ARC Review & Giveaway: The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley

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***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and Scholastic

The Princess and the Page is a magical mystery that combines an intriguing glimpse into French history with imaginative sleuthing skills fit for any modern day Nancy Drew. 

I don’t normally review children’s or middle grade books on my blog, but when I heard that Christina Farley had one coming out, well, she’s one of my go-to authors. Somehow she always manages to put a twist on history, folklore, and culture to make it captivating for any reader, i.e. her Gilded series, which is AMAZING. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to review this book that is sure to be a favorite of any tenacious young girls and boys with a knack for mysteries and a love of writing. 

The Princess and the Page is a blend of history, fairy tale, and fantasy. The castle and historical events are real and the author does a wonderful job discussing the history and her own experience visiting the castle at the back of the book. The way the history swirled into the mystery made me ask questions and dive into the history mentioned. I loved the tragic unhappily ever after aspect of Gabrielle and Henry IV. It was gutting and yet, balanced with Keira’s heroic efforts to change the past.

The concept of Word Weavers is awesome. I love the idea of bringing fantasy to life with words and altering history. It truly shows the power words have from the page first and how they resonate into real life, spreading from reader to reader, and everyone the reader came into contact with. Words have power. They can alter perspectives, change lives, and sometimes destroy them. Keira learns this the hard way, she makes mistakes, and puts people in dire situations with her reckless use of her power. Honestly, I thought this was the best part of the book. Teaching kids that what they say, what they write, and how they use their words in every manner has consequences.

The mystery was compelling. Keira uses her Nancy Drew-channeled detective skills to make observations, find clues, and uncover mysteries. She has lists of suspects, thoughts, and ideas that guide the reader and force them to come up with guesses of their own. The story is super interactive.

Characters, down to the fleeting secondaries, have loud and memorable personalities. Bella has so much sass and confidence, it’s remarkable. She’s mature, goal-oriented, and still feels like a little girl with big dreams. Though I have my doubts that any adult would give her that much power with a credit card. Chet is devious, playful, and always getting himself into trouble. He lives for adventure and leaps into danger. He livened up the story and won over my heart. 

Some of the plot points were a little oversimplified and resolved quickly, but that may be usual for books geared towards a younger audience. 

Overall, the story is didactic, inspires courage, confidence, and never giving up. Keira makes mistakes, she faces challenges, and she continues to fight for her dreams. That’s a heroine anyone can get behind. 

 
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author

CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the bestselling Gilded series. Prior to that, she worked as an international teacher and at a top secret job for Disney where she was known to scatter pixie dust before the sun rose. When not traveling the world or creating imaginary ones, she spends time with her family in Clermont, Florida with her husband and two sons where they are busy preparing for the next World Cup, baking cheesecakes, and raising a pet dragon that’s in disguise as a cockatiel. You can visit her online at ChristinaFarley.com.
 
 

CONTINUE THE BOOK TOUR

Mar. 23th – Ana Loves Books
Mar. 24thYA Book Madness
March 25th – Literary Rambles
March 27th – Twinning for Books
March 28th – Mundie Kids
Mar. 29thAll Things Christine
Mar. 30thYA Book Divas
Mar. 31stWord Spelunking
Apr. 3rdMine of Books
Apr. 4th The AP Book Club
Apr. 5th Middle Grade Ninja



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$25 gift card to their favorite book vendor. Giveaway open internationally. Enter below or HERE.
 

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Magical reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review & Giveaway: Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

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After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll to take to her grave if she must.

GardenOfThorns4

review4/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled and with participation in the YAReads tour

+++Contains potential triggers for graphic violence/abuse 

From the very first page I knew I’d love this book. It’s dark and twisted and made of intrigue and the darkest forms of humanity. What happens when humans are reduced to numbers? When they become dispensable and money/greed reign supreme? You have the sparks of a rebellion and the vilest and most inhumane atrocities.

From the sinister descriptions to the unflinchingly honest voice of Rose, this story is gripping and despite the carnage, you won’t be able to look away. The Flowers, the Wilted, the whole hierarchy of these dancing, trafficked girls and the pain their Wilted faces every time one of the Flowers disobeys. It’s terrifying. From the clicking of the shears on their caravan cages to the pools of blood and threats made all too real; it’s gory, graphic, and sickening. The fear and anxiety will keep you on edge, it definitely had me flipping pages like mad hoping that Rose and the others made it out of whatever dangerous mission they happened to be on. 

If there’s one thing this story excels at, it’s pacing and keeping the tension high. Whether it’s blossoming sexual tension or fear, it’s there in abundance. 

The characters are full of life and strong voices. Every one of them is memorable and leaves you with something to thing about. They add to the story. They’re so much more than throwaway characters and after seeing so much of that lately, I am seriously impressed. I loved each and every one of them. Whether I liked them as characters was one thing, but they all had flaws and an energy that took over whenever they were present, despite the story being told from Rose’s POV. 

Rose has suffered years of psychological and verbal abuse. And I’m not sure if this term is correct, but secondary abuse-having to watch someone she loves get punished in her place. Everything she’s seen, each horrific, bloody act, all the guilt she’s felt, all the pain, and still Rose rallies on, she fights, and she sacrifices everything for her Flower sisters. Her determination, her courage, and her humility are a powerful example and completely unexpected. Some other things I loved about Rose was that she admitted her mistakes, she thought through every situation, and she weighed the risks. And her voice was consistent throughout. 

Rayce. Dear sweet gorgeous man. He’s playful and regal and brilliant and loves his people so fiercely that you can’t help but fall for him hard as the story progresses. The way her looks at Rose, how comfortable he feels with her, the honest way he confesses his fears and just listens to her, made of head over heels swoon. A noble and epic love interest that is more than worthy of Rose. 

Some of the plot was a little iffy. I would have liked a stronger history lesson on why these two groups hate each other, why the intial rebellion happened, and the aftermath. What’s happening in Varsha? More of that backstory would have painted a clearer picture of the animosity between groups and better explained why blondes are discriminated against, etc. 

authoramberGoodreads/Twitter

Amber Mitchell graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Creative Writing. She likes crazy hair styles, reading, D&D, k-dramas, good puns and great food.

When she isn’t putting words on paper, she is using cardstock to craft 3D artwork or exploring new places with her husband Brian. They live a small town in Florida with their four cats where she is still waiting for a madman in a blue box to show up on her doorstep.

Garden of Thorns is her debut novel from Entangled Teen.

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If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Read on, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: The Lilac Sky by Diana Gardin

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“Do you hear me, Isla? Survive.”

Those are the last words seventeen-year-old Isla hears from her parents. She’s placed into a cylinder craft and catapulted through space, saying goodbye to them and her precious, dying Earth.

Crash-landing on a foreign planet, Isla stumbles into a striking Troman warrior, Rygen. He is shocked to discover a human deep in the jungles of his planet but with his home in political turmoil, he has no desire to assist the weak creature.

Knowing that she’ll never survive without them, Isla convinces Rygen and his comrades to escort her, but she has no time to catch her breath. The dangerous journey navigating the rugged, lush terrain of Troma with the strong and brooding Rygen is only the beginning of Isla’s battle.

Isla never dreamed her very existence would threaten to throw the foreign planet into a gruesome revolution. Hunted by radicals as she discovers her dormant powerful Gift, Isla fights not only for survival but also for the her heart’s true desire. But only time will tell if she can truly endure on a hostile planet where her kind just doesn’t fit.

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Excerpt“Where are we?” Curiosity coats my tone as I glance at Ebin.

He’s staring at the doors. “This is my family’s apartment.”

Surprise causes me to reel back a step. “And why are we here?”

His eyes narrow as he scans my face. “I am not sure.”

Placing my hands on the doors, I trace the ornate markings with my fingers. The doors capture me, pulling me toward them with the force of their very being. I move closer as I feel vibrations beneath my fingertips, a song that only the bronze metal knows.

I lean my cheek against the cool metallic covering, feeling the rhythms under my skin.
Inside my soul.

My lips part and I whisper a song I never even knew I had inside me.

The words flow seamlessly from my lips to the doors, as if I’d known the lyrics all my life. And when I’m done, the door disappears, giving me entrance into Ebin’s apartment.

I step back, astonishment filling me up until I’m in danger of bursting.
“What the heck did I just do?” My whisper drifts around in the fog of my unexpected accomplishment.

Ebin steps up beside me. When I look at him, the expression on his face is one of wonder. Of shock. Of awe.

“You just gained un-permitted entry into my home. With your voice.”

authorDiana GardinFACEBOOK/TWITTER/GOODREADS/WEBSITE

Diana Gardin is the author of Romance in a multitude of age ranges and genres. Her works include the Ashes Series, the Nelson Island Series, and the Battle Scars series. Upcoming works include the Rescue Ops Series (Battle Scars spinoff coming in June 2017) and The Lilac Sky (The Troma Chronicles Book 1).

Diana loved writing at a young age, but decided to try and make a career out of it in 2012 while staying home with her first child. When she’s not writing, you can usually find Diana watching one of her Netflix Obsessions, spending time with her family, or drinking wine with friends.

Magical reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake

Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake | Release Day Launch | JenHalliganPR.comGuardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake | JenHalliganPR.comGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes
Publisher: Entangled Teen

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Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1):

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt

She did a U-turn and drove off. I sprinted to the area where I spotted the lightning. A shadowed figure sat on a white bench near the water. Another flash of light kissed the sky and illuminated Nick.

Since discovering he was a wizard, Nick struggled with his new magic. And he was careless. Anyone could spot him out here. How would he explain it to someone who was human and not from the Mystik realm? I couldn’t imagine how it felt to have that much power. Unlike him, I was a Sentinel. I had little magic and relied on my battle training to best wizards and other-world creatures. He only needed to shock or electrocute his adversaries.

“What exactly are you doing?” I asked, approaching.

He almost fell off the bench. “Shit, Gia. Don’t sneak up on a person like that.”

“Seriously, Nick? What are you doing? Someone might see you, and then we’d be discovered.”

“Just leave me alone.”

“I’m not going to just leave you alone.” I sat down on the bench beside him. A light breeze swept loose strands of my hair across my face. The briny smell of the ocean filled my nose. “Talk to me. You’re my best friend, Nick. I’m here for you.”

He formed an electric charge on his palm. I created my pink globe and tossed it on his hand, snuffing out the charge.

He made another electric ball and I cast another globe at it.

“Quit doing that.”

“You stop it.”

“I get it. Your globe is badass. It can counter magic and shield people, but it makes you weak. I can do this all night and wear you out.”

“You’re not nice.”

He buried his face in his hands. The knuckles on his right one were torn, with blood coagulating around the wounds. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I can’t stop myself. I know I’m being mean to Deidre, to my parents…to everyone.”

“You haven’t been that mean to me, yet. That has to say something. I’m the most annoying one of the bunch.”

He snorted. “Did you just snort?”

“No.” He looked startled. “It was a sneeze.”

“I think you snorted.”

His face brightened. “I know what you’re trying to do. And it’s working.”

“I’m not trying to do anything. That was a full-on snort.” I wrapped my arm over his back and watched the water lap against the retaining wall in front of us. “I know you can’t see a therapist for this, ’cause what would you say? That you just found out you’re the son of the most evil wizard of the Mystik world and the curers recently released your magic?”

He gave me a half smile. “Yeah, that might not go over too well.”

“Or maybe you could. They’d think you were delusional, and you’d score some drugs.”

“Drugs make me nauseous.”

He stared at his hands, and I stared at the water, searching for the right words to say. “This has to be tough for you. I get it. I’ve been there. It’ll take time to adjust. How about I be your counselor? Anytime you feel anxious or angry, you call me and we’ll punch some bags or whatever. It always helps me to relax. Plus, my services are cheap.”

“Violence would make you relax.” He was pleased with his retort and laughed, which was followed by another snort.

authorBrenda DrakeWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). Look for her upcoming novels, Thunderstruck, Seeking Fate (Fated Series #3), and Assassin of Truths (Library Jumpers #3) coming soon from Entangled Teen.

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Fantastic reading, 

Jordan

Guest Post: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

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Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone.

guest

Is it Writer’s Block… or?

This morning as I walked through the cold and foggy pre-dawn I was thinking about writer’s block.  This is a common thinking topic of mine since I have been led to believe that Writer’s Block is something to be terrified of – at least that’s what years of television, movies and the Internet have taught me.

I should probably mention that I have accomplished very little writing over the course of the past year or more.  I have been very busy and distracted, you see.  But does that count as Writer’s Block?  Not really, according to wisdom of television, movies and the Internet, but still I wonder.

My usual writing process involves thinking and imagining the flow of the story ahead of time, then sitting down to actually write it.  But what I have learned (I think) from my being so busy over the last 18 months is that I have no time to think and imagine.  And with no thinking or imagining ahead of time, I therefore don’t sit down and write.  I still WANT to be writing, but my normal process doesn’t seem to work in these busy circumstances.

So what has that taught me?

I think it’s taught me that sometimes you just have to sit down and write and see where it takes you.  You’ll know inside if it’s going somewhere good, or if it’s just blah, or if (god forbid) it completely derails and goes off the track into the woods (which is also a good place to go sometimes too, right?).

In essence, I have learned what the wisdom of television, movies and the Internet has said all along.  Just write.  No matter what.

And maybe when I am spending those early morning walks wondering if I have Writer’s Block or not, then maybe I should spend that luxury of time thinking and imagining instead.  Right?

Right.

I think.

authoriain-readingFacebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Adventurous reading, 

Jordan

 

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Solstice by Braxton A. Cosby

synWhat You Believe, Can Destroy You!
             William and Sydney have sacrificed everything to fortify their love, so much so that William dares to brave the depths of space to find a cure for their deadly Supernova bond, leaving both her and Earth vulnerable to Torrian Alliance attack. But with a full scale rebellion in play on Fabricius, the reality of Sydney’s execution from Torrian hands is diminished, only eclipsed by the certainty of a more threats – The Third Faction and The Dagmas Clan – lead by Dominic and his insurgent recruits.
             With overwhelming odds mounting against them, William makes a desperate attempt to find the last of the endangered Star-children only to be captured by a new menace, where he is forced to compete in the dreaded Gauntlet of sport. Allies surge to free Fabricius, seeking alliances across the galaxy while Sydney tries to keep her identity hidden and trains to master the third phase of her Star-child evolution: Solstice.
             With Sarah’s mysterious return home with clues to unlock the future, Noella’s training and Bill’s symbiotic development hope is restored, but will it be enough to unite the galaxy and destroy evil for once and for all?
author
Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who transitioned his ideas on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. PROTOSTAR: BOOK 1 OF THE STARCROSSED SAGA and THE SECT: THE WINDGATE are currently Young Adult/New Adult series he created. He has written over 10 novels, including his new Superhero adventure book, THE CAPE is book three of the Dark Spores Series. He lives in Georgia with his amazing wife and a highly energetic Morkie named StarKozy.
giveawayEnter for your chance to win audio copies of books 1 &2 and an ebook copy 
Exciting reading, 
Jordan

Release Day Blitz: Austin & the Magical Jawbreaker by Austin Hildenbrand with Heather Hildenbrand

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Austin’s normal 5th grade life is changed forever when he eats a magical jawbreaker that gives him superpowers. Now, it’s up to him to defeat the city’s evil candy-stealing villains starting with Tootsie and her chocolate minions.

Will Austin’s sweet-toothed superpowers be enough? Read on and find out!

This sounds super fun!

Jordan