Posted in ARCs, Challenges, Readathons, TBR, Trope-ical Readathon

A Book or Two for the Trope-ical Readathon

I do the Trope-ical readathon every year, often multiple times a year and this year I need it especially I’m very behind when it comes to where I should be if I want to hit my reading goal but I always seem to hit all of the prompts on this readathon. I also like it because it has alternate prompts for each thing so I’m putting forward a book for each trope and the alternatives and hoping I get to at least most of them.

Absent/Dead Parent(s)

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

Amazon: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

A book with more than one author

Another Kind

Amazon: Another Kind

Love Triangle

Love Somebody

Amazon: Love Somebody

Friends Followers Choose Between Two Books

Amazon: The Winter Duke

Bookish Themes

Long Lost

Amazon: Long Lost

A Predicted Five Star

The In Between

Amazon: The-Between

A Platonic Partnership

You Truly Assumed

Amazon: You Truly Assumed

A Buddy Read

TBD

Food Themed

A Pizza My Heart

Amazon: A Pizza My Heart

Meaty Book Over 500 Pages

Sorcery of Thorns

Amazon: A Sorcery of Thorns

Blast From the Past

Dog Star

Amazon: Dog Star

A Book Published Before the Year 2000

Mixed Media

The Insiders

Amazon: The Insiders

Ebook

No Filter and Other Lies

Amazon: No Filter and Other Lies

(Post) Apocalyptic

Morning in Wuhan

It’s not out yet so I’m not sure I can show the cover but I thought it fit the prompt rather well.

A Comfort Read

Air

Another Arc, here is the cover reveal for for but so far it’s very good and I’m enjoying it.

Found Family

The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Amazon: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Book in Series

City Spies

Amazon: City Spies

Multiple POVs

Stick with Me

Amazon: Stick With Me

Multiple POCs

Ophelia After All

Amazon: Ophelia After All

Morally Gray/Anti Hero

Fire Becomes Her

Amazon: Fire Becomes Her

New Kid in Town

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Amazon: Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

A Previously DNF’ed Book

Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene

Amazon: Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene

Retelling

Mechanica

Amazon: Mechanica

A TV or Movie Adaptation

Ella Enchanted

Amazon: Ella Enchanted

As you see I have a few holes if you have any suggestions of good books that fit those categories please let me know in the comments. I also need to consider the group book for fantasy but I will do that in another post. Overall I think this is a pretty good starting point I’m a mood reader so some things may change but I think I have good bone here.

Posted in ARCs, Feature

Dear Student ARC Review

This was moved up a day because I couldn’t make my friend @ellyswartz wait any longer.

Dear Student is Elly Swartz’s newest book, it’s going to be released on February 15th. It’s a perfect gift for any middle grader in your life. I was offered a this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

The first year of middle school is hard for Autumn her best friend has moved away. Now she’s trying to connect with her new classmates and deal with her home life where her dad joined the Peace Corps and left their family behind. Autumn has lots of feelings about her dad leaving especially when he tells her to try one new thing on the first day of middle school. The first day is even more complicated when a random boy runs over an iguana in the middle of the road while Autumn is walking to school. Luckily she takes it to her mom, the town vet, and Autumn tries to talk to the boy but he just leaves leaving Autumn with questions.

The boy, Cooper ends up being new in town and he and Autumn end up getting along , especially through his love of animals, especially his dog. But Cooper isn’t the only new potential friend Autumn ends up with there is also outgoing Logan who is popular and also has an animal, a pregnant snake named Sleeping Beauty. (She’s in the running for favorite character, so cute) that Autumn’s mom ends up treating. Logan becomes fast friends with Autumn, there is only one problem. She can’t stand Cooper.

As if her life with new friends isn’t complicated enough she’s picked for a program she applied for but never thought she’d get, Dear Student, she gets to be the anonymous voice of advice for the school paper, a role which she grows to love, and things finally settle with her two friends, but when a new company that tests on animals comes to town Autumn must take a side between her friends, also when her anonymity for Dear Student is threatened she must decide where she stands and if she is willing to stand up for what she says when it’s really her speaking.

Review for Dear Student

This was a great book about finding your voice among different opinions. Throughout the book Autumn becomes a more confident person. She’s willing to stand up to her friends when she doesn’t things are right even at the potential cost of her friendship with those people. And she is willing to stand up for a cause she believes in even though there might be consequences. I also like her letter when she’s exposed as Dear Student, I think that shows particular bravery. All and all she grows throughout the book and shows more courage than most adults when it comes to standing up to her beliefs to her friends and for her causes. It’s a great book with an engaging protagonist and interesting side characters including the animals. Another hit for Elly Swartz!

Amazon: Dear Student

Posted in ARCs, Reviews

Counterclockwise Heart Review

I recevied the Counterclockwise Heart back in December for a Blog Tour. At first I wasn’t sure about the premise but it really drew me in. First I loved the fact that the prince’s parents were two women, and that the prince was adopted, also Esme’s complicated relationship with her parents drew me in. This book is in many ways about finding family and learning to love.

The Counterclockwise Heart by [Brian Farrey]

Summary

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue leaving people believing it foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack. The empire is in danger but from whom?
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate. Is he going to die, and what is he going to do when numbers start disappearing off the counterclockwise clock in his chest, and he find the frighting statue known as the Onyx Maiden as his ally.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. Esme has been sent to kill the Nachfrau, but secrets have been kept from Esme about the woman as well as the past of the Hierophants themselves. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

Will an empire and a mission built on lies be able to be saved by two determined young people?

Review

This book was a great mystery, and it was tough to find a character I didn’t like. Though I will say I found the Margrave’s motivations to be super childish, but this is again a middle grade book, and as we see in one flashback the Margrave really never got over issues with his childhood. I found the issues with the Onyx Maiden and Alphonsus, and Esme issues with the Nachfrau and the Hierophants much more engaging. I mean I can see why the Margrave story was needed. He just wasn’t my favorite character who was by far Esme or the Nachfrau, or Brigit. Finally I liked the riddle of the counterclockwise heart. But the fantasy world was amazing, I love the world building, I love the royalty system, I love Empress Sabine. I read this really quick and would totally read another book in this world. I’d give it five out of five stars.

Amazon: The Counterclockwise Heart

About the Author

Displaying Brian Farrey (c) Benjamin Farrey-Latz.jpg

Brian Farrey is the author of The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Award, and the Stonewall honor book With or Without You. He knows more than he probably should about Doctor Who. He lives in Edina, Minnesota, with his husband and their cat, Meowzebub. You can find him online at brianfarreybooks.com and on Twitter: @BrianFarrey 

Posted in ARCs, Feature

Counterclockwise Heart

I just wanted to let you know about a cool new middle great book coming out, by the same writer who gave you The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, one of my faves! Check out, The Counterclockwise Heart I’ll be spotlighting soon and so I wanted to give you a sneak peek, check out the information below.

By Brian Farrey and out February 1st 2022, this book tells the story of a kingdom with a crisis.

Summary

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be— His heart has begun to run counterclockwise, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

More about the Author

Brian Farrey is a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award and the 2017 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship in Children’s Literature. His debut novel, With or Without You, was named a Stonewall honor book by the American Library Association and the 2012 Minnesota Book Award winner for Young People’s literature. The first book in his critically acclaimed middle grade fantasy trilogy (The Vengekeep Prophecies) was named a Junior Library Guild selection.  He lives in the Twin Cities with his husband and their cats.

Come join me for my review of this fabulous book in February! Check out the author on Twitter @BrianFarrey and the publishing company at @AlgonquinYR

Amazon: The Counterclockwise Heart

Posted in ARCs, new releases, Reviews

Willa of Dark Hollow Review

NOTE: Willa of Dark Hollow is a stand-alone story that does not require reading any of the author’s previous books Even though this is the case I would personally recommend at least the other Willa book. If you want the depth to the world read the Serafina books. The series arent connected. However, they run parallel to each other in an interesting way that bears putting reading the extra books if you have time.

Willa of Dark Hollow has already awarded a prestigious Kirkus Star. Kirkus has called it a captivating, stirring tale of family and friendship.

Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this wonderful book.

Summary

After going against her clan in the last book Willa is a Faeren girl with a foot in two worlds. By birth she’s Faeren. The Faeren are an ancient race of forest people that have lived in the mountains since the beginning of time. But the Faeren put her out, and now she’s living with a kind human Nathaniel who she considers her father and her sister and brothers.

They’ve peacefully made their home in the Great Smoky. But it’s a new century and times are changing bringing loggers to their peaceful home. When human crews start cutting down great swaths of the forests she loves. Willa feels helpless to stop them, how can she stop such powerful destroyers of the forest and powerful machines.

When Willa discovers a mysterious dark hollow filled with strange and beautiful creatures. She soon realizes it contains a terrifying force. Is unleashing its dangerous spirits the key to stopping the loggers.

Willa must find a way to save the people and animals she loves and take a stand against the all-consuming darkness meant to destroy her world.

Willa Smoky Mountains

Review

I’m a huge Robert Beatty fan. Its main themes deal with human and nature’s interconnectivity. Willa is personally dealing with her past and her future. She has to deal with what humans mean for the forest, and what the forest fighting back might mean to her, she has to figure out who she truly cares about, human, animal, Faeren, and forest. And figure out the best way to save them all from potential destruction.

Not to mention the mysterious and deadly creatures that are now filling the forest. Willa has to figure out what is going on all with the help of her new friend Adelaide. A girl who seems strangely familiar, and who becomes a fast friend to Willa. But when the fight for the mountain comes to Willa, will she and her allies have enough to withstand the darkness of both the humans and mountain and finally have a chance at saving the place they love for good.

Amazon: Willa of Dark Hollow

Posted in ARCs

Arcs and Book Tours: Oh My!

So I’m currently working on several book tours and enjoying them very much! I also have several ARCs through NetGalley to review. And I don’t know about you sometimes all of this can feel a little overwhelming. So I’ve got a few hard-won tips on how to keep your ARC and Book Tours in line and make everything a little easier.

Arcs and Book Tours

Theses tips will be practical admit to the fact that some of us all put things off to the last minute.

  1. Start early if you can. If you have a list of ARCS or Tour books do them by the first tour date. The caveat being if one of them is for a publisher. *cough* Big 5 *cough* They get pushed to the front of the list and paid more attention just in case that lands you more from that publisher in the reviews in the future.
  2. Give yourself time to digest what you’re reading don’t finish a book and have the review the day after make sure you give yourself time to think about the review.
  3. If you can’t do either of the above speedread from when you know the book is due, hopefully, making it your only focus and hopefully not the day before.
  4. Be sure to pay attention to the publication date on your ARC: especially if you are on Netgalley or Edelweiss.
  5. My personal tip is to keep a spreadsheet of all your upcoming ARC and Book Tour Books, a calendar is also a good idea for this purpose just to keep track of what you have on your radar.

Interested in more tips and tricks check out my Patreon, bookish info and and tarot tips.

Posted in ARCs

Review: The Chance to Fly

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me an advance chance to read The Chance to fly.

Summary

Beacon loves a lot of things: Her dog Warbucks her best friend Chole and competing with her wheelchair racing team the Zoomers to name a few. But she’s absolutely drawn in by and OBSESSED with MUSICALS. From Hamilton to Les Mis, she memorized all the cast albums and can belt them out with the best of them, She’s never actually SEEN a musical though, or seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on the stage.

As much as she loves musicals would someone like her even get cast? However, when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, a moves she’s not excited about at first. Nat stumbles on upon auditions for a kid’s production of Wicked of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! She also makes friends with the other cast members who are super cool and inclusive, well most of them at least.

She has a special place in her heart for Malik-the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But Nat thinks Malik would never consider her, and another girl sees their chemistry and it leads to a frienemy for Nat.

When things go awry before opening night Nat finds herself more front and center than she expected, will she be able to cast away her fears fly “Defy Gravity” with the help of an old friend and new in every sense of the song title.

Review

Nat Beacon was made to fly! Only she doesn’t know it yet when she signs up for the local production of Wicked in her new town. She’s never seen anyone in a wheelchair be cast in any musical so she’s shy but ready to convince the producers that she will be the right fit for Nessarose a disabled character in the play.

At first, she only gets the ensemble, and then is put off by one of the theater coaches saying she can’t do the dancing parts, to which she and a musical theater friend learn how to dance in her wheelchair. The book has a lot of ups and a fire that almost shuts down the production. Female competition, But the best part to me is how they discuss miscasting and disability but not in a serious way, in a way that fits how teens/tweens would discuss it. This book rings true to its audience plus for at least one of its authors it’s an #OwnVoices piece. I just really enjoy the book

5/5 stars.

Authors

Stroker made history as the first person in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway and win a Tony Award. Her experience is infused into Nat’s heartwarming and empowering journey into the spotlight in The Chance to Fly, cowritten with Davidowitz, an award-winning children’s book author and playwright.

Writing Nat’s story brought me back to my childhood, when auditioning made my stomach flip and opening nights gave me the butterfly-iest butterflies,” said Davidowtiz. “Something I held onto as a kid-and something Ali and I want our readers to take away from The Chance to Fly now-is that no matter who you are and what challenges you face, creativity is key. You can break boundaries. You can burst through boxes. YOU can find solutions.”

Author Article

Amazon: The Chance to Fly