Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I previously read one of the author’s other books, Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch, and absolutely loved it. I was very excited to read this one since it acts as a prequel to the Eva Evergreen books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as Eva Evergreen. 

This is a Cinderella retelling and because of that, the book felt constrained plot wise. I didn’t feel as though the story benefitted from being a Cinderella retelling. If the book was just a regular middle grade fantasy without the Cinderella aspects, it still would have worked. I also felt that the book wasn’t as magical as Eva Evergreen. Eva Evergreen had a certain charm about it and I was hoping this book would too since it is set in the same universe. 

Additionally, for a book with the word “dragons” in the title, it was light on the dragons. The book never seemed to fully explore the dragons and Alliana’s relationship with them. (Maybe this will come in a later book?)

Don’t get me wrong, I did like some things about the book. I enjoyed the supporting characters, especially Grandmother Mari and Nela. Each of them had such a special relationship and bond with Alliana that was heartwarming to see. I also liked the parts that did feature the dragons. 

Overall, there were some things I liked about this and some things I had issues with. I hope there is a sequel to this book since there’s still more to explore with Alliana. If you are looking for a middle grade fantasy, I would say to give it a shot! 


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Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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Rating: ★★★★

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher (Algonquin Young Readers) for promotional purposes.

This was such a whimsical and enchanting read! The story was full of magic and wonder. It’s not a surprise this book won a Newbery Medal. It reminded me of the fantasy books I read as child. 

The characters were also a standout. I particularly liked the supporting characters of Glerk, the swamp monster, and Fyrian, the tiny dragon. They added a lot of heart to the story. 

The best part of this book was the writing style. It was so beautifully written. The prose flowed so lyrically; it had a poetic quality to it that added to the magic of the story.  

My one critique was that the book moved at a slow pace, especially in the beginning. It took a while for the story to take off. 

My edition was the Gift Edition which included a full color map, chapter opening illustrations, and a bonus prequel story.  As with all fantasy books, the map was very helpful and made the story easy to follow. The illustrations were cute and I enjoyed the prequel story that offered more insight into Xan, the witch. 

Overall, this was a spellbinding middle grade fantasy! I recommend this book to both young readers and adults. 


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Review: Tidesong

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was such a cute graphic novel! 

I’ve read Mooncakes, which is another graphic novel the author co-wrote, and loved it so I knew I needed to read this one. 

The artwork was of course amazing. The art was very adorable and was appropriate for the middle grade audience of this book. Additionally, the font was super readable. It was one of the clearest and most legible fonts I’ve come across in a comic book or graphic novel. Fun fact: the font is actually the author’s handwriting that was turned into a font. 

Sophie was a relatable character. I can see many kids relating to her struggles to learn magic and her feelings of failure.

I found the storyline to be very basic. I know this is middle grade, but the plot could have been more fleshed out. For example, the magic system between the witches and dragons could have been explored more. Also, the beginning of the book happened so fast. Sophie was on the train to her relatives super quickly with very little background information. 

Overall, I recommend this book to readers of all ages who love magic, witches, or dragons. This book also makes a great gift because it is a gorgeous hardcover! 


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Review: Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch (Eva Evergreen #1)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was the cutest book ever! Seriously. It was like a Studio Ghibli movie in book form. 

First off, the world building in this book was incredible. I could easily picture the quaint seaside town of Auteri with all its little shops and its Festival of Lights. I wish it was a real place! 

The characters were another highlight. They were all so lovable. I loved Eva’s friends, Davy and Charlotte. Watching their bond and friendship grow throughout the story was so heartwarming. The townspeople were also charming. I loved how they came together and helped Eva. 

The book also had cute illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. The art style is similar to the cover art, very Japanese inspired. The pictures added to the whimsical nature of the book. 

The only thing that this book needed was a map. The world wasn’t overly complicated that it needed a map to be comprehensible, but maps in fantasy books are always so helpful, so I prefer them.

Overall, this was a feel good, wholesome, witchy read, perfect for spooky season. Readers of all ages will love reading about Eva and her adventures. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! 


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Review: City of Dragons The Awakening Storm (City of Dragons #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a fun and wild ride! 

You can’t review a graphic novel without first talking about the artwork. The art in this book is colorful, vibrant, and full of life. It complemented the story beautifully. Additionally, the dragon illustrations were superb. They were depicted as fierce and majestic. 

The story was so entertaining. I’m a sucker for fantasy adventure quests. Plus, who doesn’t love a tale about dragons? At the same time, there was also a lot of heart and emotion throughout which gave the story some balance. 

However, the ending felt a little convoluted. There was a lot going on. Luckily, this is the first book in the series, so more will be revealed in the coming book. The end does set up the next book nicely. I am very intrigued to see it how unfolds. 

I also loved the characters. Grace and all her friends were fleshed out, dynamic characters. I was glad that their backgrounds were touched upon. It made them feel more real and relatable. 

Overall, this was a highly amusing graphic novel. It’s aimed at middle grade readers, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you’re a fan of dragons or Chinese mythology, be sure to check this one out!


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Review: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram tour (Storygram Tours specifically) I did to promote the book. 

So first off I just want to say that it is incredibly refreshing to read a book about mythology that isn’t Greek. I know very little about African/African American mythology so it was fun to learn about it through reading this book. 

Since this is the first book in a new series, it is a little slow. That is understandable since there is a lot of world building and set-up that needs to be done. The one thing it could have done better was developed some of the supporting characters more. Like I wanted to know more about Ayanna. I can tell there is more to her. However, I am sure this will be revealed in the coming books. 

I really liked that there was a map included. Maps are always so helpful in reading fantasy books and makes it easy to follow the heroes on their journey. 

I also liked how the author would slip in some important messages throughout the book. At one point John Henry is talking about the Jim Crow laws and states, “A lot of times those little facts get smudged cutoff the history books. If you gon’ tell a story, you better be sure you’re telling the right one” (pg 108). At another point the main character muses, “it was my job to carry the stories of the land to its people. All the stories. If we ignored the past, how would we learn from it” (pg 426). Both of these quotes are so important because they show the importance of learning history, both the good and the bad.

Overall, I thought this was a Strong start to a new Own Voices series. I am intrigued to see what happens next. 


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Review: The Places We Sleep

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from Books Forward in exchange for an honest review.

I was really intrigued by this book because it centers on 9/11. I was only 6 years old when it happened so I never truly felt the magnitude of it. 

This book did an amazing job detailing how 9/11 rocked everyone’s world. You saw how 12 year old Abbey felt. You saw how her mom reacted to finding out her sister went missing during the attack. You saw her dad’s military response to it. You saw how regular civilians felt about the possibility of war. You saw racial prejudices exhibited by Abbey’s classmates to a fellow student. The book covered a range of experiences.

This is a novel in verse so the entire book was written in poetry. As a whole, I thought the poems were well done. However, I would have loved if the poems had titles. Instead, they were numbered. Sometimes titles can help enhance the poem and create a bigger impact. But on the flip side, having no titles made the book more novel like. It reads very smoothly because of that. At times, it didn’t even feel like you’re were reading poetry because you get sucked into the story. 

Plot-wise, I wanted a little more, especially towards the end. I wanted there to be a little more development with some of the supporting characters. Even though this book centers on 9/11, it is also a coming of age story. One of the things that gets explored is periods. I am happy that this book did not shy away from showing girls getting their period for the first time. 

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the American reaction to 9/11. This book is aimed towards middle grade readers but can still be enjoyed by adults. 


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Blog tour: Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas

Hi beauties! Today I am a stop on the Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. This book sounds perfect for Halloween. There is giveaway for this book so be sure to keep reading!

About the Book

Title: ELIZABETH WEBSTER AND THE COURT OF UNCOMMON PLEAS

Author: William Lashner

Pub. Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 320

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleAudibleB&NiBooksKoboTBD

Welcome to Elizabeth Webster’s world, where the common laws of middle school torment her days . . . and the uncommon laws of an even weirder realm govern her nights.

Elizabeth Webster is happy to stay under the radar (and under her bangs) until middle school is dead and gone. But when star swimmer Henry Harrison asks Elizabeth to tutor him in math, it’s not linear equations Henry really needs help with-it’s a flower-scented, poodle-skirt-wearing, head-tossing ghost who’s calling out Elizabeth’s name.

But why Elizabeth? Could it have something to do with her missing lawyer father? Maybe. Probably. If only she could find him. In her search, Elizabeth discovers more than she is looking for: a grandfather she never knew, a startling legacy, and the secret family law firm, Webster & Son, Attorneys for the Damned.

Elizabeth and her friends soon land in court, where demons and ghosts take the witness stand and a red-eyed judge with a ratty white wig hands out sentences like sandwiches. Will Elizabeth’s father arrive in time to save Henry Harrison-and is Henry the one who really needs saving?

Set in the historic streets of Philadelphia, this riveting middle-grade mystery from New York Times best-selling author William Lashner will have readers banging their gavels and calling for more from the incomparable Elizabeth Webster.

About William: 

William Lashner is the New York Times Bestselling creator of Victor Carl, who has been called by Booklist one of the mystery novel’s “most compelling, most morally ambiguous characters.”  The Victor Carl novels, which have been translated into more than a dozen foreign languages and have been sold all across the globe, include BAGMEN, KILLER’S KISS, FALLS THE SHADOW, FATAL FLAW, and HOSTILE WITNESS.  He is also the author of GUARANTEED HEROES, THE BARKEEP, which was an Edgar Award nominee and a Digital Book World Number One Bestseller, THE ACCOUNTING, and BLOOD AND BONE.

Writing under the pseudonym of Tyler Knox, Lashner is also the author of KOCKROACH, described as “roaringly entertaining,” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “an energetic tour de force,” by USA Today.  As Tyler Knox he has written a number of book reviews for the Washington Post Book World.

Lashner was a criminal prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. before quitting the law to write fulltime.  A graduate of the New York University School of Law, as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lives with his wife and three children outside Philadelphia. 

William Lashner Photo © Sigrid Estrada 

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of ELIZABETH WEBSTER AND THE COURT OF UNCOMMON PLEAS, US Only.

To enter the giveaway click here!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/1/2019- Pandora’s Books– Excerpt

10/2/2019- Southern Girl Bookaholic– Review

10/3/2019- Shelf-Rated– Review

10/4/2019- BookHounds YA– Excerpt

Week Two:

10/7/2019- Odd and Bookish– Review

10/8/2019- EatingbetweenthelinesINC– Review

10/9/2019- Little Red Reads– Review

10/10/2019- History from a Woman’s Perspective– Review

10/11/2019- Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers– Excerpt

Week Three:

10/14/2019- Books_andPoetrii– Excerpt

10/15/2019- Jena Brown Writes– Review

10/16/2019- Nerdophiles– Review

10/17/2019- Savings in Seconds– Review

10/18/2019- The Reading Corner for All– Review

Week Four:

10/21/2019- Books a Plenty Book Reviews– Review

10/22/2019- Wonder Struck– Review

10/23/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

10/24/2019- Novel Novice– Excerpt

10/25/2019- fictitious.fox– Review

Week Five:

10/28/2019- Fyrekatz Blog– Review

10/29/2019- Two points of interest– Review

10/30/2019- Fictitiouswonderland– Review

10/31/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads– Review

Review: The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Stories Untold) in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was so magical! It reminded me a lot of different fantasy books I read as a kid so it felt very nostalgic to me. If I had read this as a kid, I know I would have loved it. 

The whole story was very whimsy and imaginative, perfect for young middle grade readers. It was so creative. I loved learning about the school, the creatures, and just the world of Croswald in general. The world building was fantastic. 

I also loved the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. They were so cute and just added to the magic of the story. If only there was a map! 

I have read some reviews that compared this book to Harry Potter, but since I haven’t read Harry Potter I can’t say how it compares.

The only thing I had an issue with was that it got a little confusing and convoluted towards the end. Some things weren’t totally clear, but I still managed to figure it out. 

Overall, I recommend this book for young readers who love fantasy or want to get more into reading. This book has enough action, mystery, and magic to keep them entertained. Plus it’s the first book in a series! 


Review: Sleep, Merel, Sleep

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Rating: ★★★★

This was such a cute children’s book! As a 23 year old with no kids, I’m not necessarily the target audience, but I still liked it. 

Since this book was about dreams it gave me a lot of Alice in Wonderland vibes. The main character, Merel, encountered many interesting and unique characters throughout her journey. A few of them reminded me of various Alice characters. For example, King Marmott reminded me of the Queen of Hearts because they were both pretty awful rulers who chased after the title character. 

The other characters were great as well. I especially loved Merel’s encounter with the moonfish. That was my favorite part. 

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The book had a whimsical quality about it that went perfect with the dream theme. The author created a beautiful world with her prose.

I loved how the flashbacks to Merel’s real life were woven into the story. Each little flashback gave insight into Merel, her life, and her sick baby brother. 

I would have loved to seen a map or illustrations because I feel like that could take the book to a whole other level. 

I also wished the book was a tad bit longer, but that’s probably because I’m an adult not a kid. The book is an appropriate length for a young reader. 

Overall, this book was a fun adventure through a child’s dreamland that both kids and adults will enjoy.