Blog tours, Book Reviews

Instructions for Dancing Blog Tour

fb983c01-00fa-2bb8-7c26-f5a5f858e6b7.png (1600×900)

Ultimate Tour – Penguin

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

A picture containing background pattern

Description automatically generated

About The Book

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with a new and utterly unique romance.

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

Praise for Nicola Yoon:

‘Gorgeous and lyrical’ New York Times

‘Powerful, lovely, heart-wrenching’ Jennifer Niven

‘This extraordinary first novel about love so strong it might kill us is too good to feel like a debut’ Jodi Picoult

My Review

When I first started this book, I thought it was just going to a fun YA romcom, and it was that, but it was also so much more. And to be honest, I cried so much when reading this one, and I don’t often do that while reading. But this book was just so good!

I really liked the characters. Both Evie and X were so relatable. Fifi was hilarious, and Martin was an awesome best friend! I also loved the ballroom dancing element – I love watching Dancing with the Stars, and so of course I enjoyed reading about a ballroom dancing competition.

The plot of the story is both gripping and heart-warming. It really captures the spirit of what it’s like to be eighteen and just discovering both the beautiful parts of love as well as the ugly, heart-breaking bits. But you don’t have to be eighteen to enjoy this book. I think anyone who loves romcom books, ballroom dancing, and learning to love life will enjoy this book. If you’ve enjoyed any of Nicola Yoon’s other books, you’ll enjoy this one, and fans of Kasie West and Taylor Jenkins Reid will also like this one.

About the Author

A person with blue hair

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everythingand The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter. You can find out more about her at https://www.nicolayoon.com.

Blog tours, Book Reviews

Mirroland Blog Tour

53512eb0-4116-0eb8-0fa4-626d8a529826.gif (1440×810)

I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour hosted by https://www.thewritereads.com/.

Ultimate Tour – Scribner

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

About the Book

Twelve years ago my life began again.

But it was a lie.

With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.

My Review

Wow! This book had me on the edge of my seat, and I read it in two sittings. I enjoyed the writing style, and the suspense built at the story progressed, keeping me invested in what was happening.

I really liked the main character, Catriona. I found her relatable, especially with the back and forth relationship between her and her sister. I think anyone who has siblings can probably relate to that on some level. I liked how they created their own fantasy world as children, something that me and my siblings also did when we were young. I loved how the author weaved the fairytales and fantasies into the story and I loved all the references to classic literature.

The twists just kept coming, even up to the very end, and some of them I didn’t see which is unusual for me as I typically have the story figured out before the end. Also, I have to say that ending was very satisfying – something that is not always the case for some books like this. If you enjoy fast-paced, twisty psychological thrillers, you’ll enjoy this one – if you liked Gone Girl, you’ll like this one as well.

About the Author

Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Mirrorland, a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, is her debut novel.

Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in the beautiful Argyll & Bute, and is currently working on her second novel: a very unusual murder-mystery, set in the equally beautiful Outer Hebrides. You can visit her at  https://carolejohnstone.com/about/.

For Writers, Read Write Grow Book Club

Read Write Grow Writer’s Book Club: Story Genius

February’s pick for our writer’s book club was Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I really enjoyed it, and I feel like it ties in really well with our March pick which is Save the Cat Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody.

Here are the discussion questions for Story Genius (You can post the answers here in the comments, on your own blog, or even on the post over on Instagram.):

  1. Did you do some/all of the exercises in the book?
  2. If so, which ones did you find most helpful?
  3. Cron views “plotting” and “pantsing” as writing methods and says they don’t work. What are your thoughts about this?
  4. Which part of the book was your favorite or that you found to be most helpful?
  5. Do you have any other thoughts about the book?

I’ll post my answers/review within the next couple of days, and I’ll try to get the questions for Save the Cat up earlier. I was running behind with these questions. Keep an eye on my Instagram stories, as that’s where I’ll post the poll for April’s book pick.

Happy Reading!

Book Reviews

Chasing Starlight Book Review

So I’m finding that I really love these historical murder mysteries! I’m probably going to have to do a post on all the ones I have read, but that will be for another time. 🙂

The Blurb

1938. The Golden Age of Hollywood. Palm trees and movie stars. Film studios pumping out musicals, westerns, and gangster films at a furious pace. Everyone wants to be a star―except society girl and aspiring astronomer Kate Hildebrand, who’d rather study them in the night sky. She’s already famous after a childhood tragedy turned her into a newspaper headline. What she craves is stability.

But when Kate has to move to Hollywood to live with her washed-up silent film star grandfather, she walks into a murder scene and finds herself on the front page again. She suspects one of the young men boarding in her grandfather’s run-down mansion is the killer―maybe even her grandfather. She searches for clues.

Now, Kate must discover the killer while working on the set of a musical―and falling in love. Will her stars align so she can catch the murderer and live the dream in Old Hollywood? Or will she find that she’s just chasing starlight?

My Review

This book was so good! I was immediately drawn into Kate’s world, and I cared about what would happen to her. I loved how she was into astronomy and wanted to go to school to study it. I also loved the romance between her and Hugo.

The setting and atmosphere were great! A creepy old mansion and the glamour of old Hollywood sets. And even though it started out rocky, I loved seeing how Kate’s relationship with her grandfather developed into one of true and trusted family. I also really liked the way Kate came to terms with what happened in her past and became stronger for it!

And the Nancy Drew reference! I love it!!

If you love Nancy Drew, you’ll definitely love this book, but I think it will also appeal to fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson and the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson.

Have you read this one? What’s your favorite historical fiction murder mystery? Let me know in the comments!

Book Reviews

Unbirthday Book Review

This was book was my pick for January as part of the #fairytalereadingchallenge. If you missed the post about the challenge, you can check it out here.

About the Book

What if Wonderland was in peril and Alice was very, very late?

Alice is different than other eighteen-year-old ladies in Kexford, which is perfectly fine with her. She’d rather spend golden afternoons with her trusty camera or in her aunt Vivian’s lively salon, ignoring her sister’s wishes that she stop all that “nonsense” and become a “respectable” member of society. Alice is happy to meander to Miss. Yao’s teashop or to visit the children playing in the Square. She’s also interested in learning more about the young lawyer she met there, but just because she’s curious, of course, not because he was sweet and charming.

But when Alice develops photographs she has recently taken about town, familiar faces of old suddenly appear in the place of her actual subjects-the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar. There’s something eerily off about them, even for Wonderland creatures. And as Alice develops a self-portrait, she finds the most disturbing image of all-a badly-injured dark-haired girl asking for Alice’s help. Mary Ann.

Returning to the place of nonsense from her childhood, Alice finds herself on a mission to stop the Queen of Hearts’ tyrannical rule and to find her place in both worlds. But will she able to do so . . . before the End of Time?

My Review

While I enjoyed this book, I did not think it was as good as some of the other books in the Disney Twisted Tale Series. I liked the way it portrayed Alice – an intelligent girl not easily swayed by whatever those around her believed. I loved that she was a photographer, and I liked how the author used Alice’s photography to connect her with Wonderland.

I also like how each Wonderland character had a real world equivalent, and I especially liked Katz.

This book had a fair amount of silliness, which of course is on par with the nonsense of Wonderland, and for a minute I was afraid I was not going to like how the book ended. The ending was unexpected, but satisfactory. However, the book is quite long, right at five hundred pages, and I think some of the silly stuff could have been cut without taking away from the story.

Also, I think I had pretty high expectations for this one after reading and loving Straight on Till Morning so much. It was enjoyable, but not my favorite of the Twisted Tales.

Have you read Unbirthday? What did you think of the book? Let me know in the comments!

Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Hop (Feb. 2020)

This is my second time participating in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (if you missed the first post, you can check it out here). If you are a fellow writer, they have tons of great resources, so you’ll want to check out their site. And you can follow along with the blog hop here.

February 3 question – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

I have made so many friends through my blog and other social media sites! I have found many supportive writer friends as well as some great writer groups. There are so many it would be hard to name them all, but here are a few of my favorites (some are reading blogs, and some are writing blogs):

L.M. Durand’s Little Book Corner – There is a lot of great bookish content to be found here! 🙂

Fairy Tale Central – This is an awesome site with all things you could possibly want to know about fairy tales, and since I write fairy tale retellings, I use it often.

Tessa Talks Books This is another great book review blog.

The Story Sanctuary – I love all the book reviews on this site, and there is also info about bookish giveaways and contests!

The Geekish Brunette – This is another site with all kinds of bookish content.

Kira Jeanette – This blog has both reading and writing content! 🙂

Mica Scott Cole – This is a great blog for writers with lots of helpful articles on writing!

Ronel the Mythmaker – Ronel particpates in this blog hop as well, and it was through her blog that I found out about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Tons of great stuff on her blog. 🙂

Camilla Tracy – Camilla is part of my wonderful writing group!

Stars, Quills, and Crumpled Papers – This is my sister’s blog, so kind of had to include it. 🙂 She has some great articles with lots of writing tips.

How about you? What are some of your favorite blogs? Let me know in the comments!

Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Hop

I just discovered this writer’s group – The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. There are all kinds of resources for writers on their website and they have a blog hop as well. (Check out the blog hop and all the participants here.)

The official posting day for the blog hop is the first Wednesday of the month, so my post is late, but it was a fun question to answer, so I decided to just go ahead and answer it! 🙂

January 6 question – Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

There are not many things that stop me from finishing a book, but I do get frustrated with certain things:

Killing /cruelty to animals – I absolutely hate this, and it can often be enough for me to stop reading a book. Although many times it happens at the very end of the book, so then I’m angry that I wasted my time reading the book. In most instances, there is no reason for this.

I hate to even have to mention this one, but amateurish writing – writing that overuses adverbs, tells rather than shows, and head hops. And yes, I have read publishing house books that have all these things in them.

Stream of consciousness writing – Sorry, I just can’t get into it, and this is another case where I will often stop reading.

What about you? What’s one thing that will make you stop reading a book?

For Writers, Read Write Grow Book Club

Introducing the Read, Write, Grow Writer’s Book Club

One of my goals for 2021 is to read at least one book on writing per month. To help me reach that goal, I’ve decided to create a writer’s book club – the Read, Write, Grow Writer’s Book Club.

Anyone who is interested can join in, just leave a comment here on my blog or on any of my social media sites letting me know you’d like to participate. Each month, I’ll have some discussion questions I’ll share here on my blog and on my Instagram page, and you can share your answers either on your own blog, your social media sites, or in the comments of my posts. You can tag me @charityrau on IG and @charityrau1 on Twitter and use #readwritegrowbc with your posts.

For February, I’ve chosen the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron since it has been on my TBR for forever. Going forward into the next few months, I’d love to have some input from others about book choices, so if you have a suggestion drop it down in the comments!

Here’s the suggested reading schedule for February:

I’ll post the discussion questions the last week of February so participants will have some time to post their answers before the end of the month. If you don’t finish until the very end of February or even into March, that’s fine. You can still post your answers once you’ve finished.

Want to join in on the fun? Let me know in the comments! 🙂 And if you want to stay up to date on all the book club news via email, you can sign up here.

Book Reviews

My Top Reads of 2020

Despite this rollercoaster year, I managed to read some pretty great books! Here are my top ten of the year:

  1. Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell. Part of Disney’s Twisted Tale series, this is a Peter Pan retelling. Check out my full review here.
  2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. This was so good, and it’s one of those books I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read. I’m excited to read the rest of the series to see how the three sisters’ stories end.
  3. Finish First by Scott Hamilton. Figure skating is my favorite sport to watch, and Scott Hamilton is one of figure skating’s greatest athletes. He is also an outstanding role model, and all of his books are uplifting and inspiring.
  4. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed. This was an unexpected top read. I had heard lots of great things about the book, but the blurb did not really pull me in, and it is not my typical genre. So, I was sort of expecting this book not to live up to the hype. However, it did live up to the hype and made it’s way to my top ten list. 🙂
  5. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. I have enjoyed all of Sager’s books, but this one along with Lock Every Door, are my favorites.
  6. Roaring by Lindsey Duga. I was lucky enough to be on a blog tour for this one. I was really intrigued by the unique blurb, but was not expecting to love it as much as I did. Check out my full review here.
  7. The Companion by Katie Alendar. I read a sampler of this book and was immeditely hooked. I bought the book as soon as I had finished reading the sampler. Check out my full review of this book here.
  8. Horse Crazy by Sarah Maslin Nir. I enjoyed this book so much, I’m doing my own spin on the premise of the book in a blog post. Coming soon!
  9. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. This had everything I love in a YA mystery/thriller novel, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel!
  10. Atomic Habits by James Clear. As someone who often struggles with forming good habits, I found the tips and strategies in this book to be very helpful. Many of them I will be trying out in the New Year. 🙂

What about you? What were your best reads in 2020? Let me know in the comments!

Uncategorized

My Writing Goals 2021

I have a lot of writing goals, some more achievable than others. 🙂 For this year, I wanted to narrow in on a few primary goals, divided by topics. Since it always great to have accountability, I’m sharing them here with you all.

Novel Writing

As of right now, I have seven completed manuscripts in various stages of revision. One I have set to the side, unsure if I can get it into the proper form for publication. My current WIP is the closest to publication ready, and this is the one I’m focusing in on for this year. I also have a sequel – the manuscript is nearly complete, so I would like to finish that manuscript this year as well.

  1. Finish all the revisions/edits for my current WIP (TBSK).
  2. Prep TBSK for publication.
  3. Complete first draft of NN.
  4. Start revisions/edits of NN.

Blog/Website

Another thing I want to focus on is this blog! I’m fairly good at posting, but I know I could do better. 🙂

  1. Post at least once a week, ideally twice a week.
  2. Create newsletter incentive.
  3. Send newsletter out periodically.

Social Media

My main writerly platforms are on Instagram and Twitter, so I am going to focus on growing both platforms.

  1. Grow Instagram and Twitter.
  2. Plan out content for posts.

Reading

I do lots of reading – especially in the genre I’m writing. I participate in several reading challenges each year, and you can check out the challenges I’m doing this year here.

But I don’t read as much nonfiction, and I want to read more books on all aspects of writing. So, my goal is to read at least one book on writing per month.

What about you? What are your goals for 2021? Let me know in the comments!