Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Poison's Kiss

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: Poison's Kiss  

Author: Breeana Shields 
Release Date: January 10, 2017

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It's a miserable life, but being a visha kanya (a poison maiden) is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. (taken from

Why I Need It: 

The first thing that caught my eye was definitely the cover and tag line. A girl who can dispatch enemies with only her lips? Heck yeah, sign me up. January can't come soon enough. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Author Chat: Breeana Shields (Poison's Kiss)

Find Breeana: Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook

"Breeana Shields graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English.

Her debut young adult fantasy, POISON’S KISS, will be released from Random House in 2017 with a sequel to follow in 2018.

When she’s not writing about herself in the third person, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, her three children and an extremely spoiled miniature poodle."

(taken from Breeana's website)

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  

"In 4th grade, my teacher gave our class an assignment to write a short story. I loved getting lost in my own imagination and having the freedom to create whatever I wanted. I’d never had so much fun doing my homework! When I turned in the story, my teacher made a big fuss over how wonderful it was—she said it was beautifully written and that it made her cry. From that moment on, I was hooked."
2. What was the most difficult aspect of writing Poison's Kiss?

"Making the story’s twists and turns come as a surprise. It’s hard to give just enough information that a plot point is believable, without giving away so much that it’s predictable. That took some tweaking to get right. (And I hope I did!)"
3. Who is your favorite character that you've created? Why?  

"This is hard one, but I’d have to say that Mani is my favorite. Probably because my main character loves him so fiercely and it would be impossible to spend so much time in her head and not love Mani. Plus, he’s adorable."
4. If you could have one supernatural ability (deadly or not), what would it be?
"I’d definitely choose teleportation. How great would it be to travel the world, but still get to sleep in your own bed at night? And as a bonus, no long airport security lines! No packing!"
5. Did you do much research for Poison's Kiss?
"Yes, so much! I researched everything from Indian folklore, to espionage and covert operations, to how different toxins work on the body. My favorite fantasies are strongly rooted in the real world and that was my goal with Poison’s Kiss as well."
6. What book are you currently reading in your spare time?
"I’m loving Mary Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles trilogy. So good!"

Don't miss Poison's Kiss, which hits shelves soon (January 10)!

Marinda’s kiss is deadly. She is a legendary visha kanya–“poison maiden”– able to kill a man with only her lips as a weapon. Since childhood, she’s served the Raja as one of his most lethal assassins.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers. Enemies of the kingdom.
But when Marinda receives orders to kiss a boy she has feelings for—a boy she knows too well to believe he deserves to die—she begins to question who she’s really working for.

And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.
(taken from Breeana's website)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Long May She Reign

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Title: Long May She Reign 

Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Release Date: February 21, 2017

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly, and the king and his courtiers are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have survived the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself. (taken from

Why I Need It: 

Going from twenty-third in line to being the queen of an entire kingdom? What are the odds? Sounds like a bit of a Red Wedding situation to me.... As always I'm a sucker for these kinds of tales. Can't wait for February! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Title: Phantom Limbs
Author: Paula Garner
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Format: Hardback 

Page Count: 368


How do you move on from an irreplaceable loss? In a poignant debut, a sixteen-year-old boy must learn to swim against an undercurrent of grief—or be swept away by it.

Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind.

Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives. (taken from

I was lucky enough to come by a signed copy of Phantom Limbs at the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin soon after it debuted. Of course, with my crazy busy school schedule, I didn't get a chance to read it until Thanksgiving break. However, as soon as I picked Garner's standalone novel, I was hooked. I devoured the entire thing in less than two days and enjoyed every minute of her witty yet heartfelt writing. 

Come meet, Otis, a boy drowning in his swim schedule, raging hormones, grief for his brother, and a sense of loss love for his childhood sweetheart. Despite his relatively young age, his love of classic literature and wise sense of the world and relationships gives him an old soul. I immediately liked him, and my love for his character continued to grow as he endured hardship after hardship. The other characters are equally well-developed, from Meg (his charismatic and endearing old friend) to Dara (a hardened survivor of a terrible accident, as well as Otis' demanding swim coach). Even Otis' parents get a decent amount of attention, which pleased me. It's not often you see a young adult book that tackles family relations as well as this one does. 

Otis' tale is one of sorrow and grief, as well as healing. After losing his toddler brother, Mason, almost three years ago, his life has been flipped upside down. Garner deals with loss in a poignant yet realistic way. I appreciated that she didn't seem to be trying to write a tear-jerker. Instead, she was attempting to accurately portray the manner in which death can affect everyone it touches. It's stain can't just be wiped away, and the road to recovery isn't an easy one. Her humorous writing, as well as her strong understanding of her characters and her relationship, made the tale both enjoyable and heart-wrenching. 

Although the story was slightly predictable, I still flipped every page as quickly as I could in hopes of confirming my suspicions. My personal favorite aspect of the tale was Garner's depiction of Otis' love for Meg. Yes, he's a teenage boy who is often prey to his sexual fantasies, but underneath that lies a sense of pure adoration. Their relationship with each other runs deep, like a spring that has existed for ages. I was rooting for the two of them the whole time, even if their relationship wasn't perfect. Kudos to Garner for creating such a believable and heartfelt relationship. 

If you haven't had a chance to check out this 2016 debut, then you're in luck: the holidays are coming up, and maybe you'll finally have the time to curl up with Phantom Limbs. It's a unique young adult story that will engage your heart while bringing a smile to your face. 


It's sweet, it's sad, and it's beautiful.