts to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Her search for answers takes her down strange, disturbing, disquieting paths, but also those that are beautiful and magical and filled with wonder. All of which make for a different and haunting and thoroughly engaging read.

The daughter of a politician that turns up pregnant is enough to make headlines. But when it’s uncovered that she claims to be a virgin, the story explodes. Some believe she’s a liar. Some assume she’s covering up a traumatic event. And some believe she’s carrying the next messiah.

Having no memory of the conception, Quinn doesn’t know what to believe. Could she have forgotten a romantic night with her boyfriend Jesse? Could she have blocked out a violent attack from a stranger or someone she knows? Could she have been drugged? Could she be going crazy? Could there have been magical, mystical, or supernatural forces at work? Or could a higher power have bestowed her with a gift?

Her friends think she’s keeping secrets. Her family thinks she’s either lying, deluded, or unhinged. Her therapist wants Quinn to discover the truth by herself. The media loves having a juicy bit of gossip. The religious fanatics just want a piece of her.

And until she can solve the mystery, anything is possible.

Marianna Baer has created a story that has both elements of reality and of myth. She touches upon several real-life issues from unplanned teen pregnancy and the choices that follow, to dysfunctional families, to faith, religion, and zealotry, to mental health and wellness, to sexual assault, to the destructive influence of the media. And she balances this with the possibility of something elemental, spiritual, mythical, otherworldly.

THE INCONCEIVABLE LIFE OF QUINN gives you a lot to think about and invites you to come to your own conclusion. It is a curious, compelling, and rather marvelous tale of a girl whose life is most definitely inconceivable.

The Rating

About Marianna Baer

Marianna Baer received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in art from Oberlin College. She also attended boarding school, where she lived in a tiny dorm called Frost House, the inspiration for her first novel, Frost. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.


BLOOD ROSE REBELLION Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to today’s stop on the BLOOD ROSE REBELLION Blog Tour where I share my thoughts about this amazing book and a giveaway.

If you’re looking for a story that is epic, that blends fantasy with history, and that immerses you into the world so completely you’ll forget where and when you are, you will not want to miss this book and series. And if you’d like to know what else I thought, scroll down for my review.

To read an excerpt from BLOOD ROSE REBELLION be sure to check out the bookish details below which includes a link out to a peek as well as places where you can find it online.

And if you’d like to visit the other stops on the tour to read a few interviews, reviews, and a guest post, scroll down to the tour schedule at the bottom of the post.


If you’re in the U.S. and you would like the chance to win a signed copy of the book, enter in the Rafflecopter.


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Title & Series: BLOOD ROSE REBELLION (Blood Rose Rebellion #1)
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Release date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook



The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.


Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the tour hosts via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.

The Review

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION is gorgeously written, imaginative, and rich with detail. It acquaints readers with a part of history and a people not often written about in young adult literature. It seamlessly weaves in a powerful and influential magical society. And it introduces characters who are interesting and different and brave and likable and those who are vile, underhanded, dangerous, and untrustworthy. It is an absorbing and fascinating and positively exhilarating read and the start to a series that looks to be amazing.

Anna Arden didn’t mean to be such a destructive influence or such a disappointment to her family. She wanted to be good, to fit into Luminate society, to cast spells and wield magic, to debut, to have a future. But she didn’t have the ability to control magic and she just couldn’t seem to follow the rules, do as she was told, accept her fate.

Not staying under the radar cost her everything – the man she thought she loved, a place in England with her family, and any hope of marrying into Luminate society. Attracting the attention of the elite Circle wouldn’t have been a bad thing had she had magical abilities. But her negative effect on magic drew their suspicion.

Forced to escape with her grandmother to Hungary, a place she was unfamiliar with, to live with relatives she didn’t know and who spoke a language she couldn’t understand, seemed like the end of the world. But a Romani secret, a handsome boy named Gábor, a growing resistance to the status quo, and the potential to make a difference, gave Anna hope that maybe this wasn’t the end, but rather a beginning.

Rosalyn Eves did a masterful job of fitting her story, her characters, her society into a real-world historical setting. She captured the revolutionary spirit of the time in Hungary and the discontent with the ruling Hapsburgs and used both to help ignite her rebellion, give purpose to her characters, and to make her story that much more intriguing.

The author gave Anna a unique ability, kept it a secret from both her characters and her readers, and teased its possibilities until nearer the story’s end, ensuring a captivating read. She laid the foundation for a sequel with even more dangers, even more unrest, even more battles, and the potential for more romance. And she gave readers an epilogue that is certain to pique their curiosity.

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION is an extraordinary and spellbinding read. If you’re looking for a story that is epic, that blends fantasy with history, and that immerses you into the world Rosalyn Eves imagined so completely you’ll forget where and when you are, you will not want to miss this book and series.

The Rating

About Rosalyn Eves

Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the telling and reading of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her chemistry professor husband and three children, watching British period pieces, or hiking through the splendid landscape of southern Utah, where she lives. She dislikes housework on principle.

She has a PhD in English from Penn State, which means she also endeavors to inspire college students with a love for the English language. Sometimes it even works.

Rosalyn is represented by Josh Adams of Adams literary.

Her first novel, BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, first in a YA historical fantasy trilogy, debuts Spring 2017 from Knopf/Random House.


The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • Three (3) winners will receive a signed finished copy of BLOOD ROSE REBELLION – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

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The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two

NEMESIS Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

I am super thrilled to be a stop on the NEMESIS Blog Tour. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Plus, it’s the first book in a series – which means there is even more exciting stuff to come.

This book is full of surprises, so writing a spoiler-free review was insanely difficult. But if you’d like to know my somewhat cryptic thoughts, they are a bit further down in the post.

If you haven’t heard about NEMESIS or about Author Brendan Reichs, some information about both – and where to find them online – is also below.

Penguin Random House has also included a giveaway with this tour. So if you’d like the chance to win one of five copies of the book, enter in the Raffleopter.

And if you’d like to hear what other bloggers are saying about NEMESIS, or read a few guest posts, an excerpt and an interview, visit the other stops on the tour by clicking the links in the schedule below – which will be updated each day with direct links to the stops.

NEMESIS was released on March 21st so if just can’t wait to read it be sure to head to your favorite online or brick and mortar store to pick up a copy.


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Title & Series: NEMESIS (Project Nemesis #1)
Author: Brendan Reichs
Release date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 464
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook



Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.


NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.

The Review

NEMESIS is a stunning, action- and suspense-filled mind-bender of a read. With a mystery that will keep you guessing, twists that you won’t see coming, secrets, lies, deception, and betrayal, this addictive, heart-stopping, and unpredictable thriller is not to be missed.

An asteroid on a potential collision course with the earth may have rendered Min’s problem obsolete. But getting murdered every other year on her birthday is not something she can shake off so easily. Even if the end is nigh.

And she wants answers. Answers as to who the man in the black suit is, why he wants her dead, why he only comes for her on her even birthdays, and how she can wake up the next morning with absolutely no trace of the crime perpetrated against her evident.

Already an outsider in her small hometown of Fire Lake, she’s not sure who she can turn to for help. Her mom didn’t believe her when it first happened when she was young. She doesn’t want to risk alienating her only friend Tack by telling him the truth. And there’s something about her therapist, Dr. Lowell, that she just doesn’t trust.

But when her investigation leads to information that’s too big for her to handle on her own, she’ll have to put her trust in someone. Especially if her suspicions are correct and things go so far beyond herself and the man who kills her.

Brendan Reichs delivers a complex and intriguing story, told in five parts in first-person alternating points of view, that is chock full of surprises. He gives readers a puzzle to solve, introduces the possibility of a cataclysmic event, hints at potential connections and elaborate conspiracies, and then threatens to blow their minds with a shocking turn of events.

The author lets Min tell the first part of his story, who is strong, independent, clever and determined. He passes the baton to Noah, a quiet, indecisive, weak-willed follower, to tell the next part. And for the remainder, he lets them take turns uncovering the truth about what’s been happening, leading up to the jaw-dropping, cliffhanger ending.

An exhilarating, spine-tingling, all-consuming read, NEMESIS is the brilliant start to an absolutely must, must, must read series.

The Rating

About Brendan Reichs

Brendan Reichs was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000 and The George Washington University School of Law in 2006. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, he abandoned the trade to co-write the Virals series. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Emily, daughter, Alice, and son, Henry. He plans to keep writing novels until they drag him from his desk.


The Giveaway

Courtesy of the publisher…

  • Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Nemesis by Brendan Reichs (ARV: $17.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 20, 2017 and 12:00 AM on April 3, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about April 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

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The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two

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