Posted in reviews

Cold Hearted (Villains #8) by Serena Valentino Review

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

The true origin of one of the most notorious evil stepmothers is revealed in author Serena Valentino’s “Cold Hearted”, the eight book in the VILLAINS series.

The Synopsis

It’s a familiar tale: A kind and beautiful young girl, reeling from loss. A doting father, frantic to bring a mother’s love back into his daughter’s life. And the selfish, cruel woman who insinuates herself into that family―a woman so unfeeling, so cold hearted, that when her new husband dies, she makes the girl a servant in her own home.

But who is that evil stepmother, that icy lady of the house? How did she become so closed off that, in the face of a child’s grief, she thought only to seek wealth and power for herself and her abhorrent daughters? Before that fateful ball, before the glass slipper and the prince, there was another story―a story of love and grief, of hope and of dreams dashed. It is the story of Lady Tremaine.

Even the coldest of villains are sometimes wives and mothers, women who loved and lost and hoped for

something grander for their lives . . . once upon a dream.

The latest novel in Serena Valentino’s deliciously devious Villains series introduces the most famed and hated wicked stepmother of them all―but turns everything you know about her on its head.

The Review

A truly haunting and engaging story, the author has masterfully brought to life the story of Cinderella in a whole new light. Seeing the story through Lady Tremaine’s eyes was amazing, not only showcasing who she was before her marriage to Cinderella’s father, but showcasing how all the girls of the household became victims of his cruel nature. Even Cinderella, beloved by her father, found herself a pawn in his game of control. The pacing of the novel really helped draw readers in, while the setting changes from London to the Many Kingdoms highlighted the change in magic and it’s effect on those not of that world.

The character growth was definitely the highlight of the narrative. The story helped balance the original characters and gave them more dimension. From Cinderella inadvertently giving her father the means to push Lady Tremaine over the edge to the inclusion of the Fairies and their dark counterparts, The Odd Sisters, and even the tumultuous path that put the step sisters in the path of villainy, readers won’t be able to help feeling sympathetic towards the women.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and chilling take on a classic fairy tale, author Serena Valentino’s “Cold Hearted” is a must read YA novel of the summer. Capturing the essence of classic fairy tales and elevating the narrative to include much more well rounded characters, the book is one readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Serena Valentino has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past decade. She has earned critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domains, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty, and extraordinary protagonists. The books in her best-selling Villains series are best enjoyed when read in the following order: Fairest of All, The Beast Within, Poor Unfortunate Soul, Mistress of All Evil, Mother Knows Best, Odd Sisters, Evil Thing, and Cold Hearted.

https://www.serenavalentino.com/

https://www.twitter.com/SerenaValentino

https://amzn.to/3qS8knn

Posted in reviews

Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee Review

A young Loki living in the days before the Age of Heroes of the Marvel Universe finds himself desperate to be seen as heroic, but finds living in his beloved brother Thor’s shadow and assumptions about his future villainy overwhelming. Sent to Earth by Odin to investigate a series of murders related to Asgard magic, Loki discovers a journey throughout 19th century London that takes him to the source of his power in author Mackenzi Lee’s “Loki: Where Mischief Lies”. 

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The Synopsis

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe.

Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be.

Allrecipes: 12 Month Subscription

The Review

A fascinating read, the story truly dives into the complex mind and behavior of one of Marvel Comics’ most incredible villains. The exploration of Loki as a character was great to see unfold. From his deep relationship of humor and overshadowing between him and his brother Thor to the understanding and connection he feels with characters like Amora on Asgard and Theo on Earth, Loki explores not only his bonds with others and the trust he places in them but the fine line between heroism and villainy that has steered him back and forth so often in the comics and MCU. The only thing I’d loved to have seen is a more accurate portrayal of his sexuality as according to comic creators in the past and now more recently the MCU, as he has been confirmed to be bisexual rather than pansexual, and it is so crucial to have accurate representation throughout the narrative.

The historical and mythological aspect of the narrative was a big win for me. As a fan of Norse mythology and the history of 19th century London, it was great to see such an in-depth look into these settings and the cultural differences between the two worlds as well, from the early exploration of the organization that would become SHIELD to the acceptance of sexuality and gender identity in Asgard as opposed to the lack of acceptance on Earth during this time. These important social themes and identity storylines really helped elevate the magic and mystery aspects of the novel.

The Verdict

An engaging, action-packed, and brilliant narrative, author Mackenzi Lee’s “Loki: Where Mischief Lies” is a fantastic study of the classic Avengers villain and how we as a society can become responsible for the way people become villains through our own actions. Although some more character growth and development for Loki would have been great to see as far as his identity, the overall narrative and story do a great job of showcasing representation overall and creating an exciting new chapter in Marvel history. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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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.bookbub.com/books/loki-where-mischief-lies-by-mackenzi-lee

Posted in reviews

Misfit by Jo Zaida Review

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

Two teens find themselves caught in a war between two orders for control of not only their world, but the world of the dead as well in author Jo Zaida’s “Misfit”, the first book in THE ASURA CHRONICLES series.

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The Synopsis

Two clashing orders battle for power over their world and the realm of the dead, using teenagers as their pawns. The teenagers, however, have other ideas.

In the New World, Elle is visited by a ghost from the Asura, a realm existing between the mortals and the Gods. The Asura challenges everything she thought she knew about herself, her family and the Ministry that controls them, and throws her into an adventure of chaos and discovery.

River, meanwhile, has been welcomed into a secret organization with tantalizing promises of a better future. But not everything is as it seems. His loyalty to his father is challenged as he gets pushed into a strategic engagement with a girl he does not like, and starts to discover more about the Alliance’s darker schemes.

Worlds collide for young adult readers who will love the fast-paced thrills, the chemistry between characters, and the interplay of dystopian fantasy and science fiction, self-discovery and friendship in Misfit, book one of The Asura Chronicles trilogy.

It is a perfect cross-market read for fans of Hunger Games and Harry Potter, both young adult and adult readers who are searching for the next enduring sci-fi/fantasy classic. 

The Review

A fantastic exploration of a futuristic society that has blended technology with the spiritual realm, the author has expertly layered this YA narrative with elements of politics, themes of morality, and the complex relationships we form with our families. The author does a wonderful job of exploring each faction introduced in the world of this novel, both the good and the bad, and highlights how no one side is ever truly “right” and the other “wrong”. Instead those in power, no matter what side they choose, deserve to be challenged and held accountable when situations arise.

The world-building in this novel was incredible. Richly layered throughout the novel, the author crafts an impressive story of those who pass on from the world and the few who manage to ascend, in essence, into a state of higher spiritual existence. On top of the secret societies and shady government operations hoping to take control of these beings, the author also creates complex and interesting characters that are multi-dimensional. The hardships and struggles these teens have not only with these factions fighting for control but with their own family lives make this story shine brightly, and also showcases that both politics and family are rife with secrets and lies that have the power to change things forever.

The Verdict

An engaging, entertaining, and beautifully written narrative, author Jo Zaida’s “Misfit” is a fantastic YA sci-fi and dystopian fantasy read. The first in what proves to be an exciting and much-needed new YA series, the book expertly wades into some complex themes that deserve to challenge YA readers everywhere and highlights how young people are just as powerful and needed in the evolution of a nation or faction as anyone else. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab this amazing read for yourselves today!

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About the Author

People say that authors write themselves into their characters. But I am not Elle. 

Does the way the world works frustrate me? It does. Am I stubborn and rebellious? Sometimes. I hope I’m a little less moody…

Like Elle, I love traveling and adventure. 

I also love books, cats, music and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

https://www.theasurachronicles.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jo-zaida?list=author_books

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Bittersweet Legacy (The Patricians #1) By R.G. Angel Audiobook Review/Tour

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

A young woman’s world is turned upside down as she learns she is part of a family she never knew existed, and must navigate a world of lies, conspiracy and murder in author R.G. Angel’s “Bittersweet Legacy”, the first book in The Patricians series.

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The Synopsis

You don’t realize when your life is about to change forever, how a simple text can tear your world apart.

Esme Danvers doesn’t have an easy life but at least she is loved by her widower father… or at least that’s who she thought he was for 17 years. Enter William Forbes, top 10 of America’s 1% and her actual father – or rather the father of Esmeralda Forbes, the girl she was born to be, the heir to a legacy she’d never known or wanted.

Esme’s thrown into a world of glamour and money, smoke and mirrors, hate, pain and unspoken rancor. A world with a distant, calculating and uncaring father; Archibald, a brother who hates her; and Caleb, his best friend who is as wicked and mean as he is beautiful and charismatic.

Caleb, this broken boy whom she can’t seem to hate enough to keep him out of her bloodstream, a boy who doesn’t seem to hate her enough to stay away.

But as the past reveals itself in ways Esme didn’t expect, she finds herself in the middle of a swirl of lies, betrayals, conspiracy and even murder, with barely anyone to watch her back.

The only thing she really wants is to get back to being Esme Danvers, to find a way out before it’s too late.

The Review

This was a fantastic story. The author immediately does an incredible job of layering the mystery and suspense of the narrative, creating a protagonist many people could relate to and throwing her into a whirlwind of psychological and emotional upheavals that drastically change the course of her life. 

The narrator does an amazing job of bringing this story to life. Readers and listeners really can feel the protagonist’s struggle and emotional journey. The story plays out like a blend of Cruel Intentions meets Pretty Little Liars, expertly navigating the YA genre while artfully crafting a suspense thriller that both entertained and engaged the reader on multiple levels. 

The Verdict

A thrilling, breathtaking and shocking yet fun read, author R.G. Angel’s “Bittersweet Legacy” is a must-read YA suspense novel. The audiobook does a great job of implementing emotional storytelling with a brilliant sense of imagery. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this audiobook today and read for yourself how this shocking first novel ends in a massive cliffhanger. 

Rating: 10/10

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Author: R.G. Angel

Narrator: Stevi Incremona

Length: 8 hours 14 minutes

Series: The Patricians, Book 1

Publisher: Angel Production

Released: Nov. 24, 2020

Genre: Romance; New Adult

Continue reading “Bittersweet Legacy (The Patricians #1) By R.G. Angel Audiobook Review/Tour”
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Interviews

Interview with Author Margi Preus

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

When I didn’t get the part I wanted in the kindergarten musical, I started making up my own plays so I could star in them. Once I learned how to write, I started writing plays (also in which to star)  My friends and I would put on these plays, no doubt after much revision from the cast, for our unwitting parents (or maybe they were witting, I don’t know). In high school I wrote the homecoming skits, in college I got involved writing for and performing in and eventually directing a touring children’s theater company, and after college I started a professional theater company. By that time I had quit performing and was sticking with writing and directing. I did this for a very, very long time before trying my hand at writing books for young readers. But I think all that theater writing as well as working in an ensemble situation really helped me with novel writing.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

This particular book is the third in a mystery series, so I would have to say the other two books inspired this one! I couldn’t just leave my protagonist hanging there without finally finding out what happened to her mother! (Also I wanted to know,)

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I guess I think more about raising questions for readers to ponder than imparting a takeaway message. In any case, I certainly don’t think I could put a message into a sentence for you— As Isadora Duncan said, “If I could tell you what it meant, there’d be no point in dancing it.” 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always loved mysteries. I like to read them; they are also my favorite kind of audiobooks to listen to, and I am devoted to British (and other) TV mystery series. So naturally I wanted to try my hand at writing them. As Eudora Welty said, “Writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” I find this to be true—we crave to write what we like to read. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

If I told you who and what I would ask, it would give away too much. So I guess I’d ask Francie’s grandfather just what he did in his younger life that he knows how to break out of jail, surveil people (albeit in a nursing home), and give advice on what to do if you feel you’re being followed.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

No doubt any or all would be helpful if I was better at using social media! I am very impressed with writers who write books and keep up a robust presence on social media, and also seem to navigate it so easily. I also feel I am always lagging behind, in every way possible. Of the sites, I guess I favor Instagram (follow me @margipreus—and you’ll see pictures of my dog in a kayak, bears in our backyard, and the snow we had to shovel off our dock before we took it out of the lake this weekend.) But also follow me on FB (Margi Preus Books or Margi Preus) and Twitter (@MargiPreus) Oh! And my brand new Youtube channel. 

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7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Well, it’s always to READ, isn’t it? Good books are your best teachers. Read like a writer, once for enjoyment, then go back and read again to figure out how the author created tension, suspense, all the emotions, all with just little words on paper. It’s some kind of magic, when you think about it. Try to analyze it as if you’re figuring out a magic trick.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have a couple of picture books in the pipeline. Not due out til 2022 or beyond. And then I have several things on simmer burners. 2020, as crazy as it was, was my year to put out books: Village of Scoundrels, (Feb.) The Littlest Voyageur (March) and The Silver Box (October). C’est la vie!
Et merci, Anthony Avina!

The Silver Box is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Thrift Books. You can also add this to your reading list on GoodReads.com.

About the Author Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book The Clue in the Trees. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into several languages. New titles in 2020 include Village of ScoundrelsThe Littlest Voyageur, and The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

Back when such things were done, Margi enjoyed traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now mostly at home in Duluth, she likes to ski, hike, canoe, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.  

You can follow her online at: 

https://www.margipreus.com/

Twitter: @MargiPreus 

Instagram: @MargiPreus

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

Youtube

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— Blog Tour Dates

October 12th @ WOW! Women on Writing

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by WOW’s blog The Muffin and join us as we celebrate the launch of Margi Preus’s book The Silver Box. Enter to win a copy of her entire Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

October 13th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy McGinnis as she interviews author Margi Preus about how she came up with the idea of The Silver Box and the Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/

October 14th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her review of Margi Presu book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

October 14th @ Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews Margi Preus and finds out more about this incredible author!

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Join author Karen Brown Tyson as she interviews author Margi Preus about her book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

October 16th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. You can also enter to win a copy of the entire series!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

October 17th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Visit Carrie’s blog and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about raising big questions for readers to ponder (that don’t always have an answer).

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 18th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about her writing house.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 20th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

October 20th @ Susan Uhlig

Join us today as Susan reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://susanuhlig.com/

October 21st @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read Margi Preus’ guest post about how all writing is political and how to weave local or national issues into storytelling.

https://ladyunemployed.com

October 21st @ The Frugalista Mom

Rozelyn goes live on Facebook with author Margi Preus. Join them as the author talks about her wonderful middle-grade mystery series.

https://www.facebook.com/AllergyFriendlyHome/

October 22nd @ The Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

October 24th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Join Carrie again where you can read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series. You can also win a copy of the series too!

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 26th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about creating a fictional place from an amalgam of places. A must-read if you are working on your story setting today!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 28th @ Kathleen Pooler’s Blog

Join us at Kathleen’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about what she learned from her dog about writing.

https://krpooler.com

October 29th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Stop by Alanna’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about finding inspiration out the window.

http://itsalannajean.com/

October 30th @ Lori Duff Writes

Join Lori Duff as she reviews Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/

November 1st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 2nd @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. Also, you can enter to win a copy of the whole series.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

November 3rd @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about how not writing is probably still writing. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony’s blog again today and you can read his interview with author Margi Preus.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 4th @ Crafty Moms Share

Join Carrie as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series.

https://www.craftymomsshare.com/

November 5th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Don’t miss her review of this charming middle-grade fiction series!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

November 7th @ BookMama789

Join us over at Jean’s Instagram page as she reads and reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.instagram.com/bookmama789/

November 8th @ Shoe’s Stories

Join Linda at her blog today and read her review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

November 9th @ Always in the Middle

Visit Greg’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery series.

https://gpattridge.com/

November 10th @ Deborah-Zenha Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about the magic ball of yarn and using folk and fairy tales as a guide in story writing.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/dzas-blog/

November 11th @ Bookapotamus

Join Kate as she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://bookapotamusblog.wordpress.com/

November 13th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog today and read author Margi Preus guest post about how research can be a cure for writer’s block.

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 14th @ Reading in the Wildwood

Visit Megan’s blog today she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://readinginthewildwood.com/

November 15th @ Shoe’s Stories

Visit Linda’s blog again today where she shares author Margi Preus’ guest post about whether or not you should know the ending before you start writing.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Silver Box: An Enchantment Lake Mystery (Northwoods #3) by Margi Preus 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 in possession of a mysterious box finds herself in the midst of a series of investigations, with all signs pointing to the box, and enemies closing in who are willing to do whatever it takes to get it back in author Margi Preus’s “The Silver Box: An Enchantment Lake Mystery”, the third in the Northwoods series. 

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The Synopsis

In the final Enchantment Lake mystery, Francie’s search for the truth about her mother—and herself—plunges her into danger during a North Woods winter

When she wakes in her aunts’ cold cabin on the shore of Enchantment Lake, Francie remembers: everything about her life has changed. Or is about to. Or just might. Everything depends on the small, engraved silver box that she now possesses—if only she can follow its cryptic clues to the whereabouts of her missing mother and understand, finally, just maybe, the truth about who she really is. 

Francie, it turns out, has a lot to learn, and this time the lessons could be deadly. Her search for answers takes her and her best friends Raven and Jay as far afield as an abandoned ranch in Arizona and as close to home as a sketchy plant collector’s conservatory and a musty old museum where shadows lurk around every display case. At the heart of it all is a crime that touches her own adopted North Woods: thieves dig up fragile lady’s slippers, peel bark from birches, strip moss off trees, cut down entire forests of saplings to sell for home décor. But Francie is up against no ordinary plant theft. One ominous clue after another reveal that she possesses something so rare and so valuable that some people are willing to do anything to get it. When Francie’s investigation leads her into the treacherously cold and snowy North Woods, she finds out  that she too is being pursued.

The Review

This was a fantastic read! A modern-day Nancy Drew style heroine takes center stage as Francie takes readers on a personal journey like never before. The mystery surrounding her mother’s disappearance all those years ago finally comes full circle, and the payoff for fans of the series is well worth the wait. Yet the great thing about the way the author writes is that readers who are new to the series are able to jump right into the action. While some of the finer details surrounding Francie’s backstory may be better understood by reading the first two books, the mystery of the Silver Box gives readers plenty of narratives to become engaged in.

The author does a wonderful job of not only setting the tone throughout this read of mystery and suspense but of crafting memorable and well-rounded character arcs for Francie and her friends. Her youthful determination and growth throughout the series is evident as this book comes to a close, and gives young readers someone to relate to and aspire to all at once. 

The Verdict

An evenly-paced, mystery-driven narrative, author Margi Preus’s “The Silver Box” is a must-read YA adventure. The twists and turns the story takes readers and the cast of characters on are a perfect fit for the genre and give readers a satisfying and well-rounded journey overall. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

The Silver Box is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Thrift Books. You can also add this to your reading list on GoodReads.com.

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About the Author Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book The Clue in the Trees. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into several languages. New titles in 2020 include Village of ScoundrelsThe Littlest Voyageur, and The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

Back when such things were done, Margi enjoyed traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now mostly at home in Duluth, she likes to ski, hike, canoe, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.  

You can follow her online at: 

https://www.margipreus.com/

Twitter: @MargiPreus 

Instagram: @MargiPreus

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

Youtube

— Blog Tour Dates

October 12th @ WOW! Women on Writing

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by WOW’s blog The Muffin and join us as we celebrate the launch of Margi Preus’s book The Silver Box. Enter to win a copy of her entire Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

October 13th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy McGinnis as she interviews author Margi Preus about how she came up with the idea of The Silver Box and the Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/

October 14th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her review of Margi Presu book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

October 14th @ Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews Margi Preus and finds out more about this incredible author!

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Join author Karen Brown Tyson as she interviews author Margi Preus about her book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

October 16th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. You can also enter to win a copy of the entire series!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

October 17th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Visit Carrie’s blog and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about raising big questions for readers to ponder (that don’t always have an answer).

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 18th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about her writing house.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 20th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

October 20th @ Susan Uhlig

Join us today as Susan reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://susanuhlig.com/

October 21st @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read Margi Preus’ guest post about how all writing is political and how to weave local or national issues into storytelling.

https://ladyunemployed.com

October 21st @ The Frugalista Mom

Rozelyn goes live on Facebook with author Margi Preus. Join them as the author talks about her wonderful middle-grade mystery series.

https://www.facebook.com/AllergyFriendlyHome/

October 22nd @ The Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

October 24th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Join Carrie again where you can read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series. You can also win a copy of the series too!

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 26th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about creating a fictional place from an amalgam of places. A must-read if you are working on your story setting today!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 28th @ Kathleen Pooler’s Blog

Join us at Kathleen’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about what she learned from her dog about writing.

October 29th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Stop by Alanna’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about finding inspiration out the window.

http://itsalannajean.com/

October 30th @ Lori Duff Writes

Join Lori Duff as she reviews Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/

November 1st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 2nd @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. Also, you can enter to win a copy of the whole series.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

November 3rd @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about how not writing is probably still writing. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony’s blog again today and you can read his interview with author Margi Preus.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 4th @ Crafty Moms Share

Join Carrie as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series.

https://www.craftymomsshare.com/

November 5th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Don’t miss her review of this charming middle-grade fiction series!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

November 7th @ BookMama789

Join us over at Jean’s Instagram page as she reads and reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.instagram.com/bookmama789/

November 8th @ Shoe’s Stories

Join Linda at her blog today and read her review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

November 9th @ Always in the Middle

Visit Greg’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery series.

https://gpattridge.com/

November 10th @ Deborah-Zenha Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about the magic ball of yarn and using folk and fairy tales as a guide in story writing.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/dzas-blog/

November 11th @ Bookapotamus

Join Kate as she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://bookapotamusblog.wordpress.com/

November 13th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog today and read author Margi Preus guest post about how research can be a cure for writer’s block.

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 14th @ Reading in the Wildwood

Visit Megan’s blog today she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://readinginthewildwood.com/

November 15th @ Shoe’s Stories

Visit Linda’s blog again today where she shares author Margi Preus’ guest post about whether or not you should know the ending before you start writing.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Eden Rising (Eden Rising #1) by Andrew Cunningham Review

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

Two young teens find themselves in a fight for survival as they become one of the few survivors of a planet-ending event, and must discover how far they are willing to go in order to live in author Andrew Cunningham’s “Eden Rising”. 

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The Synopsis

“The Earth died in less than a minute. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s not like the planet ceased to exist altogether. It just seemed like it. Cities were reduced to rubble. Millions of people died that day. I’ve since been told that 95% of the Earth’s human population was wiped out. I don’t know if that’s true—I mean, who can know that for sure? It’s not like we still have any of the technology that we once used to determine such things. But I do know that it was almost empty of people—live ones, that is…”

Thus begins the journey of Ben and Lila, two ordinary teenagers forced to rise to extraordinary heights when faced with a world that has suddenly and inexplicably died. Dealing with the sorrow of all they have lost, but the love they have found in each other, they set off on an odyssey that will bring them to the limits of human endurance and face to face with the frailty of their very existence. From the extreme violence of many of the surviving humans toward one another, to a world physically falling apart at the seams, Ben and Lila are determined to make it through the devastation in their quest for a place to quietly share their life together. In the process, they have to become as violent as the world around them in order to survive, while struggling to hold onto the humanity that will keep them sane. Eden Rising is a survival tale and a love story, but it is also a book that delves deeply into the human psyche to discover just how far we would go to survive, and how much inner strength can be found when things are at their absolute worst.

The Review

This audiobook was not only well read, but incredibly well-written. The action kicks up immediately, as the two protagonists find themselves going from awkward teen romance hanging in the air to waking up and finding the people of the world dead. 

The author does an amazing job of leaning hard into the dystopian YA sci-fi genre, while also bringing a maturity to the narrative by examining the psychological affect an apocalyptic event like this would have on any survivors, let alone two young teens forced to grow up very quickly. The pain of the loss brings to them a bond that highlights a growing romance, while the horrors they endure in the narrative and the lines they must contend with crossing showcase complex and deep character developments, a key to this novel’s pacing and delivery overall.

The Verdict

A must-read, heart-pounding audiobook and novel, author Andrew Cunningham’s “Eden Rising”, the first in the Eden Rising series, is an edge of your seat dystopian YA novel that is not to be missed. Memorable characters, romance and deep psychological character studies all define this amazing novel, and readers will not be able to get enough of this wonderful work. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author 

Andrew Cunningham is the author ten novels, including the award-winning Amazon bestselling thriller Wisdom Spring; the “Lies” Mystery Series (All Lies, Fatal Lies, Vegas Lies, Secrets & Lies, and Blood Lies); the Cape Cod terrorist/disaster thriller Deadly Shore; and the post-apocalyptic Eden Rising Series (Eden Rising, Eden Lost, and Eden’s Legacy). As A.R. Cunningham, he has written a series of 5 humorous children’s mysteries in the Arthur MacArthur series for middle-readers. Formerly an interpreter for the deaf and a long-time independent bookseller, Andrew has been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for the last 18 years. A 4th-degree Master Blackbelt in Tang Soo Do, Andrew finally gave up active training when his body said, “Enough already!” Andrew was a long-time resident of Cape Cod, and he and his wife now live in Florida. He can be contacted at info@arcnovels.com. Visit his website at www.arcnovels.com. He can also be found on Facebook (Author Andrew Cunningham), and Twitter (@arcnovels).

Posted in reviews

Blood and Silver by Vali Benson 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 must find a way to save her mother from a nefarious Madame in the town of Tombstone in author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver”. 

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The Synopsis

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

The Review

This was a fast-paced, intricate character study and intense YA historical read. The author does a great job of focusing on character development within the narrative, and the historical nature of the novel was very well researched and integrated naturally into the book as well. 

The story takes off immediately from the very first pages, with a murder leading to Carissa’s discovery of her mother’s condition and the lengths Miss Lucille will go to secure her business. The young woman risks it all to save those closest to her, and historical fiction and YA fans will love the intricate way the setting plays into the character’s arc and the narrative overall. 

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The Verdict

A must-read novel, author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver” is a truly one-of-a-kind read. The historical fiction YA adventure is filled with a gritty Western theme and does a great job of giving a voice to people who are usually relegated to background characters in the typical Western novel, making this a wonderful read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.

Website:

Amazon:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53167218-blood-and-silver

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RealValiBenson/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Posted in reviews

Warriors of Potentia (The Shadows) by J.J. Angelus Review

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

A group of young people are all that stands between Earth and an unimaginable threat in author J.J. Angelus’s “Warriors of Potentia (The Shadows)”. 

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The Synopsis

The souls of mankind have always had a fascination with the unknown. Humanity desires nothing more than to unravel the secrets of the Universe in hopes of gaining enlightenment and uncovering the truth. But what if they uncovered something which darkened their perceptions? Something that could wipe out their existence if it was given the opportunity?A supernatural entity descends upon an unsuspecting community carrying a hostile attitude and voracious appetite. The only offset for this cosmic menace is a few young adults who gain mystical abilities from unknown origins. Inexperienced and unaware, the odds are clearly against them as they face a merciless and ever-evolving enemy. An enemy who not only threatens their young adult lives, but also the entire Earth. As the mystery unfolds, your deepest and darkest fears will become reality, and the shadows surrounding your conscience shall come to life. A reality which fuels your imagination and reshapes your mind towards understanding the inner workings of the Cosmos just a little bit better.

The Review

The book hits the ground running, setting the stage for a powerful sci-fi epic YA series that is both emotional and action-fueled. After a deadly accident on a space station launches a lone astronaut back to Earth carrying a dangerous alien threat, the world becomes a target and a few teens find their lives changed forever.

The author does a great job of creating unique mythology that blends sci-fi and fantasy seamlessly. The cast of characters is strong and does well to elevate the story naturally, and readers become invested as the story progresses. The only thing of note would be that sometimes perspective changes between characters occur suddenly without warning, so perhaps in the future, these character perspective changes could occur with some separators between each passage within a chapter. 

The Verdict

A gripping sci-fi tale like no other, author J.J. Angelus has set the stage for a fantastic YA series. Engaging, heartfelt, and incredibly detailed in its mythological approach, Warriors of Potentia is a must-read novel of the summer. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089XDNMK2

Facebook: https://facebook.com/warriorsofpotentia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53936297-warriors-of-potentia

Author Bio: 

In 2016, J.J. Angel was a part of an anthology called Voices from the Bayou, he loaned his words on several troubling events that year in Louisiana. Specifically, The Great Flood of 2016, the shooting of Alton Sterling, and the deaths of three police officers. His written portion titled, “Still Water Runs Deep” is about an outward conflict clashing with his own inner conflict, both as a flood victim and a misguided African American male.  

 Several years later, he decided to differentiate himself from the book with a new pseudonym, but since he loved his original pen name so much, he simply turned Angel into Angelus which is Latin for angel. The Angel portion of his original pseudonym is a shortened form of his mother’s name Angela.

JJ prefers to write stories focusing on the supernatural, with spiritual awareness intertwined somewhere in the plot. He enjoys educational science books as well.  

Warriors of Potentia is his most developed production, with one completed book and several sequels on the way. The idea of the story originated twenty-five years ago as a way to combat the ongoing verbal and physical torment from peers. Beginning as simple stick-figure drawings, these characters developed, as he developed, and became a greater manifestation of his creativity into what they are today.  

JJ is also working on a few other titles that are not a part of the Potentia franchise. These works will be released sometime in the near future as well.

When he’s not writing, JJ’s outside moving around the downtown capitol; enjoying the great Louisiana cuisine and entertainment, visiting parks and zoos to become closer with the elements of nature, and trying to control his ongoing obsession with Star Trek Deep Space Nine. 

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