Renegade Cover Reveal + Exclusive Excerpt

Renegade finally has a cover and it is visually stunning!

Renegade is the prequel to Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney which releases on July 3rd.


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Isn’t it just squeal worthy!

Check out an exclusive excerpt of RENEGADE below!

Exhaling, the prince took him off guard as he lifted his eyebrow. “What I don’t understand is how the Faes have achieved such loyalty. What did they do?”

He chewed his bottom lip as he hopped over a fallen tree trunk. He looked to Marquis. “They were the dreamers in a time when culture, creativity, and equality were being butchered. The Academy was the foundation of that dream, for desolates, for the people with weaker abilities. For everyone. The people of Kiero followed Roque because they can’t fear him, they can only admire him. How brave he was for standing up to his father, for breaking free of his reign to start his own.”

Marquis chewed his lip. “It sounds like you have a different opinion of him.”

He threw out his hands. “I was born at the Academy. Raised in the Academy. Who am I to doubt the intentions of the Faes? They are practically family.”

Shrugging, Marquis cooed, “Sometimes it is the ones closest to us that betray us first.”


The expansive world building in this prequel had me all kinds of delighted! The descriptive writing only gets better and better. Renegade does a stellar job of filling in some blanks that people may have had questions about from the first book. Especially for those who may have felt Black Dawn was a bit rushed. Plus you will die to see sassy little Brokk! Trust me. The character development is on point.

I may even have loved Renegade more than Black Dawn. Which is saying a lot because Black Dawn was part of my heart, soul, and years of childhood dreams.

P.s. I may be bias because the author is my favourite human in the universe (and my blood) but I was also her first (and hardest) critic.

Mal

About the Author:

Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

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Bruja Born

Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with Latina Brujas

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead. Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life. Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back? 

Labyrinth Lost was more like Charmed with Latina brujas but this time around I got major Buffy feels. Complete with a monster of the week type style.

Once again I had the luxury of going into the second installment of this series with little to no expectations except for the need for more bruja mythology. And I was not disappointed.

In Labyrinth Lost, I was not super attached to Lula (I was a big Nova fan and grew to love Alex) so when I heard that the 2nd book would tell Lula’s story I had no base for what that story would look like. Hence the little to no expectations. I was surprised at how quickly the story pulled me in. Lula is definitely a teenager in love, therefore smart choices aren’t always made. It was occasionally frustrating but her actions were consistently rooted in immense pain which made it SO much more understandable and definitely realistic. If having magical bruja powers can be considered realistic.

Lula’s character turned out to be very complex and I had no problem tapping into her mental state. The story that unfolds is an interesting mix of an episode of Buffy/ The Strain. As for the world building, it definitely advanced from Labyrinth Lost but it is still vague in the sense that there is no definition to how many “species” exist in this world. Which maybe makes it strong world building? We’ve found out there are vampires and shapeshifters and given little information about how they fit into the world. Which is totally fine because at no point does it feel like it doesn’t fit in with the story, you are just kind of like okay, that’s another aspect that might be explored later. The continued exploration into bruja mythology was one of my favourite parts of this book. Definitely one of the reasons I mowed through this book in 3 hours. I couldn’t stop once I started, which is always a fantastic sign. The mythology is so strong and such an awesome base for the magical world Córdova has created.

And of course all the wonderful diversity from the first book is still there in the second. We get a lot less Rishi but that’s fine because it wasn’t Alex’s story this time. And my lovely tortured Nova was back in action. I was also chuffed to see Rose’s character come into her own and can’t wait to explore her point of view.

Would definitely recommend, especially to fans of Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m excited for the next installment, especially seems it looks like we may be diving back into the Faerie world.

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

Labyrinth Lost

Charmed but with Latina Brujas.

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives. Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland?

I had zero expectations for this book; I saw the word Bruja and knew I wanted to read it. And as we all know, if the cover is stunning (which it is) I need to have it. This book hit so many marks for me. Full of POC characters, with a strong and varied female cast, a good portrayal of bisexuality AND bruja mythology.

I was pulled into Alex’s world immediately. Despite not loving her character to start, I grew to understand her rational and was fascinated by her family and cultural dynamics. Power NEVER felt like a positive thing to Alex and she worked to distance herself from her bruja identity. Once the secrets started to unfold, I felt more connected to Alex and loved her blunt sense of humour. Once we hit Los Lagos, things went from mostly paranormal to fantasy real quick. I thought the pacing was good and the world building was detailed enough that I could get lost in it. There were occasional moments when the world building felt slightly vague but it didn’t take away from the plot enough to bother me. That being said, I’m really looking forward to some world building advancement in book two. 

I will say that I was super concerned about potential queer-baiting about halfway through the novel. It was clear that Rishi loved Alex but she was developing a romantic fascination with Nova. What wasn’t clear was if Alex’s love for Rishi was just friendly or something beyond. I honestly thought that Rishi would die after confessing her love and a heartbroken Alex would find solace in Nova. I was clearly being too pessimistic. I was pleasantly surprised when the girls got their happy ending. I was over the moon that Rishi and Alex ended up together but I can’t say that I loved Rishi’s character, despite her being exactly what Alex needed. She just felt slightly one dimensional? I love a salty, mysterious and slightly broken character (Kaz Brekker anyone?) so obviously I was a Nova fan, even after the betrayal. I know we aren’t done with his character though, so I’m really excited to see how that situation pans out in book two.

I enjoyed Labyrinth Lost and it left a very complete feeling but I didn’t end the book with a WOW. I know I loved a book when I can’t help but utter a soft “wow” at the end. Maybe I’ll fall in love with the sequel, which I will definitely be reading. I’m looking forward to diving further into bruja culture and mythology.

EDIT* Just found out book two is going to be about Lula…so maybe no more Nova. But I still don’t feel we’re done with him yet.

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

King’s Cage

“All will burn.”

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(Photo Credit: Epic Reads)

Book Blurb from Chapters/Indigo

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.

As one of the most anticipated YA novels of 2017 I was pretty excited to sit down Tuesday night and dive back into this world. I meant to read a few chapters before bed but ended up reading the whole novel in just over five hours. I was not disappointed.

It was clearly a “middle” book, very political (which I loved, SO relevant to current events) and it worked to set up the final book for the action/ climax/ultimate emotional destruction. The political hopelessness I can’t help but feel on a daily basis was mirrored perfectly in King’s Cage. But the hope and drive to continue to stand up for what is right was also mirrored.

And my Maven feels were all over the map. I can’t help but hope he can be redeemed, but another part of me knows that he doesn’t deserve to be. Despite his mental struggles and childhood torture. Such a wonderfully complex character can’t help but create mixed emotions in the reader.

And Cal, ohhhhh Cal. No spoilers but there is a scene at the end that may crush some and maybe I should have been crushed but maybe i’m just not as attached to that whole situation as I should be? Definitely attached to the characters but I totally understood where everyone was coming from plot wise, so maybe that’s why I felt slightly detached. Or maybe it was just because it was 3:23am.

I’m already looking forward to the release of the 4th and final book to see how this is going to end.

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

Rebel of the Sands

“They say she’ll always be more gun powder than girl. The desert has other plans.”

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.  Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead. Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew. Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

Was this book another cover buy? You bet it was. Is this a common theme with me? Absolutely.

I was expecting a lot of spaghetti western and a little splash of Arabian mythology and I’m so glad I was wrong. It was such a wonderful mixture of cultures and mythology, with a touch of badass spaghetti western.

Amani, our sharp-shooting gun powder girl, was so very human – stubborn, unrelenting in her goals and quick witted. Not to mention, her tendency for impulse decisions kept the plot alive. And Jin- wonderful yet slightly vague Jin. He was such a delight. Although he was the obvious love interest (among other things- totally called who he was in relation to the rebellion), there wasn’t the repulsive insta-love I’ve come to expect and hate in YA. Their relationship started as one of convenience and turned from mild reluctance, to mutual respect, to friendship, to something much bigger than Amani ever expected. It was really enjoyable to read. The classic rom-com back and forth was just what I needed.

“Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand”

This was not a character driven book for me (although the secondary characters were fabulous as well). The most vivid part of the book for me was the mythology and atmosphere created. It’s not every day I come out of a YA novel being more jazzed about the mythology than I am about the character driven relationships. I find dijinn mythology fascinating and Hamilton did a fantastic job mixing it into the culture as both fact and fiction to the characters. To Amani, it had always just been old stories of immortals long gone, despite the occasional run in with ghouls and buraqi. To Jin, it was his life and family history. It should have been obvious to me, in that case, that Amani was the one who had dijinn blood in her veins.

Between the unravelling of everything Amani thought she knew, the rebellion, and the epic sibling showdown to end the novel, I was enthralled through all 300 and some odd pages.

I would definitely recommend this debut novel. It does follow a classic fantasy novel arch-type but I found it comforting rather than boring. I can’t wait to see how Hamilton continues to spin the mythology and rebellion in the second book, Traitor to the Throne.

Until next time-

TheReadersigntransp

Heir to the Sky

Because who can resist floating continents in the sky as a synopsis?

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits: by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft. When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks and other terrifying creatures. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.

Let’s just start with this, the cover is stunning. I fell in love with it after seeing it on Harlequin Teen’s Instagram. What can I say? I’m a sucker for good cover art. Then I read the synopsis on NetGalley. An heir to a kingdom of floating continents? Phoenix mythology? Monster hunters? Ummmm…yes please.

This book and I have had our ups and downs. I was originally so excited for it but I received it right at the beginning of a major reading slump. It spent a couple months being moved around my TBR pile and thrown into different travel bags all summer. I finally started it two nights ago and i’m sorry to say but the floating continents…not that interesting (with pretty cliche/vague political plot).

The good stuff came after the fall.

Monsters, Griffin -our rugged hero- and Kali’s determination to be a badass kept me reading. Despite her constant naivety (I mean…come on, who doesn’t realize that they’ve been the target of two assassination attempts?) I have to admire Kali’s refusal to be helpless in any situation she was placed in. Griffin’s story was probably the most interesting part of the book. Other than the obvious discovery that he was one of the fallen, his Benu familial history and life on earth after the fall was a thrilling addition to an otherwise flat, hobbit like, march to the top of a mountain.

And the insta-love. Ohhhhh the insta-love. I realize the plot on earth was meant to be over a month or so but it was a lot for me. Perhaps they follow apocalypse rules? You know, the whole – they’re the right gender for me and don’t appear to be attached so I call dibs because most of humanity is dead- approach? In a world full of chimeras, dragons and leviathans… I would probably hop on that train too.

The ending had its share of excitement though and left me feeling rather content. Overall, it’s a fun and easy read in a world full of some really gut wrenching YA fiction. The concept: flawless. But it could have been so much more than it was. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I read a sequel? Probably not.

Until next time –

TheReadersigntransp

 

Bookish Pet Peeves

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We all have our bookish pet peeves, whether it be folded page corners, broken spines, insta-love, writing style, etc…but I feel like we all have that ONE that can make or break a book for you. Mine broke Miss Peregrine’s and I’m super disappointed about it.

One of my big bookish pet peeves is a book that has an incredible concept but fails in 1st person execution. There are a lot of really wonderful 1st person books out there, a few of my favourites actually. However my big pet peeve is immature, underdeveloped 1st person. Unfortunately for me, Miss Peregrine’s fall in that category.

Stunning concept and great book atmosphere but horrible 1st person narrative. With the movie coming out soon (which looks stunning) I really wanted to love this series but I just can’t 😭😓.

What are your big bookish pet peeves?

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

Slouching the Dream

Poetry for a generation of lost adults, only slightly bitter and confused but dealing with adulthood with a very real kind of humour. It’s intoxicating.

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

Slouching the Dream: Poems about love. Poems about lust. Poems about heartbreak and professional wrestling. Poems about getting fat and poems about ghosts. Poems about tattoos. Poems about losing your hair and losing your lunch. Poems about getting married. Poems about getting rejected. Poems about Bigfoot, heavy metal and watching too much TV. Poems about fist fights. Poems about having kids. Poems about (not) having a life. Poems about the past and the future and getting older and not having a clue what you’re doing with your life but knowing that it has to, probably, maybe, hopefully all get better somewhere along the line, right?

Slouching the Dream is an awesome collection of real life, witty, nerdy, adulting is hard kind of poetry by Spencer Butt.

Spencer and I were interns together at HarperCollins for all of a month (before he got a cooler, better job and my internship ended). Spencer has incredible comedic timing, in person and in his writing. Hours spent packaging book mail and making buttons were much more entertaining with Spencer around. He is the kind of person that makes you instantly comfortable, unless you are a conservative grandma type who judges people with tattoos. Lucky for me, I love tattoos and apparently I’m now fond of poetry too.

It’s poetry for the nostalgic and the slightly unhinged, for the lost, the lovers, the dreamers and the people slightly confused about the path adulthood has taken them down. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in because i’m not one for poetry but Slouching the Dream is full of relatable and hilarious poems. I was super into it. So into it that I couldn’t pick a favourite. My copy is tabbed with sticky notes, marking my favourite poems and lines. Seriously, I want to share every single poem with you and explain the nuances and kind of just make myself a cozy sweatshirt nest in the lines and live there.

Recommended reading of a few favourites:

  • Job Stoppers
  • These ARE My Cool Clothes
  • If I Ever Disappear
  • To Make A Better Map
  • Activate Now
  • Look At My Muscles
  • Time’s Up, Dummy

You can find it in the comedy section of a Chapters Indigo near you!

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

 

A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte, the next generation of epic Holmes and Watson adventures with a side of well loved YA style romantic pining.

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Favourite Quote: “I didn’t bother to ask how she knew. She was a Holmes”

As someone who has read a lot of Sherlock adaptations/fanfiction and has been absolutely spoiled by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s portrayal of the epic friendship that is Holmes and Watson, I was all about A Study in Charlotte. I went in with incredibly high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed but it wasn’t what I had expected either. For some reason I thought Charlotte and Jamie were both girls (even though the description clearly says “his distance” apparently I ignored that pronoun) so that may have contributed to it not being what I expected. Whoops.

Charlotte is 100% a Holmes, with all the snark, flair for deductions and complete disregard for social niceties. The pressure to live up to her family name and her intense training lead her to fall into what was arguably Sherlock Holmes biggest flaw, addiction. It was a love/hate relationship with Charlotte Holmes. Charlotte was intriguing, with mind blowing intelligence, which is everything a Holmes is supposed to be. She was well written and had incredible depth, however Charlotte often lacked the charm of the original. She did have a few quiet moments where her gentler nature was revealed which was really lovely.

Jamie Watson was not incredibly clever. He was many other wonderful things, honest, loyal, intuitive and very much the yin to Holmes’ yang but he came across as a little dense. Which was one of my only disappointments. I LOVE me some original John Watson. He is clever and while not at Sherlock speed, he is of above average intelligence. I’m hoping Jamie will flourish under the influence of his friendship with Charlotte in the next book and use his intuitive nature to compliment his intelligence. Also his dad was freaking hilarious.

The case of the Sherringford murder was just what any good mystery should be. It was thrilling and I definitely did not call the ending. It kept me turning pages. The case was an excellent catalyst for our current Holmes and Watson to develop the beginning of the friendship we all know and love. Although this one may end in more than an unbreakable bond and platonic love. There is definitely a side of romantic pining. Jamie, I’m looking at you. But what else did you expect with a genderbent Holmes?

Absolutely would recommend to all Sherlock AND mystery fans. I’m excited to see where Cavallaro takes Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson next.

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp

Blackhearts

Blackhearts left a broken heart and an intense thirst for Queen Anne’s Revenge.

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Book Blurb from Chapters Indigo

When Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, returns home from a year at sea, he finds his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, all Teach wants is to return to the vast ocean he calls home. There’s just one problem: he must convince his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following the death of her parents, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks and Anne longs to escape the confines of her now mundane life. How will she ever achieve her dream of sailing to Curaçao—her mother’s birthplace—when she’s trapped in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach’s father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and leave England forever—or follow their hearts and stay together.


As a history and pirate enthusiast, I was over the moon when I read the synopsis for this novel. I was immediately excited about Anne, seems Blackbeard’s most ruthless pirate ship was called The Queen Anne’s Revenge. Amazing foreshadowing and world building on Castroman’s part. I was not disappointed with the historical side of the novel. In fact, I was thrilled because Blackhearts was filled with subtle historically accurate moments that made my inner history nerd melt with happiness.

Teach was a little bit of an ass…but likable, torn between family duty and individual passion. Anne was strong, witty and unyielding to the prejudice of her historical position, reminding me of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the real life heroine behind the 2013 movie Belle. I was expecting the plot to be a little more adventure driven, taking a dip into Teach’s introduction in piracy. Blackhearts was very much a romance driven novel, plotting the beginning of Teach’s heartbreak, which I think is essential to his eventual transition to piracy. And who doesn’t love a good slow burn romance? The tension, the bickering, the eventual realization and then the undeniable need to be together. So satisfying. Until the ending.

The ending sets up perfectly for a sequel, which Nicole Castroman announced on her Twitter/Facebook on March 18th! A sequel that I absolutely will be reading. The official title will be BLACKSOULS. Currently submitting a petition for the subtitle to be “An Introduction to Pining and Piracy”. I can’t wait to see how the concept of Queen Anne’s Revenge unfolds. GIVE ME QUEEN ANNE’S REVENGE. Please.

If you like emotional pain (the ending) and historical romance then this book is for you. If you are strictly looking for an adventure novel and hate romance, I would say look elsewhere. But then I really think you might miss out on the piratey goodness that I predict is coming in Blacksouls.

Until next time,

TheReadersigntransp