Book Reviews

The Companion Book Review

38df6a50-9f15-4b8c-9457-221f263ca4be

I first found out about The Companion by Katie Alendar through Bookishfirst (a site I talked more about here). I read the first four chapters and was hooked. I bought the book immediately, but of course had to wait for release day, which was last Tuesday (August 25th, 2020). And it didn’t disappoint! I’ve added to my “Top Reads of the Year” list.

About the Book

The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.

Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.

My Review

I was immediately hooked, and I loved so many things about this book.

The characters were a big part of what instantly drew me in. Margot has a strong voice and was so relatable. Laura was well-developed and intriguing, and Agatha tugged at the heartstrings.

The setting was awesome – the exact type of thing I love in a book. A creepy, old house with mysterious, locked rooms. A beautiful, but haunting garden. An unexplainable tension hanging in the air. And the pacing was perfect – I was on the edge of my seat until the final page.

The plotline was also strong. Some things I knew fairly quickly, but there were others that took me by suprise. I loved the nods to classic literature as well. There was a bit of a Secret Garden vibe, as well as a Jane Eyre vibe.

Have you read The Companion yet? Let me know in the comments

You can find out more about the Katie Alendar on her website or follow her on Twitter.

Book Reviews

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones Book Review

untitled-design

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC copy of this ebook!

Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1955. For Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama, his Blackness is suddenly front and center, and no one is shy about making it known he’s not welcome there. Except for Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t―open, kind, and full of acceptance.

Armed with two bikes and an unlimited supply of root beer floats, Ethan and Juniper set out to find their place in a town that’s bent on rejecting them. As Ethan is confronted for the first time by what it means to be Black in America, Juniper tries to help him see the beauty in even the ugliest reality, and that even the darkest days can give rise to an invincible summer.

My Review:

Be ready to cry your eyes out! This book gave me so many feels. Summer has always been my favorite season, and I think it’s partly because of all the epic adventures my siblings and I had with our cousins on our grandparents’ farm. Ethan and Juniper’s adventures reminded me of them.

The characters were so well-developed and vibrant, I felt like I was in the story with them. The lush summer descriptions of the lake and town added to the story’s charm. And the best part was, that despite dealing with some difficult things, in the end, the reader is left with a sense of hope for a better tomorrow.

Fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Tuck Everlasting will enjoy this book, as well as anyone who loves a great friendship story full of hope.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?

 

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

#Beforebookstagram Tag

img_2571

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!😁

Blog tours, Book Reviews, FFBC

The Peasant’s Dream Book Review

tour banner

I’m excited to be part of the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s blog tour for Melanie Dickerson’s new novel The Peasant’s Dream.  I’ve read several of Melanie’s book and love that many of them are fairytale retellings. So when I saw that the FFBC was doing a book tour for her new book, I knew I wanted to be part of it.

 

About the Book

book cover (1)The Peasant’s Dream (Hagenheim #11)

by Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: July 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Fairy Tale, Retellings
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png
Synopsis:
In this reverse Cinderella story, a poor farmer’s son, who dreams of using his talent as a woodcarver to make a better life for himself, falls in love with a duke’s daughter and must fight for a chance to win her heart.
Adela is the youngest daughter of Duke Wilhelm of Hagenheim and is never allowed outside of the castle walls. She loves her family, but she sneaks away one day to the market in the town center. There she meets a handsome young man and wonders what it might be like to fall in love with a poor farmer with a kind heart instead of marrying the man her family is suggesting for her.
Frederick earns the income for his family and defends his mother from his father’s drunken rages. He also uses his talent and creativity to carve figures, animals, and scenes into wood, and he’s asked to carve these scenes into cathedral doors when his talent is noticed. Frederick is inspired by the sweet and beautiful Adela, but he has no knowledge of her true identity. When he gets swept up into a plan to kidnap the duke’s daughter, both are shaken by what they learn about the other.
With the heartbroken Adela resigned to an arranged marriage with her noble suitor, Frederick must decide what he’s willing to risk for love.

My Review

First off, I like the characters. I connected with Adela on a couple of levels. Like her, I grew up in a big family (though I was the oldest rather than the youngest), my parents were fairly strict so I was somewhat sheltered,  and I always had to urge to go off on my own to do things. I connected with Frederick, because growing up, my family was also poor. I appreciated all the good qualities Frederick had – he was loyal, dependable, and trustworthy, and this is not always the case for YA heroes.

There was a little bit of insta-love or at least insta-attraction, as both Adela and Frederick couldn’t stop thinking about one another after having only met once, and with hardly any conversation between them.

I enjoyed the way Melanie seamlessly weaves her faith into this story, as she is able to do with all of her stories. I liked the gender reverse fairytale spin, and of course, I’m always  a sucker for happy endings! This is a clean YA, so it’s suitable for younger teens and even pre-teens. Fans of Jessica Day George’s books and of the movie Ever After will enjoy this book (there’s no magic, but there’s a lot of interesting historical tidbits included).

About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for history, adventure, and romance. Her books have won a Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Christian Retailing’s Best Award, the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Golden Quill, and the Carol Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in the U.S., Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.
SIDENOTE: If you’re interested, several years ago I did an interview with Melanie along with a review of The Captive Maiden.
Blog tours, Book Reviews

The Redpoint Crux Book Review

TOUR BANNER (1)

I’m happy to be part of the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s blog tour for The Redpoint Crux. Below you’ll find the book info, my review of the book, info about the author, and don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

TRCThe Redpoint Crux

by Morgan Shamy

Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: June 9th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png
Synopsis:
Fans of The Phantom of the Opera and Black Swan will enjoy this thrilling debut.
When Megan Van Helsburg gets kicked off the U.S.A. Climbing Team, she has no choice but to return home and leave her climbing career behind. With no coach, no money, and no prospects, she joins the corps de ballet determined to improve her strength and agility. But the ballet theater is in dire straits. Not only do a series of murders break loose, but the ballerinas are becoming deathly thin and brain-dead. As Megan investigates, she meets Bellamy, a tortured young man who lives beneath the depths of the theater. Megan falls hard and fast for Bellamy, who becomes her mentor, but something is off about him.

It isn’t until the company announces they’re doing Giselle for the fall performance that Megan realizes the parallels between the ghost story and the lives around her. Megan must find a way to not only save her climbing career, but balance her feelings for Bellamy, and stop the murders and dying girls before she, too, is numbered among the dead.

My Review

My rating: 4 stars

This book had so many things I like  – ballerinas, haunted places, mysterious murders – and it’s a bit of a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, which I also love. The suspense built through each chapter, and kept me turning pages faster and faster until the end. The characters were intriguing, though I wished we had been able to learn more about Megan’s mom and her backstory since that was part of Megan’s growth journey. Overall, I really enjoyed the book! Fans of Tiny Pretty Things and Don’t Look Back will enjoy this book.

About the Author

Morgan Shamy is an ex-ballerina turned YA writer. She is represented by Kelly Peterson of Rees Literary Agency.
Morgan has been immersed in the arts since the young age of 4, where she trained under the tutelage of Julie and Stacey Orlob. She performed various roles alongside a professional ballet company for over seven years, and has danced on prestigious stages like soloing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
She has taught hundreds of girls in her fifteen years of teaching, where some of her students have received full-ride scholarships to schools like School of American Ballet, the Harid Conservatory, Kirov Academy of Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, to name a few.
Morgan discovered writing when her three-year-old  son was diagnosed with cancer. It was through that experience which instilled the need to share art and magic with children through words on the page. Morgan currently lives with her X-Games gold-medalist husband and four children in the cold mountains of Alaska.

Giveaway Link

Win a $10 Amazon gift card!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog tours

The Redpoint Crux Blog Tour Schedule

TOUR BANNER (1)

I’m excited to be part of The Fantastic Flying Book Club’s book tour for The Redpoint Crux by Morgan Shamy. Here is the schedule for the tour:

Blog Tour Schedule

June 3rd

June 4th

L.M. Durand – Guest Post
Captivated Reading – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Faery – Review

June 5th

Indie and Diverse – Review
Small Stained Pages – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Life – Promotional Post

June 6th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Books and Zebras – Review
Inktalkswithmaria – Review
The Writers’s Alley – Review + Playlist

June  7th

Bookishly Nerdy – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookish Looks – Promotional Post

June 8th

BiblioJoJo – Review + Favourite Quotes
Mahkjchi’s Not-So-Secret Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Susan Heim on Writing – Promotional Post

June 9th

Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist
Wishful Books Reviews – Review + Favourite Quotes

TRCThe Redpoint Crux

by Morgan Shamy
Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: June 9th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png
Synopsis:
Fans of The Phantom of the Opera and Black Swan will enjoy this thrilling debut.
When Megan Van Helsburg gets kicked off the U.S.A. Climbing Team, she has no choice but to return home and leave her climbing career behind. With no coach, no money, and no prospects, she joins the corps de ballet determined to improve her strength and agility. But the ballet theater is in dire straits. Not only do a series of murders break loose, but the ballerinas are becoming deathly thin and brain-dead. As Megan investigates, she meets Bellamy, a tortured young man who lives beneath the depths of the theater. Megan falls hard and fast for Bellamy, who becomes her mentor, but something is off about him.
It isn’t until the company announces they’re doing Giselle for the fall performance that Megan realizes the parallels between the ghost story and the lives around her. Megan must find a way to not only save her climbing career, but balance her feelings for Bellamy, and stop the murders and dying girls before she, too, is numbered among the dead.
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)

Blog tours

Kingdom of the Cloud Blog Tour Schedule

TOUR BANNER

I’m excited to part of the Kingdom of the Cloud blog tour hosted by the Fantastic Flying Book Club.  Lots of great book blogs are participating in the tour, so be sure to check them out.  Here is the blog tour schedule:

May 14th

May 15th

Annej Reads – Story Behind the Cover
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes
BiblioJoJo – Review

May 16th

Bookish Looks – Character Interview

L.M.Durand – Review
Precious books world – Review + Favourite Quotes

May 17th

Kait Plus Books – Official Book Playlist
Abooktropolis – Review
BoundbyWord – Review + Favourite Quotes
bewitchingwords – Review

May 18th

The Reading Life – Character Interview

Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Review + Favourite Quotes
Levicorpvs Blog – Review

May 19th

@the.magicalpages – Guest Post
Books And Dice – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookishly Nerdy – Review
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes

A Lot Of Pages – Review

May 20th

Books, Tea, Healthy Me – Interview
Foals, Fiction & Filigree – Review + Favourite Quotes
BoundbyWords – Review
The Baroness of Books – Review

 

book cover

BOOK INFORMATION:                                                                                                              Kingdom Above the Cloud (Tales from Adia, #1) 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?

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:

img_1598

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!