Hey everyone! Today’s post is an exciting one because I’ll be hosting a blog tour stop for Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury. Enjoy!
Title: Blood Like Magic
Author: Liselle Sambury
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: June 15th 2021
A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.
After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.
Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?
With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.
Content Warnings: Whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an eating disorder, blood/gore/violence, death, substance abuse/addiction, mentions of child neglect.
Find out more about Blood Like Magic with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!
Filled with thrilling adventure and lovable characters, Liselle Sambury delivers a 2021 release you do not want to miss.
First, let’s talk about the plot. A futuristic world revolving around a BIPOC Canadian witch sounded amazing. Luckily, the book was just as good as I hoped it’d be! The plot was constantly moving, and I was gripping on to every page wondering what would happen next.
Moreover, the characters were very likeable! Our main character Voya is strong and relatable. She constantly tries to put on a brave face, even when the odds aren’t in her favour. Her friends and family also play a huge role in the book. I absolutely adored the best friend dynamic, as well as Voya’s relationship with her grandmother. It was so unique and amazing to see!
The dialogue had it’s snarky and witty aspects to it, that I will admit, were very enjoyable. Voya and her best friend Keis had some sweet moments, but kept a steady flow of sarcastic banter.
Unfortunately though, I did have some trouble with the writing. It was a bit too dull, which then caused the pacing to slow. I also think the book would have benefited from more descriptions and less dialogue. Blood Like Magic is set in the future, so I was hoping to get more insight on how things would work 30+ years from now.
The overall enjoyment level of Blood Like Magic is fairly high. Personally, I feel as though it could have benefited from a shorter page length. Nevertheless, if the idea of futuristic witches intrigues you, then I say read on!
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars)
About The Author
Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian-Canadian author who grew up in Toronto, and her brand of writing can be described as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations.” In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author. She is represented by Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency.
Want to follow the author? Visit the links down below!
Hiya! I hope you are well. I’m super excited for today’s post because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop and interview with Claire Kann, the author of The Marvelous! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest novel…
Title: The Marvelous
Author: Claire Kann
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Publication Date: June 8th 2021
From the author of Let’s Talk About Love and If It Makes You Happy, this exuberant YA Novel follows six teens locked together in a mansion, contending for a life-changing cash prize in a competition run by a reclusive heiress.
Everyone thinks they know Jewel Van Hanen. Heiress turned actress turned social media darling who created the massively popular video-sharing app, Golden Rule.
After mysteriously disappearing for a year, Jewel makes her dramatic return with an announcement: she has chosen a few lucky Golden Rule users to spend an unforgettable weekend at her private estate. But once they arrive, Jewel ingeniously flips the script: the guests are now players in an elaborate estate-wide game. And she’s tailored every challenge and obstacle to test whether they have what it takes to win–at any cost.
Told from the perspective of three dazzling players–Nicole: the new queen of Golden Rule; Luna: Jewel’s biggest fan; and Stella: a brilliant outsider–this novel will charm its way into your heart and keep you guessing how it all ends because money isn’t the only thing at stake.
Find out more about The Marvelous with these links!
1. Hi there Claire! I’m beyond excited to have you here with us today. If you don’t mind, would you be so kind to share a bit about yourself?
Claire: Hello! My name is Claire and I’m the author of several young adult novels ranging in topics from romance to adventure. I love cats, spend way too much time on youtube, and would dominate in a trivia night competition.
2. The Marvelous has such a dazzling cover. May I ask how the design came to be?
Claire: All credit goes to Liz Dresner, Associate art Director at Macmillan and the artist, Rachelle Baker.
3.What is a typical writing session like for you? Do you play music, or perhaps have a specific routine?
Claire: A typical writing session for me involves wasting time, uh I mean amping myself up to get started. First I stare at the word doc file before deciding to check the news to make sure nothing major is happening that I need to read about. Then I open the document–as soon as I see a hint of white background my screen inexplicably changes to Instagram? Weird how that always happens. But! Since I’m already there, I spend some time scrolling the timeline and watching stories. The moment I’ve realized a criminal amount of time has passed, I check my document and am shocked to find my word count has not magically increased on its own! Rude! Somehow I muster up the strength to reread what I wrote the day before–and hey! It’s (usually) not too bad. Finally free from distractions and convinced I’m not completely talentless, I turn on my playlist and begin writing.
Saniya: I love this so much 😆.
4. The Marvelous tells an incredibly unique story, and I’m beyond excited for its release. What inspired you to create such an intriguing mystery told through the eyes of three young people?
Claire: I wanted to write a story where kids got to be kids without any external pressure forcing them to be a certain way or thing. I wanted them to have fun and make friends and maybe get creeped out a little. That’s all.
Saniya: That’s very cool, thank you for sharing!
5. Many of your books include fat positive themes, which I am totally here for! Why do you think it’s important to portray diverse narratives in the media?
Claire: I believe the media we consume should be a reflection of the world we live in–whether it be the bodies we inhabit or the dreams we aspire to, no matter how mundane or fantastical. I’m in a fortunate position that allows me to contribute to that.
Saniya: I definitely agree, and it’s so amazing that you’re able to contribute as well.
6. Lastly, what aesthetic would you prescribe to your book?
Claire: A night out with friends at a carnival. All vibes, rides, and delicious food.
Saniya: Ooo love it!
About The Author
Claire Kann is the author of LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life, she works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it. Find out more by visiting her website: www.clairekann.com (and while you’re there, tell her about your cats. She loves cats. A lot.)
Want to follow the author? Visit the links down below!
Hiya! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting yet another blog tour stop and interview with Sarah Suk, the author of Made in Korea! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…
Title: Made in Korea by Mariko Turk
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 18, 2021
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.
There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.
Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…
What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.
Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.
But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.
Find out more about Made in Korea with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!
Without further ado, here is the interview!
1. Hi there Sarah! I just want to say that I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into the interview, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
Sarah: Thank you so much for having me! So I’m Sarah – nice to meet you – and I live in Vancouver, Canada where I write books for kids and teens. Other than writing and reading, I love film, photography, spending time by the water, and making souffle pancakes.
2.Any book that mentions Hi-Chews is a win for me! So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Hi-Chew flavor? After reading your (lovely) novel, I’ve learnt that there is a flavor for every occasion. What flavor would you give Made In Korea?
Sarah: My favorite flavor would have to be strawberry. As for a flavor for Made in Korea, I’d have to say mango! Mango is Valerie’s celebration flavor, and this book is very celebratory to me. Both in personal ways, because it is my debut novel, and in the book itself, because I feel like the story is a celebration of many things, including Korean culture and teen entrepreneurship.
Saniya: Ooo good choice, strawberry is always nice! I NEED to try the celebration flavor now. 😆
3. I love how Made In Korea revolves around young entrepreneurs! What inspired the entrepreneurial aspect of the novel?
Sarah: I love that part too! I was just really intrigued by the idea of students selling things at school and running their own businesses. Teens are so innovative and creative, and I wanted to explore that through an entrepreneurial lens in Made in Korea.
4. If I may ask, what is your favorite scene in the book and why?
Sarah: Definitely all the scenes between Valerie and Halmeoni (her grandmother). Those were some of my favorite moments in the book. They were just very healing and tender. I also loved writing the Halloween scenes!
Saniya: 100% agree. Valarie and her halmeoni have the best bond. Ahh yes, the Halloween scenes are iconic!
5. Do you have a specific writing routine?
Sarah: I feel like this changes with each project and sometimes even with each day, but there a few things that have stayed consistent in my writing routine. I always write down my writing goal for the day in my bullet journal to help me keep track of what I need to do. Then I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, procrastinate for a while, and realize I should probably turn off my wi-fi if I want to get any work done. Sometimes I also listen to an instrumental or lofi playlist while I write to help me focus.
Saniya: It’s so cool that you use a bullet journal, they truly are helpful. I liked what you said about how your routine changes with each project too!
6. Is there a character in the book that you resonate most with?
Sarah: I resonate with each of them in different ways because I feel like I can see a part of myself in every character. For example, I relate with Valerie’s ambition and tendency to define herself by her goals, as well as Wes’ passion for the arts and people pleasing nature. I even resonate with some of the side characters like Charlie and Pauline in their loyalty and inquisitiveness.
7. What do you hope readers will take away from Made In Korea after reading it?
Sarah: Mostly, I hope readers will feel something while reading the book. Whether it makes them laugh or reflect or empathize with a character, I hope there would be something in the story that sparks a sense of joy.
Saniya: That’s such a beautiful message, I love it!
Giveaway (US/Canada Only)
One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.
Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.
Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely YA novel, The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…
Title: The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 11, 2021
Content Warning: protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism
Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?
Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.
Find out more about The Other Side of Perfect with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!
Without further ado, here is the interview!
1. Hi there Mariko! I’d just like to say how amazing it is to have you here with us today! Before we start, do you mind telling us some random facts about yourself?
Mariko: Hello and thanks so much for having me! Some random facts about me are: I love tea and tacos, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Colorado, when I’m at home I exclusively wear pajamas, and my favorite flowers are hydrangeas!
2. Congrats on your debut! I’m so incredibly happy for you! If I may ask, what inspired the making of The Other Side of Perfect?
Mariko: It was inspired by a couple of different things. First, right after college, I broke my leg while dancing ballet. Second, I’ve always been interested in how people grapple with the negative aspects of the things they love. For instance, I love ballet, but I know it has its share of harmful aspects—like its lack of diversity and its reliance on racial stereotypes in many classical pieces. So I started wondering, if ballet perpetuates these negative things, does that mean I shouldn’t love it? And if I do still love and support it, what does that mean about me?
When I decided to try writing a YA novel, I imagined what would happen if a 16-year-old half-Japanese girl who dreamed of dancing professionally had a career-ending injury and had to deal with losing something she loved with all her heart and with wondering if she ever should have loved it in the first place. Her story became The Other Side of Perfect.
Saniya: Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking response Ms. Turk!
3. The Other Side of Perfect tells the story of a young girl of color as she navigates racism, ballet, and love. The diversity is amazing! What was your experience writing the novel?
Mariko: This book is so special to me because it’s the first book I ever finished! So in a lot of ways, my experience writing it felt so new. I pantsed the first draft. I knew the general idea and some of the characters, but I figured out the themes and the plot as I went along, and it went pretty quickly. I finished in a few months. But then I spent about two years revising. I actually loved the long revision process because it gave me a chance to make the themes richer and more complex, and get to know the characters on a deeper level.
Saniya: I’m glad you loved the long revision process!
4. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would you say?
Mariko: To just write and not worry about if it’s “perfect” or not. My tendency to edit as I wrote really slowed me down and stopped me from finishing so many projects because I’d get so caught up in individual sentences and paragraphs that I’d lose steam. The Other Side of Perfect is the first book I ever finished, and it’s because I told myself I had to keep moving. I knew I’d have lots of changes to make. Sometimes I realized what those changes should be when I finished a chapter. But I didn’t go back to change them until I had a full draft.
Saniya: I loved what you said about how you just need to keep moving. It’s so easy to get caught up in little things, when we should really just be moving forward instead of holding ourselves back. Well said!
5. Racism is something that many people of color experience, and it really hurts my heart to see kids experiencing discrimination. Why do you think it’s important to portray authentic and diverse characters in the media?
Mariko: I think it’s so important for all young people to be able to see themselves in the stories they read and watch. And not just in one book or movie here and there, but in many. Young people deserve multiple stories that they relate to and that speak to them and their experiences in various ways. So in other words, diverse characters shouldn’t only star in stories about racism and discrimination, but also in stories about love and friendship and family and school and everything else.
Saniya: I couldn’t agree more.
6. Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from The Other Side of Perfect? Thank you so much for your time Ms. Turk!
Mariko: I hope one message readers take away is that there’s a way out of isolation and unhappiness. And that finding the way out might be tough, messy, and take longer than you want it to, but that it can also be funny, exciting, and full of unexpectedly spectacular possibilities. Thank you for these wonderful questions!
Saniya: This is such a beautiful message! Thank you once again for answering my questions. It was truly a delight to have you. 🙂
About The Author
Mariko Turk grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in creative writing. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature. Currently, she works as a Writing Center consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder. She lives in Colorado with her husband and baby daughter, where she enjoys tea, walks, and stories of all kinds.
Hiya! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do the three bookish things tag! I was tagged by the lovely Isha @ Paperbacktomes. Do check out their blog as well. 😀
Three Read Once and Loved
I absolutely adored Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier! It was the perfect cozy mystery. I can’t wait to read more books by them. Made In Korea by Sarah Suk was such a great book too, I loved it so much! History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera had very gripping writing, I couldn’t put it down.
Three Titles I’ve Watched but Not Read
I have watched The Hunger Games, Moxie, and Shadow and Bone. I’ve never read them though. I’m absolutely loving Shadow and Bone so far!
Three Characters I Love
I adored Bao from “A Pho Love Story.” He was kind and genuine. Valarie from “Made In Korea” and Zayneb from “Love From A to Z” were both goal driven and compassionate people. I loved reading about them!
Three Current Favorite Book Covers
I absolutely love the cover of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan has a stunning cover too. Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas has such a cute cover. I really love it.
Three Favorite Authors
Deborah Ellis is a middle grade favorite of mine. I adore SK Ali‘s writing style and characters. Yoshitoki Ōima creates such heart-wrenching and emotional stories, I love their work.
I hope you enjoyed the tag. 😄 Have you read or watched Shadow and Bone? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I’d love to know. Have a great day everyone!
Hey everyone! I am super excited to bring you a blog tour stop of In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens! Thank Turn The Page Tours for the lovely opportunity. On today’s agenda we have an author interview, a journal spread, and a review. So grab some popcorn, and let’s get into it!
Title: In Deeper Waters
Author: F.T. Lukens
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
RELEASE DATE: April 20th, 2021
GENRE(S): YOUNG ADULT FICTION–Historical, Fantasy, Romance
A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger to save him when he is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour in this swoony adventure that is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
Prince Tal has long awaited his coming-of-age tour. After spending most of his life cloistered behind palace walls as he learns to keep his forbidden magic secret, he can finally see his family’s kingdom for the first time. His first taste of adventure comes just two days into the journey, when their crew discovers a mysterious prisoner on a burning derelict vessel. Tasked with watching over the prisoner, Tal is surprised to feel an intense connection with the roguish Athlen. So when Athlen leaps overboard and disappears, Tal feels responsible and heartbroken, knowing Athlen could not have survived in the open ocean. That is, until Tal runs into Athlen days later on dry land, very much alive, and as charming—and secretive—as ever. But before they can pursue anything further, Tal is kidnapped by pirates and held ransom in a plot to reveal his rumored powers and instigate a war. Tal must escape if he hopes to save his family and the kingdom. And Athlen might just be his only hope…
I received an advanced reader copy via Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The synopsis of In Deeper Waters sounded very promising, and I’m happy to report that the story really held up! It was easy to understand, and the world building was done incredibly well. There was no info dumping, nor was it written vaguely. The adventure was such a fun time too. I adored every minute of it!
The main characters where especially likeable. Tal was so nice and genuine. From the start I could tell I’d love him! Athlen was also very wholesome. At first, I wasn’t particularly fond of him. However, as the story progressed, I found myself absolutely adoring his character!
Moreover, the side characters where one of the best parts of the book! I love how each and every one of Tal’s siblings had their own distinct personalities. Kest was courageous and kind, much like Tal. On the other hand, Garret was spontaneous and outgoing. His sisters where also strong and resilient. Adding on to that, I really loved how In Deeper Waters contains such powerful women. From Tal’s bodyguard, to a fiery sea captain, women can do it all!
In addition, the dialogue was very heartwarming. I enjoyed reading Tal’s conversations with his siblings. They each had a special way of interacting, and it was just too cute! Athlen and Tal’s conversations where at times mysterious, and this only made me want to read more. However, the dialogue between all the characters where mostly joyous or emotional.
At first I couldn’t resonate much with the writing style. Third person writing is not my thing, but In Deeper Waters has changed my perspective on it. The writing was eccentric and fresh. It always had me at the edge of my seat! Furthermore, the talk about classism intrigued me quite a bit. It’s not something I see discussed much in historical fiction, so I’m glad it was mentioned.
The overall enjoyment level of In Deeper Waters is very high. It took a little while for me to be fully engrossed in the story, but once I got into it, the book was immensely enjoyable! All in all, this novel is an exceptionally refreshing read that’s perfect for spring! It’s the epic high fantasy you’ve been waiting for!
Age Rating: 15 and up
TW: Torture, violence, death
Final Rating: 9.5/10 or 4.75 stars
Google very much distorted the quality of the image. 😢 Nevertheless, I still hope you like it.
1. I’m so happy to be holding this interview/blog tour stop with you today, it’s lovely to have you! Do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
F.T. Lukens: Hi! I’m FT Lukens and I’m the author of In Deeper Waters. I am a lover of sci-fi and fantasy especially comedy and romance. I also love cryptozoology and superhero movies and television shows about magic.
Saniya: That’s very cool!
2. In Deeper Waters has an absolutely stunning cover! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration and process of creating it?
F.T. Lukens: It’s such a great cover! I was so happy when I saw the initial sketches. The artist, Sam Schechter, did a wonderful job of bringing Tal and Athlen to life in both their poses and expressions. I think there was maybe one change from the original sketch to the finished product and it was a small detail. The illustrator had captured them so perfectly from the start. Also, the colors are beautiful – the sunset on the water. It really screams fantasy romance. It’s the first illustrated cover I’ve had for a book and I adore it.
Saniya: That’s lovely! It truly is beautiful.
3. Do you have a favorite place to write? Or a specific writing routine?
F.T. Lukens: I actually don’t have a favorite place to write. I have a desk that is surrounded by art and Funko Pops and posters that I use the most often that is my creative space. Unfortunately, now that I work my day job from home, I sit at that desk for eight hours a day already. So sometimes I migrate to the couch or dining room table. As for writing routine, I write best when others are writing with me. It may sound weird, but if I have a writing partner then I achieve much more than just by writing alone. I love writing sprints. I love writing during NaNo. I love participating in a writing discord. It motivates me to see other succeeding and helps me see a project through to the finish.
Saniya: It’s so cool that you love writing with others!
4. What is the most spontaneous thing you have ever done?
F.T. Lukens: I’m not a spontaneous person. I thrive with routine and don’t like surprises, so I had to really think about this question. The best answer I could come up with is that I adopted a puppy a couple of years ago from a shelter on a whim. He was part of a litter of nine. They were born in November and were given the name of Santa’s reindeer. (His name was Prancer, but we renamed him Zuko.) I fell in love with his picture online and I sent in an adoption request and was approved. They told me he was a lab via email. When I went to pick him up… Reader, he was not a lab. He is a redbone coonhound which is definitely not a lab. He howls. He chases things. On our walks, his nose is always on the ground. He’s strong and lean and ready to run at all times. I still love him, and he’s mellowed out as he’s grown older, but wow that was a rough first year. LOL.
Saniya: Awww that sounds adorable~! I love the name Zuko too!
5. Is there a character in your new novel In Deeper Waters that you resonate with the most?
F.T. Lukens: Probably Tal. He is the fourth of five siblings and at the beginning of the novel, he’s unsure of his place in his family and in the world. I remember being that way when I was a teenager. I was the fourth of four myself and I was just hitting that awkward teenage phase while my siblings were all grown up and established, married, having kids, off at college etc. It was a weird space to be in where you feel both left behind because the people you’ve been raised with have moved on and have started creating their own lives and families, but also like you’re not ready to follow them.
6. Do you have a favorite scene in In Deeper Waters?
F.T. Lukens: I do! But it’s at the very end of the book so I don’t want to spoil it. But it was the scene that I was writing toward when developing the first draft. It was the scene that I’d come up with really very early on in the planning and writing of the book and it was both a joy and a relief when I was finally able to write it.
Saniya: I love every scene in the book, but I think I know which one you’re talking about. If I’m right, it’s my favorite one too. 🙂
7. Lastly, what is the main message you would like your readers to take away from the novel?
F.T. Lukens: I really hope that readers will just enjoy the book. I hope they can curl up with it and lose themselves in a fairy tale for a few hours and be happy. One of the main messages is about remaining kind in a world that’s not been kind to you while still standing up for yourself and your family when necessary. So I hope readers will take away some strength, and peace, and joy.
Saniya: This is such a beautiful message, I love it!
Up for grabs, we have ONE (1) physical copy and ONE (1) digital copy of In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens. This giveaway will end on April 26th at 11:59 PM CST. The physical copy will be available to win by US residents only and the digital copy will be available to win by INTL residents only. To enter, click the link below!
F.T. Lukens is the author of four young adult novels published through Interlude Press, and her book Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic was a 2017 Cybils Award finalist in YA Speculative Fiction, won the ForeWord INDIES Book of the Year Gold Award for YA Fiction, and the Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction, and it was also recently named to ALA’s 2019 Rainbow List. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. Visit her at FTLukens.com.
And that’s a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed this tour stop, because I had so much fun making it. Have a wonderful day, and stay safe! 💟
Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely graphic novel My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest graphic novel.
Title: My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley
Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel
Publishing Date: March 16, 2021
This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art—-from the author of Mastering Manga. Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.
When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her—she even eats chicken feet! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.
But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art?
Find out more about My Last Summer With Cass with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!
Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass
1. The Friendship
Anyone who has been through a friendship breakup or has had conflict with their close friends will deeply relate to what Megan and Cass go through. The kind of bond the two share is so incredibly precious yet so hard to come by. The novel displays their relationship in such a heart-wrenching way, and I am totally here for it.
2. The Exploration of Different Art Styles
My Last Summer With Cass features unique characters, with even more unique art styles. One person only uses two different shades of one color! Another creates their art very abstractly. However, my most favorite art pieces are the ones Megan and Cass create together. You can really see their different art styles work together in such an interesting way!
3. The Setting
The story takes place in the bustling city of New York. In my opinion, the city Cass lives in (New York City), really resonates with her personality. It’s busy and creative, just like Cass. I thoguht the setting was depicted in such an intriguing way, and I really do believe that Mark Crilley draws the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen. Crilley creates scenes that draw you in, and only let you go once you’ve finished the book.
4. The Captivity
My Last Summer With Cass is a graphic novel that you won’t want to put down. As mentioned early, the way the art is drawn is so incredibly intriguing. It allows the readers to feel as though they are in the story, and to me, that’s incredibly beautiful.
5. The Colors
The author uses colors that I’ve never seen any artist use consistently throughout graphic novels. I liked how their wasn’t much use of black. It was very refreshing to see. To top it all off, purple and blue are used quite a bit, and are used in such different emotional context as well. The colors were used in a way that portrayed every emotion the characters where experiencing in such unique ways!
Here is my bookstagram post for the tour! Simply press the image to view it on my bookstagram account.
Without further ado, here is the interview!
1.I just want to say thank you so much for being here with us today! Before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Mark Crilley: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where I was fascinated with drawing from my very earliest years. I continued honing my skills throughout elementary school and high school, and when I became an art major at Kalamazoo College in 1984, I had the good fortune to study under the great children’s book writer and illustrator David Small. A few years later, while teaching English in Japan, I challenged myself to create a comic book, one page per week. Upon my return to Michigan, that story– Akiko on the Planet Smoo– was eventually published, and it led to a career in comics that has continued to this day.
Saniya: That’s such a fascinating journey, thank you for sharing!
2. My Last Summer with Cass is a beautiful story. Did any real life occurrences or experiences influence the making of the book?
Mark Crilley: Thank you! Actually, this graphic novel is the most directly autobiographical story I’ve ever done, and there are many parallels between Megan’s life and my own. The character of Cass was inspired by a dear friend of mine who I first met in high school: John Walter. John eventually settled in New York City, where he became an award-winning film editor and director. I visited John in the city several times, and saw that he was moving in much more sophisticated circles than I was, and was investigating far more adventurous types of art, music, and literature than I ever had. John and I never came into conflict with each other, happily! But all of these real-life experiences, and the fact that two good friends could have such dramatically different artistic instincts, became the main source of inspiration for My Last Summer with Cass.
Saniya: That’s so cool!
3. What was the illustration process like? Was there a certain mood or feel you wanted to portray in the art style?
Mark Crilley: I wanted the artwork to be reminiscent of artist’s sketches rather than polished, slick illustrations. So I resolved not to have any inked lines in the whole book. While I used Photoshop to push the colors in certain directions, almost everything you see in the book is hand-made art, created with pencil, markers, pastels, and white gouache. This hopefully gives the art a more organic look, with a human touch that accentuates the messy imperfections of the two main characters’ lives.
Saniya: I think it looks amazing, and totally gives off such an organic look!
4. My Last Summer with Cass has an abundance of unique and memorable characters. Which character’s art style resonates the most with your personality?
Mark Crilley: It’s an interesting question, since all of the artist characters in the story are making artwork that was, naturally enough, actually made by me. And while Megan resembles me in terms of her personality, I have presented her as an artist who has not yet discovered her own style. When I was in college, part of me was actually quite attracted to the idea of minimalism. In this sense, the relatively minor character of Taja, who creates all her paintings from just two different shades of the same color, is probably the one whose art would resonate with me most if I saw it in real life.
Saniya: That’s very interesting.
5. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from this (absolutely stunning) graphic novel?
Mark Crilley: Well, wow, first let me thank you for your kind words! You know, the story builds toward a theme of how good friendships can go bad, and how important it is to not give up on them. So surely that’s the main one. But there’s a lot of other messages woven into the story, I think. The value of getting out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new things. The importance of choosing your own path in life, rather than one dictated to you by your parents. The danger of comparing yourself to others, and allowing that to make you feel insecure about yourself. All of this is in there, but hopefully in a quiet way. Really I just wanted to tell a good story, one in which readers would genuinely care about these characters, and want to see how things would work out for them.
Saniya: That’s so intriguing. I for one felt very attached to the girls’ stories, it was incredibly poignant and beautiful.
About The Author
Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.
First off, I just want to give a big thank you to much; Isha @ paperbacktomes for nominating me for the Outstanding Blogger Award! And thank you so much; Musing Of Souls for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! I really appreciate it. It means so much! Please follow their blogs. Their posts are amazing! 💞💞💞
Nominate 10 other bloggers. Neither the award’s creator nor the blogger that nominated you can be nominated.
At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award
What are your thoughts so far on blogging?
I love blogging, as it’s so fun! It’s a great way to destress, and pour your opinions and feelings out onto ‘paper.’ I love writing, and learning about other people’s opinions as well. So you could say that my thoughts on blogging so far is that it’s very enjoyable!
List me 3 of your favorite fantasy books.
Um heh…I haven’t read a fantasy book since I was 10. If you have any recommendations that aren’t too magical, then please recommend them. I’ve been meaning to read Six of Crows. I cannot wait to get into it!
One bookish hobby that you want to cultivate for real.
That’s a great question! I want to read more in the morning! It’s such a relaxing way to start the morning.
What is your favorite go-to TV show/series?
I enjoy watching Studio Ghibli films, along with other animated shows. They’re really nostalgic, and remind me of my childhood. My faovrite movie nowdays is ‘Whisper of the Heart.’
There must be at least one book that shattered your world. Which book would this be?
That would definitely be ‘History Is All You Left Me’ by Adam Silvera. It’s such a beautifully done book. It was so sad, yet so happy? It made me question the meaning of life. 😆
One self-care tip that you follow every day.
One self care tip I follow everyday is exercising! Sometimes I fail, but whenever I do workout, it feels very rewarding!
Your favorite trope in books.
Enemies To Lovers
Great sibling dynamic trope
Tall person, short person
childhood best friends to lovers
international travel or stories set in different places- it’s refreshing to see other countries!
Mystery Blogger Award
Rules for this award:
Display the award logo on your blog
Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
I love bullet journaling and have been doing so since I was a kid.
For the longest time I used to only read non-fiction books and manga.
The coldest weather I’ve ever been in was below -25 degrees Celsius.
Musing Of Souls’ Questions
What is that one book that you can give all other books for? (I got you there!)
Ahhh you sure did. Probably The Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. It’s a childhood favorite of mine. I finished it in 2 days. Younger Saniya was very proud. It’s a wonderfully written middle grade story you need to check out!
2. What is you one of your most anticipated reads this year/month?
This year I am especially looking forward to reading Ace Of Spades! I’m sure you’ve all heard of it by now. 😆 This month I cannot wait to pick up He Must Like You. It’s been on my TBR since it came out way back in July of 2020.
If you have to choose from two or more of your favorite authors to go on a coffee meet and greet? Will you choose one? Name two or more of your fav author and then choose one! (*wiggles eyebrows*)
Okok so I don’t have favorite authors per say, but I do have some favorite books! I admire Jules Verne’s work. He cultivated the adventure genre way back in the mid 1800s. My most favorite work of his is Journey To The Center Of The Earth! I’ve been getting into Adam Silvera’s and SK Ali’s books as well. Their writing is very thought provoking and poignant. However, I guess I’d have to say Jules Verne as I’d love to know what it’s like being an author living in the 1800s.
Who inspires you to write/read books?
That’s a great question! I’ve always been into writing, so no one really inspires me to write 😅. However, other book bloggers have actually inspired me to read. You are all the reason I got back into reading! 🥰
Name five of your most recently viewed booktubers/bookbloggers!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you once again Isha and Musing of Souls for nominating me! It means so much! 💗💗 If you would like to participate and I did not nominate you PLEASE DO SO! Every blogger is amazing and unique in their own way! Have a fabulous day everyone!
(PS: If I got any links wrong, please let me know)
Wow Saniya, are you actually doing the book blog tag you’ve been putting off for a month because you thought you weren’t interesting enough to talk about….y e s . I am!
Hiya everyone! It’s me Saniya here to do the Book Blog Newbie Tag. This is my first tag, so apologies if I don’t do it properly. Anyways, let’s get into it!
Why did you want to start a book blog?
In August 2020, I was telling my mom about the most recent book I had read; Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe. At exactly 2:35 PM on a Sunday afternoon, my mom said, ‘Why don’t you just start a book blog?’ I’m sitting there thinking…A what. I had never heard of a book blog, and always associated blogging with ‘highly professional blogging connoisseurs.’ Which, by any standards, I was none of. However, I figured that since we’re in quarantine, I would have more time to spend on it. And thus, sunnysidereviews was born! (Well actually not really, I ended up officially publishing my website in December.) Fun fact, I didn’t know my blog was published until late December. So when I was going to publish it, I realized it was already out in the world….oops.
Where did the name ‘sunnysidereviews’ come from?
My blog name originated from my nickname. My real name is Saniya (pronounced san-ee-ya). Sunny is my nickname, so I decided to make that my whole aesthetic 😂. The reviews portion is pretty self explanatory. It comes from the fact that I review books! Or rather, am planning to.
What can we expect from your blog in the future?
Wow, fabulous question! You can expect….
Lists and Wrap Ups
Challenges and read-a-thons
and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff!
P.S: Expect an author interview coming sometime this year. 😏
Why do you love reading? Did you always enjoy reading?
I love reading because….
It’s a great way to get off screens
I love imagining stories in my head more than watching movies
Yes this is a shallow answer please don’t come for me but, I would literally read the worst book ever if it had a pretty cover. (Okay maybe not the worst book, but you get the point.)
I’ve always enjoyed reading. As a kid I would join my local’s library’s book club during the summer. Reading allows me feel productive, and it makes me feel refreshed. So yeah I’ve always enjoyed reading, it’s a wonderful way to spend free time!
What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?
This is such a hard question to answer. I bring my opinions, and my personality. I might not be the most unique person out there, but I believe that no two people are the same. Therefore, no two book bloggers are the same. I guess I can also bring some fun and interesting content as well! I really cannot wait to bring some exciting stuff to all of you in the future!
When and where do you read?
I will typically only read at night. I usually read in my bed, or on a sofa. It’s just so much better then reading in the morning. Mainly because I’m comfy, and I can read for a long time at night, *cue the all-nighters*.
What kinds of books do you like to read?
I enjoy reading anything contemporary related. I prefer character driven stories, and contemporary has a lot of those. Psychology, self help, and classical books are always nice to read from time to time as well.
What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite book is probably Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It’s philosophical, character driven, and a contemporary, so it pretty much hits all the marks for me!
Who is your favorite author?
To tell you the truth, I don’t really have a favorite author. Mainly because I don’t read too many series, so I don’t really read multiple books from authors. However, I am getting into Adam Silvera’s books. I hope to read his novel ‘They Both Die In The End’ soon!
What’s one pet-peeve you have?
A pet peeve of mine is when authors make a second book where the main couple break up, or where they break up at the end of the first book. WHAT WAS THE REASON?! I spent a good 5 hours of my life reading this book, for a sad ending?! (However, if the story was meant to be sad from the beginning, then I’m not upset.)
What is one book that has been on your TBR for ages?
This Train Is Being Held has been on my TBR since September. I really cannot wait to read it! I also want to read The Little Princess! It seems like such an adorable classic. (Not @ me buying six classical novels because they looked pretty. At least they were on sale though 😅)
What is your favorite show?
Ever since I was younger, I’ve always loved The Legend of Korra! It will always hold a special place in my heart. I also enjoy watching British dramas such as Bletchley Circle and The Crown. I’ve been meaning to watch The Bridgerton as well.
What’s a non-bookish fact about you?
Some non-bookish facts about me include….
My hair has never past three inches below my shoulders (I honestly don’t know why. Every time I want to grow it long, I end up cutting it even shorter. 😅)
I’ve been bullet journaling every month of my life since 2017.
I’m super short. (No seriously, take your height, then deduct 6 inches and that’s my height.)
Alrighty, that is it for today! I hope you enjoyed this little tag I did. I tag anyone who wants to do this tag! If you end up doing this, let me know, I’d love to see it! Have a fabulous day everyone! 💛💙
It’s officially 2021. Let’s get it right this year!
This year the lovely Austine, and Katie from @https://www.novelknight.com/ are hosting their Beat The Backlist Challenge! And since my TBR is at a raging 100+ books, I decided to participate! Want to participate? Use the link above and it’ll give you all the details. It’s completely free and a great way to get rid of your TBR!
The rules are simple…
The book must be published in the previous year or earlier (for the 2021 challenge, anything published in 2020 or earlier counts).
You have to start and finish the book in 2021.
If you are participating, let me know, and we can track our progress together! Also, if you have a book in mind, I’m totally open to collaborating for a review or post. Just email me, and I’ll be more than happy to work with you!
That’s all for now! Have a great day or night everyone!