Blog Tour + Book Review & Interview with a Giveaway | What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

Hi my lovely book friends! I’d love to welcome y’all on today’s What the Woods Keep blog tour! I’m so excited because this is the first tour I have organized. It was such an honor to have this wonderful experience, since I’ve always been looking forward to read this book. This tour will run starting today up to the 15th of September so, don’t forget to check out on everyone’s tour stops and get a chance to win a finished copy of What the Woods Keep.Tale Out Loud DividerWhat The Woods KeepWhat the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra
Published by: Imprint Macmillan
Publication date: September 18, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Thriller
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-MillionIndiebound

Synopsis:
On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

What the Woods Keep is the stunning debut of Katya de Becerra, who combines mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy in a twisty story that will keep you mesmerized right up to the final page.

My rating:
4 and a half star

If you were like me who thought watching Supernatural, starting from its pilot episode, and reading this book was the perfect combo, please do me a favor to do it in daylight. Because the moment I picked this book, I quickly sense that eerie atmosphere within the story.

Katya de Becerra lures the readers in with the mystery behind Hayden’s character who has this weird and odd personality. Not only the way how she has different colored eyes, because that’s basically had science explained as heterochromia, but how her mom’s strange disappearing a decade ago promised a dark, creepy tale in it.

Every inch there is in this story gave a slice of horror. First, the setting of a quiet, small town with people who looked as if they’ll going to eat you alive for dinner started out predictable. But anything that has to do with the forest and a house in the woods easily creeps me out.

The cryptic messages from Hayden’s mom, blood dials, rituals and images that were vividly described and a bit too outré, I could literally visualize them on my head, didn’t escape my being extra spooked. Even the letters, patient’s appendices of Hayden, Arista Kazan’s notes, findings and Dr. Holland’s journals attached in some of the chapters were pretty spooktacular too.

As Hayden unfolds the mystery and truth about her mother, all things that she could make sense using science and physics changed because her father was right all along. This made the suspense grows steadily and the twist on the Nibelungs absolutely popped up on the pages.

The story also explores Hayden’s need to have that sense of comfort, to belong, where she found on her best friend Del. Even being completely opposite, their friendship became one of the highlights in the story—how Del didn’t leave Hayden knowing every supernatural completely freaks her out or how Hayden will do everything to save her.

And let’s not forget about Shannon, Hayden’s former childhood friend. It’s not easy for her to trust and get along with other people. But with Shannon, she felt that there’s nothing have changed, that’s if he was not using her for the Institute.

When the story nears its end, the scenes went in high gear and completely turned my head in a mind-bending spiral. Hayden, knowing that she’s completely not human and going into a wholly different universe of the Nibelungs? I could have easily heard a pin drop.

Everything became too intense and before I know it, the story ended. Honestly, I want more! I need to know what happen to Abigail, to Hayden’s father and everyone in Promise. So, I asked Katya about this in an interview, which you can read later as you went on in this post.

What the Woods Keep is a plot-driven story about learning one’s true identity while discovering the unknown, punched with a deeply chilling vibe and consistent spine-tingling narrative. From the settings, characters, plot, storytelling, and even the title and cover itself, this book captured an excellent blend of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s a great addition to your fall TBR.

I received an eARC of What the Woods Keep from the publisher via NetGalley and this in no way influence my rating nor my opinion on this book.
Behind The Pages with Katya de BecerraHi Katya! Welcome again here at Tale Out Loud for the second time and Congratulations to your debut novel, What the Woods Keep!

I’m so excited to return to Tale Out Loud once more! It was super exciting to first guest blog for you earlier this year! You hosted my first very feature dedicated to What The Woods Keep, so it only makes sense that I come back for an interview now that my debut is about hit the shelves!

I’m so thrilled to have you back! When you shared The Anthropology Behind What the Woods Keep months ago, you had mentioned how you were standing in a three-hour line, waiting for your turn to get a book signed and the idea of writing a book hit you. But when exactly was your lightbulb moment and realize that you need to write a story like What the Woods Keep?

It was a strange metamorphosis and it’s not easy to pin down the exact moment. I mean, I did write another book first. It wasn’t very good. But I had to get it out of my system, I guess. So after I wrote that first book and queried it to agents (with zero success), I knew I had to keep writing. So I tried different things. I wrote some stories, and got one published in an online magazine. That story was set in a small forest-locked town and ended with a cliffhanger, and that made me wonder: what happened next? That short story from years ago became a sort-of unofficial prequel to What The Woods Keep (at least in a thematic way), but then the story seemed to evolve naturally and I found myself writing what eventually became What The Woods Keep!

I’m sure you’re talking about Smoke and Mirrors, right? I was actually intrigue the moment you announced it in your pre-order campaign. It is set in Paris and upon reading What the Woods Keep; I realized whom it was all about. Are there any chance that you will developed it into a full manuscript?

I’m smiling deviously as I type this… Smoke and Mirrors is something I’ve written recently to give readers an in-depth insight into Hayden’s bestie Del’s life before the US. I don’t want to give away too much at this stage, but there’s a certain incident from Del’s life that involves her sister – Smoke and Mirrors is about that. On another hand, the story that inspired What The Woods Keep is called The Fetch. It got published in 2012 in Dark Edifice Literary Magazine which likely doesn’t exist anymore. (But I did reprint it on my blog, read here.)

Just to reiterate though, The Fetch is not a true prequel to What the Woods Keep but it did inspire it in a way.

Yes! I know about that particular scene! And now I’m hype to read The Fetch after this. LOL! Going back, What the Woods Keep, even from the title itself definitely has a pinch of horror vibe in it. What particular reason that drawn you to write the story which gave that sense of atmosphere?

I love spooky stories, but not full-on horror, you know. To me the menacing atmosphere and hints or horror is as far as I can comfortably go! I guess it’s just my personal comfort zone.

I agree! That’s why I don’t read or watch full-on horror like Stephen King’s. But your book is definitely not just horror but also a mixed of science fiction and fantasy. Do you consider yourself as a cross-genre writer?

I didn’t know I was a cross-genre writer until I wrote What The Woods Keep! It was when I wrote my query and was about to query agents when it hit me: I needed to define it as one genre to pitch it properly. And I really struggled to define it. I think I settled on “Urban Fantasy with elements of Science Fiction” or something, but really I could’ve chosen anything (fantasy horror, fantasy thriller, fantasy mystery, etc.). Now that I’ve written my first and my second book (Oasis is a standalone set to release in late 2019, and it’s been labelled as “horror adventure”), I can tell that yeah I love to mix different genres together! I just can’t help it!

You’ve done amazing and I love the twists you did for What the Woods Keep! And one of the obvious inspirations you have in this book is Norse mythology, specifically the Nibelung. Is it something you have always known before you decided to include it in your story’s plot?

Thank you! Actually, I didn’t have the Nibelungs in the early drafts of What The Woods Keep. Instead, I was developing the book’s supernatural element completely from scratch. However, as I revised my book I felt like it was missing something. This is where the Nibelungs made a come back from my blurry childhood memories. It was one of the major light bulb moments for this book! I combined a lot of my original world-building with the Nibelungen mythology, with hopes that those who know a little bit about the Nibelungs (even if just the name!) would be intrigued, while others would still enjoy my storytelling regardless.

I don’t know a lot about Norse myth than Thor, Odin and Loki. So, it was really refreshing to learn about the Nibelungs here in your book. Now, let’s talk about Hayden. Is she someone you write and find as a complex character?

When I was writing Hayden, my goal was for her to be realistic but also a bit of a contradiction. Her father is a scientist and she has a sort of allegiance to science. Her logical approach to the world is a bit of an armour for her, a space where she retreats when she encounters something unexplained and mysterious. I hope that readers find her worldview interesting and follow her on her journey from a wannabe sceptic to something else entirely.

Del, one of the characters, grew up moving around with her family. As an expat, did you modeled her character with your own experience?

In a way, yes! Since Hayden hasn’t traveled out of the country, her roommate being more of a cosmopolitan and well-traveled made for interesting dynamics between them. And you’re right, I definitely drew on my own experiences as an expat (and on those of my expat friends, to a degree) when writing Del, though in her case she’s moved a lot throughout her childhood because of her dad’s job. The teen-me hasn’t really traveled that much.

I’m really curious because as one of the readers, we weren’t able to know what happen to the other characters in the story like Abigail, Hayden’s father or to Promise. Can you share to us what could have been the outcome for all of them after What the Woods Keep?

As a writer I like to have a few “loose ends” in the book and leave some things up to readers’ imagination. Having said that, I understand that readers might want more closure on the characters, but also if there’s even a slightest possibility of a sequel I have to be careful not to give out too much at this stage. I’ll tell you this: all is not lost and there’s hope for everyone. Abigail and Hayden’s dad might make an appearance in What The Woods Keep themed short stories and – who knows – one day I might get to write a sequel (fingers crossed!)

I’m actually going to ask if there’s a possibility for a follow-up novella because the story has an open-ending or a cliffhanger which made it seem as if there will be a sequel. And you’re answer just gave me hope of continuity for the characters. I’ll watch out for that sequel!

Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to write one (but I do love my cliffhangers.)

You made the ending so much more interesting that I personally want more. Where can we read What the Woods Keep themed short stories by the way? I’m sure readers would love to know more about it.

I’m SO GLAD to hear that! As for short stories, Smoke and Mirrors is so far the only one I’ve written that’s set in the world of What The Woods Keep. At the moment, it’s offered as part of my pre-order campaign for What The Woods Keep alongside other cool stuff. (The details of my preorder incentives are here). For future stuff, readers could follow me on social media – I announce things as they happen, so Twitter is probably the best way to keep track.

As a debut author, what are the things you have learned while on the process of writing What the Woods Keep—from your characters and the story as a whole?

In terms of writing process itself, I learned a whole lot about the causation between a character’s motivation and their actions! I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s something I’m still learning as I work on improving my craft.

What I learned from my characters… that friendship is important and can save your life. Literally!

Lastly, what advice would you like to give to new writers, someone who is just starting out?

Read a lot. Read widely. Pay attention to books that appeal to you and ask yourself way: this is a great way to study the craft and develop your own style. Regardless of which way you go, traditional, indie, hybrid, keep in mind that there’s a lot of rejection and it’s rarely personal. Just keep trying. Keep writing. Keep going!

Thank you so much Katya! Lovely to have you here and Congratulations again with your debut!

Thank you so much for having me – again – on your awesome blog! I’m super excited for the book to be out there at last! Thank you and all the wonderful bloggers and early readers for helping me spread the word about What The Woods Keep!

About The Author:
Katya De BecerraKatya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology. What the Woods Keep is her first novel.

Follow Katya de Becerra:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramRafflecopter GiveawayWhat The Woods Keep Tour Banner (1)

Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra.

What the Woods Keep Blog Tour ScheduleSEPTEMBER 10 (MONDAY)
Karlita — Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
Kester — LILbooKlovers (Guest Post)

SEPTEMBER 11 (TUESDAY)
Salwa — Voguish Perusal (Review, Favorite Quotes, Guest Post)
Amanda — MetalPhantasmReads (Review)
Laura — Bucks, Books & Beyond (Review, Favorite Quotes)

SEPTEMBER 12 (WEDNESDAY)
Liv — Liv’s Wonderful Escape (Review, Creative)
Sifa — Sifa Elizabeth Reads (Review)
Katherine — Kat’s Books (Review)

SEPTEMBER 13 (THURSDAY)
Austine — NovelKnight (Review, Q&A)
Imogene — Amidst the Pages (Review, Favorite Quotes)
Mari — Andico Mari (Review)

SEPTEMBER 14 (FRIDAY)
AJ — Diary of an Avid Reader (Review, Novel Aesthetic Board)
Justine — Bookish Wisps (Review, Favorite Quotes)
Nikole — A Court of Coffee and Books (Review, Q&A)

SEPTEMBER 15 (SATURDAY)
Jamie — PrincessofPages (Extract)
Preethi — Young Adult Media Consumer (Review)
Crimson — Crimson Talks Books, Mostly (Review)

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Blog Tour + Book Review | The Calculated #1: Calculated Deception by K.T. Lee

Calculated Deception by K.T. LeeCalculated Deception by K.T. Lee
Series: The Calculated #1
Published by: Vertical Line Publishing
Publication date: October 7, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Buy Links:
Amazon | Nook | Kobo

Synopsis:
Dr. Ree Ryland is an engineering professor who loves her job and plays by the rules. Her life is reassuringly predictable – until an enemy hiding in plain sight decides her squeaky-clean reputation is the perfect cover to commit a crime.

When Agent Parker Landon and his FBI team discover that someone at the university has been procuring military-grade hardware by disguising it as test equipment, all evidence points to Ree. After the FBI intercepts a shipment that puts Ree in the clear, Parker is forced to tell her that she’s being used as a pawn by an unseen enemy. And now she’s in that enemy’s crosshairs. Ree turns down the protective detail offered by the FBI and insists on using her inside knowledge to help with the investigation. Parker is leery of bringing a civilian on to the team, but he’s surprised at how much fun he has working with Ree, even as he tries to keep her out of harm’s way.

Parker, Ree and the FBI team find increasingly worrying evidence that someone is quietly acquiring everything they need to cause destruction on a massive scale. Now, they must uncover the motive and identity of the killer hiding among Ree’s friends and colleagues before it’s too late.

My rating:
3 and a half star
I sooooo much love watching spy thriller movies. Those kinds that will keep you on the edge of your seat, jam-packed with action and suspense while giving you a heart attack on the process. And it’s been a long time since I read this kind of books that garner the same impression. I’m glad to discover K.T. Lee through Kelly at Love Books Group.

Reading the first page got me hooked instantly. It all started when Agent Parker Landon went undercover as a college student interested in starting a new career after spending several years working as an electrician, under Dr. Ree Ryland.

As the main suspect of acquiring high technology capable of directing missiles to a target, Ree didn’t have any idea that she was used as a decoy to cover the true suspect’s tracks. When Parker proved that she was not involve, they pretended to be a couple to know what was truly happening because everyone in the lab can be a suspect including her friends.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details why I like this book, shall we?

I love Ree’s character. She’s smart, fierce and even her fear didn’t go unnoticed, she’ll do what it takes to know the truth because she believes that her friends will do no such thing. I found the chemistry between her and Parker charming and frustrating all at the same time. Their awkward moments and witty banters brought so much humor into the story.

While Alexis and Mike, were the funny sidekicks—Alexis, who’s vibrant character literally lightens up every page scene and Mike, who’s the voice of reason for Parker—complement both Ree and Parker’s somehow tense personalities. Even they’re working on a serious case, they knew when to have fun. Their quirks were so amusing like when they both bet on Ree if she’ll get pissed? It made me laugh with no end. The whole cast really reminds me of Blindspot.

The slow pacing worked well for me. The build up suspense captured my attention but since the element of surprise wasn’t there anymore because the true suspect was already revealed through the lens of the readers, I wish there were more action scenes in the end.

I also found one major plot hole in the story which made me wonder, what happen to Matt Brown’s character? Readers knew he was involved from the very beginning. He’s a former military and methodical achiever from Jersey who’s keeping his cover for the bad guys and has a thing for Ree. Though Parker haven’t officially crossed him from the list of suspects, in the end there’s no mention to what happened to him.

Well, this is just the first book in the series and I would like to assume that the author wrote it that way on purpose. Still I’m happy to read the second book to know if it will be brought up again or how K.T. Lee will draw the connection with the first one.

I received an eARC of Calculated Deception as a part of my participation in this blog tour and this in no way influence my rating nor my opinion on this book.

About The Author:
K.T. Lee is a writer, mom and engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. When K.T. began to write the kind of books she wanted to read, she mixed clever women and the sciences with elements from thrillers (and a dash of romance) to create The Calculated Series.

Follow K.T. Lee:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Calculated Deception Tour BannerWant to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about Calculated Deception by K.T. Lee.

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

My Love Letter to 90’s Romantic Comedies by Aimee Brown

The Lucky Dress by Aimee BrownThe Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown
Published by: Aria Fiction
Publication date: August 7, 2018
Genre: RomCom, Chick-Lit
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Google Books

Synopsis:
We all have our lucky dress… an irresistibly hilarious rom-com: perfect for fans of Anna Bell, Jo Watson and Sophie Kinsella.

Emi Harrison hasn’t been feeling particularly lucky lately. Ever since her ex-fiancée, Jack Cabot, successfully shattered her heart into a million pieces. She’s managed to avoid him for a whole year, but all that’s about to change at her brother Evan’s wedding…

She will have to face Jack, Jack’s sister, Jack’s parents, and Jack’s new girlfriend: a mean girl that just won’t quit. What could possibly go wrong?

But with her lucky dress on, she might just find new love, life, and maybe even happiness at last!Behind The Pages with Aimee BrownHi awesome fellow bookworms! It’s my stop on today’s The Lucky Dress blog tour and Aimee Brown is our special guest for the author spotlight, a segment I’m calling Behind The Pages.

I met Aimee last year while she was promoting her then debut Little Gray Dress. But even before that, I’ve been reading her blog and reviews (because she was a book blogger too, friends!). So, when I heard the news that her book will be rebranded into its second edition with a new brand title, and will be published by Aria, I got really excited for her!

I read that she’s a huge fan of 90’s romantic comedies where she thinks they’re not the same anymore. And today she’s sharing a love letter dedicated to all Hollywood to see!

MY LOVE LETTER TO 90’s ROMANTIC COMEDIES

Dear Hollywood,

I’m a woman, middle-aged, with older teens who are no longer interested in Disney films. I don’t love action, mafia, superhero, or horror movies. Because of this I haven’t been to the movie theater to see a film besides a children’s movie for years. Decades. In fact, the last movie I went to see in the theater because I couldn’t wait to see it was Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon. You know when that movie came out? 2002. That was the last of the 90’s style romantic comedy movies in the theaters.

Why? You do know there is an entire generation of women, even men, who grew up watching 90’s classic romantic comedies that would spend good money to see them again? We want to escape through laughter and romance. We want to see the ridiculousness that is a Katherine Heigl romcom and we want to fall in love with Josh Duhamel, Paul Rudd, and Tom Hanks. I want that moment where my breath catches in my throat and my hand is over my heart in anticipation that this couple will indeed get together even though I knew they would before the previews even started.

Where have the romantic comedies gone? Netflix, so I’m told. I’ve seen a few I love but they are so far and few in-between. There is a whole demographic of romantic comedy lovers waiting for the comeback of the 90’s style romcom. Take my money, I say but apparently nobody wants it. I don’t need the crude humor, violence, or the sex scenes that now seem to over run every film made. I just want light-hearted comedy, the perfect casting, and a romance to fall for in an hour and a half. I want to walk to my car feeling like I’m on a cliched cloud nine.

There are SO many amazing romantic comedy books that could be made into film to fill this gap but it just isn’t happening. What happened to movies marketed towards the soft hearted? The romantics? We’re still out here, and we’re not so patiently waiting.

Aimee Brown,
hopelessly romantic in a hate filled world.

About The Author:
Aimee BrownAimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader. She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

She grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a tattoo across her chest. Aimee is very active on social media and would love to see you stop by and say hello.

Follow Aimee Brown:
WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter

The Lucky Dress Blog Tour BannerWant to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown.

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)