GRIM LOVELIES by Young Adult Bestselling Author Megan Shepherd is sure to enchant teens and adults alike. 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: GRIM LOVELIES

Author: MEGAN SHEPHERD

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, FANTASY FICTION

Length: 384 PAGES

Publisher: HMH TEEN – HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS

Received From: HMH TEEN INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY

Release Date: OCTOBER 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-80918-6 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1-328-80962-9 (eBook)

Price: $17.99 USD HARDCOVER

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love.

But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human.

Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittoria, the evil witch who spelled her into existence.

That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood – and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away.

If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known… but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

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MY REVIEW:

Inventive and dazzling, with a host of characters readers will be unable and unwilling to forget.

With a diverse cast, this book has everything required to become an instant Young Adult Best-Seller. Having just been released a little over two months ago, it is already trending on social media, and, if I have my way, it will trend even more after I post this review.

I love that the Author chose animals turned into humans as her main characters. I love that she chose the city of Paris as the headquarters of the Royals who reign over all magical beings. There has always been something alluring and mysterious about the historic city of Paris, especially to those of us in North America. With the millions of bones in the city’s catacombs, Paris also has a barely hidden sinister air.

Best-Selling Author Megan Shepherd has created a magical world that secretly exists alongside our own. Of course, we humans, or “Pretties” as the witches call us, are completely oblivious to the magic surrounding us.

Within this world there are “Beasties;” animals and birds who have had spells cast on them to change them into humans (sort of like the mice in the tale of Cinderella, except the change is permanent.) Anouk is one such Beastie. She is a year and a half old which is the equivalent of being a seventeen year old girl. For the entirety of her human existence, she has not been allowed to leave the house she was “born” in. It is the home of Mada Vittoria, the witch who changed Anouk from animal to human.

This imaginative tale, filled with magic, mystery and mayhem is perfect for today’s Young Adult audience. Readers of all types, and of all ages will be able to find a character to relate to.

There is a theme of good vs. evil in this book, but what, or who is deemed evil is often in the eye of the beholder.

GRIM LOVELIES is also a unique Coming-Of-Age tale in which Anouk realizes that her captivity at the hands of Mada (Witch) Vittoria, has resulted in her knowing very little about either the Pretties world, or the magical world of the Haute.

GRIM LOVELIES and the world of the Haute would make for a terrific and visually stunning movie. I very much hope to see this series become optioned for film.

I rate GRIM LOVELIES as a 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Young Adult novel and am excited to read more about Anouk and her other “Beastie” friends in the next installment of this wonderous tale.

***Thank you to HMH Teen for hosting the Instagram contest in which I won a Grim Lovelies prize pack. ***

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:

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“Everything had a darker side, magic most of all.”

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“He was a twat and she’d sooner kiss a frog, but even frogs deserved little moments of joy.”

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“Even if we can find someone to recast our spell, I’m afraid that a spell alone can’t make us human. TRULY human. Only actions make a person human, not magic.”

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“I’m not a bird with broken wings… I don’t need to be sheltered.”

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“Through all this darkness, you’ve held on to love and hope, and that’s true strength.”

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THE CHARACTERS:

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BOUT THE AUTHOR:

MEGAN SHEPHERD – New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

She is the author of several young adult and middle grade novels. She now lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and an especially scruffy dog.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

MORE BOOKS BY MEGAN:

*** Leave a comment and let me know if you have read any of Megan’s books?

And if so, which was/is your favorite? Why?

LOVE LIKE SKY by Middle-grade author Leslie C. Youngblood is a 5+Star Read. This book will win awards and become a Best Seller. Release Date is November 6th – Mark your calendars now!!!

Title: LOVE LIKE SKY

Author: LESLIE C. YOUNGBLOOD

Genre: MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION

Ages: 8 to 12 YEARS

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: DISNEY BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 6, 2018

ISBN: 9781368016506

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.

G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.

It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.

MY REVIEW:

In the opening scene of LOVE LIKE SKY, G-baby is entertaining her younger sister Peaches by repeatedly dancing the “Nae Nae” and the “Dougie.” I defy anyone to read this and not smile. I believe that would be impossible.

LOVE LIKE SKY is set in the town of Snellville, Georgia, where eleven-year-old G-baby, her younger sister Peaches (real names – Georgiana And Patrice) and their mother have moved to a new town after their mother’s marriage to their new stepdaddy, Frank. G-baby had initially been excited about the marriage because it meant she would be gaining a big sister. However, she has since discovered that her new stepsister wants nothing to do with her or Peaches. On top of all the other changes, G-baby misses her best friend Nikki, whom she left behind in Atlanta.

G-baby becomes obsessed with trying to get her new stepsister to pay attention to her. This leaves baby sister, Peaches at loose ends and feeling left out.

When Peaches gets really sick, neither her parents nor her doctors know how to make her better.

G-baby is convinced that she knows how to make Peaches better. She just has to figure out how to convince her that her family loves her as much as the sky is wide.

Blended families are often more common than “traditional families” which means that many readers will be able to relate to the struggles that G-baby and Peaches face. The topic of blended families is only one of the many themes explored in this amazing debut novel. Other themes include:

– Divorce
– Parents fighting
– Death of a sibling (not Peaches, so don’t think I am giving away any plot points)
– Moving to a new town
– Leaving friends behind and trying to make new ones
– Hospitalization and siblings with a serious illness
– Growing up and a girl’s changing body and feelings
– Racial inequality
– Peaceful protests
– Trayvon Martin and the shooting of unarmed young, black men
– Parents getting remarried and jealousy of the new spouse
– and many more.

The author does an incredible job of making the characters feel real. For instance, G-baby’s father has remarried and his new wife’s name is Millicent. Instead of thinking of her by her given name, G-baby has nicknamed her “Millipede.” This is a very typical tween way to rebel against the new spouse. She is too young to conjure up any truly mean-spirited nickname, yet still needs a way to express her jealousy at what she sees as the reason her beloved Daddy doesn’t spend as much time with them as he used to.

The author’s gift for creating believable and unique characters is displayed in one of my favorite scenes – which captures the fierce loyalty six year old Peaches has for her mother. This scene takes place when G-baby comments about Tangie’s cooking and says it is better than their mother’s. “Peaches eyes widened. ‘Nobody cooks better than Mama.'” I loved this scene. In the grand scheme of the book, this scene is minor, but it is so believable that I found it memorable for it’s simple, yet powerful portrayal of familial loyalty.

If I had to choose a single theme to describe this book, it would be EMOTION.

“Why we gotta jump when he’s ready? What about the times we waited on him and he didn’t come? I bet he doesn’t keep Ms. Millicent Parker waiting for nothing. She’s his ‘best girl’ now.”

Kids with divorced parents will easily relate to the characters in this excellent middle-grade novel. Author Leslie Youngblood understands just how perceptive kids can be. This is clearly demonstrated in the following scene:

“Just like Mama, he didn’t know that I could tell a fake smile from a real one. Mama and Daddy’s separation made me an expert, especially when we’d have family dinner and they’d wear their mannequin smiles.”

I apologize for the length of this review, but I felt compelled to explain why I am giving this book the highest rating possible which is 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. I realize that it is technically impossible to give a rating higher than 5 out of 5, but this book deserves to be in a category above all others.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Mama said I got the name G-baby because I’d run to Daddy for every little thing. He’d swoop me up and say, ‘What’s wrong with George’s baby?’ Peaches real name is Patrice, but Mama loved Libby’s sliced peaches when she was pregnant with her, so that’s how she got her nickname.”

“Being a big sister was hard work.”

“Even though Mama says I can always talk to her, she means Mama stuff, like if someone is bullying me, or if a teacher is mean. Not like how to kiss a boy, or when it’s time to sneak a few cotton balls in my bra…”

“I’m supposed to have all the answers. That’s what it means to be a big sister, and why I want one of my very own.”

“When Mama and Daddy first tried to explain {why they were getting divorced}, Mama Said sometimes grown-ups ‘fall out of love.’ The best I can figure it: love is just a big old bed. When you’re not happy, you fall out of it.”

“There’s no reason on God’s green earth a boy should walk down the street with his boxers hanging out.”

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EXCERPT

“Love ain’t like that.”

How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.

“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”

“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”

“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”

“No, when we look up, there it is.”

“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches—love like sky.”

“It never ends?”

Never.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon.

She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.

She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.

In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.lesliecyoungblood.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

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AMAZON

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

UNWRITTEN by Tara Gilboy is a fun fairy-tale-esque Middle-grade Novel sure to delight readers both young and old. Releases October 16th.

Title: UNWRITTEN

Author: TARA GILBOY

Genre: MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY

Age Range: 8 – 12

Grade Level: 4 – 6

Length: 200 PAGES

Publisher: NORTH STAR EDITIONS – JOLLY FISH PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 16, 2018

ISBN: 9781631631771

Price: $11.99 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Twelve-year-old Gracie Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she’s never read.

When she was a baby, her parents learned that she was supposed to die in the story, and with the help of a magic book, took her out of the story, and into the outside world, where she could be safe.

But Gracie longs to know what the story says about her. Despite her mother’s warnings, Gracie seeks out the story’s author, setting in motion a chain of events that draw herself, her mother, and other former storybook characters back into the forgotten tale.

Inside the story, Gracie struggles to navigate the blurred boundary between who she really is and the surprising things the author wrote about her.

As the story moves toward its deadly climax, Gracie realizes she’ll have to face a dark truth and figure out her own fairy-tale ending.

MY REVIEW:

This book is going to be a hit with young girls. The story weaves all the magic of a fairy tale with all of the mystery of a middle-grade story well told.

The idea that the main character, twelve year old Gracie is actually a character from a storybook is interesting and will be unique for the younger generation.

At first Gracie is living a normal life, just like the rest of her schoolmates. As the story continues we learn where she came from and how it came to be that her mother escaped with her into the “real” world.

The Author writes with the perfect mix of preteen angst and magic. What twelve year old girl hasn’t fantasized about discovering that she is really a Princess?

Imagine discovering that you owe your life to an author, rather than to your parents. How bizarre would that be?

After Gracie discovers with where she came from, events quickly speed up. She is desperate to know more about what the story says about her, but her mother will not tell her anything.

With typical youthful exuberance, Gracie decides that if her mother will not give her the information she so desperately wants, she will find answers on her own. This leads to a snowball effect and soon events spiral out of control and Gracie discovers that her life is now in danger.

Will she survive returning to the fairytale she had been rescued from as a baby? Or will she discover too late the power of the fairytale?

Writing Gracie must have brought out the author’s inner child. She does a brilliant job of describing the way young girls often feel. They may think they are on the cusp of adulthood, and be aggravated by the way their parents still treat them “like a child.”

It is only later (and sometimes too late, or not all) that they come to realize that maybe, just maybe, their parents are right and should have been listened to after all.

I enjoyed the mother daughter dynamics and could empathise with both characters. The scenes from inside the fairytale are terrific, as are Gracie’s interactions with the characters.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I will say no more about the plot.

UNWRITTEN is due to hit bookstores on October 16th and it is sure to become a hit. It would be a great Christmas present for the preteen or young adult in your family.

I rate UNWRITTEN as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

**Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TARA GILBOY holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she specialized in writing for children and young adults.

She teaches creative writing in San Diego Community College’s Continuing Education Program and for the PEN Writers in Prisons Program.

Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Beloit Fiction Journal, Cricket, and other publications.

She lives in San Diego, California.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

#Unwritten #NetGalley #CanLit #kidlit #CanadianAuthor #CanadaReads

A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS by Best Selling Author ALYSSA SHEINMEL is destined for the Best Seller List – An Unputdownable Read

Title: A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS

Author: ALYSSA SHEINMEL

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION

Ages: 14 and up

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS INC.

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6724-7

Price: $17.99 USD (HARDCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Four walls. One window. No way to escape.

Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She doesn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at that summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and the judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. Those college applications aren’t going to write themselves. Until then, she’s determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn’t lose her mind to boredom.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage, and she’s the perfect project to keep Hannah’s focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can get Hannah to confront the secrets she’s avoiding – and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.

MY REVIEW:

In “A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS” readers meet Hannah Gold who presents as a typical teenager. She may seem a bit arrogant, but I found that trait easy to overlook.

Hannah has been sent to a mental institution after her roommate was injured in an accident. She knows she isn’t like the other residents, she is only there because of a misunderstanding.

It is the way that Hannah comes across initially that makes her such a memorable character. Even after the book ends, Hannah’s journey will stay in the hearts and minds of readers for a long time.

Once in awhile a Young Adult book is published that actually provides an authentic look at the lives of a segment of the teen population that has been largely ignored by the majority of authors. This lack of diversity is finally being charged with the publication of books like this one.

While mental illness is starting to be talked about more and more – with such movements as the “You Are Not Alone” and events such as “Mental Health Awareness Week” we still have a long way to go before the societal stigma attached to mental illness is a thing of the past.

That is why books like this are not only entertainment. They are also eye-opening and help people to identify with the person rather than the illness.

In Chapter Seven, Dr. Lightfoot says: “We need to wait until my evaluation is farther along before making any changes to your treatment plan.”

In her head, Hannah thinks:
Further, not farther, I think. They could at least give me a doctor who knows basic grammar. It’s not exactly comforting that my fate is in her hands.”

I had already begun to like Hannah’s character, and her reaction to the doctor cemented it for me. I like this girl.

I barely knew anything about her yet, but somehow the author has created a sympathetic character that I could relate to. Other readers will likely have the same reaction which means they will become invested in the outcome of her incarceration, making it likely they will not want to put this book down.

I rate “A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS” as a full 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I believe this book will not only be on the 2019 Bestsellers List, but will also win multiple awards.

Thank you very much to the Publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book.

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QUOTES:

“Reset. Like I am an appliance that needs tinkering, a frozen laptop that needs to be rebooted. I don’t think Ctrl + Alt + Delete is going to cut it here.”

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“…the hospitals on television don’t look like this place: On TV, the doors don’t stay locked, the furniture isn’t bolted to the floor, and people who are perfectly capable of walking don’t use bedpans.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.alyssasheinmel.com

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TEEN READS

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STRATUS BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

Stratus
Fallen Skies Book 1
by Miranda Brock
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Lily Calhoun wants nothing more than some excitement on her quiet,

small-town life. When she gets caught in a storm one afternoon she

gets more than she bargained for. Excitement suddenly falls into her

life, literally.

Stratus is mysterious, fun, and has a danger to him that Lily finds herself

drawn to. Learning that he is either a demon or an angel only makes

him more irresistible. But when strangers start turning up dead in

her town, Lily begins to fear her new found flame may be the cause.

Caught in a tempest of lies, secrets, and betrayals, Lily must discover who

Stratus really is behind his stormy eyes. Is it an angel who will win

her heart, or will it be a demon who stakes his claim?

**Only .99 cents!**
From an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them.

Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods,

playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered.

Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
Follow the tour HERE

for exclusive content and a giveaway!