Book Reviews

Dog Star Book Review

I recently finished Dog Star by Megan Shepherd, which I really enjoyed. I recieved a ARC in exchange for a review. This book was released on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022.

About the Book

Laika is a Cold Dog, a stray pup fighting for her life on the streets of Moscow. Then, one winter night, she is plucked from her alley to become a starflyer, a dog trained to travel into space. Distrustful of people, Laika tries to do everything she can to escape. That is, until she meets Nina.

Nina is a Cold Girl, lonely and full of questions. Her best friend has moved to America in a rush, leaving Nina to face the school bullies all by herself. Plus, her father’s work as a scientist in the Soviet Space Program grows more secretive by the day.

When the two meet in her father’s laboratory, their growing bond slowly warms the chill that has settled in each other’s hearts. As the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union grows fierce, Laika and Nina uncover shocking secrets and hard truths that will test their friendship. How will they find the courage to chase their dreams all the way to the stars?

Based on an incredible true story, Carnegie Medal nominee and New York Times–bestselling author Megan Shepherd crafts a harrowing, propulsive girl-and-her-dog tale that will linger in your heart long after the last page.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. It’s great for the classroom, as it covers historical events as well as lots of other topics that are great for discussion. I loved the way there were alternating chapters from the dog, Laika, and the girl who loves her, Nina. Megan Shepherd did a great job of telling the story from both the girl’s and the dog’s POV.

Both characters had strong voices and that is part of what kept me turning pages. I also enjoyed reading about the history of the space dogs, especially since it is something I didn’t know much about before.

One spoiler (because this is something I’d appreciate knowing going into the story), since the story is based on history, the dog dies in the end of the book. However, I will caveat that by saying that the author does an excellent job of writing this instance so that it is not sad.

I think anyone who loves middle grade books, as well as historical fiction fans will enjoy this book.

Also, Megan Shepherd just announced that she’s publishing her first adult thriller – Malice House and I can’t wait to read it!

About the Author

New York Times bestseller and Carnegie Medal-nominated author Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of many acclaimed middle grade and young adult novels including The Madman’s Daughter series, The Cage series, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, and the Grim Lovelies series. She now lives and writes on a haunted 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and children, cats, chickens, bees, and an especially scruffy dog.

#22in22

#22in22 Bookstore Challenge

So I’m super excited for this challenge hosted by Zibby Books. The challenge is to visit bookstores 22 different times in 2022. I love finding and visiting new bookstores, both locally and when on vacation or out of town, so this is the perfect challenge for me!

I’m going to be posting on both my Instagram and Tiktok pages, but I’ll also do a post for each bookstore to tell a little more about each one, like whether this is my first visit to the store, or what I like most about the store and so on.

If you want to join in the challenge, you can find out all the info at #22in22. Are you doing this challenge? What would you like to see in my posts for each bookstore I visit? Let me know in the comments!

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

Roaring Book Review

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I’m excited to be part of the Favourite Pages Book Club blog tour for Roaring by Lindsey Duga.  A fantasy set in the roaring twenties? Yes, please!

About the Book

 

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Roaring

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Teen)
Release Date: August 3rd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Synopsis:
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division within the Bureau of Investigation—one that hunts down not just mobsters, but also monsters.
For reasons that are kept top secret, Colt is the only person who can resist a siren’s voice. But he’s never had a chance to test this ability. The last siren left in the world mysteriously disappeared years ago.
Then one night, with a single word, she reveals herself. It seems too good to be true.
And it is. Because nothing about this siren—her past, her powers, or her purpose—is what it seems…

My Review

I loved that this book was set in the 1920’s, and it was full of all the things that make that time period seem glamorous: speakeasies, mobsters, and romance. And it had lots of mythical creatures. At first, I was unsure how about how the roaring twenties theme would work with the fantasy element, but the author seamlessly weaved the two together and created a magical story.

I like how the book alternates between the siren’s viewpoint and Colt’s viewpoint.  Both are fully-developed, relatable characters, and I quickly found myself pulled into their story and rooting for them. I also liked the mystery surrounding both Colt’s and Eris’s past. It gave the story a bit of a noir film vibe.

The book is fast-paced, and I flew through it in basically one sitting. If you love vintage stuff and mythical creatures, you’ll enjoy this book.

 

About the Author

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.
Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

Giveaway

Be sure to check out the giveaway on Instagram. The winner recieves a signed copy of Roaring as well as a signed copy of Glow of the Fireflies, artwork based on Roaring, and a $25 Amazon gift card.
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

#Armedwithabingo Q2 Check-in

This year, one of the challenges I’m participating in, is #armedwithabingo hosted by Kristi and Ariel. All the details for the bingo are here, and you can check out my first post about the challenge here.

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For the first quarter, I read these books:

Poetry collection – Ink Knows No Borders

Book in the middle of a series – Blizzard of New Moon (Magic Treehouse Series) by Mary Pope Osbourne

Book published in the last decade – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahareh Mafi

A YA novel – Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

A memoir – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Friendship/family – Drama by Reina Telgemeier

Fantasy – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Bestseller – The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Meant to read last year – Final Girls by Riley Sager

Nonfiction – You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx

 

And since the last post, I’ve added these books to my bingo board:

Book published in 2020 – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell. This is my favorite read of the year so far, and you can check out my review here.

Book with multiple POV’s – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed

Book with a number in the title – The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie. This one was also enjoyable and though not one of Christie’s most popular series, I find I’m really enjoying the Superintendent Battle series.

Book a friend recommends – Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto.  I read this book as part of the Book Gizmo Book Club on Instagram.

A dystopian novel – The Jewel by Amy Ewing.

Not third person POV (first person POV) – Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell

Book by an indie author – A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Book with a Beautiful Cover – Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. As soon as I saw the cover for this book, I wanted to read it, even without reading the premise. 🙂

Book you saw someone else reading – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers

How about you? How are your reading challenges coming? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Blog tours, FFBC

Kingdom Above the Cloud Book Review (Part of the FFBC Book Tour)

TOUR BANNER

I’m excited to be part of the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s tour for Kingdom Above the Cloud.  You can follow along with the tour here. I’ve shared the book info, synopsis, and author’s mood boards. Below that you’ll find my review of the book. There’s also a link to enter the giveaway for the book!

BOOK INFORMATION:

Kingdom Above the Cloud (Tales from Adia, #1) book cover                       by Maggie Platt
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 17th 2020                                               

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Allegory

Synopsis:

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

Goodreads         Amazon         Barnes & Noble          Book Depository     Google Books

 

Check out the author’s mood boards for the novel:

 

My Review: 3.5 Stars

It took me a little bit to get into the book, and I think that was because there were so many characters to keep track of from the start. Once I got into the book, I enjoyed it.

The whole concept is unique. It’s not the same old thing you see in every YA book, and I liked that. I also liked the symbolic way the author used hair/eye coloring. You can see Tovi’s growth throughout the story which I think helps the reader connect with her. There’s a whole cast of unique characters, but there were so many, it sometimes was hard to keep straight who was who.

The worldbuilding for the treehouse valley was great. I could immediately picture it in my mind, and I wanted to go there.

The whole allegory aspect of the story was intriguing and not something you see much in YA. Fans of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien would enjoy the book.

 

author

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

 Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and she lives in a

cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Twitter   Instagram     Facebook     Pinterest    Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway: Win a signed copy of Kingdom Above the Cloud and some swag here. (US only)

Uncategorized

Virtual Book Events

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I recently attended the virtual #Yallstayhome Book Festival, the Yallwest Book Festival gone virtual, and it was so much fun! I’ve been researching other virtual book events and have found quite a few.  So now I’m sharing them with my readers:

  1. Everywhere Book Fest – lots of videos on YouTube from a variety of authors.
  2. Social Distance Book Festival This festival aired a couple of weekends ago, but you can still view the recordings on YouTube. This is a festival hosted by a book YouTuber, Beautifully Bookish Bethany.
  3. Wordplay Book Festival – This is going on now and has events for all ages.
  4. Bookcon – Bookcon is doing a virtual series on Facebook.
  5. Midtown Scholar Bookstore – This bookstore has several virtual author talks scheduled.
  6. MYVLF – This site has all kind of virtual events, including The Big Book Weekend.
  7. Gaithersburg Book Festival – I’ve enjoyed attending this festival in person, and am happy to see I’ll be able to attend virtually this year!

How about you all? Are there any virtual book events you’ll be attending during this quarantine time? Let me know in the comments!

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!