Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats by Kimberlie Hamilton – Review

As a cat enthusiast, how could I not leap at the chance to review a book like Fearless Felines? Within its covers is a wealth of felines from around the world who have done marvelous things, from feats of courage to giving hope to small towns. Truly inspiring, some of these stories were entirely new to me and I am pleased to be able to share my thoughts today on Kimberlie Hamilton’s new book: Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats.

Thank you to Scholastic Inc. for sending me a copy of this book to review.

 

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Published: 5 November 2019

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Genre(s): Non-fiction/Animals

From World War II London to outer space, meet the coolest cats in history in a colorful illustrated compendium of famous felines and cat facts.

Drawing from the thrilling lives of more than 30 adorable cats throughout history, Kimberlie Hamilton retells the fascinating tales of cats through the centuries. Meet Mrs. Chippy, a cat who joined a daring ocean journey to Antarctica, or Simon, the only cat to receive a medal for wartime bravery, and dozens more. Filled with colorful depictions of each cat and feline facts throughout, this is the perfect gift for cat and history lovers alike.

 

 

4

 

 

content warnings - Copy

 

Implied animal testing/animal death

 

what i enjoyed

 

The format of the book was pleasing and kept my interest as a reader. The 30 courageous felines were featured as promised; interspersed between their entries were smaller features that were just as fascinating.

These smaller entries included cats may have shared a common thread with the previous entry. For example: the Courageous story of Faith, a cat whose insistence on staying in a church basement saved her and her kitten’s lives, was followed by a listicle of other cats who were seemingly possessed of a preternatural sense (one cat “knew” when his owner died, another seemingly predicted an avalanche).

Other interspersed pages featured tips such as How To Tell If A Cat Loves You, How To Help Cats In Need, Feline Entrepurr-neurs, and more.

The various art styles were all very nice and went so well together. The work of 17 different artists, their individual styles complemented the portions of the book that they worked on while also working with the styles of their neighbors.

 

Thank you to all the illustrators!

 

Allie Runnion, Andrew Gardner, Becky Davies, Charlotte Archer,

Emma Jayne, Holly Sterling, Hui Skipp, Jessica Smith, Katie Wilson,

Lily Rossiter, Michelle Hird, Nan Lawson, Olivia Holden, Rachel Allsop,

Rachel Sanson, Bonnie Pang, Sam Loman.

 

I loved the end of the book where, gathered together, were the titles of the books mentioned within for further reading on these fascinating felines. I have read Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicky Myron (yes! Dewey was featured in Fearless Felines!) and hope to read more from this list. There are also select websites with information about cats, cruelty prevention, and dedicated sites for featured felines.

 
what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

There were some parts of the book where I felt conflicted. There were the 30 distinct entries, of course, and aside from that there were listicles between the entries within which more cats were mentioned. This is all to bring up the entries I’m referencing.

One being Milo of The Adventures of Milo and Otis film fame/infamy. The first issue is that the entry misgenders Milo (female used in place of male) and also the entry saying that, because the film has no humans appearing in it, that that makes it worth seeing. While normally I’d agree on that point, the animal cruelty allegations and murky issues surrounding the film make me question why this particular entry’s inclusion.

Another entry, this one a feature one including illustration, was that of Felicette, a street cat from France that was sent into space as part of the Space Race in the 1960’s. While it sounds impressive that she was the first cat to go to and survive her journey into space, the cavalier way the author describes her fate upon her return made me uncomfortable.

 

“Scientists were eager to see if Felicette’s brain had changed in any way during her history-making voyage, which included five minutes of fur-raising weightlessness.
They learned a great deal…”

 

The implied animal testing was, as I said, discomforting, particularly once I looked up what actually happened to Felicette both during her journey and afterwards.

Edit (16.7.19): the author does include a note in the book during Felicette’s entry that is of import here. My apologies for not including it in the original review:

 

“There’s no longer much reason to send cats, dogs and primates into space and many believe it is unethical to do so. Being launched into space isn’t exactly a pleasant experience, and unlike human astronauts, animals have no say in the matter. That’s why it’s so important to remember and honor Felicette for all that she sacrificed in the name of science.”

 

 

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It was a lot of fun to hear familiar stories about my favorite historical felines. It was that and more to discover new tales from around the world, from cats that “danced” ballet to ones that travelled hundreds of miles to be reunited with their families to cats that accomplished so much more. Cats as a species have depths of incalculable depths and I don’t think we’ll ever stop learning from them.

Sharing their stories can be funny, can be enjoyable, educational, at times worrisome, but hopefully we can take what we learn and make sure we’re worthy of the devotion and intelligence of cats by taking care of their lives and their stories.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford (Author) & Marcela Simonetti (Illustrator) – A Review

Timothy has a big imagination and a week of time to travel it! With his time machine he’ll go everywhere, from the time of the dinosaurs to the far future with flying cars and robots. Travel with him on his journey as he takes a look at different locales in his trusty Time Machine.

Thank you to William Ford for providing me with a copy of his book for review.

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 30 January 2019

Publisher: Self-published

Genre(s): Children’s/Picture Books

With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible! Join Timothy on a magical rhyming adventure as he skips through time and pranks with pirates, gets daring with dragons, and even teases a T-Rex!

“It’s Monday. Hip hip hooray! Where shall we travel in time today?

With Timothy Mean, every day is a rhyme in time!

 

2

 

 

what i enjoyed
Timothy was a curious, inventive child that built his time machine out of scrap parts in his basement. His crafting skills seem to be on point.

There was a range of historical points of reference that Timothy visited. From the age of dinosaurs to a futuristic time period where robots are teachers, including his own parents’ childhoods and the 1969 lunar moon landing, his went to a lot of places over the course of a week.

 

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 
Some of the rhyme schemes didn’t seem to work too well, thus interrupting the flow of the story (fun/mum for example). There were multiple grammatical choices that fell into this as well and made the flow of the words awkward. If one is reading this aloud, it’s going to sounds strange or at the very least not match what’s on the page.

Timothy Mean feels like an illustrated chapter book that’s trying to cram itself into a picture book format. The chunks of text on each page feel like too much for the format.

Artwise, I thought that the cover was a bit off putting because it seemed like clip art as opposed to the art style found within, which did improve and reminded me of an almost creepy Dave McKean aesthetic.

Whether Timothy actually used a time machine or this was all in his imagination, the actions taken throughout the book are very telling of his personality. I understand his name is quite literally Mean, but he doesn’t really have or get a redeeming quality by the end. There are multiple examples of “naughty” behavior, but by the end his parents quite literally say he has a playful mind and it’s left at that.

 

 

to sum it up - Copy

Timothy certainly lived up to his name during the course of this book. He doesn’t interact with anyone else in this book that can be said for sure to be a real person, with the exception of his family on the final page. I’m not sure whether he’d be like this with other people (i.e. the behavior that makes him live up to his name). Is he a bully? Is he a lonely child? Both? There’s a lot of layers to this story that I don’t think really get answered which is, in part, because I think this is feels more like a story that isn’t quite right as a picture book (see my point under Things I Didn’t Enjoy).

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine is a decently illustrated, if overly dark (color wise), decently written book that doesn’t quite connect as a picture book. I don’t think it works as a read aloud experience, but maybe as a teaching experience for how not to act as a mean person.

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy – A Review

In 2015 I read Dumplin’ and met many of the young ladies from Georgia that appear, once again, in this companion book, Puddin’. As the focus shifts from Willowdean, who wanted to show the pageant scene a thing or two about their standards, to Millie, who wants to do the same with broadcast journalism, and Callie with the school administration and her dance team, it’s time to check in with familiar (and new) characters while diving into adventures, tensions, and unfolding chapters in their lives.

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 8 May 2018

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Genre(s): Young Adult/Contemporary/Fiction

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush.

Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

 

3

 

Rep: Fat MC, Indian LI, Asexual SC, Lesbian sister, Lesbian SC

 

content warnings - Copy

 

ableism, body shaming, bullying, fat shaming, sexism, violence

 

what i enjoyed

 

I loved most Millie’s multifaceted personality. She loved writing, which we saw right away from her determination to wake up at dawn to get those creative juices flowing (even though she admits that rising early is evil. lol). Then, we see that Millie’s crafting game is seriously on point. Her skills ranged from needlepoint to papercrafts and beyond.

I pull my cell phone out of my backpack, which has been emblazoned with all kinds of stitchwork, including flowers, clouds, stars, a few emojis I tried my hand at, and even a little fat mini me on the very bottom of the front pocket.

It was so cool to see all the different ways that she expressed herself, that she had an interest not only in journalism, the major thing that her story was about, but about these artistic endeavors as well.

At least one benefit to listening to the audiobook is this moment you won’t pick up on unless you’re listening to the audiobook. Prior to Millie finding out about Malik’s name & its pronunciation, she said/thought it one way (Maleak). Immediately afterward, internally & (presumably) externally she uses the correct pronunciation (Mah-lick). When it’s written, you can’t see that she changes how she says it but audibly? It’s immediately noticeable and I loved that the narrator did that (production? whoever made that decision, it was a good one).

Callie was a strong Slytherin of a character. She was a planner, loyal to a fault, pushed for what she wanted, all while admittedly making some ill advised/cringey decisions. She had plans laid out for the Clovers dance squad and was doing her best to make it the best squad possible. I liked seeing her with her family, whether it be her little sister or her dad and abuelita; these showcased her softer side, a time when she allowed herself to relax as opposed to the persona that she felt was required in the dance/outside world.

 

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

The blatant favoritism that Millie and Callie’s school showed to its sports teams was infuriating and familiar. Callie saw it because the Clovers Dance Team was critically underfunded. Millie saw it when her and Malik’s AP Psych class had to meet in a windowless temporary building with questionable safety standards because the school was funneling money into a new training facility for a mediocre football team. I grew up in a small farm town and my high school’s art and music programs were constantly under threat because of similar issues. If it wasn’t football (or soccer, tennis, on down the sports hierarchy at the time), then it didn’t seem to matter. (This part I more didn’t like because of the situation rather than it was poorly written.)

While Callie had a strength and perseverance that I admired, there was also an aspect to her that annoyed me. There was a nastiness that came out, even with her dance team, that was distasteful. When she was interacting with Millie and making snide comments mentally or when she was acting as though her actions in relation to the gym vandalism were no big deal, these all rubbed me the wrong way. She holds onto blaming Millie, to blaming others for her actions, being snide, and I found myself shaking my head way too much unto the end.

I also didn’t think there was as much spark as I seemed to remember there being in Dumplin’. This felt like a nice-ish catch-up on the characters from the previous book, but while I thought Puddin’ was a good book, there was a certain punch that kept it from being really great. The pacing was part of it, possibly how I felt about Callie as well, and considering she was 50% of the book (it being a dual p.o.v. book), that affected it.

 

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

Puddin’ took this frustratingly familiar case and had characters react to it with anger, frustration, anxiety, bravery: a gamut of emotions that highlighted their humanity and I loved it. The Clover girls worked their butts off, not only to be Clovers, but to make sure there were Clovers in the first place. Even after the events of the book and what it costs Callie, you can see how important the dance team was for her when she attends a school board meeting and lays this all out regarding the funding, the favoritism, and why the school needs to do better.

 

 

 

 

 

I received an e-arc copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

The Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour Presents: An Interview With Lori Goldstein, Author of Screen Queens

screen queens tour banner

 

Today on my stop of The Fantastic Flying Book Club’s tour for Screen Queens is an interview with the author, Lori Goldstein. We talk about what the future might be like for the main characters, Lori’s own internship history, and what she’d like readers to take away from reading Screen Queens.

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 11 June 2019

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre(s): Young Adult/Contemporary

The Bold Type meets The Social Network when three girls vying for prestigious summer internships through a startup incubator program uncover the truth about what it means to succeed in the male-dominated world of tech.

This summer Silicon Valley is a girls’ club.

Three thousand applicants. An acceptance rate of two percent. A dream internship for the winning team. ValleyStart is the most prestigious high school tech incubator competition in the country. Lucy Katz, Maddie Li, and Delia Meyer have secured their spots. And they’ve come to win.

Meet the Screen Queens.

Lucy Katz was born and raised in Palo Alto, so tech, well, it runs in her blood. A social butterfly and CEO in-the-making, Lucy is ready to win and party.

East Coast designer, Maddie Li left her home and small business behind for a summer at ValleyStart. Maddie thinks she’s only there to bolster her graphic design portfolio, not to make friends.

Delia Meyer taught herself how to code on a hand-me-down computer in her tiny Midwestern town. Now, it’s time for the big leagues–ValleyStart–but super shy Delia isn’t sure if she can hack it (pun intended).

When the competition kicks off, Lucy, Maddie, and Delia realize just how challenging the next five weeks will be. As if there wasn’t enough pressure already, the girls learn that they would be the only all-female team to win ever. Add in one first love, a two-faced mentor, and an ex-boyfriend turned nemesis and things get…complicated.

Filled with humor, heart, and a whole lot of girl power, Screen Queens is perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and The Bold Type.

 

 

Interview With the Author, Lori Goldstein

 

The Hermit Librarian (THL): Did you ever have an internship when you were a teen? Or, if you could have, where would you have liked to intern if you could choose?

Lori Goldstein (LG): As a journalism major, I had internships in college, one at a local newspaper, which I remember consisted mostly of updating the calendar and compiling the obituaries . . . with the occasional town meeting article tossed in. Not the most exciting journalism (but all necessary!). Unfortunately, I didn’t have internships in high school. I worked at a picnic grounds that hosted summer corporate outings, but in many ways it functioned as an internship. The owners put an immense amount of trust in kids 14 to 18 years old to essentially run a lot of the small events ourselves, from the sports to overseeing the pool to cooking all the food. It was a blast! If I could have had an actual internship I’d have wanted it to be in a restaurant kitchen (do they offer those?). I love to cook and would have loved to see the inner workings of a restaurant early on to decide if that were a career path I’d have wanted to take.

 

THL: What was the research like for the tech aspect of Screen Queens? Did you have a background to draw upon or was there stuff you had to dive for?

LG: My career has always centered on publishing in some way, but a good portion of my work was in technology publications, writing, editing, graphic design, and even some coding as part of Web sites. So while I don’t have a developer background, I have been immersed in enough of the tech world to understand terminology and such. But still, I definitely had to do research to write SCREEN QUEENS. I spent a lot of time reading articles, personal essays, and a nonfiction book called BROTOPIA by Emily Chang that all dealt with what it’s like to be a woman in tech. I think many are familiar with the low representation of both women and minorities in tech, but the reality in both hard numbers and in personal accounts is eye-opening. Fortunately I also have a good friend who was a coder who shared her stories as well as ensured my “tech speak” was accurate. I had fun diving into the world of hackathons and technology incubators like YC to come up with the structure for the program the girls are in. I’m also lucky to have visited San Francisco and Silicon Valley many times visiting friends, so I had a good knowledge base to bring the location to life.

 

THL: What kind of music would Delia, Maddie, and Lucy be jamming to while working together to secure their internship?

LG: Lucy is a total party girl so she’d be into dance and club music, but when she works she’s laser focused and would never allow a distraction like music. Maddie isn’t the most open person emotionally. It takes her time to warm up to people and trust them. But I like to think that secretly, she’s a big Taylor Swift fan, wishing for her own girl squad, though she’d never admit it. Delia grew up in the community theatre her parents own, so I think her music of choice would be show tunes, songs that remind her of home as she’s the most homesick out of all of them.

 

THL: What is one thing that each girl brought with them this summer that they can’t live without?

LG: Lucy has her lavender-scented hand-sanitizer wipes, which she uses to disinfect the sketchy rubber-coated mattresses and grimy furniture in their dorm room and has on hand for any and all germy occasions. Maddie has her monster laptop, a direct line to her artwork, to her freelance design business, and chatting with her little brother back home. Delia has a quotation from Ada Lovelace, a woman credited with being the first computer programmer before there were even computers. She brought this from home as both a comfort and inspiration to succeed in this tough competition.

 

THL: Fast forward five or ten years: can you give us a glimpse at what life might be like for the Screen Queens?

LG: BTW, wouldn’t a sequel would be super fun?! While I hate to pigeon hole any of them into a future since I’d love readers to imagine Lucy, Maddie, and Delia’s lives playing out in their own ways, I am sure of a few things. Namely that they are still friends, though I don’t think they all live in the same location. I imagine Lucy’s abroad somewhere, on the front lines of setting up a new startup location, Maddie’s back on the East Coast, and Delia’s right where she always wanted to be in Silicon Valley.

 

THL: Do you have any favorite computer/tech based films ala The Matrix or Hackers?

LG: SCREEN QUEENS has been called The Bold Type meets The Social Network, and I actually think The Social Network is a great movie that holds up over time. Considering what Facebook did to basically invent our social media of today, it’s entirely relevant.

 

THL: If there’s one thing you want your readers to take away from Screen Queens, what would that be?

LG: I want readers to feel empowered, but that can happen in many ways, which is what happens for the young women in the novel. That can be empowered to push through glass ceilings and move outside the box and not be hemmed in by tradition or expectations, empowered to forge ahead to achieve your goals even though they might be hard. But it can also be empowered to be who you are without caring what others think. And it can be empowered to embrace the relationships, friends, and family in your life, to take chances even if there’s the risk of being hurt. Essentially I want readers to feel energized and ready to take their hopes and dreams to the next level.

 

 

about the author - Copy

 

lorigoldstein

Author of SCREEN QUEENS, coming from Razorbill, June 11, 2019, and available for preorder now (AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound) about three teen girls who attend a startup incubator in Silicon Valley and learn what it means to compete in the male-dominated world of tech.
My Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy series Becoming Jinn and Circle of Jinn is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan).
Obsessed with books, beach, and Game of Thrones, Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog and sign up for my newsletter  at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com, my Instagram, and my Tumblr. Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on upcoming releases.

 

Giveaway

 

Prize (1):Win a copy of SCREEN QUEENS by Lori Goldstein and two swag packs (US Only)

Prize (2):Win (1) of (20) paper doll character cards for Lucy, Maddie, and Delia (INTERNATIONAL+US/CAN)

Starts: June 18th 2019 Ends: July 2nd 2019

 

 

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

 

all giveaway (US and INT)

 

 

Tour Schedule

 

June 18th

June 19th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes
Young Adult Media Consumer – Review + Favourite Quotes
Devouring Books – Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

June 20th

Snark and Squee – Review
Wall-to-wall books – Review

June 21st

The Hermit Librarian – Interview
Book-Keeping – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Few Chapters ’til Love – Review + Dream Cast
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes

June 22nd

L.M. Durand – Review + Favourite Quotes
Magical Reads – Review + Playlist
Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Review + Favourite Quotes
Pooled Ink – Promotional Post

June 23rd

The YA Obsessed – Review
Belle’s Archive – Review
Frayed Books – Review
Firstbooklove – Review
Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes

June 24th

Morgan Vega – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
The Clever Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookish In Bed – Review
Mind of Luxe – Review
Kourtni Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes

 

 

 

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Rockstar Book Tours Presents – The A is for Elizabeth series by Rachel Vail (Author) & Paige Kaiser (Illustrations) – Excerpt

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Elizabeth is ready for the second grade: friends, recess, homework!

There’s a lot to figure out in the second grade, from making friends to making a poster of her name (Elizabeth has a lot of letters). Get ready for this spinoff of of the Justin Case series starring Elizabeth, Justin’s sister, in her own adventure: the A is for Elizabeth series!

Today on The Hermit Librarian I have an excerpt from A is for Elizabeth (a link to view it on Scribd is below) as well as a Rafflecopter giveaway that is tour wide! This is a US open chance to receive the A is for Elizabeth series, books that are full of fun prose and illustrations, so be sure to check that out as well as all the other stops on this great tour. 🙂

 

A is for Elizabeth cover

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Published: 9 May 2019

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre(s): Childrens 

Elizabeth is in second grade. Class 2B! It’s great! Friends, recess, homework!

Even a big project: Make a poster of your name.

Yayyy!

Hang on.

The name Elizabeth has a bajillion letters in it!

The name Anna has only four letters. Plus, Anna’s first letter is A, which is also the first letter of Alphabetical Order. But Anna can’t always be first! That’s not fair!

In A is for Elizabeth, Elizabeth makes more than a poster. She also makes some important choices—about fairness, rules, speaking up, and glue. But the most important thing she makes is…a friend!

A new spin off from Vail’s Justin Case series starring Justin’s little sister.

 

 

big mouth elizabeth

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Published: 9 May 2019

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre(s): Childrens

Big Mouth Elizabeth is the second in a new chapter book series spinning off of the Justin Case books, starring Justin’s little sister, Elizabeth.

Second-grader Elizabeth longs to be a member of the Big Mouth Club, which is made up of kids who have lost at least one baby tooth. Elizabeth is WAY behind on losing her baby teeth, and so is Cali, a quiet girl who is also left out of the Big Mouth Club. Elizabeth thinks Cali is so much more babyish than she is–in fact, Elizabeth SHOULD be in the Big Mouth Club because she’s NOT babyish. But when she understands how bad it feels to be left out, Elizabeth’s attitude shifts.

Here is a story about fitting in in unexpected ways. With copious line art by Paige Keiser, this second book in Rachel Vail’s Elizabeth series is sure to delight fans of Judy Moody, Junie B. Jones, and Clementine.

 

 

Excerpt

 

(Please click the link below to see the preview for A is for Elizabeth)

 

A is for Elizabeth_Excerpt 1 by Jaime Arnold on Scribd

 

 

about the author - Copy

 

 

Rachel Vail_A is for Elizabeth

Rachel Vail is the award-winning author of more than 30 books.

Her newest novel for middle-schoolers is WELL, THAT WAS AWKWARD.

Her novels for teens and tweens also include UNFRIENDED, IF WE KISS, KISS ME AGAIN, LUCKY, GORGEOUS, BRILLIANT, and the Friendship Ring series.

For elementary school kids, there’s JUSTIN CASE: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters; JUSTIN CASE: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom, and, JUSTIN CASE: Rules, Tools, and Maybe a Bully.

Her picture books include PIGGY BUNNY and SOMETIMES I’M BOMBALOO.

Rachel lives in New York City with her husband, their two sons, and a tortoise named Lightning.

 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Giveaway

 

3 lucky winners will receive finished copies of the A IS FOR ELIZABETH Series (US Only)

 

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

Tour Schedule

 

Week One:

 

6/10/2019- Twirling Book Princess- Excerpt

6/11/2019- BookHounds YA Excerpt

6/12/2019- Nerdophiles Review

6/13/2019- BookishRealmReviews– Review

6/14/2019- The Hermit Librarian– Excerpt

 

Week Two:

 

6/17/2019- BookishRealmReviews Review

6/18/2019- The Suburban Lifestyle– Review

6/19/2019- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt

6/20/2019- Book-o-Craze– Review

6/21/2019- Two points of interest– Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

The Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour Presents – All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick – A Review

 

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The weight of expectations, the fear of them, are heavy upon the shoulders of Amanda and Rosalie. Amanda’s relationship with Carter, the golden boy of the town, is supposed to save her secretly debt ridden family. Rosalie has to keep her girl, Paulina, a secret and continue “dating” Carter or risk being sent back to conversion therapy by her evangelical parents.

Then, PRIVATE contacts them.

The stakes are insanely high for Amanda and Rosalie, but the ramifications of the actions in All Eyes on Us reach farther than they’d ever expect. What they’ll have to do is figure out not only who PRIVATE is, but who they are now and who they’re going to be in their respective futures, if they can reclaim them from the spectre of this blackmailer.

 

 

about the book - Copy

 

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| Goodreads | Indiebound | Libro.fm

Published: 4 June 2019

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre(s): Young Adult/LGBT+/Thriller

Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their paths intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secrets and uproot their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: Wouldn’t you look better without a cheater on your arm?
AMANDA: Who is this?

The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.

PRIVATE NUMBER: I’m watching you, Sweetheart.
ROSALIE: Who IS this?

Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.

When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…

 

Rep: F/F relationship (1 MC, 1 Mexican-American SC), M/M relationship (SCs)

 

content warnings - Copy

 

intense flashback scenes depicting abusive conversion “therapy” tactics; homophobia; parental alcoholism; bullying/threats of violence, gaslighting

 

4

 

All Eyes On Us was a book that was hard to put down. It was unnerving because of the eerie feeling of someone watching you over your shoulder, of someone texting you out of the blue and saying the sort of thing that PRIVATE did. How Amanda and Rosalie managed…

 

what i enjoyed

 

  • The characterization of the main characters was enjoyable, even when things were not going particularly well or they were not being “good”.

 

  • Amanda’s “better than you” attitude was interesting because it’s less crass than I’ve read in other novels. Instead of overloading the reader with language that’s snotty, Amanda’s observations of, for example, Ben (a member of her social circle via her boyfriend) felt more polished, like she is more thus her insight is supposed to be. From her noticing the fit of his too-short pants to a too-big coat, she’s points these things out without sounding lowbrow.

 

  • She was multifaceted, even as she was being pressed into what her mother wanted her to be. The glimpses of what she desired, such as pursuing her love of the French language and what that might lead to, the music that she enjoyed even if it wasn’t something Carter liked, and so on.

 

  • Rosalie, basically, because I felt a connection with her. The secrets she has to keep in order to remain close to her girlfriend (Paulina) and her little sister are a lot, but considering her parents are members of a vehemently homophobic church, it’s necessary. When she came out to them at thirteen, they forced her, among other things, into conversion therapy. To avoid that again, she pretends to date Carter which is something that leads to the primary dilemma of the book.

 

  • The “relationship” that Amanda and Rosalie develop was interesting and I liked that. How they end up working together, where they end up, etc.

 

  • Paulina’s family, which unfortunately we don’t get to see quite enough, were lovely.

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

  • It was sometimes a bit difficult to keep track of the side characters, particularly when reading Amanda’s point of view because most if not all of the adults were called by their first names. I suppose it was a mark of how they viewed their children as adults in their own right who are taking on responsibilities in social settings that may or may not be beyond their years. Amanda, for example, ruminates early on about how she is being groomed to be at her boyfriend Carter’s side, the two of them taking the place of their parents at the head of the town’s society. That didn’t make it any less confusing. >.<

 

  • One thing I really didn’t like was this line from the end of the book:

 

SPOILER ALERT

Highlight the quote to reveal spoiler.

 

He got really close to destroying both our lives. But if Carter hadn’t ruined almost everything, Amanda wouldn’t be going to Paris. And I wouldn’t be the happiest I’ve ever been – out, living in Pittsburgh, not looking back.

 

This quote feels very dismissive of Amanda and Rosalie and their own strengths. As if they had to be put through the trauma they experienced from PRIVATE to be able to get to where they are at the end of the book. That irked me a lot.

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

All Eyes on Us is an engaging thriller with some content that I would say should be read with caution and particular attention paid to the content warnings.

 

about the author - Copy

 

all eyes on me authorKit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University. When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press, edits for private clients, and mentors emerging writers through Pitch Wars. She is the author of the young adult novels See All the StarsAll Eyes on Us (2019), and Windermere (2020), all from Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, and the poetry collection A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press). Her fiction is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management / Folio Jr.

 

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Tour Schedule

 

June 10th

The Hermit Librarian – Review
Hauntedbybooks – Review & Favorite Quotes
The Bookish Libra – Review

 

June 11th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
Morgan Vega – Review
A Few Chapters ’til Love – Q&A

 

June 12th

Musings of a (Book) Girl – Review
Utopia State of Mind – Review/Creative Post
Some Books & Ramblings – Review

 

June 13th

onemused – Bookstagram Review
Kait Plus Books – Q&A
The Reading Corner for All – Bookstagram
Snark & Squee – Review

 

June 14th

Bookishly Nerdy – Review & Favorite Quotes
Cinnamon Summers – Bookstagram
Here’s to Happy Endings – Review

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia (Author) & Gabriel Picolo (Artist) – Review

The first book in the DC Ink Teen Titans series, Raven felt like the perfect choice before I picked this book up. She’s long been a favorite character because of her conflicted nature, her inner turmoil, and the enormous amount of power that she has at her disposal. Figuring all or even any of that out is a lot, especially considering her age. How would a new author and a new artist handle one of my favorite DC personas?

 

about the book - Copy

 

44176371

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indiebound

Published: 2 July 2019

Publisher: DC Ink

Genre(s): Graphic Novel/Young Adult/Superheroes

When a tragic accident takes the life of seventeen-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom–and Raven’s memory–she moves to New Orleans to live with her foster mother’s family and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. When strange things start happening–impossible things–Raven starts to think it might be better not to know who she was in her previous life.

But as she grows closer to her foster sister, Max, her new friends, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past…and the darkness building inside her.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures Kami Garcia, and artist Gabriel Picolo, comes this first graphic novel in the Teen Titans series for DC Ink, Teen Titans: Raven.

 

content warnings - Copy

Fatal car crash, death of a parent, homophobia, bullying

 

3

 

I was thinking about this for a bit and I think that a good portion of this rating goes toward the art.

 

what i enjoyed

 

Max, Raven’s cousin and, is cool. When Raven/Rachel comes to live with Max and her mom after the car accident, she helps Raven settle in at home & at school, including lending her the cover page headphones to drown out the noise (aka thoughts) around her. There’s more to her character that would be spoilery, but it’s hinted at throughout, mostly in relation to what we see as a part of her mother’s development. That aspect, while interesting, felt glossed over.

The artwork is phenomenal. It was a big reason why I picked up this book in the first place, aside from Raven being the main character. I’ve seen some of Gabriel’s Teen Titans work in the past and getting a full length book featuring one of them was something I was looking forward to a lot. Since this was a lined copy only of the book I can’t speak to what the fully colored version will look like, but his linework was very good and if past experience is anything to go by, the coloring will be excellent.

 
what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 
While reading, I thought that the scenes themselves felt alright in the moment, but taken as a whole they felt disjointed. There were connections that were missing between them that would have made the story really feel cohesive. There was also no time to really sink in with the characters because of this disjointedness. The rushing? It made the book suffer because I wasn’t really able to connect with much, such as who many people were. The side characters were difficult to keep track of so unless they were the small central cast (Raven, Max, Tommy, Viv) it’s unlikely I could tell you for sure who was who by name.

Teen Titans: Raven left off in a weird place. I’m all for cliffhangers, but this was different. It’s like there were panels or a whole page missing or something, that’s how off this as-written ending felt. One moment Max, Raven’s cousin, has made a decision and the next she and Raven are doing something counter to that with no reasoning? No point? It was a big head scratcher.

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

Gabriel did an amazing job illustrating Raven, Max, and the rest of the cast. I look forward to seeing what the final book will look like, since this was a mostly uncolored advanced reader copy.

I wasn’t really impressed by the writing. I don’t think it flowed well for the format, which was a big disappointment. Raven is one of my favorite DC characters and I’ve enjoyed Gabriel’s artwork for a long time. It was a big deal when I heard he got this job, so this was, story wise, a bit of a let down.

 

about the author - Copy

 
Kami-Garcia-Bio-HiResKami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages, and the film Beautiful Creaturesreleased in theaters in 2013, from Warner Brothers. Kami’s solo series, The Legion, includes the instant New York Times bestseller UNBREAKABLE, and the sequel UNMARKED, both of which were nominated for Bram Stoker Awards. Her other works include THE X-FILES ORIGINS: AGENT OF CHAOS and the YA contemporary novels THE LOVELY RECKLESS and the forthcoming BROKEN BEAUTIFUL HEARTS (February 2018).

Kami was a teacher for seventeen years before co-authoring her first novel on a dare from seven of her students. If she isn’t busy watching Supernatural, Kami can teach you how to escape from a pair of handcuffs or bake a Coca-Cola cake. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Visit Kami at www.KamiGarcia.com.

 

 

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Gabriel Picolo is a Brazilian comic artist and illustrator based in Sao Paulo. His work has become known for its strong storytelling and atmospheric colors. Picolo has developed projects for clients such as Blizzard, BOOM! Studios, Harper Collins, and DeviantART.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.