Recommendations | My Five Favorite Demon Book

Hey, friends! I’ve been having a hard time getting into the Halloween spirit this year for some reason! So, I thought a good way that could help make me feel a little bit more spooky would be to share my love for the paranormal with you all! For five nights I’m going to spread a little love for my favorite eerie entities: Witches, Ghosts, Demons, Shifters, and Vampires! I hope you all enjoy and maybe pick up a new book that will make your Halloween feel a little more haunted! 😈

➽ The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

This is the first book in an own voices Muslim Fantasy series, that walks the line between Young Adult and Adult, and switches between two very different points of view. One point of view is a girl in her early twenties, who remembers nothing of her childhood, and is living near Cairo, Egypt. Her name is Nahri and she is a street healer by day, and a con-woman and thief by night. Nahri has a natural affinity for healing people, and can magically see what the problem is. Sometimes she can wish it away, other times it is not so easy. Many people realize Nahri’s talents and believe her magic to also work spiritually, which is why she gets hired a lot to cleanse and heal people at Zar Ceremonies, where she leads dances and prayers to be rid of demons/ifrits, which she doesn’t believe in.

➽ The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

This is a story about a young boy named Prosper who has grown up never feeling like he has fit in. His twin sister is the only person he feels understands him, while she is also battling a very scary heart condition. Prosper has always felt like the odd one out, especially since his family is very rich, very successful, and very powerful. But then it becomes very apparent why his ancestors were so lucky. Prosper is then forced to flee to Salem, Massachusetts, where he is introduced to a whole other family and he gets to see what it’s like to start over and become the person he wants to be. I mean, while also struggling with a demon who is constantly trying to take over his body.

➽ The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

Vasilisa and her family live on the edge of the Russian wilderness. Vasilisa’s father rules these lands, and her mother died giving birth to her, knowing that she was special. Vasilisa was raised by her mother’s nursemaid, who is constantly telling her fairy tales that most Russians fear, but Vasilisa loves. Meanwhile, there is a frost-demon that does everything to ensure him and Vasilisa’s paths cross. And Vasilisa couldn’t resist the urge to go to him even if she tried. Then a beautiful story unfolds about a girl, a nightingale, and a bear, who are destined to have a story told.

➽ The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain #1) by Margaret Killjoy

Friends, pick up this so underhyped, yet so deserving of more hype, novella. I am blown away. Within 100 pages, this book was able to create a beautifully diverse cast, talk about some pretty important issues, showcases a homeless main character, show the beauty of unconditional-loving found families, and it even gave me some pretty gothic spooky demon animals. This was amazing, and I think truly believe so many of my book friends would love it.

➽ Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Once I heard that this was an ownvoices Asian inspired fantasy world where two girls, who are forced to be concubines to a demon king, try to overcome it all and fall in love, I knew this was going to be a book for me. But friends, I fell in love. Girls of Paper and Fire and it is easily one of the best books I’ve read all year! This doesn’t come out until next Tuesday, but I promise it is worth the wait! Pre-order now!

Okay, friends! I hope you enjoyed! And I hope the end of your October is filled with all the amazing books! Tell me your favorite demon story in the comments, please! And happy Halloween! Stay spooky! 🎃✨

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City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★

“You are the blade of Heaven. Make sure you are worthy.”

Friends, we did it, we read all of the The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. I’d like to take a moment and thank each and every one of you who motivated me to read this backlist instead of just jumping into The Dark Artifices. Seriously, I am so grateful because even though the road started off rocky, I quickly became so attached and fell so in love with these characters and this world. (But we don’t talk about City of Fallen Angels, that book never existed!)

Basically, if you are on the fence about starting this series, and not sure what it is about, this is a story about a paranormal world that is hidden from the mundanes (non-magical humans). We see vampires, werewolves, fae *swoons forever still*, angels, demons, and everything else you think of when you think paranormal. And we also are introduced to the world of shadowhunters, the warriors who are sworn to defeat the demons.

But this is also a story that puts friendship at the forefront constantly. This is a tale about found families, choosing who you want to share your life with, and realizing that neither of those things require the same blood. This is a book about unconditional love, and selflessness, and doing anything you can to protect those you care about. And you follow so many different characters, friend groups, and families along the way.

“There will always be those who want to tell you who you are based on your name or the blood in your veins. Do not let other people decide who you are. Decide for yourself.”

And there is just something so beautiful about seeing all these stories, characters, and families intertwine. All these bloodlines mixing truly feels like something so special to read. I don’t compare things to Harry Potter too often, but I will say that the feeling I had while flipping these pages, never wanting to stop, excitedly purchasing the next book, it was all so reminiscent of my Harry Potter experience. And there is really no higher praise that I can give a book series than that.

I loved this final story. I believe with my whole heart and soul that Cassandra Clare just kept improving throughout all of these books. And I have only the highest of hopes for what she will do next. But the rest of my review is going to touch on a couple key things that happened in this book and things that have happened in previous books, so please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and its predecessors! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book. Spoilers ahead!

“I think sometimes we are reckless with our hearts the way we are with our lives. When we give them away, we give every piece.”

(I could not find the artist’s name, but I found this amazing picture on Pinterest!)

Jace – I didn’t hate Jace in this book. Damn. There. I said it. Are you happy now? Again, I think Cassie Clare just gets better and better at writing as these books go on, and I was legit happy with Jace’s character, even his pervy dude scenes, because #relatable. But my beautiful friend, Lea, pointed out that Jace brought a condom to Hell and I honestly died of laughter for about five minutes. I aspire to the level of confident that Jace has to not only think he could put it in while in hell, but to also bring protection just in case. But like… I’m here forever and always for safe sex portrayal, especially for teens, even in Hell, my good dudes.

Clary – I feel like I’ve never fallen in love with Clary the way that I have with other characters from this world, but I’ve never disliked her. And I really like how Jace took a backseat and trusted her to finish her own story. Also, I love how she used her power at the end, because I always forget what a badass power it is.

Simon – My sweet, kind, geeky, selfless boy. Simon honestly might be my favorite of this entire world. And him constantly willing to sacrifice parts of himself for his friends, you all… I need all the tissues in the world. He is friendship goals, boyfriend goals, and just human goals. This boy deserves the world.

“I don’t want the world. I want you.”

(Beautiful fanart by taratjaht!)

Isabelle – And Izzy is truly my world. I think Cassie Clare did such a wonderful job crafting her character to break all those gross “mean girl” stereotypes. Izzy is hard and soft, confident and unsure, and beautiful inside and out. Her friendship with Clary in this one also made me really weak. But her realizing she actually loves this selfless vampire, this kind dork, and sweet boy… you all, it is still breaking me. Sizzy 4 lyfe!

Magnus – Okay, be honest, how messed up am I that I really enjoyed seeing Magnus’ dad? Like, damn. I’m impressed and want to know everything about Asmodeus. Magnus was amazing, like always, even though he lost his cat. Ahhh, my heart! But I can’t wait to see what happened in Peru, and some more of his adventures, in The Bane Chronicles!

Alec – I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jace or Alec until this book. Alec was a realistic eighteen-year-old that just had his heart broken, to me. And he was actually amazing throughout this entire story, while showing us all the things he is struggling with deep down. Also, his dad is a fucking asshole even after he was like “my best friend, who was a dude, loved me and I told him to fuck off!” Like, I’m sorry, was that supposed to make me like you and realize you are tolerant of your kid being gay? Miss me with that shit forever, please. But Alec was, and is, going through a lot, and he was still able to tell Magnus what he wanted and what his limits were at the end of this book. Like, I think I finally ship them together.

Emma – Okay, let’s be real, she is Jace junior, BUT 102 times better. But I instantly loved her and wanted her to be protected. I can’t even imagine the grief or trauma she went through and is still going through. And I can’t wait to learn more about her, while she hopefully learns more about her ancestry.

Julian – Legit, these kids are like thirteen-years-old and I’m like “don’t become parabatai, you’re soulmates!” like an insane person. I can already tell that Emma and Jules are going to give me all the feels when they are older. And their writing on each other? Cutest, most pure shit in the entire world. And Julian wanting to be there and raise his brother and sisters when he is just a kid himself? What a sweetheart, and I’m ready to protect him at all costs.

Brother Zachariah – Legit, this character made me cry more than any. From saying where his home was, to asking if someone might play the violin. My heart, I can’t. And I am most excited to see where his storyline goes. And to see him talk about his past with a few young shadowhunters.

“Ghosts are memories, and we carry them because those we love do not leave the world”

Luke – I’ve loved Luke from City of Bones and I loved him through the last page of this book. Legit the best dad, and he deserves the entire galaxy.

Jocelyn – I honestly just came to hate Clary’s mom more and more as this series progressed. Luke is too damn good for her. She not only was a shitty mom to Sebastian, but she was to Clary, too. And hearing her say all that horrible shit about how she wished she could kill him in the crib and stuff. Like, I get it, he’s evil, but can you like not say shit like that? Fuck. Maybe he didn’t get all his evil from Voldemort Valentine.

Mark – At the start of this book, learning that he was half fae, I instantly fell in love. Seriously, I need to know everything about this hunt, and I’m praying that it will be touched upon more!

Helen – At the start of this book, learning that she was half fae AND QUEER, I instantly fell in love. I felt so bad for her at the end of this book because of how she was treated for being half something else, but I can’t wait to learn any and everything about her.

Aline – In my review for City of Glass I wrote, “Um… is this new character Asian and queer? Because, I think she is, and I think I’m head over heels in love with her already.” AND MY SENSES JUST KNEW! JUST KNEW! I bet this character ends up being one of my favorites.

(Gorgeous fanart by DREI SJ!)

Jordan – His death was actually my least favorite thing about this book. And don’t get it wrong; I hated him from the first time I realized who he was. But… the way Cassie made him and Maia so in love, to only realize that fans were probably like, “yo, this some abuse apologist bullshit” so she killed him off and…

Maia – …Maia realized she never could have been happy with him? Like, no. Sorry. That’s not how it was written. And it’s so messed up because I should be so happy that at least the abuse apologist storyline is over, but it just makes me angry how much it got swept under the rug. Especially because Maia is like one of four characters of color. I don’t know, friends. I just, I didn’t like it. Oh, and then she is obviously going to just jump into another relationship with the Bat dude? Like, why does Cassie Clare treat the character of Maia so poorly? It felt so forced and I felt so much cringe while reading it. But I do love how she is in charge of the pack now, so hopefully I enjoy her in other books.

Raphael – Oh and then one of the other three characters of colors dies? Feels bad, man. Especially because I was really starting to feel for Raphael. Poor guy just got dealt such a bad hand in life. But I can’t wait to see his past with Magnus in The Bane Chronicles.

Maureen – This death actually made me sad, too. Like, she didn’t even have a chance. They couldn’t have captured her and done something? Like, how heartbreaking. Seriously.

Seelie Queen – Okay, but where did this bitch go? I literally gasped when I found out who was warming her bed. I’m still not over it.

Kaelie Whitewillow – We are all rooting for you!

Sebastian – You all, I really came to like Sebastian’s character. Was he a little extreme? Yes. Does Cassie Clare love threatening incest? Yes. But even before the evil left him, I felt a lot of empathy for him. He really is the product of growing up with no love, and it really doesn’t have to do with his demon blood. Maybe it’s my age while I’m reading these for the first time or something, but I actually felt a great deal of sadness from Sebastian, and I think he was a really good villain in this book because of the emotions he was able to evoke from me.

So, to summarize, Jace and Clary did it in Hell (protected), Simon and Izzy are the OTP of my dreams, Magnus and Alec deserve all the happiness in the world, I better get more of this fae hunt society thing with Mark, Emma and Julian are already killing me, Sebastian was wild and evil but I still felt bad for him, Maia is a hot mess but it’s Cassie’s fault, Raphael deserved better, and all I want is Alline and Helen to rule the shadowhunter world. It has been a wild ride, friends.

Overall, I am so happy you all convinced me to read this series, instead of just jumping into Lady Midnight. This book in particular gives you so much new information and characters, I think you’d for sure be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t read at least this book. The road might have started out a little rocky for this series, but I really did come to love it with my whole heart. Simon and Izzy are in my top five OTPs of all-time, Magnus is one of my favorite characters in all of literature, and I already need to know more about everything fae! I can’t wait to continue on with The Bane Chronicles!

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Content and trigger warnings for attempted rape, assault, captivity, attempted/desired incest, self-harm, violence, blood depiction, death, murder, loss of a loved one, abandonment, drugging, and war themes.

Recommendations | My Five Favorite Ghost Books

Hey, friends! I’ve been having a hard time getting into the Halloween spirit this year for some reason! So, I thought a good way that could help make me feel a little bit more spooky would be to share my love for the paranormal with you all! For five nights I’m going to spread a little love for my favorite eerie entities: Witches, Ghosts, Demons, Shifters, and Vampires! I hope you all enjoy and maybe pick up a new book that will make your Halloween feel a little more haunted! 👻

➽ Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Like, I know this is cruel, but I couldn’t NOT have this make this list! Have you ever loved a book so much that it completely fills your soul, warms your heart, and heals your broken pieces? Because that’s Strange the Dreamer. This was my favorite book of 2017, and I will always recommend it with my whole heart.

➽ Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

This is a bright, shining light in 2018 fantasy! Friends, I loved this from the very first chapter, and was more captivated than I have been reading any other book this year. Like, go into any bookstore, read the first chapters of this book, and I dare you not to want to immediately buy it. Goosebumps. Tears. Perfection. Those are the three words that come to mind, and I just continued to fall even more in love with this story as it progressed. And the ghost in this is perfection.

➽ The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s powerful, moving, poignant, lyrical, important, and touched me beyond words. From the discussion about mental health and the stigmas we still have in 2018 (especially in Asian cultures), to the true portrayal of grief, to the heartbreaking truth about depression, to the realistic depiction of what it means to be not only biracial but to be white passing, to the discovery of your identity. The Astonishing Color of After is a book I will cherish for the rest of my life.

➽ The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

This completely unique story is about a girl, Blue, that lives in a house full of psychics. She is the only one in her family that does not have psychic powers, but instead possesses something much different. Blue amplifies the spirit’s voices. This not only helps her family, but also helps the spirits in other ways. Blue is a little bitter that she cannot actually see the spirits, until one night she is able to see one. If Harry Potter was my childhood, The Raven Cycle is my twenties.

➽ Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

This is Katherine Arden’s debut middle grade novel and I loved it so very much friends. Many of you know that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of my favorite books of all-time, and even though these stories are nothing like one another, the beautiful writing, amazing characters, and important themes shine through. I went into this expecting a fun and spooky read (which it was), but what I also got was such a beautiful love letter to grief, depression, and trying to live in a world that has taken away someone who you feel you cannot live without.

Okay, friends! I hope you enjoyed! And I hope the end of your October is filled with all the amazing books! Tell me your favorite ghost story in the comments, please! And happy Halloween! Stay spooky! 🎃✨

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If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

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“You can justify anything if you do it poetically enough.”

This book is so haunting, so atmospheric, so gripping, and so perfect. And If you, too, love The Secret History by Donna Tartt then I recommend this book with every single bone in my body. Also, this is such a love letter to Shakespeare and all his work, so if you appreciate that I think you’ll also fall so head over heels for this story. I’m honestly not sure what I expected going into If We Were Villains, but it is now one of my favorite books of all time.

This story follows seven very pretentious theater students, going to a very prestigious and private college. They moved to Ohio to go to the university from all over the world, but they really made a found family with each other, while all living in what they call the Castle on campus. But one night their life completely changes when they all come together on a decision that alters their fate.

“Nothing mattered much after that morning. Our two souls—if not all six—were forfeit.”

Richard – has a bad temper and is the “mean” one.

Meredith – Richard’s girlfriend, and the “sexy vixen” type.

Filippa – The “cool” one, in my opinion. Mysterious home life. My second favorite.

Alexander – Gay, grew up in foster care, and I believe is Latinx. Yet, is the “stoner” one.

Wren – Richard’s cousin, and “the girl next-door” type.

James – The best actor and our main protagonist’s roommate. I’d say the “popular” one.

Oliver – Our main protagonist, who is nice, and who is sweet, and who just wants to keep the peace between his group of friends. Also, Oliver is totally pansexual and no one can change my mind on this.

“My infatuation […] transcended any notion of gender.”

Oliver is for sure the main character, and this book starts out with him getting out of prison ten years after the events of that frightful night. And he is finally telling the story of what actually happened. This book is also broken up in five acts, but we get to see the events of what really happened that night, a decade ago, and we get to see the ramifications of how that altered everyone’s lives in present day.

“How tremendous the agony of unmade decisions.”

And each act, to me, really highlights a different Shakespearean play, that really sets the tone for what is unfolding in that act. From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to Julius Caesar, to King Lear, to Romeo and Juliet, to so many more; the honoring, appreciation, and celebration are all there and it truly makes for a read like no other. This book is a love letter to theater. And this book is structured so perfectly, written so expertly, that I really think that R.L. Rio crafted something beyond genius.

“It’s easier now to be Romeo, or Macbeth, or Brutus, or Edmund. Someone else.”

Friends, I feel like this is a book that won’t be for everyone, but if it is for you then you will love it with the sum of your being. This was perfection for me, and completely made my October this year. If you’re looking for something haunting, and thrilling, and so very atmospheric, then please give If We Were Villains a try. And that last line? It is going to haunt me forever with its beautiful perfection.

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Content and trigger warnings for: death, murder, physical abuse, slut shaming, a transphobic comment, a onetime use of the slur for Romani people, a homophobic comment, drug overdose, PTSD depiction, depression depiction, suicide, self-harm, and mention of an eating disorder (and a poor taste comment about it).

Buddy read for #FridayFrightAThon which I co-hosted with Amy @ A Court of Crowns and QuillsJen @ Pinot and Pages, & Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer! 👻

Recommendations | My Five Favorite Witch Books

Hey, friends! I’ve been having a hard time getting into the Halloween spirit this year for some reason! So, I thought a good way that could help make me feel a little bit more spooky would be to share my love for the paranormal with you all! For five nights I’m going to spread a little love for my favorite eerie entities: Witches, Ghosts, Demons, Shifters, and Vampires! I hope you all enjoy and maybe pick up a new book that will make your Halloween feel a little more haunted! 🔮

➽ Circe by Madeline Miller

What better way to start out the spooky season, but with reading about the original witch?  This book is about healing and doing what it takes to come into your own. This book is about love; the love between lovers, the love of a mother, and the love you must find in yourself. This book proves why family of choice will always be greater than family of origin. This book is about magic, and how we can find it in ourselves if we look hard enough. This is a book about becoming the witch you’ve always buried deep inside you.

➽ Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton 

My favorite book of 2018. What a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Literally perfection. A true gift to the literary world. Friends, if you’re looking for a spooky book, with a dark fairy-tale vibe, that heavily talks about society’s gender expectations, while being a love letter to gender fluidity, with the most heartwarming polyamorous relationship, look no further than this masterpiece.

➽ Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire #1) by Grace Draven

Gilene is a Fire witch who has been the sacrificial girl for her village for the last four years, using her magic to disguises herself as a new girl. Even though she has to endure the torture of the night, she is able to walk free from the fire every year, without anyone noticing. Well, she didn’t think anyone could notice. This is one of my favorite romances of the entire year! Beautiful start to a series that I completely recommend!

➽ Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

This is the most realistic witch story that was nothing short of a beautiful delight to read. This was moving, and powerful, and magical, and sweet, yet also heartbreaking. This reads like a mix between Girl Made of Stars and The Wicked Deep, and if you love either (bonus points for both) then you will completely love this story, too!

➽ The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco
This book is my heart! This is an ownvoices, Asian inspired, fantasy story that stars a young necromancer, looking for her place in a world that has constantly told her she is going to become evil. This story is told in two parts, but not equally. The lesser part, before every new chapter, are the events taking place through a bard’s eyes, who is chronicling the events currently, where Tea is proving to become the evil villain the world wanted her to be. But the main story is told in the past, and we get to slowly find out what happened to put Tea on this path that the bard is seeing.

Okay, friends! I hope you enjoyed! And I hope the end of your October is filled with all the amazing books! Tell me your favorite witch story in the comments, please! And happy Halloween! Stay spooky! 🎃✨

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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“Some stories don’t have happy endings. Even love stories. Maybe especially love stories.”

I know what a beloved book this is in the community. Recently, I did a blog post about the highest rated books on my TBR and The Nightingale was number one with a 4.55 average star rating, with 414,290 Ratings and 44,440 Reviews. Like, those are some powerful stats. But basically, after writing up that post, I knew that I had to read this beloved book and find out my thoughts on it.

This is a heartbreaking, historical fiction, WWII story that stars two sisters living in France, when the Germans take over in 1939. But we get to see present day glimpses from 1995, that star an older woman thinking about her life and all the harrowing events that she was forced to live through before immigrating to The United States. But it really develops this complex guessing game where you are not sure which sister is this present day narrator.

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

Vianne – Living in a small town in Carriveau with her daughter and husband, while grieving that she might not be able to have another child. But that fear and sadness take a backseat when her husband is forced to go to war.

Isabelle – Living in Paris with her father, since she has gotten kicked out of every finishing school that she’s attended. Their father has always been distant from them, but once the Nazis begin to control Paris, he sends Isabelle away to Vianne’s.

And these sisters are so very different in every way. Where Vianne only wants to protect her family, Isabelle wants to fight the Nazis from within France itself. And I’ll be honest, I feel like Isabelle makes sense to be my favorite sister, but her constant recklessness would put Vianne and her daughter, Sophie, in danger all throughout the book. And it only made me crave Vianne’s chapters and dread Isabelle’s.

This was a five star read until Beck’s storyline. No spoilers, but for me Beck was truly the shining light in this book, which I feel awful typing because he was a Nazi. Lord, forgive me. But his storyline really showed how *normal* people have to suffer the wars that powerful and greedy men create, and how nationalism can be terrifying. I don’t know, I just actually hated how his storyline ended and I didn’t care about this book near as much after it. I couldn’t put this down, I was completely captivated, I couldn’t wait to see what came next! And then the most pointless, stupid, and anticlimactic thing in the world happened and I just didn’t care any longer. Truly. And the more time and distance I put between myself and this story, the more I get irritated. (Please don’t think I’m a horrible person.)

Overall, this was a haunting but beautiful book about family and the things we are willing to sacrifice in the name of the ones we love. And how family will always be the people that we choose, not necessarily the blood that runs through our veins. I completely understand why this is such a beloved book in the book community, but maybe it was just a little too hyped for me. Also, my loss of connection really made the ending not as emotional for me, therefore I don’t think that impacted me as much as many other readers, too. But I still really loved most of this story and I can’t wait to read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah!

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Content and trigger warnings for war, loss of a loved one, loss of a child, abandonment, miscarrying, violence, gore, death, anti-Semitism, talk of suicide, cancer, slavery, labor camps, sexual assault, rape, and abuse. This is a very dark book at times, so please use caution before reading.

Buddy read with May at My 1st Chapter & Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤


Cover Reveal | The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson


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“A storm is rising.”

➽ About The Storm Crow:

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying all the crows.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

➽ Quote from the illustrator, Tran Nguyen:

“For the book cover, I wanted to capture Thia and her crows as interdependent entities and how they both rely on each other for strength and survival. Thia’s face is enveloped by dark-winged crows who help give her the sight to take back her kingdom. I gave her the fierce expression of a person who’s lost everything but balanced it with a bit of vulnerability to convey that there’s still humanity in her fight for Rhodaire.”

➽ Quote from Nicole Hower, Sourcebooks:

“We wanted to display the strong connection Thia has with the crows are her strong will to save them. She is shown with a determined look as the crows envelop her. One crow in particular overlaps her face, completing her connection with it. While the crows are the size of horses in the novel, we wanted to take a creative interpretation by showing them at a smaller, younger age.”

➽ The Storm Crow is out with Sourcebooks Fire July 9th, 2019

➽ Excerpt of the Prologue:

I was a storm.

Adrenaline ripped through my veins like lightning as I leaned close to the body of my Crow, preparing to execute a dive. Iyla’s warm, steady heat kept me grounded, even hundreds of feet in the air. Cold wind whipped tendrils of hair free from my braid, nipping at the skin around my goggles and stealing my breath.

The thin, well-worn saddle beneath me was nothing more than a strip of leather to bind stirrups to, the reins trailing from my hands to Iyla’s beak, an illusion of control—this ride depended on trust and mutual respect. Anything less, and no amount of leather would keep me seated on Iyla’s back.

Years of Estrel’s instructions raced through my mind: Keep your body low and tight in a dive. Give the reins slack. Keep your knees back so you don’t put pressure on the Crow’s wing joints. I knew it all like my own heartbeat.

I tucked close to Iyla’s body, and we dove.

Water misted my skin as Iyla’s Storm Crow magic split apart a cloud a second before we shot through it and plummeted toward the earth. My heart screamed into my throat, pure, unadulterated joy erupting through me with every passing moment. I held my breath as we fell, counting the seconds—we could only gain so much speed before Iyla’s wings wouldn’t be able to handle the strain of opening.

Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen…

We burst through the clouds, Aris spread out below us. The city was a blur as we dove, a sea of light and color fast approaching.

Twenty. I squeezed my knees, and Iyla’s wings snapped open like the slice of a blade, catching an updraft to send us sailing in a gentle arc. Lightning buzzed at the tips of Iyla’s wings as she let out a piercing call.

I sucked in a lungful of cold air and let it out in a laugh, the thrill of the dive resounding through me like a thunderclap. I craved that feeling like starved lungs craved air, letting it fill me until I felt impossibly alive.

We circled wide and low, descending the rest of the way until Iyla’s shadow blanketed the city streets.

Aris unfurled beneath us like a colorful map, dense with thick green foliage and spotted with wildflowers. People called up to us, waving from crowded streets as revelers prepared for the festival leading up to Negnoch, the city’s yearly hatch night. In a few hours, every single Crow from across the kingdom of Rhodaire would put on a masterful display of riding and magic, and the year’s Crows would be hatched.

One of them would be mine. Tonight, I would choose my own Crow and become a rider.

We dipped lower, children chasing Iyla’s shadow in the hopes of catching a stray feather to wish upon. This was my favorite part of flying. Even more than the thrill of diving or the magic of soaring through endless skies, I loved gliding peacefully above Aris, the wind brushing along my skin as the city passed below.

Even on the back of a stolen Crow. Well, not quite stolen. Iyla belonged to Estrel, my teacher and mother’s best friend, and while Estrel had let me ride Iyla alone before, she technically hadn’t given me permission to tonight.

Probably because I didn’t ask.

A gentle tug on the reins sent Iyla a little higher, and we fell in line over the crystal waters of the canal in the Rynthene Wing. To my left, Earth Crows helped work the fields, tilling land in huge swaths with the pulse of their magic. To my right, the fading sunlight glinted off an armored Battle Crow.

All over Aris, the Crows and riders integrated into the city’s inner workings would be finishing up the day’s tasks. Later, they’d join the military pouring in from Rhodaire’s outer reaches in preparation for the Sky Dance.

We followed the canal to the castle at the city’s heart. The giant, gray stone structure stretched into the sky, Delladon vines sprawling across its pale face like laugh lines. From each of the four sides of the central tower, a crescent-shaped landing platform jutted out, and I used the nearest one as a marker to veer Iyla right toward the royal rookery. It was a tall, circular tower with wide windows on the third floor for easy landing.

My nerves jittered. Landing was the hardest part, even with Estrel’s lessons branded into my mind.

Let the Crow do the work; it knows what it’s doing. Keep your weight back. Never dismount while a Crow’s folding its wings, or you risk straining the joints.

We glided easily through one of the rookery’s large, open windows, Iyla as practiced in this maneuver as breathing. Her wings flared back, sending straw swirling across the stone floor as her massive black claws reached out, taking hold of the nearest T-shaped perch. We fell to a standstill, her wings tucking in tight to her muscled form. She was almost reptilian with a lean, muscular body, the proportions a little longer, a little more limber than a normal bird.

I let out a whoop, grinning as I tugged down my goggles and swung off her back, throwing my arms around her. Her long neck straightened as she stiffened, but I’d learned long ago that she’d not only tolerate hugs but secretly liked them.


My excitement went cold at my mother’s sharp voice. A flurry of black wings filled the opposite window as her Battle Crow, Tyros, landed effortlessly on the perch across from Iyla, sending a gust of straw-filled wind into my face.

My mother swung down, stalking toward me with the smooth litheness of a jungle cat. With the setting sun at her back, she looked every inch the queen she was, the light making her brown skin and polished flying leathers gleam with an inner fire.

“What in Saint’s name do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Um, talking to Iyla?” I offered. Lying had never been my strong suit. To her credit, the Crow let out a low caw, as if she were indeed part of the conversation.

My mother didn’t smile. I didn’t expect her to.

“Relax, Alandra.” Estrel emerged from the nearby staircase at my side, her long, dark curls bound in a thick braid like mine. “I gave her permission.”

The only person who could tell my mother to relax without getting eviscerated was Estrel, my aunt in every way but blood. They even looked like sisters, though my mother was taller and leaner. She and Estrel had grown up together, and I’d even heard a rumor Estrel’s sister and my mother had courted as teenagers.

My mother frowned, and I straightened beneath the sharpness of her steel-colored gaze. Her eyes always reminded me of knives, forever sculpting me in an endless quest for perfection.

“I executed a perfect dive,” I offered, as if my ability to perform riding techniques far more advanced than my seventeen years might soften her gaze.

It only made her eyes narrow. “Taking another rider’s Crow out for a joyride to perform dangerous maneuvers is not only foolish, it’s insulting.” I flinched. “If you want to prove yourself capable of being a leader among the riders, you can start by not disrespecting every rule and custom we live by.”

I refused to wilt beneath the heat of her words. “Well, maybe if you spent more than a waking second in my presence, I’d know the rules better.”

Estrel drew a sharp breath, but my mother went stiller than a Shadow Crow concealed in darkness. For a fraction of a second, I swore something pained flashed through her iron gaze, but it vanished quickly.

The circlet of silver feathers on her brow gleamed like molten starlight. “I expect you back here before the hatching.” She turned to Tyros, who leapt from his perch to the wide window ledge, a perfect tableau of strength against a backdrop of approaching night. With a grace I hadn’t yet mastered, she swung up into the saddle. Wings tucked in tight, Tyros leapt. They plummeted from view, gone for barely a breath before they soared up past the window, climbing into the darkening sky.

“That went well,” I muttered.

Estrel smacked the back of my head, and I winced, rubbing the spot though the blow hadn’t hurt. “Stop stealing my Crow!” Despite the snap in her voice, an easy grin filled her face, and she let out a low laugh when I smiled back.

There wasn’t a single other rider or a single other Crow I’d ever dream of doing with what I did with Iyla. Any other Crow would snatch me by the leg with its beak and toss me off, princess or not. That was, until I had my own.

My gaze dropped to the gold and black edges of Estrel’s Corvé tattoo that reached up over her muscular shoulders, denoting her as one of Rhodaire’s nine crow masters. While the heads of each house saw to their people, each wing’s Corvé saw to its crows.

Tonight, I would choose my own Crow. I would become a rider. And one day, I would earn the tattoo and become the royal Corvé after Estrel.

“The Sky Dance starts in an hour,” Estrel said. “Then it’s back here for the hatching. Are you and Kiva going into the city tonight?”

“To Rua’s.”

She smirked. “Take a breath, Little Peep. Enjoy the night. You’ll have your Crow soon enough.”

Soon enough felt a lifetime away as I bolted down the winding rookery steps, dodging a rookhand balancing plates of meat, and out into a perfect Rhodairen winter evening. The air was cool but not cold and filled with the possibility of rain. Storm Crows would keep it at bay, though I wished they’d let it fall. I’d always wanted to see a Sky Dance in the rain.

The wind buffeted my escaped curls into my face as I shot along the gardens, through the castle gates, and into streets filled with thick green trees and climbing vines trickling down buildings like rivulets of rainwater.

I veered onto the main road between the Caravel Wing and Thereal Wing, then cut right into the Thereal section of the city, slowing as a wave of music and laughter washed over me. I made for Rua’s, a bright-blue building on the corner where a Crow had been painted in sunset colors across one side, done by a street artist in the night.

Native brown-skinned Rhodairens walked alongside colorfully dressed, dark-skinned travelers from Trendell, a kingdom far east of Rhodaire. Both were dwarfed by the pale, long-limbed Korovi of the northern kingdom. People came to Rhodaire from all over the world for Negnoch. I even spotted a few revelers from Illucia, the border kingdom to our north, though they were probably only here for festival discounts on Rhodairen weapons. Or maybe they were guards for the visiting Illucian dignitaries.

That was probably what had my mother on edge: their presence, and their queen who threatened war. She’d already taken two kingdoms.

Someone seized my arm, spinning me around. Kiva grinned down at me, her moonlight-colored hair free from its characteristic braid and down to her shoulders in waves. She still wore her castle guard uniform, making her look older—sometimes I doubted she owned anything else. She even had her sword at her hip.

“I was starting to think you weren’t coming!” she shouted above the clamor.

“And let you eat all the orange cakes?”

“Typical. Here for the food.”

I nodded at her uniform. “Hoping to impress someone?” She’d been flirting with a girl at Rua’s for weeks now.

Kiva’s cheeks burned, and she nudged me with her shoulder.

I grinned. “Race you.”

We dove into the crowd, dodging flying elbows and swinging hips. Along the sides of the streets, baskets of the last fruits of the season sat waiting to be eaten, from bright-yellow mangos to fresh-picked oranges. Overhead, thunder boomed in a near cloudless sky, a Storm Crow marking the time.

The night passed in patches. I drank talcé after talcé, sweet juice drinks filled with pieces of fruit, and ate as many orange cakes as I could stomach. We danced and sang, following the street past acrobats and fire-eaters, carts of sweet breads and fruit pies. Children ran laughing through the streets, kites in the shape of Crows tied to their wrists by long, thin strings. Tradition said if your kite made it through the night undamaged, you were destined to become a rider.

Thunder boomed again. The Sky Dance was about to begin.

Crows glided in lazy circles above the castle with riders on their backs, looking like shadows set adrift in the sky. The sun set behind them, painting everything deep mauve and carmine, buttermilk and fuchsia.

The drums started, low and steady at first, matching the rhythm of the Crows as they circled. Then the speed increased, and higher drums joined in. The circling Crows broke in all directions, some diving straight down, others surging upward in a powerful burst of speed. They twirled and dove, weaving around each other in exact, graceful movements.

A Fire Crow opened its beak and let loose a stream of blue-tinged flames at a Wind Crow, which buffeted the fire upward toward a Water Crow, which doused it into steam with water from its beak. Sun Crows lit the sky in ethereal gold, their glow fading into wisps like the light of falling stars. Shadow Crows wove ribbons of night around them, creating intricate shimmering patterns.

Each action a Crow took was mimicked by another one across from it, one formation molding seamlessly into the next, creating a symmetrical design of beasts, people, and magic, all interwoven in a dance among the clouds.

The drums grew faster. Lightning struck and thunder rolled, keeping time with the beat. Crows dipped and twirled in perfectly timed maneuvers I longed to try. My heart raced with them, imagining the feel of the wind in my hair and the heat of a Crow beneath me.

As the music peaked, every Crow shot upward, carried by drafts from Wind and Storm Crows. Then they dove.

As the echo of the final drumbeat sounded, the Crows shot out in all directions in perfectly executed dives. Their deep, echoing cries filled the sky as the sun finished setting, and the Crows blanketed the night.

Still ecstatic from the dance, Kiva and I moved off the main road to find another talcé vendor. The skies had cleared, and the Crows had all returned to the rookeries throughout the city’s wings to be unsaddled and fed. The images remained seared into the back of my eyelids. Soon, I would be a part of that dance.

“You’re going to be late,” Kiva warned as we navigated the crowded street.

“It takes at least a half hour for the Crows to be unsaddled and fed.”

“Which means you’ll leave in half an hour.”

“I’m not late that often—”

“Yes, you are.”

“Okay, but—”

A scream ripped through the air. I froze. Kiva’s hand went to her sword, and she stepped toward me, shielding. Silence descended like a curtain, sucking the air from the crowded street. My heart rose and settled in my throat, and for a wingbeat, everything stood still.

Then the Thereal rookery went up in flames.

The screams became a chorus, the screech of Crows rising like a wave. One by one, the rookeries in each Wing erupted with fire.

I stood rooted to the spot, the acrid smoke scorching my lungs, the light of the flames almost too bright to look at. Yet I couldn’t tear my gaze away, my mind refusing to process what I was seeing.

The city was burning.

The words dropped through my mind like jagged stones, too heavy and sharp to hold on to.

The crowd closed in, people slamming into carts and each other, all attempting to flee in different directions. Kiva pressed into my side, her sword half drawn. The familiar screech of metal snapped me from my trance, and I seized her wrist. “Too many people!”

Scowling, she grabbed my arm and barreled through the writhing mass. A head taller than nearly everyone, the crowd parted to avoid her elbows and snarled threats. We pushed until we broke through the edge, gulping down open air drowned in smoke.

“Come on!” Not stopping to rest, I raced along the street and back toward the castle, Kiva at my back.

Fire fell like rain.

It dripped from buildings, clinging to crumbling stone and smoldering wood, spreading from the Thereal rookery like a flood. The bushes lining the road blazed like torches, trees heavy with fruit turning to ash and filling the air with a sickly, burnt-sugar scent. It mixed with the smell of seared flesh.

A burst of fire cut across our path, forcing us to stop. As an earsplitting scream tore past me, I realized it wasn’t a fireball: it was a man, engulfed in flame.

My stomach turned, and I choked on the poisoned air, desperate to get it out of my lungs. Kiva seized my arm, hauling me along. The image of the flaming man cut through my mind over and over, until it felt like I’d never see anything else again.

As we turned up the castle road, I stumbled to a halt. Black smoke billowed from the royal rookery, darker than the night. Fire writhed, reaching out the open windows with hungry claws. A Crow leapt from one of the windows, feathers alight. It barely had time to open its wings before an arrow pierced its heart. Another struck its throat. It dropped four stories to the earth with a sickening crunch.

This didn’t make any sense. The eggs were in there, and the Crows… My thoughts ground to a halt, unable to venture any further. Unable to think, unable to breathe.

I only became aware Kiva was shaking me when she nearly knocked me to the ground. “Move!” she screamed.

Slowly, I looked at her. She’d drawn her sword, and the firelight cast strange shadows across her pale skin. For an impossibly long moment, my smoke-riddled brain could process only her bright, unbound hair. It was white as bone.

She pushed me again, and I stumbled. “Anthia, move!”

I blinked. Guards were sprinting in every direction, shouting orders. Some had their swords drawn, dueling pale-skinned soldiers in black leather. Still others simply stood and stared at the rising column of fire and smoke. Slowly, I understood. I recognized the golden horsehead emblazoned on their uniforms.

Illucia was attacking Rhodaire.

Illucia was killing the Crows.

Someone moved behind Kiva. My mother appeared, gray eyes wild and face splattered with blood. She held a dagger in each hand. “Get inside the castle!” she ordered, but I didn’t move. She sheathed a blade, her hand falling on my shoulder. “Anthia, you have to go inside. Please.”

I felt warm. Too warm, but oddly calm. Like something had reached inside me and wiped away all the fear, the confusion, and the horrible, horrible understanding. My skin hummed, the sound filling my ears, my chest, my bones.

My mother cursed, said something to Kiva, then hesitated a second longer, her fingers digging tight into my shoulder. Something shone behind her eyes, a forgotten emotion threatening to break free—then she bolted toward the rookery. I lurched after her, but Kiva’s strong arms pulled me back. My mother disappeared into the column of flames. Then Kiva was gone, and I forgot to blink. My vision filled with fire.

Swords clashed, metal screaming against metal so close to my ear that I turned. Kiva dueled an Illucian soldier inches away. Had that attack been meant for me? The thought barely registered. All I could think about was the growing heat and dying air, the screams of Crows and people indecipherable in the night.

A Rhodairen soldier intercepted Kiva’s fight, and I turned back to the rookery in time to see a shape fall in the doorway.

My body reacted. I sprang forward, screaming for my mother. The shape rolled, crawling toward the exit, the flames moving like a serpent preparing to strike. It wasn’t my mother.

“Estrel!” I seized her arm, not processing that her clothes were on fire, that she was on fire, and pulled with all my strength. The flames leapt onto my sleeve, but I pulled harder, her form toppling out after me onto the damp grass. I rolled her over and over again, then Kiva was there, smothering Estrel with her cloak.

Kiva yelled something at me, but I couldn’t hear her through the blood pounding in my ears. Then she seized me and flung me into the grass, slapping my hand, beating at it with the edge of the cloak to extinguish the flames.

I stared at the ravaged skin, now a patchwork of scalded white and red flesh. Red. Red as the fire raining down around me as it consumed the royal rookery, consumed my mother, consumed everything.

I felt Kiva beside me like one felt their shadow at their heel, an intangible presence. She spoke, saying so many things. Things that didn’t make any sense. Things like my mother was dead, the Crows were gone, the Illucian soldiers were coming, many were already here.

It took me a moment to realize I was staring at something in the sky. Bright as a miniature sun, a Crow blazing with fire from beak to tail soared across the night, wings spread as if the flames had become a part of it, a flickering coat of smoldering feathers. Then the fire seared through feather and muscle and bone, and it plummeted to the earth like a falling star.

It struck the ground before me, erupting like a funeral pyre. Only my raw throat told me I’d screamed the entire time it’d fallen.

“We have to move!” Kiva yelled.

I had just enough of myself left to look at her. To see the tears streaming down her ash-stained face and to feel my own sliding hot against my skin, before my burns flared with pain, and the world went white.

➽ About the Author:

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Although a new author, I’ve been writing my entire life. I currently work as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though I grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, I graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and a degree in English (Creative Writing). Currently, I live in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay Area and I’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl).

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➽ My Thoughts:

Friends, this looks beyond words amazing! I was so honored when my dear friend asked if I wanted to do a cover reveal for this upcoming release! Elemental magic? Giant crows? A Princess living with depression? Sign me up, please. I can’t wait to get my hands on this beautiful book and read and review it for you all! 💛✨

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