Posted in reviews

Accidental Anomalies: Book One of the Mutant Fellowship Series by J. Traveler Pelton

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two brothers and world-renowned doctors in a world devastated after a meteorite strike leaves some of the population suffering from mutations work at the Center for Genetic Research, but soon questions arise after the two brothers have a string of wives mysteriously disappear months into their marriages in author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Accidental Anomalies”, book one in the Mutant Fellowship Series. 

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The Synopsis

Ever since the meteorite holocaust, mutations have been showing up in the population. Drs. David and Michael Simmons are highly regarded and successful researchers, wealthy philanthropists, and directors of the Center for Genetic Research. They have terrible luck with women, however. When Aspen and Diem, sisters, marry the brothers, like all the other wives, they disappear. What is hidden in the lowest basement of the Center?

The Review

A great blend of YA Dystopian thriller with mystery and suspense, this was a truly unique read. The author blends sci-fi and fantasy elements into a harsh world where the progress made in our modern world was undone after the tragic disaster of the mutant meteorite that devastated the world. Much like in The Handmaid’s Tale, the world is suffering from mutations in births and women with healthy wombs are asked to help repopulate the Earth, no matter their sexual orientation or preferences regarding children. 

Yet the author takes this narrative in a whole new element, adding a domestic suspense and thriller element to the novel with the inclusion of the brothers David and Michael, doctors and researchers who have used sinister means of acquiring test subjects. The story focuses on great themes of good vs evil, facing prejudices in society and justice in a world where money can buy freedom despite the crimes one commits. The pacing of the novel adds the level of suspense this narrative deserves, and the character development really adds depth to the mythology of this dystopian world.

The Verdict

A memorable, engaging and mind-bending read, author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Accidental Anomalies” is a must-read sci-fi and dystopian thriller. A gripping tale of heartbreaking relationships gone wrong and cruelty in the name of progress, the author explores a haunting world that keeps the reader invested and entertained throughout. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J. Traveler Pelton was born in West Virginia in the last century. She is active in her home church and was the Nation’s Mother for her tribe for several years. She is still wife to Dan after 47 years (He is so long-suffering!), mother of six adults, a grandmother of nine, a Clinically Licensed Independent Social worker in private practice, a retired adjunct professor of social work at her local university, and an avid reader. She lives on a mini-farm with her husband, seven alpaca, a flock of spoiled chickens, five Siamese cats, four Pomeranians, a talkative Amazon parrot named Gizmo, and her aviary of canaries. Traveler enjoys the intersection of fantasy, possibility, creativity, and speculation. Join her on the other side of the imagination tree. She’ll be sitting there waiting for your visit.

Posted in Comic Book Roundup, reviews

DC PRIDE #1 (DC CULTURAL ANTHOLOGIES) REVIEW

DC Pride (2021-) #1 (DC Cultural Anthologies (2021-))

by Andrew WheelerSam Johns (Goodreads Author), Nicole MainesVita Ayala (Goodreads Author), Sina Grace (Goodreads Author), Danny LoreMarc AndreykoMariko TamakiSteve OrlandoJames Tynion IVTamra Bonvillain (Cover Art), Scott Williams (Cover Art), Jim Lee (Cover Art), Luciano Vecchio (Penciller), Klaus Janson (Penciller), Kevin Wada (Penciller), Travis Moore (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Sophie Campbell (Penciller), Rachael Stott (Penciller), Skylar Patridge (Penciller), Ro Stein (Penciller), Mildred Louis (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Kris Anka (Penciller), Nick Robles (Penciller), Brittney Williams (Penciller), David Talaski (Penciller), Amy Reeder (Penciller), Stephen Byrne (Penciller), Trung Le Nguyen (Penciller), Ted Brandt (Inker), Rex Lokus (Colorist), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colorist), Marissa Louise (Colorist), Dave McCaig (Colorist), José Villarrubia (Colorist)

I am proud to share my review of the brand new collection of PRIDE inspired stories within the DC Universe, featuring some of the greatest LGBTQ DC Heroes around in the new anthology, DC Pride. 

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The Synopsis

DC Pride #1 will feature LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more. The DC Pride creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, are:

Batwoman (Kate Kane) by James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen

Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn by Mariko Tamaki & Amy Reeder

Midnighter by Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne

Flash of Earth-11 (Jess Chambers) by Danny Lore & Lisa Sterle

Green Lantern (Alan Scott) & Obsidian by Sam Johns & Klaus Janson

Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) by Andrew Wheeler & Luciano Vecchio

Dreamer by Nicole Maines & Rachael Stott

Renee Montoya by Vita Ayala and Skylar Patridge

Pied Piper by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Additionally, DC Pride #1 will include full-page profiles of DCTV’s LGBTQIA+ characters and the actors who play them, and fans of The CW’s Supergirl will be thrilled to see the first comic book appearance of Dreamer, a trans woman superhero, in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia Nal/Dreamer on Supergirl.

Rounding out the DC Pride anthology is a forward by Marc Andreyko (Love is Love), single-page pin-ups by artists Kris Anka, Sophie Campbell, Mildred Louis, Travis Moore, Nick Robles and Kevin Wada, with more surprises to come!

The Review

Some of my favorite heroes in the DC Universe are proud members of the LGBTQ community. From the incredible story of Alan Scott trying to bond with his son Obsidian in an attempt to recognize how far the world has come since the days of gay men having to hide in secret bars, to the heartfelt romance of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and even the promise of a future league within the DC Universe that celebrates the wide range of LGBTQ heroes that the comic book company has to offer, this collection celebrates a wide range of stories and heroes that showcase not only their PRIDE but of the power and rich stories that they embody. 

However, my personal favorite story within this collection comes from the Arrowverse, which focuses on one of my favorite new heroes and favorite actresses, Dreamer, played by the lovely and incredible Nicole Maines. Her story of fighting for peace and allowing people’s dreams to become a reality was beautifully brought to life with rich artwork and a story that felt both fresh and unique to the character dynamics established in the Supergirl corner of the Arrowverse. Nia is a truly great hero to embody the future of the DC Comics universe, embodying both powerful heroics and in-depth and emotional character development, making her story feel like the future so many of us comic book fans have been waiting so long for.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and action-packed comic book anthology comic, DC Comics’s “DC Pride” is a must-read anthology for not only PRIDE month, but for the future of DC Comics. Engaging characters and emotional storytelling make these stories both entertaining and resonate with fans around the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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https://www.bookbub.com/books/dc-pride-2021-1-by-andrew-wheeler-sam-johns-nicole-maines-luciano-vecchio-klaus-janson-kevin-wada

Posted in reviews

Red Earth Diaries by Jason Rebello Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two newlyweds from another country throw caution to the wind and travel the country they plan to call home in author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries”. 

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The Synopsis 

A one-way ticket to Australia…two months of travel…and a shoestring budget.

In Red Earth Diaries we meet Jason and Ambika, a newlywed couple who migrated to Australia with the hope of a fresh start. However, unlike most migrants, they made a bold decision to postpone their settlement plans, throw caution to the wind and backpack in Australia on a shoestring budget. Their intention was to learn about the country and its people first-hand … a land they would someday call home. Swimming with sharks, cuddling cute koalas, chartering private helicopters, venturing deep into ancient rainforests, and getting to know plenty of locals – the couple had incredible experiences in this stunning country.

Their travel story is interwoven with snippets of history and provides the reader with a glimpse of Australia as viewed through the eyes of newly arrived migrants. Join Jason and Ambika on their spectacular journey of discovery. Red Earth Diaries is founded on four primary pillars: a migrant’s journal, a travelogue, a delve into Australian history, and an inspirational tale.

The central message of the book is for everyone to chase their dreams – however distant and impossible they may seem. Moving to Australia has been one seemingly impossible goal the author had set decades ago, and he likewise urges the reader to shed all reservations and to dream the wildest dreams possible. The Preface of Red Earth Diaries is called Dreamtime, and in it, the author describes the evolution of his journey to this strange and peculiar wonderland.

As a travelogue, the book harkens to all travellers as well as migrants who are already in Australia or who are thinking of making the move to this beautiful country. The book also contains stories of local Australians the couple met along the way. In it you will meet, amongst others – Helen, a 10-Pound-pom; Rowland Mosbergen, a sprightly man in his eighties who survived the horrors of WWII in a remote jungle in Bahau; Rafael and Nadia and their three kids based in Research, Victoria; Ranjit, a practising surgeon and his wife who are based in Kew, Melbourne. The travelogue aims to deliver an essential message to all migrants in Australia – to not take this country for granted and to try to understand and embrace its culture first.

Some Key Personalities mentioned: Paul Hogan, Ned Kelly, Steve Irwin, Captain Cook, Burley Griffin, Gregory Blaxland, Jorn Utzon, Eddie Mabo

Some key historical events described: The Endeavour striking the reef, finding a passage through the Blue Mountains, the discovery of gold, the naming of Sunshine Coast, the birth of Canberra as the nation’s capital, the iconic rail journeys in Australia, WWI and WWII, Early colonization, construction of Hume Highway, Blackbirding, construction of Opera House.

Charity Donation: Five per cent of all profits from the sale of this book in the first year of publication will be donated to the Red Cross towards the 2019–20 bushfire crisis management (www.redcross.org.au) and a further five per cent will be also be given to aged care in India through Help Age India (www.helpageindia.org).

The Review 

A wonderful blend of travel, memoir, and history, author Jason Rebello has done an incredible job bringing this book to life. The non-fiction story gives readers a unique perspective on not just general travel but immigrating to an entirely new country, as the newlywed couple immerses themselves in the culture and history of Australia while experiencing the nation firsthand. 

The author does a great job of sharing the experiences of their adventures and their relationship and the history and culture they were experiencing. The way in which the author brought that spirit of travel and adventure so many seek was felt throughout every chapter, while the attention to detail on Australia itself was fantastic to see unfold. From the nation’s history and pop culture to the nation’s strict quarantine procedures and so much more, the author poured so much culture and heart into this story, creating a truly interactive and mesmerizing non-fiction read. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and breathtaking travel and memoir-style book, author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries” is a must-read. The wonderful blend of history and culture does a great job of mirroring the emotions and adventure that the couple themselves experienced along the way and creates an intimate and thoughtful narrative that many readers can identify with and that many of us can only hope for. A great and fantastic read, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story on July 8th, 2021. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jason Rebello was born in Mumbai, India and went to sea at the early age of seventeen.He spent many years sailing across the world on modern ocean liners, eventually rising to the rank of a ship’s Captain. His sea career was interspaced with a healthy dose of backpacking and intrepid travels and as a result, he was firmly hooked on a life of adventure and uncommon living.His travel blog, The Evolving Backpacker, was born out of his passion for travel. He has also written several self-help books under the ‘Migrant Ninja’ series.Jason along with his wife and two children is now settled in Australia.

https://www.instagram.com/theevolvingbackpacker/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0948GVRBM/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58172451-red-earth-diaries%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D2GKMQ0lXzA%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Posted in reviews

Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be-First-Time Dad by Tom Kreffer Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A humorous and heartfelt exploration of impending fatherhood and the process of pregnancy from a husband and father’s perspective is brought to brilliant life in author Tom Kreffer’s “Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be-First-Time Dad”. 

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The Synopsis

Imagine discovering you’re about to become a parent, even though doctors told you the chances of making a baby were close to zero.

Now, a soon-to-be first-time father is charting a course through the perilous and choppy waters of living with a pregnant woman. He’s dodging hormonal right hooks, evading emotional explosions, saying all the wrong things (like ‘Are you okay?’) and trying to figure out how the hell you install a car seat.

Written as a journal to his unborn child, Dear Dory is the unfiltered, irreverently funny, honest and heartfelt account of one man’s journey to fatherhood as he contemplates his new identity as a Daddy and prepares for the responsibility of a lifetime.

WARNING: This book contains a truckload of profanity.

The Review

This is such a fantastic and honest read. The author brilliantly delves into the raw and honest emotions that run through an impending father’s mind throughout the course of a nine-month pregnancy. From the rush of nerves and fear of hoping when facing a pregnancy test to the changing health conditions of your pregnant wife, including her low iron levels, and the challenge of finding the right remedy to help their exhaustion, the author covers a wide range of both physical and mental (along with emotional) experiences throughout pregnancy both for his wife and himself. 

The tone and the pacing of this  book are what really stand out to me. The author’s truthful and humorous approach to the subject of fatherhood really makes this narrative relatable, and the fact the author promises that the book is not a must-follow guide on all things parenting, but instead an honest conversation on the author’s personal experiences throughout the pregnancy and looking ahead to fatherhood. Both parents and impending parents will be able to relate to the author’s story, as it is refreshing to see a father who not only seeks answers and hope for parenting but exudes a sense of optimism in his writing about fatherhood.

The Verdict

A heartwarming, engaging and eye-opening read for any father, parent or future parent, author Tom Kreffer’s “Dear Dory” is a must-read book on parenthood. The humor and wit the author infuses into his writing balances the honesty and hope that the author brings to the subject matter, and makes this a valuable as well as entertaining read that should not be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tom Kreffer has a degree in film and television and has worked in finance for over ten years. Dear Dory is his first book.

He lives in Northampton, England with his family, whom he intends to exploit for many more story opportunities in the years to come.

Amazon: Say Hi

Facebook: Say Hi

Instagram: Say Hi

https://www.bookbub.com/books/dear-dory-journal-of-a-soon-to-be-first-time-dad-adventures-in-dadding-1-by-tom-kreffer

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman searching for her brother in a city of monsters must navigate her growing power and the inner workings of the city of Avergard’s politics in order to save her family and friends in author Kristin Jacques’s “Skin Curse”, the second book in The Gate Cycle series. 

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The Synopsis 

The Children of the Gate wait for the call to Rise.

Azzy Brimvine knows her brother is in the vast city of Avergard. She must find him, but time is not on their side.

In the House of Seven Smiles, Azzy struggles to understand the constraints and limits of her power. She finds the whispering voices that guided her for so long, suddenly silent. The enigmatic Lord Wallach is both a frustrating ally and a dangerous mystery, and a strange entity lurks among the household servants. The haven Azzy sought may not be as safe as she thought…but is anywhere truly safe in the Above? 

The city of Avergard is full of monsters and secrets, and a dark history festers at its root. A yawning pit nestles in the house of a scheming lord, who will use Armin’s dangerous gifts to raise history, and raze the city to the ground. As Azzy finds herself and her brother pulled into these machinations, she must navigate the politics and society of Avergard’s brutal ruling class to save her family and friends before the Gate consumes them all.

©2020 Machovi Productions Inc (P)2021 Machovi Productions Inc

The Review

This was a gripping and engaging story, blending everything from fantasy and horror to sci-fi and dystopian themes. While I am new to this series, I found the author did a great job of implementing enough of the first book’s story into this novel to make it feel both fresh and well-understood. 

The pacing and haunting atmosphere played a big role in establishing this fantasy world. The blend of chilling imagery that really brought Avergard to life in the reader’s mind and the narrator (Amie Lyn Hornick) really did a great job of voicing this story, establishing the mix of wonder and terror the protagonist endures throughout the novel while capturing the raw emotions and action that Azzy must overcome to save those closest to her. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and mesmerizing fusion of gothic horror and sci-fi dystopian elements, author Kristen Jacques’s “Skin Curse” is the perfect fantasy read for both new and established fans alike of this series. As a fan of history, I loved the backstory the author established of using one of history’s greatest villains, the Third Reich, and showed their involvement in opening the fabled Gate that let the magic and monsters into this dystopian world, as I know it is well established that one of Hitler’s mad machinations was to harness the power of the occult into his hatred and war machines. Add to this a great story with both haunting and engaging characters and a heart-pounding narrative that readers won’t be able to get enough of, this is a brilliant audiobook that can’t be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Kristin Jacques

Narrator: Amie Lyn Hornick

Length: 9 hours 13 minutes

Series: The Gate Cycle, Book 2

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Apr. 21, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Continue reading “Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques Review”
Posted in reviews

Poohlicious: Oh, The Wonder of Me by Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A heartwarming look into the awkward moments and funny parts of childhood that allow children to grow takes center stage in authors Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline’s “Poohlicious: Oh, the Wonder of Me”, the third book in the Poohlicious children’s book series.

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The Synopsis 

In the third installment of Mary E Jackson’s Poohlicious books, perfectly precious is a little boy and it’s wonderful! children are so susceptible to what we think and to see them as wonderful is one step to building up happy healthy children.

Book Three in the Poohlicious series is carrying on the tradition of seeing the wonderfulness in each child. Oh, the Wonder of Me, shares both the funny parts of children and the things that make them different teaching them that they are okay no matter what. Having different shaped ears, hair that won’t behave, and doing things in their own style is what childhood is full of.

Join us with your Poohlicious, as we journey through the funny and sometimes awkward parts of childhood while learning empowering, I AM statements to carry with them as they grow. Wonderful for ages four through seven. Let’s get them started early on a road to self-belief and empowerment. 

The Review

A wonderfully crafted and easy-to-read children’s story, the authors here have brought to life a heartwarming story that focuses not on some grand adventure, but instead on the everyday adventures of growing up. The simple discoveries or even humorous mistakes often make for memorable moments in our childhood. 

From wearing one’s shirt inside out to being able to pull one’s ears out and letting our imaginations run wild with dreams of using them to fly around, the authors and the illustrator, (Alice Antimie), really did a great job of highlighting the heartfelt and unique quality of childhood so many of us often forget. The utilization of “I” statements really helped to build an educational and identifiable nature to the writing for children who read this book with their parents.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and engaging children’s read, authors Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline’s “Poohlicious: Oh, the Wonder of Me” is a fantastic addition to this growing children’s book series. The blend of simple yet thoughtful storytelling layered with fantastic messages and an inviting style of illustration makes this book shine brightly. Be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Mary Elizabeth Jackson is the award-winning author of the children’s book series Perfectly Precious Poohlicious and Poohlicious Look at Me, (Tuscany Bay Books), the third book releasing June 1, 2021, Poohlicious Oh the Wonder of Me, (Tuscany Bay Books). Cheers from Heaven, a mid-grade reader releases in 2021, (Tuscany Bay Books), with co-writer Thornton Cline. Jackson focuses on writing empowering books for kids and is working on an eight-book series with Cline for children as well as books for the special need’s community and a motivational book for adults. Jackson is also a ghostwriter, book collaborator and the voice for the Sports2gether App.

Jackson is the co- founder and co- hosts of Writers Corner Live TV Show and Special Needs TV Shows on Amazon Live, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Writers Corner Live features author interviews from debut authors to New York Times bestsellers and everything about writing all the way to getting published. Special Needs TV features interviews and resources for parents, families, and caregivers. Jackson is an ambassador advocate for AutismTn.

Mrs. Jackson has been featured and interviewed on national and international radio shows including Sirius XM and iheart radio as well as numerous Podcasts and TV shows.

Jackson is starting a YouTube channel and an Amazon Live show dedicated to children’s book reviews with her son who inspired her series, and an education show for kids of all needs.

Mrs. Jackson is a very busy mom and wife. She loves nature, being creative, anything funny, and inspiring others to believe in themselves. She lives with her hubby, three kids, and dog in the Nashville area. -Cherish every moment of life.

https://www.maryejackson.com/

Ever since his mother signed him up for piano lessons at age five, Thornton Cline has been writing non-stop.
With over 1,000 published songs, 150 recorded songs, 32 traditionally published adult, children’s and young adult books published. 
Thornton Cline has been nominated multiple times for Grammy and Dove Awards. In 2017, Cline won a first-place
Maxy Literary Award for “Best Children’s Young Adult Book”.

Thornton Cline’s books have appeared at the top of the Amazon bestselling charts. Cline has been honored with “Songwriter of the Year” twice-in-a row and has received a platinum award for certified sales of over one million units in Europe. Cline continues to mentor, speak, teach, and inspire aspiring authors and songwriters around the world.
When Cline isn’t writing, he is teaching at Welch College in Middle Tennessee.
He resides in Hendersonville, Tennessee with his wife, Audrey and their cat, Kiki.
You can follow all the latest updates on his books and songs at his website, ThorntonCline.com; Thornton Douglas Cline on Facebook, @ClineThornton on Twitter, and @ThorntonCline on Instragram. Mrs P: Your Hair’s On Fire is Thornton Cline’s debut book with INtense Publishing.
Love to hear from You
Get in Touch Below 

Contact Links Website:  
http://www.thorntonCline.com

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thorntoncline/?hl=en

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thornton-cline-bb103713/

BookBub: Thornton Cline 

Goodreads: Thornton Cline

Alice Antimie was born in Anaheim, California. She spent a decade of her childhood on the sandy shores of the west coast before her family moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Alice’s passion for art started at an early age and led her to pursue a degree and career in the fine arts. She is a Commission Artist, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator. Alice has also taught Visual Arts, K-12.

http://www.aliceantimie.com/

Posted in reviews

Hello, Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young girl surviving on the streets of 1960’s London as a petty criminal gets a taste of high society after befriending two young scions and seeks to make her dreams of becoming a world renowned fashion designer a reality in author Maureen Johnson’s fantastic new retelling of a Disney classic, “Hello, Cruel Heart”. 

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The Synopsis 

An electric new story of teenage Cruella de Vil in an original novel inspired by the upcoming Walt Disney Studios Live Action Film, Cruella.

Swinging London, Summer 1967. Sixteen-year-old Estella, gifted with talent, ingenuity, and ambition, dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer. But life seems intent on making sure her dreams never come true. Having arrived in London as a young girl, Estella now runs wild through the city streets with Jasper and Horace, amateur thieves who double as Estella’s makeshift family and partners-in-(petty)-crime. How can Estella dedicate herself to joining the ranks of the London design elite when she’s sewing endless costumes and disguises for the trio’s heists?

When a chance encounter with Magda and Richard Moresby-Plum, two young scions of high society, vaults Estella into the world of the rich and famous, she begins to wonder whether she might be destined for more after all. Suddenly, Estella’s days are filled with glamorous parties, exclusive eateries, flirtations with an up-and-coming rock star, and, of course, the most cutting-edge fashions money can buy. But what is the true cost of keeping up with the fast crowd-and is it a price Estella is willing to pay? 

The Review

This was a truly riveting narrative and perfect spin on the classic story of Cruella. Estella is an endearing and tragic figure, highlighting the person beneath the persona that is destined to become a classic Disney villain. The struggle between Estella’s journey to the streets of London and her petty crimes to striving for the posh life she always thought she wanted and even trusting and falling in love all culminate in a series of events that drive the protagonist to face her darker self, Cruella.

The pacing and setting really stood out in this narrative, highlighting the late sixties in London, an era known for great music, upscale fashion and the seeds of rebellion and so much. The story expertly creates a new layer to the legend of Cruella while honoring the character’s arc and setting the tone for the villains eventual rise, all while making Estella an empathetic protagonist that shows the woman she never had the chance to become, a fate many people have had to endure throughout their lives.

The Verdict

A brilliant, edgy yet heartfelt retelling of a classic character’s history, author Maureen Johnson’s “Hello, Cruel Heart” is a must-read YA novel. The perfect blend of classic Disney characters meeting a retro-style setting and a YA narrative direction, this is the perfect companion read to the hit Disney film Cruella, and a fantastic summer read for 2021. Be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

Maureen Johnson is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue EnvelopesSuite ScarlettThe Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle (now on Netflix), and several works in the Shadowhunter universe with Cassandra Clare. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

https://www.bookbub.com/books/hello-cruel-heart-by-maureen-johnson

Posted in reviews

Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms by Mackenzi Lee Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two sisters raised to be assassins and warriors by a ruthless villain find themselves stranded on a planet being mined and quickly deteriorating, forcing them into a series of events that explores their rivalry and the source of the distance between them in author Mackenzi Lee’s “Gamora & Nebula: Sisters in Arms”.

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The Synopsis 

The second book in the hit series from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee!

This three-book series explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe. The first book in the series, Loki: Where Mischief Lies, was an instant New York Times best seller and received two starred reviews!

The relationship between teenage adopted sisters Gamora and Nebula is as volatile as ever. When they end up on a deteriorating planet being mined for its valuable resources, the two sisters are faced with a series of events that force them to explore the source of their rivalry-and where their loyalty truly lies. This action-packed yet sincere story will tug on the heartstrings of anyone who has ever had to learn how deeply weird and changeable trust can be.

The Review

As a longtime fan of all things Marvel Comics, I was immediately drawn to this book. The author does a fantastic job of balancing the source material of the characters with the creativity and originality of this novel’s narrative. The writing expertly paints a vivid image in the reader’s minds of this vast Marvel Universe, exploring the vastness of the universe that has relatively been unexplored in the comics while adding new layers and context from the creative mind of the author.

What stands out of course is the strong character development of this narrative. From the complex and emotional struggle of sisters Gamora and Nebula, who has been driven against one another and brainwashed by the vile Thanos and his war machine. The interesting thing is that the author utilizes concepts of the comics rather than the MCU as a whole into the narrative, exploring the effects Thanos’s relationship with the personification of Death has had on both protagonists. Even the humorous and tricky personality of The Grandmaster shines brightly in a grim and gritty corner of the Marvel Universe. 

The Verdict

Emotional, action-packed, and entertaining superhero storytelling, author Mackenzi Lee’s “Gamora & Nebula: Sisters in Arms” is a must-read sci-fi and fantasy read. Expertly crafting an original science fiction narrative within a well-established Marvel Universe is an extraordinary feat, and the author excels at navigating the complex relationship between the protagonists and their villainous adoptive father, which has always been a crucial part of the fabric of Marvel’s Cosmic storytelling. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, which won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Award and the New England Book Award, and its sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

When not writing, she works as an independent bookseller, drinks too much Diet Coke, and romps with her St. Bernard, Queenie.

http://www.mackenzilee.com/

https://www.instagram.com/themackenzilee/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/gamora-and-nebula-sisters-in-arms-novel-book-2-by-marvel-press-book-group



Posted in reviews

Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman living a quiet life in a bookshop after the loss of her father finds her world turned upside down after receiving a mysterious diary that leads her in a race to stop an ancient order hellbent on bringing a war unlike anyone has ever seen in author Jenny Elder Moke’s “Curse of the Specter Queen”. 

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The Synopsis

MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU…

Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn’t return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam’s peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose – to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher – one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life. Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?

Indiana Jones gets a refresh with this female-driven mystery adventure, set in the 1920s, full of ciphers, ancient relics, and heart-stopping action – the first in a brand-new series!

The Review

A thrilling adventure that blends the action and historical aspects of Indiana Jones with the emotional storytelling of the YA genre, this book excels at highlighting the historical fiction aspect that has made archeology the perfect pairing with action and adventure. As a longtime fan of history and culture, I loved the exploration of Ireland, namely things like the Druids and Morrigan. The blend of history with fantasy and sci-fi elements made this story feel both classic and fresh all at once.

The character development in this book is the heart of this story. From protagonist, Sam and her evolution from an emotionally scarred bookkeeper into a strong and resilient hero was fantastic to see unfold. While her relationships with her allies and against her enemies were powerful in so many ways, it was her friendship with Joana that really stood out to me. The contrast in these characters and their personalities and the evolution they undergo both emotionally and physically solidified the stakes of the novel and the hope their friendship brought Sam in order to face these threats head-on.

The Verdict

An adventurous, entertaining, and hauntingly-good action and historical fiction YA read, author Jenny Elder Moke’s “Curse of the Specter Queen” is a must-read book of 2021. The perfect blend of action, history, and fantasy, the story itself instantly draws readers in, and the characters are both relatable and inspiring to see tackle this narrative, making this the perfect summer YA read. Be sure to pick up your own copies today!

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About the Author

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Her debut novel, HOOD, about the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marien, will release from Disney/Hyperion in Spring 2020.

https://jennyeldermoke.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/curse-of-the-specter-queen-volume-1-novel-by-jenny-elder-moke