#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Spotlight: Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

Hi Everyone! This is my first ever spotlight post so please bear with me! I’ll take you through the blurb, about the author, and a few tour excerpts!

Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.

But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.

Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.

Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.

I really think The Ship of Shadows has made it to the list of one of my favorites of 2020 so far! I’ll definitely be rereading this one in the future.

Candyce

This book is utterly enchanting and I couldn’t get enough of the sheer experience of reading it.

Kayleigh

Books like this are so important to break down those barriers, that sadly still exist, from a young age but also to remind older generations that no matter who you are, you can be whoever you want to be.

Katie

Female pirates? Erm yes, please! I loved each and every one of the pirates we meet onboard The Ship of Shadows and each one had a unique personality trait that I fell in love with.

Amy

The story twists and turns adding details that enrich the plot rather than confuse it and create a storyline that once you get to the last page you can’t help but think: ‘I didn’t see that coming but I couldn’t imagine it happening any other way’.

Kathryn

If you’re interested in checking out The Ship of Shadows, order it on Amazon or from your favorite bookstore!

#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An extremely well-written fantasy that kept my interested the entire time.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Shami Stovalll for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and blog tour media kit!

About the Author

Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

If you want to contact her, you can do so at the following locations:

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings (and tropes) for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced fantasy with magical creatures for those who enjoy the Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Review (No Spoilers)

This is going to be a hard review for me to write because I liked this book a lot and writing reviews for books that I enjoyed is usually harder than writing reviews about books I didn’t enjoy.

It’s not often that I’m able to say confidently that I like a book only 20% in but that is exactly what happened with Knightmare Arcanist. I honestly would have read this book in one sitting if I weren’t so bad about getting distracted by social media (oops!). The writing is phenomenal and I really enjoyed all of the characters. Literally all of them–good and bad.

I know my readers are probably sick of me mentioning that I don’t normally read fantasy (because a lot of my blog tours are for fantasy novels for some reason) but this was one of those fantasy books that I read that made me feel like I’ve really been missing out by not reading more. To me, a well written fantasy novel is one that can whisk me away from real life and keep my attention with complex characters, solid plot structure, and atmospheric details/writing. This book did all of those things.

The only thing that I didn’t like was that I wanted it to be longer. For the amount of build up that there was to prepare us for a final battle, I thought book wrapped up a bit too quickly. I would have liked to see more confrontations and battle scenes than what was featured.

That being said, I am extremely happy that this is the first book in a series because I can’t wait to see what adventures these characters will take me on! I can already feel the character growth coming on and I am excited!

Book Review: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A hate-to-love novel with relatable and funny main characters.

Book CWs:

For a list of warnings (and tropes) for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

Despite being ditched at the alter at her own wedding, Carolina Santos makes a living coordinating other people’s happily ever afters. As an independent wedding coordinator, Lina’s doesn’t exactly have the financial cushion that she needs to get by. So when a wedding guest unexpectedly invites her to apply for a partnership with an established hotel, Lina will do whatever it takes to get the job, even if it means partnering with Max Hartley.

Although Max Hartley has been living in his older brother’s shadow his entire life, he finally has the chance to break free and prove himself once and for all. All he has to do is work together with an assigned wedding coordinator to create the perfect brand presentation. The task itself is simple enough–except for the fact that the wedding coordinator happens to be Carolina Santos, his brother’s ex-fiancée.

Not only was Max the best man at Lina’s failed wedding, he was also the person who convinced the groom-to-be not to go through with it.

As the presentation deadline nears, Max and Lina begin to wonder if the heat behind their partnership is founded in complete hatred…or something else entirely.

Review (No Spoilers)

I’m writing this review long after I finished reading the book so forgive me if it’s not as good as my others!

There was this one day (pre-covid), where my partner and I decided to walk through the romance section of Barnes & Noble and look for any New Adult book we could find. Basically what this consisted of was us grabbing anything with an illustrated cover. That’s how I found The Worst Best Man. Once he read the blurb to me and I saw that it was a hate-to-love novel, I was 100% in.

Once I got myself a copy and sat down to read it, I found myself absolutely hooked by the first chapter. Unfortunately that energy didn’t last long but I understand that books usually start off by laying the scene and that sometimes that means they can drag a bit.

Around 50-60% was when the story finally picked back up for me and from then on I enjoyed it quite a lot. One of the things that I remember enjoying was the fact that the sexual scenes managed to be both really hot and super funny, something that I haven’t seen since Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey. In hate-to-love plots you can almost always assume humor is going to be sprinkled throughout the novel–which it was–but in my experience, the sex scenes tend to be more serious as the characters literally bang out their hate in lieu of witty rhetoric.

Moving on to the characters, I found both of the MCs very likable despite their differences. Both of them had very realistic flaws that I could connect with throughout the story. One thing that I wish was done differently though is that I wish more time was spent on Max. Despite the book being written from alternating perspectives, Lina got more attention and a more detailed backstory. While I did appreciate diving into a how her character was hardened by racism and sexism, I was also genuinely interested to learn more about why Max and his family was the way it was. It’s unlikely that this book would get a sequel (or prequel) so my questions/curiosities will most likely go unanswered.

Trope-ical Readathon (August 2020) TBR!

If you follow me on Twitter (or if you’ve clicked the Trope-ical Readathon Info tab on my blog) then you know that my partner and I are hosting a month-long readathon in August!

The readathon is team-based with five teams:

  • Team Romance
  • Team Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Team Mystery/Horror/Thriller
  • Team Contemporary/Literary/Historical Fiction
  • Team Non-Fiction/Poetry

I am part of Team Romance which means the prompts I have to satisfy are the following:

There are two ways to satisfy a Common Challenge: either the book has the given trope OR it satisfies the alternate prompt. To challenge myself as much as possible, my TBR is solely based on tropes and not on any of the alternate prompts.

Without further ado, here is my planned TBR!

If you want to participate, you can find all of the info here! If you share your TBR before registration closes on August 8th, you’ll be entered in a Book Depository giveaway!

Book Review: Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine by Michael Gordon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Full of interesting plots and ideas!

I received a free copy from the author, Michael Gordon, in exchange for an honest review. Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine is the first book in a series that is scheduled to be released throughout 2020 and 2021. For more info, check out Michael Gordon’s website here.

Book CWs: For a list of warnings (and tropes) for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise (from Goodreads)

Barnaby is an English boy, new to New York and daunted by the prospect of making new friends.

Adventure begins when Barnaby discovers that the ‘Teleport device’ he thinks his mad uncle has been working on is actually a time machine!

Powered by an alien crystal that endows the holder with great powers, the devices use awakens the watchful eyes of those who have been moderating them in the universe for millenia.

It’s not long before billionaire arms manufacturer Darius Dent, learns of it’s existence and hatches his own plans for the device.

Join Barnaby and friends in a journey through Nazi occupation, alien worlds and much more.

Review (No Spoilers)

There are two main reasons that I agreed to read this book:

1. The blurb is super interesting
2. It looked like a Middle Grade and I’m looking to read more MG books

Funnily enough, these two things are what my review will revolve around.

Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine has a unique and thrilling plot that didn’t stop surprising me. Every time I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen next, something or someone new would pop up and give the story a fun twist. This was by far my favorite part of the book.

That being said, I do think that the pacing was a little off. The beginning lagged a bit, the middle was great, and the end seemed a bit rushed. There were a lot of times where the plot would end a certain arc and I’d be left wishing I had spent more time in it because I wanted so much more. This brings me to my second topic/question: what is the target age?

While the cover of Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine screams Middle Grade to me, the book itself is about 15 year old teens and has some mature content in it. Halfway through I started to wonder if maybe it was a YA novel. Now that I’ve finished, I think it’s kind of somewhere in between.

Despite the fact that the characters are 15, their personalities seemed to be those of middle schoolers. I actually forgot that Barnaby was 15 when I was reading the beginning chapters and assumed he was 11-12 based on his interactions. I will admit, though, that it’s completely possible that I’m just too old now and forgot how immature high schoolers can be so let’s move on to the next point about the age bracket: the plot was YA, but the writing was MG.

I don’t read many MG novels but from my understanding, they are lighter reads than YA novels because they’re for a lower age group. Based on this, I’d say that while Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine has the writing/pacing of an MG novel, the plot/content has much more YA potential. I sincerely think that this one book could have been split into two separate 300-400 page YA novels if the plot explored it’s side arcs more.

If you’re interested in Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Not only does it release TODAY, but I also think Michael Gordon is on the lookout for more interested book bloggers. If this is you, check out his website for details about his other books as well as his contact info!

Blog Tour Review: Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Beautifully written and incredibly emotional.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Jessica Redland for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and blog tour media kit!

If you’d like to get a copy of Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow, you can find it on Amazon!

About the Author

Find her at the above links or at the additional links to the right!

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Website: https://www.jessicaredland.com/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland
Mailing list: http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter

Review

Book CWs: This book contains content that may be upsetting for some readers. For a list of warnings for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

Review (No Spoilers)

Ooh boy! This book took me for a ride and was not at all what I was expecting.

One of the main reasons that I chose to take part in this tour was because I love myself a feel-good romance novel and that is definitely what the blurb lead me into thinking this is. Let me warn you right now: it is not that.

This book tackles a lot of heavy issues, including extremely toxic relationships, cheating, death/grief, and pregnancy loss. Before I even made it halfway through the story, I was bawling my eyes out. I honestly considered not finishing the book because of how much Samantha’s story broke my heart.

I confess that the fact that I am part of a blog tour meant that I felt responsible for finishing the book on time BUT the main reason I kept going was because despite the fact that I was an emotional wreck at 50%, I really really liked it.

(You know how some lactose intolerant people will consume a dairy product anyways because they love it so much, even though they know it’s going to hurt them? It was a bit like that…….It’s me, I’m “some lactose intolerant people” and I’m also the person who continued reading this book despite tears running down my face.)

Jessica Redland’s writing is phenomenal and the story, though heart wrenching, is incredibly powerful. I know it’s somewhat marketed as a romance but it is so much more than that. It’s the story of someone who has been made to feel small her entire life finally learning to love herself.

I feel so blessed to have been part of this tour because I’m not sure I would have known about this book otherwise. Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow ripped out my heart several times and I’m absolutely in love with it.

If you’re interested in checking out the other reviews in this blog tour, check out the graphic below!