Friday, September 21, 2018

Blog Tour: Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll

Unclaimed Baggage 
By Jen Doll 

Read: September 16 - 19, 2018
Published: September 18, 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Galley from Macmillan (Thank you!)
Category: YA, Contemporary, Southern Towns, Secrets, Lost Luggage, Friendship

Book Description: Doris—a lone liberal in a conservative small town—has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of "Mr. Popular" whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people's lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future.


Unclaimed Baggage is an adorable contemporary YA about three teens brought together by a job at a store called Unclaimed Baggage, that resells - you've guessed it - suitcases and bags that were never claimed at airports. 

First, this store sounds amazing to shop at, and even more fun to work at. Liberal-out-of-water-in-Alabama Doris and her two new hires, recently-moved-from-Chicago Nell and football-star-fallen-from-grace Grant, work in the back of the store, opening and sorting through bags in order to determine what should be sold and what should be tossed. All three of them are feeling a little out of place this summer and they start bonding over all the strange things they find. 

That's the second thing I enjoyed about this book: the friendships. Doris, Nell and Grant aren't exactly three people you'd think to put together. Especially the popular football star and the town liberal, but I had so much fun watching them get to know each other. And as they open up about their lives, they form a close bond. I loved both the hilarious moments in this book, and the deeper, more painful ones as they deal with the tough realities of their lives. This book has both an established and a building romance in it. It's so rare to see an ongoing romance and I appreciated that addition. The other is sweet and slow to see develop, but I was way more interested in the friendship between these three and all the ways they stood up for and supported each other. 

This book is light and fun on the surface, but it - and these characters - deal with some tough stuff. Prejudice and race relations, assault, hypocritical members of the church, town secrets, health issues, addiction, mourning over lost loved ones are just a few topics discussed. Like everyone, Doris, Nell and Grant's lives are complex, and I cheered and laughed and wanted to hug and fight for them. I also appreciate the different ways their parents were involved in their lives. My only wish is that not everyone in the church had been seen as negative and hypocritical, though I can certainly agree with the point that you can find bad people there - and wonderful people not. 

I recommend this friendship centered contemporary YA, and now I really want to attend the balloon festival - and shop in that store. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


About the Author

Jen Doll has written for The Atlantic, The Atlantic Wire, Cosmopolitan, The Hairpin, New York magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Toast, Topic, Vice, The Village Voice, and The Week, among others. She grew up in Alabama and lives in Brooklyn and upstate New York.

Find Jen Doll: Website | Twitter | Goodreads  

Follow the Tour

BlogDateType of Post
The Bookish Photog9/16/2018Instagram and review
Undeniably {Book} Nerdy9/17/2018Review
The YA Book Traveler9/18/2018Review combined with quirky summer job nightmares
Book Briefs9/18/2018Review
Mary Had A Little Book Blog9/19/2018Quirky summer jobs and Instagram
Miss Print9/20/2018Review
Bookish Beagle9/20/2018Review and summer jobs or my unclaimed baggage item post
Novel Novice9/21/2018"Over packing tips" + review
Love Is Not A Triangle9/21/2018Review

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows - Out Now!

As She Ascends
by Jodi Meadows
Read: August 23 - September 1, 2018
Published: September 11, 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: E-galley from Harper (Thank you!)
Category: Fantasy, Dragons, Anxiety, On-The-Run- Sweet Romance, 
Series: Fallen Isles book 2/3


Mira Minkoba is on the run with her friends after a fiery escape from the Pit, where she’d been imprisoned for defending the dragons she loves. And she wants answers. Where have all the dragons been taken? Why are powerful noorestones being shipped to the mainland? And did the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sell out the Fallen Isles to their enemies


As her connection to the dragons—and their power—grows stronger, so does Mira’s fear that she might lose control and hurt someone she loves. But the only way to find the truth is to go home again, to Damina, to face the people who betrayed her and the parents she’s not sure she can trust.Home, where she must rise above her fears. Or be consumed.The second page-turning novel in Jodi Meadows’ Fallen Isles trilogy scorches with mysterious magic and riveting romance as one girl kindles a spark into a flame.
NOTE: As She Ascends in the second book in the Fallen Isles series and sequel to Before She Ignites. Click on the title for my review of the first installment - I loved it! 
I have been a huge fan of Jodi Meadow's work since I read her Incarnate series, and that hasn't changed with these new books. I adored Before She Ignites, but As She Ascends kicks everything - including the dragons - up a notch. If you loved Mira and the first book in the series, you're going to love this second installment too. If you were hesitant to pick it up, or weren't sure about it, I urge you to give this book a go. You won't be disappointed!
Here are 5 (plus a bonus!) incredible things you can expect in the pages of As She Ascends: 

1) Lots more dragons - Not only do we find out more about what is happening to them in the Fallen Isles, but we get to know them better as individuals, especially Mira's sweet LaLa. I adore this dragon! 

2) Lots more travel and exploration - We get to know Mira’s island nations, and even travel to several of them, all while outrunning danger of course. 

3) Lots more of Mira’s squad - I love the group of friends that Mira has found. They are all very different, and they don't always get along. After the events of the last book, they have to figure out how to work together - and how they will proceed forward, literally and figuratively. But one of the best parts of this book is seeing the support that they are to each other, and to Mira.

4) Lots more about Mira, including her anxiety - I appreciated so much the look we were given at Mira's anxiety in this book. The ways she has learned to fight through it, and the ways her friends are there for her. Mira is also continuing her evolution in this book, as she stands up for herself and her dragons and starts to get things done. And we get to see more of her magic too. 

5) Lots more about Aaru, especially about his past - I really appreciated the glimpse of Aaru's history and learning more about who he is and where he's come from. It helped me understand him a lot better. We also get some looks at Mira's other friends' histories - Ilina, Hristo, Gerel and Chenda.

6) Bonus!  The sweetest, most gentlest romances with no love triangle - Jodi Meadows excels at this type of love interest, and I loved watching Mira and Aaru slowly open up to each other. These two come from very different backgrounds but they also seek to understand and support each other as much as they can. There's also another side romance that was fun to see too. 

Of course As She Ascends answers lots of questions and leaves readers asking even more. I cannot wait for the final installment of this series!

Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/Medium - Not the middle of danger, but much more story and revelations to come. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

BLOG TOUR: As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows
Dragon Merch + Giveaway!

See below for the full schedule

Today I'm thrilled to be joining the As She Ascends Creative Blog Tour with a look at Dragon Merch. 

If you love dragons as much as Mira does, you might just want to dragon theme your life, and I'm here to help you towards that goal. 

Now, you can go bold and direct with your dragon ware choices, such as this incredible Bath Tissue Tyrant - Commode Dragon,
Purchase HERE

Or this gorgeous Blue purple 3D leather dragon bracelet - your own Crystal or LaLa on your wrist, 
Purchase HERE

Or, Mira's favorite, dragon figurines,
Purchase HERE

However, if I were going to dragon theme my life, I'd decorate with dragon scales. Here are 10 of my favorite dragon scale merch items - 

First up are three wearable items for you (or your favorite pet): 

1) Dragon Scale Necklace. I could definitely see Mira rocking this necklace during her fancy-dress-speach-giving-days. Purchase HERE
2) Dragon Scale Leather Dog Collar. Fancy up your favorite dog with one of these. Purchase HERE
3) Dragon Scale Leggings. Mira's wardrobe gets a lot more functional in book two, and I could see her picking up these leggings. Purchase HERE

Second, are items with which you could decorate your house: 

4) Dragon Scales Side Board. This truly is a gorgeous piece that would glam up any space. Purchase HERE
5) Dragon Scales Throw Pillow or Table Runner. I love the greens and blues in these items. Purchase HERE and HERE

Third, are three items that you could make yourself, if you'd rather create your own dragon products. While Mira doesn't have much time for baking or crafting, author Jodi Meadows is an amazing knitter (check out the giveaway below):

6) Dragon Scales Cake. There are surprisingly a lot of gorgeous dragon scale cake examples out there, largely thanks to Game of Thrones. But they also definitely work for Mira's love for dragons. Find HERE
7) Dragon Gloves with Crochet Scales. I especially love the colorful scales on these. Find HERE
8) Dragon Scale Keyhole Scarf. I have a feeling this project would take a while, but look how pretty it would turn out! Find HERE

Finally, I'm featuring two items that are a lot more directly dragon-y than some of the others, but no less gorgeous in their use of Dragon Scales: 

9) Dragon Egg Soap. You could put these in your bathroom with your commode dragon - ha! Purchase HERE
10) Dragon Scales Purse. This is one of my most favorite featured items. I especially love the dragon wing closure. Purchase HERE


About the Book

As She Ascends
by Jodi Meadows
Published: September 11, 2018 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Fallen Isles book 2 of 3
See my thoughts on book 1 Before She Ignites


Mira Minkoba is on the run with her friends after a fiery escape from the Pit, where she’d been imprisoned for defending the dragons she loves. And she wants answers. Where have all the dragons been taken? Why are powerful noorestones being shipped to the mainland? And did the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sell out the Fallen Isles to their enemies


As her connection to the dragons—and their power—grows stronger, so does Mira’s fear that she might lose control and hurt someone she loves. But the only way to find the truth is to go home again, to Damina, to face the people who betrayed her and the parents she’s not sure she can trust.Home, where she must rise above her fears. Or be consumed.The second page-turning novel in Jodi Meadows’ Fallen Isles trilogy scorches with mysterious magic and riveting romance as one girl kindles a spark into a flame.

  • ACCESSIBLE YA FANTASY AT ITS BEST: The stakes are even higher in the second book in this epic fantasy trilogy, which is complete with a romance to root for, deadly games of deceit and betrayal, and a fiercely imagined world that keeps you guessing until the explosive ending.
  • COMPLEX FEMALE PROTAGONIST: Facing crippling anxiety and compulsive counting along with her dire circumstances, Mira is a compellingly flawed and refreshingly unique fantasy protagonist.
  • DEVOTED TO DIVERSITY: Writing inclusive books has always been important to Jodi, and the Fallen Isles series is no exception, with characters of many different backgrounds represented on the page.

About the Author

Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the Incarnate Trilogy, The Orphan Queen duology, and The Fallen Isles trilogy (harpercollins/katherine tegen), and a coauthor of My Lady Jane (Harperteen). Visit her at her website:

Find Jodi: Twitter – Goodreads – Website -Instagram

Follow the Tour

8/28 Character Interview | Mira Mikoba | Books & Prejudice
8/29 As She Ascends Playlist | Moonlight Rendezvous
8/30 Styled by The Fallen Isles | Bookcrushin’
8/31 Dragon Merch | Love is Not a Triangle

9/3 Here Be Dragons | Mary Had a Little Book Blog
9/5 Dragon Nail Art | That Artsy Reader Girl
9/6 As She Ascends Dragon Makeup Look Board | Take Me Away to a Great Read
9/7 Traveling the Fallen Isles | A Backwards Story


Preorder Campaign

What you get:
  1. A signed As She Ascends bookplate!
  2. As She Ascends dragon stickers!
  3. As She Ascends bookmark!
  4. As She Ascends dragon card!
And if you order a book from One More Page, then you get all of the above plus:
  1. Exclusive Fallen Isles tapestry card
  2. Access to behind-the-scenes goodies
  3. A signed, personalized, and stamped editionThe tapestry card and access to the behind-the-scenes content will come with your book when it arrives. One More Page doesn’t typically ship internationally arrangements have been made with them to do it this time! Thing to note: they’re having trouble getting the site to calculate international shipping, so email them and they will be happy to help you!
How you get it:
  1. Preorder As She Ascends
  2. Take a photo of the receipt or forward the receipt to 
  3. Make sure to include your address at the top of the email — and write it out exactly as it needs to be on an envelope.
  4. If you order multiple books, then you get multiples of all the things! Just be sure to point it out at the top of your email.
  5. This is first come first serve.
Yes, this is international!
Yes, ebooks and physical books both count!



Win an As She Ascends Prize Pack!  (US Only)

What you get: Handmade Knitted Dragon Mitts by Jodi Meadows, Signed Paperback of Before She Ignites, Mira and Lala Magnetic Bookmark and Hopebearer Candle by Cornerfolds Candles.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Review + Photo

Tour organized by Fierce Reads
See the full schedule below 

Dance of Thieves
by Mary E. Pearson
Read: July 16 - 25, 2018
Published: August 7, 2018 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Galley from Macmillan (Thank you!)
Category: Fantasy, Secrets, Spies, Magic,

Series: book 1/2

Book Description: A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty's resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

NOTE: While Dance of Thieves takes place some time after the events of the third Remnant Chronicles book (The Beauty of Darkness), it is its own series. We do see some overlapping characters in passing, but the focus is on new characters and events. While Dance of Thieves can be read without having read the previous books, they do lend depth and background to the world and some of the characters. 

Dance of Thieves was excellent!! And I do mean it with those double explanation points. I read this fairly slowly at first, I think, because I kept worring something would change to remove my elated state over this story, but it never did. This book was just great from start to finish, and so far, I like this series better than I did the previous one starring Lia. Partially, because Dance of Thieves doesn't have an almost love shape - no triangle in any form exists here, and I'm confident of that continuing to be the case. (YAY!) 

The other main reason I enjoyed this story so much is because of its two main characters  Kazi and Jase. They each intrigued me from the beginning, and together are a fantastic match. From their first not-so-pleasant meeting, I loved getting to know each of them as they got to know each other. The beginning when they are literally attached to each other for a while and forced to collaborate to survive, was one of my most favorite parts of the story.  I was also very pleasantly surprised with how much romance was in this story. 

But this book also contains other classic Mary Pearson elements. Scheming and intrigue, danger and deceptions. Plus secrets and opposing loyalties make Kazi and Jase's romance tenuous at best, while also heightening the tension between them. But this book isn't just about these two. They each have a close network of of people around them. Kazi has her Rathan crew. Such great girl power and friendship! While Jase has a large family that endeared me so much. I adored so many of these extended characters and hope for more of them in the next book.

Dance of Thieves didn't at all end how I expected it to, which was both exhilarating and terrifying. Some elements were more settled than I guessed, while others had me biting my nails and screaming for the next installment. This book is not to be missed. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: High

My Photo Inspiration: 

Kazi and Jase spend some time wandering in the wilderness in Dance of Thieves. It is one of my favorite parts, and this is my photo inspiration about that time. 

Find this and other Bookish photo inspirations in my Instagram @loveisnotatriangle

Follow the Tour: 

Mood Board
Mood Board
Review + Photo
Instagram Post

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