Friday, April 30, 2021

What's Coming in May?

Oh, those flowers are blooming! I love watching them, while sitting outside and reading, reading, reading. What about you? Are you finding a favorite reading spot in the great outdoors? Or are you snuggled inside? 

I've been tempted to call May 'middle-grade month' because my pile seems to have hit a slew of these (almost higher than my picture book pile for this month...which is saying something). And each one sounds so amazing! 

Wait. You're not into middle grade novels? 

Well, don't fret because, of course, I haven't forgotten my other readers. Picture book fans will discover some lovely and meaningful books this month, and young adult lovers are in for a treat. I have several really good ones on that front, too, and a few lean in the direction of edgier fiction. 

But why don't you just take a peek for yourself?


A vanished firebird, secret messages, an evil sorceress in a volcano, and a land about to fall into desolation...sounds like adventure pure to me. So, there was no way I could pass up on this one. Explore it with me on the 3rd only a day before it hits the world.

Middle Grade Fantasy


I've had this one on my radar for months and was pretty sure I wasn't going to get my hands on it...yeah, life as a reviewer also brings disappointment. So, when it suddenly arrived in my mailbox, I squealed and danced and....well, did the Bollywood thing! Check it out with me on the 4th.

Middle Grade Contemporary


I'm really looking forward to this one. As in, super excited. It's written by a very well-known, Japanese children's author and circles between fantasy and mystery with magic, myth, and all that goodness which makes Asian children's fantasy so wonderful. Take the mystical trip with me on the 1st.

Middle Grade Fantasy 


I saw this cover and was intrigued. The blurb isn't exactly the usual run-down but gives more impressions than plot. So, I'm expecting magic, mystery (obviously), a bit of science, romance, slaughter, animals, swords...yeah, I'm not really sure what this one will hold. But find out with me on the 24th because I'm more than curious.

Young Adult Fantasy / Mystery


This one originally comes from the world of Spanish literature and is finally being translated into English. It's another one from a well-known author and will, without a doubt, be an amazing read. Yep, I'm excited! I'll be sharing more about this one on the 10th.

Middle Grade Magical Realism

When I read the blurb on this one, I had to get my hands on it. If I understood correctly, this one mixes graphic novel elements with usual novel ones and hits on some difficult themes concerning teen parties, drinking, and figuring out the darker side of yourself and others. It should hold suspense high and offer all sorts of unique views. Discover it with me on the 14th.

Young Adult Thriller


This is the 5th book in a popular series, which I have not had the chance to enjoy yet. But it's never too late to jump in, especially since it was re-released this last month (yep, it's that loved by young readers). Plus, isn't that lamb on the front adorable? Frolic with me on the 18th.

Chapter Book Contemporary

Sparkly unicorns have a way of catching my eye, and since I'm a huge fan of nerds, there's no way I could skip out on this one. Plus, this unicorn loves to build robots and play with chemistry and math and...
Yep, it's got to be a good one. Check it out with me on the 22nd.

Picture Book


The moment I saw this one, I knew I had to grab it up. Doesn't this troll look so cute and lonely and perfect for adventure? I'm pretty sure this one involves pirates and a slug. See what else in entails on the 27th.

Picture Book


This read is sold for adults but is also recommended to the YA audience. It takes place in the 2050's and throws a young woman into a world of intrigue and manipulation. It also include topics such as the rising ocean levels, artificial intelligence, and harbors tons of secrets and tension. I've heard great things about this one. Take a trip to the future with me on the 28th.

Young Adult/Adult Science Fiction Thriller

I, honestly, changed, added, deleted, tossed around, and flip-flopped the books in today's list about...oh...thousands of dozens of times? I have so many gems I'd love to share with you but refuse to give in and post more than ten books. (Maybe, that's a silly rule but oh well.) Oh, but wait! I do have a tiny loop-hole in my own rule....

The Joker Read!!! This next one will slide somewhere and somehow into my packed schedule, but I can't tell you which date because I'm not sure myself. Keep an eye out for it because it also promises to be a goodie.


This one comes from a very talented author/blogger friend. I picked it up last year but simply haven't gotten around to diving into it yet, which I totally regret. It has been getting more than fabulous reviews and promises to be an amazing read. 

Young Adult Thriller

Cover Reveal: Two Kinds of Us by Sarah Sutton


by Sarah Sutton
YA Contemporary, Romance


MAY 25th!!!


In a life of diamond bracelets and country clubs, I’m the perfect daughter. I get all the right grades, volunteer at all the right organizations, apply to all the right colleges.

And I hate every second of it. At the rate my life is playing out, under the strict rule of my parents, politicians and housewives will be my future.

Until I meet Harry.

Harry’s a singer in a rock band with a voice so drop-dead sexy that I actually feel hypnotized. Doesn’t hurt that he’s hot either, and with the kind, flirty personality to match, it’s the perfect trifecta. And even better, he sees me as the me I want to be. The me who can break free of the life I’m trapped in, the me who can control my own future.

The only problem? He knows me as Stella, my fun, carefree alter-ego—so drastically different than Destelle, the one who is trapped in the life my parents rule for me.

But as we get closer, I realize Harry’s keeping a secret of his own, something related to his dark past that he’s trying to move on from, and when I find out, everything we’ve built could come crashing down.

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Author Bio:

Sarah Sutton is a YA Romance author, bringing you stories about teenagers falling in love (sometimes with magic)She spends her days dreaming up ideas with her two adorable puppies by her side being cheerleaders (and mega distractions).

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Review: Juan Hormiga by Gustavo Roldán Devetach

During the next two weeks, I'll have a few reads, which have been adored in other countries and are now being released in English for the first time. I have a soft spot for these type of reads and can't wait to dive into them. 

Today's is a picture book from Argentina and centers around a small, little ant.  

by Gustavo Roldán Devetach
Translated by Robert Croll
Elsewhere Editions
Picture Book
64 pages
ages 4 to 8

MAY 4th!!!

A whimsical tale in which family lore inspires newfound daring, told by Argentina's sleepiest ant

Juan Hormiga, the greatest storyteller of his entire anthill, loves to recount his fearless grandfather's adventures. When Juan and his fellow ants gather around for storytime, he hypnotizes all with tales of his grandfather's many exploits - including his escape from an eagle's talons and the time he leapt from a tree with just a leaf for a parachute. When he's through telling these tales, Juan loves to cozy up for a nice long nap. He's such a serious napper that he takes up to ten siestas every day! Though well loved by his ant friends, Juan decides telling tales and sleeping aren't quite enough for him - it's time to set off on his own adventure. With whimsical, irresistible illustrations, Juan Hormiga affirms the joys of sharing stories, and of creating your own out in the world.



                                         * translated from a favorite in Argentina
                                         * message like a fable
                                         * interesting tale which grabs
                                         * simple and well-done illustrations


It's hard not to adore this amazingly, lazy ant and how he finds his very own notch in life.

At 64 pages, this picture book is a bit longer than many, and it's exactly the length it needs to be. Translated from a popular tale in Argentina, the tale revolves around an ant. A very, very lazy ant. What surprised me is that this laziness doesn't glide into the usual message about working hard and such. This tale embraces the ant for who and what he is because despite his weakness, he has a different not so easily described but horribly important. Especially in a busy anthill.

There are quite a few things, which I enjoyed in this one. (And yep, I'm marking it onto my possible favorite reads for 2021 list because it really is quite good.) First, the illustrations are amazing in their own way...much like the ant and his subtle talent. Done in fine ink strokes, the illustrations stick to only three colors most of the way through. The lazy ant, however, sticks out from the rest, making him very easy to find. Surrounding details are pretty much ignored, leaving each moment to concentrate on what's needed for the story. And it works perfectly. There's even enough personality and humor built in to make each picture interesting and able to tell its tale. But then, maybe it was refreshing just to see a picture book which doesn't pop with a rainbow on every page and still, brings delight.

The tale is simply well-crafted. It's clear this ant has issues, and it has them with no pardon. Nor does anyone bully him or look down on him for it. Instead, they accept him for who he is...but then, this ant does offer something special. Plus, there is adventure and action in its own way. Watching the ants fever for their friend's survival (I'm not giving away anything here), makes the reader worry, too...and yet, there's a undertone of humor to the entire situation. It's a wonderful mix.

This is a well done translation which is sure to become a favorite for more than one young reader. It's universal message is inspiring and shows a real look at acceptance and how some talents are more valuable than they might first appear.

Shadow's Dissident by Ariel Paiement with Giveaway!


Shadow's Dissident
Children of Chaos Series
by Ariel Paiement
 YA Fantasy Adventure

A powerful cabal rounding up those with extraordinary abilities. A girl with an ability only the elite should possess. They want to shape her into the ultimate weapon, but she just wants her life back.

Gwenabhir is a simple farm girl with an ability she doesn’t understand. She’s been told to hide it her whole life so the nobility won’t execute her for having the ability. But she never imagined someone more dangerous than the nobility might come after her because of it.

When Oblivion, a secret organization bent on plunging the universe into chaos, kidnaps her, she is thrown into a world rife with secrets, lies, and darkness. Her only goal is to escape before they can break her and force her into the role they have planned for her. When her refusal to cooperate lands her with a new trainer, she sets out to turn him to her side.

Can she survive and escape? Who will she tell when she does, and where will she find the allies she so desperately needs?

Shadow’s Dissident is the thrilling first book of two by Ariel Paiement in the Children of Chaos collection. Fans of romance, intrigue, and secret organizations will love Ariel Paiement’s riveting fantasy adventure.

Buy Shadow’s Dissident today to reveal the world of secrets and magic lurking in the darkness.

Goodreads * Amazon

Ariel Paiement is a speculative fiction author. She writes a variety of fiction pieces and other works. As a reader, she enjoys lots of styles and genres, though fantasy and science fiction are her favorites.
Her favorite pastime is indulging in wild flights of imagination for new fiction pieces and other works. If asked what she spends most of her time doing, she'd tell you that she spends most of it working either and writing. Life gets to be hectic, but she enjoys her part-time teaching and editing work as well as writing whenever she has a spare moment.
She is the author of several short fiction pieces and other works, including On The Narrow Way and Rith's Disciple (both of which are published in Port and Key's anthologies), In Darkness Lost, and the first of the Legends of Alcardia series. Her newest novel, On Twilight's Wings, is a YA fantasy novel and the first in a YA Christian fantasy series with the second one, On Anarchy's Wings, releasing in the beginning of 2021. In July of 2020, another short story, Leap of Faith, will be out. This short story will be available in the anthology Glimpses of Time and Magic.
You can find Ariel on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest as well as via email at She's pretty open to connecting with readers and other writers too! Reach out if you want to chat. Just be sure you introduce yourself. She deletes requests that seem weird or creepy. Saying something more than just hi would be nice.

Website * Facebook * FB Group * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Review: Sisters of the Wolf by Patricia Miller-Schroeder


by Patricia Miller-Schroeder
Dundurn Press
YA Historical Fiction
336 pages

AUGUST 24th!!!

Can Shinoni and Keena, two Ice Age teens separated from their tribes, overcome their differences to outwit their pursuer and survive the unforgiving wilds?

The climate is changing, game is disappearing, and two peoples of the Ice Age compete for survival in a savage world. Keena, from a powerful band of Neanderthals, and Shinoni, daughter of a Cro-Magnon shaman, are torn from their families by Haken, a ruthless hunter. The girls dislike each other but soon discover they need each other to survive. Together they escape but are pursued by Haken across an Ice-Age landscape rumbling with advancing glaciers and teeming with mighty predators.

As Shinoni and Keena work to overcome disaster at every turn, they are joined by Tewa, a powerful she-wolf, who becomes their guardian and spirit guide. Can their growing friendship overcome cultural, racial, and even species differences? Will they ever be able to find their families? Only the spirits know.

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                                          * set in prehistoric ice age
                                          * tries to stay true to time (in so far a possible)
                                          * digs deep into characters
                                          * friendship and family key
                                          * racism


Set in the ice age, this tale accompanies two very different girls on a dangerous adventure, where the walls of racism melt under common purpose and forming friendships.

Shinoni and Keena are about the same age, thirteen, but are as different as two girls can be. One is the member of a human tribe, while the other stems from the disliked Neanderthals. They have nothing in common outside of the world they live in, and that one is harsh and unforgiving. But when an evil hunter steals both from their families, they soon form an, otherwise, impossible bond. Not only do they need to escape and return to their families, but, more importantly, they'll need to survive.

The setting grabbed me on this one. I can't say that I've seen many YA novels set in the Ice Age. As for the historical side of thing, the author has, obviously, put a ton of research into this one and did her best to bring the life and cultures as closely to real life as one can in these circumstances. So, hats off to that. The hardships, lifestyle, and priorities slide in to form a rich environment, and it's clear that the girls both have different ways of seeing life, not only compared with each other but with early teens today. The dangers and worries match the harsh life, and the opening pages bring this to light immediately. 

There is tension and this is a fairly, quick-paced read, in general. The girls face a horrible situation, and this comes across with as much adventure, emotion, and fear as it should. It was interesting to include both a Neanderthal and a human (I looked this up, and it does follow historical research, too), and see how the two groups might have viewed each other. This also lays a great base for the wonderful friendship which develops between the two girls.

Unfortunately, I had trouble staying interested in this one while reading it and did lay it down without the huge need to return to it again. But I did want to miss out on seeing how it ends, either. While emotions flow and the backgrounds/world is well-laid, I found the characters still a bit superficial at times and couldn't connect to either of them completely. The pacing stuttered every now and then (only a coupe of times, though) moving too quick or a little too slow.  Still, this was by no means an uninteresting read. I think it just wasn't for me completely...although there were things I really enjoyed about it.

They say that this one is for fans of The Clan of the Bear Cave series, which I've never read. So, I can't say whether that is true or not. I did find this one more for a tween audience, than either a solid young adult or middle grade read. In any case, it's worth a go if it sounds like something you'd enjoy because there are quite a lot of things, which make this a good read. Just for the right person.

Happy Book Birthday, Awakening by Poppy Williams with Giveaway!

by Poppy Williams
YA Suspense, Thriller


Every Hero Has a Beginning

Raised by parents who work deep within the U.S. intelligence agency, Zoe Dixon has picked up a few skills along the way.

When her family moves to a new town, Zoe thinks it’s business as usual. But that all changes when a student turns up dead at her new school. Now, after years of keeping a low profile, Zoe has to decide whether she’ll step out of the shadows and use her skills for good.

As she digs deeper, she’ll uncover shocking truths that will change the course of her life forever.

Awakening is book one in the Zoe Dixon Saga. Fans of Marvel’s Black Widow, J.J. Abrams Alias, and Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass, will love this young adult action-packed suspense thriller.

Goodreads / Amazon


Zoe quickly washed her face and laced up her shoes before heading down the stairs. She turned right, passing the den, and made her way towards the door underneath the stairs. It was made of solid metal. She reached out, placing her palm against the wood grain to the right side of the door. She could feel the coolness of the hidden scanner that was nestled underneath a thin layer of wood. It scanned her prints, and then a small panel slid open, revealing a keypad. Zoe’s fingers moved quickly as she typed in the eighteen-digit code from memory. The code was random, and her father changed it every three days. She heard the lock click and watched as the door slid open. She stepped in and hurried down the stairs as the door closed behind her.

At the bottom of the stairs was a short hallway that led towards the main room, where the walls and floors were covered in dark gray mats. She found Mia sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room, waiting.

“No Mom and Dad yet?” Zoe asked as she sat next to her sister.

“Still upstairs. Are you ready for this?”

“Yeah,” Zoe sighed. “I gotta admit, I was hoping we would get a break tonight.”

“Wishful thinking,” Mia said as she rocked back and forth.

“I guess you’re right. What do you think tonight’s game is going to be?”

“I don’t know but get ready to lose.”

“Yeah, right,” Zoe sneered back at her. “I think it’s going to be all about Cleveland.”

“We haven’t done that one in a while,” Mia said with a nostalgic look.

“You gonna be okay?” Zoe said with fake concern, her tone full of mocking.

Mia flung out her hand, swatting Zoe’s arm. “Ha ha. I’m more than okay.”

“We’ll see,” Zoe said.

Carl and Sofia Dixon entered the room, each carrying a set of thick metal chains. Zoe glanced at Mia as if to say, I told you so, as the girls stood.

“Zoe to the right,” their mom called out in a no-nonsense voice. Both girls moved towards the one section of wall not covered by mats. It was solid gray brick. Towards the middle of the wall embedded in the brick were several thick steel rings. Zoe sat on the floor directly underneath one of the rings, pressing her back against the icy wall.

“Hands up,” her mom said. Zoe lifted her hands and waited while her mother chained her to the wall.

And here she is...

Poppy grew up in Cleveland Ohio, where books played an enormous role in her upbringing. She started writing when she realized she had a few stories of her own to tell. When she's not typing away at her keyboard, you'll find her playing video games, or listening to K-Pop!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Review: The Hero of Numbani by Nicky Drayden

Hey, gamers and action fans! Today's book is something just for you. This one originates from the ever-so-popular Overwatch game....and I'd heard it was actually very good. Yes, I'm a bit slow this time with this book. This one was released last year (Not an ARC???!!!!!). But hey, a good read is always a good read! Right?

 I loved the cover on this one, and I know video game books do catch middle graders' attentions, especially reluctant readers. Plus, as said, I do like the cover. Doesn't that girl scream attitude? Add that she builds robots and is into circuits and all that stuff...and well, yeah. This one definitely hit my 'must be reviewed' list. 

Extra Info:
After a tad bit of research, I've also discovered that the publisher, Scholastic, is releasing another Overwatch novel on June 1st, Deadlock Rebels. This one, however, isn't for the middle grade audience but steers toward young adults. So, older readers and fans, you might want to take a peek at that one, too.

Now, let's see if I enjoyed this one, and let you guys know what it's all about.

by Nicky Drayden
Middle Grade Science Fiction
304 pages
ages 8 to 12

In the technologically advanced African city of Numbani, in the not-so-distant future, humans live in harmony with humanoid robots known as omnics. But when a terrorist tries to shatter that unity, a hero named Efi Oladele rises!

Efi has been making robots since she was little-machines to better her community and improve people's lives. But after she witnesses Doomfist's catastrophic attack on the city's OR15 security bots, Efi feels the call to build something greater: a true guardian of Numbani.

While Doomfist sows discord between humans and omnics, Efi engineers an intelligent and compassionate robot, Orisa, named after the powerful spirits who guide her people. Orisa has a lot to learn before she's ready to defeat Doomfist, but Efi has some learning to do, too, especially when it comes to building-and being-a hero. With Doomfist rallying his forces, and the military powerless to stop him, can Efi mold Orisa into the hero of Numbani before it's too late?

This action-packed novel features the fan-favorite characters Efi, Orisa, Doomfist, and Lúcio in an all-new, original story straight from the minds of the Overwatch game team and critically acclaimed author Nicky Drayden!

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON   /   B&N    /     KOBO     /     BOOK DEPOSITORY


                                       * written by award winning author
                                       * inspired by Overwatch video game
                                       * strong female character / engineering interests
                                       * action pure
                                       * set in futuristic version of Nigeria


Firstly, I am not a fan of Overwatch and hadn't heard of it before reading this book. For some reason, it's not a game my kids have ever gotten into...don't get that wrong because they do have their games they love. But somehow, this one slipped through the cracks. (Go figure?) So, I went at this as a gamer-book fan but knowing nothing about this particular one.

I was really surprised how well this is written and have no doubt fans of the game will love every page.
The main character bounces off the pages right away with tons of personality, determination, and quirkiness. Her desire to get her robots right was already cute, but she's packed with fierce determination and a heart of gold. And she doesn't go the adventure alone. There are lots of sub-characters along the way, and these were just as fun and intriguing as she is. They made for a fun read.

The plot is engaging and keeps things rolling at a very fast pace. Some things are a bit predictable, but many are not. There's tension, danger, excitement, humor and everything needed to get lost in the pages. I have no idea how much is based on the real game...or whether it's not, but it was entertaining. There was also enough depth and background to allow the world to gain a bit of richness. So, I didn't need to know the game to enjoy it, either.

Then, there are the aspects which, obviously, seemed to hang on the game. While this did add a bit of clunkiness as a 'normal' read, knowing the origins kept it from becoming overly irritating. All in all, this is a fun read. If you don't know the game, you'll want to after reading this. And if you are an Overwatch fan, you'll want to pick this one up, anyway. It's fun and well-written for middle graders (and maybe, even those just a pinch older who love to pretend).

And here she is...

Nicky Drayden is a systems analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas, where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel The Prey of Gods is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks. See more of her work at or catch her on Twitter @nickydrayden.

Dark Reflections by Kelsey Ketch


Dark Reflections
 April 15th, 2019
NA Dark Fantasy

Being possessed by a vampire sucks!

Alana Jones’s world has been completely turned upside-down after being bitten by a vampire’s reflection in a cursed mirror. Now she’s forced to stay in an abandoned Victorian inn on an isolated island off the west coast of Florida, where Alana lives a double life: one as herself and one as a vicious murderer. Over the past year, she has spilt and drunk the blood of sixteen victims. The guilt of their deaths slowly eating away her sanity.

Sixteen dead . . .

However, things become even more complicated when Alana finds Cole, a surfer she felt a connection with the moment they met on the mainland, locked up in the island’s shed. Knowing his death is inevitable, she attempts to distant herself from him, continually reminding herself of the monster residing underneath her skin. Unfortunately, it’s a small island, and the more she interacts with Cole, the more her feelings grow for him.

Eventually, she has to make a decision. Either accept his fate or find a way to expel the vampire’s spirit from within herself before she murders him as well.

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99 cents April 26-30th! 

Dark Reflections Playlist! 

And here she is...

Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist and Data Analysis. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.

For more information, please visit her site at

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Review: A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

Happy Monday, everyone! I've got an exciting fantasy for the young adult audience, today...and best's not a series. This one packs all those much loved elements found in three books and shoves it into one, single read. Sound to good to be true? Well, read on and see if it's all I'd hoped it to be. 

by Laura Rueckert
Young Adult Fantasy
352 pages

AUGUST 3rd!!!

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.


                                       * nations on the verge of war
                                       * royalty struggles
                                       * high-action
                                       * of gods and magic


Action and adventure mingle with intrigue, royalty, and arranged marriages, while ghosts and gods play their own games.

Princess Jiara's older sister, Scilla, was brutally murdered shortly before her marriage to a king, whose alliance would remove the increasing threat of war. Scilla, now a ghost known as an 'Earthwalker', will not rest in peace as long as her killer remains free. And the longer it takes to find the criminal, the more violent she grows. But with war still being an ever growing threat, Jiara's parents have little time to spare. Before the end of the mourning period, they agree to give the king Jiara's hand in marriage, and only a few days later, she finds herself as the queen of a country and people she knows little about. Her own dyslexia and language difficulties make things worse. But she has no time to concentrate on such problems as she begins to suspect there might be a tie between the country and her sister's death. If she doesn't figure out the weave of secrets soon, all those she loves will pay a deadly price.

This one was actually much better than I thought it might be. It has all the elements needed to make an exciting, young adult read for fantasy fans, who love series about clashing countries, magic, strong heroines, intrigue and a dash of romance, but this one manages to keep it bound into one, exciting book. Every page holds something new, and the weave of secrets is very well done. There are subplots, which all come together as they should at the end, and characters to root for...or hate. Princess Jiara isn't hard to connect with, and she isn't even one of those heroines, who makes silly choices. Rather, she has a good head on her shoulders and does well with what she has. Even the descriptions of the various countries and cultures are well done and draw the reader in. There's more richness than I hoped for, and it's well written, too.

Of course, it's impossible to pack the amazing goodness of what many authors use three books for into one without losing something. The romance wasn't extremely strong, and there was little chemistry on that end. But, in my opinion, that isn't really a problem. The marriage is arranged, and while there is attraction, it's not the main focus of this book. Jiara has enough on her plate, and any romance slides as a tiny nibble along the sidelines of the plot. The King seems nice but we don't really get to know him. So, romance fans aren't going to be swooning as much as they'd like, but action fans and secret intrigue supporters will get their fill. 

While logic held pretty well the entire way through, foundation and depth were missing from the 'Watcher' aspect and their involvement. It was hard to grasp what they really are or their greater meaning in anything. Because of this, there were several events, which happened too quickly and conveniently. This cheapened the ending a bit and skipped over some needed depth to really make the ending sit. But I enjoyed reading this one quite a bit and appreciated how the author got so much into one novel...and accomplished it in a way that works pretty well. It's an easy and exciting read, which is hard to put down. So, that makes it a good read in my book (no pun intended).

Cover Reveal: Haven Enduring by H.B. Reneau


Haven Enduring
by H.B. Reneau
The Legion of Pneumos, #2
YA Fantasy

JULY 15th!!!

That which was undone may be reborn, but only at the price of chaos.

After losing the one person she could always depend on, Keira Altman has fled the Capital and its deadly dance of political intrigue, finding herself instead amidst the perilous jungles of the Southern Shield. Looking for respite and peace from the guilt that haunts her, Keira instead finds a world still on the verge of chaos. Try as she might to avoid the coming onslaught, her fate remains tied in service to Pneumos, a calling she can never truly escape.

Guarded against further heartbreak, Keira ventures back into the vipers’ den. But when long-held secrets come to a head, she discovers that the key to restoring order and reclaiming all that she has lost may be far closer than expected. With the help of some new and unexpected allies, Keira is determined to unravel the mysteries the Legion has buried deep over the centuries. Yet perhaps some questions are best left unanswered.

In this epic, action-packed sequel to the hit YA Fantasy Chaos Looming, Loren stands upon the edge of a knife, with paths diverging to order or chaos. Time will tell what fate has in store.

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Sequel to:

And here she is...

H.B. Reneau is an emerging author of YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. Author, medical student, and proud dog mom, H.B. Reneau is known for her character-driven, genre-crossing fiction that draws on her experiences in both medicine and the military. She has a particular love for strong female characters who face up to adversity and manage to subvert some expectations along the way. When not writing or at the hospital, she can be found hiking, drinking coffee to excess, and getting lost in new cities.

To learn more about her, head over to her website at There you'll find her books, blog, and fun extras. Or reach out directly! She loves connecting with readers through social media and email so be sure to follow her and sign up for the monthly newsletter to receive receive free gifts, awesome discounts, and updates on all her latest projects!

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Review: Summer Moonlight Concert by Han Han

 Today's review steps in a slightly different direction...and that's an awesome thing! The Secret Mountain publishers take picture books to the next level by adding another aspect, which reaches children (and adults) even deeper than the written or read word. That's music. Their books combine both to make a lovely combination. And it's one, I'm really taken with.

Well, just read further and find out.

by Han Han
The Secret Mountain
Picture Book / Music
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

MAY 1st!!!

It happened towards the end of the day while her parents were peacefully preparing dinner. As her father lit a candle, he suggested they take out their musical instruments and descend to the park to perform for their neighbors. He played the erhu and her mother the accordion while she danced. The songs made their way into each home and soon, everyone joined the concert, laughing and singing under the moonlight, celebrating the music that had brought them together. The picture book is accompanied with recordings of the narrated story and the theme song.



                                              *  beautifully illustrated
                                              * Chinese culture
                                              * music included
                                              * easy to relate to tale


Lovely illustrations, beautifully composed music, and a touch of foreign culture, while holding the needed sense of familiarity, too...yep, this one holds everything possible to make it a wonderful read.

Everyone heads home as the day slowly comes to an end with groceries and children in tow. Apartment lights come to life, and the usual routines set in. Until the electricity goes out and leaves everything in darkness. But this little girl and her parents have a wonderful idea on how to create an evening everyone will enjoy.

I honestly don't know where to start praising this one. The illustrations are well done and allow the watercolor to carry the necessary details while still leaving an airy effect, which fits so well to the overall atmosphere of the story. Then, there's the story itself. It describes a scene most young listeners can relate to, in one way or another, with a little girl, who is just like any other little girl a person might meet. The evening routine's description is calming and will connect with many young listeners, while still pulling them in. And then, the entire thing hits a wonderful scene, which will leave listeners wishing they could take part, too...and they can, in a way.

That's where the music comes in. This book also includes an audio narration with background music, and the 'summer concert' itself in pure musical form. The music can be heard while simply flipping through the pages (it's impossible not to notice the composition's connection directly with the tale) or even on it's own. The instruments and composition also hold true to the Chinese culture, expanding young readers/listeners awareness on that end as well.

In other words, I enjoyed this one quite a bit and find it an excellent combination for young readers in single as well as group settings, and can really recommend it.

And here she is...

Han Han is a graduate of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. She has illustrated several popular children’s books in China including Peng Yi’s “The Monster Daddy” and Yin Jianling’s “Dragonfly, Dragonfly”. She received the prestigious Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Award in 2015 for the original version of “Summer Moonshine Concert”.