The Revenge of Magic by James Riley {Review}

    The Revenge of Magic
    Title & Series: THE REVENGE OF MAGIC (The Revenge of Magic #1)
    Author: James Riley
    Release date: March 5, 2019
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
    Pages: 416
    Ages: 8-12
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    About the Book

    When long-dead magical creatures are discovered all around the world, each buried with a book of magic, only children can unlock the dangerous power of the books in this start to a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Story Thieves!

    Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic.

    Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books.

    But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them!


    The Review

    The Revenge of Magic is a thrilling, nail-biting and instantly captivating start to what promises to be an action-filled and electrifying new series by Author James Riley. Powerful magic, dark secrets, terrifying creatures, and the threat to all humankind make this an absolute page turner.

    Forsythe “Fort” Fitzgerald wanted nothing more than to exact vengeance against the monsters who took his father from him when he became a student at the Oppenheimer School. While he may not have been gifted with the kind of powers those born on “Discovery Day” had, he hoped his determination and rage would be enough to help him pass their tests and be allowed to stay so that he could get his revenge.

    With only days to master three magical spells, the odds are stacked against him. And with several of his classmates hoping to see him fail, a strange connection to a girl no one wants to talk about, a teacher that thinks his presence at the school is putting them all in danger, and suspicious behavior from those in charge means that there is a very real possibility that he won’t be ready when the monsters return.

    James Riley has filled his story with interesting, icky and scary monsters, odd and ornery and secretive adults, unique magical abilities and a diverse group of young characters to wield them. The author does not follow convention when it comes to the setting for a magical school. He does not make his main character a superhero. And he does not reveal every secret that Dr. Opps and the Oppenheimer School are keeping.

    Spells will be cast, minds will be read, walls will be walked through, futures will be predicted, and battles will be fought in this fast-paced, immensely entertaining, and delightfully humorous first installment in the series. For those who like their heroes feisty, their villains both human and other, their magical abilities unique and unpredictable, The Revenge of Magic is a must read.

    The Rating

    About the Author

    Author Photo by Maarten de Boer

    James Riley lives in Virginia. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the Half Upon a Time, Story Thieves, and Revenge of Magic series.



    Blog Tour Review: SADIE by Courtney Summers

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: SADIE
    Author: Courtney Summers
    Release date: September 4, 2018
    Publisher: Wednesday Books
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

    But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

    When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


    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

    An incredibly powerful and heart-rending and timely story, SADIE takes readers on a dark and gripping and emotional ride. It is a murder mystery that is instantly heartbreaking, at times horrifying, and always hopeful. It is the story of one sister’s love and unfailing determination to find her sister’s killer and the story of one journalist’s reluctant investigation into that sister’s disappearance.

    West McCray didn’t want to head back to Cold Creek to dig deeper into the disappearance of Sadie Hunter. Her sister, Mattie’s murder the year before was tragic, but he didn’t think that a story about a missing teenager would be all that exciting. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

    As he attempts to follow the events that led up to the Farfield police’s discovery of Sadie’s abandoned car and personal belongings, he finds himself putting together the pieces of a story that is far more ominous and complex than he could have imagined.

    Told through West’s podcasts, interviews and conversations and from Sadie’s point of view, Courtney Summers offers a unique way for readers to get to know Sadie and some of the others who played an important role in Sadie’s life, and to unravel both the mystery of Sadie’s disappearance and the mystery of Mattie’s murder.

    The author penned a story that is nail-biting, enraging, and deeply touching. Her character, Sadie, is strong and courageous and loyal and loving and sympathetic. The journey she asks readers to take is not an easy one – it’s disturbing and heart-achingly sad. But it is an important one.

    From the very beginning, SADIE will grab hold. It will tear at your heartstrings as you mourn for all that has been lost. It will remind you of both the goodness and the evil in this world. It will keep you riveted as you learn what West learns and find out whether Sadie succeeded in her search.

    It is a beautifully and hauntingly written tale that will be unforgettable.

    The Rating

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

    About Courtney Summers

    Photo Credit: Megan Gunter

    Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. At age 14, and with her parents’ blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22. To date, she has authored five novels and is best known for her unapologetic, difficult female protagonists. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30.


    About The Girls Podcast

    THE GIRLS: Find Sadie is the first-ever YA thriller podcast. The Serial-like show is based off the novel Sadie by Courtney Summers. In a brilliant move, Summers scripted periodic chapters of the novel like a podcast script, hosted by fictional radio personality West McCray. The six-part podcast series brings these chapters to life with a 30+ person cast, music, and sound effects and was a collaboration between Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Podcasts, and Wednesday Books. Episode 1 launches on August 1st, and the show will air seven weekly episodes available on all the major podcast platforms. The final episode will feature a bonus interview with Courtney Summers and her editor Sara Goodman.


    Blog Tour Review: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU by Ariel Kaplan

    I am thrilled to be a part of the WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU Blog Tour and to share my thoughts about this seriously fantastic sophomore novel by Ariel Kaplan.

    I was drawn in by the title and subtitle. And ever since I read the description I just knew it was going to be one of those books I’d devour in a single sitting.

    If you haven’t yet grabbed your copy, the book’s description and places to find it online are below. And if you’d like to know what I thought, scroll down further for my review.


    Add to Goodreads

    Author: Ariel Kaplan
    Release date: August 21, 2018
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook


    Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly résumé-padding extracurriculars (read: Students for Sober Driving) … all that for nothing.

    As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and sometimes crush, Nate, and a group of eccentric techies known as “The Ophelia Syndicate,” Mischa launches an investigation that will shake the quiet community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.


    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

    WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU is the whole package. It has drama, and humor, and romance. It is thought provoking. It offers a mystery to be solved. It has likable and interesting characters. It is instantly engaging and stays that way until the very end.

    Mischa Abramavicius thought she had the college application process all figured out. She had the grades – straight A’s… well, except for that one A-. She had the extracurriculars. Her SATs were competitive. Her essay was well-written. And the schools she applied to were varied enough that she was guaranteed to get accepted to at least one, other than her safety school, even if the competition was especially fierce. Right?

    But when even they decided she wasn’t worthy of admittance, she knew there had to be some kind of mistake. And, once she recovered from the shock, she was going to find out just what happened. Because she didn’t work so hard for so long and her mother didn’t scrimp and save and sacrifice, just to give up without a fight. Even if she wasn’t entirely sure what she was fighting for was what she still wanted.

    Author Ariel Kaplan penned a novel that is clever and funny and thrilling and nail-biting. She created a character in Mischa who is very relatable and, if not always lovable, is likable and compelling. Her mystery provides a number of theories and motives and suspects to choose from. And she asks some important questions about life and choices and self.

    From fierce rivalry, to family pressure and expectations, to economic hardships and unfair disadvantages, the author gave her overachieving character a lot to deal with. Add in an enemy who has every reason to want Mischa to fail, a mother she does not want to disappoint, a group of friends willing to risk their futures for her, a secret whose knowledge could be the cause of her predicament, and a system that makes it almost impossible to uncover the truth of what happened, and Mischa’s plight promises to be riveting.

    And with a quick pace, a few surprise twists, some daring feats, a number of difficult choices, and an unexpected outcome, WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU is a must.

    The Rating

    About Ariel Kaplan

    A. E. Kaplan was born in California and moved to Virginia at the age of seven, where she spent her childhood playing in the woods and reading all the folklore she could get her hands on. She has a BA in history and religious studies from the College of William and Mary and an MLS from Florida State University.

    Now a writer, she lives in Virginia with her family. Her first book, Grendel’s Guide to Love and War, received three starred reviews and was selected as an Indies Introduce book, among other honors. We Regret to Inform You is her second novel.



    Blog Tour Review: STAR-TOUCHED STORIES by Roshani Chokshi

    Welcome to my stop on the STAR-TOUCHED STORIES Blog Tour!

    There aren’t many short story compilations that I would say are must reads, but STAR-TOUCHED STORIES is an absolute must. Not just because it includes the novella, Death and Night. Or because all three stories together expand on the world, give a longer look at the characters you already know and love, give a more complete picture of their lives. But because the writing is every bit as amazing. It lets you get lost in the worlds the author created. It will make you smile and will bring you to tears. It is absolutely magical.

    STAR-TOUCHED STORIES releases today in print, audio and electronic formats. So if you haven’t pre-ordered your copy, you can grab your copy at your favorite retailer or e-tailer.

    And if you’d like to know more about what I thought, my review is below.


    Add to GOODREADS

    Author: Roshani Chokshi
    Release date: August 7, 2018
    Publisher: Wednesday Books
    Pages: 400
    Formats: Paperback, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    Death and Night

    He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

    Poison and Gold

    Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Gauri and Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she will have to battle her insecurities and maybe, along the way, find love.

    Rose and Sword

    There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

    As the excitement builds for Chokshi’s next series THE GILDED WOLVES (February 2019), this collection will satisfy the cravings for her gorgeous prose and fans can catch up with their favorite characters. Even if dipping into the Star- Touched universe for the first time, STAR-TOUCHED STORIES will draw you in and leaving for more.


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

    The Review

    Roshani Chokshi’s writing is beauty and poetry and romance. It conveys strength and bravery and sorrow and truth and love. STAR-TOUCHED STORIES is every bit as magical and imaginative and gorgeous as the author’s full-length novels, with each story connecting to the other and telling a tale that while shorter than a novel feels every bit as complete and satisfying and enchanting.

    Each story can be read independently of one another, in any order, whether THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN or A CROWN OF WISHES has been read or not. However, reading these stories following a read of the novels will allow for a better understanding of the characters and a better connection with them. And reading them in order will save the most anticipated and surprising and emotional story for the very end.

    Death and Night tells of how and why the two met and how their story began. It promises humor, romance, witty dialogue, the possibility of heartbreak, and the hope for a happy ending. It is instantly captivating, shares the viewpoints of both characters, returns readers to a world that is interesting and alluring, and reminds them just how extraordinary a writer the author is.

    Poison and Gold invites readers to get to know a bit more about Aasha – her fears, her struggle with her new identity, her wants and wishes. It’s a story of discovering oneself and of acceptance of who they are, and offers a touch of romance and a deadly test to keep things exciting.

    Rose and Sword is a tale of the possibility of a lifetime of love lost before it ever had the chance to truly begin. It is a story of choices and bravery and love and loss. It is beautiful and bittersweet and heartbreaking and beguiling. It promises a quest, beloved as well as unexpected characters, a peek into their future, and answers to the questions of what happens next. It is thoughtful and stunning and the perfect end to the compilation.

    For those readers who just can’t get enough of Roshani Chokshi’s insanely breathtaking writing, STAR-TOUCHED STORIES delivers this in spades. Each story is an adventure. Each story allows readers to become fully immersed. Each story will remind readers why they fell in love with the characters, the world, the writing in the first place.

    The Rating

    About the Author

    ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. 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.



    LOVE & WAR Blog Tour: My Top 10 Favorite Things About Love & War

    I am so excited to be a part of the LOVE & WAR Blog Tour and to share 10 of my favorite things about this incredible sequel by Melissa de la Cruz. Though it wasn’t easy to choose just 10, I did manage to narrow the list. But if you really want to know why this book is amazing, you’ll have to read it and discover its magic for yourself.

    LOVE & WAR released last week, so if you’d like to grab a copy from your favorite retailer and dive right in, there’s no wait.

    And if you’d like to know the 10 reasons I adored ALEX & ELIZA, the first book in the series, I shared them for my tour stop last year.

    History isn’t always fascinating or romantic or enjoyable to read about, but Melissa de la Cruz’s version is all of those things and more. To discover a bit more about ALEX & ELIZA and LOVE & WAR, check out the other tour stops – direct links to each of the stops follow at the end of the post.

    And to find out my 10 favorite things about LOVE & WAR, they follow the book’s description below.

    About LOVE & WAR

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: LOVE & WAR (Alex & Eliza #2)
    Author: Melissa de la Cruz
    Release date: April 17, 2018
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 384
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    The thrilling romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler continues in the sizzling sequel to the New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story

    1781. Albany, New York.

    As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza’s doorstep, she must fight for a better future–for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

    Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza’s happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex’s burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival–the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex’s star on the rise, Eliza can’t help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza’s epic love survive life in the big city?

    The battles are just beginning in the sumptuous sequel to Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story.


    My Top 10 Favorite Things About Love & War
    #1 The Challenges

    Things were not always easy for Eliza or Alex. The war kept them apart. Alex’s ambition kept him away from home much of the time. But their love for each other was strong enough to withstand the many challenges they faced as husband and wife.

    “She knows of your ambitions then? General Schuyler asked pointedly.

    Alex’s words caught in his throat. He could not lie to his father-in-law. “We have not discussed it yet, but I know she will understand. She has your own bravery as a prior example, after all.”

    “Hamilton,” John said sharply. “She will be crushed.”

    #2 The Humor

    Much like the first book in the series, the humor makes this book special, and makes the characters more real-to-life. There is no shortage of moments or dialogue that will make you smile.

    “May I suggest that for your next couple of visits you wear something more comfortable? Though that gown is beautiful, and you are a vision in it, I will not be ready for oils for at least a few days. I must first learn how your face paints.”

    “My face paints?” Eliza laughed nervously. “Unless I were to take the brush between my teeth, I do not think it will paint at all.”

    #3 Eliza

    In this sequel, Eliza beats Alex, hands down, as my favorite character. Her strength, her bravery, her fortitude, her intelligence – and of course her wit – make her even more likable than when we first met her.

    “You have a saucy mouth,” the apparent leader said. “Especially for a genteel, unarmed woman.”

    “I am armed with my God-given womanhood, which is more than enough to protect me from the likes of you. And soon enough our father will be back with twenty men, and then I wonder what will protect you,” said Eliza angrily.

    #4 The History

    It is still an incredibly exciting time in our young nation’s history when this story takes place (1781-1784). We are still fighting. We are still trying to find our way, free from Britain’s rule. There is so much possibility, so much undecided. The need for independence for the colonies goes against the need for a united country. And it all makes for a very compelling read.

    It was a heady time of chaos and change. Both young spouses contributed to the political and moral character of this new nation that had, against all odds, torn itself off from the most powerful empire on earth, and found itself in the unexpected position of having to decide what kind of nation it would be. Would it be a monarchy or a republic? A loose confederacy of thirteen competing states, or a unified polity whose far-flung and disparate regions each contributed their unique strengths to make up for the deficiencies and weaknesses of the others?

    And above all, how would it conduct itself?

    #5 Eliza’s fury

    Eliza is not passive or quiet or accepting or docile. She does not fit into society’s expected role for her. And she does not let Alex forget who she is or what she expects from him.

    “My darling, please,” Alex said, grabbing her hands. “There are some decisions a man has to do on his own.”

    Eliza resisted the urge to pull her hands from Alex, lest she cause a scene. But her fury was so palpable that Alex dropped them of his own accord.

    “A man maybe. But a husband–never,” she said coldly. She stormed away from him, her head held high.

    #6 The Chapter Titles

    I don’t always notice chapter titles. Especially with books I get caught up in. It’s easy to forget they’re there as you race through the story, desperate to uncover what happens next. The more captivating the story, the less likely I am to notice them – even in a print edition, with pretty fonts.

    But the chapter titles really stand out in this second installment in the series. They make me that much more intrigued by what I am to discover in the chapter I’m embarking on. And so I make the extra effort to pause to notice them, knowing that they’ll pique my curiosity and make me read just a little bit faster.

    And while I won’t reveal all my favorites, my most favorites are: The Man Who Ate New York, Hot Towels!, Don’t Forget to Take Out the Trash, and Salad Days.

    #7 Alex

    While he may have fallen a bit further down on my list of favorites in this second book in the series, he is still a big part of why I love this story. He is driven. He does love Eliza fiercely. And without Alex there would be no Alex & Eliza.

    “My dearest, bravest girl,” he murmured, bending down to kiss her on the soft spot near her ear. “I am home now. You are my home.”

    #8 The Writing

    I love how Melissa de la Cruz tells a story. Especially one that has been written by history already. She makes it come alive. She makes it relatable and magical, all at once. She turns dry facts into interesting ones. She turns names into people. She turns historical happenings into moments and events.

    She certainly made these two historical figures into people I wish I’d met and gotten to know. Especially Eliza Hamilton.

    #9 The Marriage

    I suppose I could have said the romance, but their marriage was much more than that. There was love. But there were also disagreements and obstacles and challenges. Some due to the time period, some due to expectations of the time, some due to distance, some due to Alex’s drive. It wasn’t a perfect marriage, there was no wedded bliss, but it felt very real and very strong – which is why it’s a top favorite.

    And, of course, the fact that even with all of that…

    …Alex literally swept her off her feet and carried her over the threshold. Eliza giggled in his arms, giddy to think that they were alone at least–with no servants, sisters, little brothers, or parents in sight…

    #10 The Settings (Locations)

    Coming in at number 10, once again, I just have to list setting – or in this case settings plural – as a favorite. I always love getting to “see” different places at different times throughout history through an author’s eyes. Even if the settings are sometimes completely or partially fictional.

    But I am partial to New York. And I love that a portion of the story is set in the city of New York. It lets me imagine what life was like there at the end of the 18th century following the hard fought battles in the New York Campaign, and the retreat of the British (finally) in 1783.

    And while the author didn’t have too much leeway in choosing the settings for her story, she very much made them a wonderful part of it.

    About Melissa de la Cruz

    Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, Disney’s Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at


    Other Books in the Series

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: ALEX & ELIZA (Alex & Eliza #1)
    Author: Melissa de la Cruz
    Release date: April 11, 2017
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 368
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

    1777. Albany, New York.

    As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters–Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

    Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck–as an orphan, and a bastard one at that–to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

    In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.


    The Campaign Schedule

    Alex & Eliza: A Love Story

    Week One

    Week Two

    Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Love Story

    Week Three

    Week Four


    LOST CROW CONSPIRACY Blog Tour: Interview with Rosalyn Eves

    I am such a huge fan of Author Rosalyn Eves and her Blood Rose Rebellion series and am thrilled to be a part of the LOST CROW CONSPIRACY Blog Tour hosted by the publisher.

    I may have already participated in an earlier tour and shared my thoughts about this incredibly awesome sequel, but I was a part of this one first and was totally stoked to be able to ask the author 10 questions about her book, her series, her characters.

    If you haven’t yet heard about this amazing series that is rich with history, filled with magic, brimming with action, and completely and totally captivating, be sure to check out the books’ descriptions below – though to avoid any spoilers maybe just read the one for BLOOD ROSE REBELLION. And if you haven’t yet “met” the author, Rosalyn Eves, her bio and places to find her online are also below.

    But if you’d like to know her thoughts about this second book in the series, about which scene was a favorite, which one was a challenge, what advice she’d give to her character, what she might have done differently if she were in her character’s shoes, and more, scroll down for the interview.


    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: LOST CROW CONSPIRACY (Blood Rose Rebellion #2)
    Author: Rosalyn Eves
    Release date: March 27, 2018
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 464
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBooks


    Sixteen-year old Anna Arden was once just the magically barren girl from an elite Luminate family. Now she has broken the Binding–and Praetheria, the creatures held captive by the spell, wreak havoc across Europe. Lower-class citizens have access to magic for the first time, while other Luminates lose theirs forever. Austria and Hungary are at odds once more.

    Anna thought the Praetheria were on her side, grateful to be free from the Binding. She thought her cousin Matyas’s blood sacrifice would bring peace, equality, justice. She thought her future looked like a society that would let her love a Romani boy, Gabor.

    But with the Monarchy breathing down her neck and the Praetheria intimidating her at every turn, it seems the conspiracies have only just begun.

    As threat of war sweeps the region, Anna quickly discovers she can’t solve everything on her own. Now there’s only one other person who might be able to save the country before war breaks out. The one person Anna was sure she’d never see again. A bandit. A fellow outlaw. A man known as the King of Crows. Matyas.


    The Interview

    Q. If you had to describe LOST CROW CONSPIRACY in 15 words or less, how would you describe it?

    Anna fights with Viennese court politics and wrestles with what it means to be monstrous.

    Q. Aside from Anna, who is (or was) your favorite character to write about – and why? Who is (or was) your most challenging character – and why?

    Mátyás is always a fun character to write—his outlook on the world amuses me and he gets to say things Anna wouldn’t let herself think. Because he is Romani, Gábor is my most challenging character to write, as it requires a lot of research and care to present his perspective accurately and respectfully. I’ve had a Romani reader and experts in Romani culture help me, but I’m still not certain I get everything right.

    Q. What was your favorite part about writing this sequel? And did you find it more or less challenging to write than BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, the first book in the series – and why?

    I loved coming back to a world I already knew (and bringing a beloved character back to life 😉). I didn’t have to rewrite this book quite as many times as BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, but it felt like it took longer to catch the overall vision and heart of the book. I wrote nearly 70k and then had to start over because the story wasn’t working right. I finally had an epiphany about second books in a trilogy (that is, the middle leading up to the dark night of the soul is essentially a tragedy) that helped me figure out how to resolve the story. The biggest challenge was finding a way to wrap up the story in a way that felt satisfying while still leaving enough open for book 3 to resolve.

    Q. How did you decide how much history versus fantasy to include in your series? And what were the challenges of including as much as you did?

    I love historical fantasy—there’s something about the combination of real historical detail and magic that never gets old to me. That said, I’m not always good at deciding the balance of historical detail—this is why  I have an editor and readers, who say, “you know, we don’t really need quite this much detail.”

    Q. If you could change the fate of one character in your series, who would it be? And if it’s not too spoiler-y, why would you change their fate?

    There’s a secondary character in LOST CROW CONSPIRACY (I won’t name them, as that would be a spoiler) who dies during a fight scene. I was sorry to kill them, but I needed someone to die to show the stakes of the situation, and it needed to be someone that mattered (at least a little) to readers.

    Q. If you were in Anna’s shoes, would you have broken the Binding spell, even with the chaos that resulted?

    I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to do that! Anna is far braver than I am, particularly in situations where physical courage is required. Also, I think because I’m older than Anna and have a better perspective on how far reaching her decision would be, I think I would have hesitated for those reasons too. But then the story would have been much less interesting.

    Q. If you could give Anna a piece of advice or words of warning, what would you tell her?

    In several of the books I signed for BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, I wrote, “you are enough.” Anna struggles, much as I did as a teen, to believe that she has value independent of what she can contribute to society, and in LOST CROW CONSPIRACY this struggle becomes acute, as everything she thinks she achieved in book 1 gets taken from her. If I could tell her one thing, I would tell her that she’s enough, just as she is. (But this is something she has to learn).

    Q. What was your favorite scene to write about in LOST CROW CONSPIRACY? And why was it a favorite?

    I’m going to cheat and pick two, one for each POV. I enjoyed writing the ballroom scene at Schönbrunn, just before the climax, because I got to indulge in some vivid descriptions and banter. (You can read an excerpt at Owl Always Be Reading.) And Mátyás has a run-in with highwaymen that was also a lot of fun to write, mostly because Mátyás says what he thinks without much care for the consequences. (You can read an excerpt of this at A Dream Within A Dream.)

    Q. If you could visit any point in time in history and any place in history, would you have visited Anna’s Hungary or would you have gone somewhere and/or sometime else – and why?

    Much as I love Hungary and the 19th century, I’m not sure I would have wanted to visit anywhere in Europe then. Even though technology was improving, a lot of private life was still fairly primitive by today’s standards and in 1848 they were just starting to understand you could prevent the spread of disease in hospitals and clinics by washing your hands. (In fact, it was a Hungarian doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered this in Vienna in 1847). If I could do a very brief visit, I’d love to have seen some of the balls in Buda Castle and in Vienna. I’d also love to have seen Istanbul at its height in the late 18th, early 19th century—it was much more cosmopolitan than many other European cities.

    Q. In what ways is Anna your “ideal” heroine? In what ways would you like to see her improve?

    I think a heroine has to be brave, which Anna usually is. But she also tends to act without thinking through the consequences, and sometimes that ends badly for her.

    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, is out now from Knopf/Random House. Her second, LOST CROW CONSPIRACY, comes out March 27, 2018.



    Add to Goodreads

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



    THE WINDOW by Amelia Brunskill Blog Tour Review

    I am so thrilled to be a part of the tour for Amelia Brunskill’s debut, THE WINDOW, which releases next week. This is such an incredible book and so, so, so much more than a mystery.

    If you’d like to know a bit more about what I thought, my review follows further below. If you’d like to know more about THE WINDOW or Author Amelia Brunskill, keep scrolling for details about them both and links to find them online.

    About THE WINDOW

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: THE WINDOW
    Author: Amelia Brunskill
    Release date: April 3, 2018
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    Secrets have a way of getting out. . . .

    Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

    Or so Jess thought.

    After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

    Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

    Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.


    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

    THE WINDOW is so much more than a mystery, though it is is quite the intriguing one. It’s a compelling and moving story about identity, about relationships, about sisters, about friendship, and about secrets and the dangers in keeping them. It is a highly addictive, perfectly paced read that will keep you captivated, with a main character who is different and interesting and determined and instantly likable.

    Jess Cutter thought she knew everything about her identical twin sister Anna. But she didn’t know her sister was sneaking out at night. She didn’t know who her sister was dressing up for. She didn’t know exactly when Anna started keeping secrets.

    But she did know her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. She did know that people weren’t telling her everything about what happened that night or what they knew about Anna. She did know enough about her sister to know that something else was going on.

    And whatever it took, she was going to find out the truth.

    With a diverse pool of potential suspects, several clues for Jess to find or miss, revealing teases from Anna herself, a number of people who appear to know more than they are letting on, and quite a few possibilities as to what, how, and why, Author Amelia Brunskill has made her story suspenseful and riveting. But she didn’t stop there.

    She created a character in Jess who isn’t your typical sleuth. She isn’t curious or nosy. Her aversion toward connecting or interacting with people makes her an unlikely detective/heroine. It is her desire to problem-solve, to make things make sense, and her need to understand her sister that drive her and ultimately solve the puzzle.

    THE WINDOW is as much a drama as it is a mystery. It is tragic and sad and heartbreaking. It has moments that are uplifting and empowering and hopeful. It is a story that’s just so easy to fall into, get hooked, get lost in, and fall in love with. It’s a phenomenal debut and a read that will not easily be forgotten.

    The Rating

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

    About the Author

    Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master’s in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.The Window is her debut novel.