New to Me – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

In 2018 I had the idea to have readers and friends read my favorite books from years past. I had 20+ amazing people sign up and read some of my all-time favorite books. They took the time out of their busy lives and reading schedules and read books I love and shared what they thought on my blog. It was a lot of fun and I got to see some new takes on old favorites. It actually was a fun experience. If you are interested in the reviews HERE.

This year I decided to give back in a way and asked everyone that signed up to tell me their favorite book (that I have not read) because in 2019 it is time to do NEW TO ME.


I knew going into this feature there may be books that weren’t for me. I was hopeful it wouldn’t happen, but not delusional. If we all loved the same things and didn’t have different tastes the world would be a dull place.

That being said I was really disappointed when it was almost 2 weeks in and I had only gotten through 83 pages of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Honestly you guys, I tried. I gave it my all, but we just didn’t click. From what I read the imagery was stunning and the characters were there but I just wasn’t invested enough to want to read more and jump into that world. And you know what? That’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad book nerd, it just means I have 678 books on my TBR and I don’t need to waste my reading time on something that isn’t bringing me happiness at that point in time. It’s okay to put it aside and maybe pick it up again, or maybe not.

In my years of keeping track of my reading, I have quit 22 books, all for varying reasons and at varying points in the story. Some of those books have 4 plus star ratings on Goodreads. Just because a book isn’t for me doesn’t mean it isn’t for everyone else. As a reader, we have to remember that and know it is okay to let go and move on. Daughter of Smoke and Bone wasn’t for me, but it was for others, and here is why they loved it:

There are countless of other reviews out there on Goodreads so make sure you check them all out.

New to Me – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Published: September 27, 2011
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Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


And there you have it, March’s book selection for New to Me. Sorry I couldn’t do better, but I can only be me.


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Debut Author Take Over: We Rule the Night by Claire Barlett

Sadly I have come to the end of my debut author take over journey. I have had a great time working with this ladies that are new to the YA world. They have brought a spark back to my blogging life and I’m so grateful to them and to the people at  Class of 2k19 Books that contacted me and asked if I had any interest in working with this new gems.

For my last (planned) debut author take over I have Claire Barlett joining me. Claire’s debut, We Rule the Night is out on April 2, 2019. I haven’t yet read the book but I personally can’t wait. It sounds so amazing!


Thank you so much, Andi’s ABCs, for the chance to do a guest post! I’m super excited because today I’ll be talking about one of my favorite things: tropes.

Tropes are the building blocks of a story, whether they’re played straight, inverted, subverted or otherwise messed with. Some tropes target a community and pigeonhole marginalized groups in bad ways (for example, the bury your gays trope) and these tropes should die a horrible death. But otherwise, tropes can be effective tools, and fun to spot in the makeup of a story – at least for my nerdy self.

While writing We Rule the Night, I thought a lot about tropes – tropes I wanted to use and tropes I wanted to challenge. Of course, by the time I’d finished, I’d ended up with some unintentional tropes in the novel as well! Here are a few of the tropes present in We Rule the Night – if you’re a sucker for any of these, maybe you’d like to try out the book!

There Are No Adults: Missing, dead, off at war – doesn’t matter. The teens are in this by themselves.

I couldn’t resist this trope, even though it’s the most common one in YA! There is some slight historical relevance to it, but let’s face it – books are more fun when parents aren’t around to criticize your main character’s terrible decisions.(link:

Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: The yellow eyes of sneakiness point to someone, well, sneaky. Wily. Cunning and clever, and often with an ulterior motive. 

In We Rule the Night, the Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness denote a group of people known as the Information Unit. I’ll leave it to you to guess what they do!(link:

Women are Better than Men: It’s not that they’re better than men, per se. But the main characters are women  and the few men present are evil, incompetent or both.

This trope is part of the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality. And for the record, no. I don’t think women are better than men. But the central characters of We Rule the Night are women and girls, with few exceptions, and the men of the novel usually stand in the girls’ way. I purposefully wrote a story with a gender imbalance, not just because of my source material (a real life night bombing regiment known as the Night Witches), but also because in so much fantasy, even fantasy with a female main character, there’s a big gender imbalance the other way.(link to the sliding scale of gender inequality: to the night witches:

Not Like Other Girls (inverted): She’s special. She does things other girls couldn’t or wouldn’t do. And she doesn’t go in for that feminine stuff. Of course, the other girls hate her for no reason, and the boys respect her…because they’ve got to respect someone, and it won’t be the girly girl.

A much and rightly despised trope, that has irritated me for many years. I set out to challenge it with We Rule the Night, and include a host of girls with different hobbies and preferences. And without giving away too much of the story, Linne’s main challenge is to see that trying to be Not Like Other Girls isn’t a good thing! All girls are valid and unique, and being like other girls is something to be proud of!(link:

There are many more tropes in We Rule the Night, so if you are intrigued and want to find more, grab a copy of the book on April 2nd! Sound off with your favorite (or least favorite!) tropes in the comments, and I hope to have more nerdy talks with you all in the future. Thank you again, Andi the brilliant host!

(link to pre-orders:

Debut Author Take Over: We Rule the Night by Claire BarlettWe Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
Published: April 2, 2019
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Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.

Thank you so much, Claire, for stopping by and sharing some tropes with us! I’m a huge fan of a good trope and these are all fantastic!

Make sure you pick up a copy of Claire’s debut release on 4/2/19!

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New to You (22): Nicole reviews Altered by Jennifer Rush {giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.


For my last New to You of the year we have Nicole from Boundless Bookaholic. She read and reviewed an old favorite of mine, Altered by Jennifer Rush. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

New to You (22): Nicole reviews Altered by Jennifer Rush {giveaway}Altered (Altered, #1) by Jennifer Rush
Published: January 1, 2013
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When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who has stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Not a bad read, but not a favorite either. This one fell right in the middle of the rating scale for me. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I’ll be honest…when I started this book, I was not engrossed in the story. I was having a hard time connecting, and the writing style was part of the problem for me. I kept noticing the overly descriptive passages, how there was repetition sometimes, etc. But that being said, the plot was interesting and unique. There were even some twists that surprised me, which doesn’t happen often (i.e. almost never).
I liked Anna’s character quite a bit, and Sam, Cas, Nick, and Trev were super entertaining as well, especially Cas. He might have been my favorite character in this book because of his personality. Anna had a different “relationship” with each boy, but most of the focus was on her and Sam. Without spoiling anything, I will just say that Sam was swoony at moments, but he never lost sight of the important things. He was almost laser-focused, which makes sense considering everything they were dealing with.
This book could easily be read in one sitting; I didn’t want to put it down most days after I finally got hooked by the story. I need to know what happens next, so I’ll be checking out the rest of the series. If you love young adult sci-fi/dystopian books, I think you’ll enjoy this one.



Thanks Nicole for signing up for New to You. Sorry this was middle of the road for you but happy you gave it a chance!

Giveaway is US only and ends on January 4, 2019  at 11:59pm EST.

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New to You (10): April Reviews Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.


Next up for New to You is April from Good Books and Good Wine. I have been suggesting books to April for the past few months (All in Pieces and I’ll Meet You There)  so I was really excited when she signed up. Truth be told I had some trouble deciding which one of my favorites I wanted her to read but I decided it had to be Twenty Boy Summer since it will forever and ever be a top favorite of mine! Let’s see what she had to say about Sarah Ockler’s book that was actually banned in some place(s)!

New to You (10): April Reviews Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah OcklerTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Published: May 1, 2010
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"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.""Okay.""Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?""Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Thank you so much, Andi, for hosting me on New To You. This is SUCH a cool feature, and honestly, I am glad you’re encouraging bloggers to read some awesome backlist books. I know that you’ve never lead me wrong when it comes to book recommendations!

The book Andi challenged me to read is none other than Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer. Friends, I have had this book on my Kindle since AUGUST freakin 2011. What even! I cannot believe I slept on this book so long and it took being nudged into by this feature to read this book. I’ll tell you why I bought it — it was one of the BIG books back in the heyday of book blogging. Every other blogger received a copy from this publicity group so it was ALL over. However, like every other reader, my eyes were bigger than my reading time? (Does that even work as a saying?)

H’okay. So. Twenty Boy Summer. This book took me three days to get through. Honestly, that’s not bad considering my life these days. Ockler’s book is a contemporary YA about a girl and her best friend and how they go away for the summer. LOL. No, it is a bit more deep than that. Okay, so, the girl is Anna Reilly. She’s basically neighbors with Frankie Perino who is also her best friend. Anna and Frankie are both grieving Frankie’s brother Matt who died really before the events of this book take place.

Anna, however, is hiding something from Frankie. DRAMA. Basically, Anna dated Matt on the low. Matt wanted to break the news to Frankie himself and make sure she could handle it. So, without this knowledge, Frankie decides this is the summer that she and Anna will hook up with twenty boys. It is the summer where Anna will lose her virginity aka her albatross.

So, Anna and Frankie, and the adult Perinos fly from New York to California to Zanzibar Bay. Bad life choices are made. There’s more drama. And well, okay during the flashbacks I found myself wondering where in Upstate NY they are from, because they mention being an hour from Cornell and Matt has a Syracuse Orange shirt. So a little piece of me likes to think they’re from Syracuse.

Anyways, I mostly enjoyed this book. I found myself getting very reactive though. You see, Frankie’s character just kept irritating me. AND THEN. She does something no good very bad. And well, it was hard for me to be loyal. I was Team Anna throughout the book. And well, Frankie is not a great friend to Anna. That’s all. I think there’s a lot of realism in this book.

Give Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler a read if you want a book that showcases first love, friendship, drama, and ultimately, forgiveness.


Thanks April for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you trust my recommendations! Next I suggestion you read Second Chance Summer if you want to cry. 🙂

My review of Twenty Boy Summer.

Have you read anything by Sarah Ockler yet? I’m a massive fan of her books and of her (I got to meet her last year and it was the best!).

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The ABCs: Bookitcon Edition with Avery Roe (Kendall Kulper)

Today on the blog we have a special guest post from one of the fan authors from BookitCon. (To find out more about BookitCon see below.) Joining us today is Kendall Kulper, author Salt & Storm. Kendall is doing an ABCs post for her her character Avery Roe.


Accessory: Scrimshaw necklace
Avery lives on a whaling island off the coast of Massachusetts rich in history and magic. Her family has traditionally made its living crafting and selling good luck charms to sailors, so she would be all about a necklace with a beautiful charm. This particular charm is an example of scrimshaw, a kind of art form created by whalers on long sailing expeditions. Sailors took pieces of whale teeth or bone, carved images into them, then darkened the lines with ink and gave the pieces away to their friends and loved ones. There are only a handful of traditional scrimshaw artists left in the world (who, these days, work in synthetic whalebone, recycled piano key ivory, or found whalebone), making these charms extra special. (Side note: long before I wrote SALT & STORM, my favorite piece of jewelry was a scrimshaw necklace my dad bought for my mom on their honeymoon)

Book: The 1930s Random House Edition of Moby Dick
Obviously going to have to go with Moby Dick here, since Avery would love to read more about whales and whaling (and she would be intimately familiar with the real story behind Moby Dick: the sinking of the whaleship Essex by a huge, maddened whale), but I can’t just choose any copy. My favorite is the 1930s Random House edition, illustrated by Rockwell Kent, a groundbreaking artist who worked in woodblock prints. His images for Moby Dick are so stunning; gorgeous and evocative, they show an innovative and intimate style well ahead of its time. I loved these pictures so much, I paid homage to them in SALT & STORM by making one of the main characters, Tane, an artist in Kent’s style.

 Clothing: Red velvet jacket
One of my favorite parts of the redesign of SALT & STORM’s cover is the choice the designer made for Avery’s clothing. I was adamant that my strong, independent main character not just be a pretty girl in a pretty dress standing by the ocean, and so when I first saw the image of this tough (and fully covered!) girl running for a storm, I pretty much did backflips. But what I love more than anything is her cute, practical, and eye-catching little red jacket. It’s so perfect: period-appropriate, region-appropriate (hello ocean breezes), but still vibrant and reflective of Avery’s inner fire and spirit. Love it.

The ABCs: Bookitcon Edition with Avery Roe (Kendall Kulper)Salt & Storm (Salt & Storm, #1) by Kendall Kulper
Published: August 11th 2015
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Dream-teller. Storm-raiser. Prisoner.

Avery Roe is her mother's captive, and she has fought her whole life to escape and take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island. Though the island is nothing more than a windswept rock out in the ocean, the witch's power is legendary, and it is Avery's birthright. But when Avery foretells her own murder, she knows her life is about to change--many times over. Amid the swirling currents and rising storms of betrayal, first love, and family secrets, she fights to save herself.

Kendall Kulper:
Author of SALT & STORM and DRIFT & DAGGER (9/8/2015)
Little, Brown Young Readers

Bookitcon: Chapter Two

(Full list can also be found here:
Albert Borris
Amanda Foody
Anna Breslaw
April Lindner
AV Geiger
Barbara Dee
Beth Fantaskey
Charlotte Huang
Claire Legrand
Emma Chase
Eric Smith
Jodi Meadows
Josh Berk
Julie Chibbaro
Julie Eshbaugh
Karole Cozzo
Kathryn Holmes
Kendall Kulper
Kit Grindstaff
Lee Kelly
Lisa A. Koosis
Mackenzi Lee
Martina A Boone
Mia Siegert
Nancy Norbeck
Phoebe North
S Usher Evans
Sandy Hall
SJ Goslee
Victoria Scott

Bookitcon: Chapter Two is a charity book event. We currently have 30 incredible authors in our lineup. The book event will include meet-n-greets with the authors, along with two panels and the opportunity to get all of your books signed by all of the authors!

If you purchase the VIP ticket, you will also be invited to a VIP dinner/after party with the authors, along with getting an extra hour to get your books signed!

2:30- 3:30pm VIP signing! (open to VIP ticket holders only)
3:30- 6:00pm Regular signing! (open to all attendees)
3:30- 4:15pm Surprises in Publishing Panel!
4:30- 5:45pm Facts + Fiction Panel!
6:00- 8:00pm VIP Afterparty! (open to VIP ticket holders only)

Panel: Surprises in Publishing
Moderator:    S Usher Evans
Panelists:  Anna Breslaw
Kathryn Holmes
Lee Kelly
Jodi Meadows
Julie Eshbaugh

Panel: Facts vs Fiction
Moderator:    Claire Legrand
Panelists: Beth Fantaskey
Sandy Hall
Kendall Kulper
Mia Siegert
Eric Smith

16 East Main Street Moorestown, NJ 08057

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

I decided to start UBUbiz because I wanted a way to combine my passions for reading, business, and charity/community service. After wracking my brain for months, the idea of Bookitcon suddenly appeared! This is my second year hosting Bookitcon, and I can’t wait.

Bookitcon: Chapter Two isn’t just your ordinary book event. I’m working with the nonprofit Grace in the Mud and two K-8 schools in Camden, NJ to help them grow their outdated libraries. The proceeds from this event will be benefiting them.

You can find more information on Grace in the Mud by going to their website (, facebook (, or gofundme (

Other Info:
Interested in attending? Great! You can buy a ticket through the website: or just click here! (

Are you dying of jealousy because you’d love to be able to attend and get books signed by the attending authors? Don’t fear, because virtual signings are here! You can purchase books by any of the attending authors and get it shipped to your house, easy peasy!


Are you currently unsure but want to stay up to date with all of the latest news? Make sure to subscribe to the UBUbiz newsletter!
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Twitter: @UBUbiz
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