Waiting on Wednesday: Puddin' by Julie Murphy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Dumplin' #2
by Julie Murphy
Coming May 8, 2018
Balzer & Bray

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

Filled with heart-stirring romance, friendship, and serious Texas-size girl power—this is another winner from Julie Murphy.

Why I Want It:
Julie is another of my auto-read, auto-buy authors so I'll always read everything she publishes, but I'm specifically looking forward to Puddin' because Dumplin' was one of the most meaningful books I've ever read. 

Why I think you should want it:
Julie is a powerhouse, and she writes powerhouse girls, but she writes them in different ways. I love that Julie is writing about so many different experiences. Everyone talks about Dumplin' being a great representation of a fat girl, and it absolutely is. But there's more than one fat girl in the world so there should be more than one story featuring fat girls, and from what we can see of Millie in Dumplin', her experience is vastly different than Willowdean's. So I'm excited to discover Millie's story. And Callie, who was pretty bratty in Dumplin', kind of reminds me of Alice from Julie's first novel Side Effects May Vary. Julie gives a voice to so many different girls, and I know Puddin' will keep that glorious tradition going. Also, Dumplin' movie is releasing this year so who wouldn't be super excited to have another story in that world??

Listmania Monday: Books with Maps

One of my favorite design features in any book is a map of the world those characters live in. I think it's really cool to have that extra visual aspect to help me really immerse in a fictional world. I don't know about you, but when I discover a book has a map, I absolutely scour that bad boy until I know all the features. Even then, I like to flip back and forth between the story and the map so I can see where the characters are and where they're going. It's gotten to the point that reading with one finger marking the map has become naturally comfortable for my hands, and I even emulate that position when I'm reading a book that doesn't have a map. Also, it's one reason I still prefer physical books to ebooks (because I don't like flipping pages in an ebook; it's so awkward. And the graphics don't look great digitally).

Thanks to the popularity and power of bookstagram, bookish maps are having their very best day ever. #mapmonday is one of the biggest features bookstagrammers take part in, and it's not an uncommon sight for one's IG feed to be completely consumed by posts about book maps on Monday and some of Tuesday. So to help out all you current or aspiring bookstagrammers, I have compiled a list of all the books I can think of with maps. Because it can be hard to find inspiration, I'm including non-YA books as well.

Abhorsen series - Garth Nix
Ace of Shades - Amanda Foody
Across the Universe - Beth Revis (dust jacket of ACU only)
Alias Hook - Lisa Jensen
And I Darken series - Kiersten White
Ash Princess series - Laura Sebastian

The Belgariad series - David Eddings
The Belles series - Dhonielle Clayton (pink & purple/blue)
The Bettencourt Affair - Tom Sancton
The Bird and the Blade - Megan Bannen
The Bone Season series - Samantha Shannon
The Bone Witch series - Rin Chupeco
The Books of Bayern - Shannon Hale
Brighid's Quest - P.C. Cast
Boomtown - Nowen N. Particular
The Brilliant Death - Amy Rose Capetta
Burning Glass - Kathryn Purdie

The Caller - Juliet Marillier
Caraval series - Stephanie Garber
└different maps in each book
Carry On - Rainbow Rowell
Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth
Changeling - Philippa Gregory
Chaos Walking series - Patrick Ness
Children of Blood & Bone (Legacy of Orisha series) - Tomi Adeyemi (it's blue!)
The Chronicles of Ixia (Poison Study series) - Maria V. Snyder
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
City of a Thousand Dolls - Miriam Forster
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare (10 year anniversary)
└more maps of the series locations can be found in various editions
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty
A Court of Thorns & Roses series - Sarah J. Maas
Crossed - Ally Condie
A Crown for Cold Silver - Alex Marshall
Crown of Feathers - Nicki Pau Preto
Cursebreakers series (A Curse So Dark & Lonely) - Brigid Kemmerer

A Dance of Cloaks - David Dalglish
The Dark Tower - Stephen King
Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller
Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy - Laini Taylor (not in book one)
Deep Blue - Jennifer Donnelly
Demon Cycle series - Peter V. Brett
Descendant of the Crane - Joan He
Discworld series - Terry Pratchett
Duncan Kincaid & Gemma Jones series - Deborah Crombie
└different maps in multiple books. Info here.
Dune - Frank Herbert

Earthsea Cycle - Ursula K. Le Guin
The Elementals series - Jennifer Kelly
An Ember in the Ashes quartet - Sabaa Tahir
└two maps in each book, different maps in each book
Empress of a Thousand Skies - Rhoda Belleza
The Eternal Sky series - Elizabeth Bear
Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill
Exquisite Captive - Heather Demetrios

Falling Kingdoms series - Morgan Rhodes
The Farseer Trilogy - Robin Hobb
The Folk of the Air series (The Cruel Prince) - Holly Black
Four Dead Queens - Astrid Scholte
Four Legendary Kingdoms - Matthew Reilly
Frostblood - Elly Blake (UK version)
Furyborn - Claire Legrand

The Gentleman Bastard series - Scott Lynch
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue series - Mackenzi Lee
└different maps in each book
The Girl From Everywhere - Heidi Heilig
Girls Made of Snow and Glass - Melissa Barshadoust
Girls of Paper and Fire - Natasha Ngan
Glass Alliance series (Dark of the West) - Joanna Hathaway
Gold Seer trilogy - Rae Carson
Graceling series - Kristin Cashore
Grisha series - Leigh Bardugo
└Shadow & Bone trilogy (different maps in each)
└Six of Crows duology (different maps in both)
└The Language of Thorns
└King of Scars duology
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling (UK versions)
Healer tilogy - Maria V. Snyder
Heart of Thorns - Bree Barton
The Heroes of Olympus - Rick Riordan
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel - A.W. Jantha (2 maps)
Hungry Hearts - Elsie Chapman
Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco
Huntress - Malinda Lo

I See London, I See France - Sarah Mlynowski
Ice Wolves - Amie Kaufman
The Illuminae Files - Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Inheritance Cycle - Christopher Paolini
Inkworld - Cornelia Funke
Into the Crooked Place - Alexandra Christo
It - Stephen King

Jane Unlimited - Kristin Cashore
The Jewel - Amy Ewing
Jurassic Park: The Lost World - Michael Crichton

King of Scars - Leigh Bardugo
The Kingkiller Chronicles - Patrick Rothfuss

The Lady Rogue - Jenn Bennett
The Language of Scars - Leigh Bardugo
The Last Magician - Lisa Maxwell
The Last True Love Story - Brendan Kieley (NOT SFF!)
Legend trilogy - Marie Lu
The Licanius trilogy - James Islington
LIFEL1K3 - Jay Kristoff
Liveship Traders - Robin Hobb
The Looking Glass Wars - Frank Beddor
The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien (basically any Tolkien will have a map)
The Lumatere Chronicles - Melina Marchetta

The Magicians series - Lev Grossman
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy - Tad Williams
Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson
Monument 14 series - Emmy Laybourne

The Near Witch - Victoria Schwab
The Nethergrim series - Matthew Jobin
The Nevernight Chronicles - Jay Kristoff
The Night Diary - Veera Hiranandani

Of Fire and Stars - Audrey Coulthurst
Orphan Queen duology - Jodi Meadows

The Passage series - Justin Cronin
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
The Poppy War - R.F. Kuang
The Princess Bride - William Goldman

Queen of Ruin - Tracy Banghart
The Queens of Renthia series - Sarah Beth Durst
The Queen's Rising - Rebecca Ross

The Ravenspire series (The Shadow Queen) - C.J. Redwine (red, blue, purple, and teal!)
The Reader series - Traci Chee
The Red Queen series - Victoria Aveyard
Red Rising series - Pierce Brown
Red Skies Falling - Alex London
Reign the Earth - A.C. Gaughen
The Remnant Chronicles trilogy - Mary E. Pearson
Rime Chronicles (Onyx & Ivory) - Mindee Arnett
The Rithmatist series - Brandon Sanderson
Roar - Cora Carmack
Rosemarked series - Livia Blackburne
Royal Bastards - Andrew Shvarts
Royal Wedding Disaster - Meg Cabot (also not sff!)

Sanctum - Sarah Fine
The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani
Seeker - Arwen Elys Dayton
The Seven Realms - Cinda Williams Chima
Shades of Magic - V.E. Schwab
Shadow and Bone trilogy - Leigh Bardugo
└different maps in each book
Shadow of the Fox series - Julie Kagawa
The Silk Map - Chris Willrich
The Sin-Eater's Daughter - Melissa Salisbury
Six of Crows duology - Leigh Bardugo
└different maps in both books
Skin - Ilke Tampke
Skyward - Brandon Sanderson
Smiler's Fair - Rebecca Levene
The Smoke Thieves series - Sally Green
Snow Like Ashes series - Sara Raasch
A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin
Song of the Current - Sarah Tolcser
Song of the Lioness series - Tamora Pierce
Soul of Stars - Ashley Poston
Spellbound - Blake Charlton
Spin the Dawn - Elizabeth Lim
Spindle Fire - Lexa Hillyer
Stain - A.G. Howard
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Storm Crow - Kalyn Josephson
Storm Siren series - Mary Weber
State of Sorrow series - Melinda Salisbury
Strange Fire - Tommy Wallach
The Sun is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon (B&N Exclusive Collector's Edition)
System Divine series (Sky Wihtout Stars) - Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Tales from Ivy Hill - Julia Klassen
Thick as Thieves - Megan Whalen Turner
Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas
└Tower of Dawn - Sarah J. Maas
These Shallow Graves - Jennifer Donnelly
Three Dark Crowns series - Kendare Blake
The Tiger's Daughter - K. Arsenault Rivera
Tiger's Voyage - Colleen Houck
Timekeeper - Tara Sim
Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton
Traitor's Kiss - Erin Beaty
Tyme series - Megan Morrison
└different maps in each book

Under the Dome - Stephen King

Wake of Vultures - Lila Bowen
Warriors - Erin Hunter
We Hunt the Flame - Hafsah Faizal
We Were Liars - E. Lockhart (a THIRD non-sff?? madness!)
The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Wicked Saints - Emily A. Duncan
Wilder Girls (Target edition) - Rory Power
Wildwood Chronicles - Colin Meloy
The Wicked Years series - Gregory Maguire
The Winner's Trilogy - Marie Rutkoski
Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
Winterspell - Claire Legrand
The Witch Hunter duology - Virginia Boecker
└two different maps
The Witchlands series - Susan Dennard
The Wrath and the Dawn duology - Renee Ahdieh

The Young Elites trilogy - Marie Lu

What's your favorite book map? Did I leave any off the list? Let me know in the comments!

Blog Tour: Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: DRC, from the publisher
Status: standalone
Links: Walk the Edge review, Crash Into You review

When Drix was convicted of a crime--one he didn't commit--he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor's newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor's daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn't may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle's parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix's messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can't imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves--Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence--and each other to finally get what they deserve. 

Waiting on Wednesday: Allied by Amy Tintera

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Ruined #3
by Amy Tintera
Coming May 1, 2018

In the final book in the New York Times bestselling Ruined series, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores and her sister, Olivia, were determined to bring peace to the people of Ruina. But as the war for liberation raged on, what triumph and freedom meant to Em and Olivia slowly changed. As Olivia’s violence and thirst for vengeance became her only ambition, Em was left to pick up the pieces.

But it’s not only Em who is upset by Olivia’s increased violence. Other members of the Ruined army are beginning to see the cracks, and soon a small group of them defects from Olivia’s army and joins Em instead. The two sisters are soon pitted against each other in an epic battle for the kingdom and the future, and only one will win.

Why I want it:
So Avenged really destroyed my feels, and I need the final book immediately, please and thank you.

Why I think you should want it:
Since this is the last book in a series, I'll say why I think you should read the Ruined trilogy as a whole. First of all, Ruined is filled with all these really powerful women. Powerful queens (as in plural) and badass princesses (as in plural) literally rule this series. Sure, there's kings and princes, but DANG, the girls are boss. Secondly, along that vein, Amy created a world where sexual assault is just not a thing! Sure, people might try to behead you, but there's no sexual violence, and I love that. Third, tons of amazing action and lots of cool magic. Fourth, KISSING. Fifth, political twisty-ness! And it's easy to see how the action changes the political landscape. Each move the main characters makes directly affects the world of Ruined, the story isn't removed from each country's history and culture, which I like. Finally, the series is just really face-paced and fun. You'll get sucked in super fast, and you won't be able to catch your breath until you finish each book, and even then, you'll only catch it long enough to yell, "WHYYYYYYY" before diving into the next installment.

Event Recap + Giveaway: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: young adult sci-fi
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: book 1 of the Unearthed duology

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

Waiting on Wednesday: The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, & Michelle Schusterman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

The Pros of Cons
by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar,
& Michelle Schusterman
Coming March 27, 2018

Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.

Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her internet girlfriend, for the first time.

Taxidermy assistant Callie Buchannan might be good at scooping brains out of deer skulls, but that doesn't mean it's her passion. Since her parents' divorce, her taxidermist father only cares about his work, and assisting him at the World Taxidermy and Fish-Carving Championships is the only way Callie knows to connect with him.

When a crazy mix-up in the hotel lobby brings the three girls together, they form an unlikely friendship against a chaotic background of cosplay, competition, and carcasses!

Why I want it:
Any book set at a con immediately gets my attention because I am HERE for the nerd stuff. But I also really loved Alison Cherry's For Real so I want to read ALL the books. Plus, I was in the marching band in high school, and my senior year, I joined the indoor percussion line. 

Why I think you should want it:
Honestly, this book just seems like a lot of fun! Writing duos are old-hat in YA at this point, but the Lady Janies proved that three is just as good as if not better than two. Also, the taxidermy thing is odd, but unique to YA so that's going to be interesting. And anytime the words "crazy mix-up" are included in a book's summary, you KNOW the book is going to be full of some exciting shenanigans!

Mary's Minute: Cover Changes and an Apology

Today's Mary's Minute is going to be a long one because I have a lot of ground to cover. 

What happened
ICYMI, last week, the cover to Renee Ahdieh's Smoke in the Sun was released, along with a redesigned cover for book 1, Flame in the Mist. The colors of Smoke are compatible with those of the original Flame and Smoke also continues the phoenix theme, although other design details—the face, the cherry blossoms, the font—more closely resemble the new new Flame design. Renee worked closely with the designer (who also designed the original Flame) to make sure the cover of Smoke would.


Frustrated by yet another mid-series change, I tweeted several times (1, 2, 3) about how annoyed I was. My rant was liked and retweeted by a lot of readers, but most replies were critical of my position. I was somewhat pressed for time and taken aback by an unexpected response that I perceived as an attack on my character (there were a lot of subtweets about racism, although no one called me racist directly) so even though I attempted to reply calmly, to have an actual dialogue about my position, I was defensive and not really receptive to responses opposing mine. It was not a good look. And so, I must apologize.

An apology
I am sorry. I am not sorry for hating cover changes (more on that in a minute), but I am sorry for speaking out of turn. I am sorry for not listening to the primarily teen (or at least younger than I) women of color telling me their perspective. I am sorry for not responding well. I am sorry for putting you guys in the position of having to tell me I was wrong, which took an immense amount of courage. I am so sorry for the hurt I caused with my rash words. I am so sorry for disappointing all of you. I am sorry to everyone whose opinion of me was lessened by my ill-timed tantrum. I am especially sorry to Renee for causing an uproar, for raining on what should have been an exciting day celebrating brand new covers. While the cover conversation is one that readers should be able to have, that day was not the appropriate time for it. Renee should have had a wonderful, joyful day, and then later this conversation could have been had, when not in direct response to her beautiful covers. And although I did not participate in the discussion then, the same goes for Sabaa Tahir when the entire Ember in the Ashes series got a makeover a few months ago. Neither of you deserved this criticism, and I am sorry for my part in this awful, hurtful situation.

Two clarifications
For my part, my frustration truly stems from disliking changes in the middle of a series. I do not have OCD and won't claim mental illness as a shield, but I have always abhorred books being repackaged mid-series. I saw a lot of comments mentioning how it's a privilege to worry about such a seemingly small thing as my books matching. IT IS. I am well aware. But it still rankles. I have hated redesigns for years. They really, truly bother me, for various reasons (but that's a conversation for another day). And so, while I am sorry for so so much, I wish to defend myself on two charges.

First, I would like to counter claims that this conversation *only* comes up when an author of color, usually a woman, has a redesign to have a character of color on the cover. Because I literally wrote this post about cover changes 5 years ago as a baby blogger (lol @ naive baby me, who knew nothing about publishing and was only coming at the convo from a consumer pov). The big one for me then was Across the Universe. The spaceshippy theme of the redesigns was cool, but man, I loved the galactic silhouettes of ACU and AMS, and I really do get a bit sad looking at my green odd-one-out copy of SOE

Additionally, there have been several instances of uproar regarding a few notable redesigns, and here are a few that I remember being especially contentious and/or a notable response from the publisher: 
  • Even though the repackage was a good one, readers were so upset over their copies of Anna/Lola/Isla not matching that Penguin (Penguin, SERIOUSLY, what is your fucking deal with redesigns mid-series???) rereleased Anna & Lola in hardcover with the new covers AND hosted a giveaway for nothing other than sets of the dustjackets so anyone who had the old people covers could have matching jackets without buying new copies. Not kidding. That was the prize.
  • Sourcebooks originally designed the cover of Breathe, Annie, Breathe, book 5 of the Hundred Oaks series, as a cartoony style, a departure from the photographic covers of books 1-4, but readers were so lackluster about the new style (and possibly a bookstore vetoed it. Yes, that happens), they redesigned it before publication to look more similar and then redesigned again for the paperback to more closely match the original style. Also, it was the only book in the series that even had a hardcover release. That's why there are three or four different arc covers, one hardcover cover, and one paperback. The final three books in the series went back to the original style.
  • Bloomsbury stopped selling the original cover of Throne of Glass, and now only sells the repackaged version (I have so little info about this situation because I've never read ToG so I didn't pay attention to fan reaction. A quick Twitter search of "throne of glass + matching" shows a lot of happy fans in the fall of 2014 though, when the repackaged design was made available for purchase in hardcover, and fans could have a fully matched set). 
  • Readers demanded a change when Macmillan announced a matching cover for The Winner's Kiss in May of 2015, then announced a complete repackage in December that included new covers for the paperbacks of TWC & TWC2 and the hardcover of TWK. In my five years in this community, this was the loudest and angriest readers have been about changes because, though badass and beautiful, the new covers were not representative of Kestral's character (I also started another post about cover changes but never posted it). This IS the only time *I've* seen people state they'd rather not buy a book (or that they'd rather buy the matching UK edition) than buy the repackaged hardcover (YMMV). About 10 days after the new cover reveal, Macmillan compromised by  announcing they'd release the original dress cover of TWK in hardcover and only use the new covers for the whole series in paperback. 
  • With Tahereh Mafi, Harper is listening to readers' years-long requests (if you search Twitter with "shatter me + matching" you'll find requests from as far back as 2013) by finally releasing the redesigned eye cover of Shatter Me in hardcover today
  • And although Little, Brown has not made any changes in response to reader criticism, I saw a TON of people who had Things To Say about the many designs of The Diviners. Mostly how laughably bad each new direction is (I saw a hilarious tweet yesterday about someone wanting a 4th design for book 4 so at least the books would share a complete lack of continuity).
All of these examples do prove, at least to me, that this IS a long-term ongoing conversation.

What boycott???
That brings me to my second small defense. I saw a lot of tweets using the word boycott a lot that day and the day after in the context of "if you boycott a book because of a cover change, you are stupid, etc etc". I don't know if that was in response to me or if someone really did say the word boycott, but I surely did not. Someone pointed out to me that I DID say I wouldn't buy a repackaged book. I did. But I said I'd specifically never buy a repackaged *paperback*. I prefer hardcovers, but also, if I already have the hardcover, I'm not going to get a paperback just to match the second book (unless I'm collecting, and there's literally three series I've done that for. And no, none of them are by SJM). As twitchy as non-matching series makes me, I'd still rather have them in one format, especially because I shelve my books by format. Also, I may be privileged to have disposable income enough to buy a lot of books, but it's not disposable enough to have multiples of everything, even books I like a lot (which is why multiple special editions piss me the fuck off, but THAT is another entire conversation best saved for another day). And I live in a one bedroom apartment with limited storage. But I digress.

I am not boycotting covers with people of color. I am especially not boycotting Renee Ahdieh or Smoke in the Sun. The Wrath and the Dawn is a lovely series, a favorite, and I'd read Renee's grocery lists if that weren't weird (it's weird). Truth be told, I haven't decided if I'll buy Smoke for myself. But even if I don't, yes, OF COURSE I'll check it out from the library! Hell, I'm gonna personally buy two copies for the library where I work because I purchase the ebooks and digital audio. And you guys know I always host a crapton of giveaways. I'll be at two festivals this spring where Renee will be speaking, and I love doing signed giveaways best of all so who knows? I may have some of her books up for grabs in a couple months. So no boycott. Maybe stop throwing around that word unless you literally saw someone say the ACTUAL word "boycott."

I still made a mistake
But. But. Despite this long history of community opposition to cover changes (on books by white authors and PoC authors both), despite very much not actually boycotting this book, I chose, erroneously, to complain very publicly in a situation where it DID involve an author of color and an Asian model. While my intention was to express a personal frustration and discomfort at one aspect of publishing I don't like, intentions are meaningless when people are hurt. I chose the wrong time to speak, and I did not speak well. I hurt people, which is a devastating thing to admit. I don't like people to be hurt, and I especially don't like being the cause. Again I wish to offer my apologies to everyone who read my rant, but especially to Asian readers, particularly teens, and any other PoC who I hurt with my careless words. Instead of allowing you to celebrate a momentous occasion at having a character accurately represented on the cover, I stepped in and crashed the conversation with a petty complaint. It truly is a first world problem to have matching covers. I know that. I should have held my tongue and saved this convo for another time when it wouldn't have directly affected an author and marginalized readers, and again, I'm so so sorry.

I am not deleting my ill-timed tweets. I'm not a fan of tweeting and deleting because I want to keep them as a reminder of a mistake I made that I have to own up to. I hope that those of you who are reading this (and bless you if you have made it this far because DANG this is a long post!) can accept my apology and forgive me. And to anyone who doesn't, who can't, I understand. I hope I may one day regain your trust and respect. I get it. One more white woman speaking out of turn, speaking over people who deserved better. All I can do is admit I messed up, apologize, and work to do better. While I believe in my heart of hearts that my words weren't caused by discomfort with a PoC model, I clearly need to learn more and do more work to confront a life steeped in privilege in so many ways, including and especially regarding my race. I thought I was doing okay, but I have messed up royally and so I must do better. I will do better.

Some threads to consider
I was encouraged to look up threads in which PoC readers talked about the positive change of redesigns in which PoC faces are centered so I did some research so I found a few, and I'm linking them here (with permission). Highly recommend you take a look, and also give these incredible people with powerful voices a follow.

Alexa @ahnyoo_
Lila of Hardcover Haven
Sandhya Menon

A list of PoC covers
Finally, I'd like to leave you with a list of YA books by PoC authors that have put PoC characters front and center on the cover.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor
Allegedly - Tiffany D. Jackson
American Panda - Gloria Chao
American Street - Ibi Zoboi
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton
The Blazing Star - Imani Josey
The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco
Born Confused duology - Tanuja Desai Hidier
The Boy in the Black Suit - Jason Reynolds
Bronxwood- Coe Booth
Calling My Name - Liara Tamani
Children of Blood & Bone - Tomi Adeyemi
Dear Martin - Nic Stone
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland
The Education of Margot Sanchez - Lilliam Rivera
An Ember in the Ashes series - Sabaa Tahir


Emergency Contact - Mary Choi
Empress of a Thousand Skies duology - Rhoda Belleza
Endangered - Lamar Giles
Everyone We've Been - Sarah Everett
Eye Candy - ReShonda Tate Billingsly
Flygirl - Sherri L. Smith
From Twinkle, With Love - Sandhya Menon
A Girl Like That - Tanaz Bhathena
Huntress - Malinda Lo
I Believe in a Thing Called Love - Maurene Goo
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter - Erika L. Sanchez
Iron Cast - Destiny Soria
Juba - Walter Dean Myers
Keep Me in Mind - Jaime Reed
Labyrinth Lost - Zoraida Cordova
Let's Talk About Love - Claire Kann
Little White Lies - Brianna Baker
Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds


Love, Hate & Other Filters - Samira Ahmed
Lovely, Dark, and Deep - Justina Chen
Monday's Not Coming - Tiffany D. Jackson
Monster - Walter Dean Myers
Not the Girls You're Looking For - Aminah Mae Safi
Perfect Liars - Kimberly Reid
Piecing Me Together- Renee Watson
The Place Between Breaths - An Na
The Poet X - Elizabeth Acevedo
#Prettyboy Must Die - Kimberly Reid
The Reader series - Traci Chee
The Secret of a Heart Note - Stacey Lee
Serpentine - Cindy Pon
Shadowshaper series - Daniel Jose Older
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon (sequel does NOT have a PoC on the cover, thanks to a terrible redesign)
A Step From Heaven - An Na
The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson


That Thing We Call a Heart - Sheba Karim
The Hate You Give - Angie Thomas
This Side of Home - Renee Watson
To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy - Jenny Han
The Truth of Right Now - Kara Lee Corthran
Tyler Johnson Was Here - Jay Coles
Want - Cindy Pon
The Way You Make Me Feel - Maurene Goo
When Dimple Met Rishi- Sandhya Menon
The Wrath & the Dawn duology - Renee Ahdieh
You Don't Know Me But I Know You - Rebecca Barrow

I still want to have a discussion about series cover changes, but for today, that's not the point. That discussion can wait.

Blog Tour: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Today I'm kicking off the tour for an exciting new series: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk! Check out my review and then enter the giveaway for your own copy of Blood and Sand!

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: young adult historical fantasy romance action adventure
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 1 of the Blood and Sand duology

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.


The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic—and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire—an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end—and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

The story continues in Fire and Ash, coming in 2019 from Tor Teen.

Blog Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 1 of the Valkyrie series

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin's Valkyries, Malin's greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Blog Tour: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult fantasy/adventure, superheroes
Format/Source: ARC, Barnes & Noble B-Fest prize
Status: Book 2 of the DC Icons series
Links: Wait For You review (also 4 stars)

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book as a prize during Barnes & Noble B-Fest. This does not affect the content of my review.

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Waiting on Wednesday: Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Not If I Save You First
by Ally Carter
Coming March 27, 2018

Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president's son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie's dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it's okay. After all, she's the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.

Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.

Why I Want It:
I have adored Ally Carter's work for more than a decade. I immediately wanted to read I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You when my mom took me to a teachers only scholastic sale and I stumbled upon it because, c'mon, that title is pretty great. But the book inside that clever cover had me hooked! Ally's books are fun, adventurous tales populated with badass girls who are badass in so many wonderful ways and totally swoony boys. I haven't recounted in a while, but Ally is my 6th most owned author, and I covet each new story as soon as it's announced!

Why I think you should want it:
See above. And then run—RUN—to the nearest bookstore or library for both the Gallager Girls and Embassy Row series. Ally's books are un-put-downable. They're like watching a season of Burn Notice or Chuck or a James Bond marathon, except this time, girls are at the forefront of the story. Seriously, you'll love them!