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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa

Inkyard Press Winter 2022 YA Banner

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Iron Sword is OUT NOW!

The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa cover
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Iron Fey: Evenfall #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: As Evenfall nears, the stakes grow ever higher for those in Faery…

Banished from the Winter Court for daring to fall in love, Prince Ash achieved the impossible and journeyed to the End of the World to earn a soul and keep his vow to always stand beside Queen Meghan of the Iron Fey.

Now he faces even more incomprehensible odds. Their son, King Keirran of the Forgotten, is missing. Something more ancient than the courts of Faery and more evil than anything Ash has faced in a millennium is rising as Evenfall approaches. And if Ash and his allies cannot stop it, the chaos that has begun to divide the world will shatter it for eternity.

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Things get complicated in The Iron Sword. How do you combat the very manifestation of anger, hate, and fear that has been brewing for countless centuries?

Ash is the narrator of this sequel to The Iron Fey: Evenfall series. He’s not happy, super stressed, and fears for the safety of his family and friends (rightfully so). You can tell early on that he is heading towards a breaking point with his Unseelie side.

Parts one and two were slower paced with not much seriously happening. Ash, Meghan, Puck, Nyx, and Grimalkin search for Kierran who has disappeared along with an entire city. Along the way, the group meets with characters I’m assuming are from previous books/series to find answers and Keirran. More questions than answers are raised about the new threat emerging.

Part three was my favorite because things really picked up, tensions rose to new heights, and lots of action happened. I love the backstory we get about Faery’s past and what the new threat is and where it came from. It was a really great twist to the story and posed questions for what all of these revelations could mean for the future of Faery and the main characters.

This may have been Ash’s story – always nice when other characters get a chance to shine – but Grimalkin was my favorite character. The cait sith’s indifferent nature, directness, and sass was enjoyable. I also liked the Wolf because I am always partial to characters that are wolves. Grimalkin and the Wolf bring much needed perspective on things.

The climax of the story was unputdownable! Just when you think things are about to go one way – WHAM! – something else happens. Those were very entertaining scenes.

Book 3 cannot get here fast enough! The story is heading into a whole new territory that could make or break things. I have no idea how the main characters will accomplish their goal after learning what they have, but I admire their determination and strength to save the world. I think book 3 will be told in Meghan’s pov, but given how book 2 ended I’m kind of leaning more towards it being Nyx’s pov.

The Iron Sword was a good sequel!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Kagawa

Born in Sacramento, CA, Julie Kagawa moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things; how to bodyboard, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks, and that writing stories in math class is a great way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate.

Julie now lives is Louisville, KY with her husband and furkids. She is the international and NYT bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. Visit her at juliekagawa.com.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jkagawa
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliekagawaauthor/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100045094913658
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995873.Julie_Kagawa

The Iron Sword – https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52735443-the-iron-raven

Read Chapter 1 Excerpt

On sale: February 1, 2022
ISBN: 978-1335418647
Inkyard Press
Teen & Young Adult; Epic Fantasy
$19.99 / $24.99 CAN
304 Pages

BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | BookShop.org | AppleBooks | Google Play


More by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Raven (#1)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith

Fall 2021 Inkyard Press YA Blog Tours banner

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! You Can Go Your Own Way is out now.

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: No one ever said love would be easy…but did they mention it would be freezing?

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.

Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. Her boyfriend dumped her. Her friends seem to have changed overnight. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.

But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops?

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

You Can Go Your Own Way is a heartwarming story about growing up, moving on, community, and family.

Adam and Whitney used to be close friends until Adam’s father passed away, causing a rift forming in their relationship. Now, Adam struggles to hold on to his father’s memory by keeping Old City Pinball financially afloat and out of the hands of big tech business. Whitney is busy running the social media for her father’s chain of eSports cafes in the hopes of getting her father’s attention (to no avail). Now they’re sworn enemies.

I liked that the story alternates between Adam and Whitney’s pov, though this seemed more like Whitney’s story than Adam’s. Her journey seemed fuller and hectic, more in depth. Adam’s journey was good, kind of deep but in a smaller, quieter way. You really feel for both characters because it seems like they’re fighting a losing battle.

Their constant bickering over social media doesn’t help either of them. I didn’t like those exchanges because they were using business accounts to argue or talk about personal stuff. Their petty, immature, and unprofessional behavior was (for me) hard to get past. It wasn’t all bickering. There were some funny exchanges with other accounts.

I liked that the story takes place in Philadelphia and the strong sense of community between all the small businesses. It gave the story a homey, cozy atmosphere.

I also liked the excerpts from The Art and Zen of Pinball Repair by James Watts (fictional book) that Adam studies because of how it juxtaposes pinball machines and real life situations. Those quotes enhanced the community and family values depicted within the story.

You Can Go Your Own Way was so wholesome and I enjoyed how much Adam and Whitney grew together and along their personal journeys.


Photo of Eric Smith taken by Hannah Siddiqui
© Hannah Siddiqui

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ERIC SMTIH is an author and literary agent from Elizabeth, New Jersey. When he isn’t working on other people’s books, sometimes he tries to write his own. He enjoys pop punk, video games, and crying during every movie. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and best friend, Nena, and their son, Langston.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/
Twitter: @ericsmithrocks
Instagram: @ericsmithrocks

YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/55920774-you-can-go-your-own-way

ISBN: 978-1335405685
Inkyard Press
Teen & Young Adult; Romance
$18.99 / $23.99 CAN
336 Pages

BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | IndieBound | BookShop.org | AppleBooks | Google Play


More by Eric Smith

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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Right Side of Reckless is available now.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, #OwnVoices
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: They were supposed to ignore each other and respect that fine line between them…

Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him into the path of the one girl who is off-limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.

Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.

The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…

The Right Side of Reckless is one of those stories I wish I’d had growing up. This novel is a must-read!

Regan and Guillermo are fantastic main characters. They’re two very different but equally dynamic people to read about. Throughout the story, they prove how they are more than what others perceived or have categorized them to be.

Regan is treated more like a “trophy wife” to her football-star boyfriend, Troy. Her life has also been already planned by her father to eventually marry Troy and be an accountant. These things have made life stressful and unfulfilling to her, especially because she doesn’t know what she wants nor how to stand up for herself. Sometimes it’s hard and draining for her to keep up this picture perfect appearance.

Guillermo is seen as the violent screw-up and bad influence. A monster. It’s his last chance to prove others wrong and redeem himself in the eyes of his family and the law.

Any kind of relationship between Regan and Guillermo is strictly forbidden. This makes the title of the book so perfectly accurate as the two discover more about themselves and what they want in life. Their heartfelt attraction to each other was undeniable and irresistible.

As part of his probation, Guillermo has community service with a program for juvenile offenders. I appreciate that such a program exists. Even if it’s not a 100% success rate, it’s real and does make a positive impact on some. I like how the adults Guillermo must answer to (his father, his supervisor who is Regan’s mother, his parole officer) hold him accountable to the choices he’s made in the past so that he learns from them and makes smarter choices. Guillermo seems to genuinely regret those decisions and is trying to change in order to have a better future.

He’s also a chill and open person who accepts others, flaws and all. I like how Guillermo befriends Jenaya and Regan’s little brother, Avery. He doesn’t judge them the way others have judged them and himself.

I really like Regan. She’s a kind person who always puts others first. She seems to give so much without getting much (if at all) anything back, especially from those who mean most to her. She also feels overshadowed by Troy’s fame and god-like status (but not in a jealous way). In the story, she’s expected to be a certain way, that is until she meets Guillermo.

Avery is another character I liked and whose sub storyline was an interesting but sad parallel to the main storyline. Like his sister, Avery is being pressured by their dad to be something he’s obviously not interested in being: more outgoing and into sports instead of introverted and into manga and watching anime. It was hard to watch their father pretty much treat Troy like the son he’s always wanted and be disappointed in Avery for liking things not “traditional masculine.”

Troy at times is misogynistic in the way he treats Regan (ex: pressuring her to have sex when she’s clearly not ready) or refers to women (especially strong women) as female in a derogatory way. It doesn’t help that he also has an inflated ego. However, I do think deep down he’s an okay person and that he really does care about Regan.

The Right Side of Reckless was a fantastic read, so real, honest, and deep. I loved the way the story developed through various trials and tribulations. I like how everything is connected and that so many characters grow in big or small ways. Though I wish certain storylines ended differently, the story left me feeling hopeful.


Photo by Jennifer M. Photography

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Whitney D. Grandison is dedicated to telling stories about teens of color and teens in difficult but relatable situations. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers. Outside of writing, she is a lover of Korean dramas, all things John Hughes, and horror films. Whitney currently lives in Akron, Ohio. She is the author of A Love Hate Thing and The Right Side of Reckless. Visit Whitney’s website http://www.whitneydgrandison.com and follow her on Twitter @whitney_dg and Instagram @wheadee.

SOCIAL LINKS: Author website: www.whitneydgrandison.com 
Twitter: @whitney_dg
Instagram: @wheadee

THE RIGHT SIDE OF RECKLESS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54823480-the-right-side-of-reckless

BUY LINKS: Bookshop.org | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | Apple Books

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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! These Feathered Flames goes on sale April 20, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Queer Fiction, #OwnVoices, Young Adult Fantasy, Retelling
Series: These Feathered Flames #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

 

My Review: These Feathered Flames is a queer, #OwnVoices retelling of a Russian folktale, “The Firebird.” I have never read it but have played the composition of “The Firebird” by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and love “The Firebird” section in Disney’s Fantasia 2000. So this was an interesting read with a compelling premise. I also appreciate the inclusion of a pronunciation guide.

The world Alexandra Overy has created is a harsh one overflowing with political intrigue and tension you can cut with a knife. Trust is a currency no one can afford unless you know how to play the game. This is especially true for our twin sisters and main characters, Izaveta (the queen to be) and Asya (the new Firebird). The plethora of suspicious characters – most notably the crooked Vibishop Sanislav – made for a great mystery to be solved. Chiefly, bad things kept happening that affected Izaveta’s standing with the cabinet and court.

The sisters had a somewhat pleasant life growing up until age 7 when their worlds drastically changed as taxing, unsympathetic duties were thrust upon them. It became an us against the world kind of situation, which sometimes had the two at odds with one another. It was sad, almost cruel, how the sisters were broken apart and struggled to make sense of who they’d become. Izaveta – cold, calculating, barely hanging on to power/control. Asya – kind-hearted but feared and hated due to the blazing Firebird residing within her. Both became a product of their environments and positions.

I love books with firebirds or phoenixes in them because they are such cool, beautiful magical creatures. In These Feathered Flames, The Firebird’s existence is an interesting dichotomy. The Firebird maintains balance in the world. It also makes sure that the price of using magic is paid, which has caused many to fear and despise the Firebird and whoever is unfortunately chosen to embody it. This is more apparent since the decline of magic in Tóurin (the setting), referred to as The Fading. The lack of magic causes a strain on the queendom because for years it had allowed Tóurin to be a force to be reckoned with.

The beginning I had a hard time getting into the story but was still curious by what was happening. I was invested in Izaveta and Asya’s relationship. For me, things didn’t pick up until almost halfway through (this book is nearly 500 pages so that might be why). By then the story had an iron-clad grasp on my attention. I did not expect the bit of romance to happen in such a bleak place! And all the huge revelations were mind-blowing! Those scenes were intense, pivotal changes to the plot that really spiced things up.The climax was amazing and the fallout left me with tons of questions (in a good way!).

These Feathered Flames is a solid beginning. I think it will only get better as the series progresses.


Photo by Sam Hardy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALEXANDRA OVERY was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.

SOCIAL LINKS: Author Website | Twitter | Instagram

THESE FEATHERED FLAMES: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19571930.Alexandra_Overy 

BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks

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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: “The Iron Raven” by Julie Kagawa

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Iron Raven goes on sale February 9, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Wicked faeries and fantastic danger… Welcome to book one of the new trilogy in New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey fantasy series, as infamous prankster Puck finally has a chance to tell his story and stand with allies new and old to save Faery and the world.

“YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF ME…”

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten. Filled with myths and faery lore, romance and unfathomable dangers, The Iron Raven is book one of a new epic fantasy trilogy set in the world of The Iron Fey.

 

The infamous Puck regales readers with an epic adventure full of heart, Puck’s trademark merry humor, and unknown dangers.

I like that The Iron Raven is told through Pucks pov because you really got to know him and his struggles, the man beneath the jokester Robin Goodfellow. When a dark force begins running rampant within Faery, Puck begins to struggle internally with the person he wants to become, reverting back to the cruel prankster he used to be, and moving on from past heartache.

I think many can relate to Puck’s struggle to not be consumed by anger, hatred or resentment so that it turns you into something you’re not (a “monster”). Puck desires to be a better, happier version of himself.

I was also pulled into the story by the external conflict with the dark, seemingly unstoppable creature. My mind constantly whirled with questions about what this new threat was and how Puck and company would defeat it.

One other character I liked was Nyx, an infinitely old Forgotten fey who had awoken to a completely different realm. Who doesn’t love a bad-ass assassin? I like her sense of duty and her interactions with Puck.

I enjoyed The Iron Raven but at times the pacing felt drawn out. I hadn’t read the series that preceded this one but had not trouble understanding things. The story had an interesting plot and characters as well as plenty of suspense and funny moments. I really want to know what happens next because the final fight scene was extraordinary! This was a good start to a series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JULIE KAGAWA is the New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, The Talon Saga and the Shadow of the Fox series. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden and training in martial arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a plethora of pets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SOCIAL LINKS: Author Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

THE IRON RAVEN:  https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52735443-the-iron-raven

BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks | Google Play

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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: Kingdom of Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford #PubDayTuesday

[September 28, 2020 – October 13, 2020]

Thanks again to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Kingdom of Sea and Stone is on sale NOW!

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUTEver since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.

As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…

 

My Review: Kingdom of Sea and Stone is a wonderful duology and well-written retelling of “The Little Mermaid” and “Mulan.” If you loved either of those stories, then you are going to love this one as well. Book 2 was an enjoyable read but could have used more action considering war is on the horizon.

Nor never ceases to amaze me. Her character development made this novel shine. She wants something more in life though doesn’t know what because she still feels beholden to the community that shunned her. Nor is a fighter despite the uncertainty for herself, her people, and her relationship with Talin plague that her every move. I was surprised by how her particular story ended but I think it ended in the best of ways. She truly is a “wandering crab.”

The idea of blood coral and blood bonds and their uses were interesting. It brought a lot of tension and a sense of impending doom to spice up the story. Yet considering how cruel Ceren can be and how much of a threat he’d be to many as king, I expected more….something in response. The mood would stagnate here and there, leaving the reader hanging. Ceren is such an excellent antagonist with a great backstory. A worthy evil to fight against the good (Nor and friends).

I liked all the new characters that were introduced. Roan is snarky, confident, and laid back. I’m still unsure if his character was meant to be another love interest or just there to disrupt/challenge Nor and Talin’s relationship. Adriel I liked because she gave Nor a particular support (an outsider looking in) only she could provide. I also loved the Galethian horses. They’re highly trained horses and companions.

The ending of Kingdom of Sea and Stone was good. For the most part, things tied up nicely but I wanted to see some kind of justice/reconciliation of some sort from the Varenians for the poor treatment of Nor, her family, and Sami.

I’m sad this story is over. I would have loved to see where life takes Nor. But for now it’s a bittersweet goodbye to a wonderful heroine and series.


Photo by Holly Ttaris

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor.

Social Links >>> Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


READ MY REVIEW OF
CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL


READ AN EXCERPT OF
KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE HERE


Want the book?
Check out the links below!

*all buy links are non-affiliated links*

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1335146512/ref=x_gr_e_friend_sout?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_e_friend_sout-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1335146512&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingdom-of-sea-and-stone-mara-rutherford/1134580655

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335146519

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Kingdom-Sea-Stone/Mara-Rutherford/9781335146519?id=7941582454467

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/kingdom-of-sea-and-stone/id1485871288

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mara_Rutherford_Kingdom_of_Sea_and_Stone?id=WEi7DwAAQBAJ

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#PubDayTuesday: Breath Like Water

Breath Like Water by Anne Jarzab

Thanks again to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review!

Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: This beautifully lyrical contemporary novel features an elite teen swimmer with Olympic dreams, plagued by injury and startled by unexpected romance, who struggles to balance training with family and having a life. For fans of Sarah Dessen, Julie Murphy and Miranda Kenneally.

Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her Olympic dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.

As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost–and the beauty–of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

My Reviewhttps://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/blog-tour-arc-review-breath-like-water-by-anna-jarzab/

 

Buy Links
*all buy links are non-affiliated links*

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound
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Apple Books

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab

CONTENT WARNING: This story does bring up self-harm, substance abuse, addiction, and suicide. Links to 24/7 crisis help will be listed at the end of this post.

[May 12, 2020 – May 26, 2020]

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Breath Like Water goes on sale May 19, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance, Mental Health
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.

As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

 

My Review:
Breath Like Water is a must read page-turner that will take your breath away!

Mental health awareness and sports are a big part this incredibly deep story. In this case, we have a teenage elite swimmer who’s prime goal is to make it to the Olympics. You see how this demanding being an elite athlete affects Susannah in all its good, bad, and ugly glory. It serves as a reminder how important it is we take care of our mental health and be kind to one another.

I really like this book. It’s been fascinating having such an i depth look at the psychological affects of highly competitive sports on young kids who are constantly changing mentally, emotional, physically, and biologically. This book has been really eye-opening.

Susannah and Harry’s relationship is so lovely at its core. They really do bring out the best in each other, which is why it was so hard to watch them struggle internally and externally with themselves.

They’re so used to this one way of thinking that’s dominated how they live their lives that it causes an identity crisis. It’s rough going for these dynamic characters.

I’m not expert but I think the bipolar rep was done well and I loved how the author used it within the story. It really brought home how a mental illness affects a person’s day to day and how that person’s disorder affects familial relationships. It gives you the raw ugliness of it but how hope and change is more than possible.

This story does bring up self-harm, substance abuse, addiction, and suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of harming themselves or suicide, please seek help. YOU ARE LOVED. There is always someone to reach out to. I’ll leave some links down below.

The ending was bittersweet but I’m happy for where all of the characters end up. Breath Like Water is a great story overall. I think it will help a lot of people who are struggling right now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Jarzab is a Midwesterner turned New Yorker. She lives and works in New York City and is the author of such books as Red Dirt, All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the Many-Worlds series. Visit her online at annajarzab.com and on Twitter, @ajarzab.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Instagram: @ajarzab
Twitter: @ajarzab
Author website: https://www.annajarzab.com/


READ EXCERPT HERE >>> Breath Like Water | Prologue


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The Trevor Project
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1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
Text HOME to 741741

National Alliance On Mental Illness
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To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/

Categories
ARCs Blog Tours Book Reviews

[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

[January 21, 2020 – February 4, 2020]

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review. Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith is on sale January 28, 2020.

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

 

My Review:
Everyone should read Don’t Read the Comments because it highlights issues in the gaming industry, has great characters, and the story is so relevant to today. I loved this book more than I originally thought. The way Eric Smith weaves the story between Divya and Aaron’s POVs was done really well, which made the story richer in idea and (reading) experience.

First we have Divya – D1V as she’s known in the online streamers space – who unfortunately gets targeted for online harassment from an unknown (as usual) trolls. I think they target her because she’s woman commandeering a large following in a “male only space.” Based on what they were saying to her, it also seemed like the trolls used her gender as a scapegoat. Whatever the reason, the story brings up important issues faced by not only women in gaming but also toxic online bullies/harassers/trolls. Like everyone else, she is a person before she is a online personality.

Divya is a very caring and strong person. I loved the ways she tries not to become a victim and how she tries to protect her best friend, Rebekah, from reliving similar horrors. I genuinely love Divya’s character for helping her mom live her dream while they are struggling financially.

Aaron I like yet I felt so bad for him. He doesn’t feel his dreams are being supported by his mother and (kind of in a way) by Jason, the developer he’s “working” for. He doesn’t see his self-worth for much of the story until everything comes tumbling down. I didn’t want it to come to that before he realized things. Through Aaron we also get another issue in the gaming (really any) industry; in essence, copyright and protecting one’s work.

The author packs in a lot of pertinent issues (in work, gaming, home life, etc.) and sometimes that can be cause for confusion while reading. I’m impressed  by the author’s ability to talk about so much but not let the reader feel overwhelmed by it all. And all the issues connect together under the same umbrella.

I felt more connected to both characters – Divya’s noble nature and Aaron writing stories for games. They both stand up for what’s right for the greater good. I’m glad the romance element between the two MCs wasn’t at the forefront of what was going on or awkward. It was a sweet romance that slowly built beneath all the chaos.

Don’t Read the Comments is was really really good. We need this important book in these increasingly advancing technological times. The issues brought up are things many people are facing today, especially with cancel culture and double standards. Don’t Read the Comments is inquisitive and compelling – a must read for 2020.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/
Twitter: @ericsmithrocks 
Instagram: @ericsmithrocks
Facebook: @ericsmithwrites


READ EXCERPT HERE >>> Don’t Read the Comments – Chapter 1.docx

Categories
ARCs Blog Tours Book Reviews

[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

[December 31, 2019 January 14, 2020]

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review. A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison is on sale January 7, 2020.

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation, and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
A Love Hate Thing was really really good, better than I thought it would be. The story and characters were crafted to with grace and precision, detailed and full of fault. There was a quiet realness that I appreciated about the book. A Love Hate Thing was deep, meaningful and passionate. One of the best YA contemporary romances I’ve ever read!

Nandy is a pretty cool person but her initial judgments of Trice without knowing him of the present were rightfully off-putting. But I grew to like her as I learned more about who she really is on the inside, not what people expect her to be.

Trice is the model of perfect main character. I felt such a connection with him. He is kind, loyal, thoughtful, intelligent. He made the story. I was especially invested in the story, compelled to devour and revel in page after glorious page.

This book and Trice make you stop and take notice of your surroundings in a thought-provoking way. The conflict was current and real, reflecting the harsh, cold realities of today. It is voices like Trice’s that push through the noise and make people think about who they are, where they come from, and where they want to be going. I loved that we got all view-points on the issues presented within the story because it allowed everyone to be heard. It created open dialogue, which is important in conflicts and disagreements.

I was about 70% through when I felt like the story was over. I couldn’t guess what more there could be or what ends have been left loose. Well there were indeed much more left. However, the conclusion was gratifying.

A Love Hate Thing is remarkable; I recommend this book for sure. It’s such an engrossing read. I appreciate the author for writing such a sublime book that we very much need in today’s world.


Photo by Jennifer M. Photography

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers.

Social Links: 
Instagram: @wheadee
Twitter: @whitney_DG