Blog Tour Review: The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities by Rick Riordan

Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to be taking part in my first blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours for The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories about Mythic Heroes by Rick Riordan, Carlos Hernandez, Roshani Chkoshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda and Graci Kim.

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY (US only, sorry international friends)—details are at the end of my post, and don’t forget to check out the other blogs on tour in the schedule posted after my thoughts!

Special thanks to Rick Riordan Presents for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Publish Date: 28 September 2021
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents ten new stories–including one of his own–about beloved heroes that sprang from the imaginations of some of the best middle grade authors working today.

A cave monster . . . an abandoned demon . . . a ghost who wants to erase history . . . a killer commandant . . . These are just some of the challenges confronting the young heroes in this highly entertaining anthology.

All but one of the heroes previously starred in a popular book from Rick Riordan Presents. You”ll be reunited with Aru Shah, Zane Obispo, Min the fox spirit, Sal and Gabi, Tristan Strong, Nizhoni Begay, Paola Santiago, Sikander Aziz, and Riley Oh. Who is the new hero? Read Rick Riordan”s short story to find out!

Ten bestselling and award-winning middle grade authors contributed to this collection: Roshani Chokshi, J.C. Cervantes, Yoon Ha Lee, Carlos Hernandez, Kwame Mbalia, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Sarwat Chadda, Graci Kim, and Rick Riordan, who also served as the editor.

The cultures represented by these own-voices stories are: Indian, Mesoamerican, Korean, Cuban, Black American, African, Navajo, Mexican, Mesopotamian, and Celtic.

There’s something for everyone in this collection of fast-paced and funny adventure stories that show what it takes to be a hero in any time, setting, and universe.

GET A COPY:

Click on the author names to be taken to their websites!

TL;DR: For readers who are new to the worlds found in Rick Riordan Presents books, this will give you a wonderful taste of what lies in store when you finally dive into them head first! For those who are returning, these stories will take you on fun (mis)adventures with some of your favourite characters from your favourite stories! This was such a fun collection full of magic and it’s rich in diversity and cultural representation! Highly recommended for all readers but especially those who love action-packed (mis)adventures, an abundance of magic, diverse mythology, most likely demons and ghouls, and lots of cheeky and witty humour! 😊

I was completely immersed from the moment I set foot into this Multiverse Mansion and I was itching with eagerness to open each door to the different worlds held within. These stories are rich with diverse cultures and a wild kind of magic courses through each of the pages that hold you enthralled as the characters and their stories unfold. Honestly, these are the kind of stories that I wish had been available to younger me because it would’ve meant so much to see parts of myself in characters who look like me and have roots in parts of the world I’m from. Not to mention that it would’ve been amazing to learn about the different mythologies, too! Luckily, they’re stories that adult me can read and greatly appreciate and it makes me so happy knowing that such diverse heroic tales are available for younger generations to read and identify with!

We get small glimpses into magnificent worlds and we meet many new characters that I was eager to learn more about the minute their story ended. What makes me love a short story is when the story comes full circle, the questions are answered and it can essentially stand on its own, and the majority of stories in here did that! I often found myself going into deep(ish) dives on the interwebs to read up about the mythologies and creatures and I love when a story can pique my curiosity in that way because it makes the experience that much more unforgettable. While I enjoyed all of the stories my top three are: The Demon Drum by Rebecca Roanhorse, My Night at the Gifted Carnival by Graci Kim, and… it’s a tie between The Initiation by Yoon Ha Lee and Bruto and the Freaky Flower by Tehlor Kay Mejia (sorry, I really can’t choose)! 😜

Although I had only met the characters from one of the stories in this collection (Gum Baby forever!), I had no trouble following along with the adventures, so it’s okay to go into this without prior knowledge of the stories. I think it would be perfect for readers who want to get a taste of the worlds found in the Rick Riordan Presents books and I can guarantee that it will leave you wanting more as soon as possible!

3 WINNERS (US ONLY) WILL WIN A FINISHED COPY OF THE CURSED CARNIVAL AND OTHER CALAMITIES!

Tour Schedule

Week One:

9/1/2021YA Books CentralExcerpt
9/2/2021Kait Plus BooksExcerpt
9/3/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
9/4/2021@CurlygrannylovestoreadReview

Week Two:

9/5/2021#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee BlogReview
9/6/2021A Dream Within A DreamReview
9/7/2021Nonbinary Knight ReadsReview
9/8/2021The Bookwyrm’s DenReview
9/9/2021Log Cabin LibraryReview
9/10/2021Lifestyle of MeReview
9/11/2021Emelie’s BooksReview

Week Three:

9/12/2021@pagesofyellowReview
9/13/2021Locks, Hooks and BooksReview
9/14/2021More Books Please blogReview
9/15/2021Little Red ReadsReview
9/16/2021Don’t Judge, ReadReview
9/17/2021Fyrekatz BlogReview
9/18/2021booksaremagictooReview

Week Four:

9/19/2021The Phantom ParagrapherReview
9/20/2021BookHounds YAExcerpt
9/21/2021Cindy’s Love of BooksReview
9/22/2021dinipandareadsReview
9/23/2021hauntedbybooksReview
9/24/2021Books a Plenty Book ReviewsReview
9/25/2021Books and Zebras @jypsylynnReview

Week Five:

9/26/2021The Momma SpotReview
9/27/2021Zainey LaneyReview
9/28/2021@fictitious.foxReview
9/29/2021Two Points of InterestReview
9/30/2021PopTheButterfly ReadsReview

Have you read The Curse Carnival and Other Calamities or is it on your TBR?

Top 5 Saturday: Bloody Books!

Welcome back to another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: blood on the cover.

So… I’m surprised by how much I struggled to come up with five books on my TBR for this prompt! I even struggled to think of five books that I’ve already read with blood on the cover and I don’t know why but this really surprises me? 😂 What I’ve decided to do for this week’s cover is take the prompt literally and I’ve found five books with the word blood on the cover (cos at least this was easier to find on my Goodreads TBR)! Without further ado… Here are five ‘blood-y’ books that I hope to read this year (she said) 😉:

Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: Bloody Books!”

Top 5 Saturday: Books with Diverse Characters

Welcome back to another Top 5 Saturday! Just in case you don’t know Top 5 Saturday is a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and it’s where we list the top five books (they can be books on your TBR, favourite books, books you loved/hated) based on the week’s topic. You can see the upcoming schedule at the end of my post 🙂 This week’s topic is actually: books with diverse characters.

Well, this is gonna be tough because I can pick way more than five books with diverse characters off my TBR, and I’m looking forward to reading all of them soon! In recent years, I’ve made an active effort to diversify my reads because I realised that many of the books I had access to in the main bookstores in Indonesia tended to feature mostly white authors writing white characters. I also never questioned what I was reading and never actively sought out diverse reads—well, not anymore! It has been amazing to read more stories with characters of different ethnicities, nationalities, religions, LGBTQ+ and abilities in contemporaries, romances, and even SFF and I can’t wait to read even more in the future! For this prompt I decided to focus on books with Asian characters because I love to see the Asian rep! So without further ado, here are five books with diverse characters that I’m really excited for.

Continue reading “Top 5 Saturday: Books with Diverse Characters”

Blog Tour Review: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Hey friends! I’m excited to be back for another @TheWriteReads blog tour for this absolute gem of a book: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍

Special thanks to Egmont Publishing and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Amari and the Night Brothers
Publisher: Egmont Publishing
Published: 21 January 2021
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Amari Peters knows three things.
Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon. Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous. With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston”

#5OnMyTBR: Animals

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Animals.

Continue reading “#5OnMyTBR: Animals”

Let’s Talk Bookish: What is the meaning of diverse books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on October 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:

what is the meaning of diverse books?

(SUGGESTED BY RUKKY)
Examples: We talk a lot about diverse books and reads, but what really makes a book diverse? Are books written by authors or about characters from Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, etc) considered diverse? Would you consider a book set in Spain about a Spanish main character diverse? Why or why not? Does diverse mean characters or authors from South America, Asia, and Africa, or from different religious, sexual, ability, etc backgrounds only?

This is a great question and very relevant topic as more readers continue to look for diverse books, and as more diverse books also get published. I’ve been trying to consciously diversify my reads for a while now and 2020 has been my most successful year doing that! I’m a little intimidated about answering this week’s prompt because I think there are quite a few layers to the topic, and I don’t feel comfortable going too in-depth as I’m not that “knowledgeable” about it. But this post is about sharing my thoughts, so I will do that and hopefully I make some sense and don’t come off as (too) uniformed or ridiculous!

defining diversity

Diversity (noun)
: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY
especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities

Diversity as defined by Merriam-Webster

HOW DO I CLASSIFY DIVERSE BOOKS?

When I think about diverse books, I immediately think of stories with characters who are marginalized, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+. Or are written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+. I also count books that have representation for different religions, ethnicities, mental health, disability, and chronic illness (among other topics) as diverse too. However, I only classify books as diverse when:

  • The main characters are BIPOC/LGBTQ+. I don’t consider it diverse when you have one or a few side characters that fall into these ‘categories’ but are barely represented. But I don’t consider stories written by authors of colour or LGBTQ+ authors as diverse if the story focuses on mainstream “straight and white” characters.
  • Same as above, the rep should concern or be focused on the main character(s) and is not used or identified as a minor sub-plot or anything like that.

is there a line and where do we draw it?

This prompt included a few guiding questions that really made me think whether I would classify certain reads as diverse. For example, if I read a book about Eastern Europe, is that considered diverse? I think if it’s set there and the story is about a straight white character, then no, I wouldn’t. But what if it’s about religion or ethnicity—would I consider it diverse then? I think I probably would because it includes people from different backgrounds. What about a book set in Spain with a Spanish cast—is that diverse? It made me think about a book I read earlier this year called Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. It’s set during the Spanish inquisition period but in an alternate reality, and I considered it diverse because Cordova is AOC and the characters, including the MC, were diverse.

As I write this I realise that perhaps how I consider books diverse is pretty simplistic? But ultimately, I do think it’s subjective because I don’t believe diversity can be so neatly packaged into a box where it means exactly the same thing for everybody. There are many factors to consider, including our individual backgrounds and experiences, and it also depends on the book/author too.

Is it enough to consider a book diverse if it teaches you about different people, cultures, etc.? Is it enough to consider it diverse if it broadens your world view?

Sorry, I know I haven’t really answered anything in this post and it’s mostly just a bunch of brain blah and word vom that I’m not even sure makes any sense–but it has definitely got me thinking!

Now I’m really curious to know what you think. What makes a book diverse in your opinion? Do you think it’s a strict definition or do you think it’s subjective? I’m keen to know your thoughts if you’d like to share them with me!

#5OnMyTBR: Historical Fiction

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Historical

Continue reading “#5OnMyTBR: Historical Fiction”

#5OnMyTBR: Books with Magic

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Magic

Continue reading “#5OnMyTBR: Books with Magic”

Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get A Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:


Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorbike.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written out step-by-step guidelines. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job: Redford ‘Red’ Morgan. With tattoos and a motorbike, Red is the perfect helper in her mission to rebel, but as they spend more time together, Chloe realises there’s much more to him than his tough exterior implies. Soon she’s left wanting more from him than she ever expected . . . maybe there’s more to life than her list ever imagined?

Continue reading “Review: Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert”

ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The House in the Cerulean Sea
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: 17 March 2020
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Panda Rating:


A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune”