For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire, Book 1)

For a Muse of Fire cover

Author: Heidi Helig

Series: For a Muse of Fire

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 512

 

Jetta and her parents are shadow players, and thanks to Jetta’s powerful ability, they have become the most famous troupe in Chakrana. Jetta, you see, holds the power of blood magic. She is able to see the souls of the departed and, using her blood, bind them to her shadow puppets (or paper, leaves, people…). This allows her to control the puppets without strings. It is also forbidden under the new regime. In their war-torn country, however, their skill is the best way for them to earn money and a way to Aquatan. Rumor has it that the Mad King found a spring there that helped to cure his melheur. Jetta needs that cure… As they are on the way, they are forced to join forces with a young smuggler (Leo) who has secrets of his own, and eyes that seem to see right through to the heart of Jetta’s secrets. As they make deals with one another, and attempt to make their way forward, they must all face decisions and truths that they never imagined and wonder if they will make it out alive.

This is the first book in a new trilogy from the lovely Heidi Heilig. It is much different from The Girl From Everywhere duology, but one can definitely tell that it is Heilig’s voice in this novel. It took me a little while to write this review, because I have a lot to say, but was not really sure how to start. First, the writing is absolutely beautiful. It moves at a smooth pace, and doesn’t ever really waver. There were no really slow parts, that books of this length can sometimes suffer from. It wasn’t overly wordy, it just had a lot to say. The story itself was interwoven with sheet music, letters, excerpts from plays, maps, and other documents that truly enriched the storyline. The world building was phenomenal. The rich Asian cultural elements mixed with the French-inspired colonialism paints a vivid picture. Once that it combined with the beautifully written folklore and Heilig’s writing of this fantasy world, it is definitely hard to put down.

Now, let’s get to the characters. As it should be, this was the heart of the story. These characters, not only the leading lady but the more secondary players as well, were so well written and multi-dimensional that I truly felt for them, and felt that I knew them, by the end of the book. Jetta, is struggling. It has been confirmed as canon that she is bipolar, but if you have ever known and loved someone who is bipolar you won’t need me to tell you that. She makes these amazingly impulsive decisions while in these high, manic periods that feel so right at the time that she is making them. She is sure that they will work out, and that she is doing the only thing that can be done. She then goes in to her depressive periods that leave her tired, weary, and questioning all of the decisions that she made while in her manic state. She believed that she was seeing things clearly, but it’s like everything slows down, and she can see it all in slow motion and truly grasp what has happened and the possible consequences. Heilig allowed this to be very visible to the reader, so it truly made Jetta a more relatable character and showed the drive behind her decision-making processes. On another note, the reader may catch that Jetta appears to be drawn to several different characters at different times- it has also been confirmed as canon that she is queer, which just makes her character even more interesting and well rounded. Leo is another wonderfully complex character. I mentioned earlier that he has his own secrets (which I won’t reveal here), but he is incredibly well fleshed out, complex, and so well written. Jetta’s parents, too, have their own secrets that they are hiding, their own struggles, worries, and concerns, and are very well rounded and relatable characters. You can feel their struggles as they are attempting to make the decisions that are the smart decisions, not the easy ones.

I can easily say that this is the best book that I have read thus far this year, and it is going to be very difficult to beat. If you are a fan of wonderful, rich fantasy, please give this one a try!

 

 

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Coming Up: For a Muse of Fire review

Hey guys!

The review of For a Muse of Fire will be coming up this afternoon/evening. I just…it’s taking me a bit to get all of my thoughts organized to pull a cohesive review together for you. Stay tuned…

Note: I think this is my favorite book this year, so far…

For a Muse of Fire is here!!!

You guys- It’s release day, and I have it in my hot little hands!!! I’m so excited!!!!

I’ll be reading it this week, but I know I’ll be where I don’t have wi-fi this weekend. If I don’t get the review up before I leave, I’ll post when I return home😊😊

In case you need a reminder, here’s the link to my first look post about this gem:

https://thenovelgirlreads.com/2018/02/21/for-a-muse-of-fire-first-look-squeee/

Go, get, enjoy!!!

Always,

-T

Fresh Ink

Fresh Ink cover

Editor: Lamar Giles

Genre: YA Fiction

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 208

 

This is an anthology that was written in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. It includes never before seen works from thirteen of YA’s most recognizable, diverse authors: ten short stories, one graphic story, and a one-act play. I am thrilled to have been allowed to early review this amazing collection of short fiction, that is just demanding to be read, shared, and talked about!

Let me just begin by saying- Wow! After reading the early synopsis of this anthology, and learning who the authors contributing to it were, I had high hopes… I mean really high. This blew them away! Every one of these short stories had something very important to say, and they all made their point in the best way possible. I may not have been able to personally identify with all of the characters in these stories, but the message of each was not lost on me. These authors are all so brilliant, that it is really hard to pick a favorite story out of this collection. If pushed to choose, I would have to say that Eraser Tattoo (Jason Reynolds), Why I Learned to Cook (Sara Farizan), Don’t Pass Me By (Eric Gansworth), Meet Cute (Malinda Lo), and Tags (Walter Dean Myers) really stood out to me. All of the stories were just long enough to pique the reader’s interest, tell their story, and then leave you wanting more. This is an anthology that has been needed for some time, especially in this climate, and I am so glad that it is here! It is bound to be a hit, and one that will last for a long time to come. Now…Can we get another one of these, please? Fresher Ink, anyone?!

 

2016 Wrap-Up!! Best of….

As we say goodbye to 2016, and usher in 2017, I can honestly say that it has been a good year in the book world! We have had some amazing books published this year, and some awesome new authors have emerged. We have also suffered some great losses. It was a wonderful reading year for me, personally, as well. I think that I read more this year that I ever have in a single year before, and I was introduced to some wonderful new authors that I look forward to reading much more from in the future.

I have taken the majority of this week to try and determine what was actually my best of this year, and I had a very difficult time with it! I had to break it down in to categories, because I wasn’t able to pick just one!

Here goes!!!

Favorite Overall Read of the Year: There was a tie in this category!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes cover

Blood Curse by Quincy J. Allen

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Favorite Thriller of the Year: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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Favorite YA of the Year: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska cover

Favorite New Author of the Year: J.D. Spikes

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I’m looking forward to an awesome new year with all of you!! I hope you all have a wonderful new year!! As always, thanks for reading!!

-T

 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

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Author: David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

Genre: YA

Publisher: Knopf

Pages: 192

 

Nick, the straight bassist for a “queercore” punk band, is onstage when he sees his ex walk in to his performance with a new guy. When he realizes that avoiding her is not an option, he asks Norah (a girl in the midst of heart break, there to see the show with a friend) a question that will change both of their nights, and possibly their lives, completely: “Will you be my girlfriend for five minutes?”. This leads to a roller coaster of a night for the two of them that leads through all the ups and downs of teenage (and quite frankly adult) emotions- love, heartbreak, anger, lust, disappointment, and forgiveness. This one very long night ends up in a place that neither of them had ever imagined.

This short read was a bunch of fun! It’s filled with all of those angsty teenage emotions that we can all remember having, but that can still be applied to relationships at any age. It will remind you of what it’s like to meet someone and feel that instant connections with them, but still have doubts because of your past, and want to work through them anyway. These authors have created a fun environment and filled it with a great cast of characters. It’s a great book for anyone looking for an easy, quick read that will make you reminisce a little a pick you up.

Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing cover

Author: Matthew Quick

Genre: YA Fiction

Publisher: Little Brown

Pages: 272

 

Nanette was a good girl: good student, star athlete, college bound (on athletic scholarships!). She spent lunch everyday with her favorite teacher. That teacher chooses her to be the one to whom he passes his favorite (out of print) book, The Bubblegum Reaper. After binge reading this book, Nanette begins to feel that she is not forging her own path in life, but is, instead, living the life that others have pushed her in to. That feeling becomes stronger once she starts spending time with the book’s author, and is introduced to another huge fan of the book, Alex. She rebels, she falls in love, she finds out that every action that she takes has its own consequences that she must deal with.

I enjoyed this book in a very nostalgic way. It is a story of coming of age, finding yourself, and coming in to your own. It reminded me of being in high school, and immediately after, and trying to figure out exactly who I was supposed to be in the world- not who everyone saw when they looked at me, or who they thought that I should be. I could identify, somewhat, with Nanette. I think that this is a book that should definitely be read by young adults, and would be enjoyed by those a bit outside of the YA market (who still love YA- like myself!), if only to look back and remember.