Happy September, everyone! Today, I’m bringing you a selection of my most anticipated debut releases for this month, all ready to be added to your TBR! Our list for today is dominated with YA books, specifically everything fantasy and magical! From characters who confused about their superpowers to the ones who created a secret coven, or the ones who embarked a magical journey, and of course we don’t want to miss out on the one who’s willing to wake up the dragons to save her kingdom!
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository This is a story of Alaine Beauparlant and her journey in Tahiti, where she got send there for a volunteering project because she accidentally messed up a school presentation. What she didn’t expect was how this journey turns into a good one, where she met a cute intern and discover about her family secrets.
Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Have a Little Faith in Me is a novel from debut author Sonia Hartl, about CeCe and her goal to get her ex-boyfriend back after she previously gets dumped right after they had sex. During this journey, she accompanied by her best friend, Paul. What she discovered along the way, might surprise her, because maybe her ex-boyfriend isn’t that nice and maybe, just maybe, she started growing feelings toward Paul.
Frankly in Love by David Yoon Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When Frank Li stucked in his parents’ strict rule to date Korean only, he met Joy Song who apparently facing the very same problem as his. Making a pact to fake dating and thinking it as a perfect plan to trick his parents, soon the relationship started to change into something else. Frankly in Love explores the culture in the Korean community, self-identity, and conflicts within families.
The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Based on her award-winning podcast, The Bright Sessions, Lauren Shippen’s debut, The Infinite Noise, is a story of atypical Caleb Michaels that has a power of sensing someone’s feelings. His life is getting way more complicated when he met Adam with his big and all-consuming feeling. His therapist suggested him to explore his connection with Adam, and as Caleb learned his ability, he also started to realize how dangerous an atypical can be.
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When Esme Pearl, a proud babysitter’s club owner met Cassandra Heaven, an attractive and stylish rebel, she didn’t expect that she will have so much in common with her. Together, they’re solving the mysterious note from Cassandra’s mom and what it truly means to become a babysitter.
SLAY by Brittney Morris Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honor student by day and a game developer by night. But when the game she developed caused a murder case, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. Can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository In the early 1900s, January Scaller discovered a strange book, that has scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository In this gothic psychological thriller debut, Mavi escaped to an isolated school at the very southern tip of South America. Mavi tried to embrace the strangeness of the place, but when one of the students is missing and the others behaved like they’re possessed, Mavi can’t ignore it any longer. In order to survive, she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Arrah, a descendant from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land, failed at magic and couldn’t even cast a simple spell, she can’t help but feel disappointed at herself. When children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic, but this borrowed magic is far more dark and dangerous than she could ever imagine.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository The witch, Louise le Blanc and the Chasseur, Reid Diggory were never meant to meet each other. But a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared. All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation… or the cause of its destruction. A prince, a ruthless killer, a once-faithful leader, a reckless gambler, and a dying girl are set on a collision course. Will they save the world or will they destroy it?
Stormrise by Jillian Boehme Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Disappointing at her colorless future because of her gender, Rain took a chance by disguising as a boy when an army of nomads invades her kingdom, and a draft forces every household to send one man to fight. As war looms and Rain is enlisted into an elite, she begins to realize this dragon tincture may hold the key to her kingdom’s victory.
WHICH BOOK IS YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED FOR THIS MONTH?
DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.
It’s the release day of 100 Days of Sunlight and I’m delighted to have Abbie on my blog today! 100 Days of Sunlight is an amazing contemporary and I’m so grateful to get the opportunity to read the early copy and share my review about it! If for some bizarre reason you miss the post, you can check them out here and read 100% gushes and rambles from yours truly. Abbie also talked all about her gorgeous debut cover and how she came up with it!
Okay! So today, we’re going to talk all about Abbie’s debut, the characters in it, what inspired her to create them, and also her writing journey and experiences! Also, there will be very minor spoilers in this Q&A! And before I forget, there will be an international giveaway that you’ll not want to miss at the end of this post, so don’t forget to check them out and join! Now, let’s get into it!
Q: Hi, Abbie! Thank you for chatting with me today! First of all, I want to congratulate you for your upcoming debut release, 100 Days of Sunlight! As the synopsis said, one of the main characters is Tessa, a poetry blogger. If you could describe this book with lines from any poetry, what would it be?
A: Hi, Vinny! Thank you so much for featuring me on your lovely blog today! I am thrilled and honored to be here, talking about my debut 100 Days of Sunlight. That’s a great question to start off with! There’s a poem by Emily Dickinson that I feel describes this book well because of the way I feel about it – and the way I feel about every book I write:
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain: If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”
I feel this so deeply! If I can touch one soul with 100 Days of Sunlight, it will not be written in vain.
Q: One of the things that made me really excited about this story is Weston, the bright and confident boy with no legs who decided to help Tessa to keep blogging and writing poetry during her temporal blindness. Tessa even labeled him as “obnoxious optimistic”. For me, he is such a strong character with strong personalities, despite his disability. Can you tell us a bit what inspired you to create his character?
A: That’s a great question! I love Weston and could talk about his character all day. His character was very much inspired by real people who have gone through similar experiences and not let anything limit them or take away their zest for life – people like Nick Vujicic, Rob Jones, and Travis Mills, to name a few. Their stories, sense of humor, and attitude about life has greatly inspired me – and I wanted to translate that into Weston’s character and journey. I wanted to step into his shoes and experience the emotional journey of loss, recovery, and getting back up when life knocks you down. I also wanted to show how even when a person seems to be happy and optimistic all the time, we can’t really know what personal struggles they face every day.
Q: A lot of scenes in this book made me all smiley and laugh, while few of them made me tear up too, but all of them are definitely my favorites. For you, which scene is your most favorite and why? Is it because you connected to the scene emotionally or is it because a matter of technicality that it took to write it?
A: Oh this is such a hard question! I love too many scenes in this book. But one of my absolute favorite scenes is the part where Rudy visits Weston in the hospital. I got super emotional writing this scene because I loved the dynamic of Weston and Rudy’s relationship – how they beat each other up and act like tough guys, but underneath all that, they are really two softies who love each other more than either of them would admit. In this scene, I feel like they both let their guard down and it was very sad but adorable to write.
Q: As a big fan of contemporary story, I immediately knew that I need to read 100 Days of Sunlight! And now that I’ve read it, it officially becomes one of my favorite contemporaries of the year! You delivered such an engaging story and made me swoon over these characters and their relationship! Since this is your debut book, are you thinking of contemporary story as your field of expertise and interest or are you planning to explore other genres in the future?
A: Oh my gosh, thank you so much! I’m blushing over here. Contemporary is definitely my favorite genre to read and write, but I do plan on branching off into other genres in the future! You’ll definitely see some more contemporary stories from me… but I might just surprise everyone with a crazy sci-fi or fantasy one day. We’ll see!
Q: In 100 Days of Sunlight, we got to see how Weston played the ukulele and sang one of Tessa’s poems. Let’s say if Tessa was not a poet and he had to sing a cover instead, which song that you think he’d play?
A: Probably Here Comes The Sun or Don’t Worry, Be Happy. I can just see it.
Q: Also related to the previous question, is there any particular reason why Weston played the ukulele in this story? Because I assume (not to sound creepy and like a stalker for watching your older Youtube’s videos, lol) it’s because you also play ukulele yourself. Or is there any other reason?
A: Haha I’m honored that you’ve watched some of my older videos! Yes, I definitely have a special place in my heart for the ukulele, since I do play it. It’s such a fun, sunshiney instrument that’s pretty simple to learn, and I knew Weston wasn’t the type to learn a complicated instrument, so it was perfect for him! (Plus it’s a very cute image, Weston playing a yellow ukulele…)
Q: If (and when, excuse me while I’m too excited over here!) 100 Days of Sunlight is getting adapted into a movie, which actor/actress that you imagine will be part of the cast? Personally, I keep portraying Sadie Sink as Tessa, but I’m contemplating between Noah Schnapp and Asa Butterfield as Weston!
A: I’m getting so excited over here too!! This would be THE ULTIMATE DREAM come true, so you better believe I think about it a lot. (The fact that you’re thinking about it too makes me so happy!) I keep imagining Elle Fanning as Tessa, and I can definitely see Noah Schnapp as Weston… I fancast my characters wayyy too much haha!
Q: Finally, I think this question will be interesting for other debut authors out there. You are a blogger and you have a Youtube channel where you consistently post everything bookish and writing-related. As someone who has an established community on the internet before releasing your debut, do you think it helps you as a debut author during the process of releasing and promoting your book? Can you share a bit of your experience with us?
A: Yes. It definitely helps sooo much. I feel so blessed to have a community of writers cheering me on and looking forward to reading the book! It’s very surreal. I think pre-launch promotion is even more important than post-launch promotion, especially for indie authors. I don’t want to just release a book and be like “hey everyone please read my book!” I’m more interested in growing relationships with my community, on YouTube and my blog. I love interacting with other writers and sharing experiences, challenges, and triumphs. I want 100 Days of Sunlight to mean something special to my community – because they helped inspire me while writing and editing and, now, publishing it!
Writing can be a lonely art, even in the process of publishing. That’s why I don’t know where I would be without the WritersLife Wednesday community, and all the lovely people who read my blog. They are my support system, and they constantly push me to be better and inspire me to do the impossible.
This has been so much fun! Thank you again for having me, Vinny! I loved chatting about all things writing. 🙂
And that’s the end of my interview with Abbie! If you’re looking forward to reading her book, it’s release today and you can find all of the details and information below!
When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down.
Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.
Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.
Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.
100 Days of Sunlight is a poignant and heartfelt novel by author Abbie Emmons. If you like sweet contemporary romance and strong family themes then you’ll love this touching story of hope, healing, and getting back up when life knocks you down.
If you don’t have the access to get 100 Days of Sunlight, then don’t worry! Abbie has been very kind to provide three eBook copies for three lucky winners! You can find more details about the giveaway below and be sure to join asap, because the giveaway will end on August 31, 2019!
I can’t believe I’ll start another post with yet another cliché intro, but I can’t believe it’s August already and here we are! This month, I’m anticipating a lot of debut releases and in today’s post, I’m ready to bring y’all with me on this guilty voyage called ‘Let’s addmore books to our TBR pile’! Are you ready?!
100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons Add to Goodreads • Buy on Amazon A contemporary story from debut author Abbie Emmons, featuring Tessa Dickinson, a blogger/poet who just recently become blind because of a car crash and Weston Ludovico, a confident and optimistic amputee who wants to help Tessa to keep blogging by becoming her typewriter. Through many ups and downs, and after Life knocked both of them down with different challenges during different times, we got to witnesshow the two started as barely a stranger, and become each other’s biggest support system.
As Many Nows As I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository In one impulsive moment the summer before they leave for college, overachievers Scarlett and David plunge into an irresistible swirl of romance, particle physics, and questionable decisions. This is the story of a grounded girl who’s pulled into a lightning-strike romance with an electric-charged boy, and the enormity of the aftermath.
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Inspired by her personal experiences, Color Me In is a coming-of-age novel about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds. Biracial 16-year-old Nevaeh Levitz had to move to her mom’s family home in Harlem and she labeled as a white who’s too privileged to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. Can she face this challenge when it comes from her own family?
Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When homosexuality is still considered as a mental illness in 1973, aside from alcoholic father, sympathetic neighbor, and his friend, Carla, 16-year-old Jonathan Collins is completely alone. To cope with his loneliness, he escaped to an alternate universe, his own imagination. In this place, he had his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother. Until suddenly, Web, a fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay, stumbled into his life. And maybe, Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known.
Carnegie Hill by Jonathan Vatner Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository A belated-coming-of-age novel about sustaining a marriage—and knowing when to walk away. It chronicles the lives of wealthy New Yorkers and the staff who serve them, as they suffer together and rebound, struggle to free themselves from family entanglements, deceive each other out of love and weakness, and fumble their way to honesty.
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Hollow Kingdom is a humorous, big-hearted, and boundlessly beautiful romp through the apocalypse and the world that comes after, where even a cowardly crow can become a hero. When one day, S.T., a domesticated crow, saw his owner’s eyeball falls out of his head, he feels like something isn’t quite right. Forced to leave his old life, S.T. now ventures out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, and discovered that humanity is about to extinct, and he seems to be the only one who can save it.
I’m Not Dying with You Tonight byGilly Segal and Kimberly Jones Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When the opposite Lena and Campbell went into the Friday-night football game, they didn’t expect to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together. They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
They Could Have Named Her Anything by Stephanie Jimenez Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Racism, class, and betrayal collide in this poignant debut novel about restoring the broken bonds of family and friendship. They Could Have Named Her Anything explores the heartfelt expectation of what it means to live up to the name you’ve been given and the more rewarding discovery of what really matters.
A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When 18-year-old Emmaline Watkins heard about the design competition held by the most admired fashion house in the city, she knew this is her opportunity to get closer to her dream. As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?
Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, Lira has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand. Until one day, a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland — Reyker — and after reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all over their city, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.
Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Every girl in Ilara is dreaming to become the next princess of a kingdom that’s ruled their village for as long as anyone can remember. When a childhood accident left Nor with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land. But when Zadie is gravely injured, Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Twelve sisters lived in a manor by the sea, but when accidents came to them one by one until only four of them left, Annaleigh, one of the girls that survived, Annaleigh became increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to join or stop them. When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
WHICH BOOK IS YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED FOR THIS MONTH?
I’ve been waiting too long for this blog tour but it’s finally hereee! Today is my stop for 100 Days of Sunlight Blog Tour and without further ado, I’m delighted to not only share 1̶5̶0̶0̶+̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶d̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶x̶c̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶b̶a̶b̶b̶l̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ my review, but I’ll also have a guest post from Abbie herself where she talks about how she came up with those lovely, gorgeous, shiny cover! Also, don’t forget to stay tuned ’til the end of this post because you don’t want to miss the opportunity to join the International Giveaway of 3 eBook Copies of 100 Days of Sunlight! Now, let’s get into the review, shall we?!
100 Days of Sunlight follows our main character, the 16 years old Tessa Dickinson, who recently got into a car crash and is now temporary blind. Being a poet who consistently shares her works on her blog, this obviously took her by surprise because now she feels she can’t do anything and trap in the darkness. Trying to find a way to cheer up their granddaughter, Tessa’s grandpa and grandma decided to post a newspaper ad to look for a typewriter, someone that could help Tessa back to the comfort of her blogging and writing zone. Enter 16 years old Weston Ludovico, a bright, confident, and obnoxiously optimistic amputee, who happened to saw the ad and decided to help Tessa to come out of her misery and get her back up on her knees. Through many ups and downs, and after Life knocked both of them down with different challenges during different times, we got to witnessed how the two started as barely a stranger, and become each other’s biggest support system.
If you ask me how I found out about 100 Days of Sunlight in the first place, it’s not a special story, really. But believe me, after I read the ARC twice (yes, you read that right), it definitely leaves a special mark in my heart. Long story short, I was doing my usual core, browsing mindlessly on NetGalley, and that’s when I saw the cover for the very first time. I’m not trying to sound overdramatic when I said it’s love at the first sight, but it is love at the first sight. I read the synopsis and I knew I had to read this story. I immediately went to do more research about the book and I ended up on Abbie’s blog, which completely amazed me due to her wonderful blog posts, her joyful videos, and the fact that 100 Days of Sunlight is her debut book and she’s going to publish it independently. Right at that second, I signed myself up to become a part of the blog tour and I was screaming (okay, not screaming, more like an ugly squeal) when I received the email from Abbie, saying that she’d be happy to have me as the part of the tour!
[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”] → Graphic description of accidents. → Mention of PTSD and traumatic experiences.[/su_spoiler]
A fearless coming-of-age love story wrapped in a relatable modern setup with a wonderful representation of mental health disorder and disability.
I’m always a big fan of classic coming-of-age love story. What’s not to like about it? It’s fun, reckless, and it reminds me of the good ol’ days (I just realized I sound super old by saying that, when in fact I’m not even 25 yet… but let’s skip that). 100 Days of Sunlight feels close to one, but the fact that it didn’t feature your typical mainstream couple, is what makes me love it even harder. The characters are definitely my most favorite thing about this story (and I’ll ramble more about them later!), but I’d be lying if I say that the plot didn’t amaze me.The simplicity yet complexity of it feels perfect and it really balanced the strong presences from the characters. Tessa was miserable and Weston wanted to help her, because he was in her position once and he knew how it feels like. That’s really it. That’s what this whole story is about. But Abbie managed to develop such simple premise into a well-crafted and intriguing plot. We got to see how Weston worked for his goal to help Tessa through four incredible chapters: smell, taste, sound, and touch, and every one of them didn’t fail to make me smile and swoon over their relationship.
Remarkable characters with a contrast personality between the reserved Tessa and the spontaneous Weston, and the different path that they chose to heal themselves.
The characters from 100 Days of Sunlight is definitely my personal favorite aspect about this book and I couldn’t help but rooting for each and every single one of them. The main characters, Tessa and Weston, are obviously the center of this story and it will be impossible to not like them, but I’m surprised to find myself to be falling for the other side characters too, starting from Rudy — Weston’s most loyal best friend, Tessa’s caring grandpa and grandma, to Weston’s adorable three little brothers — Noah, Aidan and Henry. I also adore Tessa’s internet friends and their cute interaction, although I wish we got to see them a bit more in the story!
This story delivered through a dual POV, Tessa and Weston, and the best thing about it is you can tell exactly the differences between them, and not just because they had different chapters, but their contrast personality completely shines through the way they were talking and thinking. And the multidimension of these characters was priceless. Tessa is not just a shy girl and Weston is not just a spontaneous boy. We got to see how both of them evolved, both for better or worse, and I think it’s crucial to show a character’s complexity, not just when they were at the top of the world, but also when they drowned and stucked at the bottom.
➪ Tessa Dickinson — The story started with Tessa’s nightmare about her car crash and how she lost her sight because of it. This incident shocked Tessa to the core and now she had to get through her day in the darkness. Abbie delivered Tessa’s emotions with choice of graceful words, and it was impactful. She didn’t use any complex or complicated words, but instead decided to go with simpler ones and combine them into an exquisite prose. Surprisingly, many of my favorite lines from this book are coming from Tessa’s thought and not from her actual poems. They were fierce and raw, and I got chills from reading them.
I drag my fingernails down the glass; I clench my teeth together; I curl my toes. It’s the opposite of falling apart; the opposite of exploding. I’m like a star before it goes supernova. Collapsing inward.
➪ Weston Ludovico — If Weston is a book cover, it will looks exactly like the cover of this book. He’s a ray of sunshine for everyone that knows him, but especially for Tessa. I enjoyed his character so much because you can’t never guess what’s he’s going to do or to say next. His candidness was not jerky and it was refreshing. My favorite thing about him is how he chose the hard path to face the world again after losing his legs. For me, his character development was one of the most intense to watch. The moment he lost his legs, he kept saying to himself that he wanted to be normal. Because for society, normal is having a complete and functioning body parts. But then, he decided to face his biggest fear (which is to appear as dependent and weak) and he worked hard to change that into his strength. He didn’t want to be normal anymore. He wanted to be treated as a normal person. And that’s the most intense change and development that I’ve ever seen.
It’s the first time in three years anyone has ever met me without that look of pity on their face. The first time anyone has ever looked at me and not seen me. The first time anyone has stood before me — with perfectly normal legs — and complained about their own problem. The feeling is exhilarating.
➪ Rudy Kaufmann — I just want to say… where do I get myself a best friend like Rudy Kaufmann?! His friendship with Weston was beautiful, pure and solid. I cried once, well, twice because I read this book twice, and it was during the same scene between Rudy and Weston at the hospital. I’m not sure if I can explain more about the scene without spoiling too much here, but this scene was flawless. The emotional intensity involved in this scene was one of the most genuine interaction that I’ve ever seen. Will I re-read this book, fully knowing that I’ll cry during this scene again? 100% I will.
I felt like every drop of energy and life had drained out of my body through one of those tubes. But I could feel the warmth of Rudy’s hand, strong and desperate. It was like a rescue, someone pulling me out of a black ocean. I would have drowned if he wasn’t there. I would have drowned.
The only thing that keeping me from giving a full five stars, was the using of repetitive words and sentences. I’m not familiar with this method and I’m not completely sure how I feel about them, but I’m sensing that the point of it was to make a scene appears as more intense.
Overall, I was having a wonderful time with this book. I wish I could write a better review so I can truly express how I experienced it, but reading 100 Days of Sunlight feels easy, yet after I finished the story, it left me with impactful messages that I kept thinking for days. If you’re planning to go on a book haul very soon while also wanting to support a debut and indie author, please consider picking up a copy of this book!
Thank you, Abbie, for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Before officially ending my review, I just want to give a massive appreciation to Abbie for her incredible hard work to publish her debut independently. I’ve never seen such a well-prepared marketing campaigns and contents, and SHE DID THAT ALL BY HERSELF! If you ever decided to pick up her book, don’t forget to also check out 100 Days of Sunlight Website to get access to all fun bonus contents! From author Q&A, aesthetic boards, book playlist, official merchs (which looks superb!) to a giveaway! I’ll attach the playlist below because I’ve been listening non-stop to it!
And that’s my review! If you’re still reading until this point, thank you! Now, let’s get into the fun part, where Abbie talks all about that gorgeous cover! If you’re ever wondering about what’s inspired her, how she came up with the idea, and how’s the matter of technicality, you’re in luck, my friend. Read further to get all the answers!
HOW I DESIGNED MY BOOK COVER? by ABBIE EMMONS
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a phrase we hear a lot. It’s usually meant metaphorically, but this maxim gained its popularity because it’s true in a literal sense – most people judge books by their covers. If a book cover catches our eye, we’re more likely to pick it up and read it.
Needless to say, designing a great book cover is no easy task. So what made me want to design my own?
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to do pretty much everything myself. (Hence the reason I’m an indie author, lol) That’s the biggest reason why I ended up designing my own book cover. As I was writing 100 Days of Sunlight, I knew exactly what I wanted the cover to look like: an explosion of happiness and sunshine and different elements of the book, so that it would be kind of like a hidden picture that you only really understand after reading the book. Since I’m pretty handy with Photoshop, I thought it would be easier to design my own cover rather than explain my vision to someone else.
But let’s start at the beginning.
THE INSPIRATION The cover art was inspired by a lot of things. First, the title of course! I knew a book with the word sunlight in the title had to be yellow. So after lots of playing around with colors, I decided on the perfect shade of sunshiny yellow.
I always knew that I wanted the cover art to be like a hidden picture – a bunch of elements from the book hidden in the artwork. (I was also very inspired by the cover art for Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon and The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin) I knew I wanted TONS OF FLOWERS, and I knew the perfect place to find them: the public domain. On sites like Biodiversity Heritage Library, there are so many beautiful botanical prints and other artwork available to use for free in artistic works like book covers!
GETTING CREATIVE The fun part of any graphic design is getting creative with it. How can you repurpose something, flip it upside-down, use a piece here and a piece there, etc? It takes a lot of trial and error, but when everything works together to create something beautiful, it’s all worth it.
One thing I’m not talented with is a paintbrush. So for the specific illustrations I knew I wanted on the cover art (ie: a yellow ukulele, a waffle, etc.) I had to reach out to a freelance artist to help me. I ended up working with the very talented Stasia and she made my imaginings a reality. Her watercolor illustrations paired beautifully with the public domain flowers, birds, and butterflies. Right from the start, I knew it was going to look beautiful!
Like I said before, I have a little bit of background in graphic design and I’m pretty familiar with Photoshop. So it was actually super fun to play around with the cover art. I started with the typography and then worked everything else around the title.
GETTING TECHNICAL The not-so-fun part of cover design is the technical side of it. You have to make sure you’re using the right dimensions and resolution so that your book prints high-quality. You also have to make sure you’re using press color profiles – CYMK, not RGB. All the details made my head spin after a while, but it had to be taken care of!
Another technical thing to do is jacket art. Because for a paperback, you need an image that wraps around an entire book, includes a spine, and doesn’t bleed over any lines where it’s not supposed to. Hardcovers get even more complicated with the inside leaves that fold over the front and back covers of the book. It’s a long, tedious process of correcting files, uploading files, ordering books, waiting for them to ship to you, finding errors and fixing them, rinse, repeat.
But, in the end, it all pays off – when I get to hold paperback and hardcover copies of my book in my hands and marvel at how beautiful it turned out!! I’m very proud of the cover art and jacket design, and I can’t wait for other readers to hold this book in their hands. Nothing is quite as satisfying as putting in hard work on a project and being happy with the finished product.
Let’s talk! Are you an indie author? Have you ever considered designing your own book cover? What would it look like?
about the author
Abbie Emmons has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pencil.
What started out as an intrinsic love for storytelling has turned into her lifelong passion. There’s nothing she likes better than writing (and reading) stories that are both heartrending and humorous, with a touch of cute romance and a poignant streak of truth running through them.
Abbie is also a YouTuber, singer/songwriter, blogger, traveler, filmmaker, big dreamer, and professional waffle-eater. When she’s not writing or dreaming up new stories, you can find her road-tripping to national parks or binge-watching BBC Masterpiece dramas in her cozy Vermont home with a cup of tea and her fluffy white lap dog, Pearl.
If you want to see Abbie in her element (ranting about stories) check out her YouTube channel.
Once upon a time, a young girl lost her family and discovered a new one.
Woohoo, it’s time for another blog tour! But first of all, let me tell you how sorry I am to deliver this post in such late timing. Yesterday was my stop for The Black Veins Blog Tour which hosted by the lovely CW @ The Quiet Pond! Thank you, CW, for selecting me as one of this tour’s participant! The first time I heard about this book was when CW announced about this blog tour and I immediately knew that I 👏 NEED 👏 TO 👏 READ 👏 IT 👏 What makes this book a lot more wholesome is the fact that it’s Ashia Monet’s debut and she’s also publishing it independently! Say whaaat! We support badass, strong, and independent authors in this house! Okay, I’m going to stop rambling now and share more details about the book along with my review and of course, some free wallpapers inspired by The Black Veins from yours truly! ✌
The Black Veins by Ashia Monet
In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip—and it’s the “no-love-interest”, found family adventure you’ve been searching for.
Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?
She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.
Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.
These trigger warnings below are written at the beginning of the book:
[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”] → Discussion of deceased parents, siblings, and potential parental and familial death → Description of mild bloodshed in violent scenes → Mention of drugs and drug use, primarily marijuana → Gun use Supernatural horror in the form of monsters, primarily found in Chapters 6, 12, and 25 → Car accident in Chapter 19 → Discussion of anxiety disorders and panic disorders primarily found in Chapters 22, 23, and 25 → Racial n-word slur, ending in-a, found in Chapter 21 (before you drag me, yes, I am Black) → Mild anxiety attack in Chapter 25 [/su_spoiler]
And while there lies a story in where the melody has come from, more interesting is the story of where it is going.
I recommend this book if you’re into: ⇾ Urban fantasy ⇾ Diverse and POC all around ⇾ Character-driven story ⇾ Adventureous quest ⇾ Teens actually act like teens ⇾ SUPERPOWER ✨
Things to be considered before picking up this book: This book contains a lot of triggering contents. Check trigger warnings above.
The Black Veins is an outstanding fantasy debut from the indie author, Ashia Monet, full of action packs and dangerous quests yet balanced with strong bonding and relationship among its characters. The story started with our main character, Blythe Fulton, controlled by an unknown voice in her head to sleep-walk to her roof. Lucky for Blythe, her father grabbed her at the very last second before she jumped. A little later, we get informed that the Fultons are a magician family, and Blythe was one of the seven guardians that hold a great power (even though she can’t do any magic yet). We also get informed that a war was about to happen between two governments, The Black Veinsand The Trident Republic. This war doesn’t really have any correlation to Blythe, whatsoever, but that was before she heard the voice inside her head that lured her to the roof and The Trident Republic was suspected to be the mastermind behind it. That was before her family got kidnapped and her best friend got hurt right in front of her eyes. Now, this war becomes personal and Blythe will do anything to save her family.
And while there lies a story in where the melody has come from, more interesting is the story of where it is going.
I rarely said this, but I found that almost all of the characters in this book to be loveable, yes, even the ones who were not being so kind.Each cast is so interesting and unique and even though it’s pretty obvious that Blythe is the lead in this story, it certainly didn’t feel like it because instead of solely focusing on her (well, the story is still focusing on her journey to save her family), we got many strong appearances from the other characters as well! And Monet did this so flawlessly. Each character got enough screen time for us to get to know them more, whether it’s their personality, backstory or just some random things that they like or dislike, and personally, it made me feel like I’m the part of the gang too! I could be… um, the Guardian of Books? Guardian of Ice Coffee? Where do I sign up to apply as one? Anyway, I love the fact that the relationships in this book are always changing. Someone can initially dislike the other but end up loving them and it was a great way to show how these characters developed along the process.
“Kindness is underrated. We’re all focused on being self-sufficient, on being ‘strong’, but people like you? People like you are the reason the world is a place worth living in. You’re not dumb. You’re kind. You help each of us. Without you, we’d go down from one hit when we’re inches away from the finish line. You’re the one that helps us get back up again. You’re Support.“
Also, not to mention the wonderful concept of the magical world in this story. The universe that Monet’s created was magnificent. I don’t think I would do justice if I have to explain it because you really need to read this story by yourself to understand what I’m referring to, but The Black Veins universe feels familiar yet brand new to me. Instead of throwing massive details all at once about how this universe works, Monet managed to reveal fun detail as we go through each page, which to be honest, I really enjoyed!
I was truly had a good time with The Black Veins. It was a dynamic and character-oriented story with excellent diverse representation in a well-crafted universe that won’t be so easy to forget. I’m definitely looking forward for the sequel and see where the story goes next!
Thank you to the author for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review and thank you CW @ The Quiet Pond for hosting this blog tour!
about the author
Ashia Monet is a speculative fiction author whose work almost always includes found families, diverse ensemble casts, the power of friendship, and equal parts humor and drama. Some of her favorite things are The Adventure Zone, Ariana Grande, and the color pink. You can follow her on Twitter @ashiamonet and Instagram @ashiawrites.
I was having so much fun designing these two wallpapers! I really wanted to include a portrayal of every Guardian, but soon I realized it’s going to be impossible without the wallpapers turning into a chaos design! This one is inspired by Blythe Fulton and her endless courage to save her family. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!