Blog tours, Book Reviews

The Legend of Black Jack Book Review

About the Book

Jack Swift remembers everything—even the horrible things he’d like to forget. To keep his guilt-ridden memories from haunting him, and to dodge his abusive foster mom, he buries himself in any book he can find, dreaming of his ultimate escape: becoming a doctor.

But fate has another escape in mind.

At 3:33 am on his fourteenth birthday, Jack is kidnapped by a monstrous rhinoceros and whisked away to another sphere of existence: the land of Keymark. Though this world is filled with pixies, monsters, pirates, elves, warriors, and mythical wonders, it is without healing magic—that magic was stolen by an evil, immortal prince hell-bent on domination. With no understanding of medical science to heal their wounds or illnesses, Jack’s kidnappers ask the impossible of him: use his knowledge to save a life…or be trapped in this bizarre world with no chance of rescue.

Jack doesn’t have secret magic, a great destiny, or any medical experience.

Why do they all expect him to become a legend?

My Review

This book is written in a different style than the typical YA book, but I still found it engaging and exciting. I think the style is more comparable to an adult high fantasy book, but the content is YA. There are talking animals, magic, and lots of otherwordly creatures. And I liked the illustrations that were included.

I enjoyed all the vibrant charaters, my favorites being Memphis, the rhino, and Fuji, the lizard. Jack’s journey, both physically and emotionally, was well done and gave me all the feels when it finally came full circle. There were many unique moments in the story, giving me vibes of Jumanji, The Neverending Story, and Frankenstein.

I think anyone who enjoys a good fantasy story will enjoy this, but especially fans of Stardust, The Neverending Story, and The Hobbit.

About the Author

A. R. Witham is a three-time Emmy-winning writer-producer and a great lover of adventure.  He is the world’s foremost expert on the history of Keymark.  He loves to talk with young people and adults who remember what young people know.  He has written for film and television, canoed to the Arctic Circle, hiked the Appalachian Trail and been inside his house while it burned down.  He lives in Indianapolis.

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World Princess Week

World Princess Week – Mulan Book Recs

It’s World Princess Week, so I am pairing books with some of the Disney princesses. If you missed the first post (Cinderella and Belle, you can read it here.)

Mulan values family. She doesn’t want to disappoint them even though she doesn’t fit into the mold of the “perfect daughter”. In the end, she finds that by being true to herself she is able to bring honor to not only her family, but also her entire country. Mulan is resourceful, independent, and resilient.

  1. Reflection by Elizabeth Lim – This is one of my favorite twisted tales. It takes quite a different spin on Mulan than the original movie does, but it is so good!
  2. Robin Hood – It took me a little while to determine what classic I wanted to pair with Mulan, but I think this one is perfect. Just like Mulan, Robin Hood is in disguise, and he is also fighting for what he believes in.
  3. To Best the Boys by Mary Weber – The heroine of this book must also disguise herself as a boy in order to find the things she needs to save her family.
  4. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale – Like Mulan, Miri has to leave her home and face the unknown, and she ends up saving her school.
  5. Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn – Amandla displays many of the same qualities as Mulan. She cares about her family, and embarks on a journey to find out more about the father she doesn’t know, finding herself along the way.
  6. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows – Like Mulan, Mira doesn’t fit into the mold expected of her. She faces challenges she knows nothing about, but finds her inner strength to overcome them.
  7. National Velvet by Enid Bagnold – Of all the Disney princesses, Mulan’s horse is featured the most and her bond with him is clear. Like Mulan, Velvet disguises herself as a boy to compete in a horse race.

You can shop these books on my Bookshop list here.

What books do you think Mulan would read? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments! Up next is Tiana.

World Princess Week

World Princess Week – Cinderella and Belle book recomendations

It’s World Princess Week, so I’m sharing book recs for some of the Disney princesses. These are books I think they would read and love. I’m also sharing a retelling that I love for each one. (If you follow me on Instagram, you may have voted in the poll to help choose these princesses.)

First up is Cinderella. Some of Cinderella’s best qualities are often overlooked. She is kind – even in the face of unkindness she still remains kind. She is courageous – despite the unfortunate circumstances she faces she looks for the best in every situation, and she still dreams of a better life. She is confident – even though she has been mistreated, she still knows her own value, and she knows she is eligible to go to the ball despite what others try to tell her.

  1. So This is Love by Elizabeth Lim – I chose this as the retelling of Cinderella. I really enjoy these twisted tales, and I absolutely love the cover of this one!
  2. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon – So after I read this, I immediately thought of the Cinderella motto – “Have courage and be kind”. Cinderella values both kindness and bravery, and Twinkle exhibits both of these qualities in this light-hearted read.
  3. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – Natasha faces adversity, but also finds some unexpected things, like falling in love, along the way.
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Katniss also faces hardship, but she still maintains hope for a better future.
  5. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli – Stargirl stays true to herself despite what others do or say to her.
  6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – Pip’s adventures are much like Cinderella’s, and he also gets his happy ending.
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Fair warning: This book will make you cry, but the spirit of it is amazing! Liesel faces unspeakable horrors and still mananges to stay positive and rise above them.

You can shop for these books on my Bookshop list here.

Next up is Belle. Belle is a dreamer and a life-long learner, combing through books to find the knowledge she seeks. She also yearns for adventure. She values family – giving up everything for her father’s freedom. Belle is loyal, curious, and compassionate.

  1. Lost in A Book by Jennifer Donnelly – This is my absolute favorite Beauty and the Beast book, so it had to be my retelling pick!
  2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – In the Disney version, Belle doesn’t have sisters, but her familial bond with her father is very strong. Family is one of the most important things to Belle. I also think she would relate to Jo’s independent spirit.
  3. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley – Belle would relate to Daunis’s curiousity and drive to figure out what really happened to her father and her friend.
  4. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson – Pippa also shows a desire to find the truth, just like Belle.
  5. Educated by Tara Westover – This is the only nonfiction book on the list, but we all know Belle reads widely. She, just like Tara, has a desire to seek out the truth and learn everything she can.
  6. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Kaya was seen as different, and so was Belle. Yet like Belle, Kaya found ways to broaden her world through books.
  7. The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick – Belle would pick this one up just based on the title alone (kind of like I did), and find enjoyment in the adventure Liz sets off on in an attempt to finish her late boss’s book.

You can shop these books on Bookshop list here.

Who is your favorite Disney princess? What book or books do you think they would read? Let me know in the comments. Up next is Mulan!

Blog tours, Book Reviews

With Fire in Their Blood Book Review

About the Book

With Fire In Their Blood is a simmering supernatural romance set in the crumbling Italian city of Castello, where mafia clans make the rules, dark magic pulses the streets and the sins of the past threaten to consume the present. Perfect for fans of These Violent Delights, The Darkest Minds and V.E. Schwab.

When sixteen-year-old Lilly Deluca arrives in Castello, she isn’t impressed. A secluded town in the Italian mountains is not where she saw her last years of high school playing out.

Divided for generations by a brutal clan-family war, the two halves of Castello are kept from destroying each other by the mysterious General, a leader determined to maintain order and ‘purity’. . . whatever the cost.

Lilly falls in with the rebellious Liza, brooding Nico and sensitive Christian, and sparks begin to fly. But in a city where love can lead to ruin, Lilly isn’t sure she can trust anyone – not even herself.

And then she accidentally breaks Castello’s most important rule: when the General’s men come to test your blood, you’d better not be anything more than human . . .

My Review

This book is very atmospheric and I love it! There are lots of Gothic-y elements and one scene actually reminded me of Miss Havishim’s dining room in Great Expectations. There were so many lush descriptions, the setting really came alive for me. Being set in another country, especially in an isolated setting, also added to the intrigue of the story.

The characters were compelling and diverse. Lilly was relatable and likable. She had a strong voice that pulled me into the story and kept me there. I liked how she discovered things from the past that were affecting her present. Liza, Nico, and Christian are all complex characters that gave depth to the book.

I think this will appeal to any reader who enjoys dark or Gothic books, especially fans of Chloe Gong, The Darkest Minds series, and Lakesedge.

About The Author

Kat Delacorte was eleven years old when her family moved from the United States to a small town in central Italy. She soon began writing stories about her new friends developing superpowers, and hasn’t looked back since. She graduated with a BA in History from Columbia University, and lives in Venice, Italy.

Book Reviews

The Agathas Book Review

I recently finished reading The Agathas by Kathleen Gasglow and Liz Lawson, and I really enjoyed it! This book was released yesterday, May 3rd. The launch event took place at a local bookstore, One More Page Books, and I was able to attend. It was a lot of fun and another bookstore for #22in22, so I’ll be posting about that experience soon. (To find out more about the #22in22 challenge, check out this post.)

About the Book

Last summer, Alice Ogilve’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. Where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove, because she’s not talking. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .

Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.

In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into.

My Review

This book was so good! I loved the nods to Agatha Christie, and the suspense kept me turning pages. I’m also really hoping that this will become a series, because I think it would make a good series, and I want to read more about Alice and Iris. (At the launch event, the authors did confirm that there is second book in the works, slated to be released in May 2023.)

The character development was great! I liked how the Alice and Iris were from such different backgrounds but were able to find common ground and cultivate a friendship. This book also had all the great things about a classic mystery story – It wasn’t immediately obvious who the killer was, and there were some nice twists to keep the reader guessing.

For me, this was right up there with One of Us is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, and I think fans of both those books will also enjoy this one. I think any fan of the classic who-dun-it story and Agatha Christie or Nancy Drew will also like this book.

About the Authors

Kathleen Gasglow

Kathleen Glasgow is the author of THE AGATHAS, YOU’D BE HOME NOW, GIRL IN PIECES (a New York Times bestseller and Target Book Club pick), and HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK. Visit her on Twitter (@kathglasgow), Instagram (misskathleenglasgow), her website (www.kathleenglasgowbooks.com), or TikTok @kathleenglasgow.

Liz Lawson

Liz Lawson’s debut contemporary YA novel, THE LUCKY ONES, released from Delacorte Press/Random House in 2020. Next up is THE AGATHAS, a YA mystery she had the pleasure of writing with Kathleen Glasgow (NYT Bestselling author of GIRL IN PIECES).

Currently, Liz resides in the DC metro region, where she lives with an adorable toddler, a fantastic husband, and two VERY bratty cats.

Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @lzlwsn.

#22in22

#1 Bookstore (#22in22)

So last Saturday, I stopped by my first bookstore of the year, Park Books. (This is for the #22in22 challenge, and you can find out more about it here.)

Park Books is one of my local bookstores, and I’ve been there several times. I also participate in the book club they host. My favorite book clubs are when they have the author visit to sign the books! 🙂

On this stop, I signed up to participate in their year long challenge. I purchased Daughter of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews for January’s prompt – A book published last year.

Ever since this book came out last year, I’ve had it on my TBR, so I decided it was time to read it!

What is your most recent book purchase? Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments.

Reading Challenge

My Reading Challenges for 2022

So, once again I am participating in several reading challenges. Most of them are on Instagram, one is on Litsy, and one is my Goodreads challenge.

First up is the DInsey Reading Challenge:

This challenge is on IG, and it lasts all year. Each of the five movies have five prompts and there is also a bonus prompt:

Next up are the Taylor Swift reading challenges, one for Red, Taylor’s Version, and one for 1989, as we’re all hoping we get Taylor’s Version soon! 🙂 These challenges are hosted by @aliciaclarereads on IG, and last all year.

I’m also doing an Agatha Christie challenge hosted by @officialagathachristie on IG. Also a yearly challenge, there is a prompt for each month. I’m starting with Death on the Nile since the movie is coming out soon. 🙂 To get the prompts you have to sign up for their email list.

I’m hosting the #fairytalereading challenge both on Instagram and Litsy. You can read about all the details here.

Next, I’m doing my usual Goodreads Challenge to read 200 books this year:

I’m also reading twelve books recommended by friends on IG. Here are the twelve recommendations I recieved:

And last but not least, I’m doing the #bookspin challenge hosted by @theAromaofBooks on Litsy. Each month, you choose 20-25 books, the host rolls two numbers, #bookspin and #doublespin. You can read one or both, and/or complete the bingo board the host also makes to go along with the books. You can check out all the details on the host’s blog, here. I’m all in, so here’s what my board looks like:

What reading challenges are you doing this year? Let me know in the comments!

Book Reviews

Top Ten Best Reads of 2021

Hi everyone! I read a lot of books this year, not quite as many as last year, but I met my Goodreads goal, so I’m happy!

I read a lot of thrillers this year, both YA and adult, which is a bit of a departure from what a typically read, YA fantasy. I also joined a book club at my local bookstore, and that turned out to be a good thing, since a few of my top ten picks were the book club choices. Here are the ones I chose as my top ten:

  1. Chasing Starlight by Teri Bailey Black (YA historical mystery) – This book has a great vintage vibe and was a NetGalley read. Check out my review here.
  2. A Curse So Dark and Lonely and Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (YA fantasy) – I combined two here since they are by the same author, but I really enjoyed both of them. A Curse so Dark and Lonely is the first book in the Cursebreakers series. Defy the Night, the first in a new series, is the author’s latest book. My local bookstore chose this book as the book club pick and I was able to meet the author and get my copy signed. If you like YA fantasy, you’ll likely enjoy both of these.
  3. Lost in the Neverwood by Aiden Thomas (YA fantasy) – This is a retelling of Peter Pan. It was very good, but fair warning, it will probably make you cry.
  4. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (Adult thriller) – This a book I chose for one of my Book of the Month boxes. A journalist investigates a haunted hall where students had been killed fifty plus years earlier.
  5. Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone (Adult thriller) – This was another ARC read, a book I recieved as part of a blog tour. You can read my review here.
  6. Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon (YA contemporary) – I also read this one as part of a book tour. It was another great read, but be warned that it’s not just a fluffy story – you’ll probably cry, I did. You can read my full review here.
  7. The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine (Adult Thriller) – This was another book club read from my local bookstore, and again I was able to meet the author and get my book signed. This is a thriller where the main character cannot remember who she is. She only has her husband’s word telling her who she is, but more and more things happen causing her to doubt him. I could not put this one down and finished it in two sittings.
  8. I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson (Adult Thriller) – Another book club read, I also got my copy of this book signed by the author. This is about a photographer who has just moved to a cliquely DC suburb, and on top of navigating the new setting, she also gets framed for murder. I read this one in one sitting.
  9. Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain (YA Thriller) – A girl returns to the small town where she spends her summers. But things are different because one of her best friends has been missing for six months. As she tries to figure out what happened, she uncovers secret after secret. Set in the swamps of Louisiana, the setting only added to the suspense.
  10. Shiver by Allie Reynolds (Adult Thriller) – I just read this one last month, but I’d had it on my TBR for awhile. Five friends who have not seen each other for a decade get invited to a ski resort. The same ski resort where one of their friends went missing ten years ago. No one knows who invited them and they appear to be the only ones there. Strange things keep happening making them believe someone else is there watching them. Creepy and haunting, I read this one in a day.

What were your favorite reads of 2021? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Fairytale Reading Challenge 2022

I’m bringing back the fairytale reading challenge for 2022. Just like last year, this is a pretty laid back challenge. Each month there is a fairytale prompt. You can read a retelling or the original fairytale. For 2021, several people also watched a movie for each prompt as well.

Share what your reading on social media with #fairytaleretellingchallenge.

Here are the prompts:

And there is also a printable bookmark again this year.

Let me know what fairytale you are most excited to read in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Blog tours

The Goblin and the Dancer Blog Tour

Today I’m excited to spotlight The Goblin and the Dancer by Allison Tebo as part of the book launch tour. It’s a retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which was one of my favorite fairy tales as a child. I love the cover, and I can’t wait to read this retelling!

About the Book

Grik the goblin spends his days as a janitor cleaning the Metropolitan Dance Hall, drawn to the Elvish world and tired of the darkness of his underground home. He secretly pines for the ballet company’s lead dancer, Rosanna, but his own ugliness and shyness stand in the way of confessing his love. When a handsome soldier named Paul appears on the scene to make a bid for Rosanna’s affections, Grik’s jealousy bubbles over and he commits the unthinkable, plunging all of them into the river and down into the depths of the earth. Determined to redeem himself, Grik leads Rosanna and Paul through the place he calls home: but even a goblin can’t be prepared for everything that is found underground. Trapped in the dark, nightmares both within and without rise to the surface, threatening to destroy them all.


A magical and heartfelt retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier about finding your worth.

BUY NOW / ADD TO GOODREADS

Check out all the stops for the blog tour via the links below and don’t forget to scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway!

BLOG TOUR SECHEDULE
Sept 10 th
Guest Post With Sawyer: https://sundropgirls.wordpress.com/
Author Interview with Abigail: http://www.abigailfalangaauthor.wordpress.com
Sept 11 th
Author Interview With Kylie: http://www.kyliehuntthefilmdirectorswife.movie.blog
September 12 th
Book Review by Maegan: http://BloomingwithBooks.blogspot.com
Sept 13
Book Spotlight by Charity: http://www.charityrau.wordpress.com
Sept 14th
Book Spotlight by Julia: http://www.dropsofinspira.blogspot.com
Sept 15 th
Book Review by Merie: https://imperialscribis.wordpress.com/
Book Spotlight by Laura: https://www.lauraagrace.com/
Sept 16th
Author Interview Laurie: http://www.landsuncharted.com
Author Interview with Mae: http://www.maeheller.com
Sept 17 th
Book Review by Joellen: http://www.joellenkemper.com
Guest Post With Laura: https://www.lauraagrace.com/

About the Author

Allison Tebo is a writer committed to creating magical stories full of larger-than-life characters, a dash of grit, and plenty of laughs. She is the author of the Tales of Ambia, a series of romantic comedy retellings of popular fairy tales, and her flash fiction and short stories have been published in Splickety, Spark, Inklings Press, Rogue Blades Entertainment, Pole to Pole Publishing, and Editing Mee. Allison graduated with merit from  London Art College after studying cartooning and children’s illustration and, when not creating new worlds with words or paint, she enjoys reading, baking, and making lists. 

Websitehttps://allisonteboauthor.com/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/allisonteboauthor/
Patreonhttps://www.patreon.com/TalesOfAmbia
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/allisonteboauthor
Newsletterhttps://mailchi.mp/d0d50e008fc2/allisontebo Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Goblin-Dancer-Retelling-Steadfast-Villains-ebook/dp/B093ZFFXDQ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+goblin+and+the+dancer+allison+tebo&qid=1630421246&s=digital-text&sr=1-2
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57895701-the-goblin-and-the-dancer

Giveaway

Allison is giving away a signed paperback of the book. Here’s the link for the giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7da968f57/?G