Monday, December 13, 2021

Review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


Goodreads * Amazon

(affiliate link included)

**My thoughts**

I read this book over two sittings. When I finished, I was absolutely speechless. I pretty much sat for over an hour trying to process it all. That is the mark of a good book – one that keeps you thinking after it is over. And it stuck with me for several days. It also inspired a lot of reflection and some of my own writing – another indication of an excellent book.

They say that you can’t understand someone else’s story until you have walked in their shoes. Reading Starr’s story is the closest I’ll ever get to being a teenage Black girl. You really feel that you are right there with her because the descriptions of what she sees and feels are so articulate and vivid. A lot echoed stories I have heard from friends and other Black people I have met. It was all so real.

But of course, while Starr is a fictional character, what she experiences really is real right now and has been for a while. You would almost think that this had just been written because of events that have transpired over the past year-plus (e.g. George Floyd). But it was published back in 2017.

I am also highly impressed that this is a debut novel, because it is so well written. I admit this gives me very high hopes for Angie Thomas’s other two books, which I believe are a prequel and a sequel to this one.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who works with youth or has any interest in the current social justice climate. I also think those wo do not understand the current climate need to read this, though they will be harder to convince to do so. You’ll come away with a different perspective and hopefully feel pulled to reflect and to do something.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Revelation of Three by Sara M. Schaller

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the book tour for The Revelation of Three by Sara M. Schaller! Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your own copy and follow the rest of the tour. Best of luck in the giveaway!

The Revelation of Three
(The Empyrean Trilogy, #2)
By Sara M Schaller
YA Fantasy, Paranormal
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 387 Pages
August 3, 2021 by Designs by Seraphim
He thought he was prepared to go to war with the Devil, but what if Satan’s not his true enemy?

Ever since the Devil donned a powerful amulet that allows him to walk the Earth, he has grown weaker—and so has his authority. As a result, mutiny is rising in Hell, and the Devil must fight to remain the king of the underworld. Little does he know, there is much more at stake than his title.

After the death of the nun who raised him and his best friend, Jordan Conway cannot think of anything but finding Sophia and keeping her safe. Luckily, he has a team of archangels on his side, and with their help, the two lifelong friends are reunited. But Jordan didn’t expect the reunion to include another of Sister Helen’s charges—the boy he’d loved like a brother but who had pushed him away, Dane. The three orphans never thought their lives would amount to much, but finding their way back to each other is leading them to finding out who they truly are.

All paths converge when the fourteenth sphere, a celestial object with a power like no other, appears at the Met. The angels must keep it from falling into the wrong hands, and soon, the lines between good and evil blur as they find themselves fighting alongside Satan to prevent the unleashing of a dark and dangerous force hell-bent on taking them all down. But in this world, nothing is as it seems, and the mysterious sphere is possibly the least of their concerns…

Get ready for another adventure as the three friends, and the angels they now consider family, travel the globe in search of a way to save each other—and the world.

(Affiliate links included.)

Read an exclusive excerpt:
Nine. It had started with nine inconsequential feathers, small plumes I wouldn’t miss. But in the six months since I had started losing them, the process had sped up, and now I left trails of feathers in my wake.

Yet, those plumes weren’t the only thing I had lost.

The Hellfire was gone, too.

I was no stranger to loss. In my many centuries of existence, I had lost my home, my family, and my freedom. Those things were eventually found again, although in much different forms, but I feared the Hellfire’s return would not come so easily. With the help of witches, I had dabbled in black magic, too ambitious to think of its cost. I had bargained my power for my freedom, and not even I, Lord Satan, ruler of the underworld, was immune to its price.

At first, I had told myself it was nothing, but deep down I’d known I was lying.

Today, it wasn’t one feather or a trail. It was a whole handful.

While I might be ill, I wasn’t weak. And for that reason, my ambition continued. I had plans, ones that had to be executed in a particular order. The Sacrarium, a secret society entrusted to protect the holy bloodline, had information, far too much in my opinion, and they knew about the objects I was searching for—my keys, a set of three items each archangel on the council in Heaven had been tasked to protect.

Mine had been stolen from me, before I even knew they existed, by Him—Father, the creator of all angels—but I disliked calling Him that because it gave Him authority, something He no longer had over me. Ever since I’d found out about the keys, it became my goal to retrieve them. And the Sacrarium had my most powerful key of all, the black onyx sphere. For years, I had been tracking the Sacrarium to recover it, yet they had evaded me and my efforts. But now, it was finally time to settle matters, to discover the Sacrarium and reclaim what was rightfully mine.

Excerpted from The Revelation of Three by Sara M Schaller, Copyright © 2021 by Sara M Schaller. Published by Seraphim.

  Bookstagram Tour

Check out the Bookstagram Tour here, which has its own giveaway!

Other Books in the Series

The Genesis of Seven
(The Empyrean Trilogy, #1)
By Sara M Schaller
YA Fantasy, Paranormal
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 348 Pages
July 7, 2020 by Designs by Seraphim

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Conway has always wanted to help people, but helping seven archangels to achieve their divine duty was never quite what he had in mind… 

When Jordan is entrusted by the head nun of his orphanage to deliver a mysterious backpack to a New York City address, he comes unexpectedly face-to-face with Archangel Gabriel. Their acquaintance fast uncovers a labyrinth of secrets that connect Jordan’s once-normal life to an ancient heavenly prophecy. Now, he must help Gabriel to reunite the archangels before evil forces grow too strong.

Soon, Jordan and Gabriel find themselves on a divine quest across the globe, while deep in the pits of Hell, Satan plots his return to earth. To gain control, however, Satan needs the powerful prophetic objects locked safe inside Jordan’s backpack—and the devil will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

With that notion threatening his only family and the safety of his newfound friends, Jordan must do whatever it takes to protect the ones he loves and help the archangels succeed. If that means sacrificing all he thought he knew to go to war with the devil himself? Bring it on.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Sara M Schaller is a young adult author and publishing professional. She lives in Colorado and works at her local library. Sara likes to write stories for all ages in the fantasy genre, and her writing usually contains elements of speculative fiction and features a large cast of characters. Sara has a Bachelor's degree in English, Art History, and Religious Studies from the University of Denver, and a Master's degree in Publishing from Pace University. You can visit her online at

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Signed hardcover of The Revelation of Three, bookmark, pins, tote bag, and 5"x7" tapestry art print (INT)

Ends December 22, 2021

Grab Our Button!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Sherwood Proof by Kristee Ravan

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the tour for The Sherwood Proof by Kristee Ravan! Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you to enjoy from this fun series. You can also read an author interview at Candrel's Crafts, Cooks, and Characters. And stay tuned for my review at Andi's Middle Grade and Chapter Books!

The Sherwood Proof
(The Lily Sparrow Chronicles #3)
By Kristee Ravan
Middle-Grade, Fairy Tale, Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 569 Pages
November 23, 2021 by Kristee Ravan

Lily Sparrow has finally created an equation for being a good princess. Things are adding up and making sense, and she’s even growing a measurable amount more excited about her future. But unexpected variables keep being tossed into her equation:

1. Carole Claus is facing her first hurdle as Santa. She needs Lily’s help.
2. Lily’s Half-Birthday--an important Smythian tradition--is coming up, requiring her to find time to prepare for it.
3. Her algebra teacher has an unusual (and stressful plan) for Lily.
4. Lily remains convinced that her mom is hiding something from her.
5. The investigation into the traitor is an on-going source of stress and tension at work for Lily and Calo.
6. Oh, and Calo’s still betrothed to Su’Sauna, making life difficult and confusing all around.

Will Lily be able to place these variables securely in her equation? Will the Sparrow family find a way to convince their critics they are good for the Kingdom? Or will everything fall apart--subtracting all the good will Lily has already earned from her citizens?

(Affiliate links included.)

Read an exclusive excerpt:
My circulating and small talk skills had improved greatly over the last several months, so I went easily from group to group, trying to make sure I spent equal time with all. Once when I was with Corrie, Calo came over to us. Su’Sauna followed, of course.

“You must be Corrie.” He shook her hand. “Lily has told me so much about you. You’re a good friend.”

Corrie smiled. “I’ve heard a lot about you too.”

Su’Sauna laughed. “I think it’s just so interesting the Princess has a little friend in OtherWorld. We’ve never had our Future Protector grow up so completely ignorant and out of touch with her real country before.” She flashed a smile. “It’s been such a fascinating transition for us.”

No one said anything for 4 whole seconds.

I knew from my training with Miss Reed that I should be the first one to speak, to say, Thank you for sharing your opinion, while I smiled sweetly, but I didn’t trust myself to do anything more than smile. And I’m sure that smile was far more fixed than sweet.

Corrie made a sort of strangled gasping noise as her mouth fell open from shock.

Calo finally cleared his throat and said, “Su’Sauna, I see the Queen is not currently speaking with anyone. We should go pay our respects.”

“Of course. Bye y’all.” She waved at us as she followed Calo.

I watched them go, but Calo never turned back.

“Cinnamon tea.” Eric was suddenly right beside me, holding a steaming cup on a saucer.

“That was so rude!” Corrie exploded. “How dare she say all that stuff right to your face!”

Eric chuckled. “I overheard her comments as I passed by, and it seems my future-sister-in-law dares quite a bit. I hope Calo can handle her.” He smiled again.

“She doesn’t like me,” I said, taking the tea gratefully.

I walked a little away from Corrie and Eric. They were discussing how such rudeness should be punished. I sipped my tea thoughtfully. I wasn’t sure punishment was the answer. I was more concerned there was among my citizens someone who actively disliked me.


Excerpted from The Sherwood Proof by Kristee Ravan, Copyright © 2021 by Kristee Ravan. Published by Kristee Ravan.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Kristee Ravan lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter, and pet fish, Val (short for Valentine). She wanted to be many things as she grew up including a general, an artist, and an architect. But she never bothered to say, "I want to be a writer when I grow up." She was always writing stories and thought of herself as a writer anyway. She sent her first story to a publisher in the sixth grade. (It was rejected - in a nice way.) When she is not making up stories in her head, she enjoys reading, juggling, green smoothies, playing dollhouse with her daughter, and hearing from her fans. You can contact Kristee at the Facebook page for her Lily Sparrow books: The Lily Sparrow Chronicles.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Three winners will receive a print copy of The Sherwood Proof (US only)

Ends December 15, 2021

Grab Our Button!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Shattered: A Story of Betrayal and Courage by C. Lee McKenzie


Welcome to the book blast for Shattered: A Story of Betrayal and Courage by C. Lee McKenzie! This one looks like a heartbreaker and yet empowering all at the same time. Read an excerpt and then download your copy. Be sure to follow the tour for more. Best of luck in the giveaway!

Courage put Libby Brown into the final selection for the Olympics, but betrayal crushed her spine and her chance at the Gold. Now she has two choices, use her courage to put her life back together, or remain shattered forever.

Read an excerpt:

I knew hearts didn’t stop beating until you died, yet I was certain mine had just stuttered to a halt. I couldn’t breathe. My lungs refused to expand. My throat went dry. I’d planned most of my life for this one year. I’d worked out, built my strength, gone to ski camps, kept at it until I’d made it through the selection process—until I’d almost made the US Olympic slalom team. I had my passport. I’d packed my bags weeks ago. Now, my mother was telling me I couldn’t do what I’d lived for all these years?

My heart kicked in and air filled my chest. “Shut up! Shut up!” In my mind, I screamed, but that’s not the way I heard my voice. Shut up sounded like a whimper.

“Libby, stop.” Dad was back, his hand on my shoulder, his face filled with pain. “Please, stop.”

His calm presence and the terrible sound of his plea brought me up short.

I gulped back the ragged clutch that filled my throat. “Why? Why can’t I ski with my team?” Then I glanced down. Mom was lying across the foot of the bed. She was lying across my legs, and I didn’t feel the weight of my mother’s body.

Buy Links

Amazon * BN

(affiliate link included) 

I’m someone in love with the English language...well, any language for that matter. How did we decided to use words, intonation, structures to communicate? Does our language come from our culture or does our culture come from our language? I love to drive people nuts with questions like this.

I have a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days my greatest passion is writing for young readers. My young adult novels are Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, Sudden Secrets, and now Shattered, A Story of Betrayal and Courage. Sometimes I write Middle Grade Fantasy and have four of those stories published.

When I’m not writing I’m hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things I still don’t understand--like what is language anyway?

C. Lee McKenzie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway