ARC Review: SWIFT THE STORM, FIERCE THE FLAME by Meg Long (2023)

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: January 17, 2023
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Review of Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves (2022)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content warning: gun violence, weather disasters, blood, explosions, loss of parents, colonialism, implied nonconsensual medical experimentation, mentions of torture. There is a wolf. The wolf experiences some peril, but the wolf does not die or suffer permanent injury

Once again, Meg Long takes the reader on a journey that is full of feeling, fun worldbuilding, and the complexity of friendship and surviving trauma. Sena and her wolf, Iska, are side characters in this adventure told from Remy’s point of view. It takes them to Maraas, a lush, jungle planet plagued by a hellstorm which rests the landscape every two weeks and the corporations at war with the syndicates. Remy searches for a good friend who she lost several years ago, and that might mean teaming up with the boy who betrayed their partnership at the same time.

Excellently paced, intriguing, and healing, I really enjoyed this return to Long’s slice of the cosmos, this time in stormy jungle rather than in a frozen tundra.

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November 2022 Reading Recap

November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).

November’s blog interviews were:

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ARC Review: HOUSE OF YESTERDAY by Deeba Zargarpur (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Speculative Contemporary
Year Release: November 29th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to a NetGalley AudioARC
Content warning: intergenerational trauma, domestic violence, divorce, blood, vehicular manslaughter

Fifteen-year-old Sara is really going through it between her parents’ impending divorce, her Bibi Jan’s dementia, and the house her mother is flipping that is unequivocally haunted by a ghost which may be a part of Sara’s past. Family secrets and a truth hidden for generations come together in this contemporary fiction that’s as much about community within an immigrant family as it is about Sara’s personal coming of age.

If you’re looking for a YA book with a younger protagonist and no romance arc that’s as heart-wrenching as it is spooky, you are in for a treat. Definitely among the best books I’ve read this year.

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October 2022 Reading Recap

October was my first month without my main WIP. Because I’ve been in such an intense state of revision, I took October off to tap into things I’ve wanted to watch and read for a while, and honestly, it’s been quite restorative. 10/10 highly recommend. I might have a new project in the works, but it’s all joy and no stress. Book-shaped, but without all the other intensity.

Which, speaking of, it’s November. Am I doing NaNoWriMo? Who knows.

October’s blog interviews were:

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ARC Review: THE SCRATCH DAUGHTERS (The Scapegracers #2) by H.A. Clarke (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Year Release: October 25th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Content warning: kidnapping, murder, queerphobia, parental abuse, drug use, attempted school shooting, school lockdown, eating an eyeball, arson
Gentle spoilers for The Scapegracers

The queer witch gang is back in the second installment of The Scapegracers trilogy. It picks up where the previous book left off, with Sideways without her specter, and the only clues anyone has are Sideways’ mental connection with Madeline, the girl who stole it. The Chantry boys remain a threat, on top of the typical teenage foibles of finals and catching up on one’s studies.

Intense in its magic and its love for queer women and teen friendships, this second entry is a triumph, and I have several fears for Sideways and gang in book three.

An interview with H.A. Clarke is forthcoming.

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September 2022 Reading Recap

Somehow, September also saw me in New York City. We can thank the CDC for letting me reunite with my best friend from my childhood in Poland, along with several others who I haven’t seen in years even before the pandemic. This is also a reminder for folks to get the bivalent booster if you are 18 and haven’t had COVID within the last 3 months.

I finished my revision and resubmitted it, which is my big project completion that robbed me lots of reading time. Now, I’m resting an embarking on a reading adventure to learn how to write a horny goth book. Hopefully, I’ll be able recapping that in October’s post. But we’ll see.

This month’s blog interviews were:

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ARC Review: DIREWOOD by Catherine Yu (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to a NetGalley AudioARC
Content warning: body & bug horror, death, on-page violence, racial microaggressions, vomiting

Aja’s perfect sister Fiona goes missing and strange things start happening: blood rain, a mysterious fog, blood-sucking grubs, all precursors to the arrival of a vampire. She strikes a bargain with Padraic and tries to free the kids in his thrall, including her ex-friend Mary.

Gross, goth, and steeped in 90’s vampire aesthetic, a fun read for folks constantly searching for new vampire content.

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Author to Author with Aden Polydoros (Bone Weaver)

Bone Weaver tells the story of a girl raised by benevolent undead, a tsar on the run, and a boy witch helping each other survive in a secondary world fantasy inspired by imperial Russia. Its layered world-building, examination of monstrosity, sisterly love, and queer characters make this an enchanting read that will delight any fan of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.

Today, Aden tells me a bit about putting this dark fantasy adventure together, from its open image to the research behind the tale. He also shares how the story evolved and what he’s working on next.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

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August 2022 Reading Recap

August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!

I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.

This month’s blog interviews were:

September is off to a hype start, with me getting to announce a short story with the inaugural edition of the Best Served Cold zine.

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ARC Review: BONE WEAVER by Aden Polydoros (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Dark Fantasy
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Content warning: on-page murder and violence, decapitation, gun violence, body horror, off-page dismemberment, reference to the mutilation of corpses, religious and ethnic persecution, death of a parent (off-page)

Toma lives in the wilderness with her benevolent upyri parents and younger sister. A dirigible erupts near their home, where the found family nurses a boy back to help. He turns out to Mikhail, the tsar who is on the run from violent revolutionaries. The two run off to find Toma’s sister, Galina, stolen by enemies, and pick up a snarky boy witch on the way.

With layered world-building that examines monstrosity and otherness with an endearing cast, this one is a must-read for fans of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.

An interview with the author is going up on September 20th, release day.

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