blog tours, Book Reviews

Book Review: Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Happy Monday bookish people! I hope everyone has had a great weekend. I’m so excited that today is my spot on the book tour for Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon! This was a great read and I’m very happy to share my thoughts about it. Thank you to TheWriteReads tours for having me as a part of this.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Instructions For Dancing Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I surprised myself by enjoying this book. Contemporary Romance novels are way out of my comfort zone and I haven’t read very many of them. I really enjoyed that this plot didn’t feel like the typical contemporary plot line, I mean it was because it has the love story in it, but there were some unusual elements that made the story something else. I think that’s the main reason I enjoyed it more than I expected. I saw quite a few reviews before I read this book which said the story is heartbreaking and that a few of them have cried at this book. I have to say I agree, there are heartbreaking moments throughout this book and although didn’t cry myself I was very close. After I finished the book I was left feeling very calm and content, I enjoyed this book a lot.

Instructions For Dancing Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There wasn’t one character in this book that I didn’t like. The friendship group were great to read about and the love interest was funny and intriguing. But my favourite character was Evie, the protagonist, I loved her personality and how she developed throughout the story.

Instructions For Dancing Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I found the writing style difficult to get into at first but once I got used to it I began to enjoy the way Nicola Yoon writes. The dialogue is one of the best parts of this novel, there’s a lot of witty remarks and ‘banter’ between the characters in this novel and I thought this was a brilliant feature.

Instructions For dancing Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars overall because I enjoyed it more than I expected to and it has made me think that I should try books out of my comfort zone more often.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

blog tours, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Happy Thursday bookish people! I’m very excited that today is my spot on the book tour for The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. Thank you to Anne Cater and Weidenfeld and Nicolson for sending me a copy of this book to read and review for this tour.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

The Maidens Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ll start by saying that I almost had to put this book down because of how easily drawn into the world I became. I could feel the dark atmosphere, the fear and the rising tension. The plot was beautifully intricate in a way that had me constantly guessing about what was going to happen next. I am very glad that I didn’t stop reading because the ending – and the final reveal – was very satisfying for me as a reader. I did have a suspicion of the who and the why but the author of this book cleverly interwove the plot with red herrings. I always enjoy a book that has me guessing, it gives me a lot of anticipation for how a story will end.

The Maidens Characters:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Alex Michaelides has managed to create a variety of well explored characters who all have an element of mystery surrounding them. I found that I was suspicious of almost every character at some point and although this was great for the suspense and the psychological parts of the novel, however, because of this I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters in the way I like to be when reading.

The Maidens Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. It flowed well and I felt that every part of the story worked better because of Alex Michaelides’ writing style.

The Maidens Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars because I think it is an excellent psychological novel that I enjoyed reading. I found it a bit too dark for my personal taste but I enjoyed branching out into a slightly different genre than I usually read.

Blurb/Synopsis:

From the author of the global #1 bestselling debut The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding literary thriller which weaves together Greek mythology, psychology, and murder…

St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.

For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder.

As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its own.

Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.

A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…

The Maidens is a story of love, and of grief – of what makes us who we are, and what makes us kill.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Love is What You Bake It by Effie Kammenou

Happy Friday bookish people! Today is my stop on the blog tour for the book Love Is What You Bake It by Effie Kammenou. Thank you to Love Book Tours for sending me a copy of this book to read and review.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Love is What You Bake It Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I don’t read many books that can be classed as part of the romance genre so I can’t say how this book sits amongst them, however, I surprised myself because I actually enjoyed my reading of this book. I thought the plot was simple enough for me to understand everything that was happening while still complicated and filled with layers of back story that gave the story the ‘will they, won’t they’ that it needed.

I enjoyed the themes of family and friendship that were one of the main features of this book, it gave it more of a story in my opinion. I also liked that there were actual recipes sprinkled throughout the book – I definitely want to make some of these!

For me the romance element felt a little rushed, it is a short book to begin with, but I like my romance (even though it’s usually only a tiny sub-plot) to be a slow burn, and when I say slow I mean a snails pace – I like it to be very dragged out.

Love Is What You Bake It Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The main characters Kally and Max were interesting and complex. The way their back stories were slowly shown to the reader was good at playing with your perceptions of the characters. My favourite character in the book has to be Athena, I don’t think it’s a spoiler by saying she is Max’s daughter – if it is sorry! – and she is great. I like children generally, in life and in fiction, but she was very well written and acted her age.

The only part I didn’t enjoy about the characters was there was one, who I won’t name because that would be a spoiler, who in my opinion was coming across a bit dangerous and a bit too controlling and then at the end they almost had a redemption arc which was for a specific reason to further the plot but I did feel that wasn’t the best way to present that character at the end.

Love Is What You Bake It Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I don’t have a lot to say about this section. I thought the writing flowed easily and kept my interest in the story well. The dialogue, although at times too much information was given at once, was well written and matched the characters and their personalities.

Love Is What You Bake It Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have given this book four stars because I was surprised how much I actually ended up enjoying the story. It was light-hearted and fun and influenced by Greek culture which was very interesting to learn about.

Blurb/synopsis:

The only love Kally Andarakis is baking is in the form of the sweet treats she whips up in her café, The Coffee Klatch.

Kally never believed herself to be a person worthy of love, but when an intoxicating man she considered out of her league pursues her, she risks everything to be with him. Later, when tragedy strikes, truths are revealed that leave Kally brokenhearted and untrusting.

Eight years later, Kally is a successful pastry chef running the café she’d always dreamed of owning. With a home of her own, a profession she’s passionate about, and the support and love of friends and family, Kally is content with the life she has carved out for herself.

Until the day Max Vardaxis walks into her café…

With arguing parents, meddling relatives, an overly energetic grandmother, a man-crazy best friend, and the long ago, mysterious disappearance of a grandfather, this new man in town is just one more complication in Kally’s life, if not the main one.

Kally must now decide whether to keep her heart safe or to once again take a ‘whisk on love.’

That’s it for this book review, I hope you enjoyed it!

blog tours, Cover reveals, Fan Casting Books

Netflix Shadow and Bone/Six of Crows Blog Tour

Happy Thursday bookish people! I’m so excited for my post today. By now I’m sure most of you have seen that the very popular book series’ Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo have been turned into a TV series which is currently on Netflix. If you haven’t watched it yet I’d really recommend it!

As happens often with shows based on books, new tie in covers have been released for the series and they are beautiful! I usually don’t like tie in covers but these ones I do like – I already have two copies of both Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows I really shouldn’t buy another version of them… but I probably will.

I’m very lucky to be part of the tour with Terminal Tours and as part of my stop I will be showing you my mood board for the series and also doing a little dream cast at the end!

Shadow and Bone

Synopsis:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2QFGU6B

Six of Crows

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3ntukn5

Mood Board:

Here is a small collection of the images on my mood board for this series, if you are interested in seeing the complete mood board you can see it here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/olivia2534/sabsoc/

Dream Cast:

If I had done this before watching the show then I probably would have cast different people for all of them – except Ben Barnes, I was pretty excited about ben Barnes playing The Darkling.. anyway, now that I’m making a dream cast after I have seen the show I can say that Ben Barnes as General Kirigan, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young as Jesper and Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov were brilliant casting choices for their characters. I enjoyed all of the characters in the show but these were some of the people that were in my head when I pictured the characters:

Toby Regbo as Matthias – he is known for playing Frances on Reign.

Cameron Monaghan as Kaz Brekker – he is known for many things but I know him for playing Jerome Valaska on Gotham. I saw somebody else fan cast him as Kaz Brekker and then I couldn’t get it out of my head – although I do love Freddie Carter’s portrayal in the show.

I was also going to show my dream casting for the roles of Nina Zenik and Mal Oretsyev however, I didn’t find anyone that I felt matched how I was viewing them in my head and the way the books described them so, I’m going to leave it here.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

Book Spotlight Posts, Uncategorized

The Treason of Robyn Hood Book Spotlight

 

Dieselpunk Adventure

 

Date Published: March 9, 2021

Publisher: Ink & Magick

What is the price of justice?

As a ward of the Lacklands, Robyn Loxley has lived a privileged life. Even now, in 1942, when another war ravages the world and people on the home front must do without, her adopted family is not affected by the rations and shortages.

That’s not to say she hasn’t been affected by the war personally. As Robyn hits yet another roadblock in her quest to see her best friend Will, trapped in a Japanese-American concentration camp, she stumbles onto the people of Sherwood.

With dark truths revealed about the Lacklands and what really goes on in Midshire, Robyn must answer what justice means to her and what she’s willing to do to exact it.

Robyn and the merry band get an update in this dieselpunk sci-fi adventure.

 

“The Treason of Robyn Hood has suspense, drama, humor, romance, and action, all jam-packed in a tightly paced novel full of intrigue…I enjoyed it immensely and will highly recommend it to fans of fantasy and adventure. “

—Readers’ Favorite®

“Connoisseurs of urban fantasy and offbeat romance will find this novel both a fun and fulfilling read. The clever characterizations and skillful melding of fantasy, adventure, and romance put a spotlight on sisterly devotion, oddball alliances, social conscience, and the human ability to rise above broken hearts and broken lives. “

 

—The US Review of Books

About the Author

D. Lieber has a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.

 

Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.

 

Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).

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Airway Is Life Book Spotlight

 

Nonfiction

 

Date Published: February 28, 2021

 

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A national health crisis is stealing your family’s sleep away, one breath at a time. In Airway is Life, Dr. Meghna Dassani, DMD gives you the information you need to spot sleep-disordered breathing and other issues so that you can get the help that you and your family need. Why are all stages of sleep important? What diagnosis might show that sleep is an underlying issue? How can you convince your doctor to prescribe a sleep study? Dr. Dassani’s interesting, accessible work will give you the tools you need to protect your family’s sleep breathing and change their lives.

About The Author

 

 

 

Dr. Meghna Dassani is an internationally educated dentist practicing in Houston, Texas. She received her initial dental training from the University of Mumbai, India where she graduated in 1996 and she operated a successful practice there for 6 years prior to moving to the US. She is a 2005 graduate of the Boston University (BU) Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where she was actively involved in research projects and she enjoyed working in communities surrounding the dental school.

 

She has been practicing in Houston, Texas for the last 15 years. She has a passion for providing patients with the highest quality of care that will benefit their overall health. Screening and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in adults and children is an integral part of her practice. Her vision and goal for herself and her team is to help patients with sleep disordered breathing get the treatment they need to live healthier, happier lives.

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Dogs of Devtown Book Spotlight

Cyberpunk Science Fiction

 

Date Published: April 16, 2021

Welcome to DevTown.

In this city, holo ads lumber like neon giants seeking advertising targets. Men and women pop Oracle tabs in search of relief or enlightenment or both. Creatures of unknown origin stalk the darkest alleys. In the center of it all, NexDev Tower looms over the city, home to hundreds of floors of top-secret research.

And in its shadow, Shan Hayes kills people for money.

Rejecting the mechanical enhancements so popular in DevTown, Shan needs only two things: The resynth serum that can reshape her body’s entire cellular structure, and her hand-cannon containing a sentient parasite capable of converting her blood into weaponized wasps.

As a hired gun for various crime syndicates, there’s little of the city’s underbelly Shan hasn’t encountered. But when a longtime business associate hires her to track down an underling who’s vanished into the neon night, Shan finds DevTown still holds secrets more deadly and terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Excerpt of the Book:
The target pauses, turns to look at Shan. Here in the alley, shadow swallows his face. Emerald neon reflects off his mirrorshades, but it’s not the only surface catching the soft glow. As he turns, light flashes around his knees and continues to his feet.

Mech legs.

As he stares her down through green-glinting shades, a hissing whine fills the alley. He turns just as the sound reaches a crescendo, and as it releases in a blast, he bounds away. The single leap carries him thirty feet, and the instant he lands, there’s another blast, carrying him another thirty feet.

The mech legs must have some sort of repulsor technology. Shan has heard of newer models which concentrate electromagnetic fields and use them to propel users at high velocities, but it doesn’t matter how his models work. Shan won’t catch him without enhancements of her own. There isn’t a single mech installed on her body, but she doesn’t need mechs. Not when she has resynth.

All these thoughts pass through her head in an instant. Before the target lands, Shan swallows a handful of CalPills. The large yellow capsules land in her stomach like a ton of bricks, but she needs the calories for what comes next. She slides a syringe from the clip on her belt and plunges the needle into her thigh.

She runs.

Resynth serum, that cocktail of proteins and viruses, floods her bloodstream, issuing commands to each cell it touches. The cells comply, transforming to accommodate the design coded into the serum. Heat ignites in her belly as the CalPills fuel the change. Shan’s joints rearrange, her muscles grow, her tendons expand and contract, reforming her body until she isn’t running, but galloping, using the force of four limbs to chase her target. She is more than human now. She is a predator, and her target is prey, no matter how much organic tissue he’s traded for metal.

Thanks to those mech legs, her target is fast, but she’s faster still. The pavement is cool and rough on her palms. The scents of DevTown sharpen as air rushes past her face. Her lips twist in a bitter smile. No hunt is complete without a chase.

 

 

A news report on the old flatscreen details another attack in another alley. In a dry voice with a matter-of-fact tone, the anchor narrates grainy footage of bone-thin men and women overwhelming a victim, mentions the growing trend of corpses covered in bite wounds. She relays the authorities’ promise to investigate the violence and provides a phone number for anyone with information to share.

“Literal zombies is what they are,” says the bartender, wiping a pint glass with a rag. “People comin’ back from the dead and bitin’ chunks outta folks.”

Shan grunts, but offers no comment. She doesn’t care what he thinks. Theories won’t improve the streets of DevTown, but that’s never stopped conversation at Infusion.

“Aw, not this again,” shouts a voice behind Shan. “We got no proof the shamblers ever died to begin with.”

Shamblers. It’s the term used by anyone unbound by journalistic integrity, referencing the clumsy way the attackers move.

“Every single one of ’em looks like a walkin’ corpse. Add the bite marks, and how they don’t seem to feel nothin’ when folks fight back, it makes perfect sense.” The bartender sets down the pint glass and leans into the bar. Slender mech fingers drum a staccato on old wood. “I bet it’s Oracle tabs makin’ people do it. Ever notice how many of those victims turn up in Tabber Alley?”

“Shut up,” says another voice. “Oracle can’t raise the dead.”

“You sure?” says the bartender. “Oracle’s the newest drug on the street. No one’s studyin’ it. Tabbers know what happens after they swallow, but what about after they die?”

The door to Infusion slams open. Shan glances over her shoulder, half-expecting to find a bone-white, withered corpse of a person. It would shamble in, fall upon one of Infusion’s patrons and bite into his neck, sucking everything out until the patron is twitching on the stained floor and the newcomer’s body bloats with fluid.

But that’s not what she sees. Instead, it’s three men. They’re pale, but not bleached white, and they certainly aren’t wasting away. Their arms are thick, their chests wide. As one, they stride up to the bar. There’s no sizing up the patrons, no scanning for dangerous characters. Each man’s gate is purposeful, fearless. One settles into a stool next to Shan, and the others wait behind him, snapping at the bartender for attention. After they order a round of drinks, an uneasy silence falls over Infusion. Nobody offers another opinion on Oracle tabs, nobody theorizes on the shamblers’ origin. Everyone stares at their glasses, but the bar’s collective focus centers on the newcomers.

“You Shan Hayes?” says one man. His voice is a dagger, piercing the silence and leaving a gaping wound in its wake.

“Who’s asking?”

The man’s lips quirk in a smile. “Heard we might find her here.”

Shan holds his stare, tracking his companions in the corner of her eye. One has shifted a hand inside his black trench coat; the other drifts sideways, flanking her. She doesn’t know who sent them, but they aren’t here for a friendly chat.

So Shan acts before they do. She throws an elbow back, sinking it into the gut of the man shifting behind her. As he grunts, more from surprise than pain, she keeps turning, spinning off her seat and using her other hand to snatch his glass of whiskey and hurl it at his companion in the stool beside her. He dodges the projectile, and it shatters in a spray of gold and glitter. That split second of hesitation is all she needs. She shuffles away until they’re in front of her, the bar at their backs. At least she’s not surrounded anymore.

The guy reaching into his jacket withdraws his hand to reveal a weapon. It’s not a gun or even a knife, though. This is a long black baton with ice blue spirals running up and down its length. He lunges at her, lifting the weapon over his head. Reckless.

With ease, she sidesteps the attack and throws herself into a counterstrike. Her knuckles crash into his jaw, but a jarring vibration runs from her wrist to her shoulder. He barely reacts to the perfectly placed blow, now whirling toward her. He even has the audacity to smile.

Of course. He’d used mechs to reinforce his bones. Not a terrible investment for someone on his career path.

The guy with the baton lurches toward her, and Shan reacts instantly. She grabs a syringe from her belt, plunges it into her thigh, and throws the empty canister at her attacker. He dodges, and she backs away, waiting for the serum to do its work.

The cells in her arms split, change, and die, burning calories at a rapid rate. Her stomach feels empty, and the emptiness spreads to her entire body as the serum demands more fuel.

Kim would not approve of this.

Shan forces herself to focus through the sudden hunger, the lightheadedness, the feverish disorientation. Her right arm has grown razor-sharp spines along the edge of the forearm, and her left has changed into a massive claw as hard as a diamond.

This time, when the guy swings at her, Shan plants her feet and blocks with her spiny forearm. His elbow catches on the fresh blades, and when she jerks her arm aside, it shreds his mech. The club rattles to the floor, but he stays upright. Synthetic skin hangs in ribbons around the ruined chrome. He sneers.

Shan sways where she stands, her body burning through calories at an unsustainable rate. She has to finish this. Without CalPills, she can’t hold this form long.

She launches herself at the man with the shredded arm, bringing the full weight of her claw into the crook of his neck. Now he falls, legs buckling under the force of her blow. The claw sinks into his shoulder. It isn’t heavy enough to sever an entire mech, but its serrations still cut partway through. Shan rips the claw free, and he collapses, twitching in the chaos of shorted and severed connections.

The clock is ticking. Shan’s growing weaker by the second.

She kicks a loose barstool at one attacker and lunges at the other. It’s a reckless move, but she doesn’t have the time to maneuver so there’s nobody behind her. She must rely on her own speed, hoping to finish one guy before the other recovers.

In the blink of an eye, she’s on top of her target. The spines on her forearm pierce flesh and tendons on his chest with ease, and when she tears the arm free, he gives a low, gurgling moan. Blood sprays a nearby table. Her stomach roars with hunger, and her head vibrates, but she can’t stop yet.

She whirls to face the last of them, but he’s ready for her. The barstool she kicked is his weapon now. He’s already mid-swing, and the seat catches her under the ear.

Darkness swallows her.

 

About The Author


Taylor Hohulin is a radio personality by morning, a science fiction author by afternoon, and asleep by 9:30. He is the author of The Marian Trilogy, Tar, Your Best Apocalypse Now, and other genre-bending stories. He lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, where they are owned by two cats and a dog.

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