Book Review by Natalie: The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

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Please welcome Natalie to the blog today for a special guest review!

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The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle, Book 4
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: April 26, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
5-of-5

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on the Screen in 2016 (and beyond)

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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Love ’em or hate ’em, but Hollywood is really loving book adaptations right now. And it’s not just the silver screen that’s getting the literary treatment; Game of Thrones is one of the most-watched shows in the world, and The Magicians and Shadowhunters are coming to cable very soon.

Here are ten book adaptations that I can’t wait to see (in no particular order):

The Magicians (TV: SyFy), based on the books by Lev Grossman

The college version of Harry Potter, only Grossman pulls no punches. This is a world of sexuality, violence, and the horrible realization that childhood dreams aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. The show has aged the characters from undergrad to graduate school (for logistic reasons, as the books cover several years after graduating), but the characters look stunning!

The Scorpio Races (Movie), based on the book by Maggie Stiefvater

I am an unapologetic Stievater nut. So the upcoming adaptation of her YA fantasy novel is pretty high on my list of MUST SEES! There’s no official release date yet, but I’ll definitely be at the midnight showing.

Suicide Squad (Movie), based on the DC comics

I’m not a huge DC fan, but this movie looks amaaaaaazing, and I’ve heard great things about the comics that its based off of.

Deadpool (Movie), based on the Marvel comics

But I am a huge Marvel fan, so let me ramble for a second about Deadpool. It’s going to be violent. It’s going to be filthy. It’s going to make you want to touch yourself. Probably. And they’re sticking to the comics in a big way… the director just emphasized in an interview that Deadpool will be played as pansexual!

American Gods (TV: Starz), based on the book by Neil Gaiman

There’s not a lot of information available yet about this series, but we know that it’s being directed by Bryan Fuller of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies fame, and Gaiman is writing the script. They’ve spoken about being true to character descriptions, too, so I have very high hopes for this show!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Movie), based on the book by Ransom Riggs

We still have 13 months until this movie hits the big screen, but with an all-star cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, and more), and an amazing text to pull from, I’m really excited for what I hope will be an eerie, gorgeous movie. AND IT’S TIM BURTON DIRECTING OMG!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movie), based on the book by J.K. Rowling

I know, you’re wondering why this wasn’t the VERY FIRST THING on my list. Two reasons: one, thinking about it too hard makes me want to cry because I WANT IT NOOOOOOOW, and two, I’m still freaking out about seeing the Cursed Child stage play in London next July.

But OH MY GOD, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. 1920s, magical creatures, and Eddie Redmayne? Oh gods yes.

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The B.F.G. (Movie), based on the book by Roald Dahl

I literally just heard about this the other day, and quietly freaked out. There’s next to no information available for it, other than a summer 2016 release date and the fact that Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords!!!) will be in it.

I’m just going to hold my breath here until next summer. (PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT. PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT!)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (Movie), based on the book by C.S. Lewis

IS THIS A RUMOR? I have no idea. I can’t find ANYTHING about it, other than an IMDB page, but I’m including it because I really love the first three Narnia movies. I have them all on DVD, and watch them when I need a comfort film. In fact, my collection of the books is one of my most prized possessions (a hard-to-find edition given to me in bits and pieces by family members as they found books from the set in used bookstores over several years).

Shadowhunters (TV), based on the books by Cassandra Claire

While I personally am not anticipating this series, I know that a lot of people are. It starts up soon, and I’ve seen a lot of promo for it:


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What TV and movie adaptations are you looking forward to?

Top Ten Tuesday: Wishes from the Book Genie

genie-top-ten-headerAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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I’m walking down the road, and a lamp falls out of the sky. No, seriously, an honest-to-god lamp. Like, tarnished, gold, looks pretty old. No idea where it came from, but I’m just glad it didn’t hit me on the head.

And hey, beneath that tarnish it’s not all that ugly. Maybe if I just give it a good scrub with my sleeve, I can get a few bucks for it at the pawn shop. Let’s see now…

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What the heck is this? A genie? Wait a second, I know this story. I mean, I read a ton of books, surely you don’t think I’ve read some with genies in them? So alright then, Mr. Genie, I get a few wishes, right?

Wait, ten wishes? I get ten wishes? Oh man. *rubs hands together* Alright, Genie, let’s get to wishin’!

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1. I wish for… more good book-to-screen adaptations! I love seeing my favorite stories come to life, and there are some very promising upcoming adaptations, like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (SyFy, early 2016) and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2016).

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2. Dear Genie, please bring me… The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. NOW! Please?

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3. And while you’re at #2, Genie… can I have the sequel to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo? Pretty please?

4. Genie, I wish… for more ace and trans romance novels. There are so few of them out there, and I would love some new ones! I just saw that L.A. Witt is writing an asexual romance, though!

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5. I wish, I wish, to… win a shopping spree in a bookstore. Seriously, gimme a blank check and a few hours in a bookstore, and I will be the happiest person in the world. Or, hey, maybe a lotto win? SO I CAN BUY MORE BOOKS, OF COURSE!

6. Wishing upon a magic lantern for… a few of my Dream Author Teams to collaborate on books?

7. I wish that… American book covers weren’t so ugly compared to overseas book covers. Yeah, this comes out of left field, but it’s SO TRUE! I mean, just look at the US vs UK cover for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (published in the US as Midnight Riot for some ungodly reason):

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8. I wish, oh great Genie, for… eBooks that aren’t ridiculously over-priced. Why would I pay $15 for an eBook when the hardcover is only $17? (Yes, Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, I’m looking at you!)

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9. I wish that… authors were treated with the same level of awe and fame as football players. I mean, one of these professions transports you to another world, and the other involves a bunch of sweaty dudes in spandex throwing balls around. (Also, let’s throw teachers in with the authors on this wish, if you don’t mind!)

10. For my last wish, Genie… I wish you were free! Oh, wait, you already are? Well, okay then, I wish for the simple pleasure of a good book, warm blankets, tasty snacks, and the sound of rain on my window.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Dream Author Teams!

top-ten-tuesday-textAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Batman has his Robin, and the Avengers work better together than apart. Since authors are basically superheroes in my mind, it makes sense for them to team up for a book (or two), right? I mean, you have Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett combining literary forces to write Good Omens, and John Green and David Levithan co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson. In fact, a quick glance at my bookshelf shows a handful of co-written novels, including Illuminae (which I just reviewed yesterday).

Since co-writing novels seems to be “the thing” to do these days, here are five teams of authors that I’d love to see team up!

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1. Maggie Stiefvater and John Green

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Obviously they have a healthy rivalry on the race track, but Stiefvater and Green also have the young adult world wrapped around their little fingers. Apart, the authors of The Raven Cycle quartet and The Fault in Our Stars (respectively) are wildly popular. Together? Well, I’m pretty sure there would be a shortage of tissues world-wide, to say the very least!

I want a book with Stiefvater’s magical realism and Green’s crushing realism. I want a book with emotions that will feel like a punch in the chest, characters that are witty and sarcastic, and a thread of fantasy twisting down the center. If their powers combined, the YA genre wouldn’t know what hit it!

2. Anne Rice and Stephen King

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Yes, it’s obvious. But they’re two of the biggest names in horror. And I’m not talking the new horror, that’s sole purpose is to freak you out with sudden revelations and gruesome images. Rice and King are masters at the slow-build horror, the creeping chill that runs its icy fingers up your spine late at night.

King has plenty of experience dabbling in the paranormal horror genre, so I’d love to see a book from the two of them with mythical creatures. Like, Supernatural if it were actually scary!

3. Garrett Leigh and Heidi Cullinan

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In the M/M romance genre, there are no authors that I trust more than Leigh and Cullinan when it comes to writing beautiful, realistic characters. Leigh’s Misfits is at the top of my recommendations list, and Cullinan’s Love Lessons series is RITA nominated and achingly perfect.

If these authors paired up to write a novel, I hope it would be as poignant and heart-breaking as everything else they’ve written, with characters who leap off the pages and romances that are as close to perfect as any I’ve ever read.

4. Anna Zabo and A.J. Rose

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Two of the most amazing BDSM authors in the M/M genre, Zabo and Rose are both on my to-re-read list. Zabo wrote Takeover and Just Business (one of my favorite books of the year so far!), about the power dynamics in the boardroom and the bedroom. Rose wrote the Power Exchange trilogy, about a cop investigating a series of BDSM-related murders who finds himself attracted to the lifestyle.

If these two authors paired up, I would be camping out to buy their books. They both write excellent, realistic BDSM romances. The power exchanges are gorgeous, the characters are interesting, and the books themselves are a blast to read over and over!

5. Neil Gaiman and Anyone

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Is this cheating? Meh, I don’t care! Neil Gaiman is a phenomenal and incredibly versatile author. He writes short stories that make you laugh, children’s books that inspire, and novels that have you gasping for breath. While most of his previous collaborations are with artists (particularly Dave McKean, who is brilliant!), he’s teamed up with a few authors in the past.

Gaiman has a really unique voice, and I think that could be combined with several authors with amazing results. Imagine him writing a historical magic novel with Susanna Clarke or Zen Cho, or an urban fantasy with Maggie Stiefvater? I’d even love to see a collaboration between him and his wife, Amanda Palmer. YES PLEASE!


Who are your dream team authors?

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Friday Five: Book Cover Art that I Absolutely Love

Even though I travel overseas frequently and rely on e-readers to keep up with my “to read” list, there’s something profound about holding a physical book in my hands. Part of it is the smell of the paper and ink, the feel of the pages as I turn them. But part of it is the physical appearance.

I’ll come right out and say it: I judge books by their covers.

Book covers are works of art. Some aren’t particularly good works of art, but some of them are masterpieces. A stunning cover is what catches your eye in the store and makes you pick up a book that you otherwise would have passed over.

Here are five of my favorite (non-traditional) romance novel book covers, with a twist: all of the covers share the same color scheme.

The-Night-Circus-CVR Summary: There is a traveling circus which appears without warning in towns around the world. And if the wonders inside seem magical, it’s because they are; the circus is actually a battle-ground for magicians Celia and Marco.

This is one of my all-time favorite romances, mostly because it’s so much more than a love story. It’s about magic and dreams and believing in yourself. It’s about refusing to give in to other people’s expectations and doing what you want. It’s about friendship and family and the bonds that define us as human beings. But yes, it’s also about love.

The cover art on all of the editions perfectly fits the whimsical and magical feel of the circus. I love the sharp contrast of the red (a distinctive trademark of frequent visitors to the circus) and the cutouts of the couple on the cover. (Cover Artist: Helen Musselwhite or Pei Loi Koay, I couldn’t find for sure)


stiefvater-ravenboysSummary: Blue Sargent is a normal girl in a family of psychics. She’s been told since she was a little girl that if she kisses her true love, he will die. So when she has a vision of a soon-to-be-dead boy named Gansey, she knows his death will be her fault.

The Raven Cycle quartet (book four is due in 2016) is probably one of the most amazing YA series that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s smart, witty, and incredibly original. The characters are teenagers who deal with normal teenager things– school, crushes, family– but also issues like fate, destiny, and magic.

The cover art here is something I would hang on my wall in a heartbeat. Stunning, dark, and with very cool details hidden within. (Cover Artist: Adam S. Doyle)


Summary: If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you might not know about the Hunger Games. A dystopia where every year one male and one female ‘tribute’ from each District is sent to the Capital to fight to the death.

I do consider this series to be ‘romance’, even though I know some would disagree; I love gritty novels where the romance is fought for every step of the way, and hard-won in the end.

These gorgeous covers are part of the Australian luxury editions, with metallic-edged pages and a raised cover. Even though I already owned all three books in the trilogy, I had to buy these beauties when I found them overseas! (Cover Artist: Unknown)


murakami-windupbird Summary: A man named Toru Okada is searching the Tokyo suburbs for his wife’s runaway cat, but soon finds himself searching for his missing wife as well. He goes to a sub-Tokyo world, and there meets a series of characters on his quest.

When this novel was first published almost twenty years ago, the New York Times called it, “a big, ambitious book” which deals with, among other things, “the transitory nature of romantic love”. Murakami’s novels have always read as love stories to me, even though they in no way resemble a traditional romance.

I love the simplicity of this cover and the other Murakami covers by this artist, released by Vintage and used, it seems, primarily on the Amazon Kindle editions. Very much “modern art”, and very cleverly designed too! (Cover Artist: Noma Bar)


Consentdarkercoverjpg_zps397820fdSummary: Gavin DeGrassi is a detective who gets handed a unique murder case. The victim was part of the BDSM lifestyle, and it looks like a serial killer is targeting Doms within the community. Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and Dom who works with Gavin as a consultant, and then becomes something more to Gavin as he begins to explore the lifestyle for himself.

Gavin and Ben are a gorgeous couple, and the process of Gavin coming to terms with his sexuality and the fascination he has with the BDSM lifestyle is written so perfectly.

This cover is from the third book in the trilogy, but all three covers follow the same theme. I love the stark contrast of a single character suspended in the middle of the image.

(Cover Artist: Theo Fenraven)

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR List!

top-ten-tuesday-text This weekly meme is hosted by Broke and Bookish.

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Summer might be the season of reading on the beach, but for me fall is all about curling up with a hot drink, a good book, and watching the leaves turn colors.This week’s Top Ten list is to talk about your Fall To-Be-Read List, and my TBR is a grab-back of LBGT romance, YA, crime thriller, and more!

So here are the books that I’m most looking forward to this autumn! Are any of these on your list?


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Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 29, Pre-Order from Author’s Website

Are you sick of me talking about this book yet? Yes? Too bad! Because I’m going to be waxing poetic about this novel for at least the next year (ie, until the second book comes out). It’s a fantasy, it’s a YA story, it’s an action, it’s a heist novel… it’s absolutely phenomenal.

You don’t have to read her Grisha Trilogy to understand this at all, but I’d definitely recommend checking out that series while you wait for Six of Crows to come out. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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The Anatomy of Curiosity, by Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Gratton, and Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: October 1, Pre-Order on Amazon.com

I still have half a year to wait until Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King is released, but at least there’s this fantastic collection of stories to tide me over, from some of the most creative voices in YA literature!

In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.

In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.

In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.

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Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: October 6, Pre-Order from Author’s Website

I’ve never read a book by Rainbow Rowell. I know, gasp, right? But I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about this book. Is it fanfiction? Is it canon? Is it canon of a fanfiction of a canon? WHO KNOWS?! But it sounds delightful!

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters

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How to Be a Normal Person, by TJ Klune
Release Date: October 16, Pre-Order from Dreamspinner Press

I fell in love with TJ’s writing with the Bear, Otter, and the Kid trilogy. His characters are funny, quirky, and utterly real, and his newest book is about what normal really means. Plus, an asexual romance? Sign me up!

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

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Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
Release Date: October 20, Pre-Order on Amazon

If you’ve been living under a rock lately, you may not know that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for JK Rowling. Yes, that JK Rowling. And while she may not be writing wizards and spells anymore, there’s definitely magic in these delightful crime/thriller novels. They’re BRILLIANTLY written, with tons of on-the-edge-of-your-seat tension.

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

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The World as He Sees It, by A.M. Arthur
Release Date: October 20, Pre-Order from Samhain Publishing

I will read everything that A.M. Arthur puts out. Her romances are so organic and beautiful that I can’t help but fall in love with every character she writes. I’m so excited for this book too, because Tristan (who first appeared as a secondary character in The Truth as He Knows It is fascinating.

Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.

Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.

Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.

A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.

Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…

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Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release Date: October 20, Pre-Order from Random House

(I love this cover so much, wow! Click for full size!!)

This may very well be one of the biggest books of the year, if the early buzz is anything to go by. Told in a mixed-media style of pictures, censored documents, and transcripts, it looks to be a story that’s both entertaining and visually stunning.

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 one of the 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.

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What We Left Behind, by Robin Talley
Release Date: October 27, Pre-Order on Harlequin.com

This year looks to be an amazing one for LGBTQIA+ novels, especially ones aimed towards young adults. When I first read the summary for this book, I knew I needed it in my life. It’s a coming of age story about identity, finding yourself, and understanding the limits of love.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid.

The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen won’t understand Toni’s new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in this puzzle. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begin to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

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A Seditious Affair, by K.J. Charles
Release Date: December 15, Pre-Order on Amazon.com

KJ Charles knows how to write history, and she knows how to write m/m romance. Her Magpie series was unbelievably perfect in every way, and the first book in her Society of Gentlemen series blew me away. I’m eagerly waiting the second book in the series, about two men in very different social and economic classes, who find a common thread to bind them together.

Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.

A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.

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Please note this book was chosen prior to the revelation of author’s identity and actions. Please read this statement from Riptide Publishing for more information. [Dreamspinner Press no longer sells any titles by this author.]

Sunset Park, by Santino Hassell
Release Date: December ?, no pre-order yet

This is the second book in Hassell’s Five Boroughs series. This is another author that I will read EVERYTHING they publish, because Hassell co-wrote one of the most heart-wrenching and emotionally-compromising series I’ve ever read (In the Company of Shadows), and the first book in this series, Sutphin Boulevard, was stunning.

Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

Bonus Pick: Part & Parcel (Sidewinder #3), by Abigail Roux. I think it’s due out in November, but there’s no information on it yet. I love the entire Cut & Run universe, so I’m really looking forward to this book!

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Friday Five: My Top Moments from Comic-Con

Window art at the neighboring Starbucks.

Window art at the neighboring Starbucks.

I went to Comic-Con with every intention of blogging the entire event… but as you can see, that didn’t happen. What did happen was a solid four and a half days of meeting up with old friends, having adventures, and generally not sleeping enough. It was a crazy weekend, and I walked away with some fantastic memories! Now that I’m home from my vacation, here are my top five moments from SDCC 2015:

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Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia, and more on the

Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia, and more on the “Fantasy Literature” panel.

1. Meeting Maggie Stiefvater. I’m a huge fan of The Raven Cycle series, and was looking forward to her one panel at the con, Fantasy Literature. It was a great panel, but the highlight was actually meeting Maggie herself at a signing after! She autographed my copy of The Raven Boys and a copy of The Dream Thieves for my friend, and was nice enough to take a picture with me (which I won’t be sharing, sorry!).

Two of the many amazing “Frozen” cosplayers.

Racers, start your engines!

Racers, start your engines!

2. Cosplayers. Oh man, I love meeting creative people who sew their own costumes and transform themselves into their favorite characters. Cosplaying (costume roleplaying) is such a strange concept, when you stop to think about it; people spend hundreds of hours of their lives to turn themselves into their favorite fictional persona, all for a day or two of entertainment. I love it! Maybe one day I’ll get up the courage to get a costume on…

Lev Grossman at his spotlight panel.

Lev Grossman at his spotlight panel.

3. Seeing the trailer and a special scene from The Magicians television show. Based on the best-selling trilogy by Lev Grossman, the show is not airing on SyFy channel until 2016. But we got to see the never-before-seen trailer at a Book to Screen panel, and then a clip from the first episode at Lev Grossman’s spotlight panel. I love these books (which are like Harry Potter goes to college), and the show looks awesome!

Photo by @fiercereads on twitter.

Photo by @fiercereads on twitter.

4. Meeting Leigh Bardugo and getting an ARC of Six of Crows. I love Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, and was thrilled to see that she was doing a signing at SDCC. And even better, the nice lady at the booth informed me that she’d be giving away signed copies of her newest, unreleased novel, Six of Crows… but only to the first fifteen people in line! While my friends were camping out overnight to go see some movie panels in the massive Hall H, I was lining up at 6:30am to be the first in line to meet Leigh Bardugo, who is hands-down one of my favorite authors! (PS, I totally was the first in line. YAY!)

Just one of the many aisles in the Expo Hall.

Just one of the many aisles in the Expo Hall.

The Penguin booth during a book giveaway.

The Penguin booth during a book giveaway.

5. People-watching. SDCC is a madhouse at the best of times, and a chaotic vortex at the worst. There are 200,000 people crammed into a space with the physical capacity from probably only 199,999, which means everyone is just a bit too close, and there are crowds everywhere you look. But there’s something very comforting about being surrounded by so many people who are so passionate about the things they love. No one there can judge you if you’re obsessed with Spiderman, or My Little Pony, or if you line up before sunrise to meet an author you love!

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So thanks for a great Comic-Con, San Diego! I’m not sure if I’ll be back next year, because I really want to attend Book Expo America and maybe one other book con, but I’ll definitely do my best!