Monday, August 20, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: A Room Away Form the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma-- 10 List & Giveaway!


**Tour banner made by the fabulous Vicky Who Reads!!**

A Room Away From the Wolves

by Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery
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Synopsis:


Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...


10 Reasons You Should Read Nova Ren Suma's Books

I'm a big fan of Nova Ren Suma!!  This summer I fulfilled my dream of meeting her.  One more important fave author crossed off my bucket list!!



After reading 2 of her books (and working my way through this one), I've compiled my list of why she should be an auto-buy:

1.  Beautiful Writing

  • THE WALLS AROUND US and A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES are so painfully beautiful that it made me stop multiple times and just ENVY the way Nova writes these words.
2.  Twisty Twists
  • I never freaking know WHAT is going on in these books.  If you are able to guess these endings, my hat is off to you.  Maybe it's the touch of magic that they all seem to have, or maybe Nova just has really unexpected ideas-- either way, I'm always surprised.
3.  Nothing is Spelled Out
  • You may not see this as a good thing, but I do!!  I really like it when books leave things to the reader's imagination and doesn't tell us EVERY last thing that happened.  There are always multiple interpretations to what people think ACTUALLY happened.
4.  Dark Contemporary For the Win!!
  • My fave of all faves are dark Contemporaries.  I like it when things are MESSED UP in books. I mean sunshine and rainbows are needed every now and again, but I like it when the stakes are high and the characters have real issues.
5.  Settings
  • In IMAGINARY GIRLS we have Olive-- a town underwater that may or may not have ghosts living in it.  In THE WALLS AROUND US-- Aurora Hills, a juvenile detention center where strange things happened.  In A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES-- Catherine House, a boarding house in NYC with a tragic history.
6.  Characters
  • FYI: I do not always like these characters.  Ruby from IMAGINARY GIRLS was practically rage inducing.  Bina from ARAFTW is also tough sometimes.  The thing is, I like when I'm frustrated sometimes.  I like the conflicting feel of wanting a good resolution, but also not loving the person that I'm rooting (or not rooting) for.  All the characters are complicated and mysterious, and I LOVE IT.  Plus, unreliable narrators are never a bad thing for me.
7.  She's friends with Courtney Summers
  • You guys probably know that I'm a Courtney Summers superfan by now.  Also, I am her #1 fan-- she wrote it in my book :)  But anyway, these 2 are besties and always cheerleading each other, and I couldn't think of a better BFF match!
8.  Underrated as All Hell
  • Don't you love when you read an awesome book that isn't super hyped??  It makes me feel like I'm in on some kind of super special secret.
9.  Total Uniqueness
  • You will not read these books and say "Hmmm, this really reminds me of ____ author".  Nova's books are like nothing else.
10.  Always a Touch of Supernatural Elements
  • This might not always be your (or my) jam for every book-- but knowing that there will always be that ghosty or otherworldly factor in these books makes them so much more mysterious and interesting.



Stay tuned for a review of this book later in the week on my blog!!










Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.

Find Nova online at novaren.com and on her blog distraction99.com.




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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: How We Learned to Lie by Meredith Miller Interview & Giveaway


How We Learned to Lie

by Meredith Milller
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Synopsis:


A voice-driven and explosive novel about friendship, love, and letting go, from the author of Little Wrecks

Violence in the small, suburban town of Highbone, Long Island, is escalating, and best friends Joan and Daisy are finding themselves in the center of it.

Joan has always been fascinated by the inner workings of living things: dogfish, eels, stingrays. But the more she sees of life outside her microscope, the more she realizes that people aren’t as easy to read as cells on a slide, and no one, not even Daisy, tells the truth.

Daisy’s always wished he had a family more like Joan’s, and that desire has only grown since his dad went to jail. But not even Joan can help Daisy keep his deadbeat older brother from putting everyone close to them in more danger.

When tragedy strikes too close to home, Joan and Daisy need each other more than ever. But no matter how hard they try, their secrets and lies have driven them apart. It’s only a matter of time before their friendship, just like their town, goes up in flames.

Sharp-edged and voice-driven, Meredith Miller’s How We Learned to Lie is a keenly observed story about friendship, violence, and life in a town on the brink.





Hi Meredith!!  We are so excited to have you in our tours and to chat with you about HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE!!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Favorite Book?

First of all, hello and thank you for having me!
  
I am one of those people who can’t even choose a favorite color!  Colors are all amazing.  There are different ones for different moods and feelings.  I’m the same with books and films and poems, so can I just pick, say, three favorite books?  I’d go with George Eliot, Daniel Deronda; Toni Morrison, Jazz and Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms.  See already I’m thinking, ‘but what about Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady?  What about Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things?  Ask me tomorrow and I’m sure to give a different answer.


Favorite TV show?

Phew, an easy one! Buffy, Buffy, Buffy
At the moment though, I am watching a really great Korean drama series called Mr. Sunshine. Amazing cinematography and great story-telling!


Favorite movie?

Well, I’ve watched The Big Lebowski about a million times and it never gets old.  (Which sort of reminds me I should have had some Raymond Chandler in among my favorite books. See what I mean? How can anyone pick ONE favorite book?)  I loved Courtney Hunt’s film Frozen River and I know it’s controversial but I loved Tarantino’s The Hateful 8.  To me what he’s doing there is exposing the whole genre of the Hollywood western as a romanticization of America’s horrible racist history.  I’m not even a big Tarantino fan, but I think that is one of the best screenplays ever written.  I can see, though, that he absolutely should have thought more about the hateful language his characters use, even if he was trying to expose that.  That was probably a job for someone else.   


Favorite Song?

I’m afraid this will have to be another list:  My fantasy Desert Island Discs playlist might be something like this: 
Jimi Hendrix, ‘May This Be Love’;  Bob Dylan, ‘It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry’ (both of which are on the Little Wrecks playlist on Spotify); CornerShop, ‘Sleep on the Left Side’; The Slits, ‘Typical Girls’ (which was our high school anthem); Howlin’ Wolf, ‘The Natchez Burning’; Patti Smith, ‘Poppies’ (though it’s hard to choose one Patti Smith track); Thelonius Monk, ‘Ba Lu Bolivar Ba Lues Are’; Lucinda Williams, ‘Bus to Baton Rouge’ (which is what I play when I feel homesick here in the UK); Nas, ‘If I Ruled the World’ (anthem of one year when I lived in Manhattan with my daughter); Janis Joplin, ‘Move Over’ (the live version); Elvis Costello, ‘Watching the Detectives’.  .  .

Well, I guess that’s enough to be getting on with. Music is EVERYTHING in life.  Have you ever heard someone say they don’t really like music?  That really weirds me out. How is that possible?  It’s like saying your soul can’t breathe and it doesn’t even bother you.  

In general, I like music played by humans who are good at it.  Manufactured pop was great back in the Motown days (before I was born). These days, it makes me feel like I’m living in a dystopia filled with soul-destroying overspill from the headphones of the brain-dead.


Favorite Food?

When I was a teenager I ate peanut butter and drank orange juice all the time! They were my two staple foods.  These days I think my favorite dish is a thing they make at a restaurant called Sergio’s which is just at the top of the Kensico Dam in New York.  It’s orecchiette pasta with sausage, hot Italian peppers and broccoli rabe. SO GOOD! 


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Ursula LeGuin’s Hainish universe (setting of a few of her novels); Some sort of piratical fantasy world, like maybe Scott Lynch’s (The Lies of Locke Lamora, etc); the type of paradise where you hang around all day in a beautiful garden with beautiful people, eating almonds and raspberries and drinking wine that doesn’t give you a hangover from flowing fountains while everyone recites amazing poetry.  I plan on going to that sort of paradise when I die. 


What were your favorite books while growing up?

The Lord of the Rings, all of Anaïs Nin’s novels, John Varley’s science fiction novels, poetry by people like René Char and Federico Garcia Lorca. 


Favorite Quote?

Here is one of many (Are you getting that I’m not good at making choices?):

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principal to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick


What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?

George Eliot.  What can I say? I’m a book nerd.   Also Rani Mukerji.  I watch every movie she makes.  


What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans?

Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap. I loved it!




ABOUT THE BOOK:


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE? 

It is a book about two friends and how hard they try to keep loving each other when the world tries to make them stop.  During the year in which the book takes place, they forget to trust each other and start hiding terrible truths.  Ultimately they get closer and also farther apart, in different ways. 


What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE.)

#difficultfriendship  #loveandlies  #weirdscience  


Do any toxic friendships from other books or movies or TV Shows come to mind when you think  of Daisy & Joan’s friendship?

I don’t think of Daisy and Joan’s friendship as toxic at all.  To me, the book is about the triumph of their (platonic) love against all the odds the world stacks against them. 

I did recently get a horrible email from someone I knew in high school. This person had heard about Little Wrecks and wrote awful things to me out of the blue, even though the book had nothing to do with them and I hadn’t seen them in years.  I suppose they were angry that I’d made something good out of that very difficult time and place.  That made me realize how toxic people in my own past were, and how far from that I’ve come.  I suppose all of that informs the way I write about relationships.  


Tell us your favorite quote from HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE.

Thinking back, I can almost feel the air in the commons that day, the things 
eddying around us.  We were breathing in violence and desperation and other people’s hallucinations, but it was all invisible to us then.  Like the fluoride in the water or the radiation from Brookhaven, the DDT and the valium and the Strontium 90.  All the heavy atoms and alkaloid molecules that make us and then break us apart. (page 126)


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

Well, novel writing alternates between being the most amazing fun and the worst agony you’ve ever experienced, pretty much every day!  It was hard to write the final scene.  I didn’t want to let go of Joan and Daisy.  I really love them.


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE– Which one would you pick?

The Slits, ‘FM’ – “I live in a town with a hundred lights around/My head is like a radio set/I’m waiting to hear what problem is next./What problem is next?”


Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read HOW WE LEARNED TO LIE (specific music, snacks…)? 

Well, since most of you won’t remember the time period, I’d recommend both the Little Wrecks and the How We Learned to Lie playlists on Spotify for a sense of the music.  (A few of the tracks are what people’s parents are listening to at the time, but that’s part of the atmosphere as well.)  
I have another story set around this time period that opens with, “Imagine a lot less plastic.  Imagine everything smells like stale cigarette smoke.  Imagine you are free.”  I think that’s a good sense of the feeling of the time and place.  


What’s next for you? 

I’ve finished a novel called Whiteness, a revenge tragedy set in the far north of New England in the early twentieth century.  The central character is a young woman named Jeanne Delaney who ends up doing a terrible thing in order to save someone from something even more horrible.  Most of the action takes place during a long, cold, snowy winter.  It’s about the awful kinds of violence people in rural areas of America commit in order to maintain their myth of community identity.  So the title comes from both the winter and the violence.

I’m now writing another novel called Fall River, a small town gothic set in the UK.  People disappear one by one into a river under a pair of bridges.  Finding out what happened to those people also means uncovering the seedy past of the town.   


Thanks so much for chatting with us!!

Thank you!  I loved these questions. 









Meredith Miller is the author of Little Wrecks and How We Learned to Lie. She grew up in a large, unruly family on Long Island, New York, and now lives in the UK. She is a published short story writer and literary critic with a great love for big nineteenth-century novels and for the sea. Her short stories have appeared most recently in Stand, Short Fiction, Prole, Alt Hist, and The View from Here.
















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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

ARC August-- 3rd year for me!!!!



ARC August is the one challenge that I don't do completely horrible at-- and I think it does actually force me to read ARCs that I probably would put off-- so I'm back for my 3rd year!!  My friends over at Read.Sleep.Repeat always do a fab job at hosting this, so stop by and make your own challenge post!!


Here's my ARC August plan: 



#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
  • Why? Because I LOVE this author and this cover and the description of this book sounds like it'll get me out of my comfort zone.

See All the Stars by Kit Frick
  • Why? Because I love debuts and I'm helping to tour this book-- and it sounds soooo good.

That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger
  • Why? Because I've SO been looking forward to this one.

Access Restricted (Word$ #2) by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
  • Why? Because I really liked the first book and I want to read this with my podcast/book club friend Mia.

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
  • Why? Because HOW HAVE I NOT READ THIS YET??

Sadie by Courtney Summers
  • Why? Because it's COURTNEY SUMMERS and I'm her #1 fan (she said so!!).

A Room Away From Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
  • Why? Because it's NOVA REN SUMA!!!

More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Why? Because the first book was so well written and I'm intrigued.







Have you read any of these??  Any you'd like to recommend me reading first?


PS- There's still time to sign-up if you'd like to kill your ARC pile this August!  They're giving away cool prizes also, so there's that if you need further motivation :)  Here's to me reading fast and staying motivated!!



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Monday, July 30, 2018

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas-- Not as slashery as I was expecting

The Cheerleaders

The town of Sunnybrook lost 5 cheerleaders in the span of a few weeks in 3 separate tragedies.

Now, it's 5 years later and Jennifer (the final girl to die)'s sister, Monica is dealing with the fallout.  Her life is spiraling, she's making bad decisions, and just when she thinks she's going to break, she finds some letters in her stepdad's desk that make her question if the deaths were somehow connected.

With the help of a new dance team friend, Monica embarks on finding out the truth about the cheerleaders.













This was supposed to MY FAVORITE book of the summer!!  I wanted to love it sooooo badly.  I mean, we have cheerleaders + murder + mystery-- what more could I want???  Apparently, what I wanted was more.

It's not that this was a bad book-- I did like it.  The thing is, it wasn't that exciting.  There were a lot of things that I would have just wanted to be cut rather than to go along with the character going through the mundane motions and none of it turning out to mean anything.  While there was a legit mystery, it wasn't as riveting as I was expecting.  I kind of thought there would be new killings or a new threat looming-- and that intensity just wasn't there.

On a positive note, there really wasn't any romance-- and right now I'm just not feeling the romance in books very much, so that part made me happy.  There was an inappropriate relationship, and I did feel terrible for Monica to be in that situation.

My favorite part of this book was Monica.  I thought she was going through some major problems (as the book opens she's just had an abortion & the anniversary of her sister's death is coming up) and I liked reading about her journey through it all.  Her new friend Ginny was also a highlight, but I felt a little off about her at times.  She was just a tad too eager to help or something.

The twist was on point with the twists I know from Kara Thomas's other books.  That genuinely saved the book for me.  I just wished that it was something to CONNECT everything, and it really wasn't that.

OVERALL: Kinda disappointed.  It pains me to say that it didn't live up to my massive expectations. I enjoyed the book up to a point, but it dragged too much and didn't have enough of an IMMEDIATENESS to the mystery.

Date Published: 7/31/2018
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin Random House and ALA for providing me with a copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Delacorte Press


Add it to your To-Read List!!


My Rating: 3/5











Character: Monica Rayburn
Book: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

  • I think Monica should read about a strained mother/daughter relationship because she could relate.








Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton-- Interview & Giveaway!!

Heart of Thorns

(Heart of Thorns #1)
by Bree Barton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Synopsis:


Inventive and heart-racing, this fiercely feminist teen fantasy trilogy from debut author Bree Barton examines a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.

Mia Rose wants only one thing: revenge against the Gwyrach—feared, reviled, and magical women—who killed her mother. After years training under her father’s infamous Hunters, Mia is ready. She will scour the four kingdoms, find her mother’s murderer, and enact the Hunters’ Creed: heart for a heart, life for a life.

But when Mia is thrust into the last role she ever wanted—promised wife to the future king—she plots a daring escape. On her wedding night, Mia discovers something she never imagined: She may be a Huntress, but she’s also a Gwyrach. As the truth comes to light, Mia must untangle the secrets of her own past. Now if she wants to survive, Mia must learn to trust her heart . . . even if it kills her.




Hello Bree! We are super excited to talk to you about HEART OF THORNS and to have you in our FFBC tours

Thank you so much! I’ve been madly in love with the Fantastic Flying Book Club ever since you first emailed.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Favorite Book?

How to choose just one? This year I have four favorites—all 2018 debuts. TIFFANY SLY LIVES HERE NOW by Dana L. Davis, ALWAYS FOREVER MAYBE by Anica Mrose Rissi, SHIP IT by Britta Lundin, and IGNITE THE STARS by Maura Milan.


Favorite TV show?

The OA. It is impossible to describe that show—or even figure out what the heck it’s about—but I have watched the season finale at least fifteen times, and it still makes me cry. I also really enjoyed the German show Dark


Favorite movie?

Arrival touched me deeply in a way most movies don’t. Also The Quiet Place is the best movie horror/thriller movie I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not very good at choosing favorites, am I?


Favorite Song?

When I want to dance? “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. When I want to cry? “Praying” by Kesha. 


Favorite Food?

Rainbow chard, potatoes, and eggs (over medium). My power breakfast!


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Narnia, Winterfell, Camelot 


What were your favorite books growing up?

The Boxcar Children. Embarrassing but true. I also fell head over heels for The Chronicles of Narnia, Tuck Everlasting, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Bridge to Terabithia, and The Client. Definitely shouldn’t have been reading John Grisham at age ten—I had nightmares for years. 


 Favorite Quote?

“Time will wound all heels.” 


What do you find yourself “fangirling” over?

Donald Glover, Bo Burnham, and Janelle Monáe. The holy trinity of genius. 


 Name a recent book you read that you would recommend to our YA fans?

Nova Ren Suma’s new book, A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES. Like all of Nova’s work, it is dark and decadent, magical in a way only she can do. 



ABOUT THE BOOK:


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about HEART OF THORNS?

HEART OF THORNS began with a question. What if women’s bodies evolved to have magic? And what if, because of this magic, they were hunted, imprisoned, and destroyed?

When the story begins, Mia Rose—ever a good student—believes what she’s been taught. Magic is evil. The Gwyrach are vengeful demons, not human women. They murdered her mother with a single touch. But when Mia discovers she herself has magic, she begins to peel back the lies to reveal a devastating truth. 

HoT is a book about women, bodies, the power within each of us, and what to do when the world tries to strip that power away. 


Can you tell us 3 interesting/random things about Mia?

  1. She once taxidermied a dead bird.    
  2. Her prize possession is a sketch of a naked man…with daggers, swords, scythes, arrows, and spears sticking out of him. This is Wound Man, a real illustration used by surgeons and wound doctors in the Middle Ages. For Mia the sketch is purely professional. (Or so she swears.)
  3. She likes potato cakes. A lot. 


If you were able to obtain a magical power, what would you want it to be?

Being able to manipulate flesh, bone, breath, and blood would be pretty terrifying—if I tapped a man on the shoulder at Starbucks, he might drop dead into the espresso. So I guess I would bend time. When I was feeling ambitious, I could warp myself to another period in history. When I was feeling lazy, I could warp myself an extra hour of sleep.  


What are your fave Fantasy TV Shows or Movies?

I am definitely hooked on Game of Thrones, especially now that the women are ruling Westeros. Also loved Merlin, a whimsical—and sorely underrated—British fantasy-adventure series from ten years ago. That show was wry and funny as hell. I love when fantasy is funny. 


What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book series? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of HEART OF THORNS).

#girlboss
#badasswitch
#cookedbyQuin


Tell us your favorite quote from HEART OF THORNS.

“Why did it hurt so much, being human? It was astonishing anyone survived a life at all.”


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

The ending was hard—it took a few drafts to get right. I wanted desperately to avoid the obligatory “mwahaha I’m a villain, here’s what I’ve been doing the whole time” scene. But then how else do you tie up all the plot points?!

Writing the hot spring scene was delightful. The journal entries flowed smoothly, too—those poured right out of me. At one point my editor said, “Your mom voice is on point.” I hope my dog agrees.


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for HEART OF THORNS– Which one would you pick?

I have to go with Kesha again. Wait, now I’m consumed by doubt. It’s a tie between “Woman” by Kesha and “Queendom” by Aurora. 


Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read HEART OF THORNS (specific music, snacks…)? 

Wear gloves so you can rip them off once you leave the river kingdom! Create a playlist with “Woman” and ”Queendom” on repeat. Bake yourself a honey cake with raspberry jam and pour yourself a glass of blackthorn wine. Better yet: have a handsome prince do this for you so you can read. 


What’s next for you? 

Book two of the HoT trilogy! I can promise you mystical lagoons, menacing ice leopards, and a new POV character—someone you might not expect.  


Thank you so much for everything, Bree!

Thank you, lovelies.








Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she's not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog. 






















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