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.

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.

#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

Book Reviews

Unbirthday Book Review

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

About the Book

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

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

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

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

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

Blog tours, Book Reviews

But For The Mountains Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

But For The Mountains

by Erin Riha

Publisher: REUTS Publications

Release Date: June 3rd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Bookdepository | iTunes | Kobo

Synopsis:
Arden Thatcher wasn’t meant to be chosen.
But when her name is announced, she’s presented with something she never thought she’d have: a future away from her abuser. Shuttled off to attend the prestigious National Women’s Institute, Arden will receive Nordania’s highest honor, studying with other elite candidates to become leaders, diplomats, and ambassadors on the world stage.
Only, the institute’s not quite what she expected. Paraded around in gown after gown, the tests seem less about educating and more about a different competition, with a very specific prize at stake—the Nordanian Prime Minister’s son. Despite the dean’s protestations that angling for an engagement leads to expulsion, Arden sees the truth. There’s a secret bubbling beneath the institute’s refined surface, and those who refuse to play along may well wind up dead.
With the danger escalating, and the return of her abuser on the horizon, Arden’s shiny future becomes a gilded cage. And this time, she’s going to need powerful allies to escape.
Political intrigue, swoon-worthy romance, and a dash of dystopian flare, But for the Mountains begs the question, how do you change the world when you’re not allowed to try?

About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Erin Riha writes young adult fantasy novels about ambitious girls who don’t know they’re not supposed to exceed expectations. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science, a Law Degree, and a deep reverence for the power of using exactly the right word in exactly the right moment. She lives in wonderfully weird Portland, Oregon, with her super dreamy husband, where they’re raising a future train engineer and a future chicken whisperer. When not writing, she’s a music director for a teen theater company, traveling the world, or dreaming of traveling the world.​Her debut novel, BUT FOR THE MOUNTAINS, was published by REUTS Publications June 2, 2020.

My Review

I was immediately drawn into the story. The story was fast-paced and the stakes were high, both things which kept reading until the end.

Arden was relatable and engaging. I also liked the love triangle aspect in the story. Though I sometimes find love triangles annoying, it worked with this story, and it was well-written.

When I first heard about this book, the title intrigued me. I love that moment when the title finally makes sense, and I loved this particular quote from the book:

“A familiar voice called to her and said, ‘What has taken you so long to find what you seek?’ She replied, ‘But for the mountains I would have found it sooner.’ The voice replied, ‘Look at yourself. Look at the mountain. Look at the crevices, the blood stains, the gashes, the bruises. They are your character, your story. But for the mountains you would not have found yourself.” 

This book will appeal to fans of The Selection (though fair warning, this book is a bit darker than The Selection) and The Jewel by Amy Ewing.