Star-Touched Stories: A Review

cover art for Star-Touched Stories by Roshani ChokshiStar-Touched Stories (2018) by Roshani Chokshi brings readers back to the world of the author’s first two novels  The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. This collection of three 100+ page novellas (one a previous preorder incentive for A Crown of Wishes and the other two previously unpublished) all contain spoilers for the novels in the series. Be sure you have read both if you want to avoid any ruined twists or surprises.

“Death and Night” follows the Dharma Raja throughout his unlikely courtship of Night incarnate. The story alternates between Death and Night’s first person narration as they uneasily begin courting and contemplate how much they are willing to risk for a partnership and whether or not that includes their hearts. This novel stops short of the events of The Star-Touched Queen but many of the key players from that novel are present here along with an abundance of witty banter.

“Poison and Gold” is set shortly after the end of A Crown of Wishes. Aasha, a vishakanya whose very touch is deadly, earned her own wish in the Tournament of Wishes–the chance to choose to live as a human. But making a place for herself in the human world is harder than Aasha expected. As Gauri and Vikram prepare to unite their kingdoms, Aasha will have to embrace both her humanity and her vishakanya side while training under the fierce but fascinating Spy Mistress in an attempt to make a place for herself beside her friends in this new world.

Set after both novels in the series “Rose and Sword” recalls a well-known story in the Empire of Bharat-Jain where, long ago, a bride was poised to become a widow before her wedding henna had even dried. She will have to travel through Death and back to reclaim her husband’s last breath. But can she make it in time and, more importantly, will she want to? This was my favorite novella of the collection and a bittersweet farewell to a favorite series.

Chokshi is in top form with the lush world building and vivid language fans of this series have come to love. Each novella focuses on an ambitious heroine as she confronts not just her fears but also her desires. A must read for fans of the series and a charming introduction to both the author and her works.

*A more condensed version of this review was published the June 2018 issue of School Library Journal*

Week in Review: August 18

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I’ve been a little hard on myself this week as I try to get a handle on a lot of different things. I’m trying to remember to cut myself some slack and remember that even if I’m not doing all the things I want and need to do, I am still doing a lot. Basically, I’m trying to stop being my own worst enemy.

I started sharing three things in a tweet at the end of the day (one thing about the day, one thing I did well, and one thing I liked about myself). Some of them are small things and some are bigger. But they have been helping me end the day thinking about the positive things instead of stewing about whatever frustrations may have arisen during the day. I don’t know if I’ll stick with it, but I’m going to try. It’s also been nice having other people share their own three things.

I’m also trying to limit my screen time because I’m on my phone enough with Pokemon Go. Sometimes I need it to talk to friends (so many of my friends are far away *cry*) but between that and Pokemon Go I definitely need to take breaks too. I haven’t worked up to setting Moment back up on my phone because it’s a pain but maybe this weekend. I haven’t done very well with it but my main change so far is to turn off my phone by 10pm if I can. If I stay up later reading, I am using page flags instead of goodreads updates to take notes.

Did you know I’m hosting a reading challenge in about a week? Are you in?

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

Happy Saturday! What are your plans today? 📚 I’m a #saturdaylibrarian today and just finished up a storytime program. Happily it’s pretty chill today thanks to the gross weather. 📚 I’m also reading The Gilded Wolves because sometimes you just have to read the book that isn’t out until next year. 📚 If you love books with alternate history settings, impossible heists, and magic, The Gilded Wolves is the book for you. Also if you are a fan of Six of Crows and Kaz Brekker, just wait until you meet Séverin and his crew because you are going to lose your damn mind. 📚 I’ve been alternating between wanting to savor this story and wanting to rush through it all at once to see what happens next. So. Good. 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #thegildedwolves #roshanichokshi

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How was your week? What are you reading?

Love and Other Train Wrecks: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah KonenAmmy doesn’t believe in true love. But she’s still riding a train from Virginia to upstate New York to attend her dad’s second wedding. She isn’t sure if her mom will ever forgive her. But she also knows it’s too late to turn back.

Noah is a total romantic. So much so that he’s taking a train back home to try and win back his first love—the girl he broke up with before he left for college.

Ammy and Noah are both desperate to get to their destination–even if it means they’re stuck traveling together after their train breaks down in a snow storm.

When a quick detour turns into an all-day trip it seems like Ammy and Noah might be falling for each other. But at the end of the journey an unexpected surprise changes everything and leaves both Ammy and Noah wondering if love and their train wreck relationship can be salvaged in Love and Other Train Wrecks (2018) by Leah Konen.

Love and Other Train Wrecks is a standalone novel. This contemporary romance plays out over the course of twenty-four hours during their madcap journey to upstate New York.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of books where a main character is forced to choose between their parents because of divorce. Ammy, unfortunately, has no good choices and spends a lot of the novel wondering if going to her father’s wedding is worth the effort when she isn’t sure if her father even wants her there or it her mom will ever forgive her. But Konen’s characterization and plotting more than makes up for starting the novel with this premise. Ammy and Noah are fun and sympathetic whether you’re a romantic or not.

Love and Other Train Wrecks is a fast-paced contemporary novel filled with humor and romance. Readers will immediately be swept up in Ammy and Noah’s journey–bumps and all.

Possible Pairings: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Once and For All by Sarah Desseh, Save the Date by Morgan Matson, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Making Friends: A Graphic Novel Review

cover art for Making Friends by Kristen GudsnukSixth grade seemed so much easier to Danielle. Her friends were all together in the same class with her. She knew all the rules in school and how things worked.

Seventh grade isn’t like that. Danielle is in a different class and her friends are making new friends without her. Nothing is the same. Even making new friends feels harder now than it did when she was younger.

Drawing in the sketchbook she inherited from her great aunt Elma is way simpler. At least until Danielle realizes that her new sketchbook is magical. Everything she draws in the book comes to life–even the head of Prince Neptune, the dreamy misunderstood villain from her favorite show.

When Danielle starts thinking about the perfect best friend, the solution seems obvious. She can draw a friend! The only problem is Madison doesn’t know that Danielle drew her. And Danielle isn’t sure they can still be friends if she finds out.

With her secret looming and Prince Neptune whispering terrible advice in her ear, Danielle’s friend troubles are certain to get even worse. It will take some magic sketches and a lot of friendship to stop Prince Neptune before it’s too late in Making Friends (2018) by Kristen Gudsnuk.

Gudsnuk’s latest graphic novel is a wild mashup of contemporary middle school antics and magical adventures sure to appeal to fans of Sailor Moon. Danielle’s real world problems are tempered with the more fantastical question of what to do about the floating head she accidentally brought to life and how to convince her best friend Madison that she can be her own person while still starting life as one of Danielle’s drawings.

Gudsnuk’s style is sharp with a cartoon vibe in this full color comic. Panels are dynamic and make a nice distinction between Danielle’s life and her drawings. Readers can only hope that this standalone volume will be the start to a new series.

Making Friends is a wild genre bender with humor and heart in equal measure. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, All Summer Long by Hope Larson, Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stephenson, Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi, Audrey’s Magic Nine by Michelle Wright, illustrated by Courtney Huddleston and Tracy Bailey

The Supervillain and Me: A Review

No one knows why some people develop super powers and others don’t. The only certainty is that supers fight crime provided much needed aid in a world riddled with violence and danger.

Abby Hamilton knows that supers are the only reason it’s even remotely save in Morriston. She just wishes that the town’s hottest superhero, Red Comet, wasn’t also her incredibly annoying older brother Connor.

Abby made peace with being normal a long time ago. She doesn’t mind. Especially when her real passion is musical theater, anyway. Still, it would sometimes be nice to take center stage in her own family instead of always being overshadowed by Connor’s heroic feats and her father’s job as mayor.

When Morriston’s newest super save Abby from a mugging, she has no idea that he’s Iron Phantom–a dangerous new supervillain. Except according to Iron Phantom himself, he isn’t actually evil. And he isn’t the biggest threat to the city by a long shot in The Supervillain and Me (2018) by Danielle Banas.

The Supervillain and Me is Banas’ debut novel. Although it is a series starter, the story also functions as a standalone.

The Supervillain and Me starts with an incredibly fun premise. Who doesn’t want to read about a world filled with superheroes and a misunderstood supervillain? Unfortunately, the premise is a bit misleading as Abby’s first person narration focuses more on traditional high school antics like auditioning for the school musical than the superhero shenanigans I had hoped for.

The world building is also flat offering little explanation for where Morriston is situated in the world or how supers function aside from local heroes Red Comet and Fish Boy. It’s no exaggeration to say that readers learn more about Abby’s school musical than they do about anything else in this world.

Abby is a smart-talking narrator complete with one note jokes and wise cracks that sometimes read as a bit too sharp. It’s hard to talk about the other characters in the book, or even more of the plot, without also sharing spoilers. The supporting cast includes a lot of fun characters. Unfortunately most of those characters are male. Every active super that readers encounter and, in fact, almost every character aside from Abby and her best friend Sarah, are male. Since superheroes are already often seen as the domain of boys and men, that was especially frustrating.

The Supervillain and Me is a fast-paced read filled with action, witty banter, and some light romance–ideal for readers looking for humor, excitement, and a superhero story told in broad strokes.

Possible Pairings: Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee, Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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

Blog 11th Birthday (and Giveaway!)

Eleven years ago, at this exact moment, I started blogging as Miss Print. It’s been a wild ride and I can’t believe this blog is still growing more than a decade later. What a ride.

(If you’re only here for the giveaway just scroll down.)

I am so grateful for the people and opportunities I’ve met through the blogging community. This past year one of my priorities has been growing my following on social media and as a blogger. It’s been amazing to see the progress I’ve made since the start of the year as part of bookstagram and to realize that new people are finding this blog–even after all this time.

And what’s a big birthday without gifts? This year I’m giving away three prizes:

  • One winner will receive a mystery box (kind of like a bookish subscription box) with some of my favorite things including bookish goodies, one or two of my favorite books, and who knows what else.
  • One other winner will receive a personalized list of ten book recommendations from me based on what they tell me about likes/dislikes/owned books/etc.
  • One winner will receive a non-scientific fortune told by me with Tarot cards (if you’ve ever seen my #TarotTime on Twitter it will be like that).

THE DETAILS:

  • Giveaway ends August 31 at 11:59pm EST.
  • Winners will be notified September 1. If I don’t hear back from the winners by September 3, I will pick a new winner from the entry pool as needed.
  • US only.
  • Must be 13 years or older to enter.
  • You must be following this blog to enter.

TO ENTER:

  • Comment on this blog post with one good thing that happened this month. Include how you are following the blog in your comment (options include email subscription, wordpress, feedly, etc.)
  • BONUS ENTRY (you can do this once): Follow me on Twitter @miss_print
  • BONUS ENTRY (you can do this once): Follow me on Instagram @missprint_
  • BONUS ENTRY (you can do this once per day): Share this message on Twitter: Now that @miss_print’s blog is turning 11, she’s hosting a giveaway. Enter here: https://wp.me/p6kfM-7Eo

Week in Review: August 11

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This week has been very nose to the grindstone. I’m trying to get some financial stuff in order (which I only remember when I’m at work and don’t have the notebook with me where I’m tracking everything, of course!) and just getting through this last bit of summer.

I spent way too much money on books last month (including several that aren’t with me yet) so I’m trying to avoid buying unnecessarily this month. We’ll see how it goes. That said, my spending ended on a good note with this fun box from Alex Bracken’s virtual signing for The Darkest Legacy:

What are you grateful for today? 📚 Yesterday was a good day for blogger me. I was very humbled by the support I got while looking for an arc on twitter, I got a sweet shoutout for my bookstagram photos from my friend @deadtossedwaves, and then I came home to this fantastic package. 📚 I’ve never done a virtual signing before but when I heard that @gcreading reading was doing one for The Darkest Legacy I decided to go for it. That wound up being silly since I ended up seeing Alex at BookExpo and at her NYC launch but still fun. (And don’t worry I had books to get signed at the launch still!) 📚 Anyway, how nice is this inscription? It’s by far one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten and I’m so grateful (again and again) that I get to call Alex a friend and that I’ve gotten to be a part of supporting this series (and this book specifically) as a blogger. 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #thedarkestlegacy #alexandrabracken #thedarkestminds

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REMEMBER: I’m hosting a reading challenge later in August. Are you in?

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

Do you read/like books with unlikable characters? 👑 Ten years ago invaders killed Theodosia’s mother, the queen, enslaved her people, and stole her name. 👑 Over many long years, Theo learned how to play the game. Don’t anger the Kaiser and stay alive. But when Theo is forced to do the unthinkable she reaches a breaking point. 👑 Survival is no longer enough. After years of hiding, it’s time for Theo to fight and reclaim everything that has been stolen. 👑 Finished this one last night. I feel like there should be a sub-sub-genre of grimdark fantasies where every character is The Worst. Because this one was fun but I just don’t feel like rooting for any of them when it comes to book two. Because they’re The Worst. 👑 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #ashprincess #laurasebastian #grimdark

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How was your week? What are you reading?