COUNTDOWN BOOKS: The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey


I do this thing with my calendar and my months and my books. Until I was writing this review, I didn’t really call it anything, but now I call it Countdown Books. As my family can attest, I LOVE the anticipation of waiting for something good, especially books. I keep up with my circle of authors, mark their upcoming releases in my calendar, and block out my night for the New Book Routine, pictured above. A margarita of some kind, salty chips, hot salsa, good queso, and that new book smell glittery Kindle case. I kind of can’t start the book without this routine. I mean, I’m sure I could test that theory, but why would I do that to myself? Hilariously, Tuesdays are Husband’s busiest day and Tuesday is the day new books release into the wild. It works well for us.

Because I flail about books on here so often, I bet it seems like a lot of countdowns and a lot books and a lot of queso (Amen) but it’s really not. Countdown Books are actually special and mostly rare. My GoodReads tells me I’ve read 71 books in 2015 and only two of those books have been Countdown Books. (Soon, it will be three because these two release weeks were GOOD TO ME.) Plus, I buy Countdown Books immediately and that takes budgeting an ethereal rain dance of wanting and purpose done months before.

Countdown Book days were easier and harder before I had a Kindle- I had to go FIND the book and GET the queso and that took a while, so I’d sit down to read in the evening sometime on such a Tuesday. Now, Amazon delivers the book at midnight the day before and I spend the daytime just staring at my closed Kindle, willing myself to wait a little more, just a bit longer, a few more hours… Husband rightly makes fun of me for this. Oh, well. Book Nerd Problems For Life.

I’ve decided to review all Countdown Books, for sure, and the rest of my book talks can continue to appear randomly from this weird and easily distracted brain of mine.

Here ya go- April’s Countdown Book!

TGAMThe Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey

Genre: YA Fantasy Published: April 2015

Amazon | GoodReads | BookPeople

Shan’s Stars: 4 Stars

About The Book: “Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it. But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.”

Eventually, I will write a post about books that I hate, because I know all my book posts are so gushy and lovey and flaily. So, I promise, one of these days I will find a bad book and rant about it. (I won’t. That’s sad.)

For now though, you’ll just have to deal with the fact that I found another book that I love. SORRY NOT SORRY.

I have a book buying rule: Shannon must buy the kindle copy first before she can buy a hard copy to take up space on her bookshelf. That’s why my five-star books are ones I HAVE reread books and the four-star books are the books I WANT to reread. I only buy paper copies of books I want to reread and pass down and that I want for the gorgeousness. If my book money for April didn’t go to THIS ebook already, I would be on my way to buy the hardback right NOW.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long and it did not let me down, I am relieved to say. I was nervous because I read a few comments about it being compared to a series I HATE (see? There. I don’t love all books.) and a few comments saying they “loved the pop culture references.” (I hate pervasive pop culture references in books. It dates a book.)

But come on! A book about a thief who lives in a library and has a friend with peacock feathers for hair? How could I not? And it turns out that most of the pop references were actually classic literature nods. I DO like that.

I read this book after reading three really gritty, hard, complex books, so to me, this book felt very light and shiny. That’s not to say it is fluffy or un-complex- it was just a welcome change of pace. The main girl is sarcastic and irreverent (Hi.) but her story is deep and demanding. We get a really good look at who she is now in this book, but I got the sense that the rest of the series will delve deeper into her past.

Grey’s fantasy world about the Avicen (bird race) and Drakharin (dragon race) long at war, is completely fresh (unless I missed a Folklore 101 class? I may have.) And Echo, the human runaway who is trying to find out how she fits into a world full of magic she can no longer ignore, is a sly heroine and made the book that much more fun to jump into.

What I liked most about this book was the way Grey crafts her words and doesn’t hesitate to let Echo say some hard things, mic-drop style, without stopping to teach a lesson. The bits of philosophy are what they are, Grey doesn’t turn anything into an after-school special, but she does give Echo some unapologetic wisdom. I like authors who do this. You know what I mean? They find a particular thought or emotion, wrap words around it, and leave the readers  thinking “Oh, THAT’S how you say that.”

This book had a few of those moments and, to me, that always gives books a certain edge and makes me appreciate them more.

Okay. That’s all. Anymore would be spoilers, and we alllll know how I feel about that.

GOLD MINE: Echo has a thing for obscure words and words that have no equivalent in the English language. And what is going to happen now is that I am going to tell you that I ALSO have a love of words, so this was amazing, but I don’t have any COOL words right now to prove it, but we are all going to keep our mouths shut because I’m only on my first cup of coffee today. Deal? Just know that you’ll come out of this book a bit smarter about words than you were before.

GOLD MINE, PART TWO: The city hopping, but that may just be my heart. Strasbourg was one of my favourite stops when I lived in England and honestly, to this very day, my heart still hurts and I am still mad at myself for not paying better attention when I lived there. And here’s the thing- I paid SO MUCH ATTENTION. For 6 months, I was up early, out late, reading, picturing, exploring, walking, learning…. I didn’t waste a second. But there was still SO MUCH TO DO. And I didn’t document the experience like I should have. I mean, I took SO MANY PICTURES. But I didn’t write down or journal about it in as much detail as I wanted to, because I was always going going going. Okay, maybe I did it right and this feeling is just the ache to return because memories aren’t enough. ANYWAY. Did I mention that there is traveling? I loved it.

For Fans Of: crossword puzzles, trivia games, dragons, Alice in Wonderland, cosmic brownies, and Ladurée.

Happy Independent Bookstore Day! Now go support some local businesses and buy a good book!



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