Title: Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow Series: Nevermoor #3 Author: Jessica Townsend Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/ Orion Children’s Books Release Date: October 27, 2020 Page Length: 548 Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Middle Grade Rating: 4.5 ⭐ Goodreads Synopsis: Morrigan Crow and her friends have survived their first year as proud scholars of the elite Wundrous Society, helped bring down the nefarious Ghastly Market, and proven themselves loyal to Unit 919. Now Morrigan faces a new, exciting challenge: to master the mysterious Wretched Arts, and control the power that threatens to consume her.
But a strange and frightening illness has taken hold of Nevermoor, turning infected Wunimals into mindless, vicious Unnimals on the hunt. As victims of the Hollowpox multiply, panic spreads. And with the city she loves in a state of fear, Morrigan quickly realizes it’s up to her to find a cure for the Hollowpox, even if it will put her – and everyone in Nevermoor – in more danger than she ever imagined.
Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for Glimpsed by GF Miller. This was a book I was especially looking forward to once I found out about it. Be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway and to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Thank you to GF Miller and Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC for this review
Title: There’s Something About Sweetie Series: Dimple and Rishi #2 Author: Sandhya Menon Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: May 14, 2019 Page Length: 378 Genre: Contemporary/Romance Age Range: YA Rating: 4/5 Goodreads Synopsis:Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?
Title: Boyfriend Material Author: Alexis Hall Publisher: Source Books Release Date: July 7, 2020 Page Length: 427 Genre: Romance (Rom-Com) Age Range: Adult Rating: 4/5 Goodreads Synopsis: Wanted: One (fake) boyfriend Practically perfect in every way
Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.
To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.
But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.
Title: Grown Author: Tiffany D Jackson Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books Release Date: June 30, 2020 Page Length: 384 Genre: Thriller Age Range: YA Rating: 4.5/5 Goodreads Synopsis: Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley. I was so excited when we scheduled this tour and couldn’t wait to start. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Meet Kristy Dallas Alley
Kristy Dallas Alley is a high school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, four kids, three cats, and an indeterminate number of fish. She studied creative writing at Rhodes College in another lifetime and holds a Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from the University of Memphis. In an ideal world, she would do nothing but sit on a beach and read every single day of her life, but in reality she’s pretty happy reading on her front porch, neglecting the gardens she enthusiastically plants each spring, and cooking huge meals regardless of the number of people around to eat them. The Ballad of Ami Miles is her debut novel.
About The Ballad of Ami Miles
Title: The Ballad of Ami Miles Author: Kristy Dallas Alley Publisher: Swoon Reads Publishing Date: December 1, 2020 Page Length: 272 Genre: Dystopian Age Range: YA Rating: 4 ⭐ Synopisis: Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.
With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known, and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world… and about herself.
Content Warning: racism, homophobia, toxic masculinity, mention of abusive parental relationship, toxic family
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. This is Kristy’s first book, but I don’t feel that this reads like a debut. Ami is a strong character, but unaware of the world because of her upbringing. We as readers, learn about the world alongside Ami. The beginning part of the book we spend travelling and discovering, but the entire book is about discovery. We get to see Ami learn more about the world and herself – and the discovering of herself I found was difficult for her because of her upbringing, but also heartwarming as she doesn’t let that hold her back. Despite the difficult topics, there wasn’t as much drama in the book as I would have expected – everything just seems to always work out. That was the part I felt was a little unrealistic. Ami would discover something new, not agree with it, then come to terms with it in a matter of hours – not how any teenager (or adult for that matter) would deal with life changing information. I also found that time felt different when reading this book. I always found myself thinking more time had passed than had actually happened within the book because of how Ami had learned/handled things and how strongly relationships formed. I would think weeks had passed to find out that it was just the next day. Besides this one thing, I found The Ballad of Ami Miles to be an interesting read with powerful messages within it. I highly recommend if you like dystopians and if you liked The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams.
Welcome my stop, albeit late, on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West. I was so excited to read this book! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule from other content creators.
Meet Hannah West
Hannah West is the author of young adult books including The Nissera Chronicles series and The Bitterwine Oath. She’s been writing fantasy since kindergarten, when she penned her first tale about a princess who ran away and lived at the top of a flagpole with two loaves of bread. But it wasn’t until she studied abroad in Orléans, France during college that the premise for her first novel materialized. The fairy tale castles, the snowy winter days, and a Disney princess pencil that arrived in a care package from her parents provided the inspiration that allowed her to wrangle all her untold and unfinished stories into a novel.
Hannah currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two rambunctious rescue dogs.
About The Bitterwine Oath
Title: The Bitterwine Oath Author: Hannah West Publisher: Holiday House Publishing Date: December 1, 2020 Page Length: 340 Genre: Mystery Age Range: YA Rating: 3.5 ⭐ Synopsis: Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?
San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
This book isn’t exactly what I had thought it would be – that isn’t bad, just threw me when I first started. This isn’t a story about a cult – well not exactly anyways. And that was the biggest hurtle for me when reading this book. This is of course my fault since I didn’t fully read the synopsis (I rarely do).
Once I got over my original misconceptions about the book, I started to really enjoy the story. West’s writing is easy to get sucked into. The characters are easy to relate to. You can see why Nat may not be trusting of the Warden’s and that trust is constantly being strained when she does start to. With Nat’s lack of (consistent) trust in the Warden, I found myself suspicious of many of the parties. Then, like Nat, there would be moments where I lose all suspicions and wanting to learn more about the magic system.
The magic system itself isn’t unique – it follows the nature principles that many other magic systems have in the past – however, the unique aspect of this book/magic system is the creation of the creatures themselves. These creatures, once Nat (and the readers) finally see past the magical vail, are amazingly unique and interesting. I wish we got to examine them more.
In between chapters we got to read some excerpts from a character’s book. I wanted more! I found them so interesting and added so much to what we were learning about the town/cult/magic system. I wish we had more in between chapters – it wasn’t between each chapter – and less of other components.
The one part of this that felt out of place was the romance. I get it – the reasoning behind adding the romance – it helped connect some parts of the story. But honest, I didn’t feel the connection to this other person and the other person felt flat (void of emotions at times). They felt underdeveloped and honestly interchangeable with other characters at times.
That being said, I really did enjoy this book and do recommend the read. It would be a great fall/transitional read (despite it taking place over the summer). The spooky vibes did eventually ramp up, but not to the point where I believe our scary-cat readers couldn’t handle it.
Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton. I was so excited when we scheduled this tour and couldn’t wait to start. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Meet Karah Sutton
Karah Sutton has loved Baba Yaga, ballet, and blini ever since she had to do a research project on her Russian heritage in the third grade. Her hunger for adventure inspired her to move from Kentucky to New Zealand, where it was rumored she would find talking trees and the occasional wood elf. Karah spent four years as a bookseller before she turned to writing her own fiction. A Wolf For a A Spell is her first novel.
About A Wolf for a Spell
Title: A Wolf for a Spell Author: Karah Sutton Publisher: Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers Publishing Date: December 1, 2020 Page Length: 320 Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Middle Grade Rating: 4 ⭐ Synopisis: The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar.
Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga.
Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body!
Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all.
“Karah Sutton has crafted a vivid and rollicking adventure that proves a wolf doesn’t have to be big or bad to win the day!” —Rosanne Parry, New York Times bestselling author of A Wolf Called Wander
This truly felt like an old style fairytale. You can see that the Russian fairytale that the author talks about in her notes really inspired her in this story.
This story follows 3 main characters POVs: Zima, the grey wolf, Baba Yaga, and Nadya,the orphan child. I loved Zima and her willingness to do anything for her pack! She was beyond adorable for me, so curious and full of heart. Baba Yaga was my second favourite character. I haven’t read any story with Baba Yaga in it before, but I loved this interpretation of this well known fairytale character.
At first. I really wasn’t sure how the third storyline connected with the other two. It was obvious from the beginning that Zima and Baba storyline were connected and would cross, but I never could see how Nadya was involved. The people around her, yes, but not Nadya herself – not until the halfway point when their stories did cross.
I loved that in each POV we got to see that the character’s perceptions were turned on their heads as they learned more and were exposed to their thoughts/beliefs/misunderstanding. The common theme of being alone/wanting to belong was strong throughout this story, but I loved hoe the author managed to take that theme and tell in it such different ways.
I highly recommend this if you enjoy fairytales or tales inspired by fairytales; if you love books written from an animal’s POV; or if you love books with Baba Yaga in it!
Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars by Shivaun Plozza. I was so excited when we scheduled this tour and couldn’t wait to start. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Meet Shivaun Plozza
Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her debut novel, Frankie, was a CBCA Notable Book and won a number of awards, including the Davitt Awards and a commendation from the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her second novel, Tin Heart, sold in three foreign territories, received two starred reviews, and was nominated to ALA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars, is forthcoming in 2020 from HMH Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House Australia. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies, and when she is not writing she works as an editor and manuscript assessor.
About The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars
Title: The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars Author: Shivaun Plozza Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Publishing Date: November 17, 2020 Page Length: 338 Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Middle Grade CAWPILE: 7.14/10 Synopisis: A boy and his pet fox go on a quest to find a wolf who has eaten all the stars in the sky before the Shadow Witch destroys the stars and removes good magic from the world forever.
Long ago, the land of Ulv was filled with magic. But that was before a wolf ate all the Stars in the night sky, ridding the world of magic and allowing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil, to flourish. Twelve-year-old Bo knows the stories but thinks the Stars and the wolf who ate them are nothing more than myths—until the day Bo’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that Ulv is in danger and the only way to prevent the Shadow Creatures from taking over is to return the Stars to the sky.
And so Bo—accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, a girl named Selene who’s magic is tied to the return of the Stars, and Tam, a bird-woman who has vowed to protect Bo at all costs—sets off on a quest to find the three magical keys that will release the Stars. But Bo isn’t the only one who wants the Stars, and the friends soon find themselves fleeing angry villagers, greedy merchants, and a vengeful wolf. And all the while, an evil witch lurks in the shadows and time is running out.
This was a fast-paced book that was full of heart. I found it handled a lot of heavier topics such as grief, abandonment, and greed/power very well and did so without dumbing it down for the age range.
I absolutely loved the added excerpts from The True Histories of Ule, which I kind of want as its own book. It added a lot of interesting history to it and read like a fairytale/myth. And let me just say that map at the beginning is beautiful!
With this book handling the topic of grief, I did find it to be an emotional read, especially in the last few chapters. I am happy with how Plozza ended this topic/book – I don’t know if I could have handled her not ending it the way she did without it completely ripping and stomping on my heart. That being said, not everything ends with sunshine and rainbows, so it may be more emotionally impactful to those who have had recent deaths of family members or pets.
Overall, I thought this was a very enjoyable read and the later half really made the book for me.
November 16th TBR and Beyond – Welcome Post & Interview The Writer’s Alley – Review, Mood Board, Top 5 Reasons to Read The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars Casia’s Corner – Review & Top 5 Reasons to Read The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars
Welcome to my stop o the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to find the Tour Schedule and check out the reviews and other creative content done by other bloggers. Also, if you want to do the book tag, consider yourself tagged 😉
Meet Julia Golding
Julia Goldingis a multi-award winning writer for adults and young adults. She also writes under the pen names of Joss Stirling and Eve Edwards. Born in 1969, she grew up near Epping Forest. She studied English at Cambridge University, then joined the Foreign Office and worked in Poland, before returning to Oxford University to study for a doctorate in literature of the romantic period. She worked for Oxfam, lobbying on conflict issues, before becoming a full-time writer. Over three-quarter of a million of her books have been sold worldwide in many languages.
About The Tigers in the Tower
Title: The Tigers in the Tower Author: Julia Golding Publisher: Lion Fiction Publishing Date: November 18, 2020 Page Length: 224 Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Middle Grade Synopsis: “A Little Princess – with tigers! Orphan and outcast Sahira Clive is a brave and plucky heroine with a brightly burning heart. I was rooting for her all the way to the end of this thrilling – and thought-provoking – adventure.”Ally Sherrick, award-winning author of Black Powder
Sahira’s family are travelling to England to deliver two majestic Indian tigers to the menagerie in the tower of London.
But tragedy strikes and sickness steals Sahira’s parents from her on the journey. Left alone in London, Sarhira finds herself confined to a miserable and dangerous orphanage. Despite her heartache and the threats she faces, Sahira is determined to carry out her father’s last request – to protect God’s beautiful creatures: her tigers. To do so, Sahira must set out on an adventure and use all her powers of persuasion to engage the help of some new friends along the way.
Can the quest to find her tigers a safe home, lead Sahira to find her own place of hope and belonging in this strange and foreign land?
Grishaverse Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – This one was a little harder for me. I don’t always remember the villains in a story – not well enough to decide who’s my favourite. At the moment, I’ll say The Darkling is my faovurite villain.
Sahira & Ned – Favourite Unlikely Friendship
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – This entire series follows an unlikely friendship, but I’m not going to go into details because I feel like saying more would be spoilers.
Mrs. Cops – Favourite Fictional Mother
The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag – Ok again another hard one… I haven’t read many books with moms still around. Aster’s mom, especially later in the series, is a very sweet woman. She’s accepting of Aster, even if it takes time and willing to take in and help others.