Blog Tour|The Vine Witch Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

blog tour, Review, Uncategorized

Hi everyone! Today is my stop for the blog tour of The Vine Witch! You are not gonna want to miss this one! Keep reading for my thoughts on the book, some of my favorite quotes, and a GIVEAWAY!

tour banner.png


Title: The Vine Witch

Author:  Luanne G. Smith

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: October 1st 2019

Genre: Fantasy


Synopsis: A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.


My thoughts

The Vine Witch was an enchanting read! I was instantly pulled into it from the first page. We are first introduced to our main character, Elena, as she is trying to break free from a curse that has left her as a toad for seven years. Once she breaks the curse, Elena makes her way back to her home, Château Renard, a vineyard that she has lived at since 5 years old. But her home is not how she left it. Covered in various hexes, the poor vineyard is struggling. When she learns that the previous owner has sold it to someone else, a city man nonetheless, it is just salt in the wound.

The new owner of Château Renard is Jean-Paul Martel, a former attorney from the city, and a man of science. He doesn’t believe in any of that Vine Witch nonsense the townspeople speak of. He knows that if he can just get the correct minerals in the soil and the pH balance of the grapes just right etc that his vineyard will soon be restored back to its former glory. Then Elena arrives back at the vineyard and he finds his perspective changing.

The writing in this was great! The world building really makes you feel like you are there in the Vineyards with Vine Witches and hexes and gargoyles and the first automobiles. And I really liked the main characters. Elena starts out on a mission for revenge, and when I say revenge I mean REVENGE LIKE POISON THAT GOES LIKE A SNAKE IN A PERSONS BLOOD. But! We get to see some growth in her as she decides to instead focus her attention on the vineyard and the evil surrounding the town that reeks of forbidden blood magic. We also get some great growth from Jean-Paul as he goes from nonbeliever to “say what I’ve  been wrong this whole time and witches are real better go read some books about them so I know all there is to know” Great character growth, amirite?

Favorite Quotes

“She was Elena, disciple of the All Knowing and daughter of the Chanceaux Valley. And she was free.”

“Mortal men. What flaw was in it in their ape brain that convinced them their schemes were paramount to everyone else’s?”

“Revenge allowed to ferment would carry the most power”

“He wasn’t truly bewitched but he wasn’t capable of seeing her for what she was, either- a witch who experimented with poison in her spare time so she could kill the former lover who’d betrayed her.”

I really enjoyed this one! I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars. I read it quite quickly and was fully invested in the story by chapter 1.  Recommended for fans of witchy women, revenge, wine, murder mystery, and slow-burnin love.

4 out of 5 stars

*ARC provided by publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club and the publisher for including me on this book tour!

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a copy of The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (US Only)

Starts: 1st October 2019

Ends: 15th October 2019

Click here to enter!

 

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43236285-the-vine-witch
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZKNjvH
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vine-witch-luanne-g-smith/1130030332
Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/es/Vine-Witch-Luanne-G-Smith/9781542008389?ref=grid-view&qid=1567272333336&sr=1-1
Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Vine_Witch.html?id=VBS9vwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

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AUTHOR.jpgLuanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in the series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.

AUTHOR LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18699641.Luanne_G_Smith

Website: https://www.luannegsmith.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writersmith1

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


TOUR SCHEDULE
http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/tour-schedule-vine-witch-by-luanne-g.html

City Of Beasts | Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway + Preorder Campaign

blog tour, giveaway, Review

Title: CITY OF BEASTS 

Author: Corrie Wang

Pub. Date: September 17, 2018

Publisher: Freeform

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 384

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle,  B&NiBooksKoboTBD


Synopsis:“If you see a beast, and you have the shot, don’t hesitate. Kill it.”

For seventeen years, fees have lived separate from beasts. The division of the sexes has kept their world peaceful. Glori Rhodes is like most other fees her age. She adores her neighborhood’s abandoned Costco, can bench her body weight, and she knew twenty-seven beast counter attack moves by the time she was seven. She has never questioned the separation of the sexes or the rules that keep her post-nuclear hometown safe. But when her mother secretly gives birth to a baby beast, Glori grows to love the child and can’t help wondering: What really is the difference between us and them?

When her brother, at the age of five, is snatched in a vicious raid, Glori and her best friend, Su, do the unthinkable – covertly infiltrate the City of Beasts to get him back. What’s meant to be a smash-and-grab job quickly becomes the adventure of a lifetime as the fees team up with a fast-talking, T-shirt cannon wielding beast named Sway, and Glori starts to see that there’s more to males, and her own history, than she’s been taught. Glori, Sway, and a motley cohort of friends will go to the ends of the earth to find her little brother. And maybe save their divided world while they’re at it

My thoughts

What a fantastic dystopian novel! City of Beasts is about a not so far away post apocalyptic Earth. Taking place in Buffalo, NY the city has divided itself- men(beasts) on one side of the river, and women(fees) on the other side. Growing up this has been all that Glori has known. Until her mother gives birth to a Fee and she begins to wonder what’s so wrong with them after all. When her brother is taken in a raid from the beasts, Glori and her bff, Su decide to go to the where the Beasts live and bring him back home.

I love a good dystopian novel that really makes you think, what if??? Wang did an excellent job of creating an apocolyptic world that captivated me from the very first page. I loved all the kick-ass characters! We not only have a complex main character, but the side characters are wonderfully developed so you can’t help but get attached.

City of Beasts was full of humor, a tiny dash of romance(oh lala), some crazy topics that really make you think, action, and thrills! I was so sad when I finished it!

4 out of 5 stars

 
CorrieWangfull

About Corrie: 

Corrie Wang is passionate about libraries, recycling, and eating all the food, everywhere. Corrie grew up in Buffalo but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, where one of her last paying gigs was managing a three-story nightclub on the Lower East Side. 

Writing to fix things that make her angry and explore things that frighten her, Corrie’s novels are about girls unapologetically conquering scenarios they should have little control over. Tired of seeing women and girls lose in this culture – spoiler – they never do in her stories. 

Her debut novel, The Takedown was chosen as one of the best books of 2017 by the New York Public Library and a 2018 YALSA selection for Best Fiction for Young Adults. City of Beasts is her second novel.

Seeing, as Corrie wrote an entire novel about the freakiness and perils of socializing too much on the internets her existence there is haphazard at best. Now, more than ever, she feels it is time for everyone to look up. (Also stand up, step up, and eat up. 

Woot!) That being said, you may follow her poor photography skillz on INSTAGRAM. 

AND P.S. Wang rhymes with ‘song’ y’all.


CITY OF BEASTS PRE-ORDER CAMPAIGN

Please submit proof of purchase to CORRIEWANGBOOKS [at] GMAIL [dot] COM. All formats apply (physical & e-book). Open to the United States only. Last day to submit is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 at 11:59 PM.

PRE-ORDERS FROM BLUE BICYCLE BOOKS

http://bluebicyclebooks.bigcartel.com/product/corrie-wang-city-of-beasts

Each signed pre-order copy of City of Beats will come with:

  • 1 set of 5 Battle Cards featuring different mercenaries 
  • A special paperclip necklace made by Mouse which makes you a part of the City of Beast family
  • Entry to win 1 of 3 raffle prizes
    • 1st prize is a Jackrabbit Filly t-shirt/patch/ $10 gift card
    • 2nd prize $10 gift card to Jackrabbit Filly and t-shirt
    • 3rd prize $10 gift card to Jackrabbit Filly

ANY PREORDERS FROM AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

Pre-order City of Beasts at your local indie and you will receive:

  • A signed bookplate
  • A set of 5 Battle Cards featuring different mercenaries
  • A special paperclip necklace made by Mouse, making you part of the City of Beast family

PRE-ORDERS FROM ANYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD!

ANY PREORDERS FROM AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

Pre-order City of Beasts anywhere else books are sold you will receive:

  • A signed bookplate
  • 1 of 5 Battle Cards at random

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive finished copies of CITY OF BEASTS, US Only. 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 


CITY OF BEASTS

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

9/2/2019- Country Road Reviews– Excerpt

9/3/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

9/4/2019- Character Madness and Musings– Excerpt

9/5/2019- Shelf-Rated– Review

9/6/2019- BookHounds YA– Review

 

Week Two:

9/9/2019- Lifestyle of Me– Review

9/10/2019- Daily Waffle – Excerpt

9/11/2019- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

9/12/2019- Life of a Simple Reader– Excerpt

9/13/2019- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

Week Three:

9/16/2019- Jena Brown Writes– Review

9/17/2019- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews– Excerpt

9/18/2019- Wishful Endings– Excerpt

9/19/2019- Book-Keeping– Review

9/20/2019- Jade Writes Books– Review

 

Week Four:

9/23/2019- Eli to the nth– Review

9/24/2019- two points of interest– Review

9/25/2019- The Layaway Dragon– Review

9/26/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

9/27/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads– Review

 

Week Five:

9/30/2019- lori’s house of reviews– Review

ARC Review| War by Laura Thalassa

Review, Uncategorized

Title: War

Author: Laura Thalassa

Series: The Four Horsemen Book #2

Genre: NA/Romance/ Fantasy

Release Date: July 11th, 2019


Synopsis:They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.”

My thoughts

” When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it ,it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. “
Revelation 6:3-4 NASB

A decade after Pestilence’s last ride, War has arrived. When Miriam comes face to face with him as he takes the city of Jerusalem, instead of killing her, he instead captures her and starts calling her his wife. Completely baffled by this turn of events Miriam finds herself in a terrible predicament, with a front row view of the death and destruction that follows in War’s path, and the alarming realization that despite War’s nature, there could possibly be more to him.

“War thinks humans are the scourge of the earth, but is there anything so powerful as the way we love?”

Book number two of the Four Horsemen did NOT disappoint. Although I felt that this story was slightly rushed at certain points, I completely loved it still! I’m rating 4.5 stars. War was very tough, dangerous, and stubborn but also had a sweet and caring side that was so fun to see emerge as the story went on! Miriam was very stubborn as well and a certified badass with her bow and arrow skills and just all around toughness. They were perfect for each other!

❤”For your soft heart.”😭

Laura once again created a beautifully intricate post-apocalyptic world that I dove right into and did not want to end. This was a huge book but honestly, it didnt feel like it and I wanted MORE😭🤣. I absolutely can’t wait for Famine!

  • Many thanks to Laura for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review|The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Review, Uncategorized

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Author: Christina Lauren

Genre: Romance

Release Date: May 14th, 2019


Synopsis: Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.”

My thoughts

Where my enemies-turned-lovers/ fake dating trope fans at??!! This one’s for you!

When unlucky Olive and her sworn nemesis Ethan somehow end up as the only individuals not affected in a shellfish poisoning at Olives twin sisters wedding, Olive thinks perhaps her luck might be changing.

“My poor sister has turned into a swamp creature; I’ve never seen anyone this shade of gray before.”

But then her twin offers up the honeymoon that she won. Sounds pretty great until Olive finds out the only way she can go on said honeymoon is with the man she absolutely hates, Ethan, the brother of the man Ami married, and the man Olive has never gotten along with since a cheese-curd moments years before. But how can she pass up on this free vacation to Maui? Especially since she is now jobless and has had rotten luck her whole life. Despite who her travel partner will be, Olive decides to take her sister up on the honeymoon with the plan that since Maui is a big island they can just stick to themselves and enjoy the vacation in their own separate ways, right? Wrong! Anything, that can go wrong goes wrong and cue the hilariousness.

“That’s the whole point of luck isn’t it?” He says through gritted teeth.
“You have to trust that it’s not fleeting.”

The Unhoneymooners was a quirky, sweet, laugh out loud romance that had me cackling while reading. You’ve got the hilarious banter between Ethan and Olive, undeniable sparks between the two main protagonists, feel-good heartfelt moments, and even some wonderful character growth. I fully enjoyed this novel! I’d say my only complaint would be the pace of the story being a bit out of wack(slow, fast, slow, etc) Christina Lauren are a dynamic duo who never fail to make me fully invested in what I’m reading. I can’t wait to read what they come up with next.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review | Dark Shores by Danielle Jensen

Review, Uncategorized

Title: Dark Shores

Author: Danielle Jensen

Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy

Series: Dark Shores #1


Synopsis: “In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.


My thoughts (1)Dark Shores follows the point of view of the two main characters, Teriana and Marcus. Teriana is the fierce Maarin pirate whose people hold an ancient secret of Gods and the whereabouts of the obscure lands known as the Dark Shores. The Maarin travel between the two worlds, the Celendor Empire and the Dark Shores, and guard the secret of each land with their life for if East meets West, war will be inevitable. But all that changes when Teriana spills the beans to her trusted friend. Word gets out to the senator of the Empire and the Maarin people soon finds themselves prisoners.  In order to save her people, Teriana comes to an agreement to help the Empire with the conquest of the Dark Shores.

In comes Marcus, the clever commander of the Thirty-Seventh legion and man of many secrets himself. When the secrets of his own are threatened to be revealed by the senator of Celendor, Marcus finds himself leading the journey to the Dark Shores with Teriana as his prisoner/informant.

‘”Its time for you to let go of the lies Mother Empire has whispered in your ears and start seeing the world for what it really is.”
“And what is that?”
“Inexplicable. Limitless.” Her gaze went back to the ocean. “Divine.”‘

Dark Shores was a fun, fast read that I found myself quickly engrossed in. The two worlds we get to explore were so different and yet the same in many respects. I enjoyed the spicy, slow-burn romance between our two main characters and getting to watch each of their character developments. My only complaint was the story gets quite a bit rushed as it comes to the end and I felt that it should’ve been, like, a hundred pages longer to work its way through the events that were happening. However, I am looking forward to book two and seeing where Teriana and Marcus’s journey leads AND hopefully getting to see some more cool Gods action.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The Bone Charmer: Blog Tour + Review+GIVEAWAY

blog tour, giveaway, Review

Title: THE BONE CHARMER

Author: Breeana Shields

Pub. Date: May 21, 2019

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 400

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


Synopsis:I was absolutely swept away by the world of The Bone Charmer.” – Kendare Blake, #1 NYT Bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.
On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.
Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

The Bone Charmer was a fascinating read! This was an intricately woven novel full of wonderful twists and turns. One event acted out in anger, splits Saskias reality into two. The Bone Charmer bounces back and forth from each of the timelines that Saskia is living, one as a tutor. And one as a bone charmer. Even though it’s back and forth I found it fairly easy to follow what was going on and found myself quickly engrossed in the world of blood and bone magic. The characters were well written and I liked watching Saskias relationships develop over time/timelines, especially the one with her mother. And Bram😍I’m ready for book 2 right now!About Breeana:

Breeana Shields is an author of fantasy novels for teens including The Bone Charmer, Poison’s Kiss, and Poison’s Cage. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English.

When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and playing board games with her extremely competitive family. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, her three children, and two adorable, but spoiled dogs.
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of THE BONE CHARMER, US Only.

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2937/?

Week One:

5/21/2019- BookHounds YAExcerpt

5/21/2019- RhythmicbooktrovertReview

5/22/2019- Smada’s Book SmackReview

5/22/2019- JheartlovesbooksReview

5/23/2019- The Pages In-BetweenReview

5/23/2019- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt

5/24/2019- A Dream Within A Dream- Excerpt

5/24/2019- Shelf-ratedReview Week Two:

5/27/2019- Character Madness and MusingsSpotlight

5/27/2019- Lifestyle of MeReview

5/28/2019- Some Books & RamblingsReview

5/28/2019- Starlight-ReadsReview

5/29/2019- Eli to the nthReview

5/29/2019- Book-KeepingReview

5/30/2019- Jena Brown WritesReview

5/30/2019- The Suburban LifestyleReview

5/31/2019- AURELIA LEOExcerpt

5/31/2019- Confessions of a YA ReaderExcerpt

 

Week Three:

6/3/2019- Two Points of InterestReview

6/3/2019- Savings in SecondsReview

Review: Changeling by Molly Harper

Review

Title: Changeling

Author: Molly Harper

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Series: Sorcery and Society #1


Synopsis: “If 14-year-old Cassandra Reed makes it through her first day at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies without anyone discovering her secret, maybe, just maybe, she’ll let herself believe that she really does belong at Miss Castwell’s.

Except Cassandra Reed’s real name is Sarah Smith and up until now, she lived her whole life in the Warren, serving a magical family, the Winters, as all non-magical “Snipes” are bound by magical Guardian law to do. That is, until one day, Sarah accidentally levitates Mrs. Winter’s favorite vase in the parlor…

But Snipes aren’t supposed to have magical powers…and the existence of a magical Snipe threatens the world order dictated during the Guardians’ Restoration years ago. If she wants to keep her family safe and protect her own skin, Sarah must figure out how to fit into posh Guardian society, master her newfound magical powers and discover the truth about how an ordinary girl can become magical.”

My thoughts (1)

When Sarah Smith, a Snipe, suddenly exhibits signs of magic, her whole world gets flipped upside down. Snipes are those without magical powers and if word gets out that a snipe possesses powers it could threaten to upturn the world. So to cover up the fact of her magic, Sarah is taken under the wing of the Winters, the rich, magical family that Sarah has been working for her whole life. And so Sarah Smith becomes Cassandra Reed, a long lost niece who currently lost her whole family and has come to live with the Winters and attend school.

I found this novel to be quite a fun, easy read. Molly Harper has a witty way of writing that I enjoyed reading. The friendships that Cassandra formed with fellow classmates was delightful to watch develop and I loved their bond. I thought the world was very intriguing and am looking forward to what is next in store for Cassandra and her friends. It did take me a while to read this even though it was an easy book because I had hard time really getting into it until close to the end. Also found quite a few repeated phrases and whatnot throughout the story so I am rating it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Review

Title: Fire & Heist

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Synopsis: “In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.”

My thoughts (1)

Sky Hawkins: popular, rich, and were-dragon.

Then her mom disappears while doing a heist. And failing a heist is the ultimate dishonor for a Wyvern. Suddenly becoming a public pariah, Sky loses her friends, popularity, and gets publicly dumped by her boyfriend. When she hatches a scheme to reclaim their honor and get back their status and her mother, she is quickly shot down by her dad and brothers at the risk of being exiled from the Wyvern community.

“I understood that they said no- and that I was saying yes. I was stealing that jewel, reclaiming our family honor, and finding mom. And I was doing it without them.”

Not taking no for an answer, Sky sets forth with her heist, handpicking a crew to help her including new human friend Gabriella.

“Really hadn’t expected this reaction to asking a friend to engage in illegal activities, even if magic was involved.”

Ready to accomplish her first heist, Sky instead uncovers a secret that will change the world as she knows it.

This book was so fun! Dragons, magic, HEISTS. Focusing on family, friendships, and self-empowerment, Fire & Heist was a delightful read that I devoured quickly. I loved the authors voice and found myself laughing out loud multiple times. This novel was action packed with plenty of humor and family drama as well as a small side of romance. I enjoyed this standalone novel- just wish it could’ve been a bit longer and further explored the were-dragon realm.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The Accidental Beauty Queen Blog Tour + Guest Post+Excerpt + Review + Giveaway

blog tour, giveaway, Review
Gallery Books | Trade Paperback Original
ISBN: 9781501197604 | $16.00
E-ISBN: 9781501197611 | $7.99
Audio-ISBN: 9781508283553 | $17.99

Title: The Accidental Beauty Queen
Author: Teri Wilson
Genre: Romance
Release Date: December 4th, 2018


Synopsis: In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize.

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

My thoughts (1)

When Charlottes twin sister Ginny has an allergic reaction the evening before the start of her beauty pageant, Ginny asks Charlotte the unthinkable: pretend to be her in her place until her reaction goes away. With nothing in common except looks, Librarian and Harry Potter lover Charlotte was only here for a vacation. Against her better judgement Charlotte agrees to help and finds herself swept away into the glitz and glam of pageantry; and liking it.

I swallow. Hard. And I remind myself there are worse things in the world than looking like my beauty queen twin. Especially in this instance.

I am a huge fan of Miss Congeniality and this book was just as amazing. I loved Charlotte and found her to be extremely relatable. Rather than follow in her sisters’ path of being a beauty queen, Charlotte prefers books and quiet rather than the glamorous lifestyle of pageantry. Charlotte and Ginny had a fairly strained relationship since the passing of their mother that got more and more strained as they grew up and their paths went different ways. When Charlotte decides to help Ginny and be around her more, we see their relationship start to heal. By the end of the book, I was so happy to see the twins mending their relationship.

The romance between Gray and Charlotte was amaaaaaaaazing. Not too fast, not too slow, just right. Gray is not only a fellow book lover and described as a Mr. Darcy(swoon), but also a judge for the beauty pageant Charlotte is in. What could possibly go wrong, right?!

The Accidental Beauty Queen was a cute, fun read that I finished in one sitting. I may or may not have cried (I did, don’t judge me) at the end. I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS OKAY.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

4 out of 5 stars


Excerpt:

My sister has always been the pretty one. The Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo.

It’s been this way for so long that I’ve never questioned it. It’s never even bothered me much. It just is.

Ginny is my sister, and I love her, no matter how different our lives are. And trust me, they’re about as opposite as you can imagine. But the chasm between our worlds has never been quite so glaringly obvious as it is now, because instead of restocking books on their respective shelves, I’m standing in an elevator at the posh Huntington Spa Resort in Orlando, Florida, on the first Monday afternoon of summer.

For starters, at five feet seven, I’m by far the shortest person of the half dozen or so on board. This is a rarity for me. As an elementary school librarian, I’m accustomed to towering over people for the majority of my waking hours. I’m also used to sitting in tiny chairs and using tiny, blunt-edged scissors, but that’s beside the point. Five feet seven isn’t short. . . .

Unless you’re riding an elevator packed with beauty queens.

I don’t know what I expected when I signed on to spend a week cheering for my sister at the Miss American Treasure pageant, but it wasn’t this. The preliminary competition doesn’t start for another two days, so why are they all wearing crowns and sashes already? And what is going on with their shoes?

Beauty pageant contestants wear heels. I know this, obviously. I mean, I’ve seen Miss Congeniality at least twenty times over the years, thanks to Ginny. But these are beyond high heels. Gracie Lou Freebush wouldn’t have lasted a minute in them.

No offense to Sandra Bullock. I’m just saying.

I tighten my grip on the handle of my suitcase, suddenly extremely conscious of the state of my hair. Orlando is one of the most humid places on earth, and the half hour ride on the airport shuttle was not kind. For once, I actually feel sorry for Ginny. It’s one thing to be expected to look perfect onstage, but hotel elevators should be a safe space. I, for one, plan to be roaming the halls in a spa bathrobe and complimentary slippers en route to the vending machine for the majority of my stay.

But to each her own.

Besides, Ginny chose this life, just as surely as I chose mine. She also gets paid more for one sponsored Instagram post than I make in a week, and when I remember this, I keep my sympathy in check.

The elevator comes to a stop on the fifth floor, which has clearly been reserved for the pageant, because we all disembark in a glamorous, glittering herd.

Myself being the exception.

No one seems to notice my presence, though. The Hogwarts T-shirt I’m wearing might as well be an invisibility cloak. Fine. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here for the chance to stay in Ginny’s luxury hotel room for a week, for free, and completely nerd out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I’m also here for moral support, of course. I plan on being at every single pageant event, cheering like a maniac while inwardly cringing in horror at the very thought of prancing around in only a tiny swimsuit and a crown. But since the competition doesn’t start until 5:00 p.m., that leaves my mornings and afternoons free to hit up the theme park. I’ve emptied my paltry savings account and invested in a five-day unlimited pass. Bring on the butter beer.

But first, I must locate our room amid a sea of glitz and sparkle. According to the text Ginny sent when I landed, we’re in 511. All of my elevator pals are in rooms along the same stretch of corridor. Half the doors on the floor have hangtags on the knobs that read, Do not disturb! This Miss American Treasure contestant needs her beauty sleep!

I roll my eyes mightily.

Dangling from the knob of room 511 is one such tag, but I highly doubt Ginny is actually sleeping because I can hear the television booming through the door. I knock extra hard so she can hear me above the din of whatever reality show she’s probably watching.

Just please God don’t let it be the Kardashians.

An explosion of barks answers my knock. I take a deep breath. I’ve somehow forgotten all about my sister’s French bulldog mix, Buttercup. Ginny adopted her a month ago as part of her “platform.” I’m not sure exactly what that means. She’s a pageant queen, not a politician. But according to approximately five million posts on Ginny’s Instagram, she volunteers regularly at her local shelter in support of her animal rescue policy.

If memory serves, last year her platform was anti-bullying. But so many other contestants on the pageant circuit had already thrown themselves into the anti-bullying movement that she felt pressured to switch to something else. In other words, she got bullied into giving up her anti-bullying platform. Oh, the irony.

The door to the hotel room swings open, and Ginny is standing there in a white spa bathrobe with her hair piled on top of her head in a messy-yet-artful twist. She’s got one of those serum-soaked sheet masks stuck to her face—the kind that make regular people look like something straight out of a bad horror movie.

Except Ginny isn’t a regular person. So instead she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow enjoying a quiet day of self-care.

“Charlotte, you’re here!”

“Yep. My flight was right on time.” Thank God. I’m ready to make the most out of day one on my unlimited pass.

“Come on in.” She holds the door open wider.

The room is a double, with side-by-side queen beds and a balcony overlooking a pool flanked by umbrella-covered lounge chairs, a tiki bar, and two perfectly symmetrical rows of palm trees swaying in the balmy Florida breeze. Any spare moments I have this week that don’t include Harry Potter will be spent right there, with my feet up and a piña colada in hand. It’s been so long since I’ve taken an actual vacation that the mental picture I’ve just conjured nearly makes me weep.

“This is gorgeous. Ginny, thanks again for inviting me.”

“Are you kidding? I’m so glad you’re here. Dad and Susan aren’t coming until the finals.” Her smile falters. Behind the face mask, I can see her full lips tip into a frown.

I know exactly what she’s thinking. “You’ll make the finals. I know you will. You’re a shoo-in for the top twenty.”

Ginny always makes the finals. She’s up onstage every year alongside the winner and the runners-up. She’s just never managed to crack the top five.

“This year will be different,” I assure her.

She nods. “It has to be.”

As much as I hate to see my sister devoting her life to chasing a silly crown, and even though I positively loathe the pageant scene, my heart gives a little tug. Sometimes I forget why she got started in all of this. But every once in a while, when Ginny’s composure slips, I remember that this is her way of feeling connected to the mother we barely knew. The crushing sense of loss that inevitably follows always seems to catch me off guard. It’s in those moments— moments like this one—that I understand her dream.

I paste a smile on my face. “It will. I promise.”

I have no right to make that kind of promise. After all, I’m not judging this thing.

Truly, why would anyone want that job?

But it’s so rare to see my sister like this that I can’t stop myself. She’s always been the poster child for confidence.

Which just goes to show how much this particular pageant means to her. More than all the others combined.

“You’re right.” She nods with renewed vigor. “Of course I’ll make the finals. This is my year.”

“Definitely.” Pep talk over for now, I head toward the bed on the far side of the room—the one that’s still neatly made and not covered in anything bedazzled.

Every item on Ginny’s bed shines like a disco ball, including her official Miss American Treasure tote bag. I’m beginning to understand why she uses one of those sleepmask things like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I might need to invest in one myself.

As I cross the room, Buttercup launches herself at my wheeled suitcase, growling and nipping at it as it drags behind me. By the time I’m within a foot of my bed, she’s fully attached herself to it and I’m hauling both luggage and bulldog.

“Is this normal behavior?” I ask. It can’t be, can it?

Ginny waves a dismissive hand.

I give Buttercup a little nudge with the toe of my Adidas sneaker. She backs away, peering up at me with her bulgy little eyes. They almost seem to point in two different directions. Like plastic googly eyes.

We stare each other down for a second, and then she resumes her attack on my luggage.

“Is she always so”—I pause, struggling for an appropriate adjective—“headstrong?”

Buttercup and I have never been properly introduced. I only know her via Ginny’s Instagram, where she’s usually doing something less destructive and far more adorable.

“Buttercup is shy,” Ginny says by way of explanation.

I look down at the snarling dog. “Sorry, I’m not getting shy here.”

“You’re stressing her out. She’s not used to strangers and new experiences. She’s a rescue dog, remember? The poor thing sat in the shelter for four months before I adopted her.”

Ginny checks the position of her sheet mask in the large mirror over the bathroom counter. It’s a double vanity, theoretically big enough for both of us. But Ginny’s massive amount of toiletries take up the entire space. “Did you know that seven million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, and half of them end up being euthanized?”

I did not know that, and it’s a horrible, horrible statistic. But her canned delivery prevents me from absorbing the news with the proper level of emotion.

She’s slipped into pageant mode. She’s rattling off more devastating facts and figures about homeless pets, all the while posing with her hand pressed to her heart and her head tilted just so.

I glance at Buttercup. Something tells me she’s heard the speech before.

“Maybe less euthanasia talk in front of the rescue dog?” I suggest. No wonder the poor thing is stressed.

“Oh my God.” Ginny blinks. “Do you think she understands?”

“I have no idea, but why take the chance?” Besides, I can’t handle Ginny’s platform-level intensity right now. I’ve been up since 4:00 a.m.

“I suppose you’re right.” Ginny scoops Buttercup into her arms.

I take advantage of the cease-fire, lift my suitcase onto the bed, and remove my things, paltry in comparison to the vast wardrobe Ginny has stuffed into the closet and all but one of the dresser drawers. Fortunately, I travel light.

Clotheswise, anyway. Beneath the layers of jeans and T-shirts, four hardback novels line the bottom of my bag. I remove all four and arrange them in a nice, neat stack atop the nightstand closest to my bed.

When I look up, Ginny’s shaking her head. “Are you sure you brought enough reading material?”

“Don’t judge. I’m on vacation, remember?”

“Exactly. You’re a librarian. Your vacation should be book-free.” Ginny makes a zero sign with one of her perfectly manicured hands.

“How are we even related?” It’s not the first time I’ve asked that question, and I know with every fiber of my being that Ginny wonders the same thing sometimes.

How could she not?

“Before you dive into one of those, can you take Buttercup for a quick walk?” She grabs a Barbie-pink leash from her nightstand. And—surprise!—it’s heavily bedazzled. “Pretty please.”

“What? Why me?” My gaze flits toward Buttercup, who’s now positioned on Ginny’s pillow with her plump rear facing me. “She doesn’t even like me. Stranger danger and all that.”

Ginny rolls her eyes. “Stranger danger? You spend too much time with little kids.”

True. She dragged me to yoga once, and I kept referring to easy pose as crisscross applesauce.

Still, Buttercup doesn’t seem any more thrilled by the idea than I am. Also, I’ve already begun typing the address of the theme park into the Uber app on my phone. I’m supposed to be dodging a fire-breathing dragon in Diagon Alley right now, not walking a petulant French bulldog.

“I was kind of hoping to head over to Harry Potter World so I could be back in time for us to have an early dinner. Don’t you have pageant stuff today?” I’m pretty sure she has a date with some spray tanner this afternoon. Her skin tone matches mine right now, and I know from experience that Ginny is usually at least four shades closer to orange when there’s a pageant on the horizon.

“Yes, and of course you can head right over there just as soon as you walk Buttercup. She hasn’t been out since early this morning. I can’t do it—I’m not allowed to leave the room without my sash on.”

I blink. “What?”

“Contestants can’t leave their hotel rooms unless they’re pageant-ready. Outside of this room, I have to wear my sash at all times.”

I don’t even know what to say, but suddenly the army of beauty queens from the elevator makes more sense. “That’s crazypants. It’s like you’re some kind of pageant hostage. Put your sash on, and take her out yourself.”

Ginny sighs. “Dramatic much? This isn’t some tiny regional pageant. Miss American Treasure is the big time. She’s a role model. You know that.”

I do. I probably know more about that than any of those chattering elevator girls.

“I can’t go out there like this,” she says.

“Fine.” I take the leash from her hands. She’s clearly in no condition to leave the room, although I would pay money to see an Instagram post of Ginny wearing the sash and her sheet mask at the same time.

“Thank you.” Her slender shoulders sag with relief. “I owe you one. We’ll have a great dinner tonight, I promise. It’ll be just like old times.”

Old times?

I don’t believe her for a minute. When we were kids, our favorite dinners included sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese. I can’t remember the last time I saw a carb cross Ginny’s lips.

“Come on, Buttercup,” I mutter.

The portly little dog growls the entire time I’m attaching her leash to her sparkly pink collar. This should be lovely.

“We’ll be right back.” I cast a glance over my shoulder as I lead Buttercup out the door, and Ginny catches my gaze in the mirror.

She gives me a little wave. I wave back, and for a moment, I go still. Rooted to the spot. Ginny’s sheet mask is gone, and her face is bare. Clean. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her makeup-free. Without the airbrushed foundation, the contouring and highlighting, the carefully lined lips and the double layers of false eyelashes, she looks a lot like me.

She looks exactly like me, actually. Same nose. Same eyes. Same heart-shaped face.

Same DNA.

Because even though my sister has always been the pretty one, the beauty queen—the Jane Bennet to my Elizabeth, the Meg March to my Jo—she’s also my twin.

where2buy

Purchase Link: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Accidental-Beauty-Queen/Teri-Wilson/9781508283553


5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BEING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR

TERI: I’ve published quite a few books over the past few years, and of course I’ve learned so much during the process—about the publishing industry and myself, as well. Here are 5 of those things:

  1. Writing the book is just the beginning

When I signed my first publishing contract, I had no idea how much work it takes for a manuscript to become a book. From the editing process all the way to marketing and sales, it takes an entire team of people and a whole lot of effort.

  1. Love your story

I know some people will probably disagree with this statement, but I think it’s really important to write a book you love. Write what you are passionate about. At the end of the day, it’s a business and some types of books sell better than others, but I believe if a writer is in love with their story, it will shine through in the writing. Don’t write to trends! You could end up being pigeon-holed into something for a long time.

  1. The best thing about a career in writing romance is the relationships you will form along the way

I’ve met so many wonderful people in the course of my writing journey. Most all of my closest friends are involved in the publishing world. I highly recommend writers befriend other writers. A support system in this industry is a wonderful thing.

  1. Sometimes it takes a book some time to become successful

When my first trade paperback, Unleashing Mr. Darcy, was released, sales weren’t that great. The reviews were wonderful, but we were having a hard time trying to reach readers. For a while, I felt like the book was a disappointment to people on my team and it made me feel pretty awful. But two years after its release, Unleashing Mr. Darcy was made into a very popular film by the Hallmark Channel and now it is my bestselling title. You just never know what will happen!

  1. Writing will always be the ultimate reward

Some books will sell more than others. That’s just the nature of the business, but writing and creating something that you love and that you’re proud of is priceless. I write because I love it, and that’s been the one constant during this entire crazy ride.


About The Author

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


GIVEAWAY

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Review: Solace Island by Meg Tilly

Review

Title: Solace Island

Author: Meg Tilly

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Suspense

Release Date: November 6th, 2018

Series: Solace Island, #1


Synopsis: “Dumped on the eve of her wedding and looking for a quiet place to lick her emotional wounds, Maggie Harris joins her sister on Solace Island, where she hopes to recover from the stunning betrayal. At first, Maggie resists Eve’s impassioned argument about relocating permanently so the sisters can open their own local bakery. What she definitely doesn’t need on her road to recovery are Eve’s efforts to fix her up with their mysterious and alluring neighbor, Luke Benson–even if he is incredibly handsome and desirable.

Just as Maggie starts to get comfortable in her new surroundings, a car tries to run her down in the middle of the street. If it weren’t for Luke’s extremely quick reflexes, Maggie could have been killed, leading her to wonder just who exactly Luke Benson really is…

Luke thought he’d left the violence of the high risk security world behind. But he can’t stand by while Maggie’s life is threatened. Luke will do anything to keep her safe–even moving Maggie and her sister into his house with its state-of-the-art security features. But with the secrets between them and an unknown threat stalking her heels, Luke will have to think fast to prove to Maggie that she can trust him with her life–and with her heart.”

My thoughts (1)

After being dumped by her fiance the night of her bachelorette party, Maggie begrudgingly agrees to go on a vacation with her sister ,Eve, to a small island in the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks to recover and find herself. Swearing men off indefinitely, Maggie finds herself continuously running into the handsome Luke, the resident bread baker/total hottie on the island, and as feelings begin to develop for Luke  Maggie finds herself questioning her man-ban. Likewise, Luke finds Maggie to be equally intriguing and despite a terrible romantic past he shares with Maggie, Luke finds himself being drawn to her more and more. But Maggie’s past begins to find her on the island and as the feelings between her and Luke begin to develop, so does the danger.

Maggie was a sweet, goofy, and overall likable character who was easy to relate to and had many scenes where she made me out laugh out loud. Luke was tough but also charming and I loved the witty banter him and Maggie shared. Their relationship was totally cute and I would have loved it more if it weren’t for the feeling it was almost an insta-love between the two of them.

Solace Island was described beautifully and the imagery made me want to pack up all my bags and promptly move there as well. I enjoyed the coziness and quaintness of it all and cannot wait to read the next book in the series about Maggie’s sister, Eve. I’ve rated this a 4 stars as I enjoyed it greatly but felt the pacing of it was off throughout the book: at times moving quickly and other times moving slowly. The suspense portion of this novel did not begin to surface until about 2/3’s of the way through the story but once it kicked in, I was on the edge of my seat. And prepare yourself for a bit of a twist at the end when the “bad guy” is revealed. This was an easy, fun read with the right amount of suspense in it, perfect for a cool, fall day bundled up on your couch.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received access to this galley for free through the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review*