Mar 31, 2020

Blog Blast w/ Giveaway! What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume


About the Book:
You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES? This vacation is probably not going to be that.

The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she’s always loved. But Maisie’s got something to prove.

As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.

Jenna Guillame’s American debut features a plus-size protagonist with a compelling, funny, and authentic narrative voice. This relatable and charming novel about friendship, confidence, and self-love will draw readers in as Maisie’s realistic emotional journey unveils the importance of embracing one’s body and celebrating one’s self.  

Praise for What I Like About Me
“Debut author Guillaume's novel features funny dialogue and fresh takes on body image and personal relationships as well as a plucky heroine who slowly but surely comes into her own…. Perfect for fans of Dumplin’, a hilariously sweet yet complex romance.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Guillaume’s delightful debut deals with teenagers and their self-esteem, as Maisie’s story is relayed through her journal entries. This intimate lens will invest readers in Maisie’s journey to self-acceptance and confidence. A fun story, abounding in humor, romance, and inspiration and filled with multifaceted characters that readers will enjoy.” ―Booklist
“This book draws obvious parallels to Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’, but Maisie and her diverse cast of friends are fresh and distinctive, as is the Australian setting…. A fun, upbeat, and tender coming-of-age story written in an engaging and lively diary format.” ―School Library Journal  
About the Author:
Jenna Guillaume was editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about very important things like pop culture, identity, feminism, social media, and Chris Hemsworth's biceps. Previously, she spent more than half a decade in the features department of Girlfriend magazine, editing the sealed section (yes, all those questions are real), and writing about everything from bullying and body image to bad kisses and boy bands. She was also a contributor to Girlfriend Life Hacks, an essential guide to navigating a girl's completely-awkward-but-totally-awesome teen years.  
Find the Author


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

- 5 Winners will receive the WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ME and Book Branded Mirror by Jenna Guillaume.

ENDS: APRIL 20, 2020


Mar 30, 2020

Blog Blast w/ Giveaway! Angel Raven by Heather Burch


About the Book:
Sometimes dead is better.

Raven has always considered himself a casualty of war. An outsider to all he secretly longs for, his dark fate and a broken heart have isolated him from his fellow Halflings. He's lost Nikki--a devastating blow. So it's fine with him that the other Halflings assume he's dead.

When Raven overhears Dr. RIchmond--his favorite human--has a college-age daughter in mortal danger, he swoops in to save her.

Raven finds that like him, Jessica Richmond has a dark side. Fleeing together, the two fight an unbearable attraction while they outsmart the thugs sent to kidnap Jessica. Raven is falling hard for the kick-butt college girl.

But Jessica holds a dark secret. One that could threaten everything the Halflings are working to protect.

In this fourth installment of the Halflings series, you'll journey with Raven as he rides the thermal currents between darkness and light. Grab your copy now. It's time to fly.

Praise for HALFLINGS

'Packed with action, Halflings is stocked with a feisty, likable cast and a fantastically impossible love-triangle that made my heart flutter, race and sigh. This hard-to-put-down novel kept me up late into the night and burrowed itself into my imagination.' ―Serena Chase, USA Today
“Sure to appeal to fans of both star-crossed lovers and Stephanie Meyer.” —Booklist
“A well-written, thoroughly thought-out, and utterly addicting read.” —USA Today

About the Author:
Heather Burch is a #1 bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She lives in Southern Florida with her husband, John. Her title, One Lavender Ribbon was in the top 100 bestselling books for the year on Amazon. In 2014, she became one of the most quoted authors by Kindle readers. Her deeply emotional stories explore family, love, hope and the challenges of life. Her books have garnered praise from USA Today, Booklist Magazine, Romantic Times and Publisher’s Weekly. Heather lives to tell unforgettable stories of love and loss—stories that make your heart sigh.  

Find the Author

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

- 1 Winner will receive the Angel Raven Swag (Signed Copy and Door Hanger) by Heather Burch.
- 1 Winner will receive a $25 Dollar Amazon Gift Card.

ENDS: APRIL 20, 2020

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 29, 2020

Building the Book Pile #321

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Good morning readers, thank you again for sticking it out with me :)
I hope that social distancing is treating you well. Let me know your tips and tricks for staying sane during this weird time! 

Both the Hubs and I are working from home and there is a lot of togetherness time. We are managing and the pets are happy about it. It is finally starting to get nicer outside here in Vermont, so I can actually go outside for extended periods of time without freezing... oh the pleasures of New England living.

I have been getting a lot done being at home so much though. House work/chores, house projects, reading, blogging, homework - I finished a class and have this week off before the next one starts, and actual work time.

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine, you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Share about your week with me in the comments below!

Current Giveaways

None right now.

Coming up on the Blog

Blog Blast w/ Giveaway: Angel Raven by Heather Burch (YA)

Blog Blast w/ Giveaway: What I like about Me by Jenna Guillaume (YA)

Early Reader Review: Megabat is a Fraidybat by Anna Humphrey (MG)

Early Reader Review: Dewdrop by Katie O'Neill (Youth, GN)

Early Reader Review: A is for Another Rabbit by Hannah Batsel (Youth)

Books Received Recently...
For Review

 Meet Me at Midnight  The Bat  The Button Book  Story Boat  Eczema Relief Diet & Cookbook: Short-Term Meal Plans to Identify Triggers and Soothe Flare-Ups

Meet Me At Midnight by Jessica Pennington from Tor Books and Nerd Book Tours for Blog tour 

The Bat by Elise Gravel from Tundra Books for review
The Button Book by Sally Nicholls from Tundra Books for review
Story Boat by Kyo Maclear from Tundra Books for review

The Eczema Relief Diet and Cookbook by Christa Niegler, RD from Callisto Publisher's Club and Rockbridge Press for review.  

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment and leave me a link to your Round-up/ STS/ Weekly...anything, post and I will stop by and say hello!
Happy Reading!

Mar 27, 2020

Early Reader Review: The Eye of Zeus by Alane Adams

Source: From SparkPress in exchange for a review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

The Eye of Zeus (Legends Of Olympus, #1)
The Eye of Zeus by Alane Adams
Series: Legends of Olympus #1
Publisher: SparkPress
Publication Date:  April 7, 2020

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis:
Meet Phoebe Katz, a twelve-year-old foster kid from New York City who’s been bounced around the system her entire life. Things happen around Phoebe, but it’s not like they’re her fault! But when a statue of Athena comes to life, Phoebe gets the stunning news she’s the daughter of Zeus, has a twin brother named Perseus―and was sent away from ancient Greece as a baby to stop a terrible prophecy that predicted she would one day destroy Olympus. Athena warns Phoebe to stay in hiding, but when the vengeful god Ares kidnaps her beloved social worker, Phoebe has no choice―she has to travel back to ancient Greece and rescue him! There, Phoebe and her friends Angie and Damian discover a new prophecy, one that may fix everything. The catch: Phoebe has to collect talismans from six Greek monsters, including the fang from a nine-headed hydra, a talon from the Nemean lion, and a feather from the sphinx. No problem for a girl with the power to call up lightning bolts and change the weather! But can Phoebe collect them all and stop the prophecy before she destroys Olympus?
The Eye of Zeus follows Phoebe Katz as she ventures to Olympus in order to save a long time friend and parental figure with her friends. It is a fast-paced, bold adventure, with mythology, monsters, and lots of fighting.

I really enjoyed this book, it follows a female main character battling monsters to save a friend, destroying almost everything else around her to to do so. She is strong, stubborn and brave, but mostly stubborn and resilient for being a foster kid of so long. The book is action packed and takes Greek mythology tales and turns them on their heads a bit. 

This is the first book in a series and it starts so quickly, you meet Phoebe and then she starts getting attacked almost immediately. Luckily she has two friends to help her, Angie and Damian. Angie is always hungry and a great character for comic relief in the rough times, and Damian is a know it all, which actually comes in really handy in order to defeat monsters. There are even a few demigods that help as well.

So why only 4 stars and not 5, well.... this book it eerily similar to Percy Jackson, which is fine because I enjoyed that one a lot too. This book does change a few key things but there were a lot of very striking similarities throughout. 

Overall, if you or your children enjoyed Percy Jackson, this would be a great read. I think it could resonate more with girls, as it is a girl main character and let's be realistic, as a female sometimes I wish there were more books with brave, battling female main characters like this one had. I appreciate it even though the tale is similar.

Mar 26, 2020

Recent Reads: Alone with the Stars by David R. Gillham

Alone with the StarsAlone with the Stars by David R. Gillham
Narrated by: Hillary Huber, Emily Bauer
Length: 2 hrs and 10 mins
Original Recording Audiobook
Release date: 01-30-20
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Originals
Categories: Fiction, Historical

Format:  Audible Audiobook
Source: Audible Freebie, February 2020


Goodreads Synopsis: 
In the summer of 1937, Amelia Earhart is the most famous woman in the world - a record-breaking pilot, a best-selling author, and a modern woman shattering the glass ceiling in the early days of aviation. 
And then she vanishes.
In Tampa, Florida, 15-year-old Lizzie Friedlander spends her afternoons glued to her father's radio, tapping into the enormity of a world she longs to travel. Lizzie can hardly believe her ears when she picks up a radio signal from a faraway source that sets her heart racing: "Amelia Earhart calling SOS!"

As Lizzie copies down the transmissions, it's clear that the Amelia Earhart is not lost at sea, as the newspapers are dreading, but alive and calling for help. In a race against time, Lizzie must convince the local Coast Guard that the radio transmissions were real and that Earhart's life hangs in the balance. But will anyone believe her?

Written for audio by David R. Gillham, the acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author of City of Women, and performed by Emily Bauer and Hilary Huber, Alone with the Stars is a breathtaking and illuminating tribute to a woman who risked her life in pursuit of new heights, and the young girl who tried desperately to save her when everything went wrong. Inspired by actual events, Alone with the Stars reveals, in riveting detail, the final moments in the life of a great heroine, whose courage changed the world forever.
I really enjoyed this Audible Original, I wanted it to be a full length story but it was only a short one. The story is told in mostly alternating chapters from the POV of Lizzie and Amelia as the young girl hears her distress calls and as Amelia is calling out in distress. 

I found out after the fact that there is a real person who overheard the radio call, and her name was not Lizzie, which I found to be odd. Given that I did not know about her before this point, it was a really great listen. There was a lot of struggle in this short book. Amelia trying to fly and it not going well, her distress call not being heard but then also Lizzie's distress as she listened to the call and tries to make men believe what she has heard in a world were women and girls should not be listening to radios.

The male/female conflict weighs heavily in this story and is a lot of the issue throughout. The overall story was so interesting but it is so depressing that Amelia wasn't helped because of men's issues with her flying at all, and because a girl overheard the call when they did not. 

If you are interested in Amelia Earhart and the idea of a dramatized version of how the distress call came in and was heard, this is a great listen and worth your time. I do understand that some are upset about how the character of Lizzie was handled, because there is a real story here, but if you don't know that story this is a good icebreaker into learning more.

Mar 25, 2020

Early Reader Review: Camping with Unicorns by Dana Simpson

Source: From Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Camping with Unicorns (Phoebe and Her Unicorn, #11)
Camping with Unicorns by Dana Simpson
Series: Phoebe and her Unicorn #11
Publisher: Andrews McMeel  Publishing
Publication Date:  April 7, 2020

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Life is never boring when your best friend is a unicorn! The latest installment in this bestselling series is full of mischief, magic and adventure — as well as an important reminder to always stay true to yourself.
School’s out, so Phoebe and her unicorn best friend, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, have the entire summer to play games, visit the pool, and even go camping. Unicorn horns are excellent utensils for roasting things over the campfire, too, even if Marigold prefers toasted apples to s’mores. While exploring in the woods, Phoebe and friends meet a unicorn named Alabaster, who uses a special video game console that’s powered by plants. Throughout her summer adventures, Phoebe learns that being cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and that it’s much better to be your true self. It’s all part of the unforgettable experience of Camping with Unicorns. 

I love these... you know I do and this one is no exception to that rule. Phoebe is growing up and as she does we have new adventures with Marigold the unicorn. In this installment they are ending the school year, going camping, trying to be friends with Dakota, and beginning a new school year. 

Phoebe is still her energetic self and spends most of her time with Marigold, but we also have some time with Todd the dragon, the goblins, Dakota, and Max. There are games played in human and unicorn and their camping trip was made magical.

As with the other books in this series, you can probably pick any of them up and start reading, Phoebe and Marigold fill you in on what is happening. The panels are short and easy to follow and very colorful, making them a great read for younger audiences whose attention-spans might be shorter. 

I love this series, they are laugh-out-loud plots and situations and Marigold and Phoebe are growing together and it is wonderful to see their changes and growth but also how they stay the same and the best-est of friends.

Other Books In the Series
[Images link to reviews]

Unicorn of Many Hats (Heavenly Nostrils, 7)  Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm (Phoebe and Her Unicorn, #6)  Unicorn Crossing (Heavenly Nostrils, #5)  Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure  Unicorn vs. Goblins (Heavenly Nostrils, #3)  Phoebe and Her Unicorn in Unicorn Theater  Unicorn Bowling (Phoebe and Her Unicorn #9)  The Unicorn Whisperer (Phoebe and Her Unicorn Series Book 10)

Mar 24, 2020

Recent Reads: The Half Life of Marie Curie by Lauren Gunderson

The Half-Life of Marie CurieThe Half-Life of Marie Curie by Lauren Gunderson
Narrated by: Kate Mulgrew, Francesca Faridany
Length: 1 hr and 19 mins 
Release date: 12-05-19
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Original
Categories: Drama & Poetry, Modern Drama

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source: Audible Freebie, December 2019


Goodreads Synopsis: 
In 1912, scientist Marie Curie spent two months on the British seaside at the home of Hertha Ayrton, an accomplished mathematician, inventor, and suffragette. At the time, Curie was in the throes of a scandal in France over her affair with Paul Langevin, which threatened to overshadow the accomplishment of her second Nobel Prize.
Performed by Kate Mulgrew and Francesca Faridany, this play by Lauren Gunderson is an ode to two remarkable women who, despite tremendous personal and professional obstacles, continued to devote their lives to scientific innovation and social change.
Playwright Lauren Gunderson was awarded a commission through the Audible Emerging Playwrights Fund, an initiative dedicated to developing innovative original plays driven by language and voice. As an Audible commissioned playwright, she received funding and creative support to develop The Half-Life of Marie Curie.
Directed by Gaye Taylor UpchurchSound design by Darron L West
Audible Original offerings every month give me a way to venture outside of my normal Youth-YA readings, which is nice and I have learned a lot in doing so. I fully expected this book about Marie Curie to be about the science, it was not, but I am completely ok with that because I know about the science, I did not realize that she was involved in a scandal. 

This dramatic reading is about Marie Curie in the aftermath of her affair with a married man. She is vulnerable in a new way, but also so angry with society and the double standards that existed then as they do now. The overall narration was so well done and the play between the characters was enthralling and I didn't want to stop listening. 

While the audiobook was short it painted a new picture of a woman that I thought I knew a good deal about. She was human, upset, dying, and so mad at the world around her, but also brilliant in so many ways even in this short tale. I really enjoyed this book even though it was not what I expected.

If you are looking for a new point of view on this very well known scientist and Nobel Prize (x2) winner, this is a very well dramatized book in which to learn more about the woman.

Mar 22, 2020

Building the Book Pile #320

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Happy Sunday all (or as I call it ... Homework day!) I am finished a paper to turn in today, then I only have one more discussion post and I am done with this class and onto the next in a few weeks.

This past week was my very first work from home week due to the virus sweeping through the world. My employer/ the college has moved to fully remote classes for spring term and all staff is working from home now too. So lots of Zoom meetings and emails, and loads of kitty snuggles.

I hope your adjustments are going well. 

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine, you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Share about your week with me in the comments below!

Current Giveaways

None right now.

Coming up on the Blog

Recent Reads: The Half-Life of Marie Curie by Lauren Gunderson (Adult, Audio, Novella)

Early Reader Review: Camping with Unicorns by Dana Simpson (MG, GN)

Recent Reads: Alone with the Stars by David R. Gillham (Adult, Audio, Novella)

Early Reader Review: The  Eye of Zeus by Alane Adams (MG)

Books Received Recently...
For Review

  Rascal  5-Minute Stress Relief: 75 Exercises to Quiet Your Mind and Calm Your Body

The Invisible Bear by C├ęcile Metzger from Netgalley and Tundra Books for review

Rascal by Jean-Luc Deglin from Netgalley and IDW Publishing for review

5-Minute Stress Relief : 75 Exercises to Quiet Your Mind and Calm Your Body
by Elena Welsh from Rockridge Press for review.

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment and leave me a link to your Round-up/ STS/ Weekly...anything, post and I will stop by and say hello!
Happy Reading!

Mar 20, 2020

Early Reader Review: A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

Source: From Librarything Early Reviewers and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

A Wish in the Dark
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date:  March 24, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC


Goodreads Synopsis: 
A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice.
All light in Chattana is created by one man -- the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Worst of all, Pong's prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free.
Nok, the prison warden's perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family's good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat's twist on Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice -- and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark. 
Apparently everybody loved this book and I just was fighting to get through it, which always makes me sad. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this type of book, but it fell a little short for me.

Overall, I liked this book but it was a little slow moving. The characters are very well developed and the the environment was very richly detailed. The setting was magical and I loved the world building but the way that it was written the climactic scenes were not as climactic as I would’ve liked them to be. 

Some things that I really enjoyed: 

  • The world-building, it was beautiful, but I think that there was a lot of time spent there and not on the more important scenes. 
  • The magical elements were really really well done. I liked the play on light as the magic and the play of light and darkness throughout the story. 
  • The main character was brave, from beginning to end and while there was other growth as well, the bravery continuing as a plot theme was very consistent.
Some things that were eh:
  • The plot seemed slow. There was a lot of world description and it was beautiful, but it slowed down the plot for me as a reader and I wanted more hype and movement
  • SO many characters, it was hard to keep them straight, and it might have been because the names were Thai names and I am not that familiar with them.
Overall I really liked this take, the magic and world were wonderful, and the story was a very nice one, but I found it heard to stay engaged.