Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of The Waking Forest

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Title: The Waking Forest
Author: 
 Alyssa Wees
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Pan’s Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?


review and quotes

You guys, I found The Waking Forest to be a combination of one of the most mind-boggling, creepiest, and eeriest books I have read in a long time. Told in chapters with alternating settings, this book was like reading dark fairy-stories within other grim fairytales. The novel truly felt like a web of dreams within nightmares within dreams.

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I have a strong fascination with fantasy books set in dark forests, and I loved how The Waking Forest used the forest as an entity to thicken the plot and mold the most magical scenes. Sometimes the highly decorated language was jarring and puzzling because it was literally being told through the character’s own eyes, which often stilted some scenes for me. But overall these specific instances kept me entranced by well-kept secrets and the yearning to know what was going to happen next.

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Overall, The Waking Forest is truly a dark and spellbinding novel. Once I was used to the alternating chapters and the multiple character perspectives, the book became a constant page-turner. The twisted lore and fascinating character development created a hint of mystery, and the unraveling of fantastical secrets was a constant eyeopener. Purple prose decorates the story with vivid imagery and unbelievable scenes filled with fox pets, undiscovered constellations, and tasty wishes that melt on your tongue. Family, friendships, sacrifice, and self-acceptance are important themes that allowed this story to grow into its own form of a memorable fairy tale.

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giveaway

WIN One copy of The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees (USA only)

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about the author

 

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In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.
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Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Delacorte 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.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of When the Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry

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Title:
 When the Sky Fell on Splendor
Author:  Emily Henry
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:

Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.

In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.

Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.

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You guys, where do I even start. Emily Henry wrote one of my favorite books in the world, A Million Junes, and I could not wait until her next book to knock me off my feet. And here it is–When the Sky Fell on Splendor–another Henry book that takes the strong elements of the contemporary genre and splashes in frames of science fiction and fantasy. As supernatural elements are spread throughout the pages, the characters are thrown into strange phenomenons as they are dealing with cracked remnants of grief etched by loss.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor is a constant page-turner illuminated with small-town, Midwestern vibes, the disarray of a tragic event, and a group of teenage misfits. About five years ago a local steel mill explosion failed to spare well-loved neighbors, family members, and local heroes. Each character is internally processing the events that rattled their lives, and as summer unfolds their lives are suddenly changed again when they witness the crash of an unidentified flying object.

I really enjoyed When the Sky Fell on Splendor because the book focuses a lot on friendships and love. The book has the atmosphere and nostalgia of 1980’s movies, bringing in a close-knit group of friends (and a cute dog) who often engage in the exploring legends and unexplained events. Each of these teens are going through the motions of grief, loss, growing up, and self-acceptance. Overall, I loved getting lost in this story of amazing weirdos who one night are tossed into an eerie, unexplained event of bright lights, a glowing humanoid, special powers, and “what the hell is going on with the cows?”  

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Note: Thank you to good friend Emma at Miss Print for gifting me an early copy of this book. 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Dysasters by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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Title:
The Dysasters
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

P.C. and Kristin Cast, the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of the House of Night phenomenon, return to the scene with The Dysasters—the first action-packed novel in a new paranormal fantasy series.

Adoptive daughter of a gifted scientist, Foster Stewart doesn’t live a “normal” life, (not that she’d want to). But controlling cloud formations and seeing airwaves aren’t things most eighteen year olds can do.

Small town star quarterback and quintessential dreamy boy next door, Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor has never thought much about his extra abilities. Sure, his night vision comes in handy during games, but who wouldn’t want that extra edge?

From the moment Foster and Tate collide, their worlds spiral and a deadly tornado forces them to work together, fully awakening their not-so-natural ability – the power to control air.

As they each deal with the tragic loss of loved ones, they’re caught by another devastating blow – they are the first in a group of teens genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements, and worse… they’re being hunted.

Now, Foster and Tate must fight to control their abilities as they learn of their past, how they came to be, who’s following them, and what tomorrow will bring… more DYSASTERS?

Other buy links:

Audible  /   Books-A-Million   /   Google Play  /   iBooks   /   IndieBound  /   Kobo


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It has been so long since I have read a book by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, and The Dysasters fixates their readers into a whole new world of teenagers with superpowers and a scientific villain who knows all about their “elemental” powers. Told in multiple points of view, mainly through the eyes of Foster and Tate, the book provides action-packed scenes and their fight to survive and to also understand themselves. The story is often sprinkled with black-and-white comic-stylized artwork, which adds a stunning aesthetic to the engaging dialogue. 

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About the Authors

#1 New York Times & #1 USA Today bestselling author P.C. Cast was born in the Midwest, and, after her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Booksellers’ Best, and many, many more. Ms. Cast is an experienced teacher and talented speaker who lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses.

Kristin Cast is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who teams with her mother to write the wildly successful House of Night series. She has editorial credits, a thriving t-shirt line, and a passion for all things paranormal. When away from her writing desk, Kristin loves going on adventures with her friends, family, and significant other, playing with her dogs (Grace Kelly and Hobbs the Tiny Dragon), and is currently obsessed with her baby.

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Note: Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me an early copy of this book. I received this book as a #partner with St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of A Soldier and a Liar by Caitlin Lochner

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Title:
A Soldier and a Liar
Author: Caitlin Lochner 
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian

Synopsis:

In a world on the brink of war, four superpowered teens must learn to work together for peace in Caitlin Lochner’s action-packed debut novel, 

Lai Cathwell is good at keeping secrets. As a Nyte, a supernaturally gifted teenager who is feared and shunned by the ungifted, this skill is essential to survival. Orchestrating her own imprisonment to escape military duty has only honed her ability to deceive others. But when rebels start attacking the city, Lai is dragged back into the fight with a new team of Nytes.

Thrown together with Jay, a self-conscious perfectionist consumed by the desire to be accepted; Al, a short-tempered fighter lying for the sake of revenge; and Erik, an amnesiac hell-bent on finding his memories and his place in the world, Lai realizes she’s facing an entirely different kind of challenge—one that might just be impossible. But if this team can’t learn to work together, the entire sector will be plunged into war.

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REVIEW

It has been so long since I have read a dystopian novel and A Soldier and a Liar was the perfect book to fall back into the genre. Providing a futuristic setting where the world is in disarray and people are fighting to survive, this book provides an outlet for multiple characters to shine brightly in two main perspectives of gifted soldiers: Lai and Jay.

One of my favorite aspects of A Soldier and a Liar is that the world development is articulated and molded so well, which allows the pacing of the story to be steady and straightforward. Not only is the story filled with groups of gifted and powerful people known as Nytes, but I loved how uniquely their supernatural powers are explained and used throughout the plotting of some strategically planned and action-packed scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed that along with the fight for good and survival, the book also adds in small dashes of mystery, humor, and wit. Add in some unraveled secrets, messy twists, and unexpected turns and you won’t want to put this book down. In the end, what kept me ingrained in A Soldier and a Liar was the (un)reliable narratives and newly developed friendships, which formed the strongest bonds to keep this apocalyptic and military-driven story together.

about the author

Caitlin
Author Bio:

(Um, so, wow bios are hard.) I studied creative writing at the University of South Florida and used my BA in words to become an English teaching assistant in Tokyo. I’m in love with storytelling of any kind, but especially in the form of books, manga, and video games. If you ever want to talk nerdy, I am VERY down.

Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter

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Review of Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

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Title:
 Comics Will Break Your Heart
Author:  Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:

Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love). 

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Filled with laughs, swoons, and comic book culture, book nerdigans are going to love Comics Will Break Your Heart. Set up as a mild enemies-to-lovers story, this book builds a story around multiple generations caught in an emotional and legal battle involving a comic book franchise. As the newer generation, in this case Miriam and Weldon, get the brunt gossip of the past, both teenagers try to build a friendship without being pelted with bitter feelings from various familial perspectives.

Comics Will Break Your Heart 
takes a realistic approach in describing the vulnerability and anger that often encompasses situations that teenagers experience, such as friendships growing apart, college worries, first love, and financial problems. All of these situations are not sugar-coated, but fully unravel as the story progresses. There are tears, heartache, and throwing coffee cups at windows, but there is also comfort, much-needed hugs, and wide-open communication. Additionally, I really enjoyed the family dynamics in this book. Miriam’s parents are so heartwarming and funny. And her father has the best sense of humor…he’s the typical father that has so many “dad jokes” that had me laughing out loud throughout the book.

If you are fan of comic books and comic conventions, the nerdy side of this book is so welcoming. These characters have a passion for creativity and respect for one another. As a quirky and quick read, Comics Will Break Your Heart provides a realistic understanding of life’s woes and unpredictability. Add in a dash of romance and “POW,” the story unfolds with compassion and forgiveness in the mix. Comics Will Break Your Heart is not a full-on rom-com but it is very sweet and funny at times.

 

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Note: Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing me an early copy of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Raving Review of Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

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Title:
 Bloodleaf
Author:  Crystal Smith
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her.

But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

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Crystal Smith’s debut novel Bloodleaf is a unique fantasy that integrates an intricate magic system, familial bonds, a root-worthy romance, and a story of survival and sacrifice. From the first chapter, the story sucks you in with forbidden magic that has been bombarded by politics and a full-out witchhunt. 

Aurelia, the main character, is not only a fierce and determined heroine in the novel, but her constant ability to analyze every situation she is thrown in allows her to mature throughout the chapters. I love that she wears her heart on her sleeve and is always protecting the people she deeply cares about. She is cautious but friendly. Aurelia is a protector, a fighter for justice, and a survivor. She is so straightforward and honest with everyone she encounters. Additionally, I love her interactions with the other well-developed side characters. 

As Aurelia explores her magical abilities, she is thrown into many twists and turns. Her journey throughout the novel is to survive multiple assassination attempts and save her kingdom, which all leads to some surprising secrets. However, as her well-paced story unfolds, I found some of the plot twists to be predictable (or I’m just really good at picking up on very subtle clues). 

Overall, if you are in the mood for a new fantasy trilogy filled with royal politics, a slow-burn romance, and NO CLIFFHANGER (that’s right, there’s no cliffhanger . . . YASS), then definitely pick up Bloodleaf. You will gasp, laugh, cry, and cheer throughout Aurelia’s story as she learns to control her magic and help those that she loves. 

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Note: Thank you to HMH for providing me an e-arc of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Blog Tour : Review of White Stag by Kara Barbieri

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Title:
White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Published by: Wednesday Books
Publication date: January 8th 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble  / Book Depository


• • • REVIEW • • •

As a goblin-infested novel, White Stag is filled with chilling thrills and the gruesome politics of the goblin world. As a human living in the goblin realm (Permafrost) for over 100 years, the main character, Janneke, is hardened by the brutality she encounters in this cruel world. Janneke is always in a fight instead of flight mode in order to survive the monstrous acts of the powerful goblins that surround her. 

At the beginning of the book, the pacing of White Stag was very choppy and abrupt, but once Janneke joins the White Stag hunt, I was ingrained in her mindset to fight, survive, and escape. The reader is often thrown into Janneke’s memories and flashbacks of being tortured, mutilated, and raped, which triggers unsettling emotions and fear, so be aware that this novel may be upsetting, triggering, and too graphic for some audiences.

Overall, White Stag is a very unique fantasy that brings a new story to goblin lore. As imagined in one of my favorite goblin-narrative poems “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, goblins are also brutal creatures in White Stag. But through Janneke’s experiences, she notices that humans can be monsters too. Beyond the abrupt flashbacks that provide Janneke’s distressing backstory, the novel is littered with action-packed fight scenes and the hint of a possible lovestory brewing. 

about the author

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Author Bio:

Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop.

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