Blog Tour Spotlight: Slip by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya

Today I’m shining a spotlight on Slip by Marika McCoola and illustrated by Aatmaja Pandya, as part of the blog tour hosted by Algonquin. This is a YA coming-of-age graphic novel that deals with topics such as suicide, self-harm, and mental health.

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Slip
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 07 June 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Magical Realism

Right before Jade is about to leave for a summer art intensive, her best friend, Phoebe, attempts suicide. How is Jade supposed to focus on herself right now?

But at the Art Farm, Jade has artistic opportunities she’s been waiting for her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade pours herself into making ceramic monsters that vent her stress and insecurities, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens: they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her, including the scariest of them all—if Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she leaving Phoebe behind?

Continue reading “Blog Tour Spotlight: Slip by Marika McCoola & Aatmaja Pandya”

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Tiltersmith by Amy Herrick

I’m excited to be shining a spotlight on The Tiltersmith by Amy Herrick today! This middle-grade story combines science and folklore to spin a page-turning, action-packed story of friendship, love, teamwork, and environmental stewardship. It sounds like a pretty unique read and certainly like nothing that I’ve read before especially for this age range, and I’m excited to read it at some point! Plus, how great is this cover?!


Myths and monsters collide with climate chaos in a thrilling fantasy adventure

“Vacillating between scientific reasoning and lore from worldwide cultures, the descriptions of beautiful legends of seasons and the sobering study of climate change are so rich.”—Kirkus Reviews


Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Tiltersmith
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 06 April 2022
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, New York, but winter refuses to let go. Sleet, snow, and even a tornado batter the city. Mr. Ross, the science teacher, believes climate change is the cause, but classmates Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit suspect older, magical forces are at work. When a peculiar character calling himself Superintendent Tiltersmith appears with a keen interest in the foursome, their suspicions are confirmed, and they’re swept up in a battle of wits and courage.

The friends must protect a set of mysterious tools belonging to the Lady of Spring. If they can free her from her underground prison, winter will end. But if the Tiltersmith steals the tools, he will keep the Lady in his power and upset the balance of nature forever.

Perfect for readers of Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper, The Tiltersmith returns to the world of Amy Herrick’s acclaimed Time Fetch in a timely, exciting stand-alone adventure.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Spotlight: The Tiltersmith by Amy Herrick”

Blog Tour Spotlight: Letter to a Stranger by Colleen Kinder

Hi, friends! I’m excited to be shining a spotlight on Letters to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us by Colleen Kinder on the blog today!

When I first heard about this book, it absolutely delighted the part of me that often thinks about all the people, significant or seemingly insignificant, that I’ve met in life. I think it’s such a romantic notion and I love the idea of writing a letter to whichever person has (un)knowingly left a mark on your person. I haven’t heard of any of the featured authors in this book but I’m excited to dive into it. This seems like a collection of essays that is best taken in over an extended period of time by consuming maybe one or two stories a day to really be able to savour the experience!

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for having me on tour and for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 22 March 2022
Genre: Non-Fiction

Sixty-five extraordinary writers grapple with this mystery: How can an ephemeral encounter with a stranger leave such an eternal mark?

When Colleen Kinder put out a call for authors to write a letter to a stranger about an unforgettable encounter, she opened  the floodgates. The responses—intimate and addictive, all written in the second person—began pouring in. These short, insightful essays by a  remarkable cast of writers, including Elizabeth Kolbert, Pico Iyer, Lauren Groff, Gregory Pardlo, Faith Adiele, Maggie Shipstead, Lia Purpura, Kiki Petrosino, and Jamil Jan Kochai, are organized around such themes as Gratitude, Wonder, and Farewell and guide us both across the globe and through the mysteries of human connection. Addressed to a first responder after a storm, a gambler encountered on jury duty, a waiter in  Istanbul, a taxi driver in Paris, a roomful of travelers watching reality TV in La Paz, and dozens of others, the pieces are replete with observations about how to live and what we seek, and how a stranger’s loaded glance, shared smile, or question posed can alter the course of our lives. 

Moving and unforgettable, Letter to a Stranger is an irresistible read for the literary traveler and the perfect gift for anyone who is haunted by a person they met once and will remember forever.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Spotlight: Letter to a Stranger by Colleen Kinder”

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

I’m excited to be shining a spotlight on The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill on the blog today!

I have to admit it was the cover art that immediately caught my eye, but this is a fantasy about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when they disappear, and it sounds like there’s a wonderfully heartwarming tale to be found inside. I don’t know about you but a heartwarming tale full of kindness sounds like the perfect read right now, what with everything happening in the world.

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Ogress and the Orphans
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 08 March 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.

Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.

But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?

Continue reading “Blog Tour Spotlight: The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill”

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey

I’m excited to be shining a spotlight on The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey today! This middle-grade fantasy sounds really good and I actually started it on a whim the other day. I’m already getting slightly dark but very magical fairytale-gone-wrong vibes from it and I can’t wait to dive back in whenever I have to put it down. I can’t wait to see where this story goes 😄 Also, how cool is this cover?!

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on tour and providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Counterclockwise Heart
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: 01 February 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

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ARC Review: Up All Night: 13 Stories between Sunset + Sunrise edited by Laura Silverman

Special thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Up All Night: 13 Stories between Sunset + Sunrise
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publish Date: 13 July 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

When everyone else goes to bed, the ones who stay up feel like they’re the only people in the world. As the hours tick by deeper into the night, the familiar drops away and the unfamiliar beckons. Adults are asleep, and a hush falls over the hum of daily life. Anything is possible.

It’s a time for romance and adventure. For prom night and ghost hunts. It’s a time for breaking up, for falling in love—for finding yourself.

Stay up all night with these thirteen short stories from bestselling and award-winning YA authors like Karen McManus, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nina LaCour, and Brandy Colbert, as they take readers deep into these rarely seen, magical hours

BUY A COPY:

TL;DR: Up All Night is a wonderful collection of inclusive and diverse stories with rich LGBTQ+, disability, and POC representation. The stories were a good mix of various genres and they ranged from uplifting and heartwarming, to heartbreaking and achingly bittersweet, and even to the chillingly spooky, but all were tied together with themes of love, friendship, family, and coming-of-age. I really enjoyed a lot of these stories and I would happily add this anthology to my shelves to revisit in the future if ever I want to read some heartwarming and nostalgic short stories!

To say I went into this anthology with a little trepidation would be an understatement as I generally don’t have a good track record with the anthologies that I’ve tried. This is definitely more of a ‘me’ thing as I tend to have difficulties connecting with or getting into short stories. That’s why it was such a surprise when I found myself really enjoying all of the stories in this collection! There were a few that were “just okay” and didn’t leave a big impression on me, but there were more that I really liked and even loved, and none that I gave less than 3/5 stars to (and no matter what you think, 3/5 is not a bad rating!). Many of these authors’ books are still on my TBR but I’m now even more excited to pick them up as soon as I can!

Up All Night is a wonderful collection of inclusive and diverse stories with rich LGBTQ+, disability, and POC representation. The stories were also from a good mix of genres including contemporary, romance, light SFF (superheroes!), thriller/mysteries, and horror. They ranged from uplifting and heartwarming, to heartbreaking and achingly bittersweet, and even to the chillingly spooky, but all were tied together with themes of love, friendship, family, and coming-of-age. I found myself experiencing strong bouts of nostalgia as most of these stories are set in the final year(s) of high school when the air is charged with that electric feeling of change and possibility that makes you feel brave enough to take chances—it’s simultaneously nauseating and thrilling and those feelings really came through in the stories. That feeling was also compounded by the stories being set in the night-to-dawn hours when possibilities not only feel endless but the world even feels a little bit more magical.

Individual story ratings:

  • Never Have I Ever: 4/5 (CW/TW: murder)
  • Like Before: 3.5/5
  • Old Rifts and Snow Drifts: 4/5
  • Con Nights, Parallel Hearts: 5/5 (CW/TW: mentions of parental abuse—physical and sexual)
  • Kiss the Boy: 4.5/5
  • Creature Capture: 4/5
  • Shark Bait: 3/5 (CW/TW: racist slur, infidelity, car accident)
  • A Place to Start: 3/5
  • When You Bring A Dog to Prom: 3.5/5
  • Missing: 4.5/5
  • What About Your Friends: 3.5/5 (CW/TW: racism, bigotry)
  • Under Our Masks: 5/5
  • The Ghosts of Goon Creek: 3.5/5

Out of the 13 stories, my favourites were: “Con Nights, Parallel Hearts“, “Under Our Masks”, “Kiss the Boy”, and “Missing”. Ha, trust me, The Ultimate Chicken™️, to end up liking the spookiest story in the collection! 😂 Was I thoroughly creeped out while reading Missing”? Absolutely! My heart was still racing and the back of my neck prickling uncomfortably as I started on the next one but I can appreciate a well-spun tale! “Con Nights, Parallel Hearts absolutely broke my heart and had me unexpectedly crying by the end. It was emotionally raw and powerful. I haven’t read many superhero novels but I was delighted by “Under Our Masks” and the tentative sweet romance that blooms. “Kiss the Boy” filled me to overflowing with nostalgia thinking back on the final days of senior year—absorbing the novelty of the last school event(s), acknowledging secret crushes and taking chances with your heart, mischief-making with the best of friends surrounding you… This was such a delightfully heartwarming story!

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable anthology and I’m so glad that I gave this a try!

Have you read Up All night or is it on your TBR?

Blog Tour Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for asking me to take part in it!

Thanks to NetGalley, Algonquin Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads: In the Neighborhood of True
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: 07 July 2020 (PBK pub)
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Own Voices
Panda Rating:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton”