Week in Review: February 2

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

TGIF. Between the cold weather and the stress, it has been on hell of a week for me. I’m feeling more in control with all of the reading I have to do this month (3000+ pages *crying*) and looking forward to the temperatures rising.

Here is my favorite post that I shared on Instagram this week:

View this post on Instagram

Happy Stack Saturday! 📚 Last Wednesday I finished my birthday vacation at Holly Black’s NYC event for The Wicked King. You might have noticed that I’m a big fan of this series (and of Holly’s other books). So today seemed like the perfect time to show off the books of hers that I’ve read. I’m also very excited to have been able to get them all signed. And look at all this pretty swag 😍 📚 What have you been up to today? 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #stacksaturday #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #beautifulbooks #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #thecruelprince #thewickedking #hollyblack

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

How was your week? What are you reading?

January 2019 Reading Tracker

Books I Read:

  1. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
  2. The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason
  3. When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A. J. Steiger
  4. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  5. Stop Staring at Screens by Tonya Goodin
  6. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
  7. The Lost Sisters by Holly Black
  8. The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
  9. Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
  10. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (reread)

Books I Had Planned to Read:

View this post on Instagram

New month, new TBR. New year, new resolutions. 📚 Sometimes I get very serious about resolutions but this year I’m keeping it simple. I’m continuing to grow my blog and Instagram. I’m prioritizing reading books I already own, cutting down book buying (and reading), and trying to make more time to creat eBay and Etsy listings to sell things I want to get rid of and things I have made. I’m also working really hard to let this year be the year I just believe it when I receive a compliment—something I always struggle with. 📚 These are the books I’m reading this month. It’s a big stack but I have already finished two so I think I can make it. Where should I start? 📚 Special thanks to @thatsostelle for the nifty letter board she got me for Christmas! 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #beautifulbooks #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #toread #whattoreadnext #toberead

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

I got to everything but Newt’s Emerald which I keep trying to do on audio even though I know it will be better if I just read it. Also I was totally slammed with things to read toward mid-January so that one had to be set aside for more pressing reads.

Books Bought:

  1. Uppercase
  2. The Wicked King by Holly Black (signing)
  3. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (signing)
  4. The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty (signing)

ARCs Received:

  1. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (Vine)
  2. Quarantine by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc (not requested)
  3. This Heart of Mine by C. C. Hunter (not requested)
  4. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (not requested)
  5. Ship of Steel and Smoke by Django Wexler (not requested)

You can also see what I read in 2018.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererPrince Rhen, heir to Emberfall, is cursed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth birthday until he can find a woman to fall in love with him even as he transforms each season into a monstrous beast. The season resets after every failure–all three hundred and twenty-seven of them.

When Harper intervenes in what looks like an abduction on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s finds herself transported into another world. Instead of worrying about her dying mother or the risks her brother is taking to pay off their absent father’s debts to a loan shark, Harper is trapped in Emberfall at the center of the curse.

Harper is used to being underestimated because of her cerebral palsy, something that she hopes might help her get home to her family. Instead she is shocked to learn that she is Rhen’s last chance to break the curse. But Harper isn’t sure if the fate of a kingdom can be enough to make her fall in love in A Curse So Dark and Lonely (2019) by Brigid Kemmerer.

Kemmerer’s Beauty and the Beast retelling introduces a unique world filled with fantasy and menace.

Rhen is an accomplished if pessimistic strategist while Harper is impulsive to the point of recklessness. Despite their obvious tension and occasional chemistry, Rhen’s evolving friendship with his guard commander Grey is often more compelling than Harper’s interactions with either man.

While Harper and Rhen accomplish much over the course of the novel, A Curse So Dark and Lonely has little in the way of closure. Rich world building, hints of a love triangle, unresolved questions about the curse, and Emberfall’s uncertain future will leave readers anxious to see what happens next.

Possible Pairings: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block, Ice by Sarah Beth Durst, Stain by A. G. Howard, Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, The Perilous Gard by Mary Elizabeth Pope, Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt, Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West, Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BookExpo 2018*

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

When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt: A (Non-Fiction) Review

cover art for When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt by Kara CooneyAncient history confirms one thing again and again: It was a man’s world. Throughout the world ancient civilizations created patriarchal societies often with ruthless transitions between dynasties.

There was one exception: Egypt. Throughout the country’s long reign from Dynasty 1 through to the Ptolemaic years that ended Egypt’s independence until the twentieth century, Egypt was unique in its acceptance of female rulers.

There were not many but occurring as often as they did over thousands of years, suggests the practice was longstanding and accepted throughout Egypt. Separated by years, and sometimes even millennia, these queens came to the throne under difference circumstances, with different strategies. The thing that binds them all together, even now, is that their rules all inevitably ended to restore patriarchal balance. When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt (2018) by Kara Cooney examines the reigns of six queens to explore Egypt’s complex attitudes toward female rule and what lessons might be gleaned for modern society.

This book is divided into six chapters that work chronologically through ancient Egypt’s history beginning in Dynasty 1 with Merneith–one of the first Egyptian women to rule as a regent for a relative too young to rule in his own stead. Next Cooney introduces readers to Nefrusobek who ruled as the last of her dynasty when Egypt’s penchant for using incest to consolidate power resulted in a sterile male heir.

Cooney’s previous book, The Woman Who Would Become King, is a more in-depth study of Hatshepsut–the first Egyptian queen to surpass her role as regent and declare herself king in her own right–so it’s no surprise that this chapter is one of the most thoroughly researched and well-informed.

Nefertiti, the queen who watched her husband Akhenaten usher in the monotheistic Amarna period (and bring Egypt out of it after his death) is an interesting figure. Cooney explores how Nefertiti’s position ruling beside Akhenaten allowed her to grasp for more authority. However, its should also be noted that to support her theory of Egypt supporting queens routinely throughout its long history, Cooney supports a very specific school of thought with very little historical evidence suggesting that Nefertiti eventually reinvented herself as Smenkhkare, a little-known ruler who followed.

After Smekhnare (or Nefertiti’s) reign Tawosret again saw the end of her dynasty as Egypt became globalized for the first time–a change that would have lasting consequences even a thousand years later when Cleopatra became the last Egyptian to rule Egypt.

Cooney situates each queen well in Egypt’s history and in relation to each other. Even when Cooney delves into what might be conspiracy theories (and theories with little support from new DNA evidence) she also points out the flaws or leaps in logic with a frankness that I appreciate.

Throughout When Women Ruled the World Cooney balances her own conjectures and often working with almost nothing in terms of a historical record to create a nuanced and sometimes even restrained picture. The book is at its weakest when she is trying to use these queens to create a compelling argument for why women should not be sidelined as potential leaders but that is also the thing that ties the entire book together. Includes a map, timeline, and extensive footnotes. Recommended for nonfiction readers and ancient Egypt enthusiasts.

Week in Review: January 26: On writing, discovering #atticnotebook, and how I’m reading 3000+ pages next month.

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This is the end of my birthday week. It’s been fun! Last week I got to see Roshani Chokshi, Melissa Albert, and S. A. Chakraborty at a signing and this week I got to see Holly Black. What more could a person want for their birthday festivities? I will tell you the answer is very little.

I’ve been trying to carve out more time in my days for writing and so far it’s going well. I also saw Laini Taylor post on her instagram about her #atticnotebook exercise. It’s really simple. You find an empty notebook and start writing in it for fifteen minutes every day. You don’t go back and reread. You keep going until you fill the notebook. Then you still don’t reread until at least a month has passed. And you have all of these ideas you can revisit.

On a superficial level it’s good to keep working out my handwriting which doesn’t get a lot of use given how much stuff I type. It’s also fun and a nice way to build in a writing routine. Plus while I am seriously drafting my current project I have a place to set down other ideas. (I’m in a writing group as I’ve mentioned and have a solid first half of a novel after workshopping it all last year. My goal is to finish it before the year is out.)

I can’t talk about all of the things that I’m currently reading for professional review and other projects yet BUT I’m really sad. I did the math and I have to read 3,375 pages before the end of February. So far I’ve read 50. It’s . . . going to be a lot.

Here is my favorite post that I shared on Instagram this week:

View this post on Instagram

What is one sequel you are committed to reading in 2019? 📚 I am absolutely 100% making time to catch up on Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series. I read and loved the first one (and own this pretty signed paperback) and have the next two and the novella bindup to catch up on reading. 📚 I’m experimenting with ways to make my photos fun while also streamlining the process so I took a page from @ceceliareads’s book for this one and created a layout I could slot different books into. Except instead of flowers I used my old Disney Designer collection princess cards which I want to get framed one of these days. 📚 Hit me up with your most obvious but still life changing Instagram hack. 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #beautifulbooks #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #kendareblake #threedarkcrowns #disneydesignercollection

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

How was your week? What are you reading?

Enchantée: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“She hated magic, but it was all she had.”

cover art for Enchantee by Gita TreleaseIn 1789, Paris is on the verge of change and revolution–changes that will come too late to save the Durbonnes from ruin. Camille’s older brother Alain is happier drinking and gambling than trying to help their family survive and Sophie, the youngest, is still frail from the smallpox outbreak that killed their parents six months earlier.

With no one else to depend on, Camille has to turn to la magie ordinaire–the hated magic her mother taught Camille before she died–to turn iron scraps into coins in the hopes of making ends meet. Every transformation requires more than scraps of metal, la magie also feeds on sorrow–personal anguish that Camille is forced to relive again and again to fuel her own power.

She isn’t sure how much more she has to give before there’s nothing left.

Soon, Camille is desperate enough to turn to more powerful magic and more dangerous targets. With help of la glamoire, Camille sets off for the royal court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at Versailles where there are always parties and, more importantly, gambling dens Camille can manipulate with la magie.

Disguised as the Baroness de la Fontaine, Camille plans to save up enough to build a new life for herself and Sophie while daring to imagine romance and even a future with a boy named Lazare–a dashing aeronaut who shares Camille’s dreams of equality and change. But magic always has a cost and with unrest growing throughout France and duplicity festering throughout Versaille, secrets like Camille’s can be deadly in Enchantée (2019) by Gita Trelease.

Enchantée is Trelease’s debut novel. Trelease combines a historically accurate French setting with distinct world building where France’s aristocracy were the first to wield magic fueled by blood and sorrow and, with the start of the French Revolution, both magic and the aristocracy are poised to disappear.

Camille’s double life at Versailles is set against the looming threat of revolution (something Camille and, strangely, her noble friends greet with optimism instead of fear for their own well-being) and the villain she encounters in Versailles who threatens to unravel everything Camille has struggled to build.

Camille is a driven heroine who starts this story with no ambitions beyond survival and keeping herself and Sophie from prostitution (a constant fear for Camille throughout the novel). At the royal court, Camille soon realizes that nothing about the nobility or her magic is quite what she expected.

The dangers are greater and so too is the allure as Camille makes new friends and experiences firsthand some of the vast luxuries that Versailles has to offer. As she begins to save and learn more about magic, Camille’s world fills with new opportunities and a few moments of sweetness as she grows closer to Lazare–the half-Indian aeronaut with secrets of his own. Soon it’s easy to imagine a life beyond mere survival even as she struggles to imagine leaving Versailles and la magie behind.

Enchantée is an evocative diversion with a unique magic system and truly charming characters. Recommended for fans of lush historical fantasies, sweet romances, high stakes gambling, and daring adventure.

Possible Pairings: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, Ink, Iron and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare, For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig, Amber and Dusk by Lyra Selene, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

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

The Brilliant Death: A Review

cover art for The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose CapettaEveryone in Vinalia knows that magic and the streghe who use it only exist in stories. Or they did before Vinalia’s unification under the Capo and rumors that magic has returned to Vinalia.

No one knows that Teodora di Sangro is a strega who can change people into objects. For Teo and her siblings family has always been fate, forcing them into roles they may not want. Teo is proud to belong to one of the Five Families. But she also knows that as a girl she will never truly have a place at the table the way her brothers do.

Desperate for her father’s approval, Teo takes it upon herself to address any threats to the family. Instead of killing their enemies, Teo uses her secret strega magic to transform them into objects like music boxes or mirrors that decorate her room.

When the Capo’s latest bid for power leaves Teo’s father poisoned and the heads of the other families dead, Teo knows she is the only one who can answer the Capo’s summons to the capital and find an antidote. But first she will have to transform herself to look the part of a di Sangro heir by becoming a boy.

Unable to learn this new magic alone, Teo enters into a bargain with Cielo, a mysterious strega who can switch between male and female forms as easily as opening a book. Teo’s transformation and her journey bring her into the center of Vinalia’s sinister politics as she tries to save her family in The Brilliant Death (2018) by Amy Rose Capetta.

The Brilliant Death is the first book in Capetta’s latest fantasy duology.

Vibrant imagery and vivid language imbue The Brilliant Death with wonder and intrigue in a world inspired by Italian folklore. In addition to unraveling plots and facing dangerous enemies, Teo explores her gender identity and what it means to be a girl (or not) in her world alongside her sexy genderfluid magic tutor Cielo whose dry wit and charm only increases the chemistry between them.

A highly original magic system and a protagonist who is as ruthless as she is fiery make for a fast-paced adventure. Fans will be eager for the conclusion of this duology.

Possible Pairings: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, Rule by Ellen Goodlett, The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green, For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig, Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte, Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

*A more condensed version of this review was published in an of School Library Journal as a starred review*