Review | Midway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuire

“The trouble with wanting to do the right thing is that frequently the right thing today is the wrong thing for tomorrow, or the wrong thing for the people who are standing between you and your perfect, platonic future. The wild was the wrong place for our elephant, just like the recycler was the wrong place for Billie, and the cities were the wrong place for me.”

A tale of bioengineering, a carnival, and the cost of finding one’s right place.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really enjoyed the way McGuire built this world, which was a futuristic look at Earth when bioengineering and changes due to things such as climate change border on the extreme. Beyond that there was also the theme of this carnival and the carnival life within the family that ran it. It was the perfect length for the story it was trying to tell and I could see it as part of a bigger story, but it did move at a pretty slow pace for me. At times it felt like the language just didn’t flow as well as McGuire’s writing typically does, so that did bring down my enjoyment a bit.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak | Review

For fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Kay Andrews, comes New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak’s newest standalone work of women’s fiction, a big, sweeping novel about family and the ties that bind and challenge us. In this novel, three generations of women from the same family share a house and work together at a bookstore in Colonial Beach over the course of a summer.

How do you start a new chapter when you haven’t closed the book on the last one?

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.

BUY LINKS | Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository | Walmart | Target

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was very excited about the premise of this book when I read it, let’s be honest almost anything featuring a bookstore could pull me in, but I finished this one with a feeling of wanting more and yet, also wanting less. It felt like there were too many different plots and sub-plots to be able to concentrate on any of them fully, and in some instances it felt like there were holes. It would have been nice to have some backstory on her missing husband, since he’s already missing at the beginning of the book. While I did enjoy the story overall, I would have liked some things to be paired down and refined, while I would have liked more from the ending. That being said there were a lot of things I did enjoy in this book, such as the characters and some of the threads being woven in the plots. It was an enjoyable read overall.

Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a five-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Bookbuyer’s Best, and many other awards. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit http://www.brendanovak.com.

SOCIAL | Twitter @Brenda_Novak | Facebook @BrendaNovakAuthor |
Instagram @authorbrendanovak | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Review | The Medusa Quest by Alane Adams

Phoebe Katz is back on a new mission to save Olympus and undo the fallout from her first visit. Damian has troubling news—the epic mythology stories in the books are changing. Instead of Perseus slaying Medusa and becoming a hero, the books now say he’s turned to stone. Worse, thanks to Phoebe slaying the Nemean lion and the Lernean hydra to complete the Eye of Zeus, Hercules failed his first two trials—which means he’s not the immortal hero he’s supposed to be. After speaking with the oracle who brought her to New York, Phoebe learns that without great heroes, the entire fabric of Greek mythology is in peril. She must go back to Olympus and right the history she wrecked. To do that, she must embark on a quest to collect the items she will need to help Perseus defeat Medusa, including the curved blade the Argus Slayer, the winged shoes of Hermes, and Hades’s Helmet of Invisibility, and convince Hercules to complete his new trials without giving up—despite the efforts of a powerful force that will stop at nothing to see the demi-god children of Zeus destroyed. Can Phoebe collect the items she needs and save Olympus once again?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After finishing The Eye of Zeus I almost immediately picked up the Medusa Quest as I was eager to see what Phoebe and her friends got themselves into this time. I liked the element of Phoebe having to face repercussions of her actions and it was great again to see her and her friends learning and growing as they went on their quest to correct things. I again really loved Adams’ writing style and the way the story flowed naturally. Yes there were immature moments, but that’s suitable for the age range this series is intended for. All in all I’ve really enjoyed both books in the series so far and will definitely read more from Adams.

Happy reading!

Review | Hopeless, Maine: Personal Demons by Tom and Nimue Brown

Trapped on an island off the coast of Maine, the people of Hopeless find life a little darker and more dangerous with every day that passes. The number of orphans rises continually, but who can say what happens to their parents? Plenty of the bodies are never found. This is not the stuff of happy, careless childhoods, it is instead fertile ground for personal demons. In Hopeless, the demons are not always abstract concepts. Some of them have very real teeth, and very real horns.

The island has been isolated for a very long time. Partly because of being small and forgotten, partly because the rocks and currents do not encourage visitors, Hopeless is surrounded by fog and overrun with nightmarish creatures, from small things with tentacles to demons and vampires. It’s a peculiar place. Here, almost anything can happen, from the weird and unsettling to the darkly funny. With a cast of freaks, nutters and the odd power crazed psychopath, life in Hopeless is seldom dull.

Hopeless is also about who you choose to be. The tale is a protest against apathy, and against the small evils that everyone takes for granted. The worst monsters frequently aren’t the ones with the obvious teeth–who are merely dangerous by nature–but the apparently ordinary people who choose to do hideous things.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As soon as I saw the coloring and art style of this one I knew I wanted to pick it up, that’s what instantly sucked me in. The styling is very gothic while at the same time having some paranormal and Lovecraftian touches. I did feel like this could have used backstory, or snippets here and there giving more of an explanation as there were definitely times I was a little confused. Still, I really enjoyed the imagery and mysteries that were slowly revealing themselves as I read. It intrigued me enough that I would definitely pick up the rest of the installments in the series.

Happy reading!

Review | Poems for the End of the World by Katie Wismer

If you are underwhelmed by me
please just let me go

Poems for the End of the World is a coming of age collection and exploration of the confusing and disillusioning trek through young adulthood in a broken world. Divided into four chapters—waking up, growing pains, crushing realities, and disappointing beginnings—this collection covers everything from self-discovery and heartbreak to chronic illness and fresh starts.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been eager to get this collection since it came out and I finally got a chance. This poetry collection hit me pretty hard as I could identify with a lot of the themes that were featured. While Katie has full trigger warnings on her website I would definitely point out content warnings for sexual abuse, chronic illness and anxiety. She perfectly described some of the feelings and situations that went along with these topics, but also filled her words with impact and emotions. The language used was beautiful and succinct in getting the message across. There are poems that were hard to read because of the emotional impact, but others that I would love to read multiple times for the same reason. It’s a really strong collection that hits you hard and makes you think.

Happy readinig!

Review | Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Seventeen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was kind of teetering between 3.5 stars and 4 stars for this one, but I bumped it up to a 4 because there were so many things I really did enjoy. First off, I felt we got a really good picture of Mia right from the beginning which was great. I think one of the best aspects of this books was the way it explored more than just her romantic relationship, but also her parental relationship and a friendship. I also really enjoyed all the details that were woven into the different places she went as they really did a good job of painting a picture of the ever romantic Paris. Personally I think me at a younger age would have probably given this book a higher rating, so I think it is perfect for it’s target audience. Overall I really enjoyed it and would definitely pick up more of the author’s books as I did enjoy her writing style and pacing.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne | Review

She knows what’s best for everyone but herself…

With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize—because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world—and her sister—to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, and she shouldn’t count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached—to her sister and her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate—and it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?

BUY LINKS | Harlequin  | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Walmart | Google | iBooks | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Though I’m relatively new to RaeAnne Thayne’s writing, I have been enjoying the titles I’ve picked up from her so far. Even though this book is within a series, it was nice to find that you really don’t need to have read the previous installment. I would definitely classify this one in women’s lit as the romance isn’t the main focus. Here we really focus on the relationship between the sisters as well as dealing with their personal struggles. It was very touching at points, but there were definitely sections of the book where the pacing felt like it slowed down a bit – not to the point of really being detrimental – but it was noticeable to me. All in all I really enjoyed this story and am glad that I got the chance to read it.

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @raeannethayne |
Facebook: @AuthorRaeAnneThayne | Instagram: @raeannethayne | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody | Review

A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods in this whimsical and cheeky middle grade fantasy debut—perfect for fans of Nevermoor and How to Train Your Dragon.

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him. 

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I am always into middle grade adventure stories, especially when they are fantasy based so I was super excited to get my hands on this one. I really enjoyed the aspect of Barclay not wanting to be a hero or have an adventurous life, it was a nice twist to the typically adventure story. I also really loved the world that Amanda Foody created and in many ways felt like a lot of the settings, based on the way she described them, could be imagined easily. That being said though, I think it was the perfect amount of world building and imagery for the target audience of younger readers and I think a lot of readers would be able to identify with at least one of the characters in the story. I couldn’t put this one down and am eagerly hoping I get to pick up any future books written in this world.

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After a double life as an accountant preparing taxes for multinational corporations, she now spends her free time brewing and fermenting foods much more easily obtained at her local grocery store. She lives in Boston, MA with a hoard of books guarded by the most vicious of feline companions, Jelly Bean.

Her books include The Shadow Game series and more. Her middle grade debut, Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice, hits shelves March 30, 2021, and her next YA novel, All of Us Villains, co-authored with Christine Lynn Herman, releases on November 9, 2021.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Want to check out other posts on the blog tour? You can check them out here!

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Trouble with Picket Fences by Teri Wilson | Review

She could teach him to turn lemons into lemonade.

All her life, Melanie Carlisle knew how to succeed in the face of failure. So when she finds herself pregnant—and her ex-boyfriend bows out, claiming he’s not the “picket fence type”—Melanie is on her own. Now she has a house—with a picket fence she wants gone. Cap McBride is dealing with his own problems, what with a potentially career-ending hearing loss and his surly teenager. So the last thing he wants to do is get involved with a single pregnant woman. As for fences? The only thing he knows how to do is put them up!

Lovestruck, Vermont

Will this fence make good neighbors into something more in the latest installment of award-winning author Teri Wilson’s Lovestruck, Vermont series?

Buy Links | Harlequin | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Walmart | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the first book I’ve read from this series, and while I do feel it can be read as a stand alone, it may be better if they are read in order as there are probably things in this book that spoil things in the first couple books. That being said I really enjoyed this very sweet love story. The love aspect did happen very quickly, but that doesn’t mean the story was over at that point. Our main characters legitimately have obstacles they have to overcome in their relationship and lives and I felt like the positivity that was reflected throughout the story played off of this well. I really enjoyed the writing style and pacing, which made this a quick and enjoyable read.

USA Today Bestselling Author Teri Wilson writes heartwarming romance with a touch of whimsy. Three of Teri’s books have been adapted into Hallmark Channel Original Movies, including UNLEASHING MR. DARCY (plus its sequel MARRYING MR. DARCY), THE ART OF US and NORTHERN LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS, based on her book SLEIGH BELL SWEETHEARTS. She is also a recipient of the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction for her novel THE BACHELOR’S BABY SURPRISE.

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

Happy reading!

Review | The Eye of Zeus by Alane Adams

Meet Phoebe Katz, a twelve-year-old foster kid from New York City who’s been bounced around the system her entire life. Things happen around Phoebe, but it’s not like they’re her fault! But when a statue of Athena comes to life, Phoebe gets the stunning news she’s the daughter of Zeus, has a twin brother named Perseus―and was sent away from ancient Greece as a baby to stop a terrible prophecy that predicted she would one day destroy Olympus. Athena warns Phoebe to stay in hiding, but when the vengeful god Ares kidnaps her beloved social worker, Phoebe has no choice―she has to travel back to ancient Greece and rescue him! There, Phoebe and her friends Angie and Damian discover a new prophecy, one that may fix everything. The catch: Phoebe has to collect talismans from six Greek monsters, including the fang from a nine-headed hydra, a talon from the Nemean lion, and a feather from the sphinx. No problem for a girl with the power to call up lightning bolts and change the weather! But can Phoebe collect them all and stop the prophecy before she destroys Olympus? 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I won’t lie, I enjoy pretty much any stories featuring mythology and while there are some notable series featuring Greek mythology, that doesn’t mean other stories featuring the same mythology can’t be enjoyed. I did enjoy Phoebe’s back story as it did set it apart and we do see some of the typical childhood behavior from others and herself that come from being in her situation. I did really enjoy the friendships she had and how she and her friends interacted, not always agreeing, but working together.

Her journey did harken to ‘hero’s journey’ stories (which most adventure stories follow) and was full of adventure, growth, colorful characters and obstacles to overcome. The illustrations peppered throughout the story were a nice surprise and a great addition. Phoebe was a well fledged out character, as were Damien and Angie. No one was always right and there was plenty of learning from mistakes or missteps. I think this is a great story for anyone looking for an adventure including mythology and look forward to reading further books in the series.

Happy reading!