Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge

 

Deadly Sweet (Spellwork Syndicate #1) by Lola Dodge

Published by: Ink Monster LLC

Publication date: January 16, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Page Count: 270

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

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For fans of Hex Hall, The Magicians, Practical Magic, and Food Wars!

Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.

Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.
The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.
If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?


I’ve received an eARC for an unbiased and honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and the author/publisher for providing the eARC.

 

With a cup of sugar and a heavy dose of magic, Deadly Sweet will entice your inner sweet tooth. So get your sweatpants and your candy ready. You’re in for a fun and delicious time.

Anise Wise lives in a world where society knows of the supernatural world, and no one will accept her because she’s a witch. She finally gets her chance to prove herself when her great aunt offers her a chance to be an apprentice at the bakery in Taos, New Mexico. But as she settles in, her life is threatened by an unknown force. And her dream of becoming a baker may just have a higher price than her she thought: her life.

I’m not surprised to learn that the author is a baker herself. From the first chapter, you see the passion Lola has for not only her writing but also her baking. She makes me want to find the nearest bakery and splurge on sweet delights. Deadly Sweet is an easy and entertaining read. Lola weaves together both magic and baking and creates an interesting beginning to her new urban fantasy series, the Spellwork Syndicate.

Witch-centred series can go either way: strong women guiding the next generation or power-hungry ones who refuse to bend. I can see the start of the former. I love the matriarchy in this book. It’s a refreshing feeling to see woman supporting and protecting other women and girls. And that aspect to the book builds a solid foundation for this series. You don’t see women insulting others. They are there to protect, love, support, and grow together. More importantly, they are a family. And you can’t imagine how happy I was when Anise first arrives.

Lola presents appealing characters who are growing into their own. You see their strengths, weaknesses, and fears. Anise is a strong-willed witch who isn’t afraid to walk into danger. But this strength has a downfall though. She often doesn’t see that danger until it threatens her life and others around her. She needs some developing, but she is a relatable and, dare I say, an authentic character who wants to find who she is.

The first instalment in this series has a touch of mystery to it. You go along with Anise as she finds out who is out to get her. And even if the antagonist is predictable and not strongly developed, I enjoyed reading her story. I was hoping for more world building. There are too many unanswered questions. And while the author’s world is engaging, I wanted a bit more from this paranormal life.

If you’re looking for an engaging witch story and craving your next cupcake, Deadly Sweet will entertain you. I’m interested to see where Anise goes from here.


Author’s Bio

Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University–and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.

Author’s Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

 


Giveaway

This giveaway is a tad different from other book tours. In this one, you get the chance to win a a Deadly Sweet prize pack and a Treat House 12 pack. If you’re looking for yummy treats, ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Don’t miss out on this tour. Check out the other reviews and posts here:

January 15th
Kindle and Me >> Guest post
It’s a Book Life >> Review
Belle’s Book Blog >> Review
Stuffed Shelves >> Review

January 16th
Butterfly-o-Meter Books >> Guest post
Book Reviews Express >> Review
Novels & Necklaces >> Review
Adventures in Writing >> Review

January 17th
Girls With Books >> Excerpt
Movies, Shows, & Books >> Review
Novelties >> Review
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review
Sincerely Karen Jo >> Review

January 18th
Booker T’s Farm: Books & Nails & Puppy Dog Tales >> Review
Whatever You Can Still Betray >> Excerpt
Bibliobibuli YA >> Guest post
Rabid Reads >> Interview
Touch My Spine Book Reviews >> Review

January 19th
The Avid Reader >> Review
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Review
Desert Rose Reviews >> Review
Dani Reviews Things >> Interview
The Genre Minx Book Reviews >> Review

 

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Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Page Count: 353

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem…and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.


“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.”

Sometimes you find that one book that simply changes everything for you. It excites you, scares you, shakes you up, then surprises you. With power plays, hidden character motivations, impressive storytelling, and a stellar cast, Warcross won’t disappoint. Virtual meets reality in this lush YA sci-fi. So listen up nerds: you need to read this book.

Virtual reality has swept the world, all because of a video game called Warcross. People now live and breathe it, like Emika Chen. The odds stacked against her, she hacks into the opening games, but she accidentally glitches herself in. Instead of prosecution, she receives a job offer from the game’s creator. But being a spy may prove more dangerous than she thinks. She soon reveals a plot that may threaten every player involved, including herself.

My little inner nerd is tingling. Tingling. I haven’t been this giddy about a book in a long time, and I’m still riding the high. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting this. This multidimensional storyline will hook you in the moment you start reading. I do not possess a single complaint about it. And I don’t see a flaw (do you know how rare that is for me?). Marie effortlessly guides you through the bright and rich streets of real and virtual Tokyo, dazzles you with this highly imaginative game, and makes you fall in love this futuristic world. You feel as if you’re in Warcross. You can just reach out and touch it.

Characters are the foundation of this book. I cannot help but love the diversity here. You not only get an Asian MC but also see disabled, lgbtq+, flawed, and utterly relatable characters as well. What I love the most is that the author doesn’t force the diversity. It flows naturally.

Emika, the rainbow-haired hacker, captures your attention. Her pain seeps through. She has lost her father and may lose everything else when Hideo Tanaka, creator of Warcross, offers her the position as spy. I relate to her immediately. Her determination to survive adds to the complexity of the story. And once she connects with her team, her development grows tenfold. Hideo is harder to read. He creates a universe no one has seen before, but his past haunts and controls him.

The game itself is a close second to the characters. You get a mix of an augmented reality game like Pokémon GO with a dose of the movie Gamer. Warcross demonstrates how easy our society depends on electronics and our need to stay connected to the online world. I love how Marie subtly includes that fact in her writing. The story is more believable that way. Marie also addresses the underbelly of both the real and the cyber world. This world building opens up the opportunity for readers to see the dangers the lush game has to offer. Even though Warcross is artificial, it is founded in reality. Corruption and a faulty justice system already create a seedy landscape and confirms that our society is flawed.

Warcross surpasses my expectations. It captivates gamers and nongamers alike. It shows how humanity has changed because of our obsession with the digital world. And somehow along the way, it gives you a glimpse of that humanity in a girl who has nothing to lose. I don’t just want the sequel, but I need it.

Book and ARC Haul: December 2017

 

Well, December was quite uneventful and short. But I’ve been meaning to see what the fuss is with a certain series. And recently, I wanted to catch up on some blog tours. I haven’t honestly thought that I would buy an entire series, but here I am. I officially have no room on my shelves. So guess who needs at least two now. I need two jobs to support my habit.

I may need more willpower when it comes to buying books though.

 

 

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

For years, I’ve been wanting to get into the Throne of Glass series. And since a few months ago, I bought Tower of Dawn, I couldn’t just let that book sit alone on my shelf, right? Unfortunately, I spoiled myself. So I know what has occurred in this series. But I’m Maas trash, and I’d probably buy anything she decides to publish.

How do you like this series? Are you looking forward to the last book?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

I found out this book has a reverse harem theme, and I thought, “Huh. Go for it.” I’m slowly growing my paranormal romance collection, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour! I’m dying to pick up the rest of the Kit Davenport series.

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

Hinder by Kristin Ping

Look at the cover, then you’ll realize why I picked up the book. This new series brings a new twist to the witch-themed storyline. Ethan and Alex constantly face danger because of their Earth powers. Both must learn how to work together and deny their attraction toward each other, but their union may save their supernatural world or end it all together.

If you’re looking for something, Hinder may spark your interest!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 304

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumn lands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”

 

This book is magical and makes me sigh with delight. I feel remorseful for not picking it up sooner. Treat yourself to this whimsical novel, which will captivate you until the very end.

Isobel, an artist, possesses an incredible gift: the Craft, which the fae crave. She is known for her portrait paintings. Rook, the prince of the autumn court, asks her to paint his portrait, but she makes a deadly mistake by showing sorrow in his eyes. When he discovers her error, he whisks her away so she will stand trial for her crimes. But the two must depend on each other when they’re thrust on to a dangerous path that may threaten everyone.

Enchantment of Ravens slowly sneaks up on you, teases you with fae lore, then charms you all the more. I had such a pleasure reading it, and I hope we get more from this author. I’m surprised that Margaret is a duet author. Her writing captures your attention from page one. And the way she spins a sentence will surely make you hope for more.

We’ve been seeing a lot of fae-inspired stories and series. And I love quite a few of them. Now, some will stick to old fae lore where faeries are powerful yet vulnerable. In Enchantment, they cannot create the Craft (paintings, drawings, writing, and the such), so they rely on humans. And they can’t break the Good Law, which forbids fae and humans from falling in love. These mythical creatures aren’t what we’re used to seeing. Even though they have great beauty, their true form is haunting. Margaret makes these weaknesses more believable. She weaves in folklore, then incorporates enough political aspects to her story to intrigue you.

The writing and the world building will sweep you away and allow you to see a truly unique novel. I wasn’t expecting the level of detail and complexity in this multifaceted storyline. Margaret creates a lush and tangible world that I felt I was walking alongside the characters, who take centre stage.

Isobel, the protagonist, stays true to her Craft. She provides for her family even though one slip may put her life in danger. I adored reading her character progression throughout the novel. She fears giving up her talent, even when she falls in love with Rook. What’s significant in this story is that she doesn’t see the need to change who she is. Her Craft is everything. And that subtle yet important message speaks out to me.

Rook, that little cinnamon bun of quirkiness, is darling. Although he is odd, his character makes the story sparkle. I loved his weaknesses and his inability to understand humans. The relationship they build is rather precious, and I wasn’t anticipating to admire it as much as I do.

Enchantment of Ravens is one of a few books that surprises me. I want more. I want to see how Isobel and Rook’s relationship progresses. And I just want back in to wander this magical world the author has made. So I cannot recommend it more. Pick it up.

“When the world failed me, I could always lose myself in my work.”

Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Page Count: 556

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.


“There are many dangerous people in this world. but there are also many good people. Brave people. No matter how bad things get, we have to remember that. So long as there are heroes in this world, there’s hope that tomorrow night might be better.”

Imagine that the X-Men have won, supernaturals reign, and humans no longer control the world governments. Now, throw in political intrigue and mystery, compelling characters, and a solid world-building, then you have Renegades.

Renegades, human prodigies with supernatural abilities, rise from the ashes of a ruined society after they dethrone the Anarchists, who previously ruled. When these villains find a chance to destroy the Renegades, they send in Nova Artino, who wants nothing more than to avenge her family. But loyalties are tested when she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy.

Renegades is my first book written by Marissa. I’ve heard a lot about her Lunar Chronicles series and even bought most of it on a whim. I enjoyed reading this book, and it contains some interesting themes, which I loved, and character conflicts that will surely hook you in. But I can’t quite bump up my rating. I took a long time reading it, and I usually finish a book within a week. However, more than a month has passed since I’ve cracked open Renegades. At this point, I’m a bit disappointed with some scenes, but not the book though.

Clearly, the X-Men series inspired Marissa. You have a prodigy who steals another person’s powers (sound familiar?). Yes, undoubtedly, it’s hard not to see the similarities. However, she introduces new supernatural abilities, like ones Adrian possesses (and no, I won’t spoil you there). The nerd in me groaned at some Renegades and their powers. However, I loved the characters. Nova lost her family when she was young, and she builds quite an impressive hatred for the Renegades, who didn’t save them. Her anger and growth make the story complex. Adrian is the exact opposite. While he lost his mother and wants to find the murderer, he shines with justice.

Even though I found character dialogue and fighting scenes lacking, Renegades is a solid and refreshing play on the fantasy and sci-fi front. The characters, their inner battles, and their development and history stand out the most. Additionally, how Marisa represents diversity also adds to the story. All these qualities are what kept me reading, not dnf’ing the book, which, at one point, I was thinking of doing.

Marissa’s world-building will delight new readers and her dedicated following. I was curious to see how she might craft this unique universe. And since the Renegades series is a duology, I was hesitant, not quite sure what she can pull off. But she does so naturally. I wanted to delve into this dark, gritty, and healing world, where the minorities are the rulers, not the humans. And the politics will also intrigue any sci-fi and fantasy lover looking for intricate storytelling.

If you’re a Marissa fan or are looking for something new, Renegades might be your next read. I’m eager to see how she wraps up this new series.

 

“One cannot be brave who has no fear.”

Book Haul: November 2017 Part II

BookHaulNOVpii

 

I’m so late with this post, but life kind of decided to dump everything on me. So here it is! I lucked out with my Christmas haul, and I’m eager to read new stories and to find more authors.

Which book are you looking the most forward to in your Christmas haul?

Merry Christmas, everyone! 🎄

 

Book Haul Lineup NOV pII 2017

 

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades is my first Marissa book, and I’m liking it so far. When I first heard of Marissa’s latest novel, I was intrigued by how the author has put the superheroes in charge. You don’t always see that in stories. I’m interested to see how this book plays out!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Warcross by Marie Lu

Well, I have yet to read one of Marie’s works, but I’m excited to get into this book. I haven’t heard anything bad about it. I’m not a huge science fiction reader, but just look at that cover. I’m excited to read Warcross.

What do you like about this book?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Badass female lead, fantasy, secrets, and DRAGONS. You had me at dragons. The blogosphere has been buzzing with this book, and I couldn’t wait to grab it when I saw it in Chapters. I’ve heard of other dragon fantasy books, but most haven’t interested me the most as this one.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Blog Tour Review: Hinder by Kristin Ping

 

Hinder by Kristin Ping

Published by: Fire Quill

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count:

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Ethan Sutcliff seems like a normal seventeen-year-old—at least that’s what he’s trying to portray. In a secret society run by the Supernaturals, Ethan is what witches call a Bender. Benders are Witches’ Guardians, who are able to control a witches’ ability, bend it, or move it away from harming humans. In Ethan’s case, he is able to bend the Earth element. But at the age of fifteen, he lost all connection to it, and the reasons behind it could only mean one of two things: His Wielder is either dead, or hiding out somewhere.

Alex Burgendorf has been living in her aunt’s locket for the past sixteen years with her mother—a Fire Wielder, and her father—a Water Wielder. For sixteen years, her parents vowed to protect her, and they have, as she is the last Earth wielding witch. However, time is running out. Alex must find her Bender, or the fate of the Supernaturals might be at stake.


I’ve received an eARC for an unbiased and honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and the author for providing the eARC.

 

This fast-paced, high action fantasy will throw forbidden love, conflicting characters, intense passion, a secret society, and dangerous magic at you, so watch out. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book, but it has a few tricks that surprised me.

Ethan Sutcliff and Alex Burgendorf live in a dangerous supernatural world, where witches, also known as welders, are hunted down and killed. What they don’t know is that they are both their own bender, the guardians of witches, and welder. Ethan lost his bending power when he couldn’t find his welder, Alex. Simply finding each other may put their lives at risk, but their world and the people who live in it depend on just that.

I’m always a sucker for a forbidden love that will surely kill the main characters. As depressing as that thought sounds, I enjoyed reading Hinder, the first instalment in the Guardians of Monsters series. I took a chance on this book since I want to branch out to find more authors and stories. So when I started reading it, I wasn’t too sure what I got myself into. I found some scenes and character’s actions unneeded and unnecessary, and sometimes a few slow parts take away from the story. However, by the end, I warmed up to Hinder and found it to be an enjoyable read for the holidays.

Kristin creates a world of her own. Like other authors, she hides hers within ours. And she ramps up the forbidden love factor to a hundred. Both Alex and Ethan find out that if they break the law by falling in love, their love will ultimately kill them, turn them evil, or destroy the both of them. Benders and welders cannot consummate their relationship, period. So for the entire book, I was rooting for these two, even though, in the process, I was calling for their untimely death. I’m a horrible reader, but the author and her writing make you want them to fall in love. She made me hopeful, dammit.

I think I’m at this reading stage where high school stories simply don’t intrigue me anymore, so I don’t blame the author for using this overused setting. But she plays with it and makes it interesting. Kristin carries you off to a vicious but magical world. Alex and Ethan control the earth element, the most dangerous and lethal one. The world building is what fascinates me. The author throws in enough twists into her story to make it exciting. But I was hoping for a bit more character development. And the info dump might serve the readers better if it was dispersed throughout the novel, not at the beginning.

The dual POVs gives the book a refreshing outlook on the two characters. I love Alex, her strength and stubbornness, and her weaknesses. I connected with this character the most, and I wanted her to grow into her own character, which she does. Ethan, the high school’s golden boy, is also an interesting character, and I sympathized with him when he lost his mother. But I preferred him not to identify women by animals, which threw me off. But the banter between these characters is what hooks you in. And their intense attraction for each other is steamy and will keep you turning the page.

Kristin unfolds an enchanting world that has the potential to grow into a marvelous one. With a dash of teen angst and a hefty dose of magic, Hinder will surely entertain fantasy lovers who are looking for something new. I’m interested to see what’s next in this series. So go check it out!

 


Author’s Bio

Kristin resides in South Africa with her husband, two beautiful girls and two bulldogs that tries to eat her house.
She has been writing for the past eight years and her first debut novel, Hinder: A Bender’s novel will be published 2018 by Fire Quill Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she is spending her time with her family, or trying to teach her two bulldogs to not eat her house. You can find more about Kristin at www.authorkristinping.com

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Giveaway

The author is giving away $75 Amazon gift card. ENTER HERE for your chance to win.

 


Tour Schedule

Don’t miss this tour. Check out the other posts here:

December 11th
Rainy Days and Pajamas >> Excerpt
What Is That Book About >> Spotlight
tfaulcbookreviews >> Interview
Mes Livres >> Excerpt
Am Kinda Busy Reading >> Review

December 12th
blogs and coffee >> Top 10 List
Girls With Books >> Excerpt
Novels & Necklaces >> Review
Tiffany Shand Author Blog >> Guest post

December 13th
Stuffed Shelves >> Review
Charmed Book Haven Reviews >> Review
The Book Club page >> Review
everywhere and nowhere >> Review

December 14th
The Page Unbound >> Excerpt
Natashareadabooks >> Excerpt
Sincerely Karen Jo >> Review

December 15th
The Avid Reader >> Review
Loves Great Reads >> Excerpt
Hawthorn Book Reviews >> Review
Mythical Books >> Guest post
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review

 

December 18th
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures >> Interview
knjigoljubka >> Top 10 List
Married To Books Reviews and Blog >> Review
O. D. Book Reviews >> Excerpt

December 19th
Firstbooklove >> Excerpt
My Lovely Secret >> Excerpt
Rainne’s Ramblings >> Guest post
Novelties >> Review

December 20th
Books a Plenty Book Reviews >> Review
Brooke Blogs >> Excerpt
Dani Reviews Things >> Review

December 21st
To Be Read >> Review
Lovely Paranormal Books >> Excerpt
Lori’s little house of reviews >> Excerpt
Literary Meanderings >> Excerpt
Movies, Shows, & Books >> Review

December 22nd
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Review
So Few Books >> Interview
Caught Reading Redheaded >> Review

 

Book Haul: November Part I 2017

 

Hey, everyone!

I’ve returned to the land of the living. I haven’t been around since a cold kicked me pretty hard earlier this month, and I needed a glass shard removed from my hand, so I’m finally catching up on my blog. I missed talking with fellow bloggers and finding new books. So I’m back! So let’s get to the post.

Christmas is coming, so I kind of splurged last month (I regret nothing). I’ve been hoping to finally buy some of the books off my TBR list, and these ones are at the top. I cannot wait to crack these open.

Later this week, I’ll post part II of my big Christmas haul. Can’t wait!

 

Book Haul Lineup October

 

Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

For years, my friend Dana has been hounding me to pick up this series, but I always seemed to forget. Anyways, Indigo persuaded to me to buy most of the series (who can say no to a great book deal?), and I hope to get Winter and the other two books to complete the set. I don’t know what’s in store for me, but I’m loving the fairytale retelling genre.

What do you think of this series?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Grishaverse Series by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve known of this series for several years now, but I haven’t picked it up yet, even though I’ve read Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, and Language of Thorns. At this point, I’ll buy anything Leigh writes. I also heard that she’s writing a new duology series starring Nikolai Lantsov, who stole the show in Crooked Kingdom. So I’d love to jump into the Grisha world once again.

Do you prefer Six of Crows series over this one?

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Yes, I should have read this book before reading the Dark Artifices series, but I skipped over it. I hope that I get more Malec, Sizzy, and Clace since I don’t see much of these characters in Dark Artifices. And I’m dying to see how Simon transforms into a Shadowhunter.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Blog Tour Review: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 31,2017

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 294

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

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Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Lead by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember. 

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable… 

Rebel. 


I’ve received an eARC for an honest and unbiased review.

 

“Over the mountains and across the sea, there came a terrible scourge…a scourge that would deal death not only to the Old Ones, but to all.”

When I first heard of this YA illustrated novel, I knew I had to sign up for the tour. And I am not disappointed with what I read. This dark, poignant, yet somehow relevant tale will keep you on the edge.

Courtsey of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Strength is tested, lines are drawn, and a war has begun. As more two-legs (humans) torture rats in labs and see them as nothing more than vermin, the Chairman, the leader of a colony of rats deep underneath the city, conspires to release the old plague that wiped out these evil beings. Their time is now. They can taste their revenge. But doubt seeps into this colony when the Chairman’s nephew, Fin, is wounded, and a two-leg decides to take him in and heal him. Now that act of kindness divides a once united colony.

Andrea, the author, weaves a richly dark tale that speaks to readers of all ages. At first, I wasn’t sure how dark this story will go, but she pushes against the boundary of writing and also incorporates real-life health scares like Ebola and, most recently, the plague. Throughout the book, she shows you the cruel side of our society, yet she then demonstrates our humanity. The contrast between the two is rather jarring but realistic though. How many times have you freaked out over seeing a wild animal, even a rat, but you’re an advocate for animal rights?

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

The Great and the Small is a slow burn. Andrea builds up the story by adding complex layers and characters. But I don’t mind that build up though. It is a character-driven book that needs time to reveal itself to readers. What speaks out among these pages is Fin and Ananda, the teenager who saves him. I adore reading Fin’s story, especially his history, which is heartbreaking. I didn’t know if I could connect with a rat, but the way Andrea writes him just makes you fall in love with this deeply conflicted yet loyal rat. And Ananda represents the essence of real humanity. She doesn’t see a rat and cringe; she sees it as a living being that needs as much protection as anyone else. And while the scenes between these two are short, I relished them.

I was surprised by the level of world building Andrea mixes into her story. She creates such an imaginative and lively underground for her rats. The politics will keep you guessing as well. This world is built on a two-tiered class, which, regardless of what the politicians say, sets each rat apart and divides them. The Chairman, Fin’s uncle, is a cunning, ruthless, yet charismatic antagonist. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the author drew inspiration from dictators we’ve grown to hate. What I love is the anticipation in the book. This atmospheric tone in Great and the Small builds suspense throughout each chapter. And I had to question each character’s decision and action.

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Typically, you don’t see a lot of illustrations in YA novels. But these drawings bring out the story and enrich it. I enjoyed seeing them. And you don’t usually find a YA with an animal as the main character. However, more authors are testing the limits of genres and book categories. They’re not always limiting their readership based on just an age range. And I appreciate that both the author and the publisher have done just so.

This illustrated novel holds a strong meaning behind it. Sometimes the unlikeliest stories will teach you something or give you perspective on another that you weren’t sure you’d ever find. And The Great and the Small is that book.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog Tour Interview: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

Hi, everyone!

On my second blog tour stop. I interview, A. T. Balsara, the author of The Great and the Small. I want to know why an author stepped away from the traditional route of YA books, which usually don’t include illustrations.

You’ll be surprised what what you find out.

Enjoy!


 

Hello, Andrea! I’m excited to welcome you to my blog. Thank you for taking some time to discuss with me about your book. And I’d love to congratulate you on your book birthday!

 

 

Thank you very much for having me! I really appreciate it!

 

  1. You’ve just recently published a book. Tell us about it.

Sure. The Great & the Small is the story of a colony of rats, led by their charismatic Beloved Leader that has sworn to kill humanity using the bubonic plague. When the Beloved Chairman’s nephew, Fin, gets rescued from certain death by a young “two-leg,” a teenager named Ananda, doubt creeps in about the war. Now Fin must decide: follow his beloved uncle and murder the two-legs, including the one he has grown to love or do the unthinkable…rebel.

 

  1. Your novel is one of the unique stories I’ve heard this year. So why did you choose rats for your protagonists?

They were the ultimate enemy that could bring down humanity. They are smart, can chew through concrete, take down a grown cat, and multiply like…well, rats. They were the carriers of plague-ridden fleas, and were instrumental in killing almost half of Europe’s population during the years of the “Great Mortality.” Humanity does a collective shiver when we think about wild rats running amok.

 

  1. Can you explain your writing and drawing process? What inspired your drawings and writing for this story?

For my writing, I think I’ve always been drawn to Tolkien, and his epic, all or nothing, type of story. I also loved the book Watership Down and loved how the author made you feel as if you were watching the lives of rabbits. I wanted the epic feel of a Lord of the Rings, combined with the intimacy of what it would be like to be this particular animal. It was incredibly interesting to me to write from a rat’s point of view. For the drawings, I wanted something monochromatic, so that it felt like it might be taken from old times. I love adding texture, and layers to the drawings, and used the computer software Corel Painter to do the illustrations.

 

  1. You don’t always see illustrations in YAs. Why did you include them in yours?

I was told that young adults don’t read animal stories, that they don’t do illustrations…blah, blah, blah…in other words, the big publishers didn’t want to take a chance on a story that was outside of their lines of acceptable risk. There is far too much emphasis, nowadays, on staying safe in order to make a sure profit, than on publishing something that pushes boundaries and takes risks. I wrote and illustrated the story I wanted to read. If I had listened to the gatekeepers at the big houses, I would’ve been bored out of my mind.

 

  1. When did you first realize you had to write this book?

I had gotten the seed for this story many years ago when I visited a concentration camp museum. From that moment, there was a burning need inside of me to make a difference, to try to do my part to shine a light. I wrestled with the question of what makes someone capable of doing such heinous acts. In writing this book, I took my question to the next level, and asked, if you were raised in the orbit of one who did such acts, could you save yourself, or were you doomed? The Great & the Small was my attempt to work through those questions, but it was painful. Most of us aren’t devils or saints but fall somewhere in between. It was painful exploring that light—and darkness—within myself.

 

  1. What do you want readers to take away from it?

There are many things. The most important thing is that no one is born evil. So-called “evil” people are made, usually slowly, by the choices they make. Many of us feel we have no choice, that we are helpless within our own lives. Not true. We always have a choice. The Nelson Mandela of the world teaches us that no matter what happens, you have a choice. The other thing I would say, and I will quote Balthazar, a wise old rat in The Great & the Small, on this one: “Seek Truth.” I believe that the truth really will set you free. But it takes soul-searching, and a willingness to deal with our own garbage.

 

  1. What was the most difficult part in creating The Great and the Small?

Persistence. This story took me close to 15 years to write because projects would come up, or opportunities, or life, and I would have to shelve it for years at a time. It was hard to have to dust it off, reread it, realize with horror that it needed a complete rewrite, keep going, and then put it on the back burner…etc. etc.…it was a loooong process. Recently, I came across an old CD from 2012; it had a copy of the manuscript, and was labeled, “final draft.” Seeing that made me burst out laughing. The book has been rewritten a million times since 2012 (okay—not a million; it just feels like a million!!). If I hadn’t loved the story so much, I would have given up a long time ago.

 

 

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