Did You Know?: Blog Feature Rundown

Hey everyone! I wanted to do a quick roundup post with some of the things I do here on the blog. I also wanted to share an important update: I have changed my blog email. The new email can be found on my contact page and my arc adoption page. If you had previously saved my email address please update your address book.

Not that that’s out of the way, did you know that I offer:

  • ARC Adoption: If you are a US blogger I often put ARCs of recently published or soon-to-be published titles up for adoption to any blogger who can cover shipping and promises to write a review by my deadline. The program has a few loyal participants right now but if you’re a newer/smaller and want to start reading ARCs this is a great first step. I will check if you are a consistent blogger though so keep that in mind. Full details here: missprint.wordpress.com/adopt
  • ARC Tips: If you want to start requesting ARCs yourself I also have a page with all of my tips. Currently it has contact information too but I’m not sure all of it is up to date. You can find the page here: missprint.wordpress.com/tips

Post Features:

When I’m not blogging you can find me here:

If you ever want to know more about me and the blog I have a few pages to cover that as well:


If you’re in the position where you would like to and are able to show monetary support for this blog there are a couple of options:

  • Ko-fi: ko-fi.com/missprint (You can “buy me” a coffee)
  • Amazon Affiliate link: http://amzn.to/2uIW8bp; (When you shop through this amazon link I get a tiny commission on all sales. Alternately you can always buy a book I’m reviewing through the Amazon link in each of my reviews.)

The Price Guide to the Occult: A Review

“Any decent human being, witch or otherwise, has the capacity to do good in this world. It’s merely a case of whether one chooses to do so.”

cover art for The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye WaltonMore than a hundred years ago Rona Blackburn arrived on Anathema Island with little more than her dogs and her magic. She built a home for herself and made a place on the island but even then the original eight settlers viewed Rona with fear and, eventually, with enough hate to try and burn her out of her home.

Rona survived. Determined to see the original eight and their descendants suffer she bound herself and her line to the island. But in casting her curse Rona inextricably tied daughters down the Blackburn line not just to the island but to the original eight families as well.

In the present all Nor wants to do is keep her head down, her unexceptional powers under control, and her love life nonexistent and untethered to any of the original eight families.

But when a strange price guide to the occult appears at her part time job Nor knows that the time for hiding is almost over in The Price Guide to the Occult (2018) by Leslye Walton.

The Price Guide to the Occult is Walton’s sophomore novel.

Written in close third person this novel, much like its heroine, keeps readers at a remove even as they are drawn deeper into the mysteries and intrigue that surround Anathema Island and its founding families. Each chapter is named for a spell and features an epigraphy from Rona Blackburn’s writings on witchcraft and magic.

Circuitous writing and lush descriptions bring Anathema Island and its magic to life especially as things begin to change when the Price Guide surfaces. Walton deftly builds a world where magic feels both plausible and inevitable with subtle twists on everyday moments that bring Nor’s world startling close to our own.

Nor is a cautious girl, if not by nature then through painfully learned lessons. Self-harm is a thread throughout The Price Guide to the Occult as Nor struggles with knowing that she can’t return to self-harm while wishing for a solution that could seem as simple as cutting herself once did.* She watches with growing horror as her home, the rest of the island, and beyond fall threat to dangerous magic being performed at a great cost.

This story is equal parts sexy and gritty as Nor experiences the elation of young love with an unlikely boy while searching for the source of the Price Guide and its magic that is slowly ruining the island and everything Nor loves. The novel, and the island itself, features a deliberately inclusive cast notably including Nor’s grandmother and her longterm partner Apothia Wu.

The Price Guide to the Occult is an unexpected and fascinating story that only begins to reveal the secrets surrounding Anathema Island and its founding families. Ideal for readers looking for a twisting fantasy whose memory will linger long after the book is closed. Recommended.

*Resources for readers who have struggled with self-harm themselves can be found in a note at the end of the novel.

Possible Pairings: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper, Sender Unknown by Sallie Lowenstein, Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Leslye about The Price Guide to the Occult too!

Author Interview: Leslye Walton on The Price Guide to the Occult

Leslye Walton author photoThe Price Guide to the Occult is a haunting story about a strange island, magic, and the ties that bind people together–sometimes whether they like it or not. This story follows Nor as she tries to make sense of her own strange inheritance as a Blackburn daughter and get to the bottom of a price guide whose offers of magic with seemingly no limit is taking the world by storm. Today Leslye Walton is here to answer some of my questions about her latest novel.

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell me a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Leslye Walton (LW): My path was fairly traditional, but it was a long one. I wrote my first novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, while in grad school. I submitted my manuscript to a few agencies, but I didn’t sign with my agent until a year later. Another year passed before we found the right publisher. I got really lucky though; I have the best agent in the world and the people at Candlewick Press have been amazing to work with.

MP: What was the inspiration for The Price Guide to the Occult?

LW: When I was brainstorming my next project, I took a trip up to the San Juan Islands. My car broke down, and I was told that I needed to wait a couple of days until the island’s sole mechanic returned from the mainland. So, as I waited for the mechanic to return, I soaked up as much of island life as I could–I saw the shore lit with bioluminescence, and the bright colors of the Northern Lights fill the sky. By the time I left, I knew this quirky place was going to be the setting of my next book.

MP: In this novel all of the Blackburn daughters have an affinity for a specific kind of magic–something the Blackburn women refer to a burden–that can range from healing to something similar to mind control. Keeping in mind that most magic in this world requires a price in the form of a sacrifice, what magical burden would you willingly accept?

LW: This is a tricky question! I would hope that I would accept some magical burden that could help make the lives of others better or easier in some way. But the part of me that struggles with anxiety finds the thought of that very stressful—I would make the worst superhero.

MP: This novel takes place on Anathema Island located in the Pacific Northwest. While the story focuses on Nor, it’s fair to say that the island is often as much of a character in the novel as it is a setting. Which came first during your drafting: the setting or the story?

LW: The setting absolutely came first, but Rona Blackburn, the matriarch of the Blackburn family, came quickly after. Anathema Island and Rona are essentially the foundation of the story, so I knew I needed to have both fleshed out before I could figure out the actual plot.

MP: Working off the last question, were any of the locations you mention in The Price Guide to the Occult inspired by actual places?

LW: They were inspired by the idea of places rather than actual places themselves. The shops along Meandering Lane are a mixture of the quirky occult shops, bakeries, and art co-ops that you can find all over the San Juan Islands.

MP: The Price Guide to the Occult is very focused on characters. Did you have a favorite character to write in this novel? What about one you most resemble (or wish you did)? Anyone you’re especially excited for readers to meet?

LW: I hope that readers love Nor as much as I do. She’s incredibly strong, and a powerful witch, but she struggles with very real mental health issues that I think many young girls her age will relate to. I also really love Nor’s grandmother, Judd and her partner, Apothia. And I’m a big fan of Nor’s best friend, Savvy—and of course, Bijou, who was inspired by my own little ridiculous dog.

MP: Do you have a favorite scene or a scene you are excited for readers to discover?

LW: I really love the scenes between Nor and her love interest, Reed. I hope readers enjoy their somewhat awkward banter as much as I enjoyed writing it.

MP: Can you tell me anything about your next project?

LW: Most of my next projects are just whispers right now, but there are several of them that I’m excited about. I can say that I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Nor, Savvy and everyone else. I definitely think we’ll return to Anathema Island sometime soon.

[MP: This is very exciting news!]

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

LW: Try not to worry about the kind of book you think you’re supposed to write, and write the kind of book you want to write. You can’t write everyone’s experience—write the book you need, trust that your words will find their intended audience, and allow other writers to do the same.

Thanks again to Claire for this fantastic interview.

You can see more about Leslye and her books on her website.

You can also read my review of The Price Guide to the Occult here on the blog.

Week in Review: March 17: Emma vs. the No Good Very Bad Flu

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

Keeping it short and sweet: I have had the flu since last Thursday and I’m still recovering. What a week.

Here are two of my favorite posts I shared on Instagram this week:

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a caregiver this week. ▪️ In college my narrative nonfiction professor told me I should write my final piece about the ways my life had been impacted by taking care of my mother. I wrote about something else and probably got a lower grade as a result. I didn’t care. ▪️ I hate identifying myself as a caregiver because it always seems to imply some kind of burden or reluctance when, for me, I can’t imagine making any other choice. It wasn’t until this week when I have been completely laid out by the flu that I realized how much I’ve internalized that caregiver role for better or worse. ▪️ My mom lives with me and for my entire adult life I have been taking caring of her and supporting her in increasingly large ways. I pay the bills, cook, maintain the house, manage my mom’s prescriptions and medical care, and take her to her appointments. Even after consciously building a support system for myself it still often comes down to me alone in hospital waiting rooms. It’s not necessarily what I would have chosen for either of us but it’s the way things have shaken out. ▪️ So it’s been strange to be incapable of doing any of that this week and being forced into a position where I need all the help. At first I thought it was because I’m a Type A personality and micro-manage everything but no. It’s just a foreign concept. ▪️ I’m on four different medications right now and am too dizzy to stand so I’m probably not making any great points here. If, like me, you are usually a giver remember to take care of yourself too. Give yourself permission to accept help and buy the fancy slippers. ▪️ #goodygoodyshoes #silk #flowers #slippers #sickday #rest #portraitmode #nofilter #convalescence #caregiver #payyourselffirst #thoughtsfrommyconvalescence

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my March Reading Tracker.

How was your week? What are you reading?

Everything I Learned From Reading YA Fantasy for One Month

Everything I learned from Reading YA Fantasy for One Month with a stack of booksHere, in no particular order, is everything I learned from reading YA fantasy novels for the better part of one month:

  1. Ten years ago something big happened. A life-changing event or a war. Ten years later after stewing on this and nothing else for a decade, it’s time to act.
  2. If a character is an orphan they are probably also a monarch in hiding/disguise or a lesser god. Possibly both.
  3. Do not get distracted by the luxuries found in the castle or manor house. Don’t do it.
  4. The heroine will probably be involved with brothers who are the love interest and the villain.
  5. The love interest and the villain might be the same person.
  6. Magic is never free.
  7. Favors are never free.
  8. In fact, nothing is ever free. Everything is really expensive in fantasy worlds and debts are dangerous. You have been warned.
  9. There may be dancing or at least a party where someone gets to wear a fancy gown.
  10. The main character will inherit something. It will not be what they expect.
  11. There will be a quirky animal sidekick or a plucky best friend. Not both.
  12. There will be pining.
  13. If anyone loses something of great sentimental value they are not getting it back. Unless it’s the key to unlocking their powers and/or their mysterious origins. Then they’re definitely getting it back.
  14. Two characters will kiss. That may or may not be a good thing.
  15. Even if it feels like the absolute worst thing has happened, at least 80% of the cast will be back for book two.

Defy the Stars: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Defy the Stars by Claudia GrayFor years Genesis has fought to protect their planet and their freedom from dangerous colonization and exploitation by the enemy, Earth. Genesis vows to avoid that same mistakes Earth has made and eschews all advanced technology. But in doing so they may have signed their own death sentence. How can they hope to win a war when the enemy keeps inventing more powerful weapons?

Noemi Vidal is a soldier of Genesis–part of a generation that is slowly being annihilated in a war they cannot win. Noemi is prepared to die for her planet, her people. But even as she makes peace with her death and that of her entire unit, she knows it won’t be enough to stop the fighting or win the war.

Abel is a machine–the most advanced cybernetic ever created. He is an abomination to the people of Genesis. He was abandoned in space years ago. Isolated and alone, his programming has started to evolve and adapt while he waits for a chance to escape and complete his primary directive: find his creator Burton Mansfield and protect him.

Noemi and Abel are on opposite sides in an interstellar war. Never meant to meet. Thrown together in a desperate journey across the stars they may be the only ones who can end the war without more bloodshed. But first they have figure out how to stay alive in Defy the Stars (2017) by Claudia Gray.

Defy the Stars is the first book in Gray’s Constellation duology. The story concludes in Defy the Worlds.

Defy the Stars alternates chapters between Noemi and Abel’s close third person viewpoints. Gray nicely subverts some expected tropes about humans and robots with her main characters. Noemi is calculating and ruthless, hardened from her years growing up (and fighting) on the losing side of a large-scale war. By contrast Abel is empathetic and thoughtful in a way that shocks Noemi and makes her wonder how much she really knows about the Mansfield Cybernetics line.

High speed chases and intense action are balanced by thoughtful moments of introspection for both characters. Noemi contemplates the inevitability of her life (and death) as a soldier while Abel wonders if an artificial intelligence like himself can be meant for a great purpose and, if so, what that purpose might be. Both characters are pushed beyond their limits and their comfort zones as they are forced to work together and to grudgingly trust each other during their journey from Genesis to Earth and into the heart of the war.

Questions of what it really means to be a machine or a human with a soul drive this story as much as the action. This plot driven story perfectly balances Noemi and Abel’s evolving relationship without bogging the story down in romantic overtures. World building is carefully integrated into the story and works to enhance the plot without detracting from its finely tuned pacing. Defy the Stars is an astute, thrilling, and fascinating novel–in other words everything science fiction readers could want. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen, Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza, Beta by Rachel Cohn, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis, Warcross by Marie Lu, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate, Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh, Partials by Dan Wells

Ink, Iron, and Glass: A Review

cover art for Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn ClareWith the right tools–a special pen, specific ink–the right person can create an entire world thanks to the science of scriptology. Detailed manuals, called worldbooks, outline the parameters of the world from how gravity works there to whether or not the air is breathable.

There are no limits to how complex a worldbook can be–something scriptologists and the world at large learned when Charles Montaigne created Veldana–the first populated world created with scriptology. After Jumi, a talented scriptologist in her own right, helped her people secure their independence Veldana remains the only populated scriptologist world.

Now in 1891 Jumi’s daughter Elsa is looking forward to the day when she can take on a larger role helping her mother maintain the Veldana worldbook and pursuing her other scientific interests.

Those plans change abruptly and violently when Veldana is attacked and her mother is kidnapped. Forced to flee Veldana Elsa finds herself in the real world with no way to get home or even know if the Veldana worldbook still exists.

With no option but to move forward Elsa travels to Sicily with her mother’s mentor to regroup and find help. Among the pazzerellones Elsa learns about the madness that fuels innovation here–a singular interest in scriptology, mechanics, or other sciences that manifests as madness, particularly for the rare few polymaths whose interests cross multiple disciplines.

Uncertain who to trust or where to begin, Elsa seeks help from the other madboys and madgirls she encounters including calculating Porzia and mechanist Leo. With the right tools Elsa can write almost anything she can imagine into existence but she still doesn’t know if that will be enough to save her entire world in Ink, Iron, and Glass (2018) by Gwendolyn Clare.

Ink, Iron, and Glass is Clare’s debut novel and the start to a duology.

This novel is a refreshing blend of adventure and excitement with a heroine who is both pragmatic and scientifically inclined. Clare’s world borrows from real historic events to build the bones of her alternate history filled with scientific madness and steampunk elements including automated machines, talking houses, and more.

The main sticking point with Clare’s complex and well-realized world (and for me it was a big one) is the concept of an affinity for the sciences being construed as madness. There are no negative connotations to this madness–nor is there any discussion of what mental illness might look like in this world–but the intense gendering of the madness by calling those who have it “madboys” or “madgirls” was incredibly frustrating and served no purpose in the larger context of the story. If you poke too hard at this aspect of the world and the conceit that all great innovation is tied to madness and a complete lack of focus on the big picture (the idea being that the mad ones can focus on nothing but their chosen sciences) the premise starts to fall apart.

Despite an exceedingly large ensemble cast, Elsa spends much of the novel in her own head as she works through using her mechanical and scriptological talents to pursue her mother’s kidnappers and mount a rescue. While this offers insight into the nuances of scriptology it makes for a narrative that is often surprisingly dry despite madcap chases and boisterous secondary characters.

Ink, Iron, and Glass is an entertaining story with fascinating if sometimes hastily sketched characters and world building. Fans will be eager for the sequel after the shocking conclusion of this volume. Recommended for readers who enjoy plot-driven stories and have a fondness for steampunk settings.

Possible Pairings: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, The Reader by Traci Chee, Invictus by Ryan Graudin, The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove, The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski, These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*