Cover Reveal | The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

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“A storm is here.”

Princess Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.


➽ Cover by: @mynameistran

➽ Excerpt:

(Warning: Spoilers for The Storm Crow!)

With a flash of his wings, Res leapt onto the back rail of the ship. The sky darkened. Clouds began to form, gray and heavy with impending rain. They materialized from the air and spread outward like a ripple of water. Our bond hummed, a steady beat of magic that danced along my skin like the brush of a charged wind.

The clouds crackled with power. Beside me, Samra muttered a prayer that I couldn’t make out over the rising winds, one hand clenching the rope knots at her belt.

The Illucian sailors seemed to have realized something was happening. People scurried across the deck, adjusting sails and—my breath caught. Two massive harpoon launchers were fastened to the front of the ship, the spears loaded.

Doubt crept onto my shoulders like a hissing snake. This was my plan. My call. If this failed, if Res’s storm broke atop us—I caught Kiva’s gaze, and the steadiness behind it centered me. There was no time to second-guess myself. This was happening.

The sails caught the wind, and the ship lurched forward. Res let out a shrill cry. His wings lifted slightly, as if eager to catch the draft. I felt my excitement mirrored inside him, felt it sling across the connection between us in a flurry of energy.

Rain began to fall, heavy and full.

Attack the ship! I sent an image of lightning striking the Illucian ship from above. Energy crackled around Res’s body. It sparked in the sky, the clouds set alight. Thunder boomed, breaking across the sky like an earthquake.

Our sails strained, but even with the increased speed, we were too close to the Illucian ship. We’d be in range of their arrows.

“Res!” I called above the wind.

He cawed back, and a bolt of lightning struck the sea feet from the Illucian ship. “Again!”

“She’s going to get us all killed!” A sailor’s voice snapped. He threw a hand at the gathering storm. The clouds had spread, blanketing the sky in darkness. The lightning crackling around Res’s body had grown, sparking and gnashing like a pack of vicious hounds.

We were losing control.

Something snapped. A rope came loose below. It cut through the air like a whip, nearly catching a sailor around the throat. He stumbled back, avoiding it, but at the same moment a heavy wave struck the ship, careening over the edge and across the deck.

When it pulled back, he was gone.

Another boom sounded, deeper and more resonate than the crack of thunder. Wood splintered as a harpoon arrow pierced what remained of the mainmast, sending sharp fragments raining in all directions. Boom. A second harpoon bore through the mizzenmast.

As the ropes retracted, the wood groaned and the space between the ships closed. The rolling waves tossed us together, turning The Aizel so we ran parallel to the Illucian ship. Soldiers stood along the topsails. Another held a hooked board to create a walkway. As the board fell, linking us together, and the soldiers leapt from the sails with rope in hand to swing across the roiling sea, my eyes found one figure among the rest.

Razel stood a mere few feet away. The edges of her moonblades stretched from her shoulders like wings. She met my gaze and smiled.

Then everything erupted into chaos.


➽ About the Author:


Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Kalyn Josephson is a fantasy writer living in the California Bay Area. She loves books, cats, books with cats, and making up other worlds to live in for a while. She is also the author of The Storm Crow. Visit her at kalynjosephson.com.

➽ Bookstagram Cover Reveals:

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Blog Tour | Crier’s War (Crier’s War #1) by Nina Varela


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ARC provided by HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review.

“It was never really a choice, was it? Wanting her. Killing her.”

Friends, if you are looking for a book all about revenge, filled with mystery and betrayals, while also showcasing the best enemies to lovers f/f romance I’ve read in a long while, please immediately pick up Crier’s War. I’m telling you right now, this is going to make so many best of 2019 lists come the end of the year, and I don’t even have words for the amount of pure joy I felt while reading this book.

Crier’s War is set in an alternative future where alchemists have crafted mechanical people, called Automaes, who now rule over the humans. The humans originally created them so a powerful queen, who could not bear children, could have an heir, but soon Automaes were forged for other human pleasures. But then they rose up and conquered the humans who originally made them. Now the world is a very unsafe place to live for humans who are still alive after the war, and they are allowed very few liberties.

Crier – Lesbian! A girl artificially crafted to become the daughter her father needs to carry on his powerful legacy, while being betrothed to a man who promises to help her hone that power for both of them.

Ayla – Bi! A human girl who lost her family and everything else after the Automaes raised up and overthrew the humans.

And after Ayla saves Crier’s life, Crier offers her an opportunity to become a servant for her, which is a very high honor for humans. So, Ayla becomes Crier’s handmaiden, while also seeing this as an opportunity to go undercover and maybe seek the vengeance she has been after for so long. That is, until both girls start realizing that maybe they are on the same side, and maybe they could be something more than enemies if they only were able to learn to trust.

“A thought came to her: a story of its own, one that only just began writing itself in her mind: a story of two women, one human, one Made.”

The romance in this book? It honestly gave me at least twenty years on my lifespan! This is the slowest burn, angst filled, most beautiful enemies to lovers between two women of color! It is so expertly crafted and delivered, and it was a tier above the rest. And the alternating points of view, opposing sides, filled with secrets and betrayals; it was just everything, friends. I bet this will be my favorite ship of 2019. True OTP status.

But this story really begs the question of what it means to be human. Is the capability for empathy, love, trust? What does it mean to have be alive? Simply because we are born or because blood flows through our veins? Is it because we have free will and are able to change our outlook on things and people? Or is it because we choose to take on the title human and make it into whatever we believe it to be?

“Like she was more than a human girl. Like she was a summer storm made of flesh.”

Yet, this story also constantly puts the theme of oppression and privilege at the center of it all. How people appropriate and steal from cultures and pretend that it’s okay, or worse, their own. How dangerous it is for the privileged to not acknowledge their privilege(s). And how oppressors will stop at nothing to maintain the power they have gained that privilege from.

This was such a quick read, and I completely inhaled all 400+ pages and couldn’t put it down. I started it right before a readathon, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all week, and when the readathon was over I read it in one sitting. My queer heart couldn’t stop smiling, crying, swooning, and evoking every other emotion.

Overall, this was just a masterpiece and one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long while. If you like books filled with political intrigue, twists and turns, a beautiful and horrific backdrop, lush writing, captivating characters, and girls loving girls, I really recommend this one with my whole heart and soul. Also, just in case you aren’t completely sold yet, so many of my friends have compared this to Jude and Cardan from The Cruel Prince, but for the gays, and that is so 100% accurate.

“For the queer readers. You deserve every adventure.”

(Two extra things I need to add: 1.) this is ownvoices for the queer rep + 2.) the author is ARMY = no choice but for me to stan forever. Okay, goodbye. I’m off to pray to all the higher powers for book two immediately. Also, jokes on all of you, because this is ghost Melanie reviewing this, because I died at the tide pool scene.)

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings: war themes, abandonment, loss of loved ones, grief depictions, blood depiction, animal death/gore, and general violence.

Buddy read with Lea! ❤


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel.

You can find Nina at any given coffee shop in the greater Los Angeles area, or at www.ninavarela.com



Thank you so much to Karina @ Afire Pages

TOUR SCHEDULE

Sept. 23 – Afire Pages | 21 Questions with Nina Varela

Sept. 24 – The Sparrow’s Perch | Fan Art
F A N N A | Reasons for Game of Thrones and Westworld Fans to Read Crier’s War

Sept. 25 – Forever and Everly
Your Tita Kate | Bookstagram Photos

Sept. 26 – Lori’s Bookshelf Reads 
Pages Left Unread | Characters Aesthetics

Sept. 27 – Caitlin Althea 
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky | Fan Art

Sept. 28 – Lauren’s Bookshelf
Reads Rainbow | Playlist

Sept. 30 – Boricua Reads | Sapphic Rebellious Women in YA
Read With Ngoc 

Oct. 1 – Once Upon A Bookcase
Read at Night | Favorite Quotes

Oct. 2 – Mel to the Any
A Cat, A Book, and A Cup of Tea

Oct. 3 – Novel Nerd Faction | Playlist
Shut Up, Shealea

Oct. 4 – Sage Shelves | F/F Fantasy Recommendation
The Book Bratz

 

Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall 2019 TBR

TopTenTuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, loves! You know I never miss a T10T about TBRs! I am writing this post up a little bit in advance, so if you are wondering why I *missed some* it is because I am hoping to get to them before October comes! But here are ten titles that come out this Autumn for us northern hemisphere livers! 💗


I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
October 22nd 2019 by HarperTeen


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
November 5th 2019 by Doubleday Books


The Deep by Rivers Solomon
November 5th 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press


The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1) by Kiersten White
November 5th 2019 by Delacorte Press


Jackpot by Nic Stone
October 15th 2019 by Crown Books for Young Readers


Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland
October 29th 2019 by Imprint


Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
November 5th 2019 by Scholastic Press


Where Winter Finds You (Black Dagger Brotherhood #17.5) by J.R. Ward
November 26th 2019 by Simon & Schuster


Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
October 1st 2019 by Blackstone Publishing


The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black
November 19th 2019 by Little, Brown



What is your most anticipated release for the rest of 2019? There are still so many books coming out and I feel so very thankful (and hopeful to love them all)! I hope you’re all having happy reading, sweet friends! 💗

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Dragons and Tea Book Club | October Pick

dragons & tea

Hey, loves! Are you all ready for the October pick for #DragonsAndTeaBookClub? We wanted to get a little spooky with you all, but hopefully not too spooky (because I’m a big baby, even though Amy is the thriller queen)! And we went with one of my favorite authors of all time this month, so we are truly going to be living the Halloween blessings! I believe this story is set in Japan and is very much inspired by Japanese influences and mythos! And it stars a dead girl who hunts down child murderers, but one day she meets a boy who is harboring a secret that can change everything. 💗

And we hope that you all will join us in our Goodreads Group, too! 🐉☕

But we also will be celebrating and talking with you all on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


But without further ado, our October pick is:

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

 The Dates & Breakdown:
October 21st: Chapters 1 – 5
October 22nd: Chapters 6 – 10
October 23rd: Chapters 11 – 15
October 24th: Chapters 16 – 20
October 25th: Chapters 21 – 23

 Content and Trigger Warnings:
I couldn’t find any reviews from friends with trigger warnings, and I’m so sorry for that. But I do believe this book is going to be on the spooky side, and I think it’s going to talk about dead children and ghost children a lot, so please use caution!


And if you’d like to be friends with me and Amy on any other platform:
🐉☕ MelanieBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ AmyBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Contemporaryathon TBR | Round Five

lqWmKZZ

 Dates: September 23rd – September 29th
Liveshow: Saturday 28th 6pm PST / 9pm EST on Chelsea’s channel


➽ 1.) Read a 2019 release

Birthday by Meredith Russo


➽ 2.) Read a contemporary with yellow on the cover

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake


➽ 3.) Read a diverse contemporary

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson


➽ 4.) Read a contemporary with an illustrated cover

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert


➽ 5.) Read a dark / hard-hitting contemporary

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi


➽ 6.) Read a contemporary with plants on the cover

Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau


➽ 7.) A contemporary beloved by a member of the book community
Bloom because of Riley
Emergency Contact because of Monte
Emergency Contact because of Romie
Chloe Brown because of Myonna
The Only Thing Worse than Me is You because of Jane
The Last True Poets of the Sea because of Chelsea
Birthday because of Madalyn


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Top Ten Tuesday | Favorite Things to Drink While Reading

TopTenTuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, friends! Okay, I don’t really eat that much while reading! But I do drink a whole lot of different things, so I figured I would do a little post about them all, and I hope you enjoy this random content! Also, the last two do contain alcohol, so obviously do not drink those if you are not of legal drinking age! 💕


GT’s Trilogy Kombucha


Numi Organic Tea Jasmine Green


SToK Cold-Brew Iced Coffee, Unsweetened


Tazo Calm Chamomile Herbal


Trader Joe’s Organic Hot Cocoa Mix


Ocean Spray Cran-Apple Juice


Yogi Tea – Green Tea Kombucha


Coffee Starbucks Pike Place Roast


➽ Coors Light


➽ White Claw Mango Hard Seltzer



Again, those last two have alcohol so make sure you are of legal drinking age! But these really are the ten things I like to drink while reading, even though I drink water more than anything else! What is your favorite drink or snack while reading?   💗

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

“A map of us. It’s years in the making, and it’s messy and convoluted, some of it even tragic. But I wouldn’t change the route, because we walked it together, even when we were apart. And the best part about it is that it’s unfinished. Uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can even be filled with extraordinary potential.”

Best YA Contemporary I’ve read all year? Yes. Best YA Contemporary I’ve read ever? Perhaps. From the beautiful romance, to the masterful different family dynamic depictions, to just having a story that made me smile on almost every page. Friends, this made my heart so very happy, and now I just want to read any and everything that Jenn Bennett has written and will write.

Basically, this is a story about two families, who live right next to each other, who also have places of business right next to each other. One family is two sapphic women and their son, who own a sex shop, unapologetically. And the other family owns some sort of health medical practice, where the father is embarrassed to be so close to a sex shop, while the mother and daughter do not care in the slightest. The families used to be close with one another, but a secret falling out has led to them not speaking at all. But, friends, I promise you, this is the best boy next door story I’ve read maybe ever.

Zorie – Obsessed with all things astronomy, and even though she has been isolating herself from her old friends, when she gets the opportunity to go glamping with them, she takes it as an opportunity to shoot the stars and accepts. Zorie is also dealing with a probable secret that her father has been harboring, when she unexpectedly gets some of his mail.

Lennon – Biracial, nerdy, and so very into hiking and camping. And because of a sudden unexpected turn of events, he is also going on the glamping trip, even though him and Zorie haven’t spoken as friends in a long while.

You all probably see where this is going, but what I didn’t see coming is them getting lost in the woods and becoming somewhat dependent on one another to survive. I for sure wouldn’t say this is a survival story, but there are some high risks that really kept me on the edge of my seat.

But obviously romance blooms and I couldn’t get enough of this story. I was honestly swooning, and the chemistry between these two characters was utter perfection while also being so damn believable. Also, this book was so sex positive! And I was completely living for it! Normalize healthy and consensual sex in YA, thank you! And thank you Jen Bennett, because she totally delivered in Starry Eyes.

I also want to touch upon Zorie’s relationship with her stepmother, because it was truly the best adoption relationship I’ve ever read in all my years. Joy was honestly the best side character; she’s Korean, she’s kind, and she’s the mother of my dreams, honestly. No spoilers, but when she told Zorie that she was the reason…. I cried so hard. Blood will only ever just be blood, and blood has nothing to do with who you claim as your parent, and this book honestly is five stars alone because of Joy and Zorie’s relationship. Again, my heart is so very full.

Overall, this book really just brought me so much bliss. It touched upon so many hard-hitting topics, the relationship dynamics were so expertly done, the family (both blood and found) was beyond words perfect, and the romance still has me weak in the knees. Seriously, I know I made this joke 102 times on Booktube, but I want to buy a tent and a rainstorm with Park Jimin. Okay. Pick up this book. Love you all, bye.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), loss of a parents in the past, infidelity of a side character, talk of suicide, homophobia (always in a negative light), and grief depiction.