blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Two Truths and a Guy – Jeannine Henvey

High school is hard enough. Imagine having to keep a secret that can change your twin’s life.

Sixteen-year-old twins, Stella and Peter, move cross-country with their parents to start fresh and leave their former life behind. Will the past determine their future, or will they finally get their happy ending?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Peter and Stella may be twins, but individually their struggles are one of a kind. Peter wasn’t always Peter. And Stella misses who he used to be –her sister Petra. From the outside, they seem like two kids just trying to find their way at a new school, but behind closed doors they deal with the emotional baggage from the past they’ve yet to unpack. Beauty queen Mom counts Stella’s every calorie rather than deal with Peter’s transition. And even though Dad supports Peter’s true self, he’s blind to seeing Stella for who she really is. She just wants to be a teenage girl known for anything other than her sibling. Meanwhile, with a skin-tight binder around his chest, and desperation to be one of the guys, Peter feels like he’s suffocating. All this, just to have his outside match his inside–and simply be. If anyone learns their secret, the family’s sacrifice of moving to California will have been for nothing.

Brimming with a rollercoaster of emotion and unwavering hope, Two Truths and a Guy is a heartfelt coming of age story that touches us with the power of loyalty, the need for acceptance, and the importance of living our truth.

My thoughts: this was a really good read, discussing serious issues around gender and sexuality but with enough lightness and general teen drama to stop it feeling heavy and “issues” ridden, which can be off-putting and feel more like a lecture.

Stella and Peter have allowed themselves to drift apart, from being super close to struggling to talk, both have been dealing with a lot, mostly around Peter’s transition and all that ensued back in Pennsylvania. Moving to California didn’t change that, you take your problems with you if you don’t deal with them. Their lack of communication leaves them without the other’s support when they need it most. Luckily they’re able to finally talk, and write, and build a new start.

The people around them, the genuine friends they’ve made, help them through all of this struggle and I really liked the way even Peter’s basketball coach had his back, it was great to see adults being supportive too.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Blitz: Storm of Storms – Adria Carmichael

Juche copy

To celebrate the release of The Storm of Storms, book #3 in her YA Dystopian saga, Juche, Adria Carmichael is giving the first two installments away for FREE! From September 14th to the 18th, you can download The Demon of Yodok and The Weeping Masses on Amazon for zero dollars! 

Juche part three - eBook - CopyThe Storm of Storms (Juche #3)

Publication Date: September 15th, 2021

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Survival

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga that will keep you glued to the pages.

Nari’s shocking revelation in the watermill changes everything in an instant, and Areum is once more faced with an impossible decision. Will she betray her sister in order to save her life, or support her and let her die? In the midst of this struggle, the storm of the century hits the camp, and life goes from hard to impossible overnight. Areum slowly comes to realize there is only one way to ensure their survival.

To escape!

But how can they escape from an escape-proof prison camp? And even if they would get past the ferocious dog patrols, the machine gun-equipped guard towers and the electrified barbed wire fence… will she be willing to condemn everyone they’re leaving behind to an inescapable end through torture and death?

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The Demon of Yodok (Juche #1)Juche part one - eBook - Copy

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

Amazon

The Weeping Masses (Juche #2)Juche part two - eBook

Areum’s hopes to be set free from the brutal political prison camp holding them is crushed, and the heinous assault on her sister plunges her into a state of shock and horror… and puts her on a collision course with her family. All hope seems to be lost. Just when she is about to give up, however, a disturbing revelation is made… and as the evil of the camp is given a face, Areum finds a new purpose to keep fighting.

Revenge!

But first they need to survive, and with the constantly harshening conditions and her family being targeted from all directions, daily life in Yodok turns into a never-ceasing fight to evade imminent doom.

On top of everything, an impossible tragedy strikes Choson, and the unquestionable truth Areum has built her life around is challenged to its very core.

Amazon

About the Author

AC Logo 2

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Lies Like Wildfire – Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

An intense high-stakes story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames, perfect for fans of Karen McManus and E. Lockhart.

In Gap Mountain, California, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18-year-old Hannah Warner, the sheriff’s daughter and aspiring FBI agent. That is until this summer. When Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators.

But as the blaze roars through their rural town and towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Because sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate, it’s liars.

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I received my B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. I’m fascinated by underdogs and power dynamics between groups of people. 

I’m the author of LIES LIKE WILDFIRE, a teen thriller soon-to-be published by Delacorte Press, and two middle grade book series, each published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, THE GUARDIAN HERD (a quartet) and RIDERS OF THE REALM (a trilogy). Before this, I self-published a middle grade fantasy called THE PET WASHER. 

When I’m not writing, you’ll find me galloping my little black mare through the foothills of Sonoma County or teaching free creative writing workshops to kids and adults at various branches of our local library system. 

The Healdsburg Literary Guild selected me as their 2019/2020 Literary Laureate for my work in building literacy in my community. It is an honor I hold dear. I am also the current SCBWI Sonoma County Coordinator and a volunteer on the Sonoma County Library Advisory Board.

I live in Northern California with my husband, three children, and more than my fair share of pets!

Website

My thoughts: this was a really compelling read about friendship, truth and how far you’re willing to go to protect yourself.

Hannah is the sheriff’s daughter and she’s who her friends turn to after they accidentally start a huge wild fire that has lethal consequences. They lied and now the lies are unravelling. As are they, for five lifelong friends, can their bond survive?

I found Hannah a really interesting character and totally untrustworthy narrator. We only ever see things from her perspective and when people try to tell her things she disagrees with, she reacts in terrible ways.

Wildfires are incredibly terrifying and increasingly deadly as the world heats up, and they spread fast. I felt awful for the people caught up in the careless one these five spark, it might have been an accident but their decision to lie about it makes it so much worse. This book feels incredibly timely after reading newspaper reports of the recent fires in Greece and other parts of Europe. Many of which started accidentally.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Blitz: Anya Chases Down The End – Jeffrey Yamaguchi

AnyaChases copy

We are so happy to share this book with you today! Check out Anya Chases Down the End by Jeffrey Yamaguchi! Read on for details and a chance to win a digital edition of the book!

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Anya Chases Down the End

Publication Date: May 26th, 2021

Genre: Young Adult/ Contemporary/ Novella
A missing book is about to write the story of her life — before she even gets one.

Recent high school grad Anya doesn’t just want to write the great American novel — She wants to publish it, too. So she has faked her way into a summer internship at a major New York City publishing house thousands of miles from home in order to pursue her dream career at an accelerated pace. But her shaky, clandestine plan — which includes camping out in the office and surviving on leftovers from the pantry refrigerator — is completely upended when she loses track of a coveted manuscript by one of the biggest authors in the world. Off she has to race into the late night streets of New York City to track down the manuscript — to save her internship and preserve her cover story, not to mention her best-laid career plan — before the sun rises and her boss is back in the office.

Come along on the madcap quest in this standalone YA novella filled with secret door venues, abandoned subway stations, concealed backrooms and crash pads, mysterious missed connections on old school rotary phones, electric alleyway kisses, and revelatory poetry hiding in plain sight.

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Chapter One

I wasn’t usually invited to the toasts. And technically, I wasn’t invited to this one, but because I was pulled into the last second effort to put it together, at the very least I’d get to mill about in the group of people raising glasses, as opposed to the usual: being huddled over in my cube, my work-a-day motions provided with the soundtrack of everyone else in the office having a good time.

“Anya, what are you still doing here?”

The big boss — Francine — was looking at me like I had failed to rush to the vet a deathly sick puppy that was lying at my feet.

“I was just about to leave, Francine.”

“You do know how important this is, right?”

As a matter of fact, I did know. Because literally one minute earlier, when she was tasking me with picking up the champagne for the toast, had told me just that, in tones usually reserved for someone who was being given the responsibility of delivering a package that contains the formula for an antidote to the virus that is in the process of wiping out the entire human race.

I had spent the first 30 seconds excited that I would get to be a part of the toast — so excited that you would have thought that I was going to be personally thanked. Not going to happen. Still, it felt like a little bit of publishing history was happening, and I was going to be there to witness it — maybe even showing up in some photographs that many years from now, would end up in the biography about my long and storied career as a writer AND publisher who transformed the literary landscape. Or, more realistically, maybe they’d just end up on the publishing house’s Instagram page, and I could share the photo so all my friends would see me making it big in the big city. Not now, of course — I didn’t want to social expose myself and ruin everything in the real right now (more on that later), but at some point in the future, when I’ll probably need to show photographic evidence to case close on everyone that I really did spend six whole weeks of the summer in New York City working at a publishing house.

The inside-my-own head revelry of both the toast and the future brag did not last long, however, because it hit me like a seven layer chocolate cake in the face — while I’m wearing my favorite summery cocktail dress, no less — that I had no way to actually purchase the champagne.

This was double-drag bad — like, not only is the party off, but the house where the party was supposed to be is engulfed in flames. For one thing, Francine expected that champagne to be ice cold and ready to pop in far less time than it was going to take me to get to and from the liquor store that is located just around the corner from the office.

But the bigger issue is that I had no way to actually buy the champagne for the very simple reason that I am not 21 years old, and I don’t have a fake ID.

Yes, it sucks. It sucks to not be able to buy alcohol. Old enough to vote, but not be able to go to bars. Or get into shows, or clubs. But that’s nothing compared to the suckage that is about to swallow up my situation into a deeper and much darker hole. And the situation is this: I am 18 years old and I just graduated from high school, but nobody here knows this. They think I am 21 and about to start my senior year of college, because that is what I told them. At the time that I applied for the internship, it was an impossible lark, and I didn’t really think about any of the consequences of getting exposed as a fabulist because I simply didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

But such an exposure will trigger a cascade of questions and open up the floodgates to a number of deceptions that I’ve had to vocalize, sign-on-the-dotted-line, and sustain in order to pull off what I am literally just one day from totally and completely getting away with.

I know it sounds like I’m a lying, no-good cheat, but to my mind, I applied for an internship in a field I am desperate to break into, got it, and have worked hard during my six weeks here at Teasdale House. While it’s true that I lied about my age, and that I was close to finishing up college, not to mention telling my parents that this was all part of a University program for pre-college students — I wasn’t trying to be deceptive. The false information propping it all together didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. But now, it’s clear to me that there’s quite a few people — and institutions — unknowingly tangled up in the web of deception that I’ve weaved to pull all of this off. If it all falls apart… Well, frankly, I can’t think about that right now.

I dash into the elevator bank, see a set of doors that are in the midst of closing, and jump my way in, like I’m narrowly escaping a mine shaft about to be rocked by a massive explosion.

It wasn’t until after I screeched “Fuck!” that I realized someone was in the elevator with me.

“Good thing you made it! This is the last transport off the literary industrial complex prison module known as the Teasdale House of Strikethroughs and Last-Minute Changes.”

***

Of course it would be Max, or Hot Max as I referred to him in my waking workaday fantasies. I also call him “The dude,” because he’s always the one dude in meetings full of women. He’s one of those forever interns, meaning he’s operating outside the usual seasonal cycle, and people think of him as a staffer, but ultimately, he’s still just an intern. Likely, when he graduates from college, he will get a job at the publishing house. The word is that he’s been promised exactly that. But I have no idea. What I do know is that he’s quite the dapper dresser despite always looking like he was out a little too late the night before. I would occasionally relay messages to him from Francine. This is how our interactions would go:

“Francine would like to see the front cover selections for the Spring list’s lead titles.”

“Okay, I will bring them by in a few minutes, just need to print out the latest versions.”

“Great, thanks,” I’d say, already turned around with my head down.

Pathetic, I know. I made myself feel a little bit better by acknowledging the fact that he probably wasn’t paying close enough attention to me to notice the ridiculously insecure way in which I was functioning, seeing me more as a sentient being transporting messages and documents from one person to another, nothing more, nothing less.

But there was no time for this kind of thinking. In fact, there was no time for thinking at all. The elevator in this shiny and slick new building might as well have been a hyperspace chamber, zapping you instantaneously to whatever floor you needed to get to by the push of a button.

So I just blurted out: “Hey, I just realized I forgot my ID at home. Do you think you could help me get something done for Francine?”

This not thinking thing was really working for me. Not only did I lay the groundwork of the forgotten ID, but I threw in a Francine name bomb. Even if Max was going to try and squirm his way out of helping me out — a fellow intern who never said more than two words to him, if he even remembered anything about me at all — the inclusion of the Francine factor was going to force his hand.

Max swung around and looked me square in the eyes, his smile further lighting up his light green eyes, as well as a no sleep swell to the perfect skin above his everyday, all the time, 5 o’clock shadow. He was holding the elevator door open for me.

“No problem,” he said, with not a hint of annoyance, “Whaddya need?”

***

Fifteen minutes later, the champagne was set up in the conference room, which had an expansive view of the NYC skyline, but most directly looked out upon a residential building that seemed to have some kind of dance studio on one of the floors about midway up the old brick structure. You couldn’t help but catch the movement flowing from that floor, especially after the sun went down. It’s always lit up, and there is always a blur of activity: whirling, gorgeous, flowing bodies moving from one side of the floor to the other.

That’s what I love about the city. It doesn’t make sense that there’s a dance studio in an otherwise residential building, but there it is, and there are people in their dancing, and your eyes can’t help but fall on one particular dancer, who is moving this way and that way, seemingly never touching the ground. As I held in my breath, I realized this dancer’s movement might possibly be the most beautiful thing that is happening on the entire planet at that particular, fleeting moment in time. I’m too far away to actually make out her face. It always strikes me as odd — sad, even — that If I saw this dancer on the street, I would have no idea that this was the person I had been watching flow through the most beautiful of moves, elegantly sweeping her way across the floor in a blur, or balancing herself in a graceful, otherworldly stillness.

***

What I had thought would be a very good thing — standing there with everyone, holding a plastic cup, listening intently to the toast — in reality felt painfully forced and extremely awkward, like I had been invited up on stage to share in the acceptance of an award that I didn’t deserve.

Francine wasn’t a particularly eloquent speaker, but she knew how to command a room. “This is one of many toasts to come,” she began. “There will be many more milestones and even more successes.”

And then, with just the right amount of volume uptick, she proclaimed even more forcefully, “This new book, which Chester just finished, insures all of this and more. This is just the beginning. And oh what a glorious beginning it is. Cheers to you, Chester!”

On cue, people put their hands together and clapped. Chester Fred Morrissey had the look of a man who was used to applause, and no matter how muted it might be, I got the feeling he felt it roll into his ears with pounding thunder. He had a monster hit a few years ago, and that’s a ticket that he, along with everyone else standing in this conference room, plus many others, has been riding ever since.

“I just finished going over the edits with Francine — there weren’t hardly any at all,” he said, a little too heavy on the self-assuredness.

Was that a joke? I wasn’t sure, and I don’t think anyone else was either, because no one laughed.

“I hand it over to you, and I have absolute faith that you will all do your best to share it with the whole world — They’ve been waiting for it, of course, so by all means, carry on with your hard work, full speed ahead!”

Another joke? No one was laughing at all, and though Francine was still smiling, there was the ominous hint of confusion — or was it concern — in that steely, never-let-them-see-you sweat veneer of hers.

“So to the hard work that is complete, and onto the hard work yet to be done!”

People were barely clapping, and perhaps that’s why it quickly became apparent that someone was clapping a little too loudly and far too slowly. All of the sudden, all eyes were staring down on the perpetrator of the obnoxious clapping, which meant all eyes were zeroing in on me as well, because wouldn’t you know it, I had the terrible luck of standing right next to this…. insane person.

I had no idea who this guy was — a disheveled, full-bearded, middle-aged white guy, dressing like an old man wearing the opposite of a custom fit grey suit and, of course, dirty white sneakers. I think I had seen him around before, but I couldn’t quite place him. He definitely didn’t work on this floor.

Before I knew it, Francine was on top of him, smile ablaze but moving too swiftly and with too much purpose to seem like a natural, so good to see you here approach.

Nobody was drinking their champagne. The eyes in the back of Francine’s head must have made her aware of this because she quickly turned around, raised up her glass, and announced, “Cheers indeed!”

She then took a hard swallow from her glass, drinking not in celebration, but to be done with it. With the murmuring reaching its peak, Francine put her arm around the gentleman, whispered into his ear, and ushered him away back towards her office.

I scanned the room and saw that I was not alone in wondering what the fuck was going on — everyone was unified in a look of discomfiting confusion. Everyone, that is, except for Max — he was radiating a bemused grin. I don’t think he knew what was going on, and that was fine with him — he was just enjoying the disarray. He raised up his glass in my direction, kept his eyes locked on mine, and then drank his glass down in one swallow.

***

Just as I’m sinking into Max’s eyes and working to decipher exactly what that was all about — hedging toward the fantasy that Max is actually interested in me — I am immediately struck with an urgent and impossible thought: What if he comes over at this very moment and starts talking to me? Yes, this is what I want, but because I’m a total idiot, I also realize I’d just like to disappear.

It turns out that the disappear option would have been the right choice, because without warning, Francine stomps into my space, grabs a hold of my shoulder, and pulls me in the direction of her office.

Once inside, she shuts the door, and then takes a seat behind her desk. It still feels like her hand is on my shoulder.

Before Francine even has a chance to say anything, and that means I spoke up pretty quickly, I asked, “Who was that guy?”

Whoa. Clearly I was buzzing off the two sips of champagne I had drunk… that, and the buzz I was feeling from the look Max may or may not have been throwing in my direction.

Francine didn’t want to spare the second to compute that I had perhaps spoken out of turn. “He’s not important, never mind him, Anya.”

Then, she got even more cult-leader like.

“What is important is Chester, and the manuscript completion we are celebrating. He arrived today with the last pages — the ending we’ve been waiting so long for. It’s all been reviewed and the pages have been marked-up, including on the stunning new pages that close the novel. The edits just need to be implemented.”

Francine then lets out a sigh of accomplishment, and pauses for effect, before carrying on: “Now I’ve got to go out to dinner with Chester. What I need you to do is go through the marked-up manuscript and the notes, implement all the changes and fixes, and lock down a final draft. Pay special attention to everything, but especially the end. These are the newest pages and they’ve had very few eyes on them — Just Chester’s and mine.”

She was looking at me, and pointing at the manuscript, which was drenched in so much red pen it looked like someone had left it in a room full of school children armed with nothing but red crayons. Clearly, she wanted to see my reaction.

“This has to be done… before the start of the work day tomorrow,” she says sternly.

“By tomorrow morning…?”

“That’s not a question, right, Anya? That’s your affirmation to me that you understand how critically important this is, and how you will have it done by tomorrow morning.”

She didn’t wait for an answer. She got up, put on her jacket, and opened her office door.

“I know you’re going to have to stay here pretty late to get this done,” she said, in a softer voice than usual. For a moment, it seemed like she was about to show some concern, or possibly, some gratitude, but the next thing I knew, she had raised up her arm and she was pointing a finger in the direction of my chest but seemingly aimed at my very soul.

“Under no circumstances should you remove the manuscript from this office — not even a page or two while you go to get a cup of coffee. And no one — I mean NO ONE — is allowed to step foot in here.”

And with that, she turned and left to go out to her fabulous dinner with the fabulous author in a fabulous restaurant in a fabulous part of the city.

Of course I’m stuck at the office with a pile of work that is sure to keep me here all night. I know what you might be thinking. How horrible! An all-nighter in a deserted, darkened office tower, the creepy clinking and clanking of air vents and cheap metal file cabinets settling deeper into the industrial carpet. But for me, this wasn’t unusual at all. Not because I was always being left to do all the work while everyone else goes out for the fancy dinners, or at least some slices and a few after-work drinks.

Staying not just late, but through the entire night, is absolutely normal for me, because I’ve been sleeping at the office since this internship began.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

yamaguchi_author_photo

At the age of 26, Jeffrey Yamaguchi quit his job, threw himself a retirement party, and believed that he could make a living publishing zines. It didn’t work out, but he continues to dream the dream. Jeffrey’s books include 52 Projects, Working for the Man, Anya Chases Down the End, and Body of Water. His stories, poems, photography, and short films have been published in many literary journals, including Okay Donkey, Kissing Dynamite, Back Patio Press, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Honey & Lime, Spork Press, Vamp Cat Magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, Black Bough Poetry, and the Atticus Review.

Jeffrey Yamaguchi | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Giveaway: Win one of five digital editions of Anya Chases Down the End (Closes August 21st)
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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Wicked Little Deeds – Kat Ellis*

From its creepy town mascot to the story of its cursed waterfall, Burden Falls is a small town dripping with superstition. Ava Thorn knows this well – since the horrific accident she witnessed a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares.

But when her school nemesis is brutally murdered and Ava is the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the legends surrounding the town are more fact than fiction.

Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose, and they have a vendetta against the Thorns…

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Kat Ellis is a young adult author whose novels include Wicked Little Deeds/Burden Falls (August 2021), Harrow Lake (July 2020), Purge (September 2016), Breaker (May 2016), and Blackfin Sky (May 2014). She is a fan of all things horror and sci-fi, and a keen explorer of ruins, castles and cemeteries – all of which are plentiful in North Wales, where Kat lives with her husband.

You can find out more about Kat at http://www.katelliswrites.com or connect with her on social media. 

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My thoughts: this was an interesting read with murders, ghosts, family curses and social media (which is its own kind of curse). Ava has to move out of her beloved ancestral home – only to find out the man she blames for her parents’ deaths has bought it.

She’s convinced Dead-Eyed Sadie is haunting her – a family ghost story says that Thorns see Sadie before they die. Then people start dying, first the girl who now lives in her house – and who she can’t stand.

As things get worse and Ava gets close to Dominic – the dead girl’s brother – Ava becomes convinced something terrible is about to happen and that Sadie is coming for her.

Twisted and tragic, this is a clever and fun horror, as Ava struggles to come to terms with her family’s change in fortunes and wants to stop being one of the “Bloody Thorns” and step out from the sinister stories surrounding her family.

The ending is shocking but ultimately redemptive, as Ava gets answers, even if they aren’t necessarily the ones she wanted.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Secret of Dartwood Manor – N.A Triptow*

Purchase a copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Blackwell’s 

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Witches. Ghosts. An ancient secret. Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

The small New England town of Tarryville, Maine is steeped in history, having been settled by the Dartwood and Farris families who fled Salem during the witch trials. The Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa, unexpectedly return home after their parents are found murdered. Upon their arrival, the girls are plagued by dreams in which dark spectral beings haunt them. When the hellish creatures seem to be more than just nightmares, another mystery begins to unravel as they discover that the circumstances around the murder of their parents may be far more menacing than they appear. Frantic for answers, they must untangle the mystery of their parents’ murders and reconstruct the pieces of an ancient secret. With the help of the young assistant curator of their family museum, Baden Correia, and an estranged friend from their past, Evan Farris, the orphaned Dartwood sisters must uncover the truth before the darkness haunting their family descends upon them as well.

The ebook of The Secret of Dartwood Manor is currently ON SALE for $0.99! Don’t miss out on this epic deal, only for the duration of the blog tour! Grab a copy HERE. UK readers – Here.


And here’s a link to Wishing Well Publishing’s shop where you can find witchling and bookish swag The official shop of Wishing Well Publishing – Wishing Well Merch (wishing-well-merch.myshopify.com)

INTL Blog Tour Giveaway!

Enter the rafflecopter to win a kindle copy of The Secret of Dartwood Manor + a $10USD Amazon Gift Card!

This is open internationally & it ends on July 21st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST.

Author of young adult contemporary fantasy and retellings, from fairy tales to classics, N. A. Triptow graduated from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching with minors in History Teaching, Theatre, and British Studies. She teaches high school English and Film Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Communication and Advertising from Purdue University. In her free time, you can find her reading, watching and analyzing movies and television shows, attending the theatre, going on walks or hikes, and playing board or video games with family and friends. She lives in Utah.

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Listen to an audio excerpt of The Secret of Dartwood Manor!

Here’s a link to a playlist of audio excerpts from the book read by the author, N.A. Triptow.

Listen to The Secret of Dartwood Manor’s playlist!

Playlists – N. A. Triptow (natriptow.com)

Q&A with Author N.A. Triptow

  1. If you could interview one of your characters (or have some tea with), who would you pick?

This is difficult for me to answer! I just love all the characters for very different reasons. If I have to choose one though, I would have to say Baden Correia, the Brazilian assistant curator of the Dartwood’s family museum and Mariah’s best friend. He is just so loyal, caring, and brave. My mom was also born in Brazil so it would be so much fun to chat about all things Brazilian, especially the yummy food with him. 

  1. What songs were part of your playlist when writing The Secret of Dartwood Manor?

Music is a huge part of the writing process for me. As soon as I start developing a new book, I always put together a playlist to use while writing it. I actually have the full playlist that I used to write The Secret of Dartwood Manor on my website. It also includes the fabulous theme written specifically for the novel by the brilliant Beckee Davis! Here’s a link to the playlist: https://natriptow.com/playlists/

  1. Tell us your favorite quote and/or scene from your book!

I think one of my favorite scenes is probably between Baden and Mariah when they sneak into the crime scene after the murder. It’s actually one of the audio excerpts read by me that was released on my publisher’s YouTube channel on release day. Here’s a link to the scene if you’d like to listen to it.

  1. How did you come up with the title for your book?

I had a working title that I was using during the writing process, but the final title became clear after the book was finished. I kept jotting down various ideas that didn’t seem quite right and suddenly The Secret of Dartwood Manor came to me, and I knew that was it.

  1. If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick?

I think it would be fun to see a prequel about the villains’ pasts. It’s always fun to try to understand what motivates a person and what makes them who they are. Knowing that can certainly humanize a villain even if it doesn’t actually make them technically good. It shows that they’re a person whose choices led them down a particular path. Plus, the villains in this story really have some crazy back stories. Whether I’ll eventually write that or not remains to be seen, but it certainly is a compelling idea.

  1. What is your kryptonite as a writer?

My kryptonite is time. There are just not enough hours in the day.

My thoughts: I wasn’t sure about this book at first, I famously don’t get on with Jane Austen and am not a fan so the ‘inspired by’ had me a little worried at first. But this was actually a lot of fun. The three Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah and Melissa return home when their parents are brutally murdered but a lot of things don’t add up so they start to investigate.

Blending magic with the mundane, their quest leads them to discover some things about their family and themselves. I think headstrong Mariah was my favourite of the three, and I definitely felt for her best friend Baden, who’s hopelessly in love with her and she’s oblivious.

It was really interesting and I liked the premise of the villains (no spoilers here) and the way it set up the next book in the series – although it never ends well when decisions are being made for people who aren’t in the room where it happens!

🧙🏻🧙🏿‍♀️🧙🏾Top Five Witchy Movies (as picked by me!) As Mariah and Baden love watching films – here’s a few they could get some info from. 🧙🏼🧙🏻‍♀️🧙🏾

🧙🏻‍♀️Practical Magic – I yield to no one in my love of this gem, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sisters, who are also witches. I’ve loved this film since I was about 13. The Owens women are cursed, any man that loves them will die. It’s sad and romantic and creepy and amazing. I love their aunts, and the Midnight Margarita party. But also their bond, which saves them. Bonus – it’s based on a book of the same title and the sequel/prequel was published last year.

🧙🏼Hocus Pocus – more sister witches, more curses, more mayhem in this Disney classic. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are the Sandersons, brought back to life by Max entirely by accident in Salem. This is a Halloween must watch.

🧙🏾The Witches – based on Roald Dahl’s creepy book, the original 1990 film still gives me the willies. Creepy and sinister, Angelica Houston (still one of the most gorgeous women ever) becomes utterly terrifying. I don’t want to be turned into a mouse!

🧙🏿‍♀️The Craft – sometimes your witchy sisters are your found family, like in this teen classic (look, I grew up in the 90s, these are pretty much all 90s films and stone cold classics as far as I’m concerned!) has four teenage girls harnessing their powers to get some revenge. We are the weirdos mister!

🧙🏻Kiki’s Delivery Service – I had to include this cute as a button Studio Ghibli delight. Witch Kiki sets off on her adventures with talking cat Jiji (I love him so much) and opens a delivery business, on her broom. This is an adorable and lovely film that I’m always recommending.

Tell me your fave witchy films or books in the comments please!!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Instructions for Dancing – Nicola Yoon*

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

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Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter.

My thoughts: this was a lovely, sweet book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Love isn’t always easy, whatever form it comes in (romantic, family, friends) but that’s life as Evie finds out, navigating her way through her parents’ divorce, her friends’ romance and her own falling in love.

With a little magical gift from a mysterious old lady, Evie can see a love story unfold in people’s kisses, and it scares her, especially when she sees her own, with X, her dance partner and aspiring rock star. But sometimes you have to take a chance, risk your heart and let yourself enjoy life now. A delightful, bittersweet story.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Fatewreaker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my posts on the first two books The Bookminder and The Kithseeker

The Fatewreaker (book 3 of the Bookminder series)
England, 1680 A. D.
Liara and Nagarath’s enemy has unexpectedly come to their aid, surrendering to the magick-
suppressing forces of the king of France so as to buy time for their escape. But that doesn’t
necessarily mean Anisthe is on their side. Vrsar’s war mage, Liara’s father-in-magick, has never been
a man do to things for others. And he has always has plans within plans.
In fleeing to England with his apprentice, the Wizard Nagarath realizes that Liara’s power is no
longer her own to command. With the shattering of Khariton’s magick mirror in the Palace of Versailles, the young woman has become trapped in an alliance with the ancient and evil mage.
What is more, at eighteen-years-old, her life remains tied to Anisthe’s for another two years per the Laws of Magick. Anisthe, who is now imprisoned for having helped them evade the king’s spellpiercers.
Forced to revisit his own past, Nagarath is finally learning that there are some histories you cannot
outrun. As for Liara, the darkness within her heart is greater than she ever could have imagined. This
after Dvigrad’s orphaned magpie having finally learned to love. For, in the words of Khariton himself, “In magick you can never have friends. Only rivals.”
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My thoughts: finally everything has come to this – a great showdown between the legendary Merlin and the wicked Khariton, who has tricked Liara into allowing him to occupy her body and mind.

But Nagarath will do his best to help her and even the formerly villainous Anisthe wants to prevent her death. But things aren’t as easy as they seem.

There is yet more hopping between countries – this time to England and to the strange realm Merlin has been imprisoned in for centuries. Liara needs to find a solution to the predicament she’s in, and Anisthe’s last words to her as they fled France “find the book” are haunting her.

Liara has grown hugely as the three books have gone along – from petulant orphan brat to great and clever mage, and she’s also had to deal with some affairs of the heart too. Her friend Kresimir makes a reappearance and she and Nagarath have grown closer, but she’s afraid of harm coming to anyone she loves.

Merlin isn’t like he is in more traditional, Arthurian, stories, he’s not very likeable at all. He just wants power and doesn’t seem to care if he harms anyone to get it. Only Nagarath seems to feel any guilt about the people he’s endangered as he tries to help Liara and keep her safe.

An interesting and fast paced ending to this smart trilogy.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Kithseeker – M.K. Wiseman*

Read my post on book one in this series – The Bookminder

The Kithseeker (book 2 of the Bookminder series)
France, 1680 A.D.
Liara’s defense of the Wizard Nagarath has rendered Anisthe incantate—bereft of all magick—but
even this has failed to guarantee Liara’s safety. The death of the war mage would seal Liara’s own fate, and so the wizard and his bookminder must keep him in their sites and yet as far away from themselves as possible.
With nothing but a storybook and a hunch, Anisthe has set off on a journey across Europe, aided by
his half-fey manservant, in search of a legendary mirror that contains the most powerful magick ever known. Although the stuff of fairytales, the merest possibility of its truth embarks Nagarath and Liara on a race to discover the mirror before it falls into the hands of Nagarath’s lifelong foe. Both know should he lay claim to that power, Liara would be at the mercy of her father-in-magick and his
lust for power, and not even Nagarath could save her.
Thus, the pair find themselves at the court of the Sun King, a world hostile to magick users, hopelessly surrounded by agents whose sole purpose is destroy them. Uncertain whom is friend or foe, with Anisthe nipping at their heels, they must unearth the mirror before its evil is released, or worse, lays claim to Liara’s magick as well and brings doom upon them all.

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My thoughts: Liara and Nagarath are in hot pursuit of their enemy, the mage Anisthe across Europe, mostly by ship – cue sea sickness and storms. They meet a variety of people in their travels, some friendly and some less so, always wary of the risk of engaging with the soldiers of Rome hunting magick users. They need to beat Anisthe to a legendary magickal item – the mirror Snow White’s evil stepmother used, if it exists.

Along the way Liara does a lot of growing up and starts to learn how to use her powers to do more than a perimeter alarm. The character development is good and feels realistic, she’s not suddenly a hundred times more grown up and sensible, she still makes mistakes and struggles to trust people. It makes her all the more interesting.

We also learn more about Nagarath and why he and Anisthe parted company as young mages in training. This explains a lot of her concerns about Liara and why he feels they need to chase after his former friend.

This was really enjoyable and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on book three.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Bookminder – M.K. Wiseman*

The Bookminder (book 1 of the Bookminder series)
Istria, 1679 A.D.
Sired by magick and violence, sixteen-year-old Liara is found guilty of witchcraft and banished from
her tiny village by the very priest who raised, then betrayed her. However, a mysterious mage steps forward to assume custody of her: Nagarath, the Wizard of Parentino, whose secret spellwork has long protected both Liara and Dvigrad from the ravages of war.
Despite Liara’s best hopes, Nagarath refuses to apprentice her to his craft but tasks her instead with the restoration of his neglected library. Liara gleans magickal knowledge on the sly, but her stolen spells renew an evil wizard’s interest in the people of the Limska Draga valley.
Only by tapping Liara’s inherent magick and joining it with his own can Nagarath protect Parentino from suffering a horrible fate. However, her discovery of his secrets destroys their fragile trust and ignites the darker tendencies of her gift. Now, he must rescue her from the influence of his mortal enemy before their powerful new alliance destroys them all.

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M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of
storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

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My thoughts: this new YA fantasy series starts strong and as the book pages turn the characters become more interesting and the plot starts to become very interesting and sets up the rest of the series.

I liked Liara, she reminded me of so many teenage girls, frustrated with their lives, annoyed at the adults around them who don’t tell them the things they believe they need to know. She’s headstrong and slow to trust, but because of her past she’s hurt and vulnerable.

I’m looking forward to sharing the next two books with you over the coming weeks!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.