Book Review: A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

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Title:
A Constellation of Roses
Author:  Miranda Asebedo
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magic Realism
Rating: ★★★

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Synopsis:

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots.


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A Constellation of Roses is a well-developed contemporary novel that hints at magic, but provides a serious outlet and tone for realistic, young adult situations. After her mom fails to come back home one day, Trix takes the matter of survival into her own hands. Trix relies heavily on her gift as a undetected thief to take what she needs to survive. Without giving too many spoilers, Trix’s antics are not unseen and she is sent to live with some unknown relatives. 

Now surrounded by three generations of women who also have their own talents and gifts, Trix puts up a hard shell that’s not easy to crack. As Trix adapts to her new surroundings, makes new friends, and slowly starts trusting her newfound family, she begins to explore the truth about herself and her familial past. More importantly, she begins defining and understanding what family truly means. And as the story unfolds, Trix also begins acknowledging that everyone, no matter how happy they seem on the outside, are also going through their own personal struggles. 

Filled with emotionally-curing pie, a dash of magic, and teenage antics, A Constellation of Roses will have you swimming in emotions of heartache, laughter, tears, and swoons. This novel explores some very heavy issues, which makes these characters so realistic and so easy to connect and fall in love with.

Some favorite quotes:

“Fortune-telling isn’t a science. It’s an art. And sometimes art is messy.”

“Scars tell a story, even when we don’t want them to.”

“You know, there’s an old story that back when they founded Rocksaw, the McCabes were one of the first families here. And their daughters were so beautiful and so strangely gifted that people in Buffalo Hills thought they were witches and wanted to run them out of the area.”

“Love is promising Persian kittens. Love is American slang dictionaries for Scrabble. Love is Coke-and-cherry slushes as midnight. Love is watching the lights come on in town from law chairs on Cedar Mountain. Love is lemon-meringue pie on porch steps.”

“Yes, I have gotten what I always wanted. My deepest secrets. Not a perfect family, after all. But a constellation of women, connected by pie and fortunes and roses. And love.”

 

Blogger Note: Thank you so much to Wunderkind PR for sending me a free copy of A Cosntellation of Roses to read and review. 

Blog Tour: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

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Title: Songs from the Deep
Author:  Kelly Powell
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★

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Synopsis:

A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.


4

Songs from the Deep reads like the steady lyrics of a richly melodic song. Set on an island dependent on tourism and the sea, this novel delves into the a story of murder, mystery, friendship, and deadly sirens.

I found Songs from the Deep to be a constant page-turner. Kelly Powell’s lyrical writing and vivid scenic descriptions, create a very atmospheric setting that makes you want to curl up on the couch and drink warm tea as you read the story’s mysteries unfold. 

I enjoyed reading the reconnection of an old friendship and the subtle love story that unfolds throughout the pages, along with the thrill of the two main characters, Moira and Jude, solving the murders of local islanders. Moira and Jude are the perfect sleuthing pair; they balance out each other’s flaws and secrets, while also using their own ingrained abilities to help save the sirens from being wrongfully accused and then hunted.

As an entrancing novel of unsolved mysteries, dangerous sirens, and unraveled secrets, Songs from the Deep is must read. Along with the small-town lives of the islanders, the steady swooshing of the waves, the enticing song of the sirens, and the scent of the sea, you will easily be bewitched in the dark ambiance of this novel.

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Moira’s mom is a baker, and throughout small parts of the story, I kept craving yummy pastries. So as a great pairing with Songs from the Deep, I bought some scone mix, and decided to make some “Save the Sirens Scones.”

Because I did not bake these scones from scratch, I made sure to follow the directions on the scone mix bag. Along with the scone mix, I only needed butter and milk. After smashing the butter into the mix and stirring in the milk to make a clumpy dough, I formed the dough into a ball and then spread it out on a greased baking pan. I used a spatula to deeply score the dough into wedges. After baking for 17 minutes at 350 degrees F, I let the scones cool. 

If you decide to bake your own scones, be sure to you make yourself a cup of your favorite tea to pair with the pastry. With a scone and tea at hand, you will create the perfect reading setting to enjoy the mysterious and very atmospheric novel, Songs from the Deep.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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About the author:

Kelly Powell has a bachelor’s degree in history and book and media studies from the University of Toronto. She currently lives in Ontario. Songs from the Deep is her debut novel.

 

 

 

 

 

Blogger Note: Thank you so much to Simon Teen/ Simon & Schuster for inviting me to host a “Raves & Craves” post on this blog tour and sending me a free copy of Songs from the Sea to read and review. 

Blog Tour: Top 5 Reasons to Treat Yo Shelf to Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

Into the Crooked Place Blog Tour (1)Welcome to my Blog Tour stop for Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo. Today I am going to share with you the Top 5 Reasons you should TREAT YO SHELF to this amazing book.

INTO_THE_CROOKED_PLACE6Title: Into the Crooked Place 
Author: Alexandra Christo
Pub. Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy 

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon B&N,  TBD

 SYNOPSIS:

Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA fantasy series from Alexandra Christo, the author of To Kill a Kingdom.

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other. 


into the crooked place TOP 5

TOP 5 REASONS

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Alexandra Christo
About the author:

Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn’t be a fairy. When she’s not busy making up stories, she can be found organising food crawls over London and binge-watching Korean dramas.

Alexandra has a BA in Creative Writing and currently lives in England with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive).

 

 

NOTE: Thank you so much to Fierce Reads for inviting me as a host on this blog tour and for providing me a free advance reader’s copy to review. 

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre by Glynnis Fawkes

CHARLOTTE BRONTE BEFORE JANE EYRE

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Title:
 CHARLOTTE BRONTE BEFORE JANE EYRE
Author: Glynnis Fawkes
Pub. Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Pages: 112
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleAmazon Paperback, B&N, iBooksKoboTBD

 SYNOPSIS:

Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!–I have as much soul as you,–and full as much heart!

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a beloved classic, celebrated today by readers of all ages and revered as a masterwork of literary prowess. But what of the famous writer herself?

Originally published under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, Jane Eyre was born out of a magnificent, vivid imagination, a deep cultivation of skill, and immense personal hardship and tragedy. Charlotte, like her sisters Emily and Anne, was passionate about her work. She sought to cast an empathetic lens on characters often ignored by popular literature of the time, questioning societal assumptions with a sharp intellect and changing forever the landscape of western literature.

With an introduction by Alison Bechdel, Charlotte Brontë before Jane Eyre presents a stunning examination of a woman who battled against the odds to make her voice heard.


raving review

Ahhh, this graphic novel was a breath of fresh air. As one of my beloved authors, I really enjoy learning new information about Charlotte Brontë, so Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre was the perfect graphic novel for me to pick up. Moreover, Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book, so I was excited to read a new medium source that explores Charlotte Brontë life and her journey to writing it. 

Filled with black and white pages muted with grayish blue water-colored tones, Fawkes explores the hardships of the Brontë family, including illnesses, deaths, poverty, and Charlotte’s very fierce determination to become a respected author. Not only is Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre set up as a bildungsroman like Charlotte’s treasured Jane Eyre, but this graphic novel also provides vivid detailed life events, which beautifully parallel Charlotte’s own life and experiences with scenes and themes of her own novels. 

Additionally, in Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre, Fawkes dedicates a few pages to “Panel Discussions,” which provide more in-depth conversations regarding historical and factual background of Charlotte’s life. I loved these little snippets and the new information it added to my Brontë knowledge. Overall, if you are fan of the Brontës and Jane Eyre, I highly recommend that you add Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre to your to-read collection soon. 

giveaway

3 winners will receive finished copies of CHARLOTTE BRONTE BEFORE JANE EYRE,
US Only.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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Glynnis
About the author:

I’m an cartoonist and illustrator living in Burlington, VT.

My most recent book is Charlotte Bronte Before Jane Eyre, Center for Cartoon Studies Presents series, will be published in September 2019 by Disney/Hyperion. Also in September, Secret Acres will publish Persephone’s Garden, a collection of autobiographical comics that have appeared in the New Yorker and other places.

I began working on excavations as illustrator in 1998 and have worked on sites in Greece, Crete, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Syria, and Lebanon.  I continue to work in Greece every year.   My illustrations have been published in several books and many articles.  

Many of my personal comics reflect a career in archaeology and family life.  Greek Diary is about working on a dig and traveling with children.  My drawings about my children were published regularly on Muthamagazine.com  and were nominated for an Ignatz Award at the Small Press Expo in 2016.

Another project, Alle Ego, is about my first trip to Greece and how it launched my work in the direction of archaeology.  A draft of this book won the MoCCA Arts Festival Award in NY in 2016.  I drew most of it during a residency at La Maison des Auteurs in Angouleme, and I plan to return to work on this book in the future.

I’m currently working on a middle grade adventure set after the eruption of Thera in Late Bronze Age Greece.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest |  Tumblr | Goodreads

 

TOUR SCHEDULE

Week One:
9/2/2019- Odd and Bookish– Excerpt
9/3/2019- Country Road Reviews– Excerpt
9/4/2019- dwantstoread– Review
9/5/2019- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt
9/6/2019- Lifestyle Of Me– Review

Week Two:
9/9/2019- Christen Krumm, Writer, Reader, Serious Coffee Drinker– Review
9/10/2019- Careful of Books– Review
9/11/2019- Character Madness and Musings– Excerpt
9/12/2019- Fictitiouswonderland– Review
9/13/2019- Fyrekatz Blog– Review

Week Three:
9/16/2019- Little Red Reads– Excerpt
9/17/2019- Book-Keeping– Review
9/18/2019- Life of a Simple Reader– Excerpt
9/19/2019- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews– Excerpt
9/20/2019- Inspired by Savannah Review

Week Four:
9/23/2019- History from a Woman’s Perspective– Review
9/24/2019- Wishful Endings– Excerpt
9/25/2019- Just Another Reader– Review
9/26/2019- Jade Writes Books– Review
9/27/2019- Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile– Review

Week Five:
9/30/2019- two points of interest– Review

 

Trick-or-Treat Yo Shelf: There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

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Title:
There Will Come a Darkness
Authors: Katy Rose Pool
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it? 

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. 
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes.


TRICK OR TREAT YO SHELF There Will Come a Darkness


Welcome to my first “Trick-or-Treat Yo Shelf” post of the season. All through September and October, I will be reviewing new releases and helping you decide if you should TREAT YO SHELF to the featured new release. The first book choice up is There Will Come A Darkness by Katy Rose Pool, which releases today, September 3, 2019.

REVIEW

Oh, where do I start? Told in five points-of-view, There Will Come A Darkness weaves the lives of five extraordinary characters into one story focused on duty, dire sacrifices, and survival. Once I got used to each point of view, I was highly invested in each character’s arc and their role in the final prophecy that is focused on a new prophet, a possible savior in the prediction of an Age of Darkness. 

This constant page-turner will have you entranced in the epic world-building, the elaborate magic of the four bodily graces, and of course the unfolding prophecies that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As a a fast-paced, fantasy novel melding the fates of five intricate characters, readers will be compelled by the twists and turns, and by the end of the novel, frantically wanting the next book of the series.

TRICK OR TREAT YO SHELF?

treat yo shelf There will come a darkness

 

Blogger Note: A huge thank you to the Fierce Reads for providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own. 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of Have a Little Faith in Me

HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME TOUR BANNER

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Title:
Have a Little Faith In Me
Authors: Sonia Hartl
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Religion, Realistic Fiction

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Synopsis:

“Saved!” meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.

When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity


review and quotes

If you are in the mood to read a novel filled with girls supporting girls AND sex-positive messages, look no further, Have a Little Faith In Me is the book for you. Set out to win her ex-boyfriend back, CeCe decides to mend their relationship by attending a Christian-based camp with him. Unbeknownst to her, her camp experience becomes more about self-acceptance, finding friendships in the unlikely places, and learning about healthy relationships. 

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If you are a fan of very sarcastic and very direct characters, then CeCe will definitely win you over. Her personality comes off very honest, straightforward, and she has no filter. Although she is very opinionated and portrays some naive behavior, I liked that her story and personality evolve throughout the book, allowing CeCe to grow and understand the people and the world around her.

3

Overall, Have a Little Faith In Me is a page-turner filled with empowering messages of consent and sex-positivity. This book is funny, feminist, and contains one of my favorite young adult themes that we don’t see too often: females supporting females. 

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giveaway

Win a finished copy of HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME by Sonia Hartl (US Only)

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about the author

AUTHOR
Sonia Hartl is a YA author who calls Michigan home, even though she’s lived in several different states. Her debut novel, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME is forthcoming from Page Street Publishing. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s enjoying pub trivia, marathoning Disney movies, or taking a walk outside in the fall. She’s a member of SCBWI and the communications director for Pitch Wars. She has been published in The Writers Post Journal and Boston Literary Magazine. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters.

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TOUR SCHEDULE

Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Page Street Publishing for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange of an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material is not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

Blog Tour: Review & Favorite Quotes of All the Bad Apples

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UK and US covers
Title:
All the Bad Apples
Authors: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery

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Synopsis:

The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.


1

Once again, Moïra Fowley-Doyle has created a beautiful atmospheric story filled with magic, mystery, and familial curses. All the Bad Apples includes twists and turns that are traced through letters, which provide details of the main character’s family history. A history sprinkled with cursed family members, also known as the bad apples. The letters include clues on how to break the curse placed on the family’s bad apples, but more importantly, the letters bring Deena one step closer to finding her missing, or thought-to-be dead sister, Mandy.

As an own voices novel, Moïra Fowley-Doyle fills the pages of All the Bad Apples with fictional but realistic accounts of unwed mothers, rape survivors, incest, abortions, racism, and the stigma encompassed in Ireland’s history and present day state. Deena’s story and the narratives of her ancestors are a bitter bite into reality; their stories and hardships reflect the oppression of women, orphaned children, and queer men that does not seem to go away over time.

As a contemporary novel embraced in history and elements of magical realism, Moïra Fowley-Doyle creates a jolting story—multiple accounts at that—filled with queer diversity, heartache, rage, feminism, and in the end, hope. Hope for change and a hope for equality across spectrums of sexuality, gender, and racism. All the Bad Apples will make your teeth clinch, your heart ache, and your eyes tear up—but overall it will leave a lasting impression that history is complicated. History is always changing but unfortunately forever repeating itself—a habit rooted in silencing those who do not conform or fit “traditional” standards.

Favorite Quotes:

“Sometimes you have to feel the past to believe it.”

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“Some loves ignite like forest fires, burn down entire towns before anybody’s noticed. . . Some loves smolder like a turf fire, are slow to start but will then burn bright and steady through entire winters.”

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“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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“A good cup of tea is a witch’s brew,” the old women said together with wicked grins. “Heals all ills.”

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“This is what a curse does: It takes a truth and twists it. It punishes those who don’t conform. It sets the parameters of conformity so narrow that few can actually stick to them.”

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“You tell the story,” said Mandy slowly. “You tell your story and the story of your family. You speak your truth. You shatter the stigma. You hold your head up to the world and speak so that everyone else who was ever like you can recognize themselves. Can see that they aren’t alone. Can see how the past will only keep repeating itself as long as we’re kept powerless by our silence.”

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author (2)
Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and made of equal parts feminism, whimsy and Doc Martens. She lives in Dublin where she writes magic realism, reads tarot cards and raises witch babies.

Moïra’s first novel, The Accident Season, was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize & the North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal & won the inaugural School Library Association of Ireland Great Reads Award. It received two starred reviews & sold in ten territories. Her second novel, Spellbook of the Lost and Found, was published in summer 2017, received a starred review from School Library Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards.

 

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TOUR SCHEDULE

Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me an e-ARC to read and review for free in exchange of an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material is not final and may change in the final publication of the book.