Friday, January 12, 2018

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Lions Tigers and Boys by Tawny Stokes!

Title: Lions Tigers and Boys

Author: Tawny Stokes

Publication date: January 8th, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Crave

Genre: YA Paranormal

About the Book:

The last thing a girl as awkward as Dani Gale should be doing is trying to learn the high wire. Yet that’s exactly where Dani ends up—at OZ, the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts. Trying to overcome her shyness is near impossible when her new partner—the hottest guy she’s ever laid eyes on, and whose touch seems to give her poise she thought impossible—also seems to be sabotaging her progress.

The last thing Cai Coppersmith needs is a distraction, especially in the form of the new, cute shy girl. He needs to focus on trying not to shape-shift into a tiger on school grounds, and completing his mission to keep Dani from winning the school’s high-wire competition. In fact, the entire safety of OZ is relying on Dani not succeeding. But there’s something about the girl that draws him in. She has magic, he can feel it. So he’ll do what he can to protect her, even if it means pushing her away.

Get It Here:

Entangled Publishing

Follow the tour:

Click here!

About the Author:

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

Goodreads | Twitter



In short, this was a cute and fast read.

I really liked the fact that this book has a Wizard of Oz theme with it, though it's not a retelling.

I also really liked the concept and setting for the book. I think it's cool that there's a boarding school tucked away in the middle of the woods in God Knows Where, USA full of kids who are learning circus skills. The circus acts add a nice twist to the usual mean girls/high school drama because they're competing for a chance to shine under the spotlight.

I liked the characters. Cai is a shifter and a bit mysterious. Dani is super awkward but really sweet in a way that comes across as totally believable. The alternating POVs worked well because each character was different enough in voice where you could tell them apart, although some of the vocabulary used is a little questionable (Deets, off the chain). While they were likable and cute, I feel like the love was too instant. I didn't really have a lot of time to warm up to them individually before the feelings started.

There's a lot going on in this book that makes it a bit hard to focus, but also really interesting at the same time. There's a circus, there's boarding school drama, there's magic, there's shape shifters, there's romance. There's a lot of balls in the air, but it seems to work pretty well together.

I didn't care for all of the pop culture references (Emma Watson, So You Think You Can Dance) because I feel like it dates the book and makes it less relatable down the road. That's just a personal preference though, I'm sure others reading didn't think twice about it.

All in all, this is a solid young adult book. It was engaging with cool world building and some interesting concepts. If you like high school romance, circuses, or boarding school themed books, or attractive red-headed tiger shifters, this is a book worth checking out.


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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Release Day Blitz: The Crown Prince's Bride by Donna Alward!

Title: The Crown Prince's Bride

Author: Donna Alward

Publication date: January 9th 2018

About the Book:

A Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there - in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!

The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.

Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.

When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?

The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairytale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.

Get It Here:

KOBO | | iBooks | Google Play | B&N

About the Author:

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody's Baby, and Someone to Love.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mini Review: Grimms Manga by Kei Ishiyama

Title: Grimms Manga
Author: Keiko Ishiyama
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: January 9 2018
Source: Tokyo POP

Book Description:

In this classic manga version of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, Kei Ishiyama puts her own creative spin on these beloved stories.

Featuring Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Two Brothers, The Twelve Hunters, Snow White, The Frog King, Puss in Boots, and The Singing, Springing Lark, this fantasy manga retells these timeless tales... but with a twist of originality!



This is a very cute collection of Grimm-inspired fairy tales done in a manga art style.

I really enjoyed these retellings. It's worth emphasizing that again: these are retellings. If you are looking for exact stories the way the brothers Grimm told them, you're going to be disappointed. These stories all have new twists and changes that succeed in representing what the original story was about, while making it new and unique. For example, some genders are swapped and some morals of the stories are changed.

I adored the artwork. It went well with the text, and showed the flow of the plot so that you could easily see the stories unfold in front of you. Personally, my favorite artwork was for Little Red Riding Hood- I think that the wolf character looks darling.

If you like both fairy tale retellings and manga, you're in luck. This is something you'll want to read. It's a pretty quick read and one I'd definitely look through again.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon

Title: Monsterland
Author: Michael Okon
Format: Paperback, 232 pages
Pub. Date: December 19th 2017
Source: Author

Book Description:

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth. Wyatt Baldwin's senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?



This is a great concept for a book. In this novel, humans are fully aware of the existence of monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies (also known as the vitally challenged). Not only that, they are the topic of politics, study, and either admiration or abomination. Enter Monsterland: a theme park where humans can step right up and see zombies, vampires, and werewolves in a safe environment, up close and personal. Some say it's genius, others say its cruel. As for me.... I fluctuated between the two.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Okon takes this as a compliment; Monsterland gives me major 1990's RL Stine nostalgia. He was my absolute favorite author as a kid, and this book took me back. But at the same time, this book is like Fear Street all grown up. There's more death, more philosophy, and honestly I was taken by surprise the issues and topics that made me think as a reader. What makes a human more human than a vampire? Are we worthy of more rights? Are they just animals? Is it humane to display other living things in glass cages, or take advantage of the ill?

My opinion switched over the course of the novel. At the beginning, I was like the main character. I was PUMPED for Monsterland. Seeing vampires up close? Sign me up! But then you learn more about how the park works and boy does it get sinister. Like the fake moon that rises every hour that forces the wolves to go through their painful transformations against their will. And then I felt bad. Because that's awful, and of course I wouldn't want anyone to do that.... The moral dilemmas are interesting and unexpected.

The world building is well done. You learn why the monsters are there, about the politics of a mixed species society, about the anticipation of the park. It's a solidly written book. The violence is descriptive and gory (bones breaking, blood oozing) without being gratuitous. There's quite a few characters to follow, but they're pretty distinct from one another so it's easy to follow. The speed of the book is well paced, albeit a little rushed at the end. I think it may be a set up for a second book though, so I get why it ended the way it did.

I liked the twists on classic monsters that Okon brought to the story, such as how vampires turn people and how zombies came to be. It was intriguing (and kind of made me want a more NSFW vampire book, to be completely honest with you).

I'm glad I read this, and I can already tell you this book is underhyped and underrated. This book can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of (relative) age or gender; there's romance, there's high school drama, there's murders, there's zombie decapitations, there's something for everyone.

If you're a fan of young adult horror and vampires that don't sparkle, or books that are set in amusement park/circus/carnival type settings, this book is worth getting. I would read another book in this series in a heartbeat.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [109]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* the picture to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Is it as freezing by you as it is by me?

In My Mailbox

Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill

In My E-Mailbox

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton [Thanks Disney!]
Derailed by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge [Thanks Monster House!]
DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster! by Shea Fontana [Thanks DC!]
Reflection by Elizabeth Lim [Thanks Disney!]
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh [Thanks Penguin!]


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling [Thanks dad!]


Be sure to enter my giveaway, click the banner!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: If You Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy
Series: If You Were Me and Lived In...
Author: Carole P. Roman
Artist: Silvia Brunetti
Format: Paperback, 58 pages
Pub. Date: May 6th 2016
Source: Author

Book Description:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Elizabethan England, and what Colonial American children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.



I think this is a great children's book series that overall does a good job of introducing world history to kids. While still an okay book, this particular installment is not my favorite of the series.

There is a LOT of information here. And that's good, to a degree. But when there's a block of text compared to a small, or not detailed illustration, it becomes dry and too much like a text book.

As always, I do appreciate the glossary in the back, and the phonetic pronunciations that are sprinkled throughout the book. They're helpful, if you/r kid has not come across them before. There's also a list of famous figures from this point in time, which is a good addition.

The illustrations are really pretty- I really like the art style. I do, however, think the mix of real life photos and artwork is sort of odd and choppy.

I also really appreciated that the book was about a girl this time!

All in all, it's informative but a bit much. It's still really interesting, but a bit harder to get through.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: Bats and Bones by Jeffrey Hickey

Title: Bats and Bones
Author: Jeffrey Hickey
Artist: Karen Kiser
Format: Paperback, 1st, 44 pages/audio cd
Pub. Date: October 12th 2015
Source: Author

Book Description:

Bats and Bones is IPPY award winning author Jeffrey Hickey's second work for children. This collection of spooky tales for middle school aged children and above is a subtle masterpiece of fright and emotion. Hickey wrote all the stories, the lush music, and does all the voices for the audio book. His wife, Karen Kiser, contributes the cover art, along with some penny whistle and a little piano. The inside illustrations, layout and design are by Rachel Betz, who also designed Hickey's first work for children, Wages Creek.

This was originally released as a CD only. This is the first edition in print.



This is a solid collection. Bats and Bones contains a collection of short stories that are aimed to be spooky reads for "middle school aged children and above".

The story telling was okay, but I didn't find it all too spooky. I don't think that the age bracket intended is spot on. It seemed a bit younger than middle school to me. I could be biased, since in junior high I was reading Stephen King already. But, the writing is fair, and I appreciated that each of the stories was unique from one another.

I do think that the audio cd/accompaniment that came with the print book made it a more interesting experience. I highly recommend utilizing the audio component. It does make everything a bit creepier, and makes up for the bit of lacking that I found while only reading the print alone.

If you have a child who is into ghost stories or starting to show an interest in horror, this is a good place to start. If they're already reading horror, then this might not be up to their level of entertainment.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!