16 debut authors to be watched this october 2019

Today’s post is a bit late than my usual schedule but I’m still as excited to bring you the list of my most anticipated debut releases for this month! There are a lot of debut releases this month, let me tell you. So, you can imagine how hard it is to narrow it down into these 16 titles! Regardless, I hope you find something to be added from this list to your overflowing TBR.

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
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When the news about Earth that might end in seven days spread, the paths of three high-schoolers crossed each other. Struggling with each of their own problems, getting to know one another while trying to survive the end of the world might not what they were expected to do during their last week on Earth.

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
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Three strangers must overcome their differences in the game of lies and twists and work together to put an end to a deadly epidemic in this queer #OwnVoices science-fantasy novel from debut author, Rosiee Thor.

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
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At the end of the twenty-first century, life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface after an asteroid hit the Earth. When her father captured by the authority with vague reasoning, Leyla McQueen realized that she will risk everything to bring her father back, including joining a deadly sub-race or getting out of London illegally and explore the wild ocean for the very first time.

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
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Going on a demon hunt to protect her kingdom, Asterin never imagined that she will unearth a plot to assassinate herself, The Princess, instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves.

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
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A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity. 

Crier’s War by Nina Varela
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An impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made—whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution in this epic fantasy duology from debut author, Nina Varela.

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
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Following the escape trip of five enslaved girls in their journey of finding freedom in the vicious land of Arketta, where people divided into ones with shadow and ones without one and demonic creatures and spirits wandered around.

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
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In the city of Craewick, memories are the currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please. Trying to save her threatened mother, Etta will do whatever it takes, even if it means rejoining the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier and steal a map of prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm.

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
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When two childhood friends grow up together and the war is just over the edge, they must choose between the families they were born into or the one that they founded in each other.

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
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Gravemaidens is the start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
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Epic, funny, and sweepingly romantic, The Last True Poets of the Sea is an astonishing debut about a missing piece of family history, weathering the storms of life, and the strength it takes to swim up from a wreck.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith
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In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
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In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time.

Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen
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Michigan Manning lives and breathes hockey and her future depends on it, but when the girl’s team dismissed due to the budget cut, she was determined to find a way to keep playing, even if it means joining the boy’s team. Facing a culture of toxic masculinity, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.

Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
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Relatable, heartbreaking, and real, this is a story of Ava Lee who has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone.

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
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Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. But when her only home suddenly hangs in the balance and her mother’s compulsive shopping habit pressure her even more, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works… and straight into her heart.

Which books that you’re the most excited to read this month?

Debut District: Author Interview with Abbie Emmons of 100 Days of Sunlight + INTL Giveaway!

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.
 

Title: 100 Days of Sunlight | Series: – | Author: Abbie Emmons | Genre:ContemporaryYoung Adult | Publication Date: August 7, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: Author | Links: Amazon
Author’s WebsiteAuthor’s BlogFacebookInstagramYoutube


international giveaway!

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!

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Are you looking forward to reading 100 Days of Sunlight?

Blog Tour: The Black Veins (Dead Magic #1) by Ashia Monet + Wallpapers

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.

Title: The Black Veins | Series: Dead Magic #1 | Author: Ashia Monet | Genre: FantasyYoung Adult | Publication Date: July 17, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: Author | Links: AmazonApple BooksBarnes & NobleIndigo

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.

quick thoughts

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.

more thoughts

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 Veins and 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.

Image result for happy cry gif
me, being proud of my guardian children

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!

final thoughts

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

Photo of Ashia, smiling into the camera.

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.

Twitter | InstagramDead Magic Series Twitter

wallpapers

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!

Desktop WallpaperPhone Wallpaper

Are you a fan of urban fantasy? Do you think about adding this book into your next reading list?

Blog Tour: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim ft. Excerpts, Wallpaper & Giveaway!

My whole life, I’d been told what I couldn’t do because I was a girl. Well, this was my chance to find out.

It’s finally here! Today is my stop for #SpinTheDawnTour that hosted by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea on Caffeine Book Tours! Thank you, Shealea, for selected and trusted me as one of the lucky bloggers that got to participate in this wonderful tour! I’m so excited for my stop because today, I’m going to e̶m̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ share my review (well, more like a gush), some excerpts from the book (that will make you add it immediately to your own TBR), some wallpapers that I designed in honor of this debut release and of course (🥁🥁🥁) the international giveaway! So, stay tuned ’til the end of this post!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined. 

★★★★★

Title: Spin the Dawn| Author: Elizabeth Lim | Genre: FantasyYoung Adult | Publication Date: July 9, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley | Read for: Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 (current progress) | Links: Amazon Book Depository (Affiliate)

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Death, death of loved ones, sexism, violence.[/su_spoiler]

Ask me to spin the finest yarn or thread, and I can do it faster than any man—even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one.

Quick Thoughts

One of my immediate reaction when I finished Spin the Dawn is that it was truly a magnificent fantasy retelling, even for someone who doesn’t read as much fantasy such as myself! So, if you’re usually not a fan of fantasy tale, but you’re looking forward to expanding your reading and going out of your comfort-reading-zone, I couldn’t recommend this enough!

More Thoughts

Spin the Dawn is a mesmerizing fantasy retelling of Mulan mixed with Project Runaway from debut author, Elizabeth Lim. Starring Maia, a young girl who born into a family of tailor and aspired to be one. Not just any regular tailor, but the best tailor in A’landi and eventually become the imperial tailor. Here’s the deal. Girls are not supposed to be tailor, just because. So, fighting this sexist tradition while also trying to save the remains of her family after the war, the day an imperial messenger came to her house to invite her unwell father to become the imperial tailor, Maia stepped in and disguised herself as her only remaining brother, Keton and her journey started.

This is where it would begin. Where I would restore the honor to my family’s name. Where I would prove that a girl could be the best tailor in A’landi.

Oh my gosh, how do I even started? I just freaking love everything about this book! Starting with the plot itself and how this book pitched, I’m always in for everything competition and quest-related, especially when it involves a badass female protagonist with a noble mission. This book divided into three main parts, the trial, the journey, and the oath. All three delivers a very different atmosphere and intensity, yet everything blends in and completed each other perfectly.

During the first part, I couldn’t help but amazed with the incredible worldbuilding, thanks to Lim’s magical hands. As I mentioned previously, fantasy is not something I usually read because I often stuck just when the story started, because I was getting overwhelmed with every little detail thrown in my face in such a short amount of time. But with Spin the Dawn, Lim really took her time to build a realistic yet magical universe. I can practically imagine everything so vividly, while also take pleasure in Lim’s enchanting proses and words. Character-wise, Maia is a strong main character that you couldn’t help but root for. Her tragic past and her pure ambition turned her into a character that won’t be so easy to forget.

Although I wish that the first part could be longer, as I found myself to enjoy the competition between Maia and the other eleven tailor master, the initial encounter between Maia and Edan, and the glimpse of interaction involving Lady Sarnai and Emperor Khanujin himself, the second part delivered more action pack to the story and it was intense. I enjoyed Maia’s journey and how her relationship with Edan started to grow stronger. My favorite thing about this part is that we got to learn how the magic works in this story, including how it works on Edan. The back and forth witty banter between these two made me swooning too hard!

“Will you be able to find your way back?” “To you, always.”

The third part is obviously the hardest to read, that lead us into the ending that made me internally scream “I need the second book right at this very second!!!”. Overall, I just had a freaking good time with this book and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The compelling and magical universe of Spin the Dawn combined with such strong characters and even stronger plots mixed with a solid #ownvoices rep, will give you a one of a kind reading experience.

About the Author

Image result for elizabeth limElizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

Author Website (and newsletter)GoodreadsInstagramFacebook Twitter

Excerpts

[su_spoiler title=”→ Read excerpts!” style=”simple”]I had three brothers once.

Finlei was the oldest—the brave one. Nothing frightened him, not spiders or needles or a flogging from Baba’s cane. He was the quickest of us four children, fast enough to catch a fly with only his thumb and a thimble. But along with his dauntlessness came a craving for adventure. He despised having to work in our shop, having to spend the sun’s precious light sewing dresses and mending shirts. And he was careless with the needle, his fingers constantly bandaged from pricks and his work marred with uneven stitches. Stitches I would unpick and redo to save him from Baba’s lectures.

Finlei didn’t have the patience to become a tailor like Baba.

Sendo had patience, but not for sewing. My second brother was the poet in the family, and the only weaving he loved was of words, especially about the sea. He would tell stories about the beautiful garments Baba could sew, with such exquisite detail all the ladies in town clamored to buy them—only to find they didn’t exist.

As punishment, Baba made him sit on the pier behind our shop, unraveling thread from silkworm cocoons. Often I stole out to sit with him, to listen to his tales of what lay beyond that never-ending horizon of water.

“What color is the ocean?” Sendo would ask me.

“Blue, silly. What else?”

“How will you be the best tailor in A’landi if you don’t know your colors?” Sendo shook his head and pointed at the water. “Look again. Look into the depths of it.”

“Sapphire,” I said, studying the ocean’s gentle crests and troughs. The water sparkled. “Sapphire, like the stones Lady Tainak wears around her neck. But there’s a hint of green … jade green. And the foam curls up like pearls.”

Sendo smiled. “That’s better.” He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and hugged me close. “One day, we’ll sail the seas, you and I. And you’ll see the blue in all the world.”

Because of Sendo, blue was my favorite color. It painted the white of my walls when I opened my window each morning and saw the sea glittering in the sunlight. Sapphire or cerulean. Azure. Indigo. Sendo trained my eyes to see the variations in color, to appreciate the dullest brown to the brightest pink. How light could bend something into a thousand possibilities.

Sendo’s heart was for the sea, not for becoming a tailor like Baba.

Keton was my third brother, and the closest to me in age. His songs and jokes made everyone laugh, no matter what mood we were in. He always got in trouble for dyeing our silks green instead of purple, for carelessly stepping on newly pressed dresses with dirty sandals, for forgetting to water the mulberry trees, and for never spinning yarn fine enough for Baba to knit into a sweater. Money slipped through his fingers like water. But Baba loved him best—even though Keton didn’t have the discipline to become a tailor.

Then there was me—Maia. The obedient daughter. My earliest memories were of sitting contentedly with Mama as she worked the spinning wheel, listening to Finlei, Sendo, and Keton playing outside while Baba taught me to roll Mama’s thread so it wouldn’t tangle.

My heart was for becoming a tailor: I learned to thread needles before I could walk, to make a line of perfect stitches before I could talk. I loved my needlework and was happy learning Baba’s trade instead of going out with my brothers. Besides, when Finlei taught me to spar and shoot arrows, I always missed the target. Even though I soaked up Sendo’s fairy tales and ghost stories, I could never tell one of my own. And I always fell for Keton’s pranks, no matter how often my older brothers warned me of them.

Baba proudly told me I was born with a needle in one hand, a pair of scissors in the other. That if I hadn’t been born a girl, I might have become the greatest tailor in A’landi, sought after by merchants from one coast of the continent to the other.

“A tailor’s worth is not measured by his fame, but by the happiness he brings,” Mama said, seeing how disappointed Baba’s words made me. “You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”

I remembered beaming at her. Back then, all I wanted was for my family to be happy and whole like this always.[/su_spoiler]

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The credit of original images goes to Fabian Struwe, Daniel Leone & Jackson Hendry

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It’s only Day 3 of #SpinTheDawnTour, so don’t forget to check other’s fun posts! You can see the completed schedule below! There will also a fun Twitter on the last day of the tour, so make sure to join if you want to have a fun, spoiler-free discussion with the others!

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Are you planning to pick up this book for your next read this summer?

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

But isn’t that the whole point, to lose yourself in a word that’s different from your own?

Montauk is a remarkable cinematic historical romance from debut author, Nicola Harrison. Set in 1938 Montauk, Long Island, this is a self-discovery journey of Beatrice Bordeaux, through a crumbling marriage, a family loss, a community that she thought she belongs to, a search for her true purpose, an unexpected friendship, and a slow-burn romance.

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. 

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city. 

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage, she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. 

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has when fates conspire to tear her world apart… 

★★★★½

Title: Montauk | Author: Nicola Harrison | Genre: Chick LitHistorical FictionWomen’s Fiction | Publication Date: June 4, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley | Read for: Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019, PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019 (Current progress) | Links: Book Depository (Affiliate)

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Classism, emotional abuse, rape.[/su_spoiler]

Quick Thoughts

I recommend this book if you’re into:
⇾ Historical romance, lighter on the history and heavier on the romance
⇾ Detailed and full description narrative
⇾ Women empowerment issue
⇾ Character-oriented story
⇾ Slow-paced story

Things to be considered before picking up this book:
⇾ Few explicit and triggering contents. Check out trigger warnings at the end of this review.
⇾ Constantly slow-paced for 400 pages.
⇾ Sad ending.

More Thoughts

I 👏 LOVE 👏 THIS 👏 When I first requested Montauk on NetGalley, my initial intention was because I wanted to read something outside of my comfort zone, in this case, a historical and women fiction. And before I started reading it, I didn’t have any expectation toward this book. I knew this genre is fairly a new territory to me, and therefore I don’t want this book to be the case of “it’s not the book, it’s me”. I just wanted to roll with it and see how it goes, y’know? But man oh man, did I underestimated it?! It turns out to be one of the most enjoyable reads that I have this year! 

To sum up the story, Beatrice Bordeaux was a wife of Harry, a businessman from a wealthy family and elite society. Meanwhile, she was a small town girl who born and grew up in Pensylvania. She was bright and went to university, an extraordinary and uncommon thing to do for a woman during this time. But ever since her brother, Charlie, died in a car accident, she decided to left university and closed herself from everyone. And this is when she met Harry. Long story short, they’re married but even after five years, they still got no baby. Beatrice started to feel the tension in her marriage and the pressure from Harry’s family because they expected them to carry on the family name. A three months summer vacation in Montauk, Long Island was seen as a getaway to rekindle their marriage and make the chemistry between them sparks again.

At least that’s what Beatrice hoped for. But that was before she found out about her husband’s affair. That was before she tried to fit in the community of elitists’ wives who seem connected and supported each other but threw gossips and hurtful commentaries behind the closed door. That was before she met Dolly, a candid, quirky and talented hatter who gave no shit about the elitists’ wives. That was before she met Elizabeth, a local laundry woman from the manor who introduced Beatrice to her big family and to the real Montauk. That was before she met Thomas, a lighthouse keeper who appreciated her for being her true self and gave the affection that she longed for, something that has been long missing from her marriage.

I’m your wife, God damn it. You should want to see me, but instead, you use up all your free times dallying around with other women in the city while I’m out here.

The thing about Montauk is that it focused on the main character development and how she faced the struggles in her life. However, Harrison still managed to deliver an unforgettable plot too. It was slow at times, sure, but it worth the waits. I personally not a fan of a slow-paced story, but thanks to Harrison’s magic hand, she crafted each word carefully and delivered such a pleasing and wonderful narrative. Montauk was truly cinematic. I got to imagine each scene vividly, despite not being the most imaginative person in the room. 

Sometimes I yearned for that forever feeling—those hours that stretched into days and days into week, without a thought of tomorrow.

My other favorite thing about this book is the ending. It was not the perfect ending, but hell, it was close to one. It was unexpected and truly caught me off guard. The plot twists left me wondering with multiple ‘what if?’. In conclusion, I truly enjoyed Montauk and I’m looking forward to read more works from Harrison in the future. 

Thank you St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Are you a fan of historical romance? What’s your favorite genre to read during summer?

*GIFs credit: The Affair (2014)
**The quotes above were taken from an advanced reader copy and are subject to change upon publication.