June 26, 2017

#coverlove: Black and White and Red All Over

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Welcome to #coverlove, a weekly round-up of the best book covers the literary world has to offer. This week's theme was black and white and red all over.

Sorcery for Beginners: A Simple Help Guide to a Challenging & Arcane Art by Matt Harry

Five-hundred years ago, sorcery began to fade from the world. As technology prevailed, combustion engines and computers replaced enchanted plows and spell books. Real magicians were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten. That is … until now.

Sorcery for Beginners is no fantasy or fairy tale. Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), this book is a how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It's also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long war when he uses sorcery to take on a school bully. Owen's spell casting attracts the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, all of whom wish to use Sorcery for Beginners to alter the course of world history forever.



Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff

In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia's suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.



The Never King by James Abbott

Xavir Argentum is rotting in gaol. Sentenced to life in the squalor of Hell's Keep, punishment for an atrocity he didn't commit, the once legendary commander is all but forgotten. His elite band of warriors are dead - and the kingdom he was poised to inherit is oppressed by the tyrant who framed him. For half a decade now, Xavir has ruled nothing but a prison gang. Yet vengeance comes to those who wait. When a former spymaster infiltrates the Keep, bearing news of his old enemy's treachery, plans are forged. A few are compelled to restore peace - an exiled queen, an outcast witch, and an unlikely alliance of rogues and heroes. But peace and vengeance make poor companions. And first, Xavir must make his escape...



Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn't one of the emperor's men—not anymore. He's the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose's attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her ashis hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she'll tell him all the Garden's secrets.

Except the one secret she's kept for seven years that she'll to take to her grave if she must.



The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.



Reckless: The Petrified Flesh by Cornelia Funke

Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies — most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl — a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell — before it's too late.

Got a favorite cover you'd like to share? Tweet it to me @aftanith or drop me a link in the comments below!

June 19, 2017

#coverlove: Feeling Blue

The following post contains affiliate links.

Welcome to #coverlove, a weekly round-up of the best book covers the literary world has to offer. This week's theme was feeling blue.

The Witch and the Vampire King (Immortal Love Series, #2) by Anna Santos

Jessica is a young and powerful witch on a desperate mission to find her soul-mate—a hot vampire king who haunts her dreams with steamy memories of their blissful past life. The problem is that he could already be dead. To complicate matters further, a psychotic vampire is after her. He wants the grimoire she stole.

For protection, she can only rely on her best friend’s family. When she arrives at Affinity, she is brought closer to her goal. But encountering the man of her dreams is only half the battle. Convincing him that she is his reincarnated love may prove to be next to impossible.

Some memories should remain hidden. If unlocked, death will claim Jessica before her enemy. Although, her survival won’t matter if she faces a rejection that will shatter her very soul.



Penelope March Is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby

Something sinister has come to Glacier Cove, an icy-cold town that sits on top of an iceberg . Nothing bad ever happens here. Until now. And it's up to Penelope March to stop it.

Mmm-hmm, that Penelope—the bookworm who lives in the ramshackle house with her brother, Miles. The girl with the mom who—poof!—disappeared. The one everyone ignores . . . except strange Coral Wanamaker, a tiny thing with raven-black hair and a black coat.

When Penelope meets someone who seems to know secrets not only about Glacier Cove but about Penelope herself, she and Miles are pulled into an ancient mystery. Together, they’ll face the coldest, cruelest enemy ever known. Looks like the girl who only reads about adventures is going to start living one.

Magic cookies! Volcanoes! Penguins! Sea monsters! And a girl hero with the strength and imagination to spring into action.



The November Girl by Lydia Kang

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there's no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I'm half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can't protect him from the storms coming for us.



The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Caron Levine

In this compelling and thought-provoking fantasy set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine introduces a spirited heroine who must overcome deeply rooted prejudice—including her own—to heal her broken country.

Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.

But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.



Moon Princess by Barbara Laban

Sienna is unhappy. Her mother has disappeared and she feels alone in Shanghai. Her only friend is Rufus--a sarcastic invisible dog with a VERY clear idea of how things should be done.

When their mean housekeeper starts acting suspiciously, Sienna decides to investigate. She follows a trail of clues that leads her to a new friend, Feng, who also has an invisible animal friend and has lost a family member. Together they embark on a hunt through China that leads them to new friends, even more invisible animals, and a mysterious moonlit temple where Sienna's mother and Feng's brother were last seen.

Are the disappearances linked to a priceless statue of the famous moon princess? And can they discover the dangerous truth?



The Eye of the North by Sinead O'Hart

When Emmeline’s scientist parents mysteriously disappear, she finds herself heading for a safe house, where allies have pledged to protect her. But along the way, she is kidnapped by the villainous Doctor Siegfried Bauer, who is bound for the ice fields of Greenland. There he hopes to summon a mystical creature from the depths of the ancient glaciers, a creature said to be so powerful that whoever controls it can control the world. Unfortunately, Bauer isn’t the only one determined to unleash the creature. The North Witch has laid claim to the mythical beast, too, and Emmeline—along with a scrappy stowaway named Thing—may be the only one with the power to save the world as we know it. Can Emmeline face one of the greatest legends of all time—and live to tell the tale?

Got a favorite cover you'd like to share? Tweet it to me @aftanith or drop me a link in the comments below!

May 24, 2017

Picture Books 2017 #1: Too School for Cool

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

This is a simple little story with a refreshing stroke of creativity. In the story, a little boy on his way to his grandmother's birthday party badgers his parents with the age-old car trip question: "Are we there yet?" And as he grows increasingly bored, his mind starts to wander... and before he knows it, he and his parents are off on a crazy trip through time and space. The book itself gets in on the act, with the story flipping over entirely, so that the reader must turn his or her upside-down to go on. There's everything from cowboys and pirates to dinosaurs and flying cars--all the stuff kids in the target audience are expected to like at that age. And there's even a cute little moral (delivered via pun!) at the end.

It's not going to be the most riveting read for any adults who pick it up, but children still in the picture book range might just get a kick out of it.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

Here we have another of those picture books devoted to celebrating books themselves. In the story, the titular "child of books" comes crashing in on a wave of words (excerpts from works like Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels) and takes another child off on a journey through the world of literature and imagination. They climb mountains, search for treasure, escape monsters, and more, and it's all meant to impress upon the reader the value of imagination (and of reading to stoke one's imagination).

Honestly, this is a book that's more likely to be appreciated by adult readers than children.


Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

This is an interactive, wordless picture book about a little girl (the titular Flora) who's trying to dance with a pair of peacocks who just aren't having it... until they realize they've hurt her feelings. According to the interior book flap, the moral is intended to be, "...that no matter the challenges, true friends will always find a way to dance together," but it could definitely be taken as a bit of a subtle anti-bullying story if that's what your looking for.

As with the previous Flora book I read, I can't say I particularly enjoyed it. I just don't think I'm the wordless picture book type, myself, and so I think this is the last Flora book I'll be picking up. They just don't have much appeal for an adult reader; the art is nice, but that's about it.


Otter Goes to School by Sam Garton

This is another in the Otter series of children's books, and unlike the last Otter book I tried, I found this one to be a very charming, adorable standalone. The reader needs no background knowledge of the author's blog (I Am Otter: The Unheard Ramblings of a Modern Day Domestic Otter) to follow the story; there's no missing context here whatsoever. All we've got is an adorable story about an otter who, upon learning about the existence of a place called "school", decides to play classroom with her toys. It's a really cute little read perfect for a child who's getting close to the age of going to school for the first time. I actually recommend it!


School's First Day of School by Adam Rex

In this story, an elementary school called Frederick Douglas Elementary (which is a real school, by the way) is anthropomorphized. It's actually a very interesting idea! Adam Rex supplies the reader with a unique twist on the concept of a "first day of school" book, as here we get to see the first day of school from the perspective of the school itself. And oddly enough, it's actually a fairly touching story; the school has to deal with the reality that most of the children hate being there (at least at first), and its emotional journey in coming to terms with that fact quite nicely parallels a young child's coming to terms with being a student.

It's really surprising, sweet, and charming, and I definitely recommend it to any children who might be struggling with the fact that they have to go to school now (or children who will soon be going to school for the first time).



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March 20, 2017

[Icons] The Nanny S01E07 - Imaginary Friend

Solo Characters | Fran (2) - CC - Maggie - Grace

    

Groups of Characters | Grace & Brighton - Fran & Brighton - Fran, Grace, & Brighton - Fran & Grace (2) - Maxwell, Fran, & Grace - Maxwell/Fran - CC & Fran

       

Bonus | Grace's Therapist