Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Giveaway)

It's been a hot minute since I've done a blog post, due mostly to real life and the shenanigans that can bring. But I'm really excited about today's post in particular because 1) I'm partnering with Simon & Schuster for a giveaway and 2) it's for a series that both Macky & I are eager to dive into - the middle grade fantasy series Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. 

If you haven't yet heard about the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, allow me to share a little bit about it! The series centers around main character Sophie Foster, who discovers she's an elf from the Lost Cities. The revelation of her true identity marks the beginning of her adventures. But there's definitely more to Sophie and her past than anyone knows... Praise for the series includes the fact that the heroine is a  fascinatingly complex personality, the story will appeal to girls and boys equally and that there is a huge fanbase on Instagram invested in these characters and their relationships!

Personally, I actually didn't really have this series on my radar until last year (which is incredible considering the fact that there are over one million books in print worldwide). But after hearing about Sophie (who sounds much like Hermione from Harry Potter) and a couple of details here and there about her adventures (which I won't mention for fear of spoilers for anyone who hasn't yet read it), I knew I definitely was adding this series to my TBR. (Macky decided to when he heard that folks who enjoyed The School of Good and Evil series would like this, as he's definitely a fan of those books!)

Summer seems like the perfect time to indulge, as I'm dying to binge read the whole thing! I plan on participating in a summer readalong (aka #KeeperReadAlong) that author Shannon Messenger will be hosting, which started on June 10th and will go through July 29th. Each week is dedicated to a book (in series order), with a kick-off on Mondays, a fan question answered on the following Sunday and additional extras popping up all throughout the week! Plus, it'll get me caught up on the series before Book 8 (aka Legacy) is released on November 5, which is a major bonus.

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Website)
Books in the Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Exile, Everblaze, Neverseen, Lodestar, Nightfall, Flashback, Legacy (out November 5, 2019)
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Instagram | Twitter | Facebook)
Recommended for ages 8-12
Bonus Content: Reading Guidesbook 7 trailer

Get hooked on the New York Times-bestselling series that’s taking the world by storm!
When Sophie Foster discovers she’s an elf from the Lost Cities, she embarks on an incredible adventure, discovering new abilities, and making new friends. But the secrets of Sophie’s past were buried for a reason and the truth she uncovers could put all of the worlds in danger.
photo credit: Devende Photography
About the Author
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she learned—among other things—that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and film production, but she realized her real passion was writing stories for children. She’s the New York Times and USA Today-bestselling author of the award-winning middle grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities, as well as the Sky Fall series for young adults. Her books have been featured on multiple state reading lists, published in numerous countries, and translated into many different languages. She lives in Southern California with an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at or Instagram.

As mentioned earlier, thanks to the lovely folks at Simon & Schuster, I'm hosting this awesome giveaway! Details for the prizing are below, and all you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form. This giveaway is US ONLY.

A Little More Weird
One (1) winner receives:
Books 1-3 in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series,
exclusive branded art prints and pin
plus a “We could all use a little more weird in our lives” quote t-shirt!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Simon & Schuster.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Book Haul: May 2019

I've been exclusively doing book hauls on our channel for the past couple of years, but I recently decided that I should start sharing them here on the blog again as well. I'm always excited about getting book mail, whether it's my own purchases or the exciting things that I get from the lovely folk at a variety of publishing houses. Without any more introduction, since we've got plenty to talk about, here's my May book haul! It's coming to you a little bit early, as Macky and I are both at BookExpo starting today and will have another haul up soon. (*All review copies mentioned in this post were provided by the specified publisher for free for feature and potential review.)

Purchased & Gifted

For Review
Digital Purchases & Review Books

Monday, May 27, 2019

Margaret Rogerson on Magical Sidekicks | Sorcery of Thorns Blog Tour

I'm truly honored to have been invited to be a part of the blog tour for Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, which is kicking off today on this here blog! Sorcery of Thorns is a standalone YA fantasy that features Elisabeth, an aspiring librarian who finds herself on trial after a terrible crime is committed in the Great Library she calls home. Taken to the capital to face the law, Elisabeth soon discovers that the conspiracy is even greater than she imagined. The only way to make things right? Teaming up with a sorcerer, the kind of man she's been warned away from all her life, and his companion. I absolutely loved this book (full review to come!) and can't wait for everyone to get a chance to read it too. Today, however, I have the honor of hosting a guest post from Margaret that's all about magical sidekicks! Without further ado, take it away, Margaret!

I love this topic! Silas is the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn’s demonic servant, and he’s a combination of gentleman’s manservant, guardian, best friend, and nanny. He performs every task that Nathaniel requires, whether it’s disposing of bodies or making a flawless cup of tea. On the surface he’s a perfect servant, but his loyalty comes at a cost. In this setting, sorcerers make bargains with demons by trading a portion of their lives in exchange for the ability to use magic. Silas is an unusually powerful demon who has been in the Thorn family for centuries. He has served and subsequently devoured the remaining life force of all of Nathaniel’s ancestors, including Nathaniel’s father, who died six years ago under troubling circumstances. No matter how close Nathaniel and Silas seem, the fact remains that demons are motivated by one thing and one thing only: their insatiable hunger for human life. Therefore, you can never fully trust Silas’s motives. In fact, Silas will tell you himself that you shouldn’t trust him.

The inspiration for Silas came from my previous book, An Enchantment of Ravens. There’s a side character named Gadfly who I enjoyed writing so much, I wanted to put a similar character into my next book as part of the main cast. I love writing characters who keep you guessing—who make you ask yourself “what is this character truly after? Am I wrong to like him?” until the very end.

I could gush about my favorite magical sidekicks in other books forever. But I think I should start with Mogget from Sabriel, who I adore so much that I gave Silas the ability to turn into a white cat as a reference to him. What is there not to love about an incredibly dangerous Free Magic creature trapped in the form of an adorable talking cat? His sarcasm brought so much humor to Sabriel’s otherwise grim setting. And the magic that keeps him bound is so cool—a collar with the bell Saraneth the Binder attached to it, which is one of the nine bells that necromancers use in this world to subdue undead creatures and other magical beings. I also have to give an honorable mention to the Disreputable Dog from Sabriel’s sequel, Lirael, who just like Mogget had all the funniest lines.

Next, there’s Solovey from the Winternight Trilogy… who would probably be offended if he heard someone call him a sidekick! Solovey is a magical horse who was transformed from a nightingale by the god Morozko as a gift for the main character, Vasya. Solovey and Vasya share a powerful bond, including the ability to speak to each other. I spent my entire childhood wishing that I had a magical horse, or even a horse in general, so I think Solovey fulfills some intrinsic dream still buried deep within my subconscious. He’s also a fantastically well written character who transcends the talking animal sidekick trope to create some of the most emotional moments in the series.

Last but not least, there’s Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle—my favorite book of all time. I love the movie as well, but there’s just something extra special about book Calcifer, who is wittier and a little more sinister than the movie version. For those unfamiliar with the story, Calcifer is a fire demon who is bound to the wizard Howl by a magical contract. He lives in the hearth of Howl’s castle and spends much of the book trying to get the protagonist, Sophie, to break the contract between himself and Howl, which he can only speak about in vague hints. While his efforts initially appear selfish or perhaps even evil, there’s much more to Calcifer than meets the eye. He’s a fun, hilarious, at times touching character, and was also a big source of inspiration for Silas in Sorcery of Thorns.

I had such a blast writing this guest post. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Alexa!

Thank you so much, Margaret, for such a wonderful guest post! I, too, love Mogget so, so much, and I did enjoy Solovey as well (and look forward to seeing him again in the next two books). Before you go, don't forget to check out the information for Sorcery of Thorns and Margaret Rogerson below (including where you can preorder your own copy!).

From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at

Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, May 27 – Alexa Loves Books
Tuesday, May 28 – The Novel Knight
Wednesday, May 29 – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Thursday, May 30 – Awkwordly Emma
Friday, May 31 – Mel to the Any
Monday, June 3 – The Fox’s Hideaway
Tuesday, June 4 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Wednesday, June 5 – The Bookish Beagle
Thursday, June 6 – Super Space Chick
Friday, June 7 – Flying Paperbacks
Monday, June 10 – Bookshelves & Paperbacks
Tuesday, June 11 – Nightly Reading
Wednesday, June 12 – Novel Heartbeat
Thursday, June 13 – Hammock of Books
Friday, June 14 – The Everlasting Library
Monday, June 17 – The Eater of Books!
Tuesday, June 18 – Beware of the Reader
Wednesday, June 19 – This Dark Material
Thursday, June 20 – That Artsy Reader Girl
Friday, June 21 – SimplyAlly Tea


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