Book Tour: The Gemini Connection

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Hey everyone! Below is the tour for The Gemini Connection, keep reading to see my review.

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The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen


Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.


I rated this book 4.5 stars. This is one of the best dystopian/sci-fi novels I have read in quite awhile. Just by reading the blurb I was interested right away due to the strange and eerie feel. There were so many aspects I loved from the relationships to the mystery and unknown.

About the Author

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online at

Author Links









The author is giving away a signed copy of The Gemini Connection and a $20 Amazon gift card!



Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours



Currently Reading

Hey everyone!

I wanted to post an update on what I’ve been reading recently.

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You guys are going to be so happy to hear this, I finally am reading the Six of Crows duology! I just finished the first book yesterday and it was a wild ride let me tell you. The characters were the best part for me just like everyone said they would be. I can’t wait to pick up the second book, did you enjoy Crooked Kingdom?

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So I have been really trying to get more into graphic novels and manga because I never have been able to read any. I picked up the Deadman Wonderland series and I read the first three volumes yesterday. I’m really enjoying the story and the format is a nice break from big novels.

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I also started the Saga series. So far I have only read the first volume and I thought it was alright. I know everyone loves this series so I’m going to read the next volume soon in hopes that it picks up.

I’d love some more recommendations for either graphic novels or manga so please feel free to comment some below:)


What are you guys currently reading? Any recent reads you loved or really didn’t enjoy?

Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Obsidio

Hey everyone!

I finally finished the Illuminae Files! I really enjoyed the series and am a bit sad it’s  over but all good things come to an end. Keep reading for my thoughts on the final novel and my reading experience!

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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My Thoughts

I enjoyed this books a lot, especially the second half. Towards the end I found myself panicking most of the time because pretty much everything possible was happening. I felt so connected to the characters by the end of the series and I genuinely cared about what was going to happen to them at the end.

I gave this one 4 stars mainly for the same reason I marked Illuminae down. I felt that it took be quite a bit to actually get into the book because the beginning was very general. I wasn’t sucked right into the story and rather felt like I was being pushed away. The new characters seemed irrelevant at first until I actually got to know more about them and their story. But after the first hundred and fifty pages or so I couldn’t put down the book.

I think one of my favorite parts of the whole series was AIDAN. Throughout all the different ships and different characters AIDAN was the only common thing that you could always expect to show up. Especially in Obsidio, I found its attempt at humor in really stressful situations the best part.

I’d probably have to say my favorite characters are still the team from Gemina because I seriously loved that book so much. Nik, Hanna, and Ella will always hold a special place in my heart.

This was the first book I ever really attempted to annotate and I actually found it rather enjoyable. I feel like I enjoyed the book much more because I appreciated little parts of it such as how a scene made me feel and took note of it or marked a line I really liked. I think I’m going to continue marking my books.


What did you guys think of Obsidio and the series as a whole?

Book Blitz + Giveaway

I’m super excited to tell you guys about this book! Sure contemporaries can be great in the summer but lets be real, sometimes a mystery or thriller is what you need. I for one am already in fall/winter mode and already have my Goodreads Halloween folder all set.

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Read to the end to find out how you can enter to win a free copy of this eBook!

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Death in Vermilion by Barbara Elle
Published April 16th, 2018

A psychological mystery about art and obsession…

Artist Leila Goodfriend is laying down the bones of a painting. When she’s interrupted by Iris, the noisy, unlikeable artist in the studio upstairs, Leila is distracted and annoyed.

When Leila discovers the racket was actually Iris’ dead body hitting the floor, she becomes obsessed: Who murdered Iris?

The other Red Barn Cooperative artists—competitive, jealous and hypocritical—are prime suspects. They all hated Iris. “An artist owes his life to his art,” Iris said.

Iris was good for a laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In this gripping mystery, new author Barbara Elle paints a clever, twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a charming Cape Code town.

Alibis fall apart. Plot twists multiply. And Leila comes to a dangerous conclusion.


Chapter 1

Bellies and Strips

There was no glance more cutting or cruel. The narrowing of unsympathetic eyes a shade of cool, blue slate, like Dylan’s on the cover of Highway 61 Revisited. The imperceptible flare of nostrils, followed by a slow yoga exhalation in Savasana, the corpse. It wasn’t going well.

Leila Goodfriend was laying down the bones of a painting. She took a step back from her easel. A no-name clam shack clung fearlessly as a barnacle to the edge of the old East End pier. A forlorn wooden structure, barely bigger than a Punch & Judy puppet stage, had withstood the fierce winds whipping off the water in the dead of winter. The pier was deserted. Anyone could paint a sunny day.

After outlining the shack in ghostly charcoal strokes, she stood, hand on hip, poised with a palette loaded with ultramarine and cobalt blues for the sky, sap green for foliage, a transparent manganese blue hue for waves in the water, Van Dyck brown for the pier’s planks and Naples Yellow Hue for sunlight. Flake white blobs dabbed in the foreground could be gulls, or children, or discarded clam containers. She hadn’t decided which. Leila loved that shack, the rough pier, and the view of dotted Race Point Lighthouse off the distance. Painting was all about execution, feeling a connection to the subject, the composition, the angles of light. Though local artists mostly painted popular summer scenes of boats and beaches.

That’s what the summer birds, vacationers who nested in the Cape Cod dunes from June until the end of August, bought. Her husband Joe dubbed them the dorks of summer. Leila didn’t care what unflattering name Joe had for them, or whether the summer birds cared as much about this place she called home as she did. She wanted to sell them a painting capturing what she loved about this place.

If she was lucky, and painting was largely a matter of luck, random strokes on the canvas would become a painting, At the Clam Bar: Succulent Bellies and Strips. If one of the summer birds bought her painting, she’d be happy. Even the most dedicated of artists needs affirmation sometimes.

A loud whacking thump overhead jarred Leila rudely from her thoughts; the thud traveled like a jolt of electricity down her spine Immediately, Leila knew the disturbance, of course, was Iris. Iris again. Always Iris. Of the six other artists who called the Red Barn home, her studio had to be, unfortunately, overhead.

And inevitably, as Iris worked, the creaking old floorboards quaked under her relentless assault with her flapping Birkenstock sandals.

Leila complained about Iris to Joe more than once, actually almost every day. It was impossible for someone who barely grazed five feet could make so much noise. Iris could be quiet if she tried, she’d say. She was inconsiderate. She was pompous. “Art,” Iris would say, “has a life of its own and an artist owes his life to his art.” Quoting Iris was good for a laugh.

If Iris bothered her so much, Joe would say, why keep talking about it? Why not rent a different studio? That would make sense, except Leila loved her space, had been there for nearly five years, and was lucky to have found it in this touristy town. Besides, she hated giving in to her own annoyance; she’d learn to ignore Iris if it killed her. Maybe, someday, Iris would just float away like a child’s birthday balloon. No such luck; gravity worked overtime with every tread Iris inflicted in her flapping Birkenstock sandals. Leila fought her first instinct, which was to grab the long, telescoping pole by the casement window, stand on a stool and bang her weapon of choice sharply on the lofty ceiling, twice. It wouldn’t work. It never did. Iris would ignore her.

Instead, Leila turned up NPR on the radio. She could drown out Iris with the sound of undemanding human voices on the radio. NPR was excellent company and, when necessary, excellent white noise. The hourly news, a lengthy interview, a personal piece affected in that breathless NPR accent was the perfect antidote for distraction. And the distraction was usually Iris.

Iris McNeil Thornton was a fellow member of the Red Barn Art Cooperative at Castle Road, which was housed in the happily dilapidated Red Barn Studio. It was high on a hill, overlooking Pamet Marsh, close enough to spy the flights of blue herons and egrets wheeling through the Aliziran Crimson sky, the sun an orb of Cadmium Yellow falling into the salt marshes from her window.

Among the Red Barn’s many charms were the old building’s quirky twists and turns, the sizeable studio spaces with high ceilings from its former life as the Southwind Bros. Button and Snap factory. Leila loved the patina on the old, uneven oak floorboards, the room secreted under the stairwell, doors that jammed and staircases that creaked.

But it was the heady mix of gesso, turp, linseed, pigments, primer, developers and emulsions, the fat smell of oil layered with acrylic resin and a faint dash of watercolor, an acrid, chemical concoction heady in the nasal passages, smells as familiar as the scent of a baby, that made it home.

Not that the Red Barn was without its problems. The daily irritations of artistry and intimacy meant the Red Barn artists were often less than happy. And when the Red Barn artists were less than happy, which occurred as frequently as the tides, they would reach for anything on hand brooms, clogs, slammed doors, sighs in the hallways, post-it notes on the bulletin board, giggles behind a back, and any combination thereof to convey their displeasure. Under other circumstances such communications might be considered rude, but the Red Barn operated by its own set of rules.

It wasn’t that the Red Barn, a collective space of otherwise solitary individuals, didn’t have its share of fellowship and communal spirit. Sometimes it was nice to see a friendly face.

But, recently, their friendships had been called into question by a series of items gone missing, small stuff, seemingly at random, from their studios, Daklon paintbrush, a can of gesso, and unused tube of paint and a half-used tube of paint. A box of plastic gloves was now empty; which Leila was sure had been half-full. No

one said theft, not at first. It was more like, did I leave this in your studio? did you find this in the bathroom? I must be a little crazy because I was sure I had it, but as the missing items mounted, minor though they were, so did whispering, suspicion, and an uneasy sense someone, maybe one of them, was a thief.

It made Leila uneasy; maybe someone was invading her studio, without her knowing. She debated whether, like Iris, she should lock her door at the end of the day. But she shook it off as unnecessary paranoia and decided to ignore it.

Leila took a deep breath, brushed back her unruly, graying curls, squinting at her canvas. When she painted, the circling steps of the heavy woman upstairs receded from consciousness, and time was suspended.

The wood planks of the pier were muddied. The perspective wasn’t quite right. The colors weren’t right. Leila waggled the end of her paintbrush like a cigar between her lips. It was a messy habit. She looked down at the black-and-white photo of the shack, not that she had any intention of painting the snapshot, any more than a musician only plays the notes.

Leila picked up her palette knife. Shaped like a small trowel for digging in the dirt, its usefulness came from its versatility in blending colors, creating textural effects, or scraping across the surface of a painting to obliterate an offense. Artists can be rough on their work; Leila was her own toughest critic.

The pier had to go. Leila wielded the knife, scraping hard until she hit the tooth of the canvas. She preferred working on a good, tightly woven cotton duck. It wasn’t an inert surface, so it recovered quickly after Leila’s brief attack. She dabbed a rag soaked in turpentine on the wound. The reconstruction of the pier could wait until tomorrow.

What time was it? Leila lost track of time as she worked. She never wore a watch in the studio.

But if she left too late, Joe would be annoyed his port wine reduction for the seared tuna had broken. It wasn’t the sauce—he could revive with a quick whisk of butter on a low heat—it was her spending more and more time at the studio and coming home later. The sky over Cape Cod Bay was a wistful grey heading into night.

Leila put down her palette knife, turned down her radio, and listened. There was quiet, finally quiet, blissful silence.

Now, at the end of the day, Leila had to steel herself for the most infuriating moment of the day: Iris leaving. The torrential thumps of Iris’ flapping Birkenstocks as she gathered up her belongings, slammed the window, searched for her purse, and slammed her door. The old oak boards were punished as as Iris clomped overhead.

The stomp was followed by the slam. Iris was incapable of doing anything quietly. There was some relief in the slam—it meant Iris was no longer overhead. The Red Barn artists never said good night, pretending not to notice each other’s comings and goings. So Leila didn’t expect Iris to poke her head in, or wave when she passed by. However, the daily drama of the swirling clamor that was Iris, like a performer doing a star turn on the stage, made it impossible not to notice her entrances and exits.

Leila walked to the window. The light of an Indian summer day was fading. Sailboats moored in the bay listed drunkenly. Had the final thump earlier signaled Iris’ departure? Leila walked back to her canvas. She recognized this as the same solitary circling as that of her neighbor overhead. It was ironic, but that didn’t stop Iris from being an annoyance.

She put her tools on her workbench. She should rinse them in turpentine and water in the bathroom at the end of the hall—the brushes would be tackier and difficult to clean after drying overnight. Oh well, she’d deal with that in the morning. Grabbing her backpack, she turned out the lights and closed her door. The hallway was silent. The other studio doors on her floor were closed. No Philomena, no Dové.

But something in the quality of the jarring loud noise earlier somehow made the quiet louder.

The stairs were poorly lit, even after Leila switched on the bare bulb dangling overhead. The whole damn place was a fire hazard. She climbed to the second floor. No Liz, no Gretchen. Later, she couldn’t quite explain why hadn’t she gone home.

The crap fixture in the upstairs hall, that never worked right, was out, as usual. The damn, dusty moose head Iris had mounted above her door stared down dolefully through its blind, button eyes. Its antlers wore a fine coat of dust.

Iris’ door was open a crack, which surprised Leila. Iris worked behind closed, locked doors, all day, every day. The other Red Barn artists left their doors open at least a smidgen, not exactly an invitation, but not a deliberately antisocial act. Iris had no such compunctions.

Leila knocked. Silence. She hesitated. Should she leave Iris alone? She took a few steps back toward the stairs, but turned around. What harm was it peeking inside? “Iris, its only me, Leila. ” No answer. “Iris, are you there?”

Leila stared through the crack in the door. At first, she thought the room was empty, but as her eyes adjusted, Leila made out a shape, or maybe a shadow, in the center of the studio.

The value of the only available light source, through the far window, made it difficult to see. Iris refused to use artificial light. She insisted on painting ‘as the Old Masters had’, that is, only by natural light. For a time, she had painted by candlelight, until the Red Barn got wind of it, banning burning candles before Iris burned the place down.

Leila stared at the shape. It didn’t move. Iris never left her door unlocked. Maybe she’d left something behind and would come back for it. Leila pushed the door open further, venturing into the silent studio, under the disapproving gaze of the mildewed moose, inching towards the shadow.

Iris, who incurred the Red Barn artists’ collective ire by deprecating the work of her fellow artists, neglecting to lock the front door, leaving puddles around communal hall sink, and far worse, as the prime suspect in the ongoing war of toilet squatting accusations, that same annoying Iris, was splayed on the floor, eyes wide open, inert as a tube of sepia.

It was a body. Iris’ body. Later, Leila recalled the body like a dead deer, abandoned on the side of the road after an accident. She remembered noting the color of Iris’ skin, like the underpainting of flesh in a neutral shade—what artists called grisaille, or dead coloring.

Ironically, under the circumstances, the scene is not unlike Iris’ own brooding assemblages: the carnage of death, overripe fruit in silver bowls, bird carcasses on platters, and game animals, fresh and bloodied, trophies of the hunt hung in the background, rendered in the style of the Old Masters.

And later, Leila was vaguely ashamed of her observations, her detachment. But, she thought defensively, isn’t observation was a habit developed over a lifetime?

Tentatively, Leila inched forward, reaching out her hand to touch the body. She yanked it back as if it was submerged in a shark tank. Iris was surprisingly warm, alive warm.

As her eyes adjusted to the low light, Leila saw Iris’ blood was a seeping stain from her flowing blue dress onto the floorboards. The red was the red every paint manufacturer had tried, but failed, to capture in a tube. Brilliant, blood red. But the eyes were dead, even if the heart was beating. Leila’s heart dropped a beat. Fear crept up her throat. Leila had to look away; she couldn’t look at those eyes. Should she call out? Is anyone here? But it was better she was alone, even if it was with a dead body. But, Iris wasn’t alone.

A small figure stood—as if on guard—over the body. Leila bent down to look at it: it was a wooden artist’s mannequin, no bigger than a child’s toy, standing guard over Iris. She recognized him immediately.

Jesus, it was Fred, fucking Fred— Leila, in a fanciful mood, had painted the figure to be anatomically correct, as well as well-endowed—who had gone missing from her studio months ago.

But poor Fred, as an eyewitness to a crime, could have nothing to say. There was no doubt he was Fred, and that he belonged to her. Bending down to pick up her missing mannequin, Leila gazed into his dead eyes. What to do?

In truth, she was both embarrassed by her handiwork, and concerned his presence could be construed as evidence at the scene of the crime; she pocketed Fred and in a sleight of hand he disappeared.

Leila didn’t need Fred to paint the picture. Iris prone. The blood. The burnished wood handle of a knife stuck in an ample left breast. Iris had been murdered. Leila didn’t scream. Leila wasn’t a screamer.

Giveaway Details:

Copy of Death in Vermillion for Kindle

Rafflecopter Link:

About the Author:


Barbara Elle

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Barbara Elle grew up in Boston, but as an adult became a New Yorker. Barbara loves writing about people and places she remembers, so Death In Vermilion is set on Cape Cod, a place of many memories. She continues collecting memories and places, traveling the world with her touring musician husband, whether exploring Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna or Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, in search of new stories to write about. She invariably packs a notebook and her laptop.


A huge thank you to R&R Book Tours organizing this book blitz! Go check out her awesome blog and follow her twitter !

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Thank you guys so much for reading and make sure you enter the giveaway for a chance to win this awesome book!

June Wrap-Up

Hey everyone!

Happy July 1! I’m so happy I’m finally done with my semester and have some more time to myself now without worrying about exams. And of course more reading time! June wasn’t a terrible reading month though considering I was taking a very fast paced summer course. I have 17 books on here but of course some of them were on the shorter side.

Netgalley Reads

When We Were Young

When We Were Young by Anna Benoit

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Salt by Hannah Moskowitz

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Willa of the Wood (Willa, #1)

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

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Unwritten by Tara Giboy

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Easy Prey

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo

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Going Up

Going Up by Tawna Fenske 

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A Christmas to Remember: Based on the Hallmark Channel Original Movie

A Christmas to Remember by Rebecca Moesta

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Christmas In Evergreen

Christmas in Evergreen by Nancy Naigle

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Die Wormworld Saga: Die Reise beginnt

The Wormworld Saga by Daniel Lieske

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Everything Else




When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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Go Home, Afton: Afton Morrison, Book 1

Go Home, Afton by Brent Jones

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Princess of Thorns

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

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Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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I would love to hear about what you guys read this month! What are you planning on reading next? I’m currently reading Obsidio!


Netgalley Haul

And here we are once again with another Netgalley haul. Honestly I’m not surprised but I did tell myself I wouldn’t request anymore books until I finished all the review copies I have. Of course I found myself checking Netgalley the next day and couldn’t resist the new titles.

So here’s another Netgalley haul!

Books I’ve Read Already

Going Up by Tawna Fenske

Books I Haven’t Read

‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider

Enchantments by Mya Spalter

The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis

The Christmas Star by Donna VanLiere

The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown


If I didn’t already have enough to read I’m visiting my all time favorite book store as a celebration for my summer semester ending! I can finally post more now since I’m finally off which I’m super excited about.

Have you hauled anything new recently?

Thanks for reading! -Catherine

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Hey everyone!

I’m super excited to be posting this because it is my first award! Thank you so much Sissi for nominating me. She runs The Book World, be sure to go check her out because her posts are always amazing.


The Rules

Thanks the blogger who nominated you by linking their blog

Answer the questions

Nominate 11 blogs and with 11 question

List the rules as well as display the sunshine award logo on your post


Sissi’s Questions

1.What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

I would have to say My Top 5 Things that Make or Break a Book post has been my favorite so far. It’s the first post I’ve done in awhile that wasn’t discussing specific books which allowed me to be a bit more creative in what I wanted to say. I love doing reviews as well but sometimes it’s nice to be a bit more creative and just write general thoughts on a greater topic.

2.If you could bring any fictional object (weapon, clothing, food etc.) into the real world, what would it be?

If anyone thinks I’m about to say something that isn’t the Elder Wand then you are mistaken. What things I could do with that wand…rather the things I CAN’T do with that wand ;). But of course I would like it in tact, pre-breakage, thank you.

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3.Who is your favourite book character?

This is a really tough one because there are so many characters that I have grown attached to while reading a series. I think I’m going to have to go with Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series. He was always my favorite character when reading the novels and still is to this day.

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4.What is your favourite book genre?

100% have to go with fantasy, more specifically ya. I do like thrillers and contemporaries as well but if I had to choose once I would go with fantasy. I feel like it encompasses such a large amount of books that seem so different, like they couldn’t possibly be the same genre.

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5.What are some of your hobbies?

Well of course I love to read and blogging much more as of recent. I play violin and have been for many years. I’m passionate about music in general, not just the classical things I perform. I’ve always been fond of going to the movies whether that’s with family or friends. I play some video games here and there but only when I’m on break from school, my all time favorite game being Final Fantasy X (yes I cried at the end).

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6.What is your favourite movie?

I gotta go with Sweeney Todd. I’m a sucker for that musical and the Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter adaptation just blew me away. I would karaoke that music every night if I could.

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7. What do you think is the most important part of a book in order for you to love it?

This is what I did my top 5 post on but if I had to choose one thing I would say the characters. For starters, I need to like the characters because if they’re just annoying I’m most likely going to hate the book. I also like very vivid and dense characterization so that I can easily picture what this character looks like and how they behave.

8.Who is your role model?

My sister, she’s always been the person I look up to.

9.What is your favourite holiday?

CHRISTMAS!!! Hehe maybe my Christmas post in the middle of June gave it away??

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10.Do you always read the book first before watching a book to movie adaptation?

I prefer it for sure because I know if I watch the movie I most likely won’t end up reading the books because I know the general plot and ending and then I miss out on the book which is so much better.

11.What is your favourite season?

Winter!!! I love the snow and the cold, as long as I’m dressed properly I’m happy.

My Questions

  1. What do you like most about running a book blog?
  2. What is your favorite book friendship/relationship?
  3. What is your favorite season, both to be in and to read about?
  4. What author has never let you down with their books?
  5. Besides reading, what are your other passions?
  6. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  7. What are your top 3 books of all time? (because just one is too hard to choose)
  8. What character’s life would you love to live?
  9. If you could turn any book into a movie, which would it be?
  10. What is your reading routine? (food, drinks, location, book style, etc.)
  11. What are you currently reading?

My Nominations

 CatherineHannah ◊LaurenKellyTecsieTianaAngelicaJustineShannonAmandaNicole

Book Tour: Go Home, Afton

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Hey guys!

So I’m super excited to be part of the book tour for this novel. This is my first ever book tour and I hope you’re as psyched as I am because I couldn’t have asked for a better book to review.

Go Home, Afton by Brent Jones
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Novella 1 in the Afton Morrison series

Release date: June 25, 2018


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords


We all wear masks, and Afton Morrison is no exception.
A small-town librarian with a dark side, Afton, twenty-six, has suppressed violent impulses her entire adult life. Impulses that demand she commit murder.
Blending her urges with reason, Afton stalks a known sexual predator, intending to kill him. But
her plan, inspired by true crime and hatched with meticulous care, is interrupted by a
mysterious figure from her past. A dangerous man that lurks in the shadows, watching,
threatening to turn the huntress into the hunted.
Go Home, Afton is the first of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.

My Review:

I finished this book in one sitting, since it is a novella, and because I really didn’t want to put it down. If you read my Top 5 Things that Make or Break a Book post you would know that how a novel starts out is a big point for me and I like to be placed straight into the action. With Go Home, Afton I got just that. As soon as I started the book I was sucked right into Afton’s mind and her motives.

I would describe this book as a psychological thriller. There is of course the murderous suspenseful aspect that thrillers are always destined to have. But throughout the novella we get to see how a tragic incident can really impact someone and their everyday life. Everyone copes with things differently and some people choose to just keep it locked up within them which can often lead to many health and mental issues.

I really enjoyed how in tune I felt with Afton. I could really picture every scene so well and honestly felt like I was listening to her speaking her every thought. However there was also a sense of not knowing throughout because we later learn that maybe Afton isn’t always speaking the entire truth. Or she herself doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t?

I couldn’t be more excited to read the next book which will be out so soon! This is for sure a serious to look out for.

My Rating:

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About the Author:

Brent Jones

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From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.
Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex.

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Here is an excerpt from chapter 3 of the novella to give you guys a taste of the writing!


Parents—stay-at-home moms, mostly—brought in their toddlers once a week so I could read them a story. And I use the word toddlers loosely. Kids as old as six or seven sometimes attended during the summer. And the stories we would read were made up of fewer than fifty words, for the most part. A lot of the mothers in Wakefield were too lazy to read to their own children, I guess.

Oh, and crafts, too. After reading a story together, we’d break out glitter and colored pencils and paste and other nonsense, but that wasn’t the real reason a dozen women turned out with their little monsters each week. Storytime was an excuse for the mothers to gather and gossip. It always took a little while to get the children to settle down, sure. I’d press my finger to my lips and wait. Five or ten seconds at most, although I would have been happy to wait longer. Their mothers, on the other hand, were so much worse. Getting them to shut their fucking traps was a whole separate exercise in endurance.

But as much as I disliked children, there was something magical about them. It was their inability to see gray, I think. Their entire worlds existed in black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. You could see it in their faces as a story unfolded, rife with nervous energy at every inconsequential turn.

“And she just doesn’t know”—I read to the room, pointing to each gigantic word—“should she stay, should she go?”

I caught a boy’s expression, who sat just inches from me. The hippopotamus in our story was faced with a dilemma, and this boy was transfixed. His eyes were wide, his hands were cupped over his mouth, and he was vibrating with anticipation to see what the hippo would do next.

I flipped to the last page. “But yes the hippopotamus.”

The boy relaxed a little, making a deliberate show of letting his shoulders drop. A talented drama queen in the making. He was new to storytime and looked to be about five or six years old. He had dark hair, a tan complexion, and a missing front tooth. He’d attended just once before and he’d sat close that day, as well. I’d never really been big on learning children’s names, to be honest, but I knew his was Neil only because he’d come to the library alone both times. It sounds strange, I’m sure, but having a parent use the library as a free babysitting service happens more often than most people would guess.

I continued on, reading the final words of the story. “But not the armadillo.”

Neil was stressed all over again, and his tiny hand shot up. “Miss Afton?”

“Yes, ah, Neil? What is it, little man?”

“How come not the arma-darma?”

“Armadillo.” A woman in baggy gray sweatpants corrected him from the back of the room. She was a few years older than me, had bleach-blonde hair in a ponytail, and her voice resembled a seagull getting crushed by a car.

I shut the book and set it on my lap. “That’s a good question, Neil.” I bit my lower lip, deciding how much to share. “Well, let’s see. Ah, no one likes armadillos, for starters. They’re bullet-proof, if you can believe it, and ugly as sin. They carry leprosy, too, but they don’t bite children too often.”

The woman at the back of the room—Sweatpants, let’s call her—looked horrified. Her stained teeth chattered and she blinked in rapid succession. She placed her palms over her daughter’s ears, a girl around three or four in age.

Neil scratched his head. “What’s a lepra-she?”


Sweatpants raised her hand to silence me—not that I minded—and looked to a few of the other mothers in the room for support, most of whom were checked out or occupied with their phones. She looked back at me again, then at her daughter. “It’s when good little boys and girls get ice cream.” That wasn’t how I might have defined the word, however. “You want to stop for ice cream on the way home, Jessi?”

It was hard enough getting these little turds to sit still for all fourteen pages of But Not the Hippopotamus. Why on earth would this woman want to stuff her daughter’s face with sugar before lunch? But the girl jumped up and squealed at the mention of sweets, and soon, other kids joined in, as did their mothers.

I peeked down at Neil to see him cradling his head in his hands, masking a look of disappointment by staring at the floor. It appeared he had forgotten all about armadillos and leprosy and storytime, and now sulked, wishing he had a parent present to take him for ice cream like the other children.

The mothers talked amongst themselves, and their toddlers fed on the elevated energy levels. The room was alive with discourse, and I wondered if the local Dairy Queen might consider paying me a small commission. “Well, that’s it for storytime, boys and girls. Thanks for coming.”

Sweatpants spoke up at the back of the room, the self-elected leader of Wakefield’s fattest and frumpiest. “But it’s only quarter past, Afton. Isn’t storytime supposed to be a full hour?”

“Just figured you were all on your way to get a double-scoop of leprosy.”

“Very funny.”

I raised my hands in a gesture of mock uncertainty. “We’ve got crafts we can do.” I pointed to three short tables covered in plastic, adorned with supplies that Kim had set up for us. “Should we get to it?”

“That won’t take long. Couldn’t you read them another story first?”

Couldn’t I read them another story? It’d been her idea to squeeze out one of these little nightmares. Why was I being punished for it? “Not this week, I’m afraid. Sorry.”

But she just wouldn’t give up. “Afton, do you know where Jessi’s daddy is right now?”

My first thought was that her husband was probably fucking her sister at some roadside motel with hourly rates, bed bugs, and a one-star rating on Trip Advisor. I couldn’t say that out loud, of course, and so I fought like hell to keep a smirk off my face. It helped to keep my sights trained on Jessi, who had sat back down, cross-legged in a checkered dress. She was drawing on the floor with one small finger.

Sweatpants answered her own question. “He’s at work, Afton. And he works hard, by the way, and we pay more than our share of taxes in this town. Taxes that pay your salary.”

Oh, the salary card. How I loved it when disgruntled parents brought up my salary, as if any one of them wanted to trade places with me. Yes, her taxes paid me a small fortune. That’s why I rented a one-bedroom apartment in a triplex. And it’s the same reason I drove a seven-year-old Corolla. I was so grateful—indebted, even—to Sweatpants and her husband that I just couldn’t wait to read another story.

“Sure thing.” I grabbed a second book off the pile next to me. “One more story, coming right up.”

Sweatpants smiled. It was a flat, fake smile, of course, the kind where the mouth curls tight but the eyes are dormant. It was about the best I could have hoped for, and it seemed to have a calming effect on the other mothers. They quieted down, eager to return to their various text message conversations.

I pointed my finger to more jumbo text on a colorful page. A story about an overweight and diabetic caterpillar with impulse control issues, who was always so very very fucking hungry. “In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf . . .”

And I couldn’t help but lose myself in thought. I was that little egg on a leaf, glimmering in the moonlight, and about to hatch. Soon after, the morning would come. And my hunger would be satiated at last, because Kenneth Pritchard would be dead.


Thank you so much to the author for bringing this amazing book tour to life and to Shannon from Reads & Reels for organizing this tour.

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Below is the schedule for the rest of the book tour so be sure to check out what all these amazing bloggers have to say about the book!


June 25th

Reads & Reels 

Book Wonderland 

Down the Rabbit Hole

Touch My Spine Book Reviews

June 26th

Book Dragon Girl 

Jessica Rachow

Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews 

The Scribblings

On the Shelf Reviews

June 27th

Tranquil Dreams 

June 28th

Dash Fan Book Reviews 

J Bronder Book Reviews 

Just 4 My Books

Life at 17

June 29th

Kim Knight

Misty’s Book Space

Port Jerricho

Errin Krystal

Book Review: Willa of the Wood

Hey everyone!

I stayed up until 4am last night reading this book and just had to finish it. I was not expecting it to be what it was so I really wanted to go ahead and put this review up right away. This is an early copy I received on Netgalley but that in no way, shape, or form impacts my review. I hope you guys enjoy!

Willa of the Wood (Willa, #1)

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

Release Date: July 10, 2018


Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. 
Willa, a young night-spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan’s best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk under cover of darkness and takes what they won’t miss. It’s dangerous work-the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand–but Willa will do anything to win the approval of the padaran, the charismatic leader of the Faeran people.
When Willa’s curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in the day world, she calls upon an ancient, unbreakable bond to escape. Only then does she discover the truth: not all day-folk are the same, and the foundations that have guarded the Faeran for eons are under attack.
As forces of unfathomable destruction encroach on her home, Willa must decide who she truly is. To save the day-folk family that has become her own–and lift the curse that has robbed her people of their truth–Willa will meet deadly force with trusted alliance, violence with shelter, and an ever-changing world with a steady heartbeat of courage.

My Review:

This is a middle grade novel that I requested on Netgalley mainly because the cover pulled my in. I loved he nature aspect of the book and decided to request it. As it is a middle grade, I was expecting an easy read with not much to it. I was SOOOO wrong.

Throughout this book we follow Willa who seems to never be able to fit in with her culture. Having lost everyone except her grandmother, Willa feels as though she does not belong in her clan since they are so much different from her ancestors. The old Faeran way has been abandoned and Willa and her grandmother are the only two who still speak that language and practice this particular type of magic. The two of them are faced with a lot of repression and discrimination due to their distinct ways.

We get to see all of the amazing abilities Willa posses such as communicating with animals and being one with the forest as a whole to the point where she can infuse dead trees with her own life. This was probably my favorite aspect of the novel. The way the author talks about nature and the animals is just so beautiful and seeing it as Willa does, like everything has a right to live and she is there to exist within the forest without interrupting any living creature.

So many lessons are taught in this middle grade that I really was no expecting. Family, loss, power, deforestation, acceptance, rebellion, and belonging are just a few of the topics that are strongly displayed.

I feel like I can’t do this book justice in just writing this review but all I can say is you won’t regret reading this. If you want to read a magical and powerful book about a young girl who ventures off to learn the ways of the world on her own, having already suffered through so much, go check this book out.

My Rating:

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I honestly love being totally surprised by a book. I was really expecting to not enjoy this one nearly as much as I did but now I have a new nook to recommend to friends and family.

What do you guys think of this book? Will you pick it up? What is a book that caught you off guard, for either better or worse?

Thanks for reading!

Netgalley Haul

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to share with you the books I’ve received from Netgalley recently. I really have to stop requesting these books because it’s overwhelming. So many to keep up with! Some of these I read already but a majority I still have to get to. I won’t be sharing my reviews yet because that will be in my wrap up. But I will mark the ones I’ve read.

Books I’ve Read Already

When We Were Young by Anna Benoit

Salt by Hannah Moskowitz

A Christmas to Remember by Rebecca Moesta 

Christmas in Evergreen by Nancy Naigle

The Wormworld Saga Vol. 1: The Journey Begins by Daniel Lieske

Books I Haven’t Read

Lipstick Voodoo by Kristi Charish 

Easy Prey by Catherine Lo

Unwritten by Tara Gilboy 

Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty


Have you guys read any of these yet? What books have you received from Netgalley that you loved or are super excited to read?