ARC Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

the-bear-and-the-nightGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

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At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

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review4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and  Del Rey

The Bear and the Nightingale is a love letter to old Rus’. 

The other day I found myself missing the Motherland. Once you’ve been to Russia, the spirit of the country latches on to you and you’ll never be able to forget it, even if it forgets you. The Bear and the Nightingale was the perfect answer to my melancholic nostalgia. That being said, rating this book was tricky for me because I love Russian culture so much, so deeply, that it hypnotized and transported me back to those dark and beautiful nights in Moscow and Suzdal and Vladimir and Tolstoy’s estate. I digress, but the point is if you have even the tiniest interest in Russian folklore, the old culture, and adore fairy tales, you’ll be swept up into this rustic and romantic tale of a girl kissed by magic and determined to save her people. 

Side note: Throughout the story I yelled at the book in Russian. Like full on what is this??? yelling. The transliteration irked me to no end and then I got to the end of the book and I laughed so hard. That author’s note made my day. She explained her choices and described how she though Russian speakers/students would react to the transliteration-with disdain and hands pretty much clenched in fists. Somehow, the fact that she knew it made it okay. 

The Bear and the Nightingale is whimsical, haunting, and twisted like any good fairytale. A blend of many stories known, loved, and feared in Russia still today, The Bear and the Nightingale is one epic journey that spans years. From the house-spirits, to the gods of the elements, to the celebrated figures of Baba Yaga and the Firebird, everything that is inherently Russian is present and accounted for. I loved that the focus was not on these known figures, but on the everyday ones that live in the household and receive offerings, that protect the hearth and livelihood of the family. 

This is a love story. Not in the traditional sense, but one of love for the land, for heritage, for culture, and in beings that others believe are myth. There’s not romance in the usual fashion, but there is a hint. 

The atmosphere and world building is strong. You’ll become fully immersed in the countryside, the power of the forest and all the magical beings that inhabit it. 

I loved Vasya. She’s known for being unattractive, frog-like, and weird, but her spirit makes her beautiful. She’s fierce, determined, sure of herself. She believes when others are filled with doubts. She throws herself into danger, she risks her life, she loves hard and barters for her people. She’s small, but she’s crafty and wild and bold. She does what everyone else in the story wouldn’t dare and that’s what makes her compelling. 

On a more somber note, there is some conversion that goes on in the story. Religious crusade of a sort that makes the reader question what happens when people story believing in their folklore, in their old gods, and all the stories that come with them. There’s something heartbreaking and sobering about this war within the people. 

The pacing may be slow for some, but it builds as it goes and Vasya becomes more adventurous. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Magical reading, 

Jordan

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100+ YA Books of 2017

I’ve set out to compile a definitive list of every highly anticipated YA release coming this year. I will update as I hear about them. If you have anything you’re super excited about that’s not on the list, please comment and I will add!!!

Because my Goodreads goal was a fail last year, I’ve decided to tackle this list PLUS my 2017 challenge. So far that’s 165 books and counting. 

I’ve included Goodreads links and their release month. 

***Once I’ve read and reviewed them, I will include the link to said review and put a star next to the title. 

 

  1. 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (Feb)
  2. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (Oct)
  3. #famous by Jilly Gagnon (Feb)
  4. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (Feb)* Review
  5. After the Fall by Kate Hart (Jan)* Review
  6. Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (Jun)*
  7. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (Jan)
  8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (Jun)
  9. Ashgrave by S.M. Boyce (Sept)
  10. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson (Feb)*
  11. Bang by Barry Lyga (Apr)* Review
  12. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Jan)* Review
  13. Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez  (Jan)* Review
  14. Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage  (Feb)* Review
  15. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows (Sept)
  16. The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang (Aug) 
  17. The Black Witch by Laurie Forest  (May)
  18. The Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (Mar)* Review

  19. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (Mar)*
  20. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser (Jan)
  21. Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent  (May)
  22. By Your Side by Kasie West (Jan)
  23. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Jan)
  24. The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu (Jan)* Review
  25. Carlos’ Peace by Melissa Haag (Feb)

  26. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (Jan)
  27. Charmsprings by S.M. Boyce (Oct)
  28. Cheating Death by April White (Jan)

  29. City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (Jan)*
  30. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (May)
  31. The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye (May)
  32. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (Mar)
  33. The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (Feb)* Review
  34. Curiosity and the Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski (Feb)* Review
  35. The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine (Jan)
  36. Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson  (May)
  37. The Dark Days Pact by Allison Goodman (Jan)
  38. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Feb)
  39. Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell  (May)
  40. Deathdread by S.M. Boyce (Oct)
  41. Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor (Apr)
  42. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray  (Apr)
  43. Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon (Feb)
  44. Dreadnought by April Daniels (Jan)* Review
  45. Dreamfall by Amy Plum (May)
  46. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (Feb)
  47. Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey (Apr)
  48. The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie (Apr)
  49. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (Jan)
  50. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (Feb)*
  51. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (Feb)* Review
  52. The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall (Jul)
  53. Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett (Sept)
  54. Exo by Fonda Lee (Jan)
  55. Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine (Jan)* Review
  56. The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo (Jul)
  57. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (May)
  58. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Oct)
  59. Freeks by Amanda Hocking (Jan)* Review
  60. Frostblood by Elly Blake (Jan)* Review
  61. The Gatlon School for Vigilantes by Marissa Meyer  (Nov)
  62. Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (Apr)
  63. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Jun)
  64. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart (Sept)
  65. Get it Together, Delilah by Erin Gough (Apr)
  66. Gilded Cage by Vic James (Feb)* Review
  67. Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn  (Jun)
  68. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman (May)
  69. Give Me a K-I-L-L by R. L. Stine (Apr)
  70. Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis (Apr)

  71. A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho (Feb)
  72. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (Mar)
  73. The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne (Sept)
  74. Grit by Gillian French (May)
  75. Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram (Feb)

  76. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Feb)
  77. Haven by Karen Lynch (May)

  78. The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (Jan)
  79. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd Jones (Aug)
  80. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Jan)
  81. Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg (Mar)
  82. House of Furies by Madeleine Roux  (May)
  83. How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (Jan)
  84. How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (May)
  85. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Mar)
  86. Heartstone by Elle Katharine White (Jan)
  87. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (Jan)
  88. Hunted by Meagan Spooner (Mar)
  89. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (May)
  90. If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak (Jun)
  91. In a Perfect World by Trish Doller  (May)
  92. It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura (May)
  93. Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel  (Jun)
  94. Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn (May)
  95. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Feb)
  96. The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett (Jan)
  97. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (Jul)

  98. The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro (Feb)
  99. Legion by Julie Kagawa (Apr)
  100. Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher  (Feb)
  101. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (July)
  102. Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (Jan)* DNF
  103. Lifers by M.A. Griffin (Apr)

  104. A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Jan)* Review
  105. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (Aug)
  106. Lois Lane: Triple Threat by Gwenda Bond (May)
  107. Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas  (Feb)
  108. Looking for Group by Rory Harrison (Apr)
  109. Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (Jan)* Review
  110. Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (May) 
  111. Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra (May)
  112. Madness by Zac Brewer  (Sept)
  113. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (Sept)
  114. Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski (Apr)
  115. A Million Junes by Emily Henry (May)
  116. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (May)
  117. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (May)
  118. Now I Rise by Kiersten White  (Jun)
  119. Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh (Jun)
  120. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (Jun)
  121. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (Sept)
  122. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (Jan)
  123. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (May)
  124. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Jun)
  125. Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (Jan)
  126. Perfect 10 by L. Philips (Jun)
  127. Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields (Jan)* Review
  128. Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott (Apr)
  129. A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (Mar)
  130. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Mar)
  131. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (Feb)
  132. The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (Jan)* Review
  133. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (May)
  134. Renegade Red by Lauren Bird Horowitz (Mar)
  135. Roar by Cora Carmack (June)
  136. Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin (Feb)
  137. RoseBlood by A.G. Howard (Jan)* Review
  138. Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts (Jun)
  139. Saints, Misfits, Monsters, Mayhem by S. K. Ali (Jun)
  140. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson (May)
  141. Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta (Aug)
  142. The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (Feb)
  143. Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser (Jun)
  144. Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George (Sept)
  145. Speak of Me As I Am by Sonia Belasco (Apr)
  146. Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (Apr)
  147. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Mar)
  148. Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer (Mar)
  149. The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano  (Jun)
  150. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (Jun)
  151. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (Aug)
  152. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (Sept)
  153. This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton (Feb)
  154. The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera  (Oct)
  155. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Mar)
  156. Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty (May)
  157. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (Jan)* Review
  158. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (Apr)
  159. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (Feb)
  160. Vigilante by Kady Cross (Mar)
  161. Warcross by Marie Lu 
  162. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (Jan)
  163. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (Feb)* DNF
  164. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (May)
  165. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic (Aug)
  166. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (Sept)
  167. Wildman by J. C. Geiger (Jun)
  168. Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (May)
  169. Windwitch by Susan Dennard (Jan)
  170. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (Feb)*
  171. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (Jan)
  172. Wispvine by S.M. Boyce (Sept)
  173. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (Aug)
  174. The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia (Jan)* Review
  175. The X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate by Jonathan Maberry (Jan)* Review
  176. You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (Sept)
  177. The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (Jan)

Number completed: 32/177

Enjoy and as always, happy reading!

Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram

Exactly two years ago, a little book titled Cinder & Ella made its way onto Amazon. And then it exploded, making it’s way to # 1 on Amazon in all of its categories and even hitting the top 20 on all of Amazon. (Way to go Cinder & Ella!)

And nearly every day of the two years since its release, author Kelly Oram has received requests for an epilogue or a short story or something–anything–that would give readers more of their beloved Brian (aka Cinder) & Ella.

It may have taken 2 years, but Kelly has finally decided to grant all of those requests, which means:

Cinder & Ella is getting a SEQUEL!!

That’s right people, there’s a whole second book coming! But that’s not all. Not only has the book been announced, it’s less than 5 months away, and today we’re revealing the cover and blurb!

Along with this cover reveal the first book, Cinder & Ella, is also getting a new look. They’ve redesigned the cover to match the sequel.

THIS:
CINDER_ELLA_cover_FINAL

IS NOW THIS:cinder_ella_reboot_coverAMAZON & KINDLE UNLIMITED

Written by the inestimable Kelly Oram, Cinder & Ella is a contemporary Cinderella re-telling set in present day Hollywood.

4.8 out of 5 stars with over 1,500 reviews on Amazon!

synWhat would you do if your anonymous Internet best friend turned out to be Hollywood’s hottest celebrity?

Cinder458: Your blogaversary is coming up, right?
EllaTheRealHero: Do all those Hollywood friends of yours know you use words like blogaversary?
Cinder458: Of course not. I need your address. Got you a blogaversary present.

Cinder got me a gift?
My heart flipped.
Not that I was in love with my Internet best friend or anything. That would be utterly ridiculous. The boy was cocky and stubborn and argued with everything I said just to be infuriating. He also had lots of money, dated models—which meant he had to be hot—and was a closet book nerd.
Funny, rich, hot, confident, book lover. Definitely not my type. Nope. Not at all.

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

***

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

With a heartwarming online celebrity romance reminiscent of Jennifer E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like, bestselling young adult author Kelly Oram has struck gold with her new adult contemporary retelling of the timeless fairytale classic Cinderella.

“A story that has it all: tears, laughs, sparks and a drop-dead swoonworthy hero. Give it a while and DreamWorks will pick up this story for a movie adaption, no doubt.” Anna Katmore, Author of Play With Me & Neverland

“Both funny and heart-wrenching, Cinder and Ella will give you all the feels. It’s the best twist on the Cinderella tale I have come across. I am not just a fan of Kelly Oram. I am an addict.” Cassie Mae, author of Switched & How To Hook A Bookworm

“Cinder & Ella is a beautiful modern-day fairytale with a great cast of characters that made me laugh and swoon. It had me staying up late at night to read just one more chapter, and at the end, I was left with a big grin on my face.” Cindi Madsen, USA Today Bestselling Author of Falling For Her Fiancé & Cinderella Screwed Me Over

If this hasn’t convinced you to check this book out, you can preview the prologue and first chapter by reading along with Kelly Oram.

hea_coverRelease Date: February 14, 2017
Buy Links: Signup to Kelly Oram’s NEWSLETTER to be notified upon release.

syn

The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.

teaserheateaser5

giveaway

Enter this Rafflecopter to win a signed copy of Cinder & Ella WITH THE NEW COVER.

authorKELLY_pic_2_FULL_SIZEKelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Don’t miss the latest news from Kelly Oram! Sign up for her newsletter to receive e-mail notifications for all of her new releases, events, sales, & giveaways. This is a monthly newsletter often with exclusive giveaways and freebies from some of her favorite authors.

Website/Newsletter/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Amazon/Goodreads/Google+/Reader Squad/Street Team/GR fan group

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Collector’s Society Encyclopedia-Heather Lyons

Encyclopedia coming graphicWe are so excited to share Heather Lyons’ THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY ENCYCLOPEDIA with you today! THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY ENCYCLOPEDIA is a compendium to the Collectors’ Society Series and includes a wide range of character stories, facts and little known tidbits. It’s a must for the true collector in all of us. The books in The Collectors’ Society Series are Adult Romantic Fairy Tales, full of adventure and fantasy.TCS Encyclopedia - CoverAmazon/iBooks/Kobo

CLASSIFIED MATERIAL

If you are reading this dossier, you have been granted Level Three clearance within the Collectors’ Society. Included in these pages are snippets from multiple key agent files as well as those on persons of interest. Please keep in mind that this compendium is considered highly sensitive and is illegal to share with anyone outside of your clearance. It is not to be removed from the Institute.

Happy reading!

—The Librarian

For those previously introduced to the mysterious Collectors’ Society and its mission, eager to discover more, The Collectors’ Society Encyclopedia is the perfect full-color companion piece to the series. Within are detailed entries elaborating upon various agents and employees as well as key villains suspected of targeting and destroying Timelines. Backstories, relationships, secrets, and clues are revealed alongside a thorough bibliography of important Timelines and their designations. Profiles are also included of the Institute in New York City as well as Wonderland. Society fans and lovers of classic literature will undoubtedly delight in unraveling the secrets that lay within these pages.Librarian Encyclopedia IntroductionAlice Encyclopedia Page

And don’t miss the first three books in Heather Lyon’s The Collector’s Society Series

Final_eCover_WEB_FRIENDLY_450x675_PNGAmazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

HLyons_THL_eBook02_450x675Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

HLyons_TFM_eCover_450x675Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Kobo authheather_front_headshotWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Author Goodreads/Encyclopedia Goodreads

Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

giveawayEnter for your chance to win a Signed The Collectors’ Society Encyclopedia and Tote Bag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

InkSlinger Blogger Final

Magical reading, 

Jordan

Spotlight & Giveaway: Spelled-Betsy Schow

51VrBcy8JzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/!ndigo/IndieBound

Available: June 2, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyTalk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Advance Praise for Spelled

“A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal

“This wickedly funny, fast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” –Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series

“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” –J Scott Savage, award winning author of Farworld, Case File 13, and the Mysteries of Cove series.

“A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, “Spelled” is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)

cooltext1921345213 copyMost of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.

Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life.

He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.

Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”

The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.

I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”

“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.

In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”

Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.

I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.

Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.

After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.

Until he opened his mouth again.

“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”

Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.

And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.

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cooltext1889178114 copyBetsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.

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Keep reading,

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Release Day Blitz: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After-Various

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cooltext1602390596 copyWhen it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify.

In 2013, authors came together for the annual Project REUTSway writing competition, penning their own interpretive twists on stories we’re all familiar with. Seventeen were chosen, bringing twenty-five new versions to life. From The Brother’s Grimm, to Hans Christian Andersen and beyond, these tales are not the ones you grew up with. They are, however, Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After. Dare to find out what happens when “once upon a time” ends in the stuff of nightmares?

An exclusive hardcover will be available from REUTS Publications in the coming weeks, but you can devour these stories now for Kindle and Nook!

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This NaNoWriMo season, REUTS Publication is inviting you join us in creating the next talented collection. So brush up on your histories, legends, and cultural lore, because we’ll be looking for the most original, fantastic versions of tales that have braved the centuries. The globe-trotting of world mythology will make weekly theme stops to visit Egyptian, Celtic, and even more rich lore from other areas of the world. This all starts November 1st, so make sure to grab your pens and ready those typing muscles for the twists that will be revealed on the Project REUTSway on twitter, or on their website.

Spooky reading and Happy Halloween,

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