Tour + Giveaway: Beyond the Black Door

42642042._sy475_Beyond the Black Door
Author: A.M. Strickland
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Synopsis

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …
Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.
But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.
When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.
A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom…

Review

Hands down, Beyond the Black Door is among the most unique books I have read. Dark fantasy, spooky vibes (so perfect for this month!) and a dark fantasy plot, unique concept called Soulwalking which is rooted more or less in the mythology of the fantasy world, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ace + demi-biromantic MC. WOW.

Main character Kamai is a Soulwalker who can enter people’s souls, or Nehyn. Kamai is taught this skill by her mother, who has always warned her against opening the black door that follows her when she enters souls. Of course, its not just any door but it seems to be a warm, breathing thing and like any good fictional character, the more you tell her not to do something, the more she wants to do it. To be completely honest, I did find the book a little rough-going in the beginning. We are being introduced to Kamai’s fantasy world, plus her routine of soul walking, so there were two huge fantastical concepts battling for my attention at the same time. However, once things got rolling about 25% of the way in, once more characters were introduced, once the plot started to get a little deeper and a little darker I was hooked!

About the Author

authorAdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).

Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished copy of BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR by A.M. Strickland. US/CAN only.

Starts: 23 October 2019
Ends: 6 November 2019

Click HERE TO ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER.

Check out the rest of the rest of the FFBC Tour schedule for more chances to win the giveaway.

Soundtrack

And of course, such is my personal signature, the song I choose to go with this book: Paint it Black by Clara

signature (2)

ARC Review + GIVEAWAY: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

tour2bbannerAuthor: A.K. Small
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: May 21st, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

Synopsis

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

erick-zajac-1377691-unsplashInside Nanterre School for Dance reside two best friends, Marine and Kate, who–among the other girls in their class–are competing for the one top spot dancing with the top male. Bright Burning Stars did an excellent job of capturing the cattiness and petty atmosphere that can reign in a competitive atmosphere like this. I don’t have experience with dance, but I went to school for opera where people are vying for lead roles in a show and believe me, when you have spent your life training for something and you know that you are prepared and that you have nailed your performance but then the next person goes on stage and has an advantage only because of a ‘favor’ she did or a judge? If it could mean the difference between performing on stage at sold out shows every night versus performing four times per month and teaching voice/dance lessons just to make ends meet….how far would you be willing to go to ensure you hit the top?

So that was all that was on my mind through most of the book. Everything hit close to home for me because I could really draw paralells to where I had been in the fine arts world, but really, it could work for any positions one is competing for. We all need drive (though, maybe not quite this much) to get to top. This book is told in dual perspectives so we do get to see both Marine’s and Kate’s thoughts as they go through all of this craziness. And I do mean crazy, but that’s what makes this book truly a page-turner I thought.  I really feel this book was beautifully written. It has some beautiful descriptions of dancing, it can be brutal at times (trigger warnings: eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, abortion grief, self-harm, intentional drug use, body dysmorphia) but I was here for the big picture.

About the Author

angela2bsmall2bcredit2b_becky2bthurner2bbraddockA.K. Small is thrilled for her debut novel, BRIGHT BURNING STARS, to come out May 21, 2019 through publisher Algonquin Young Readers. Her talent for writing and passion for classical ballet fuse together in this novel and earned A.K. Small the honor of an Entertainment Weekly review.

In addition to BRIGHT BURNING STARS, A.K. Small spends time on short stories. Her short story, Anthrocon, 2017 was just nominated for a Pushcart prize by the Bellevue Literary Review. Other stories such as the Flour Baby and The Interior Designer were also nominated or runner-up to prizes. She also ran a column titled, “A French Girl’s View Du Monde” at Barrelhouse Magazine.

A.K. Small graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2009 with an MFA in fiction. When she’s not reading her favorite authors (Rainbow Rowell, Angie Thomas, Anna Gavalda, Jandy Nelson, Ann Hood, Sue Miller, Anais Nin, Tayari Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wright, and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name a few!), she’s studying her favorite dancers: Sylvie Guillem, Noella Pontois, Marie-Agnes Gillot, and Aurelie Dupont.

A.K. Small grew up near the Sacré Coeur in Paris and married her Tobagonian soul mate. She has three gorgeous daughters and owns a min-chi named Dallas.

Author Links
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

GIVEAWAY!

And last but not least, enter to win 1 of 2 copies of Bright Burning Stars! You can also visit other stops on the tour (see below) and visit there for more chances to win! Giveaway runs 5/13-5/27/2019.

–> To the Rafflecopter! <–

Full Tour Schedule

May 13 – The Unofficial Book Addiction Fan Club … Interview
May 14 – The Reading Corner for All … Playlist
Tara’s Book Addiction … Review
May 15 – Journal of the Lost One …
May 16 – Everywhere and Nowhere … Guest Post
Star is All Booked Up … Promo Post
May 17 – Utopia State of Mind … Guest Post
Writing With Wolves … Review
–> May 18 – Singer of Stories … Review
May 19 – Portrait of a Book … Review
Lisa-Queen of Random … Promo Post

And that’s all I have, folks. Thanks for stopping by today! Until next time!!

Book Soundtrack: Black Swan Soundtrack…Act I:(Scene 2) Danse de petits Cygnes

signature5c048f506de86

 

Blog Tour: Escaping Houdini

escapingfromhoudini

Escaping Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalo
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release date: September 18, 2018
Genre: YA – Historical Fiction, Mystery

Synopsis: Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

greathoudiniescaperoombackground1Hello, book #3, I am so glad you are finally here!! There are many other small attributes that are appealing about this book right off the bat. Take, for instance the characters and their banter. Thomas and Audrey play off each other so well…or maybe its just Thomas. Second, the setting was so neat. Set on a ship! In my mind I wanted it to be the Titanic, of course, but hey, we can’t always get what we want. Kerri still did a great job. And third, probably the most complex murderer of the series so far. This time around, the murderer is killing his victims and staging them like playing and tarot cards. Fascinating!

And of course, no review would be complete without mentioning….Mephistopheles! He and his mysterious Midnight Carnival crew bewilder audiences, but also inspire suspense. I do wish we would have seen more of Houdini himself. I mean, the man is in the title! Too much to ask apparently.

about2bthe2bauthor2b2528new2529

14584166Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Check out more reviews from the Fantastic Book Blog Tour Here!

signature

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton + GIVEAWAY

35720690Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns #1)
Publisher: Katherine Teagan Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 464

Synopsis: In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Goodreads   |   B&N   |   Amazon   |   iBooks   |   Book Depository

The first thing I need to say about Heart of Thorns is that this book is 446 pages long (which I was a little intimidated by at first) but it absolutely flew by! The chapters are relatively short and there is so much action and movement happening from the very beginning. I never felt bored by the characters or the plot, and things never felt rushed. I instantly liked Mia…but then again, any characters who are speaking anatomy and are trained huntresses are pretty awesome in my book. I was a bit concerned about cliche plot-to-escape-marraige-to-the-prince trope, but the bigger picture really is vengence for her mother’s death.

My hat is off to the author, Bree Barton, for doing an excellent job diversifying a medieval fantasy world! I am in awe of your skills! I mean, its relatively subtle, but its there. There are references to different skin colors on the people, different abilities, and different sexualities. Read closely, its there. Thank you, Bree!

So how about the reason we’re all here….the magic. So in this trilogy only women can possess magic and every woman is suspected of having it. The men, of course, view them as demons and teach the children to view this ability as such as well. The overall magic system in this book (without delving too much into things and spoiling everything) is actually tied to a deeper mythology, and boy do we get information about it! Mia, you’re in for an education! Ironically, the magic is also how she ends up meeting (and injuring/healing) the love interest, Quin and then its all downhill from there. Their relationship is honestly one of the most dynamic that I have read in a while. I very much enjoyed it.

3094f-giveaway

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER

  • Hardcover copy of HEART OF THORNS
  • US Only
  • Please read the rules in the Rafflecopter before entering
  • Go to any stop on the tour to enter!!

14112802Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she’s not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog.

On those parting words, I will leave you to decide whether you think this book is worthy of your time. I know I will be picking up book #2 when it comes out. Happy reading!

Book Soundtrack: “Queendom” by AURORA

signature

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – Blog Tour + Giveaway!

tour2bbanner

I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint! Anything with ‘camp’ and ‘thiller’ in the synopsis and I am 110% IN! I know some people think camp + suspense and associate it with hockey masks and serial killers but that’s NOT what this is about. Its about finding truths for better or for worse. Its about sanity versus insanity. Its about trust and reliability, or lack thereof.

“TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE, LADIES. I’LL START.”

The Last Time I Lied is the second book from author Riley Sager, the first being last years’ The Final Girls, which was an international bestseller.  I have not read this one yet, but after reading The Last Time I Lied, I will be reading The Final Girls soon, especially because a film version is being developed by Universal Pictures! I have no idea about the timeline on this, but I am a nut about reading books-to-films or vice versa so I am all over this!

“SO MUCH WATER. SO MUCH LAND. SO MANY PLACES TO DISAPPEAR.”

The book in question is about Emma Davis. Told in two timelines, past and present, Emma is an artist who is haunted by memories of her time at Camp Nightengale when her three bunkmates went missing years ago. When the camp’s director shows up at her art show and offers her a job teaching painting for a summer at Camp Nightengale, Emma doesn’t exactly jump at the opportunity, but rather has to be persuaded by her best friend. Once at the camp, nothing goes quite as she expects it to. Slowly, Emma begins casually searching for clues of her past. She doesn’t really expect to find much….until she does. Eventually it seems that the past is looking for Emma and she finds herself in a whole mess of trouble. During these current investigations, there are imposing flashbacks to Emma’s time at camp as a teenager, and we see that even back then, it was difficult to tell who to trust and who to rely on because, as it turns out, even Emma herself was not fully truthful.

“LIKE MOST OLD STRUCTURES, THERE’S A HEAVINESS TO THE LODGE, A SOMBERNESS. I THINK OF ALL THE YEARS IT’S WITNESSED. ALL THOSE SEASONS AND STORMS AND SECRETS…”

Overall, this book was a thrilling ride. It reads like a movie and I can absolutely see it being made into one at some point! It turns out that this book was inspired by the classic novel and film “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” I recently saw the Amazon Prime has made a series from this so I think we all know what I will be watching and reading soon! Aside from that, I loved the characters in this book, I loved the pacing, and the writing was fantastic! I am a pretty tough critic when it comes to this genre in particular but I loved this book. I definitely recommend this book!

Book-related links:
Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  Book Depository  |  iBooks

*Giveaway*

Want to win a copy of this awesome book? Do you live in the U.S. or Canada? Well here’s the scoop. Every book on the FFBC tour is giving away a copy, so you have 20 chances to win. Check out the other blog stops and enter their giveaways, and here is how to enter mine:

  1. Make sure you are following my blog. If you prefer a method of contact OTHER than via blog, leave a contact email or preferred social media contact.
  2. Leave a comment and give me your version of two truths and a lie.

And that’s it! Winners will be chosen and notified before July 20th. Please note that you may only win ONE copy of the book, even if you enter on multiple blogs. If you win from more than on FFBC blog, we request that you pass the book on to a different winner.

Soundtrack: “Seven Devils” by Florence + the Machine

signature