Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa

Hello, my lovely book friends. I hope you are all doing well in these troubled times. I hope you are safe and healthy.

As we are all aware, the world is suffering through a pandemic at the moment and many of us have been asked to shelter in place in order to help stop the spread of this virus.

Because of this, many schools  and workplaces have closed. Additionally, a lot of events that a great many people were looking forward to have been cancelled.

In the book world, author tours have been cancelled, along with bigger events such as NoVaTeen and Book Con either being rescheduled or called off entirely.

One thing we can all count on however, is new books being released on Tuesdays. Oh, how I love Tuesdays!!!

This coming Tuesday, March 31, 2020, my most anticipated YA book of the year is set to be released: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa!!!

Night of the Dragon is the third and final book in the Shadow of the Fox series, a Japanese-inspired fantasy series that literally stole my heart when I first picked it up last year.

From the very first chapter of the first book, Shadow of the Fox, I was hooked. Kagawa’s writing style is so pleasing, the lush world, the cleverly crafted characters, all of it combined to be a recipe for an absolutely engrossing tale!

At this point you may be thinking, yes, this sounds great, but what is it about?

In the land of Iwagoto, the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, has the power to bring forth the Kami Dragon.

The dragon is capable of granting the summoner a single wish. If they are pure of heart, theoretically, all is well, if they are not, all hell will break loose.

In order to protect the land, the scroll was divided and the separate parts hidden away to prevent such disastrous consequences from happening, as it had in the past.

People are always searching for the parts, however, as combining them again could grant the summoner unrivaled power.

Yumeko, has been raised in the Silent Winds Temple where one piece of the scroll has been hidden away. When the Temple is attacked by demons, Yumeko is forced to flee, with the scroll.

She promises the monks she will transport it to another temple, where she will then receive further directions. Trained her whole life to hide her Yokai nature, half kitsune, half human, Yumeko is a master of illusion and mischief which obviously aides her in her travels.

Some clarification if you are new to Japanese Fantasy, a Yokai is a type of supernatural being in Japanese folklore. A kitsune, is one type of Yokai, a fox spirit that frequently appears in such folklore.

In the past couple of years, I have read a few different books with kitsune main characters and I feel it is a very fun perspective to read from!

On the run, Yumeko meets up with Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the mysterious Shadow Clan.

Tatsumi has been sent out in search of the scroll. He finds Yumeko close by the now destroyed temple and promises to get her to her destination safely. Of course, he has no idea, she actually carries what he seeks.

They meet up with another character along the way, Okame, a ronin, basically a traveling samurai without a master. He begins to travel with them and quickly became my favorite character. A source of almost constant humor, I just cannot imagine this story without him!

In addition to the lush world and fantastic characters, this triology also has one of my most loved tropes in literature: A QUEST. A ragtag group of characters trying to get from Point A to Point B, overcoming obstacles along the way, nothing keeps me turning pages faster.

At its heart, this is a fantastic quest story.

The stakes, the secrets, the magic, the world, I think you can tell I fell head-over-heels for it all. And don’t even get me started on the hella SLOW-BURNING romance!

The second book in the series, Soul of the Sword, continues directly on from the events of the first book, doing what it should: upping the stakes and continuing to build out the complexity of the world.

Another way I like to describe this entire story, if you aren’t sold already, is anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.

I am currently halfway through the final book. Honestly, I am taking my time with it. I don’t want it to end!!!

So far, this story, again, has continued to build, I know the final scenes are going to be epic. Kagawa has such a beautiful way of showing you the world. I have never felt confused. In fact, I am completely immersed. When I am reading it, the rest of the world could stop and I wouldn’t even notice.

During this difficult time, if you need a way to escape, something to immerse yourself in to forget life for a while, I cannot recommend this series strongly enough.

Now is the perfect time to get lost with Yumeko and Tatsumi, to go on that adventure and maybe save the world. Who knows?

I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for blessing me with an early copy of this book. I am thoroughly enjoying it and plan to finish it later today. Make sure you check back in for my full review. Also, if you have read these books, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Where ever you are and what ever you are doing, I hope you are doing it in good health and happiness. Love you all!

Cheers & happy reading!

 

 

 

Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

Tuesday Mooney Talks to GhostsTuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tuesday Mooney, a 30-something researcher, living in Boston is about to have the adventure of a lifetime following the clues on a dead billionaire’s treasure hunt.

She is just the sort of character I love, independent, funny, smart, quirky and a bit of a loner; I was happy to go along for the ride.

Full of hilarious hijinks and engrossing twists and turns, this story grabbed me by the heart and never let up. I was a big fan of Racculia’s work going in and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

Every page is full of intelligent writing and witty banter, I am seriously addicted to her style. I could absolutely see myself reading this story again. There was a great cast of side characters that brought humor and depth.

The setting of the city of Boston, a place where I have lived, made it even more exciting. Tie in the fact that she kept mentioning my hometown of Nantucket, felt like I was reading about a friend or neighbor!

As always, Racculia weaves some fairly serious topics into her otherwise humorous narrative. There is an examination of grief, guilt, the loss of a friend, loss of a family member, loss of a job, questioning of self-worth, intimacy, adult friendships and the presence of an afterlife, to name a few.

I think she always handles such topics with grace. It was all really well done here.

If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, fantastical adult novel, you should definitely give this one a try. If you do and you enjoy it, be sure to check out Bellweather Rhapsody as well!

Finally, thank you to my friend, Tucker, for sending me his copy. I will cherish it forever!!

View all my reviews

Review: All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

All the Bad ApplesAll the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Break the stigma, break the curse.

An absolutely enchanting feminist tale!

I was so enthralled by this story, I could not put it down. As Deena begins to unravel the mysteries of her family tree whilst on a search to find her sister, Mandy, assumed dead, I was completely swept up in their family lore. I wanted to know everything about the Rys family.

Fowley-Doyle seamlessly blended past and present together as the narrative unfolds. The reader takes a front seat as history repeats itself again and again. Women and girls are stripped of their power and choice, made to live false lives. It was heart-wrenching and felt extremely genuine.

At the beginning of the novel, Deena, our teenage protagonist comes out to her family with a mixed reaction. She is a student at a Catholic school and has been raised within a conservative household. She is struggling with her identity and being able to live her truth.

I thought this aspect of the story was so well done, as were all aspects really, but the feelings evoked as Deena questions whether or not she is a ‘nice, normal girl’, were just so powerful. That’s how the story kicks off and as far as gut-punching, hard-hitting topic choices, never lets up.

I loved the format the author chose to slowly reveal the truth at the heart of this tale. I am going to be thinking about this one for a long time to come. I am not going to say anything else in regards to the plot because I think it would best serve the story, and your reading experience, to go into this with as little information as possible.

A story of family, identity, secrets, truth and power, I am still reeling by how much this story has impacted me. Truly stunning.

While this is a fully fictional story, the topics explored within were well researched by the author and are based on true events that happened throughout the course of Ireland’s history. As the author lives in Ireland and is Irish herself, that is where the story is focused, however the issues the girls and women faced are universal.

Please read this book. Please read this book. Please read this book and as always, this includes the Author’s Note at the end. Read that too!!

View all my reviews

Review: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

10 Blind Dates10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I have an new favorite YA Contemporary!!

This is the most adorable, sweetest book about family and self-discovery that I have EVER read.

It’s so true, guys! I loved this with my whole heart and soul.
This book is a blessing, Ashley Elston is a blessing.
I am even having a hard time forming legitimate sentences right now.

This precious story follows Sophie, who on the eve of Christmas break, is looking forward to nothing more than spending some quality time with her boyfriend, Griffin. Her parents are traveling to stay with her older sister, Margot, who is pregnant with her first child and having a slightly complicated pregnancy.

The stated plan is that Sophie will be traveling to her Grandparent’s house to stay with them for the entirety of her holiday.

Secretly, she hopes to sneak back home as much as she can to be with Griffin. Unfortunately, when she overhears Griffin tell one of his friends that he wants a break from Sophie, the only thing broken is her heart.

Later that same night, when her Grandmother, Nonna, finds Sophie crying outside her house, she hatches a scheme to get Sophie’s mind of stupid-ole’ Griffin. Her plan: have family members set poor Sophie up on 10 blind dates to keep her busy each night of her Christmas break.

I know this book sounds like the perfect plot for a romantic comedy and it definitely is. At the same time however, my biggest take away from this was the power of a supportive family. At the heart of this, it is about ties that bind that go way deeper than any high school relationship ever could.

Sophie has a LARGE dramatic Sicilian family and I ABSOLUTELY loved the positive family dynamic. There were Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Mom, Dad and her Sister involved. All rooting for Sophie’s happiness and she was such a good sport about everything that was thrown at her.

The dates were all unique and a little wacky. I looked forward to reading each on as they unfolded. It was such a fun and creative format. Elston’s storytelling is just top-notch, there is no denying that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I loved this so, so much!

Ashley Elston is an auto-buy author for me and obviously that’s not changing any time soon. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

View all my reviews

Rave Review: Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #6) by Stephen King

Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6)Song of Susannah by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OH MY WORD!!
CHILLED TO THE BONE!!!

The last few sentences of the CODA! Stop!!!
I cannot believe I am using this many exclamation points but seriously, have you read this?

I am so in love with this series.
I just want to stare at it all day and consider its meaning.
Its true too the guts meaning.
It’s bloody EPIC.

As a continuation of the overall series, this was pure perfection. You know the end draws nigh. The pace of the story is like a quickening heartbeat racing towards the ultimate conclusion.

I am so happy that I picked this up and continued on my journey to the Tower.
The connections in this one…

Sai King truly is a master of our world or any other for that matter. I doff my cap. Exceptionally intricate, compelling and extraordinarily told. Nothing short of genius.

A must read for any Constant Reader.
You know who you are…
View all my reviews

Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape RoomThe Escape Room by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being summoned last minute to participate in a ‘team building exercise’ is not how Vincent, Jules, Sylvie or Sam saw their Friday night going. Unfortunately, participation is mandatory so they all dutifully arrive on time at a remote office building in a shady part of town. Greeting in the lobby, they enter the elevator together for the ride up to one of the top floors.

The express elevator ascends quickly and then abruptly stops. The lights go out and the heat cranks up. Suddenly, the team comes to the realization that this is their exercise. An Escape Room challenge where the competitive coworkers will have to put petty rivalries aside and work together in order to solve the clues needed for them to be released.

As dark secrets of the team are revealed, viciously pitting them against one another, they find themselves removed from their normal boardroom backstabbing and thrust into a definitive game of survival.

Megan Goldin’s thrilling debut, set in the world of high stakes Wall Street finance is incredibly ruthless, and that’s sort of my brand. I absolutely flew through this story. I could not put it down!

Following dual perspectives between our cast of characters in the elevator and flashbacks to a mysterious former team member, Sara Hall, the plotting of this is absolutely brilliant. It kept me engaged and guessing the entire way.

At its heart, a complex revenge thriller, this stoked my Slytherin heart, as I stan a character with the dedication to strategize a long game. If you don’t know what I mean by this, pick up this book. This is the epitome of a painstakingly planned ‘long game’.

I had so much fun reading this and it is now definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I recommend it to anyone who likes a solid, unique thriller. If this is what Goldin puts out for her debut, I cannot wait to what she comes up with next. You know I will be buying it and devouring it as soon as its released!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and of course, love discovering ambitious new authors to obsess over.

This one is out now, my friends, be sure to pick up your copy and see if you can solve The Escape Room!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After losing her job and her live-in boyfriend in one day, Jules feels like a lost soul. Crashing on her best friend’s couch, she can’t believe she has come so low so quickly.

She is determined to get back on her feet, whatever it takes, and just like that an opportunity falls in her lap. Well, not literally, she actually finds opportunity in the classifieds section. Apartment Sitter Wanted.

The Bartholomew is one of the most prestigious apartment buildings in New York City and Jules cannot believe they actually want to interview her for the appointment. Upon seeing the apartment, she absolutely cannot believe her luck. Pristine living quarters, breathtaking views and a handsome next-door neighbor.

$12,000 to live in the apartment for 3-months. Other requirements? Really none besides the fact that she isn’t allowed any visitors, she cannot spend a night away and she absolutely cannot hassle the other tenants.

Her best friend, Chloe, tries to warn her off. If it seems too good to be true it probably is but as Jules sees it, what option does she have?

So, she moves in.

Guys, I freaking loved this book so much! I cannot even describe to you how much fun this was for me to read. It basically has everything I love. Sager’s writing draws you in and the atmosphere is always intense. The setting of the Bartholomew was absolutely brilliant. The history surrounding the building, the other tenants, the odd rules…

There were scenes, reading late into the night, when I was legit terrified. Ultimately, it went in a direction I never would have predicted and it is bizarre and so flipping good. Let’s just say, Hitchcock would be impressed.

Thank you so much, PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot even express my level of gratitude. This was my most anticipated thriller of 2019 and it did not disappoint for a moment. I loved every minute of reading this and will pick up anything Sager ever chooses to have published!

View all my reviews

Review: Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2)Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s so good.
This story is soooooooo good!

That’s a lot of ooooooo’s but seriously…

I am absolute trash for this series.
Bring on Book 3!!!

I read Shadow of the Fox at the beginning of the year and it quickly stood out as a new favorite. I was drawn into the Empire of Iwagoto and now I never want to leave!

This second book continues directly after the final events of the first book. We find Yumeko and her crew on the road to the Steel Feather temple in the hopes of protecting the last pieces of the Dragon Scroll. Y’all know a quest is one of my all-time favorite tropes.

The team of characters setting forth on this mission together makes this story for me. Their personalities play off one another so well. It seriously makes me want to be a part of the group. I don’t care how outright scary and dangerous it gets!

While I wasn’t quite as smitten with this installment as I was with the first book, it is still definitely worth all five stars in my eyes. As second books go, this one upped the stakes of the quest and left off in an exceptionally intriguing part of the story.

I’m not really quite sure how I will hold off until March 2020 for Book 3. I need more Yumeko, Okame, Tatsumi and friends NOW!

It’s almost unfair of Kagawa to do this to us. How dare you write such perfection?!

I would love to shout from the rooftops how much I love this series but that could get embarrassing. For now, I will be content with recommending the heck out of it to all my YA Fantasy-reading friends.

Also, legit anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.

I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it certainly did not disappoint. If you are sleeping on this series, wake up, pick it up and join me in a fangirling!

View all my reviews

KING REREAD: Desperation Review

DesperationDesperation by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

A bizarrely assembled cast of characters, all with distinct strengths and weaknesses, come together to fight an evil, older and more powerful than they could have ever imagined.

That would be my single-sentence synopsis if someone were to ask me what Desperation is about. If you have ever read a Stephen King novel however, you know there is a lot more to it than that.

I read Desperation for the first time around 2001. I was just done with undergraduate school and was so excited to have time to read for fun. I read quite a few King books that year. At the time, I remember liking it but I wasn’t blown away and ultimately decided on a 3-star rating.

Now, close to 20-years later, this is pretty damn close to a perfect read for me.

What can explain the difference?

I’m not really sure. I was so invested in this. The characters were a huge part of the enjoyment factor for me. In my very humble opinion, no one does characters quite like King. He is a master of developing every aspect of character’s personality and the reasons behind it. You never wonder what’s the motivation, you know.

This also has one of my all-time favorite tropes. The mix-matched group of characters, placed into extraordinary circumstances, who band together, no matter their ultimate disagreements about the world, and fight against evil.

Good v. Evil.
I love it.
I’m here for it pretty much every time.

This novel is extremely violent, bloody and graphic. Some of the scenes made my toes curls and my stomach lurch. If that is not your thing, you may want to hard pass on this one. The use of creepy crawlers to instill fear was expertly crafted; again, those with strong fears of snakes, spiders, scorpions, or other beasties of that sort, may want to steer clear.

My one extremely slight critique would be that the final showdown felt a little rushed, hence the 4.5-star rating, as opposed to full 5. This book has a nice, long build-up, and I could definitely have read some more substance at the end. It was great but still I wanted more!

Overall, I am beyond happy that I took the plunge and reread this 706-page beast of modern, horror fiction. I am currently rereading The Regulators and totally digging the many connections I missed the first time around. I would definitely recommend reading these two back-to-back for maximum enjoyment!

View all my reviews

Q1 2019: Best Books

The first quarter of 2019 has come and gone. Thus far this year, I have completed 55 books. This is amazing to me. I cannot even believe it! I am 26 books ahead of schedule to meet my Goodreads 2019 Reading Goal.

In addition to the sheer number, I have also been amazed by the quality of books I have been reading. I have given a lot of 5-star reviews so far this year. I am not sure if this is luck or if perhaps I know better what I like since I am reading so much and am just selecting better for myself. Who knows? Regardless, I have been very pleased with the outcome.

Some standouts for me during the first quarter (completed between January 1st and March 31st) are the following:

  1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – This was actually the first book I completed this year and I was so impressed. What a great way to kick off a reading year. This is a fast-pace and suspenseful Adult Thriller examining what happens when the line between doctor and patient blurs. Highly recommend for Thriller Readers!
  2. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King  This short-story collection by the King was published in 2010 and is comprised of four stories, three of which have been adapted into Netflix movies. I was blown away by how much I loved this set as a whole. All four of these were 4.5-to-5 stars which is a rarity, in my opinion, among short-story collections. King knocks another one out of the park!
  3. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage – This Adult Horror/Thriller novel uses the old ‘evil child’ trope to tell a wickedly delightful and horrifying tale. Man, I loved this. Hooked from the very first chapter, I absolutely flew through this one! For fans of The Omen and The Orphan horror movies but really, any horror fan should give this one a try!
  4. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – Set in a future world where you are told when you have 24-hours left to live, this story follows two boys who make a friendship on that last day and teach each other how to live. I laughed, I cried, I loved. This book. My heart. That is all.
  5. One Day in December by Josie SilverThis Adult Romance novel is the shock of the year for me. As you may know if you follow me, I’m not really a romance reader or a romantic person in general. I picked this book from my TBR jar and am infinitely glad that I did! This was funny and well-paced. It was messy and real and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of Bridget Jones Diary (the movies, I haven’t read the books) and I am so down for that ‘type’ of romance. I would definitely recommend this to any Adult reader; particularly if you cherish good humor in your books.
  6. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – This Adult Mystery/Thriller had all the plot points of a classic Christie work but wrapped with a nice, big modern bow. The characters were unlikable, the setting was brilliant, the whodunit was compelling and I was guessing right up to the very end. This book played on one of my favorite tropes, the ‘locked room’ mystery trope and I am here for that all day and all night. Definitely recommend for Mystery fans who do not need to ‘like’ their characters.

That’s it, guys. Those are my favorites for Q1. What are some of your favorites from the first part of the year? Tell me about them in the comments below or you can contact me through any of my social media.

For more information on any of the books I talk about in this post, just click the book covers pictured above!

Cheers & Happy Reading!

xo