Book Review of Aspiring and Becoming by Astrid V.J.

 

Title: Aspiring (Book 1)

Author: Astrid VJ

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 5/5

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Title: Becoming (Book 2)

Author: Astrid VJ

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

A coven of witches plots to overthrow a kingdom. One brave woman stands in their way.

At her mother’s death-bed, Elisabeth learns her mother’s illness is no accident and that her own life is in danger. Evil witches are plotting to take over the kingdom of Vendale. All alone, naive, and untrained, Elisabeth’s determination is all she has to confront her mother’s murderers as she discovers love at the same time. While Richard’s behaviour sends distracting mixed messages, Elisabeth finds herself stuck in limbo: she is treated like a child but is forced to make adult decisions. Meanwhile, the witches’ plot spins a fateful web around her.

Can Elisabeth succeed in the face of insurmountable odds?

*I am review book 1 and 2 together

Astrid did great in weaving the feeling of classic fairytales into her story for the modern reader. Elizabeth is a fun character who is relatable for anyone who has fallen in love, but then has to deal with her new powers and is given more responsibility than she ever thought possible. It definitely weaves in a few different class fairy tales from different areas of Europe, and I really liked that about it. Astrid writes very well and has a beautiful pose, although if you are looking for an action-packed story, this one might not be for you. This one is more lyrical and beautiful, versus other books in the genre.

The second book is great as it follows more of of the siblings’ tale. I really liked Edvard and his devotion to his sister, but felt we didn’t get enough of him in the last half of the book. Although the evil step-mother troupe is used a lot, it’s definitely a classic and is relatable to some people *cough-cough*. She was quite evil, but I found her believable as I have seen some pretty messed up families in my life because of step-parents. 

All in all, if you are looking for a beautiful prose that is based on fairy tales, I recommend these two books!

~Dani

 

Book Review of Embers by Sky Sommers

 

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Title: Embers

Author: Sky Sommers

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy
 

Rating: 4/5

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Back cover:

A wolf cursed to be a horrible warning. A huntsman who hates to kill. His son loves red T-shirts and to roam the woods alone.

For failing to uphold her end of the bargain Ella’s “wicked” stepmother Grace now walks the world on four paws. Her husband Peter has become the village huntsman to save his wife from the villagers. And his son from his wife.

Will Grace remember who she is as she is drawn to the boy? Will she find her way back to Peter? And how exactly do you lift a Fairy Queen’s curse?

This adult retelling of Red Riding Hood weaves several classic fairytales together with a splash of darkness, can be read as a standalone novel and is aimed at an adult audience (heat level: mild). For those who wanted to know how Prince Charming’s parents got together, keep an eye out for a nested story of Belle and Beast.

*I received this book from the author for my honest review*

This is a very beautiful retelling or Red Riding Hood with a mix of other stories such Beauty and the Beast and Hansel and Gretel. It is told beautiful, just like classic fairy tale stories, but set as a modern tale. I loved how it was changed into a boy representing Red Riding Hood because he always liked wearing the color red, and how he accepted the wolf and wanted to befriend her. As some who tries to support wolf activism (I literally just got a ding from my email from Grand Canyon Wolves as I wrote that haha), I appreciate not making wolves be the bad guy. 

This is a continuation of a series, and I haven’t gotten a chance to read the first book, but one could easily read this as a standalone if they wanted to. The only problems I had were that sometimes it was a little hard to follow and I got confused what exactly the conflict was. All in all though, it is a great beach read, lazy summer afternoon read, or a read next to a fire (depending on where you live, it’s hot here). I recommend to anyone who enjoys fairy tales.

~Dani

 

Book Review of Welcome To Velvet, AZ by Sherry Rossman

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Title: Welcome to Velvet, AZ

Author: Sherry Rossman

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Horror
 

Rating: 4/5

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Back cover:

For the past eighteen years, the town of Velvet has been under a holiday curse. For them, Thanksgiving is not about turkey and family. It’s about the Nightmares. This year, the curse arrives early—a full five days before Thanksgiving—sending a menagerie of characters on a search for answers. It begins with Boone, a seventeen-year-old who was raised by an ageless eccentric; Nick, a man in the midst of a breakdown; and Toni, a girl who won’t let any man get closer than three feet. As answers unfold, suspicions arise, and the power behind the curse is a surprise no one could have imagined.

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

I picked up this books since I live in AZ and apparently like to frighten myself… I don’t like straight up gory horror, but one that send chills down your spine, and this one did just that! It was eerie and felt like the old horror I read as a teen. The characters were interesting and the way the curse became a part of the town was really fascinating. I really liked how it affected or was tied to people differently. 

The only problem I had with the book is that I felt it kept repeating the same thoughts and could have been shorter. Also, all the secrecy didn’t make sense since they were fighting this every year. We were left in the dark and that didn’t make sense to me since all the towns people knew and the characters whom we were reading their POV were keeping the reader in the dark. It could have been a little more polished in that regard, but otherwise I would recommend to anyone who likes creepy horror. 

~Dani

Author bio:

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Before I found the awesomeness of writing in the YA realm I dabbled in children’s stories and short works for adults. My first YA novel became an Amazon bestseller shortly before my publisher decided to close their doors. But I forged on, exploring fantastical ideas and discovering that our world is more magical than we give it credit for. These musings inspired The Water Man, which earned a spot in the anthology Mythic Orbits 2016.

I live on the sunny-yet-piney side of Arizona with my family and sweet boxador, Bella. 

Author Links:

Website: https://sherryrossman.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4455392.Sherry_Rossman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sherry-Rossman-155850011109024

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sherryrossmanauthor

 

 

Wonderland Chronicles Character Interview: Malcolm

What Actor I envisioned: Ian Somerhalder

Malcolm “Mad Hatter” Q&A

Q1. Tell us a little about yourself

A1: There isn’t much to tell. I protect Wonderland and the Dream Kingdom by any means necessary and when I’m not doing that, I am drinking tea. Actually, I will drink tea while protecting Wonderland too.

Q2: What is your favorite flavor tea?

A2: I special blend I made of black teas, berries, green tea, and roses. 

Q3: Favorite color?

A3: Green and orange

Q4: What was it like living in the Dark Forest?

A4: Nothing spectacular. I got used to it. I feel at home there because no one bothers me and I can drink all the tea I want without someone judging me. 

Q5: What is in your pocket on a normal day?

A5: Tea bags, pocketknife, some loose change, more tea, and some sweets.

Q6: What is your zodiac sign?

A6: Capricorn

Q7: Favorite animal?

A7: Anything other than a cat.

Q8: Favorite era of Wonderland?

A8: Current is peaceful and nice, but I do have to admit I miss some of the fun that was trying to stay on the Queen of Hearts’ good side.

Q9: Wisest words that your mentor Howard gave you?

A9: Learn from your past and move forward. Don’t let the past slow you down in becoming who you want to be. Just because you did some things that were wrong doesn’t mean you can’t become better.

Q10: Favorite flower?

A10: Besides tea plant, I would have to say hydrangeas.

Q11: What is it like being a figment of Dani’s imagination?

A11: Feels like the Dark Forest, so kind of nice and a little like home.

Wonderland Chronicles Character Interview: Alice

What actress I envisioned: Kiernan Shipka

Meredith “Alice” Hughes Q&A

Q1. Tell us a little about yourself

A1. I am a high school student at East Salem High in Oregon. I love art and my dream is to become an artist. I also love to dance and attend Tippy Toe Dance Studio. In my spare time, I read manga and watch a lot of anime (probably too much). I have two sisters who are both very smart, but also sometimes jerks. My best friend is Kate and we have known each other since elementary school. 

Q2: What is your favorite anime and manga?

A2: Oh that is a tough one! I really enjoy Oresama Teacher, as it is a good mix of humor, drama, and I never know what is going to happen next! As for anime… Sailor Moon is always a classic, but I will have to go with Kamisama Kiss. It is just so cute!

Q3: Who is your favorite artist?

A3: That’s easy! I love Waterhouse! All of his paintings are master pieces and I hope I can paint that well one day. Wonderland has many inspiring images that I hope I can capture just like he did!

Q4: One a typical day, what might you find in your pocket?

A4: Uhhhh…. Probably Kate’s pencil, an eraser, a crumpled-up note of art ideas, and some candy. And bobby pins.

Q5: What is your zodiac sign?

A5: Taurus!

Q6: What music do you listen to?

A6: Besides Jpop, I really enjoy punk rock such as Paramore or My Chemical Romance.

Q7: Do you believe in soul mates?

A7: *blushes* what kind of question is that? I don’t know… I suppose? I think there is a lot we don’t know about the universe. For example, no one knows that Wonderland exists…

Q8: Favorite color?

A8: As an artist, I love and appreciate all colors! But if I had to pick, it would have to be a light blue or light pink.

Q9: Favorite animal?

A9: Uhhh…. *looks away from Malcolm and whispers* I love cats…

Q10: Besides Wonderland, what fantasy world would you want to visit?

A10: Hmmm I think I would pick… As long as I was a main character… Sailor Moon universe. It would be so cool to be a Sailor Scout!

Q11: What is it like being a figment of Dani’s imaginations?

A11: I am pretty sure I am just her art-loving side… Also it’s kind of dark in her mind like the Dark Forest…

Have any questions for Alice? Comment them below!

Book Review of In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount

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The Cutting Edge meets Friday Night Lights in a sizzling new hockey romance from bestselling authors Kelly Anne Blount and Lynn Rush!

Title: In the Penalty Box

Authors: Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount

Genre: YA Contemporary

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Entangled Teen!

Rating: 5/5

Amazon/B&N

Summary: 

Willow: Figure skating was supposed to be my whole world. But one unlucky injury and now I’m down…but I’m definitely not out. I just need to rehab—a boatload of rehab—and who’d have thought I could do it on the boys’ hockey team? Of course, the infuriatingly hot captain of the team seems to think I’m nothing but sequins and twirls. What’s a girl to do but put him in his place? Game on.

Brodie:  Hockey is my whole world. I’ve worked my tail off getting my team in a position to win the championships—hopefully in front of major college scouts, too—so what’s a guy to do when a figure skater ends up as our new goalie? Of course, the distractingly sexy skater thinks I’m nothing but a testosterone-laced competitive streak. And surely she’s only biding her time to heal, then she’s gone. Game over.

 

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

From page 1, I couldn’t put this book down. I fell in love with Brodie and Willow and was rooting for them all the way through this books. I don’t skate, but I felt that the authors both did a lot of research on figure skating and hockey. I also found Brodie and Willow family situation and backstory to not feel generic and it helped move the plot, their characterization, and affect the way they acted. All the secondary characters didn’t feel like backdrops, but actually moved in and out of the scene with purpose.

I really like Brodie and found him to be a sweetheart. Both of their reasons for why they don’t want to be a couple in the beginning made sense, and I felt as if I was in high school dealing with the drama of that age all over again :P. The characters were believable and I felt connected to my younger self. The trials they both go through, and how they come out on the other side, is very inspiring. It is great to have characters that are caring and grow from challenges.

All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves YA romance! Rush and Blount did a fantastic job!

~Dani

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Book Review of To Whatever End by Lindsey Frydman

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Title: To Whatever End

Author: Lindsey Frydman

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Paranormal
 
Release Date: January 4th 2021

Rating: 4/5

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Back cover:

What if with every person you met, after just one touch, you have a vision of the last time you’ll see each other? Ever. Normally, these visions are innocent—two friends just drifting apart, a random stranger that brushed past you then never crossed your path again. 

But not today. 

When I accidentally touch him, within only moments of our first meeting, I’m bombarded by visions of his death. 

And from what I can see, I’m the reason he dies. 

Now I just need to figure out why, and how to stop this from happening. Because not only am I to blame, but his very last words to me are…I love you.

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

I couldn’t put down this book! I read it all in one sitting as it was suspenseful, touching, and romantic. I really liked the main character Quinn as she is dealing with a curse that she isn’t allowed to talk about—seeing how a relationship will end. When she touches a person, she knows what kind of heartbreak is going to ensue, but she couldn’t imagine that it was because the boy she wanted to date was going to die.

From the first chapter, you wonder what she is going to do to try and save him, and you wondered if she was or if this was going to end sadly. I won’t spoil the ending, of course, but this entire book is definitely a read I will be recommending to those who like suspense. All the characters were interesting, and I really liked Griffin (the boy she has to save). I have been watching too much Avatar: The Last Airbender and totally just imagined him as Zuko the entire time, and that is what voice I heard in my head. Not complaining, just thought it was funny.

The only problems I had (and a problem I have while writing as well) is that there wasn’t very little interaction with other people that were supporting members or main characters. It seemed a little unrealistic or that there wasn’t anyone else in the town. There were instances where there should have been more people but it seemed silent. The other problem I had was there were some things that weren’t clarified and answered very well, but I don’t want to spoil what those were. All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will be checking out the author’s other novels!

 

~Dani

To Whatever End tour banner

lindsey frydman

About the AuthorLindsey has been writing since she was nine years old, when she discovered the awesomeness that is Harriet the Spy. Her books always include a romance, though sometimes there’s an added sci-fi or magical realism twist. She lives in Columbus, Ohio (where the weather is never quite right). Her BFA in Photography and Graphic Design has granted her a wide assortment of creative knowledge that serves as inspiration (and not much else). When she’s not crafting YA and NA stories, you’ll likely find her spending waaay too much time on Pinterest, playing a video game, singing show-tunes, or performing in a burlesque show—because she enjoys giving her introversion a worthy adversary. (Plus, it’s the closest to Broadway she’ll ever get.) Lindsey was a proud 2016 Pitch Wars Mentee and thoroughly adores being a part of the wonderful writing community. THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS is her debut novel.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lindseymf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindseyfrydmanauthor/

Book Review of A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

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Title: Curse of Roses

Author: Diana Pinguicha

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fantasy/LGBTQ

Rating: 5/5

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Purchase links can be found HERE!

Back cover:

With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.

There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.

If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.

Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.

As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death?

With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more.

She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.

Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

This was a remarkable story that was full of color, imagination, and history. Pinguicha did a great job in her research and making this story feel grounded in the past, yet still have a flare of fantasy. I was fascinated by how the MC had a curse that turned everything she ate into flowers. I couldn’t help to wonder how I would deal with such a curse as an herbalist. It wouldn’t be practical, but the first five minutes would be cool!

The LGBTQ aspect was great and made me really feel for the characters, especially given the time period. Pinguicha put a lot of thought on how to portray the characters in the era and I really respect and admire that in books. It is ignorant to think LGBTQ wasn’t prominent throughout the history and it seems like a lot of books ignore that fact. Yay representation!

All in all, I highly recommend this book!

~Dani

About the Author:

Born in the sunny lands of Portugal, Diana is a Computer Engineer graduate who currently calls Lisbon home. She can usually be found writing, painting, devouring extraordinary quantities of books and video games, or walking around with her bearded dragon, Norberta. She also has two cats, Sushi and Jubas, who would never forgive her if she didn’t mention them.

Her art can be found at http://pinguicha.deviantart.com.

Also publishes under Diana Pinguicha Connors.

Website: http://pinguicha.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pinguicha

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Book Review of The Journey and The Discovery by Kelsey Ketch

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Death Island: The Journey

by Kelsey Ketch

Genre: New Adult Adventure/Fantasy

Release Date: December 2020

Rating: 5/5

With her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes, Meriden Cummings could only dream of fleeing her oppressive life. Then she unearthed a piece of tanned skin, and her blood revealed an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs, launching her on the journey of a lifetime. However, she finds herself bound to the map, and there is a cost to her newfound freedom. One that will torment her mind as well as her soul.

After being shanghaied by pirates, Gregory Wilson escapes to a small English village where he runs into an obnoxious auburn- haired beauty. When he learns she is about to set sail on dangerous waters, he signs up to join her crew, hoping to defend her from the pirates seeking her great-grandfather’s treasure. But, will he be able to protect her from the ghost that haunts her or the curse running through her veins.

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Purchase Links: | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

death island the discovery

Death Island: The Discovery (Death Island #2)

By Kelsey Ketch

Genre: New Adult Adventure/Fantasy

Release Date: December 2020

Rating: 5/5

After arriving at Death Island, Meriden Cummings became haunted by dreams of a young Mayan woman’s death. A death, Meriden fears, foreshadows her own. And she soon discovers that in this tropical paradise, there are many ways to die. On top of that, the pirates after her great-grandfather’s treasure are not far behind. Can she and her crew stay one step ahead of them and the Mayan god that inhabits the island?

Meriden is not the only one haunted by the young Mayan woman’s death. Gregory Wilson has had similar dreams the moment he stepped foot on the island. In addition, he has seen the Mayan god of death, Ah Puch. Will he be able to protect Meriden from the earthly dangers as well as the supernatural forces seeking her demise?

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Purchase Links: | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

GIVEAWAYS:

Giveaway 1 (US Only):

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5fbe8b4466/?

Giveaway 2 (INT)::

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5fbe8b4467/?

 

Review:

This is a great duology! I couldn’t put it down! It hit the spot for my pirate story needs! I loved how it followed Meriden, as she was a strong, female lead that knew how to hold herself in a fight. I also really enjoyed Gregory’s POV as he has an interesting back story and has a lot going on in terms of ties with the pirates that are chasing them. The mythology behind the story was really interesting and different than a lot of other pirate books I have read. I highly recommend this duology to anyone who likes pirate books!

~Dani

About the Author

Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist in the state of North Carolina. 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 kelseyketch.com.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

 

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YA Bound Book Tours

Book Review of Ritual by J.S. Hope

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Title: Ritual: Lord of Misrule Book 1 (The Paranormal World)

Author: J.S. Hope

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Book one in New York Times bestseller J.S. Hope’s steamy five part paranormal romance serial, The Lord of Misrule!

Reporter Alessandra “Alex” Donati is in Venice chasing the story of her career. While the city prepares for the Christmas festivities, Alex is hot on the trail of a group that celebrates a much older – and much darker – festival, one that offers sex and sacrifice in exchange for power and wealth.

Alex is smart. She’s going into this with open eyes. She thinks she can handle anything the city and its ancient rites throw at her, including gorgeous cult leader Sebastian Assante, but she’s wrong. As the lines between fantasy and reality blur she finds herself caught up in the passion and excess of the Saturnalia Festival, and she loves it. The attention is thrilling. The heat and lust of the rites dizzying, and the hunger of the revelers intoxicating…but when the masks come off what lies beneath is terrifying.

*This novella is rated Mature*

Wow! This is a great start to a series! It gives enough background of the main character Alex, the world in which she lives, and is filled with action and sexiness. I love Alex as she is a relatable female character that wants to change the world one news story at a time. Never could she imagine the world she would stumble upon while in Venice.

The story ends on a cliffhanger, but don’t worry, the next book will be out in  a couple of weeks. It seems the entire series is up for preorder, so there is no wondering when the next one is out.

All in all, if you love paranormal romance, this series is definitely for you!

~Dani