Blog tours, Book Reviews

Lies Like Wildfire Blog Tour

Ultimate Tour – Penguin

Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

     

Publisher: Penguin

Length: 384 Pages

Publishing: 7th September 2021

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lies-Like-Wildfire-Jennifer-Alvarez-ebook/dp/B08VFV5FXD

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/55894185

About the Book

An intense high-stakes story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames, perfect for fans of Karen McManus and E. Lockhart.

In Gap Mountain, California, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18-year-old Hannah Warner, the sheriff’s daughter and aspiring FBI agent. That is until this summer. When Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators.

But as the blaze roars through their rural town and towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Because sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate, it’s liars.

My Review

This was a fast paced and well-written read. The suspense kept building and kept the reader hooked. The main characters were realistic, but not all of them were likeable. A couple of them didn’t care about the consequences their actions brought to others, which annoyed me, but they were all fully developed.

This is a pretty intense book with a lot of details about the wildfire and the damage it caused, so fair warning for any possible triggers. I think readers who enjoy fast-paced YA thrillers like Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Naturals series as well as the Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro will enjoy this one as well.

About the Author

I received my B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. I’m fascinated by underdogs and power dynamics between groups of people. 

I’m the author of LIES LIKE WILDFIRE, a teen thriller soon-to-be published by Delacorte Press, and two middle grade book series, each published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, THE GUARDIAN HERD (a quartet) and RIDERS OF THE REALM (a trilogy). Before this, I self-published a middle grade fantasy called THE PET WASHER. 

When I’m not writing, you’ll find me galloping my little black mare through the foothills of Sonoma County or teaching free creative writing workshops to kids and adults at various branches of our local library system. 

The Healdsburg Literary Guild selected me as their 2019/2020 Literary Laureate for my work in building literacy in my community. It is an honor I hold dear. I am also the current SCBWI Sonoma County Coordinator and a volunteer on the Sonoma County Library Advisory Board.

I live in Northern California with my husband, three children, and more than my fair share of pets!

Blog tours, Book Reviews

Emmie and the Tudor Queen Book Review

tour banner Emmie (1)

I’m excited to be part of the Favourite Pages Book Club’s blog tour for Emmie and the Tudor Queen by Natalie Murray.

About the Book

book cover (3)Emmie and the Tudor Queen (Hearts and Crowns Book 2)

Release Date: August 25th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Synopsis:
True love has never been more deadly in this lush sequel to the best-selling Emmie and the Tudor King.
For an extraordinary love, Emmie Grace has given up her life in the modern world to move to the sixteenth century and marry the Tudor king she bravely saved from a dreadful fate. However, not everyone is pleased to see the glorious King Nick betrothed to the unknown and uncultured Emmie—especially the noblemen commanded to protect her.
As Emmie is drawn deeper into Nick’s sumptuous and savage world—where beheadings are way more popular than time travelers—the Tudor court heads on progress across the country, and a growing rebellion against the promised queen looms.
With life and love at stake, Emmie must face the cost of changing the path of history and realize that her greatest sacrifice is yet to come.

My Review

This book is full of romance, history, and adventure. I loved the way the author weaved lots of historical details into the story. The romance is believable (everything is not perfect all the time), and the story is fast-paced.

Emmie has a strong voice and a great sense of humor. And I couldn’t help but wonder while reading, could one really be willing to give up the modern life for love? It definitely has some Outlander vibes (just on a YA level). I think fans of the Princess Diaries books as well as fans of My Lady Jane will enjoy this book.

About the Author

Natalie Murray is the author of EMMIE AND THE TUDOR KING (June 11, 2019) and EMMIE AND THE TUDOR QUEEN (August 25, 2020). A fast-paced YA time-slip romance, the Emmie and the Tudor King trilogy follows an American high school girl to a reimagined Tudor England, where she meets a doomed, but utterly dreamy, Tudor king. Emmie and the Tudor King has already received acclaim from Foreword Reviews, YA Books Central, and popular YA authors Brigid Kemmerer (A Curse So Dark and Lonely) and CJ Flood (Infinite Sky), among others. You can visit Natalie at nataliemurrayauthor.com.

Book Tags

Bookishfirst’s Mid Year Book Tag

So I recently discovered Bookishfirst, and I love it. You can get previews on new books and leave your first impression, basically a mini review based on the preview. Then you are entered in the raffle to win a copy of that book. You also get points for the first impressions and any full reviews you write for the participating books.

They also have some cool forums, and on it was on one of them I found this book tag. I thought it was a great way to look back over the books you’ve read for the first half of the year. So here are my picks:

  1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020 – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell (You can check out my review of the book here.) img_0850
  2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020 – The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
  3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to – Jo and Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz (which I finally received in the mail last week. Yay!)img_2608 
  4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year – Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer, and Unbirthday by Liz Braswell   img_2661(I just got my copy of Midnight Sun on Wednesday, and I can’t wait to dive in!)
  5. Biggest disappointment – Catherine House by Elizabeth Thomas. It was not at all what I expected and nothing really even happened, so I DNF at about the halfway mark.
  6. Biggest surprise – Everybody Always by Bob Goff. It’s been so hyped up that I was wary going into it, but it lived up to the hype and received a 5 star review from me!
  7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you) – Kendare Blake. I just started the Three Dark Crowns series this year and am loving it!
  8. Newest fictional crush – I actually don’t have one. I haven’t read as much YA this year as I typically do, and most fictional crushes come from YA. 🙂
  9. Newest favorite character – Arsinoe from Three Dark Crowns.
  10. Book that made you cry – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  11. Book that made you happy – Finish First by Scott Hamilton.
  12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)  – Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. I recieved the gorgeous Owlcrate exclusive cover!img_2596
  13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year? too many to list. There’s over a hundred! 🙂
Book Tags

#Beforebookstagram Tag

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I was tagged on Instagram to do the #beforebookstagram challenge, and this really applies to my book blog too, since I started my IG account not long after I started my blog. So I thought it would fun to share the tag here too. 🙂

1. What was the first book you read? I don’t really remember the exact first book I read, but I remember reading and loving Ferdinand and the Bullies. Not long after that, I started reading Little Women, and throughout middle school I devoured every Nancy Drew file book I could get my hands on.😊📚📖
2. When did you start reading? Pretty much as soon as I could read on my own – by 2nd grade I was reading several books per week.

 
3. Where do you get your reading recommendations? IG, Litsy, Goodreads, and my sister.
4. What books are your favorites? Little Women, the Lunar Chronicles, and the Wendy Darling series, just to name a few.
5. What inspired you to join bookstagram? I love books and taking pictures, so it was the perfect combo.📷
6. What changed after you started your bookstagram? I found out about so many good books I hadn’t known about before, and I found a great community to share my love of books with!

What about you? When did you start your book blog or bookstagram account? Let me know in the comment. I tag whoever wants to participate!😁

Reading Challenge

My May TBR Stack

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For the month of May, I’m participating in #bookspinbonanza hosted by @TheAromaofBooks over on Litsy. If you’re haven’t heard of the Litsy app, you can find out more about it here. It’s the perfect app for readers!

Since the start of the year, I’ve been participating in the #bookspin, where the host draws a random number 1-20, and participants read the book from their list of twenty books that corresponds to that number. This month the bonanza twist is to read all twenty of the books in the order they are drawn. Here’s the graphic for #bookspinbonanza:

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So here are the twenty books I’ve chosen (they are all my own books so this also helps me with the #unreadshelfproject):

1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

2. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeves

3. A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

4. The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson

5. Malice by Pintip Dunn

6. In the Hall With The Knife by Diana Peterfreund

7. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

8. The Secret Horses by Megan Shepherd

9. The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

10. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (I’m reading this as part of @bookgizmo’s book club on Instagram)

11.  Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

12. Save Your Breath by Melinda Leigh

13. Shakespeare’s Landlord  by Charlaine Harris

14. Finish First by Scott Hamilton

15. The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis compiled by Caroline Kennedy

16. Secrets of Skating  by Oksana Baiul

17. My Side of the Story: Peter Pan by Kiki Thorpe

18. My Side of the Story: 101 Dalmatians by Daphne Skinner

19. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Mister Rogers

20. The Big Book of Disney Top Ten: Fun Facts and Cool Trivia

 

What are you reading plans for May? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 

Reading Challenge

Unread Book Bingo

One of the reading challenges I always participate in, is the unread shelf project, a yearly challenge where I try to read many of my own books that I haven’t yet read. During the past two months, Whitney, the host of the unread shelf challenge, has hosted a bingo challenge (more details here.) I love bingo challenges, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate in this one. Here is my bingo card:

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And here are the books I read:

Published before 2000 – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Backlist title – The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

From Favorite genre – The Jewel by Amy Ewing (YA Fantasy)

On shelf more than a year – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Blue Book – Ice Breaker: How Maribel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating by Rosa Vina

Fiction – The Stillwater Girls by Minka

YA lit – The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir

E-book – Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Published after 2000 – The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent

Any unread book – Tell Me Lies by JD Pomer

Red book – The Big Four by Agatha Christie

Nonfiction – In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore

Book from a series – The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (New Hercule Poirot series)

Last book acquired – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell (check out my review for this book here.)

Less than 200 pages – If a Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper

Audiobook – The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Chosen by friends – Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montegomery

Hardback – The Handmaid’s Tale: the graphic novel by Renee Nault

Author of color – The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

I was hoping to fill the board, but I got two bingos and had more spaces filled than not, so I guess I did pretty well. 🙂

If you want to check out all I’ve read so far this year, feel free to add as a friend on Goodreads.

How about you? Have you participated in any fun reading challenges lately? Let me know in the comments!

For Writers, Reading Challenge

Litsy – An app for Readers

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Today I wanted to share about a new bookish app – Litsy. I discovered Litsy just a couple of months ago, but it’s already one of my favorite apps. You can download the app for iphone or android, or you can use it online.

Litsy is a mix between Goodreads and Bookstagram. You create a profile and you can post pictures, blurbs, reviews, or quotes. You can “stack” books you want to read as well as books you’ve already read. (You can also rate the books you’ve read.) For a bookworm, this is the perfect social media platform.

Here are some screenshots from my account:  1-of my feed,  2-books I want to read, and 3-books I have read.

My friend Raimey Gallant has a great post on her blog with all kinds of tips for using Litsy. You can check it out here.

Just like on Instagram, there are lots of games, challenges, and readathons to participate in. I’m participating in a halloween-themed readathon called #scarathlon next month, and am psyched about it! If you are already on Litsy and are interested, there still time to sign up. You can do that here.

scarathlon

 

What’s your favorite bookish app? Are you on Litsy? What’s your handle? Let me know in the comments! (My handle is @Charityann.)

Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

lunar post

I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

lunar extras

Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday

2018 Top Ten Reads

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So, I know this was a Top Ten Tuesday post for last Tuesday, but I didn’t have time to get it up by then. I really wanted to do this one, so I decided to do it for today. Hope you enjoy!

I read a total of 160 books in 2018, and it was hard to choose my ten favorite, but I finally narrowed them down. Here they are:

  1. To All The Boys I Ever Loved by Jenny Han and From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon I put these two together, because they are both fun YA contemporary reads, and I couldn’t decided which one I liked better.
  2. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White This was a clever retelling of Frankenstein. Perfect for an October read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  3. A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle by Sarah Arthur The new Wrinkle in Time movie came out this year, and sparked several new books about the author. This was a nice look at L’Engle’s life and faith, and how it influenced her writing. It was inspiring, and the title was taken from my favorite L’Engle quote:                  light so lovely
  4. Ghost by Jason Reynolds This is a middle grade book, which I read as part of The Great American Read, and I really liked it. I’ve found I really enjoyed anything Jason Reynolds has written.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood I was inspired to read this after seeing the TV show based on it, and was surprised to find out it was written in the 1980’s. Of course, it is better than the show.
  6. Becoming Madeleine by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy This book was a biography of L’Engle’s life written by her granddaughters. A really nice tribute, it was a shorter book aimed for a YA/MG audience, but was great to read even as an adult. It was inspiring and I’d recommend it to any aspiring author.
  7. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson This was the best YA mystery I read during the past year, and I can’t wait to read the next book. I already have it on hold at my public library.
  8. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows This was one of the best fantasy books I read, and I was able to meet the author and get the second book in the series signed. 🙂 

  9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie I also read this book as part of The Great American Read. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before, because it is Agatha Christie at her best! Typically, I figure out the ending before I get to it, but this one had me still trying to figure out what was going on until the end. If you love mysteries, you need to read this one.
  10. Cress by Marissa Meyer And last but not least, one of Marissa Meyer’s books! I love her books and she is an auto-buy author for me. Truthfully, I could have put all of the books in the Lunar Chronicles on here, but I decided to just choose my favorite. If you love YA fantasy, this series is a must read.

What about you? What were your favorites reads of 2018? How many of these have you read? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Worlds I Want to Visit/Not Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Today’s theme is bookish worlds you want to live in/not live in. It’s hard for me to say I’d actually want to live in another world, but there are some I’d certainly want to visit, as well as some I’d want to avoid. 🙂

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Here are my picks:

1. Narnia (The Chronicles of  Narnia) – This is one place I’d love to visit! Aslan and magical creatures – need I say more?

2. Hogwarts (Harry Potter) – Who wouldn’t want to learn how to do magic? 🙂

3. The Lunar Chronicles World – A futuristic world with lots of cool tech? Yes, please!

4. Wonderland – There are so many versions of this world (Heartless, Queen of Hearts, Alice and Wonderland, Once Upon A Time, to name a few.) All of them seem like interesting places, and it would be pretty fun to attend a mad tea party.

5. Neverland – Again a lot of versions of this world – Wendy Darling, Never Ever, Once Upon A Time, Peter Pan – and they all have a few things in common: flying capability, mermaids and pirates. Anyone who loves fairytales would love to visit such a place.

And a few worlds I wouldn’t want to visit….

6.The world of The Winner’s Kiss – While I enjoyed the story, I certainly wouldn’t want to visit. All that war, prejudice, and slavery – No thank-you!

7. The world of The Selection – Another read I really enjoyed, but not a place I’d want to visit. Too much poverty and uncertainty. Although the lavish dresses would be cool to see.

8. The world of The Hunger Games – I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s read the book why you wouldn’t want to live here. You might literally have to fight for your life by killing your friends.

9. The World of Divergent – Too much conformity in this world. I wouldn’t appreciate being lumped into a specific group and destined to do the same thing for the rest of my life.

10. Morganville (The Morganville Vampires) While interesting to read about, this is another place where you have to do too much fighting to stay alive. And if you manage to stay alive, you could end up enslaved to a vampire. I don’t think so!

What about you? Is there a bookish world you’d like to visit? How about one you wouldn’t want to visit? Let me know in the comments!