Blog Tour + Book Review & Giveaway | The Oremere Chronicles #2: Reign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer

Reign of Mist by Helen ScheuererReign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
Series: The Oremere Chronicles #2
Published by: Talem Press
Publication date: September 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Buy Link: Amazon

Synopsis:
The realm’s darkest secret is out.

The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents.

On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.

But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.

Intriguing and action-packed, Reign of Mist is the second installment in Helen Scheuerer’s epic YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles.

First book in The Oremere Chronicles:
Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer

My rating:
5 star
When Shealea at That Bookshelf Bitch opened the sign ups for Reign of Mist, I grab the chance to join #MistPH blog tour that I instantly dive into the world of Oremere and binge-read both books in the series. (If you want to read Heart of Mist, get it now on your kindle while it’s on sale for just $0.99. Also, learn more about this series by checking Helen’s prequels to Heart of Mist.)

A month ago, I wrote a review where I pointed out all the important things you should know about the Heart of Mist. From the world building, characters, down to the overall message of the story, I truly love how it was strikingly written.

When I finished Heart of Mist, I was so much wrapped in it that I can’t wait to figure out what will going to happen next. And with only two hours of sleep that day, I know it’s totally worth it. So, it’s not surprising how Reign of Mist blown me away and drove me into a gobsmackingly hot mess.

The story started out with an instant suspense, carrying over the hype from the first book. If you love the characters in Heart of Mist, Eydis and Sarah were a great addition to the star-studded strong female characters that made the story pivotal and even more so unforgettable.

We’re not all born equal in strength and agility, but a mind can be as sharp as any blade, if you know how to wield it.

On the other hand, Casimir and Tailor’s characters gave more depth to the true nature of Bleak’s identity. For me, it became sort of a mystery to know who she truly is in Heart of Mist. That’s why, the connection they have with each other was one of my most favorite reveal here in the story. It was just so well written, well developed that when I think about the ending, it gives me that fresh feeling of surprise even I had a huge hint about it.

Here in Reign of Mist, there’s more to Bleak than just being the scrawny young woman who’s seeking for cure and answers. She was finally able to accept the potential of her power and realized her ability to lead with such grace and confidence. I was also able to feel the sincerity of her character who will do anything for her friends and fight for them if she needs to.

That goes the same with Henri. She’s one of those characters whom I could vividly imagine—brave, strong-willed but goes mushy and soft inside when it comes to those people she loves. But above all else, rekindling her relationship with Sarah helped her recognize the truth and released the feelings of hurt, burden and pain she kept inside for a long time.

As the story progress, I discovered more about the secrets Swinton had while a huge weight has been lifted off his chest who leaned on his friend, Fiore, for help and advice. He, somehow, redeemed himself before the story ended but let’s hope this time that he is truly a change man.

Speaking of Fiore, he holds a secret of his own which definitely spice up the gravity of his role. And as early as now, I’d like to expect him in some sort of love triangle with Tailor and Bleak. I’m also waiting for the turn of events for both Olena and Prince Nazuri. I know they’ve grown close and became an ally but we shall learn more of these when the third book comes out.

The mist is coming, and with it comes a power so hungry for magic, it threatens the whole realm.

Moreover, the true face of Oremere was revealed. While the characters discovered the truth about it, its history and why it was wiped out of its existence, I realized how Oremere’s identity mirror that of Bleak’s. In this story, fate willed them to meet face to face knowing they’re the true heir to reign the whole realm.

That being said, I love how Helen significantly uncover the whole Upper Realm in the map. It shouldn’t go unnoticed because sometimes, it gives the first major clue in the story’s plot. If you are like me, maps are just one of the things that I’m always looking forward to see in every fantasy books I read. It fascinates me like how I often bask in awe with Game of Thrones’ map every time I watch its opening credits.

It visually helped me figured out what the world Helen created, making more sense on the mystery surrounding Oremere and all around the Upper Realm. It establish some sense of familiarity where I was able to connect each character’s journey from forest, dessert, to sea, ice and mist.

Reign of Mist is a story about trust, loyalty and friendship with a non-stop killer plot twists, consistent fast pacing, and exciting, action-packed scenes that literally astounded me. From the first up to the last page, I never had dull moments because it felt like I was watching a heart-stopping, jaw-dropping movie.

So, whose excited to read the ending? Raise your hands my fellow mist dwellers. As the series comes to an end and bid it’s final goodbye, we shall wait and keep the suspense coming because I’m 100% sure that it would be one hell of a bang!

About The Author:
Helen ScheuererHelen Scheuerer is the YA fantasy author of the bestselling novel, Heart of Mist (2017) and the upcoming sequel Reign of Mist (September 2018). Both books are part of the action-packed trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.

After writing literary fiction for a number of years, novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling inspired Helen to return to her childhood love of fantasy.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

She has been previously shortlisted for Express Media’s Outstanding Achievement by a Young Person in the Literary Arts Award and the Young Writers Showcase. Helen has also run writing and editing workshops for the NSW Society of Women Writers. 

Follow Helen Scheuerer:
WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram
Rafflecopter GiveawayReign of Mist Tour Banner

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about Reign of Mist. Also, join the #MistPH Twitter Chat because Helen Scheuerer will be joining us.

Reign of Mist Tour ScheduleAugust 27
That Bookshelf Bitch >> Reign of Mist blog tour launch
August 28
Booked Hooked Nook >> Review
The Last Page >> Review
— Motif by Tanya >> Review
August 29
Camillea Reads >> Review
Enchantment of Books >> Review
— Under the Book Cover >> Review
August 30
— The Clever Reader >> Review & Author Interview
— Mashleas Reads >> Review
— Sakhile Whispers >> Review
August 31
— The Literary Casanova >> Review & Author Interview
— Rambles of a Reader >> Review
— Wanderer in Neverland >> Review
September 1
— Crimson Talks Books, Mostly >> Review
— The Little Miss Bookworm >> Review
— Throneofshatteredbooks >> Review & Author Interview
September 2
— A Bookish Peach >> Review
— Rattle the Stars >> Review
— Wanders Between Pages >> Review
September 3
A Cat, A Book And A Cup of Tea >> Review
— Susy’s Cozy World >> Review
Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
September 4
— accioblog >> Review
— floralcars >> Review
— Living a Hundred Lives >> Review
September 5
— Booked All Night >> Review
— The Nerdy Elite >> Review
— Utopia State of Mind >> Review
September 6
— Bookish Wisps >> Review
— F A N N A >> Review
— Susy’s Cozy World >> Creative Post
September 7
The Backwards Bookshelf >> Creative Post
— Rambling of a Book Nerd >> Review & Author Interview
Utopia State of Mind >> Review
September 8
The Backwards Bookshelf >> Review
— Bellibone >> Review
— Zany Bibliophile >> Review & Author Interview
September 9
— Amidst the Pages >> Review
That Bookshelf Bitch >> Review
— Tomes with Tea >> Review
Reign of Mist Twitter ChatSeptember 10
— #MistPH Twitter chat hosted by @bookshelfbitch
9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
9:00 PM Philippine Time

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Blog Tour + Book Review & Giveaway | To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

To Be HonestTo Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 21, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Wordery

Synopsis:
The author of The Big F is back with another snappy, utterly relatable contemporary novel about loving yourself and forging your own path, perfect for fans of Julie Murphy and Rainbow Rowell.

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

My rating:
5 star

News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom.

When Savannah’s sister went off to college, she experienced a life-changing moment of her own. Having only Fiyero the monster poodle and her mom around, Savannah had to deal with her emotions and anxiety that was filled by her mom’s one-track mind to count calories and food restriction.

From her parents’ divorce to her mom joining a weight-loss reality TV show, Savannah felt her insecurities skyrocketed but I love how well she handle everything that has happened in her life. She’s funny, understanding and most of all accepts who she is—what body she has. Even if her mom says her otherwise, Savannah is confident enough and believes that beauty is not define by weight or size but rather comes from loving herself first.

Having said that, Kim, Savannah’s mom, for me was the complete opposite. She chose to go through an unhealthy transformation, and who am I to judge? The very person, who should have been there for her, broke not only her heart but also her trust. But her lack of confidence was not mainly rooted with her ex-husband cheating on her but with how she was raised to hate herself. So, Kim tried to earned her validity by being something she was not and living a fake reality brought by the media.

On a positive note, I adore the relationship between Savannah and Ashley. They accept each other’s quirks and queer, and always have each other’s back no matter what. That same goes with Savannah’s friendship with Grace. I love the humor they brought in to the story because they totally complement each other.

And let’s not forget how Savannah meeting George, her best friend’s cousin and an absolutely talented saxophonist, gave a light and fuzzy spin in to the story. The chemistry between them was 100% delightful. I love how they started off as friends like how real romance sparks and thankfully that family’s summer cookout with the Morenos happened. It was dreamy, sweet and feels like it’s truly meant to be for both of them.

Moreover, I love George’s character not because he’s nice, charming and kind but because he likes Savannah by simply being her true self without pretenses. This gives us the realization on how we could easily like a person base on their outward appearances but what’s far greater than that was how we truly knows them and falling in love with someone for all the right reasons.

Unmistakably, this story brought a powerful and positive fat representation in YA that every one of us deserves to have. In an interview I did with Maggie Ann Martin, where she talks about body positivity and how this book hit very close to home for her, she clearly pointed out the issues we have today about perceived beauty and body image.

Sadly, this fat stigma often begins during our childhood where parents project their own insecurities on their children. As a result, they were the ones who threw the first negative impression that being fat is ugly.

The author significantly highlighted this and the effects of media through Kim’s experience and gave emphasis on how we could change the culture towards size diversity the way Savannah did.

To Be Honest is a fun, breezy and affirming story about how you #LoveYourBody because #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. From being fat to openly and happily living as gay, the story immensely surrounds itself with an attitude of acceptance and gave readers a strong message on self-love and importance.

There’s no expiration date on acceptance.

Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Maggie Ann Martin for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!

About The Author:
Maggie Ann MartinMaggie Ann Martin hails from Des Moines, Iowa but moonlights as a New Yorker. She has a shiny new BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, the most welcoming literary community in the world. When she is not writing, you can find her binge watching TV shows or passionately fangirling over fictional characters on the Internet. The Big F is her debut novel.

Follow Maggie Ann Martin:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramRafflecopter GiveawayTo Be Honest Blog Tour Banner

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin.

August 20
It’s a Book Life >> Review
My Endless Shelf >> Review
The Book Dutchesses >> Review
Book Stacks Amber >> Excerpt
Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile >> Review
August 21
The Avid Reader >> Interview
Dani Reviews >> Review
emily the book nerd >> Review
Bookish Wisps >> Review
Stacking My Book Shelves! >> Guest post
August 22
— taylortalksbooks >> Excerpt
whatthelog >> Review
The Heart of a Book Blogger >> Review
Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews >> Review
Character Madness and Musings >> Interview
August 23
Books tales by me >> Review
The Genre Minx Book Reviews >> Excerpt
Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
For The Love Of The Page >> Review
Snowly’s Rambles >> Review
August 24
— diary of wannabe writer >> Review
Twirling Book Princess >> Playlist
Wanderer in Neverland >> Review
The Backwards Bookshelf >> Review
Kisses From Jess >> Review

 

Blog Tour + Book Review & Giveaway | Mirage #1: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya DaudMirage by Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1
Published by: Flatiron Books
Publication date: August 28, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Waterstones

Synopsis:
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, sixteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty―and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear, and one wrong move could lead to her death…

My rating:
4 star

📑 A head turner cover

First things first, I love Mirage’s lush and stunning cover that truly catches a reader’s eye and I personally think, captures the vibe of the story’s setting and world building, as well as the magnificent, rich culture and history of the Andalaan people. The cover perfectly fits the book’s description and truly sets the tone of a sci-fi, fantasy novel. However, did it met my expectations?

📑 The true villain is not who it appears to be

At the beginning of the story, Maram’s character was deeply cruel and selfish. Yet, I find her extremely important not just to Amani’s character development but to the story’s overall plot as well.

She was despised by her own people, hated by her own sister and most of all neglected by her own father. And the reason why she treated Amani the way she did was rooted on how King Mathis shaped her into a hateful person that Maram learned to turn her sadness and loneliness into atrocity.

That being said, I fully understood that Maram is not the villain in this story but rather, King Mathis who manipulated her and would do everything just to stay in power.

📑 The ultimate SHIP between Amani and Maram

I admit that I swooned over the tragic romance developed between Amani and Idris because I’m weak like that! But as I came to sit through the end to truly digest everything that happened and delicately dissect my feelings over the significant, memorable scenes in the story, I realized how I appreciate the friendship and sisterhood that grew between Amani and Maram more than anything else.

Amani’s strength to view everything in a better, positive perspective was the reason how she was able to break the walls Maram built for herself. The shift started slow yet it opened doors to a new and kinder Maram. She needed someone like Amani who will watch over her and protect her like what elder sister does.

Considering this, even the two hadn’t settle the real score (because there’s a score, alright?) between them at the end of the story, it’s clear how Maram cares for Amani and they both knew that without vocally saying it.

📑 The ending answers the beginning

I’m trying to make this as clear as possible without revealing any spoilers but if you will going to read the ending, you will realize how the connection has strongly resonated with the first chapter of the story. It was like a mirror that practically answers the question: ‘What was Amani’s purpose of being captured by the Vath? What was she called for?’

You do not kneel or bend, I told myself. To anyone. You continue…I could not give up hope.

And since the signs were all there for readers to know even before Amani’s relationship with Idris or her friendship with Maram started, it was pretty obvious how her character would turn into a game changer.

📑 A slow page turner

The idea of rebels in the galaxy with droids got me totally hyped. Given how the slow pacing provided me the chance to recognize the change in Amani and Maram’s characters; the full action that I’m anticipating was actually not there, other than that scene at the end where Amani saved Maram’s life.

Nevertheless, even if it was not as page turner as how I assumed, the lack of it was filled by the details in the world building and the connection built between each characters.

📑 My first impression lasts

Though the story is not how I expected it to be, I’m still looking forward to read the sequel. And since this is only an introduction to what may happen next, hopefully readers would learn more about the other tribes that were mentioned in the story who could possibly work together on an impending war against the rule of the Vath.

Altogether, I love how the characters left me a lasting impression in a world parallel to what is currently happening on our own—conflicts, division, oppression, war, and deaths. And even there was no end to fear, the story displays a great sense of hope that we are stronger together as long as we are there for each other.

Mirage is timely, important and a celebration of freedom that reflects an immersive and vibrant culture, journeying with hope and empowerment against the brutal reality of politics.

Special thanks to Aimee, Always for organizing this fantastic blog tour and thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Somaiya Daud for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review! 

About The Author:
Somaiya DaudSomaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department.

Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut, and is due from Flatiron Books and Hodder and Stoughton in August 28, 2018.

Follow Somaiya Daud:
Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram | TumblrRafflecopter GiveawayMirage

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about Mirage by Somaiya Daud.

AUGUST 20 (MONDAY)
Aimee – Aimee, Always (Review, Creative)
Harker – The Hermit Librarian (Review)
Austine – NovelKnight (Review)

AUGUST 21 (TUESDAY)
Kaleena – Reader Voracious (Review, Creative)
Jamie – Books and Ladders (Review)

AUGUST 22 (WEDNESDAY)
Lara – Bellibone (Review)
Karlita – Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
Sara – A Gingerly Review (Review)

AUGUST 23 (THURSDAY)
Naadhira – legenbooksdary (Review)
Shealea – That Bookshelf Bitch (Review)
Breanna – Paws and Paperbacks (Review)

AUGUST 24 (FRIDAY)
Caro – Bookcheshirecat (Review)
Lila – Hardcover Haven (Review, Creative)
Sarah – Sarah June Blog (Creative)

AUGUST 27 (MONDAY)
Brianna – Polish & Paperbacks (Review, Creative)
Kate – The Backwards Bookshelf (Review)
Simant – Flipping Through the Pages (Review)

AUGUST 28 (TUESDAY)
Carolina – fictionologyst (Review)
Nandini – Unputdownable Books (Review, Creative)
Kevin – Bookevin (Review)

AUGUST 29 (WEDNESDAY)
Wendy – whatthelog (Review)
Jacquie – Rattle the Stars (Review)

AUGUST 30 (THURSDAY)
Vanessa – Through Prose Tinted Pages (Review)
Imogene – Amidst the Pages (Review, Creative)

AUGUST 31 (FRIDAY)
LaRonda – Flying Paperbacks (Review)
Vicky – Vicky Who Reads (Review, Creative)
Marie – Drizzle & Hurricane Books (Review)

 

Blog Tour + Book Review & Giveaway | How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner

How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky SkinnerHow to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Wordery

Synopsis:
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she’s been a part of her whole life.

Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn’t so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There’s only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.

As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?

My rating:
5 star
For almost ten years, Kates’s constant companion was nothing but the water. Her life usually revolved around swimming, but most of all, the pressure of competing and being the best so she can have her father’s approval.

All her life, she has been longing for her father’s affection that she thought she could earn by letting him control her every move. That was why when Kate caught her father cheating; everything she had built which constitutes her belief that swimming was all she is, changed.

When Kate and her mother moved in to Portland to have a fresh start away from everyone they used to know including Kate’s best friend, Harris, her mother played match maker and met Michael—the boy across the hall in their apartment building.

Once more, I decided to test my reading choice and went blind on this book. And it seems like I had another fantastic, unforgettable experience because I was instantly hooked the moment I started reading the book.

This story shows how everything turned out differently for Kate because she found herself caught in the middle of knowing who she really is and what she truly wants in life. Her love-hate relationship with the pool and memories of her father only gave her anxiety and panic episodes, and soon became a traumatic event for her that she needs to overcome.

Like everyone else, Kate experienced the same effects of toxic stress dealt from having helicopter parents. Her character is a real depiction of those children, young adults and sometimes, even adults who was put under an enormous amount of pressure and expectations by their parents who gear them up towards success.

I love how genuine her character was. Kate was a sixteen year old who struggled being the new girl, trying to adjust with her new life whilst fighting a crush over someone’s boyfriend, added a teenage feels that I’m sure most of us experienced when we were in high school. She also learned to be free from every expectations and gain not her father, mother or even her sister’s approval but her own, which was brave and admirable.

On the other hand, I understand why Lily, Kate’s older sister, ditched her own wedding even if she knew how much she loves Tom. The divorce of her parents gave her too much doubt that she feared her own relationship would end up to be like theirs. She may always be there for Kate but in the end, both of them are just the same—drowning, struggling to keep up with the wave of life.

That same goes with Michael. His tremendous love for his mother was truly touching and heart breaking and yet scary because he might be taking good care of his mother, but he wasn’t taking good care of himself. The pain both him and Kate experienced was what brought them together making the slow burn romance sweet and tragic all at the same time. And although his relationship with Kate somehow started as awkward, I love how in every furtive glance, comforting gestures and simple touch, the chemistry between them could steal each page time.

Michael’s character also shows how smoking may gave emotional comfort but like any other kind of addiction, the effect was totally frightening. He may have fought it once with Kate’s help but the moment he admitted he went smoking again but thriving to be better, was a real life story.

The issue about using drugs in the world of sports was also brought through Harris’ character that rooted from peer pressure. He wanted to be as good as Kate that he resorted the easiest way he knew.

The emotional depth pulled in each character including the supporting ones was what made this book easy to read. From Harris, Patrice to Coach Masterson and Kate’s mother, Vicky Skinner was able to write a story that vibrated a deeper connection between her readers and those of her characters.

The writing style brought me into a new journey of emotions, making me feel what they feel. And considering this, the story ended quite satisfying and eventful given that everyone may not have their own happily ever after but rather, the author leave the characters at their own pace.

How to Breathe Underwater is a story that renders how we go on freestyle when it’s too much and giving our best stroke when it is not enough. It is a heartfelt, moving story about pain, loss and new beginnings.

Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Vicky Skinner for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!

About The Author:
Born and raised in Texas, Vicky Skinner doesn’t act like much of a Texan. She likes cold weather and hates country music. She has a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas.

If she’s not at home reading a book or doing laundry, she is probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. She is a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.

Follow Vicky Skinner:
Twitter | InstagramRafflecopter GiveawayHowToBreathUnderwaterTourBanner

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner.

August 13
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves >> Guest post
diary of a wannabewriter >> Review
— BooksBooks&More >> Interview
Beyourselfbebhaltair >> Review
Dani the Bookaholic >> Review
August 14
The Avid Reader >> Excerpt
Flipping Through the Pages >> Review
Lisa Loves Literature >> Interview
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile >> Review
Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
August 15
The Heart of a Book Blogger >> Guest post
Character Madness and Musings >> Interview
The Book Dutchesses >> Review
Bookish Wisps >> Review
August 16
Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf >> Review
Rainy Days and Pajamas >> Excerpt
Writing Pearls >> Review
LenniLand >> Excerpt
August 17
June Reads Books >> Review
Lauren is Reading >> Review
Adventures in Writing >> Review
The Reading Faery >> Review

Blog Tour + Book Review | Sanctuary #1: Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Sanctuary by Caryn LixSanctuary by Caryn Lix
Series: Sanctuary #1
Published by: Simon Pulse
Publication date: July 24, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Wordery

Synopsis:
Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

My rating: 
4 and a half star
I decided to go blind on this knowing as little as reading the book’s overview. The first few chapters were a bit tedious but undeniably a sleeper for all the next scenes to come. So I’m not surprise that it’s a dormant black hole that sucked me in without meaning to stop because I could exactly imagine the goriness of every scene straight from an alien movie—not one from E.T. but the legit ALIEN film series where badass Ellen Ripley fights off deadly-scary creatures while on space.

It all started with a routine drill where Kenzie is a junior guard on Sanctuary, a prison cell for superpowered criminal teens. When her Dad scheduled to leave for a training exercise on Earth with Jonathan and Noah, Kenzie, Rita and her Mom, which also happened to be the Commander, were the only ones left to uphold Sanctuary’s security.

However, when a merchant ship distress call turned into something horrifying, while a prison break was in the making, the tension and danger was imminent not only to the space station itself but to everyone who’s on Earth. This automatically sets the story in motion and into a fast rolling action.

In the midst of fighting the unknown, whether they were a superpowered anomaly or a citizen living by the rules set by the Omnistellar Concept, Kenzie, Cage and the rest found an ally on each other for them to survive.

Kenzie’s character had a major shift, which was pretty obvious the way she empathized with the other prisoners. From being a loyal Omnistellar guard bound by rules, regulations and protocols, she knew deep down that there’s an unfairness in the situation. As the story went on, I love how she developed a sense of independence and made a stand on her own decisions. She may not have a superpower like the other anomalies who run like the Flash or anything like pyro kinetic but her bravery is what makes her a badass character.

That same goes with Rune who was projected as calm and gentle but her shrewdness and ability was what brought their entire sector into safety for the majority of the time. And I couldn’t say less with Mia. She may act tough in front of everybody but she cares a lot on her own way.

I also love the wonderful diverse cast of characters that presented the message of unity fighting for a single goal and realized that in times of difficult situations, whatever status they hold in the society, they’re actually all but the same.

The injustices between corporate citizenship and government citizenship also didn’t go unnoticed which is parallel to what is currently happening right now. 

Though there were questions that didn’t get answers in the end, which I think an author’s intention to put some sort of open-ended drama that sway readers and have that longing to know what will happen next to Kenzie and Cage; are they going to explore-like Star Trek wandering into the galaxy? I don’t know what to expect yet but I’m certainly excited for a second book.

Sanctuary is an eerie, thrilling and action-packed story that equally leveled the suspense and intensity of all sci-fi movies about aliens I have ever watched. If you are in for a ride and love to take on an adventure, I recommend you read this book and board the ship so you won’t miss the fun I had in space.

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon Pulse, Fantastic Flying Book Club and Caryn Lix for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!

About The Author:
Caryn LixCaryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day.

When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.

Follow Caryn Lix:
Website| Twitter | Instagram | NewsletterTOUR-BANNER

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about Sanctuary by Caryn Lix.

July 18
Pink Polka Dot Books >> Welcome Post
July 19
A New Look On Books >> Guest Post
Firstbooklove >> Review
Book Slaying >> Review & Favorite Quotes
July 20
Captivated Reading >> Review
BookCrushin >> Creative Post
The Desert Bibliophile >> Review
July 21
Dazzled by Books >> Creative Post
Here’s to Happy Endings >> Review
Chrikaru Reads >> Review
July 22
everywhere and nowhere >> Review
The Contented Reader >> Q&A
Confessions of a YA Reader >> Spotlight
July 23
Lost in Storyland >> Guest Post
Utopia State of Mind >> Review
Snarky Yet Satisfying >> Spotlight
July 24
The Reading Life >> Review/Creative Post
Chrikaru Reads >> Q&A
the Bibliophagist >> Review & Favorite Quotes
Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)

Blog Tour + Book Review & Giveaway | The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista

The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate EvangelistaThe Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 19, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

Synopsis:
The only way to get over a hopeless crush is to find someone new…Enter: The Boyfriend Bracket!

Putting a new spin on a classic trope, Kate Evangelista explores family bonds, changing relationships, and senior year as our heroine tries to get over her brother’s best friend.

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother’s best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she’s always dreamed of―starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend, Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan . . . right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

My rating:
3 and a half star
I am a super fan of brother’s best friend trope and probably my favorite trope in YA. You know, when the younger sister has a crush on her brother’s best friend but the brother has a number one rule that she is off-limits to his friends so, the hero fights his feelings out of respect for his best friend. The rest is history and the ending has always been the same.

Okay! that sounds like a negative way to start this review but I promise I didn’t meant it to be that way.

I found the relationship between Cam and Stella very usual but sweet. They may not see eye-to-eye most of the time but I felt how much they care for each other. I completely understand why Cam thought that there’s a need for him to protect his sister from every other guys but being the oldest and only remaining man in the family, Cam felt a deeper sense of responsibility to take care not just his sister but also his mother.

Considering that, familial bond became one of the strong points of the story. Coming from a typical Filipino family who always find time for special occasions to gather and celebrate, Stella made sure that she visits Will’s Nana every Friday; Sundays are always for her family.

The friendship between both Stella/Franklin and Cam/Will was one of my most favorite highlight in the story. Stella and Franklin has been best friends since grade school. Ever since they met in sewing class and shared the same dreams, they have become inseparable. Their relationship was funny, ideal and like any other friendship, imperfect. They might argue or not talk to each other but at the end of the day, they are always going to be best friends.

And let me just tell how you will going to love to have a Korean best friend like Franklin. He’s vivacious, loyal and the most sensible character you will ever going to read in the story. Because there’s a lot of reference about fashion and Project Runway, I’m sure you’ll all the more love the relationship between him and Stella.

That same goes with Cam and Will. I totally get why Cam thought Will betrayed him. He treated him like his own brother. However, Will broke not only their bro code but also the trust and promise that there’s nothing romantically going to happen between him and Stella. After all, how awkward would it be for Cam to have his best friend and sister together right? But news flash, it’s real and anyone who experienced the same setup could attest to that.

Though I initially felt that the Boyfriend Bracket has something to do for Stella to get Will’s attention, I wish there’s more actual scenes and conversations with the guys (yes! I knew the names but only because, Stella and Franklin mentioned them) who were in the bracket that could reveal her dating experience or how it turned out, no one from any of them has worked out for her.

Instead, the Boyfriend Bracket became just an ordinary backdrop to the story, which ended up completely forgotten. After all, the title of the book and what went with it—8 boys. 16 dates. 1 perfect boyfriend—was what I expected. There’s also an undercurrent about the issue of bullying done by jealous, annoying mean girls that was merely discussed in the story.

Nonetheless, even how predictable it was, I actually had so much fun and “kilig” reading this besides the romance between Stella and Will or how they support and encourage each other’s dreams—Stella, being a fashion designer and Will being a comic book writer.

The Boyfriend Bracket is a breezy, entertaining read that certainly live up to the hype of a classic romance trope. It is also a story about family, first love and friendship.

Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Kate Evangelista for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!

About The Author:
Kate EvangelistaWhen Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back.

Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University – Manila with an Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full time and is based in the Philippines.

Follow Kate Evangelista:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramRafflecopter GiveawayThe Boyfriend Bracket Tour Banner

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista.

July 2
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!  >> Review
The Candid Cover  >> Guest post
Whatever You Can Still Betray  >> Interview
Smada’s Book Smack  >> Review
— Tale Out Loud  (That’s me!)
July 3
Rainy Days and Pajamas  >> Excerpt
June Reads Books  >> Review
RiverMoose-Reads  >> Interview
Pages and Pugs  >> Review
July 4
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves  >> Excerpt
Underneath the Covers  >> Interview
The Book Slayer  >> Review
Firstbooklove  >> Review
July 5
The Nocturnal Fey  >> Review
Character Madness and Musings  >> Guest post
Lisa Loves Literature  >> Review
Book Dragon Lair  >> Review
July 6
Abooktropolis >> Review
Sincerely Karen Jo  >> Review
What’s Better Than Books?  >> Review
The Hopeless Romantic Bookworm >> Review
Supercalireader  >> Review
Elley the Book Otter  >> Excerpt