First Lines Fridays – August 20, 2021

Welcome back to my blog! It’s that time of the week again where I bring you another First Lines Fridays post! I took a break for a bit because I was overwhelmed/on vacation. To read my last FLF, click here.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Today’s First Lines

Julia’s world was blue.

Blue was everything. Blue was safe. Blue was home.

How she longed to see red.

She could glimpse it from the alley in which she crouched. The forests of the Red were ever present, cradling an encroaching on stone and blue paint. The tops of the trees danced over the stuccoed walls of the buildings that formed the Blue: the last city on earth.

‘They’re coming out,’ Claudia whispered.

Can you guess what book it is? I recently received a copy from the author and I’m looking forward to reading it!

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.


If you’re interested in The Gilded King, you can purchase it on Amazon (affiliate link)!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Blog Tour Spotlight: The Other Side of the Whale Road by K.A. Hayton

Today I’m bringing attention to the book The Other Side of the Whale Road by K.A. Hayton. I’ll take you through the blurb, about the author, and a few tour excerpts!

Premise

‘The Vikings are better armed than we are. They have long, heavy axes that can take a man’s head from his shoulder. I know this because I see it happen’

When his mum burns down their house on the Whitehorse estate, sixteen-year-old Joss is sent to live in a sleepy Suffolk village.

The place is steeped in history, as Joss learns when a bike accident pitches him back more than 1,000 years to an Anglo-Saxon village. That history also tells him his new friends are in mortal peril from bloodthirsty invaders. Can he warn their ruler, King Edmund, in time?

And will he ever get home?

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

About the Author

K.A. HAYTON was born in Lincolnshire and read English at Sheffield University. She lives in Suffolk with
her husband and has two daughters. The idea for The Other Side of the Whale Road came from her study of old
English poetry at university, and from living in a place where Anglo-Saxon history feels very close.

What readers have to say

I have found Joss to be a remarkable young boy, and a very intriguing character. He is honest, strong, kind, humble, and caring, and the way he deals with the things that should be impossible is one of a kind. The adventures he faces, as well as all the hardships he fights are incredibly moving and definitely worth a read.

The Artsy Reader

I found this book surprisingly difficult to put down – I really enjoyed it and couldn’t figure out how it would end!

Sue’s Musings

The Other Side of the Whale Road is such a remarkable and powerful book that I couldn’t help but love. The characters are so incredibly interesting and likeable, especially our main character, sixteen-year-old Joss. The whole aspect of time travelling back to the Anglo-Saxon era was so fascinating to read about, gripping me until the very last page.

Ellie Mai Blogs

Very well done, super well written, a main character you really root for and it’s even a great educational read. Absolutely recommended for any teenager, young adult or in fact older reader like myself.

TheBookDude

I award The Other Side of the Whale Road a full 5 out of 5 stars. Readers get the downtrodden foster kid theme alongside a feel-good journey to the past. I’ve never seen this done before, and K.A. Hayton did it so well. If you get the chance to read this book, I encourage you to pick it up. It was a fast read at only 230 pages, but there is a lot of content spread through its pages so, it felt much longer.

My Bookish Bliss

Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

The Other Side of Whale Road by K.A. Hayton: Tour Schedule

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

TheWriteReads tour for The Other Side of Whale Road by K.A. Hayton is starting tomorrow! To help you all follow along with the tour, I’ll be listing the tour schedule below (using the reviewer’s Twitter username) along with links to where you should be able to find the posts on that day.

If you’re interested in subscribing to TheWriteReads’ mailing list for information on future tours, just DM @The_WriteReads on Twitter!

I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts! The Other Side of Whale Road will be out in September 2021. If you like what you see, you can preorder it today!

First Lines Fridays – August 6, 2021

Welcome back to my blog! It’s that time of the week again where I bring you another First Lines Fridays post! To read my FLF from last week, click here.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Today’s First Lines

The secret is how to die.

Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.

The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.

Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear.

Can you guess what book it is? It’s the sequel to a popular book that was made into a film. I’m not actually sure if they have connecting storylines though. I haven’t read either of them lol.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

WHAT IS LOST…
WILL BE FOUND

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling – a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths…all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, DC., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object – artfully encoded with five symbols – is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation…one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon – a prominent Mason and philanthropist – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations – all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for…his most thrilling novel yet.


If you’re interested in The Lost Symbol, you can purchase it on Amazon (affiliate link)!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Trope-ical Readathon (August 2021) 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 host a month-long readathon in March and August.

The readathon is team-based with six teams:

  • Team Romance
  • Team Science Fiction
  • Team 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!

Absent/Dead Parents Trope:
Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater

Time Loop Trope:
The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Found Family Trope:
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Coming of Age Trope
The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

Food Themes Trope
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Blast from the Past Trope
Peril at the End House by Agatha Christie

Mixed Media Trope
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

(Post) Apocalyptic Trope
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Historical Figure Trope
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

All Happens in One Day Trope
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

Multiple POV Trope
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

The New Kid in Town Trope:
Horrid by Katrina Leno

Retelling Trope:
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Team Challenge 1: Sports Romance Trope
Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Team Challenge 2: Second Chance Romance Trope
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Additional Books:
In addition to the above books, I also have several books I need to read during the month for reviews/tours. I’m also planning on reading one team book from each team.

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!

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler: Tour Schedule

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

TheWriteReads tour for Fireborn by Aisling Fowler is starting tomorrow! To help you all follow along with the tour, I’ll be listing the tour schedule below (using the reviewer’s Twitter username) along with links to where you should be able to find the posts on that day.

If you’re interested in subscribing to TheWriteReads’ mailing list for information on future tours, just DM @The_WriteReads on Twitter!

I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts! Fireborn will be out in September 2021. If you like what you see, you can preorder it today!

Blog Tour Review: Down with the Dance by C.T. Walsh

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My childhood self would have loved this book.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and C.T. Walsh for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary physical book and blog tour media kit!

About the Author

Besides writing fun, snarky humor and the occasionally-frequent fart joke, I love spending time with my family, coaching my kids’ various sports, and successfully turning seemingly unsandwichable things into spectacular sandwiches, while also claiming that I never eat carbs. I assure you, it’s not easy to do. I know what you’re thinking: this guy sounds complex, a little bit mysterious, and maybe even dashingly handsome, if you haven’t been to the optometrist in a while. And you might be right.

My goal with my writing is to engage young readers with fun and adventure. With so many competing forms of entertainment available to our kids (and so many of them mindless), I really try to provide a reading experience like no other.

I value the importance of combining fun with learning and life values. My stories are humorous and adventurous with strong characters and solid life lessons with some potty humor sprinkled in. You gotta give the kids what they want…Hey, it’s better to read fart jokes than to play video games, right?

https://www.facebook.com/ctwalshauthor
https://www.instagram.com/ctwalshauthor/

Review

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

Meet Austin Davenport, whose fabulous luck landed him on this earth only eleven short months after his brother, Derek, putting them in the same grade. While Austin’s brain power is unmatched, it appears as if his brother got all the athletic gifts and the family butt-chin, meaning their parents love Derek more than Austin, or so it seems. 

Join Austin on his journey through the tumultuous waters of middle school as he navigates the swampy and undeodorized hallways and explores the depths of the cafeteria’s seafood surprise. 

Oh, and someone is plotting to take down the Halloween Dance, the one that Austin has his sights set on, so he can take Sophie Rodriguez, a girl way out of his league, but who doesn’t seem to know it.  

Can he stay one step ahead of the new principal who has it out for him? Will Austin figure out who the perpetrators are? Will he save the dance in time? Will he wear a diaper on a stakeout?  

This first in a planned series of twelve will have you ROFLing like you never have before.  

The funny and fast-paced nature of this series is meant for middle grade and early young adult readers.

Review (No Spoilers)

Down with the Dance is definitely a book that I would have adored as a kid. It’s got all of the elements that contemporary children/middle-grade books tend to have: exaggerated adult caricatures, a plethora of fart jokes, an awkward protagonist, a peer bully, and an amazing sense of humor.

The book follows Austin Davenport, a middle-schooler who happens to be in the same grade as his evil older (non-twin) brother. His brother is 11 months older than him and I tried to figure out why they’d be in the same grade but then decided that schools are just weird like that and went with it. I have an October birthday and was told that I was lucky I got placed in the “right” grade because of how late in the year it is. One of my friends is 12 days younger than me and was placed in the grade below me. AND YET my cousin who is two months younger than me was placed in the same grade as me. Basically nothing makes sense.

The narration of Down with the Dance is told in first person, something that I thought added much of the humor. Austin is the perfect mix of angst, nerd, and awkward. And he was unexpectedly hilarious. Even though I am a 27 year old adult, I still found this book really enjoyable. It’s definitely not realistic, and the adults annoyed the heck out of me with how irresponsible they all were, but I don’t think the target audience would care about that at all.

Austin’s love interest Sophie Rodriguez was probably my favorite character of the book. She was incredibly kind, understanding, and assertive. Partway through the book there’s the classic misunderstanding trope, but once this is figured out, she is quick to apologize and admit her mistake. I admired her personality a lot.

Austin’s adventures in middle school are far from over! The end of my copy had a chapter preview of the next book and it already sounds like a hoot. Feel free to follow along with the rest of the tour (schedule below) and if you’d like to purchase Down with the Dance, you can find it on Amazon US (affiliate link) or Amazon UK!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

July 2021 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since my last monthly wrap up, but I’m trying to be better about posting on my blog.

I haven’t been reading as much books as I would like to be but I read a total of 11 books in July.


Shipped by Angie Hockman

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve had this on my TBR for a while as I received it in a book box earlier this year. Even though I had the paperback, I decided to listen to it on audiobook so that I could get some work done at the same time. This was a cute and fun read that is marketed as hate-to-love, but really the hate part goes away very quickly.

You can purchase Shipped on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This book is so hyped that I was very excited to finally read it in order to watch the TV series. I also listened to this on audiobook with my partner Rob and unfortunately we both didn’t get on with it. It was more boring than I expected and its one of those books that doesn’t have a solid ending because its the first in a series.

You can purchase Shadow and Bone on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

Clueless in Croatia by Joy Skye

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I read this for a blog tour so you can read my full thoughts here. This book had its cute moments but it relied very heavily on the miscommunication trope which is one of my least favorite things of all time. The ending left me with many unanswered questions that I can only hope to figure out some day.

You can purchase Clueless in Croatia on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was another book that I read for a blog tour and you can find my full thoughts here. This was a cute but predictable YA contemporary romance story. It deals with toxic parent/child relationships, so it can be hard to read at times and the pacing was just a bit off for my liking. All in all though, it was an enjoyable read.

You can purchase The Right Side of Reckless on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I wanted to like this book so badly. It started off really well but I felt like it was trying way too hard. The changing timelines got old very quickly for me to the point where I was downright annoyed whenever we switched from past to present and vice versa. Also every character was a horrible person lol.

You can purchase The Guest List on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

The Best Man by A.S. Kelly

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was an audiobook tour that I participated in so you can read my full thoughts here. This was a character driven contemporary novel that I unfortunately didn’t feel any ties to. The beginning is completely bonkers while also being kind of hilarious, but the middle of the novel has almost no plot. This was my first audiobook tour and it was a fun experience.

You can purchase The Best Man on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book managed to be so boring but absolutely hilarious at the same time. The plot is SUPER predictable and I don’t even know if that was the point? It was basically 300 pages of me wishing the main character would figure out what literally everyone else had already figure out.

You can purchase The Extraordinaries on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

A Summer of Surprises by Rosie Green

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was another book that I read for a blog tour and you can find my full thoughts here. This book looks like its a romance but it’s really a cozy mystery. I found the romantic undertones very cute and this book was full of likable characters. It’s book 16 in a series, but I had no problem reading it as a standalone.

You can purchase A Summer of Surprises on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book/series is so incredibly hyped that I basically bought the entire series used before reading any of them. I’m so sad to discover that I didn’t care for Cinder at all. Almost nothing happens in the book and it’s incredibly predictable. It also doesn’t really have an ending because it’s setting up for the rest of the series.

You can purchase Cinder on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

Ink Knows no Borders edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ink Knows no Borders is an anthology of poems (some long, some short) about what it means to be an immigrant/refugee. There were some poems that I really really liked and some that I didn’t really care for. I never know how to rate poetry because its so subjective, so this one was hard to review.

You can purchase Ink Knows no Borders on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was another book that I wasn’t sure how to rate. It’s a very short read but again not much really happens. The plot is driven by mythology and culture in a way that worked pretty well for me. It’s definitely a book that could have a sequel but it might be more powerful as a standalone.

You can purchase The Whale Rider on Amazon here (affiliate link) and view its trigger/content warnings, tropes, and representation info on booktriggerwarnings.com.

And that’s it! How many books did you manage to read in July?


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.