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    The Revenge of Magic by James Riley {Review}

    The Revenge of Magic
    Title & Series: THE REVENGE OF MAGIC (The Revenge of Magic #1)
    Author: James Riley
    Release date: March 5, 2019
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
    Pages: 416
    Ages: 8-12
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    About the Book

    When long-dead magical creatures are discovered all around the world, each buried with a book of magic, only children can unlock the dangerous power of the books in this start to a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Story Thieves!

    Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic.


    Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books.


    But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them!

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    The Review

    The Revenge of Magic is a thrilling, nail-biting and instantly captivating start to what promises to be an action-filled and electrifying new series by Author James Riley. Powerful magic, dark secrets, terrifying creatures, and the threat to all humankind make this an absolute page turner.

    Forsythe “Fort” Fitzgerald wanted nothing more than to exact vengeance against the monsters who took his father from him when he became a student at the Oppenheimer School. While he may not have been gifted with the kind of powers those born on “Discovery Day” had, he hoped his determination and rage would be enough to help him pass their tests and be allowed to stay so that he could get his revenge.

    With only days to master three magical spells, the odds are stacked against him. And with several of his classmates hoping to see him fail, a strange connection to a girl no one wants to talk about, a teacher that thinks his presence at the school is putting them all in danger, and suspicious behavior from those in charge means that there is a very real possibility that he won’t be ready when the monsters return.

    James Riley has filled his story with interesting, icky and scary monsters, odd and ornery and secretive adults, unique magical abilities and a diverse group of young characters to wield them. The author does not follow convention when it comes to the setting for a magical school. He does not make his main character a superhero. And he does not reveal every secret that Dr. Opps and the Oppenheimer School are keeping.

    Spells will be cast, minds will be read, walls will be walked through, futures will be predicted, and battles will be fought in this fast-paced, immensely entertaining, and delightfully humorous first installment in the series. For those who like their heroes feisty, their villains both human and other, their magical abilities unique and unpredictable, The Revenge of Magic is a must read.

    The Rating

    About the Author

    Author Photo by Maarten de Boer

    James Riley lives in Virginia. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the Half Upon a Time, Story Thieves, and Revenge of Magic series.

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    THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS by Tae Keller Blog Tour Review

    I am so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS by Tae Keller. From the moment I first read this book’s description I couldn’t wait to meet Natalie and find out whether scientific method helped her with everything she was going through with her family.

    For my stop today I’m sharing my thoughts about this lovely and amazing book, which released last seek. So if you’d like to know what I though scroll down for my review.

    If you haven’t yet heard about THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS or its author, Tae Keller, information about both book and author are below along with places to find them online.


    About THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS
    Author: Tae Keller
    Release date: March 6, 2018
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    How do you grow a miracle? For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie’s botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that’s important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

    Eggs are breakable. Hope is not. Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She’s going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids—flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it’s up to kids to save them, right?

    An extraordinary debut about the coming-of-age moment when kids realize that parents are people, too, and that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. The Fourteenth Goldfish meets The Thing About Jellyfish in THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS.

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    NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS is a charming and delightful, emotional, meaningful, and thoroughly engaging read. It is full of hope and heartache and humor, clever footnotes, adorable illustrations, and a plethora of broken eggs.

    Ever since Natalie’s mom all but disappeared from her life, Natalie’s been looking for answers and for a way to fix things so that the mom she knew will return and replace the not-there version who spends most of her days in bed.

    Her new, overly enthusiastic science teacher’s suggestion that she participate in the local egg drop competition might not be such a bad one. It will give her just the opportunity she needs to help – that is, if she can win.

    Going it alone she doesn’t stand a chance, but with her best friend Twig and new friend Dari on her team, winning is a real possibility – even with drop ideas that contain glitter, marshmallows, and chocolate.

    Tae Keller created a sympathetic, relatable, likable, funny, flawed, and real character in Natalie. She put her character in a situation that forced her to grow up, to learn things she might not have wanted to learn, to adapt, to become more aware, more thoughtful, more understanding. But she didn’t make her go it alone.

    The author did an incredible job of keeping her story at just the right amounts of serious and fun. It is moving and heart-rending. But with a hashtag happy teacher, a friend who doesn’t know the meaning of a whisper, and a dad whose idea of fun is running errands, it is equally as lighthearted and hilarious as it is affecting.

    Aimed at a middle grade audience, THE SCIENCE OF BREAKABLE THINGS can be just as easily enjoyed by a young adult readership, as well as readers of most ages. It incorporates science in a way that is amusing and educational. It tackles emotionally tough issues. It introduces a bit of cultural diversity. It offers food for thought. It has some sweet and wonderful characters. And it is witty and smart and an amazingly great read.

    The Rating


    About Tae Keller

    Saavedra Photography

    TAE KELLER (@TaeKeller) grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she wrote stories, ate spam musubis, and participated in her school’s egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates. Visit her at TaeKeller.com and be sure to join her newsletter bit.ly/taekellernews.

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    A WRINKLE IN TIME Blog Tour: BECOMING MADELINE Review

    A WRINKLE IN TIME was one of my Top 10 favorite reads as a child – and remains an all time favorite read of mine. So when I was invited to be a part of the tour to help celebrate the upcoming release of the film – which I cannot wait to see! – of course I had to participate.

    And I was equal parts excited and anxious to read BECOMING MADELEINE, a biography about the author, written by her granddaughters. Excited because this would be the first book about Madeleine L’Engle I’d ever read and I’d finally get to know more about this author whose writing was such a huge part of my young life. Anxious because over the years many authors I’d worshipped had fallen from pedestals when I’d learned more about them and I didn’t want to learn that she’d despised her characters or wished she’d never created them at all.

    But I settled in to read with a cup of tea for comfort (just in case) and with reading glasses – that weren’t a necessity way back when I first read A WRINKLE IN TIME, A WIND IN THE DOOR or A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET. And I completely fell in love with this book – though I wished I had a box of tissue as that epilogue had me in tears.

    If you’d like to know more about what I thought about this lovingly written “story,” my review follows below. If you’d like to visit the other stops on the tour, the schedule follows at the bottom of this post.

    And if you’d like to join the conversation on social media, be sure to tag #AWrinkleInTime.


    About BECOMING MADELEINE

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: BECOMING MADELEINE
    Authors: Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy
    Release date: February 6, 2018
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
    Pages: 176
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L’Engle —written by her granddaughters.

    This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy. Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles—a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing—and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon’s work, but also to anyone interested in writing.

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    Note: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A finished eCopy was purchased for my Kindle.


    The Review

    Filled with pictures and journal entries and correspondence to and from Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE gives readers an intimate peek at this award-winning author’s life. It has just the right amount of depth to make the read substantial and interesting without being weighty, reveals more than enough about Madeleine to learn who she was at various points in her life, and includes a heartfelt and heartrending introduction and conclusion by the authors – Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy, L’Engle’s granddaughters.

    It is a captivating and delightful and inspirational read that shares pivotal moments in Madeleine’s life up to the moment when A WRINKLE IN TIME was accepted for publication. It tells of a girl who always had a passion for writing, who was determined and tenacious and ambitious, who was often socially awkward but who thrived nevertheless, who was confident yet shy, who was brave yet fearful, who was by no means perfect but who strived to be better, and who understood that who she was encompassed every version of herself.

    BECOMING MADELEINE’s authors have penned a loving and respectful and incredibly endearing telling of the story of Madeleine’s life. They left in many of the hardships the author faced as a child, young, and not-so-young, adult. They shared her mistakes, her successes, her failures, her disappointments, her setbacks. They showed her journey as a writer – from poet, to novelist, to playwright, to published author – as well as the side trips that took her away from and brought her back to writing. And they allowed a glimpse into some of the more personal aspects of her and her family’s life.

    Madeleine L’Engle’s biography can be enjoyed by readers of many ages. It is a quick read, that flows beautifully, even interspersed with images and other lovely distractions. It has more of a story-like quality than that of a typical biography, allowing readers to easily connect with and become charmed by Madeleine. It promises a happy ending, just like Madeline L’Engle wanted for her stories – although its epilogue, divulging just how cherished L’Engle was by her granddaughters, will tug on the heartstrings.

    Whether a new or lifelong fan of author Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE is a must, must, must.

    The Rating


    About the Authors

    Charlotte Jones Voiklis is Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter and executor of her estate. She has written a biography, Becoming Madeleine, for middle grade readers with her sister, Léna Roy, coming out in February 2018. She wrote the afterword to the 50th Anniversary edition of A Wrinkle in Time, has also written and spoken of her grandmother’s work to a variety of audiences. With a PhD in Comparative Literature, Charlotte’s work experience includes teaching, fundraising, communications, and grant making. She is also a volunteer mediator in the New York City court system.

    MADELEINE L’ENGLE’S WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

    Léna Roy published her first novel, Edges (FSG), in late 2010. She is the Regional Manager for Writopia Lab in Westchester and Connecticut, and her writing was featured in the essay collection for middle school kids and their teachers Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Essays to Devour: Your Favorite Authors Take on the Dreaded Essay Assignment. She lives in New York.

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    The Tour Schedule
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    THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING Spellbinding Prize Pack #Giveaway

    Thanks to the very awesome folks at Disney-Hyperion I have a Spellbinding Prize Pack – consisting of a copy of Alexandra Bracken’s THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING and some other lovely merch – to give away!

    And yes, I received one too and it’s even more amazing than it looks in the pics. (Yummier, too!)

    So, after you’ve checked out all the deets about Alexandra Bracken’s new book (recommended for ages 9 and up), enter for a chance to win in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post.

    To get a peek at the first two chapters, visit DISNEY.COM!

    And if you’d like to join the conversation, be sure to…

    THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING is available now, so if you just can’t wait to see if you’ve won a copy, you can find it online and in stores. It’s a perfect read for the season, it’s positively delightful, and it can (and will) definitely be enjoyed by those readers upwards of nine years of age.


    About THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)
    Author: Alexandra Bracken
    Release date: September 5, 2017
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Pages: 368
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    “I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness….”

    Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history—that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made—and then broke—a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, eight-hundred-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

    The fiend has reawakened with one purpose–to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts to trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his afterlife without a side of eternal servitude, thanks. But with the help of his long-lost uncle, Barnabas, and his daughter, Nell, a witch-in-training, it seems like Prosper has at least a fighting chance of ridding himself of Alastor before the demon escapes and wreaks havoc on his family.

    Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host…

    From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation.  Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

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    The Book Trailer


    About Alexandra Bracken

    Alexandra Bracken is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds series. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved East to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. After working in publishing for several years, Alex now writes full-time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that’s perpetually overflowing with books. Visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com and on Twitter @alexbracken.

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    The Giveaway

    Prepare to be Spellbound!

    One (1) winner receives:

    • THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING
    • PLUS spellbinding merchandise include “Witches Brew” hot cocoa; witch-broom pen set; and trick-or-treating tote!

    Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART Blog Tour: Review

    I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART Blog Tour. This is such a wonderful series with delightful characters, exciting adventures, gripping mysteries, a fascinating setting, and positive messages, told in a way that both entertains and educates. With each book, the story becomes a bit more detailed, the characters more complex, the challenges more difficult, making for an unputdownable series that will be enjoyed by readers of most ages.

    For my stop today I will be sharing my thoughts on this third book in the series, SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART. Though they might be rather cryptic as there are a number of spoiler-y things that happen right from the start that I don’t wish to reveal.

    If you’d like to know more about any of the books in the series, the details are below – along with links to excerpts. And if you’d like to follow along with the tour, the schedule follows at the bottom of this post.


    About SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART (Serafina #3)
    Author: Robert Beatty
    Release date: July 4, 2017
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Pages: 368
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    The storms are coming…. 

    Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

    A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it’s too late.

    With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

    In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina takes her rightful place among literary champions as she battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.

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    NOTE: This review is based on a finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was pre-ordered for my collection.


    The Review

    SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART is the suspenseful, thrilling, nail-biting, and action-filled third installment in an amazing and interesting and unputdownable series set at the end of the 19th century on and around the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, about a rather unique young girl who serves as the estate’s resident rat catcher, protector, and mystery solver. Gripping from page one to the very end, this third book in the series offers a jaw-dropping surprise, an unexpected ally, a seemingly unbeatable foe, a difficult challenge to overcome, a number of problems to solve, and an epic battle. It is an electrifying and tension-filled and utterly enthralling read.

    Picking up not too long after the events that left Serafina battle-scarred and unsure of her ability to distinguish good guys from bad guys, the Biltmore Estate and its residents once again need her to be their protector, an old enemy needs her assistance, and Braeden just needs his friend. But if she can’t find a way out of her current predicament, she won’t be of any help to anyone.

    With a dark force drawing nearer, growing ever more powerful, leaving destruction in its wake, Serafina doesn’t have much time to figure out who or what it is and how to stop it, let alone find a solution to her own problem. She’ll have to believe in herself, trust her instincts, and rely on her friends and their abilities if there’s to be any chance at success.

    Robert Beatty takes his story to the next level in SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART. It has more substance, more complex problems and ideas, and more complicated characters and relationships. The writing is more advanced than that of its predecessor. The author presents even more things to think about. Each of the main characters has grown and changed and become more aware of who they are.

    Things wrap up nicely at the end of the tale, but the road there promises to be exciting and nerve-wracking and fraught with danger for Serafina and Braeden and Waysa. And with a shocking beginning, a couple of mysteries, a new kind of dark magic, and another chance to explore the Biltmore Estate, it is an enchanting and riveting must read installment.

    The Rating


    The Trailer


    About Robert Beatty

    Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

    Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

    Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


    Other Books in the Series

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK (Serafina #1)
    Author: Robert Beatty
    Release date: July 14, 2015
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    “Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

    Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

    But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is:a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity…before all of the children vanish one by one.

    Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

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    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: SERAFINA AND THE TWISTED STAFF (Serafina #2)
    Author: Robert Beatty
    Release date: July 12, 2016
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Pages: 384
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.

    Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.

    Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.

    Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

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    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Week Two

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    DREAM MAGIC Release Week #Giveaway

    I am super excited to be offering up a copy of DREAM MAGIC by Joshua Khan, for giveaway. DREAM MAGIC is “an immersive high fantasy middle grade stand-alone novel, the second in the Shadow Magic series.”

    This series looked so awesome that I just had to go out and buy both books for my Kindle and I can’t wait to read them.

    And if I wasn’t already convinced, here’s what best-selling author Rick Riordan has to say –

    “If you are pining for that thrill you felt when you first discovered Harry Potter […] here is a fantasy world you will lose yourself in. I defy you not to love this story.”

    DREAM MAGIC released this week and if you’d like to know more about it and the first book in the series, SHADOW MAGIC, scroll down for more info.

    Read more

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    Review: JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS
    Author: Sarah Beth Durst
    Release date: April 4, 2017
    Publisher: Clarion Books
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    The traditional Emperor’s Journey is meant to be uneventful. But as the princesses Seika and Ji-Lin—twin sisters—travel to pay respects to their kingdom’s dragon guardian, unexpected monsters appear and tremors shake the earth. The Hidden Islands face unprecedented threats, and the old rituals are failing. With only their strength, ingenuity, and flying lion to rely on, can the sisters find a new way to keep their people safe?

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    Note: This review is based on an ARC received from the author in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS is an absolutely wonderful, magical, and heartwarming tale that takes readers on an epic, perilous, monster-filled adventure with two sisters and a winged lion. It is exciting and enchanting and amusing and imaginative. It delivers a number of positive messages about conquering fear, growing up, letting go, being understanding, and being responsible. It is a gripping and enthralling story that can and will be enjoyed by readers of any age.

    Ji-Lin missed her sister desperately. As much as she loved training to become a warrior so that she could protect Seika, she wished they didn’t have to be separated for so long. So when she first learned that she would get to go home for a visit, she was thrilled. But when she discovered that the reason for the visit was so that she could accompany Seika on the Emperor’s Journey, her excitement turned to anxiety. Because she wasn’t quite sure she was ready for such an important task.

    Seika followed every rule and did everything she was asked, unlike her sister, Ji-Lin. But when her father, the emperor, told her that it was time for her to do her duty for Himitsu and take the journey to the island’s guardian to renew their bargain, she wasn’t certain she was adequately prepared to honor tradition. She was told the path would be easy, but she had never been away from home before. And she certainly never had to come face-to-face with a dragon.

    Sarah Beth Durst created a story that is delightful and interesting and fun and funny. She introduces two very likable twin sisters with very different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. She tests their fortitude, their ingenuity, their compassion, and their loyalty. And she takes them on a trek through a world that is fraught with danger – but she doesn’t make them go on it alone.

    They are joined by Alejan, Ji-Lin’s friend and protector, an incredibly adorable winged lion who is equally as interested in sharing stories about his idol, Master Shai, as he is in talking about his next meal. And by a boy who they can’t decide whether he’s more of an interloper or a valuable traveling companion.

    Sea monsters and pirate-like ships, earthquakes and abandoned villages, bargains and betrayals, heroes and princesses, JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS has it all and then some. And with a few unexpected twists thrown in, it promises to be a thoroughly engaging and immensely entertaining read.

    The Rating


    About Sarah Beth Durst

    Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of eleven fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults, including Drink Slay Love, the basis for the upcoming TV movie of the same name, airing on Lifetime in 2017. Her latest book for adults, The Queen of Blood, came out in September 2016 from Harper Voyager, and her next book for kids, Journey Across the Hidden Islands, comes out in April 2017 from HMH/Clarion Books. Sarah won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.

    Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat.

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