A Song for Bill Robinson by C.E Atkins Blog Tour + Playlist

Title: A Song For Bill Robinson
Author: C.E Atkins
Publisher: Pict Publishing
Publication Date: December 6, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Synopsis:

Tensions are building on the notorious Holds End estate.

The local community centre is fighting for survival and the murder of 15-year-old Lewis Matthews remains unsolved…

Wannabe teenage singer, Bill Robinson, just got out of hospital after surviving a vicious attack. He thinks he knows who attacked him…and why. When a violent feud escalates between him and local thug Charlie McDonnal, Bill vows to find the killer and help save the community centre by taking part in the local singing contest.

How can music bring a shattered community together? And can Bill keep his own demons at bay long enough to win the singing contest and find out who killed Lewis Matthews?   


REVIEW

When I was younger, I was bullied a lot, specially in high school. When you’re different from everyone else, you are made fun of, and it’s usually frowned upon. Which is tragic, in my opinion. Individuality is so important because it shapes you on who you can be. A Song For Bill Robinson tackles the topic of bullying and many more pressing issues such as anger issues, alcoholism, abandonment, amongst a couple of things.

The story starts off with Bill Robinson, a 16-year old kid who lives in Holds End, waking up in a hospital bed with memories of a group of boys beating him up to break a couple of his ribs and puncture his lung. The town is in an uproar because of this, as a month ago a 16-year-old kid was Lewis Matthews was just killed. No one knows who did it, and it was disturbing the small town of Holds End. Bill Robinson is sure of who assaulted him even if he didn’t see the face of the perpetrator, but he wanted to know why. Why was he being targeted? What has he done for him to be treated as such?

As he got out of the hospital and tried to live life normally, going back to hanging out with friends, spending time at the community center, and getting ready to join the singing contest in town, he gets into a feud with Charlie McDonnal. After the dirty altercation between two teens, Bill is determined to dig out Charlie’s secrets, find out who killed Lewis, and help save the local community center. And he is going at lengths to do this despite all the personal battles he was having and the raging war inside him.

Personally, there were good and tough moments while I was reading this book. It triggered plenty of memories in high school that I would rather not go back to, and I know that I’ve been there, done that but I felt so much for Bill and connected with him in this aspect. And I’ve seen myself in him when he was bottling up his anger, his frustration with the elders, and his personal struggles. It was so frustrating but that is a reality that some of us face when we were at this age, or some are facing this reality right now. I really love this part of Bill’s character. I didn’t like how he was too bullheaded, and that he was trying to act as if he can handle the world all on his own at 16. But then again, now that I’m thinking about it, didn’t we all think that was at some point in our teens?

The character development in all the characters in the book was also terrific. I really liked how Bill blossomed, how he was imperfect, and that he grew from all that he went through. Same goes for his friends, Logan, Adam, and Summer. There were definitely moments of self-realization and reflection. I enjoyed the ups and downs of their friendship and relationships. Bill’s relationship with his parents and siblings were also tackled in a good way, when it comes to broken families. It wasn’t abrasive nor was it too dramatic. I really liked how Atkins wrote it so delicately.

Personally, I find that one of the most important parts of this book is the sexual exploration and identity of the characters. These days, identifying sexuality is such an important step in people’s lives. I liked how Bill was so open to everything he was experiencing, that he was not affirming or denying about his feelings towards males, females, and the other sexes. And when Summer was provoked by Bill on these thoughts, she too was open about possibly being more than who she is at the moment. Which is such a great approach to exploring. When I was in my teenage years, it wasn’t as easy and people weren’t so open minded so this was such a good part of the book, in my opinion.

Overall, thinking about it now and eventually talking about it on this blog, I find that I really quite enjoyed A Song For Bill Robinson. The music references were great, I even made a playlist of Bill’s Playlist (that I will embed below), that I was listening to while reading. It reminded me of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. So if you enjoyed these books, I would definitely recommend A Song For Bill Robinson.

Book Links:
Amazon US | Amazon UK

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Chantelle Atkins for having me on this blog tour! Follow the rest of the tour on the banner below!


PLAYLIST


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories. The award-winning Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. Her next YA novel A Song For Bill Robinson will be released in December 2019. Chantelle has had multiple articles about writing published by Author’s Publish magazine.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Newsletter | Amazon

Jupiter’s Fire by William Osborne Blog Tour

Title: Jupiter’s Fire
Author: William Osborne
Publisher: Conrad Press
Publication Date: December 1, 2019
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Synopsis:
When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.


review

As a History Major, I absolutely love Historical Fiction. I always love reading on the possibility of a “what if”. What if this happened instead, what would be the result of that in the present and how would it affect me? This thought always fascinates me, even in my daily life. And so, when I read the synopsis of Jupiter’s Fire, I was tremendously intrigued.

Franco is a 15-year old orphan who grew up in a monastery in the time of the World War II. When a bomb hit their home, a box was uncovered from a gaping hole and debris caused by the explosion. He learns that this is called the Jupiter’s Eagle and is important that the item be handed over to the Vatican.

On the other hand, we have Maria and Dr. Blutbond on the side of the Nazis. They receive news that the Jupiter’s Fire has been found and was given the task to retrieve the weapon for the Fuehrer. And from this, our adventure of delivering and capturing starts.

The thing that I enjoyed the most about this book was it was fast paced. If you think History and immediately think memorizing dates and names, well, Jupiter’s Fire is very well propelled. It didn’t dwell too much on things and the movement of the plot was fast-paced. There were moments that I felt it was too fast but that maybe because I’m used to slow-burning books.

Though, I have to admit the plot was very lack luster. I just found that things were too convenient towards Franco and Dulcie, most if not all of the time. And I did not enjoy that. There was struggle, but I felt like it wasn’t enough and things were too easy for the two of them. Either that or I’m just so used to an older voice YA books. Also, I felt like some characters were underdeveloped, and at some point in the story they just dropped off the book entirely. Specially the antagonists, I wish there was more to their story, what happened to them and how they dealt with the consequences of their problems brought by Franco and Dulcie.

It does show a peek into what it was like during World War II. The unpredictability of your situation wherein, you think you’re fine and you’re safe in your sanctuary but out of no where, bombs come dropping down on you. Literally. And it depicted how scary and dangerous those times were. How it was frightening to step out of your own home, get stopped on the streets that you live in by the Nazis who were ruling countries. I think Jupiter’s Fire is a nice peek into that time, into that world.

Overall, I would say this is a good book if you wanna start or try reading historical fiction. The story is not overbearing or taxing and the pacing of the books are great. Franco and Dulcie are two fun and interesting characters to follow as well.

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for having me as a part of the blog tour as well as Conrad Press and William Osborne. Follow the blog tour by clicking the banner below!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California,  studied law at Cambridge,(MA),  barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire).  Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.

Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Title: Awa and the Dreamrealm: Dreamweavers Book 1
Author: Isa Pearl Ritchie
Publisher: Te Ra Aroha Press
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publication Date: November 1, 2019
Synopsis:

What if dreams are more real than waking life?

Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life. 

She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.

At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?


review

Personally, I have not read any middle grade books recently and Awa and the Dreamrealm was such a refreshing change to the usual Fantasy books I’ve been reading for the past few months. This book was such a fun read, it was also easy to follow as well.

As I was reading, there were moments where I had to stop and think, was this how a middle grade book is nowadays? Then I remembered myself during those times as well and I realize how great the book is on how it tackled certain important themes of kids emerging into teenhood: teasing/bullying in school, attraction to the opposite sex, change in family dynamics, moving to other places, forming friendships, and more.

During the start of the book, I wasn’t a big fan of Awa’s mother. I just felt that she was somehow detached and that she just allowed Awa to do what she wants and have all sort of feelings all by herself. Eventually, I grew to like her specially towards the end when she fought for her child and spoke up against the oppression her daughter was experiencing. I also liked how involved Awa’s dad was even though he lived away from her.

I really enjoyed the parts when Awa was in her dreamworld. It just felt whimsical and fun, specially when she was allowed to think of anything she wanted and do anything she wanted. Personally, I want to experience flying in my dreams, sounds really wickedly cool! The characters inside the dreamrealm were really interesting too! Somehow, Veila reminded me of Joy from Inside Out, but not in every literal sense. Veila was described as someone who looked like Awa but she was smaller. And everytime Awa was lucid dreaming, Veila was there to talk to her and tell her all about the dreamrealm.

The parallelism from the dreamrealm to Awa’s real life was also a fantastic part of the plot. She was encountering all types of personality inside the dreamrealm and was learning how to deal with them inside her dreams that she was able to apply in her real life interactions in school. That was absolutely fantastic for me.

Although there were moments that I felt confused and frustrated, specially when Veila kept beating around the bush about Awa’s importance in the dreamrealm, what exactly was expected of her and how she was going to achieve that goal. And some questions were still unanswered even towards the end of the book but then again this is a series so I expect to learn more in the future books.

Overall, I would say that this was a great first book for a middle grade series. I think it’s unique, fun and imaginative. I think kids and their parents will enjoy this a lot and would make for great conversations on issues that maybe troubling to them to speak up on.

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on this blog tour! Thanks to Isa Pearl Ritchie and Te Ra Aroha Press for the e-arc copy! Follow the blog tour on the schedule below:


about the author

Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Kindle copy giveaway!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. Only 1 winner will be selected from all entries in the blog tour.

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A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo Blog Tour + Intl Giveaway!

Title: A Constellation of Roses
Author: Miranda Asebedo
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary, Magical Realism

Synopsis:

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots.


review

A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo came to me at such a perfect time. Typically, I do not like YA Contemporary books mostly because of the negative familial relationships. Miranda Asebedo’s book however, is not such a book. It is a story of family, love, and getting up despite the struggles of life.

We start off with Trix McCabe, a seventeen year old girl with a talent: fast hands. Abandoned by her mother, she lives in a motel living off scraps and quick bucks from pick pocketing, and shop lifting. Life wasn’t great but not complete bad either. She had her own tribe, friends and familiar people, and had comforts that she was lucky to enjoy. And, it was better than being in foster care, in Trix’s opinion. But luck isn’t on her side when CPS and the police catches up on her and gives her an ultimatum, finish her high school degree with newly discovered family or get locked up in jail.

Trix suddenly gets thrown into a small town in Kansas where she finds herself with her aunt Mia, cousin Ember, and grandmother Auntie. And then, she finds out that her new found family has also their own special talents. She suddenly feels overwhelmed and is determined to take life by the reins, finish high school and get out. But what if her flighty nature will be her downfall?

My favorite part about this book is the characters. At first, I didn’t really like Trix. When I was in her head, so to speak, I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes and hope for the best. But as the story progressed, I appreciated her story more, her character development was done in such a great pace within the story. Plus, it wasn’t just the main character of the book that had such a significant story. I really appreciated that Jasper wasn’t the typical boy-next-door that the main character swoons over, he had his own struggles and problems. Same goes for Mia, Ember, and the other characters mentioned in the book. This rich characterization made me feel like the characters were given equal love and attention.

Another aspect of this book I loved is the Magical Realism. Sometimes, this aspect is not really well applied in books but the magic aspect of A Constellation of Roses made the small town of Rocksaw very appealing, personal, and charming. It was so believable that I want to visit the McCabe Tea Shop myself and have a lemon pie myself. It was very subtle but I quite enjoyed that detail of the plot.

This is my first time reading a work by Miranda Asebedo, and I absolutely loved her writing style and tone. The book is well paced, I didn’t feel like it was too rushed or too dragged on. I also enjoyed the bouts of humor, specially Auntie’s parts. They were cute and fun moments that I absolutely live for. Though this book is unashamed to discuss about very serious and pressing issues, I would say that they were taken with grace and poise. Mental illness was not glorified or shrugged away or was carelessly thrown around and I totally appreciated that.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed A Constellation of Roses. There were so many great moments that made me laugh, made me shed tears, and made my heart want to jump out of my chest. It is a very character driven novel with a great amount of charm, sweetness and magic. This book is about facing your fears, accepting and giving love, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to be strong.

Trigger warnings: suicide, depression, substance abuse, death of a parent, addiction.

Thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me as a tour host! Follow the rest of the blog tour on this link!

Grab your own copy of A Constellation of Roses:

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | B&N | Google Books | iTunes | Kobo


Favorite quotes


about the author

Miranda Asebedo was born and raised in rural Kansas with a love of fast cars, open skies, and books. She carried that love of books to college, where she got her B.A. and M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing and Literature. A Seaton Fellowship recipient, her short fiction has appeared in Kansas Voices, Touchstone, and Midway Journal. 

Miranda still lives on the prairie today with her husband, two kids, and two majestic bulldogs named Princess Jellybean and Captain Jack Wobbles. If Miranda's not writing or reading, she's most likely convinced everyone to load up in the family muscle car and hit the road.

Author Links:
Goodreads | Wesbite | Twitter | Instagram

international giveaway

Get a chance to win a signed finished copy of Constellation of Roses! Just follow the rafflecopter steps below!

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Coral by Sara Ella Blog Tour Review & Favorite Quotes

Title: Coral
Author: Sara Ella
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
Synopsis:

Multiple award-winning young adult author Sara Ella reimagines The Little Mermaid in a powerful and unexpected way.

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Coral has always been different, standing out from her stoic sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease. Said to be carried by humans, the Disease imposes emotions on its victims, causing them to commit unspeakable acts. The growing illness inside her, while terrifying, fascinates her very core. Where others see danger, Coral sees life. Could it be the colorless merfolk who are truly ill?

Above the sea, seventeen-year-old Brooke Jordan has nothing left to give. A homeless girl abandoned and forgotten, the only thing Brooke can rely on is the ocean. Her aching feet find refuge within the cool and comforting waves, while her broken heart grows harder with each passing day. When Brooke’s and Coral’s worlds collide, everything alters in an instant. From learning to stand alone, to discovering the strength it takes to rely on another, the girls find that living requires taking that first painful breath. Each must make sacrifices, and when it comes to finding true love? Let’s just say the boys in their lives must learn to swim if they’re ever going to survive the storms.

Battling the odds against them, the girls will do whatever it takes to survive. But what must end for love and life to finally begin?

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale, this modern-day story explores mental health from several perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.


review

I love mermaids. For as long as I can remember, Ariel was my favorite Disney princess, mostly because I used to be a swimmer and I spent so much time in the water. But even as I grew up, I still have such a love for The Little Mermaid and so, when The Fantastic Flying Book Club sent an email about their Coral blog tour, I signed up for it right away and was so happy to be part of the tour.

But before I get into the review, and I never do this, I’ll start off with trigger warnings. This book has heavy themes of suicide, self-harming, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, emotional abuse, PTSD, non-consensual advances and abandonment. That being said, this book is very very heavy to read and if you’re not ready, then please take caution. The author also wrote a letter about this that is included in the book.

Now, where do I start? Today is November 15, and I honestly finished this book just last night. And I would think I’m a fairly fast reader but I was so caught off guard with this book. Coral is told in 3 different perspectives, first is Coral, a 15 year old mermaid, youngest of the king of the seas. Her story is told in a 3rd person point of view. Second perspective is Brooke, a girl who feels abandoned and broken, all alone and is entering Fathoms, a group therapy home. Her story is told in the 1st person point of view. Finally, we have Merrick. The eldest son of a wealthy business conglomerate, rebellious, but also striving to keep his family together. His story is also told in the 3rd person point of view. At first, Sara Ella establishes their stories separately and then eventually finds a way for them to mash together.

One distinct part of this book that I like is how it is contemporary mixed with a flavor of fantasy. I know, it’s a retelling of A Little Mermaid, but aside from Coral being the youngest daughter of the King of the seas, with a strong-willed personality of wanting more than what is under the sea, Coral isn’t so much of a retelling but maybe highly inspired by the fairy tale. Reading Coral’s underwater world was so enjoyable, I absolutely appreciated Sara Ella’s effort of creating an underwater world, an example that immediate comes to mind is Coral uses a kelp blanket to keep her warm during the nights.

As someone who is suffering from anxiety and depression, it’s sometimes hard to explain what you’re going through and what you have gone through. And if you are someone who wants to understand friends or family suffering mental illnesses, Coral is such a good gateway into that. Honestly, it was very triggering for me. I had to stop at many points in the book because I felt like I was getting thrown back into situations I was slowly overcoming. It wasn’t fun for me personally, but objectively, it is a good point of view.

One of the things that I didn’t enjoy is how the characters are portrayed. I’m a big character onion fan, and Sara Ella’s characters just fell short for me. They characters were too defined by their mental illness, that it just felt as if there was nothing else beyond that. And that is such a big no-no for me. Because I know I am more than my depression and anxiety. I have good and bad days, and really terrible days, but I refuse to let my mental illness define me. I just wish that the characters were made more holistically.

Another aspect of the book I didn’t enjoy was the ending. I hated how Brooke was suddenly defined by Merrick, and vise versa. They were both broken and struggling, and they suddenly anchored themselves to each other to save themselves. At least, that’s how I saw it. Love saves all. And I just want to say that, that is a clear road for a train wreck. I’ve been in a situation like that and it was just not pretty. That really left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure, it might work for other people, but it’s just not realistic for me.

Honestly, I have such conflicted feelings for Coral. It was beautiful at times, destructive in some moments, there were powerful moments, plenty of pretty prose, and I understand how it can be empowering for some people. Personally, it didn’t help me much, I think it just got my thoughts so muddled up. If you are in a well, good mental state, I’d say it’s a good book. But if you suffering, struggling and unsure of yourself, please don’t rush into reading the book. Your mental state is the most important. And remember, refuse to be defined by your mental illness, because you are more than what your thoughts tell you otherwise. You can do it. We can do this.

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me as a tour host, to Thomas Nelson Publishing for the e-arc and to Sara Ella for this book. Follow the blog tour on this link!

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Google Books


favorite quotes


about the author

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a Disney castle. Today, she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses, raising her little prince to be a king, and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Oh, and her husband is definitely more swoon-worthy than any Prince Charming.

Sara’s UNBLEMISHED trilogy has received high praise and multiple awards, but none as rewarding as the love and support she receives from her readers every day. Her new story CORAL, a reimagining of THE LITTLE MERMAID, releases in the fall of 2019.

When she’s not on deadline, Sara Ella can most often be found fangirling on Twitter, Instagram, or her YouTube channel. She may or may not be obsessed with #Bookstagram, and she has a serious condition known as “Coffee Snob-itis.” She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube | Twitter | Pinterest

Book Review: Conspiracy of Ravens by J.C. McKenzie

Thank you to NetGalley and JCM Publications for the e-arc in exchange of an honest review

“We’re all searching for someone whose demons play well with ours.” ~Meghan Coates”

J.C. McKenzie, Conspiracy of Ravens

Title: Conspiracy of Ravens
Author: J.C. McKenzie
Publisher: JCM Publications
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 21, 2019
Synopsis:

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.


Raven Crawford’s life has been a mess, for as long as she can remember. She’s broke and stuck working as a waitress, trying to pay off an ex-boyfriend’s debt, attempting to be independent of her mother and stepfather. She is different from her family of shifters, being half-fae as well as her twin brother. Unfortunately, trouble becomes her when she learns that Bear, her twin brother, steals from a powerful fae, the Lord of Shadows. And now, Raven finds herself with a deal with him to help save her twin brother. What has she gotten herself into?

Dark Fae Lords, Shifters, Magic? I’m all in of course. But Conspiracy of Ravens just didn’t give me as much feels as I expected. I am fantasy trash, to be quite honest and I love me some good world building and rich, complex characters.

Well, let me start with what I loved about Conspiracy of Ravens. I really absolutely love the family dynamics in this book. Raven is living independently of her family, she never met her real father and was raised by a stepfather who was a shifter, Fox. Despite that, they had such a great relationship and even considers him her real father. She had great dynamics with her stepbrother and stepsister, playful and really had the older sister role down to a T. Her affinity to her twin brother, Bear, was also fantastic. She knew him well, and even if she found out he had secrets kept from her, Raven still loves him, and fought for him. Really really loved that.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the Norse Mythology entwined with the Fae, Magical world in an urban setting. Though at first this really confused me, a lot. Maybe the expectation I had was different as I’ve been reading Fantasy for the past few weeks. Although, reading an Urban Fantasy that is set in Vancouver, Canada was very refreshing as well. Going back to the Norse Mythology, Odin was the ruler of this world, and he was the one who stopped the fae from attacking the world and humans. And in this world, shifters, fae, magicians, they were very normalized. They weren’t hiding either. And it didn’t mean that they were accepted fully as well. Which was a very interesting part of the book.

The thing that I didn’t completely like about this book is the insta-love. I am a big sucker for romance but man, the romance in this just rubbed me the wrong way. The moment Cole walked in the diner, Raven already had the hots for him. Plus the unexplained extreme attraction towards him as well. I felt like the romance just overpowered the rest of the plot and dominated the story too much.

Personally, and you might already know this, but I LOVE complex characters and Conspiracy of Ravens didn’t give that to me. I felt like the characters lacked depth and complication. I wanted to see more sides to Raven, Cole, Bear, and the rest of the cast. There are also times where a character was built up to be a crucial part of the plot then dropped off the story, and resurfaced near the end that just got me confused. Although, this seems to be a trilogy, I have high hopes for the next book.

Overall, Conspiracy of Ravens was an enjoyable read. It was light, sarcastic at times, Raven’s POV was funny as well. It is by no means an innovative story, but the added twists and aspects gave more flavor and flair to a familiar Urban Fantasy-Romance stories.

Book Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for the e-arc in exchange of an honest review

“We put names to the unexplained. Cast it as something to either fear or worship. And yet just because a thing can’t be seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”

Luanne G. Smith, The Vine Witch

Title: The Vine Witch
Author: Luanne G. Smith
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 1, 2019

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.


One thing I am absolutely in love with is wine. And the moment I saw The Vine Witch on bookstagram, I couldn’t help but be grabby hands because Magic + Vineyard + Wine = Y E S! The cover is an attention grabber, and the blurb just sounds so mysterious and intriguing!

We start off with Elena Bourenau, a cursed witch that found herself breaking her curse, and is able to find her way home to Chateau Renard. She vows to get revenge from her curser and get her life back together but then finds that her home is no longer really hers. She meets Jean-Paul Martel, businessman, dashing, mysterious and ambitious but also skeptic towards witchcraft.

First of all, Luanne Smith’s writing is so beautiful. There are times that I can almost smell the fragrance of wine, taste the food from the boulangeries, the way she sets the atmosphere in her writing is so vivid that I can sometimes picture myself in these french vineyards myself. The magic is also very interesting but I was wanting more in terms of the how the magic system worked.

And though I quite enjoyed the first half of the book, I found the second half quite dragging. I wanted more world building and see the characters blossom more. It was a good read but could have been so much more. The romance was also very insta-lovey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for romance but there could have been more interactions, more moments before “the realization”.

I really had a great time reading The Vine Witch and can see that there is going to be a second book, so I’m looking forward to more.