Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Today I’ll be reviewing an ARC of WhatLives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie. Enjoy!
**Thank you SOURCEBOOKS Kids, and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
Welcome to the decrepit Woodmoor Manor…where something in the woods is always watching. From the author of Scritch Scratch comes a chilling middle grade story about a creepy mansion and sinister creatures in the woods. All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to relax. But when Ginny’s father—a respected restoration expert in Chicago—surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures that escaped a mad scientist over a hundred years ago. And some say campers routinely disappear never to be seen again. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: there’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers. They’re after her.
First, let’s talk about the plot. What Lives in the Woods promises a story about a girl who uncovers secrets within the woods around the creepy manor she’s staying at over the summer. However, I found that this wasn’t the case when reading my ARC of the novel. The main character Ginny is being haunted, and most of it happens within the mansion. Unfortunately, the woods around the manor has very little to do with the story.
In addition, the main character Ginny is really fun! She’s imaginative and passionate. Although, her brother was portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The majority of the jokes made in the book revolve around how Ginny’s brother Leo acts. I understand that he was used as comic relief, but the jokes were overused. Luckily, I adored Ginny’s parents, along with her new friend Will. They were wonderful supporting characters.
Moreover, the dialogue was just okay. As mentioned previously, I didn’t find the jokes to be very appealing.
Fortunately, the writing was done well. It was gorgeously eerie, and really made my skin crawl! However, Ginny mentions Agatha Christie way too often. Her character development towards the end of the story felt very on the nose as well. On a more positive note, I’m happy that the story’s message was very sweet. It’s about making the most of one’s situation, which I thought was really nice.
Overall, I enjoyed What Lives in the Woods. While it wasn’t my favorite read, I definitely encourage young readers to pick up this thriller!
Age Rating: 10 and up
Trigger Warnings:Talk of death, scary imagery
Overall Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars or 6.5 out of 10.
Who’s your favourite author that writes thrillers? Have a wonderful day!
“An unforgettable and artfully crafted romance right down to the very last page.” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’
“A romance for the ages. Fresh voices and original predicaments make this one perfect little novel.”
—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl
The Sun Is Also a Star meets Outlander in this vivid, utterly romantic debut novel about two teens who relive their tragic love story over and over until they uncover what they must do to change their fate.
Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.
Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.
When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?
Here is the tour schedule link. If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!
For All Time is a beautifully crafted story on one’s will to never give up.
What I love most about the novel is its eccentric time travel. Tamar and Fayard, the main characters, travel to the thirteen hundreds! I’ve seen few books pull off such old time periods so uniquely.
Moreover, the characters were such a delight! I’ll admit, at first, I wasn’t too fond of Tamar. I found her to be rather obnoxious. Fayard on the other hand, I liked from the start. While I didn’t particularly love some characters, there were quite a few I had a soft spot for.
The writing was absolutely incredible! It was emotional and raw. Without spoiling too much, you could really feel the love Tamar and Fayard had for each other.
In addition, I really loved the dialogue. It was the right amount snarky, and heartbreaking.
Unfortunately though, I found the time jumps to be rather confusing. At times they felt too sudden and out of place.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! While the book was confusing at times, it was simply too gripping to put down. If you’re looking for a speculative or emotional story then I highly recommend For All Time.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Top Five Reasons to Read For All Time
1. Diverse story
The main characters Tamar and Fayard are of African American descent!
2. A look at the thirteen hundreds
For All Time takes readers through a journey into the thirteen hundreds! It’s not a time period I’m 100% familiar with, so it was very refreshing to read about.
3. There’s Musician Rep!
Teens who play instruments are rare to see in YA, so I was very happy to see that Tamar plays an instrument.
4. Witty Main Character
Tamar is very witty. I liked how straightforward and blunt she was at times. It was nice to see her taking charge to achieve her goals instead of just sulking about.
5. A story where more than one character time travels
Now, this might be an unusual reason, but it’s definitely a meaningful one. I’ve only ever read books where one person time travels, not two people. This led way for such an interesting dynamic that you don’t want to miss!
About the Author
Shanna Miles is an author, reviewer and librarian who lives in Georgia with her two daughters, and educator husband and advocates tirelessly for appropriate representation for marginalized people in children’s fiction. Her passion is Paranormal Romance, but she also has a deep affinity for diverse Science Fiction like that of Octavia Butler and Sherri L. Smith. “Willow Born” is Shanna Miles’ latest work.
Alrighty friends, that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed. Have a wonderful day!
Hi everyone! Today I’ll be talking about all the books I read in June. Much to my surprise, I read 12 novels, two of which were carry over books from May. I also completed my goodreads reading challenge of 25 books, which I never thought would be possible! Anyways, let’s get right into it!
Novels I Read
(ARC)We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon: (4.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was my first Solomon book, and will definitely not be the last! You can read my review here.
Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors: (5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I loved this so much!! It’s incredibly joyful and educational. I l highly recommend it. Review to come!
(ARC) Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza: (4.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was a huge surprise, but in the best way possible. If you love fairytale retellings, than this is a must read! Review to come!
(ARC) One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston: (1.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐ After hearing such great things about the book, I was super excited when I got around to reading it. But One Last Stop was such a disappointment. Feel free to read my review here. –Buddy read with the amazing Calliope!
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ This was both fast paced and educational! Which I’ve come to know is my favorite combination.
Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan: (3.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ I’ve been meaning to get into Dugan’s writing for quite a while now. And well, this was just okay. Review to come! –Buddy read with the amazing Calliope!
A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ A Taste for Love was such a surprise! I adored this one immensely. Review to come!
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ I enjoyed my time reading this one, but it wasn’t very memorable.
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ Excuse Me WhileI Ugly Cry was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, and well, it was just meh. I loved the witty banter and lists, but nothing stood out to me unfortunately. Review to come!
May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was the most conflicted rating I’ve ever given. The main characters weren’t likeable at all, but it was such a whirlwind of emotions. Review to come! –Buddy read with the lovely April @ Booked Till Midnight!
Your Heart My Sky by Margarita Engle: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ Your Heart My Sky is an incredibly heart wrenching story told in verse. I learnt a lot about Cuba in the 1990s, which was great! However, the ending was too unclear.
Graphic Novels and Manga read
Blue Lock Volume 12 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This volume was really interesting! However, it didn’t stand out as much as the previous ones.
Blue Flag Volume 6-8 by Kaito: (4.75 out of 5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This series is incredibly eye opening and emotional, so I’m sad to see it end. My only complaint is that some questions where left unanswered. Nevertheless it’s still such a great manga that I highly recommend!
Moriarty the Patriot Volume 2 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ While I admired certain concepts, others didn’t make much sense and seemed unnecessary. It’s still a great series though!
Spy x Family Volume 2 by Tatsuya Endo: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Spy x Family is such a cute and fun series! And this volume definitely proved that statement.
A Sign of Affection Volume 3 by Suu Morishita: (4.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I really enjoyed this volume! It was super relaxing to read, if that makes sense. 😆
Shortcake Cake Volume 8 by Suu Morishita: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think I put the wrong picture but essentially, this volume was really gripping!
Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar and Khoa Le: (4.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was such a stunning story with beautiful art. It was like a warm hug!
The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley, Nguyen Quang, and Kim Lien: (5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I LOVED this!! It’s an incredible picture book with a beautiful message. I definitely recommend it!
Total Number Of Books Read: 24
Total Number Of Posts Published: 8
Average Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 out of 5 stars
I didn’t have enough time to hop over on the blogsphere last month. So if I missed any of your posts, feel free to link them down below!
First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read four novels, read three netgalley ARCs, and drink more water. Luckily, I read over four novels, and got through three of my Netgalley ARCs! Did I drink enough water though…Maybe?
Some of my goals for July include…
Finish two netgalley ARCs
Read 10 novels
Drink lots of water
And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my June in books, I’d love to know about yours too! If you’d like, you can read last month’s wrap up here. Have a lovely day!
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!
Hey everyone! I hope you are well. Today I’ll be reviewing Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. I must say, this one scared me quite a bit. Yes, yes, I’m a scaredy cat. We’ve established that by now. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
(Synopsis from goodreads)
Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone. Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her. Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.
Deliciously eerie and mysterious, Lindsay Currie brings us a story all thriller fans will adore! The plot hooked me right from the beginning, and kept my attention till the end! Scritch Scratch is fast-paced and gripping, so it’s definitely the perfect read to get out of a slump.
Furthermore, the characters were not that interesting. Although I respect the author’s ability to create semi-realistic kids without throwing in a gazillion references, I did not feel any connection to the characters. None of them were annoying per se, they were just lacking in development. Fortunately, the main character’s parents were very well developed. They each had their own unique personalities. The MC’s dad is a ghost story author, and runs his own spooky tour bus company. While their mom runs a baking business. How cool is that?!
“Love Ms. Mancini. She’s the only teacher I have who wouldn’t shame a student for falling asleep in class. I think she remembers what it was like to be in seventh grade and that’s what makes her so good at her job.” ― Lindsay Currie, Scritch Scratch
In addition, the dialogue fell short on personality. Most of it was trope-y, and uneventful. However, it’s the writing that really grabbed me.
Man oh man does Lindsay Currie know how to write a chilling story! I was very frightened, yet so intrigued throughout the book. What I found interesting, was that the writing was not very descriptive. This fascinated me as typically thrillers are quite descriptive. Luckily, this didn’t have a negative affect.
The overall enjoyment level of Scritch Scratch is very high. If you’re looking for a thrilling story with a wonderful message about friendship, and never forgetting those who came before us, then this is definitely the novel for you!
Age Rating: 10 and up
TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, lots of talk of a drowning accident, talk of abandonment
Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars
What’s your favorite thriller? I’d love to know. Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!
Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing Sarah Suk’s Made in Korea; A delightful and charming YA contemporary. I had buddy read this with some amazing bloggers; Rania and Ritz! Do check out their blogs as well if you can. Anyways, let’s get into it!
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.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book via TBR and Beyond Tours and Simon & Schuster Canada. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was everything I ever needed! Rival school businesses and K-Beauty will always be a win in my book. What makes this novel so special is that the characters make bad decisions while still remaining logical. You typically see people making bad decisions emotionally, never logically, so that was very refreshing to see. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that despite being marketed as a rom-com, I really don’t think it is one as the book deals with a lot of of hard hitting topics. Essentially what I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a funny enemies to lovers, you most likely won’t get that from Made in Korea. Anyways, on with the review!
What I loved most about this book, is that Valarie and Wes had very distinct personalities. They each have their own goals, and progressively became the best versions of themselves as the story went along. There was an abundance of character development, and I loved seeing them grow. I’ll admit, at first I didn’t like Wes. I couldn’t understand why everyone, including himself, kept of saying that he was so nice. I didn’t think he was nice till the last 30 percent of the book. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed reading about Valarie and Wes’ relationship dynamic.
The side characters were such a joy! Charlie, Valarie’s cousin and business partner, will forever be my all time favorite book character! I don’t think I’ve ever read about someone so incredibly wholesome. Taemin was also absolutely hilarious, and he genuinely made me laugh. Kristy was another great character too. Furthermore, Valarie and her halmeoni (grandmother), had such a cute relationship. I loved how much they cared about each other, it felt so real and genuine. Valarie’s older sister Samantha was a character I could really resonate with. She has all these expectations placed on her because she’s the eldest sibling, and it’s something that Valarie will never understand. I was interested in their relationship, and would like to have seen more interactions between them. Pauline however, I wasn’t too fond of. In my opinion, she was a fairly dull character, and I couldn’t see why Charlie could like her. It felt as though he had a crush on Pauline just for the sake of it. Her infatuation with marine biology was cool though.
The dialogue in Made in Korea was very well written, I really felt all the emotions the characters were experiencing. This novel contains by far one of the best dialogues I have ever read. It was extremely raw and heart-wrenching. I loved every bit of it.
In addition, the writing style was simple and easy to follow. It’s told by the perspectives of Valarie and Wes. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I can’t tell the difference between the perspectives of characters. Thankfully, I had no issues telling them apart. My only complaint is that the constant italics complicated things a bit. Nevertheless, the story had me hooked on every word.
The overall enjoyment level of Made in Korea is through the roof! You’ll definitely not want to put it down. If you love the idea of entrepreneurial enemies to lovers, or love it when opposite attract, than this is definitely the book for you! I highly recommend this book to all contemporary fans!
Age Rating: 14 and up
TW: Some use of alcohol
Final Rating: 9/10 or 4.5 stars
Thank you for reading (or skimming). You can read my interview with the author here! Have you read Made in Korea? What’s your favorite YA contemporary? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a fabulous day!
Hey everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk. Feel free to read my interview with the author here! I hope you enjoy!
(Thank you Netgalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but then a 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 castmate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she experienced 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.
The original premise of The Other Side of Perfect is very unique and intriguing. Luckily, the execution was done quite well. I loved the talk about racism in the ballet industry. It’s something you never hear about, so I’m beyond happy the issue was addressed.
Our main character Alina Keeler is going through a rough patch. Due to an injury in her leg, she can’t dance Ballet anymore. At first, I thought she was unnecessarily rude and judgmental. Eventually, as time passes, Alina learns to grow from her experiences. Towards the end, I started to admire her character much more than I did when I first started reading the book.
The side characters were all quite diverse and three dimensional. Unfortunately though, Alina’s best friend Margot was very infuriating. Throughout the whole book, she’s mean and crude to others for no reason. Thankfully, our main character’s other friends are all very sweet. Each of the characters go through development, and change throughout the novel. My favorite character is Jude. I love how the he defies gender stereotypes. The topic was discussed quite a bit, and I’m so glad the author discussed it. That’s actually one of the reasons why I’m rating The Other Side of Perfect higher. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Alina and her younger sister Josie. It felt incredibly realistic and raw. Also, can we talk about the fact that the bullies in the novel are named Jake and Paul. Okay social commentary, I see you. 👀
Moreover, I couldn’t connect much with the dialogue. There was too much profanity for my liking, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It just isn’t something I particularly enjoy.
In addition, the writing was just okay. It wasn’t very engaging, and thus bored me a bit. The author rambled a lot as well, which caused the writing to be repetitive. However, Mariko Turk successfully created a character that actually felt like a teenager. The story is told through Alina’s perspective, and is done very well. She’s a morally grey character that’s a teensy bit selfish. But you can’t help but like her! The author captures Alina’s emotions and sentiments perfectly.
The overall enjoyment level of The Other Side of Perfect is well, fine. The first 70% was boring and uneventful. Luckily, the last 30% was very enjoyable! If you’re looking for a coming of age novel on dance, racism, and grief, than this is definitely the book for you!
Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario. This is actually the first time I’m reviewing a book written in verse. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive. But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone. Haunting and evocative—and told in dual perspectives—Turtle Under Ice examines two sisters frozen by grief as they search for a way to unthaw.
I usually read books in verse if I’m trying to get out of a slump. However, I just picked this one up spontaneously. And I’m happy that I did! Turtle Under Ice is a story full of emotion and the will to just push on. It oozes out with sisterly love, and tells us that we should always be grateful for our parents.
The story follows sisters Ariana and Rowena. It’s told through both their perspectives and is done astonishingly well. Despite disliking Ariana, I can 100% understand where she’s coming from. Ariana wants to be an older sister Rowena can look up to, but she knows she’s failing that role. I found this to be incredibly touching and relatable. Ariana is also a creative, and uses her art to cope. She actually does her summative art project on grief. Meanwhile, Rowena, or Row, uses soccer as an escape from her heartache. What really broke me is that Row sees her mother on the field when she plays. The reason behind this is that her mom was always so busy, that she could never attend any of her soccer matches. Furthermore, I ADORED the sibling dynamic. It perfectly captured the fact that no matter what happens in life, they’ll always have each other, and it was just the sweetest thing!
“Maybe hope is like a turtle under ice breathing through its shell, through its biochemistry, still alive. Maybe hope waits for spring to come, for the ice to thaw for the weight of the pond that encapsulates us to melt into nothing. But maybe we are not meant to wait for springtime. Maybe, instead, we are meant to break the ice and be free.” ― Juleah del Rosario, Turtle Under Ice
In addition, through the dialogue we got to see how Ariana interacts with other people. The way she talked to people with no care in the word was quite interesting. Aside from that, there wasn’t much dialogue. Instead, there were more monologues, which brings me to the writing!
“There was no right time for my mother to die, because when someone we loves dies, it will always be untimely” ― Juleah del Rosario, Turtle Under Ice
Juleah del Rosario’s writing is truly beautiful. Turtle Under Ice is written in verse, and is done exquisitely. The author creates such vivid yet depressing scenes that will make you want to read on! It’s absolutely stunning, and isn’t overly metaphorical or unclear.
Overall, Turtle Under Ice is a quick and emotional read perfect for those who are looking for a moving story on familial relationships and grief.
Age Rating: 14 and up
TW: Death of a parent (off page but talked about a lot), miscarriage, main character runs away from home
Final Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 stars
What’s your favorite novel written in verse? Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!
Hiya! Today I’ll be talking about the books I read in April! I’m actually quite happy with this month’s results. I read more books in this month than I have ever read in any month before! Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
Novels I Read
Rogue Princess by B. R. Myers: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a gripping Cinderella retelling that also had a lot of sci-fi elements. Read my full review here!
(ARC) Made In Korea by Sarah Suk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) I adored this!! Made In Korea is essentially a book about rival high school businesses but make it K-Beauty, and it was so much fun. 😆 I buddy read this one with Rania and Ritz. Do check out their blogs as well! Read my review here, and my interview with the author here!
Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars) I read this one in two days! It was so intriguing! Yesterday Is History is a touching and quick read on time travel and love. Read my review here!
A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was my first middle grade read of the year, and it did not disappoint! The premise is incredibly unique too. Review to come!
(ARC) The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) This was a sweet coming of age about dance and musicals. Check out my review here, and my interview with the author here!
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a chilling middle grade novel about a ghost that follows a girl home. Review to come!
Graphic Novels and Manga read
Blue Lock Volumes 1-11 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yuusuke Nomura: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars) I may or may not have binged this series. It was THAT good. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so interesting! I can’t recommend it enough.
Shortcake Cake Volumes 3-6 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. The art is incredibly stunning, but I have major issues with a lot of things in the series.
Ao Haru Ride Volumes 12-13 by Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Only one more volume left! It feels so bittersweet, but I’m glad I enjoyed the series.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I didn’t like the Prince much, but it was still a cute story nonetheless.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. I didn’t love the art style, and the ending felt rushed.
(ARC) Star⇄Crossed!! Volume 1 by Junko: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a fun and light hearted manga on switching bodies with a J-Pop idol.
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) This was so adorable!! I loved it! You can read my full review here!
Total Number Of Books Read: 30 (A new record!)
Total Number Of Posts Published: 7
Average Rating: 7.2/10 or 3.7 out of 5 stars
April @ Booked Till Midnight gives us some summer book recs! And she also celebrates her birthday! Happy Birthday April!!
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! 💟