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ARC Review of How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

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downloadHow to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publication Date: May 2, 2017.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, and Contemporary.

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Selling points: Bisexual representation, explores different kinds of grief and has an interracial relationship.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

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Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, for my eARC of How to Make a Wish. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Trigger warning for parental neglect and emotional abuse, as well as implied sexual assault (one of the characters implies they were inappropriately touched at a bar, but the scene is not on the page).

How to Make a Wish surprised me, and had a lot of the aspects I want and crave in an excellent book. All of my friends who read this book early swore it was amazing and How to Make a Wish really delivered, and then some. This book has complex and fully fleshed characters that you will instantly fall in love with. I laughed, I cried (more like bawled like a baby) and was filled with utter joy because of this book, because of Grace’s bravery and Eva’s strength, and their shared love for each other. This book really is something special and I would recommend it to everyone who loves a young adult book that doesn’t shield away from the sad and messy parts of life, the beauty that exists between all of it and the complexity of loving someone and still knowing they’re not treating you right.

What really makes you fall in love with How to Make a Wish is the characters. We have the protagonist of the story, bisexual Grace Glasser, and her relationship with her mother, a mother who is reckless and acts like a child, making Grace the adult in the relationship. It was truly heartbreaking to see Grace deal with her mother, constantly being crushed by her expectations for things being better this time. Grace dreams of becoming a pianist, but even that dream seems impossible when her mother is completely dependent on Grace. However, there is also Luca, Grace’s best friend, and his mother and their support and love for Grace is endless and beautiful. Grace is basically a part of Luca’s family. Luca knows Grace likes no one else and he loves her so much, despite their ups and downs. Their friendship was one of my favorite parts of the book.

“But it was so easy. Up there, I didn’t belong to a messed-up mother. She wasn’t the grieving daughter. We were just Grace and Eva.”

Then we have Eva, biracial, gay and the love interest of the story, who moved to live with Luca’s family after her mother died unexpectedly. Eva had a hard time dealing with life without her mother, in a new place where nothing is the same, not even her love for ballet. I fell in love with Eva immediately, she is sarcastic and strong, and a character I think many will feel for. When Grace and Eva meet, there was an instant connection. Two lonely, motherless girls found comfort in spending summer nights together at the top of a lighthouse and before they knew it, it became something so much more than just two girls finding contentment in each other. I love Grace and Eva’s relationship because it’s so soft and tender, which is something I really miss in f/f relationships. There is something so incredibly heartwarming about the connection Eva and Grace has and I love how this book shows us the insecurities and complexities that exist with it.

“Then her whole hand slides across my whole hand, and our fingers are all mixed up, pale and dark, lavender on dark purple, wrapped over and around. The tree creaks ominously, but I don’t care. I forget about everything that came before this – every [pissed off] and jealous emotion I had from earlier tonight, gone.”

You can’t discuss How to Make a Wish without mentioning the writing. Blake truly draws you in with her use of words and imagery, and the voice of Grace is one that makes it impossible to put the book down. There are funny and sarcastic moments, sad and heartbreaking scenes, and everything in between, and Blake delivers in her execution. How to Make a Wish has amazing bisexual representation and a masturbation scene that needs to be celebrated since they are so rarely featured in YA books.

All in all, How to Make a Wish is a book you need to put on your radar this spring and summer. This book is so beautiful it hurts. You will fall in love with Grace, Eva, and Luca and see their struggles, their happy moments, and most importantly of all, their happy endings despite life not being easy or fair. This story is about grief, freedom and the complexity of love. How to Make a Wish is a magical mess of beauty, sadness, love, dreams and wishes and a book that deserves all of the praise in the world.

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Happy Release Day To The Paths We Choose (feat. Author’s Dream Cast)!

Happy Release Day to The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis!

We have reached the end of this release week and this amazing and enchanting book about Lily and Mayte is finally out. To celebrate this amazing day with you guys I have Maria Hollis’ dream cast of the characters in her book. They are just amazing, and you have to check them out below. You can add The Paths We Choose on Goodreads here and buy it on Amazon here.

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First of all, we have the protagonist of The Paths We Choose, Lidiane “Lily” Monteiro Ferrari who is portrayed by Bárbara Ferreira. She is determined, organized and somewhat rude but loves her friends, her chosen family, more than anything. In The Paths We Choose you will see what happens after Lily and Mayte have a one-night stand at a party at Mayte and Chris’ shared apartment.

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Next up we have the love interest of the story, Mayte Eliza González who is Chris’ roommate (Chris is one of Lily’s close friends) and the fancast for her is Kristina Elise. Mayte is kind and cares deeply for others. She has an architect degree and loves to create art. She is moving to Florida to do her masters, which is why Lily and Mayte keep things very casual between them after their one-night stand.

Continue Reading ➞

{The Paths We Choose Release Week} Interview with Author Maria Hollis

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day Four – Interview with Maria Hollis

Hi everyone, there’s only one day left now until The Paths We Choose is out and free in the world. To celebrate this I have an interview with the author Maria Hollis as a part of the blog tour for her book. Check out the other blog posts for the tour here. I seriously love her answers to my questions and hope you will too. Exciting things are coming so I hope you’re ready. Now don’t forget to pre-order the book on Amazon here and to add it on Goodreads. To see my earlier posts for my The Paths We Choose Release Week feature, go here.

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1. What was your favorite part about writing The Paths We Choose?

So many things! This is definitely a story that felt so close to my heart. Writing about a Brazilian girl like me was such a nice experience. I could include little bits of things here and there that only Brazilian people would understand. There are so many books written by U.S. authors that just don’t get what being Latinx means so being able to bring all these different characters to talk about themselves was something I loved to do. And I hope to keep doing that in the next books.

The friendship between all the girls was also a really important thing. My friends have been my strength for such a long time and having a story like that is such a gift. We need more books with female friendships as the driving force of a story.

2. What do you feel is the biggest difference between The Melody of You and Me and The Paths We Choose? 

Writing The Paths We Choose made me a lot more self-conscious and nervous about other people’s reaction. I didn’t plan myself a lot for how The Melody of You and Me would look like for other people because I truly believed only a few of my friends would read it. My thought was “well, if I get 10 dollars out of this novella it’s a win already!”. Now I’m trying to change a bit to fit what a bigger range of readers want to read. The main plot will stay the same, that’s not changing. But receiving feedback from so many people is definitely helping me go a step further to make the characters and the story always better.

As to the story, I think TPWC brings a romance that is a bit less typical for the genre. There are a lot of stories where the couple falls deeply in love and they know this is the right thing to do and they’ll do everything for each other. I love that Lily and Mayte work so well as a couple but they aren’t sure of anything. And that sometimes the journey and experience of being with someone is already worth it.

3. Your books take place in a town called Lillac Town and I was wondering if we could get some more information about this town?

I created Lillac Town because I’ve never been in the U.S. so I couldn’t be completely accurate if I choose an actual city that exists. But also, because I never really like describing cities in my stories, not even when I’m writing about my own. It’s just a personal thing, I guess. It’s supposedly set in an imaginary area of Pennsylvania. In the text, I describe just a few things here and there because I feel that this isn’t that relevant for the stories I’m telling right now. How most people move there because of the University and the Callaway School of Music and Ballet. It has this small town feeling but its population is mainly students with a few family neighborhoods and commercial areas. I have a little map I created to know where each character lives. Maybe I’ll ask for a friend to make a better version of it and show it to the readers until the end of the series.

4. Lily and her friends every Wednesday evening have Girl’s Night, what are some of the things they have done in the name of Wednesday’s Girl’s Night?

Usually, they set up board games or watch movies together. I feel like there would be many discussions on what movie to choose since they have very different tastes. We have Anika who likes the typical romantic comedy, Hope’s a sci-fi enthusiastic and Lily’s bored by most movies. In the end, Karen probably chooses an indie LGBT+ movie that will make everyone happy. Cooking together, sharing things about their lives and cleaning the house are a few other things they do. Sometimes, if they’re feeling in the mood, they even go out to karaoke night. The idea is that they always do things together without the interruption of outsiders or partners. The next book will also have more things about the girls so I don’t want to give everything away in case I want to use it in the future.

5. What does the future look like for the Lillac Town series?

Well, by now most people know that Karen is the next POV. And if you read TPWC, you obviously know who’s her love interest. It’ll be an interesting book to write. What I can say right now is that there’s a very personal reason as to why Karen moved to the U.S. and we’re gonna go deep on that. She has a lot of sadness that she tries to hide with her charming personality.

Since the beginning, I decided that if TMOYAM did well enough I’d publish 4 novellas in the Lillac Town Series about women falling in love with other women in many different ways and I’m standing on this decision. I hope to get all of them out until 2018. It’ll be hard to say goodbye now that I feel so attached to all these characters but I think we’re all ready to start new adventures too! But for now, we still have more two love stories that I know people will love to read.

What did you think of the interview? Are you as excited as I am for the book to come out tomorrow?

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{The Paths We Choose Release Week} My Book Playlist

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day Two – My Fanmade Book Playlist

Hi readers, and welcome to another post of my The Paths We Choose Release Week. It’s only three days left now until the book is released into the world and I couldn’t be more excited. If you missed it, yesterday I published my review of the book and you can read it here. However, today I have something else for you. My book playlist for The Paths We Choose. Seriously I had so much fun making this one, and I hope you guys will love it as much as I do. The playlist has 12 songs and can be listened to on both Spotify and YouTube. I hope you enjoy!

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If you haven’t added the book on Goodreads yet you can do so here. You can also pre-order the book on Amazon (which I really recommend since you’ll get it asap when it comes out) and that you can do here.

Will you be listening to my playlist? Do you plan on pre-ordering The Paths We Choose? I really think you should!

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Book Blitz: Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

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Hi guys! Today on this lovely Thursday Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember comes out and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s about unicorns, girls and other exciting things. Down below you can read an exclusive excerpt, see beautiful art and find all the links you could want. Are you as excited as I am for this book?

About The Book

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Unicorn Tracks

by Julia Ember
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 21st 2016
Harmony Ink Press

Summary from Goodreads:

After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links:

AmazonHarmony Ink Press

Art

Excerpt From The Book

When he reached the baobab tree, the unicorn looked around in confusion. The trance of the moonstone seemed to break with the humans closing in on him. He sniffed the horns around him, squealing and pawing the ground in distress. Three of the riders threw their ropes, catching him around the neck. As he struggled to back away, others advanced. Men taunted the stallion with their whips, making him kick and try to rear. When his feet lifted, they threw more ropes, circling the nooses around his powerful feet. As a group, they wrestled the unicorn to the ground, throwing themselves on top of him the moment his knees touched the grass.

Even with the weight of six on his back, and men all around holding ropes anchoring him to the ground, the stallion kept fighting. His eyes rolled back in his head, his legs thrashed and I could hear his screams from the cliff. I’d never heard a unicorn make a sound before, and hearing it now sent a chill through my entire body. His screams were different than a horse, higher in pitch, with a vibrating tremor that made him sound almost like a singer at the crescendo of a performance.

The leader of the group advanced on the now subdued unicorn, holding what looked like a handsaw. The stallion tried frantically to spear the man with his horn, but three of the followers held the animal’s head in place. Still he tried, snorting and staring his captor in the eye, silver-tipped horn poised like a sword toward the leader’s heart.

Kill him, I found myself praying. Fight them. Kill him and this will all be over.

 The saw began to tremble in the man’s hand as he swiped again and again across the base of the stallion’s horn. Fragments the size of fingernail clippings covered the earth like snow. Beside me, I felt Kara start to shake. Her whole frame quivered with silent sobs. The horn fell to the ground and all at once, the stallion quit struggling. The men climbed off him and loosened their hold on the ropes that bound him.

The group’s leader reached for one of the ropes around the unicorn’s neck. He turned and the stallion followed him, meek as an old broodmare. His eyes seemed to blink back a heavy sadness, the only echo of his proud battle song.

About The Author

julia ember

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Sunny Scotland where she learned to enjoy both haggis and black pudding. She spends her days working as a professional Book Nerd for a large book wholesaler, and her nights writing YA Romantic Fantasy novels.  She also spends an inordinate amount of time managing her growing city-based menagerie of pets with Harry Potter themed names.

A world traveller since childhood, Julia has now visited over 60 countries. Her travels inspire the fictional worlds she writes about and she populates those worlds with magic and monsters.

Author Links:

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