[Review] LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn, 5⚝

Meg Mackworth does lettering for a living. It’s amazing how she thinks in font styles and associates feelings with her doodles. She has this habit of putting hidden messages in her output and is currently facing an artist’s block. Reid Sutherland is a numbers guy. To say that he is good with patterns and codes is definitely an understatement. They first met when Meg did the wedding program for Reid and his fiancée, Avery. Fast forward to almost a year, Reid is back in the shop where Meg works and confronts her about something. This confrontation leads to a series of meetings between a girl who breathes letters and a guy who sees numbers.

This book is everything I wanted. Everything is on point – the romance, the humor, the conflicts. All the characters are relatable even when a few of them are not likable. I like that the book is feminist and LGBT-friendly. Love Lettering is indeed a fit title because this is a story about different kinds of love (passion for what you do, attraction to and falling in love with your partner, solid friendships, and even self-love) and how you make these relationships work. I enjoyed reading this in Meg’s point-of-view because she gives life to each letter and each word. I was touched by how this book was written and I can honestly say that Meg and Reid are #relationshipgoals. Trigger warnings include cheating, divorce, sex.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for a review.

For more honest reviews and other bookish stuff, check my sidebar and follow me on the rest of my social media accounts: InstagramGoodreads, and Twitter.

[Blog Tour + Giveaway] HEIR OF LIES by Mallory McCartney

About the Book

Title: HEIR OF LIES (Black Dawn #1)
Author: Mallory McCartney
Pub. Date: April 21, 2020
Publisher: MM Books
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 397
Find it: Goodreads, AmazonKindle, Amazon Canada, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, BAM, Chapters Indigo

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Blurb

“Hope was a dangerous thing. It could consume every dream and make them take flight, becoming wild daydreams in one’s heart and mind. Or hope could incinerate everything you thought you knew, burning you down to your core, leaving you raw and exposed for the world.”

Emory Fae has only known one thing—life at The Academy, a school for those who have special abilities. Following in her parents’ footsteps, the pressure to uphold their dream falls on her and one of her best friends—Adair Stratton. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. With whispers of dark magic spreading across Kiero, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.

An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher, sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath, for the first time in years, they demand the Faes listen to their proposition for a new treaty. Caught in the middle of politics, Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis, search for the one thing that matters the most—the truth.

Their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made, and war ravages Kiero. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic, and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision. Will he fight or bow to the darkness within?

But, Adair’s decision will change the course of Kiero forever, setting in motion irreversible destinies for everyone at The Academy as Emory Fae rises as heir.

Heir of Lies is the first book in the bestselling Black Dawn series.

The Black Dawn series is re- releasing and “Heir of Lies” (book one) is coming April 21 2020! This edition will have an exclusive map and bonus content!

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Excerpt

“The afternoon sun soaked into his neck as Brokk Foster raised the bow, drawing the string back, his arrow nocked. The bowstring grazed his cheek as his arm shook; he tried not to blink against the sweat rolling down his temple. The courtyard faded away in that second, his hawk-eyed teacher, Professor Iasan, standing to the side, his arms crossed, his face impassive. Brokk’s fellow classmates stood near, and the looming structure of the Academy was behind them.  A strand of his golden hair tickled his forehead as he exhaled. It’s not real, just release the arrow. Just release it.  At the opposite end of the range, a stuffed dummy was raised with an emblazoned red target where a heart would be.  Not real, not real, not real.  Muscles screaming, he tried to empty his charged mind, to convince himself that the undiluted fear that clutched his heart was unreasonable.  With still shaking arms, the arrow flew, cutting through the air with a soft hiss. Laugher erupted behind him, making him cringe as he lowered the bow and saw the lodged feathered end in the ground, not even close to the dummy.  “Enough!” Professor Iasan’s booming voice cut off his classmates’ jeers.  Brokk turned, lifting his gaze to meet the incredulous look of his best friend, Memphis Carter. Memphis raised one eyebrow as his smooth voice filled Brokk’s consciousness, only for him to hear, “Well, what are you going to do this time?” Huffing, Brokk wrenched his gaze away. Sometimes his friend could be such an ass.  Tactical training class was Brokk’s nemesis, and he met, not for the first time, Professor Iasan’s cutting accusations. “Foster! What do you call that?”  More chuckles rippled out, and the tips of his ears burned. A minute passed, and then another as Brokk studied the fascinating details of his leather boots.  “Well?” Raising his gaze to meet Professor Iasan’s, that familiar flicker of anger ignited in him. He was so tired of being trained for no acclaimed threat. The Academy had taken him in years ago, with golden promises of schooling him in the control of his abilities so he could have a shot at a normal life— that they all could.  Over the years, the Academy had become a school woven from lies. The students here were regimented, honed, and molded into weapons. He did not sign up to be a soldier.  Brokk felt his lips tug upward as he threw the bow at his feet. It clattered noisily, as he threw his hands out to his sides. “I’m done, Professor Iasan.” He brushed past Memphis, not meeting his gaze.  Through the catcalls and hollers, Memphis’s voice cut through his mind, “Brokk…” Memphis’s tone only made him walk faster out of the courtyard, not looking back once. “

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“It was as if her body had been ripped into a thousand different pieces. Her lungs burned, begging for relief. Emory heard the soft crackle of fire. Her head was a spinning mass; it was its own continent.  Squinting, she tried to focus. Blinking slowly, her surroundings came into view. Her pulse picked up.  She wasn’t in her room.  She wasn’t in her home.  The metal world around her seemed to have one purpose. To keep people in. To keep her in. The last twenty-four hours rushed over her in a flurry of confusing memories. Him… Memphis. The name rolled around in her mind, familiar yet unfamiliar all at once. Her eyes flashed open, her heart thrumming with adrenaline.  Heavily, Emory sat up, trying to pull her thoughts together. For now, the room was empty, her captors gone.  Now. This is your chance to escape. The thought clambered through her wildly, and she acted.  Standing from the bed, Emory stumbled, her legs weak, her clothes dirtied. Breathing heavily, Emory ran to the door, pushing the handle down as it opened. Containing her surprise, she slipped into the hallway. What kind of criminals would keep their prisoner in an unlocked room?  Walking fast, Emory pushed the thought down, keeping her head down as she tried to locate how to get out of this place. The hallway was quiet, and Emory didn’t pass anyone else. It had to be late into the night, and she sent up a thank you to whoever was granting her such luck.  Trying not to run, she turned left, passing more shut unmarked doors, but slowly, the hallway slanted up. Heart pounding, her palms slicked with sweat as she tried to stick to the shadows, walking faster now. Ahead of her, doors loomed, and panic bloomed in her chest. Running now, Emory tried to hold back the tears burning in her eyes. She reached the massive doors, pulling them open, and the night air slammed into her.  Gasping, she sprinted, rushing out into the rolling field. The air was brisk, a sweet aroma hanging on the wind, the crescent moon tucked in the midnight blue clouds. Ahead, a massive forest loomed, and she frantically looked for any sign of modern civilization where she could find help.  There was nothing.  A stitch laced through her side, and her converses lost footing. Emory slammed into the damp earth. Rocks sliced through her palms as she tried to break her fall, blood welling in the cuts.  Tears slid down her cheeks as she got up, whispering, “Keep moving. C’mon.” Looking back, she expected to see the place she had been taken to, but dread pooled in her stomach as all she saw was open field—no sign of any building whatsoever.  “What the hell?” Emory whispered, fear making her thought process choppy. Sprinting again, she pushed toward the woods.” 

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About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International. Click here to enter.

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Tour Schedule (Week Two)

Dec 23: Books_andPoetrii

Dec 24: Two Chicks on Books

Dec 25: BookHounds

Dec 26: JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder

Dec 27: Life Within The Pages

Click the banner below to know more about Rock Star Book Tours.

[Review] THE WINTER SISTERS by Tim Westover, 4⚝

It was spring of 1822 and Doctor Aubrey Waycross was hailed to Lawrenceville, Georgia. The mayor personally wrote to him about a case of rabies and was afraid that it might spread in his town. Waycross spends most of his money just to get there, only to find out that he was tricked. There wasn’t a case of rabies, at least not yet. Aside from this fraud, he gets more upset when he finds out that the people of Lawrenceville believe more in the Winter Sisters, who allegedly practice witchcraft, than in his scientific methods when it comes to curing their ailments. The Winter Sisters by Tim Westover may have been set in the 1800s but with the themes it tackled, I’d say it’s still relevant today.

I liked that the book showed us that healing can come in many forms. And what matters most is that people believe in whichever source it came from. I learned from this book that ignorance and laziness are a deadly combination. While it’s true that people are resistant to change, this resistance shouldn’t stop them from going forward in life. My favorite character is Waycross because instead of keeping on hating on the Winter sisters, he made an effort to confront them and understand their ways. I liked how the author kept Effie’s and their mother’s characters a mystery but I wish there was some big revelation about them. Until the end, they both remained unsolved puzzles. I also liked that this book is argumentative in nature because it makes you think if it’s really your responsibility to cure people when you can or choose to lead a simple life that is far from nosy followers. Trigger warnings include blind following, death by fire, and a surgery mistake. The Winter Sisters by Tim Westover is highly recommended to fans of literary fiction.

This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more honest reviews and other bookish stuff, check my sidebar and follow me on the rest of my social media accounts: InstagramGoodreads, and Twitter.

[Review] SKETCHES OF LIFE by A. Gavazzoni, 4⚝

Lily Campbell’s family is falling apart. Her older sister, Adele, was kidnapped by a Nazi Captain. Her father, afraid of putting them in more danger, sends her and her mother to America while he stayed in France to look for Adele. To say that life in America had been tough for Lily is an understatement. She was forced to adapt and grow-up quickly, instead of enjoying her teenage years. Ninon, on the other hand, is a dancer in a French cabaret. For some reason, she has been recruited by a patron to be a special agent. After months of rigorous training, she becomes an adept sniper and begins to work on secret missions. With the setting of the Second World War, Sketches of Life by A. Gavazzoni will make you cry, fall in love, and never give up on life.

This is a story of love and survival, and an emotionally heavy one at that. The book alternates between Lily and Ninon’s points of view. We can all agree that multiple POVs can be tricky to write and as I progressed, I found it hard to follow the story. Looking back, it was a great plot nonetheless and the revelation in the end was jaw-dropping. The romance was not forced, although some scenes were a bit exaggerated. This is such a feminist book and I love how A. Gavazonni created the characters of Lily and Ninon. They were both strong and versatile women amidst adversities. Trigger warnings include cancer, dementia, violence, mental health stigma, cheating, and suicide.

This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more honest reviews and other bookish stuff, check my sidebar and follow me on the rest of my social media accounts: InstagramGoodreads, and Twitter.

[Blog Tour + Giveaway] CHARLIE HERNANDEZ AND THE CASTLE OF BONES by Ryan Calejo

About the Book

Title: CHARLIE HERNANDEZ AND THE CASTLE OF BONES (Charlie Hernández #2)
Author: Ryan Calejo
Pub. Date: November 12, 2018
Publisher: Aladdin
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 608
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleAudibleB&NiBooksKoboTBD

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Blurb

Inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America, this bold sequel to Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows, which Booklist called “a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan” in a starred review, follows Charlie as he continues on his quest to embrace his morphling identity.

Charlie Hernandez still likes to think of himself as a normal kid. But what’s normal about being a demon-slaying preteen with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hispanic and Latino mythology who can partially manifest nearly any animal trait found in nature? Well, not much. But, Charlie believes he can get used to this new “normal,” because being able to sprout wings or morph fins is pretty cool.

But there is a downside: it means having to constantly watch his back for La Mano Peluda’s sinister schemes. And when the leader of La Liga, the Witch Queen Jo herself, is suddenly kidnapped, Charlie’s sure they’re at it again.

Determined to save the queen and keep La Liga’s alliances intact, Charlie and his good friend Violet Rey embark on a perilous journey to track down her captors. As Charlie and Violet are drawn deeper into a world of monstruos and magia they are soon left with more questions than answers—like, why do they keep hearing rumors of dead men walking, and why is Charlie suddenly having visions of an ancient evil: a necromancer priest who’s been dead for more than five centuries?

Charlie’s abuela once told him that when dead men walk, the living run in fear. And Charlie’s about to learn the truth of that—the hard way. 

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Recap for
CHARLIE HERNANDEZ AND THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS (Book 1)

Title: CHARLIE HERNANDEZ AND THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS (Charlie Hernández #1)
Author: Ryan Calejo
Pub. Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Aladdin
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 330
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleAudibleB&NiBooksKoboTBD

“This is a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan’s many series, particularly for those eager for mythologies beyond Greek and Roman stories.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A winner for all kids, but it will be especially beloved by Latinx and Hispanic families.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).

No pressure, muchacho.

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Excerpt

It was raining frogs. That’s the first thing I noticed when we stepped through la bruja’s mirror. Fat ones, green ones, black ones. They tumbled from the sky, bounced off the road, clunked off mailboxes. They croaked and chirped and peeped. They hopped through the tall grass like punch-drunk boxers.

One plopped down on the toe of my sneaker, glared at up me with its bulging beady eyes, and said, “Rrriiiibbbbbiiitt!” 

I stared at it for a moment, frowning, then squinted up at the dark churning clouds from where the slimy amphibians were falling in bunches. In knots.

My name is Charlie Hernández, and over the last few months, my life has been all kinds of freaky; I’d grown horns, sprouted feathers, teleported from South Florida to northwest Spain, made a quick stop in the Land of the Dead, and even faced off against one of the most famous and feared brujas in all of human history—but raining frogs . . .? Yeah, that was new for me.

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About the Author

Ryan Calejo was born and raised in south Florida. He graduated from the University of Miami with a BA. He’s been invited to join both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society. He teaches swimming to elementary school students, chess to middle school students, and writing to high school students. Having been born into a family of immigrants and growing up in the so-called “Capital of Latin America,” Ryan knows the importance of diversity in our communities and is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to. His first novel was Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows.

Simon & Schuster Webpage | Twitter | Goodreads

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Giveaway

2 winners will win a signed hardcover of CHARLIE HERNANDEZ AND THE CASTLE OF BONES, US ONLY. Click here to enter.

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Tour Schedule (Week 5)

Dec 9: She Just Loves Books
Dec 10: Life Within The Pages
Dec 11: Books_andPoetrii
Dec 12: Two points of interest

Click the banner below to know more about Rock Star Book Tours.

[Review] WHEN MOTHS BURN by John Eidswick, 5⚝

James Strait, a former FBI agent, is starting a new life with his girlfriend, Jessie Brightwater. He had been falsely accused by jealous officemates and had lost his job because of that. Despite being ousted, Strait has kept his friendship with his best buddy, Graham Footer. He and Footer once tracked down a racist cult and saved several children in the process. This incident made him a hero in Pine River, attracting admirers and haters alike. One day, after his long walk, a bomb blows up his girlfriend’s church and kills her. He swears to find the criminals and punish them himself. But a girl named Edie suddenly turns up in his place saying that her life’s in danger and is asking for help. When Moths Burn by John Eidswick gave me a roller coaster of emotions and I’m not complaining. 

This book is definitely a winner. The plot was well-thought-of and was developed in great detail. I loved the idea of Jessie’s character – a liberal pastor. Today, we live in a world where religion clouds progressive thinking and Jessie is just what we need to believe that a person can have religious beliefs while keeping an open mind. The first chapter with Sandy Yarrow was a bit off for me because it gave the impression that Sandy was a primary character. I was looking for her in the next chapters but she was only brought back to the story when the ending was close. I liked that this book raised awareness for Meniere’s disease, and that plot twist in the end got me. John Eidswick’s When Moths Burn is worthy of recommendation to all the thriller lovers out there. Trigger warnings include racism, hate crimes, violence, drugs, abuse (sexual, child), graphic injuries, pornography, pedophilia, animal cruelty, murder, and bombing.

This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more honest reviews and other bookish stuff, check my sidebar and follow me on the rest of my social media accounts: Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter.

[Review] REVERIE by Ryan La Sala, 4/5

Kane Montgomery got himself into an accident and is being held accountable for arson and possible death of an old woman. He is currently being questioned by the authorities, but the thing is, he can’t remember what and how everything happened. There are a lot of things that just don’t seem to fit. Was he being framed or did he really commit these crimes? He feels terribly lost and finds no one to turn to – not even his dear sister.

Then out of the blue, a drag queen-slash-witch, Dr. Poesy, appears. He suddenly feels hopeful because finally, there is someone who seems to understand his situation. He also learns about “The Others” – a group who knows the truth about what really happened to him. Reverie by Ryan La Sala is a thrilling YA book about made-up realities that will both comfort and haunt you.

This book is such a good package. There is mystery, there’s humor, and then there’s romance too. The best part about the romance was that it showed love in all forms. There’s a boy loving another boy, a girl loving another girl, a boy loving a girl, and a brother loving his sister. The book is feminist and LGBT-friendly. I loved the fact that as soon as it was clear in the book that Poesy identifies herself as female, all the pronouns changed from ‘he’ to ‘she’ and ‘him’/’his’ to ‘her’. There is so much power and respect in a way you address a person based on his/her choice, even when society might find it unacceptable.

I would also like to commend the author for writing a wonderful debut novel and for the fresh concept this novel has introduced. There were some parts that got me confused and that’s the reason why I’m giving this a 4 instead of a 5. Trigger warnings include memory loss, bullying, guilt, and graphic injuries.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

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For more honest reviews and other bookish stuff, check my sidebar and follow me on the rest of my social media accounts: Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter.