A Rockstar Book Tour Release Day Blitz: Winterdream by Chantal Gadoury

 

I am so excited that WINTERDREAM by Chantal Gadoury is available now and that I get to
share the news! 
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Chantal Gadoury, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book (US Only) courtesy of Chantal, Parliament House Publishing, and Rockstar Book Tours. If you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Title: WINTERDREAM
Pub. Date: November 27, 2018
Publisher: Parliament House Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 290
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, KindleB&N

This Christmas Eve… no creature was
stirring…


Except, maybe, a mouse. 


At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse? 


For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount. 


But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse? 


Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring? 


Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic. 

 

Excerpt

 

PROLOGUE

Large, white puffs floated all around me. Sinking into my flesh with their cold, yet light kisses. Every snowflake was different, specially crafted before it fell from the sky. They were beautiful, even as they melted. I tipped my head back to catch the snow as it fell. I felt as though I was floating through air, caught in a haze of ice flakes as sugary and sweet as the icing on the gingerbread house my governess
and I had made together.
I stretched my arms out to my sides, spinning in place.
The green forest turned with me, a wood full of large spruces perfect for Christmas trees. They were decorated as such, lighted with white candles and draped in silver tinsel. On some, icicles hung
on the tips of the limbs. It was a world in which the snow was like sugar and the air smelled delicious, like freshly baked cookies. It was perfect—a world of my own making, if I was capable of crafting something so… wonderful.
“Clara…”
The sound of my name trilled from a distance, carried on the cool, winter wind.
Turning slowly, I peered over my shoulder, catching a glimpse of a young boy my age. He was dressed in a bright red suit, adorned with golden epaulettes. His blond hair was brushed away from his face, revealing two bright blue eyes. His lips, pink as his cheeks, curved into a smile.
“Clara…”
“Yes?” I asked curiously, turning to face him. As I slid my hands over my cream and ivory lace nightgown, I suddenly felt quite foolish. My mama had always insisted I never wear my bedclothes in front of guests or visitors. And yet, here, in this strange and beautiful world, such things hardly seemed to matter. He took my hand and flashed another warm smile as he led me to a large, white carriage.
“Where are we going?” I asked softly, pausing before the door. The panels were solid ivory, adorned with a golden handle and step.
“Winter Dream,” the boy said with a relieved expression. “Home. Home to Winter Dream.”
“Winter Dream?”
“I’ve come to take you back, Clara. To where I am—to where all the people who love you live.”
“But I don’t know where this Winter Dream is. I’ve never been there…”
“Come with me,” he beckoned, squeezing my hand gently. “Come. . .”
The snow fell all around us; small flakes clung to the tips of our hair and eyelashes. As much as I longed to go. . . there was something holding me back. Something. . .
As I peered behind me, a small, dark shadow began to form. It started out small, like the size of a mouse, and it grew—or was I shrinking? The boy beside me held my hand, and his eyes grew wide with fear.
“No!” I screamed, tucking myself into his shoulder. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to now.
“Clara, wait!” I heard him beg, his urgent tone tugging at my heartstrings. “Come with me, please.”
“No! I want to go home!”
As soon as the words poured from my lips, I woke with a start.
Here, there was only me and the four walls of my bedroom. A sheer sliver of light crept through the space of an open curtain, sparkling with the bright white of the snow outside. It was quiet, as
if the world had not yet woken. As if I was the only one no longer dreaming sweet things. Instead, while everyone else slept, I contained the chill of my own strange dream.
I buried myself beneath the duvet and hugged my knees to my chest. I was alone, completely and utterly alone.
I closed my eyes tight, not wishing to face that Christmas morning. I wished only for the chance to slip back into my dream. To return back to that magical world, where a boy with bright blue eyes
was waiting for me. Back to the place where an enchanting land called ‘Winter Dream’ existed.

About Chantal

 
Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing.
Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and
“Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow.

Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today.
Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics.
Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy)
Taran.
Subscribe to Chantal’s Newsletter! https://www.chantalgadoury.com/newsletter

Giveaway Details

1 winner will win a signed finished copy
of WINTERDREAM (US Only)
All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

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Review: Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson

Told in alternating perspectives, Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson is more than its title. Zoe, the titular Paper Girl, and Jackson, a determined student who has become homeless before the opening, are two characters that have levels of engagement for the reader. Readers interested in books about severe social anxiety, agoraphobia, and homelessness re: teens may well find themselves enjoying this story.

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Published: 4 December 2018

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Category: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mental Health

I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.

Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear…

Rating: 3 Stars

CW: scenes dealing with panic attacks

There are two main stories in Paper Girl: Zoe and her social anxiety/agoraphobia & Jackson, a homeless teen who is striving to keep his grades up and get into college despite a rough background. While the synopsis makes it seem like most of the book will be centered around Zoe and her plot, I thought that there was a good balance of Zoe narrated chapters, Jackson chapters, and online conversations between the two as they play chess (not knowing who the other is behind screen names).

Zoe’s situation, her social anxiety spiraling into full blown agoraphobia, had a somewhat strong story. From the event that caused her anxiety to become more intense to the point of staying in her parents’ penthouse apartment for over a year, to the relatively positive therapy rep…these scenes were pretty good, the therapy especially. As of the beginning of this book, Zoe’s on therapist #6. Finding one that will listen & help rather than patronizing can be difficult. Gina (#6) seemed like someone that was actually helping Zoe, as opposed to the previous therapist, Dr. Edwards, who pontificated rather than assisted.

Jackson’s story was a bit more interesting to me. It’s possible because I haven’t read that many, if any, books involving homeless teens whereas I have about teens with agoraphobia/social anxiety. It was intense, reading about the things that Jackson did to stay not only alive without relying on anyone, but about what he did to stay off the radar as a homeless kid. Being discovered would’ve been disastrous for his plans, necessitating moving his car constantly, sneaking in showers whenever and wherever possible, and figuring out how to get enough to eat without tipping someone off.

There were some amazing descriptions of visual elements that Zoe created. Her Milky Way paper art sounded spectacular. It made me wish that there were illustrations of it or even photographs of samples that someone had made based on the concept. Zoe’s use of origami/kirigami to cope with her anxiety was an interesting facet of her character. It broke my heart, her decision regarding her “paper room” at the end and I have to say, it was one that I couldn’t wholly understand/believe.

The pacing in the second half of the book was my biggest problem with the book and ultimately made me aggravated with the reading process. While the story was engaging enough and enjoyable for the first 50%, there was a point at which it felt like everything ground to a halt. It took so long for anything to actually happen that I got frustrated with the characters and especially the author. It felt like maybe she didn’t quite know how to end the book, resulting in a longer book than was necessary.

I’m not sure how to explain my feelings regarding Zoe’s family,  either. While both her parents were present, there were times when I questioned it because it almost felt like her parents were, at least, getting her therapy and being understanding-ish of her condition, but also that they weren’t present other than physically. Her sister Mae reactions to Zoe’s anxiety & their parents’ dealing with it felt like it might be realistic, but she said a few things that felt particularly insensitive that amounted to “just get over it” or “stop being scared if you’re so unhappy”. It was a strange imbalance in Mae’s supportive/insensitive moments that had me wondering whether I liked and/or cared about her all that much.

I could see recommending this in general with the caveat that the second half can feel like slow pouring molasses, but also to fans of Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (not a book I cared for, but the similarity in a teen girl dealing with anxiety/agoraphobia may appeal to some readers).

 

 

 

 

 

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

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Sincerely, Harriet by Sarah W. Searle

Moving away from home and starting a new school are big enough events, but Harriet also has something else to contend with: a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Dealing with her chronic illness, a scorching hot summer in Chicago, and longing for her friends from summer camp, there’s a lot to discover for the titular character of Sincerely, Harriet.

 

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Published: 7 May 2019

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Category: Middle Grade/Graphic Novels

Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.

Rating: 4 Stars

Harriet’s summer has been trying, what with moving to a new state, figuring out her feelings regarding her M.S. diagnosis and the symptoms, plus being mostly alone all day as her parents work hard at difficult and/or multiple jobs. Her imagination runs wild at times, making up stories about the mailman, the landlady/neighbor downstairs, and the possibilities of a haunted third floor.

Telling tall tales is something that might be familiar to middle grade readers. Harriet shares this trait with another Harriet in literature (Harriet the Spy). Fans of Louise Fitzhugh’s novel may well find themselves entertained with this graphic novel. Harriet of Sincerely also finds comfort in writing, although her attempts are in postcards that include a fantasy life in Chicago and letters to a fictional version of her landlady Pearl’s son, Nicholas.

The letters to Nicholas, Harriet’s exploration of the third floor (where Nicholas stayed while ill and in quarantine), and some panels along the way help to tell a story of chronic illness across not only generations, but across race lines as well. Harriet is a young Latinx girl whose parents are taking her to the best doctors they can find. Nicholas is an African-American boy who grew up in the 1950’s and contracted polio. There’s more about what that might have been like, such as segregated medical care, in the author’s note, but in the text itself there are glimpses of what Harriet and Nicholas have in common, such as the use of a wheelchair as necessary and isolation from friends/potential friends.

Reading the book was very pleasant. The writing flowed very well and kept my interest along the way. The emotional moments were conveyed, at times, fairly quickly and without as much discussion as I’d have liked, but they were still strong. Art wise, the look of the graphic novel was skillful and suited nicely to the narrative, although I thought that there were some issues pertaining to details that looked a bit off.

I’d recommend this book for people looking for stories about dealing with chronic illnesses as well as good stories involving figuring out one’s place in a new neighborhood. Harriet had her difficulties, but I liked her, even when those around her were criticizing her exaggerations. Figuring out her feelings regarding her M.S., figuring out how to deal with friends that aren’t replying to postcards, all of this figuring was intense, but her strength showed through. She’s a good heroine that should have her story shared and enjoyed, hopefully by many age groups (it’s that good).

 

 

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 (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

 

 

 

Review: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire’s stories always have a fascinating richness to them. This trait is especially evident in Sparrow Hill Road, a series of interconnected stories about Rose Marshall. Also known as the Phantom Prom Date, Rose’s stories follow her along the roads of the U.S. and of the multiple layers of the realms of the dead while she “lives” and avoids her biggest enemy: Bobby Cross, the man who murdered her and wants her soul.

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Published: 6 May 2014

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Category: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.

It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.

They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.

You can’t kill what’s already dead.

Rating: 3 Stars

When I started reading this, I wasn’t aware that this was a collection of short stories, or rather, that is had been spliced together and adapted from a series of short stories about Rose than Seanan did one year as part of a year long project. Not knowing that made it slightly confusing when the stories neglected to follow a linear story line (the note about the year long project was after the conclusion).

While the linearity was a bit off-putting, it was still fun to see the different encounters that Rose has throughout the years since her death. Sometimes she was incredibly clever, sometimes so unaware that I was metaphorically clutching my head between my hands at the fate that waited for her in those tales.

There was a lot of folklore that was embedded within the story that made for a detailed, rich experience. From the hitchers and road ghosts to the living/”living” creatures that interact with them, Rose interacted with a lot of different “people”. It was interesting to get the information about how each one works, how their magic is tied to the road or their deaths and so on.

This may not have been my favorite of Seanan’s books, as I didn’t enjoy reading it nearly as much as others, but I would still recommend it to others because it’s the beginning of more ghost stories whose endings have not yet happened (for me, anyway). It also has some connections to the InCryptid series, which I am loving, so I will be looking forward to The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, book two of the Ghost Roads stories series.

 

 

 

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 (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Xpresso Tours Book Blitz: Nick and Eve by Elle Rush

Fake dating? Christmas themed? Kindhearted meddling grandmas? Nick & Eve by Elle Rush sounds like just the thing to get someone in the mood for the Christmas season. A few days shy of Thanksgiving in the US (my SO’s official cutoff for fall/Christmas-y stuff), this book releases at the perfect time.

A super sweet romance by the look of things, not only can you pick this book up tomorrow, but there’s also a INT giveaway going for Amazon gift cards! Check out the link at the bottom for the Rafflecopter giveaway. 🙂 

 

Nick and Eve by Elle Rush
(North Pole Unlimited, #3)
Publication: November 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Nick’s plan: dodge his grandmother’s matchmaking attempts by claiming Eve is his date for Christmas. He probably should have asked Eve first.

Although Nick Klassen is grateful when Eve rides to his rescue after he breaks down outside of December, Manitoba, he can’t run fast enough when his meddling grandmother tries to set him up with the pretty tow-truck driver. Then he gets an idea.

Between juggling extra hours at work and a never-ending Christmas to-do list, Eve LeBlanc doesn’t have time for a new man in her life. But ever since she picked Nick up on the side of the road, she’s been running into him everywhere.

His flirtations started innocently enough but when his grandmother invites “his girlfriend” to the family’s Christmas dinner, Nick realizes if he wants to stop pretending about Eve, he must come clean. Once Eve learns of his deception, he’ll need Santa’s help to turn their fake relationship in the real thing.

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

EXCERPT

 

Eve rolled to a stop in the driveway. “This is impressive.” Strings of unlit Christmas lights framed his grandmother’s two-storey house and circled the spruce tree in the front yard. Plastic candy canes stuck in the snowbanks lined the sidewalk, and a pinecone-studded wreath twice the size of the one on the tow-truck’s grill hung from the screen door.

“You should see the inside. Can you wait till I’m certain her car will start? She hasn’t run it in a couple weeks,” Nick said.

His grandmother must have been watching from the window, because the front door opened before they hit the first step. “Come in, it’s freezing out here,” she said.

The entranceway and the adjacent living room were fully Christmas-bombed, from the reindeer-shaped sofa cushions to the double-decker white candy bowl stand, which had a Frosty face and top hat stuck to the top of the wire frame. Nick held back a snicker as Eve spun in a three-sixty and breathed a quiet, “Whoa.”

“You’re not kidding,” he whispered back.

“I’m Adelaide Klassen. Who might you be?” his gran asked. She was dressed for her appointment. After a lifetime of seeing her in business suits at the office, it was always a shock to Nick’s system to see his grey-haired grandmother in jeans and a plaid, flannel shirt.

Eve gave Adelaide’s hand a hearty shake. “Eve LeBlanc, tow-truck driver.”

“It’s lovely to meet you. Are you a special friend of Nick’s?”

Nick sighed. She was starting, and they’d been in the house for thirty seconds. “No, Gran, she’s not my girlfriend.”

“I just picked him up on the side of the road. I must say he is the cutest stray I’ve come across in a while,” Eve added with a smile.

“Don’t encourage her!”

 

Author Bio

 

Elle Rush is a contemporary romance author from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. When she’s not travelling, she’s hard at work writing books which are set all over the world. From Hollywood to the house next door, her heroes will make you sigh and her heroines will make you laugh out loud.
Elle has a degree in Spanish and French, barely passed German, and has flunked poetry in every language she’s studied, including English. She also has mild addictions to tea, yarn, Christmas decorations, and HGTV renovations shows.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram / Newsletter

 

GIVEAWAY!

 

Prize: 3x $10 Amazon gift cards (Open INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by J.R. Zuckerberg and Mady G

Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, someone who has a family member and/or friend who is, or you’re simply curious about queer & trans identities, A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities is a super useful and accessible title. It covers not just identities you may have heard of before, but more within the spectrum of queerness, a facet that is helpful not only for people seeking information out of interest, but for those that may still be questioning their own identities.

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Published: 23 April 2019

Publisher: Limerence Press

Category: LGBT/Graphic Novels/Non-fiction

In this quick and easy guide to queer and trans identities, cartoonists Mady G and JR Zuckerberg guide you through the basics of the LGBT+ world! Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, and navigating relationships, this guide explains the spectrum of human experience through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, and imaginative examples. A great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys!

Rating: 4 Stars

A Quick & Easy Guide is told from the perspective of snails, the lead being Iggy, a pet of a queer human who brings the snail to fireside chats with their friends. At one of these outings, wild snails stumble upon the humans and wish to know more, to which Iggy responds with the information that follows.

The book addresses romantic identities (aromantic, panromantic, etc.) as well as sexual or gender identities. There’s a good discussion on asexuality and the varying “degrees” therein. Several terms that don’t get spoken of enough (autochorissexual, etc) get attention herein, as well as important chapters that talk about the difference between sex, gender, sexuality, and romantic identities. This can be hard to grasp for those new to the terms, but this guide takes the time & is utterly patient when explaining the differences.

Not only does this book talk about labels, though, but also about respect: for oneself, for your partner(s), and others in the LGBTQIA+ community. Using the term queer isn’t for everyone. You have to respect yourself & be careful when thinking about things like coming out of the closet (is it safe? do you have a support group?). There are whole sections on what it means to be trans, gender expression, dysphoria, communication and ways to identify toxic relationships. The communication section is especially essential reading because as Iggy says at one point (paraphrasing here): just because you’re in the same community doesn’t mean getting hurt isn’t possible.

The method of telling the story primarily through the snails’ perspectives felt like a bit of an odd choice. Humans make a few appearances to talk about their experiences; there are segments detailing the life of Sproutlings, who highlight the topic of the section their segment follows. Perhaps this narrative choice was to make the information more accessible to a younger audience? Odd as I found it at first, as a thirty-something, the storytelling by a snail was not actually a detriment to the overall work.

The art was good itself, though the coloring left something to be desired as, aside from the Sproutlings segments, it was almost entirely in shades of pink with some accent colors. This reliance on what felt like a limited color palette made what was otherwise a well drawn graphic novel feel a bit one dimensional.

Would I recommend this? Heck yes. While there were sections that I would’ve liked to get more coverage (i.e. plus size trans individuals), overall this guide is a good general one for queer & trans identities. It’s one that will educate and hopefully inspire some conversations that were previously difficult to open. Whether you buy this for yourself or someone else, the person reading it is sure to find something important to them within.

 

 

 

 

 

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

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Book Love by Debbie Tung

While other books about books may set a preference in their narrative, Book Love by Debbie Tung is a celebration of reading in whatever form it takes. A slice-of-life comic about book lovers and their many, many habits, this was a joy to read and has the distinction of being re-readable several times over.

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Published: 1 January 2019

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Category: Sequential Art/Non-fiction/Books about Books

Bookworms rejoice! These charming comics capture exactly what it feels like to be head-over-heels for hardcovers.

Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung’s comics are humorous and instantly recognizable—making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they’re understood and appreciated.

Rating:  5 Stars

Book Love was truly a delight to read. It included not just comics for lovers of physical books, but e-books and audiobooks. As long as it’s reading material, this title was supportive of however you want to get the author’s words into your brain.

The artwork is very attractive. It has a little variation in style and the encapsulates the emotion of the comic at the moment. From starry eyes to a quiet book nook, the black and white drawings were a lovely choice to highlight a bookworm’s life.

There are a lot of scenarios within Book Love that will have a ring of familiarity to readers: bringing books along whenever we leave the house, reading in a quiet nook at a party, not passing up sales that are too good! This will be the perfect gift for any book lover, whether it’s one you’re passing along or treating yourself to.

 

 

 

 

 

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 (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.