Book Review: Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi

It’s been a wild Tuesday, so I decided to post a book review for self-care. A nice escape from my hectic educator life! Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi is a lovely read, and I’m happy to finally post about it!

Book Information

Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi
Length: 366 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 19, 2021


In the fifty-two domains, there exists two groups of people: The bound and unbound, those without powers and those with them. Only the unbound can hold the highest positions in the government: The Card Holders.

When her domain’s Card Holder dies, seventeen-year-old Neela Blydes is forced to participate in a tournament to find the unbound most worthy of leading the Queen of Hearts Domain. But the tournament isn’t as glorious as it seems. It herds unique unbound known as Specialists into deadly combat. Winning by default is nonexistent and killing is permitted.

As Neela progresses through the first few rounds, she realizes the tournament is just one of her worries. The burn scar on her left shoulder suddenly flares up at random times, an elite assassin marks her as his next target, and a frightening connection to the murderous rogue organization comes to light. While trying to deal with all these stresses weighing on her shoulders, one more appears in the form of a white-haired man with crimson eyes. Dangerously familiar crimson eyes.

My Review

Note: I received a copy of Red Blood from the author. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Red Blood is Kaitlyn Legaspi’s first installment of the Card Holder series. It features Neela, a young woman on a quest to find a new Card Holder to rule the Queen of Hearts domain. Throughout the book she has close familial bonds. While it seems like she has a rivalry with her brother, they turn to each other during troubled times.

I found this story to be a good debut from Legaspi. While I wished there was more input on the world building, I felt that this is a good foundation to build on for Book 2. There’s a nice mix of characters whom Neela can both trust and be wary of. I was drawn to Neela’s journey throughout the story.

If you’re searching for a unique fantasy with engaging characters, Red Blood is the book for you!

Book Tour: I Survived the Attacks of 9/11/2001 by Lauren Tarshis

Today is my tour stop for I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis! Thank you so much to Caffeine Book Tours in letting me take part in this tour. Click on the link above for more information about these exciting tours!

Book Information

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel
Age Group: Middle Grade
Release Date: August 3, 2021

Amazon | Goodreads


On the day that shocks the world, one boy just wants to find his family. A powerful addition to the gripping I Survived series.

The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas’s parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.

So the next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It’s a bright, beautiful day in New York. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle’s firehouse, everything changes — and nothing will ever be the same again.

Author Information

Photo Credit: David Dreyfuss

Lauren Tarshis’ New York Times bestselling I Survived series (which has over 34 million copies in print!) tells stories of young people and their resilience and strength in the midst of unimaginable disasters and times of turmoil. Lauren has brought her signature warmth and exhaustive research to topics such as the battle of D-Day, the American Revolution, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and other world events.

Lauren is also the Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of Scholastic Classroom Magazines, where she oversees more than 25 classroom magazines. In her more than 25 years with Scholastic, Lauren has helped transform the company’s print magazines into the powerful learning tools they are today. In her current role, she is helping to expand the magazines’ deep connection to American classrooms and ensure their vital role in providing teachers and students with an understanding of the contemporary world.

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

My Review

**Note: I received a complimentary digital copy of I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are my own.**

September 11,2001 was such a tragic event in our lives. I’ll never forget where I was that fateful day! Twenty years have passed, and although life has moved on, it’s important for to share the history to those who haven’t lived through this time.

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis is an ideal teaching tool. Tarshis details the tragic event through an approachable graphic novel format. We follow Lucas as his life changes forever, chaos developing all around him. Both Lucas’s story and the vivid descriptions of September 11th are very moving.

As an educator myself, I found I Survived as a good teaching tool for a middle grade audience. All of the information and images is told in ways that young students can understand. We need valuable resources in presenting what happened on September 11, and I Survived is such a resource.

Thank you so much to Scholastic and Caffeine Book Tours for the gifted digital copy!

The Risks of Dead Reckoning | Book Tour

Today is my tour stop for ‘The Risks of Dead Reckoning’ by Felicia Watson! This is the third book to the Lovelace series. Thank you very much to TLC Book Tours for letting me take part! Click on the banner above for more information about their tours.

Book Information

The Risks of Dead Reckoning by Felicia Watson
Length: 236 pages
Publisher: DX Varos
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: March 16, 2021

Goodreads | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Naiche Decker is engaged! And no one is more surprised by that than her. Thoughts of romance are soon overshadowed by her current mission, which swiftly turns from routine, to intriguing, to deadly. The Lovelace responds to a distress call from unexplored space, seemingly from a crew who died 200 years ago. They trace the source to the most unlikely planet they’ve ever encountered. What they find is not only amazing, but treacherous – threatening the lives of all aboard the Lovelace. Decker’s used to her own life being endangered, but her loved ones being imperiled is a new and wrenching experience.

Author Information

Felicia Watson started writing stories as soon as they handed her a pencil in first grade. When not writing, Felicia spends her time with her darling dogs, her beloved husband, being an amateur pastry chef, and still finds time for her day job as a scientist.

Twitter | Facebook

My Review

‘The Risks of Dead Reckoning’ is a great sci-fi adventure! I enjoyed being swept into Naiche’s realm as she enters a new phase of her life. Throughout the series, Naiche has many experiences that mold her into a strong leader. She really comes into her own as she handles a new threat that threatens to upend her inner circle.

While this is the third book in the Lovelace series, you won’t feel lost if you start with ‘The Risks of Dead Reckoning’. It’s a great book with a resilient female lead as she faces tough decisions. You’re definitely in for a treat as Naiche and her crew undergo quite a journey!

Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours for the gifted copy.

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón: Review

L.A. Weather has it all: drama, humor and the immigrant experience. The Alvarado family is an eclectic group filled with secrets!

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón
Genre: Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: September 7, 2021


FORECAST: Storm clouds are on the horizon in this fun, fast-paced novel of an affluent Mexican-American family from the author of the #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller Esperanza’s Box of Saints.

L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage.

Their three daughters—Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers—are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.

With quick wit and humor, Maria Amparo Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down.

L. A. Weather: Author Bio

L.A. Weather author Maria Amparo Escandon.
Photo Credit: Chris Fortuna

María Amparo Escandón is the author of #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller
Esperanza’s Box of Saints and González & Daughter Trucking Co. Named a writer to watch by both Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times, she was born in Mexico City and has lived in Los Angeles for nearly
four decades.

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My Review

L. A. Weather shares the tale of the Alvarado family as they face personal struggles. Oscar and Keila Alvarado are on the brink of divorce after four decades of marriage. After a deep family discussion, they give themselves one year to figure out if their bond is worth saving.

Escandón beautifully writes about one family’s immigration experience. Oscar and Keila have deep roots in their Mexican culture that they lovingly pass onto their 3 daughters: Claudia, Olivia, and Patricia. While all three children adapted to the American ways of living, they also hold onto their Mexican roots. Their family journey is part of their story, and as the story progresses, we see shades of how important culture is deeply rooted for all.

While the Alvarado children fight to keep their family unit whole, their personal lives are in a state of flux. They are powerful women facing emotional abuse and guilt while attaining their goals. While Claudia, Olivia and Patricia share close family ties, their personal struggles leave them at a crossroads.

L.A. Weather is definitely a page turner! It kept me engrossed down to the surprising final pages. You’ll definitely want this powerful story!

Thank you to Flatiron Books and Netgalley for the gifted copy. L.A. Weather comes out Tuesday, September 7th!

Contact Cathleen!

Cover Reveal: Fated by Sarah Biglow & Molly Zenk

Are you seeking exciting fantasy?

Look no further! I’m excited to share the cover for Fated, the upcoming fantasy novel by Sarah Biglow & Molly Zenk!

Many thanks to Love Books Tours for letting me take part in this reveal! Click on the link above for more info on their services.

‘Fated’ Cover Reveal

Fated by Sarah Biglow & Molly Zenk

Pre-Order Link

Book Blurb

The war for humanity has just begun…

Three months after Mr. Heartsong lit the match that ignited the second Vampire-Human Civil War, Darren and his team of Hunters are doing all they can to combat a vicious enemy. But even with Edith and her daughters firmly on their side, the humans face overwhelming odds and not everyone comes back unscathed.

The heat of battle forces Darren and Edith to confront the reality of their tenuous romance: she’s immortal and there’s no chance he’d let her turn him. Fighting the fear of losing everyone she loves is harder than taking out her own kind with a ballpoint pen.

As the ultimate battle looms, fate comes calling. To win the war, Darren and Edith will have to leave everything on the line.  Even if that means making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of humankind.

Fated comes out on 16 November 2021! Are you as excited about this book as I am? Feel free to share in the comments!

Love Books Tours Fated

Contact Cathleen!

Monkey Around by Jadie Jang | Book Blitz

Happy Sunday all! Today I’m featuring ‘Monkey Around’ by Jadie Jang. Many thanks to Storytellers on Tour for letting me take part in this Book Blitz. Click above for more information on their services.

Monkey Around: Book Information

Monkey Around by Jadie Jang
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: August 3, 2021

POSSIBLE ULTIMATE TOUR EXPERIENCE TICKETS: Represent, Man’s Best Friend, Snark It Up, Bring On The Magic, Simply Mythical

Paperback | Ebook | UK | US | Audible UK | Audible US | Goodreads


San Francisco has a Monkey King – and she’s kinda freaked out.

Barista, activist, and were-monkey Maya McQueen was well on her way to figuring herself out. Well, part of the way. 25% of the way. If you squint.

But now the Bay Area is being shaken up. Occupy Wall Street has come home to roost; and on the supernatural side there’s disappearances, shapeshifter murders, and the city’s spirit trying to find its guardian.

Maya doesn’t have a lot of time before chaos turns up at her door, and she needs to solve all of her problems. Well, most of them. The urgent ones, anyhow.

Author Information

Claire Light (writing as Jadie Jang) is almost as organized as her characters. She started a magazine (Hyphen) and an arts festival (APAture) with a cast of Asian Pacific Americans even more magical, if less supernatural, than the ones she writes about. She also got an MFA, went to Clarion West, and compromised between the two by publishing a collection of “literary” sci-fi short stories (Slightly Behind and to the Left) that maybe 100 people read. After wrangling arts and social justice non-profits for 17 years, her already autoimmune-disease-addled body threw a seven-year-long tantrum, leading our then-house-bound heroine into an urban fantasy addiction.

A few years, and a dozen Euro-centric-mythology-dominated urban fantasy series later, Claire sat up and said “I can do this!” and Jadie Jang, the part of her brain that writes snarky-fun genre romps, was born. She posts about monkeys every Monday under @seelight on Twitter.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok

My Review

I absolutely enjoyed reading Monkey Around! This story has a perfect blend of Chinese legend and progressive activism. Maya works in an Oakland coffee shop in the midst of social change. While there are social activists causing mayhem among the city streets, there’s an upheaval in the supernatural world as well. Maya is quick thinking as she’s faced with choices that will effect her standing in the shapeshifting realm. This story is packed with action, something I approve of!

Definitely pick up your copy of Monkey Around when you have the chance!

**I received a gifted copy of Monkey Around through Storytellers on Tour. All opinions are my own.**

Monkey Around: Giveaway

Monkey Around by Jadie Jang

Enter to win one (1) physical copy of Monkey Around! This giveaway is International. Giveaway ends tomorrow, August 23rd at 11:59pm, EST!

Rafflecopter Link

Purple Leaf

Contact Cathleen!

T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes | Book Tour

Today is my tour stop for T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes by Anna Lazowski! Thank you to Turn the Page Tours for letting me take part. For more info on Turn the Page Tours, click on their name above!

Book Information

T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes by Anna Lazowski
Illustrated by Steph Laberis
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Genre: Children’s (Picture Book)
Release Date: June 29, 2021

Penguin Random House

T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes: Synopsis

A funny and encouraging alphabetic book about all the things animals CAN’T do but kids CAN! Every parent teaching their children new skills will be happy to have this super-positive picture book on hand.

Bees can’t ride bicycles, penguins can’t play ping-pong, and zebras can’t go zip-lining. No one is good at everything, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying! Here is a funny and encouraging picture book for any child learning how to tie their shoes, ride a bike, spell their name, or do a variety of new things.

Follow a hilarious alphabet of animals, and see all the things they can’t do but kids can—from doing gymnastics to flipping pancakes to playing a xylophone. Along the way, young readers will learn that it’s okay if they can’t do everything; they can still have a LOT of fun trying.

Author Information

T Rexes Can't Tie Their Shoes by Anna Lazowski

Anna Lazowski wrote her first picture book for a class assignment in the sixth grade and has been creating stories ever since. Now an award-winning radio producer, Anna has an MA (Journalism) from the University of Western Ontario and a BFA (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

My Review

This is such an adorable picture book! Being an early childhood educator, I was thrilled while reading T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes. It teaches children their ABC’s with heartwarming illustrations! Each image portrays an act that animals would have huge difficulty with. I mean, have we ever seen a bee ride a bicycle?? Of course not! Yet this doesn’t stop the bee or the t-rex from completing their task. Reading this book encourages children that they too can complete a challenge with patience!

I can totally see young children enjoying this picture book. They’ll love the humorous images of animals. Also, the text is very easy to read. Both children and adults will love T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes! This story is out now, so definitely pick up your copy!

Note: I received a complementary copy of T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes from Turn the Page Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Up for grabs is one (1) copy of T-REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES! This giveaway is limited to US readers only.

Click here for your chance to win!

Weekend Purple Leaf

Check out the schedule for a list of the amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers taking part in this tour!

Weekend Purple Leaf

Contact Cathleen!

Book Blitz: Still Water by Amy Stuart

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday!

This week I’m partnering with Love Books Tours to bring you ‘Still Water’ by Amy Stuart! This is part of the Clare O’ Dey series. I usually read a mix of Historical Fiction and Thrillers, so ‘Still Water’ is a great addition to my list!

Still Water: Book Blurb

How do you find the truth in a town full of secrets?

When Sally Proulx and her son mysteriously disappear from the stormy town of High River, Clare O’Dey is hired to track them down. She hopes to find them alive, but High River is not a typical town. It is a place where women go to escape their past. The women run to Helen Haines, the community matriarch, who offers them safe haven and anonymity.

Pretending to be Sally’s long lost friend, Clare starts asking questions but nothing prepares her for the deception and lies simmering beneath the surface of this quiet little neighbourhood. As the truth surges through High River, Clare must confront the thing she has been so desperately running from, even if it comes at a devastating cost.

Gripping, twisty and compulsive, Still Water is a deep dive of a thriller that will leave you breathless! Perfect for fans of Louise Penny and Liz Nugent.

Amazon Link

Amy Stuart’s Twitter & Instagram

A look at Canelo Crime!

Contact Cathleen!

A Girl From Forever | Cover Reveal

Fern thought she understood it all…

I’m excited to show the cover for A Girl From Forever by Yolanda McCarthy! Thank you to Storytellers on Tour for letting me take part! For more info on their titles, click the link above!

Book Information

A Girl From Forever by Yolanda McCarthy
Series: The Forever Institute (Book 1)
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance
Release Date: August 27, 2021
Cover Design: MoorBooks Design

Book Blurb

For fans of Eve of Man, Divergent and The Hunger Games comes a thrilling dystopian story of star-crossed love!

Do you know who you are? Do you know where you belong? Do you recognize good from evil?

Seventeen-year-old Fern thought she understood it all…

Fern is immortal. Psychic, if she can figure out how to access her ability. Totally loyal to the controversial scientists who created her, to the mission they gave her, and to the classmates she was raised with.

Then Rehan contacts her, and Fern discovers the dark truth
of her origins, and of a danger that threatens to destroy her and everything she loves.

But Rehan has secrets…

First love. Betrayal. Abduction. Murder. Psychics, immortals, and a battle over humanity’s destiny. When friends become enemies and terrorists turn into allies, Fern’s betrayer could be her soul mate – but that might not be enough to keep her alive.

A Girl From Forever: Author Bio

I grew up in London and now live on its edge, in a village where the sprawl of the city turns into lavender fields and lakes. I live with my husband, son, two suspicious cats and some very ungrateful fish. A Girl From Forever is my debut novel.

I write because I’ve tried very hard to quit, but I don’t seem to be able to.

Sometimes I climb mountains.

Always I daydream.

Website | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon

Don’t forget to grab A Girl From Forever on August 27th!

Contact Cathleen!

Dino-Gro by Matt Myers | Blog Tour

Dino-Gro brings joy and magic to any child’s home! Just don’t let them get too big. And watch out for water!

Today is my tour stop for Dino-Gro by Matt Myers. Thank you so much to Turn the Page Tours for giving me the chance to participate. For more information, check out their introduction post.

Dino-Gro: Book Information

Dino-Gro cover.

Dino-Gro by Matt Myers
Publisher: Random House Studio
Genre: Fiction, Children’s Picture Book
Release Date: June 15, 2021

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description

From the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Battle Bunny comes a laugh-out-loud story of a little sponge dinosaur that keeps growing…and growing…and growing….

Cole is very excited about his new Dino-Gro toy. He can’t wait for it to reach its full size! But when Dino-Gro becomes much larger than intended, Cole goes so far as to put Dino-Gro on a liquid-free diet and an exercise regimen, which don’t seem to make a difference! As Dino-Gro becomes so big that he can’t fit in the house, Cole learns that growing up and getting bigger can have advantages too, even if you’re not a dinosaur.

For fans of Tiny T. Rex and We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, this sweet and hilarious read-aloud is fun for kids to learn the importance of growing up big and strong.

Author Bio

Matt Myers is the author and illustrator of Hum and Swish, and the illustrator of many other books for young readers, including the Infamous Ratsos series by Kara LaReau, Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, A Dog Named Doug by Karma Wilson, and BB-8 On the Run by Drew Daywalt. Matt Myers lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Dino-Gro | My Review

Dino-Gro touches on many childrens’ desire for a favorite toy. In my preschool classroom, I use water beads as a sensory choice during free play. It comes in many colors, and they last for a few days. What child doesn’t want a lively activity? However, these water toys never grew to a massive height like Cole’s creation!

I enjoyed the beautiful story and rich illustrations Dino-Gro contains. Cole enjoys his toy dinosaur, and does what he can to prevent it from growing out of control. It carries a heartwarming message of devotion and childhood joy for readers. My favorite part of Dino-Gro is viewing the unwavering connection between Cole and his dinosaur. Although it can’t keep away from water, Cole loves him no matter what!

This story is a wonderful read aloud for preschool and early elementary aged children (from 3-6 years old). If you want a fun book with rich illustrations, Dino-Gro is for you!

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours for the gifted copy!

Contact Cathleen!