Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books to Read if You Like Harry Potter


It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was to think about books we could recommend as readalike suggestions for a popular book/ author.

We chose Harry Potter because we’re limited in books all 3 of us have read and well it was an obvious choice.

We chose these titles based on relate-ability: large diverse cast of characters, magic, main characters, world building, ever lasting friendships, and villains.

Relateable Main Character (Hermione): Vhalla Yarl
Magic: sorcery
Relatable Villain: male version of Umbridge (sounds scary)

Relateable Main Character (Hermione): Calli
Magic: witches/ forbidden magic
World building: world within a world
Close knit group of friends

Large diverse cast of characters
Relateable main characters
Magic: godly powers, magical weapons
Ever lasting friendships
Great world building
Relateable villains

Not a Harry Potter rip-off so just Stop right there
Relateable main characters
Magic: elemental magic
close knit group of friends
world building

large cast of diverse characters
close knit group of friends
relateable villain and main characters
great world building

Great for fans of any fandom with a relateable main character

Relatable main character similar to Hermione
Relatable villains
good world building
magical elements

magic element
Relatable main character

This one’s pretty obvious

It’s been compared to Harry Potter as an amped up version of Tri-wizard Tournament and we couldn’t agree more

Musings of Suzanne van Rooyen


How Music Inspires my Writing
By Suzanne van Rooyen

Before I even dreamed of being a writer, music was my life. I started playing piano at 5, picked up flute when I was 11, and I went on to obtain both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in music. In fact, by day, I’m a music teacher to kids aged 5 through 15! So, it’s hardly surprising that music has remained a huge part of my life now that I’m an author too.

Here are some of the ways music inspires my writing:

1) Lyrics are probably the most obvious source of inspiration in music. Song lyrics tend to inspire characters more than plots for me, perhaps hinting at a certain trait in one of my characters, or even showing a possible point in their development arc. With every story I write, I tend to find one or two songs that really sum up the character for me, and I use these to help me get deeper into the POV I’m writing from or to help me get back into a character’s head during the editing process. One of my most recent examples is how the song This is Gospel by Panic! At the Disco perfectly describes the relationship between the main characters Raleigh and Crow in my forthcoming novel, Scardust.

2) Music is really important in helping me get a sense of place. With Scardust, a book set in the barren Texas Panhandle, I listened a lot to music by Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You – both bands being able to capture the sense of bleakness in their music that I was hoping to capture in my descriptions of the desert and lonely Interstate. I found my ‘setting’ playlist particularly helpful for when I needed to get back into the story world during edits.

3) I’ve also been inspired by music videos. While I often turn to inspiration boards on Pinterest when I’m experiencing writer’s block, I’ve found imagery from music videos to be even more profoundly inspiring. The music video for The Islander by Nightwish inspired my short story Where Dreams Are Grown which was published by Niteblade magazine. In this case, it was definitely the combination of the music and imagery that immediately conjured a story in my mind.

4) Being a musician, I am extremely aware of beats and rhythm in my stories. While this is somewhat different from beat and rhythm in music, I find I cannot write high octane action scenes without pacing myself to music. When writing some of the more adrenaline-filled scenes in both I Heart Robot and Scardust, I found myself turning to EBM and industrial tracks for the charged and energetic scenes I needed to write. Similarly, I have a playlist reserved especially for love scenes 😉

5) I only recently noticed that no single novel of mine has ever been without a musician. Regardless of what category or genre I’m writing in, music always seems to play an important role in the story, and I invariably end up with one or more characters being musicians. In The Other Me and I Heart Robot, the books were all about music so obviously my characters were musicians, but in Scardust and even in my earlier novels, Dragon’s Teeth and Obscura Burning, musicians seemed to sneak into the narrative without me even realizing it.

Music is an inextricable part of who I am and has proven to be an intrinsic part of not only my writing process but of the stories I write as well. I couldn’t imagine a world without music and apparently, neither could my characters.

About Suzanne:

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Website ~ Twitter ~ FacebookGoodreads

I Heart RobotI Heart Robot

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

“The tension between the groups, the obvious attraction between the main characters, the ticking time bomb of Quinn’s real identity and the secrets surrounding Tyri’s birth makes for compelling reading. The world building was exceptional and the characters well developed.”~ The Australia Times Books

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

The Other Me

The Other Me

Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak.

As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.

But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Obscura BurningObscura Burning

The world’s going to end in fire…and it’s all Kyle’s fault.

Kyle Wolfe’s world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle’s two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle’s friends aren’t all that dead anymore. Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it’s Shira who’s alive…and now they’re friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he’s not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He’s pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents’ marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world…

Goodreads ~ Amazon

Dragon's TeethDragon’s Teeth

You can never outrun your past… After years of war ravage the globe and decimate humanity, civilization is revitalized in the city of New Arcadia, a cybernetic playground where longevity treatments promise near immortality. Detective Cyrus, fond of fedoras and narcotics, is hired by Benji MacDowell, heir-apparent to an eugenics empire, to find MacDowell’s long-lost biological father. Employing his network of shady contacts within the underbelly of the city, Cyrus uncovers a murderous web of corporate corruption and political conspiracy with ties to the old Order, a tyrannical organization whose sole intent was perfecting the next generation of genetically engineered soldiers. Now Cyrus knows too much and finds himself caught in the cross-hairs of super-soldier assassins while the dark secrets of his past snap at his heels, forcing him to confront the truth he’s been running from… and discover his own terrifying purpose.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

A huge thank you to Suzanne for sacrificing her time to write this guest post!

I know that I am extremely in tune with music when I’m writing. I can’t write without it and I’ve been debating for quite some time about organizing my songs into playlists for certain scenes and emotions that will need to be written in my manuscript! I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be taking her advice and reorganizing my iPod and Pandora stations. =)

Does anyone else write with music?

What do you listen to when you write and how does it help you?


Waiting on Wednesday: Wolf By Wolf


WEDNESDAY!!! That means it’s time to present to you the book the three of us here at Live, Love, Read are looking forward to!

24807186Title: Wolf by Wolf

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Page Numbers: 400

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: October 20th, 2015


Code Name Verity meets Inglorious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skintight and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?


About the Author:


Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of Wolf By Wolf, The Walled City and All That Glows series. She resides near Charleston with her wolf-dog. You can find her online at


Why We Are Waiting:

Lauren: Historical Fiction is not usually my first choice of book to read, but this is not your normal historical fiction. With a slight fantasy twist, and the fact that it deals with one of my favorite moments to read about in history, I’m looking forward to what this book has to offer! 

Melissa: Hitler won the war?! Skin-shifting?! The idea of an alternate history had me hooked when I first heard about it at Book Expo America. I’m also super excited to see how Graudin incorporates skin-shifting in her novel! I’ve only seen it done on True Blood and it made things all the more interesting.  I’m new to the historical fiction genre and love what I’ve read in the past few months. I’ve only heard great things about this book so I’m looking forward to reading my ARC.

Kelly: Okay, I love, love, LOVE all things WWII. I don’t understand it, but I’ve always had a fascination with everything that has to do with this time period and the history of the war. Having this type of dystopian theme where Hitler wins the war, while giving the MC a type of sci-fi ability… let’s just say I’m in for the long run! Plus… I’d really like to see this MC kick some butt!

Would you read this book? Have you even heard of this book?! I know Kelly didn’t even know about it until I mentioned it. What’s your Waiting on Wednesday? =)

❤ Lauren, Melissa, and Kelly

Walk on Earth A Stranger Release Day Blitz and Giveaway!

I am so excited that WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful new series by Rae Carson, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

Author: Rae Carson
Pub. Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 448
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold
must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae
Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research. 
Read chapter
1 of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER annotated by Rae Carson
About Rae:
Rae Carson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. Her next book, Walk On Earth A Stranger, will be available September 22, 2015. She lives in Arizona with her husband.


Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a set of the 3 GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series (in paperback format). US Only.
Ends on September 30th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is books that are on our fall TBR pile. We decided to do a mix of books we already own and books we know we’ll be reading once they release in the next two months.  As always TTT is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the bookish.

Group Pick:

by Marissa Meyer

Melissa’s Picks:

Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan

Wolf by Wolf
by Ryan Graudin

Kelly’s Picks:

Library of Souls
by Ransom Riggs

Walk on Earth a Stranger
by Rae Carson

by Lauren Kate

Lauren’s Picks:

The Wrath and the Dawn
by Renee Ahdieh

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Musings of Kristi Charish


Quirks and Quarks: My Strange Path to Publication
By Kristi Charish

February 2010 was the exact month I decided I was going to try my hand at writing. I don’t think I ever really considered whether I’d end up published- All I knew was that I’d been devouring sci-fi my entire life and writing stories in my head. I’d just never tried putting them down on paper before.

So I started to write. A novel to start, then some short stories, then more novels. That first novel will never see the light of day but since that start five years ago I’ve written more novels, gotten an agent, sold two series to major publishers and signed contracts for a grand total of seven books. My first novel, OWL & THE JAPANESE CIRCUS, was released back in January and the second in the series, OWL & THE CITY OF ANGELS, comes out next month. Audible just picked up those rights along with the next two books in the OWL series. The first book in my second series, THE VOODOO KILLINGS, comes out in May next year.

I have an awful lot of books to write.

Not a bad problem for a debut author in a genre that two years ago I was told, ‘could not be sold anywhere’ by a famous NY agent (who will remained un-named. Not that kind of article ;-)). By all accounts I should not be published, let alone signed for 7 books. That’s not to say I know more about publishing or the UF genre than any other debut author out there, but there are a handful of things I’ve learned over the past couple years that I think have helped my career (outside ‘sit thee down and write your book’) and I’m here to share.

1. There’s no such thing as an unsellable genre, only lack of originality.

If you ask most people in publishing about urban fantasy as a genre you’ll probably get a mix of answers. The majority of those will be in the flavor of: ‘Urban fantasy is incredibly popular, but the market is oversaturated.’ It will also be followed by a mix of advice suggesting you write something else because not many editors are buying. That’s true. But it doesn’t make UF unsellable. What it means is that there is an abundance of UF novels being written and published with very similar premises and plots. How do you break into the market as a debut? Stray from the conventions and come up with something original that sets you apart from the park. In every genre, even urban fantasy, there’s always room for something original.

2. Marketing: suck it up, buttercup.

The most common thing I hear from other debut/new authors is the gripe about marketing. There is a persistent myth that once a publisher picks you up, the publisher should be responsible for all the marketing. It’d be nice…and if you’re Stephen King I guess that’s a reasonable expectation, but for all of us debuts? Because writing is a solitary sport, we often loose track of just how many other authors are out there being released each month, let alone all the writers your publicist and marketing folks have to worry about. And they are working for you and getting review copies into reviewers hands and press releases out to media outlets…I’m also on the other side of the fence as I review and cohost a podcast, Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, but it would floor most of you to see how many books and requests for reviews we get every month. I know it was a wake up call for me. And that’s just the novels from publishers, not taking into consideration the self-published works that come out every month. Your publicist and marketing teams are working to get your book out there…but so is every other marketing and publicity team at every other major publisher. And that’s not counting the authors who ARE arranging their own blog tours and making sure reviewers get copies of their book. It’s simply not reasonable to expect your publisher to devote an inordinate amount of time to your work at the risk of letting the marketing for other authors’ books slide. Would it be nice if your publisher assigned you your own personal marketing fleet? Sure, but that leads to point number three:

3. Writing is a business.

Your publisher loves books. They also have oodles of staff – editors, copy editors, marketing teams, publicists, artists, type setters, etc – who all need to be paid. Twice a month. Like all year long. Your publisher is in the business of loving books AND making money. Series get dropped, books don’t get picked up, you didn’t get a 500,000$ marketing budget, or as much of an advance as your buddy who just sold his mystery series. Your publisher is in the game to make money and they need to make the money back on your books in order to publish more. Sometimes, through no ones fault, that doesn’t happen. Don’t take it personally- it’s never a personal decision….unless you blatantly ignore point number 4, in which case it very well might be.

4. Always be polite

Talent, Likeability, and professionalism: You need two out of three to be successful as a writer is something I’ve heard in many reincarnations at many a convention. The point is you can be likeable and talented and never hand something in on time and you’ll probably be ok, but if you choose not to be likeable you’d better be damned talented and punctual. I’d add to this and say that even authors who can’t manage likeable can still shoot for polite.

If you take nothing away from this article, take this advice. Everyone you will have a working relationship with at your publishers- marketing, publicity, editing, editorial assistants- no one makes a fortune off publishing books and these people do it for the love of books. Some of them might even be the ones who argued for your book behind closed doors with the finance team and ultimately got your book the green light.

Be polite and remember number 2. There are a lot of authors in your publishing houses corral. It takes so little out of your day to be polite and makes you look that much more professional. And might just brighten someone’s day enough they’ll remember it the next time they have to got to bat with finance over your books.

5. Get an Agent.

Do you need an agent to get published? No. But it’s certainly helped my career and I don’t know where I’d be writing wise without my agent. An agent is a business partner. They aren’t the writers employee, but they have a stake in the commercial success of a book. They also love books and can work as a sounding board for future projects. They also give you business advice, and can help you decide when to take or walk away from a deal. They help develop your career and (the good ones) take into consideration where you want to be in the next 5, 10 years. In short they’re in the business of selling books to publishers but they’re also your professional advocates. Can you have a career without an agent? Absolutely. But having one can be a really powerful tool.


About Kristi:

Kristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), an urban fantasy about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment in the Owl series, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Oct 5th 2015. THE VOODOO KILLINGS, book 1 in her second urban fantasy series, KINCAID STRANGE (Random House Canada), about a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle, is scheduled for release mid 2016.

Kristi is also a co-host for the popular Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Podcast and also has a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Podcast ~ Goodreads

Owl and the Japanese Circus (Adventures of Owl, #1)

Owl and the Japanese Circus
(The Adventures of Owl #1)

Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

Owl and the City of Angels  (Adventures of Owl, #2)

Owl and the City of Angels
(The Adventures of Owl #2)
     Pre-Order Now! (Oct. 5)

The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels…

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

Kristi, thank you so much for volunteering your time to being a part of our blog and helping new writers. I know that many of my readers will get valid and helpful advice from your guest post! I’ve never read truer words than the ones you posted above!

Readers, please feel free to ask Kristi any questions you may have and talk to her about her publication process. Reach out to her on twitter or through here. She is more than happy to share her experiences and talk to you about her advice and struggle to get to the top.

Another huge thank you to all of the authors participating in this feature! Thank you!

❤ Kelly, Lauren, and Melissa

Waiting on Wednesday: This Monstrous Thing


I am very excited about this week’s Waiting on Wednesday! I’ve been waiting MONTHS to finally post this one up! So glad that Kelly and Lauren were on board! As always Waiting on Wednesdays are hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine . Without further ado…

This Monstrous Thing
Mackenzi Lee
Katherine Tegen Books

Page Numbers: 384
Genre: YA, Science Fiction: Steampunk, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015


In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay


Mackenzi Lee is reader, writer, bookseller, unapologetic fangirl, fast talker, and perpetually-anxious badass. She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction has appeared in Inaccurate Realities, The Friend, and The Newport Review. Her young adult historical fantasy novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, as well as an Emerging Artist Grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, will be published fall of 2015 by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins.

She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and historical fiction. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.


Melissa: I’ve recently read my ARC that I won from Mackenzi’s Twitter giveaway. I just want my pretty HC copy to go with it! I’m more waiting to hear what Kelly and Lauren will think! This Frankenstein re-imagining is incredible and I love it so much! Mackenzi was getting my play-by-play reactions via text. In return. I gave her my honest opinion immediately after completing the book.  Hope to have my review up for this soon-ish. I also created some awesome graphics for Mackenzi to help promote the book based on her clever business cards and book trailer. Grab one below if you want to help spread the word!

Kelly: I hear so many amazing things about this book, it’s not even funny. Even typing this right now, I don’t even really know what it’s about but I need to read it! Let me look……… Ohhhhhh Frankenstein!  I love Frankenstein! Give me a book where I can debate Nature vs. Nurture and Science vs. Humans, I’ll be all up in that conversation! This looks pretty awesome though! I’m also very sure that Melissa will come after me with a Lizzie Borden axe if I don’t read it! Ha!

Lauren: I’ve heard a lot of great buzz about this book! Everyone that I see who has read an ARC of this one seems to have nothing but good praise for it. The synopsis sounds interesting, so I have a feeling this will be one I want to read!! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Be sure to check out the wicked awesome book trailer!

Grab a Banner!

Please be sure to link to This Monstrous Thing on Goodreads!


Melissa, Kelly, and Lauren

Review: Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Sweet MadnessGenre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Goodreads Rating: 4.19
Pages: 224

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Bridget Sullivan is alone in Fall River, a city that sees Irish immigrants as nothing more than a drunken drain on society. To make matters worse, she’s taken employment with the city’s most peculiar and gossip-laden family—the Bordens. But Bridget can’t afford to be picky—the pay surpasses any other job Bridget could ever secure and she desperately needs the money to buy her little sister, Cara, passage to the states. It doesn’t hurt that the job location is also close to her beau, Liam. As she enters the disturbing inner workings of the Borden household, Bridget clings to these advantages.

However, what seemed like a straightforward situation soon turns into one that is untenable. Of course Bridget has heard the gossip around town about the Bordens, but what she encounters is far more unsettling. The erratic, paranoid behavior of Mr. Borden, the fearful silence of his wife, and worse still…the nightly whisperings Bridget hears that seem to come from the walls themselves.

The unexpected bright spot of the position is that Lizzie Borden is so friendly. At first, Bridget is surprised at how Lizzie seems to look out for her, how she takes a strong interest in Bridget’s life. Over time, a friendship grows between them. But when Mr. Borden’s behavior goes from paranoid to cruel, and the eerie occurrences in the house seem to be building momentum, Bridget makes the tough decision that she must leave the house—even if it means leaving behind Lizzie, her closest friend, alone with the madness. Something she swore she would not do.

But when Bridget makes a horrifying discovery in the home, all that she thought she knew about the Bordens is called into question…including if Lizzie is dangerous. And the choice she must make about Lizzie’s character could mean Bridget’s life or death.

SWEET MADNESS is a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.

My Review:

For this book, I’m still having trouble forming thoughts, so I’m going to jump straight to the points.

What I Liked:

I really liked Bridget’s character. She was strong, independent, able to make her own choices, and someone that I felt many younger girls could look up to. She kept the Borden house in order and was the rock for everyone who seemed to lean on her. She made logical decisions and worked hard for the little that she received. She reminds me of what we all could be and should be in so many ways. Not only is she all of these characteristics, but she’s also a good friend. She has every right to be scared, terrified, and questioning, but never allows it to fully ruin her friendship with Lizzie. Bridget is just an all around good and relatable character.

Historical Accuracy
When I came across Trisha at BookItCon, all I knew about the Borden’s was that there was a murder. I knew literally nothing about the case, the axe, the maid, etc. Because of this, I didn’t want to research anything about Lizzie Borden before or during this novel. I was afraid that it would ruin the ending for me or change the way I see the book. So, after I finished Sweet Madness, I got curious and did a little research. I looked through countless sites and even watched the Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters investigative shows in the Borden household. Let me tell you that these ladies really did their research. Every piece of the Lizzie Borden story was apparent in this novel. These ladies even went so far as to make their own conclusions about what really happened behind the Borden murders!

Liam is just the sweetest. He’s really the manly man that every girl dreams of. Not only is he kind, caring, and considerate, but he makes sure that he takes care of Bridget emotionally. He’s always there for her, even when he’s working his butt off in the mill, trying to build a life for the two of them and Bridget’s sister, Cara. I just adore him and his Irish accent. Their side story was a well planned release from the creepiness that emanated from the Borden house and their dark background.

Paranormal Elements
The little bits of ghostly hauntings, creepy happenings, and mentally unstable moments really made this book feel like the thriller/mystery I had expected. Not to spoil anything in the plot, but there are definitely creaks in the floorboards and voices in the house that will leave you lying awake into the late hours of the night!

What I Felt It Needed:

Thriller Feel
I wanted just a little bit more of a terrified feeling throughout this book. Though I respect that it was created from real events and that real life is not a horror movie, I picked this up with the expectation of being scared out of my mind (because I’m a bit of a wuss. I will admit it). Though this book was creepy, it wasn’t necessarily scary. I won’t give anything away, but the ending made it less terrifying as well. I just wanted it to take that extra step into creepy feelings, curses, whispered voices, and axe murderers, so much so that it might haunt my dreams for another two days!


Overall, I give this book four hearts! It was well written with fluent story telling and numerous plot twists, but it just lacked that thriller feel that I so wanted from this tell tale murder story. I hope you all pick up this book and read it though! Not only do I now want to do a thousand hours of research on Lizzie Borden and her family, but I’m seriously considering the next time I’ll be up in that area so that I can visit her house! *insert creepy music here*

About the Authors:

(All Information comes from their Goodreads profiles)

Trisha Leaver

Trisha LeaverTrisha Leaver resides on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather excitable black lab. Her YA Horror novel CREED is coming in Fall of 2014 from Flux. Her YA Contemporary THE SECRETS WE KEEP coming in the Winter of 2015 from FSG/Macmillan

Goodreads ~ Website ~ Twitter

Lindsay Currie

Lindsay Currie

I live in Chicago, Illinois with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and one adorable, but irreverent Bullmastiff named Sam.

On the co-authored front, my debut novel, CREED (co-authored with Trisha Leaver), released from Flux on November 8, 2014. SWEET MADNESS releases from Merit on September 15, 2015, and HARDWIRED releases from Flux on November 8, 2015. However, my debut solo novel, JAMMED (young adult contemporary) is scheduled to hit shelves from Spencer Hill Press/ Spencer Hill Contemporary in 2016 and a second stand-alone novel, SUMMER SKY will releases in 2017. I am represented by Kathleen Rushall, of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Any inquiries regarding my work should be sent to her attention.

Goodreads ~ Website ~ Twitter

Coming Soon:


The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson – Coming Soon!

A Little In Love by Susan Fletcher – Coming Soon!

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman – Coming Soon!

❤ Kelly

Top Ten Tuesday: Secondary Characters


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday was our choice and we decided to go with Top Ten Secondary Characters! This list was difficult to come up with as a group since a lot of these books not all of us have read. We’d probably have a completely different individual list. As always this awesome feature is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

1) Suzume from The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Name: Suzume “Zu”
Age: 11
Classification: Psi – Yellow
Power: electrokinesis
Allegiances: Children’s League
Friends: Ruby Daly, Chubs Meriwether, Liam Stewart

2) Nehemia from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Name: Nehemia Ytger
Age: 19
Title: Princess of Eyllwe
Allegiances: Rebel Forces, House of Ytger
Friends: Celaena Sardothien

3) Neville & Luna from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Name: Neville Longbottom & Luna Lovegood
Ages: 17 (at the end of Deathly Hollows)
Occupation: Students at Hogwarts, Professor & Wizarding naturalist
Power: Wizardry
Allegiances: Dumbledore’s Army
Friends: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley

4) Noah from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Name: Noah Czerny
Age: 17
Occupation: Student at Aglionby Academy (former)
Power: Relies on Ley Line magic to stay visible
Friends: Blue Sargent, Richard Gansey III, Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish

5) Magnus from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Name: Magnus Bane
Age: around 400
Title: High Warlock of Brooklyn
Allegiances: The Clave
Friends: Catarina Loss, Ragnor Fell, Tessa Gray, Woolsey Scott
Relationship: Alec Lightwood

6) Reyna from Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Name: Reyna Ramírez-Arellano
Age: 17/18?
Status: Demi-God (daughter of Bellona)
Title: Praetor of the Twelfth Legion
Abilities: empowerment, telumkinesis
Affiliations: Camp Jupiter
Friends: Nico Di Angelo, Percy Jackson, Jason Grace, Frank Zhang, Leo Valdez, Annabeth Chase, Hazel Levesque

7) Rachel from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Name: Rachel Elizabeth Dare
Age: 15/16?
Status: Mortal
Title: host to Oracle of Delphi
Abilities: make prophecies, see into the past and future
Affiliations: Camp Half-Blood
Friends: Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase

8) Zuzana from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Name: Zuzana Nováková
Age: 18/19?
Occupation: Student at the Art Lyceum of Bohemia
Friends: Karou, Mikolas Vavra

9) Caleb from Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

(our fancast)
Age: mid 20s
Occupation: mechanic
Allegiance: Lily Proctor, Alaric – Outlander Tribe
Abilities: healing, super strength
Friends: Rowan Fall, Tristan, Lily Proctor

10) Sam from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Name: Sam Cortland
Age: 18
Occupation: Assassin
Affiliations: Assassin’s Keep (Arrobyn Hammel)
Relationship: Celaena Sardothien

Well there you have it! The profiles of some of our favorite secondary characters.  While we were discussing who to pick for the list, Kelly was adamant about putting Fleetfoot on the list. I thought it might be fun to gather a list of Top Ten Pets in YA while we we’re at it.

Top Ten Pets in YA

1) Fleetfoot (Dog) from Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
2) Abraxos (Wyvern) from Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
3) Arion (Horse) from The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
4) Rainbow (Hippocampus) from The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
5) Church (Cat) from City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
6) Chainsaw (Raven) from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
7) Havoc (Wolf) from The Magisterium Series by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
8) Buckbeak (Hippogriff) from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
9) Kishmish (Raven) from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
10) Mrs. O’Leary (Hellhound) from The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Let us know it the comments below who some of your favorite secondary characters are! Also inform us of your favorite pets in YA/Middle Grade literature.

Melissa, Kelly, and Lauren

Know Thyself Tag

I was tagged by Dana (DanaSquare) to do this tag. Know Thyself tag was originally created by Hannah (Tomes and Tea) and it’s all about where we see ourselves in popular fandoms.


Reading the books growing up I always thought I was a Ravenclaw. Then Pottermore came out and the first go around I got Gryffindor. I never always agreed with that result, but always felt Pottermore was the Official test so it had to be right.  Recently I took the hybrid quiz on Hybable for fun and I got Ravenpuff. What!? It was suggested I retake the quiz on Pottermore and guess what? I got sorted into Hufflepuff. HUH? Talk about identity crisis! Let’s review traits shall we?

Gryffindor: Bravery, Nerve, Chivalry, Courage, Daring, Strength of Will, Just, Honor, Courteous (also known to be short tempered)

Slytherin: Resourcefulness, Cunning, Ambition, Leadership qualities, Self-preservation, Determination, Cleverness, Fraternity, Power

Ravenclaw: Intelligent, Wit, Wisdom, Creativity, Originality, Individuality, Acceptance

Hufflepuff: Dedication, Hard Work, Fair Play, Patience, Kindness, Tolerance, Unafraid of Toil, Loyalty

Clearly I have traits that dabble in all of the houses and it just goes to show that we can’t be labeled by a singular thing. I get that over time a person can change, so it makes sense that my house changed. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which house I truly belong in.  I accept everything about me and I know my flaws and I am happy with the person that I am today.

Sorry for ranting! However, I’d love for you to leave your thoughts in the comments below. If you know me personally and think you know me well enough, I’d also like to hear your honest opinion of what house I belong in.


In reality everyone is Divergent, since no one is just one thing. However this felt easier for me to identify with Candor compared to being sorted into my Hogwarts House. I know I am an honest, fair, sincere and open person, but I can also be blunt when being honest. I’d like to think people find me a trustworthy person, but that’s up to their discretion. However, I do not agree with Candor’s flaw, I believe I am always considerate of others around me.


I’ve only watched the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, but I am drawn to both House Stark and House Targaryen. Personally I’d choose House Targaryen, because Daenerys is a bad ass. But according to quizzes I got House Stark & House Martell interestingly enough. Honestly though I wouldn’t want to live in this world.


I haven’t even gone past book one in reading this series. I wouldn’t even want to live in this world either, but if a decision had to be made I’d probably plop myself in District 3. It was the only one that felt right to me besides District 8, given my background in teaching.


I believe Apollo would be the most accurate godly parent for me. He is the god of music, poetry, art and I’m a pretty creative person.  He is also the god of truth and prophecy and since I’d place myself in Candor, Apollo fits the bill. As the god of the sun, I feel that I’m always a bright light for my friends when they need it the most.


Okay I had no idea what this series is about, so I had to go look it up. What a world without love? That’s pretty insane and sounds intense. As someone who’s worked closely with children and being an aunt, I wouldn’t be able to not love them. It would be heart breaking to witness a relationship between family members cured of love. I’m curious how Lauren Oliver pulled this off in the trilogy now, but I’m also scared to read it because of all the possible feels.


Hand me a freaking purple light saber and call me a Jedi master! Also I want to befriend all the Ewoks and keep them. I actually need to watch all the movies…. *crickets*


Not going to lie I’ve always wanted to join the elves watching these films and not because of Legolas (that’s just a bonus).  Seriously though all the elven women are pretty bad ass.  Wouldn’t mind learning a thing or two from Arwen, Galadirel, and Tauriel (granted she’s not in the books).

I had some fun thinking about these different bookish worlds and where I might belong.  I’d love to see where my co-bloggers (Kelly & Lauren) & friends would sort themselves.

Nicole @ Nicole’s Novel Reads
Elizabeth @ BookYabber
Molly @ Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup
Katie @ Katie’s Book Blog
Margie @ Bumbles and Fairy Tales