Book Blogger Hop | July 12

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer, in which you answer a book related prompt. The Book Blogger Hop, helps you discover fellow contributors to check out and follow! You can view Coffee Addicted Writer’s post here.


This Week’s Question

If you can recommend a book from the following genres, what would they be? A book from Romance, NA, YA, Fantasy (submitted by Tabatha @ Broken Soul Reviews)


Romance

Book Blogger Hop Romance Rec:
'Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. 
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Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert


YA (Young Adult)

Book Blogger Hop YA Rec:
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
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Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan


Fantasy

Book Blogger Hop Fantasy Rec:

Crier's War by Nina Varela
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Crier’s War by Nina Varela


NA (New Adult)

Book Blogger Hop NA Rec:

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


Feel free to share your book recommendations down in the Comments section!



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Sunday Sentence : Jul 5

What is the ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project?

Sunday Sentence‘ is hosted by David Abrams. We share the best sentences read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’. You can view the original link here.


‘This is going to be so much fun!’ Ed grins.
Please believe this sentence Amy. Please believe it. Absorb it, focus on it often and hope beyond all hope that it becomes true for you.’


Source: The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva



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First Lines Friday: July 3

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? You can view Wandering Words’ post here.

If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“Candlelight reflected off the silver anchor etched onto my sister’s necklace. It was an ugly piece of jewelryand something Eulalie would have never picked out for herself.”


Any guesses?



House of Salt and Sorrows by Eric A. Craig. 

Link: https://i2.wp.com/i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1544071699l/39679076.jpg?w=620&ssl=1

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

This fairy tale retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses is both frightful and captivating. I was engaged from start to finish!

Synopsis

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.


What are your thoughts on House of Salt and Sorrows? Feel free to share!



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Anticipated Reads for July

ANTICIPATED READS FOR JULY

Wow, half of 2020 has flown by! I really hope that July and August brings more peaceful events. My 1 year wedding anniversary is next month, so at least there’s that upcoming happy moment!

Some really exciting stories coming out this month. I can’t wait to share them with you!



What releases are you looking forward to in July? Feel free to share in the comments!



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Sunday Sentence: June 28

What is the ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project?

Sunday Sentence‘ is hosted by David Abrams. We share the best sentences read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.


“Our numbers continue to show what they have shown for the past 35 years: Despite slow progress, the number of books featuring BIPOC protagonists lags far behind the number of books with white main characters–or even those with animal or other characters.”


Source: The Numbers Are In: 2019 CCBC Diversity Statistics. Posted by Madeline Tyner.



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‘Love Unfeigned’ by Nadine C. Keels/Book Review

Love Unfeigned by Nadine C. Keels
Length: 104 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: February 27, 2013

Goodreads | WordPress | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts

**I received a copy of Love Unfeigned from the author, in exchange for an honest review**

Love stories hold special meaning when it’s rooted in friendship. ‘Love Unfeigned’ by Nadine C. Keels is a story packed with meaning and heart!

This novella follows the life of Lorraine Tyson. Lorraine is a spunky free spirit, and catches the eye of Isaiah James, her brother’s BFF. Isaiah has a close bond with the Tyson household, even after he moves to another part of town. However, everything changes when miscommunication and rumors fracture Lorraine and Isaiah’s friendship.

“Love Unfeigned’ is told in two timelines; Lorraine’s life throughout her childhood, and in her 20s. We witness Lorraine’s growth as she navigates friendship, experiences love’s joys and sorrows, and reconnects with bonds fractured through time. Love Unfeinged also reminds us of the support of a higher power. Nurturing guidance through friends and family leads to a deeper understanding to peace.

I recommend ‘Love Unfeigned’ for lovers of contemporary romance with a deep message. It was such good novella!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Love to the chords of a classic jazz band, spanned over more than a decade…

Lorraine: plucky and competitive.
Isaiah: impish, with a smile that gleams in more ways than one.
From the time the two first square off for a wall ball battle as children, Lorraine and Isaiah can’t help knowing each other. But neither can they avoid passions and misfortunes lining their path to young adulthood. After Isaiah’s family breakup disrupts the haven he’s shared with Lorraine, their relationship is threatened by jealousy, abandonment, and a life-altering trauma too grave to…forget.


As one year follows another, what might it take to reunite this divided man and woman in love: a love unbounded by time?

“Everything didn’t have to turn out perfect. I just wanted you there.”


What are your thoughts on Love Unfeigned? Feel free to share!



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In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson/NetGalley Mini Review

In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson
Publisher: Plum White Press
Genre: Poetry
Format: ebook
Length: 232 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2020

**I received a complimentary copy of ‘In the Dark, Soft Earth’ from NetGalley and Plum White Press, in exchange for an honest review**

My Thoughts

In the Dark, Soft Earth was a lovely collection of poetry. Frank Watson manages to create thoughtful imagery with his phrases, centering on life’s precious moments. The chapters (labeled as Books), categorizes the purity and essence of the human spirit. Watson’s poetry manages to capture raw emotions such as desire, longing and frustration. These are human emotions that everyone endures throughout life, and his poetry reflects such a vast array of feelings.

Along with reading stories, poetry is my usual go-to when guiding people people through their situations. A poem paints a picture of a given emotion and thought process. I feel that Watson’s work provides such a selection of prescriptive imagery in helping people identify with their experiences. I would definitely recommend In a Dark, Soft Earth to those searching to assist people through the written word!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Synopsis

Dig into this delectable journey through the dark, sensual, and ravishing poetry of Frank Watson. Ruminate the searing to the sultry as you absorb this haunting lilt of burning carnality. The poems ignite rapid and surprising shifts in focus and perspective as they twist and turn your preconceptions, allowing the implications to linger in your thoughts.

Vignette verses explore the workings of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams with sprinklings of tarot symbolism and jazzy blues. Together these verses contemplate the subtle underpinnings of a soft earth.

What do you think of In the Dark, Soft Earth? Would you put this book in your TBR? Feel free to share in the comments!

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‘Rewritten’ Blog Tour | Author Interview

‘Rewritten’ by Tara Gilboy
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Length: 200 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Release Date: April 7, 2020

Hi everyone! Today I’m here to talk about ‘Rewritten’ by Tara Gilboy. It is under the Middle Grade genre, focusing on Gracie navigating through life after the adventures from the first book, ‘Unwritten’.

A few months ago, I reviewed ‘Rewritten’ on NetGalley, and I enjoyed it! You can read my review of ‘Rewritten’ here!

I had the privilege to speak to Tara about her process in creating ‘Rewritten’, as well as some handy advice for writers beginning their own creative journeys. I hope you enjoy!

Cathleen: Thank you for speaking with me! How are you holding up during this pandemic?
These are such crazy times!

Tara Gilboy: Thank you so much for having me! I am holding up pretty well. I think writers are
better suited than most for social distancing because we already spent so much time
alone, reading and writing, even before the pandemic. I’ve actually been busier than
ever the past few months: I also teach creative writing for San Diego Community
College District, and it’s been a lot of work converting my classes to an online
format. But I’ve also been careful to make time for myself: I’ve done a lot of hiking,
learned some new songs on the piano, finally perfected a homemade tartar sauce
recipe, and played waaayyy too much online Scrabble.

C: How did you get your start in writing?

TG: I’ve always wanted to be an author; ever since I learned to read, I’ve written stories.
The trouble was that I’d never met an author and had no idea how to go about
actually making this a career, so I lost sight of this goal a bit in high school. When I
returned to college in my twenties, I signed up for a creative writing class and was
immediately hooked once again. After college, I went on to complete a Master of
Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, wrote a novel that never sold, took more
workshops, joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, attended
conferences, joined writing groups, and most of all, wrote, wrote, wrote. It was
about ten years from the time I took that college creative writing class that I sold my
first novel, and along the way there were many, many failures and rejected
manuscripts.

C: In ‘Rewritten’, Gracie takes charge of her own story after facing extreme
odds. What inspired you to create a story that follows a book character’s
growth?


TG: The Unwritten series didn’t start out with the idea to follow a book character,
actually. I only knew that my character was on the run from something, and I wasn’t
quite sure what. As I was writing early scenes, I was also doing a lot of jogging in the
woods near my dad’s cottage in northern Wisconsin, and I remember looking at the
trees as I ran and thinking that the forest looked like a fairy tale. Then I thought:
“what if my character was from a fairy tale?” I’ve always loved reading books with
fairy tale themes, like Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted and Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale
Dark and Grimm, so the idea immediately appealed to me. I didn’t quite realize then
how complicated and difficult this would be to pull off, which is likely a good thing,
because it might have scared me away from the project!

C: During ‘Rewritten’, I was fascinated with the Vademecum’s ability to
record one’s actions as they were occurring, like a ‘real-time’ diary!


TG: Thank you! As I was writing Rewritten, I was thinking a lot about what some of the
biggest struggles are for children Gracie’s age. Privacy is always a huge issue for
teens and preteens, and I thought: “what if someone had absolutely no privacy at
all? What if their worst enemy had a direct line to all their thoughts and actions?”
This might be one of the most terrible things that could happen to a teen, worse than
someone reading your most private diary. One of my creative writing teachers
always stressed: “dream up the worst thing that can happen to your character, and
then make that happen,” so I did. Poor Gracie!

C: I love that Gracie’s actions and choices are conveyed in a manner that
children can immediately relate to! Have you always felt that calling to
communicate with children?


TG: You know, it’s interesting, but when I’m writing, I’m not actually thinking about the
fact that I’m writing for children. I’m simply trying to really inhabit the mind of my
child protagonist and imagine how she would feel and react to the things that are
happening to her. If I’m being true to my character’s point of view, then I think I
naturally write and make choices that will be relatable for kids that age.
Occasionally, I will have to stop and remind myself that my story is geared for
children (for example, I struggled a bit in Rewritten with navigating the climax scene
in a way that wouldn’t be too frightening for readers), but for the most part, I just
try to write honestly and authentically and be true to my child characters.

‘Rewritten’ Book Trailer (via North Star Editions Youtube page)

C: What led to the decision to write for the middle grade genre?

TG: Middle grade books are my favorite books to read – middle grade is all about good
storytelling. They are the books that inspired me to love reading in the first place,
and so they have always had a special place in my heart. When I first started writing,
when I was in second and third grade, I started out writing middle grade, mostly
because that’s what I read. But then I grew up and went to college, and I developed
this idea of what it meant to be “Writer” with a capital “W” that involved lots of
black turtlenecks, exposition-heavy stories full of metaphors and symbols, and
words like “myriad” and “plethora.” I think I was in love with this “idea” of being a
writer, but at the same time, I had lost my sense of what I loved about writing in the
first place, which is that I love story. It was only when I took a class on writing
children’s books in graduate school that I reminded myself how much I loved
writing middle grade: the wonder, the sense of magic and adventure, the sense that
anything is possible in these books as long as you are telling a good story. I fell in
love with middle grade all over again and never looked back.

C: I love that there is a strong theme of mother/daughter bonds in
‘Rewritten’. Do you think you will continue on that familial thread in future
writings?


TG: I have a feeling that I won’t be able to avoid it, even if I try. I didn’t set out to write
about mother/daughter bonds, but it’s a theme that pops up again and again in my
work. I’ve had conversations about this with my writing group, as they often
experience the same thing. I think as women, the mother/daughter relationship is
one of the most complicated relationships we will ever have, and so it’s one that is
endlessly fascinating and provides rich material to mine.

C: I took some time to view your website. I love that your gift for the
written word began at a very young age!


TG: Thank you! Yes, I’ve always been happiest when surrounded by books. My mom
used to have to force me to go outside and play with the neighbor kids; otherwise I’d
have spent all my time reading. It wasn’t until I went to graduate school that I met
people who read and made up stories as much as I did. It was a relief to finally meet
other people just like me!

C: Who are your favorite middle grade authors, and why?

TG: Ooo, this is a tough question! I love Kate Di Camillo: I think her books are full of
wonder and magic and endearing characters, and I love how different all of her
stories are from one another. I also love Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me is one
of my favorite middle grades of all time), and some newer authors who have really
blown me away are Lisa Schmid, Ann Braden, Leslie Youngblood, and Amy
Makechnie. I think they do an amazing job of getting into the middle grade mindset,
as well as not being afraid to navigate difficult topics in a way that is appropriate for
readers this age.

C: What do you feel is your biggest challenge and achievement as an
author?


TG: My biggest achievement so far was publishing Unwritten and then Rewritten.
Publishing a book was something I’ve wanted ever since I was seven or eight years
old, and so it was a pretty amazing moment the first time I got to walk into a book
store and see my book on the shelves. I remember being on vacation in New York
City and going into a Barnes and Noble and getting kind of teary when I saw my
book was there. But I also know that I hope to have many more writing
achievements, so I have to keep working at writing every day. Right now my biggest
challenge is finding the time to write amidst my work both teaching and managing
the business side of writing.

C: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

TG: One of my creative writing teachers once said something to me that’s always stuck
with me. She said (and I’m paraphrasing): “I’ve taught a lot of amazing writers over
the years, but in the end, it wasn’t the most talented ones that made it. It was the
ones who worked the hardest, revised the most, and didn’t give up.”
I return to her words again and again. There’s not much I can control about the
publishing industry, but I can control how hard I work and how much I revise. So my
advice is: don’t give up if you don’t succeed right away. Writing is hard! Keep
writing, keep taking classes and joining writer’s groups, and most of all… revise! My
books go through over 20 drafts before I send them out (and that’s a low estimate –
I actually lost count at 20). Don’t put pressure on yourself to write great early drafts.
I’ve seen a lot of writers give up because of that.

C: What projects are you working on next?

TG: Lately I’ve been starting and stopping a lot of projects, but I am working on a spooky
mermaid story that I am really having a great time writing….

C: Thank you for your time!
TG: Thank you so much for having me!

Come check out Tara’s website for more information on ‘Rewritten’!


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Waiting on Wednesday: June 10

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally created by Jill @Breaking The Spine. This post spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Week’s Post

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Release Date: June 30, 2020

This story sounds so chilling! A debutante heads to High Place, a home on the Mexican countryside, to aid her cousin fears for her life. When she gets there, she learns that temptation and shocking secrets are entwined within High Place’s history. I’m looking forward to reading this thrilling tale!

Synopsis

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

What are your thoughts on Mexican Gothic? Feel free to share!

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Heir of Ashes by Jina Bazzar | Book Review

Heir of Ashes (Roxanne Fosch Files #1) by Jina S. Bazzar
Received Copy from Author
Length: 434 pages
Format: eBook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: November 10, 2018

My Thoughts

**I received a complimentary copy of Heir of Ashes from the author, in exchange for an honest review**

I knew I was in for a ride at the first couple chapters of Heir of Ashes!

Roxanne Fosch is on the run from the Paranormal Scientists Society, who stole her childhood away when she was 12. This story begins a little over a year after she escaped from the PSS, but now Roxanne faces new, dangerous challenges! Along the way she meets Logan, a supernatural being who blames the PSS for tragic changes in his life. I was very intrigued with Logan’s abilities as a vampire/werewolf hybrid, and his interactions with the main character were bonded halfway into the story. While I wanted to learn more about Logan’s abilities, I still enjoyed this supernatural world!

I loved all the plot twists in Heir of Ashes, and there was non-stop action throughout! Roxanne (now living under a different name) lived through many complications while captured with the PSS. She’s also endured many obstacles in her adventures, yet she stands as a very fearless woman. The PSS sees her as a definite threat, as she is not one to mess with! I love a story entwined with supernatural abilities and strong female characters, and Heir of Ashes certainly lived up to that!

Definitely read Heir of Ashes if you’re a fan of fantasy and the supernatural realm!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp.
By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted.

As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers.
She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom.

What are your thoughts on Heir of Ashes? Feel free to share!



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