The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Good Luck Girls follows the story of five girls and their escape journey to find freedom in the brutal land of Arketta. With a hope to get rid of their cursed markings, they will have to face a long trip full of demonic creatures, ruthless monsters, and not to mention the forces that chase them for a murder that one of them accidentally committed.

Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
 
 
Thank you The Nerd Daily, Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Good Luck Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

what is it about?

The story started in a brothel called Welcome House, where the five girls lived and tried their best to survive after being sold by their family to get money for a living, pay debts, or simply because it was seen as the better way because the brothel offered food and roof to stay. It was the sixteenth birthday of one of the girls, Clementine, and it marked her transformation from being a daybreak girl where she’d need to do daily chores, into a sundown girl where she’d started to accompany clients at nights, commonly called as brags. It was supposed to be her Lucky Night, until she accidentally killed her very first client. Her older sister, Aster, who’s already experienced the ugly side of being a sundown girl, realized that there was no way for them to get out of this unfortunate event without getting punish unless they run away and leave the brothel. With the other three girls, Mallow, Tansy, and Violet, Aster lead the escape journey not to just physically get out of the brothel, but also to get rid of the tattoos that marked them as good luck girls. Girls that are forced into sex slavery in Welcome House , girls that are forced to praise every brag that they encountered, girls that need to swallow drugs in order to escape their traumas, girls that are sold by their own family. Maybe, they were not so lucky after all.

what do I think about it?

Ever since its first page, The Good Luck Girls was nothing but continuous intensity, dynamic storyline, full-force action packs, excellent inclusivity and representation of multiple mental illnesses (anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction), and delivery of well-researched topics including sex trafficking, sex slavery, social inequality, and oppression. It was raw and raging. Davis delivered a story which set in fantasy land but with issues that sadly still happened in our reality.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire aspect of The Good Luck Girls. As much as being entertained by the magical universe that Davis created, I was also learning about multiple important issues that I’ve never aware of before. Yes, this story feels like a furious shout over devastating issues that still happening at this very moment, and I applaud Davis for sharing her awareness and knowledge, not just by simply writing this story but also for spending enormous efforts and time to deliver facts and truths by conducting researches (in case you want to see more behind the story about this and the book references that Davis used, check out the acknowledgment part).

Everyone deserved to be free, though. Everyone deserved to feel this.

The universe of The Good Luck Girls was exceptional. It was built on such detailed narratives that leave me craving for more. Davis was truly incredible in describing this magical world of hers, everything from the scab, the underworld, to the animal and other magical creatures that lived in it was delivered in such cinematic writing. Everything was vivid and authentic.
 
And clearly, this is neither a plot-driven or a character-driven story. Because it is both! There was always something happening that moved the characters forward. I’m not the biggest fan when this method used in a story because oftentimes, they feel forced and unnatural. But in The Good Luck Girls, it flows smoothly and although I’m tensed and scared for these characters’ life, I couldn’t wait for more twists and unfortunate events. (No offense, Aster. Your gang will be always in my pray)
 
In conclusion, I’m glad to pick this book as one of my most anticipated debut titles for this month, because it truly lives to my expectations! The ending was not a ‘happily ever after’, indeed, but it left many unanswered questions that hopefully will be revealed in the next book.

what’s the verdict?

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What’s your most anticipated debut for this month? Are you thinking about adding The Good Luck Girls to your next reading list?

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams | Excerpt + Giveaway

The Babysitters Coven_hi-res cover (1).jpg
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
Thank you Kate, Delacorte Press, and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Babysitters Coven was published on September 17, 2019 and  available on AmazonBook Depository, and other book retailers.
In my blog stop today, I’m glad to bring you the excerpts of this exciting debut! The excerpts below are taken from Pengun Random House Canada. Click here to read the excerpts on the Penguin’s site or read more below.

about the author

000020850002.jpgI’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.

I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.

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Blog Tour: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Magic has a price if you’re willing to pay.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron


Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Title: Kingdom of Souls | Series: Kingdom of Souls, #1 | Author: Rena Barron | Genre: FantasyYoung Adult | Publication Date: September 3, 2019 | Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger warnings: Blood magic, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), mind manipulation, parental abuse, an act of a sexual nature that occurs when a character tricks another character while disguising their appearance, and violence.

I’m not being overdramatic when I said this is one of my most anticipated reads this year. I’ve been mentioning this book on my two previous posts because I’m that excited. Ever since I read the premise and knowing the fact that it’s an #OwnVoices debut book, I know I need to read it immediately. But, from the trigger warnings above, it’s obvious that Kingdom of Souls is not going to be an easy read. 

the worldbuilding

This aspect is the most amazing part in Kingdom of Souls. I’m always a sucker when it comes to not just a new universe, but also a detailed, magical, and very-well explained one. It was without a doubt that Barron poured her heart and Ka (tribal common tongue for “soul.”) within this universe and I’m completely blown away by how everything works. If you’re like me and you’re reading the ARC of this book, I’d suggest you to go to the book’s website to gaze over the beautiful world of the kingdom. I’m pretty sure the map will be included in the finished copy, so don’t worry!

Some people can pull magic from the fabric of the world. Some can coax magic to come with rituals and spells. Many can’t call magic at all.

the plot

Being the opposite of its extraordinary worldbuilding, the plot in Kingdom of Souls could be better. During the earlier chapters, the pace was incredibly dynamic and I feel as if everything happened so fast, in a good way that I found myself to enjoyed every second of it. But then it got slower. Too slow that I found it shocking. I’m not a fan of this atmosphere’s turnover and I keep flipping the page while whispering to myself, “Okay, interesting backstory of too many forgettable side characters… but what it’s gotta do with Arrah?”. 

Don’t get caught in the shadows, for a demon waits to steal your soul. The younger the soul, the sweeter the feast.

the characters

As a character-oriented reader, I don’t mind with five to ten characters. The thing with big group of characters is… it’s either a hit or a miss. I’m afraid to say that Kingdom of Souls is leaning more toward the latter. I only engaged with a few characters and although I wanted to, I simply don’t care for the rest because I couldn’t relate to them. I also often forgot their names because there were too many of them. Hopefully, a characters list will be included in the final copy of this book, but since I only read the unfinished copy, that’s how I felt about it. 

And as for the relationships among the characters, my favorite one is between Arrah and her father. It was genuine and pure. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way with Arrah’s romantic relationship with one of the characters in this book. Although it took quite a big appearance within the story, I just couldn’t sense their chemistry, and at the end, it just felt unsettling. 

But one thing for sure, I loved the diversity in this story. There was diversity within the diversity and I applauded Barron for that. Often times, a book considered as diverse when it featured one African or one Asian character. But the truth is, no one is just African or Asian. There are many sub-countries and sub-cultures within these countries that people often missed.

I once laughed at stories about demons, and now I know that one may walk in my shadows. She does not mean well.

the verdict

Although I enjoyed this debut, I’m not going to lie that it felt overwheming at times. The intricate universe was definitely not easy to digest in instance. I’m thinking about picking up this book again in the future because I know there was many potential in it. 

★★★

Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

about the author

Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventuresparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, shegraduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all thingsscience fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimedspace nerd. Whenshe’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French. Followher at @renathedreamer and renabarron.com.

Rena prefers not to be tagged in reviews to save her sanity.

She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.

Author’s Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

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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.

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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!

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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]

Wallpaper

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

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But wait… There’s More!

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!

Tour Schedule (Spin the Dawn) This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is invite-spin-the-dawn.png

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