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Star Cursed

    Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2013

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    Today is the first of five days of Top 10 of 2013.

    A week of Looking Back…

    …and Looking Forward.

    And I am thrilled to be able to co-host this event for the third year in a row with Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and for a second year with Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

    If you haven’t yet heard of this week-long event, it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours each day for the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    This year’s event giveaway is shared via a common Rafflecopter on all three of our blogs. Leaving a comment each day on each host’s blog will give you extra entries, so be sure to check out each of our Top 10 lists for more chances to win.

    It’s not too late to sign up for this event. Just check out the Sign-up Post for all the details – HERE.

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    Today’s topic is…

    Best Books I’ve Read in 2013

    I read a ton of awesome books this year. Many from the same series by the same author. But as I was trying so very hard to keep my list to just ten, I decided to choose only one book from each series, even if I read multiple books in a particular series that I thought were amazing.

    And I couldn’t list all my favorite reads this year since one or two of them were a secret. Nor could I list all the 2013 releases I love, love, loved since I read some of them in 2012. But I’m not too sad about that, because reading them last year made creating this list just a little bit easier.

    There were also a few books I loved in 2013 that were not YA. But in keeping with my typical YA only “best” list, I didn’t include them in this post. Though I plan on posting my non-YA favorites on The Annex. Yes, I’m cheating just a little… as usual. But I just can’t seem to help myself.

    Anyway…

    It took me ages to narrow my list down from my original picks and to keep my “honorable mentions” to only four titles, just like last year. But after much hair pulling and nail-biting I was able to get it done.

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    The Best I’ve Read in 2013

    1.

    With All My Soul

    WITH ALL MY SOUL by Rachel Vincent

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    As sad as I was to see this series end, I still couldn’t help falling madly in love with this last installment. It was heartbreaking and nerve-wracking and exciting and heartwarming and I loved every single minute of the read.

    I especially loved the fact that I was able to become intrigued by a brand new character, that the story wasn’t rushed and that the ending didn’t leave me feeling like something was missing. It was the perfect ending to an amazing series and I couldn’t have loved it any more than I did.

    2.

    Endless Knight

    ENDLESS KNIGHT by Kresley Cole

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles are completely and totally amazing. They are so my kind of books. From beginning to end in both books in this series I was utterly riveted.

    And while I didn’t think it was possible, this second book in the series was even more exciting than the first. It was darker, it was hotter, it was all sorts of sexy. The lore was fascinating. And it made me fall head-over-heels in love with Death just like I hoped it would.

    To say that I am dying for the next installment in this series would be a major understatement.

    3.

    Through the Zombie Glass

    THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS by Gena Showalter

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I read both books in this series in 2013 and absolutely loved both of them. They were unputdownable reads and I couldn’t have been more surprised by the fact that I fell so completely in love with zombie books that gave a nod to Alice in Wonderland.

    Gena Showalter was incredibly creative with her stories. She did not skimp on the action. It was edge-of-your-seat exciting. And the love story was angst-filled and twisty-turny to the max.

    And as I opted to choose just one of the two books in this series as a favorite, I had to select the one that absolutely killed me in the best possible way.

    4.

    The Eternity Cure

    THE ETERNITY CURE by Julie Kagawa

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I did not expect to love the Blood of Eden series more than I loved the author’s faerie books. But oh my gosh I couldn’t help myself. Dystopia and vampires are an unexpected combination but one that the author made work so amazingly well.

    The characters, the epic journey, the killer cliffhanger all worked together to make this one of my favorite books and not simply a 2013 favorite. I’m talking all-time favorite.

    5.

    Crash Into You

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I fell under Katie McGarry’s spell in 2013. She is a fan-freaking-tastic writer and her Pushing the Limits series is one of my very most favorite contemporary YA series.

    I read all three books in this series, plus the novella, in 2013, which made it very hard to choose only one of the books for my top ten list. But I had to choose Isaiah and Rachel’s story, even though I adored Noah and Echo’s story so, so much.

    Perhaps it was getting to know and love Isaiah before reading his story that made me love it that much more. Or perhaps it’s simply just that Isaiah is amazing. But whatever the reason, it is my favorite of the series and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads from 2013.

    6.

    Afterglow

    AFTERGLOW by Karsten Knight

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I was devastated to see this series end. The world that Karsten Knight created was so unique and fascinating and exciting. The characters were lovable and detestable and completely and totally kick-a**. And this final installment in the series was just as phenomenal as its predecessors.

    And that ending. Oh. My. Gosh. That ending. While I can’t talk about that ending, I will just say that it gives me hope. For a certain character. Oh the possibilities.

    7.

    Star Cursed Cover

    STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I was so glad that I got the chance to read both books in The Cahill Witch Chronicles this year. I was completely surprised by how much I loved each of the books. They are not stories in my typical go-to genre and yet both books are among my most favorites.

    I couldn’t help but fall in love with the story, the setting, the characters. It’s a totally addictive read and one that’s definitely re-read worthy. Though even after a re-read, it’s no easier to have to wait for the next installment in the series. This I know all too well.

    8.

    The Beautiful and the Cursed

    THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED by Page Morgan

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Yet another unexpected favorite on my list is Page Morgan’s THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED. If someone told me that I could fall in love with a gargoyle I would have totally rolled my eyes at them. I might have even told them that they were crazy. I would have definitely thought it.

    Well, this author made me not only fall in love with a gargoyle, but her story about them. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads for 2014. And the wait is killing me.

    9.

    While You're Away

    WHILE YOU’RE AWAY by Jessa Holbrook

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I read this book in its serialized format, with just a few chapters available to read in one sitting. It was exquisite torture. This story was tantalizing and nerve-wracking and beautiful and nerve-wracking – yes I said it twice, but it needed to be said two times… if not more.

    I was made to root for a love story that I never would have thought I’d cheer for. I was made to wish and hope for a happily ever after for two characters who, at first, I didn’t think deserved one. I was anxious, I was fearful, I was tentatively hopeful and at times I was even sad. But I was keeping my fingers crossed the entire time for the slim chance that things would work out.

    10.

    A Touch Menacing

    A TOUCH MENACING by Leah Clifford

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Leah Clifford’s Touch Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time. It’s so very different from anything I’ve ever read. It’s very dark. It is full of surprises. Shocking surprises. Devastating surprises. But it is wicked, wicked awesome.

    The end of this final installment in the series left me in tears. And, no, I won’t say whether they’re happy or sad tears. But if you have read this book or you’ve read any of the books in this series by this author I think you will know exactly what kind of tears there were.

    This last book was non-stop action, with more than a few punches to the face. I couldn’t devour it fast enough. It was that epic. And if I didn’t think it could get any better, the unpublished epilogue made this book that much more off-the-charts amazing for me. Holy-freaking-wow.

    Other Books I Love, Love, Loved

    SweetPeril

    SWEET PERIL by Wendy Higgins

    Exciting. Sexy as heck. Captivating from start to finish. Delicious. An absolute must.

    The Testing

    THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau

    Gripping. Surprising. Totally addictive. A total stand-out.

    The Burning Sky

    THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

    Magical. Enchanting. Captivating. Epic. Fan-freaking-tastically good.

    Pivot Point

    PIVOT POINT by Kasie West

    Intriguing. Nerve-wracking. Unputdownable. Amazing.

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    I tried to keep my rambling to a minimum when it came to my top ten picks for 2013. But I may have gone on just a little longer than I’d planned. Oh well…

    But I just couldn’t help myself. They are my favorite reads this year… well, most of them. There are a few others…

    I will try to be a lot less wordy in the rest of the posts this week, but when it comes to favorite reads I always feel the need to go on… and on… and on.

    But now that I’m done I can’t wait to check out what your favorite reads are, so be sure to leave a link to your posts or Goodreads shelf in the Linky List that follows just below the giveaways.

    The Giveaways

    We have decided to combine the giveaways into one Rafflecopter form that is shared on all three host blogs and will be posted in each of the Top 10 posts this week.

    There is a box of 2014 ARCs, a box of books, two books of your choice, and a book from one of the host’s top ten lists up for grabs. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Jessica Spotswood Guest Post + Giveaways

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    I am so happy that I’m co-hosting the Authors Are Rockstars Tour, because it means that I get to have an author that I think is a total rockstar stop by the blog for a guest post. And that author is none other than the very awesome Jessica Spotswood.

    If it weren’t for this tour I’d have never had the courage to invite the author to stop by. And I definitely wouldn’t have been able to ask her why she chose Cate as the voice of her series.

    While Cate is a heroine I absolutely adore – for all those reasons the author mentions in her post, below – she isn’t the stereotypical heroine. Of course that’s probably why I love that it’s her voice the story is told in.

    But that’s not the only reason why I love the Cahill Witch Chronicles. The writing is beautiful. The story is completely captivating, magical, suspenseful, exciting and more than a little bit heartbreaking.

    And while I may only have been recently introduced to this author’s writing, the intriguing world she built and the amazing characters she created, I instantly fell in love and Jessica Spotswood achieved immediate rockstar status.

    But if you haven’t yet read the first two books in this amazing series, and you haven’t yet met Cate Cahill, be sure to check out the “Why Cate Cahill?” guest post, below, to learn just a little bit more about her, and the books’ descriptions that follow below the post, to discover more about the series.

    And if you want a chance to win some bookish prizes be sure to enter the giveaways at the end of this post.

    But before all of that, if you’d like to know why I think this author rocks, here’s why….

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    Jessica Spotswood is a Rockstar because…

    Her writing is beautiful, gorgeous, heartbreaking, riveting, enchanting.

    She made me fall in love – and fall hard – with a series whose setting and world are not from my “go to” genre.

    She made me adore a heroine who isn’t perfect or kick-a** or “the best” or “the most.”

    She made me root for the good boy. (Believe me, it’s not an easy feat.)

    She was able to instantly transport me into the world she created and keep me there from beginning to end. (I never wanted to leave.)

    She knows how to create killer cliffhanger endings. (I’m still reeling over what happened at the end of STAR CURSED.)

    And she made me swoon with passages like this one….

    Finn tilts my chin up with one finger, and I kiss him. I kiss him as though I will break into a thousand tiny pieces if I don’t; I kiss him as though my lips on his can protect him from any possible danger.

    When he pulls away, there are tears gathering in my eyes. I tilt my head down so he won’t see them.

    (Passage from STAR CURSED.)

    Oh and she named a character Finn. (Favorite character name ever.)

    Although Jessica Spotswood has only recently become a rockstar author to me, she is one that I know will forever hold that title. I will read everything fiction she has on offer. And heck yes, I wish the third book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles was “on offer” right about now.

    About Jessica Spotswood

    Jessica Spotswood

    Jessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles: BORN WICKED (2012), STAR CURSED (2013), and as-yet-untitled book 3 (summer 2014).

    She grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where she could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or – most often – with her nose in a book.

    Now Jess lives in Washington, DC with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She can be found doing yoga, teaching writing workshops for teens, or – most often – with her nose in a book.

    Some things never change.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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    The Guest Post

    Why Cate Cahill?

    One of the topics Rachel proposed was: Why Cate Cahill? The Cahill Witch Chronicles explores the relationship between three sisters, so why did I choose Cate as the protagonist? Why tell the story from her point of view?

    Cate isn’t the cleverest of the three (that’s Tess). She isn’t the prettiest (that’s Maura). I’ll leave the question of whether she is the most powerful aside for now, for fear of STAR CURSED spoilers – but she isn’t the one who wants to be the most powerful (Maura again). Maura dreams big – of sailing off to Dubai or Paris on an adventure, of falling in love, of a world where witches are governing New England. Tess has a questioning spirit; Paul and Cate joke in BORN WICKED about how when she was little, she went around constantly asking why? She dreams of learning new languages and reading all the books in the Sisterhood’s library and then writing her own someday. Cate’s dreams are smaller: she wants a garden of her own and a husband and children. She wants to be safe. In many ways, she’s the most traditional of the three sisters. She has to be dragged (well, blackmailed) into adventure, and when she’s presented with enormous responsibilities – well, she manages, but she doesn’t leap into them joyfully. She frets and whines and wonders why me for a bit first.

    Does it make her a typical heroine? No. But I think – hope? – it makes her relatable. Cate isn’t like Katniss or Katsa or Tris. She’s not badass; she’s not kickass; she doesn’t have any particular physical strength. She’s clever, but she’s not Hermione either. She’s just stubborn and loyal; she wants to take care of the people she loves. In STAR CURSED we learn that she’s extremely good at healing magic, because she is able to put aside her body’s natural reticence and endure the subsequent sickness in order to help people. Her best quality – how fiercely she wants to protect her sisters – is also her biggest flaw, because she can’t see around what she wants for Maura and Tess in order to let them live their own lives. And, oh, are there consequences when she makes decisions for them that go against their own wishes. The bad things that happen to Cate can often be traced back to her own mistakes. That interests me.

    Cate is flawed. It was important to me to write a heroine who isn’t perfect. She is super bossy – borne in part from her promise to her dying mother to look after Maura and Tess, but also because she’s the oldest and it’s the role she’s been playing for so long it’s become habit. She keeps secrets when she shouldn’t – not just from her sisters but from her father and her friends and Finn – in part to protect them, but in part because she thinks she knows what’s best. Also, Cate is judgey. She prefers climbing trees and running through the gardens to dressing up for a fine tea party. She would rather not draw attention to herself, which means she tends to wear serviceable blues and grays instead of the bright hues and lace and feathers that are all the fashion; she would rather be alone with her hands in the dirt than make awkward small talk. She has so many secrets to keep that at the beginning of BORN WICKED, she’s never sought out any girl friends; she doesn’t see the need for them. In fact, she judges girls like Sachi and Rory who are loud and laughing, who flirt and take pleasure in looking pretty. Cate calls them cabbageheads and thinks they’re stupid. But the fantastic thing about having a flawed heroine is that over the course of the series, she has an opportunity to change. She can realize her own mistakes and try to do better. I think – hope? – that makes Cate her own kind of powerful heroine, and one we can all relate to.

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    About the Books

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    About BORN WICKED…

    A gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series!

    Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship–or an early grave. Then Cate finds her mother’s diary, and uncovers a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe–not even from each other.

    GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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    About STAR CURSED…

    With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

    Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

    In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

    GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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    The Cahill Witch Chronicles

    GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST

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    giveaway

    What’s Up for Grabs

    Giveaway #1 – There will be three winners total for this giveaway.

    –A signed copy of STAR CURSED to ONE winner (US/Canada)

    — A Cahill Witch Chronicles swag pack containing BORN WICKED and STAR CURSED bookplates and stickers, bookmarks, a BORN WICKED wristlet and a STAR CURSED postcard to TWO winners (International)

    Giveaway #2 – There will be one winner for this giveaway.

    –A set of BORN WICKED and STAR CURSED to ONE winner (International)

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    The Deets

    – You must be 13 or older to enter

    – Giveaway #1 will have 3 winners (one US/Canada ONLY, two International)

    – Giveaway #2 will have 1 winner (International)

    – ALL giveaways end on August 31st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific

    – ALL winners will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter

    – Giveaway #1 prizes will be sent directly from the author

    – Giveaway #2 books will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository

    For each giveaway there is a mandatory “Leave a Comment” entry. And for giveaway #1 there is an additional requirement to determine eligibility US/Canada or International.

    All other entries are optional. The tweet entry is a daily option.

    Giveaway #1

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway #2

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Giveaway: Star Cursed

    Star Cursed Cover

    addtogoodreads

    I am so unbelievably excited that today is the release day for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood. I was only just recently introduced to the series and its characters, but it is now one of my very most favorites. I already cannot wait for the third book in this series to be released. And as I have no idea when it’s slated for release, the wait is going to be torturous.

    I absolutely adore Cate Cahill and her sister Tess. I’m in love with the world. And I more than a little bit fond of Finn. The writing is gorgeous, the story is magical and the ending is…. Oops, I think I’ve said enough about that.

    As I thought this book was more than amazing – I gave it my off-the-menu rating in my review – I wanted to offer up a couple copies for giveaway. And so that’s what I’m doing.

    For those who haven’t yet read the description for this second book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, I’ve included it below. Though, if you haven’t read BORN WICKED, you may want to skip right to the giveaway as it does contain some mild spoilers for that book.

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    STAR CURSED Description…

    With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

    Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

    In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

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    giveaway

    What’s Up for Grabs?

    A hardcover copy of STAR CURSED to TWO (2) winners to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository. (A paperback copy of BORN WICKED may be substituted for those who haven’t read that book.)

    The Deets

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Giveaway is International
    • ONE entry per household
    • Winners will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
    • Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
    • Winners will have 48 hours to respond or another winner(s) will be selected

    There are no requirements to like or follow. Just leave a comment with an answer to the question in the Rafflecopter.

    But there are a few extra entry opportunities to follow Jessica Spotswood on Twitter, like the Cahill Witch Chronicles on Facebook and add STAR CURSED to Goodreads.

    Just enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #129

    Below are the YA books releasing this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of June 18th-June 24th that I have pre-ordered.

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    addtogoodreads

    STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Putnam Juvenile, the print edition is 384 pages.

    STAR CURSED is the second book in author Jessica Spotswood’s Cahill Witch Chronicles. The third book in the series does not yet have a title or release date scheduled.

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    I am so excited that STAR CURSED is releasing this week and that it will be downloading to my Kindle on Monday Midnight. I absolutely loved this second book in the author’s Cahill Witch Chronicles and after that ending….

    Oh. My. Gosh. The not knowing when the next book in the series will be releasing is going to kill me. And of course the not knowing what will happen next is already driving me out of my mind. That ending is killer.

    And now that I’ve fallen madly in love with this series and its characters I want that next book now. Desperately.

    STAR CURSED was such an amazing follow-up to BORN WICKED and reading both books back-to-back was absolutely divine. I have only positive things to say about this series, the writing, the story, the characters and both books’ endings. And this sequel was filled with all sorts amazing – suspense, action, romance, betrayal.

    As I have already read STAR CURSED very recently I won’t be reading it again right when it releases, but I will be reading it again before the next book in the series comes out. And it’s most definitely a series worth reading again and again and again.

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    Tarnish

    addtogoodreads

    TARNISH by Katherine Longshore will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Viking Juvenile, the print edition is 448 pages.

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    Anne Boleyn is quite a fascinating historical figure and I’m totally stoked that TARNISH is releasing this week so that I can check out how author Katherine Longshore tells her tale.

    As I’ve only read paragraphs in my history books about her, and not a biography, I’m very curious to see her life as a story rather than a bunch of facts and dates on a page.

    I love that this author combines history and fiction to create stories full of intrigue and heartbreak. She brings history to life and makes these people from the past far more three-dimensional than a simple history lesson could ever do.

    As I have a few books I must read in the next few weeks, I won’t get to read TARNISH immediately. But I definitely plan on adding it to the pile some time in July. Because I really want to “meet” the young Anne Boleyn.

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    Proxy

    addtogoodreads

    PROXY by Alex London will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Philomel, the print edition is 384 pages.

    PROXY is the first book in author Alex London’s series of the same name. The second book in the series, GUARDIAN, is slated for release in 2014.

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    Ever since I saw the cover for PROXY by Alex London I’ve been pining for this book. And I’m so thrilled that release day is just about here and that I’ll finally get the chance to read it.

    I love the idea, horrifying as it is, that in this world there are Proxy’s who are there to take the punishments for the wealthy. It’s not a wholly unrealistic concept and I’m super curious to see what the author does with this. I’m also just so curious as to what Knox and Syd have in common that would make them try to “beat the system” and “save each other.”

    From the description, this first book in the series sounds action-packed. And I cannot wait to find out just what “debts…cannot be paid.”

    I really, really hope to be able to sneak this onto my reading pile next week. Because it sounds just so amazing. And I’ve been waiting for it for so very long.

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    Solstice

    addtogoodreads

    SOLSTICE by P.J. Hoover will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Tor Teen, the print edition is 384 pages.

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    This week makes me happy. SOLSTICE is releasing this week! This book sounds totally awesome and I cannot wait to sneak it onto the pile in the very, very near future so that I can take that journey to Piper’s world and see just how things spiral out of control for her.

    As I very recently spotlighted this book for my Book Watch post, I won’t go on and on about just why I want to read it. But a story in which gods are battling for control of the Underworld is one that has awesome written all over it.

    I can’t wait to meet Piper and find out what the answer to the secret is. And I can’t wait to dive into this story that is a “melding of mythology and dystopia.”

    And I’m fairly certain the wait won’t be very long because I really want to read this book. Now.

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    Defy the Dark

    addtogoodreads

    DEFY THE DARK by Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Carrie Ryan, Rachel Hawkins, Sarah Rees Brennan, Tessa Gratton, Christine Johnson, Valerie Kemp and Malinda Lo will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats.

    It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 496 pages.

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    I am really curious about this new anthology, DEFY THE DARK. The description on Goodreads is rather cryptic, but when I saw the author line-up I just had to pre-order it for my Kindle.

    It sounds like there will be a broad spectrum of stories from a multitude of genres, but I’m guessing they’ll all tie in to the anthology’s title. And I can’t wait to check a few – or all – of them out.

    The description also hints at a mystery author. So, of course I’m dying to find out who that is. But I guess I’ll have to wait for Monday Midnight to find out. And you can bet I will be taking a peek the instant it downloads.

    Other Books of Note

    Triangles

    TRIANGLES by Kimberly Ann Miller

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013

    Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

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    A Trick of the Light

    A TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Lois Metzger

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013

    Publisher: Balzer + Bray

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

    ***

    Intuition

    INTUITION (Transcendence #2) by C.J. Omololu

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013

    Publisher: Walker Childrens

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

    ***

    Witch Fire

    WITCH FIRE (Burn Mark #2) by Laura Powell

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013

    Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

    ***

    Winter Queen

    WINTER QUEEN (Fairy Queens #1)  by Amber Argyle

    Pub. Date: June 19, 2013

    Publisher: Starling Books

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

    ***

    Praefatio

    PRAEFATIO (Praefatio #1) by Georgia McBride

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013 (paperback ed.)

    Publisher: Month9Books

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

    ***

    My Sister's Reaper

    MY SISTER’S REAPER by Dorothy Dreyer

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013 (paperback ed.)

    Publisher: Month9Books

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

    ***

    First published in 1995

    The Watcher in the Shadows

    THE WATCHER IN THE SHADOWS (Niebla #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Pub. Date: June 18, 2013

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    (AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE)

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    It’s a much quieter week for releases this week. Thankfully. I only have five books pre-ordered and there are quite a few less books of note to ponder adding to my collection. Though I’m pretty certain I will be adding Lois Metzger’s book to said collection.

    But the books I am definitely adding are ones that I either know are amazing, imagine will be amazing or am so very hopeful will be amazing.

    And while I wish I’d read more than just the one book releasing this week, I’m happy to have four new books to dive into this summer penned by a few new-to-me authors.

    Anyway…

    It’s very possible that I am missing quite a few new releases this week. It’s also very likely that there will be a few surprise downloads to my Kindle on Tuesday. But for now I’m happy with the fact that it isn’t a crazy week for new releases and my TBR pile and my wallet get a short reprieve.

    Because I’m pretty sure that next week there are quite a few new releases. Many of which I have pre-ordered.

    But if there are some awesome titles hitting shelves this week, please let me know. Because, as much as I complain about my TBR pile I’d rather it be filled with wonderful bookish possibilities than empty.

    And as ever, I hope you have a few awesome titles being added to your collection this week. I also hope you have time to read one or two of them.

    Happy reading!

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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    Review: Star Cursed

    Star Cursed Cover

    addtogoodreads

    STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Putnam Juvenile, the print edition is 384 pages.

    STAR CURSED is the second book in author Jessica Spotswood Cahill Witch Chronicles. The third book in the series is currently untitled.

    Note: This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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    Goodreads description…

    ** Slightly spoiler-y for book one **

    With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

    Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

    In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

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    STAR CURSED is the the incredibly exciting, suspenseful, heartbreaking and utterly riveting second book in author Jessica Spotswood’s Cahill Witch Chronicles. It engages readers from the very first line, returning them to the author’s world of witchcraft and magic and to those who wish to destroy it, those who wish to keep it secret and those who are willing to go to war for it.

    New characters are introduced, many existing characters return, there is a new setting to discover and layers have been added to the plot, the characters, the world. And with a story that delivers action and betrayal, a quick pace, an intriguing plot, compelling characters and a tension-filled build-up to a shocking conclusion, this second installment takes this series to the next level.

    Talk of a new oracle has made the Brotherhood even more ruthless in their efforts to uncover and eradicate the witches. With more and more innocent girls being imprisoned, harsher restrictions being enforced and life becoming even more intolerable under their rule, there are those who are no longer willing to stand quietly by and just let it happen. There are even those ready to take action.

    As tensions mount and as the Brothers’ desperation increases, even the Sisterhood comes under suspicion, creating dissension between those who wish to go to battle and those who want to find a less dangerous course of action. But with it still unclear as to who the most powerful witch of the prophecy is, going to war would put the Sisters at great risk. A risk that if they were to take and lose, could mean their end.

    And if Cate Cahill is the prophesied witch, she’ll have to choose sides, she’ll have to be willing to step into the role of leader and she’ll have to make sacrifices, even ones that could cost her everything.

    Author Jessica Spotswood has followed-up her enchanting first book in the series with one that is just as magical but offers up an even more engaging, more suspenseful, more exciting and more heart-wrenching storyline. She has allowed readers to get to know her main character, Cate Cahill, along with a few of the supporting characters, even better. And she’s given readers even more reason to like or dislike them, trust or distrust them, sympathize with them, empathize with them or feel disdain toward them.

    Readers with high expectations for this sequel will not be disappointed, it does not suffer from sophomore slump. The plot is more danger-filled, more complex. The love story more swoon-worthy, heartwarming, heartbreaking. The betrayal far more devastating. The build to the conclusion more nerve-wracking, more climactic. And the ending more surprising, more shocking, more heart-stopping.

    All of which makes STAR CURSED a must read addition to the series.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    06menu

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

    On a personal note…

    Oh. My. Gosh. I don’t even know where to begin. This book was so out-of-this-world good that there are no words to describe… okay, maybe there are a few words… maybe more than few.

    But I think I have to begin at the end. Because that ending did kill me. I thought the ending for the first book in the series was torturous. But that was nothing compared to the ending for STAR CURSED. Nothing.

    I mean, I knew something was going to happen. I may have suspected that something just like what happened would happen. The author teased, warned, foreshadowed, hinted, that something was going to happen. But it made it no less torturous. Knife to the heart.

    And now I have to wait. A long time. I don’t have the next book in the series in hand. I don’t have any idea when it’s going to be released. STAR CURSED isn’t even out yet. And I’m just dying after what happened right there at the end.

    But that wasn’t all that killed me. There was the build-up to the end. Talk about climactic. At some point during the read I started anticipating the “bad thing.” And the build-up filled me with fluttery nerves, nervous anticipation, angst.

    I did end up setting the book down so that I wouldn’t have to reach that moment quite so quickly. But I couldn’t set it aside for long. Because as much as I didn’t want to have my heart broken, I just had to know. And now that I know, I want to pretend that I don’t, so that the next three hundred sixty-five and change days will pass that much more quickly.

    If it were just the end and the build-up to the end, this story would have been awesome but it wouldn’t be one of the books that I consider off-the-charts. And this book is definitely one of those books that blew me away.

    Before the build-up there was all that stuff in the middle and at the beginning. Stuff that made this story the amazing and compelling book it was. Stuff that kept me riveted. Stuff I’d really love to talk about in great detail, but I can’t. Because there is so much that’s so incredibly spoiler-y in this book. Talking about certain characters would be spoiler-y. Talking about certain character and storyline developments would be equally as revealing.

    And I can’t even tease about the prophecy, the oracle, the visions. I can’t drop hints as to what happens with characters like Rory, Sachi, Brenna, Finn, Zara. I can’t reveal who I know to be trustworthy, who I know not to be and who I am still wary about.

    I can’t talk about just what Maura gets up to. Whether she’s a character I now love or whether she’s one I loathe.

    But maybe, just maybe, I can talk about Cate. Who was even more amazing in this book than she was in the last. She was every bit as compassionate and thoughtful. She was just as caring. But she was a little more decisive, a little more sure of herself and her abilities. And she wasn’t as afraid to take the lead when she needed to.

    Things did not get any easier for Cate in this sequel. Things actually got quite a bit more difficult. Between what had happened to her in that first book to what was expected of her in this one, Cate had a lot to deal with. And that doesn’t even take into account the increased threat from the Brotherhood, the dissension within the Sisterhood or the fact that a wrong decision could very possibly be a deadly one.

    And while I really, really want to talk about the choices she’ll have to make, the risks she’ll have to take, the side she ends up choosing and the allies that stand with her, I can’t. And I probably shouldn’t say anything more, except….

    While I anticipated the author’s gorgeous writing, her lovable characters and the amazing world she created, she still managed to surprise me with her sequel. STAR CURSED is so much more suspenseful than its predecessor, there is quite a bit of action packed into the story, the betrayal goes so much deeper, the plot is far more complex. And the ending… shocking, heartbreaking, torturous to the nth degree.

    And I just know the next book is going to be epic.

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    Favorite passage…

    Because all of my favorite passages were too spoiler-y, I will not include one until after publication date.

    ***

    This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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    My Reading Pile #115

    I didn’t get any physical books in the mail but I did receive two eARCs for review. Both of which I’m super excited for. And as I’m not going to BEA this week my next week’s pile of books received will be non-exist, too.

    But that’s more than okay as my review pile is quite backed up as it is…. And I’m too scared to think about all the awesome fall release titles right now.

    My-Reading-Pile-115

    [Credit for mailbox sharing goes to The Story Siren]

    Thanks to Kismet Book Touring, Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley I received an eARC of INDELIBLE (The Twixt #1) by Dawn Metcalf for review. I’m super excited about this upcoming title as it sounds dark and amazing and I’m stoked to be on the tour so that I get the chance to read this just a bit early.

    I’ve been trying hard to stay away from Edelweiss, but I couldn’t help but click to download RESIST (Breathe #2) by Sarah Crossan, which I received thanks to Greenwillow Books. I really enjoyed the first book in the series and can’t wait to set out on the next adventure in this world without oxygen.

    While I’d love to read both books now, I still have just so many amazing review books on the pile ahead of them that I can’t move them up just yet. Though I’m really tempted to take a peek at INDELIBLE as I want to meet this Indelible Ink.

    Of course that’s not to say I’m not thrilled to be reading the two books I have on the pile this week.

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.
    (May 26, 2013 – June 1, 2013)

    05

    Born Wicked New Cover

    addtogoodreads

    First up on the pile is BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood. I have been dying to read this book ever since I first saw the original cover for it. I even got an early copy thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books and I purchased it for my Kindle. But it’s taken forever to get it on the pile.

    Though I did start to read it when I first got my hands on it, I wasn’t able to keep reading thanks to a busy “must read” schedule at the time. But now that I have an early copy of the second book in the series and can read them both back-to-back I just had to add them both to the pile this week.

    It’s been awhile since I read a story about witches and I’m super excited to meet Cate and discover the world the author created for her Cahill Witch Chronicles. I love stories that involve forbidden romance and fate, and I especially love stories where there is a character named Finn.

    And I’m super curious about this Brotherhood and Sisterhood and whether Cate Cahill and her sisters are able to stay safe. As there is no way I’ll be missing out on the chance to read these books this week, I will definitely have all my questions answered on Tuesday when I’ll be picking up BORN WICKED.

    Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

    Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

    If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

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    Star Cursed Cover

    addtogoodreads

    Next up on the pile is STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood. I received an ARC for review from the publisher, Putnam Juvenile, and as its release date is coming up on June 18th, I just had to add it to the pile this week.

    Well, I didn’t have to, as it wasn’t a request. But I desperately wanted to. And getting a copy for review was the perfect excuse to read it, and the first book in the series, this week.

    I am trying so very hard not to take a peek at the description, which I included, below. Because I don’t want to find out if it reveals secrets from book one. And I don’t want anything about that first book to be spoiled.

    While I’ve heard that this series is awesome – as I expected it would be – I haven’t actually read a review or checked out the ratings because I don’t want to be swayed in any way. And while I may have loved the original cover a bit more than these more modernized ones, I can see how they’d be more marketable and more sales mean more books in this series. Which, as I anticipate, is a really good thing.

    And as I mentioned above, I will be reading both books in the series this week and will hopefully have answers, unless I’m left on a cliff, about Cate, Finn and any other characters I may meet by the week’s end.

    With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

    Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

    In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

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    Wishful Thinking Reads:

    I actually desperately want to read INDELIBLE by Dawn Metcalf this week. It was one of the review eGalleys I received and it’s shouting loudly at me from my Kindle. And I’m not too sure I’ll be able to resist the temptation of changing it from a wishful thinking read to a currently reading book.

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    Those Left Behind:

    Yes, this is week two of not being able to read a single book… which is part of what prompted my Random Thoughts post this week. But it wasn’t so much blogging that kept me from reading this past week. I’ve just been hugely exhausted all week. Which is why my posts have been somewhat erratically scheduled. And even though I managed to sleep for umpteen hours yesterday, I’m still not back to normal… or what counts as normal for me, anyway.

    Hopefully the long weekend will help. We shall see….

    But I am going to be starting on last week’s books tomorrow and do a sort of reading marathon until I finish them. Which is why I won’t be starting on this week’s reads until Tuesday. And today I plan on finishing DANCE OF THE RED DEATH because I must know what happens with Araby, Will, Elliott and April.

    I still have a bunch of reviews to write. Trying to condense all my thoughts and feels about GODDESS has not been easy. But hopefully with a little bit more rest and relaxation this weekend I’ll be able to get that posted later this week.

    And I really hope to be able sneak in my wishful thinking read at some point this week. Because it sounds so amazing and different and dark.

    With Novella Reading Week coming up on the 10th, I must get finished with all these long overdue reads and reviews so that I can focus solely on those “must read” novellas I’ve been dying to read.

    So many books, so very little time to read them….

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    NetGalley Pile Adds & Finds:

    I didn’t put in any new requests this week, aside from INDELIBLE by Dawn Metcalf (Harlequin TEEN, Jul 30 2013). But as it was for a tour and I was invited via NetGalley widget it wasn’t technically a request.

    And I did get approved for ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill (Disney Book Group, Sept 3 2013) that I requested last week, which I’m so stoked about.

    While I didn’t spend too much time looking for new books to request, I did discover a few awesome books in my searches. And they are…

    WINDS OF SALEM (A Witches of East End Novel) by Melissa de la Cruz (Hyperion, Aug 13 2013) *Not a YA title*

    HOW TO LOSE EVERYTHING by Philipp Mattheis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, Jul 23 2013)

    A REALLY AWESOME MESS by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin (Egmont USA, Jul 23 2013)

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    I want nothing more than to get lost in a book this weekend. And surprisingly, at least for me, I want to read a print book versus my Kindle. I just kind of want to curl up in my armchair with book in hand and just disappear for a bunch of hours. I don’t want to think about reviews or posts or email or being social. I don’t want to worry about what else I should be doing. I just want to read.

    And while I’m not sure I can do that, I’m really hoping that with the extra day this weekend I will be able to. But we shall see.

    This week will be interesting with so many bloggers at BEA. But I’m excited to once again be participating in Armchair BEA. This time from my new, and very comfy, armchair.

    With a tour-free week on the blog it will be nice to be able to post some interesting discussion posts for the event, a couple of reviews and my usual featured posts. As much as I love promoting the books I love, I like variety. So I’m really curious what this year’s topics will be.

    Anyway…

    I am desperately trying to get through my pile of physical ARCs so that I can clear off my shelves. But with so many awesome titles releasing in eARC format on NetGalley and Edelweiss, I’m finding it very hard to stick to that plan. I may have to opt for a one print book, one eBook approach.

    And right now I’m just so very ready to dive back into DANCE OF THE RED DEATH, so that’s where I’ll be for much of the day. Hopefully. But what about you?

    Are you opting for a read-free week because you’re headed to BEA? Are you planning on participating in the Armchair version of the event? Or is this just a regular week for you and you’re looking forward to reading the books you received and have on your reading pile this week?

    As always, if you have any interesting books you’ve received or are reading this week, leave a comment and let me know!

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?
    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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