Blog Book Tour and Giveaway: The Blue Moon Narthex by N.J. Donner

Published by Steel Page Press LLC Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Welcome to The Blue Moon Narthex Book Tour! Today is my stop on the tour hosted by Irish Banana Tours and I will be sharing my review of The Blue Moon Narthex. This is a great new series for middle-grade readers and is sure to capture their attention.  Remember to enter the awesome giveaway at the bottom of the post! You don’t want to miss it!

 

The Blue Moon Narthex

Author: N.J. Donner

Publisher: Steel Page Press 

Pub. Date: Feb 7th, 2017

My Rating: 3 Stars

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ABOUT THE BLUE MOON NARTHEX:

The balance of good and evil has been left in the hands of a thirteen-year-old… Since the beginning of time, Karmanic matter worked silently and unassisted keeping good and evil in balance, until growing greed in the world meant Karma couldn’t keep up. As World War I rages, the secret Karmanic Sovereign Legion works behind the scenes to help Karma.

 

A suspicious train accident and an odd stone-shaped object that belonged to his father thrust Cole McCarthy and two schoolmates into the middle of this battle to keep dark forces in check.

 

With only the powerful stone, a letter, and grandfatherly Norm to guide them, the trio must unravel clues and tap into unknown strengths to discover who Cole’s father really was and keep themselves and those they love safe.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N.J. Donner is the author of the new Karmanic Sovereign Legion books. N.J. loves to explore. The world fascinates him and he wants to figure out why and how things work, including Karma.

College adventures took N.J. far from his small Nebraska hometown to the southern hemisphere and the inner city. This was the beginning of his wanderlust and today he loves to travel with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.

N.J. became the first person to graduate with a minor in international affairs from Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent the years right out of college building a successful steel company.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

 

MY REVIEW:

The Blue Moon Narthex is a middle-grade fantasy is made for readers who enjoyed the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series. It is filled with adventure, friends, mystery and even a bit of magic. Were there moments and certain things about the three main characters that reminded me a little (maybe a bit too much) about the Harry Potter series- yes. However, since this is the first book in the series I still believe there is time for it to become more defined, and hold its own with future books. Now that we got that over with, let’s move on to how fun this book is to read. My advice is that if you are a grown adult (like myself…most days) please keep in mind this book is meant for Middle-Grade readers.

 

Thirteen-year-old Cole and his two best friends Britten and Sasha are suddenly thrown into a secret world they didn’t know even existed. The world of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion is dedicated to fighting evil. This is the world Cole’s father was involved with before he died. Cole inherits the Blue Moon Narthex stone which leads him and his friends to the Coreseum. The Coreseum is a school where the kids are divided into groups depending on their talent and given a role to master as part of their education.

 

Hopefully, as the series develops the main characters will come into their own voices. Though they are likable, they do read a bit “younger” than 13. I also feel that their personalities need to be a bit more defined and individualized. Then again, when was the last time you met a 13yr old that was completely self-confident and sure of themselves? There were also times that their immaturity turned me off a bit, I do love the friendship between these characters and how they are always there for each other.

 

Though the characters need a bit of work, the world building is fantastic in The Blue Moon Narthex. While reading the book I felt like I could “see” the Coreseum, the Narthexes and the “sliding”. The author did a wonderful job describing and explaining these places and things in detail. Though I would have liked to see the “real” world and WWI appear or factor in a bit more into the story. The war is only mentioned a few times but not enough for such a huge world event. But then again, maybe the author was avoiding it on purpose. After all, we dive into fantasy to get away from “reality”, and placing the war more prominently would have taken away from the fantasy.

 

Being given a thorough background on the mythology of the world, and details on how Karmanic Matter is discovered and used kept me intrigued and fascinated. It also made the world of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion come to life for me. The concept of “sliding” into different dimensions is what I really loved about this book. It’s one of my favorite things to read about in science fiction/fantasies because I would love to be able to do it myself.

 

Overall, I believe that the Blue Moon Narthex will captivate younger middle-grade readers and transport them to an exciting new world, filled with mystery, friendship and even a bit of magic.

 

*I received this book in a promotional package from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

 

GIVEAWAY: 

Enter for your chance to win a Blue Moon Narthex Swag Box

(US ONLY)
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FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week 1:

2/6: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review

2/7: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Q&A

2/8: Kara the Redhead – Spotlight

2/9: Young Adult Rocks – Review

2/10: books are love – Top 10

Week 2:

2/13: Such A Novel Idea – Q&A

2/14: Book Stacks Amber – Excerpt

2/15: Books Buying Beauty – Review

2/16: Red House Books – Guest Post

2/17: Basic Book Blog – Review

Week 3:

2/20: The Irish Banana Review – Review

2/21: Lisa’s Loves – World Building

2/22: Pondering the Prose – Review

2/23: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets

2/24: The Plot Bunny – Review

 

YA Book Review, Blog Tour and Giveaway: Fate of Flames by Sarah Raugley


fate-of-flames-9781481466776_hrFate of Flames

By: Sarah Raughley

Publication Date:

November 22nd, 2016

Publisher: Simon Pulse

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.

When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.

But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?

About The Author:

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Sarah Raughley grew up in Southern Ontario writing stories about freakish little girls with powers because she secretly wanted to be one. She is a huge fangirl of anything from manga to SF/F TV to Japanese Role Playing Games, but she will swear up and down that she was inspired by ~Jane Austin~ at book signings. On top of being a YA Writer, she is currently completing a PhD in English, because the sight of blood makes her queasy (which crossed Medical School off the list).

She is represented by The Bradford Literary Agency.

So far, you can also find her on Twitter, where work ethic goes to die.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Tumblr

 

My Review:

Fate of Flames starts off exciting from the start. The reader is thrown into a world where monsters known as Phantoms are attacking cities all over the world. Only the Effigies can stop them. At any one given time, there can only be four Effigies . Once an Effigy dies, their power and memories are automatically transferred to the next “chosen one”. This is how Maia Finley a regular high school student all of a sudden inherits the power of fire. Maia is not given a choice, and alongside Belle, Chae, and Lake, they must defeat the Phantoms terrorizing the world.

I really love the idea of a super heroines origin story. The fact that they possess elemental powers also really appealed to me, as I have always loved the idea of characters that can control the elements. One thing that bothered me quite a bit about the Effigies is that they always seemed to be squabbling. In a book that should be totally pushing the idea of “GIRL POWER” I really wish the Effigies had a closer bond. Maybe this was just a book 1 type of thing and we see them growing closer in the next book.

Maia is the quietest of the Effigies, but she can make some sassy comments every now and then too. She has been through a lot so far in her life, and I feel she is still growing as a character. I hope the author will continue to develop her in the next book. It’s nice to see that the characters in this story are diverse and come from different backgrounds and cultures. Chae is my favorite because she always seems to do her own thing and speaks her mind. As much as I wanted to like Belle, I did find her a bit stuck up. The fact that Belle uses alcohol as a coping mechanism for dealing with being an Effigy concerned me.

Fates of Flame left me with so many unanswered questions, which really frustrated me. I know everything can’t be revealed in Book 1, but it felt like one of the answers kept being dangled in front of us but yet never revealed for no reason. This drove me insane! I am hopeful that the answers will come in Book 2 and hopefully, as will more detailed explanations about the world building and the Phantoms too.

I am glad that there was no full on romance throughout this book. There is a hint that there could be some romance between Maia and Rhys, but nothing really happens, yet.  I am glad the author decided to not develop their romance just yet, or turn it into Insta-love which is one of my bookish pet peeves. Rhys definitely has some interesting things going on, and I really hope more will be revealed about him in the next book.

Overall, I found Fate of Flames to be entertaining and fast moving. The action scenes really do remind me of the Sailor Moon series. With all this constant action the story does move along fast. However, I really wish the author had developed the world more in the beginning and explained the laws that govern it. More information is given as the book moves forward, but it still left me feeling as if I had just been dropped in the middle of a series and not a Book 1.

Fans of Sailor Moon, Power Rangers and kickass heroines battling large monsters are sure to enjoy Fates of Flame.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Hannah from the Irish Banana Book Tours for the opportunity to participate in this book tour, and for sending me an advance reader’s copy of Fate of Flames in return for an honest review.

Follow the Fate of Flames Tour:

Enter the Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win 1 of 3

Finished Copies of Fate of Flames

 

 

Blog Tour, Special Announcement and Giveaway: I Hope You Forgive Me with Liza Wiemer

Welcome readers and fellow book lovers!

It gives me great pleasure present to you all today some very special news from one of the loveliest and strongest women I know. Many of you might already know Liza Wiemer, either through her blog, Twitter, book events, or because she is the author of HELLO? (one of my favorite books of all time…so powerful! See my review for Hello? here).

 

I met Liza at BookExpo America in 2015 and since then we have become friends. Liza is the type of person that radiates with positive light and energy. She is constantly trying to find ways to bring people together and to give strength to the voices of teens everywhere. Her novel HELLO? brings to light the importance of how one simple phone call or “hello” can change a life. Liza is now embarking on a completely original project and is launching this new initiative this week called I HOPE YOU FORGIVE ME

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IHYFM is a revolutionary website that asks teens and adults to anonymously share moments from their teen years they wish they could ask forgiveness for but have never had the courage to. Until now.

During your teen years…
Who hasn’t done something stupid? Thoughtless? Rude? Cruel? Mean?
Who hasn’t made mistakes? Done things they regret?
Who hasn’t been afraid to ask forgiveness, but instead chose silence?
Who hasn’t wished they had said, “I’m sorry,” but now it’s too late? 

It’s not.

I HOPE YOU FORGIVE ME is the opportunity to share your burden. To admit what you’ve done. Anonymously. So that teens can learn from your experience.
Let’s make a difference. Together.

All stories shared are anonymous – no telling details save for details you provide are shared publicly. The goal is the bring people together and help today’s teens realize they are not alone by reading the experiences of others.”

 

Learn more about IHYFM:

Webpage: http://ihopeyouforgiv eme.com

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/ ihopeyouforgiveme

Twitter: https://twitter.com/i hopeuforgiveme/

Instagram: https://www.instagr am.com/ihopeuforgiveme/

YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=bl8lBJ7nsww

Facebook video—when you post on Facebook, please use this one so that we can keep track of the views: https://www.facebook.co m/ihopeyouforgiveme/videos/125 7224227664923/

 

GIVEAWAY: 3 – $25 Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 When I found out about I Hope You Forgive Me last week I wanted to go out and announce it from the rooftops. I hope you will consider submitting your own story or at least spreading the word about this incredible venture.

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YA Blog Tour+Review+Giveaway: Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

Published by Disney Hyperion Genres: Young Adult

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Welcome to the Saving Hamlet Blog Tour! I am so excited to share my thoughts on this incredibly unique and funny book with you all. It is being published today, so make sure to head to your local bookstore to pick up your very own copy. Make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post for a chance to win 1 of 3 finished copies.

 

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Author: Molly Booth

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Pub. Date: Nov 1st, 2016

“Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions ofHamlet before time runs out?”

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

 

MY REVIEW:

Saving Hamlet feels like going home, home to my theater days that is. Being a drama geek myself, I dove into this novel and gobbled it up as quickly as I could. It was quirky, humorous and filled with memorable characters.

Emma finds herself starting her sophomore year with a new pixie cut and a renewed interest in theater. Emma has a lot to deal with from the start. Forsaking her high school soccer career doesn’t sit well with all of Emma’s former teammates. Meanwhile, Emma goes from being an assistant to full on stage manager (with very little experience). On top of everything she also has to deal with the casting decisions which might end up causing the play to be a disaster.

Booth does a fantastic job writing vivid and authentic voices for all her characters. Emma is one of my favorites. I love the journey that she goes through in finding herself and learning to assert herself. I found her to be very inspiring. When Emma accidentally travels back in time I felt like I was there with her. Those scenes were some of my absolute favorites of the book.

My two other favorite characters in the book were Lulu and Stanley. I love that they weren’t just token LGBTQIA characters thrown into the story for the sake of having a “diverse” book. To me, they made the story even better with their awesomeness.

Though time-travel does play a role in Saving Hamlet’s plot line, it is not what drives the plot. However, I did enjoy experiencing The Globe Theater and Shakespeare through Emma’s eyes. Capturing both modern day and Elizabethan life, Booth is able to cleverly weave both worlds together into a well-written story.

Normally, I am not a huge fan of love triangles (quadrangle in this case) but Booth was able to pull it off without it being cheesy and nauseating. Even though the romances are swoon worthy and cute, Emma knows her priorities and never loses her focus.

Saving Hamlet will make you laugh out loud and it will enlighten you on a variety of life lessons. It’s a story about friendship, love, and finding yourself. Along with these, this story is also about self-love, and finding acceptance from yourself and others. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who ever was or is into theater/acting, Shakespeare lovers and anyone seeking an authentic and humorous read.

Thank you to Disney Hyperion and Hannah from The Irish Banana Review for including me in this blog tour and making it possible for me to get a chance to read and advance copy of Saving Hamlet in return for an honest review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

molly-booth

Molly Booth grew up homeschooled in Massachusetts with her four boisterous siblings. She stage managed for three different community theaters in high school. Her first college was Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA; she then went on to study writing, literature, and Elizabethan history on a very cold hill at Marlboro College in Vermont. There, she wrote the first drafts of Saving Hamlet her debut novel, coming 11/1/16 from Disney Hyperion. Her second book, Nothing Happened, will be coming spring 2018.
Molly also writes for The Mary Sue, and sometimes other sites like HelloGigglesThe Tempest, and McSweeney’s.  She spends most of her time snuggling her adorable dog Suzie, pet rats Meg and Marigold, and Harriet the queen cat.

She’s represented by Alex Slater at Trident Media Group, and edited by Kieran Viola at Disney Hyperion.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

 

FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week 1:


Week 2:

10/31: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10

11/1: The Plot Bunny – Review

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

3 Finished Copies of SAVING HAMLET (US Only)

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Blog Tour and Book Review: Kiss Cam by Kiara London

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Kiss CamKiss Cam by Kiara London

Pub Date: October 18th, 2016

Publisher: Swoon Reads

GoodReads | AMAZON | B&N

In Kiss Cam, teen author Kiara London asks, what’s a little harmless kissing between friends?

Juniper, Jasper, and Lenny have been friends forever and co-own a vlog channel called WereVloggingHere. Their fans are huge “shippers” who believe that Juniper and Jasper are perfect for each other, and, despite warnings from friends and family, a simple Truth-or-Dare inspired kiss soon spirals out of control into a whole new world of making out and surprise kisses.

Juniper and Jasper’s relationship begins to shift. But as fan requests for different “Kiss Cam” segments keep pouring in, Juniper puts her worries aside and convinces herself that it doesn’t mean anything. After all, it’s just kissing… right?

MY REVIEW

Kiss Cam is the story of vloggers Juniper, Jasper and Lenny and their popular vlog show. The three best friends usually share tidbits about their lives and make silly videos (usually involving dares). Many of their fans are constantly “shipping” a combination of the trio into relationships. The most requested being Jasiper a combo of Juniper and Jasper. During one of their vlog sessions, a dare is suggested by a fan that involves lots of kissing between Jasper and Juniper. This dare leads to the creation of a feature on the vlog called “Kiss Cam”. Though the project is a hit, not everyone thinks it is such a good idea for Jasper and Juniper to take “just kissing” so lightly.

Soon, Juniper starts to wonder if their friendship can survive all the kissing. Yet she tries to convince herself that it’s just for fun. Jasper has been her best friend for ages and it would be weird if they became a couple. Wouldn’t it? I really like Juniper, she tries really hard to keep order and to keep things in line. However, she can’t help losing control and I think we have all been in her shoes. Jasper is witty, and a super flirt, yet he isn’t insensitive or a jerk. Lenny was probably my favorite even though his role felt underrated in the story. He is kind, dependable, and I love his eccentricities. I love how close-knit their friendship is and how comfortable they are with each other.

Reading about the different “Kiss Cam” segments made me laugh. Some of them were very absurd and others just silly. The shared kisses between Juniper and Jasper are very swoon-worthy. I really appreciate that the author did not make the relationship between Jasper and Juniper come out as “instalove” or as anything cheesy. You can tell that they have a very close bond from the start (sometimes the best way to form a real long lasting type of relationship is to start off as friends).

Kiss Cam is an entertaining, fast and enjoyable book to read. I love the characters and especially the dares. Though the book wasn’t super serious in tone, when the friendship between Jasper and Juniper started to change and threatened to be ruined I had tears in my eyes. I worried about how things would turn out for them.

One of my favorite things about Kiss Cam that I really love is the cute chapter titles. When I read the title of Chapter 12 “Ride me Like Rudolph” I laughed so much. It isn’t easy writing a book about emotions and changing dynamics in friendships but I think Kiara London did a really fantastic job. The story felt fluid and the tone light and cheery in all the right places, and more serious and somber in others.

I highly recommend Kiss Cam to any YA contemporary lover seeking something a little silliness and a fun book to read, but who also wants a story with substance and heart.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Hannah at The Irish Banana Reviews for giving me the chance to participate in this tour and get a chance to read this awesome book.

FOLLOW THE TOUR

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Week 2:

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