Blog Tours, Book Review, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Tour [Like Home]

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Title: Like Home
Author: Louisa Onomé
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2021

Where to Buy: Bookshop | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 Stars

Thank you Turn the Page Tours and Delacorte Press for an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

Synopsis

Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil.

Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good.

Only, Kate’s parents’ corner store is vandalized, leaving Nelo shaken to her core. The police and the media are quick to point fingers, and soon more of the outside world descends on Ginger East with promises to “fix” it. Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale. Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She’s pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Nelo’s entire world is morphing into something she hates, and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything⁠—and everyone⁠—she loves.

Review

It is so great to be able to share a birthday with the book birthday of Like Home by Louisa Onome. It is a story I really enjoyed and would recommend everyone to pick up and read.

Before jumping into the book, I knew I would automatically enjoy it because I am a huge fan of On My Block and Elizabeth Acevedo’s work. Like Home is a story of gentrification that we all need to read. It’s thought provoking and enticing.  It is also relatable to so many who have experienced the effects gentrification can do to their communities; the place they call home.  Like Home is more than just a delightful read. It takes you on a ride of so many emotions, a friendship that goes through the motions, and a girl trying to find herself in the midst of it all.

Louisa is an amazing writer and hooked me into the story from the very first page. Between the backdrop of the Ginger East neighborhood to the journey of each character, Louisa fills the novel with rick settings and amazingly complex characters.

The story is told through Chinelo who is the main character in the story. Chinelo is a great character and has such a relatable self-discovery story. Not every teen has an easy journey and Chinelo allows the reader to dive into her world and into how complicated it can be to just be a normal teen at times. This is all with dealing and coping with the trauma of seeing two of her closest friends leave. Her anxiety towards this shows when she feels her relationship with Kate become rocky. Kate; a spunky girl who loves her family is wholesome, realistic and relatable. Kate’s and Chinelo’s relationship is one that feels so real. You feel like you are the third person observing slightly form the outside and hoping all will be well. Their friendship is also dynamic and the two together share such a powerful message in a way that doesn’t feel forced but fells natural.

It is such a great book and you should buy it!

About the Author

Louisa Onomé is a writer of books for teens. She holds a BA in professional writing from York University and is represented by Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.

A part of the Author Mentor Match round 3 cohort, she is also a writing mentor and all-around cheerleader for diverse works and writers. When she is not writing, her hobbies include picking up languages she may never use, trying to bake bread, and perfecting her skincare routine. She currently resides in the Toronto area.

Time for a Giveaway!!

Up for grabs, we have TWO (2) finished copies of Like Home by Louisa Onomé! This giveaway will run from February 21st to February 28th at 11:59 PM CST and is open to US residents only. To enter, click the link below!

GIVEAWAY LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d22/?

Blog Tours, Book Review, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Tour [Review] Muted

Click the pic above to follow the tour!
Title: Muted
Author: Tami Charles
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021

Where to Buy: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Scholastic

Rating: 5 Stars

Thank you Terminal Tours and Scholastic Press for an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

Synopsis

A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds! Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard.

For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown.

So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean “Mercury” Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it.

Until they’re not.

Denver begins to realize that she’s trapped in Merc’s world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken.

Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl’s dreams can be used against her — and what it takes to fight back.

Praise for MUTED

“Charles’s heartbreaking novel in verse shows the harsh realities of the music industry  and runs parallel to the real-life #MuteRKelly and #MeToo movements. . . . Hand this to fans  of Elizabeth Acevedo and Tiffany D. Jackson.” —School Library Journal, starred review 

“A groundbreaking tome.” —Entertainment Weekly 

“This is one of those books that when you finish, you stare at it for a little bit and  need a moment before you can do other things – it is that good.” —BuzzFeed 

“This novel ripped from the headlines is a necessary reckoning that amplifies the  voices of Black and brown girls.”  —Kirkus Reviews 

“MUTED blends the music of beautiful poetry with a powerful and relevant message.  A stunning book.” —Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree and Young People’s  Poet Laureate Emeritus 

“A captivating and unflinching view into the dark corners of the music industry  where souls are crushed in the silence between songs.”  —Lamar Giles, Author of Spin and Not So Pure and Simple 

“An intense ride that unfolds lyrically, MUTED is thrumming with emotion, tension  and, most of all, heart. A heart-pounding page-turner, from start to finish.”  —Debbie Rigaud, New York Times bestselling author of Truly Madly Royally and co-author of  the Hope series 

“Mesmerizing! Raw and honest, Charles captures the voice of a bright young star  trapped between a dream and a nightmare in this devastatingly beautiful novel-in verse—a page-turning lyrical journey!” —Kim Johnson, best-selling author of This Is My America

Review

Before I begin my review, I want to disclose the following trigger warnings:

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Mention of Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Assault
  • Manipulation of minors

Muted is more than a book, it is a whole experience. Written in verse, Muted felt raw, real and tore at my heartstrings. As a person who watched Surviving R. Kelly, I found similarities in Muted to some of the survivor stories on the show. Muted will not be an easy read, but it is a book everyone should read. I hope it is a book that will start more of those tough conversations. While Muted is complex, it is also filled of three young girls finding themselves and learning to not be silenced. It shows that the voice can be a powerful tool of power, a tool of hope. Muted follows the story of Denver, Dali and Shakira; three young teens who are shooting their shot to fame and finds that opportunity when they perform for Sean ‘Mercury’ Ellis before one of his concerts. Their song leads them to Sean inviting them to future recording session and an experience that is more nightmare than dream.

Denver is a spunky force of nature. She is also a teen who is understanding her sexuality [she is a lesbian] while tackling insecurities about her body. She is also in love with her best friend Dali. Dali is an ambitious, go-getting and strong-willed. She is also a girl who is unsure of her future, loves and misses the family members that are not around her and what do what she can to make it all a little bit easier. Shakira is a bit shy, reserved and a realist. She is also caring, loves and worries about her friends and will not let anyone make her feel like she has to do something she doesn’t feel right doing. All three girls have such strong characteristics and great personalities. All three are also teen girls struggling with experiences that most teens their age do not deal with and are trying to silence those who want to silence their voice. You find yourself rooting for each girl to find some form of happy ending after the experiences they faced. You ache when they are going through trauma and emotions added on top of normal teenager things.

The one thing that was odd was the pacing of the story. There was a lot not said in the beginning that was jumbled into the end. While the pacing was weird, it wasn’t hard to follow the story and understand what was happening in each point. This story managed to pull at my heartstrings while simultaneously wanting to hug each girl. It is a rollercoaster of a read as you learn the crimes Sean’s commits, the cost the girls are unaware of when signing to be the next big thing and the overwhelmingly destructive nature the music industry can have on those who are not prepared going in but have to fight to leave out alive. Tami Charles knows how to write a story that allows the reader to walk in their shoes while also understanding the larger message the story wants to portray.

Overall, it was such a good read. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. It is a book I would recommend to anyone.

“ I muted the monster once and for all”

About the Author

TAMI CHARLES is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books for young readers, including instant New York Times bestselling All Because You Matter. In her teens and early twenties, Tami enjoyed a taste  of fame as a member of an all-girl R&B trio. They performed for Boyz II Men, BET, Showtime at the Apollo,  and had a one-hit wonder on the radio. For more information on Tami and her books,  visit tamiwrites.com.

Blog Tours, Book Review, Fairy Stories, Legends, Myths & Fables, YA Paranormal, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Tour [Review]: Wild and Open Faces

Tour Schedule : https://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2021/01/wild-open-faces-by-jennifer-g-edelson.html

Title: Wild Open Faces
Author: Jennifer G. Edelson
Publisher: Red Apple Books
Publication Date: December 17, 2020

Where to buy: AMAZON 

Rating: 4 stars

Thank you Jean BookNerd and Red Apple Books for an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

Synopsis

Surfaces are deceiving . . .

After falling for Ezra and discovering a gateway to the Otherworld, it’s a truism Ruby knows to take to heart. But La Luna finally feels like home, and with graduation just weeks away and a cushy internship on a nearby archeological dig in her pocket, it’s easy to downplay the strange new events taking place in the Glorieta Pass. Even when Angel’s deadbeat father reappears after twenty years, stirring up questions about Angel, the ruin, and Ruby’s mother.

Uncertainty is bad enough, but when Ruby starts having inexplicable visions, and the archeological dig unearths mysterious artifacts connected to both a fabled Aztec city and the Pecos Pueblo, Ruby faces more than an uncertain future — she’s forced to accept the role of True of Heart. Will Ezra and her friends stand by her as she confronts the Otherworld? Love is enigmatic, especially in the heart of New Mexico, but the Otherworld may be the biggest mystery of them all.

Praise for WILD OPEN FACES

“A powerful book which both stands nicely alone and compliments Between Wild and Ruin . . . absolutely enthralling reading.” —Midwest Book Review

Praise for BETWEEN WILD & RUIN

“What could be a corny premise turns into an exhilarating, fun ride in Edelson’s adept hands. Her characters are smartly drawn, and readers will easily identify with Ruby, a strong yet insecure young artist on the verge of adulthood, who is still recovering from her tragic past . . . Fans of Twilight and modern fairy tales will fall in love with Ruby and root for her eventual romance.” —Blue Ink Review (Starred Review)

“Between Wild and Ruin is a stunning story of legends, romance, and destiny with themes of starting over, small towns, beauty, and community . . . Edelson perfectly breathes new life in mythology by honoring the oral tradition of a small community and the ruins that bring to life Ruby’s destiny.” —Manhattan Book Review

“Highly recommended to mature teens through new adult and adult audiences, this is a story that lingers in the mind long after its final revelation.” —Midwest Book Review

“A great addition to young adult urban fantasy.” —Seattle Book Review

“Descriptions of the New Mexico landscape are rich and atmospheric, arousing the senses with references to the scent of smoke and juniper, the predatory roar of mountain lions, and the brilliant dazzle of stars in the desert sky . . . The writing conveys a sense of timelessness, making it easy to believe Ruby’s sense that the land is spirit-haunted and that Leo, the handsome young man she encounters near the ruins, is somehow connected to it all.” —Clarion Forward

“An intriguing historical tale and an over-the-top love-quadrangle romance.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The paranormal aspects of the tale are credible and richly steeped in traditional lore, and the plot is finely crafted . . . Between Wild and Ruin is most highly recommended.” —Reader’s Favorite (5-Star Review)

** First Place Winner — Young Adult Fiction: 2020 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards
** First Place Winner – Young Adult Fiction: 2020 National Federation Press Women
** Gold Medal Winner (First Place) – Young Adult Mythology/Folklore; 2020 Reader’s Choice International  
** First Place Winner – Young Adult Fiction: 2020 New Mexico Women’s Press

Review

A continuation to Ezra and Ruby’s story, Wild Open Faces blew me away with the writing and left me yearning for the third book. Because Between Wild and Ruin was still fresh on my mind, reading Wild Open Faces felt like I hit the lottery. Wild open faces is a great sequel, and I don’t say that about many sequels. There were so many questions form book one that book two answered and so many new questions that were created. It was well written, had a villain that I tried so hard not to like and a continuing relationship that was strong.

The character development in Ezra and Ruby were equal in quality to the first book, which made their continued development feel both real and satisfying. It’s no secret that I was shipping Ruby and Ezra from the beginning and seeing their relationship grow was great. It was a separate development from their characters, which often gets muddled in a storyline. The author did well in showing that two people can grow together while each growing in their individual skin. Along with Ruby and Ezra, we see more of Racine and Angel. I hope to see more of Angel and Racine in book three and see where their journey goes.

As mentioned before, the writing style was amazing. When I read the first book, I was not expecting a paranormal aspect so beautifully crafted. Wild and Open Faces continued that vivid, magical backdrop, character development and romance. The romance was pure but conflicting all wrapped in one and I loved it! But I also loved how Ruby was finally feeling like e was in the place that she belonged, excited for her awesome archeological project. I was also amazed by her ability to take on such a hard role, to confront the otherworld and protect those she loves.

I could continue to ramble about how much I enjoyed Wild Open Faces by Jennifer Edelson, but I’ll stop hear and tell you to grab copy of her first book Between Wild and Ruin, swoon over it, and then grab a copy of Wild open Faces. Trust me, you’ll be in for a ride.

About the Author

Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). 

Author Links: FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS

…and now for a giveaway!

Click the pic to enter the giveaway

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 1 Winner will receive a $25 Dollar Amazon Gift Card.

Author Interviews, Blog Tours, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Tour – Fat Chance, Charlie Vega – Interview with Author Crystal Maldonado

Happy Tuesday and Happy Book Birthday to Fat Chance, Charlie Vega! Today you are in for a special treat. I had the opportunity through Hear Our Voices Book Tours, Penguin Random House for the opportunity to chat with author Crystal Maldonado.

Before we begin, here’s a little info about Fat Chance, Charlie Vega:

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: YA Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | Bookshop.org

I am super excited to introduce you all to the author of Fat Chance, charlie Vega, Crystal Maldonado.

SS: Hi, it is such a pleasure to chat with you today! Before we dive in can you tell us a little bit about Fat Chance, Charlie Vega?

CM: Hi! Absolutely! Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a YA romcom about a 16-year-old fat Puerto Rican girl who loves books, writing, her BFF, fashion, and love. She doesn’t have it all figured out yet, but she’s working on it — and she really wants a boyfriend.

SS:  What was your inspiration for Fat Chance, Charlie Vega? Can you share a bit about your writing journey for it?

CM: This book was very much inspired by my real life and my experience growing up as a fat Puerto Rican girl. I read a lot, but I rarely felt like I got to see main characters that looked like me, so, I decided to write one myself! I started writing this book years ago, around 2015/2016, and really took my time with it. It offered such a nice escape for me and I loved transporting into Charlie’s mind and world.

SS:  Charlie was such a loveable main character and her friends [supporting characters] really complimented Charlie’s character development. Are there any characters in Fat Chance, Charlie Vega that were inspired by people you know in real life?

CM: Absolutely! Amelia was inspired by the best parts of the wonderful friends I’ve had over the years, all of whom I’ve been so lucky to have in my life. Brian is inspired by my real-life husband. I met him when we were both seniors in high school and he is truly the kindest, funniest, most incredible person I’ve ever met. He made writing Brian easy!

SS:  What was your favorite part of writing Fat Chance, Charlie Vega? The most surprising?

CM: My favorite part of writing this book was creating what I hope are aspirational relationships. Although Charlie and Amelia have an imperfect friendship and Brian and Charlie have things to work on, too, at the end of the day, I think they are really there for one another in meaningful ways. I loved creating those dynamics so much!

The most surprising thing was probably the way Charlie took on a life and personality of her own. Although I started the book out thinking I knew exactly who Charlie was, she ended up doing things I didn’t expect once I started writing. It’s really funny how sometimes your book tells YOU what it wants to do and not the other way around.

SS:  It’s hard not to root to root or love one character, but was there one character that was the most exciting to write?

CM: I loved writing Brian. It honestly was like getting to relive meeting my husband for the first time, way back when. To me, Brian is so pure and wholesome and I really enjoyed just being able to settle into that kindness! Also, although she plays a small role in the book, I loved writing Charlie’s cousin, Carmen. She tells it like it is and I love her for that.

SS:  Fat Chance, Charlie Vega takes us through Charlie’s body acceptance journey. Was there a part of Charlie’s journey that you enjoyed bringing to life? Was there a part that was difficult to write but was important in understanding Charlie’s journey and development?

CM: It was so much fun to explore Charlie’s sense of style and fashion, especially as she grew as a character. It can be tough to explore fashion when you’re fat because sometimes things you think are cute simply don’t fit. So, it was rewarding to have Charlie eventually figure out what works well for her and see her become the fa(t)shionista she always knew she could be!

The most difficult scene relating to Charlie’s body was when she is really, really hard on herself after the dance with Cal. This was definitely her low point and I felt for her because I’ve been there. But I also felt like it was important to show where she was, mentally, so that her ability to rise up and learn to love herself felt that much more impactful.

SS:  If you could describe Charlie and Amelia’s friendship in five words or less, what would they be?

CM: Ultimate friendship goals!

SS:  Many writers find themselves developing a routine or something they must do when writing their novel. Was there something you created a routine to do while writing Fat Chance, Charlie Vega?

CM: I wish! I was so casual about writing the book that I never really got into any kind of routine. I only wrote when the inspiration struck, which was great in some ways (I was always writing intentionally and didn’t suffer writer’s block) but not great in other ways (it took me forever to finish the first draft). I will say that I made it a habit of going back to the beginning of the book and rereading it often, which I do think helped inspire me to keep going!

…And now for some fun!

SS:  What was your favorite 2020 read?

CM: Hands down, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas! I loved everything about it and recommend it to everyone.

SS:  What choice of beverage is your go-to drink?

CM: This is so boring, but water. I’ve always loved it! I also love iced coffee, which I drink year-round.

SS:  What is one story/ fairytale/folklore that you would want to do a remix of?

CM: I kind of want to do my own spin on a Harriet the Spy novel! I loved that book and movie growing up, so it would be fun to reimagine it.

About the Author

Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.

By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, the internet, and being extra.

She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads

Book Spotlights, Book Tags, YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

February 2021 Ya Releases I’m Excited About!

Happy Monday everyone! We are now heading into the second month of 2021 and I am super excited for a couple of YA releases coming out this month. Here are a few I can’t to read and enjoy in no particular order:

1.

Title: Music of the Night
Author: Angela J. Ford
Release Date: February 15, 2021
Genre: Gothic Romance
Why I’m excited: I am a sucker for stories inspired by Phantom of the Opera so I couldn’t help but add this to my TBR.

2.

Title: The Gilded Ones
Author: Namina Forna
Release Date: February 9, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Why I’m excited: Possible cursed genetics, A girl fighting to stay alive and change the narrative while dismantling a dysfunctional society. It sounds so good!

3.

Title: A Pho Love Story
Author: Loan Le
Release Date: February 9, 2021
Genre: Young adult Fiction
Why I’m excited: A budding romance, children of competing restaurants falling for each other, and feuding families were the themes that piqued my interest.

4.

Title: Muse
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: February 2 2021
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Why I’m excited: Alternative history backdrop, war driven society, some magical elements, and a fight to survive. All in all, I am willing to give historical fiction a try again and read Muse.

5.

Title: Love is a Revolution
Author: Renee Watson
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Why I’m excited: Plus size rep, self discovery journey, navigating a new relationship and feelings, Flipping societal norms [fat is beautiful]

6.

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Why I’m excited: Pus size rep, Latinx rep [Mc is Puerto Rican!], Body acceptance journey. Something about this story feels relatable to me and I want to read it!

7.

Title: The Afterlife of the Party
Author: Marlene Perez
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Why I’m excited: Party gone wrong, Vampires!, Vampire navigating high school. Overall, it has vampires and I will read it.

8.

Title: Muted
Author: Tami Charles
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Why I’m excited: Story written in verse, music centered story, finding and keeping your voice in a space that wants to silence it.

9.

Title: the Project
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Why I’m excited: I really enjoyed reading Sadie and want to give this one a try. Plus, I’ve never really read stories centering cults so I’m intrigued.

10.

Title: Like Home
Author: Louisa Onome
Release Date: February 23, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Why I’m excited: I read it would be great for fans of On My Block and Elizabeth’s Acevedo’s work. I am a fan of both and also was intrigued with what the main character will have to go through after an incident changes her world around.

There are many more books that I am excited for, including some conclusions to a series and some sequels. But, I wanted to share some I’m super excited to read.

What are some of your February 2021 anticipated releases?