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Book Tour: How to Save a Superhero, by Ruth Freeman

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the HOW TO SAVE A SUPERHERO by Ruth Freeman Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: HOW TO SAVE A SUPERHERO

Author: Ruth Freeman

Pub. Date: October 19, 2021

Publisher: Holiday House

Pages: 272

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads,Amazon, Kindle, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

BLURB:

Ten-year-old Addie knows that Superheroes aren’t real, and that they certainly don’t hide out in retirement communities, but she may just have to change her mind.

Addie and her mom never stay in one place too long. They’ve been up and down and all around the country. When her mom, Tish, gets a new job at Happy Valley Village Retirement Community in Pennsylvania, Addie believes they’ll be on the road again in a month. But this time, something is different–make that, someone. Mr. Norris, a grumpy resident of Happy Valley and. . .a former superhero?

Well, that’s what Marwa, whose mom also works at Happy Valley, would try and have Addie believe. Addie and her friend Dickson know better even if there are things they can’t explain. Like the time Mr. Norris was about to get hit by a car and was suddenly on the other side of the road or the way his stare seems to take root in Addie’s stomach.

When a man starts prowling the Happy Valley grounds, claiming to be the great-nephew of a resident, Addie, Marwa, and Dickson soon stumble into a grand conspiracy involving the Manhattan Project, a shady weapons company, and the fate of the human race, in this smart, funny middle grade novel.

Praise For HOW TO SAVE A SUPERHERO:

★ “Featuring a cast whose distinct personalities are clearly built out, Freeman’s imaginative, suspenseful, and well-paced novel of intergenerational friendship will keep readers guessing.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Behind an uncommonly savvy, redoubtable protagonist, Freeman stocks her cast with a diverse array of equally vivacious characters, including as lively and hilarious a group of resident seniors as ever was. . . . A clever, lively romp.”—Kirkus Reviews

SUMMARY:

Two friends. One pact. The performance of their lives.

Hannah Abbott is stuck in a dead-end relationship and at a job she loves but that barely pays the bills. The four walls of her tiny New York City apartment have never seemed so small. She’s barely toasted her thirtieth birthday when her old college friend Will knocks on her door with an unexpected proposal.

Will Thorne never forgot the marriage pact he made with Hannah, but he also never imagined he’d be the one to initiate it. One ex-fiancée and an almost-career-ending mistake later, however, he finds himself outside Hannah’s door, on bended knee, to collect on their graduation-night pinky promise.

With both of their futures at stake, Hannah and Will take a leap of faith.

Now, all they have to do is convince their friends and family that they’re madly in love. As long as they follow the list of rules they’ve drafted, everything should go smoothly. Except Will has never been good with rules, and Hannah can’t stop overthinking the sleeping arrangements. Turning thirty has never been so promising.

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

The map was no help at all. Fat raindrops fell from the trees overhead, hit the ink drawing, and turned the lines into blurry blue rivers and splotches. Wet leaves blew down and stuck to her raincoat like postage stamps. Everything around her smelled lost and lonely.

Was this really the right way? Uncle Tim and his brother-in-law, Matt, had said to follow the stream. Was that what they called this ditch going down between the trees with a trickle of dirty water in it? Addie wished her mom had shown her the way instead of giving her a pat, and a bit of a push, on the back and a “You’re good at maps, Addie. You’ll figure it out. You always do. And I’ll see you when you get there.”

A squeaky voice behind her made her jump.

“I’ve seen the most unusual insects in September.”

It was this little kid with a huge backpack coming

up behind her. Because he never took his eyes off the ground, he had to push his glasses up his nose about every other second.

He talked in a slow, precise kind of way like he was some scientist in a lab coat.

“Once . . . I found a caterpillar . . . with white bristles . . . and red spikes on its tail . . . like horns.” And he walked extra slow too, prying up stones and rotten sticks with one toe. When he squatted down to get a closer look at something, his backpack made him look like one of those million- year- old tortoises.

“Want to see a slug?” Not getting an answer, he looked up, his excitement fading. “Is that a map? Are you lost or something?”

“No, I’m good,” said Addie, turning and walking away into the woods.

“Okay. Well, see ya.” He launched his backpack into place and began to wander off.

Addie stopped. Face-to-face with one tree after another, she had to admit she had no idea where she was going.

“Wait!” she called before the kid got too far away.

“Do you know where Happy Valley Village is?”

“Sure,” he said over his shoulder. “That’s where I’m going.”

And that was how Addie found her way: by following this kid called Dickson down the rocky path he called the ravine to the retirement place where his mother and Addie’s mother both worked. She also found out, though she certainly hadn’t asked, that he was in fourth grade, a year behind Addie, he had skipped first grade because he was so smart, and slugs have green blood.

Following him was slow going, since he kept stopping to poke around in the dirt. At least Addie didn’t have to talk to him. While Bug Boy droned on with some new bit of information, Addie looked at the trees that arched over her, shutting out most of the afternoon light. It wasn’t like Mount Repose, Maine, where she and her mom, Tish, had lived with Granny Lu. That was spruce country, where zillions of needles combed the wind soft as a sigh and the air smelled of Christmas trees. Here, in Pennsylvania, there were leaves. Leaves rustling like colored paper, falling thick like pencil shavings and sticking to the soggy ground, where they settled into the mud and smelled of mold.

She and Tish had lived with Granny Lu ever since Addie was born. Addie’s mom was the youngest after four brothers. Definitely the baby of the family, until she grew up and had Addie when she was seventeen.

Addie was short for Adelaide. The story was that Granny Lu had cornered Tish one day when she was pregnant.

Addie could just picture it: Granny Lu asking in her gravelly voice, which did a good job of hiding the tenderness inside:

“So, Tish, got any baby names in mind?”

Knowing Tish, she had probably shrugged and tried to ignore her mother. As the one and only girl in the family, Tish had been named after Granny Lu’s own dear, sweet mother, Letitia, maybe because Granny Lu was hoping to pass some of that sweetness on to her baby girl.

Granny Lu went on to say that if Tish’s baby girl was named after one of Granny Lu’s dearly beloved sisters, Granny Lu would leave all her money to Tish and Addie.

Well, Tish always said Granny Lu had a sense of humor. Tish didn’t think anything in Granny Lu’s house was worth more than $3.50, but you never can be sure, can you? So Adelaide it was, and Addie she became. Which, in the long run, wasn’t so bad, since the other sisters were Eunice and Leona, and, thank goodness, no one had suggested using Granny Lu’s real name, which was Lucretia.

Life with Granny Lu had been pretty good, especially when she and Tish were getting along. Granny Lu had opened Lulu’s House of Hair in her extra bedroom even before her husband died young. There was one chair for clients in front of a jeweled mirror, one chair at a sink, and one attached to a dome hair dryer. Twinkly lights went across the ceiling. A tinselly pink Christmas tree came out in November and stayed till February, when the strings of red hearts came out. Granny Lu was into seasonal decorations and bought way, way too many things on Home Shopping TV.

As soon as she was old enough, Addie was put in charge of decorations and sweeping up for an allowance. She loved leaving the school bus behind and running up the walk to chat with Mrs. Donald about the weather, or make Ms. Schmidt a mug of tea, or see the latest pictures of Mrs. Leroux’s cat.

The one unbreakable rule was that no client was kept past 4 p.m., because that was when Granny Lu and Addie had business to attend to. Some days it was Home Shopping TV. “That commemorative coin is going to be worth a jackpot someday . . . just you wait and see!” And some days it was exercising with their favorite videos, such as Bollywood Dance Craze. Addie and Granny Lu had matching rainbow leggings. Granny Lu was all about keeping up with the latest styles in clothes, haircuts, and eye shadows, and she tried to pass this along to Addie, without much success. Addie didn’t care much about looking good, but she definitely liked the dance routines, and the decorations for each season, and she loved Granny Lu.

Then Granny Lu died and everything changed.

Since then, Addie and Tish had bounced around to each of Tish’s brothers, with a few cousins thrown in. They were on the last ones: Nice Uncle Tim and Crazy Aunt Tina. Aunt Tina had a brother, Matt, who worked in landscaping at the Happy Valley Village Retirement Community, which was how Tim got his sister, Tish, a job there. Owing to a few minor run- ins Tish had had with the law, it wasn’t easy, but Tim and Matt convinced them to try her for a month. So they had one month to make it work.

Addie didn’t have high hopes, as Granny Lu would have put it. Tish wasn’t one to put down roots and stick around anywhere for too long. This new school was Addie’s eleventh, if you counted preschool.

“Wait till Wilma sees this millipede!”

Dickson was holding something with a lot of legs. Addie gave a snort.

“She’s in for a real treat. Who’s Wilma?”

“You’ll see. She works at Happy Valley Village . . . HVV, for short. There it is.”

Addie stopped. At the bottom of the ravine the trickle had grown into a full- fledged stream and flowed into a wide, round pond. It was surrounded by a lawn that stretched up a sloping hill to the biggest old house Addie had ever seen. There was a round tower sticking up at one end, and a long grassy terrace edged by a low stone wall. On both sides of the old house were modern buildings stretching out from it like giant arms.

What made Addie stare, though, was how, at that moment, the sun burst from under the dark gray clouds like a spotlight turning every window to a blinding melting gold. Maples beside the house blazed like rubies and topazes.

Addie could barely breathe. Maybe it’s a sign, she thought. Maybe things could turn out all right here. She thought she could feel something good starting down in her toes. . . .

She shook her head. Whoa, who was she kidding? Granny Lu always said, among other things, “Don’t get your high- flyin’ hopes flyin’ too high.”

Chapter 2

Push that door buzzer three times. That’s how they know it’s me.”

Dickson had his hands full of millipede.

They were standing at what Dickson called the back door, a heavy metal door next to a loading dock and big trash containers. As they waited, he held the millipede up to the remote camera staring down at them.

“Look, Wilma!”

The door was yanked open by the biggest brown-skinned woman Addie had ever come face-to-face with. Actually, it wasn’t Wilma’s face, which towered over them, but Wilma’s generous chest that Addie stood in front of.

“Hi, kids,” said Wilma, out of breath. “Okay, listen up.” She bent down so her face was suddenly inches away from them. She had a big, husky whisper. “We are deep in Crazy Time here. You won’t believe the trouble. Hey,” she said, looking at Addie, “you’re the new girl. What’s your name?”

“Addie.”

“Okay, Addie, hi there. I’m Wilma, head nurse on this hall. We’ll get better acquainted, but for now you’ve both got to hide.” She wiped her shiny forehead.

Dickson started to say, “What . . . ?”

But Wilma didn’t miss a beat.

“Dickson, honey, ditch the worm. We got a new resident today, the dude I was telling you about, and he’s gone and disappeared. Everybody’s hunting for him. Security, nurses, companions, even Mrs. Sloat herself. If she sees you there’ll be all kinds of questions. Take Addie here and head right downstairs. Got it?”

Addie had just enough time to see a long carpeted hallway that looked like a fancy hotel before Wilma whisked them through a door marked stairs.

“I’ll come get you two as soon as I can,” she said.

“And don’t worry, Addie, I’ll tell your mom you’re here. What a first day on the job she’s having!” She shut the door firmly behind them.

Dickson led the way down the stairs to the floor below. This hallway was nothing like the one above. Weak fluorescent lights in the ceiling flickered and hummed. On one side the wall was bare cinder blocks with no windows; on the other there were floor-to-ceiling wire cages.

“Hey, what is this, a prison?”

“Nah,” said Dickson. “It’s where the residents store their stuff they don’t need. See? Each one has a room number on it. This is the one we want. Mrs. Firillo lets me use hers while I wait for my mother after school.”

He fished a hidden key out through the chicken wire and opened the padlock. He swung the wire door open and disappeared into the darkness. In the thin, flickering light, Addie couldn’t see where he’d gone.

Then a lamp switched on.

“Okay, come on in,” he called.

She stuck her head in the doorway. Dickson was scrunched up at one end of a comfy sofa. The light from a standing lamp helped him see what was in a plastic tub beside him.

“Do you want chips or cookies?” he said, looking up. “Des from the kitchen leaves snacks here for me. And there’s bottles of juice too. The food here is great.”

Addie settled at the other end of the big brown sofa. This place was definitely weird and creepy, but pepperoni- pizza- flavored chips could make anything a little better.

“How long do we have to stay here?” she said.

Dickson hunched over a book, stuffing fistfuls of chips in his mouth.

“Depends. Until our mothers are done work. I’ve even taken a nap in here once or twice if my mother had a late meeting. If it’s quiet upstairs, Wilma gets me, and we watch TV up in the lounge. But today, with all this stuff going on, who knows?”

He looked up from his book.

“That reminds me,” he said, pointing at her. “I’m not supposed to be here. If you meet my mother, you CANNOT tell her I come over right after school and hang out here, okay? I’m supposed to go to an after- school program called Future Economists, Entrepreneurs, Business Owners, and Learners, FEEBOL for short, but I hate it. I hang out here instead.”

“Fine with me.” Addie shrugged. She couldn’t care less about him.

Dickson went right back to his book. He was done talking. It must be a good book, but Addie noticed that the big, splashy pictures weren’t insects.

Unscrewing the top of a juice bottle, Dickson caught her staring. He showed her the cover.

“WWE,” he said.

Addie didn’t know what that meant.

“World Wrestling Entertainment,” he said. “Just my MOST FAVORITE thing in the whole world! Look at this!”

He held up his right arm and made a fist, squeezing until his face turned red.

“See that?” he said, holding his breath. “That’s muscle!”

Addie looked at the skinny arm poking out of his oversized T-shirt, which read I’ve got the power! In lightning- flash letters. It wasn’t worth a comment.

“Haven’t you ever watched WWE on TV?”

Addie shook her head. She had no interest in keeping the conversation going, but he was waiting for an answer.

“My grandma and me were more into Home Shopping and Fitness TV.” Though, Addie thought to herself, Granny Lu might have gotten a kick out of those bare chested guys in crazy costumes and spandex.

The look he gave her showed Dickson thought the conversation had clearly run out of gas. He went back to reading.

Cooped up with Bug Boy, Addie had nothing to do but look around the storage compartment. She wondered if Mrs. Firillo might be into Home Shopping TV too. Every inch was taken up with stuff. Chairs piled with boxes were crammed next to a coatrack filled with clothes bags. A birdbath held up a large clock with no hands. On the floor were bags of dog food and potting soil beside stacks of flowerpots. A tangle of Christmas lights lay on top of a bureau with a dusty mirror hanging above it.

Addie fished her map notebook out of her backpack. That was what she did when she got bored . . . say, for instance, if she found herself spending time in an old lady’s storage compartment with nothing to do. Dickson might have his WWE, but she had her maps.

She flipped through the pages. There were maps of her old bedroom, Granny Lu’s living room, the hair salon, the garage where they’d open the big door on hot summer afternoons to drink ice tea and watch TV or exercise. There was a map she’d made of the campsite by the ocean where Tish had taken Addie for what she called “glamping . . . glamorous camping!” after she’d had a fight with Granny Lu. By then Granny Lu was pretty sick and thin, and when they came back a week later, she was in the hospital.

Addie had wanted to show Granny Lu the map of the campsite and put it into the Dream Box where she and Granny Lu kept their special things. Addie had made the campsite over- the- top beautiful, way more beautiful than it really was. Granny Lu would have loved it. But when they got back, the house was filled with family coming and going to the hospital, friends and neighbors bringing food. When Addie saw Granny Lu in the hospital, she was still and very sleepy. She patted Addie’s hand and couldn’t say more than a few words. Later, Addie asked different people in the house about the Dream Box, but no one had seen it.

When they left the house two years ago, after it was rented out, she’d made maps of the roads they took to each of Tish’s brothers’ places so that, one day, she could find her way back. Kind of like a trail of bread crumbs in one of those old fairy tales. Addie thought Granny Lu would like to know she was keeping her bearings, keeping her feet on the ground, and holding on to some sense of direction.

She turned to a blank page. What would she draw now? She didn’t feel like drawing the storage compartment. Maybe a map of Uncle Tim and Aunt Tina’s house. She could draw their living room and use it for a treasure hunt map for Bella, who was two and a half. Addie had never lived with little kids before and wasn’t sure at first what it would be like, but she found it was kind of fun to come home at the end of the day and be in a two- and-a- half- year old’s world. She got Bella to dance along to music, sometimes getting eight- month- old Logan to join them in his wheely walker. Aunt Tina even said no one could keep them busy like Addie.

Addie didn’t know how long they’d be there but, for the moment, it was home. She would need to draw a map of Happy Valley Village when she got to know it better too. If Tish kept her job, that is.

As Addie was thinking about the new map, she didn’t realize she was staring at the dusty mirror on the far wall. One minute she was zoned out, the next minute everything changed with a snap. There was nothing different to see or hear, but she knew. Absolutely. There was someone in the storage compartment with them.

It was the mirror. She held her breath. Everything looked the same as it had a second ago, but in the dusty mirror above the bureau, she saw it. An eye, so dark it seemed to beam a ray of pure energy through time and space. Straight at her.

Chapter 3

In front of the bureau and mirror was an overstuffed armchair with its back to her. Seeing the eye reflected in the mirror made Addie notice the tuft of scraggly gray hair sticking up from the chair. Nothing moved, not a hair, not a blink.

Then the hall door opened with such a bang, both Addie and Dickson jumped.

“Dickson, you there?” a man’s voice called.

Dickson bounced off the sofa, crunching over the chips he dropped.

“Yeah, right here!” He shoved his feet into his sneakers without bothering to tie the laces. Dickson filled Addie in. “ Brad. He’s in charge of the gym. He’s helping me train.”

Addie could hear Brad before she saw him, and when he got to the doorway, she could see why. Brad, young and fit in an HVV hoodie and sweat pants, wore an ID badge around his neck with an impressive array of keys. He held a cell phone and heavy- duty flashlight in one hand, a large walkie- talkie that crackled and zapped in the other.

“Hey, Dickson, have you seen anyone down here?” Brad saw Addie on the sofa. “Hi, you’re . . . ?”

“That’s Addie,” said Dickson. “Her mother started working here today.”

“Oh, Tish, yeah, I just met her,” said Brad. “Hey, have either of you seen anyone?”

Addie shook her head.

“Brad, can I help you look?” said Dickson.

“I don’t know. We’ve got a real situation going on here. Maybe it’d be better if you stayed out of the way.”

“Oh, come on, at least let me check things out with you down here.”

Brad thought a second.

“Okay, just the storage units, then I’ve got to do a sweep of the rest of the lower level.”

“Do you have an extra flashlight?”

Brad pulled a flashlight from his bulging hoodie pocket and handed it to Dickson.

“Addie, you want to come?” said Dickson.

Addie thought a second, thinking about that feeling of someone else being in the storage compartment, but shook her head. She must have imagined it. “You’ll be back, though, right?”

“Yeah, don’t worry,” said Dickson. He hopped after Brad, trailing long shoelaces behind him.

Addie could hear Brad’s deep voice and Dickson’s chirps as they went down the hall, taking time to peer into every storage area.

She opened a bag of cookies and wished she had some music she could turn on.

Then she heard it. She caught her breath. A sound deep and low like distant thunder that Addie felt shuddering inside her before she actually heard it. It came again, only this time it was bigger, like breakers from the open ocean pounding the shore.

“Excuse me . . . trying to clear my throat.” A growl of a voice came from the armchair. A hand like a giant claw gripped the chair’s arm, and a head covered with wild hair appeared around the side.

“Is the coast clear?”

Underneath two bristly eyebrows, the old guy’s eyes were startling, they were so dark and penetrating. That was the only word Addie could think of. It was like they had their own force field looking right through her to the other side and back again.

“I said, are they gone? Can I make my escape?”

Addie had turned to stone, but now she made herself breathe.

“Are you escaping?” she said, her voice wobbly.

“Well, what do you think I’m doing? Sitting here for the fun of it?”

Addie was not about to let him get away with that.

“How do I know?” she snapped.

He looked at her with those eyes.

“Stop looking at me like that,” she muttered.

He glared at her, then sat back in the chair. He sighed. “I thought you were helping me make my escape.”

When he spoke again, his voice had lost some of its fierceness.

“Are those cookies you’re eating?” he said.

“Chocolate chip,” said Addie.

There was a pause. She thought he would ask for some, but he didn’t.

“Want some? There’s plenty.”

“I would appreciate it. I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast.”

She unwound herself from the sofa and gathered up a selection of cookies, chips, and juice. She could hear Brad and Dickson far down the hall.

She walked slowly around to the front of the chair, not sure what to expect. And there he was. A grizzled old bear of a man in a wrinkly tweed jacket. It was a large chair, but he took up most of it. He wasn’t fat at all. He looked big and powerful and, like a bear, unpredictable. He watched her with those eyes of his.

“Here,” she said, holding up snacks to take his eyes off her. “Chocolate chip, sour cream and chive, pepperoni pizza, French onion, or hot tamale, and juice: apple- strawberry- cranberry or mango- peach- pineapple.”

“For crying out loud,” he rasped, “can’t they keep things simple anymore? Why do they have to go around messing everything up? Plain old apple juice, lemonade, maybe grape juice. That’s all anybody needs.”

“Okay, so here, take the chocolate chip cookies and the apple juice and pretend the strawberries and cranberries aren’t there.”

He grumbled but he took them. Then he had trouble tearing the plastic bag of cookies open and unscrewing the juice bottle. Addie had to help.

“So, why are you escaping?”

He finished the whole bottle of juice first.

“Because I don’t want to be here.” He said it as if it couldn’t be more obvious.

“Then why are you here?”

He kept eating cookies as if he didn’t want to answer.

Finally, it came out.

“I fell.”

“So?”

“All right, I fell several times. I couldn’t get up. So they insisted I come here till I get steadier on my feet.”

“ ‘They,’ who’s ‘they’?”

“The Queen of the Underworld is what I call her. Mrs. Sloat, the director of this place. She decreed I have to be here, and I agreed to do it . . . for a month. But when I arrived today, I changed my mind. Your friend Brad can get me going again at my house.”

Addie noticed two gold- topped canes propped on the chair next to him.

“So, then, you really shouldn’t be escaping.”

“How kind of you to point that out.”

“Well, my mom started working here today, and she’s helped people with that kind of stuff. She only has a month too. To see if they like her.”

He huffed. “Well, good luck to her. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Mrs. Sloat doesn’t like anybody.”

“I know, I know. My grandma used to say life is nothing but a cold, wet smack in the kisser, right?”

He looked at her as if he was about to ask a question, then decided against it. He finished the cookies.

“I might try some of those awful chips,” he said.

Addie handed him a bag.

“Where were you going to go if you escaped?”

“My house is just over there.” He leaned his head in one direction. “I live in the old farmhouse. This whole place belonged to my family, but I had to sell it and now it’s . . . this . . . institution.” He snorted. “Happy Valley Village! Ha! It’s not happy, it’s not in a valley, and it’s certainly not my idea of a village!”

He sounded disgusted. “But I get to live here as long as . . . well, Mrs. Sloat is just waiting for me to die so she can get her hands on the whole place. So that’s why I have to get better and move home again.”

He shook his head and growled. “Living here is a misery. I miss having my own things, I miss the peace and quiet, and I miss my workshop. I’m a tinkerer, an inventor, you know. Have you ever heard of the staple remover? The salad spinner?”

Addie said, “Wait . . . you invented those?”

She thought it was more likely he was an inventor of stories.

“Well, I did, but I didn’t get credit for them. I was coming up with a formula for superglue too, but someone else beat me to it.” He finished the bag of chips and made a face. “Can’t anyone make a plain old potato chip anymore?” he grumbled. “And that’s another thing. The food here is terrible. Breakfast is the worst. Limp toast and coffee- colored water! And I really miss my stewed prunes. No one knows how to make stewed prunes anymore.”

Addie had never heard of them before, and they sounded terrible, but that was beside the point.

“Stewed prunes?” she said. “My mom makes great stewed prunes! She’s the best prune stewer ever!”

The things she had to do to help Tish keep her job.

Brad’s deep voice and Dickson’s squeaky voice were coming toward them.

The old man glared at her. He could hear Brad and Dickson too.

“I hate being here,” he growled, “and I suspect you’re lying, but if I could get some decent stewed prunes, then maybe the month wouldn’t be a complete disaster.”

Brad’s tall shape fi led the doorway.

“Wow, there you are, Mr. Norris! Gee, you know everyone’s looking for you?”

AUTHOR BIO:

Ruth Freeman is the author of One Good Thing About America, which received a Golden Kite Honor Award and was called a “touching novel” by School Library Journal. Ruth grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in Maine where she teaches English language learners in an elementary school. 

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

GIVEWAWAY:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of HOW TO SAVE A SUPERHERO, US Only.

Rafflecopter Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21353/?

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/11/2021YA Books CentralExcerpt
10/11/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
10/12/2021Kait Plus BooksExcerpt
10/12/2021BookHounds YAExcerpt
10/13/2021Pick a good bookExcerpt
10/13/2021The Momma SpotReview
10/14/2021Books Are Magic TooReview
10/14/2021two points of interedtReview
10/15/2021@enjoyingbooksagainReview
10/15/2021Jill PiscitelloExcerpt

Week Two:

10/18/2021FyreKatz BlogReview
10/18/2021@coffeebooksandmascaraReview
10/19/2021Locks, Hooks and BooksReview
10/19/2021Phannie the Ginger BookwormReview
10/20/2021Wonder StruckReview
10/20/2021MidnightbookloverReview
10/21/2021@abackwardsstoryReview
10/21/2021onemusedReview
10/22/2021The Bookwyrm’s DenReview
10/22/2021@fictitious.foxReview

Featured

Book Tour: Lala’s Words, by Gracey Zhang

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the LALA’S WORDS by Gracey Zhang Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: LALA’S WORDS: A Story of Planting Kindness

Author: Gracey Zhang

Pub. Date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.

Pages: 48

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads,Amazon, Kindle, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

From debut author-illustrator Gracey Zhang comes a timeless and timely picture book that celebrates the unassuming power of kind words.

BLURB:

Oh, there goes Lala! She carries a pot of water around the corner, down the block, and over the fence, to a patch of dirt and concrete where tiny weeds sprout. “Hello, hello, friends!” she whispers. Lala waters the plants every day, but it is her kind words that make them sway and nod.

Lala’s wild nature and quiet compassion enchant in this evergreen story about the power of kind words and the magic of being loved for who you are.

A Junior Library Guild selection

Praise for Lala’s Words:

★ “Zhang’s powerful debut lifts up the power words have to heal and feed.” ― Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Zhang’s style, blending warmhearted mltiethnic urban caricature with a bold-lined rough-and-tumble zeal, is wholly original. And like the compliment Lala pays her soon science-fiction-size plants, this debut picture book (which also depcits a burgeoning mother-daughter relationship) is ‘magnificient.'” ― New York TimesBook Review

“This is the enchanting story about the power of words.” ― Booklist

Lala’s enthusiasm blossoms on the page.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A verdant tale of leaves, language, and most importantly, love.” ― Molly Idle (author-illustrator of Pearl; Flora and the Flamingo)

“Much like an encouraging word, Gracey’s vibrant pictures will lift you up.” ― Christian Robinson (author of Another; illustrator of Last Stop on Market Street)

“A touching fantasy rooted in reality. Gracey’s art recalls children’s books masters . . . Ludwig Bemelmans, Roger Duvoisin, David Small. Yet it is fresh and lovely and hasn’t been seen before.” ― LeUyen Pham (illustrator of Bear Came Along; Grace for President)

Lala’s Words is really about magic; a special kind of magic called kindness. Like the sunlight and falling rain, kindness nourishes the world around us. This book, with its lovely art and whimsical story, will also nourish the reader.” ― The Fan Brothers (author-illustrators of Ocean Meets Sky; The Night Gardener)

EXCERPT:

AUTHOR BIO:

Gracey Zhang is an illustrator and animator with a love of storytelling and verse. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and received her degree in Illustration from RISD. She is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she can be found window watching from the train when she’s not scribbling away at her desk. Lala’s Words is her first picture book. You can visit her at graceyzhang.com.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

GIVEWAWAY:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LALA’S WORDS, US Only.

Rafflecopter Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21346/

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/4/2021Literati PsycheReview
10/4/2021For The Love Of The PageExcerpt
10/5/2021The Momma SpotExcerpt
10/5/2021#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee BlogExcerpt
10/6/2021Jazzy Book ReviewsExcerpt
10/6/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
10/7/2021Everyone’s LibrarianReview
10/7/2021@kristens.reading.nookReview
10/8/2021@curlygrannylovestoreadReview
10/12/2021Jill PiscitelloExcerpt

Week Two:

10/11/2021Lily Luchesi’s BlogExcerpt
10/11/2021@enjoyingbooksagainReview
10/12/2021More Books Please blogReview
10/12/2021BookHounds yaReview
10/13/2021NerdophilesReview
10/13/2021Bea’s Book NookReview
10/14/2021The Adventures of a Travelers WifeExcerpt
10/14/2021Little Red ReadsReview
10/15/2021Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt
10/15/2021Jaime’s WorldExcerpt
Featured

Author Spotlight with Sarita Leone

It’s my pleasure to introduce Sarita Leone, author of Snickerdoodle Snowmen. This looks like the perfect story to kick off the holiday season.

WELCOME SARITA!

Jill, thank you for hosting me here on your blog today. I am so grateful for the opportunity to chat a bit about my upcoming release.

Snickerdoodle Snowmen is part of The Wild Rose Press’ Christmas Cookies Series. It releases on November 3 but is available for pre-order now!

I’ve been asked what prompted me to write this holiday story. It was a number of things, really. I love stories about characters who seem so completely different that they look as if they’ll never find a “middle ground”—only to see that they are more alike than either believed. Also, I think setting has a lot to do with a story so placing this unlikely couple in North Pole, Alaska where they face bone-chilling cold and serious snowstorms raises the bar for them. Overcoming challenges is part of love, so I wondered if these two could pull together enough to get through. And then there were the Northern Lights, which are so beautiful and feel so magical. Love beneath the Lights? Yes, please!

I had a blast writing this story and I sincerely hope readers enjoy it. Romance, joy, and holiday magic…I think we could all use some of those things in our lives!  

Thank you for having me here today! Readers can find me on Facebook or on my blog, Sarita Leone Author. My books can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers.

https://saritaleoneauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon.com : sarita leone

The Blurb:

Baker Kris Kringles sends snickerdoodles from North Pole, Alaska, across the globe, spreading holiday cheer like confetti. But she has a secret not dusted with sugar, and an incentive to speak with a slick journalist that isn’t half-baked.

Reporter Santos Kloss hates Christmas. How could he not, with a name that makes him the butt of endless holiday jokes? He’s got one last assignment to complete before he can begin a new chapter in his life, so he grits his teeth, grabs a parka, and heads to Christmas central.

Both expect the interview to be a snap, but a snowstorm, insistent sisters, and a little holiday magic have very different ideas!

Buy link:

Snickerdoodle Snowmen (Christmas Cookies) – Kindle edition by Leone, Sarita. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Excerpt:

“You’re the newspaper man, aren’t you?”

Santos stopped the mug an inch from his lips and looked over the rim into the woman’s eyes. They were green—not merely hazel or a watered-down soda-bottle shade, but vibrantly colored, like the office parrot’s feathers. Polly, the newspaper mascot, looked like a beauty but swore like a sailor, courtesy of the newsmen who got their kicks from teaching the bird to talk. He’d even added some colorful Italian phrases to their feathered friend’s vocabulary. 

She stared at him with those piercing eyes so long and hard that his heart began to pound. He wondered if she read right into the truth of him. It sure felt that way. As if despite his nonchalant entrance, small talk, and even observing her figure, she realized he wasn’t some fellow off the street, in for a coffee and cookies. He resisted the urge to pull his jacket closed.

Great. Precisely what he didn’t need. A dame with a brain, a killer attribute that never failed to stir something deep within him.

The stirring hadn’t ever proved deep enough to keep a woman, so he tried to steer clear of romantic involvements. But damn, it felt as if she reached into his soul with those incredible eyes.

Santos lifted his shoulders, then let them drop. He took a long swallow of joe before setting the mug on the counter. “Guilty as charged. I’m from the New York Daily, here to do a story on some cookies that I’m told are made in this shop and sent to crazy, obsessed Christmas fanatics all over the world.”

The minute he said it he realized he’d stuck his foot in his mouth. Pretty far down his throat, too.

Featured

Author Spotlight with Jana Richards

I’d like to offer a warm welcome to author Jana Richards.  Enjoy today’s spotlight on her latest release, Unexpected – Book 3, Masonville Series.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Unexpected – Book 3, Masonville series

By Jana Richards

Genre: Small town contemporary romance

Themes: Marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, second-chance love, family conflict

Keywords: smalltown romance, addiction, damaged hero, infertility, troubled past,

ISBN: 978-1-5092-3829-3 Paperback
           978-1-5092-3830-9 Digital

Length: 352 pages

Heat Level: Spicy – R

Release Date: September 27, 2021

Cover Artist: Rae Monet

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CG2MVS7

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-unexpected-l-rosamond-richards/1114738832?ean=2940162376996

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/unexpected/id1580981690

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57013622-unexpected

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/unexpected-masonville-series-book-3-by-jana-richards

Short Links:

Amazon  ~  B & N  ~  iBooks

Tagline: A marriage of convenience. An unexpected love.

Blurb:

Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife’s parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.

Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She’s intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They’re determined to show the world, and the girls’ grandparents, two loving parents.

Their marriage of convenience turns to unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie’s efforts to save their family as betrayal-they could lose everything, including each other.

Excerpts:

Excerpt #1 – 281 words

“Is there anything I can say to make you change your mind about running away?”

“Say you’ll marry me.”

The words were out of his mouth before he knew he was going to say them. Jamie stared at him, eyes wide.

“What?”

“Marry me. You’re the only woman I’d trust with my girls.”

It suddenly made sense. If Jamie married him he could keep his kids.

She jumped to her feet, waking one of the dogs who’d been sleeping on the couch next to her. “What kind of marriage do you want, Ben? Are you proposing something for show?”

“No! I don’t know!” He stood and grasped her arms. “If you’re asking me if we’ll sleep together as man and wife, I don’t know.”

Her mouth twisted as if she was holding back tears. “You know I love the girls, but please don’t ask me to pretend. The last few months of my marriage, all I did was pretend. I pretended I had a husband who loved me. I swore I’d never do that again.”

Ben wanted to take her in his arms and hold her. He hated doing this to her, hated making her relive unhappy memories. He was asking too much of her and he didn’t blame her for saying no.

“Please, forget I said anything.”

He’d stick to his original plan. He and the girls would disappear. He’d change their names, go someplace where no one knew them. A life on the run wasn’t what he wanted for his children, but he’d do whatever he needed to do to keep them.

“Ben—”

“I’m sorry, Jamie.”

Ben was out the door before he could hear anymore of her objections.

Excerpt #2 – 385 words

Ben was assailed by an overwhelming need to talk to someone. Jamie had been a good listener. He’d told her more about his circumstances, and his feelings, than he’d shared with either his brother or sister. He wasn’t sure why he’d opened up to her. He only knew she’d been kind to the girls. And to him.

Before he could talk himself out of it, he was looking up the number for the clinic on his phone. A moment later he listened to the phone ring.

What the hell am I doing? She didn’t want to hear from him, especially in the middle of a busy day at work. He was about to end the call when someone answered.

“Masonville Veterinary Clinic. How can I help you?”

Ben cleared his throat. “Can I speak to Jamie, I mean Dr. Garven?”

“I’m sorry, she’s with a client right now—oh wait, she just left the examining room. Can I tell her who’s calling?”

Again, he considered hanging up. Instead he heard himself say, “It’s Ben Greyson.”

“One moment please.”

The line went silent as she put him on hold. Ben paced back and forth on a small patch of gravel road in front of the clinic. He stared at his shoes, noting the dust covering the smooth leather. He didn’t know what he was going to say to Jamie. Why was he even calling her?

“Hello, Ben?”

The moment he heard her voice, his whole body relaxed. “Hi. I’m sorry to bother you at work. I know you’re busy.”

“No problem. What can I do for you?”

“Well, the girls have been asking about meeting Hector. Do you think it would be all right if I brought them over some time?”

“Yes, of course. I’m not working on Friday. Why don’t you guys come over for dinner?”

“I wasn’t angling for a dinner invitation.”

“I know. I’m offering. I’m a fantastic cook, if I say so myself.”

That made him smile. “Now I’m intrigued. Thank you. What time should we be there?”

“Come a few minutes before five and I’ll introduce Bella and Sophie to Hector.”

“Okay. See you then.”

“See you. Bye.”

Ben grinned as he put his phone in his pocket and began walking back to his office.

Everything was going to be okay.

Excerpt #3 – 414 words

Jamie didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The logical part of her brain told her if Ben lost custody it wasn’t her fault. Circumstances beyond her control, and Ben’s, had conspired against them. But guilt and worry wouldn’t let her rest.

The crazy thing was she could see the four of them together as a family. And she could see herself with Ben. She’d been fighting her feelings for him since the day they met. Learning he was a recovering alcoholic was a shock, but she knew he was much more than that. He was kind and funny, and a loving father.

But he didn’t love her.

She remembered what it was like to watch, day by day, as Carson fell a little more out of love with her. Every day another piece of her soul withered. To the outside world they probably still looked like a happy couple. But she could feel Carson pull away bit by bit, like water trickling out of a broken vase. It was in the awkward silences between them, the unexplained absences, the times he didn’t reach for her in the night.

Eventually the slow trickle turned into a torrent and he was gone. It had nearly destroyed her.

Could she live with a man who didn’t love her for a second time? Could she willingly step into a relationship, knowing it would likely end the same way her relationship to Carson ended?

Thoughts and emotions whirled in her brain, making her dizzy.

At four a.m. she gave up all pretence of sleep. She went to the kitchen for a drink of water and as she ran the tap, she saw the lights were on in Ben’s house. He probably couldn’t sleep either.

What must he be going through? She couldn’t imagine losing a child.

The old longing ache she’d worked so hard to dispel pressed on her heart. This is your chance, her heart whispered. Maybe your only chance to have children.

Jamie groaned out load. She couldn’t say no. Ben and the girls needed her.

Yet how could she say yes and expose herself to almost certain heartbreak?

Maybe some things were more important. Maybe it was enough to be a mother to the girls and create a family with them. She couldn’t expect Ben to love her as well. It was asking too much.

She couldn’t let him lose the girls. And she couldn’t let her one chance to be a mother slip away.

Author Bio:

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://www.janarichards.com

Blog:  http://janarichards.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JanaRichards_

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Amazon UK Author Page:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG

Newsletter Signup: http://janarichards.com/contact.html#newsletter

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2892274Jana_Richards

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jana-richards

Featured

Guest Post with Jean M. Grant

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post on Jean M. Grant.

Follow the link for the post, but stick around to check out Jean M. Grant’s Bookshelf. She is an award winning author of several books including The Hundred Trilogy.

Many thanks to Jean for including me!

Featured

A Little Book Problem

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post on A Little Book Problem.

Follow the link for the post, but stick around to check out other author interviews and book reviews. This site offers something for all readers and writers.

Many thanks to Julie for including me!

Featured

Cover Reveal: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls

Author: Katie Mettner

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christmas

BLURB:

Actress Carrie Murray’s films are a Christmas lover’s delight. Filled with twinkling lights, festive carols, and happy endings, they’re the perfect escape from reality. For her and the audience. Then Tinseltown calls.

Braxton Timothy is Hollywood’s biggest action star. Handsome and talented but decidedly on the naughty list, no one can fathom his sudden desire to produce a feel-good Christmas movie—least of all, his no-name co-star.

Alternating between scenes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite made-for-TV movies and unexpected, off-screen chemistry, Gingerbread Falls has surprises in store this holiday season. The question is, will there be enough Christmas magic to convince two imperfect people that they’re perfect for each other?

AUTHOR BIO:

Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, ‘the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,’ and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-mes. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest — now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.

Website: http://katiemettner.com/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-mettner

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Mettner/e/B006Z7STX2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wisconsinwriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatieMettner

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sugarlipswi/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sugarsballroom/_created/

Find out more about the Publisher:

Website: https://www.breakingnightpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BreakingNightPress

Twitter: https://twitter.com/breakingnightp

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/breakingnightpress

Rewards Program: https://mailchi.mp/breakingnightpress/romance

Featured

Forever Winter – by Amber Daulton

Thank you to Amber Daulton for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

BLURB

A perfect Christmas wedding, a snowstorm, and a shocking secret. What could go wrong?

Susanna Lorican must marry the man she loves before the truth is discovered or face the gossip of the ton. With an unexpected snowstorm injuring the minister, her future hangs in the balance.

Viscount Camden Beckinworth vows to keep his bride safe, even if he must betray her confidence. When their love is put to the test, how will he uphold her honor without jeopardizing his own?

PRE-ORDER LINK

https://books2read.com/u/38dkDB

GOODREADS LINK

https://bit.ly/foreverwintergoodreads

LOVE LIST

  • I love a good Christmas romance any time of year. Forever Winter is the perfect novella for dipping a summer toe in the holiday season.
  • I loved that this sweet Regency romance started off with the first of many disruptions to what was supposed to be a perfect winter wedding.
  • I loved the pacing of this story. With one catastrophe after another, I was excited to see what would happen next. Would this series of unfortunate events derail the wedding entirely?
  • I loved that, despite the fact this is a short story, each character managed to leap off the page with a vivid personality.
  • I loved waiting for Susanna’s secret to be revealed to those closest to her.
  • I loved that vivid details allowed me to become fully immersed in a story world set during the 1800s.
  • I love that I wasn’t ready for story to end. The characters would lend themselves well toward a sequel or a lengthier novel.

REVIEW SUMMARY

Forever Winter is the perfect novella for any season. This sweet Regency romance immediately hooks the reader with the first of many disruptions to what was supposed to be the perfect winter wedding. With one catastrophe after another, the momentum builds suspense as the reader is always waiting to see what will happen next and wondering when secrets will be revealed. Will the series of increasingly unfortunate events derail the wedding? Be prepared to be immersed in a story world where every character comes to life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Pinterest – https://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Featured

BOOK BLITZ: Edenhart’s Rivalry by J.N Tomczak

I am so excited that EDENHART’S RIVALRY by J.N. Tomczak is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book, be sure to check out all the details below. 

This blitz also includes a giveaway for some a $10 Amazon GC & a signed poster of the book cover courtesy of J.N. & Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, check out the giveaway info below.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: EDENHART’S RIVALRY (Kingdom of the Faeries #1)
Author: J.N. Tomczak
Pub. Date: May 1, 2021
Publisher: J.N. Tomczak
Pages: 388
Formats: Paperback, eBook 

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

Read for FREE With Kindle Unlimited!

SUMMARY:

AN ANCIENT CURSE. A KINGDOM IN PERIL. ONE FAERIE TO SAVE THEM ALL…

Darkness is spreading across the kingdoms—and one faerie stands between destruction and survival. Aurora’s peaceful existence is shattered by an unexpected tragedy that leaves her as the last surviving heir to the throne. But her reign is threatened before it can even begin.

Her court swells with spies and traitors. There are growing tales of a mysterious blight. Strange riders abroad are hunting for something—or someone.

On the day of her coronation, she and her loyal friend, Percy, the newly appointed Flight Captain, discover an ancient prophecy sealed away and guarded in a secret chamber beneath the castle. There they uncover a sinister plot that will spiral her people into a war they cannot win on their own. Her courage and wit will be her greatest weapons if she hopes to succeed where others have failed. She must ask herself just how far is she willing to go to save her kingdom and at what costs?

AUTHOR BIO:

Julianne is a USA Today Bestselling Author and writes primarily YA/Epic Fantasy. Her favorite genres to read include epic fantasy, YA, and sci-fi.

Julianne grew up on a small town farm in central Arkansas and currently lives happily-ever-after with her husband and their cat, Oliver, and three frogs, Milo, Momma Odie, and Sir Fluffles.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

GIVEWAWAY:

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon GC, International.
1 winner will win a 11X17 high res poster, signed, of the cover, US Only.

Rafflecopter Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21272/

Featured

BOOK BLITZ: When We’re Thirty by Casey Dembowski

I am so excited that WHEN WE’RE THIRTY by Casey Dembowski is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book, be sure to check out all the details below. 

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book courtesy of Casey & Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, check out the giveaway info below.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: WHEN WE’RE THIRTY
Author: Casey Dembowski
Pub. Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Pages: 297
Formats: Paperback, eBook 

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo

SUMMARY:

Two friends. One pact. The performance of their lives.

Hannah Abbott is stuck in a dead-end relationship and at a job she loves but that barely pays the bills. The four walls of her tiny New York City apartment have never seemed so small. She’s barely toasted her thirtieth birthday when her old college friend Will knocks on her door with an unexpected proposal.

Will Thorne never forgot the marriage pact he made with Hannah, but he also never imagined he’d be the one to initiate it. One ex-fiancée and an almost-career-ending mistake later, however, he finds himself outside Hannah’s door, on bended knee, to collect on their graduation-night pinky promise.

With both of their futures at stake, Hannah and Will take a leap of faith.

Now, all they have to do is convince their friends and family that they’re madly in love. As long as they follow the list of rules they’ve drafted, everything should go smoothly. Except Will has never been good with rules, and Hannah can’t stop overthinking the sleeping arrangements. Turning thirty has never been so promising.

AUTHOR BIO:

Casey Dembowski loves to write stories that focus on the intricacies of relationships–whether they be romantic, familial, or friendship. Her novels focus on the inner workings of women and how everything in their lives leads them to exactly where they are, whether they like it or not.

The first story Casey remembers writing was in the second grade, though it wasn’t until she turned twelve that she started carrying a battered composition notebook everywhere she went. Since then, there hasn’t been a time when she isn’t writing.

Casey lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and their two cats. She has an MFA in Fiction from Adelphi University and currently works in corporate marketing communications. In her (limited) spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and watching her favorite television shows on repeat.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

GIVEWAWAY:

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of WHEN WE’RE THIRTY, US Only.
1 winner will receive an ebook of WHEN WE’RE THIRTY, International.

Rafflecopter Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21267/

Featured

BOOK TOUR: Willa of Dark Hollow by Robert Beatty

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the WILLA OF DARK HOLLOW by Robert Beatty Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: THE LAST FALLEN STAR
Author: Graci Kim
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 336

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, KindleAudibleB&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

SUMMARY:

Young nightspirit Willa discovers an ancient, powerful magic deep in the forest in the enchanting companion to Robert Beatty’s instant #1 New York Times best-seller, Willa of the Wood.

This enchanting companion to Robert Beatty’s instant #1 New York Times bestseller Willa of the Wood is perfect for any reader who cares deeply about the natural world. 

Willa and her clan are the last of the Faeran, an ancient race of forest people who have lived in the Great Smoky Mountains for as long as the trees have grown there. But as crews of newly arrived humans start cutting down great swaths of the forest she loves, she is helpless to stop them. How can she fight the destroyers of the forest and their powerful machines?

When Willa discovers a mysterious dark hollow filled with strange and beautiful creatures, she comes to realize that it contains a terrifying force that seems to be hunting humans. Is unleashing these 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 a consuming darkness that threatens to destroy her world.Praise for Willa of the Wood:
Willa of the Wood will grip readers from its first page… Willa is… an admirable protagonist.”—Culturess

“A moving, atmospheric journey of hope.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Beatty conjures up a resourceful, compassionate heroine. Full of atmospheric details and richly described magic… this well-paced tale asks insightful questions about the relationship between nature and humans.”—Publishers Weekly

“The heroine is an appealing character… and her anguish is clear as she wavers between frightened self-preservation and her desire to help her friends.”—School Library Journal

“Willa is a strong and likable creature of the natural world, and seamlessly represents themes of loyalty, tradition, family, and stewardship of the Earth in this engaging story.”—School Library Connection

Accolades:

2018 Goodreads Choice Awards: Middle Grade, finalist

2018 Cybils Award, Elementary Middle Grade Speculative Fiction Nominee

Amazon: Best Children’s Books of 2018, ages 9-12

Imagination Soup: Best Middle Grade Chapter Books of 2018

BNKids: July’s Best Books for Young Readers, selection (2018)

Brightly: 9 Middle Grade Books for Environmentally Conscious Kids, selection (2018)

PopSugar: The Best books for Kids in 2018, as Voted by Actual Kids and Parents Who Read Them, selection

A Mighty Girl: 2018 Books of the Year, ages 9-12

GRAB WILLA OF THE WOOD NOW!

Willa of the Wood and Willa of Dark Hollow are being adapted into a multi-season, live-action television series!

EXCERPT:

The Great Smoky Mountains

1901

The world is neither flat nor round.

It’s mountains.

1

Willa pivoted toward the sound. The sharp, popping cracks of fracturing wood rolled like thunder through the forest air. Then came the rain-like noise of a thousand snapping branches and tearing leaves crashing down. When the massive trunk finally struck the ground, the earth shook beneath her bare feet. A gust of wind swept through the forest and blew through Willa’s long bark-and-moss-colored hair. And as the realization of what had just happened sank into her mind, her chest filled with pain. The human loggers had cut down the great hemlock tree that lived at the bend of the river.

She stood frozen like a young deer.

It was a tree she had sat beside on sunlit mornings, watching the river flow past its roots, a tree she and her twin sister had curled up in on misty nights, gazing up through its outstretched branches toward the Great Smoky Mountain and the moon above. The trees of the forest had shrouded and sheltered her all her life. They had consoled her when her sister was killed. They were her earth and her soil, her sunlight and her song.

But now she heard the axmen chopping and sawing and shouting to each other, their harsh, barking words circling through the treetops like quarreling ravens. The quills on the back of her neck went up and a burst of heat flashed through her body. She knew she should flee this killing ground or blend her green skin into the leaves of the undergrowth and disappear from the coming human eyes. She must run from their tromping feet and escape their cutting blades.

But how could she run away when her friends were dying? How could she just leave them?

She had to stop the loggers, but she had no sharp claws or long teeth. She had no weapons or ability to fight. She didn’t hurt living creatures, she helped them.

The human loggers had jagged metal saws, axes, knives, guns, animals in chains, vast metal contraptions for dragging murdered trees from the forest, and black, steaming beasts that rolled on long gleaming tracks. She was a lone thirteen-year-old Faeran girl without a clan. How could she fight the men of iron?

The crash of another tree broke like a wave through the forest, the wind of it brushing her cheek.

Her heart pounded in her chest.

She knew she couldn’t protect the trees the way they had protected her. She couldn’t shroud them or shelter them or hide them from the world.

But she couldn’t just abandon them, either.

She took a few uncertain steps, her legs trembling. Her eyes watered with burning tears.

And then she ran toward the sound of the falling trees.

AUTHOR BIO:

Robert Beatty is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Serafina series and the Willa of the Wood series published by Disney Hyperion. Loved by young readers and adults alike, the Serafina and Willa books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide and have been translated into over 22 languages. Robert lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “The Serafina and Willa books grew out of my desire to write stories about unusual and heroic young girls for my three daughters.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

GIVEWAWAY:

3 winners will win a finished copy of WILLA OF DARK HOLLOW, US Only.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21269/?

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

5/1/2021BookHounds YAExcerpt

Week Two:

5/2/2021Log Cabin LibraryExcerpt
5/3/2021jillpiscitelloExcerpt
5/4/2021YA Books CentralExcerpt
5/5/2021NerdophilesReview
5/6/2021JenguerdyReview
5/7/2021booksaremagictooReview
5/8/2021Amani’s ReviewsReview

Week Three:

5/9/2021Little Red ReadsReview
5/10/2021The Bookwyrm’s DenReview
5/11/2021A Court of Coffee and BooksReview
5/12/2021Emelie’s BooksReview
5/13/2021Books and ZebrasReview
5/14/2021Kait Plus BooksExcerpt
5/15/2021michellemengsbookblogReview

Week Four:

5/16/2021two points of interestReview
5/17/2021History from a Woman’s PerspectiveReview
5/18/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
5/19/2021Lifestyle of MeReview
5/20/2021Haunted By BooksReview
5/21/2021The Momma SpotReview
5/22/2021Fyrekatz BlogReview

Week Five:

5/23/2021The Try EverythingExcerpt
5/24/2021Musing of SoulsReview
5/25/2021PopthebutterflyReview
5/26/2021more.books.yes.pleaseReview
5/27/2021DearRivarieReview
5/28/2021MomfluensterReview
5/29/2021A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt

Week Six:

5/30/2021Lady HawkeyeExcerpt
5/31/2021Do You Dog-ear?Review
Featured

Book Tour: The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE LAST FALLEN STAR by Graci Kim Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: THE LAST FALLEN STAR
Author: Graci Kim
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 336

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, KindleAudibleB&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

SUMMARY:

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim’s thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.

Graci Kim does such an amazing job of blending Korean mythology into the modern world, I am now wondering how I ever lived without knowing all this cool information.”–New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan

 Riley Oh can’t wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister’s footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she’s a saram–a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.

Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie’s magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family’s old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It’s a perfect plan!

Until it isn’t. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie’s life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?

As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.

Praise for The Last Fallen Star

The Last Fallen Star folds Korean culture as well as diaspora feelings into a magical adventure. The way Graci Kim takes traditions and lore and incorporates them into an exciting contemporary fantasy setting makes my heart soar as a Korean reader. This fantastical story is filled with heart and humor. Readers who love magical adventures, complex family relationships, and sisterhood—not to mention food!—should pick up THE LAST FALLEN STAR immediately!”—Kat Cho, internationally best-selling author of Vicious Spirits

“Korean mythology gets a modern twist in this rollicking adventure by debut author Graci Kim. From entering a secret temple by way of the fried chicken counter at H-Mart to summoning a goddess at the Santa Monica Pier, every chapter of this novel delights and surprises. At times laugh-out-loud hilarious, at times heartwarming and poignant, The Last Fallen Star will capture the imaginations of readers for years to come!”—Axie Oh, author of Rebel Seoul and Rogue Heart

“Reading The Last Fallen Star is like taking a course in Korean mythology taught by your favorite teacher ever—while riding a gigantic roller coaster beneath a sky filled with shooting stars! I loved following Riley’s thrilling adventures, and pass the bulgogi tacos, please.”—Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist for A Single Shard

“Like a true magician, Graci Kim intertwines Korean mythology with an all-too-relatable sister story in her heart-stopping adventure that’s sure to capture the heart of anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. You can’t help but root for plucky Riley Oh as she engages on a quest to find belonging and acceptance.” —Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

“I wish I could go back in time and hand this book to young Ellen. I would have loved it so much, because this was what I was missing in my life. Thank you, Graci, for writing it!”—Ellen Oh, author of The Dragon Egg Princess and the Spirit Hunters series

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim absolutely shines. Riley Oh’s positive voice is infectious and will have readers wanting to follow her adventures long after the last page is turned.” — Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series

EXCERPT:

1.

My Family of Healing Witches

So here’s the thing.

There are only two days left until my sister’s initiation ceremony. In two sleeps, Hattie will turn thirteen, and she will have to prove to the entire congregation of gifted clans in Los Angeles that she has what it takes to become a witch. A healing witch. A real Gom.

And she’s gonna be amazeballs, of course. I mean, it’s her birthright. Healing magic flows in her blood, as it flows through our parents’ blood, because we, the Gom clan, are descendants of the Cave Bear Goddess—the patron goddess of service and sacrifice.

Well, except me.

Sigh. Yep. My own thirteenth birthday is only a month away, but unlike my eomma (that’s my mom) or my appa (that’s my dad) or my sister, I’m a normal, non-gifted person without a lick of magic. I’m a saram.

I was adopted. And don’t get me wrong. My parents try super hard to make me feel part of the gifted community, and I love them so much for it. But the truth is, the harder they try, the more I realize how much of an outsider I really am. I’m different.

Hence why I’m here, sitting behind the reception desk of the Traditional Korean Medicine Clinic that my parents run, doing mind-numbing data entry instead of practicing healing spells like my sister.

The bells chime on the clinic’s door, and I jolt up in my chair as an old, dark-haired man limps in. He looks like he could be Korean, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him at temple.

“Welcome to the clinic!” I say. “How can I help you?”

“Good morning,” he says, wincing as he wobbles up to the desk. “My name is Robert Choi. I’ve just moved here from New York, and I was told to ask for a James or Eunha Oh. I think I’ve sprained my ankle.”

He slides his wrists together, and the water in his Gi—the cylindrical glass charm on his bracelet—sloshes a little as it rubs against his skin. An image of two suns and two moons appears on his right wrist with the motion, and the symbol glows green.

Ah, he’s a Tokki—an infusing witch. All witches get the same gifted mark on their wrists when they do magic, but it reveals itself in different colors depending on which clan they belong to. The mark is also how we can tell which patients are gifted and which are saram. If they’re saram, we have to make sure they don’t know we heal with magic. The infusers make special memory-erasing potions for that.

I know what you’re thinking: Why would you keep such an awesome skill secret from the world? Well, Appa says if

My Family of Healing Witches

the saram found out about the gifted clans, that would bring grave danger to our community. People don’t like what they can’t understand. It scares them, and scared people do foolish things. I guess that makes sense.

“You’ve come to the right place,” I say, smiling brightly. “James and Eunha are my parents. And sorry to hear about your foot, Mr. Choi. Appa has just finished up with a patient, and there’s a free slot for you now if you’d like it.”

“Ah, you must be Hattie.” He nods knowingly at me. “I hear you have an initiation ceremony coming up. I hope you are well prepared.”

I shake my head. “Hattie’s actually my sister. I’m not… Well, I can’t…” I trail off, and Mr. Choi frowns.

“That’s odd. They said the Ohs only had one daughter.”

Oof. The comment spears right through my chest, but I stay silent and put on a well-rehearsed fake smile. What I’d really like to do right now is take out my Gi bracelet (if I had one) and heal his ankle right here and now, to prove how much of an Oh I really am. Or at least stand up for myself and tell him I’m part of this family, too. That’s what Hattie would do if she were in my place.

But I’m not my sister. I’m not brave like she is. I prefer to keep my head down and stay out of trouble. Trust me, it’s easier this way.

A warm hand squeezes my shoulder, and I look back to see Appa standing behind me. I didn’t hear him come to recep­tion. “This is Riley, most definitely our daughter, and the most dedicated Gom I know.” Appa beams at me, and then extends his hand to Mr. Choi. “Welcome to our humble clinic, Robert.

And welcome to LA. Come with me, and let’s get that ankle looked at.”

Appa leads the hobbling Mr. Choi down the hallway, and a stinging heat builds behind my eyes. Sigh. Yet another day in the life of Riley Oh—the wannabe witch living in an exclusive gifted world.

“Riley!” Hattie runs up to the reception desk, puts her elbows on it, and rests her chin on her palms. Her rounded cheeks are pink, and her hair is damp with sweat. “Please come save me. Eomma is driving me up the wall. She’s making me repeat the incantations a billion times, and I don’t know what they mean anymore. I mean, honestly, what are words even?”

“She just wants you to do well at the initiation.”

Hattie rolls her eyes, but she knows I’m right.

A successful initiation ceremony is the most important rite of passage in a witch’s life. She’s got to perform three spells that satisfy the elders in the gifted clans council, and then say her vows in front of the whole congregation at temple. That’s hundreds of people from five different clans, not to mention our patron goddess, who will be watching from the Godrealm.

Then, and only then, will Hattie get to wear her Gi around her wrist without adult supervision. Without it, she can’t do any magic. So yeah, basically, it’s a big deal. I mean, no pres­sure or anything.

Hattie fiddles with the earth-filled charm that’s attached to a gold chain around her wrist. Eomma usually keeps my sister’s Gi in her enchanted safe, and Hattie only gets to wear it when she’s practicing spells with our parents. “Okay, but can you come with me anyway? Eomma’s all cranky and flustered, and I need moral support. Please?”

I make a serious face and pretend to be preoccupied with the patient database. “I’m kinda busy.”

“Pretty pleeease?” She gets all up in my face and makes big puppy-dog eyes at me. “You can have my favorite sweater. And I’ll do all your chores for a week. Come on, Rye, have a heart!”

I hold off as long as I can before laughing. “Okay, okay, you twisted my arm.” I push her sweaty mug away. “Just wanted to see you beg. Looks good on you.”

“You’ll pay for that!” She slaps me on my shoulder but grins, and then drags me out of my chair and down the hallway to Eomma’s consultation room.

Eomma is inside, pacing back and forth while holding the family spellbook up to her nose. Her glasses are foggy, and her black perm is bouncing like a halo around her head. “Hattie, there you are! Now come back and practice the wound-closing incantation again.” She points her finger at a Korean word in her spellbook. “And remember this time that the p is aspirated, so don’t be shy—put your whole diaphragm into it. Puh! Puh! See? Like this—puh!”

Hattie drags her palms down her cheeks and gives me an exasperated look. I stifle a laugh. Eomma is in fine form today. She pulls off the plugged-into-a-power-socket and rest-is-for-the-weak! looks better than anyone I know.

As Hattie reluctantly follows Eomma’s lead to aspirate her puhs, I study their two faces. And, for the billionth time, I wish I looked more like them.

I’m told my biological parents were of Korean ethnicity, too. But that’s about where the similarities end. Where my Gom family are round, petite, and unblemished, I’m tall and freckled. I’m all pointy chin and high cheekbones, with more angles than curves. I’m the one people raise their eyebrows at when they look at our family photos.

Before I know it, my eyes are burning and I quickly wipe them, embarrassed. Ugh. Classic me. This is what my best friend, Emmett, calls my “leaky-bladder eyeball problem.” You see, I have a slight issue controlling my tears. When I’m sad, I cry. When I’m angry, I cry. When I’m frustrated, I cry. I’m basically really talented at crying.

Hattie says it’s a good thing—that I’m in touch with my feelings (more like drowning in them…). And Eomma and Appa say I’ll grow out of it. But let’s face it—compared to my confident-and-composed family, I’m flawed. It’s yet another piece of evidence that I’m not a true Oh. That I’m weak and don’t belong.

Eomma has now prompted Hattie to practice her vows, and my sister reluctantly obeys. “I vow on the name of Mago Halmi, mother of the three realms, mother of the six god­desses, mother of mortalkind and all creation”—Hattie’s lisp is making an appearance, which only happens when she’s tired or stressed—“to carry out my sacred duty to heal those in need. To uphold the Gom clan motto of service and sacri­fice… and…and…”

She trails off, forgetting the words, and I finish the sen­tence for her. “And I understand that with my gift comes great responsibility—to my clan, to the gifted community, and to our ancestor, the Cave Bear Goddess, who blesses us with her divine power.” I might not have a Gi or magic running through my veins, but I know my stuff.

Hattie gives me a grateful look. Thanks, she mouths. She puts her hands on her hips. “See, Eomma? Riley is so much more ready for an initiation than I’ll ever be. Have you spo­ken to Auntie Okja about Rye being allowed to do one, too?”

I stick my hand in my pocket and squeeze my onyx stone to calm my nerves. It’s shaped like a curved teardrop, and it’s the only thing my biological parents left me. Hattie thinks it might be a family heirloom or something, but I just like how hard and real it feels in my hand. It’s only a stone (and not nearly as cool as a Gi), but sometimes I carry it with me, because touching it reminds me that I came from some­where, too.

“Sorry, girls. Your appa and I have been trying to find a good time to tell you….” Eomma sighs. “Auntie Okja tried really hard, but the other elders just won’t budge.”

I lower my eyes, mostly to hide the new trickle of disap­pointment forming on my eye line. My stupid leaky-bladder eyeballs fail me again. “Oh… That’s okay,” I say, even though that’s far from the truth. “Thank you for trying.”

Hattie raises her eyebrows at me. “No, it’s not okay.” She turns to Eomma. “You and Appa are always pushing for more inclusivity in the gifted community. This is the perfect oppor­tunity to make a statement, isn’t it?”

Eomma looks sheepish. “You’re absolutely right. But change takes time. Some of the clans aren’t as progressive as we are. They’re arguing that, without a Gi, Riley wouldn’t be able to cast the spells anyway. And if the council can’t witness the spells during the initiation, they can’t make a fair assessment.”

I shrink, but Hattie pushes back. “But that’s the whole point. Rye knows the words to all the healing spells, back to front. If the council just gave her a chance to prove herself, maybe the goddess would be convinced and grant Rye a Gi, too.” She rolls her eyes. “They’ve got it all backward.”

“I understand, sweetheart. You know I do. But the other elders think it’s asking too much of the Godrealm to bless a saram with magic. That it would be impertinent of us. Dis­respectful, even. Your auntie is only one voice among five.”

Hattie raises her hands in exasperation, and I want to melt into the floor and disappear. I hate being the reason they argue. “Seriously, it’s okay, Hat—” I start, trying to calm my sister.

“What’s disrespectful is not even giving Riley a chance,” Hattie continues. “If she tanks the initiation and the Cave Bear Goddess doesn’t give her a Gi, then fine. Or if Riley doesn’t want to do it, then that’s also fine. But not giving her the freedom to choose? That’s wrong on so many levels.”

When Eomma doesn’t respond, Hattie squeezes my hand, and a determined look appears on her face. I call it her boss face, because no one in their right mind would mess with Hattie while she’s wearing that expression. “As soon as I’m old enough,” she says, “I’m gonna run for Gom elder. And when I do, mark my words, I’m going to shake up that place. The whole secret-society thing is so outdated.”

“I have no doubt you will achieve that, and so much more,” Eomma says, and I totally agree. I mean, why stop at council elder? Hattie for president! I can see the enamel pins already.

I squeeze Hattie’s hand back and feel a warmth spread through my chest. For everything I don’t have, I definitely won the jackpot as far as my sister goes. She is literally the Best. Sister. Ever.

“It’s a shame you can’t just do a spell to share your magic,” I joke, trying to lighten the mood. “One where the recipient doesn’t need a Gi. That would solve all our problems.”

A grin spreads over Hattie’s face. “Crowdsourced magic. Now that would jolt the clans into the twenty-first century, right, Eomma?”

We both look to Eomma, and she laughs nervously.

Hattie and I share a glance. Eomma only laughs like that when she’s hiding something.

No. Way,” Hattie says. “There actually is a spell for sharing magic with a saram, isn’t there?”

My jaw falls to the ground. Impossible!

Eomma mumbles something under her breath but still avoids our eyes, and that is a dead giveaway. “It’s not that simple, girls,” she finally admits. “It’s dangerous, and even if it worked, it wouldn’t be permanent. The spell would have to be redone again and again—”

“What’s the name of the spell?” Hattie interrupts. “And where can we find it?”

And were you ever going to tell me about it? I silently ask, my gut rolling into a tight knot.

Eomma closes the spellbook in her hands with a decisive thud. “This conversation has gone on long enough.” She looks at the clock on the wall and gasps. “And we’re going to be late for temple! Quick, go get your appa. We’re leaving in two.”

She hurries us out of her consultation room, and I get my butt moving. I wouldn’t miss temple for anything.

“Rye!” Hattie stops me in my tracks and grabs my arm. “Did you see Eomma glance at the book when I asked where we could find the spell?”

I shake my head. I hadn’t noticed. I was too busy wonder­ing why my parents had kept this from me when they knew how badly I wanted to become a witch.

“I know that book’s only supposed to have healing spells in it,” Hattie continues, “but maybe Eomma just told us that so we wouldn’t snoop. Maybe the magic-sharing spell is in there, too. In fact, I’m sure it is. Where else could it be?”

I frown. We’re not allowed to touch the family spellbook—not until Eomma and Appa deem us ready. And besides, breaking rules makes me erupt in hives.

“But, Hat,” I start, “you know I was joking before, right? Even if the spell is in there, I could never ask you to share your magic. Besides, Eomma said it was dangerous. She wouldn’t lie about something like that.”

She snorts. “Who said I wanted your permission? Didn’t you hear me drone on about choice before? If I want to share my magic with you, who are you to stop me?”

I stare at her, wondering what I ever did to deserve such a selfless and fearless sister.

Hattie lowers her voice, and there’s an excited twinkle in her eye. “Looks like we need to get our sticky hands on a cer­tain spellbook, wouldn’t you say?”

As she drags me to Appa’s consultation room to fetch him, I hear a small voice in my head.

Could I actually become a healing witch—a real Gom? Could this be my chance to do my parents proud and prove to the gifted community that I belong?

I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up. It’d just be a recipe for disappointment.

But here’s the real crux of the problem, folks: I, Riley Oh, have a sweet tooth.

And hope? Well, hope tastes sweeter than candy.

AUTHOR BIO:

Graci Kim is a Korean-Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes about the magic she wants to see in the world. The Last Fallen Star is her middle grade debut. In a previous life she used to be a cooking show host, and she once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into plushies. When she’s not lost in her imagination, you’ll find Graci drinking flat whites, eating ramyeon, and most likely hugging a dog (or ideally, many). She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter. Follow her on Twitter @gracikim and Instagram @gracikimwrites.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

GIVEWAWAY:

3 winners will win a finished copy of THE LAST FALLEN STAR, US Only.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21270/?

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

5/1/2021YA Books CentralExcerpt

Week Two:

5/2/2021jillpiscitelloExcerpt
5/3/2021NerdophilesReview
5/4/2021Amani’s ReviewsReview
5/5/2021Little Red ReadsReview
5/6/2021The Bookwyrm’s DenReview
5/7/2021BookHounds YAExcerpt
5/8/2021A Court of Coffee and BooksReview

Week Three:

5/9/2021Kait Plus BooksExcerpt
5/10/2021onemusedReview
5/11/2021MidnightbookloverReview
5/12/2021booksaremagictooReview
5/13/2021History from a Woman’s PerspectiveReview
5/14/2021CeliamcmahonreadsReview
5/15/2021AbellafairytaleReview

Week Four:

5/16/2021Fyrekatz BlogReview
5/17/2021Haunted By BooksReview
5/18/2021MomfluensterReview
5/19/2021The Momma SpotReview
5/20/2021FicticiouswonderlandReview
5/21/2021Bookwyrming ThoughtsReview
5/22/2021Book BriefsReview

Week Five:

5/23/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
5/24/2021fictitious.foxReview
5/25/2021Emelie’s BooksReview
5/26/2021Eli to the nthReview
5/27/2021PopthebutterflyReview
5/28/2021Books and ZebrasReview
5/29/2021YA Book NerdReview

Week Six:

5/30/2021two points of interestReview
5/31/2021Lifestyle of MeReview
Featured

Book Tour: High School Musical: The Road Trip by Melissa de la Cruz

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE ROAD TRIP by Melissa de la Cruz Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE ROAD TRIP
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 272

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

SUMMARY:

An original novel inspired by the hit Disney+ television series HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL, by the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Descendants series, Melissa de la Cruz.

Join everyone’s favorite Wildcats from the Disney+ smash hit original series High school Musical: The Musical: The Series in this novel by New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.

On the heels of their wildly successful run of High School Musical, the gang learns of a can’t-miss opportunity—a High School Musical convention in the next state. There’s something for everyone: panels about mounting your next hit show, cafeteria-tray-dance workshops, Wildcat cosplay, and even a special appearance from the pooch who played Sharpay’s dog (well, one of her puppies, that is).

Ready to hit the road, the crew immediately begins making plans. Nini can’t wait to use the weekend to show how much she cares for Ricky (especially since they just got back together). Kourtney debates signing up for a singing workshop (especially if she’s maybe, just maybe, considering auditioning for the next show), and Gina and Ashlyn decide it’ll be the perfect trial run for living together (especially because Gina has never actually had a friendship last this long). Carlos can’t wait to help Miss Jenn prep for the spring musical, even if Seb has to stay behind to help with the family farm. But car breakdowns, late starts, and a lost E.J. throw a wrench in their plans. 

Will the East Highers get the weekend getaway of their dreams? Or will the bumps on the road get the better of them?

Praise For HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE ROAD TRIP:

A breezy and fun read, the book contains chapters that offer pithy first-person accounts from each character, including quirky Miss Jenn; Carlos and his boyfriend, Seb; recently reunited couple Nini and Ricky and their BFFs, Kourtney and Big Red; popular senior E.J. and his songwriter cousin, Ashlyn; and talented triple threat Gina. The plot includes references to the series and themes straight from the musical: nurturing your talent, showing others how much they matter, and acknowledging the importance of teamwork. Although race isn’t mentioned overtly, the characters are cued as racially diverse, following the casting of the TV show. Fans will appreciate the inside jokes, but explanations in the text make it accessible even to those unfamiliar with the program.

A lighthearted and charming read.—Kirkus Reviews.

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER ONE

CARLOS

Let me bring you up to speed.

High School Musical: The Musical—over. Huge success. HUGE. Kiss-and-cry backstage, then in the foyer with all our dumbstruck parents still waving their glitter signs and autographed programs, their hair crazy with Robotics Club confetti.

Cast-party time. Plan A is go crazy at Ashlyn’s—part deux—but cast + crew + hangers-on = way too many people. Wouldn’t want anything smashed, broken, or spilled. So Miss Jenn suggests we do what East High musical casts have always done: go to Denny’s on West 500th and pretend it’s a diner on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

If we can make our school gym into a theater and a skateboarder into our star, then we can turn a Denny’s in Salt Lake City into Radio City Music Hall—especially when E.J.’s father is paying for all the milkshakes and onion rings.

We’re all there (in this together, right?) screeching and singing and making Miss Jenn do her Is that the last apple? line again when my phone dings. It’s not my sweet Seb, because he’s holding court nearby—still in his Sharpay makeup—reprising his big number with the help of some built-in plastic seating and E.J.’s knee.

It’s something much, much better. An HSM alert!

Picked out the colors for your dressing room yet?

One week till the HSM Convention in Jackson Hole!

What. The. Wildcats.

How did I miss this? I’ve been so consumed with our own show—choreography, drama, homecoming, Miss Jenn almost getting fired, the theater burning down, break-ups, make-ups, more drama, having to go on as a last-minute understudy and say things like bro—I haven’t been paying attention to my HSM alerts. I didn’t want to mess with the flow and now: Oh no!

“Miss Jenn.” I grab her arm and she twirls so fast she takes out half the basketball team with her mermaid waves. “We have to do this.”

She stares at my phone, her blue eyes wide.

“Next weekend?” she says, and pulls out her own phone. It has a green cover to remind her of when she was the understudy for Glinda in Wicked—I think it was in Peoria. Miss Jenn is pretty speedy with Google searches: You’d never guess she grew up in the old flip-phone days when people still used paper maps and never took pictures of their food.

“Panels,” she says, scrolling with one pink fingernail. “Vocal workshops. Choreography workshops. Cosplay. And . . . oh! Oh!”

“What is it, Miss Jenn?” She looks like she’s about to faint. That, or hyperventilate.

“Lucas Grabeel,” she whispers. “Lucas Grabeel is going to be there, in person. Not a dream, Carlos. Actually in person!”

“Um, a dream?” I ask, and Miss Jenn whips her phone away.

“I have to go.”

“Now?” There are more curly fries coming. Nobody leaves a party when curly fries are on the way.

“I mean, we have to go. To Jackson. Help me up.” Miss Jenn elbows Seb off his perch and waves her hands to get everyone’s attention. This doesn’t work.

“Hey! Everyone! Quiet!” E.J. shouts in his best captain-of-everything voice, but that also doesn’t work. Some of the chorus-line tap-dancing doesn’t work, though it does bring the manager out to ask us to “Mind the floors, kids.” And Gina leaping so high in the air she practically brushes the ceiling with her fingertips—no, that doesn’t work either.

Finally Kourtney clambers up next to Miss Jenn and starts singing “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” at the top of her voice. Everyone’s whooping and clapping and then Kourtney stops mid-line.

“Miss Jenn has something to say.”

“Speech! Speech!”

“Not a speech,” says Miss Jenn. I haven’t seen her face this pale since the day the principal wanted to fire her. “An opportunity. You know how I always say to trust the process?”

More clapping and whooping. We have to shush everyone all over again.

“Well, sometimes you have to trust providence as well. You have to trust fate. You have to trust that the universe will provide.”

“Has she got a Broadway callback or something?” Seb mutters in my ear.

“You’re not leaving, Miss Jenn?” calls Nini. It’s the first time she’s taken her eyes off Ricky since we got here.

“Not leaving, Nini. Going. We’re all going.”

“To Disneyland?” asks Big Red, and everyone laughs.

“To Jackson Hole,” Miss Jenn announces, and no one’s laughing or whooping now.

“Skiing?” someone says, but no one looks too enthusiastic. They’re all thinking about the curly fries, which are—let’s face it—more exciting than Miss Jenn’s announcement. She’s selling it the wrong way.

“You guys, wait!” I shout. “It’s a High School Musical convention—in Jackson Hole. Next weekend!”

Now everyone’s talking. People are practically bouncing off the walls. I wish they’d put this amount of energy into their dance rehearsals.

“It would be the most amazing thing ever,” Ashlyn says. “Meet-and-greets with some of the original cast and crew? Wow.”

“But how would we get there?” Natalie asks. I hope she’s not planning to bring her emotional-support hamster. The last thing we need is for that thing to escape in another state.

“Yeah,” says Ashlyn. “I mean, E.J. can drive because he’s old, but—”

“I can drive the school van,” says Miss Jenn. “Mr. Mazzara gets it all the time for his robotics whatnots. I’ll send permission slips to all your parents. I mean, they have to say yes. After seeing you all on the stage tonight—”

“Well, the gym,” says Natalie. “Strictly speaking.”

“It’ll be a theater field trip,” Miss Jenn continues. “A celebration of our amazing show. Research and nourishment for our creative souls.”

She starts wobbling on her high heels with excitement, and Ricky helps her down from the chair. He’s beaming so wide, his face almost splits in two.

“We have to make it happen,” he tells her, and the dog tag around his neck glints in the fluorescent light. Since when does Ricky Bowen wear necklaces?

“Do you think Principal Gutierrez will agree?” Nini asks. Her face is still shining from the night’s success. I mean, we did kill out there tonight. “Will we have to take time off school?”

“We really can’t,” Natalie tells Miss Jenn. “We have tests, and after school we have to rehearse every day.”

Natalie’s a killjoy, but she’s right. We’ve promised to do a charity show on Christmas Eve to raise money; we have to help rebuild the school’s burnt-out theater, after the fire that was (whisper) caused by Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara.

“And it will take us so long to get there,” Natalie says.

“Five hours,” E.J. reads from his phone. “That’s the driving time. It’s nothing. I’ve driven farther for archery lessons.”

“Plus two hours when we get stuck in the snow,” says Ashlyn. “You know, after the blizzard rolls in.”

“We’re driving a few hours north,” I tell her, “not taking the Donner Pass.”

“So we leave right after school next Friday,” says Miss Jenn, eyes fixed on some distant spot, as though she’s about to begin a power ballad. “And if we limit ourselves to one rest stop, we’ll make it in time for some of the opening sessions that night.”

“It ends on Saturday night,” Kourtney says, scrolling down the site that practically every one of us is reading right now. “That’s a shame. The final session is a group sing-along.”

“We don’t need to sing it,” Ricky agrees, grinning at Nini. “We just lived it.”

For someone who totally missed the boat on the phenomenon that is HSM—i.e., did not grow up watching it with his mom, singing it in the car, and reenacting dance moves on the down-low in our high school cafeteria—Ricky is all about it now. I used to think his feet were glued to his skateboard. Maybe it’s because being in the musical brought him and Nini back together, and he’s already thinking about the spring musical and his next chance to stare into her eyes under the spotlight. He better watch out: E.J. may be over his selfless kick by then. Seniors in their last semester can get grabby with roles. They come over all sentimental about leaving school and this being their Last Chance Ever. Ricky should be on his guard. I mean, hasn’t he seen HSM3?

Miss Jenn mutters something about going back to work right away to e-mail all our parents and break into the admin office to book the van. I hope she’s joking about that last part. She’s out the door before we can stop her.

“There’s even a songwriting workshop,” Ashlyn says to no one in particular, smiling at her phone. “I have to do that. I have to.”

“I don’t see any stage-makeup workshops,” Kourtney says, and Nini mock-punches her.

“You need to go to one of the singing workshops,” she tells Kourtney. “People need to hear your voice. You know what Miss Jenn told you—she said you were the best singer in Utah.”

Northern Utah.” Kourtney rolls her eyes. “And she didn’t say anything about southern Wyoming.”

“Gina, you can come?” Nini says, and hugs her close. Things are way more chill between the girls these days. That’s the magic of musicals, people! “You don’t have to go back to DC right away, do you?”

Gina does some weird thing with her head that makes her look like one of those fake head-bobbing dogs in the back of old people’s cars. She and Ashlyn exchange glances.

“Maybe,” she says. “I hope so.”

“Road trip!” shouts Big Red, and everyone starts leaping around and shouting again. At this rate they’ll have no voices for the convention next weekend, whether they want to join the sing-along or not.

It’s only then that I notice something strange. Seb hasn’t said a word, and he’s not looking at his phone.

“Can you go?” I ask him. Seb looks down at the floor.

“I don’t know,” he says. “It’s a really busy time on the farm now. We have the last stock sale of the year on Saturday. It was a big deal for so many of my family members to come see the show tonight. I don’t know if they can spare me that day.”

Just like that, my excitement disappears. Not even an HSM convention will be fun if Seb isn’t there to hang out with.

“Hey,” he says, and takes my hand. “Maybe something’ll work out. Remember what Miss Jenn always says.”

“ ‘Trust the process’?”

“Nope.” He shakes his head and smiles up at me. “ ‘Is that the last apple?’ ”

We both laugh, but what I think is this: How can all these Cinderellas go to the ball? We’ve got to make some magic happen, people. This isn’t a game. It’s High School Musical.

Okay—it’s High School Musical: The Convention. We’re going to Wyoming, not a palace, and we need a van, not a pumpkin coach. A boy can dream, can’t he?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Descendants series, as well as many other best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue BloodsMasqueradeRevelationsThe Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

GIVEWAWAY:

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE ROAD TRIP, US Only.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21271/?

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

5/1/2021jillpiscitelloExcerpt

Week Two:

5/2/2021YA Books CentralExcerpt
5/3/2021Living in a BookworldExcerpt
5/4/2021BookHounds YAExcerpt
5/5/2021Perusewithcoffee (blog)Review
5/6/2021Musing of SoulsReview
5/7/2021Kait Plus BooksExcerpt
5/8/2021The Book ViewReview

Week Three:

5/9/2021onemusedReview
5/10/2021Lifestyle of MeReview
5/11/2021Emelie’s BooksReview
5/12/2021MidnightbookloverReview
5/13/2021Fire and IceReview
5/14/2021Shelf LoveReview or Excerpt
5/15/2021JenguerdyReview

Week Four:

5/16/2021Margie’s Must ReadsReview
5/17/2021Amani’s ReviewsReview
5/18/2021two points of interestReview
5/19/2021Haunted By BooksReview
5/20/2021booksaremagictooReview
5/21/2021fictitious.foxReview
5/22/2021The Reading WordsmithReview

Week Five:

5/23/2021MomfluensterReview
5/24/2021michellemengsbookblogReview
5/25/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
5/26/2021Struck by StoriesReview
5/27/2021Fyrekatz BlogReview
5/28/2021BiancaBuysBooksReview
5/29/2021Do You Dog-ear?Review

Week Six:

5/30/2021A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
5/31/2021Lady HawkeyeExcerpt
Featured

Book Tour: It Happened on Thunder Road by Susan Antony

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the IT HAPPENED ON THUNDER ROAD by Susan Antony Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!  

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: IT HAPPENED ON THUNDER ROAD

Author: Susan Antony

Pub. Date: April 12, 2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Pages: 292

Formats: Paperback, eBook 

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

SUMMARY:

When Emmy Russo returns to high school in Moncks Corner, South Carolina after summer break, she discovers some changes. First: Mom has a boyfriend. Second: the cute new student, Charlie Fields, is a Rockabilly greaser with a gang who obeys his every command. Third: attractive Keir Harper wants to be more than just her best friend. And fourth: a perplexed Emmy soon finds herself drawn to two extremely different boys. How do you choose between sweet and smoldering?

Then tragedy strikes on desolate Thunder Road. Strange things start happening, with Emmy in the middle of it all. Intent on finding the truth, she must fight for her heart, her life, maybe even her soul. Because someone wants to possess all of Emmy. And they will be together, no matter what the cost. For eternity.

AUTHOR BIO:

Susan Antony is an IT by day, hip-shaker and writer by night, artist whenever possible, and an

internet addict. She lives in the sunny south with her teenage son and two Cairn Terriers. Cherokee Summer placed first in the Missouri Romance Writers of America “Gateway to the Best” contest, was a 2019 OKRWA finalist, was a 2020 Author Shout Recommended Read, took 1st in the 2020 Write Touch Readers Award, and took the bronze metal in the 2020 Readers Favorite Contest.

It Happened on Thunder Road placed 1st in The Southeastern Writers Association 2020 Contest.

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

GIVEAWAY:

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon GC, International.

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21261/? 

Featured

Book Tour: The Physics of Grief, by Mickey J. Corrigan

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE PHYSICS OF GRIEF by Mickey J. Corrigan Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: THE PHYSICS OF GRIEF

Author: Mickey J. Corrigan

Pub. Date: April 22, 2021

Publisher: QuoScript UK

Pages: 210

Formats: Paperback, eBook 

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, TBD, Bookshop.org

SUMMARY:

Seymour, a down-and-out former teacher and semi-alcoholic who is haunted by the death of his girlfriend, tells the story of how he lifted himself out of grief and apathy. The catalyst is a mystery man – Raymond C. Dasher – who enters Seymour’s life via a chance encounter and persuades him to accept a job as a professional griever. A series of adventures follow, some macabre, some sinister, some extremely funny, as Seymour encounters an improbably diverse but highly credible set of characters united only by the fact that all are interacting in some way with death. Most complex is Milton Lasker, a former mobster whose relationship with Seymour is ambivalent, to say the least – even his overtures of help are terrifying. But then there’s Yvonne, who reminds Seymour what it’s like to feel alive. The Physics of Grief is a unique, quirky crime novel presenting the upside of funerals and a hopeful look at second chances – and at death.

AUTHOR BIO:

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan hides out in the lush ruins of South Florida to write pulp fiction, literary crime, and psychological thrillers. Her stories have been called “delightful pulp,” “oh so compulsive,” “dark and gritty,” and “bizarre but believable.”

Website | Tumblr | YouTube | Goodreads | Amazon 

GIVEAWAY:

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon GC, International.

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21261/

Featured

Book Tour: CURSES OF SCALE by S.D. Reeves

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the CURSES OF SCALE by S.D. Reeves Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: CURSES OF SCALE

Author: S.D. Reeves

Pub. Date: November 15, 2017

Publisher: Riversong Books

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 297Find it:GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBDBookshop.org

SUMMARY:

Sixteen-year-old Niena wants nothing more than to attend an elite bardic college, but when the dragon that shattered the empire awakens again she finds herself on the run, through the fey realm of Fairhome, to the city where she was born. On her trail are her army veteran grandfather, thrown into a commander’s role he doesn’t want, the lord of the fairies, trying to steer her to his own ends, and the husband she won’t meet for fifteen years. If she kills the dragon, she’ll save everyone she holds dear. But if she kills the dragon, she’s cursed instead to become it.

Curses of Scale is the 2018 First Place Winner of Red City Review’s Young Adult Category, and an Official Selection of the 2018 New Apple Literary Awards. It also has the distinction of being a finalist in the following awards:

  • Chanticleer’s Ozma Fantasy Award
  • Readers’ Favorite General Fantasy
  • Wishing Shelf Young Adult

“★★★★ Curses of Scale is a coming of age tale with a lot to say about life and taking charge of one’s destiny in the search for independence. ” -Reader’s Favorite

“★★★★★ Curses of Scale is a Pandora’s box of world-building elements, and Reeves shows great skill at parceling out the pieces of lore and mystery that today’s fantasy readers crave. Readers will be sure to enjoy this crafty, utterly transportive novel.”

– Red City Review

AUTHOR BIO:

Stephen Reeves was born in 1980 in Huntsville, Alabama. He currently resides in Switzerland with an undetermined number of cats greater than zero, and a propensity for nonsense. On those cold nights where the wind steams off snowbanks, he is known to write award-winning fantasy novels. And curse his wife’s cold feet.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon 

BOOKHOUDS QUESTIONS:

Giveaway Details: 

1 winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and an eBook of CURSES OF SCALE, International.

2 winners will win an eBook of CURSES OF SCALE, International.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21259/

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Top 5 favorite books:

Right off the top I would say the Hobbit. I remember first reading this book at the age of five, and I have loved it ever since. It would be a decade later until I found out there were other books by Tolkien. 

After that we cross several years, an ocean, and a lot of bad wardrobe decisions to bring us to the second Earthsea book, the Tombs of Atuan. The nuance Ursula K Le Guin’s writing is just sublime. This is a staple of the coming-of-age fantasy dramas. 

Crossing genres instead of continents gives us number three, Post Captain, the second book the Aubrey-Maturin series of series books by Patrick O’Brian, the series that Master and Commander the Far side of the World is based. This shelf-structural-integrity threatening series is responsible for my love of tall ships, and all the models carved out of solid blocks of wood (I never do anything the easy way) what threaten all table-top real estate in our house.

Naturally, there was going to be at least one classic in this set. Mostly, this one was impressed on me early. Partly because the author is from Alabama, and partly because it is just damned good. I am talking about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, of course. 

Back into fantasy now. Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus is amazing. Plus, this book helped keep me on track; that third person-present tense books can be mainstream. 

Last, we come full circle. You remember those other Tolkien books I mentioned? Well, they are back. It is hard to separate them out, but of those I would say I love the Fellowship of the Ring the most.

This was a surprisingly tough list to put together, but it was fun, and I hope it also tells you a little something about me and my writing as well!

Featured

Book Blitz: Against My Better Judgement by B.T Polcari

It is my pleasure to be a part of the book tour for Against My Better Judgement by B.T Polcari. Thank you to Sara Slattery at YA Bound Book Tours for inviting me to participate.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: Against My Better Judgement

Author: B.T Polcari

Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Young Adult Fiction, New Adult Fiction

Publisher: the Wild Rose Press

Release Date: September 16, 2020

BLURB:

When freshman year at the University of Alabama draws to a close, Sara Donovan finds herself grappling with the same old question—listen to her head or follow her heart. What she ends up doing is purchasing an Egyptian souvenir funerary mask, and after a mysterious phone call, she’s certain a ring of antiquities smugglers are operating in Tuscaloosa.

With finals never far from her mind and her return to ‘Bama hanging in the balance, she should be studying. Instead she launches her own investigation to prove her mask is indeed a stolen artifact, and not a cheap trinket. When it comes time to snoop, Sara is more than ready, or at least she was until a hot new teaching assistant moves in next door.

Suddenly she learns things are never as they seem. Ever.

SHORT BLURB:

Sara is a freshman in college who thinks cell phones are disposable, snap decisions are brilliant, and that “snooping” is a rude term for being observant. Tie that with an over-active imagination and Sara often finds herself in a pickle. Character cast also includes a hot TA, a feisty best friend, and an octogenarian who can pump iron. Think of this as a cleaner version of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, but replace Rex the Gerbil with Mauzzy the Dachshund, and 1990s Trenton, New Jersey with 2010s Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54867181-against-my-better-judgment

BUY LINKS:

Amazon Paperback Link

Amazon Kindle Link

Barnes & Noble Paperback Link

Barnes & Noble Nook Link

Books-A-Million Paperback Link

Apple Books Link

AUTHOR BIO:

Ever wonder what retired business executives do after they have put in years of effort for society and decide it is time to hang up their hat? Perhaps strolling along the country club’s fairway, or lounging on a 50-foot yacht?

Alas, B. T. Polcari is unlike your typical retired executive. Empty nester and Scarlett Knights alum, Polcari is still learning the meaning of “retired” while feverishly typing away on the next new book idea, smashing the fuzz off the little green tennis ball, or blasting bowling pins for a perfect game. Yes there is a boat, but not one that comes with its own crew; this retiree prefers to bustle along a serene lake in a quaint single seat Sunfish sailboat.

Perhaps the only time BTP can be found in a quiet moment is while enjoying the morning company of two family dachshunds over a newspaper and cup of coffee. B. T. Polcari currently resides in Chattanooga, TN and is thrilled to be fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a published author.

SHORT BIO:

After a long career as a business executive, B.T. Polcari tried to retire. Spoiler alert: he’s really bad at retirement. Bowling, tennis, and sailing can only keep you busy for so long, so B.T. is now pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a published author.

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AUTHOR CONTACTS:

Author Website: https://www.btpolcari.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/btpolcari

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/btpolcari/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/btpolcari

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/btpolcari/

Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/btpolcari

EXCERPTS:

Hidden Mask excerpt

I replaced the mask in the void, bolted the tire back in place, and activated the alarm. With a quick glance over each shoulder, I hustled back into the cottage. That was a great snap decision to hide it this morning before leaving for the gym. Normally, my snap decisions are not the best. Things were on the upswing. Although now I had a smuggling ring after me.

Stained Fashion Wear excerpt

With the sudden onslaught of authority blasting my senses, I jolted upward and fell into the rack of cute blouses. My hand lost its grip on the huge cup. The other hand instinctively shot out to catch the falling soda, at the same time ejecting my phone deep into clothes-rack oblivion. An unhealthy, protracted clatter indicated the landing didn’t go too well. I caught my balance halfway into the colorful summer collection of what appeared to be very fun tops. At least I saved the soda from making me the proud owner of a complete summer collection of stained fashion wear.

I nonchalantly edged my body around, fighting off multiple tendrils of fabric clutching and grabbing at my head and shoulders. I popped my head out of the blouses, and after clearing disheveled hair from my eyes, was confronted with the no-nonsense visage of—a mall cop. On a motorized two-wheeled scooter.

From within my inner sanctum of the clothes rack, I laid on him all the cool innocence and southern sweetness I could muster. “No, but thank you for asking. Everything is okay, officer.”

It’s Time to Go excerpt

I waited another ten seconds, straining to hear anything that would give away the intruder’s location.

Still nothing.

I forged ahead, the snail’s pace turning my ankles into jelly.

One more step to go.

I stopped and crouched up against the inside wall of the staircase. Just earsplitting silence. Gathering myself, I summoned whatever semblance of courage remained in my trembling body.

A second later, my brain issued the command. Okay—it’s go time.

I lunged up toward the last stair, propelling myself into the loft.

At least that was the plan.

My leading foot caught the lip of the top stair, sending me crashing down. The pepper spray sailed across the room as the elbow of my outstretched arm slammed into the wood floor. I didn’t hear the dispenser hit anything, so either the killer caught it, or it landed in the pile of clean clothes on the floor. Either way, not good. Worse yet, the raised bat fell backward, its barrel cracking me on the back of the head before bouncing and rolling down the stairs.

Disarmed and face down, I lay sprawled between the top step and the floor of the room. Before the killer could react, I scrambled to my feet and hit the light switch.

And there he was, his intensity palpable.

I stared into his piercing eyes.

Featured

Book Tour: The Connection, by Dana Claire

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE CONNECTION by Dana Claire Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: THE CONNECTION (The Blood-Light Trilogy #1)

Author: Dana Claire

Pub. Date: November 24, 2020

Publisher: Chamberlain Publishing House

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 241

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org, Get a signed copy from Dana’s site

SUMMARY:

Beatrice Walker thought she lived in a normal world—that is until she learned she’s a living hostel for an alien energy source, and apparently the answer to preventing extinction.

Bea has no memory of her last moments with her mother. The week they’d gone missing is a complete mystery. Suddenly moved back to her hometown with her father, Bea has rekindled her friendship with her two best friends—and seems to have caught the attention of an arrogant, yet gorgeous boy named Cash Kingston. But there’s more to Cash than his annoying attitude and good looks. Cash isn’t human, and he’s now in charge of protecting Bea from those who know what she keeps safe inside her: the energy source that once belonged to his murdered girlfriend.

Tensions mount as Bea learns her energy source must be paired with the one Cash holds to protect both their planets from an imminent threat. But what Bea doesn’t realize is there’s more to her than being human a host, that her feelings for Cash are not just a prophetic plan that will save their planets, and that the fate of everything lies in her choices.

AUTHOR BIO:

When author Dana Claire had several poems published as an elementary school student, she was hooked and writing became her passion. A shared dream of hers and her mother’s, she promised her dying mother that she would become a published author and that dream has been realized with The Connection.

Dana believes that a good story is made through strong character development; when readers become attached to the characters’ emotional state and are invested in their objectives. She believes that the beauty of reading is that one can live a hundred lives within the stories of books. Her own stories come to her in her dreams, and she wakes up with book ideas.

Dana’s family is very supportive of her writing and the creativity and sentiment driving it. Enjoying bicoastal living between Los Angeles and New York, Dana says she “lives the best romance in the world being married to the most amazing man she could ever ask for.” The Connection was her debut YA novel, the first volume in the Blood-Light trilogy. The Reclaimed Kingdom is her second novel.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon | BookBub

Dana Claire

BOOKHOUDS QUESTIONS:

www.BookHounds.net

www.BookhoundsYA.net

  1. What is on your nightstand?  

ACOTAR Series and the After Series. I keep After on my husbands’ side and make him pass it to me. I have reread the books three times.

  • What author would you totally fan?

Jennifer Armentrout – #fangirl

  • What makes you cringe?

Books that have sentences missing punctuation!

  • Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?

I go with the flow. Sometimes my characters are very bossy and they take me outside the outlines I’ve created.

  • Is there a word you love to use?

“Frisky Banter” That’s two words but I have it used in multiple books. Isn’t it amazing?

1 winner will win an $75 Amazon GC, International.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/965747e37/?

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

4/1/2021Rockstar Book ToursKickoff Post
4/2/2021Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt
4/3/2021BookHounds YAInterview

Week Two:

4/3/2021BookHoundsInstagram Post
4/4/2021Lisa-Queen of RandomExcerpt
4/5/2021Amani’s ReviewsReview
4/5/2021meetcuteromancebooksInstagram Post
4/6/2021Jaime’s WorldExcerpt
4/7/2021A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
4/8/2021Shelf LoveReview
4/9/2021JaimerockstarbooktoursInstagram Post
4/10/2021Fire and IceReview 

Week Three:

4/11/2021Jillpiscitello.comExcerpt
4/12/2021Jazzy Book ReviewsReview
4/13/2021Moonlight RendezvousReview
4/14/2021My Fictional OasisReview
4/14/2021My Fictional OasisInstagram Post
4/15/2021Books and Zebras @jypsylynnInstagram Post/Spotlight
4/16/2021I’m ShelfishReview
4/16/2021I’m ShelfishInstagram Post
4/17/2021michellemengsbookblogReview

Week Four:

4/18/2021Kay’s LitishReview
4/19/2021BookishKelly2020Instagram Post
4/20/2021celiamcmahonreadsReview
4/20/2021celiamcmahonreadsInstagram Post

Top 5 favorite scenes from THE CONNECTION and why.

The Connection

  • When Cash and Bea meet for the first time by their lockers.

The why is easy. She’s immediately attracted to him and also super scared and he’s pissed. He realizes for the first time his dead girlfriends’ source is inside this human.

  • When Cash enters Robert’s home without knocking and is leaned up against the doorway.

I like the way he surprised everyone in this scene showing the two worlds starting to merge.

  • The jog scene between Cash and Bea.

It’s the first time we see them interact alone and so much happens. They get attacked, Bea shows strength for wanting to protect Cash even if he’s a pain, and there’s a death scene.

  • When Darla tells Grouper that Cash is Beatrice’s boyfriend.

I’m a big Darla fan so I love when she starts telling Grouper he has the situation mistaken when if fact it’s her that has the situation mistaken.

  • The end when Bea get’s her memory back.

I knew I was always going to bring Seraphina back for book 2 but I love that the story doesn’t tell you until the last line. Seraphina is the alpha and omega.

Featured

Book Tour: Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn, by Michael Seidelman

It is my pleasure to be a part of the book tour for Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn by Michael Seidelman. Thank you to Sara Slattery at YA Bound Book Tours for inviting me to participate.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn
(Garden of Syn #3)
By: Michael Seidelman
YA Fantasy
Release date: March 30th
Publisher: Chewed Pencil Press

SUMMARY:

The stakes could not be higher in the epic conclusion of The Garden of Syn trilogy.

Synthia (Syn) Wade discovered a secret world known as the Garden, where illness and death do not exist. Because of the tragic events that occurred in the Garden, Syn vowed never to return, even as cystic fibrosis threatened her young life. But when Syn faces the ultimate betrayal and a malicious adversary closes in, she is forced to escape her world and reluctantly return to the Garden.

However, her ruthless foe is not easily thwarted. Flanked by a deadly army, this dark force manipulates its way into the Garden with the goal of ultimate destruction. Facing great adversity, Syn must risk her life to protect the Garden and all those living within its borders.

Will Syn save the Garden and those she holds dear from the storm cloud of evil? Or will she discover that no one is Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn?

AUTHOR BIO:

When Michael Seidelman was growing up, his passions were reading, watching movies, enjoying nature and creative writing. Not much has changed since then.

Working in Online Marketing for over ten years, Michael felt it was time to pursue his passion and began writing The Garden of Syn trilogy.

Michael is excited about the upcoming release of the third and final book in The Garden of Syn series and beyond the trilogy, he has more books in the works that he can’t wait to share with the world!

Michael was born in Vancouver, BC Canada where he continues to reside.

Michael Seidelman

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T7V8XCB/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_503AMF04EYVQFWGY9AA4

B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/too-young-to-die-in-the-garden-of-syn-michael-seidelman/1138997265;jsessionid=3A20DBC096A70391C01F3D17E0A2B412.prodny_store02-atgap17?ean=9780994969590

Abe Books: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30872069130

Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card (International)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/965747e37/?

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53065971-too-young-to-die-in-the-garden-of-syn

AUTHOR LINKS:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14809383.Michael_Seidelman

Website: https://michaelseidelman.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeidelmanAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mseidelman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mseidelman/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/mseidelman/

Featured

Book Tour: Wallflower, by Cookie O’Gorman

It is my pleasure to be a part of the book tour for Wallflower by Cookie O’Gorman. Thank you to Sara Slattery at YA Bound Book Tours for inviting me to participate.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Wallflower 
by: Cookie O’Gorman
YA Romance 

Release Date: March 25, 2021

SUMMARY:

Wallflower (wohl-flou-erh): Identifier for someone who is shy and/or awkward. For reference, see Viola Kent.

Seventeen-year-old Viola Kent likes being invisible. Well, not literally, but she’s content being a loner, reading her books, and hanging out with the animals at the shelter. She just wants to keep her head down and get through her senior year at Durham High.

Driving Dare Frost to school every day wasn’t part of the plan.

And when Viola finds out her dad recruited Dare, his number one player, to be her friend?

Her inner Slytherin demands revenge.

The solution: Get Dare to be her fake boyfriend.

Convincing the star athlete to pretend is easier than she’d thought it would be. The hard part is protecting her heart. With every word, touch, and kiss, Viola’s feelings become more real.

The problem: Viola knows she’s falling for Dare—but he doesn’t believe in love.

This book features two sets of soulmates, one happy pooch named Hermione, so many sizzling kisses and answers the question:

Can a dork and a jock fake their way to true love?

AUTHOR BIO:

Cookie O'Gorman

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA & NA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL, The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder, The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad  and WALLFLOWER are out now!  She is also the author of NA sports romance, The Best Mistake.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Author Website: http://cookieogorman.com/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cookie-OGorman/e/B01DCDMJ5U

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14924267.Cookie_O_Gorman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cookieogorman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cookieogorman/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CookieOwrites

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cookie-o-gorman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56507982-wallflower

Giveaway: $25 Amazon GC

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/965747e36/?

Giveaway HTML:

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/965747e36/&#8221; rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”965747e36″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_vavaxbbl”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

What inspired you to write this book?  Hi there!  I’m Cookie O’Gorman, and I write YA & NA romance.  I was inspired to write WALLFLOWER because I loved the idea of this awkward, shy (until you talk to her 😊) girl having to drive Mr. Popular, the star jock, to school every day.  And then, I wondered what would the girl do when she finds out her dad asked this guy to be her friend lol?  It just seemed like a such a fun story idea, and my characters Viola and Dare won my heart, so of course, I had to write their happily-ever-after!

What is your favorite thing about Viola?  What about Dare?  I love Viola for her amazing heart and because she’s a hopeless romantic, Harry Potter fanatic and dog lover.  And I love Dare because he is just…sigh.  Dare is so charismatic, thoughtful, funny, kind, and such an awesome, perfectly imperfect guy. That’s definitely more than one thing for each of them, but I couldn’t pick just one lol!

Please describe your book, WALLFLOWER, in three words?  Swoon-worthy. Fun. Romantic.

What was your favorite scene to write?  I loved every scene with Viola & Dare.  Though the kissing ones were particularly fun to write!

What do you hope readers gain from reading WALLFLOWER?  I hope WALLFOWER makes readers laugh, sigh, and smile.  I hope they finish Viola & Dare’s story with a feeling of giddiness and an undeniable case of the warm fuzzies.  And I hope it makes everyone who reads it believe in happily-ever-after 😊.

WALLFLOWER Playlist:

1. “Electric Love” by BORNS

2. “Are We There Yet?” by Ingrid Michaelson

3. “Shotgun” by George Ezra

4. “Closer” by The Chainsmokers

5. “Somebody to Love” by Queen

6. “Take Care” by Drake ft. Rhianna

7. “Willow” by Taylor Swift

8. “Chasing Cars” by Vitamin String Quartet

9. “Viva La Vida” by 2Cellos

10. “I Melt With You” by Modern English

Featured

Book Tour: The Reclaimed Kingdom, by Dana Claire

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE RECLAIMED KINGDOM by Dana Claire Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:

Title: THE RECLAIMED KINGDOM (Syphon #1)
Author: Dana Claire
Pub. Date: February 14, 2021
Publisher: Chamberlain Publishing House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 292
Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, TBD, Bookshop.org, Get a signed copy from Dana’s site Read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited membership!

Under the cruel ministrations of its Queen, the Kingdom of D’Land is in peril. With King Harrison away in foreign lands and neighboring Kingdoms unwilling to intervene, there is no one to protect the people from poverty, harsh punishment, and unreasonable rules of law – except for the Band of Brothers. Struggling with the death of her mother and the legendary Syphon powers she inherited, seventeen-year-old Dru wants nothing more than to escape her old life and join the motley crew of ruffians, pilfering from the rich to feed the poor and pay their taxes. She’s able to do just that disguised as a lad, and even when her nature is discovered, nothing changes – except for the way her friend Hawkin treats her. But Dru’s new world is overturned when she and the Brothers seize the treasures of a Prince who threatens to reveal her identity. Together, Dru and her chosen family must find a way to reclaim her destiny and bring balance to the Kingdom. If not, there may be no hope left for anyone. If you like Robin Hood, Snow White and the Huntsmen, From Blood and Ash, or Graceling, this book is for for you.

About Dana Claire:

When author Dana Claire had several poems published as an elementary school student, she was hooked and writing became her passion. A shared dream of hers and her mother’s, she promised her dying mother that she would become a published author and that dream has been realized with The Connection. Dana believes that a good story is made through strong character development; when readers become attached to the characters’ emotional state and are invested in their objectives. She believes that the beauty of reading is that one can live a hundred lives within the stories of books. Her own stories come to her in her dreams, and she wakes up with book ideas. Dana’s family is very supportive of her writing and the creativity and sentiment driving it. Enjoying bicoastal living between Los Angeles and New York, Dana says she “lives the best romance in the world being married to the most amazing man she could ever ask for.” The Connection was her debut YA novel, the first volume in the Blood-Light trilogy. The Reclaimed Kingdom is her second novel.

Dana Claire


Website | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon | BookBub

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win an $75 Amazon GC, International.

Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21248/?

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
3/1/2021 Rockstar Book Tours Kickoff Post
3/2/2021 Two Chicks on Books Excerpt
3/3/2021 Jaime’s World Excerpt
3/4/2021 Jaimerockstarbooktours Instagram Post
3/5/2021 BookHounds/@bookhounds Interview/Instagram Post

Week Two:
3/8/2021 A Dream Within A Dream Excerpt
3/9/2021 Westveil Publishing / Dream Cast/Instagram thewestveilarchives Post

3/10/2021 Jillpiscitello.com/jillpiscitellobooks Excerpt/Instagram Post
3/11/2021 Lady Hawkeye / @kellyatx Excerpt/Instagram Post
3/12/2021 Books A-Brewin’/booksabrewin Excerpt/Instagram Post


Week Three:
3/15/2021 Hurn Publications/hurnpublications Excerpt/Instagram Post

3/16/2021 Shelf Love/shelflove123 Excerpt/Instagram Post

3/17/2021 Reese’s Reviews Review

3/18/2021 Jazzy Book Reviews Top 5’s
3/19/2021 The Phantom Paragrapher Review

Week Four:
3/22/2021 Shelf-Rated Review
3/23/2021 Books a Plenty Book Reviews Review
3/24/2021 Declarations of a Fangirl/declarationsofafangirl Favorite Scenes/Instagram Post

3/25/2021 Simply Daniel Radcliffe Review
3/26/2021 Book Briefs/bookbriefs Review/Instagram Post


Week Five:
3/29/2021 Living in a Bookworld Excerpt
3/30/2021 TLC Book Nook / @tlcbooknook Review/Instagram Post

3/31/2021 Fire and Ice Review
4/1/2021 Lala’s BookReviews/lauren.bodiford Review/Instagram Post

Featured

Book Tour: Dog Girl, by Gabi Justice

It is my pleasure to be a part of the book tour for Dog Girl by Gabi Justice. Thank you to Sara Slattery at YA Bound Book Tours for inviting me to participate.

Dog Girl
by: Gabi Justice
YA, Contemporary, Fiction

Summary:

Dog Girl is Fangirl meets Pit Bulls and Parolees.

Saving the dogs who end up at Delray Dog Rescue is Kendall’s life. It’s the perfect job for a girl with severe social anxiety.

Delray Dog Rescue doesn’t just rescue dogs, it’s a second chance for felons, like her dad.
Losing the rescue means losing Kendall’s home, her sanctuary, the dogs she loves, her
identity and her dad, all over again.

But money’s tight, and soon, Kendall must decide between keeping a roof over her head
and saving the rescue.

When a video of Kendall’s harrowing rescue of a pit bull from the path of an oncoming
train goes viral. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Kendall, making her anxiety worse. But this is an opportunity to put the rescue in the spotlight and secure the donations
needed to save it.

Can she overcome the social paralysis that’s plagued her all her life? Can she ignore
negative comments on social media about her looks and smell? Can she accept help
from a boy who really sees her, even though she can’t understand what he could possibly
see in her?

DOG GIRL is the story of a teen girl who wants to save the world, and ends up saving
herself in the process.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54471917-dog-girl

Book Club Link: https://www.gabijustice.com/book-club-kit

Giveaway Prizes:

Grand Prize: Dog Girl T-Shirt! (U.S. only – Sizes S-XL)
1st Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card (International)
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/965747e34/?

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1951710053?tag=&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1
B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dog-girl-gabi-
justice/1137266628?ean=9781951710057
Target: https://www.target.com/p/dog-girl-by-gabi-justice-paperback/-/A-
81646408#lnk=sametab

About the Author:

Gabi Justice is the author of Dog Girl, her teen and young adult contemporary romance
debut set to publish in the fall of 2020. She is the mom to three dogs and one stray cat
named Luna Buna. She lives in Florida with her husband and children. You’d be hard-
pressed to find a tennis court in the state that she hasn’t visited, having three
competitive junior players in the family. She spent most of her adult life writing editorial copy for local magazines after graduating from the University of South Florida. Florida provides the settings for all her coming-of-age stories that highlight bullying, misjudgment, acceptance, and teen anxiety. Her main characters are goal-oriented teenage girls with a drive that can be fierce and dangerous.

Gabi Justice

Author Links:

Website: https://www.gabijustice.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gabijustice/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yagabijustice
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20495013.Gabi_Justice
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gabi_justice

Playlist:

Featured

Trailer and Cover Reveal: The Leafwing, by Deborah J. Copeland

Today Deborah J. Copeland and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE LEAFWING, her YA Fantasy book which released on June 21, 2020! Check out the awesome trailer and enter the giveaway!

On to the reveal! 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: THE LEAFWING

Author: Deborah J. Copeland

Pub. Date: June 21, 2020

Publisher: Crown Royal Books

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 372

FIND IT: GoodreadsAmazonKindle

They walk amongst us pretending,
but I can see them.
I know what they are.
I can hear you inside my head.
I know what you are.
Funny. I think you know
what I am too.

Amelia Ricci remembers when being plain and nerdy was safe.

But everything changed the day she discovered that monsters disguised as teenagers attend her school. In fact, one befriends her, and her entire world is changed forever when he reveals what she really is; that she’s not just a mundane girl at school.

Now Amelia has the chance to solve the puzzle to the questions that have plagued her for years.

As she embraces her true identity, Amelia, along with her monster friends, are zapped into ancient worlds where butterflies talk, gnomes become spies, and allies turn into enemies as she seeks to discover the truth.

BOOK TRAILER:

AUTHOR BIO:

Debbie Copeland is a native New Yorker. She grew up on Hering Avenue in the North Bronx. Gifted as a child Debbie has been writing short stories, novellas, plays, and poems since the age of seven. Throughout her childhood, she wrote plays that she and her friends performed every summer for the entire neighborhood. She is the author of The Kids at Latimar High, which received great reviews, including one from Deborah Gregory, best-selling author of The Cheetah Girls.

Her new YA fantasy book, THE LEAFWING, is the first book in the Leafwing trilogy. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is working on the second book in the LEAFWING  trilogy. Debbie’s other loves are reading YA fantasy and historical novels, musical theater, vintage fashion, and arts & crafts.

AUTHOR LINKS:

WebsiteFacebook |  Instagram |  Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21239/

Featured

Cover Reveal: Elements of Power, by Kate Stoessel

It is my pleasure to be a part of the cover reveal for Elements of Power by Kate Stoessel. The cover is gorgeous. This looks like an intriguing read. Thank you to Sara Slattery at YA Bound Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this cover reveal.

Cover Designer: Lauria 

BLURB:

Genre- YA Urban Fantasy

The Council of the Harvest Moon was established to maintain peace among the witches, fairies, vampires, and mermaids of the United States. However, old feuds die hard and as the powers of fairies wane with the destruction of natural environments, the witches rise with a rigid societal structure designed to assert their supremacy as the most powerful supernatural beings in the modern world. 

As the descendant of two prominent New England witching families, Khlorie Lethestone’s life was destined to fit into the neat, color-coded boxes established by the American Continental Coven (ACC).  When it is discovered that Khlorie has “extra elemental powers” beyond that of a typical witch, she is sent to Spindlewick College, a secret institution designed to help witches develop non-conforming gifts into tools for the greater good of witching society.  Once there, she meets the attractive, but distant Perry Prentice, who is assigned to help her understand her gifts. But becoming one of the most powerful witches in the world means that you are watched closely, and Khlorie learns that there are secrets she must keep hidden to survive.

Goodreads linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56797258-elements-of-power

PreOrder Link: https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Power-Council-Harvest-Moon-ebook/dp/B08TV7VMSC/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=elements+of+power+kate+stoessel&qid=1611683184&sr=8-1

AUTHOR BIO:

 Kate Stoessel is a Middle Grades and Young Adult author specializing in Fantasy. She wrote her first novel, Erine Pershings and the Golden Lyre, because she could not find interesting and informative historical fiction that explored the daily lives of women and children in Ancient Athens. The Council of the Harvest moon series represents Kate’s first foray into Young Adult Fantasy, her favorite genre as a reader. She knows how transportive a fantasy story can be, and hopes to give her readers the same experience of wonder and escape. Whether Middle Grades or YA, Kate is committed to creating characters that feel as authentic and real as the students she works with everyday as a classroom teacher.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: https://katestoessel.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/edukatemuseums

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kate_e_stoessel/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14622941.Kate_Stoessel 

Featured

Virtual Valentine’s Day Party

Valentine’s Day is almost here. It’s the perfect season to check out some new sweet romance titles. Happily Ever After Stories – Sweet Romance – Reader Group on Facebook is hosting a virtual Valentine’s Day party tonight from 7-11pm. Join the fun and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HEAstories

Featured

Valentine’s Day Favorites

My fondest Valentine’s Day memories are those spent in Grades K-5 with a decorated paper bag full of valentines and candy from my peers. I think many adults would agree that the holiday loses its charm after elementary school. This year, the joy of an old-fashioned classroom valentine exchange will be eliminated in many schools due to the current pandemic. Perhaps a bit of that fun can be found between the pages of a book. Here are a few of my all-time favorite Valentine’s Day children’s books in no particular order. As a parent and teacher, I’ve never tired of reading these stories and the children continue to love them each year. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!

A Charlie Brown Valentine, by Charles M. Schulz: I never tire of the Peanuts gang and this tale of Charlie Brown working up the nerve to talk to the little red-haired girl always delights.

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine, by Barbara Park: A secret admirer for Junie B. Jones? Who would have thought? Kids will read and laugh along as she tries to figure out who sent her a mushy valentine.

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, by Diane de Groat: Gilbert the Opossum must write valentine cards for everyone in his class – even the kids who are less then nice to him. When he writes a few unfriendly valentines, he needs to find a way to make up for the hurt feelings he’s caused.

Love Is, by Diane Adams: A little girl finds a duckling that has waddled away from the park and brings it home. She cares for her new pet until he grows into a duck and must return it to the pond. Children’s hearts will smile when the girl learns that she has not been forgotten.

Happy Valentine’s Day Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer : Share Little Critter’s excitement for his classroom’s Valentine’s Day celebration. Cupcakes, decorations, mailboxes, and a special valentine equal a fun filled read.

Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine, by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat: Nate’s not a fan of anything mushy and is surprised to find a valentine attached to Sludge’s doghouse. Can he solve the mystery and put an end to mushy valentines for good?

Cupid Doesn’t Flip Hamburgers (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids), By Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones: The grown-ups are never quite who they seem in Bailey City. Is the new cook in the cafeteria at Bailey Elementary really cupid? Her Valentine’s Day cookies seem to have caused an epidemic of lovesickness. The Bailey School Kids will find out if her recipe is actually a love potion.

Featured

Book Tour: The Rising Star, by Michele Kwasniewski

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the RISING STAR by Michele Kwasniewski Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About The Book:

Title: RISING STAR

Author: Michele Kwasniewski

Pub. Date: October 20, 2020

Publisher: Rand-Smith LLC

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 268

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

In the first book in THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series, RISING STAR, fifteen-year-old Dani Truehart is living a life that is not quite her own. Driven by her mother’s desire for fame and fortune, she has spent her childhood dutifully training for a career as a pop star. On the brink of discovery, doubts begin to creep into Dani’s mind as she questions her own desire for fame, and she wonders whether she can trust the motivations of the adults who are driving her forward.

Following a brilliant audition arranged by her vocal/dance coach and former ’80s pop icon Martin Fox, Dani is thrown full-force into the music industry. She leaves her friends, family and scheming mother behind to move with Martin, who has become her legal guardian, into the Malibu compound of her new manager, Jenner Redman. Jenner, the former swindling manager of Martin’s boy band, leverages what’s left of his depleted fortune to launch Dani’s career.

Isolated from her life at home and trying to stay apace with her demanding schedule, Dani struggles to keep in touch with those she loves, connect to her withholding mother and find her voice as an artist. With Martin and Jenner at odds over their rocky past and finding herself unprepared to handle the pressures of her future singing career, Dani’s debut album and future stardom are at risk of falling apart.

About Michele:

Michele Kwasniewski, is an entertainment industry insider who has seen what the Hollywood machine can do to people – having worked for many years in film and television production on such films and TV shows as Primal FearIndependence DayEvita, Face/OffBig Brother, and many TCL, HGTV, and Discovery series including: Meet the Pandas, Adoption Story, Wedding Story, and Extra Yardage. 

With her book, she shares the glamour and excitement of fame as well as the hard work it takes to achieve success and the price of living life in the public eye.  Everyone wants to be famous, but most people have no idea what that really means.  Michele has seen it firsthand.  She is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

Michele’s colorful experiences in the industry inspired her to write THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series. Michele lives in San Clemente, California with her husband, their son, and their disobedient dachshund. RISING STAR is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Amazon | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 lucky winners will win a signed copy of RISING STAR & RISING STAR pencils, US Only.

Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21217/?

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For Authors

Book Promotion Services

All promotion services are free and will be shared on social media. Contact me at jillpiscitello7@gmail.com for more information.

Genres include: Sweet Romance, Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Romantic Comedy, Holiday Fiction, and Chick-Lit.

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Guarding the Bootlegger’s Widow: A Sweet Historical Roaring Twenties Novel (Moonshine Madness Book 2) – Denise Devine

Happy New Year!

Thank you to Denise Devine for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

Charlotte LeDoux is struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her late husband, Gus, has left her a lot to deal with–his sprawling business empire, his enemies and an ex-mistress who desperately needs a friend. It’s tough for a woman to compete in a man’s world and even though it’s a never-ending uphill battle, she is determined to succeed.

Char gets a new Model T and is excited when William Van Elsberg offers to give her a driving lesson. She’s attracted to the handsome private detective, who, in many ways, is the polar opposite of Gus. Will takes her out for a spin in the car and instructs her how to drive, but at the same time, teaches her how to love again. She’s never been so happy!

Meanwhile, Gus’ enemies are circling like vultures. An anonymous note threatening Char’s life forces Will to become her personal bodyguard. He’s highly qualified, but Char’s stubborn belief in her own independence makes it the most difficult job he’s ever taken. Can he keep her safe or will he lose her in the most dangerous fight of her life?

LOVE LIST:

  • I loved that I was beyond excited to read the second book in the Moonshine Madness Series and it didn’t disappoint.  Once again, I was immediately swept up into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and an action packed love story.
  • I loved that, even though this is Book 2, it could also be read as a stand-alone.  Details from Book 1 were expertly woven in at just the right moments to ensure that anyone who hadn’t read the first installment would be eager to do so.
  • I loved joining the rollercoaster ride of Charlotte’s life.  Her fierce determination to succeed in legitimate business ventures is impeded by continuously finding one foot heavily entrenched in her late husband’s bootlegging world.
  • I loved seeing Charlotte in her roles as new mother, guardian for her teenage sister, and potential friend to her late husband’s mistress.  Each role added a new layer to an already three-dimensional character. 
  • I loved the highs and lows of Charlotte’s developing relationship with her bodyguard.  Would he be willing to commit to her and her complicated life always fearing for her safety?
  • I loved that, once again, this book read like a movie I’d like to watch.  This thoroughly entertaining story has it all: a heroine who continues to evolve as she learns exactly what she’s capable of and a romance hanging in the balance as she weighs one dangerous decision after another.
  • I love knowing that the next book in this series is forthcoming.  I look forward to following Charlotte as she continues on her journey.

REVIEW SUMMARY:

Book 2 in the Moonshine Madness Series is not to be missed.  Whether meeting Charlotte LeDoux for the first time or picking up where she left off, readers will be swept up into the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and the rollercoaster ride that is Charlotte’s life.  She leaps off the page with a fierce determination to succeed in legitimate business ventures while impeded by the one foot she continues to find heavily entrenched in her late husband’s bootlegging world.  The highs and lows of Charlotte’s developing relationship with her bodyguard will keep readers guessing as to whether he will commit to her and her complicated life despite the constant fear for her safety. 

This thoroughly entertaining story has it all: a heroine who continues to evolve as she learns exactly what she’s capable of and a romance hanging in the balance as she weighs one dangerous decision after another.  The characters and setting are so well developed that the book reads like a movie playing out on the screen.  As the story comes to an end, readers can delight in the fact that the next book in this series is forthcoming and look forward to following Charlotte as she continues on her journey.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F6DTKLM

AUTHOR WEBSITE:

Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author  

Amazon~Website~Blog~FB~Twitter~Newsletter


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Find Me in the Snow – Pamela Q. Fernandes

Thank you to Pamela Q. Fernandes for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

When Althea meets Morgan Hunter at Muldoon’s pub for the first time, she thinks he’s a handsome, ego tripping, prissy-pants executive. She quickly rebuffs him only to find him thundering at her in the operation theater, the very next day. He’s dogged in his censure of her, but not immune to her allure. Through a snowy December Morgan courts Althea and wins her heart but not her trust.

When she travels with him at his request for Christmas to his home in Finesse, a tumble in the snow leads to the discovery of Morgan’s missing ex-girlfriend. Dead. Morgan pushes Althea away and she doesn’t understand his reasons.

Althea returns to build the new rural clinic in Finesse. She discovers the truth about Morgan’s heritage, the murdered ex-girlfriend and the secrets about the Hunter clan.

Can she save the man she loved from going to prison?

LOVE LIST:

  • I loved that this story felt like the perfect mashup of holiday romance and cozy mystery with a hint of medical drama sprinkled throughout.
  • I loved that this read like a modern-day gothic.
  • I loved that this book provided an entertaining diversion from the many Hallmark-esque reads I’ve been favoring this season.
  • I loved that, despite the mention of Christmas, this is a perfect read for any season.
  • I loved the wealthy family with secrets storyline.  I was compelled to keep turning pages to find out what they were hiding.
  • I loved the well-rounded cast of characters consisting of co-workers, friends, and family.  Each personality shined through and created a three-dimensional story world.
  • I loved the twists and turns that kept me guessing who murdered Morgan’s ex-girlfriend and that not one of my suspects was correct.
  • I loved that the pacing was well developed.  Each chapter ended with me wanting to read on to find out what would happen next.
  • I loved that there were several times when I had to restrain myself from reading ahead.  It all came together beautifully at the end and was worth waiting for.

REVIEW SUMMARY:

This story is perfect for readers looking for a holiday/medical romance combined with a cozy mystery and elements of gothic fiction.  It provides an entertaining diversion from the expected romances novels of the season.  When Morgan invites Althea to his family’s home for Christmas, she finds herself entangled in a family’s web of lies and secrets.  Readers will feel compelled to keep those pages turning until all is revealed.  An intriguing cast of characters keeps the story moving at a fast pace and will have readers guessing up until the very end.  Be prepared to want to read ahead! 

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon ebook-https://amzn.to/3ly6EvV

Amazon print-https://amzn.to/38HFJKx

Smashwords-https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1053950

Kobo-https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/find-me-in-the-snow

AUTHOR WEBSITE:

https://www.pamelaqfernandes.com


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Holiday Favorites

Remote learning has meant hours and hours of screen time. Give the kids’ eyes a break from the Zoomiverse with some good old fashioned hand held books. No Wi-Fi necessary! Here are a few of my all-time holiday favorites in no particular order. As a parent and teacher, I’ve never tired of reading these stories and the children continue to love them each year. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!

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The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg: A young boy is invited to join a magical train ride to the North Pole. This Caldecott Medal Winner evokes the spirit of Christmas with wishes and sleigh bells. A must read prior to viewing the delightful movie version.

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The Snowy Day, By Ezra Jack Keats: Peter bundles up in his snowsuit to enjoy the wonder and joy children experience when stepping into a snow covered world. Another Caldecott Medal Winner that continues to charm from one generation of readers to the next.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas, by Charles M. Shulz: The Peanuts characters must help Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas. This is a holiday book that has it all: ice skating, a Christmas pageant, and a tree that needs a bit of help.

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Jingle Bells, Homework Smells (Gilbert the Opossum), by Diane de Groat: Gilbert is a champion procrastinator. He puts off completing his weekend homework in favor of decorating Christmas cookies, choosing a tree, watching holiday specials, and playing with friends. When Monday morning rolls around, he has some explaining to do.

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How Murray Saved Christmas, by Mike Reiss: A story that will have the kids laughing out loud! Santa is knocked out by a Jack-in-the-Box. Murray, a deli owner, fills in for him. He doesn’t smell like gingerbread or fit the suit, but with help from an elf and a little boy, he doesn’t disappoint.

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Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale, by Brian P. Cleary: A delightful, rhyming tale of a family celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah as friends and relatives visit.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss: A beloved tale of finding the true meaning of Christmas.

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The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco: A young girl and her family find it challenging to enjoy their Hanukkah feast while their neighbors are plagued by scarlet fever. Her grandfather’s idea to deliver trees to their friends inspires Trisha to decorate them with the gifts he’d made for her and her brother. A beautiful story of giving and friendship.

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The Night Before the Night Before Christmas, by Natasha Wing: A fun version of the classic “The Night Before Christmas”. On December 23rd, a family is scrambling to prepare for the holiday.

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Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner: A charming story for every child who ever wondered what their snowman did at night. The illustrations vividly detail the fun of drinking cold cocoa, playing baseball with snowballs, sledding, and several other wintery activities.

Santa Paws (Santa Paws, #1)

Santa Paws, by Nicholas Edwards: A homeless puppy’s bravery leads him to his new family. This story pulls at the heartstrings and will warm readers’ hearts.

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June B. First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May), by Barbara Park: Junie B. at her festive best! Laugh along as she finds a way to deal with Tattletale May while trying to enjoy the holiday fun in Room One.

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Christmas Come Back (to me) – Caroline Akervik

Thank you to Caroline Akervik for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS:

Erik or “Erik the Wall” Engen, formerly one of the most feared and admired goalies in the International Hockey League, now an executive in his family’s holiday ornament company, has returned to his hometown of Noelle, Wisconsin during its annual Nutcracker Festival. It’s his job to evaluate the prospects of the Engen Nutcracker Factory, the company founded by his beloved grandfather.

After travelling the world creating murals, artist Stella Larson has returned to Noelle as well. Erik and Stella soon realize the old feelings between them linger, but she can’t seem to forget or forgive him for breaking her heart a decade before.

With a little hope and some Christmas magic, can Erik make his way back to the woman he always carried with him in his heart?

LOVE LIST:

  • I loved that this story was set during a small-town Wisconsin Christmas.  Perfect for a December read!
  • I loved the Hallmark movie feel.  Sweet, romantic, uplifting.  Every page was a delight.
  • I loved how the author’s vivid details brought the story to life.  I felt enveloped by the Christmas season as the characters made their way through town from holiday festivities in school, to a ski lodge I’d love to visit, and finally to the Nutcracker Ball.
  • I loved that the characters were well developed.  Stella’s career as an art teacher rang true for me.  Erik’s past as a hockey goalie impacted the dedication and discipline required for his role as a business executive.
  • I loved that Stella didn’t immediately succumb to Erik’s attention despite their history.  Her reluctance to dive back in was realistic.
  • I loved the concept of a high school romance ending to allow Erick and Stella to see the world and pursue their dreams until they finally met again with those experiences shaping who they became as adults.  The flashbacks to their younger days allowed me to get to know them and the events that led to their current goals.

REVIEW SUMMARY:

A wonderful holiday romance!  Pour a cup of tea, curl up in front of a fire, and enter the Christmas season in the small town of Noelle, Wisconsin.  This story has everything readers want this time of year:  snow, lights, ice skating, parades, ski lodges, and even a Nutcracker Ball.  Stella’s reluctance to take a second chance with Erik years after he ended their high school relationship will ring true for readers.  But the time spent apart as they saw the world and pursued their dreams clearly shapes the adults they become.  These fully formed characters come alive in this heartwarming story.  Each page is a wintery, festive delight.

AUTHOR DETAILS:

Caroline I. Akervik
Middle Grade and YA Author of A Horse Named Viking, White Pine, and Halcyon
https://www.facebook.com/HorseNamedViking/ @CAkervik
http://carolineakervik.blogspot.com/

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Author Spotlight with Winter Lawrence

A huge thank you to Winter Lawrence for including Homemakers’ Christmas in her December Book Recommendations and for taking the time to interview me for her Author Spotlight this month. Be sure to drop by and check out the other books included on the recommendation list. Each one of them looks like a fantastic read for the season!

https://www.winterlawrence.com/post/author-spotlight-jill-piscitello

https://www.winterlawrence.com/post/december-book-recommendations

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Virtual Holiday Party

It’s that time of year when many of us would like to be spending our weekends hopping from one holiday party to the next. Don’t allow the pandemic to cancel the fun. Happily Ever After Stories is hosting a virtual holiday party for sweet romance readers and authors tomorrow night. Join the fun and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HEAstories/permalink/3484849251609871/

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Lyrical Embrace – Amber Daulton

Thank you to Amber Daulton for a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.  This is the second book of Amber’s that I’ve had the pleasur e to read.

Synopsis:

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

Love List:

  • I loved that this is part of a series.  I had gotten to know Dylan and Erica briefly in “Harmony’s Embrace” and was excited to see how they came together.  This is another entertaining story from the Deerbourne Inn series.
  • I loved the summertime Vermont setting.  As the temperatures dropped in my neighborhood, I stepped into July sunshine.  The close knit, small town added additional warmth. 
  • I loved the backstory about Dylan being a once semi-famous rock star.  There was just enough prior success to pique interest while also making his career change and new life believable.
  • I loved that Erica’s strength leapt off the pages.  She forced herself to remain resolute in her choice to leave an abusive situation despite the trauma and fear that continued to haunt her.
  • I loved that I genuinely wanted to see Dylan and Erica find happiness at my first introduction to them.  I need to care about the characters’ futures in order to finish a book.  For that to happen, I need to forget that they are characters and begin to believe they are real people.  The author accomplished this beautifully.

Review Summary:

This is the perfect read for anyone who loves a small-town romance.  Dylan’s backstory will pique readers’ interest as they learn why he left his band to return to his Vermont hometown and a new career as a music teacher.  Erica’s strength leaps off the pages as she forces herself to remain resolute in her choice to leave an abusive situation despite the trauma and fear that continue to haunt her.  Readers will root for her to allow Dylan and the warm welcome from his family and close-knit community to rebuild her trust in people.  Dylan and Erica are three dimensional characters brought to life beautifully by the author.  Be prepared to become invested in their journey to happiness, love, and a new path in life.

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2ChIhNT
Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2ChIhgR
iBooks – https://apple.co/2M3T9mW
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lyrical-embrace
Google Play – https://bit.ly/2DqXlsV
Scribd – https://www.scribd.com/book/398892365/Lyrical-Embrace
Universal link – http://books2read.com/u/m0MYaVAudio/Audible – https://adbl.co/36q03LL

Social Media Links

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor1/
Newsletter – https://emailoctopus.com/lists/9d60a166-f2ea-11ea-a3d0-06b4694bee2a/forms/subscribe

Author Bio

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

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Guest Post with Viviana MacKade

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post, “Thankful”, on Viviana Mackade’s website.

Follow the link below for the post, but stick around for some excellent book reviews, author interviews, and Viviana MacKade’s Crescent Creek Series.

Many thanks to Viviana for including me!

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Inside the Grey – Bobbi Groover

Thank you to Bobbi Groover for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS

Brayden Wakefield is quickly losing faith that hostilities between the states will end peaceably. He and his neighbors, Fletcher Stedman and Royce Carlyle, seems to be in the minority in their belief that a war would not end in a few months. They know any clash would be long and brutal. But their loyalty to one another supplants their reluctance, and they are drawn into the politics and atrocities of war to save their kidnapped comrade, Caleb Jenkins.

Nothing is as it seems, however. The gentlemen, turned raiders, squirrel behind enemy lines. Brayden uncovers lies and intrigue on both sides but as he and his fellow raiders execute their audacious plan, as they torch the layers of the conspiracy, Brayden finds love hidden among the ashes.

LOVE LIST

  • I loved that each character was fully developed.  Each personality shined through with well written dialogue.
  • I loved that Brayden came from a place of hurt and regret and channeled those emotions into writing.  Snippets from his journal allowed me to gain a truer sense of who he was.
  • I loved that the heroine was in disguise for a large part of the book.  I read in anticipation waiting for one character after another to learn her true identity.
  • I loved that Kawley’s backstory wasn’t fully revealed immediately.  This kept me wanting to learn more about her as the story progressed.
  • I loved that the action scenes were fast paced and brought each event to life.
  • I loved that unexpected secrets were revealed at varying intervals.  The twists and turns held my attention.
  • I loved Kawley’s bravery.  The idea of not wanting to become too dependent on someone else would resonate with many readers.

REVIEW SUMMARY

This read as a true saga.  Every character was fully developed and will leave readers feeling like they know each personality inside and out.  Brayden will break your heart with his hurt and regrettable loss.  Kawley will have readers cheering her on as she tackles every obstacle and overcomes past trauma.  Disguises are worn.  Secrets are held.  Friendships are made.  At any given moment, anything can happen.  This is a well told story of remorse, determination, surprises, friendship, and love. 

PURCHASE LINKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was raised on the East coast, enjoying many years wandering the fields and freedoms of a beautiful working farm. Been writing stories of all kinds as long as I can remember. Inside the Grey is my third romance with many of the favorite characters from Season of The Shadow and The Inn at Little Bend. I also have a ‘coming of age’ juvenile adventure, Fun In The Yellow Pages.

SOCIAL

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Guest Post with Amber Daulton

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post, “Social Media and the Introverted Author”, on Amber Daulton’s website.

Follow the link below for the post, but stick around to check out her books. You may have caught my recent review for Harmony’s Embrace. I’m looking forward to following up with some of her other titles. Amber’s site also includes book reviews that may point you in the direction of your next read.

https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/blog/

Many thanks to Amber for including me!

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The Bootlegger’s Wife – Denise Devine

Thank you to Denise Devine for a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS

Charlotte LeDoux’s nine-year marriage to bootlegging kingpin, Gus “Lucky” LeDoux, is falling apart. The same day Char learns she’s pregnant, she catches Gus in the act of adultery and it’s clear he has no intention of ending the affair. Soon after, their night club is raided by Federal agents. As she flees from the chaos, Char becomes separated from Gus and she’s faced with a choice: search out her fugitive husband or change her identity and disappear. With her life in shambles and her future in doubt, she knows what she must do to protect her child.

Char alters her appearance and takes a job in domestic service for a private investigator. At first, living in Will Van Elsberg’s home is quiet, comfortable and safe, but everything changes the day Gus seeks out Will to find his missing wife. As Will’s investigation closes in on her, Char must once again make a decision. Should she run away again or face her violent husband and fight for her freedom? With her back to the wall, Char discovers she has more strength and determination than she ever thought possible.

LOVE LIST

  • I loved that this book takes place during the roaring twenties.  The mention of any story from this era turns my head.  The expertly detailed setting had me feeling like I’d immediately been transported back in time.
  • I loved that the first chapter was action packed and ended on a cliffhanger.  There are few things greater for a book addict than knowing they need to read a book to the end.
  • I loved the disappearing and reinvention arc of Charlotte LeDoux.
  • I loved that every prediction I made about where the story would veer next was completely wrong.
  • I loved the pacing of this story.  There was never a dull moment.  When I had to put the story down, I could not wait to pick it up again.  Every chapter ended with me wanting to read ahead.
  • I loved never being totally certain of Will’s intentions.  Keep me guessing and I’ll keep reading.
  • I loved the bits of Charlotte’s backstory that were deftly woven in.  It was just enough to make me hope for a prequel.
  • I loved that there were so many different elements to the story.  There was heartbreak, hope, drive, and danger.
  • I loved that this book read like a movie I’d like to watch.
  • I loved that this is the first book in a series.  Charlotte’s new life was just beginning and I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to her.  Good storytelling is the art of creating characters the reader cares about.  Denise Devine accomplished this beautifully.

REVIEW SUMMARY

This story starts off strong and will keep readers transfixed until the last page.  The vivid details create an overwhelming sense of being transported back in time to 1925.  There was never a dull moment.  Every chapter will leave readers needing to know what will happen next.  Throw your predictions out the window.  Charlotte is full of surprises – right up until the end of the book.  The pacing was excellent with twists and turns.   This multi-faceted story offers a tale of heartbreak, hope, drive, and danger.  As the story ends, Charlotte’s life is just beginning.  Readers won’t be ready to say good-bye to her.  Good storytelling is the art of creating characters the reader cares about.  Denise Devine accomplished this beautifully.  Thankfully, this is only the first in the Moonshine Madness Series.

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Author Interview with This Writer’s Life

Thank you to Susan Palmquist at This Writer’s Life for including me as a guest blogger this week. I continue to be amazed at the positive author support I’ve encountered in the writing community!

This is a site worth checking out. Each week you’ll find articles on motivation, writing prompts, and tips on writing and publishing.

https://thiswriterslife.com/

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Harmony’s Embrace – By Amber Daulton

Thank you to Amber Daulton for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

SYNOPSIS

Divorced dad Birley Haynes is raising two children and running his family’s music academy. This leaves little time for romance until his high school sweetheart, Harmony Holdich, returns home to Willow Springs, Vermont for Christmas.

After the death of her unfaithful husband, Harmony plans to move across the
country for a fresh start once the holidays are over. Birley presents an unexpected complication to those plans.

As Birley tries to convince her to stay, an outside threat jeopardizes the safety of
his family and business.

LOVE LIST

  • I loved that this story grabbed my attention immediately.  Generally, if this doesn’t happen, I have difficulty finishing a book.  Harmony’s Embrace held my full attention from the first page until the last.
  • I loved the instant familiarity between Birley and Harmony.  Their prior history as high school sweethearts woven throughout left me with a sense that I knew them as teenagers as well as adults.  Seeing their growth over the years gave me all the more reason to root for them as a couple.
  • I loved that the setting was a small Vermont town during the Christmas season.  It’s a perfect read for this time of year.
  • I loved that, although this is a romance novel, there was also a focus on family.  Birley’s roles as father, brother, and son brought him to life on the page.  Readers will become invested in wanting to see Harmony fully immerse herself in his world.
  • I loved the element of danger infused throughout the story.  It provided an extra dose of excitement and kept the pages turning.
  • I love that this book is part of a multi-author Deerbourne Inn series.  It can be read as a stand-alone, but leaves the reader wanting to delve into the lives of other characters as well.
  • I love that the end of the book gifted me with a few deliciously appealing recipes.

REVIEW SUMMARY

This story will grab your attention immediately and hold it from the first page until the last. The familiarity between Birley and Harmony, stemming from their high school sweetheart history, will have you rooting for them from their first meeting on the page. The reader grows to know them as teenagers and adults, thereby gaining a true sense of their growth over the years. The element of danger infused throughout the story provides an additional dose of excitement as the pages keep turning. There’s nothing like setting a romance novel in a small Vermont town during the holiday season to evoke a festive spirit. This is a fantastic book to kick off your holiday reading list!

Available for pre-order now

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Harmonys-Embrace-Deerbourne-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B08L73TB9C/
Universal link – https://books2read.com/u/bPX6kR

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

Social Media Links

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Pinterest – https://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

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RELEASE DATE HAS ARRIVED!

Looking for a heartwarming Christmas romance to get you in the holiday spirit? Grab a cup of tea and cozy up with the ladies of Lamplight Lane for an uplifting story of love with a sprinkle of secrets. They don’t favor day dresses and aprons, but they know how to make a house feel like home at Christmas.

Now available at the sites below.

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Guest Review for Viviana MacKade

I’m excited to share a link to my guest post on Viviana Mackade’s blog. The spotlight is on Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. It’s just in time for the soon to be released movie version of this classic.

Follow the link below for the post, but stick around for some excellent book reviews, author interviews, and Viviana MacKade’s Crescent Creek Series.

Many thanks to Viviana for including me!

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Book Promo With Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

A huge thank you to Frankie at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals for promoting “Homemakers’ Christmas”! You can check out the post at https://chicksroguesandscandals.wordpress.com/2020/10/13/homemakers-christmas-by-jill-piscitello-bookpromo-homemakerschristmas-sharethebooklove/

Tour the blog for exciting new releases, countless book reviews, and author interviews.

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Halloween Favorites

I’m an avid fan of great children’s read alouds. Here are a few of my all-time seasonal favorites. Let me know if you feel I’m missing a title!

Happy Halloween Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer: Little Critter and Little Sister go to a Halloween party.

Trick or Treat Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer: Yes, there is a pattern here. I adore this series. Trick or treat surprises with Little Critter and Little Sister always delight.

Which Way to Witch School, by Scott Santoro: A school for witches whipping up lessons.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Charles, M. Shulz: Does this really need an introduction. One of the greatest Halloween stories ever told. At least, according to me. It never grows old.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams: Spooky sounds abound as the little old lady makes her way along a moonlit path.

Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson: A witch and her cat need some help retrieving the items they’ve dropped while flying around on their broomstick.

The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat, by Stan Berenstain: A trick with the treats doesn’t go so well for Brother and Sister Bear. Another well-loved favorite!

Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett: An oldie, but goodie tale of a little witch sneaking into a school with humans and all of the fun that ensues.

The Best Halloween Ever, by Barbara Robinson: Welcome to the third book in the Herdman series. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of their antics. Is Halloween truly cancelled because of the trouble they’ve caused in the past?

Junie B. Jones, Boo… and I Mean It, by Barbara Park: A hilarious tale of Junie B. trying to overcome her fear of trick-or-treating.

The Witches, by Roald Dahl: I look forward to reading this EVERY year. Grandmamma teaches her grandson how to spot real witches.

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Authors Supporting Authors

A huge thank you to Jacquie Biggar for mentioning “Homemakers’ Christmas” on her blog! I love that a USA Today Best Selling author is willing to support fellow authors. You can check out the post at https://jacqbiggar.com/2020/10/11/newrelease-homemakers-christmas-by-jill-piscitello-holidayromance-read-piscj18/

Be sure to look around – her book covers alone are enough to make you want to start reading!

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Seven Books Worth Reading Twice

Every so often, a book read years ago (sometimes decades ago) calls me to return to its pages for a variety of reasons. The love list below includes multiple genres and is in no particular order. It is, most definitely, not finite.

A Woman of Substance, Barbara Taylor Bradford (1979): Emma Harte rises from poverty to immense wealth through sheer determination, strength, and sacrifice. Despite her success, she struggles to find love and must overcome devastating betrayals and revenge. I read this for the first time at eighteen and bought my daughter a copy for her eighteenth birthday. It must still be relevant today; she couldn’t put it down either. When she finished, I picked it back up.

The Stand, Stephen King (1978): A tale of good versus evil amid the apocalypse. In my humble opinion, no one has ever done it better. Given current circumstances, it might be time for a third read.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See (2005): A moving story of friendship set in nineteenth-century China. I don’t know anyone who, after reading the book, didn’t declare a dear friend to be their “old same”. Snow Flower and Lily are paired at seven years old and share a lifetime of joy and sorrow until their relationship is shaken to its core.

Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy (1991): Benny and Eve are inseparable as children. University in Dublin introduces Jack and beautiful Nan to round out their circle. Friendships are tested as betrayals are revealed.

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay (2008): It is July 1942 in Paris, France. Sarah, ten years old, hides her brother from the French police. It is sixty years later and an American journalist is researching the story. Everything that happens before, during, and after is told in haunting detail.

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2007): On the surface, Elizabeth had it all. Until she realized she didn’t want it at all. Her journey across Italy, India, and Bali is mesmerizing.

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle (2004): As a psychology major, I had heard the word “ego” countless times. It wasn’t until I read this book that I understood there could be a separation from the ego. I still have yet to master the art of living in the “now”. The past continues to haunt and the future keeps calling. But, every once in a while, I’m able to remind myself that the present is all we have.

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Book Reviews

Review Policy

I’m an avid reader happy to review books from the following genres: Sweet Romance, Holiday Romance, Cozy Mystery, and Chick Lit. My review will include a brief description and a list of what I loved about your story. Please contact me if you would like me to consider your book for a review. A sample (snippet) review from one of my favorite novels can be on my Love List.