Blind the Eyes, a YA dystopian paranormal fantasy by K.A. Wiggins, coming to bookstores near you and online Christmas 2017

YA Fantasy - K.A. Wiggins

Reviews, writing and publishing news and more from YA fantasy author K.A. Wiggins.


K.A. Wiggins is a Vancouverite who doesn't know how to live in the same place for long, a bookstagrammer and a fan of Islay Scotch and craft gin. She writes stories about being on the edges of things.


Her first published novel is BLIND THE EYES, a YA dark fantasy in which a not-quite alive girl and her not-quite dead ghost discover trusted authorities lie, allies have their own agendas and even the monsters wear masks in a story that evokes STRANGE THE DREAMER and THIS SAVAGE SONG with the flawed, challenging voices of PLACES NO ONE KNOWS. A free 5 chapter preview ebook and audiobook is now available for newsletter subscribers (along with other exclusive content) at


Find her YA portal fantasy/post-apocalyptic survival thriller FLAME OF THE CONNARII, inspired by Disney's TARZAN-meets-Celtic-warrior-princess, and her NA horror rom-com THINGS GOT OUT OF HAND serialized on Wattpad under the pen name KAIE.


Forest Born - Shannon Hale

The best character in the series comes at the end - Rinna adds fascinating struggles and a whole new power to the mix, but I may have reached the end of my capacity to marathon Hale's books, as I found this one a bit more of a struggle to get through. Alternately, that could be down to the structure; there's a lot of running around in the woods with less of a traditional story arc and fewer clear stakes. Still, very worth the effort for Hale's trademark insight and nuanced character explorations. It looks like she's focused more on MG/early readers books in recent years, but it would be great to have more classic fairytale-style fantasies!

Help me show this newcomer to BL some love, please?

Reblogged from Grimlock ♥ Inhumans:

Here she is.


I like to keep up with people who are amazing, and who read what I don't read.   So far, this looks like another booklover, who reads what I don't. Basically: looks amazing, I get to keep up with another genre/more genres, while reading what I love most. 


I'm not searching out the group, because I've already procrastinated on my mid-term long enough.  I need to disconnect from the net and get actually working on this.   But it turns out I hate Python soooooo much!



Blind the Eyes is competing in Kindle Scout - Please Vote :)

Blind the Eyes - K.A. Wiggins

I have a YA dark fantasy debut coming out this summer and it's currently competing in Kindle Scout. If you go to and nominate it and it wins, Amazon will send you a free preview copy before it releases to the general public!


So if you're at all interested in the book (or just want to help a newbie out!) please vote. :)


A little more on Kindle Scout:


  • Kindle Scout is the American Idol of publishing
  • Readers vote on pre-published books during a 30 day period
  • Editors read the manuscripts at the end of voting
  • Amazon publishes the best of the combined editor- and fan-approved books in ebook format
  • Amazon sends a free ebook to everyone who voted for (“nominated”) a book that gets published!


So if you want a chance to get a free copy of BTE, head on over to the Kindle Scout website, nominate it and hope it wins! And hey, why not vote for some other faves while you’re at it? You get up to three nominations at a time.


A little more about Blind the Eyes:


In a world where hope kills and dreams are deadly, obedience is the only way to survive. But when one girl learns her society's absolute control and guarantee of safety are both illusions, she risks her hard-won status, her home and her life to rebel and expose its lies.

A YA dark fantasy about identity, trauma & taking back your choices. Ghosts and world monsters in post-eco-disaster Vancouver.

From the back cover:

In the Towers of Refuge, regulation dictates every aspect of life.

Haunted 17-year-old Cole would do anything to shake her reputation as a failure. The only way to survive the nightmarish Mara is absolute obedience, and she's down to her last chance.

But when a charismatic stranger shows up claiming to know her and Cole discovers Refuge's absolute control and guarantee of safety are both illusions, she realizes hers isn't the only life at stake and goes on the run.

In the underground club Freedom, nothing's forbidden.

Cole needs allies to help her expose Refuge's lies and escape execution by nightmare. Too bad the only candidates are a hedonistic rebel, a childish ghost, a stylist with a secret and an imaginary friend with a talent for monster-hunting.

With enforcers in pursuit and the dead invading her dreams, Cole must figure out who to trust and stop the dying before the nightmares eat her alive.

Trusted authorities lie, allies have their own agendas, and even the monsters wear masks in this YA dark fantasy suitable for ages 14 and up. Ebook, audiobook and print editions coming in late spring 2018. Subscribe at for exclusive previews and extended content.

Classic fantasy feels like coming home

River Secrets - Shannon Hale

Another excellent fantasy by Hale. This third book pivots to a male POV with great success, and delves into political drama and learning to value your own uniqueness. Which, yes that's the heart of nearly every YA book, but Hale has a shockingly deft touch at it; she's a master of showing through meaningful character interactions rather than navel-gazing angsty ruminations. Sad that there's only one more entry in the series.

Multi-fantasy-genre mashup with surprisingly good twists

Fire and Bone - Rachel A. Marks

Disclaimer: Reviewing uncorrected proof on NetGalley


This seemed like one of those genre-bridging stories that you're technically not supposed to do, but that often work so well. There are elements of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, and Contemporary Fantasy in the mix, and it sort of hovers on the edge of YA/NA/Adult Fantasy.


I found it a little hard to get into at first. The narrative switches perspective between the MC, a homeless teen on the streets of LA who discovers unexpected, uncontrollable powers, and the man (immortal Irish magical something or other) who protects her. The voices aren't necessarily all that distinct, and at the beginning it feels like there's a bit more information to get caught up on and angsty internal monologue than I really needed, but I'm glad I stuck with it, because by the end I was ready to pick up the sequel immediately!


The magical worldbuilding, with gritty back alleys, glitzy clubs, and luxurious, at times otherworldly, retreats, is quite well done, and the mixed supernatural/fantasy cast of gods and goddesses, their powerful children, fae, vampires, and other creatures actually fits together pretty seamlessly. Part of what makes it a hard read at the start is that the main character/viewpoint character doesn't have a clue what's going on, and you have to follow through with her as she stumbles, fights back against those who could help her, and generally suffers a lot before finding her balance.


I liked the twists - there's some really interesting stuff happening with identity, memory, and purpose. I was worried about this tipping into explicit NA territory, but while there's some sexual situations, lots of ink spilled on romantic mishaps, and some language/violence etc. that ranks a mature rating, it never goes too far - though I wouldn't be surprised if the main characters hook up at some point in the series. So, for me, that was a count in its favour that all the romantic stuff didn't get detailed.


Weirdly, this kind of reminded me of a Sarah J. Maas book, with a bit of a slower start and wild, power-move twists at the end. There's a lot of potential here for an intense series and I'd be up to see where things go.

Fire wants to devour; when it's inside you, you find fuel, or you become fuel

Enna Burning - Shannon Hale

This second book switches gears from a very fairytale-feeling classic fantasy to something entirely new. A side character in book one steps into the spotlight when her struggles to contain the raging power of fire propel her into the midst of a war. Enjoyable, but also upsetting, the narrative is slightly more mature and 'teen' than book 1, with a gaslighting scoundrel of an enemy captain taking up a large amount of the runtime. 

Lovely, classic fairytale-style fantasy

The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale writes perfect fairytale-style modern fantasies. Every book reminds me of stories I read as a kid, but the level of storytelling sophistication and nuance in characterization holds up by today's standards.


The Goose Girl launches a classic, almost remote or detached-feeling princess story in the type of Euro-historic setting that so often feels tired and overdone, but in this case feels timeless and intuitive. You know the twists are coming, but follow the characters every step of the way. Rather than predictable, the plot feels archetypal.


The princess has a rich, nuanced internal life and faces challenges with realistically flawed reactions. Things get ugly, and it's not only the strength she grows through her trials that helps her, but the hard-won friendships she makes and discovers.


Beautiful, beautiful storytelling that I'd have happily read by age 8 or so. Some light romantic stuff (after all, she's a princess on her way to get married off), but none of the awkward deep-dives into teenaged hormones or explicit behind-closed-doors scenes that push some YA into the mature category. Can't recommend highly enough.

Calling all book bloggers~~

Blind the Eyes Limited Preview Edition: 3 Chapter Preview - K.A. Wiggins

Hey guys! I have a last-minute cover reveal for Blind the Eyes coming up this week because I've got some other exciting news breaking pretty much immediately.


If anyone has an opening on their blog or whatever social channel you're rocking and would like to get involved in sharing the news/boosting the signal, please DM!


For everyone else, subscribers get exclusive first looks, breaking news, & previews at

Victorian girl competes to get into forensic pathology academy in Dracula's castle. What could go wrong?

Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco

This was an engaging historical romance read with mystery/thriller/horror elements depending on how jumpy you are when it comes to murder, vampire bats & huge spiders. (Man, that one scene took it to 110% horror mode for me!!)


It's not the book's fault, but I was super sad it didn't go into training montage/Harry Potter mode and double down on the competition to get into the bizarro forensic pathologist teens training academy in Dracula's creepy castle. Especially with the super-feminist Victorian girl trying to play on the same field as the boys, I wanted more of her competing for equal footing and to be recognized. Instead, the murder mystery element stepped up into centrefield. Which, it was cool the way they went in a different direction with the ending, I guess, and there were some truly unexpected twists, so props for that.


I think I prefer a little closer adherence to period-accurate perspectives in my historical fiction, to be honest. This leans more into an exciting, acceptable-to-2018-standards adventure territory. And the author had notes at the end pointing out which elements were research-based, and which were liberties taken for story purposes. But the feminist MC, although feminism did exist at the time, felt like she took things too far and in an inauthentic direction. To me, it felt preachy and performative, like if it were a film, she'd turn to the camera and make her argument, and then go back to playing her part. (Laurie R. King & Cat Winters do a spectacular job of integrating thoughtful feminist narratives in a period-specific narrative, if you want to read that btw.) But then again, it's not rare for teens to lack subtlety . . .


So in summary, so far this series isn't a personal favourite, but it is perfectly well done YA historical romance and makes for an entertaining read. Love the girl-forensic-pathologist angle, it's fun how historical characters who've become nearly fictional get woven in, and there's some very clever plotting going on. Props for accurate historical details and research at many points too. The love interest has an interestingly Holmesian character, and supporting cast are well defined and distinctive. 3.5 stars for a generally good read.

A feminist forensic pathology trainee takes on Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco

Enjoyable historical fiction read with elements of mystery/thriller/horror depending on how you feel about all the dead bodies, and a strong teen romance bent. Good attention paid to historical detail in the world-building, but a very modern teen voice and attitude, so if you're a stickler for period-appropriate tone, that might bug you. I wouldn't have minded a touch more paranormal/fantasy, and, having just started in on the sequel, I'm enjoying the character dynamics noticeably more as they become more established, so if this first one doesn't grab you, you might want to hang in there for book 2. Pretty good unexpected twists in the wrap up too - fun when the book marketing itself sets you up for it.

UnBound: Stories from the Unwind World (Unwind Dystology) - Neal Shusterman

Normally I wouldn't review a story collection all that highly, but this felt like such a natural supplement/extension of the series that I barely noticed the format. Shusterman juggles so many characters and perspectives with such excellent transitions in voice, that this prequel/sequel collection felt seamless. Cool world-building backstories seem like a behind-the-scenes peek, while the post-book-4 bits are fun and add a little more dimension. Must-read for fans of the series.

UnDivided (Unwind Dystology) - Neal Shusterman

This is a near-five-star read. Really excellent writing, storytelling, and intelligent critiquing/interrogating of culture. Shusterman has an absolute genius for weaving exciting, twisty plot threads and more character arcs than should be possible together at the last moment for explosive, satisfying endings. Loved so many characters, but especially (mildly spoilerish warning:) Gracie, the "low-cortical" surprise hero who uses her particular skills to basically save the world. I think she's supposed to be something like autistic? But her way of looking at the world turns out to be exactly what's needed. Awesomeness.


This is still a pretty depressing premise that calls out human selfishness and irresponsibility in a big way, to the extent that the ending was somewhat implausible, but who wants to read a series about how we're ruining the world with no happy ending in sight? I enjoyed the read, and loved (/feared) the chapter-intro content all the way through the series. In early books, Shusterman used PSA and marketing-style ads to play up the way propaganda and corporate manipulation/marketing worked on people's fears and clouded their thinking. This last book uses actual headlines and articles from the last decade or so to show just how terrifyingly plausible this dystopian future really could be. Smart way to build tension and horror undertones (overtones?) while also proving that the author did an incredible job on the research and world-building.

To no one's surprise, corporations are destroying the world

UnSouled - Neal Shusterman

Third out of four book series digs deeper into the capitalism, convenience, and corrupt corporations angles of this incredibly well-developed dystopia. Deeply disturbing, largely because of just how plausible it is. Still some hope for the main cast to chase, but there's no backing down on exposing the selfishness and willful blindness of humanity either. Doesn't overdo it with caricature-like saints of heroes either. Shusterman has a genius for weaving together several viewpoints and plot threads into an explosive crescendo of a conclusion, so I'm definitely looking forward to the big wrap up.

Capitalism wants to destroy teens

UnWholly - Neal Shusterman

UnWholly, incredibly, manages to dig deeper and raise new questions around its alarming premise. While profiling a couple more heroes, its assessment of humanity and society remains fairly bleak. The events at the end of Unwind prompted a condensing of the period of legal "abortion" of unwanted teens from 13-18 down to 17 as the cap. Unfortunately, this seemingly positive development assuages public guilt or concern and prompts a wave of intensive marketing and PR to promote unwinding troublemaking teens. A decidedly dystopian conspiracy (several, really, but one 'originating' one) put a new spin on this dark future, and heroes from book 1 get a chance to develop and grow further, while new characters are introduced. It's a marvel that Shusterman can juggle so many characters, viewpoints, and plot threads so masterfully to craft a tense, intelligent, troubling, yet entertaining thriller-paced novel. 

Gator wrestling princesses

Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters - Shannon Hale

Another excellent entry taking things in an entirely new direction. I praised book 2 for taking (necessary and deserved) revolution and pushing back at all that anger, putting the emphasis on finding connection points and persuading enemies, instead of trying to destroy them. But The Forgotten Sisters pivots to show that sometimes standing up to wrong does mean getting a little savage.


Miri comes full circle as the new royal tutor when she's sent to the swamplands days before her pending betrothal to run the next princess academy for three sisters who are too busy hunting caimans and frogs to learn to read. War is on the horizon, and a political marriage is needed. If Miri succeeds, she can buy back her village and the mine from the king before he sells it to finance the war. If she fails, all the gains her family and friends have made disappear and the country may be overrun. But the secrets on all sides have the potential to change the game entirely.


Entertaining and with surprising heart, as always. Good for middle-grade readers and up.

Smart fantasy knows revolution is the easy answer, not the right one

Palace of Stone - Shannon Hale

Another wonderful YA fantasy suitable for younger readers.


Miri and company leave the mountain to attend their friend's wedding in the capital and discover the country has some serious trouble brewing. The king is out of touch and careless, his nobles are abusing the commoners, and a bloody revolution is brewing in the background. But Miri's there to learn, and at the royal academy, she struggles with the study and true practice of how to determine, and how to act on, right and wrong.


The answer is complicated, and that's part of what makes this writing stand out. In 2018, we're all about fierce, take charge girls being savage and taking down the patriarchy and Nazis and whatever else is doing damage. And we need to call out the abuse of power and the suffering of the powerless and other evils. But, as the head scholar points out to Miri, history shows that revolutions generally involve a lot of murder, a lot of purposeless blood spilt, and much less progress toward their glorious ideals than they were meant to. Understanding, finding a connecting point, and persuading others to reassess their positions is much more effective in taking steps towards a more just outcome.


This story explores the emotions and thoughts of the characters as they confront difficult realities in a believable, relatable way. It's somewhat utopian - the crafted plot of a story allows for neat turns and unlikely defusing of volatile situations - but it reminds us to value people and choose the hardest path, the one where we don't just get to tear down what we hate, but rather have to find a way forward and build a better future for everyone. It's smart, considered, enjoyable, and inspiring writing.

Currently reading

Daughters Of The Storm by Kim Wilkins
Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman
Blind the Eyes by K.A. Wiggins
Blind the Eyes Special Preview Edition: 5 Chapter Preview by K.A. Wiggins