Review | Space Battle Lunchtime Vol 1 by Natalie Riess

Collecting the first four issues of Natalie Riess’s delectable series, SPACE BATTLE LUNCHTIME! Earth baker Peony gets the deal of a lifetime when she agrees to be a contestant on the Universe’s hottest reality TV show, Space Battle Lunchtime! But that was before she knew that it shoots on location… on a spaceship… and her alien competitors don’t play nice! Does Peony really have what it takes to be the best cook in the Galaxy? Tune in and find out!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I heard about this one ages ago and wanted to pick it up, so I was excited when I saw it making the rounds and had to pick it up. In it we follow Peony, who is suddenly whisked away from Earth to join an intergalactic cooking competition (similar to Chopped). She’s met by all types of creatures from different worlds, some who are ambivalent or nice, and some who aren’t so nice.

The art style is quirky, and every character is unique. It was a thoroughly enjoyable journey as we watch them all compete. There’s definitely the starting of more underhanded happenings that are hinted at, and the cliffhanger at the end makes me want to pick up the sequel.

Happy reading!

Review | Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics by Jason Porath

An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoy the trend of books coming out that specifically calls out extraordinary women, or women who took charge of their lives in a time that they were not expected to. This was the first of those books I had seen, so I was excited when I received it as a gift. It’s the perfect type of book to pick up and read a story here or there, which is how I read most of it.

I really appreciate the fact that each story comes with content warnings which are explained at the beginning of the book. Not only specific warnings of types of content, but each story has a maturity level. This is great if you might be sharing some of the stories with children.

Also of note are the footnotes, some of which are serious and a good info dump and some of which are hilarious. I really felt this collection was a great introduction to some rebellious women in the past and the author’s writing style perfectly fit the stories he was telling.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Ice In Our Hearts by B.C. Powell | Review

The Ice in Our Hearts
BC Powell
Publication date: August 20th 2020
Genres: Romance, Sports, Young Adult

Bryce is a snowboarding sensation, a cocky teenager from California with a giant chip on his shoulder called Type 1 diabetes. He competes because he has something to prove.

Daria is a rising star in figure skating, a withdrawn teen from Russia with a tragic past. She competes to provide her family with a better life.

Primed to overthrow archrivals who dominate their sports, they’re both headed to the Winter Olympics. But soon after arriving at the Games, a flurry of ill-timed setbacks threatens to shatter their dreams.

When two teens from halfway around the world meet, they discover an unlikely but undeniable connection. As they gear up for their final shots at medals, they help each other realize the greatest barrier to the top of the podium might be hiding inside their minds.

Take a breathtaking ride with Bryce and Daria as they find true understanding, try to overcome the bitterness of their pasts, and share a romance more meaningful than winning gold.

Written by the parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes.

Goodreads / Amazon


I really enjoyed this story about two teens from different sides of the world coming together and falling in love, but I also really enjoyed that the story wasn’t as simple as that. Both of them had their own struggles and worries that they were living with and working through and because of that, while they had similar goals they had different motivations. It was great to see the differences in their personalities work together.

Also, it’s really obvious that this book is incredibly well researched and thoughtfully put together. There were points that perhaps people not versed in certain topics may struggle with, but overall it was really well done.

Author Bio:

BC Powell is a fantasy author from Los Angeles, CA. Described as “a stunning fantasy adventure,” “incredibly original,” and “a wild ride,” his debut science fiction fantasy novel “Krymzyn” was published in October, 2014. “The Infinite Expanse”, the highly anticipated second book in “The Journals of Krymzyn” series, was released in March, 2015.

Powell has a diverse background, having held several creative positions in the entertainment industry, including an executive role at ABC-TV, but writing fiction has been his lifelong passion. “The Journals of Krymzyn” represents, in his words, “finally finding the amazing story I want to tell with characters who are able to bring the story to life.”

He dual majored in journalism and philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. When he’s not writing, he can often be found hiking the hills of Southern California, daydreaming on the beach, or ocean kayaking. He credits his three sons, two currently in college and one in high school, as his inspiration for writing in the new adult genre.

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Blog Tour | His Brand of Justice by Delores Fossen | Review

USA TODAY bestselling author Delores Fossen does it again, with a romantic suspense book that forces a US Marshal to confront his past—and the woman who might hold all the answers…

Can he help her recover her memory before they are both killed?

The only person who knows who killed Marshal Jack Slater’s father is Caroline Moser. But the Texas profiler has no memory of the murder, her abduction…or Jack. And her witness-protection safe house has just been compromised. Now in Jack’s protective custody, Caroline must trust her ex to help her recall her past before a murderer steals their future.

Buy Links | B&N | Amazon | Google | Indie Bound | Harlequin | Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I haven’t read any of the previous installments in this series, but after reading this you can definitely pick it up without having read them – but I feel like some of the continuing storylines and character connections would have more depth had I picked up the others first.

The story itself is action packed and very fast paced, I definitely flew through this story. I really enjoyed Jack’s character, but sometimes wasn’t always loving Caroline – though some of the things I didn’t like could definitely be explained with her traumatic experiences and injuries which happened before the book started. It did grate on me a bit that her panic attacks were talked about so much, but I never saw one happen in the book.

All in all this was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I may at some point go back to read the others so I can better understand all the back story.

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines. You can contact the author through her webpage at http://www.deloresfossen.com

Author links | Author website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Blitz | Romancing the Holidays Anthology

Romancing the Holidays: A First Coast Romance Writers Holiday Anthology
Publication date: September 22nd 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A dozen ways to fall in love at the holidays…

Come celebrate the holidays with these dozen unique romances, ranging from sweet to steamy and all ending with a happily-ever-after. This anthology of short stories, written by multi-award-winning authors, including New York Times best-selling author, Alyssa Day, will transport you from Labor Day and Halloween antics to Christmas and Valentine romantics. Its stories will whisk you away into contemporary, historical, and paranormal worlds where love prevails. So, savor the authors featured in this enchanting book and bet your heart on some romantic cheer while you enjoy these twelve ways to fall in love.

Proceeds from this novel benefit First Coast Romance Writers, a non-profit chapter of Romance Writers of America that helps writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry. A portion of the proceeds are also donated to FeedAmerica.org.

Goodreads / Amazon

SNEAK PEEKS:

“Faking it for the Holidays” by Lia Davis:

Julius probably shouldn’t be as happy as he was about his parents going on a cruise the week of Christmas. But he was. For the first time since he met his best friend and future wife—although she didn’t know that yet—he would be able to spend a normal, quiet, holiday season with Tara.

Just the two of them.

Was it wrong that he wanted to spend Christmas with his best friend, alone?

They didn’t have to listen to his parents, especially his mom, go on and on about how they should get married and give her beautiful grandbabies. It was embarrassing and made things awkward between them for the whole trip to Oregon to spend Christmas with his parents.

Tara had always been fantastic about his crazy family, which made her even more perfect for him. She never complained. She fit right in with them and humored his mom when she started in about the future of their lives and how they weren’t getting any younger.

The whole thing made him hesitate to ask Tara to marry him. He didn’t want her to think he was pressured into proposing, which he wasn’t. He loved her from the moment they met as kids.

He wanted to show her how much he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, without the pressure of his family lurking and watching them. Yessir, this year was going to be different.

He had Tara to himself.

His cell rang and he snatched it up from the kitchen counter where he was prepping movie-night snacks for him and Tara. It was their usual Saturday night “date” to make fun of bad movies. Not looking at the screen and thinking it was Tara, he said, “You better not be backing out on tonight.”

There was a long few moments of silence. Jules’ heart dropped to his feet. She wasn’t coming over. He’d spent all week gathering the courage to finally tell her how he felt. That he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her and not as just her best friend. He wanted more. “Tara?”

“Oh, no silly. It’s your mother. Don’t you check the caller ID?”

Damn. “Mom. How are you? Are you on the ship?”

She let out a disappointing sigh. “Sadly, no. The cruise was canceled last minute. That means we’re staying home for Christmas. You’re coming, right?”

“An Elf’s Challenge” by Vickey Wollan

“Why are you being so nice to me?” She stared straight at him and lifted her chin. Angelina was determined not to be the first one to blink. Then, she noticed he hadn’t blinked either.

“I can do this all day. Remember, sawdust in my eyes regularly – no biggie.” Zack raised his lids and brought his nose inches from hers. “You had me at operational efficiency. I’m hoping you’ll return the favor, let me into the Paint Drying Zone.” He winked.

Angelina’s mouth went dry. No amount of soda could fix it. “Of course!” Oh, dear. What did I just do? What will my father think of me bringing a dust-covered woodworker into the paint shop?


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Blitz | Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron

I’m excited to give you some info on this book, which is out TODAY! Check out the synopsis and info below and make sure to click on the link to the retailer of your choice to pick it up!

In this highly anticipated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret.

Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams.

When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark—where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya’s nightmares, awaits. Now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it’s up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer’s over.

BUY LINKS | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo

Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventure sparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, she graduated to writing short stories and novels by high school.

From a very young age she loved reading stories where kids saved the world, tamed dragons, wielded magic, flew spaceships, became the chosen one. She desperately searched for characters in books who looked like her and was always disappointed to find none, which fueled her early interest in writing.

Before HarperTeen acquired her Young Adult Epic Fantasy, Kingdom of Souls, Rena spent 10 years in the query trends–writing across multiple genres and age groups in the pursuit of publication. In 2017, she entered Pitch Wars, a popular and highly sought-after online mentorship program that included an agent showcase round. Rena’s entry (then titled “The Last Witchdoctor”) received multiple offers of representation. She signed with Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary shortly after, and the manuscript went on to sell in a heated auction.

In addition to the Kingdom of Souls series, Rena also has written a middle grade epic fantasy titled Maya and The Rising Dark debuting in Spring 2020, pitched as Stranger Things meets Percy Jackson, that sold in a pre-empt to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

On a personal note, Rena loves all things science fiction and fantasy, ghosts, and superheroes. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

If you want to see other posts on the blitz tour be sure to check out the schedule!

Happy reading!

Review | Manga Classics: Anne of Green Gables by Crystal Chan

Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert were planning to adopt an orphaned boy to help out around their farm, Green Gables – instead, they got Anne Shirley. A plucky redheaded girl with a vibrant imagination, Anne turns first Green Gables and then the rest of Prince Edward Island on its ear.

Manga Classics® is proud to be the only authorized manga adaption of Anne of Green Gables by the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery, with a foreword by Kate McDonald Butler – granddaughter of the original author!

This volume presents a faithful recreation of this classic kids novel, from the Lake of Shining Waters to the Dryad’s Bubble!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love Anne of Green Gables, it’s something I was introduced to as a child and always has that nostalgic feeling to it. I really enjoyed this retelling of it as it condensed down a lot of the key scenes and themes of the original story. The art style perfectly captured Anne and the other characters, with everyone being unique and recognizable. Sometimes these manga re-imaginings don’t lend themselves as well to classics, but this one fit perfectly.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman

The Line Tender meets The Secret Horses of Briar Hill in this hopeful, heartfelt story about one girl’s search for legendary horses and her quest to piece her family back together.

Twelve-year-old Claire Barton doesn’t like the “flutter feeling” that fills her chest when she worries about the future, but she knows what she loves: the land that’s been in her family for three generations; her best friend Maya; her family’s horses, Sunny and Sam; and her older brother Andy. That’s why, with Andy recently sent to rehab after a DUI, and her parents planning to sell the horses, Claire’s world feels like it might flutter to pieces.

When Claire learns about equine therapy, she imagines a less lonely future that keeps her family together, brother and horses included. But, when she finds mysterious wild horses in the woods behind her house, she realizes she has a bitmore company than she bargained for. With this new secret-and a little bit of luck-Claire will discover the beauty of change, the power of family, and the strength within herself.

Buy Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, but it thoroughly hit me in the feels. I really enjoyed Claire as a character as she was navigating through dealing with her brother being in rehab for his addiction to pain pills, dealing with anxiety and in general figuring out who she was independently from her brother (or anyone else). I was really in love with how the feeling of anxiety was described throughout the book, Claire likening it to feeling like birds fluttering around her and inside her – though it wasn’t immediately called anxiety, I knew exactly what that feeling was.

I also really enjoyed Claire’s journey to discovering what she was seeing when she went into the forest and the unwinding mystery that occurred. Claire was really on a journey to find herself and figure out who she wanted to be – as well as come to terms with the truths surrounding her brother’s addiction.

I would definitely say there are trigger warnings for anxiety and addiction (and what happens to the loved ones of addicts). I won’t lie, I lost my older brother due to a drug related death – so there were parts of this story that hit me between the eyes, especially when Claire was inside her own thoughts, Baughman definitely rings true with the internal conflicts she gave Claire and her family as they tried to navigate their new normal. All in all I absolutely loved this book and Claire’s overall journey.

I also created a playlist of songs that spoke to me regarding some of the feelings in the book, you can access it on Spotify, but I’ve also included the list of songs below.

  1. Wild Horses by The Sundays
  2. GET UP by Shinedown
  3. Waving Through a Window (Dear Evan Hansen)
  4. Second Change by Shinedown
  5. Lithium by Evanescence
  6. Serenade by Jim Brickman

Sarah R. Baughman is an author whose debut middle grade novel, THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE, is forthcoming from Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in 2019. A former middle and high school English teacher currently working as an educational consultant, Sarah graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Michigan, where she studied English, German, and Education. Sarah is represented by Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates. When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, running, or getting outdoors with her family.

Author Links | Website | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Make sure to also check out all the other tour stops!

Also, want to win a finished copy of The Wild Path? Click here to enter the giveaway! It is U.S. only and ends on September 22nd.

Happy reading!

Review | Labyrinth: Coronation Series

When I heard that there was a graphic novel series which was a prequel to Labyrinth, and specifically was the story of how Jareth became the Goblin King – I had to read it. So I started picking up the individual issues through on my Kindle and reading through them that way.

Regarding the series as a whole, I really enjoyed it. It was told in two timelines, one being following Maria as she tried to save her baby who had been stolen, and the other following Jareth’s perspective while Sarah was making her way through the labyrinth to save Toby. It was really interesting seeing the two storylines and their similarities, as well as which characters were present in both timelines.

The art style was amazing and perfectly fit the Labyrinth aesthetic created by Jim Henson all those years ago. If I had to give the story a star rating overall, I would probably go with a strong four stars, but my breakdown by issue is below.

Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #1 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #2 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #3 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #4 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #5 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #6 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #7 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #8 – 3 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #9 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #10 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #11 – 4 stars
Labyrinth: Coronation Issue #12 – 3 stars

There were definitely parts of the series that I didn’t love, but I would definitely recommend any Labyrinth fan picking this up as it is a solid prequel and does help to fill in some holes here and there.

Happy reading!

Discussion | Reading Atmosphere

We all have our ideal reading atmosphere’s, dedicated areas or spaces that we prefer to read in. We may have a favorite chair, pillow, favorite drinks and snacks and more. I even have preferred sounds I like to listen to when I’m really in the reading zone.

Now, sometimes I don’t listen to anything, but if I am really wanting to get lost in reading then I definitely put in some earbuds and turn something on. One of my favorite things to listen to are ASMR rooms. I’m not one for traditional ASMR sounds but nature sounds, soft music etc is something I enjoy.

I also really like just general ambient sound, with my favorites being either the ocean or rain sounds – they are definitely sounds that are soothing to me so they allow me to immerse myself.

The other thing I turn to, depending on my mood, is music. Sometimes if I know of an artist that fits the mood of the book I’m reading, or a playlist that really lends to the vibe then I will listen away.

What do you guys listen to when reading? Do you prefer silence, or do you like music/sounds like I do?

Happy reading!