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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

First Impressions: Borrowed by Lucia DiStefano!

I've been craving both thrillers AND contemporary reads lately (I know - who even am I?!), so BORROWED by Lucia DiStefano fits the bill! Here are my initial thoughts, as well as a sneak peek of the book — let me know your thoughts, and if this is one you plan on reading!

Text copyright Lucia DiStefano and Elephant Rock Books, 2018.

Borrowed by Lucia DiStefano
Contemporary/Thriller, 264 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Elephant Rock Books

Love, mystery, and danger collide in this new literary thriller with the dark heart of a Gillian Flynn novel and the lyrical prose of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun.

A triumph of authenticity, grace, and nail-biting suspense, Lucia DiStefano’s ingenious debut is an unflinching, genre-bending page-turner. 

As seventeen-year-old Linnea celebrates the first anniversary of her heart transplant, she can’t escape the feeling that the wires have been crossed. After a series of unsettling dreams, inked messages mysteriously appear on her body, and she starts to wonder if this new heart belongs to her at all. 

In another Austin neighborhood, Maxine braces for a heartbreaking anniversary: her sister Harper’s death. Between raising her brothers and parenting her grief-stricken mother, Max is unable to ignore her guilty crush on Harper’s old flame or shake her lingering suspicion that her sister’s drowning wasn’t really an accident. With Harper as the sole connection, Linnea and Maxine are soon brought together in fantastic and terrifying ways as the shocking truth behind Harper’s death comes to light. 
Rounded Headshot for Back Cover
Author’s bio

A former high school English teacher, Lucia DiStefano currently works as an editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach. First-generation Sicilian-American and daughter of an olive farmer, she admits to having recurring pasta dreams. Hailing from central Connecticut, Lucia lives near Austin, Texas with her husband and an old bloodhound named Waffle. 

Link to publisher’s book page

Blog tour schedule:
August 1: Cover reveal at YA Interrobang
September 4: Review at Alice Reeds
September 10: Author interview at Alice Reeds
September 24: Cover reveal at BubblersRead
October 8: Review at Liz Loves Books  
October 9-15: Giveaway at Miss Print
October 15: Review at BubblersRead
October 17: Guest post at Liz Loves Books
October 22: Excerpt at YA Interrobang
October 25: Author interview at YA Outside the Lines  
October 31: Author interview at Katya de Becerra: The Last Day of Normal
November 1: Giveaway and guest post at Carina’s Books
November 5: Author interview at BubblersRead
November 12: Author guest post at BubblersRead
November 14: Author interview at Cynsations
November 19: First impressions video with YouTuber BookRatMisty
November 20: First impressions on The Book Rat
November 20: Author interview at The Story Sanctuary
December 5: Podcast Interview at The Writing Barn

Like Elephant Rock on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @ElephantRockBks for book and blog tour news and updates!

Disclaimer: a review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for honest review consideration/coverage.
Affiliate links are used in this post. Thanks for helping support this blog!

Saturday, November 17, 2018


*I realized after the fact that I had a couple of the books swapped in the final filming of the poem, so... oops!
But I'd love to hear/see YOUR autumn-inspired book spine poem! Snap a pic and tag me on insta (@bookishmisty) or twitter (@TheBookRat)!


The November Girl

The splendor falls,
strands of bronze and gold,
brightly woven amid stars and darkness.

Dark wood, uprooted,
lies beneath frost.

The last harvest,
tender morsels,


After the woods,
darkness falls;
the dead and the buried:
secrets in snow.

The November Girl | The Splendor Falls | Strands of Bronze and Gold | Brightly Woven | Amid Stars and Darkness | Darkwood | Uprooted | Lies Beneath | Frost | The Last Harvest | Tender Morsels | Lost | After the Woods | Darkness Falls | The Dead and Buried | Secrets in Snow

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though some of these books may have been sent to me for review consideration at one time or another. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Affiliate links used where possible.
Thanks for helping support my channel!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Backlist Love (10): Stolen Songbird, StarCrossed, The Witch Hunter!

SO... I was so worried about Virginia Boecker's last name that I got her first name wrong... ­čĄú Oops. SORRY VIRGINIA! (Also, I was right, it's "Baker")

It's time for another in my BACKLIST LOVE series, and omggg, I just fell right into these books. So good!

If you've read any of them, or have recommendations of similar books, definitely let me know in the comments! And if you have some backlist love titles of your own, I'd love to hear 'em!

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when C├ęcile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

C├ęcile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As C├ęcile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

16-year-old Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she disguises herself in a group of young nobles and sneaks out of the city. Accepted as a lady-in-waiting at the stronghold of the powerful Nemair, she finds new peace and friendship (and some new targets). But when an old client from the city comes to the castle, she realizes her hosts may be planning the ultimate uprising against the king - and rather than true peace, she may be at the heart of the rebellion.

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, burning at the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Affiliate links used where possible.
Thanks for helping support my blog!

Friday, November 9, 2018

October Book Haul, part 2!

If you missed it, I've already unboxed a big old package of 2019 releases from Macmillan in mid-October, but that's not all that came in my mail in the month of October.
Let me know your thoughts on these books, what you'd like to see, and what you added to YOUR shelves last month!

Special guest appearance courtesy of Kimba!

Death Prefers Blondes
Skull & Pestle
Kingdom of Ash & Briars
Realm of Ruins
Cross Her Heart

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Affiliate links used where possible.
Thanks for helping support my channel!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

DNFing Books | Book Chat

It's been awhile since we had a good ol' fashioned Book Chat around here, so I thought we'd sit down and talk about books I've DNFed this year, and reasons why I tend to give up on books.
Let me know your thoughts, and topics you want to see on Book Chat, in the comments!

RELATED: I talked about "Second Chance" books and authors that I almost -- or did -- DNF, but then went back and gave another try, and liked it!

Emergency Contact
Web of Frost
Pretty Dead Girls
The Boneless Mercies
Love & First Sight
and there were more, but these are the ones I talked about in the video.

A rant on VALIANT will be coming closer to its release date.

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Affiliate links used where possible.
Thanks for helping support my channel!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Rational Creatures: Mary. | Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Over the summer, I featured a post from Christina Boyd, editor of the Jane Austen-based anthology, Rational Creatures (for Austen in August, of course). Today, I'm hosting one of the authors from the anthology, Jenetta James (a name you've seen around here before), as well as giving you a chance to win a major prize pack with many, many prizes being offered up on the blog tour! So make sure to click through to hear Jenetta's thoughts on one of my favorite notoriously disliked (but personally, loved!) characters, read an excerpt, and enter to win!
Enjoy and good luck!

Mary Crawford deserves more praise than she gets.

Quick witted, fast talking, harp playing, the antagonist of Mansfield Park cuts a swathe through the
narrative. She is a disrupter, throwing the status quo into flux. Mary is an urban figure in a rural
story, a wealthy woman in a tale of poor relations. She is irreverent, and plainly so, in the face of
the hero and heroine’s godliness. An orphan, she is cut adrift by family circumstance, slightly
without a place. And so, she floats about, belonging no-where. Like many ladies in Jane Austen’s
novels, she seeks a husband. But she does not do so blindly.

So what’s not to love? Well, some may say that she lacks moral probity, that she is all surface and
no substance. When rules are broken, Mary regrets the exposure of wrongdoing rather than
malady itself.
I get that, but I love her still.
She has so much spark and promises stories out of keeping with her age. My story is a tiny
vignette of romance, a hint at a wider narrative and it I hope it tempts the reader, even the sceptical
one, to embrace Miss Mary Crawford.



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Backlist Love (9): White Cat, Brightly Woven & Vassa in the Night!

Backlist loooooooove!
Here are 3 books that have been out for awhile, and may have fallen off your radar, that I think are worth a read! Let me know some of your own fave backlist titles in the comments!


WHITE CAT by Holly Black

Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.

BRIGHTLY WOVEN by Alexandra Bracken

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.

The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

VASSA IN THE NIGHT by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night is a powerful and haunting modern retelling of the Russian folktale “Vassilissa the Beautiful” for teen fans of urban fantasy, fairy tales, magic, and horror who enjoy books by Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, Catherynne Valente, and V. E. Schwab.

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair....

Friday, October 19, 2018


I've really been feeling the witchy reads lately, which is a good thing, because there have been a lot of them coming out. Bring on the Year of the Witch!

Make sure to skip down to the bottom of this post, for further witchy recommendations!

Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling

Alyce's mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch's mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she's been sealed off from -- a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she'll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother's past.

But as her journey continues, another war rages: a hidden war of the supernatural, of the living and the dead. Good and evil are blurred, and nobody's motives can be trusted. And Alyce finds herself thrown unwillingly into the conflict. Struggling to understand her own powers, she is quickly drawn into a web of secret, lies, and dark magic that could change the fate of the world she is just coming to know.
This dark, twisty, and thrillingly original debut will leave readers entranced in its suspenseful plot and rich prose.

Seventh Born by Monica Sanz

Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she's the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.

Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium's Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.

The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he'll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she'll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn't the only thing that makes a witch burn.

The Hidden Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family.

Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her own -- a curse has tried to attach itself to her. She runs to Aster and escapes it, but now the friends must find the source of the curse before more people -- normal and magical alike -- get hurt.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in this New York Times bestselling novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern-day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

Further Recommendations:


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Affiliate links used where possible.
Thanks for helping support my channel!


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