Bookish Bingo: Spring 2017 Edition

bookish-bingo-1024x379Bekka from Pretty Deadly Reviews is hosting a spring round of Bookish Bingo throughout March, April and May. The point of Bookish Bingo is to get as many bingos as possible. The more bingos, the more giveaway entries. All types of books (fiction, non-fiction, novellas) count, but you can only have one square per book. Also, for a book to count, it must have been read between March 1st and May 31st, 2017.

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My Progress:

  • Magic: The Golem by by Ian Tregillis
  • Historical: Cover the Silence  by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • LGBT+ Main Character: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • Spring Release: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • Witches: Radio Free Trismegistus by Ian Tregillis
  • Multi-POV: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Are you participating in this round of Bookish Bingo? How are you doing so far?

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

33155334This week I’m looking forward to You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins. The title is what first attracted me to this book when I stumbled across it on Goodreads. Then I read what it was about I added it to my TBR. I love generational stories, the weaving together of old and new. It’s a clash of cultures, identities and ideas. It sounds stunning and I can’t wait to pick it up. It’s set to be released on September 12th by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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This elegant young adult novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse.

From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity.

Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Ok, so I’m behind on the blog and missed last week’s topic. I’m not a huge fan of the topic for this week, so I’m making up for the one I skipped. So, my topic this week revolves around the theme of books read in one sitting. I’m going to narrow that down to ten novellas/short stories that I enjoyed and finished without taking a break. Here we go…

Have you read any of these novellas? Do you have any to recommend? 🙂

Mini Reviews: The Upside of Unrequited & Blood Rose Rebellion

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I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

Goodreads | Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

THIS BOOK! *flails* This book was perfect in every sense of the word. It was honest, hilarious, diverse and oh so real. This is my first book by Becky Albertalli (I know!) and I’m not sure why I haven’t read her previous release, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, before. I’ve been missing out! She just really gets what it’s like to grow up, to be a teenager…to be human. The ups and downs of relationships, the pressure to fit into society, the struggle to love yourself. It’s all here and done so well. *hugs Kindle* I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this book! 

Reasons Why I Loved It:

  • The diverse representation is AMAZING! And it’s not like these characters were afterthoughts or just added to include diversity. NO! These characters are well rounded and fully developed. There wasn’t any “look how special all these diverse characters are” either. They were written as normal people…as they should be! It was so wonderful to see. And this serves as a perfect example of why it’s not difficult to include diverse characters in YA books. So, for all of those people who argue that sometimes it can’t be done, read this! There is no excuse!!
  • I smiled a whole lot while reading this book! The main character Molly was absolutely wonderful. Much of the book is her discovering who she is and it’s so darn relatable. I wish I had a character like her while I was growing up. She deals with a lot of self-esteem issues, especially related to her weight. I think a lot of young girls can identify with her struggles.
  • The family dynamics were super nice to see. So many YA books lack parents or feature parents who have negative relationships with their children. Here, Molly’s moms (yes she has two moms) are involved loving and supporting parents. They are actual characters and not a random side character that goes in and out of the story to move the plot along.
  • There are so many positive messages! I especially appreciate its messages on self acceptance and beauty. I’m an adult and still struggle with lots of the things discussed in this book and it’s nice to be reminded that you are perfect the way your are. You don’t need to change for others. You don’t need to be someone or something else.

I’m so happy that I read this book. If you enjoy a good heartwarming/breaking and sweet book, than this is totally for you! I can’t recommend it enough. GO GET IT WHEN IT IS RELEASED!!!! I just want to thrust it into people’s arms. Now excuse me while I go purchase  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because I need more of Albertalli’s writing in my life. ❤


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

31020402Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Release date: March 28th, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

Goodreads | Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

*sigh* I loved the concept behind this book when I first saw it. The cover is oh so gorgeous and the title…YES! But sometimes the pretty cover is just a mask for something not as nice and that’s totally the case here. Blood Rose Rebellion was a complete letdown. I read up until the 50% mark and put it aside. I just couldn’t read anymore and I tried, I really did.

Reasons for DNFing:

  • It’s a very slow book, one of the slowest I’ve ever read. Sometimes I don’t mind this. If it’s written in a compelling way, I won’t put it down. I just want to keep going. But that’s not what happened here. The chapters weren’t that engaging and I felt like I had seen it all before. There was simply nothing to stick around for. The characters, the story, the setting…nothing stood out or captured my attention.
  • Talking about the story, I feel like I’ve read so many other books about a main character that’s unable to practice magic and is excluded from society.
  • There were a lot of repetitive info dumps, especially in the beginning. I understand the need to introduce the magical world but sometimes it’s good to leave a little to the imagination. I was hoping that once the world was established that it would stop but it didn’t. The stop-go of the story and then a massive push of info just slowed everything down. It’s one of the main reasons I lost interest.
  • Anna, the main character, was just bland. That’s the best way I can describe her. I didn’t care what happened her. I really just didn’t feel anything at all. And that’s horrible when the story is told from her point of view. She was just so boring!
  • The constant use of a derogatory term for Romani really bothered me. It jumped out at me the first time it was used. I just told myself it’s based on a historical time period, maybe it will get better. But then it was used again and again. Characters pointed out to Anna how this particular term was hurtful but she continued to use it. Now, I’m not sure if this change in the second half of the book, but from some of the reviews I’ve read it seems doubtful.

Life is just too short to read books that you aren’t enjoying. Books are meant to act as an escape or to push you, challenge your thoughts and beliefs. This book did neither, so I’m happy that I gave up on it. There are plenty of other stories that have a similar concept and do it so much better.

Has anyone else read this book? Any thoughts or opinions? Does Anna stop using harmful language to describe the Romani?

Reading Challenge Updates: Part II

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NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge: This challenge is hosted by Bookish Things and More and is designed to motivate bloggers to read and review the tons of books they have on their NetGalley and Edelweiss queues.

Books Read So Far:
• Cold Summer by Gwen Cole (from Edelweiss, miracles do happen!)
• A Stolen Crown by Kelsey Keating (from Netgalley) (review)
• Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (from Netgalley) (review)
• Traveler by L.E. DeLano (from Netgalley) (review)
• Home by Nnedi Okorafor (from Netgalley) (review)
• Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (from Netgalley)
• Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta (from Netgalley) (review)
• The Witch Who Came In From The Cold: Season One by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Ian Tregillis, Cassandra Rose Clarke and Michael Swanwick (from Netgalley) (review)
• Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson (from Netgalley) (review)
• Geekerella by Ashley Poston (from Netgalley)
• The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (from Netgalley) (review)


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Beat the Backlist: This challenge is hosted by Novel Knight and is all about reading the books that have been on your TBR for ages. There are also Harry Potter themed challenges!

Books Read So Far:
• Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
• The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
• Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (review)
• I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (review)
• El Deafo by by Cece Bell (review)
• Cut by Patricia McCormick (review)
• The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
• The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho (review)
• Assassin’s Creed: Heresy by Christie Golden (review)


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Flights of Fantasy: This reading challenge is hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly. My goal is to read 40+ fantasy books throughout the year.

Books Read So Far:
• The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
• The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
• The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho (review)
• Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (review)
• The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale (review)
• A Stolen Crown by Kelsey Keating (from Netgalley) (review)


diverse-challenge-2017Diverse Reads Challenge: This challenge hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat. and Chasing Faerytales is about reading and promoting diverse books.

Books Read So Far:
• Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
• The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
• Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (review)
• I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (review)
• The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho (review)
• El Deafo by by Cece Bell (review)
• The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
• Home by Nnedi Okorafor (review)
• Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
• I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached

Review | King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

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30226723King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Release date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: Hardcover

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Goodreads | Amazon

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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The beginning of the book was slow. I had a hard time going through the pages, to be honest. Mare’s imprisonment is the main focus for most of the first half of the book, if not more. The Scarlet Guard built an army of newbloods with the help of  Prince Calore and surprisingly, some of the “evil” characters change and perhaps reconsider their original position regarding the lightning girl and her crew.

Evangeline, was a surprise for me, I didn’t see that shift coming!

I think the first part of the book was a bit boring I took around a month to finish it because I did not feel that engaged as with the last 2. I hope the 4th one is much better. I feel a little disappointed  because I expected this book so, so much. Now, I do not have much to say.

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Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

29283884This week I’m looking forward to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. I’ve read a chapter preview and OMG!! I can’t wait. I really, really need a full length copy of this book. Everything about it screams amazing: 18th-century Europe,  pirates, highwaymen, queer characters, romance. The book is scheduled to be released on June 27th by Katherine Tegen Books.

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Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Mini Review | Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson & Andrea Offermann

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
 
31159613Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson & Andrea Offermann
Release date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette.

I really like graphic novels. There’s something about the blend of words and illustrations that when done right really hit home the emotion, the pain…whatever emotion or trial the character is going through. I also really enjoy Arthurian legends so I jumped at the chance to read Yvain: The Knight of the Lion, M.T. Anderson’s first graphic novel. While I’ve liked his other books, this one actually disappointed me for many reasons.

  • The panels of the graphic novel were set up like a Medieval tapestry which I thought was pretty cool because it fit the whole theme of the book. However, the drawings were flat and lifeless. They could have been a lot more dynamic than just a man sitting and staring at his drink or a side profile of a man riding his horse. The brown/yellowish colours also didn’t do the illustrations any favours.
  • There were tons of typos in my version. This will more than likely be fixed before the final version is released but it was hard to ignore them while reading.
  • For me, a good graphic novel pulls you in. Even with a lack of space or words, I learn to care deeply about the characters and their journey. Here I didn’t feel anything, well I did, but that feeling can best be described as boredom. Sir Yvain could have been eaten by his own lion I wouldn’t have even blinked an eye. Character connection is extremely important to me and I was saddened not to have it here.
  • A part of what hurt my connection with the characters was how fast the plot progressed. It’s a graphic novel, so yes I know that’s normal, but it was two pages in and Sir Yvain had already met his one true love. Really?! No build up whatsoever.
  • I also took issue with how women were portrayed. None were really anything more than tools to move the story along. All of the women were either bossy or needy. Sir Yvain was always saving women, dealing with women who were written as irrational or having to move around their evil plots. All the bad things that happened to him were because of women.

So, overall this book didn’t really add anything new to the hundreds of other interpretations of Arthurian legends. And coming from an author such as M.T. Anderson I was expecting a lot more. I did enjoy reading the author’s notes at the end. They explained the original source material and the author’s motivation for writing the novel. But other than that, this wasn’t for me. If you have read it though I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, I’d love any recommendations for graphic novels based on Arthurian legends. 🙂

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I wasn’t actually tagged to do this one but I saw it on The Jouska‘s blog and decided to do it as well. Go check out her blog if you haven’t yet. It’s totally wonderful. ❤


Questions:

1. What’s your best quality?
I learn things very quickly. Once I’ve read about it or seen it once everything sticks. This has been very helpful when it comes to learning dates and statistics in history and computer programs for work. It also means that I can help others, which I love doing.

2.What’s your worst quality?
I’m terribly shy, especially in situations when I have to meet with new people. My shyness is often interpreted as being cold or uninterested, which is very far from the truth. So, people end up thinking that’s how I am as a person and I hate it. I can’t help it. I just need time to become comfortable. I’m really a nice and loving person. Ugh!

3. What’s the best excuse that you’ve ever made to get out of a meeting/event/party?
Oh, I’m totally the queen of lame excuses. Seriously, I shouldn’t even try. 😛

4. Would you rather have the ability to become invisible or have an invincible strength?
Invisibility would be a very cool ability to have! I could easily avoid things that I don’t want to do or become a really good spy. The options are limitless!

5. Are you fond of pets?
Yes, I’ve always had pets growing up. I had a budgie, tons of fish and a golden retriever. Right now, my husband and I have a beagle named Toto.


My Questions:

1. Favourite fantasy sport or game from a book or movie?
2. Name 3 items that you always need to have with you when you leave your house.
3. What item do you constantly misplace?
4. Silver or gold jewellery?
5. Aisle or window seat while on an airplane?


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Blog Tour | Traveler by L.E. DeLano

travelertourbannerI received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27242803Traveler by L.E. DeLano
Release date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

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Traveler is about a Jessa St.Clair, a teenager with a vivid imagination who has a natural talent for writing. She’s constantly scribbling down story ideas based on her dreams. One day her rather ordinary life is turned completely upside down when one of her characters, a boy from her dreams, approaches her in real life. He tells Jessa that she’s a traveler, a person who can travel between dimensions and worlds. The catch? She’s in grave danger. Someone is trying to murder her in every dimension and they both need to work together to find out why.

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  • The pacing was was very slow at the beginning. I didn’t initially connect with the story or the characters at all. To be completely honest, I would have given up if I didn’t have to write a review for this blog tour. I’m very glad that I didn’t because about a quarter of the way into the story things start to pick up and it’s pretty fast paced from there on.
  • I really enjoyed the characters. Jessa was the type of character that I could see myself being friends with in real life. She’s tough, caring and made tons of comic book references that made my little nerd heart happy. Jessa’s older brother Danny has autism but it doesn’t define who he is. There were tons of hints that he was the only character to actual know Jessa was traveling between dimensions, he just couldn’t properly articulate it. I think he’s going to play a much larger role in the sequel. How? I’m not really sure but there’s something definitely there. And I can’t talk about the character without mentioning Finn. Oh, Finn *sigh* I loved him to pieces.
  • The book doesn’t give anything away and I really enjoyed that about it. I had no inkling about who was targeting Jessa until the last few chapters. It kept me guessing and that’s what really kept me going through the slow parts of the story. I hate it when books reveal everything to the reader too soon.
  • The ending was so, so good! It was shocking but in a good way. I’m now completely hooked and want the sequel in my hands right away. My mind was racing trying to figure where the author will take the characters next but every scenario I come up with leaves me with just too many questions.
  • I loved how the author included a recipe for glitter mousse at the end of the story. What is glitter mousse you ask? You just need to read the book to find out. 🙂

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  • It’s advertised as being about steampunk pirates and yeah, a charming pirate appears but not nearly enough. I kind of feel ripped off in a way. Like I signed up for something and only got half of what I was promised.
  • There is a love triangle and I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES so yeah…NO!
  • There was one scene in particular that rubbed me the wrong way. In it Jessa judges another girl based on her tight clothes and heavy makeup. I hate it when books have their female characters judge each other. It’s hurtful and damaging. It’s basically saying if you dress like this then you are this type of person. NO! This scene also stood out because it didn’t fit Jessa’s characterization.

So, while Traveler wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it to be, I did quite like it by the end. I think it’s one of the book series where each book is better than the last. The author has setup a solid foundation and left me wanting more. The sequel, Dreamer, is scheduled to be released next year.


about

headshotL.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary, author of the upcoming Traveler (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer.

Probably best known under her alternate moniker, Ellie DeLano, she has blogged for both Woman’s Day and Mom’s Magazine, and runs her own blog on parenting and autism at SingleMomtism.com.

She lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.

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