The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas | Book Review

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas feature two children figuring out life after a tragic event in history. Loss truly effects us all.

I’m happy to partner with Turn the Page Tours and share The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas! For more information, as well as becoming a tour host, Click on their launch post.

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas: Book Info

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly WIllis Holt.

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly Willis Holt
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (BYR)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Middle Grade
Length: 320 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2021

Bookshop Link

Synopsis

Kimberly Willis Holt’s The Ambassador of Nowhere, Texas is a stunning post-9/11 companion to the National Book Award-winner When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.

Decades after the Vietnam War and Toby’s life-changing summer with Zachary Beaver, Toby’s daughter Rylee is at a crossroads–her best friend Twig has started pushing her away just as Ben, a new kid from New York, settles into their small town of Antler. Rylee befriends Ben and learns that Ben’s father was a first responder on 9/11. The two unlikely friends soon embark on a project to find Zachary Beaver and hopefully reconnect him with Rylee’s father almost thirty years later.

This beautiful middle grade novel is a tribute to friendships–old and new–and explores the challenges of rebuilding what may seem lost or destroyed.

Author Information

Kimberly Willis Holt, author of The Ambassador of Nohwere Texas.

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. A former Navy brat herself, Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. Holt long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas: My Review

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas covers a lovely story of friendship woven into a traumatic time period. Rylee tries to handle many changes in her life among her fractured friendship with Twig. When the events of September 11 take place, Rylee struggles to understand the meaning of these changes.

When Joe Toscani and his mother move into town, Rylee meets someone who’s also living through the struggle, but in a deeply personal level. Joe experiences loss firsthand, and both he and his mother long to return to what was. While Rylee and Joe’s friendship starts shakily, they reach a common ground through patience.

The Meaning of Friendship

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas covers friendship throughout multiple generations. This is the companion to Zachary Beaver Comes to Town. Toby (Rylee’s dad) is the central character, and their special friendship is highlighted throughout the tale. Friendships is once again a focal point during TAONT as Rylee figures out how to navigate her status with Twig. Additionally, Joe and Rylee go on their own journey to seek out her father’s lost friend Zachary. I appreciated the multiple storylines among Antler, Texas’s community. Although its community members are side characters, they offer lovely insights from its first book!

TAONT and History

In addition to friendship, TAONT is a middle grade story covering the impact of September 11, 2001. This was a very tragic part of American history. Kimberly Willis Holt nicely addressed the effects of 9/11 through Rylee and Joe’s eyes. Rylee’s shock and Joe’s frustration is raw, their pain reflected throughout the book. Traumatic events such as September 11 must be approached gently with children, and I felt that this book did good work addressing that.

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas: Final Thoughts

Although The Ambassador is a follow up to Zachary Beaver, the book is easy to follow on its own. It’s such a lovely tale centered around the meaning of friendship. Two children come together during an extremely traumatic time to embark on a journey. In doing so, they rediscover the meaning of true friendship.

Thank you so much to Turn the Page Tours and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for the gifted digital copy!

Giveaway!

Up for grabs is ONE (1) physical copy of The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly Willis Holt. This giveaway is open to US residents only. It will run from January 11th to January 18th at 11:59 PM CST. To enter, click the link below!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d15/?

Also, click below to view the other fabulous contributors!

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas blog banner.

Contact Cathleen!

Stones of Light by Zack Argyle: Cover Reveal

Stones of Light is Zack Argyle’s stunning sequel to the Threadlight series! I’m happy to partner with Storytellers on Tour to present you this cover reveal!

For more information about Storytellers on Tour, click on their info post.

Book Information & Cover

Stones of Light by Zack Argyle.

Stones of Light by Zack Argyle
Book 2 of the Threadlight series
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Expected Publication: April 4, 2021
Artist: Ömer Burak Önal

Synopsis

Chrys is trapped in his own mind.

Laurel has lost her threadlight.

And Alverax may have doomed them all.

What have they done…

Stones of Light: Author Information

Zack Argyle, author of Stones of Light.

Zack Argyle was raised with a wonderful family motto: don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. What better way than to write fiction? He spends his days writing code and his nights writing epic stories about family, love, loss, friendship, and pain all intermixed with a heavy dose of the fantastical.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Stones of Light. Artwork by Ömer Burak Önal. Link: https://www.artstation.com/equin0
Artwork by Ömer Burak Önal

Are you ready to check out Stones of Light in April? I always love a good epic fantasy!

Contact Cathleen!

Halfway to Harmony : Reflection and Review

Halfway to Harmony places two children on an unexpected adventure! Can one boy learn to find peace after loss?

I’m happy to partner with Turn the Page Tours to feature Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O’ Connor! For more information, check out their launch post.

Halfway to Harmony: Book Information

Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O'Connor.

Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O’Connor
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Length: 240 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2021

Goodreads | Macmillan

Synopsis

A heartfelt middle-grade novel from New York Times bestselling author Barbara O’Connor about a boy whose life is upended after the loss of his older brother–timeless, classic, and whimsical.

Walter Tipple is looking foradventure. He keeps having a dream that his big brother, Tank, appears before him and says, “Let’s you and me go see my world, little man.” But Tank went to the army and never came home, and Walter doesn’t know how to see the world without him.

Then he meets Posey, the brash new girl from next door, and an eccentric man named Banjo, who’s off on a bodacious adventure of his own. What follows is a summer of taking chances, becoming braver, and making friends–and maybe Walter can learn who he wants to be without the brother he always wanted to be like.

Halfway to Harmony is an utterly charming story about change and growing up.

Halfway to Harmony: Author Information

Halfway to Harmony Author, Barbara O Connor

Barbara O’Connor’s awards include the Parents Choice Gold and Silver Award, American Library Association Notable Books, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, School Library Journal Best Books, and Kirkus Best Books. Her books have been nominated for children’s choice awards in 38 states and voted as a state favorite by children in South Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Barbara was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. She draws on her Southern roots to write award-winning books for children in grades 3 to 6.

She currently lives in Asheville, NC. Her latest book is Wish, a middle grade novel published by FSG.


Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Review and Reflection

I was very excited upon learning that Barbara O’ Connor is releasing a new book! My previous experience with her work is Wish, and I fell in love with it! I looked forward to reading Halfway to Harmony, since I appreciate stories centering on friendship and finding oneself.

Halfway to Harmony conveys grief and loss through the eyes of Walter Tipple. Walter is trying to move on from the loss of his brother Tank. Throughout the book, Walter experiences adventure through his experiences with Posey, a new neighbor full of spunk! In addition to helping a man seek out his hot air balloon, Walter learns the meaning of kindred spirits. Walter certainly endures quite a journey of self discovery!

Halfway to Harmony Favorites

I compiled a short list of things I appreciated about Halfway to Harmony:

  • Addressing loss with care. From the start, Walter shares with us that Tank ‘is never returning home’. Special memories are treated with care, and we’re taken through family changes in his eyes. I feel that this is a thoughtful way of addressing loss, especially to a younger audience.
  • Evolving friendships. Walter learns to trust in others through Posey. Her sassy personality guides Walter in learning to trust in himself. Through many experiences (both emotional and fun), Walter begins the long process of healing.
  • Building confidence. In addition to Walter’s grieving process, he also learns to believe in himself. For many children, this is such an arduous journey, yet Barbara O’Connor approaches Walter’s road with great care.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Halfway to Harmony is a thoughtful and lovely middle grade story. It addresses Walter’s personal journey through loss with great care, and we embark on fun adventures along the way. I highly recommend this book!

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Macmillian Children’s Publishing Group for the gifted digital copy!

Giveaway!

Enter to win one (1) finished copy of Halfway to Harmony! The giveaway runs through Monday January 11-Monday January 18, 2021.
Rafflecopter Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d16/

Please click on the banner below to view the upcoming tour schedule!

Future Home of the Living God: Book Review

Future Home of the Living God : Book Information

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1539778626l/38633525.jpg

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Format: Digital (Library copy)
Release Date: November 13, 2018

Synopsis

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.

Future Home of the Living God: My Review

While reading Future Home of the Living God, many emotions raced through my head. Shock. Wonder. Sorrow. Before I began reading, I went into this knowing it was compared to The Handmaid’s Tale. I can say that it’s equally shocking!

Cedar Songmaker begins her journey in this book reconnecting with her birth family. Along the way, the world is changing around her. Life is reverting backwards, as familiar food staples are vanishing. As fear runs rampant, it shifts to a persecution of women, especially those expecting. This fight for survival becomes crucial for Cedar, as she does whatever it takes to ensure the safety of both herself and her unborn child.

Characters & World Building

The characters in Future Home of the Living God are both well rounded and raw. This is an America living through crisis. Everyone is doing whatever it takes to survive. In the midst of a huge tragedy, Cedar also attempts to rebuild the bridge between herself and her birth mother. This causes an unlikely dynamic with her adoptive family!

Women in Survival Mode

There are sooo many layers to this book! Throughout the novel, Cedar speaks in the second person, relaying everything to her unborn child. She is afraid yet determined to fight in order to have a better future for her young one.

Future Home of the Living God kept me engaged from beginning to end! It was so moving to experience Cedar’s shifting emotions as she stockpiles for supplies. She feels both fear and guilt as other pregnant women face unknown destinies. Cedar is angry about her situation, and fearful about being seen. She feels constantly on edge 24/7!

Throughout her harrowing experiences, Cedar resorts to secret connections and tips for the sake of her child. It definitely gets interesting in Part 2 of the novel! Also, reading about Cedar’s bond with Sera her birth mom is very emotional! You’ll indeed feel shocked as their interactions unfold!

Recommendations

I recommend Future Home of the Living God to those who enjoy dystopian stories. If you love ‘end of the world’ tales, this is for you! If you love books with fearless women, pick this one up!

Final Thoughts on ‘Future Home…’

In conclusion, Future Home of the Living God is indeed an emotional yet powerful book. I highly recommend this riveting read!

Other Links

My review for White Ivy by Susie Yang

Blogging Resolutions | Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a book meme hosted by Billy at Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week we answer a question about our reading habits. In addition to weekly prompts, we also connect with the book community! This week is all about blogging resolutions!

Book Blogger Hop written above a green line. 'Coffee Addicted Writer' embedded in the green line. four books are set to the right of the photo.

Do you have any New Year’s Blogging Resolutions? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

I have three blogging resolutions:

  • Post more reading blogs. While I love keeping track of my reading, I need lots of motivation posting them!
  • Share more wrap-ups. These past few months left my reading updates limited. I hope to share about my current reads again!
  • Book club sharings. Last year I joined two book clubs! This pandemic brought on a need to connect with bookish communities. Each group has different genre preferences, but I’m an eccentric reader. I enjoy meeting different people!

Finally, do you have any blogging resolutions for 2021? Share in the comments below!

Other Book Blogger Hop links:

Book Blogger Hop: Summer 2020

My Blogger Recommendations

A Special Note

Before I tend to my reading goals, I want to wish those living in the US peace and serenity. Currently, we’re living through a tumultuous time in history. I’m counting down the days until our dangerous leader departs! Until then, I hope we can all make time for self-care and strength.

New Releases: January 5, 2020

New book releases make me happy!

The following are some of the exciting books available. They’re certainly ones to check out:

New Releases. Root Magic by Eden Royce. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1593216726l/53175322.jpg
New Releases. Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1588883792l/53091994.jpg
New Releases: White Feminism by Koa Beck. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1607876250l/54238294.jpg
New Releases. Lore by Alexandra Braken. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1594222283l/53375824.jpg
Active Defense by Lynette Eason. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1593125995l/53911515.jpg
New Releases. Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1569499701l/43263361.jpg

Contact Cathleen!

Coffee & Currently Reading | January 4

Coffee & Currently Reading is a meme that shares both reading and reflection. I was inspired by my search through bookstagram. In addition to blogging, I adore browsing through bookstagram! I enjoy viewing snapshots of current and past reads from the community!

How has everyone’s Monday been? It’s weird getting back into the work routine after the holiday break! My husband and I spent the week at home…we wanted to be as safe as possible. I have one more day at home before returning to the classroom tomorrow. We have a half day all week, so I’m hoping for minimal stress!

Coffee & Currently Reading

Coffee & Currently Reading. Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. I’m reading this book through the B2Weird book club. Every month they feature exciting SFF reads. Along with this story, members are reading The Fires of Vengence by Even Winter. While I chose not to read FOV, I loved The Rage of Dragons, Book 1 in the series. I never get tired of the selections given!

Synopsis

Louise Erdrich paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event in this dystopian novel. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

What books are you currently reading this week? Share in the comments down below!

Contact Cathleen!

My Bookstagram Account

January 2021 TBR | Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I certainly hope that this year is much better than the mess we experienced in 2020. I’m highly motivated to stay productive in reading and blogging. I hope to maintain my progress!

January 2021 TBR

The following stories are on my reading list this month. I’m starting the New Year with a good blend of stories!

January 2021 TBR. Remote Control. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1587580886l/34215764._SY475_.jpg
January 2021 TBR. Future Home of the Living God. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1499188017l/34217599._SY475_.jpg
January 2021 TBR. A Woman Is No Man. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1533072101l/34313931.jpg
No Exit by Taylor Adams. LInk: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1498539883l/35522836._SY475_.jpg
January 2021 TBR. Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z Lee

What books are on your January 2021 TBR? Have you begun your reading challenges? Share down below!

I hope everyone’s New Year break was smooth and restful!

Winter

Contact Cathleen!

‘Second Chance Christmas’ by Rula Sinara: a Review

Second Chance Christmas brings two people together after family ties keep them apart. Will fate (and a special loved one) rekindle the fire?

‘Second Chance Christmas’: Book Information

Second Chance Christmas by Rula Sinara.

Second Chance Christmas by Rula Sinara
Length: 384 pages
Source: eBook
Book 3 in the Turtleback Beach series
Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2021

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Target | Kobo | BookBub

Synopsis

A beachside Christmas

Brings unexpected gifts!


A second chance. That’s what former navy SEAL Damon Woods asks for when Zuri Habib comes to Turtleback Beach with a nephew who looks just like him. After her sister’s death, Zuri believes Caden deserves to know his father—even if he did break her teenage heart. Can Damon and Zuri forgive each other and give a grieving boy the family he needs this Christmas?

Second Chance Christmas: Author Information

Second Chance Christmas Author Rula Sinara. Link: https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1382533491p8/7350913.jpg

After a childhood enriched with exotic travels and adventures (both in books and real life), USA Today and Nationally Bestselling author Rula Sinara is now settled in rural Virginia with her husband, three boys and crazy but endearing pets. When she’s not writing, she’s busy attracting wildlife to her yard, watching romantic movies (despite male protests) or researching trees on her garden wish list.

She’s a 2014 National Readers Choice Award winner and double finalist, a 2015 HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner, a 2015 Golden Quill runner up and a 2015 Book Buyer’s Best finalist.



Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

My Review

**Thank you to Prism Book Tours and Harlequin Heartwarming for the gifted digital copy of Second Chance Christmas!**

Second Chance Christmas features two people reconnecting after years of miscommunication. Zuri and Damon were high school acquaintances, yet lost touch due to flawed group dynamics. Although Damon chose Zuri’s sister, tragic circumstances steered him away from their lives.

Years later, Zuri heads to Turtleback Beach to reconnect with Damon. They face memories and regrets of the past, while coming to terms with steep losses. Along with these characters reconnecting, there are also figures from the past two books with minor roles. I haven’t read the previous two books; however, this did not deter me from the story. I loved reading about Zuri and Damon’s path as they reconnect with one another.

Engagement and Character Development

Second Chance Christmas kept me engaged from beginning to end! I loved reading about the Turtleback Beach community, as well as Zuri and Damon’s lives. While their sparks arrived a little too quickly, this was still an enjoyable book to read during the winter season. Perhaps their quick sparks were for Caden’s sake, yet I still loved their romance, and the flashbacks that ensued!

Second Chance Christmas: Conclusion

In conclusion, Second Chance Christmas is a lovely story for people who love sparks over the Christmas season! It has the journey of two people looking back on life, and how their families shape their paths today.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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The Perfection in Love by Ronke Abidoye

The Perfection In Love follows a couple faced with challenges. Their love is indeed put to the test! Thank you to Prism Book Tours for providing me a digital copy!

The Perfection In Love. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1604531310l/55826362.jpg

The Perfection in Love by Ronke Abidoye
Publisher: Queen of the King Enterprises
Format: eBook
Genre: Romance
Release Date: October 30, 2020

The Perfection in Love: Synopsis

Young, attractive, successful, and tenderly in love, Henry and Oyin Wilson appear to be the perfect couple. When Oyin’s parents and Henry’s childhood friend, Olive, come to visit, everything begins to fall apart.

All they do is argue…when they speak at all.

Henry knows Oyin’s mother doesn’t approve of him. Oyin is sure that Olive is in love with Henry. The longer the visitors stay, the more they are all together, the more it all unravels.

Brimming with delightful dialogue and familiar whisperings of the still, small voice, The Perfection in Love is a touching story of true, eternal principles that govern our world-and our hearts-in these modern times.

My Review

**I received The Perfection In Love through Prism Book Tours. Thank you for the gifted copy!**

The Perfection of Love was refreshing to read! It tells the story of Henry and Oyin navigating relationship’s milestones. This couple handles the sudden roadblocks that emerge when loved ones pay a visit.

Despite the undercurrent of tension that exists between Henry and Oyin, this novel explores their journey toward understanding each other. Long term relationships are a deep commitment, as two people love one another through joys and sorrows. Through the book, we’re reminded of Henry and Oyin’s loving commitment toward one another.

In conclusion, if you would like a Contemporary Romance with lessons in love and devotion, The Perfection In Love fits perfectly!

Do you think you’ll place this exciting tale in your TBR pile? Feel free to share down below!

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Contact Cathleen!