The Vine Witch 🖤 Review + Giveaway

Witches and wine make for a good time. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! ✨

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Publisher: 47North
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis

BOOK COVERA 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.

Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As you all may know, my favorite animal is frogs, so I knew I would enjoy this book when it opened from the viewpoint of a toad. Wine is also my drink of choice, and I consider myself to be a baby witch. 

Basically, I’m sure Luanne wrote this book for me. 

The character development and romance are the only aspects of this book keeping it from being 5 stars. But I definitely recommend it. 🖤

Favorite Quotes

🖤 “What the eye couldn’t see, the imagination filled in. We put names to the unexplained. Cast it as something to either fear or worship. And yet just because a thing can’t be seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”

🖤 “She gave the wine a swirl, and Jean-Paul knew if there was ever magic in the world it was in that glass of perfectly blended seven-year-old pinot noir.”

🖤 “The art of poison might run in your blood, but never doubt you were meant to be a vine witch.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHORLuanne 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.

Check out Luanne on her website or over on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryGoogle Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Vine Witch!

  • End Date: October 15, 2019
  • US only

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

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Shadow Frost 🖤 Review + Giveaway

I can never say no to a retelling. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

You won’t want to miss the giveaway and preorder campaign at the end of this post! ✨

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

Cover Image Shadow FrostIN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

REVIEW

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. 

Then again, I have a soft spot for retellings and books involving princesses—especially badass princesses—magic, romance, a touch of mystery, queer characters, demons, and friendship. Now that I’m thinking about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. 

I should only be surprised that Coco Ma wrote this book when she was just 15 years old. What have I been doing with my life?

Anyway, this book was a 5 star read for me because, no spoilers, I enjoyed the slow but steady character and plot development. There were a few “plot twists” that I saw coming a mile away, but it didn’t matter. I loved them all the same. 🖤🖤🖤

BookTube Mentions

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorCoco Ma is a Canadian-Chinese author and pianist. She wrote her first novel, Shadow Frost, at the age of 15. Since she began playing the piano at the age of five and a half, she has also performed on some of the world’s greatest concert stages and graduated with a pre-college diploma in piano performance from The Juilliard School in New York City. Currently, she studies at Yale University. When she isn’t practicing piano, writing, or studying, you might find her bingeing Netflix or eating cake. Lots of cake.

Check out Coco Ma on her website or over on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a hardcover copy of Shadow Frost, a signed bookplate, bookmark, and button!

  • End Date: October 15, 2019

PREORDER CAMPAIGN

Preorder Shadow Frost to receive a signed bookplate, bookmark, button, and tote bag if you’re one of the first 150 people to preorder!

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

Sea Witch Rising 🖤 Review + Giveaway + Playlist

I’m a part of another book tour thanks to the Fantastic Flying Book Club🖤

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post!

Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

Synopsis

book cover“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love. 

Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.

Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds? 

Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.

Playlist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorSarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

Check out Sarah on her website or over on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iBooks | Book Depository | Google Books | Kobo

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Sea Witch Rising!

  • US only
  • Start Date: July 16, 2019
  • End Date: July 30, 2019

BLOG TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

The Fever King 🖤 Review + Giveaway

I know I keep going on and on about The Fantastic Flying Book Club, but they are amazing.

Today they’re amazing because they gave me the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour for The Fever King by Victoria Lee. 

I actually heard about this book through Pitch Wars last year when I had entered my manuscript Sleeping Around. Victoria had entered this book, and I had talked to her on Twitter. 

So basically I was thrilled to join this tour and support Victoria. 🖤

And don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post!

The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBT

Synopsis

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.

Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work.

She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.

Check out Victoria on her website or over on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

REVIEW

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ahh. This book has so many things. 

The themes, the characters, the magic, the discourse on immigration. And I love me some bisexual representation. 

I had a hard time getting into the story at first. It’s a dystopian setting, and there was a lot of world building going on in the beginning. Once I got my head around the setting, though, I was hooked. 

I needed to get to the bottom of the politics. I needed to know who Noam could trust. And, per usual, I needed romance. 

There is something for everyone in this book, and I’m so looking forward to the rest of this new series. 🖤

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Fever King!

  • Start Date: March 18, 2019
  • End Date: March 31, 2019
  • US Only

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

Books I Read This Summer ☀️

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I read some of my new favorite books this summer AND I surpassed my Goodread’s reading challenge. 👌🏼

Thanks to everyone on BookTube for supporting and motivating me. 🖤

Check out my new reader friend Cynthia’s channel!

HOW HAD I NOT READ THIS BOOK? 🖤 To Kill a Mockingbird Readalong Vlog

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First off, many thanks to Tom over at T.J. Reads the Stars for hosting this readalong of To Kill a Mockingbird! 💖

One of my reading goals for 2018 was to read this book—and reading it with new reader friends made the experience even better. 👍🏻

Meet Tom in his readalong announcement video:

Now check out my reading vlog of the readalong! 🖤

Image result for barnes and noble to kill a mockingbirdSYNOPSIS

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred.

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

REVIEW

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.

To sum up why I loved this book, it comes down to how the characters and plot developed and thickened over the course of the novel. Plus, the book tackles heavy, important themes—racial inequality, gender inequality, poverty—through a young girl’s interactions and understandings of her small, Southern town.

Regarding characters, Scout was such an endearing firecracker. She grew immensely as a human, and by the end of the book, she finally understands her dad Atticus’ instruction and advice about empathizing with other people. Growing up in such a small, problematic, racist, sexist town causes her to confront a lot of upsetting and even dangerous situations, and there were a couple of instances where her reactions to these moments had me in tears. She brought hope. Hope that people can learn, people can empathize, people can use words instead of fists.

The second reason why I loved this book was the plot progression. Though I had an idea of how the book was going to go, I had no idea how all of the plot lines and people were going to wrap up and be significant. But they did. Everything mattered, every character mattered.

I’m so happy and proud of myself for FINALLY reading this classic novel!

FAVORITE QUOTES

🖤 “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

🖤 “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

🖤 “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

🖤 “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”

🖤 “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

🖤 “It’s not time to worry yet.”

Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? Did you read it in school? What did you like or not like about it? Let me know in the comments!

A Room Away From the Wolves Book Review and Giveaway

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Here it is! Another book’s blog tour!

One of my fave genres is magical realism, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of A Room Away for the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma. 👌🏼

Bring on the strange and mysterious. 🖤

Also, don’t miss the giveaway details below my review!

a room away from the wolves FFBC

A Room Away From the Wolves
by Nova Ren Suma

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery

Synopsis

37792722Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…

About the Author

2741432web goodreads twitter instagram

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as Harper Collins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing work-shops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.

Find Nova online at novaren.com and on her blog distraction99.com.

Review

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

So I wanted to love this book, I really did, especially because I’m a fan of magical realism. And because the main character Bina is bisexual. (She doesn’t identify with that particular word anywhere in the novel, but we know she’s attracted to both boys and girls.) I wanted it to be a five-star read.

However, I needed more from this book, specifically more of the mystical and romantic elements. Basically the elements I most wanted to read.

More than anything, I enjoyed the mysterious atmosphere—and mysterious plot points—of this book. Greenwich Village, Catherine House, even Bina’s stepdad’s house in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods. Each setting had creepy (and some super creepy) details that I was here for.

The atmosphere and setting (and the ghosts) honestly made this book for me. 👻

There were a lot of characters, but I didn’t get to know a single one of them well except for Bina and her mom. Even our sort-of-romantic-but-not-really interest Monet, another girl staying in Catherine House, wasn’t fully developed.

Mysterious, yes. Developed, no. Disappointing, definitely. 😢

But I did appreciate how flawed, seriously flawed, Bina was. She stole, she vandalized, she lied, she got together with her stepsister’s boyfriend, and the list could go on. She wasn’t exactly likeable, sure, but I’m not a fan of too-likeable characters anyway. And, like you’ll see below, there were lots of almost brooding descriptions of Bina’s thoughts that really resonated with me.

Last was the ending. I won’t spoil anything, but geez, it was not all I had hoped it would be. The magical realism elements took a confusing turn, and I didn’t get the on-the-page romance I NEEDED.

All in all, though, it was an okay, solid read that I do recommend. The elements I liked kept this at three stars, and the elements I didn’t kept this from being four stars.

Favorite Quotes

🖤 “One by one, in quick succession, these thoughts struck me: She thinks my mother sent me here on purpose. She thinks I talked to a dead woman on the phone. Get up. Get out of the chair. Walk to the door. Get your suitcase. Go. But my body didn’t move. Only my mouth did.”

🖤 “The way she spoke made the sunny street dark for a moment. I heard the whistle of wind, as if I were back inside that gated garden, down on my knees in the dirt by the grave, where the city didn’t seem to touch.”

🖤 “The girls who lived in this house didn’t really have Monet’s back, not like I did. There was a point at which you threw your lot in with someone. There was a point when you were all in, and there was no scrambling out of it when you got scared, or found morals, or wanted to save your own skin.”

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |Kobo | IndieBound | iBooks

Giveaway

Enter the giveaway to win a free copy of the book!

  • US only
  • August 8 – September 5, 2018

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!