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Blog Tours, Book Review, YA Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction

Book Tour [Review]: The Edge of Summer

Title: The Edge of Summer
Author: Erica George
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 14th, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Where to buy: Amazon | BookDepository | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

Thank you TBR and Beyond Tour and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for a review copy and the opportunity to be on this tour.

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson will be swept away by this big-hearted novel about one girl navigating first loss and first love during her summer on Cape Cod.

Saving the whales has been Coriander Cabot and her best friend Ella’s dream since elementary school. But when tragedy strikes, Cor is left to complete the list of things they wanted to accomplish before college alone, including a marine biology internship on Cape Cod.

Cor’s summer of healing and new beginnings turns complicated when she meets Mannix, a local lifeguard who completely takes her breath away. But she knows whatever she has with Mannix might not last, and that her focus should be on rescuing the humpback whales from entanglement. As the tide changes, Cor finds herself distracted and struggling with her priorities.

Can she follow her heart and keep her promise to the whales and her best friend?

Review

The Edge of Summer is such a good summer read. It is also a story that talk about loss and grief in a way that feels okay. Ericka’s writing style with this story was concise and easy to follow.

We are introduced to Coriander who is staying with her Uncle as she prepares for a cool marine internship. It is part of a bucket list she created with her friend Ella. She is now checking things off on her own while dealing with the loss of her friend Ella. Throughout the summer Cor starts a romance with lifeguard Mannix and navigate loss and new love. When thinking of Cor and Mannix, their relationship was messy but the chemistry was there. The feelings didn’t feel forced or too perfect and it was something that felt relatable even to an adult like myself. While Cor can be a hard character to warm up to with some of her actions such as not responding, placing her anger or sadness on the wrong people, I still appreciated how much of a teenager Cor was. Teens are not perfect, and we’ve all been in some situation where our emotions are just a lot sometimes. I appreciated how Cor was written while also acknowledging that some of her actions were hurtful, especially towards Mannix.  Speaking of Mannix, he was a cool, carefree kind of teen boy growing feelings for a girl he just met.

When thinking of the setting of Cape Cod and the focus of whales, I felt like I was reading on a beach hearing the ocean sounds. The one things I enjoyed was how the story intertwined advocacy for whales while also connecting that to the main story. It made me as the reader feel inspired to want to keep those majestic sea mammals safe while learning more about them. Overall, I was a fan of the whale talk because it was not forced talk. Overall, this was a quick and fun read. If you are a fan of summer contemporary young adult romances, this is a go to read.

About the Author

Erica George is a writer of young adult fiction. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey with degrees in both English and education, and is currently an MFA student at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She resides in scenic northern New Jersey, but spends her summers soaking up the salty sea air on Cape Cod.
Many themes in Erica’s writing rotate around environmental activism and helping young people find their voice. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring river towns, whale watching, or engrossed in quality British drama with her dog at her side.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Follow the Tour!

Book Tour

June 13th
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
Jen Jen Reviews – Review

June 14th
Kait Plus Books – Interview
Sadie’s Spotlight – Promotional Post

June 15th
Stuck in Fiction – Promotional Post
A Bronx Latina Reads – Review

June 16th
Lost in Neverland – Review
One More Chapter – Review

June 17th
Melancholic Blithe – Interview
Book lover’s book reviews – Promotional Post & Tik Tok

June 18th
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post
Phannie the ginger bookworm – Review & Playlist

June 19th
Whispering Stories – Interview
Justice For Readers – Promotional Post

Instagram Tour

June 13th
booking.with.janelle -Promotional Post
booksandsnapshots – Review
tinybooknest – Favorite Quotes

June 14th
writingrosereads – Promotional Post
sadiesspotlight – Blogger’s Choice

June 15th
feliciareads11 – Blogger’s Choice
belle.bookcorner – Review & Favorite Quotes

June 16th
tbrandbeyond – Promotional Post
katiereads23 – Review
_leahreads – Blogger’s Choice

June 17th
bhaneereads_ – Top 5 Reasons to Read The Edge of Summer
bookloversbookreviews – Blogger’s Choice

June 18th
ninebookishlives – Blogger’s Choice
musfira._ – Promotional Post

June 19th
fangirlpixiebooks – Promotional Post
GryffindorBookishNerd – Review
atrailofpages – Review

Blog Tours, Book Review, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Tour [Review]: Game of Strength and Storm

Title: Game of Strength and Storm
Author: Rachel Menard
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy

Where to buy: Amazon | BookDepository | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Thank you TBR and Beyond Tour and Flux Books for a review copy and the opportunity to be on this tour.

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars but rounded up to 4 stars

Synopsis

Victory is the only option.

Once a year, the Olympian Empresses grant the wishes of ten people selected by a lottery—for a price. Seventeen-year-old Gen, a former circus performer, wants the freedom of her father, who was sentenced to life in prison for murders she knows he didn’t commit. Castor plans to carry the island Arcadia into the future in place of her brother, Pollux, but only after the Empresses force a change in her island’s archaic laws that requires a male heir.

To get what they want, Gen and Castor must race to complete the better half of ten nearly impossible labors. They have to catch the fastest ship in the sea, slay the immortal Hydra, defeat a gangster called the Boar, and capture the flesh-eating Mares, among other deadly tasks.

Gen has her magic, her ability to speak to animals, her inhuman strength—and the help of Pollux, who’s been secretly pining for her for years. But Castor has her own gifts: the power of the storms, along with endless coin. Only one can win. The other walks away with nothing—if she walks away at all.

Review

I have to say – this was a pretty enjoyable read. I enjoyed the focus of Greek mythology in the plot and scenery. I am not well versed in the Hercules 12 labors so IK had to do a bit of research to under this was a genderbent retold version of it. However, not having this knowledge ahead of time did not hinder my ability to enjoy this story. Game of Strength and Storm has multiple points of views, which is always a selling point for me. I like to dive into a story and hear the perspective of the main characters. Rachel Menard was bale to write POV’s well and create a storyline that did not feel disconnected. It was a fast paced read that didn’t feel too predictable.

There are ten winners and those ten winners can receive a wish. But there’s a catch – they have to complete/win 6 of the 10 tasks needed to have their wish granted by the Empress. The competition aspect of the story sold me heavily and was one of the main reasons I continued reading on. It gave the nostalgic feeling form the books I read as a teen of competitions and survival.

When thinking of the characters, I enjoyed Gen, Castor and Pollux for very different reasons. Gen has the ability to speak to animals and has a wish to free her father from prison. Gen felt like the character with the moral compass. Her storyline was similar to Castor because their wish to rule could feed their other wishes. What I admired most about Gen was her love towards her family. She was truly fighting for them and it showed. Castor is also a very strong character, but may be going about things in an unpopular opinion kind of way. Pollux, her brother is next in line to rule their island of Arcadia – the very throne Castor wants. Her mission is to dismantle the misogyny by having her wish granted to become the next ruler. Sounds great right? Well when you have a teddy bear, sweetheart of a brother, it is hard to focus or root for someone who wants to see his lineage disrupted to become Queen. Regardless of Castor’s not so altruistic wish, her determination and strong will make her a force to be reckoned with.

There was a small romance brewing between Gen and Pollux but I felt that it wasn’t developed enough to know if it would be a developing relationship or just a crush. I’d be excited to see overall how the story along with the romance pans out in future books.

About the Author

Rachel Menard was born in New Jersey, raised in Arizona, and then relocated to Rhode Island. Throughout her life she has been a barista, college radio DJ, singer in an alt-country band, marketer, designer, and finally, a writer. Her short fiction has been featured on the Cast of Wonders podcast and her non-fiction has been seen in Writer’s Digest. Her debut novel, Game of Strength and Storm, is coming from Flux Books in 2022.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Tik Tok

Book Spotlights, Urban Fantasy

Stolen Relics Release Blitz!

Title: Stolen Relics
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:
Are all the fairy tales real?

 

Mackenzie Grey is back at the Supernatural Investigative Unit and her first big case is not what she expects. Tasked to find stolen relics that are attached to a legend even Kenz herself is having a hard time believing. This leads to a target getting put on her back, and she finds help from an unexpected enemy.

 

Unfortunately, the SIU isn’t all Kenz has to worry about. When Alexander finds out about Ollie, he takes the first flight to New York City to spend time with his daughter, but he comes with news of his own that will change Mackenzie’s world completely.

 

Will Mackenzie find the thief in time before the bounty on her head is collected? And will her life be altered after Alexander’s proclamation? Find out in Stolen Relics.



Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy Author of the Mackenzie Grey novels and The Last Valkyrie series. An avid reader throughout her life, the world of Urban Fantasy easily became an obsession that turned into a passion for writing strong leading characters with authentic story arcs. When she isn’t writing badass heroines, you can find this self-proclaimed nomad in her South Florida home binge watching the latest series on Netflix or traveling far and wide for the latest inspiration for her books. Follow her on social media!

Author Links:



Blog Tours, Book Review, YA Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Tour [Review]: No Filter and Other Lies

Title: No Filter and Other Lies
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: February 8th, 2022
Genres: Young Adult contemporary romance

Where to buy: Blackwells | Amazon | BookDepository | Barnes & Noble

Thank you Colored Pages tours and Holiday House for the review copy and the opportunity to be a part of this tour!

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

You should know, right now, that I’m a liar.

They’re usually little lies. Tiny lies. Baby lies. Not so much lies as lie adjacent.

But they’re still lies.

Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.

Except it’s all fake.

Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love. But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the facade.

But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves.

But it might already be too late.

Review

Imagine a full novel from the POV of the catfish. Now imagine understanding that catfish and still wishing they have as happy as an ending as they could given everything that has happened. Put those two ideas together and you get No Filter and other Lies. We follow Kat Sanchez as she create the heartthrob Max Monroe and navigates keeping one of the biggest lies yet as secret as possible. As the lies become bigger and the boy behind the photos becomes viral, making it harder to hide, Kat has to figure out how to get out of this bed of lies without losing everything.

No Filter and Other Lies focuses on some real themes that both teens and adults face today. You see how social media can be both a curse and an escape. How portraying someone else can feel refreshing. The themes are so relevant because we see them in our everyday lives. From shows, like Catfish, catfishing in many forms is something we just know is a part of navigating social media. Crystal writes into these themes so well that it almost makes it feel like a story many people can relate two, whether they were the catfish or not. Crystal is able to show how impactful social media can have on how one view’s themselves and how anxiety inducing clicking to check likes can be. In short, this story was so good. Crystal makes you like Kat even though she is doing some pretty hurtful things. She roots for Kat to give it up and see just how awesome she is and hope that she can repair the parts of her life that are not perfect. The story also notes the darker side of catfishing and how for the catfisher- it can be a mode of escape that they become addicted to when their reality is far from the perfect vision they want to see.

What I enjoyed most about Kat’s character was how creative she was. Yes, she may have created lies but I tihnk for Kat the lies she made outside of the Max Monroe profile were understandable. When you live in a society where your upbringing or who you are isn’t the ideal type, sometimes lying to fit in more eases some of the pressures and anxieties for wanting to be authentic but also wanting friends. Kat’s character hit what a teen exploring so much of herself can be. We see it in shows and other forms of media now where tens are figuring out their identity and their sexuality. Kat realizing that she may be bisexual and may have a huge crush on her friend Elena is an experience many teens are experiencing now. Although I couldn’t relate to that experience, I can appreciate seeing a character becoming more confident in who she is. Speaking of Elena, I honestly enjoyed how she was the friend who would call it as it is and let Kat know that her lies would get back to her. We see Kat face the consequences of her actions and then see Kat trying to build those pieces back up again to replenish the relationships her lies have tarnished but not completely break.

Overall, Crystal knows how to write a good story, so I wasn’t surprised when I read through this in one sitting. Crystal is spinning stories of teen experiences that are happening to the present. Teen readers will be able to relate to Kat in some for of way and understand how impactful the strive to reach that social media aesthetic can make you do things you will not be okay with in the future. It’s a quick read, it’s a fun read and really hones into important themes while still providing an entertaining story.

About The Author

Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, is a 2021 New England Book Award winner, a Cosmopolitan Best New Book, and a POPSUGAR Best New YA Novel. Her next novel, No Filter and Other Lies, explores teenage life in the social media age—and the lies we tell to ourselves and others. By day, Crystal works in higher ed marketing, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, spending too much time on her phone, and being extra. Her work has also been published in Latina, BuzzFeed, and the Hartford Courant.

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

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Blog Tours, Book Review, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Blog Tour [Review]: Kelsey Murphy and the Academy of the Unbreakable Arts

TITLE: Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts
AUTHOR: Erika Lewis
PUBLISHER: StarScape
RELEASE DATE: March 1st, 2022
GENRES: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Thank you JeanBookNerd and Starscape for a review copy and the opportunity to be on this tour!

Star Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis

Brimming with Celtic mythology, action, and danger, Erika Lewis’s Kelcie Murphy and The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts introduces readers to a new kind of magical school and a warrior who must choose with which side of an epic battle her destiny will lie.

The Otherworld is at war. The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts trains warriors. And Kelcie Murphy—a foster child raised in the human world—is dying to attend.

A place at AUA means meeting Scáthach, the legendary trainer of Celtic heroes. It means learning to fight with a sword. It means harnessing her hidden powers and—most importantly—finding out who her parents are, and why they abandoned her in Boston Harbor eight years ago.

When Kelcie tests into the school, she learns that she’s a Saiga, one of the most ancient beings in the Otherworld. Secretive, shunned, and possessed of imposing elemental powers, the Saiga are also kin to the Otherworld’s most infamous traitor.

But Kelcie is a survivor, and she’ll do whatever it takes to find her parents and her place in their world. Even if that means making a few enemies.

Review

Wow, this book was pretty good. I always love to see newer books that involved magic and school and epic battles. Kelcie, the main character, goes to girl in foster care with little memories of her past, to finding out family secrets and unleashing her hidden powers. Add in a case agent who is actually a fairy and a found found in her new school and you get a great magical adventure. Kelcie Murphy is in for an adventure of a lifetime and a battle her team has worked hard towards. The book has a great pace: it wasn’t too fast or too slow. It is definitely a good pace for the targeted demographic. I enjoyed Kelcie’s character evolution. She went from having no agency to not only gaining that through her journey but becoming more confident in her own skin and power. It was great to see Kelcie open up more from the girl we were first introduced with. She no longer stays the outcast in the academy. She instead finds amazing friends and a great leader who become her found family.

Speaking of friends, I really enjoyed how the author took different approach with certain character. Niall is the first friend of Kelcie and is loyal through and through. They connect instantly. While Brona and her relationship with Kelcie takes time to form that strong bond. It shows how real and different each friendship can be and how patience can be a key in developing those friendships. When thinking about the storyline, I particularly enjoyed the many twists and turns the story took. It allowed means a reader to keep the pages turning. The story draws on Celtic mythology and adds such a mystifying magical element to it. Kelcie has magic but the author adds on other magical elements such as Kelcie’s necklace. I am a sucker for seeing magic in different forms so it was a pleasure reading the significance that each magical element had to the overall story.

This is a great read for all ages and a story that will have older readers feel the nostalgia of the magical reads they once read.

About the Author

Erika Lewis grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, spent summers with her grandparents in Worcester, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. With a passion for storytelling set in magical places, she spends as much time as she can traveling. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found scribbling notes in a blank book while wandering through abandoned buildings, all kinds of museums, and graveyards.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, her list of credits straddles the comics and novel space, including Game of Shadows from Macmillan’s Tor Books, Firebrand and Acursian from Legendary Comics, #Guardian from Awesome Media & Entertainment, and The 49th Key from Heavy Metal Publishing. The Color of Dragons is her debut YA, coming from HarperTeen October 19th, 2021, and Kelcie Murphy and The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts is her middle grade debut coming from Starscape/Macmillan March 1st, 2022.