A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan
Publisher: BLINK
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction -- Mythology, Retelling

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

Kora is cursed and not because of anything she did but because of what her father did. I felt so sorry for her character and the way other people judged her. She’s trapped in this life that she didn’t want and there is nothing she could do about it. I was thinking what would be like if she wasn’t a princess and protected. I like how she rises to challenges though. Almost heedless of her own safety and is willing to do anything to save her father. Even though he cursed her she can see what happened, how it happened, why it happened and have empathy for the situation.

King Midas is a Greek myth but I think I enjoyed this version more. A flushed out adventure that has us traveling across the sea and dealing with pirates! Of course Pirates I love a good pirate story. This a good one. I also loved all of the grew aboard the Swanflight, even the ones that weren’t originally supposed to be there.

There is love, loss, betrayal and twist so I won’t give away anything about the plot. Except that it’s well written and fast paced. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading and I had those moments of oh wow I’m already this far. It is a really fun read.

So I really loved the book and I can’t wait for the next one. However, I have to say you could read this one and possibly be satisfied with the end but I can’t wait to see where the characters adventures could take them next.

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

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Prize: 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing by Kwame Alexander) (USA)

Starts: 7/22/19
Ends: 8/9/19

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Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson

Before I Disappear
Author: Danielle Stinson
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Rose Montgomery parks her family’s trailer in Fort Glory, Oregon with one goal: to carve out a new life for herself and her little brother, Charlie. They need a fresh start for their family, and she thinks she's finally found it in a town where nobody knows them.

But Rose’s plans come crashing down when, in an instant, Fort Glory disappears and every person in town vanishes into thin air—including Charlie.

Rose and four other teens become trapped in the Fold, a patch of woods caught halfway between the real world and the lost town. In the Fold, a mysterious force suspends the laws of physics, and everyone’s inner darkness has the power to kill.

To survive the Fold, Rose must unravel the clues Charlie sends her from the missing town. And Rose has to find Charlie soon—or he'll be gone forever.

Before I Disappear was an interesting book that I don’t think I was quite expecting. I wanted to read it because as a kid I loved a movie called Brigadoon, which is about a disappearing town. This book is absolutely nothing like that, except the town disappears, ha ha.

I did really like the story. At first I wasn’t so sure because there were things, about Charlie especially, that confused me. If you stick with it though, the story becomes really intriguing. Especially as the characters deal with the darkness, which has a lot of connection to the darkness inside themselves.

I would definitely call this book Sci-Fi because it deals a lot with Atom Smashing, Alternate Universes and Wormholes. There is actually a place by me called Fermilab that used to have an Atom Smasher. So I really liked this idea of a program that was built under the town, shut down and recently revived for another use that was affecting the town. So even though the book is Sci-Fi, I felt like it has that thriller aspect that I really love in stories like this. So some of my confusion was good confusion. Like what is happening with this town!! Kind of good way. Plus once you get more and more into the book, things start to make more sense.

I absolutely love the sibling bond between Rosie and Charlie.Charlie is full of wisdom that he gives to her in tid bits and she is his protector. The way they work together is sweet and is a major part of the story. The most important part of the story.

Rosie is a character that has been through a lot. Her history is not pretty and it has made her very skeptical of everyone. She keeps people at arms distance but she also realizes she can't live like this forever. You get to see her struggle with finding a home in the world. She truly loves her brother and mother and would do anything for them. So even though she seems way to prideful at times, she is really trying and that is commendable.

We do end up with a band of characters that work together. Rosie, Ian, Jeremy, Blaine and Becca. I’m always a big fan of having a strong group of characters that work together and play off each other.

It’s hard to talk about the plot because it would ruin the mystery. I definitely found it intriguing though and it is a quick read because the pacing keeps you moving. If you enjoy Sci-Fi thrillers this would be one to check out.

Stories were a central part of Danielle Stinson's childhood. Growing up in a military family meant frequent moves across the US and abroad. She spent many summers in her room surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of library books. She cur-rently lives with her husband and four boys in Virginia, where she writes fiction for young adults. Before I Disappear is her debut novel.


1 copy of Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson
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Cover Reveal : Crave by Tracy Wolff

Crave by New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Crave is a romantic and thrilling tale of forbidden love, about the undying battle between feeling nothing and feeling so much, it could destroy everyone you love.

Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch Rising (Sea Witch #2)
Author: Sarah Henning
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 6th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love.

Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.

Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?

Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.

Sea Witch Rising brings the world and Evie back from Sea Witch. Following a new story that revolves around one of two sisters and I really enjoyed it.

I have never thought of Evie as Ursla, or even the Sea Witch from the Hans Christian Anderson version. Evie is her own person and I’ve had a fondness for her since reading The Sea Witch. I was really sad at the end of that book and really wanted her to catch a break in this one.

The first half of the story actually reminds me of the Hans Christian Anderson original The Little Mermaid. Only with a kinder prince, despite him still referring to her has his little foundling. I do not like that at all. When I was a kid I used to watch something called Faerie Tale Theatre and they have a version of The Little Mermaid. Which closely follows the original. I just remember this dress with these awful puffy sleeves. Anyway, it reminded me of that. Although even though the story of The Little Mermaid is unfolding another story is also flowing around it. That of Evie and Runa. Who are our main POV’s. I really liked both characters. Something more complex between both the sea and the land kingdoms.

I really loved Runa. She’s such a fighter and it was fun to follow along with her story. She starts out fighting for her sister but sea there is a greater cause and plunges full into it. I like how her relationship develops with Evie as well. She starts to see that what she was taught and what the true story is are two different things. She also has a little side love that is sweet but not overpowering to her story.

As far as world building is concerned, it’s very similar to the first book. We are seeing the same places that we did before. I like the little nod to the cottage. I’m not sure what exact time and place it has happening. Being the U-boats kind of threw me off. I know we are fifty years from Evie’s story and the Prince is Nik’s grandson. I think in my mind I just keep putting it in fairy tale land for some reason.

I really like Sarah Hennings writing style. It has a lot of descriptions and a little more lyrical. It was also fast paced and the story being the two parts like it is also keeps it interesting.

I really liked Sea Witch Rising. Probably more than I did Sea Witch. Only because I hated Anna so much and really liked Evie. Ha ha. Evie still makes me sad because of how things turned out for her in the first book but I really liked Runa and I was glad that she took a stil little sad but different track.

Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

Website : Goodreads : Twitter : Instagram

Starts: 16th July 2019
Ends: 30th July 2019

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The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Title: The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1)
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Publisher: SourcebooksFire
Release Date: July 9th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life...until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother's death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

I enjoyed The Storm Crow. I thought the whole concept of the book and the magic was very interesting. I did struggle with Anthia, the mc, a bit. I really liked a lot of the other characters.

One of the things I really liked about The Storm Crow was that it shows how crippling depression can be. From my experience there are many types of depression and many ways to deal with it. Anthia goes through a traumatic event where she loses quit a bit. It makes her retreat into herself. I get this, I’ve been there. I didn’t want to stay in bed all day, for me I would lay on the kitchen floor and spend hours picturing myself sinking into it. I would never ever judge anyone for going through it or say how much time someone needs to come out of it. I thought it was great how it shows her going through this and how people around her react to it. Including her sister, who feels helpless I’m sure. She keeps telling her to move on and you know she’s not meaning to be hurtful she just doesn’t understand.

This is not why I struggled to connect with Anthia. I felt like she is very selfish but it’s a selfishness that comes with being young. I don’t like how she treats her sister who is forced to keep things together on her own. That is having to make decisions she is not ready for. Also she can see what Revenge has done to Illucian and she acknowledges it then goes back on her revenge thing. I don’t know it just felt like Anthia and I were swinging by each other and just couldn’t clasp hands. There were other things that kind of made me feel ugh. I also felt like she has a lot of room for growth through the series. Sometimes I like to read a book where I don’t like the main character at first because then I can see them grow.

I thought Ericen is really interesting character. He’s in a tough spot. Ya he screws things up with Anthia at first but he really tries. The things he says about his predicament make sense. I think Anthia sees everything as black and white. Right and Wrong. Ericen is trapped in a gray area and I think he doesn’t even know how to get out of it. He doesn’t want to run away because he sees that if he can fight through maybe he can change things. Sometimes you need to leave to change things, sometimes you need to stay. I wish there was more with him or even his perspective.

I liked Kiva a lot too and I would like to see more of her relationship with another character. Not just the glimpses we had. I also thought Caylus was a cute nice guy. He just really was eh okay he’s cool, he’s there and all.

I thought the crow magic is really cool. I did think Rhodarie relied on them too much though. Ha ha. Like I somehow suddenly understand politics. At first I was picturing a Thumbelina world and not large crows but small people. I don’t know why. I like all the descriptions of how the different crows use their magic and how they have an influence on the economy and culture of Rhodaire.

So overall I did enjoy The Storm Crow. I hope to see some more growth of Thia in future books. Also to learn more about the other countries and the characters we’ve been introduced to.

Kalyn Josephson is a Technical Writer in Silicon Valley, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. She grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA, but now lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an even tinier owl). When not writing YA Fantasy, she loves baking, reading, playing sports, and watching too many movies.

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Prize: Win a finished hard copy of THE STORM CROW by Kalyn Josephson (INT) or a signed finished copy of THE CROW STORM by Kalyn Josephson (US Only)

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Starts: July 9th 2019
Ends: July 23rd 2019

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Immunity by Erin Bowman

Title: Immunity (Contagion #2)
Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 2nd 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Horror

Survivors of a deadly planetary outbreak take on a new, sinister adversary in the white-knuckle sequel to Contagion, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman called “gripping, thrilling and terrifying in equal measures.”

They thought their nightmare was over, but Thea, Coen, and Nova’s rescue was only the beginning. After being imprisoned on a ship they thought was their ticket to safety, it’s clear that the threat they left behind isn’t as distant as they’d hoped—and this time the entire galaxy is at risk.

Now that threat is about to be unleashed as an act of political warfare. To prevent an interstellar catastrophe, the survivors must harness the evil they faced on the planet Achlys and learn to wield the only weapon they have left: themselves.

The first installment in Erin Bowman’s duology earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called the plot “intricate and action-packed,” and fans of Jonathan Maberry, Rick Yancey, and Madeline Roux will relish in Bowman’s tense, high-stakes conclusion to the events of Contagion.

I love Contagion so much, it was probably one of my favorite books I read last year. So I was extremely excited to read Immunity. Immunity definitely has a different vibe than Contagion because we now know what we are dealing with as far as the infection is concerned but it still keeps that fast paced, need to know what’s going to happen next that the first book has. I was so happy that Immunity is the perfect follow-up to Contagion and please do not read on if you haven’t read the first book because it’s so good I wouldn’t want anything spoiled.

We pick up where we left off and find Thea and Coen as prisoners in order to find out what makes them immune to the contagion. The Radicals want to use this to their advantage in order to free the Trios.

So much happens in this story. I kept thinking how am I going to write a review without spoiling anything?? I love the way the characters developed in the story. As Thea and Coen are forced to test their powers they find out how far they can bend themselves as well. I like the interactions and also how Thea never gives up on finding a different way out. If she doesn’t succeed she tries again, she watches everything happening and she makes mental notes. She is such a strong person even in the face of everything that has happened to them. I also like how their own relationship evolves and how they are leary of it being because they are in the situation they are in. Wondering if they would feel the same way if they weren’t thrown together by chance.

I also really like Nova’s part in this book. After everything she went through with Dylan it was nice to see her get to have something different with another character. I like how things developed really naturally.

So yay new characters!! One of the most exciting ones is Naree. Even though it’s like your just floating in the back of her consciousness, you keep wondering when she is going to explode on the scene. I also really like Amber and how she questions things instead of just keeping her head down. Even though we don’t get to really delve into her relationship with her father it was nice to know that he does care about her. I’m not sure why that felt like such a breath of fresh air but it did.

I really don’t want to give anything away! I’m worried I will! I have to say that Immunity is different than Contagion because the first book felt more like a thriller/mystery because you didn’t know who the enemy is. Immunity still has plenty of fast paced action (and casualties) and you are wondering if they are going to escape. You know the enemy now, so it doesn’t have that mystery part as much anymore. We get more of the politics and how the different companies work. As well as more of the Radicals plan. I love Sci-Fi but I also like Sci-Fi that people who are not huge into Sci-Fi can read. Which is how these books are.

I really liked this sequel to Contagion and it was the perfect follow-up. Well executed, fast paced and a great plot. I hope Erin Bowman explores writing more Sci-Fi stories.

Erin Bowman is the Edgar Award-nominated author of numerous books for teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, and the Contagion duology. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. When not writing, she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Erin lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. You can visit her online at embowman.com, on twitter @erin_bowman, or on instagram @heyerin.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.

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Starts: July 2nd 2019
Ends: July 16th 2019

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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: July 9th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

I loved Spin the Dawn. I thought the story was engaging and I’m all about an adventure with a strong Fairytale vibe.

So I know the description pairs it as Project Runway Mulan but I thought it took a lot of pieces from many different Fairy Tales. Yes it’s a girl who is disguising herself in order to bring honor to her family, when her father can not but I felt the story really held its own. I wouldn’t call it a retelling at all.

I loved the competition of the Tailors because that always brings its own court drama and intrigue. Of course you never know who to trust. Trust No One but I am also happy to see that some of the other tailors were indeed honorable. As much as I did enjoy the challenges my favorite part of the story is the final challenge.

There is a fairytale by Charles Perrault called Donkey Skin and in the story the girl has three dresses. One of the Sun, one of the Moon and one of the Sky. When I was a girl, i desperately wanted the dresses. I loved the entire idea of them. What I love so much about Spin the Dawn is that not only does it have similar dresses but it also includes the journey to make the dresses. I will always love a book with journey to achieve tasks. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s the Fairytale lover in me. Especially when it helps relationships grow stronger like that of Maia and Edan.

I think we see a lot of Maia’s strength and love of her family in the first part of the story. I think when she embarks on her journey though is when she truly shines. She wants to prove that a woman can be the imperial tailor that her skill is not based on gender and maybe catch some glory. Her heart is great and I love how she grows as a character and sees how to find real happiness in protecting those she loves.

I also really liked Edan’s character as well. Plus his affection for Maia is so sweet and only gets better as they grow closer. Ah I loved reading the parts where they interact.

I actually really like Lady Sarnai as well because she is also having to struggle with a role she was born to. She just wants a chance to show herself the same way Maia does. That doesn’t mean she needs to be cruel but at least you can see where her anger comes from.

So that ending. I have to say that if the story ended at where it ended and there was no more books. I would be happy with it, that sounds weird and not super happy. Just that sometimes decisions lead us to not a perfect ending but we don't regret the decisions....I guess. I’m also very happy that this is book one of The Blood and the Stars series.

This is also one of those books where after you read, you look at the cover and think. Ohhh yes yes! I see now!

Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, "Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that's kinda cool!" But after one of her teachers told her she had "too much voice" in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel -- for kicks, at first, then things became serious -- and she hasn't looked back since.

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

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