Reviews

The Best Kind of Magic ★★★½☆☆

25436641A cute premise with great potential that was squandered by a forgettable character voice and boring writing.

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works at her mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

A lot about this world is never clear from the start, including many key points about our protagonist. Her voice fluctuates from sounding like a 13 year old to a 16 year old, I never get a clear picture of her—and in fact only find out she had funky colored hair about a third of the way through the book—and her slang is outdated. In fact, it goes from Amber saying “amazeballs” to saying “gag me”.

There’s a lot of overcorrection and inconsistencies in the narrative, which not only means it’s annoying to the reader but also confusing. It feels like a waste of my time if the character spends a paragraph going “Well, actually…”. On multiple occasions, Amber mentions that not a lot of people know about magic or the magical underworld of Chicago, and yet a majority of her high school population is some brand of fey or troll or magical being.

I wasn’t invested in the story or even interested in really finding out what happens to the characters until nearly half way through the book. As a matter of fact, I was bored through most of it.

And even worse, the climax felt cheap as the threat never threatening at all. The one redeeming quality of the finale was Kim, as that would have been the only reason I would continue to read the story.

All in all, I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it, and I was more intrigued by the concept than the actual story. Amber’s voice irritated me and I didn’t quite root for her during the story. I would read book 2, but I wouldn’t buy it.

Buy it here!

Writing · Blogging

Weekend Writing Goals

I’ve been working at my Day Job non stop this entire week, and I’ve got doubles all weekend so I’ve got even less time than usual to write and read.

Sometimes, I have to wonder, when does my Day Job stop becoming just that? A day job is meant to be a supplementary place of income, something to get me by in the winter months. But I’m practically working over time—of course, the summer is the peak of BBQ season so of course I’m working plenty—and it’s leaving me more drained and less likely to want to get my writing done.

But I’m coming on 30k in this draft of my YA Fantasy and I’m nearly at the end of Act 1. Someone’s about to get kidnapped! I’m excited.

It’s been a lot of fun getting back into this manuscript. Every time I take a break from the story and the world and instead focus my writing on a different project, this world is just sort of sitting at the back of my head. It’s always so tempting to go back to it, even if I know I need to take time off from it.

So this weekend I’m hoping to hit 35k and get as close to the end of Act 1 as I can.

What are your weekend writing goals?

Blogging · Reading

ARC Roundup

I’ve got some new ARCs from Netgalley to read and I’m pretty excited about diving into these because they all sound like books I’d love, so I figure I’d share them with y’all!

Witchtown

Publication Date: July 18th, 2017

I requested a couple different witch themed books around the same time, including the first book in the Windy City Magic series, The Best Kind of Magicand Witchtown was requested shortly after. I love witchy stories and urban fantasies about witches so we’ll see how this one goes!

30971734.jpgWhen sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.

Zero Repeat Forever

Publication Date: August 29th, 2017

I have a secret love for sci-fi and space books, and also just look at that beautiful cover!!

28945665He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

Girls Made of Snow & Glass

Publication Date: September 5th, 2017

Fairy tale retelling? Check. Feminist retelling? Double check. Two girls made magically? Heck yeah! I’m a little hesitant on the present/past alternating stories since we already know that Mina ends up as the stepmother, but hopefully I’m proven wrong and it’ll be a great story!

34932579Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy retelling of the Snow White fairytale as you’ve never heard it before, tracing the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start: the beautiful princess and stepmother queen.

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Blogging

A New Podcast Appears!

bookedallnightI’ve been hard at work lately with my good friend JM Tuckerman over at our new YA blog BookedAllNight.blog and we’ve been two busy birds making a new podcast! We used to podcast once upon a time over at Round Robin Writes but we always ended up falling behind because it was a “Whenever Our Adult Lives Allow Us” type of thing.

But now we’ve got a schedule and a plan to keep to so we’re going to have a constant stream of neat YA bookish content coming to your earbuds.

Our premiere episode will be coming out tonight Thurdsay June 15th, at 11 PM EST. It’s a late night podcast so it’s to theme!

Follow our RSS feed here: https://bookedallnight.blog/category/podcast/feed/

And our Feedburner: http://feeds.feedburner.com/bookedallnight/jOjU

It will be going out to iTunes and Google Play at that time as well.

Blogging

Weekend Writes

Yesterday, I spent some time with my good good friend JM Tuckerman. We’ve been working on some fun projects together, including our new YA book blog, bookedallnight.blog!

We’ve had a little writing project in the works for a little bit now and I’m excited to see it evolve, but we’ve also started podcasting again. The first episode of our new podcast, the Booked All Night podcast, goes live next week. It’s a late night YA podcast, so keep your eyes peeled for a late night release!

Besides that, I also started getting back into the groove of writing my YA Fantasy again. I wrote 3k last night and if I can do half as much each day this weekend, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something again. It’s been hard to get back into a pattern of writing daily, but I’ve got plans to finish this YA Fantasy before my birthday and I plan on writing a lot this July when I’m in Poland with family.

So this weekend, I’m hoping to get through the first act and see where that leaves me. I did hit 25k last night though, and that’s a great accomplishment!

What are y’all writing this weekend? 

Blogging

Currently Reading | June 6, 2017

With BookCon behind me, I’ve got a handful of ARCs to read. Which only reminded me of the long list of ARCs I have waiting for me on NetGalley…

So I’m going to try and make a dent in those!

Right now, I’m currently reading:

Windy City Magic: The Best Kind of Magic

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Buy it here!

25436641.jpgAmber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works at her mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

Technically, this book came out almost a month ago, so I gotta get through this one quick. But a witch whose magic power includes the ability to find a person’s soulmate sounds like so much fun and I love the idea of it!

Next up on the ARC reading list:

Witchtown

Publication Date: July 18th, 2017

Pre-order it here!

30971734When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.

I was on a bit of a witch kick when I requested a bunch of these ARCs, so let’s see how these turn out!

Blogging

BookCon 2017!

IMG_20170604_110640_571.jpgAnother year, another BookCon!

I love BookCon, despite it’s many faults. I love seeing book fans and being there with friends and going to panels and autographing lines. I always get emotional and I always leave with a fire under my ass, because I’m always imagining myself on the other side of the booth, of the table, greeting fans of my own books.

I always tend to write the most in the days following BookCon, despite how tired I am afterwards.

I went to BookCon this year with some friend; of course, I was with JM Tuckerman the whole time, and two of the former Robin girls, Emily & Liz, completed the group. We had a great time, despite sleeping in the creepiest hotel ever.

IMG_20170603_174514_541.jpgOf course, I went to the Marie Lu autographing session, despite having all of her current series (I honestly was hoping to nab the Warcross arc, but no such luck. I almost had a panic attack in the crowd of people that mobbed the Penguin booth) & the Susan Dennard signing (she’s just such a lovely person and I love seeing her). I also ended up going to the Welcome to Night Vale signing, despite barely listening to the podcast, because my boyfriend is such a huge fan and he wanted his book signed.

The ARC & tote bag haul was pretty minimal this year. Usually, I’ve got 20 ARCs in hand and 8 tote bags, but no such luck this year. I did manage to pick up an ARC for The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke, which I’ve seen on Twitter and have been dying to get my hands on a review copy.

I’m definitely looking forward to hitting up BookCon again in 2018, though hopefully I’ll be able to afford tickets to BEA too!

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