Top Ten Tuesday: 2021 Releases with Great Color Schemes

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Colorful Book Covers.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this week’s topic, but I was looking through 2021 book covers and there are so many colorful covers out there. The ones that really stand out to me are the ones with great color schemes, so I am sharing some of my favorites with you. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L Browne

2. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

3. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

4. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

5. Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass

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6. Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

7. Misfit in Love by S.K. Ali

8. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

9. The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

10. Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Which of these color schemes is your favorite? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share which upcoming releases they’re most looking forward to. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply.

I am so excited for Zoraida Córdova’s Illusionary, the sequel to her YA fantasy Incendiary. The first book had one of my favorite twists and I really want to reread it before this one comes out knowing what I know now. If you like fantasies with unique magical systems and a flawed MC, you should check out the first book in this duology. Cover is linked to Goodreads. Also, hello, I think I am back for real this time >_<

Title: Illusionary
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Series: Hollow Crown, #2
Pages: 368
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 11, 2021

      "In Zoraida Córdova's thrilling sequel to Incendiary, Renata embarks on a dangerous journey to bring justice to the kingdom -- perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas.
      Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she's reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They're united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.
      With the king's forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She'll have to control her magics--and her mind--to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.
      For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it's her time to fight back."

Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!

Mini-Reviews: Hide and Seeker + The Midnight Bargain

This is my first post trying to use the new block editor for my reviews and I hate it so much. It was so much easier to copy and paste html code from previous posts, but now when I try to do so, the html is just a mess to navigate. Why have you done this to us, WordPress? I need my classic editor back. I can’t even do something as simple as put a border around the synopsis because every time I do, I get an error message. This is the worst, ugh! I am beyond frustrated, but today I am bringing you two mini-reviews of recent reads. Overall, I enjoyed both, but I definitely preferred one over the other.

Title: Hide and Seeker
Author: Daka Hermon
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 15th 2020

TW: death of a parent

“One of our most iconic childhood games receives a creepy twist as it becomes the gateway to a nightmare world.

I went up the hill, the hill was muddy, stomped my toe and made it bloody, should I wash it?

Justin knows that something is wrong with his best friend. Zee went missing for a year. And when he came back, he was . . . different. Nobody knows what happened to him. At Zee’s welcome home party, Justin and the neighborhood crew play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong.

One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide from the Seeker.”

swirl (2)

My tongue skims across my dry lips as my numb fingers release the dead bolts. Click. Click. Click. With a slight push, the door glides open with a loud whine. Cold air whooshes from the room and chills my skin.”

Daka Hermon delivers a gut-punching horror novel with her middle grade debut, Hide and Seeker. Justin knows his life will never be the same after his mother’s passing. With bills piling up and his sister struggling to support them, Justin knows that they are barely getting by. One of his best friends just returned after going missing and what should be a celebratory birthday party for him, ends up being the beginning of another nightmare. After a game of Hide and Seek, Justin’s friends begin disappearing. Justin and those who still remain must piece together what is happening before they too are taken. The antagonist of Hide and Seeker taps into children’s fears, holding them captive by bringing their nightmares to life in a place called Nowhere. Middle grade horror always hits a little differently than YA or adult horror. Maybe it’s because the characters are so young or maybe it’s because their fear feels so much more palatable, but reading the horror these kids go through was intense. Justin makes a great lead character and I enjoyed seeing his arc come full circle. In the beginning of the novel, Justin knows he’s never going to be the same person he was before his mother died. His friends have always relied on him to keep them together, but he is unsure if he can be that person anymore. Justin’s fears are tied to his mother. He is forced to deal with this loss while also trying to survive in this world of fear and keep his friends from losing hope. Daka Hermon’s Hide and Seeker is sure to provide enough thrills and chills to make you reconsider ever playing Hide and Seek again.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)


themidnightbargainTitle: The Midnight Bargain
Author: C.L. Polk
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Publisher: Erewhon
Release Date: October 13th 2020

“Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?”

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She breathed in magic, shaped it with her need, and charged the circle closed. She was between. Her body felt bigger than it was. Her awareness had expanded to to the skin of her aetheric form, the body that spirits and magicians could see, glowing softly within the circle spun of her mortal life.

C.L. Polk’s The Midnight Bargain had all the elements needed to be a sweeping, romantic fantasy but faltered with its protagonist constantly being outshined by a minor character. Beatrice Clayborn is entering her first bargaining season in which she is declared eligible for marriage. But marriage is the furthest thing from her mind. She wants to pursue magic, to become a mage and help her family financially. But in this world women with magical abilities are only prized for their ability to produce male children with magic. When Beatrice meets someone who makes her think marriage may not be the worst fate, she’s torn between two impossibilities. Give up her dream or her only chance at finding someone who understands and respects her for who she is and wants to be. Beatrice is up against a patriarchal society that devalues womanhood. They’ve adopted harmful methods to keep pregnant women safe from evil spirits by collaring married women, cutting them off from their own magical abilities. Only widows and spinsters are allowed to study magic further. Beatrice has very strong opinions that run counter to these ideas and though this should have endeared her to me immediately, I grew frustrated with how passive she was. Though she wanted something different for herself beside marriage, she didn’t seem willing to give up her relationships with the men in her life who were essentially holding her back. This was never more apparent than when Ysbeta entered the picture. Ysbeta, like Beatrice, wishes to expand her knowledge of magic and does not wish to marry. She enlists Beatrice’s help in teaching her magic that has been beyond her reach and is prepared to do anything to take control of her own life. I could not help but wish the novel had cast Ysbeta as its lead on multiple occasions. Ysbeta did not wait for the approval of those around her, but dove head first into her ambitions. I did enjoy the development of Beatrice’s relationship with her younger sister Harriet. The latter does not understand why her older sister is so interested in magic and all its dangers. They have very opposing views but both their fears are valid and no fault of their own but of the misogynist society they have been raised in. The Midnight Bargain provided an interesting exploration of female autonomy in a world where marriage is a type of prison, but failed to hook me with its lead character.

★ ★ ★
(3/5)

Monthly Wrap-Up: March ’21

March was going fine and then I had the rug pulled out from under me. You might have noticed I was MIA the last couple of weeks and that was on purpose as I had things I had to deal with and I did not have the mental capacity to deal with the blog as well. Still not doing all that great, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things to give myself something else to focus on. Also it looks like WordPress has finally made the leap to this new editor (where is my classic editor, I need you, I miss you) and I am utterly lost. It’s going to take some getting used to, so if posts look a little wonky for the next few weeks, you will know why. I only read three books this month, but I am going to let myself off the hook because this month was just so hard to get through. Patting myself on the back anyways.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

My favorite read in March was Daka Hermon’s Hide and Seeker. I finished this at the beginning of the month which feels like something that happened a year ago. This had the perfect amount of horror for a middle grade and I know that younger me would have loved this one. Cover linked to Goodreads.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book received lower than three stars from me.

Reviews Posted This Month:

(Covers linked to reviews)

Notable Blog Posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring ’21 Releases I’m Excited For – I am so excited for so many spring releases. Check out my top ten most anticipated releases this season.

What I Watched/Am Watching:

Crash Landing on You – I threw myself into my favorite comfort drama because I needed some comfort. Just in case you were wondering, Crash Landing on You is just as good the second time around and I got just as emotional rewatching it.

April Releases I’m Excited For:

What have you been watching lately? Do you have a comfort show or book? Let’s discuss in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit!