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The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller- Book Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop for The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller Book tour! Thank you, TBR and Beyond Tours, for this opportunity!

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing date: September 7th, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo

It’s the night of senior prom, and eighteen-year-old Julia has made a pact with her friends. (Yes, that kind of pact.) They have secured a secluded cabin in the woods, one night without parental supervision, and plenty of condoms. But as soon as they leave the dance, the pact begins to unravel. Alex’s grandmother is undergoing emergency surgery, and he and his date rush to the hospital. Zoe’s trying to figure out how she feels about getting off the waitlist at Yale–and how to tell her girlfriend. Madison’s chronic illness flares, holding her back once again from being a normal teenager. And Julia’s fantasy-themed role play gets her locked in a closet. Alternating between each character’s perspective and their ridiculous group chat, The Night When No One Had Sex finds a group of friends navigating the tenuous transition into adulthood and embracing the uncertainty of life after high school.

When Julia and her friends make a sex pact, involving a secluded cabin in the woods, no parental supervision and condoms, they expect to have a fun night, but nothing goes as planned. Alex’s grandmother is undergoing emergency surgery and his date, a girl he barely knows, decides to keep him and his family company, Zoe is struggling with her college decisions, Morgan, her girlfriend, is obsessive about her twin Madison, who has a chronic illness and who only wants to live without fear and like a normal teenager with her boyfriend and Kevin and Julia are trying to have sex, but she ends up locked in a closet. So, what about having the sex pact?

I loved reading The Night When No One Had Sex! It’s funny, it portrays realistic relationships, between siblings, friends and lovers, common teen fears and doubts and it’s really sex-positive. The story is hilarious, told by different POVs and their funny and brilliant group chat, while they navigate this disastrous night, their relationships with one other, fears, doubts, desires and strong bonds, family’s issues and pressures. The characterization is brilliant, they are complex and relatable, funny and moving, their interactions well written and realistic in their intricicacies and dramas and desires. Zoe with her doubts and her strong relationship with Morgan, who is supportive and a bit obsessive, Madison, who is struggling with her disease and desires, Julia and Kevin and their strong bond, made of laugh, understanding and love, Alex with his family’s problems, his relationship with his parents and grandmother and they navigate their own problems, expectations and unexptected problems on their prom night.

The story is really good, hilarious, sometimes moving and utterly amazing. I totally recommend this book to those who wants to enjoy a funny book, well written characters and plot.

And there is also a Demon Cat in this story, so what are you waiting for?

Today 1.33 AM: Julia named the conversation “ALL CATS ARE EVIL”

“For the love of pancakes?”

“Wait, is Julia still in the closet?” I ask.

“Julia is STILL in the closet” a very agitated Julia yells from behind the door.

If she sees me and Leah together, she’ll have our entire wedding planned before she gets off bed rest.

It’s the end of an era.

I don’t want Demon Cat to launch itself at my face and claw me to death. The idea of kidnapping scares me, but cat mauling is the kind of stuff I had nighmares about.

“My point is I’m all in. And I’m pretty sure you are too.”

“I definitely am.” I squeeze Kevin’s fingers.

Kalena Miller grew up in College Station, TX with her mom, dad, and the most photographed hamster in history. After high school, she moved a thousand miles north to attend Carleton College, where she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Religious Studies. After a brief stint working as a paraeducator in Seattle, Kalena decided she missed school too much, so she spent the next two years pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.
Kalena currently lives in Hopkins, Minnesota with her husband, Kenny, and Toy Australian Shepherd, Toshley. She writes middle grade and young adult fiction and co-authors narrative nonfiction with her mom, Kathy Miller (check out her website here). She loves books that make her laugh and make her cry, preferably at the same time, and she firmly believes all quality novels should feature a cat.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook
Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Sidelined by Kara Bietz- TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop for Sidelined by Kara Bietz book tour! Thank you so much to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tour, for the free copy in exchange of an honest review!

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing date: September 21st, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo

An emotional YA romance about small town secrets, high school football, and broken hearts.

Julian Jackson has a short to-do list for his senior year at Crenshaw County High School in Meridian, Texas: football, football, and more football. He knows he’s only got one chance to earn a college scholarship and make it out of his small town, and keeping his head down, his grades up, and his cleats on the field is that one chance. And then Elijah Vance walks back into his life, throwing all of his carefully-laid plans into a tailspin.

Elijah and Julian used to be best friends, maybe even on their way to something more than just friends. But three years ago, Elijah broke into the school to steal money from the coach’s office, and Julian was the one who turned him in. After that, Elijah and his family disappeared without a trace. And now he’s back, sitting at Julian’s grandmother’s kitchen table.

But time and distance haven’t erased all of their feelings, and Elijah knows that he finally has a chance to prove to Julian that he’s not the same person he was three years ago. But with secrets still growing between them and an uncertain future barreling towards them, it may be harder to lean on each other than they thought.

Julian Jackson knows what to do in senior year: get good grades, play football and hoping to get a scholarship and make it out of Meridien, but all his plans are upset when his best friend (and maybe something more) comes back in his life. Elijah Vance and Julian Jackson were best friends years ago, but when Julian caught him breaking into school to steal the car wash money and turned him in, Elijah and his family left without saying goodbay. Now that he’s back, Julian and Elijah realize time and space didn’t erase their feelings and Elijah is determined to show Julian he’s not the person everyone thinks he is. Between secrets, between them and in the city and the fear for their own futures, Julian and Elijah fight to be themselves and together.

Sidelined was a brilliant, sweet and funny read I devoured right away. The story is told by two POVs, Julian’s and Elijah, while they navigate high school, expectations from others, their history together, their past and present. Julian and Elijah are very different from one other. Julian is the son of the town hero, a town obsessed with football, traditions and history, while Elijah is, unfortunately, seen as the son of Eric Vance, who is in jail and who tried to steal money, three years ago. Both of them are weighed down by people’s, right and wrong, expectations and both are struggling to fit and escape them, to show the world and themselves they are more than their fathers’ sons. Elijah’s return to Meridien upset Julian’s plans and changes everything, unearthing secrets and so much more.

The story focuses on Julian and Elijah, on their journeys, getting more and more close to one other and facing the world and future together, understanding each other better, while, also, focusing on football, friends, town’s traditions and funny and moving moments.

Through Julian’s and Elijah’s POVs, the author talks about their feelings, attraction and love, their passions and friends, their struggles and fears. Julian and Elijah are teenagers, dealing with school’s pressures and expectations, unpredictable futures, friends and family and they are very realistic in their feelings and actions. They fight, laugh, they are scared, upset, in love with one other, afraid to lose each other in a windwhirl of emotions and beautiful and intense moments.

Their relationship is lovely, complicated by misunderstandings and secrets and I loved the way they are open with one other, talking and explaining, trusting, helping, supporting and loving one other.

The author also deals with people’s prejudices and preconceptions, expectations and how hurtful they can be, how often push others into boxes and refuse to let them out. Julian and Elijah are determined to be themselves, to be seen as they are, to be free from others’ expectations and be in love and together.

Here’s my interview with the amazing author!

1) 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤?

I lived in Texas for a few years and worked in a high school guidance office and later in the school
library. I learned so much about the culture of high school football and homecoming, and just how
important some of these traditions are to the students and honestly, the whole school community. I
also had a personal wish to see more joyful stories with queer characters falling in love, feeling safe
and respected in their neighborhoods, and being loved and celebrated by their families. These two
things were front and center in my life when I began writing Sidelined.

2) 𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐪𝐮𝐨𝐭𝐞, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I’ll go with a Maya Angelou quote: “In all the world, there is no heart
for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.”

3) 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐲?

I think Julian and Elijah were both equally hard to write. There was never a point in which I felt
overwhelmed by either of them, though, and I think that’s important. If I absolutely had to pick
between the two of them, I think it was slightly harder for me to fall into Julian’s voice. He’s a rule-
follower and often sees the world in black and white. While I’m definitely a rule-follower, I think I
see the world a whole lot differently than Julian does.

4) 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬?

I have a couple of (secret) YA projects cooking at the moment. I’m so excited to share details when
the time is right!

5) 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬?

I think most writers will tell you that there’s a tiny little bit of themselves in every character they
write. There are some things about Julian that are very much like me, and some things about Elijah
that I can relate to. Usually, my characters tell me little quirks about their personalities throughout
the writing process. I don’t know that readers would be able to pick out the pieces of either Julian or
Elijah that are me, even readers who know me really well.

Kara Bietz was born in New England but currently resides just outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her family. Her first novel, Until I Break, was a Texas Library Association Spirit of Texas Reading Program selection. Her newest release, Sidelined, is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.
When she’s not writing, you can find Kara hanging out with her family, singing show tunes to her dogs, and adding to her impressive pen collection. 
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook
Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim- book tour

Hello and welcome to my stop for Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim book tour! A huge thanks to Tbr and beyond tours for the chance to be part of it!

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing date:  July 6th, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.

Thank you so much, NetGalley, Random House Children’s and Knopf Books For Young Readers, for the chance to read and review this book!

Shiori’anma is the only princess of Kiata and she has a secret. She has magic, forbidden magic. Usually she’s able to conceal it, but on the morning of her betrothal cerimony, she loses control and the wedding, a wedding she never wanted, is forestalled. Her mistake also catches her stepmother’s, Raikama, attention. The woman is a powerful sorceress and she banishes the young princess, turning her six brothers in cranes and warning Shiori that she mustn’t speak, for with every word she says, one of her brother will die.

Alone, penniless, voiceless, Shiori is determined to find her brothers and break the curse and in her journey she discovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. In order to prevent it, she places her trust in her magic paper crane, Kiki, a mercurial dragon, in her brothers and in the same young man she didn’t want to marry. That also means facing and embracing her own powers. Six crimson cranes is a spellbinding fairytale, narrated by Shiori’s POV, full of intriguing characters, thrilling story and fascinating worldbuilding, where reality, gods and myths are woven together.

Drawing inspirations from “The wild swans” and East Asian folklore, this fantasy is original and really well written, focusing on Shiori’s journey, both physical and psychological in finding her brothers, breaking the curse and saving her kingdom. Shiori is a very complex main character and the reader follows her growth, from a young and careless princess, protected and loved by her father and brothers, to a strong and able woman, willing to do anything in order to protect her family and those she loves.

Her journey is intense and Shiori finds herself without money, voice and family, but she’s brilliant and resourceful and won’t let anything stop her. If the main character captures the reader’s attention right away, the side characters are also wonderfully written. Shiori’s brothers, Takkan, Seryu, Megari, Raikama, Zairena, Hasege add layers to the story, each of them complex and with their own stories and motives and intricacies.

I really enjoyed reading Shiori’s relationship with her brothers, because it’s wonderfully strong and moving. Also reading how slowly she gets along with, love and trust Seryu, Megari and Takkan, even though very different from one other, was so lovely to read. The worldbuilding is interesting and fascinating, with talking dragons, princes turned into cranes, gods and magic, demons and curses and in this world Shiori faces adventures after adventures, finding, in her quest, also romance and love.

The storytelling is absolutely brilliant and I devoured this book, because I couldn’t stop reading it and it was so compelling. Shiori, Seryu and Takkan are awesome characters and I can’t wait to know more about this world.

If anyone was a seer, perhaps it had been Mama— for naming me Shiori, meaning “knot.” A symbol that I was the last of her seven children, the one who would bring my brothers together, no matter how fate conspired to pull us apart.

The crane was a constellation of seven stars northeast of the moon. I traced it with my finger, the way I did when I was a child.

“No matter where life takes you,” he would say, “you will be like those stars—connected by the light you shine together.”

Between the death of my brothers and my own, I would pick mine with no hesitation.

My heart was with them, no matter where I went. No matter how different things would be when I returned.

“Our fates are linked,” I said tenderly. “How could I forget you?”

Elizabeth Lim is the author of the critically-acclaimed and bestselling The Blood of Stars duology (Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk), the New York Times bestseller So This is Love, and the USA Today bestseller Reflection. Forthcoming books include the Six Crimson Cranes duology, expected summer 2021 and summer 2022, respectively. 
Elizabeth grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English. 

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and she turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel—for kicks, at first, then things became serious—and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies, and she completed her graduate degrees (MM, DMA) at The Juilliard School. She grew up in Northern California and Tokyo, Japan, and now resides in New York with her husband and two daughters.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Here’s the tour schedule! Go check the others’ amazing posts!

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria- Book Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop for This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria book tour, organized by Tbr and Beyond tours! Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing date: February 2nd, 2021
Goodreads Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound Indigo

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army. 

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons. 

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries. 

Thank you so much, Netgalley and Inkyard Press, for the chance to read and review this book!

Karis is an orphan and she’s forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, but she wants to find her brother, who was taken away from her years ago. But the Scriptorium doesn’t care about bonds and family, its only goal is to discover the magic of the automaton army. When Karis manages to awake a hidden automaton, intelligent and conscious of himself, Alix, both of them are forced to flee, because the Scriptorium is hunting them. Helped by Dane, Karis’ best friend, pirates and rebels, Karis and Alix fight to find her brother, uncover the truth and for freedom.

This Golden Flame is a thrilling and brilliant standalone fantasy. The worldbuilding is intriguing and captivating and the story is told by two POVs, Karis’ and Alix’s and it was really interesting reading about their journey, both physical, from their little island through oceans and psychological.
Karis is a stubborn and brilliant character, made cynical by the brutal world she was forced to grow in and she’s determined to find her brother and to be free with him. It was amazing reading about her journey, both physical and psychological and her growth.
She was taken by the Scriptorium and forced to work for them, but managed to defy their rules, teaching herself the language of runes, curious about the world and fighting to find her lost brother.
Alix, on the other hand, is a peculiar automaton, woken up after centuries, finding everything he’s ever known dead or lost, like his home and memories. Sensitive, intelligent and stubborn, he’s a great character. His relationship with Karis is complex and truly beautiful, if wary at the very beginning.
Karis and Alix grow so much in The Golden Flame, through their experience and their relationships with other characters.
Karis’ relationship with her best friend Dane is intricate and I love how much they help, support and rely on one other, growing up in the Scriptorium and then, when they are forced to flee and make choices, choosing to fight for the freedom and their future and for the truth about their country. It was interesting realizing, through Alix and his memories and the present, how much the story was written by winners and how much the ruling group is hurting people.

I really loved reading this book, not only for the amazing worldbuilding, but also for the characterization. The characters are complex and well written, relatable in their fears, desires and mistakes. Karis, Alix, Dane and Zara are such brilliant characters, it’s impossible not to love them. Like Zara. I love her so much. She’s a great character, sassy and brave and I love reading about her ship, her crew and their fight and rebellion.
I loved that Karis was aromantic and asexual (it’s so rare reading books with aro characters) and I love her growth and her relationship with Alix, Dane and the others. I’ve also loved the cute and romantic moments between side characters. I’ve also loved Matthias with his low vision and cane, his disability never a hinder to his stubborness, bravery and fight.

It’s a story about freedom and the fight for it, about the strength in be oneself and the importance of family and relationships. 

Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not word-smithing, she likes walking her over-excitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

I’ve got the chance to interview the author!

  • When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer for basically as long as I can remember. When I was really young, my elder sister would write these fairy stories and I was always so amazed of what, at the time, seemed like her stunning writing talent. So as soon as I was old enough, I started writing stories too and I never really stopped.

  • What inspired you to write This Golden Flame?

For me, it really started with the world and the characters. I knew that I wanted my next novel to be set roughly in Ancient Greece and I had this idea where one character was going to be human and the other wasn’t, and they were going to have to figure out how to work together and to trust each other.

  • Could you tell us your writing routine and where and how do you prefer to write? Do you use pens, pencils or pc writing programs?

So I am definitely a morning/afternoon writer. As soon as it gets towards evening, I have a lot harder of a time concentrating on writing, so I do try to write as early in the day as possible. I also like setting aside a solid block of time to write. I’m not really a person who thrives when I can only steal 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

I used to write all of my first drafts longhand in a notebook, but that was just so slow I eventually started writing them on the computer (a fact which I still mourn, because I did love notebook writing). I usually use Scrivener, since I like the way I can subdivide my manuscript into different scenes.

  • Do you like writing while listening to music? If so, do you have a playlist for This Golden Flame?

I do like listening to music while writing. That being said, I listen almost exclusively to instrumental music. I just find that if the music has words, it distracts me while I’m trying to write. So it’s a lot of movie soundtracks (most recently the instrumental tracks from Frozen 2) as well as Lindsey Stirling, because her music is awesome.

  • What character was the most challenging to write and why?

I’m going to say Alix, just because it was really quite challenging writing a nonhuman character. I’m so used to being able to use bodily sensations to describe things. For example, things like noting how the character’s heart pounds when they’re nervous or having their palms go sweaty. And Alix didn’t have any of that. So I had to get a lot more creative when showing his emotions and what he was feeling.

  • You answered a question on Goodreads about the main character being aromantic. Do you have any books or movies or TV series recommendations with aro characters?

You know, I don’t actually know any movies or TV series with aro characters (they’re probably out there—I’m just not aware of them). Even in books, I feel like it is somewhat of a rare thing still. But there are some books out there like Loveless and Tarnished are the Stars.

  • What are you favorite writers and books?

This one’s always so hard to answer! I love basically anything by Victoria Schwab and when I was young, Tamora Pierce was a huge influence for me. Some recent books that I have loved are Belle Révolte and Elatsoe. Both of those books were just so amazing!

  • Could you tell us if you have more books planned in the future and what are you working on?

So my next book coming up is Silver in the Mist and it’s another standalone. It’s set on a divided continent with dying magic and a malevolent force called the Mists. The main character is a spy and she is sent across the border to capture the most powerful magical caster that is left. But things do not go as planned.

Here’s the tour schedule!

And also a giveaway!

Direct Link:  

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Wench by Maxine Kaplan- Book tour by TBR and Beyond Tours

Hello, booklovers! Welcome to my stop for “Wench” by Maxine Kaplan, the book tour organized by TBR and Beyond Tours!

First of all I wanted to thank TBR and Beyond Tours, NetGalley, ABRAMS Kids and Amulet Books, for the chance to read and review this amazing and funny book!

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing date: January 19th, 2021

Goodreads Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | IndieBound

Content warning: Some magic in the book involves self-harm. 

A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench 

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before. 

“Wench” was an absolutely pleasure to read! Set in a world where magic exists, but only few are able to use it without crazy incidents, the main character is Tanya, who has worked at her tavern since she was a little girl. When her guardian dies and she risks losing everything she’s ever known, she’s determined to do do anything in her power to get her home back. That means travelling to the Capital and petitioning to the King and Queen. Her whole world expands, not only geographically, but also personally, including meetings with unscrupolous and peculiar guards with unknown business, guild of thieves, magicians and a magic feather drawn to her.

This book was so funny and incredible. It’s fast paced and it was so amazing reading about Tanya, whose life was confined to the tavern, adapting and adjusting to everything this crazy journey throws at her. Tanya is a brilliant main character. She learned how to read people, how to use everything for her advantage, how to adapt and when her life is turned upside down, Tanya is unbelievably stubborn and resourceful. Magic and adventure, kidnappings and breathtaking escapes, indipendent mare and feather, this epic fantasy is funny, brilliant and wonderfully written. The characterization is one of the things I loved the most in this book and Tanya is a genuine heroine with her stubborness, smart retorts and abilities. I loved reading about her interactions with…well, basically, everyone, because this book is full of funny and intriguing moments, like the bond between Tanya and Jana, or between Tanya and Rollo and so on. I love Jana and Riley, they are really complex and amazing, Rollo is a captivating character and Greer too.

It’s really amazing reading about a main character so relatable and lifelike and the story is full of plot twists, peculiar magic and many adventures. So I definitely recommend this book to those who love a good epic fantasy with great characters.

Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her dimwitted, but soulful cat. 

Her first novel The Accidental Bad Girl received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and will be available in paperback January 5, 2021. Her sophomore novel, Wench, is coming in January 19, 2021.  

Website Twitter Instagram Goodreads

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Cast in firelight by Dana Swift- Book Tour by TBR and Beyond Tours

Hello and Welcome to my stop for the Cast in firelight Book Tour, organized by TBR and beyond Tours. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing date: January 19th, 2021

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The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

Thank you so much, Random House Children’s, Delacorte Press and NetGalley, for the chance to read and review of my most anticipated books in 2021!

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, she’s a talented witch and she will take her royal cerimony test before all the nine Gods to become a rani. She’s engaged, since she was a child, to Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard, able to use all nine colors of magic.
Their relationship isn’t the best. They lived separated, since Jatin was sent abroad to study and Adraa tutored at home, their relationship is made of taunting and competitions and neither of them is enthusiastic to see one other, when, at the start of the book, Jatin comes home.
But while investigating the criminal underground, their paths cross and neither of them realize who the other is, since they are using secret identities. Between magic fights, deadly spells, both Adraa and Jatin keep their real identities secret, but their relationship become more and more intense and important and they will have to trust one other to uncover their truths and a dangerous threat, ready to destroy everything they care for.

Cast in firelight is the first book of a intense and heart-pounding fantasy duology, about two royal heirs betrothed to be married and a ruthless enemy, willing to use and destroy their world.
This book is unbelievably amazing and the worldbuilding is wonderfully crafted. Set in a fantasy world, where people believe in nine gods and some are blessed by their powers, so they can use healing magic, or fighting magic, fire, water, ice and so on. They can cast in nine different colors, each connected to a type of magic and a deity. Jatin can use all kind of magic and Adraa is training to be a worthy leader for her country, by mastering all nine types.
The political situation is pretty complex, since each country has its own beliefs about gods and goddesses, their worth and the people’s worth, causing discriminations and problems. In Belwar and Naupure our main characters have to fight against a dangerous drug, lies and subterfuges and more manipulations, too.

The story is told by Adraa’s and Jatin’s POVs and they are amazing main characters, complex and well written. Adraa is a brilliant young woman, a powerful witch determined to prove her worth to her family and country (and to herself). She’s strong-willed and passionate about the things and people she loves and she’s anxious about her ceremony and to prove herself.
Jatin is a strong wizard, seen by Adraa as an arrogant and cold young man, the truth is much more complex and he’s anxious to return to home after being away for so many years to study, uncertain about his relationship with his own father and confused about that with Adraa. Their relationship is complex, since it was made of taunts and competitions, fighting to surpass one other while they were growing up. Now that they are both adults everything is different and it won’t be easy to get past their first assumptions about one other.

I really loved the way they get to know one other, throught their secret identities, investigating the criminal underworld, fighting with deadly spells, risking their own lives, building their trust. The criminal underground is really intriguing, with its complexity, the magic fights, drugs and mysteries. Wonderful. A mystery woven into a romance and a fantasy novel.

Cast in firelight is full of plot twists, well written main and side characters. I absolutely loved Kalyan, Riya and Prisha and Maharaja Naupure, whose relationship with Adraa is build on trust and affection and the plot touches important themes like discrimination, addiction, drugs, war, murder, violence and lies.

It’s not a “simple” story about two heir, forced into an arranged marriage, but a story about fighting to discover the truth, protect their countries, prove his and her own worth, trust, family and friendship.
I loved reading Cast in firelight and I devoured it in less than a day! The story is intriguing, the characters’ interactions are brilliant and funny and the way they slowly get to know one other is fantastic.

I recommend this book to those who love romance, mystery, wonderfully crafted worldbuilding, new kinds of magic, love, friendship and family.

“Society tell us that as women we need a man to be something. We don’t.”

“Yeah, the sky only turns orange when it’s at peace.”

“Maybe we would be great together- pushing each other to be better in magic and life. Or…we might argue all the time about everything. I can’t tell, and that’s what petrifies me.”

“You’ll be telling me what to do. You love that, Smoke.”

“We are a team. The best team.”

Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida. 

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US only

One person will win a finished copy of Cast in Firelight. The giveaway ends on January 25th.

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The ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley- Tbr and beyond Book Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop for “The ballad of Ami Miles” by Kristy Dallas Alley book tour, organizated by Tbr and beyond tour! Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Publishing Date: December 1, 2020

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Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.

With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known, and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world… and about herself.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. Thank you so much, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Swoon Reads, for the chance to read and review it.

TW: racism, homophobia, bigotism

The ballad of Ami Miles is a book about self-discovery and I really liked reading it. Ami is a young girl and her whole world was the compound and everything she knew was through her grandparents’ lessons, through the Bible. How to be a good girl, what her “duty” and “destiny” was, the difference of roles between male and female, how female should act and dress, when to speak and how and so on.
Set in an almost apocalyptic world, where a sickness made almost every woman barren, Amy could be one of the last able to bear children and so, according to her family, it’s her duty to God. But Ami can’t do it, she’s not an animal to be bred, so she runs and her journey to find her mother, who left her when she was a baby, is journey that will open her eyes about the reality and herself, making her question beliefs and everything she thought was true, only because her family said so.

The story is intense, the prose fluid and Ami is a captivating main character, strong, stubborn and determined, willing to learn new things, to grow and face the truth. Because she was so sheltered she is naive and surprised of things other people consider normal and sometimes it was hilarious. I liked the side characters, too, complex and well written. Without spoilering anything, I really loved one of Ami’s aunt and her new friends were amazing.

I loved reading how Ami adapts hersef in this new community, how she grows and changes and finds her place in the world. Maybe the way she was able to question and discard a lifelong set of ideas in a just few days was a bit unlikely (since her mother wasn’t absolutely able in years), but apart from this, I really liked this book.

There are many themes in The ballad of Ami Miles, like racism, homophobia, bigotism. The way the women were treated in Heavenly Sheltered isn’t so far-fetched and unfortunately I could see a world where things like that could happen.

I really liked the queer relationship, even though I found it a bit too rushed, but it’s lovely and the way Ami was able to find her place with family and friends was beautiful and intense.

Overall, this a 4.5 stars book and I definitely recommend it to those who are looking for a dystopian, queer and apocalyptic book.

“You should see yourself! What, ain’t you never heard a woman cuss before? Lord, child, they have kept you in a little glass box all your life, haven’t they?”

“Running away and getting to Lake Point all by myself was the beginning. Being on my own and taking care of myself, making my own choices about the best way to get myself where I needed to be had shown me how strong I really was. I never would have thought I was capable of any of that, but I was. And then being here, meeting all these new people, finding kids my own age who could become friends, seeing how much bigger the world was than I had ever known—it was all just so big! And it all made Heavenly Shepherd look mighty small. How could I fit myself back into that little closed-up life?”

“Do you really think anyone has ever made it all the way through life without making a mistake? Mistakes are in the eye of the beholder, if you ask me. Sometimes we make choices and things don’t work out; that’s true. And then do you know what happens? We just move on. We survive.”

Will I feel like I just found a piece of myself I didn’t even know was missing? Will I feel like I’ll die if he smiles at me and I’ll die if he doesn’t? Will I know because I’ve never felt so much like myself as I do when I’m with him?” Her face had gone from surprise to shock. “Because that’s how I feel with Jessie. And I know, I know, people can change, feelings can change, I get it! But that doesn’t mean these feelings I have right now aren’t real.

Kristy Dallas Alley is a high school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, four kids, three cats, and an indeterminate number of fish. She studied creative writing at Rhodes College in another lifetime and holds a Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from the University of Memphis. In an ideal world, she would do nothing but sit on a beach and read every single day of her life, but in reality she’s pretty happy reading on her front porch, neglecting the gardens she enthusiastically plants each spring, and cooking huge meals regardless of the number of people around to eat them. The Ballad of Ami Miles is her debut novel.

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I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

Genre: Young Adult Mystery

Publishing Date: October 6, 2020


An huge thanks to Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for the chance to read this book and to Tbr and beyond for the opportunity of being part of this tour.



In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.

At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.

When another little girl in town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much of her own story is she willing to reveal in order to uncover the truth?

TW: child kidnapping, cult, drug use, homophobia

“I hope you are listening” is a captivating YA mystery, with a cute queer romance, missing cases, guilt, friendships, intense characters, a story with many plot twists. I enjoyed reading it and my attention was captured right away!

Dee is a really interesting and lifelike character. Her guilt (even though she couldn’t have done anything) was very realistic and the way she found to “deal with it” and to help other people with her podcast is brilliant and moving. It was so eerie and sad reading how many people went missing every years and none knows nothing about them. I loved the way people were trying to solve cases, finding clues, contacting people, digging up and the importance of the Web, if used in the right way.

Dee doesn’t want to get involved directly, she doesn’t want to reveal her identity as the Seeker, but when another girl in her city is missing and there are similarities between this case and Sibby’s, she is forced to deal again with her best friend’s kidnapping. She decides it’s time to get some answers and she starts to investigate, helped by a new girl in town, Sarah.

“I hope you are listening” follows multiple mysteries, intertwining during the whole book: Layla’s disappereance, the kid missing, Sibby’s kidnapping and The Seeker’s cases for the podcast in a very interesting novel. I was captivated right away, following Dee and Sarah looking for clues and answers, investigating and uncovering. The queer romance is very sweet and I loved reading about them together, but even though it’s there, it doesn’t put aside the mysteries and how much Dee grows in her search for the truth, unraveling emotions and burdens she still has.

I really loved reading about Dee and her investigation. She’s stubborn, fierce, quiet and determined and the traumatic event affected her, her family and her friends, changing everything. Dee is not a perfect character, none in this book is and it’s one of the thing I liked the most. They fight, make mistakes, get angry and selfish and they are wonderfully human. Dee and her best friend Burke fight, there are misunderstandings, questions and it’s very natural.

I liked the characterization. As I wrote before, Dee is a wonderful character. Burke is another character I enjoyed reading about, supportive, stubborn and who was also hurt by Sibby’s disappearance. Dee’s parents are supportive and worried this new disappearance could bring their daughter painful memories, while Sarah, the new girl in town, is a welcome novelty in Dee’s life and she’s ready to be there for and help her in this mystery.

The mysteries, some small and some big, are interesting and they captured the reader’s attention, who wants to know what happened to Sibby, what will happen next, following these improvised dectives in their search for the truth and justice.

I really liked this book, I devoured it, but I found some parts a bit unrealistic, but I won’t spoiler anything.

Overall “I hope you are listening” is a 4 stars for me and I recommend this book to those who are looking for a captivating mystery (mysteries), intense and complex characters and a thrilling story.

“But take it from me, even a sad ending is better than no ending at all, and that’s always been my goal: to deliver an ending to as many unfinished stories as possible.”

“Listen up. Let’s try.”

“I just tell stories. I hope that telling them might make up for the story I wasn’t able to tell properly all those years ago. The story that never had an ending.”

“I’ve heard it said that everything good that happens to you wouldn’t have happened but for every bad thing that happened to you before it. But if that’s true, then doesn’t stand it stand to reason that the opposite is true as well?”

“It’s our story” she says. “We should tell it together.”

Tom Ryan is the award winning author of several acclaimed books for young readers. He has been nominated for multiple awards, and was the winner of the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award for Best YA Crime Book. Two of his books were Junior Library Guild selections, and three of his young adult novels, Way to Go, Tag Along, and Keep This to Yourself, were chosen for the ALA Rainbow List, in 2013, 2014 and 2020. He was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction.

Tom, his husband and their dog currently divide their time between Ottawa and Nova Scotia.