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Positive Feelings: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Hi!

A little while back Harper Childrens’ Audio was kind enough to send me a review copy of Heather Demetrios’ first book in the new Dark Caravan series, Exquisite Captive. This book was inspired by Arabian Nights, which is not a story you see popping up in YA fiction that often, so I was pretty interested from the beginning.

Overview

Exquisite Captive by Heather DemetriosNalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

My Thoughts

Overall, I have positive feelings toward Exquisite Captive. The story, although feeling similar to some other stories I’ve read recently, was for the most part unique. The idea of a genie being enslaved to its wish maker (master) is one I had never really given much thought to, usually assuming the genie doesn’t mind granting wishes. But duh! Of course the genie would hate being entrapped by someone else even if that someone else treats you like a princess giving you all the material things you’d want.

Nalia’s backstory, which unfolds as the story progresses, also opens up the door to a world entirely separate from our own. Most of Exquisite Captive takes place in our contemporary world, but with Nalia’s back story we learn more about the Dark Caravan and the home she has left behind. I’m excited at the prospect of exploring the world of Arjinna as the series continues as well.

One thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the love triangle between Nalia, Malek, and Raif. I have to admit we’re not given much to ship in this love triangle. Malek, Nalia’s sometimes kind, sometimes cruel master is incredibly confusing in his behavior and treatment of Nalia, while Raif is pretty boring. This causes me to feel conflicted over who I should be cheering on! Malek is a mean, although good-looking, slave owner and Raif is a boring, also good-looking, jinni rebel. Honestly I think I’m leaning towards Malek – at least he’s interesting!

Conflicting love triangle aside, I do have mostly positive feelings toward Exquisite Captive. The story is interesting and unique and I will mostly likely pick up book two, Blood Passage, when it releases later this year. In the end I believe that Exquisite Captive would be best enjoyed by paranormal romance fans (it feels more like paranormal romance than fantasy) would enjoy this read!

Details

Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Balzer+Bray (October 7, 2014)
Format: Audiobook
Length: 13 hours and 44 minutes
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: YA

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Cabinet

Hi!

I honestly can’t believe I haven’t posted about The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, and how much I want it to be released already!!

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The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen JohnsonAt the end of Maureen Johnson’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Madness Underneath, Rory, Callum and Boo are reeling from the sudden and tragic death of their friend and squad leader, Stephen. The Shadow Cabinet picks up where readers left off, and now Rory is convinced there must be a way to bring Stephen back. Meanwhile, new dangers arise: Rory’s classmate Charlotte is missing, and Jane and her nefarious organization are clearly planning something big—with Rory as their most valuable asset. Time is running out as the ghost squad struggles to protect London and Rory fights to bring Stephen back.

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The Shades of London series is one of my favorite unfinished series out there right now! I’m not normally drawn to creepy reads, but these books combine the right amount of creep with humor, history, romance, and suspense. To make it even better, all of this fun stuff is placed smack dab in the middle of a boarding school in LONDON. YES!!!

According to Goodreads, The Shadow Cabinet isn’t scheduled to release until March 2015. So, we have a bit to wait don’t we?!

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Creepy Chills and Gatsby: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Hi!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the Roaring 20s. My mom bought a history of fashion books when I was a little kid and I remember paging through it and always stopping on the 1920s fashion plates. I begged my mom to let me be a flapper for Halloween in 6th grade (I was an age appropriate flapper), and anytime there is a costume party, the 20s flapper is one of my go-to dress up eras!

Although I had head that it was pretty creepy, once I realized that The Diviners by Libba Bray was set in New York in 1926, I knew I wanted to read it.

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Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the oThe Diviners by Libba Brayccult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

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Libba Bray rocks my socks off. Her Gemma Doyle trilogy (set in Victorian England) is one of my favorite YA series ever and she definitely didn’t disappoint me with The Diviners! One of the best things about The Diviners is the setting. Evie’s story is set smack dab in the middle of New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties, a decade that was made for excitement, drama, pleasure, and parties. Spiritualism was quite the trend at the time so what better place to set your paranormal thriller than in this era of heightened experiences? Bray delves so deep into the period that the story just drips with flappers and jazz!  Everything from the catch phrases to fashion and dancing, and as the history nerd I am I really enjoyed seeing tidbits of other social issues like prohibition, eugenics, and cultism in response to society’s loosening structure….it’s all there!

Our main character Evie, is the 1920s personified. Evie is your small town girl searching for love, life, and excitement in the big city. I just love her! Yes, she is annoyingly rebellious, stubborn and overly ready to get her way, but she is also endearing and loyal and all around fun! Sometimes she creates drama where drama needn’t be…like in a creepy basement where murders may or may not have happened, but in the end Evie is a girl who wants to feel everything and is constantly seeking ways to make life even the teensiest bit more intoxicating. She’s definitely the kind of girl you want in your group of friends because life is always interesting with Evie! The supporting characters are all really engaging as well, especially Memphis and Theta! I assume we’ll get even more of them as the series progresses, which is good because there is some weird stuff going on with this group of friends!

The Diviners is super long (550+ pages) but is so well paced you just can’t stop reading (or listening in my case) and I never once felt like the story was dragging in any way. Yes, there is the fun flapper aspect to the story, but with Naughty John, The Diviners is also a dark, frightening paranormal thriller complete with the occult, ritualistic killings, and characters who have mysterious supernatural gifts. This story definitely has enough creep factor to make you keep all the lights on at night!

For those of you (eighth grade and up) who enjoy paranormal thrillers and want a book that will give you chills while also make you want to throw a Gatsby themed party, The Diviners is absolutley, pos-i-tute-ly a must. One warning though, it will leave you wanting so much more! Since this is the first in a series there are tons of unanswered questions and plot points that have yet to fully unravel! I can’t wait for Lair of Dreams!

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 18, 2012)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 18 hours and 14 minutes

Narrator(s): January LaVoy

Series: First in the Diviners series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Hi there!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine. It’s set aside as a time to celebrate upcoming new releases that I’m excited about. This week, I’m looking forward to Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third installment in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterI read the first book, The Raven Boys, in the series and really, really enjoyed it! I was pleasantly surprised by how unique it was among all the other supernatural fiction out there. But then I read The Dream Thieves, the second book in the series, and had issues. Maybe it was just the wrong time for me to read it or something, but we just didn’t mesh. It took me forever to finish it. With that said, I’m definitely interested in Blue Lily, Lily Blue because I’m wondering how the rest of the series will go. I really, really want it to be as good as the first book…I want to love it!

I can’t find a summary anywhere online, so I guess Stiefvater hasn’t released it yet. I’ll have to keep my eyes out for it, but I do know that Blue Lily, Lily Blue is scheduled to be released this coming October.  I’m excited to see how this one goes!

What book are you waiting on this week?

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Lair of Dreams

Happy Wednesday!

We are getting closer and closer to the end of the school year! In my district there is only about 5 weeks left! It’s pretty amazing just how quickly this year has sped by…as cliche as that sounds.

I recently read The Diviners by Libba Bray and was completely and utterly entranced by it! Lair of Dreams by Libba BraySo, I’m trying to be patient, but I just can’t wait for book two in the series, Lair of Dreams, to release in 2015!

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Pretty much anything set in the 1920s will make me a happy reader, and I can’t wait to see where Evie’s story goes next! Too bad I have so long to wait!

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When It’s a Struggle: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Hi there everyone!

You know how you read the first book in a series, love it and crave the next book. Sometimes you get that second book and it’s awesome. You enjoyed it just as much as the first. And then sometimes you The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvaterget to the next book and find that you’re struggling a bit. It’s just not what you were hoping for.  It’s a bit of a let down, really.

Well folks, that is what happened to me recently with The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the second book on her Raven Cycle series and I found myself having a difficult time getting through it.

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

When The Raven Boys first came out I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but then I read the book and I ended up loving Stiefvater’s unique take on the paranormal genre. It was a really enthralling read! So, naturally you’d expect me to be excited about book two, which I totally was. However, when I started reading The Dream Thieves I just couldn’t get into it. I’d read like five pages, then pick up my phone.  I’d spend two minutes reading and ask my husband a question. Distraction over distraction just kept coming up and in the end it took me about two months to actually finish this book! Was it me or the story itself? I don’t know for sure, perhaps it was a mix of the two? All I knew was that something was wrong!

In the end I think I was just bored. It seemed like the luster of Stiefvater’s creative paranormal story kind of became dull. By book two, the qualities that originally made the story unique just became a little ho-hum. So much of the story focused on Ronan trying to figure out his dreams, which don’t get me wrong are really cool, but it felt like the story just ran really, really slow. It’s almost like nothing happened for a large portion of the book! I just wanted to know more about Blue and her “curse”, and Gansey’s search for Cabeswater, but all I got was Ronan’s moodiness on full blast. The only parts of the book that were really interesting to me were all the scenes with The Gray Man. He was mysterious and his scenes were always wrought with tension because he is so dangerous and I never knew if I could trust him or not. These were the pages I turned with anticipation, in contrast to all the others that left me feeling “blah”.

Is it possible that I just wasn’t in the mood for The Dream Thieves when I read it? Yes. Is it possible that this book just wasn’t as interesting as book one? Yes. I strongly believe both factors played a role in my struggle with this book. All in all I was disappointed with the whole experience, but I know that others absolutely adored this book, so if you really read The Raven Boys and enjoyed it, go ahead and give The Dream Thieves a try. Hopefully you’d finish it in less than the two months it took me! haha

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2013)

Format: Kindle

Length: 439 pages

Series: Second book in The Raven Cycle series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Boys #2) (Raven Cycle)

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Jocelyn Davies

Hi!

I hope everyone had a fab weekend!

GUYS! This year’s YALL Fest is only two weeks away! Two weeks!

I’m getting really pumped to join up with all my fellow book nerds to celebrate reading and the awesomeness that is YA fiction!

Today’s author interview is with one of the 50 great authors who will be at YALL Fest, Jocelyn Davies author Jocelyn Daviesof the A Beautiful Dark trilogy. I haven’t read any of these books yet, but I have to admit the covers of her books intrigue me!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

COFFEE! And a cocoon of silence.

Describe your book in 5 words

Girl has angel blood, torn.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

It differs from book to book–really, it’s anyone’s guess! Sometimes, the first line is hardest, because I’m just getting started and I’m not warmed up yet, and by the time I get to the end, I’ve got the momentum of an entire book to propel me into that last line. Then again, sometimes a first line just pops into my head, and the whole idea unfolds from there. Theres usually no way to know what is going to happen until it’s happening, which is often the approach I take to writing.

Best writing tip you ever received?

“Create interesting characters, give them an excuse to meet, and the story will write itself.”

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I’m a dog person–cats kind of freak me out.

I was a theater kid in high school. I used to dream of being an Oscar-winning actress.

I love everything about autumn.

I live a few blocks away from my best friend from high school.

In my day job, I’m also a children’s book editor.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

I love magical realism—a novel that’s set in the real world, but ever-so-slightly different.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

I usually have a pretty strong sense right from the moment the idea comes to me. I start writing knowing I’m embarking on a novel.

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies A Fractured Ligth by Jocelyn Davies

Like I said I’m intrigued by the covers to Jocelyn Davies books, you know because they feature girls in pretty dresses which is of course a thing of mine! Haha

Well, if you’re a fan of Jocelyn Davies’ books and you’re in the southeast, you should join us at YALL Fest in Charleston on Saturday, November 9th!

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YALL Fest Interview: Lisa McMann

Hello!

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

Have you heard of YALL Fest yet? Well, it’s going to be an exciting YA Book Festival in Charleston, SC on November 9! Also, (and this is the kicker) 50 crazy awesome YA authors will be there! People like Maire Lu, Allie Condie, Libba Bray, Heather Brewer, Rae Carson, Veronica Roth and today’s interviewee Lisa McMann!

Lisa McMannLisa McMann is the author of the Wake trilogy, the Vision series, Dead to You and the Unwanteds series.

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Silence.

Best writing tip you ever received?

“Think of the one thing your main character would never, ever do. Now make her do it.”

What are you working on now?

We’ll be ramping up the releases of books 5, 6, and 7 in the Unwanteds series, so I’m working on Unwanteds book 5 right now.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

I really enjoy writing in a variety of genres, from realistic to paranormal to dystopian fantasy. At the moment, fantasy is winning, but that could change at any moment. My favorite genre to read is memoir.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

As soon as I have a one line concept that gives me a little shiver.

Wake by Lisa McMann Crash by Lisa McMann

Well, I’m excited to have the opportunity to meet Lisa McMann, along with my favorite YA authors at this year’s YALL Fest! Who are you most excited to see?

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Michelle Hodkin

Hi there book loving friends!

Does anyone else feel like October has flown by? I swear I blinked and all of a sudden its a week away from Halloween. Weird.

Part of my amazement also relates to the fact that YALL Fest is getting so freaking close! I’ll be there on November 9th and you should be too! But with that said let’s hear from one of the 50 (yes 50!) awesome authors who will be at this year’s YALL Fest: Michelle Hodkin, author of the Mara Dyer books.

Describe your book in 5 wordsMichelle Hodkin
Romeo and Juliet meets Hitchcock

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
I spend a lot of time thinking about my first lines. A lot of time. Too much time. Luckily the last lines usually come to me as I write. 

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?
What I love about YA is that I don’t have to choose a genre. I can blend elements and mess with conventions from all of them—horror, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, whatever. I’m not sure I could choose a favorite, if I were ever told that I had to. And my reading is all over the place, but right now I’m reading a lot of old school sci-fi and fantasy, with some literary fiction thrown in. 

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It’s not YA, but it is about a teenager who reminds me of my teen self. And maybe also my adult self. Anyway. I basically push the book into the hands of everyone I meet. It’s just that good.

What are you working on now?
A secret project that is secret. But I’m wildly excited about it, and I think my readers will be too.The Mara Dyer Trilogy

Okay, so I have to admit that I haven’t read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, or any of the books in the series, but I’m super intrigued by Michelle’s description “Romeo and Juliet meets Hitchcock”! What?! I had no idea that I needed to read this, but apparently I totally do!

So, if you’re a fan of Michelle Hodkin’s books or just a YA book lover like me, you should come to YALL Fest in Charleston on November 9!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Ransom Riggs

Hi there!

Want to hear something awesome and scary all at once? Sure you do!

Tomorrow I’m going on an overnight school field trip with about 50 6th graders! AHHHH!

I know…things will most likely be interesting but in my entire 7 years of education I’ve never Ransom Riggschaperoned an overnight field trip so I’m super excited to see what it’s like!

Today we’re celebrating the upcoming YALL Fest in Charleston on November 9th! Around here we celebrate YALL Fest with an author interview! YAY!  Today’s author is Ransom Riggs (I just love his name), author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! So let’s learn some things about “Mr. Awesome Name Ransom Riggs“!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Silence. My noise-cancelling headphones have become almost essential.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first. I rewrite and rewrite it a million times. The last comes easy.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I’m six foot four. I lived on a working farm until I was five. I used to know how to cook Indian food but now I’ve forgotten. I love documentaries. One day I will conquer the moon.

Miss PEregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs What are you working on now?

A novel for Little, Brown the plot of which is SECRET! (Sort of, for now. But I’m really excited about it.)

 What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

Oh, definitely YA to write in. I read everything, lots of YA, lots of adult, nonfiction of all sorts. I even read poetry when I’m feeling ambitious. I think it’s crucial to have lots of different influences. If you only read in the genre you write in, your writing will sound like everything else that’s already out there.

If you don’t have plans to go to this year’s YALL Fest to see Ransom Riggs and 50 other amazing Young Adult authors than you should. It sounds like its going to be very cool!