Top Ten Tuesday: 10 YA Fantasy Books without Magic!

My brain really likes to compartmentalize things, lists make my soul happy. I’m currently working on a VERY long list of 50 high fantasy YA books, but I’ve noticed a number of YA books which don’t quite fit into the ‘high fantasy’ genre, they have the setting but they lack the magic. So, of course, my mind wants to have these together in list form- so here we are.

I love books with magic, but books with the historical aspects of most fantasy books, without the magic are really interesting as well! I

(The list of 50 YA high fantasy books is going to take some t i m e, so it will be out soon, but not too soon)

So let’s get started!

1.  The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

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When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

[Add to goodreads]

2. And I Darken by Kiersten White

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No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

[add to goodreads]

3. Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

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In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

[add to Goodreads]

4. Ruined by Amy Tintera

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A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

[add to Goodreads]

5. Valiant by Lesley Livingston

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Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

[Add to Goodreads]

6. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

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Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadowsis Sophie Jordan at her best.

[Add to goodreads]

7. Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

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Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

[Add to goodreads]

8. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

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Two clans. Only one will survive.

The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.

[Add to goodreads]

9. Long May she Reign by Rihannon Thomas

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

[Add to Goodreads]

10. Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

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Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . .

[Add to Goodreads]

 

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Five for Friday: 5 YA Books set around Weddings!

We are officially in the midst of wedding season! Weddings are happening everywhere at the moment- I myself was a bridesmaid at one only a week ago.

Wedding fever reached a peak this year after the glorious wedding of Meghan and Harry- can we all agree that the whole wedding was complete goals?

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So, its not really a surprise that weddings are having a bit of a renaissance within YA fiction. We’ve seen two major contemporary authors release so called wedding books in the last year, and I for one am LIVING for this troupe- give me ALL the wedding books please! So I decided to see how many more wedding centric YA books I could find- and heres the list!

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

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Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

I was interested in this at first because I read somewhere that Charlie, the protagonist, plans the wedding which ends up going all wrong- and event planning is what I do. Plus, even though things going wrong at my events would be the worst, I’m sure I could see the humour in this fictional event ending up being a disaster.

This book was released in June 2018.

[Add to goodreads] 

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

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Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Another YA wedding book! This one was released last summer, and also centres around a wedding planner, of sorts, and a romance.

[Add to your goodreads]

The Story of Us by Deb Calleti

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Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:

Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.

While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her….

This one was released a whole while ago, but it definitely centres around a wedding- so it counts, alright? This one also sounds interesting, the wedding sounds like more of a backdrop to the story but there’s that family drama that weddings can cause in the mix as well.

[Add on Goodreads]

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

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Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.

This is one I definitely want to read- the premise is so unique- warring wedding chapels? Sign me up. I wonder if real Las Vegas wedding chapels do have rivalries…

[Add to Goodreads] 

And last but not least-

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

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I’m not going to add the synopsis here, because this is the third book in the series and spoilers are a thing, but lets just say there is a wedding in this book. Thats all.


 

Do you know any more books that include weddings? Let me know!

Waiting on Wednesday: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal!

 

Out of all the upcoming books I am anticipating, We Hunt the Flame has one of the most unique premises- and beautiful cover art.

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Synopsis from Goodreads;

The darkness speaks to those who listen. Those who listen are those who have accepted the darkness.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing in Arawiya, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, WE HUNT THE FLAME is a gripping story of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

[add to goodreads]

I have this thing about women dressing up as men trope- maybe why Twelfth Night is my favourite Shakespearean play), and I also enjoy reading about characters who are reluctant players in their own story, which seems to be the case here.

We Hunt the Flame is out in May 2019- almost a year away…

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Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer!

28421168Regenades by Marissa Meyer, the author best known for the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, is the first of a triology which follows Nova, a member of the underground ‘villain’ group the Anarchists, who blames the the superhero group the Renegades for her parents and uncles murder. 

When Nova was a child the city was lawless- governed by warring groups of supers, people with powers, who offer protection to citizens for money. Unfortunately the Renegades who should have been protecting her parents don’t arrive when they really need them, leaving Nova in the protection of her uncle- who just so happens to be the leader of one the biggest superhero groups- Ace Anarchy.

Fast forward 11 years and the Renegades ultimately won the battle to take over the city, and now govern. The few Anarchists who survived the battle in which Nova’s uncle lost his life to the hands of Captain Chronium, everyone’s favourite superhero, are now underground, literally, living in an abandoned subway tunnel. 

But Nova, or her Anarchist alias- Nightmare, can see that underneath the facade to see that the Renegades are becoming dictators, they abuse their powers and allow no one to challenge them. Seeing no other way to stop them Nova decides to infiltrate the Renegades ranks herself to see how they can be taken down from the inside.

Adrian Everheart has grown up a Renegade- both of his dads are Renegades, in fact, his dads are Captain Chronium and Dread Warden, famous for defeating Ace Anarchy. Adrian has been experimenting with his powers when he battles Nightmare and barely wins. Obsessed with finding her again, and finding out why she uttered the same phrase as his mother’s mysterious murder, he starts a investigation into the shadowy figure.

When he meets Nova at the Renegades trials a week later will he put the pieces together, or not?

One of the most common negative comment I’ve seen on this book is that nothing happens- and obviously everyone’s opinion is valid- but I’d really like to know if we were reading the same book. SO. MUCH. HAPPENS. It took me half an hour to get that synopsis which only describes about the first 50 pages by the way, down to 300 words, I could have written an essay. I can sort of understand the argument that the characters are in the same place at the start of the book as they are at the end- but we as the reader aren’t, we’ve come so far and I really care about Adrian and Nova by the end and that’s what I feel Meyer was trying to achieve.

Meyer’s strengths in her past works have always been her characters and their relationships, and how she can make you feel connected to them. I’ve said before I feel she needs more then one book to really work up those connections, which is why I didn’t feel too connected to the characters in her standalone book Heartless. Meyer has spent this first book setting up the groundwork of these relationships, and I’m excited to see what she does next.

The plot has also been really intriguing and unique so far, I’ve never read a book with a world quite like this one before. Meyer has spent a lot of time setting up this world, which is really only as large as the city which is the backdrop of the whole book, in a way that really makes the place feel real.

I may be in the minority on this one, but I adored this book, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes next. I’ve heard that this series has been extended from a duology to a trilogy, which is also something I think is great- more space for Meyer to add to those tense relationships.

That said, this book was rather long in places where it was a little unnecessary, and the pacing did need some work.

I’m giving Renegades 4 ice creams out of 5!

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[Add Renegades to Goodreads]

Book News Round-Up! August 17th- #soapgate edition!

Welcome to your fortnightly YA news update with your host, Katie! I’ll be rounding up all the top stories of the last two weeks in the YA world (including the *ahem* soap that took my timeline by storm this week).

Let’s begin!

Let’s start with #soapgate, shall we?

So… where to begin? This week bookstagram and book twitter where shaken by the news that a book subscription box, Bookish and Stuff, included a, *ahem*, soap shaped like an anatomically correct piece of male genitalia- or as the internet is dubbing it- the soap dick- in their most recent Illyrian box (which did come with a 18+ warning before purchase).

I have included a photo below which I don’t think is toooooo graphic- seeing as it’s still in it’s wrapping- plus also, it’s a soap- but viewer discretion is advised…

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Neadless to say, twitter had more then a field day over this, I’m talking like a field week. Everyone had something to say-

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and,

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Whether you think it was funny or grossly inappropriate, it has started up the conversation about the importance of correctly age rating books when they are released. For instance- this box was based on the book series ACOTAR, which is pretty smutty, let’s all admit, yet for some reason it’s classed as a YA book and as such is listed as a ‘Children’s Bestseller’!!!! For a book series I wouldn’t even be able to read aloud without blushing!

It seems that retrospectively placing age warnings on the back haven’t achieved anything either; the books are still stocked with YA books either way- so really can you really say the soap dick was inappropriate for the age group of the readers when it’s more or less in line with the books contents (albeit in a tongue in cheek way)?

Bookish and Stuff have commented on the controversy to say that the debate really comes down to whether ACOTAR ‘should really be YA or NA’ but the fact the series contains ‘graphic sex scenes’ is a fact we are all aware of, and they did warn consumers ‘multiple’ times to the 18+ nature of the box’s contents, which amounts to what is normally sold as a ‘bachelorette joke favors in the real world’.

They added most of their feedback from their costumers has been positive and ‘with everything in life there will always be those that are scandalized. If the box scandalized you, it wasn’t for you’.

Personally, I agree. I was quite shocked when I saw the pictures of the unboxings, but as I read further my opinion changed when I found out this was no rogue dick situation- consumers knew what they where getting themselves into. The argument about whether ACOTAR is YA or NA isn’t within their control, but they had warned people this box wasn’t suitable for teens. I’ve seen people say this is adults encroaching on teen space by oversexualising teen literature- but come on, ACOTAR sexualises itself!

Overall this has proved the age old adage that no publicity is bad publicity, I’m sure this box will see a pick up in sales in the future.

Though if anything in the box was crossing a line for me, it’s the fanfiction which was bound like a booklet and sold- something which really isn’t legal or appropriate.

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We all know authors and publishers have more or less turned a blind eye to the rise of all of this unlicensed merchandise- I’m talking candles and pillows, etc- in the past- but there is a line, and that line is fiction. You cannot sell fanfiction people! You just can’t! Put it online for people to read for free as much as you like, but don’t sell it.

Whether or not Bloomsbury will react to any of this remains to be seen, but what happens in the next couple of weeks could end up changing the things book subscription boxes can get away with without the approval of the rights holder and publisher- or maybe in a month this will have all blown over. We’ll see.

Leigh Bardugo announces new magical yearly planner!

This week we got exciting news from the Six of Crows author, who announced this week she has been working on a grisha/ magical journal/planner!

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We even got a cover AND a release date, all in one go!

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The Severed Moon is on sale from the 29th January 2019, and you can preorder it here!

The most exciting thing about this release is what it means for YA books- is this a new trend? If it is, would you like to see more yearly journals with quotes, inspiration and snippets from your favourite books, or would you rather save your money for real books? I think this is an interesting direction for Leigh to go in, and I’m sure if it’s successful other authors will follow.

Happy release day to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix!

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The movie adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is released today on netflix, and has already been receiving critical praise, with Variety commenting-

If John Hughes were alive today, he might very well make a movie like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which doesn’t talk down to its audience about subjects such as sex and dating, but instead treats them as young adults, demonstrating how anyone’s initial attempts at romance are like learning to walk: We’re all a little bit wobbly at first.

You can read their entire review here.

Last week I counted down five books you should read before their movie adaptation is released, so even though you are out of time for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before you won’t miss out on the rest! You can view that list here!

Holly black finishes her first draft of Queen of Nothing- Cruel Prince #3!

Even though we’ll still have to wait until January to get our hands on the second Cruel Prince book, The Wicked King, Queen of Faeries Holly Black has been hard at work finishing the first draft of the final book of the trilogy- Queen of Nothing.

She tweeted this week-

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To think that right at this very moment, somewhere on a hard drive, is the whole third and final instalment of this series! I’m very excited by this news, though I imagine I will be a great deal more excited when I actually get to the end of The Wicked King!

Authors on Tour!

Laini Taylor has announced she will be on tour to promote the release of Muse of Nightmares from October 2nd to 19th. She will be visiting CA, MO, TX, MN, WI, MI, IL, NJ, NY and OR! See the details here.

 


And that’s it for this fortnight! I’ll see you again in September for the next book news round up!

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 YA books that are set in SPACE

Three years ago I stepped into a cinema to see Star Wars- the Force Awakens, and something clicked inside my mind. Not only did I leave that theatre a star wars fan (I went on to see Force Awakens seven more times before it left the cinema) I left it a sci-fi fan- and a fan of one common sci-fi setting- space.

Since then I have read many, and bought even more, YA books that are set in space so I thought I would share with you some great YA books set somewhere in a galaxy far away.

1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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My favourite child- The Lunar Chronicles is my absolute favourite sci-fi YA series and ranks as one of my favourite series of all time. I just adore the characterisation, the relationships, the build up- all of it. It’s a great starting sci-fi book if you are unsure about the genre, or space books, because it’s rather mild in terms of new worlds- mostly because its set in this one- about 1000 years and three world wars in the future. Space travel exists, but only to the moon, which we’ve taken over.

The best thing about the Lunar Chronicles is that its a retelling of several fairytales in a futuristic way- starting with Cinderella, then Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White, as they meet up and fight to take down the dictator like Queen of the Moon, Levana.

Cinder synopsis from Goodreads;

A forbidden romance.

A deadly plague.

Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget

[Add to Goodreads]

2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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I haven’t yet read Red Rising, but it comes highly recommended by many readers, and I can’t wait to get to it, eventually.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

[Add to Goodreads TBR]

3. Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…

[Add to goodreads TBR]

4. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

[Add to goodreads TBR]

5. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

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She’s a soldier – Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine – Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

[Add to Goodreads TBR]

6. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

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Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an wants vengeance.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, Rheehas spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

[Add to Goodreads TBR]

7. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

[Add to Goodreads TBR]

8. Starflight by Melissa Landers

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Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

[Add to Goodreads TBR]

9. The Diabolic by S.J Kincaid

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Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

[add to Goodreads TBR]

10. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

[Add to your Goodreads TBR]


 

So thats it. 10 YA books set in space! If I’ve missed any out let me know! I already have another list of 10 YA books set in space to come, but I’d love to keep going until I have ALL the YA books set in space, haha!

 

Five for Friday: 5 Books you should read before their adaptation is released

To_All_The_Boys_I've_Loved_Before_Movie_CoverIn celebration of the release of the Netflix movie of All the Boys I’ve Loved Before- which is released a week today- on the 17th- I thought we could count down five books either soon to be released, in production or rumoured to be made into an adaptation so you don’t end up missing out again.

If you are anything like me you like to read the book before you watch the movie, and then you forget to read the book and then the film comes out and you are stuck not knowing whether to watch it without having read it, or try and cram it the night before- I’m hoping researching this list will stop me making that mistake again.

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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The Hate U Give has become one of the most successful YA books of all time, and it’s rightly deserved. It’s an incredibly moving and important narrative on the reality of black young people in the US, and I highly recommend you read it.

The movie adaptation, featuring Amandla Steinberg, is coming out on October 19th.

[Watch the trailer] [Add to Goodreads]

2. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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The Darkest Minds is also a movie featuring Amandla Steinberg, and hopefully it will be successful enough for us to get a sequel- go see it please?

Its already out by the time this post goes up- on the 3rd of August in the US and today!- the 10th in the UK- but you still have some time!

[watch the trailer] [Add to goodreads tbr]

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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News broke a while ago that SJM’s series Throne of Glass had been optioned to be adapted into a TV series.

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There’s been no news about it recently, but with a series as successful as Throne of Glass it seems like inevitably it will be made into either a TV series or movie eventually.

4. The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid

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The Diabolic was optioned when it was first released, but even if it ends up coming to nothing I highly recommend giving it a read- it’s a really good book which I could see being translated for cinema well.

5. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

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This book was picked up a while ago, and is being produced by the same team behind Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve had this on my shelf for eons, and now I finally have the push I needed to get around to it!

[Add to Goodreads]

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday! The Wicked King by Holly Black

Last week I did a round up of all my most anticipated books coming up in the second half of 2018, you can read that here!

This week and from now on we’ll be looking at a specific book I’m pretty excited to be released- and we might as well start with my most anticipated 2019 release- The Wicked King by Holly Black.

26032887The Cruel Prince was hands down my favourite book so far of 2018. I read somewhere that Holly Black is the Queen of writing Faeries- and there has been a bit of a boom in fictional YA faeries in recent times- and boy was that right. These fae are the richest in terms of customs, world building, clothes – FOOD- that I’ve ever read.

The story was really unique as well, as well as a return of the (slight spoiler) dark, morally grey heroine- which is a trope that I LOVE.

Also that cover- yessssssssssss.

 

 

The synopsis for the Wicked King- spoilers ahead for Cruel Prince in the rest of this post.

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

COMPLICATED. FEELINGS. FOR. CARDAN.

*faints*

I need this book right now.

Luckily, as far as 2019 goes, I don’t have that long to go.

The Wicked King is released on January 8th 2019.

[Add to your Goodreads]

 

How to get Free Books!

Recently authors have been speaking up against piracy in the YA world- which is rampant at the moment. Every time you pirate a book you are taking away not only from the author who has worked hard on that book, but also the publishing industry which means less published books in the future- it’s a vicious cycle.

Instead of pirating books, if you can’t afford any why not look at these ways of reading free books?

Ah, the magic word. No, not please, but FREE.  Let’s discuss how to get these golden NO MONEY INVOLVED books.

  1. Swoon Reads

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Swoon reads is a website with crowd sources books, and lets readers vote on what book they most want to be published! Writers can upload their work to Swoon Reads and get constructive feedback from readers, and then readers will be allowed to vote on the winning book. There are always a big selection of books to choose from, and if you can take the time picking through books you don’t like all that much to find ones you will like then you might even be able to say you helped get a book published!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 22.18.58Swoon reads also publishes some great articles on upcoming YA books and news, so it’s a great place to be. On Swoon Reads you can even save books to your shelf and it’ll remember where you last read, so no forgetting your place!

Click here to go and start an account with Swoon Reads!

Advantages:
  • FREE!
  • Easy to use
  • Saves your place
  • No limit to the amount of books you can read at once
  • You can help out aspiring authors!
  • You can vote for your favourite books to be published into actual physical books, so when you pass it in the bookstore you can smile to yourself, knowing you HELPED for that book to be published!
Disadvantages:
  • Due to plagairism you cannot download any books
  • You can only read on Swoon Reads’s website and mobile website
  • This is not a physical book
  • Because of the nature of anyone being able to upload to Swoon Read’s you may have to spend sometime finding a good book
  • Books on Swoon Reads are transient, they move around quite a lot. When they are published they are taken down, but authors can also choose to remove them from the site, so if you get attached to a story you’ll have to remember it could be gone tomorrow.

2. Classics/Out of Copyright

I’m assuming most of you will know about this one, but lets jog your memory if not.

Did you know that books go out of copyright after 70 years? (well, arguably, there’s a lot of rules and exceptions etc, etc) But what that actually means is YOU CAN GET THAT BOOK FOR FREE NOW! With the advent of e-books the only cost of producing out of copyright books, which used to be the cost of printing and binding, has been eradicated. If you want to read a classic on an e-reader or your phone or computer YOU CAN for FREE!

Amazon, or whatever company your e-reader belongs to, will have a catalogue of them if you search for one, but here’s some websites to get started;

Guttenberg.org is a website dedicated to cataloging out of copyright books

This goodreads list lists some popular out of copyright books for you to peruse

(also on sidenote this means you can read ALL THE AUSTEN YOU WANT for free!)

Advantages:
  • It’s free!
  • You can download them to your e-reader or app and take them everywhere you go!
  • There’s loads of choice
  • You can act well-read
Disadvantages
  • It’s not a physical book

3. Free audiobooks

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Much like with out of copyright books, some audiobooks of out of copyright books have been made free for educational purposes. These are totally legal and free to download. There are apps for iPhone and android that will allow you to play them free of charge!

Useful links

Openculture.com is a website used for archiving links to popular free audiobooks

Loyalbooks.com lets you download from their website to your computer!

Librovoxaudio does much the same, but has some foriegn translations of classics as well

Spotify also has a number of audiobooks available.

Advantages:
  • Good for listening/reading while working
  • Good for visually impaired people or people with dyslexic
  • Portable on a mp3 player
Disadvantages:
  • Not always the best narration
  • Takes up a lot of memory/space on your device
  • Not a physical book

4. Netgalley

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Netgalley.com is a website on which publishers share e-ARCs (find out what an ARC is here)to reviewers. The majority of these books are upcoming releases, but some may have already been released and some are even ‘read now’ books, meaning you only have to sign up for a free account to download these books to your reading device and start reading!

Other titles you’ll need to apply to read. Publishers will check things like your location, and the amount of followers you have before they allow or deny you, so these may be harder to get to- but also free.

Do make sure you always leave a review after you’ve been allowed access to a book- even if its to say that you did not finish it, because publishers need these reviews to base marketing and publicity off of- plus netgalley keeps a percentage of the amount of books you’ve accessed vs the amount you’ve reviewed, and if this percentage is below 80% it may affect your future success in accessing books.

5. Your Local Library

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If you are lucky enough to have a local library, then use it! It’s a great resource, plus the more people who use it, the more funding they receive. This is your best bet for getting to read the newest releases for free- and some libraries now have online e-book and audiobook services, so you may not even have to leave your house to check out books.

Book News Round-Up! August 3rd

Hey guys! I’m starting a new series called Book News Round up- a digest of everything you need to know about YA book news from the last couple of weeks. This new series will be updated fortnightly on fridays, and will allow you to catch up with all the latest gossip without the pressure of trawling through twitter feeds and tumblr posts!

Kingdom of Ash gets a cover reveal- plus find out where to buy those special edition copies!

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Kingdom of Ash is the sixth (or possibly seventh book, if like Bloomsbury you are counting the Chaol novel) of the Throne of Glass series- and the last *cries*. How will it end? I’m actually legit scared- I really would be upset if Dorian, Manon and Elide don’t make it out the other side- the other characters I don’t care so much- but don’t touch my children SJM.

Along with any SJM release in recent memory come a plethora of special editions promising extra content, fan art, maps and posters- and Kingdom of Ash is no exception. To find out all the special editions that will be released and where to find them click here.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie releases on Netflix on August 17th

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Bardugo confirms Grisham spin-off series will include fan favourite character Nina Zenik!

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Amazing art by Merwild!

Yes, you’ve read that right, our favourite heartrender will make a comeback in the upcoming Grisha spin-off series, King of Scars, which will follow Nikolai Lantsov in some post Grisha-series shenanigans.

Nina was herself a character in a separate Grisha series spin-off duology, Six of Crows, which followed six very different individuals as they pulled off the heist of a lifetime- think Ocean’s Eleven but with magic. If you’ve read the Six of Crows books but missed out on the Grisha trilogy I highly recommend picking that up before King of Scars is released- and you have plenty of time as it ins’t out until Jan 2019.

If you are completely new to all of the Bardugo Grisha-verse books the best way to start reading them is to start with the Grisha books- Shadow and Bone being the first in the series- and then read the Six of Crows books after that.

Find out everything we know about Queen of Air and Darkness so far!

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You’ll be happy to hear we have only 123 days to go before Queen of Air and Darkness is released on December 4th. Simon teen have released a helpful round up of all the snippets, teasers and other info that has been released so far about Queen of Air and Darkness, which you can read here!

Authors on Tour!

Marie Lu’s Wildcard Tour-

Marie Lu is on tour in September in the US to promote the release of Wildcard! She is visiting ME, TX, NE, OK, WA, AK, HI- visit the Penguin Teen website here to find dates and buy tickets.

Sarah J Maas Kingdom of Ash on Tour-

Sarah J Maas is on tour in October to promote the release of Kingdom of Ash. This tour is a lot smaller then her past tours due to the very recent birth of her first child, so don’t be too sad if she isn’t visiting near you. She is visiting Texas, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles- visit the World of SJM website here to view dates and buy tickets.

Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli visit London in October!

Adam and Becky are promoting their release What if it’s us and will be in conversation with Simon James Wood on October 23rd. Book your tickets here on waterstones.