Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

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Title:
 Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)

Author:  Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

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Synopsis:

In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?


review and quotes

Once again, Kerri Maniscalco has astounded me with her storytelling. I cannot and will never get enough of Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. I love the chemistry between these two characters, their banter, and how Thomas, truly a Victorian gentleman, always treats Audrey Rose with respect and as an equal. They are my ultimate OTP. Now in Escaping from Houdini, things are shaken up between these two and I’m not going to say I was the hugest fan in riding those waves, but when these two characters are on the same page with each other, their partnership is outstanding. 

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I love that Escaping from Houdini stays true to the first two books and portrays feminism in the best light. As the main female lead, Audrey Rose Wadsworth is witty, sassy, and so intelligent. She defies many characteristics of a stereotypical Victorian woman, and instead is a proto-feminist of the era. I love that she is deep into solving mysteries and murder with science and rational deduction. She wants to know the truth and how things tick, and she is not afraid to dig deeper into danger to find her answers. 
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Overall, the setting of this novel made the mysterious story even more intriguing. I was captivated by the details of Victorian fashion and mannerisms, as well as the illusions and magic of the traveling carnival performers and entertainers on board a ship. Mix in history, quirky banter, the sleuthing of Sherlock Holmes, the atmospheric allurement found in Caraval, and you have Escaping from Houdini delivering on all levels of entertainment, education, fascination, and mystery.
 

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4 star rating
giveaway

WIN One ARC of Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (USA only)

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about the author

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

 
Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Jimmy Patterson Books for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material are not final and may change in the final publication of the book.
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over

Title: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over
Author: Shani Petroff
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

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Wow! I found this book to be a super quick and engaging read. Even though Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over spans over a week, Sari and Zev’s story definitely encompasses so much to unravel. And you know that saying, “when it rains it pours”? Well, when it came to Sari’s spring break and her one shot to sing at a local club, anything and everything seems to go wrong in the span of a few days. 

One of my favorite characters in the book was Zev. I loved that his goal was to explain any misconstrued situation, so Sari knew the facts and the truth. Sari tended to overthink everything and failed to see that there are several sides to a story. It’s smart for Sari to protect herself first, but I knew there were some holes in her observations. Throughout the story, Zev is always trying to open communication between him and Sari, and it’s so adorable how he always tries to make sure that she is okay and comfortable. I liked that Zev gave Sari room to think and breathe when anything dramatic blew up, but he was also determined to fight for the truth, their friendship, and ultimately love. 

The plot of Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over relies heavily on lack of communication and misunderstood situations. I’m not a huge fan of books that have so much “lack of communication,” but this plot devise definitely keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. If you love A LOT  of drama in your stories, which definitely keeps the story rolling, give Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over a try. This book is such a fast read and the ending is so swoony. 

3 star rating

about the author

Author Bio:

Shani Petroff is a writer living in New York City. She’s the author of the “Bedeviled” series, which includes Daddy’s Little Angel, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Dress, Careful What You Wish For, and Love Struck, and is the co-author of the “Destined” series which includes Ash and Ultraviolet. She also writes for television news programs and several other venues. When she’s not locked in her apartment typing away, she spends a whole lot of time on books, boys, TV, daydreaming, and shopping online.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of The Game Can’t Love You Back

Title: The Game Can’t Love You Back
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school’s baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she’s focused on one thing and one thing only—being the best pitcher she can be.

But when a freak accident forces her high school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren’t used to having a woman on their team. And the new team’s star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He can’t afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher—even worse, to a girl.

As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?

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my review

I love Karole Cozzo’s writing style and once again her storytelling did not disappoint. I really loved that The Game Can’t Love You Back has very honest and realistic characters. The two main characters, Jamie and Eve, are both competitive, independent, and are dealing with their own personal issues. But what I liked about Jamie and Eve is that they are both so authentic and don’t hold back their emotions. In some young adult novels, the lack of communication always causes the worst and most annoying drama, but when it comes to this book, these characters hold back very little and then burst with the most straightforward answers and opinions.

Additionally, I really enjoyed the romance that unfolds in The Game Can’t Love You Back. The story does have a “hate-to-love” feel, but once Jamie and Eve start connecting and interacting, there is no turning back from the heated chemistry between these two. The novel definitely reads like a teenage movie and I really enjoyed watching all the characters find their own paths. 

However, I do wish there was more focus on family dynamics in the book. We get some brief encounters with both characters’ families, but after the speech that Eve’s mom gives to Eve on Mother’s Day, I was craving more interaction. Plus, Jamie’s sister is shadowed in the background and I would have enjoyed some more scenes between the two siblings. Overall, I think The Game Can’t Love You Back is a hit. If you love baseball, girl power, playful rivalry, swoons, and romantic gestures, definitely give this book a read. 

3 star rating

about the author


Author Bio:

Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.

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Note: Thank you to Macmillan and Xpresso Tours for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. 

Blog Tour: A Playlist for THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold

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Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

“An epic wonder”* from the bestselling author of Mosquitoland

This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → sees changes–inexplicable scars, odd behaviors, rewritten histories–in all those around him. All except his Strange Fascinations . . . 

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.


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Told in first person point of view, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a coming-of-age story that explores the strange and fascinating life of Noah Oakman. Noah is tired of figuratively wearing the same old sweater. After being hypnotized, Noah starts noticing all these crazy physical and personality changes with his family, friends, and even his dog. As Noah explores these odd occurrences, he also starts contemplating the definition of being alone versus alienation. Throughout the novel, Noah delves into his life choices while backpacking his favorite authors, books, musicians like David Bowie, and iconic songs along for the ride. Check out my 5-star RAVING review HERE

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Music and notable musicians play important roles in The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and throughout Noah’s mind-boggling life he highlights the most fantastic tunes. But what fascinated me the most is that Noah’s world is surrounded by great people who inspire the perfect playlist. Below, check out some of my favorite quotes which sparked an eclectic playlist of songs. 

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WEEK ONE

May 7 – The Blonde Bookworm – Review
May 8 – Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + My Strange Fascinations
May 9 – Forever Bookish – Review
May 10 – Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Playlist with Graphic Quotes
May 11 – Adventures in YA Publishing – Author Q&A

WEEK TWO

May 14 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 15 – A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Graphic Quotes
May 16 – BookCrushin – Review + Playlist
May 17 – Mind of a Book Dragon – Review
May 18 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post:  What Would Your Strange Fascination Be?

WEEK THREE

May 21 – Pop! Goes the Reader – Wallpaper
May 22 – The Young Folks – Author Q&A
May 23 – Page Travels – Creative Instagram
May 24 – Bookfoolery – Review
May 25 – Dazzled by Books – Candle Creation Post + Review

WEEK FOUR

May 28 – Paper Trail YA – Author Q&A
May 29 – Snowandbooks – Review + Aesthetic Board
May 30 – Reading Writing and Me – Book Review
May 31 – The Radiant Reader – Playlist + Creative Instagram Picture
June 1 – We Live and Breathe Books – Review + Moodboard

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David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.

 

 

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Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that I do not own or have rights to any of the music, lyrics, quotes, or videos shown in this blog post. All quote images were created by me.

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

 

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Title: Song of Blood & Stone
Author: L. Penelope
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Romance Fantasy

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Synopsis:

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. 

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps. 

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. 

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


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Penelope, L._CREDIT Valerie Bey
About the Author

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

 

 

 

Note: Thank you to St. Martin’s for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review and excerpt reveal. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour: Review of Sky In the Deep by Adrienne Young

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Title:
Sky In the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.


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You guys, I think I’m now a huge Vikings fanatic. Sky In the Deep is an action-packed novel that rapidly twists its audience into clan rivalry, familial disputes, and bloody fight scenes. From the very beginning, the main character, Eelyn, is blindsided by the vision of seeing her thought-to-be dead brother fighting against her own clansman. From there, the reader is pushed into a world of sharpened axes, the bitter chill of winter, and the journey that explores hope, love, and the stubborn traditions of different Viking clans. 

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Sky In the Deep is more than brutal and bloody fight scenes. It’s a novel that explores the themes of honor, family, and sacrifice. The characters are thrown into complicated situations that make the characters over contemplate their traditions, beliefs, the meaning of family, and their hearts. This book is a constant page-turner (I finished the book in the matter of hours–I could not but it down) and will tug at your heartstrings. 

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Overall, Sky In the Deep is a raw and gritty novel that will bite at your fingertips and nip at your heart. I love that this fantasy novel incorporated mystery, history, and a slow-burn romance. Eelyn is a fierce fighter physically and emotionally. Even though she is so bold and stubborn, I  was engrossed in her ability to allow herself to be open-minded to a new world that may change everything she believed in. 

4 star rating

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About the Author

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

 

 

 

Note: Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour: Raves & Craves of Given to the Earth by Mindy McGinnis

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Title: Given to the Earth
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Putnam’s Childrens
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa’s marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she’s untouchable. But being Queen hasn’t stopped her heart from longing for the King’s stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn’t stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.

While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra’s leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri. 

As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.


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Given to the Earth follows a few months after the captivating ending of Given to the Sea. Also, told in multiple points-of-view like its fantasy duo, this book focuses on how Khosa’s thought-to-be tragic sacrifice to the sea has now turned into a chance to live and be queen. But with these new changes in motion, the Earth begins to literally crumble beneath them and the loyalties among the characters are challenged. Love becomes a triangle of complexities–trust and forgiveness are tested. McGinnis writes a beautiful epic story, where lives at social and cultural classes are pushed to survive. She takes each of her flawed characters, and gives them a chance to save themselves, their family and friends, and in some cases, their own people and kingdom.

What I loved about this book the most was the many shocking secrets that are revealed. We delve into an action-packed book that is filled with tragic traditions, political gain, and secretive histories. In Given to the Earth, we are thrown into layers of political intrigue, betrayal, heartbreak, and some tragic endings. And in the end, I loved the last chapter, which brilliantly and beautifully provides a heartfelt conclusion.

 

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In several scenes of Given to the Earth, Khosa is mentioned to be eating bread or munching on bread crumbs. Now I love me some good, warm homemade bread, but I also have a sweet tooth. While reading these scenes, I could not stop thinking about my mom’s famous monkey bread. So of course, I quickly whipped up a batch of monkey bread and ate it during the last few chapters of the book. Both the monkey bread and the last chapter made an ooey-gooey mess with my heart.


Ingredients:

Canned biscuits (1 to 2 cans)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of white sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of butter or margarine

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease a bundt pan
  3. Mix the white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl or plastic bag
  4. Cut up biscuit dough into bite-sized pieces
  5. Mix and coat the bite-sized biscuit dough in the sugar-cinnamon mix
  6. At medium heat, boil the butter and brown sugar in a pan to make a sauce
  7. Add and arrange the sugar-cinnamon biscuits pieces into the greased bundt pan.
  8. Pour the buttery-brown sugar sauce over top the coated biscuit pieces in the bundt pan
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes and flip onto a plate. You can now slice the cake or pull pieces off. YUM!

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Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion.


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Note: Thank you to Penguin Teen for having me on this blog tour and for providing me a review copy to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.