Intricate Garments, Multiple Endings, and Even Sailor Moon: Q&A with Elizabeth Lim

Hello Readers & Writers,

Today I’ll be featuring Elizabeth Lim and her novel Spin the Dawn, releasing in July 2019 from Knopf. If you’re looking for an East-Asian fantasy filled with mythology and an incredible heroine, don’t click away. I am beyond thrilled to be showing off the very recent (as in yesterday) released cover!

Before we dive in, here’s the gorgeous cover and blurb of Spin the Dawn!

36683928This sweeping fantasy duology, steeped in Chinese culture, will entice fans of Sarah J. Maas.

When her ailing father is summoned to compete to become the Emperor’s tailor, 17-year-old Maia Tamarin dresses as a boy and goes in his stead. At the palace, Maia competes with twelve other tailors to win the job. While deceit and sabotage among the tailors complicate the task and a budding romance with the court magician, Edan, threatens to expose her secret, Maia emerges victorious.

Or so she thinks. The recent treaty between her nation and a rebel warlord is precarious, and the Emperor’s marriage to the warlord’s daughter, Lady Sarnai, is the only thing keeping the peace. However, Lady Sarnai demands three magical dresses — one made from the laughter of the sun, one from the tears of the moon, and one from the blood of stars — before she can marry the Emperor. With the fate of their country at stake, Maia and Edan embark on a quest along a reimagined silk road in search of the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Goodreads/Preorder Here

  1. Thanks so much for joining me Elizabeth! I am beyond excited to have you and talk about Spin the Dawn. Let’s start with how does it feel knowing that this book will be out in the world next year?

Elizabeth: Thank you so much, Megan! I’m excited to be a part of your blog and talk about Spin the Dawn. Honestly, part of me is still in awe that Spin the Dawn comes out next year! The deal was announced in November 2017, so I’ve had a long time to anticipate its release, but every time I think about it I’m still nervous, excited, worried, and ecstatic all at once!

  1. What is a major theme that you explore in your book?

Elizabeth: Family is a major theme in Spin the Dawn. Maia embarks on her quest to disguise herself as a boy and compete to become the imperial tailor in part to save her father. Breaking the glass ceiling is another theme; the other reason Maia enters the competition is because she wants to prove that she’s an amazing tailor and being a girl is no impediment to her talent.

  1. Lady Sarnai demands a dress made out of the laughter of the sun, one from the tears of the moon, and one from the blood of stars. If you could have an outfit crafted from anything in the universe, what would it be?

Elizabeth: Hmmm…I’ll go with an outfit crafted from film of my favorite memories. Extra points if they can play all at once.

  1. How are you and Maia similar – if at all? How are you different?

Elizabeth: Maia and I are both very serious about our crafts: hers, tailoring, and mine, writing. We are also family oriented, and total introverts. I like to think of her as a fellow INFJ. We’re different because Maia’s a lot less of a worrywart than I am, and she’s much more of a risk-taker.

  1. Describe your book in three words.

Elizabeth: Enchantment. Journey. Lies.

  1. What was your favorite part about writing Spin the Dawn?

Elizabeth: My favorite part was incorporating allusions to fairytales. The most obvious ones are to East of the Sun, Donkeyskin, and the Chinese legend The Cowherd and the Weaver. I also loved creating new mythology for the world, and writing romance. I love romance.

  1. If you were a character in your Maia’s world, who do you think you’d be?

Elizabeth: Realistically, I’d probably be a zither teacher in Gangsun. But if I could choose anyone, I wouldn’t mind being a chef for the emperor with some magic spices.

  1. I read in your bio that you wrote Sailor Moon fanfic? Who was your favorite character?

Elizabeth: Ahh! I had a soft spot for Rini (the pink hair!), and Sailor Neptune because she was so awesome at the violin. But I think my favorite’s Sailor Mars – always loved her fire and her fierce loyalty to Sailor Moon J

  1. Do you have any fun facts about yourself or about your book that you would like to share?

Elizabeth: Me? I used to be a film and video game composer before becoming a writer. I also used to be a serious hoarder when I was really young: trading cards, pogs, beanie babies, Happy Meal toys…you name it, I probably collected it.

About SPIN THE DAWN: I rewrote the ending multiple times. It was the most difficult part of the book because it just didn’t feel right, but my agent Gina came to the rescue with some ideas, and what’s in the book now feels perfect to me. Without spoiling anything, the original ending inspired the beginning of the sequel…


About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Elizabeth Lim grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised on a hearty diet of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Before becoming an author, Elizabeth was a professional film and video game composer, and she still tends to come up with her best book ideas when writing near a piano. An alumna of Harvard College and the Juilliard School, she now lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter. She is also the author of Reflection: A Twisted Tale, published by Disney Press.


Please don’t hesitate and preorder this book asap. I know that’s what I’ll be doing. And once again, a huge thank you to Elizabeth for joining me.
Xx
Megan
Advertisements

How To Craft Strong Opening Pages

Hello Readers and Writers,

It’s been a while since I put up an editing related post so I decided to change that by discussing the opening pages of a novel and what you can do to make them as crisp as they can be. These tend to be a struggle for most writers because not only do you have to introduce your main character and your world, but your opening is the most read by critique partners, editors, and agents.

This post will break down not only what makes strong opening pages, but give two examples from literature of how to do them well.

Your opening pages should establish the following things:

  1. Introduce us to your main character(s). One of the reasons why prologues don’t often work is because usually there’s a character shift. Your reader gets invested in a character and then that character is snatched away from them. Alternatively, starting with an opening that distances the reader from your main character leads to a lack of investment. It’s best to start your story with the main character. Give readers their voice/thoughts from the instant the book starts.
  2. Show us your character’s daily life. This is not to say we need a whole section of the book dedicated to this. Rather, we need a few paragraphs, sometimes a few chapters to establish what the character is used to. Do they trade? Are they a fighter? Do they have a complicated relationship with their family? Introduce what makes their life unique to them so that when the inciting incident happens, the readers can clearly see how this change affects what they’ve known for so long. This is a good time to begin world building.
  3. Give your main character a goal to work towards. This obviously doesn’t need to be saving the world or fighting evil or winning prom queen off the bat. Rather, it can be something small like getting their friend a present or fetching water just to establish how your character works towards something and offer a connection for the reader.

I know that may seem like a lot and you may be asking, “How do I cram my character’s entire world and life into a few pages?” The answer is: you don’t. You establish enough for the reader to want to continue reading. Readers know they won’t have the whole picture painted for them when they begin a book. You have time to establish that and if your characters/plot are engaging, readers will be willing to hold on.

Your follow up question is probably, “Okay, so how do I do all of this?” and my answer is, “Let’s take a look at a really prominent example in young adult literature, but also one of the most well-known books ever – The Hunger Games.”

Katniss-screen

The Hunger Games open up with Katniss missing Prim’s touch in bed. “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress” (pg 1).

What does this do? Well, two lines in and we already have: 1) The importance of Prim to the narrator – ie not having her touch makes the bed cold as well as the narrator. 2) We get a rather somber tone that will only deepen as the chapter (and let’s be honest book) goes on.

Later on the same page, we get the following lines:

“Prim named him Buttercup, insisting that his muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower. He hates me. Or at least distrusts me. Even though it was years ago, I think he still remembers how I tried to drown him in a bucket when Prim brought him home. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. …Sometimes, when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me.”

In some cases, the lines above could be details we don’t truly need. Who needs to go in depth about a pet? But this paragraph establishes a few components of Katniss’s world without blatantly stating them. They establish her and her family isn’t well off. They establish that she takes on a leadership role. They also establish that she may not be as rough around the edges as she had been when Buttercup came into her life.

The chapter then moves through District 12 as she goes to the forest to meet Gale. This is a brutal look into poverty without outright saying people in District 12 are poor. Through her details of too skinny individuals, always needing to trade, and how the main source of income – the mines – is horrible to those involved. We also get the juxtaposition of the government not caring about their people.

Keep reading and we learn about Katniss’s complex relationship with Gale and the beginning snippets of the Games. Note that we don’t get paragraphs of information dumped into the narrative. We learn something’s up through the tone and conversation these friends carry. We don’t learn about the games until close to the end of chapter one when Katniss and her family are preparing to head to town square for the announcement of the tributes. We learn about the games not because they’re a thought that intrudes on the narrative, but because we as readers become part of the narrative. We follow Katniss into one of the most terrifying days out of the year.

Hunger-Games-Movie-Katniss-Selection-1024x434

And then of course, chapter one ends by Prim being called as a tribute. Because of Katniss’s conversation with Gale, her interactions in The Hob, and how she treats her sibling, we know that this is a shock to her life and we know this is going to change the course of the story.

So to summarize, how did The Hunger Games hit each of my three points?

  1. We’re introduced to Katniss right away along with her voice that sets up her need for her sister and her distaste for the way things are.
  2. We learn about Katniss’s daily life – she hunts, she can use a bow and arrow, she’s the provider for her family in a poor and suffering district. When Prim is chosen as tribute, we see not only the interruption of routine, but Katniss’s first loss of control.
  3. Katniss has two miniature goals in chapter one: seeing Gale in the woods and attending the selection of the tributes. Both of these goals reveal a lot of information about her and how she sees the world.

Next, I want to discuss the hesitance of beginning a story without establishing the main character and their life. While this tends to be the norm, I want to provide an example of a story that starts in the middle of the action so to speak, and does it well. This book is Nyxia by Scott Reintgen.

Note: there will be a mention of cancer in this explanation.

“You all know why you’re here.”

There are ten of us at the table. We all nod like we have a clue. Eight of the richest men and women in the world stand at the opposite end of the conference room. …But the lights and the room and the world are bending forward to hear the man who’s speaking: Marcus Defoe. He’s black, but not like me. I’ve spent half my life feeling like an absence, a moonless night.” (pg 1).

What do we learn from this opening page? We get a sense of warning, but we also get a juxtaposition of power between the narrator and Marcus Defoe.

Further into chapter one:

“Two of them flinched at the word cancer…I wonder if their parents have cancer. I wonder if that’s how Babel roped them into this monkey-in space routine. I wonder if they noticed me flinch right around the same time they did. It’s hard to hear the words that follow, because an image of Moms has snagged my attention…” (pgs 5 – 6).

DWkf00YV4AAYWpNThis is a great example of not only crafting voice, but showing readers without actually being in the scene what life the narrator, Emmett, has come from. We understand implicitly that whatever Babel has done is through fear and preying on the conditions of loved ones. The author has too crafted empathy for Emmett because there’s an understanding of how expensive medical care is and how horrible is it to lose someone to a horrible disease. But more importantly, we learn the break in the model of his life – taking care of his parents.

The rest of the chapter sets up pieces of Emmett’s former life with memories of his friends and family as he decides to work with Babel. We get an introduction of the substance, Nyxia, that Babel wants each of those in the room to work with and understand. The author continues to expand the overwhelming imbalance of power and when people have come from hard situations, a chance at something better could mean everything.

“In my neighborhood, that kind of consolation prize would be more than enough. I’m sure it’s better money than anyone at this table could have imagined before today. But we already know there’s something better. We already know there’s a promise of riches that stretches on forever. The table’s full of greedy face. Babel’s curveball is working.

Competition. Supply and demand. Cage-style.” (pg 13).

This is the chilling end to chapter one and leaves the reader wanting more.

So to summarize, how did Nyxia meet my three points?

  1. We immediately get introduced to Emmett and know that he doesn’t have control in a life altering situation.
  2. We learn through brief flashbacks and the discussion with Babel that Emmett’s daily life was hard and he has a lot that he wants to fight for by being here.
  3. The goal of chapter one for Emmett is to agree to work with Babel and through their monetary compensation and promises of a better life, he does.

I know there was a lot in this post, but it comes down to practice and understanding – even if it takes a few tries – the best place for your story to begin. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below.

Also if you haven’t read either of these books, you should pick them up immediately.

Xx
Megan

The Fever King: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

I am beyond thrilled to review The Fever King by Victoria Lee due out March 2019 from Skyscape. I was sent an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback. As always, there will be no spoilers.

The book follows Noam, the son of undocumented immigrants fighting for the rights of refugees who are trying to escape from terrifying and deadly magical outbreaks. When he wakes up as the lone survivor of the most recent outbreak, he catches the attention of the government who are interested in what Noam’s abilities might be. Offered a chance to be taught by the minister of defense, Noam thinks he can use his newfound grace as an advantage to help those in need. But as secrets unravel and he grows close to one person in particular, Noam has to decide what’s worth fighting for.

Capture

The Fever King was a book that I was mad about having to take breaks from. This is a character driven story where Lee never once loses the interest of their reader. You become invested in Noam’s passion for change in an alternate world that speaks to our current political climate. I found myself holding Noam’s same anger and desire for change. Most important, I was rooting for him to succeed.

A lot of time in this book is spent figuring out who can be trusted and what pieces of the puzzle Noam will need to find that trust. I loved how compelling not only Noam was as a main character, but the villain too. We see motivation driving both of them that keep you invested from beginning to end. I want to spend time on Dara, but I think I’ll need at least ten pages to discuss how precious Dara is and how HE MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS. Seriously, you’re going to love Dara.

But back to the plot: what I loved about The Fever King the most was how wickedly smart it was, how it makes you examine your own world the way Noam does his, how it shows each person as a key player in the world and the we are all connected. It takes a ripple to disrupt the order of things and Lee shows how the world breaks as the ripple grows. Magic may be a component of The Fever King, but it is used to expose the intricacies and lies of a failing political system.

You will not be disappointed with this book. The more you sink your teeth in, the better it gets. Lee does a fantastic job of exploring morality, human nature, flawed people, revolution, and trauma (Tw: Sexual Assault).

This gets 5/5 stars from me.

Xx
Megan

For The Readers Who Need This Book and The Cheesiest Joke of All Time: A Q&A with Mason Deaver

Happy Monday Readers & Writers,

Today I’ll be featuring Mason Deaver and their novel I Wish You All The Best, releasing in May 2019 from Scholastic. If you’re looking for enby rep and the sweetest characters to ever exist, this is the book for you.

Before we jump into the interview, here’s what you need to know about I Wish You All The Best.

39678923

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Amazon / IndieboundGoodreads

  1. Before we begin, I just wanted to say thank you so much Mason for taking time to speak with me! I’m so ready for I Wish You All The Best to be out in the world. How does it feel knowing readers everywhere will be able to follow Ben’s and Nathan’s story?

Mason: It’s actually a very scary feeling, but in the best way possible if that makes any sense at all? I Wish You All the Best might be the most ‘me’ book I’ll ever write. I put a lot of my own self in this story, and in Ben. Ben is my anxiety, my depression, my feelings towards my own gender.

Because of that’s it’s almost like people have the ability to buy or check out my diary. But I’ve already heard from so many that it’s a story that touched them and helped them come to terms with their own feelings towards their gender. So it’s an incredibly scary idea, but in a way, it’s incredibly exciting.

  1. What is your writing process like and did I Wish You All The Best challenge that in any way?

Mason: Complicated. I Wish You All the Best is actually the first book I started and finished. Which is rare for most authors it seems. So actually, writing I Wish You All the Best was just as much an experiment in discovering how I write.

Which is something I immediately switched up for the projects I’m currently writing. I Wish You All the Best was pantsed (in that I hardly plotted any of it) but everything else I’ve written since has very much been plotted out. I guess it was just a fluke?

  1. Give me some songs that fit your book and/or your characters.

Mason: Oh, this is a good one.

Ben is 100% Hard Times by Paramore

Nathan is probably Rose-Colored Boy

In writing I’ve actually realized that specific albums very much apply to the stories I’m writing. So actually, if I had to pick an entire album to represent I Wish You All the Best, it’s definitely After Laughter as you can tell. My other secret-project-albums have been Melodrama and The Steven Universe soundtrack.

  1. Describe your book in three words.

Mason: Lots. Of. Gay.

  1. What do you hope readers take away from I Wish You All The Best?

Mason: I’ve actually thought about this a lot, or non-binary, genderqueer, or trans readers, I really hope this book helps them feel less alone. I would’ve killed to have a book like this when things didn’t make sense to me, so I hope that in a way, I can help them through some of the things they’re going through.

  1. What’s one cheesy joke Nathan would tell Ben that would make them smile? I know there are probably hundreds.

Nathan: What did the scarecrow get a gold medal for?
Ben: I don’t know, what?
Nathan: He was out standing in his field!

  1. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

Mason: That it’s okay to be confused, and to change your labels. Deciding something that fits you now doesn’t mean it has to be permanent. People change, and so do labels.

  1. Are there any fun facts that you could tell us about yourself or your book?

Mason: Well, something about the book is that it actually started as college romance between two boys, and it was definitely more new adult than YA. But, obviously, it’s changed a lot. Though the names Ben and Nathan have always been there. I have no fun facts about myself haha!

  1. What kinds of stories do you hope to write in the future?

Mason: I want to write more stories about trans and non-binary kids and teens. To me, it’s very obvious that there’s a lack of trans and enby stories out there in the world, especially for younger readers, which can be the most formative years for trans kids.

I just want to fill the shelves with trans books.

About The Author

MASON
Mason Deaver is a non-binary author who lives in Charlotte, NC, where the word ‘y’all’ is used in abundance. Typically, they’re writing incredibly queer stories, but when they decide to take a break, they love gardening and baking.

‘I Wish You All the Best’ is their debut novel.

Twitter / Website 

 

 

Please preorder and support Mason’s important book. You won’t be disappointed ❤ And once again, a huge thank you to Mason for joining me!

Xx
Megan

Blackholes, An Alien Apocalypse, and Learning to Cope: Q&A with Laura Pohl

Hello Readers & Writers,

Today I’ll be featuring Laura Pohl and her novel The Last 8, releasing in March 2019 from Sourcebooks Fire. If you’re looking for a diverse cast of characters surviving an alien apocalypse, then this is the book for you.

Before we jump into the interview, here’s what you need to know about The Last 8.

36349389A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave 

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Goodreads / Indiebound 

1. I want to start off by saying thank you so much Laura for agreeing to sit down and chat with me! I’m very excited to have you and learn some more about your work. How does it feel to know The Last 8 will be on shelves early next year?

Laura: Surreal! I started this book not knowing if it would ever find any readers, and now it’ll be on the shelves and being picked up by people other than friends and my mom. It feels great.

2. From your bio, you used to write fanfiction. I did as well. Do you have a favorite fanfic you created or would you rather it remain hidden in the abyss of the internet?

Laura: Hah, I have so many different fanfictions I created throughout the years, though most of them are in Portuguese. I used to be a huge fanfic writer for the Percy Jackson fandom, but I mostly leaned toward nonsense and comedy. I still write fanfic sometimes as a way to blow off steam and work on something where there’s no pressure.

3. What was the writing process for The Last 8 like? Did you hit any bumps that took you a while to get over?

Laura: I’m usually a planner, so The Last 8 process was a bit different for me because I didn’t plan anything ahead at all. All I knew is that I wanted a team of survivors who’d bring different skills to the team, and I went from there. I was pantsing the whole time, so it was different but good. I had to rewrite it three times, but I didn’t have any particular bumps on the narrative.

4. Out of all of the ways to end the world, why did you choose an Alien invasion?

Laura: I’ve always loved movies about aliens, and I loved Independence Day as a kid. I think you can write a good parallel between humans & aliens, and that’s why I always thought it was such an interesting take.

5. Describe your book in three words.

Laura: Epic. Funny. Wholesome.

6. What’s one of your favorite elements of The Last 8?

Laura: The ensemble cast. I think it was one of the most fun parts to write, a bunch of unruly teens who survived the end of the world. Each person brings a different thing to the group, and writing their interactions and friendship was one of the best parts of writing the book. Also, Sputnik the dog. We don’t get to see that many dogs in SFF, so it was fun writing about a dog who survives the alien apocalypse.

7. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Laura: Clover’s journey to survive the apocalypse take her into a dark path—a lot of The Last 8 is about learning how to live with PTSD and depression. I hope that readers see her journey and feel less alone, and that sometimes just surviving is more than enough.

8. Is there a character you relate most to and why?

Laura: I think I started out relating to Clover as the main character—her decision making process through thought and logic is very close to me—but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Brooklyn. Brooklyn talks too much and loves conspiracy theories, and she’s always the one making jokes.

9. You’re waking up the day after an apocalypse. What are three things you’d want to have on hand?

Laura: Huh, depends on what kind of apocalypse, zombie and alien ones can be wildly different. In general, I’d say, water, a weapon of choice, food. It sounds boring, but I think that’s pretty much what you need to survive from the start.

10. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Laura: As a child, I was scared of blackholes. All the other kids in my class were afraid of things like monsters under the bed, the boogeyman or werewolves, but I was just plain scared of the sun blowing up and sucking the Earth.

About the Author

DSC_0637Laura Pohl is a Brazilian YA author. She likes writing messages in caps lock, quoting Hamilton and obsessing about Star Wars. When not taking pictures of her dog, she can be found curled up with a fantasy or science-fiction book. She makes her home in São Paulo, where she graduated in Literature.

She is the author of THE LAST 8 (Sourcebooks, 2019). When not writing, she likes reading science fiction and fantasy, and enjoys deep discussions about conspiracy theories and alien life. Learn more about her on her website, and make sure to follow her on twitterinstagram, and pinterest.

 

I don’t know about you readers, but I’m ready to dive into this book. Keep an eye on my blog for more interviews and be sure to preorder The Last 8!

Xx
Megan

 

Four Dead Queens: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

I am beyond thrilled to review Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte due out February 2019 from Putnam Books. I was sent an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback. As always, there will be no spoilers.

Four Dead Queens is a multi-pov story about the murder of the four rulers of Quadara. The main pov is Keralie, a thief who intercepts a comm disc containing information that would change the fate of the entire nation. Interspersed are the queen’s POVs, which not only give a glimpse into how they rule, but the secrets they’ve all kept upon the throne. Most of the time in murder stories, we never get to know the characters that are killed off except through memories or conversation. Scholte does an incredible job of investing you in every queen’s perspective and leaves you wondering how Keralie will tie into the mix.

20181004_112622.jpg

Keralie is a wonderful narrator. She’s brave, stubborn, outspoken and fights against demons she’s had for years. She may not always come across as likable but you see her grow as she gets pulled deeper into the mystery. You feel as if you’re reading a real person and not a caricature. By the end, I had developed so much sympathy for her that I hadn’t realized would be there to start. I want the best for her and it’s a wonderful feeling to want to a character to get their happy ending.

There’s a lot to love about this book, particularly the blending of thriller and fantasy. While Four Dead Queens has fantastical elements, it is heavily focused on putting the pieces together of a complex puzzle. Scholte uses past and present narratives to give you an all around view of the events that have taken place. When the past and present finally meet, I was left screaming because tucked away for the reader is a bit of hope and want. You want the queens to be okay. You want to believe the story can take a different turn then we’ve seen so far. However, don’t fret about this too much as every character involved gets what they deserve and that is beyond satisfying especially for a standalone novel.

Another great part of Four Dead Queens is how the world is structured and explained in a single book – something that doesn’t often happen in a fantasy novel. Each queen rules over a section of Quadara and each section is responsible for producing a particular service or media for the nation as a whole. We see Scholte challenge the idea of if a nation is better working together or separate, what is best for said nation, and what cracks are left in a system that has been in place for dozens of years. We see commentary on progress, the worth of a life, and the medical system. While Four Dead Queens is a work of fiction, there are messages to take away.

Four Dead Queens is a debut that deserves the hype and praise it has received so far. With multiple features in place to keep the reader interested, a mystery you feel compelled to solve, and culprit you won’t see coming, Four Dead Queens will easily become a book to yell about.

This gets 5/5 crowns from me.

Xx
Megan

 

 

Spooky YA Reads for Halloween

Hello Readers & Writers,

If you ask any of my friends what my favorite holiday is, they’ll throw two answers your way: Halloween and Christmas. Since I love the beginning of Fall, dressing up, and having extra excuses to wear black, I figured it’d be time to share with you my Halloween recommendations!

222

 

Title: Sawkill Girls

Author: Claire Legrand

Pub Date: October 2nd, 2018

Pub House: Katherine Tegan Books

What Does It Have?: Creatures that roam the night, badass girls, atmosphere for days, gruesome fight scenes, powerfully descriptive

prose, a mysterious town.

Spookiness Factor: 5/5

 

 

 

 


2

 


Title:
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Author: Kiersten White

Pub Date: September 25th, 2018

Pub House: Delacorte Press

What Does It Have?: Retelling of Frankenstein through Elizabeth’s eyes, writing that elevates the original, Victor being creepy af, an ending that shock you to bits

Spookiness Factor: 3.5/5

 

 

 


3

 

 


Title:
Bruja Born

Author: Zoraida Cordova

Pub Date: June 5th, 2018

Pub House: Sourcebooks Fire

What Does It Have?: Sisters with incredible powers, the undead, questions about death and darkness, strong writing, Lady De La Muerte

Spookiness Factor: 4/5

 

 

 


2

 

 


Title:
Contagion

Author: Erin Bowman

Pub Date: July 24th, 2018

Pub House: HarperTeen

What Does It Have?: A remote planet with tons of secrets, high intensity scenes, a virus that makes people like zombies, plot twists everywhere, someone who shouldn’t be alive

Spookiness Factor: 4/5

 

 

 

 


Capture

 

 


Title:
For a Muse of Fire

Author: Heidi Heilig

Pub Date: September 25th, 2018

Pub House: Greenwillow Books

What Does It Have?: Puppets that are bound with blood, fast paced action, incredible world descriptions, what happens when Necromancy goes wrong

Spookiness Factor: 4/5

 

 

 


222


Title:
Broken Things

Author: Lauren Oliver

Pub Date: October 2nd, 2018

Pub House: HarperCollins

What Does It Have?: Friends who have never not been blamed for a murder, a deceased friend who was not as good as they

seemed, an unexpected killer.

Note: This book has a rather graphic scene of an animal being murdered.

Spookiness Factor: 4/5

 

 

 


2343234

 


Title:
White Rabbit

Author: Caleb Roehrig

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018

Pub House: Feiwel & Friends

What Does It Have?: A murder with a handful of suspects that you have to figure out with your ex, secrets that get worse as they get dug up, fast pacing, a ‘what the hell just happened’ reveal.

Spookiness Factor: 3.5/5

 

 

 

 


Do let me know if you read any of these and your thoughts or feel free to add some other creepy reads below to get into the true Halloween season!

Xx
Megan