Review: Amanda Noble, #zoolife

cover126732-medium.pngAmanda’s life is a zoo. For real. Her family owns the Noble’s Ark Zoo, and it’s equipped her with a particular set of skills. She can worm goats, bottle-feed a sick chinchilla, and wrangle a wayward snake with her eyes closed. But when her father becomes a local TV celebrity where he’s pecked, clawed, and pooped on for Central Florida’s viewing pleasure, she’s not sure how to cope with it. Change her name? Move to another city? Then there’s Kyler. He’s her best friend—the guy who taught her to belch the alphabet kind of friend. And friends don’t date friends. Right?

When the family is in danger of losing the zoo, it may take more than a working knowledge of gator wrestling and avoiding the business end of a skunk for Amanda to handle a second-string mobster, find a missing body, and convince Kyler they’re meant to be together. All this without suffering an epic social media fail. #zoolife

Loved the concept of this book… hate the cover. Seriously, it makes me so sad that such a fun story is being representative by a cover that looks like it was designed in Paint. This story is all about a girl who lives at a zoo, so I knew I’d love the story right away, which is why I picked it up on NetGalley in spite of the cover. And thankfully, the writing didn’t disappoint. This was a really fun story, following Amanda as she went above and beyond to help her family and save her home!


Review: An Italian Adventure

cover123136-medium.pngItaly, the late 80s. Ten-year-old Lee, a fearless bookworm, struggles when Nico the bully moves to the small northern town of Arese from Sicily. The two kids have no idea they are about to change each other’s lives forever…

Gender identity, guilt, religion, bullies, figuring out death and grown-ups: this humorous and insightful coming of age novel will show pre-teens and adults alike the Italy they have never imagined against the gorgeous backdrop of the serene countryside, the Alps, and the enchanting Island of Sardinia.

Based on the life of the author, world renown scientist and novelist GB Amman, this series is recommended for fans of emotional, addictive reads with something to teach.

The book is the first in a series following the same characters throughout their life.

This is such an awesome idea for a series! It Will All Make Less Sense When You Grow Up was a thoroughly enjoyable series starter, and I loved Leda’s voice as she navigated some of the challenges that come along with becoming an adult and figuring out who you’re supposed to be. There was a lot of great detail here that really brought Italy in the 80s to life. Between those and the dynamic relationships between various characters, Leda’s childhood really came to life. I loved it!

Highly recommended!

C I N Blog Tour + Review

cin tour

Hey guys! Today, I’m lucky enough to get to participate in the tour for the first two books in the C I N series by Christina Leigh Pritchard! I read both books two and three over the summer, and will absolutely be picking up the rest of the series both for myself and our library, hopefully by the rest of the year… so, lets talk books! (mostly book one, because… spoilers)

I am an absolute sucker for boarding school stories, but the story I got wasn’t at all what I was expecting! This was all kinds of creepy from beginning to end. Pritchard has created such an eerie little town, which helped set the foundation for her characters to come to life.

Both Lisa and Alex were a lot of fun to read, and I’m glad to see that it looks like the series will be following more of them! There were a few errors here and there, but never enough to take away from the strength of the story, so I’ll absolutely be continuing with the C I N books!

And don’t forget… “Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin. You Never Come Out the Way You Went In.”

Start the adventure with book one today!

61qfkmndpvl-_ux250_1.jpgVoted “New and Noteworthy” by USA Book News, Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida where she’s penned over fifty stories.

She’s recently signed with Limitless Publishing for her ALMOST Series, takes on contract work, and continues writing her books.

Find her on Twitter Facebook.

Review: Karina’s Silver Shoes

cover120206-mediumFrom Brazilian / Canadian writer Denise Marques Leitao comes Karina’s Silver Shoes, a teen parody of fantasy and fairy-tale tropes with many female characters, friendships between girls and women, and some subtle romance.

She’s got the fate of a kingdom in her hands—or rather, in her shoes.

14-year old Karina is not sure what she wants, but she knows what she’s found: fascinating silver shoes. Fascinating, dangerous, and potentially evil. On the upside, they do bring cool visitors.

When two princesses ask her to go to Whyland, a kingdom in a parallel dimension, to destroy the shoes, of course Karina accepts. Who would refuse a free trip to an alternate world? Advised by a wise master and threatened by a beautiful stepmother, Karina goes on a journey with a princess to defeat a powerful witch.

But Whyland is nothing like she expected. Karina finds herself stuck in a kingdom she doesn’t understand, with no clue on who to trust. Before saving anyone, she’d better save herself—if she figures out how.

I loved the tagline on this one enough that I decided to request Karina’s Silver Shoes after reading only two lines of the blurb on NetGalley. I didn’t know how someone could have the fate of the world in their shoes, but I wanted to know!?

This ended up being such an enjoyable read that had at least a little of all of my favorite fantasy elements, woven together in a narrative that was never lacking for strong female characters. I loved watching Karina try and navigate Whyland (fun name!) and make sense of everything going on around her.

I hope to read more from Denise Marques Leitao in the future!

Review: How to be Glamorous on a Budget


In her book, How to be Glamorous on a Budget, Julia Goodman—Chief Editor of International Heels, and Founder of Julia Jolie Beverly Hills —reveals the secrets of looking like a million bucks for less and the fundamentals of being forever stylish and glamorous and to help women radiate confidence no matter the size of their bank accounts.

I picked this one up when I saw it was in the teen category, since I haven’t seen a lot of these books yet for high school readers. Julia Goodman’s book was well written and enjoyable, although I’m not sure how well the tips she gives would work for those truly trying to save money, especially teens whose funds are limited.

I’d love to see this book extended to offer more practical advice as well as what you’ll find within the pages here. The author clearly knows her stuff and I’m sure could add quite a bit more here, making this a must-read for fashion fans.

Review: Mari’s Hope

cover115785-medium.pngMari’s Hope delivers the dramatic conclusion to the middle-grade historical fiction trilogy begun with Odin’s Promise, awarded the 2014 Midwest Book Award for Children’s Fiction, and Bjorn’s Gift (released in 2016).

In Mari’s Hope, set in a small village in occupied western Norway in the final years of World War II, young Mari has become a valued helper to the village doctor. She also plays a role in her family’s efforts in the local resistance, despite everpresent dangers, especially from the snooping soldier called Goatman and from Leif, her one-time school friend, now a German collaborator.

As the German war efforts falter, the pressure increases on the occupying troops to hold Norway firmly in their grip. But freedom-loving Norwegians will do their best to thwart those plans.

Praise for the series: “An exciting look at the occupation of Norway, through the eyes of a young, brave girl.” – Angela Cerrito, author of The Safest Lie.

I wish I’d had the chance to read earlier books in this series before jumping into Mari’s Hope, but this still made for a really enjoyable story that I think will be well-enjoyed by middle grade readers. I’ve been on the hunt for anything tied to WWII that would work for this age group, and I love that this one also shows life in a less often represented country. We all need a little more Norway in our lives!

Review: The Well

cover113010-medium.pngTwenty years after prom queen Cassie Kennedy is brutally murdered, six teenagers break into the house where she was killed to hold a séance. Haven knows his cousin Elise only wants to scare the crap out of him and his friends, but he’s willing to put up with one of her pranks if it means a chance to spend a few hours with the new kid in town, Pierce Hunter.

But when morning comes, Elise has disappeared without a trace.

Twelve years later, Pierce and his twin brother Jordan are professional paranormal investigators, starring in their own ghost-hunting TV show. When Pierce calls Haven, insisting they return to the supposedly haunted building one last time, Haven reluctantly agrees. He’s nervous about seeing Pierce again, but he’s determined to get some answers. Did they really speak to Cassie’s ghost that night? What happened to Elise? And the biggest mystery of all – how did she know the secret of the well?

It wouldn’t be pride month if I didn’t spend some serious time digging through NetGalley for the best and brightest of upcoming LGBT+ titles. And the diversity aspect of this story did not disappoint. Add in that The Well is deeply creepy and I’m all kinds of in love.

This story follows the mystery of the well, which is tied to the disappearance of two local girls, more than a decade apart. The characters pasts are directly tied to this same mystery, so you feel the pressure to figure out what’s going on right from the first page.

I really enjoyed Sexton’s writing as it captured the perfect tone for this type of story. And while this isn’t your typical summer read, I imagine there are a lot of readers out there who are going to love this as much as I did.

Review: Breadcrumbs

cover114178-medium.pngRead any good stories lately? I am sure you have. They sent you on a journey—perhaps to another place, a different time…somewhere you have never been before. Tales, yarns, legends and fables fill our human history, and stories are as powerful today as they have always been. Have you ever wondered why you can’t resist going? It’s time to find out…

Breadcrumbs invites you to further adventures. Traveling across time, along crooked paths, wooded trails, and on mountain tops, you will discover:

•  Why stories are critical to well-being and the hidden mystery you are searching to uncover

• How to interpret the twists and turns of life and find the meaning that makes all the difference

• How to identify the breadcrumbs that reveal the most important story of them all

This is a great collection for anyone who enjoys, well, stories! There is a lot of food for thought here along with so many references that there is bound to be something to connect with every type of reader. This is a fairly quick collection over all, but one essay per sitting worked perfectly for me, leading to a very interesting week. I especially enjoyed Crisis in Middle Earth.

Review: Fatemarked

cover113749-medium.pngIn the spirit of fantasy epics like George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, The Fatemarked Epic promises immaculate world building, an ancient prophecy, a mysterious source of magic, a diverse cast of characters, war, political intrigue, and romance.

The Hundred Years War has ravaged more than three generations of kings, queens, and citizens across the Four Kingdoms. Corrupt rulers dominate. Religious intolerance runs rampant. The cycle of vengeance continues to turn with the seasons.

An ancient prophecy by a legendary oracle has been long forgotten. The prophecy promises the return of peace to the Four Kingdoms on the backs of a chosen few, the fatemarked, individuals marked at birth and blessed with specific magical powers. One shall be the Kings’ Bane, and will bring death to the warmongering rulers, using fear to force peace; another shall be the Peacemaker, bestowed with the rare ability to heal. Opposite sides of the same coin, dark and light, death and life, the Kings’ Bane and the Peacemaker are responsible for the fate of an entire continent.

As they fight to achieve their destinies, adversity will hinder them in every realm: in the frozen north, assassination attempts and a brutal power struggle; in the holy west, a vicious queen and her self-righteous army of warriors; in the mysterious iron-clad forest of the east, revenge and glory rule the day; and in the southern empires of Calyp and Phanes, maturing dragons, slaves, and a civil war.

To truly fulfill the oracle’s prophecy of peace, both the Kings’ Bane and the Peacemaker, as well as the other fatemarked, will need to overcome those who seek to destroy everything in their pursuit for power.

The first book in an epic saga years in the making, Fatemarked will sweep you away to another land, another time, when magic and dragons, kings and queens, and courage and valor still meant something.

I almost passed up on the opportunity to read Fatemarked. The cover didn’t really catch my eye, and it felt like the blurb potentially gave too much away. But in the end, this sounded like exactly the kind of story I was looking for, and I’m so glad I took a chance!

This is a classic epic fantasy story with some many of the elements that make this genre a must read. I don’t want to say much about the plot beyond what you can read in the blurb, but this is a layered and dynamic story with fantastic world building and strong characters. The prophecy at the heart of the story is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and the writing was strong enough to keep me frantically turning pages.

Highly recommended!

Review: First String


Steamy romance with a little bit of funny thrown in! If you like Bridget Jones, you’ll love Hope Cruz.

Six months ago, Hope’s childhood-sweetheart-turned husband Matt left her for a grad student. Worried her daughter is seriously depressed—she won’t even pick up her guitar!—Hope’s meddling mother insists she see a therapist, and Hope’s shocked when the therapist suggests she have a wild affair.

After being with one man her entire life.

And she needs to do everything differently—find a new hobby, mix up the routine, get a little adventurous. She has to figure out what she wants out of life without Matt in it.

Hope’s in for a wild ride.

As soon as I saw the Bridget Jones comparison in the blurb, I knew First String was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for this week. Believe me, the cover for this one doesn’t do the story inside justice! This was a quick read, but it made me laugh more than once, and I fell totally in love with the story and with Hope, along with her family.

This is the story of a woman whose life gets completely flipped on its head, but it turns out these things that at first looked like disasters may have been exactly what Hope needed.

I can’t wait to read the next one!