Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wicked Reads: Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night
by Tochi Onyebuchi 
Read: October 2017
Published: October 31, 2017 by Razorbill
Source: Galley from publisher (TY, Penguin!)
Category: YA, Fantasy, books, sin eaters

Book Description: In a world where sin can be magically transferred from sinner to "sin-eater" for a cost, a gifted young sin-eater uncovers a dark secret and must rely on his deadly talents to save the kingdom--and his own life--in this thrilling YA fantasy debut that will appeal to fans of Sabaa Tahir and Paolo Bacigalupi.
Seventeen-year-old Taj is the most talented sin-eater indentured by the Guild, a ruthless organization of mages that runs a lucrative trade absolving the rich. In the walled city of Kos, mages have a dark magic that allows them to call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin beasts--lethal creatures spawned from feelings of anguish and guilt. Every time Taj slays a sin beast, an image of the beast scars his skin while the guilt of committing the sin scars his mind. Most sin-eaters can't take it, driven mad by the process. But Taj is gifted and cocky and desperate--his family depends on his wages, and he's willing to risk everything for them. Until Taj is hired to do a job that even he can't follow through on. Soon, Taj realizes that some sins should never be eaten. When he stumbles upon a dark plot to destroy the kingdom, Taj must fight to save the princess he loves--and his own life. 

Today I'm excited to feature Beasts Made of Night as part of the Wicked Reads Campaign. Make sure to scroll down for a link to win all 9 books featured in this campaign! 

What makes Beasts Made of Night a Wicked Read? 

The entire concept of this book is deliciously creepy, especially in the way it is a study in contrasts:

First, we have the walled city of Kos, a place that is bright and hot and dusty, all contrasted with the darkness of people's sin that comes out of their bodies as literal animals - dangerous shadow creatures that vary in size from small lizards to massive lions, depending on the strength of the sin and a person's guilt over it. These animals are deadly and can kill if not destroyed themselves.

Then there are the wealthy citizens who pay the aki, or sin-eaters, to fight and destroy the beasts their sins have created. The main character in this book, Taj, is a sin-eater and one of the best at what he does. Once Taj - or another aki - has defeated a creature, he (or she) will "eat" the sin, creating a visible tattoo of the beast on his skin and an invisible scar of the other person's sin on his mind. All while the wealthy person keeps their skin pure and their mind clear. 

I love how the book cover reflects these contrasts as well, with its light background and dark purple center, hiding animals in intricate detail. In celebration of Halloween and this Wicked Read, I'm also sharing my photo inspiration for the book below. 

My photo inspiration for this book: 

What beast has been released today? 
See this and other bookish photos in my instagram @loveisnotatriangle

About The Author

Tochi Onyebuchi is a Nigerian American writer and a practicing attorney based in New York City. He holds a MFA in screenwriting from Tisch, a Masters degree in global economic law from L'institut d'études politiques, and a JD from Columbia Law School. His writing has appeared in Asimov's and Ideomancer, among other places. Beasts Made of Night is his debut series. You can follow him @tochitruestory.

Enter the Wicked Reads Giveaway 
To WIN ALL NINE of these books: 

Enter the giveaway HERE

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Reader by Traci Chee: The ReReader Campaign
Review + Photo Series

Blog Tour organized by Penguin Teen
See below for the full schedule

I love this series so much! 

In honor of The Reader and the upcoming release of The Speaker, I'm joining The ReReader Campaign and re-sharing Three Things I Loved about The Reader. 

I'm also sharing a walk in the woods I took with Sefia as part of the #ReaderFanArt contest (I won a prize too!). 

The Reader
by Traci Chee
Read: July 15 - 30, 2016
Published: September 13, 2016 by Putnam
Source: HC from publisher 
Series: Book 1/3
Category: YA, Fantasy, books

Book Description: Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Three things I loved about The Reader:

1) The whole design of the book adds to the magic of the story. Smudges in the margins, stories within stories, secret messages in the page numbers, I love how all of this adds layers and enhances the experience of reading the book. The writing and words in general are part of this too, as this story as a lovely lyrical quality to it that drew me right in. 

2) The world slowly expands as the story unfolds. At first we're only given Sefia's limited point of view and we only know and believe what she does. But as the book continues, we are given a peppering of other characters' perspectives that adds complexity to her world. And yet at the end you still realize that you didn't have all the pieces you thought you did. Some of the direction of the book, I guessed. Some things I did not. But I loved that I questioned, at times, what exactly Sefia was doing, but I ultimately always trusted her judgement. 

3) Sefia is loyal and fierce and compassionate. This girl has been dealt a difficult hand in life, and I admired her for sticking to her convictions and her mission. She is a survivor but has not lost her humanity along the way. One of my favorite parts of this story is her relationship with Archer. A boy she rescues from terrible circumstances who becomes her companion on her journey. Their support and care of each other was one of my favorite aspects of this story. It is a lovely, slow moving, heading towards a romance that grows out of a tight bond of two people who rely on each other to survive. And I didn't want to rush them. I love the ways that Sefia and Archer are different - they are both ferocious as well as vulnerable - and how well they compliment each other, and take care of each other through everything. I just wanted to give them both a big hug while I was reading! 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/medium - definite set up for the next book but ends on a quiet moment. 

Below is a photo series, originally posted here on my bookish Instagram @loveisnotatriangle, which is in honor of Sefia. 

🎶 "I remember well,

It was long ago,

and it's true there's things these photographs don't show." 🎶

I coaxed Sefia out of hiding and she took me on a trek through the woods, up a tree, and into a patch of wildflowers where she promptly left me. I couldn't find Archer though.

*Lyrics from As We Ran by The National Parks
About the Author

Traci Chee is the New York Times bestselling author of The Reader. An All-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts. She studied literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.

Find Author Traci Chee: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
Follow The Rereader Campaign

Week One
October 16 – Bette’s Pages – Review with photos
October 17 – AEROU – Review
October 18 – YA Wednesdays – Moodboard
October 19 – Boricuan Bookworms - Review
October 20 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
October 21 – Across the Words – Playlist
October 22 – Eastern Sunset Reads – Creative
Week Two
October 23 – FlyLeaf Chronicles – Review
October 24 – ButtermyBooks – Review
October 25 – Ex Libris – Review
October 26 – Good Choice Reading – Promo Post
October 27 – Love Is Not a Triangle – Review 
October 28 – A Page with a View – 5 favorite things about that world 
October 29 – Dazzled by Books – Review with Bookish Candle

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blog Tour: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Would You Rather with the Cast + Exclusive Gif

Tour Organized by Fierce Reads
See below for the full schedule

Today, I'm playing Would You Rather with the cast and author of The Wicker King. I always learn a lot about characters from these posts, and this is a particularly great one! 
Plus I'm sharing a deliciously creepy gif. Read on for more. 

The Wicker King 
By K. Ancrum
Published:  October 31, 2017 
Published by: Imprint
Category: YA, psychological, mental health, contemporary   
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not. 

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.


Welcome August, Jack and Author K. Ancrum! And feel free to elaborate. 

1) Would you rather age only from the neck up OR only from the neck down?

August: Neck down, because you can always just wear fancy clothes and no one would be able to tell.

Author K. Ancrum: Neck down because of what August said.

Jack: Both of you are vain and short-sighted. If you age from the neck up, no one will get suspicious and you’ll still be able to do athletic things without cracking a hip. Also, when you take off your shirt people will gasp in delight instead of gasping in disappointment.

August: True. Like Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Hugh Jackman.

Jack: ...yikes.

Author K. Ancrum: Both look great and also, how dare you.

2) Would you rather have a rewind button OR a pause button in your life?

August: Pause

Jack: Rewind.

August: Rewind.

Jack: Pause.

August frowns and Jack glares at him in irritation.

Author K. Ancrum: Pause.  I would use the extra time to sleep secretly or finish work I’ve procrastinated on.

Jack: Which is everything.

3) Would you rather always have to say everything on your mind OR never speak again?

August: I would rather say everything that’s on my mind. Communication is important. The only thing that can fix the effects of too much communication is more communication, so it’s a win/win.

Jack: I would rather never speak again. There are some things you can say that words can’t fix.

August, raising an eyebrow incredulously: Like what?

Author K. Ancrum: Don’t do this here.

Jack: …We’ll talk about it when we get home.

Author K. Ancrum: I’m gonna not give either of them ammunition on this so I’ll pass this question, thank you.

4) Would you rather be locked in a room that is constantly dark for a week OR a room that is constantly bright for a week?

August: Dark. 

Jack: Dark. I can be awake during the night, but I can’t sleep if its bright. Isn’t there a place where it’s dark all the time in real life?

Author K. Ancrum: The North Pole. I’d pick dark as well. If I’m awake for too long, I just start crying.

August: There is polar twilight, civil polar night, nautical polar night and astronomical polar night and it happens in the northernmost and southernmost places on earth, not just The North Pole. 

Jack: Why do you know these things?

August: We went to the same school. Why don’t you know them.

5) Would you rather be unable to move your body every time it rains OR not be able to stop moving while the sun is out?

Author K. Ancrum: There was this one fairy tale about some girl who put on cursed shoes that made her dance endlessly and she hated it so much that she cut off her feet. I’m the kind of person who learns from other people’s bad experiences, so I’m going to say that I prefer the rain paralysis.

August: Same. That’s pretty much a description of how I am when the weather is bad anyway.

Jack: If you’re paralyzed someone is going to have to help you with things, so I’ll take the sun one.

August: oh…thank you.

Jack: Yeah.

6) Would you rather relive the same day for 365 days OR lose a year of your life?

Author K. Ancrum: I think reliving the same day would be kind of fun! Like Groundhog Day but, instead of-

August and Jack, interrupting: Lose a year.

Jack: I never want to be trapped in anything again.

August: I wouldn’t let that happen. Also, if we lose a year, we both forget and forgetting isn’t as hard as living through something.

Author K. Ancrum: I…you know what? Yeah.

Thanks so much for stopping by and answering my questions, guys! 

Now for an exclusive gif from the cover shoot:

About the Author

K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking.

Find K. Ancrum: Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Tour Schedule 

10-22 Seeing Double in Neverland – Interview with Author
10-23 Novel Novice – Styled by Books
10-24 A Backwards Story – Playlist
10-25 Take me Away to a Great Read – Mood Board
10-26 Love is Not a Triangle – Would You Rather Questions
10-27 Undeniably Book Nerdy – Guest Post: Creating August and Jack’s Characters: inspirations and Chalanges.
10-28 It Starts at Midnight – Guest Post: Top Ten favorite stories with alternate worlds and/or realities
10-29 Book Briefs – Guest Post: Top 10 Things we didn’t know about Kayla!
10-30 Adventures of a Book Junkie – Interview
10-31 Across the Words – Character Cast

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