A Fractured Path spotlight

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the FRACTURED PATH by J.C. Cervantes Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

About The Book:

Title: FRACTURED PATH (The Mirror #3)

Author: J.C. Cervantes

Pub. Date: July 19, 2022

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 384

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

Can dreams come true when you’re living with a family curse?

1965—San Francisco, California

The 1960s are bursting with music and movement and love in San Francisco, perfect for a budding artist like Blake. Unfortunately, the art world is not welcoming to people of her gender or her multi-racial heritage, making it tough to land an internship that could put her on the map. That, plus the fact that Blake’s family has been notoriously riddled with bad luck, makes her feel like she can’t catch a break. Things only get worse when Blake starts to have ominous, confusing visions that grow stronger and more frequent, prompting Blake’s aunt and uncle to tell her about a long-lost family heirloom that could be the key to everything

Fueled by the ambiguous clues in her visions, Blake sets out on a journey through the city to retrieve her ancestors’ legendary mirror. But Blake is not the only one looking for it. Soon she must attempt to unleash her own dormant powers . . . or else risk all she holds dear.

Fractured Path is the third book in the YA fairy-tale quartet, following one family—and the curse that plagues it—over several generations.

Haven’t read the first 2 book in THE MIRROR QUARTET? Get them now!

 

 

 

About J. C. Cervantes:

J. C. Cervantes (www.jccervantes.com) is the New York Times best-selling author of The Storm Runner, which Booklist called “a rip-roaring adventure” in a starred review. Her first novel, Tortilla Sun, was a 2010 New Voices pick by the American Booksellers Association and was named to Bank Street’s 2011 Best Book List. Jen grew up in San Diego and was fascinated by stories about Maya gods and magic. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter: @jencerv, and Instagram: #authorjcervantes.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub

 



Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of FRACTURED PATH, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

7/1/2022

Ya Books Central

Excerpt/IG Post

7/2/2022

Sadie’s Spotlight

Excerpt/IG Post

Week Two:

7/3/2022

BookHounds YA

Excerpt/IG Post

7/4/2022

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt

7/5/2022

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt

7/6/2022

@jaimerockstarbooktours

IG Post

7/7/2022

Lady Hawkeye

Excerpt/IG Post

7/8/2022

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review/IG Post

7/9/2022

The Moon Phoenix

Review/IG Post

Week Three:

7/10/2022

Stacialovestoread

Review/IG Post

7/11/2022

Fire and Ice

Review

7/12/2022

GryffindorBookishNerd

IG Review

7/13/2022

Lifestyle of Me

Review

7/14/2022

Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Review

7/15/2022

Eye-Rolling Demigod’s Book Blog

Review/IG Post

7/16/2022

More Books Please blog

Review/IG Post

Week Four:

7/17/2022

Kait Plus Books

Review/IG Post/TikTok Post

7/18/2022

beersbooksandboos

Review/IG Post

7/19/2022

The Chatty Bookworm

TikTok Review/IG Post

7/20/2022

pluvioreads

Review/IG Post/TikTok Post

7/21/2022

History from a Woman’s Perspective

Review

7/22/2022

A Backwards Story

Review/IG Post

7/23/2022

The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post

Week Five:

7/24/2022

A Bookish Dream

Review/IG Post

7/25/2022

hodophile_z

IG Review

7/26/2022

onemused

IG Review

7/27/2022

@drewsim12

IG Review/TikTok Post

7/28/2022

Books and Zebras

IG Review

7/29/2022

@lexijava

Review/IG Post

7/30/2022

Two Points of Interest

Review

Week Six:

7/31/2022

popthebutterfly

Review/IG Post/TikTok Post


Cake Eater by Allyson Dahlin

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Cake Eater

Author: Allyson Dahlin

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Asexual love interest, gay character, lesbian character

Recommended For…: young adult readers, retelling, Marie Antoinette, historical fiction, sci-fi, LGBT

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

Genre: YA historical fiction sci-fi retelling

Age Relevance: 15+ (alcohol consumption, romance, sexual content, animal violence, body image issues, pressuring for sex, vaping, gambling, panic attack, death, climate disaster, violence, gore, pregnancy)

Explanation of Above: There is some alcohol consumption shown and mentioned, along with vaping and gambling. There is some romance and some sexual content, but that is mostly fade to black with just a few mentions in non-descriptive terms in the book. There is also some pressuring for sex on both parties and a mention of teen pregnancy. There is some animal violence mentioned against some holo deer. Body image issues are shown and discussed in the book. There is a panic attack shown in the book. Climate change and crisis are mentioned and shown in the book. There is some violence mentioned and some gore with vomit shown.

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 448

Synopsis: She has a million followers on social media.

She uses her fashion-forward eye to pick the perfect angle and filter on every photo.

She’s iconic.

She’s a trend-setter.

She’s Marie Antoinette, the year is 3070, and she’s arrived in the Franc Kingdom to marry the prince, secure an alliance, and rake in likes from her fans.

Versailles is not the perfect palace Marie’s seen on The Apps. Her life is a maze of pointless rules, and the court watches her every move for mistakes. Her shy husband Louis is more interested in horses and computer-hacking than producing heirs. Versailles seems like a dream full of neon-lit statues, handsome android soldiers, and parties till dawn. Under the surface, it’s a creepy den of secrets: surveillance in Marie’s bedroom, censored news feeds, disappearing courtiers.

When Marie and Louis become king and queen long before they’re ready to rule, any efforts to aid their suffering subjects are stamped out by the mega-corporations of the First Estate. Between riots in Paris and image-wrecking social media firestorms, Marie can’t afford to lose her head. Using her social media savvy and Louis’ hacking knowledge, they try to fix their reputations and change their kingdom for the better, but the royals may find it’s already too late. They’re ruling over the end of an era.

Review: I really liked this book! At first it read like the Royal Diaries version of Marie Antoinette but soon it took on a life of its own. The book does good to talk about a lot of underlying issues, two of the most prominent are social media commentary and how information is presented to people. The book had a great conversation about capitalism and the elite on social media and how the AI/algorithm can keep them from seeing real issues. The book also did so good to talk about a similar issue in further detail, and that’s in how information is given. If you were paying attention to the media during 2020 and 2021, you saw a lot about how officials talked down COVID and how that caused people to stop taking it seriously (along with other issues, but the media played a huge role in COVID information distribution). The book has a ton of great quotes about information that is sent to coddle people and calling it “gentle information” which I really loved. I also loved how the book talked so well about how officials and media can be used to intentionally keep people ignorant because it’s easier to control those in power and those not when you keep them ignorant of important matters or of vital information. The book also discussed the power of influencing and how it can be used for good, but how it can also lead to misinformation being spread and how easy the public opinion can sway due to one bad video of you. The book is extremely well written and had amazing world building. I also thought the character development was good and the book was well paced. I really loved this futuristic take on Marie Antoinette and I hope the author does similar things with other historical figures. I, for one, would love to see Elizabeth I and Anastasia.

However, the book did have a lot of confusing moments because it doesn’t 100% line up with the original Marie Antoinette “tale”/life story, but once I got past those I thought the book was super well done.

Verdict: It was great! I recommend for history and sci-fi fans!

Into the Sublime by Kate A. Boorman

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Into The Sublime

Author: Kate A. Boorman

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Korean character with parasomnia, MC with asthma

Recommended For…: young adult readers, psychological thriller, mystery, horror, cave exploration, urban legends

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Genre: YA Psychological Thriller

Age Relevance: 13+ (death, gore, drugs, violence, cursing, panic attack, animal death, animal injury, animal attack)

Explanation of Above: There is death mentioned and shown in this book, along with violence mentioned and some gore involving blood, dead bodies, injury description, and vomit. There are some drugs briefly mentioned and a panic attack shown. There is some cursing and there are depictions of a dog having died in the book, along with a rabid dog injury to a human and animal attacks from both bats and a dog being described.

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Pages: 368

Synopsis: When the cops arrive, only a few things are clear:
– Four girls entered a dangerous cave.
– Three of them came out alive.
– Two of them were rushed to the hospital.
– And one is soaked in blood and ready to talk.

Amelie Desmarais’ story begins believably enough: Four girls from a now-defunct thrill-seeking group planned an epic adventure to find a lake that Colorado locals call “The Sublime.” Legend has it that the lake has the power to change things for those who risk—and survive—its cavernous depths. They each had their reasons for going. For Amelie, it was a promise kept to her beloved cousin, who recently suffered a tragic accident during one of the group’s dares.

But as her account unwinds, and the girls’ personalities and motives are drawn, things get complicated. Amelie is hardly the thrill-seeking type, and it appears she’s not the only one with the ability to deceive. Worse yet, Amelie is covered in someone‘s blood, but whose exactly? And where’s the fourth girl?

Is Amelie spinning a tale to cover her guilt? Or was something inexplicable waiting for the girls down there? Amelie’s the only one with answers, and she’s insisting on an explanation that is more horror-fantasy than reality. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between?

After all, strange things inhabit dark places. And sometimes we bring the dark with us.

Review: I really liked this book! I thought it was an excellent horror book that incorporated the back and forth methods of storytelling well and read like a horror movie like The Descent. It reminded me a lot of The Rules for Vanishing actually! The book had great writing and the world building was very well done and atmospheric. I also liked that the greatest enemy the reader and the characters face is their own psyche.

However, I did have some issues with the character development and I wished it was a bit more brought out. I was also a little confused by some of the motives, but I think it’s because this type of book requires a reread.

Verdict: It’s good!

Book Info:

Into the Sublime by Kate A Boorman

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: July 26, 2022

Synopsis:

“Gripping and breathless, Into the Sublime is equal parts terrifying, claustrophobic, psychological, and cunning.” —Wendy Heard, author of She’s Too Pretty to Burn and Dead End Girls

A new YA psychological thrillerfrom the author of What We Buried about four teenage girls who descend into a dangerous underground cave system in search of a lake of local legend, said to reveal your deepest fears .

When the cops arrive, only a few things are clear:
– Four girls entered a dangerous cave.
– Three of them came out alive.
– Two of them were rushed to the hospital.
– And one is soaked in blood and ready to talk.

Amelie Desmarais’ story begins believably enough: Four girls from a now-defunct thrill-seeking group planned an epic adventure to find a lake that Colorado locals call “The Sublime.” Legend has it that the lake has the power to change things for those who risk—and survive—its cavernous depths. They each had their reasons for going. For Amelie, it was a promise kept to her beloved cousin, who recently suffered a tragic accident during one of the group’s dares.

But as her account unwinds, and the girls’ personalities and motives are drawn, things get complicated. Amelie is hardly the thrill-seeking type, and it appears she’s not the only one with the ability to deceive. Worse yet, Amelie is covered in someone‘s blood, but whose exactly? And where’s the fourth girl?

Is Amelie spinning a tale to cover her guilt? Or was something inexplicable waiting for the girls down there? Amelie’s the only one with answers, and she’s insisting on an explanation that is more horror-fantasy than reality. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between?

After all, strange things inhabit dark places. And sometimes we bring the dark with us.

Content Warning: claustrophobic/risky situations, violence, discussion of pet death, panic attacks, dysfunctional family

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58484026-into-the-sublime

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/125019170X/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/into-the-sublime-kate-a-boorman/1139890169

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Into-Sublime-Kate-Boorman/9781250191700

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/into-the-sublime/9781250191700-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250191700

About the Author:

Kate A Boorman is an award-winning author from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal and grew up in the small town of Rimbey. She writes speculative fiction and has a mild obsession with abandoned places, memory, and the darkest parts of the forest.

Kate holds a MA in Dramatic Critical theory and a resume full of a bizarre assortment of jobs, from florist to accordion accompanist to “person-who-held-the-drywall-sheet-in-place”. She has participated as a guest and presenter at a variety of Festivals and Conferences in Western Canada.

Kate usually lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her family. She has recently returned from living in a faraway land, where there are many baguettes.

Author Links:

Website: https://kateaboorman.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateBoorman

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5282455.Kate_A_Boorman

Tour Schedule:

The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin spotlight

The Librarian Spy

Author: Madeline Martin

ISBN: 9781335427465

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Buy Links:

San Marco Books, Signed Copies for Preorders!

Story & Song Books, Signed Copies for Preorders!

BookShop.org

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @MadelineMMartin 

Facebook: @MadelineMartinAuthor 
Instagram: @madelinemmartin

Goodreads

Book Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London comes a moving new novel inspired by the true history of America’s library spies of World War II.

Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.

Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.

As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.

Madeline Martin is a New York Times and international bestselling author of historical fiction novels and historical romance. She lives in sunny Florida with her two daughters, two incredibly spoiled cats and a husband so wonderful he’s been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She is a die-hard history lover who will happily lose herself in research any day. When she’s not writing, researching or ‘moming’, you can find her spending time with her family at Disney or sneaking a couple spoonfuls of Nutella while laughing over cat videos. She also loves travel, attributing her fascination with history to having spent most of her childhood as an Army brat in Germany.

Excerpt:

April 1943

Washington, DC

There was nothing Ava Harper loved more than the smell of old books. The musty scent of aging paper and stale ink took one on a journey through candlelit rooms of manors set amid verdant hills or ancient castles with turrets that stretched up to the vast, unknown heavens. These were tomes once cradled in the spread palms of forefathers, pored over by scholars, devoured by students with a rapacious appetite for learning. In those fragrant, yellowed pages were stories of the past and eternal knowledge.

It was a fortunate thing indeed she was offered a job in the Rare Book Room at the Library of Congress where the archaic aroma of history was forever present.

She strode through the middle of three arches to where the neat rows of tables ran parallel to one another and carefully gathered a stack of rare books in her arms. They were different sizes and weights, their covers worn and pages uneven at the edges, and yet somehow the pile seemed to fit together like the perfect puzzle. Regardless of the patron who left them after having requested far more than was necessary for an afternoon’s perusal.

Their eyes were bigger than their brains. It was what her brother, Daniel, had once proclaimed after Ava groused about the common phenomena—one she herself had been guilty of—when he was home on leave.

Ever since, the phrase ran through her thoughts on each encounter of an abandoned collection. Not that it was the fault of the patron. The philosophical greats of old wouldn’t be able to glean that much information in an afternoon. But she liked the expression regardless and how it always made her recall Daniel’s laughing gaze as he said it.

They’d both inherited their mother’s moss green eyes, though Ava’s never managed to achieve that same sparkle of mirth so characteristic of her older brother.

A glance at her watch confirmed it was almost noon. A knot tightened in her stomach as she recalled her brief chat with Mr. MacLeish earlier that day. A meeting with the Librarian of Congress was no regular occurrence, especially when it was followed by the scrawl of an address on a slip of paper and the promise of a new opportunity that would suit her.

Whatever it was, she doubted it would fit her better than her position in the Rare Book Room. She absorbed lessons from these ancient texts, which she squeezed out at whim to aid patrons unearth sought-after information. What could possibly appeal to her more?

Ava approached the last table at the right and gently closed La Maison Reglée, the worn leather cover smooth as butter beneath her fingertips. The seventeenth century book was one of the many gastronomic texts donated from the Katherine Golden Bitting collection. She had been a marvel of a woman who utilized her knowledge in her roles at the Department of Agriculture and the American Canners Association.

Every book had a story and Ava was their keeper. To leave her place there would be like abandoning children.

Robert floated in on his pretentious cloud and surveyed the room with a critical eye. She clicked off the light lest she be subjected to the sardonic flattening of her coworker’s lips.

He held out his hand for La Maison Reglée, a look of irritation flickering over his face.

“I’ll put it away.” Ava hugged it to her chest. After all, he didn’t even read French. He couldn’t appreciate it as she did.

She returned the tome to its collection, the family reunited once more, and left the opulence of the library. The crisp spring DC air embraced her as she caught the streetcar toward the address printed in the Librarian of Congress’s own hand.

Ava arrived at 2430 E Street, NW ten minutes before her appointment, which turned out to be beneficial considering the hoops she had to jump through to enter. A stern man, whose expression did not alter through their exchange, confronted her at a guardhouse upon entry. Apparently, he had no more understanding of the meeting than she.

Once finally allowed in, she followed a path toward a large white-columned building.

Ava snapped the lid on her overactive imagination lest it get the better of her—which it often did—and forced herself onward. After being led through an open entryway and down a hall, she was left to sit in an office possessing no more than a desk and two hardbacked wooden chairs. They made the seats in the Rare Book Room seem comfortable by comparison. Clearly it was a place made only for interviews.

But for what?

Ava glanced at her watch. Whoever she was supposed to meet was ten minutes late. A pang of regret resonated through her at having left her book sitting on her dresser at home.

She had only recently started Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and was immediately drawn in to the thrill of a young woman swept into an unexpected romance. Ava’s bookmark rested temptingly upon the newly married couple’s entrance to Manderley, the estate in Cornwall.

The door to the office flew open and a man whisked in wearing a gray, efficient Victory suit—single breasted with narrow lapels and absent any cuffs or pocket flaps—fashioned with as little fabric as was possible. He settled behind the desk. “I’m Charles Edmunds, secretary to General William Donovan. You’re Ava Harper?”

The only name familiar of the three was her own. “I am.”

He opened a file, sifted through a few papers, and handed her a stack. “Sign these.”

“What are they?” She skimmed over them and was met with legal jargon.

“Confidentiality agreements.”

“I won’t sign anything I don’t read fully.” She lifted the pile.

The text was drier than the content of some of the more lackluster rare books at the Library of Congress. Regardless, she scoured every word while Mr. Edmunds glared irritably at her, as if he could will her to sign with his eyes. He couldn’t, of course. She waited ten minutes for his arrival; he could wait while she saw what she was getting herself into.

Everything indicated she would not share what was discussed in the room about her potential job opportunity. It was nothing all too damning and so she signed, much to the great, exhaling impatience of Mr. Edmunds.

“You speak German and French.” He peered at her over a pair of black-rimmed glasses, his brown eyes probing.

“My father was something of a linguist. I couldn’t help but pick them up.” A visceral ache stabbed at her chest as a memory flitted through her mind from years ago—her father switching to German in his excitement for an upcoming trip with her mother for their twenty-year anniversary. That trip. The one from which her parents had never returned.

“And you’ve worked with photographing microfilm.” Mr. Edmunds lifted his brows.

A frown of uncertainty tugged at her lips. When she first started at the Library of Congress, her duties had been more in the area of archival than a typical librarian role as she microfilmed a series of old newspapers that time was slowly eroding. “I have, yes.”

“Your government needs you,” he stated in a matter-of-fact manner that broached no argument. “You are invited to join the Office of Strategic Services—the OSS—under the information gathering program called the Interdepartmental Committee for the Acquisition of Foreign Publications.”

Her mind spun around to make sense of what he’d just said, but her mouth flew open to offer its own knee-jerk opinion. “That’s quite the mouthful.”

“IDC for short,” he replied without hesitation or humor. “It’s a covert operation obtaining information from newspapers and texts in neutral territories to help us gather intel on the Nazis.”

“Would I require training?” she asked, unsure how knowing German equipped her to spy on them.

“You have all the training you need as I understand it.”

He began to reassemble the file in front of him. “You would go to Lisbon.”

“In Portugal?”

He paused. “It is the only Lisbon of which I am aware, yes.”

No doubt she would have to get there by plane. A shiver threatened to squeeze down her spine, but she repressed it. “Why am I being recommended for this?”

“Your ability to speak French and German.” Mr. Edmunds held up his forefinger. “You know how to use microfilm.” He ticked off another finger. “Fred Kilgour recommends your keen intellect.” There went another finger.

That was a name she recognized.

She aided Fred the prior year when he was microfilming foreign publications for the Harvard University Library. After the months she’d spent doing as much for the Library of Congress, the process had been easy to share, and he had been a quick learner.

“And you’re pretty.” Mr. Edmunds sat back in his chair, the final point made.

The compliment was as unwarranted in such a setting as it was unwelcome. “What does my appearance have to do with any of this?”

He lifted a shoulder. “Beauties like yourself can get what they want when they want it. Except when you scowl like that.” He nodded his chin up. “You should smile more, Dollface.”

That was about enough.

“I did not graduate top of my class from Pratt and obtain a much sought-after position at the Library of Congress to be called ‘Dollface.’” She pushed up to standing.

“And you’ve got steel in that spine, Miss Harper.” Mr. Edmunds ticked the last finger.

She opened her mouth to retort, but he continued. “We need this information so we best know how to fight the  Krauts. The sooner we have these details, the sooner this war can be over.”

She remained where she stood to listen a little longer. No doubt he knew she would.

“You have a brother,” he went on. “Daniel Harper, staff sergeant of C Company in Second Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division.”

The Airborne Division. Her brother had run toward the fear of airplanes despite her swearing off them.

“That’s correct,” she said tightly. Daniel would never have been in the Army were it not for her. He would be an engineer, the way he’d always wanted.

Mr. Edmunds took off his glasses and met her gaze with his small, naked eyes. “Don’t you want him to come home sooner?”

It was a dirty question meant to slice deep.

And it worked.

The longer the war continued, the greater Daniel’s risk of being killed or wounded. 

She’d done everything she could to offer aid. When the ration was only voluntary, she had complied long before it became law. She gave blood every few months, as soon as she was cleared to do so again. Rather than dance and drink at the Elk Club like her roommates, Ava spent all her spare time in the Production Corps with the Red Cross, repairing uniforms, rolling bandages, and doing whatever was asked of her to help their men abroad.

She even wore red lipstick on a regular basis, springing for the costly tube of Elizabeth Arden’s Victory Red, the civilian counterpart to the Montezuma Red servicewomen were issued. Ruby lips were a derisive biting of the thumb at Hitler’s war on made-up women. And she would do anything to bite her thumb at that tyrant. 

Likely Mr. Edmunds was aware of all this.

“You will be doing genuine work in Lisbon that can help bring your brother and all our boys home.” Mr. Edmunds got to his feet and held out his hand, a salesman with a silver tongue, ready to seal the deal. “Are you in?”

Ava looked at his hand. His fingers were stubby and thick, his nails short and well-manicured.

“I would have to go on an airplane, I’m assuming.”

“You wouldn’t have to jump out.” He winked.

Her greatest fear realized.

But Daniel had done far more for her.

It was a single plane ride to get to Lisbon. One measly takeoff and landing with a lot of airtime in between. The bottoms of her feet tingled, and a nauseous swirl dipped in her belly.

This was by far the least she could do to help him as well as every other US service member. Not just the men, but also the women whose roles were often equally as dangerous.

She lifted her chin, leveling her own stare right back. “Don’t ever call me ‘Dollface’ again.”

“You got it, Miss Harper,” he replied.

She extended her hand toward him and clasped his with a firm grip, the way her father had taught  her. “I’m in.”

He grinned. “Welcome aboard.”

Violets Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Violet Made of Thorns

Author: Gina Chen

Book Series: Violet Made of Thorns Book 1

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Lesbian character, f/f romance alluded to

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, romance, magic, high fantasy

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Age Relevance: 17+ (death, sexual content, gore, cursing, abelist language, romance, alcohol consumption, war, violence, blood magic)

Explanation of Above: There is some sexual content in this book, but nothing too graphic and what does take place is a little vague. There is death shown and mentioned in the book and there is some gore involving blood and blood magic. War is also mentioned in this book a lot and there is some violence shown. There is some cursing in this book and there are two instances of abelist language being used (mad). This is a romance heavy book and the trope is enemies to lovers. There is some alcohol consumption mentioned as well.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 368

Synopsis: Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

Review: Overall, I loved this book! It’s tropey and predictable, but it’s very well written and well paced, also sometimes it’s nice to have something that you can predictably understand. The book did well with the tropes and predictability, and even had a bit of an unpredictable ending! The book also mentioned periods and contraceptives, which I thought was very good for young teens. The book definitely has an enemies to lovers trope and a besting each other trope going on. The character development is well done and the world building is good as well.

The only issue I had with the book is that I thought the ending, while good, was a bit confusing especially the epilogue. I’m really confused as to what happened between the last chapter and the epilogue and I hope there’s a sequel in the works cause… I have questions…

Verdict: It’s very well done! I love it!

Book Info:

Violet Made of Thorns (Violet Made of Thorns Duology #1) by Gina Chen

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance

Publishing Date: July 26, 2022

Synopsis:

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55923578-violet-made-of-thorns

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Violet-Made-Thorns-Gina-Chen/dp/059342753X/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/violet-made-of-thorns-gina-chen/1140425582

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Violet-Made-Thorns-Gina-Chen/9780593427538

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/violet-made-of-thorns/9780593427538-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593427538

About the Author:

Gina Chen tells stories about fantastic worlds featuring heroines, antiheroines, and the kind of cleverness that brings trouble in its wake. A self-taught artist with a degree in computer science, she generates creative nonsense in all forms of media and always has a project stewing. Violet Made of Thorns is her debut fantasy novel. For more info, visit actualgina.com and follow @actualgina on Twitter and Instagram.

Author Links:

Website: https://actualgina.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/actualgina

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19277030.Gina_Chen

Tumblr: https://actualgina.tumblr.com/

Tour Schedule:

The Many Daughters of Afong May by Jamie Ford

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Many Daughters of Afong May

Author: Jamie Ford

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Chinese characters and MC, Queer characters mentioned

Recommended For…: fantasy, historical fiction, magical realism, mental health

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction Fantasy

Age Relevance: 17+ (gore, violence, death, war, misogyny, sexual assault, cursing, PTSD, anxiety, depression, illness, derogatory words, sex trafficking, racism, suicide, drugs, rape, romance, religion)

Explanation of Above: There is some gore, in the form of blood and vomit, and physical and weapon violence shown in the book. There is also death shown and mentioned, as well as war. The book shows and mentions a lot of mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and suicide. There is some misogyny shown in the book, as well as derogatory words said in the book in a historical context but not directly at any particular people or in a rude manner. There is some racism shown and mentioned as well in the book. Sexual assault is mentioned, sex trafficking is vaguely mentioned in the book, and there is a non-graphic rape scene in the book. There is cursing throughout the book. Illness is mentioned in the book. There is some romance in the book. The Christian religion is sparsely mentioned in the book.

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 384

Synopsis: Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.

As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.

Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.

As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.

Review: For the most part, this was a fun read. The book reads a lot like everything everywhere all at once. The highlight of the book was all the different daughters and how they lived their lives and what they experienced. The world building was great for every story and the character development was well done.

However, all of the different plot points are a bit discombobulating. It was really confusing in the beginning and it took a lot to get into. The book was also kinda slower paced in a couple of places, which slowed down the story. The ending was also really confusing and not well explained.

Verdict: It was good!

Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and physical arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Blood Like Fate

Author: Liselle Sambury

Book Series: Blood Like Magic Book 2

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Black MC, Black characters, Asian characters, Black demiromantic character, Black trans cousin (male to female), Hispanic love interest, gay Black characters mentioned

Recommended For…: young adult readers, urban fantasy, paranormal, witches, LGBT, Black witches, sci-fi, magic

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Age Relevance: 15+ (death, grief, cursing, drug use, drug abuse, gore, blood magic, dieting, eating disorder, panic attack, sickness, slavery, racism, depression, therapy, gun violence, romance, homophobia)

Explanation of Above: There is death and grief talked about and shown. There is some cursing in this book. Drug use, drug abuse, and addiction are all mentioned. There is a lot of blood gore mentioned in the book and there is a use of blood magic. Dieting and an eating disorder are mentioned and slightly shown in the book. There is one instance of a panic attack mentioned. There is sickness mentioned off and on in the book and there is some sickness that is making viable sores on victims. Slavery and racism are mentioned in the book. Homophobia is mentioned in the book. There is some depression talked about in the book, as well as therapy. There is one scene with gun violence shown. There is a slight romance.

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Pages: 480

Synopsis: Voya Thomas may have passed her Calling to become a full-fledged witch, but the cost was higher than she’d ever imagined.

Her grandmother is gone.
Her cousin hates her.
And her family doesn’t believe that she has what it takes to lead them.

What’s more, Voya can’t let go of her feelings for Luc, sponsor son of the genius billionaire Justin Tremblay—the man that Luc believes Voya killed. Consequently, Luc wants nothing to do with her. Even her own ancestors seem to have lost faith in her. Every day Voya begs for their guidance, but her calls go unanswered.

As Voya struggles to convince everyone—herself included—that she can be a good Matriarch, she has a vision of a terrifying, deadly future. A vision that would spell the end of the Toronto witches. With a newfound sense of purpose, Voya must do whatever it takes to bring her shattered community together and stop what’s coming for them before it’s too late.

Even if it means taking down the boy she loves—who might be the mastermind behind the coming devastation.

Review: I really loved this book overall! I thought the book did well to keep the action level from the first book going and while I think both can be read in a bit of a standalone fashion, both do so well to complement each other. The writing is so well done and it’s hard to believe I had an arc when this was so well done. The character develop was also well done, as was the world building. I also love how the author ties in so much into her books. There’s a lot in this book and series about history, community, acceptance, and healing and I’m so impressed with how well the author was able to blend all of these together. I’m not normally an urban sci-fi fantasy reader, but this one should be held as the example of how they should be written! I also hope that one day we’ll return to this world, but regardless if we do or not Liselle Sambury has a fan in me now until forever.

The only issue I had with the book is that it immediately picked up where book 1 left off, so it was a bit confusing to get back into, but it wasn’t bad at all compared to other books I’ve read.

Verdict: Very well done! Highly recommend this series!

The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Valkyrie’s Daughter

Author: Tiana Warner

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Sapphic MC and character, f/f romance

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, mythology, Norse mythology, romance, LGBT

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy Mythology

Age Relevance: 14+ (violence, gore, animal death, homophobia, grief, death)

Explanation of Above: There is some violence and gore in this book, but nothing very descriptive or long. There’s also death mentioned and shown in this book, including a winged horse’s death shown. There is grief mentioned and shown in this book throughout. There is also one line where there’s a line stated about Loki birthing Sleipnir that reads a bit homophobic/transphobic since Loki is gender fluid and has birthed some of his children (it’s basically a scoff at how Loki could have done it).

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pages: 389

Synopsis: For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she’s leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go.

Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can’t be trusted―even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid’s birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms.

As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?

Review: For the most part I really enjoyed this book. It gave me Eragon/early 00s YA book vibes and it’s a fun read overall. The book is action packed and there’s hardly any downtime in the book. The book is a little tropey but it’s a fun Norse Mythology read that has a lot of fun callbacks to Norse mythology. The book also has great character development and world building. The book is evenly paced and well written as well.

However, the only issue I had with the book is that this is a world based heavily on Norse mythology with winged horses and going into the afterlife and such. Gods are known, but our MC doesn’t know that Loki gave birth to Sleipnir or that he’s what we would call gender fluid? That he’s changed genders and species many times and gave birth more than once? There’s a line in the book where our MC is reading about Loki giving birth and it reads as a scoff of disbelief. That’s the only instance of slight homophobia in the book, everyone in the book was really open minded and it didn’t even come into question about our MC and her LI’s romance, but I really wish that one line was re-written to be better and that the issue of her not knowing some of her own Norse mythology was better explained as well.

Verdict: It’s great! I loved it.

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE: The Valkyrie’s Daughter (The Helheim Prophecy, #1)
AUTHOR: Tiana Warner
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
PUBLICATION DATE: July 26th, 2022
GENRE(S): Young Adult Fiction—Fantasy, Romance, Mythology
BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781649371485

SYNOPSIS:

A thrilling, intricate, and romantic #OwnVoices LGBTQ fantasy that builds on Norse mythology into a beautiful story all its own.

For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she’s leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go.

Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can’t be trusted―even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid’s birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms.

As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Tiana Warner is an LGBTQ+ author from British Columbia, Canada, best known for her critically acclaimed “Mermaids of Eriana Kwai” trilogy and its comic adaptation. Tiana is a lifelong horseback rider, a former programmer with a Computer Science degree, and an outdoor enthusiast who loves to explore nature with her musician boyfriend and their hyperactive rescue mutt, Joey. Find her online at tianawarner.com.

A Garden for Grace by Ellen Mainville

Disclaimer: I received this physical copy from the publishers. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: A Garden for Grace

Author: Ellen Mainville

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: children’s readers, picture books, poetry, gardening

Publication Date: November 29, 2021

Genre: Children’s Picture Book Poetry

Age Relevance: 0+ (slight mention of COVID and death in author notes)

Explanation of Above: There is some slight mentions of COVID and death in the back of the book as a tribute to the author, but you can easily skip that if you don’t want to read it.

Publisher: ABCarlson Publishing

Pages: 68

Synopsis: Combining beautiful poetry with stunning hand-drawn floral illustrations, A Garden for Grace by Ellen Mainville is an exploration of family, love, and life through lessons inspired by the beauty of nature.

Review: I thought this was just a beautiful book inside and out. The book talks a lot about garden finds through poetry and even showcases some of her family. The book forces you to take a pause and appreciate what’s around you and to maybe even grow some flowers of your own. I think this would be an adorable book to read to your little ones or even to have for yourself.

Verdict: I like it!