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Escaping Exodus ~ Nicky Drayden

October 23, 2019

About Escaping Exodus

• Paperback: 336 pages
• Publisher: Harper Voyager (October 15, 2019)

When Earth is gone and none of our milky way adjacent planets have been inhabited, humanity it left to colonize the most bizarre spaces. Like every good post-planetary story, Escaping Exodus begins in traditional, desolate, post apocalyptic manner.

Seske Kaleigh has been primed and raised to take over her future role as clan leader but she is busy being literally stary-eyed and dreamy. She is dead set on finding the cause of the recent tremors that have been rocking her community but that doesn’t seem to fit in her clan’s leadership ideal.

Gathering an unlikely crew of misfits and renegades, Seske sets forth on a trek she feels overrides the goals of her superiors. On their way to find answers they think they’re after, they stumble upon answers far more sinister.

When the gate of her people lands squarely on her dreamy shoulders, Seske is overwhelmed but not undone, throwing her whole weight into saving her clan and arguably her whole universe from threats both far and uncomfortably near.

This gorgeous romp through space takes the trope of science fiction and turns it inside out, bringing in psychological and scientific drama into an incredible imaginary world that seems impossibly imaginable.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by William Ting

About Nicky Drayden

Nicky Drayden’s short fiction has appeared in publications such as Shimmer and Space and Time. She is a systems analyst and resides in Austin, Texas, where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her debut novel, The Prey of Gods, was a best of the year pick by Book Riot, Vulture, and RT Book Reviews.

Find out more about Nicky at her website, and connect with her on Twitterand Instagram.

Instagram Features

Wednesday, October 16th: Instagram: @createexploreread

Thursday, October 17th: Instagram: @dropandgivemenerdy

Friday, October 18th: Instagram: @spinatale

Sunday, October 20th: Instagram: @amberafterglowreads

Monday, October 21st: Instagram:

Friday, October 25th: Instagram: @anovelescape

TBD: Saturday, October 19th: Instagram: @amanda.the.bookish

Review Stops

Tuesday, October 15th: Instagram: @never_withouta_book

Wednesday, October 16th: Reading Reality

Monday, October 21st: Instagram: @jenabrownwrites

Tuesday, October 22nd: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, October 23rd: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Friday, October 25th: As I turn the pages

Friday, October 25th: Instagram: @megabunnyreads

Monday, October 28th: Instagram:

Tuesday, October 29th: Booked J

Thursday, October 31st: Instagram: @theartisangeek

Friday, November 1st: The Desert Bibliophile

Saturday, November 2nd: Instagram: @fighting.tsundoku

TBD: Thursday, October 17th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Sudden Traveler ~ Sarah Hall

October 9, 2019

• Hardcover: 144 pages
• Publisher: Custom House (October 8, 2019)

“Sarah Hall is one of those rare writers whose short fiction has the same luminosity as her novels. But the short form allows her more room to probe and roam, to experiment with form, to sink her fingers into the earth.”—The Observer(London)

What happens when you mix legend with scifi and add in a whole lot of feelings? Sudden Traveler, that’s what!

Sarah Hall’s collection of short stories is wide and varied in both content and presentation, taking on morality and ethics in beautiful landscapes spanning the globe.

Usually short story collections fail to capture my attention. This is largely in part due to their inability to dig in deep to the emotional aspect of human nature in such a short piece. Hall’s stories, however, manage to tap into the essence of humanity even in little spurts.

I am so grateful I was able to be a part of this tour and now I’m off to find Hall’s other books because I’m sure they will carry the same magic.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Richard Thwaites

About Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall was born in 1974 in Cumbria, England. She received a master of letters in creative writing from Scotland’s St. Andrews University and has published four novels. Haweswater won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (overall winner, Best First Novel) and a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award. The Electric Michelangelo was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Eurasia Region), and the Prix Femina Étranger, and was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Daughters of the North won the 2006/07 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction. How to Paint a Dead Man was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Portico Prize for Fiction. In 2013 Hall was named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists, a prize awarded every ten years, and she won the BBC National Short Story Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Find out more about Sarah at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Instagram Features

Tuesday, October 8th: Instagram: @book.hang.o.ver
Wednesday, October 9th: Instagram: @girlwithnoselfie
Thursday, October 10th: Instagram: @readvoraciously
Friday, October 11th: Instagram: @dropandgivemenerdy
Saturday, October 12th: Instagram: @sarahandherbookshelves
Sunday, October 13th: Instagram: @megsbookclub
Monday, October 14th: Instagram: @amberafterglowreads

Review Stops

Tuesday, October 8th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, October 9th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Thursday, October 10th: The Desert Bibliophile
Friday, October 11th: Instagram: @giuliland
Monday, October 14th: Instagram: @sixminutesforme
Tuesday, October 15th: Booked J
Thursday, October 17th: Have Coffee Need Books
Thursday, October 17th: Real Life Reading
Monday, October 21st: she treads softly
Wednesday, October 23rd: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, October 24th: Instagram: @shereadswithcats

Invisible as Air

October 2, 2019

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 24, 2019)

Being a woman is hard. Heck, being ahuman is hard. But Sylvia Snow is trying so very hard to do the right thing at every turn. Keeping a household running, kids fed and happy, the PTA fed and happy, and a husband healing and happy is harder work than it seems.

That balancing act becomes so much harder when she finds herself hopelessly addicted to the pain pills meant for her husband’s recovering injury.

At first, it’s just something to take the edge off. Bar Mitzvah planning, wifely duties, and a simmering grief that has been left unattended, swirl into a perfect storm that lands Sophie in a place she never imagined she’d be.

As her perfect life spirals out of control, Sophie watches things inexplicably crumble around her.

There is a phrase in my favorite circles: We are all one injury away from addiction.

This is my life, my work, and my social time. I have counseled Sophie, I have known Sophie, I have loved Sophie, and I have been Sophie.

Addiction is heartbreaking and it takes no prisoners. It is painful to watch and painful to live. I am so grateful that we are starting to address not just chemical addiction but the psychology behind addiction in media including fiction.

I am so grateful that I was able to be on this tour and I highly recommend the book. Thank you to TLC for adding me as a stop!

Photo by Karen Shacham

About Zoe Fishman

Zoe Fishman is the bestselling author of Inheriting EdithDriving LessonsSaving Ruth and Balancing Acts. She’s the recipient of myriad awards, including a NY Post Pick.

She’s been profiled in Publisher’s Weekly and The Huffington Post among others. Her writing has been published in The Atlanta Journal Constitution as part of their moving “Personal Journey” series.

Zoe worked in the New York publishing industry for thirteen years. She was recently the Visiting Writer at SCAD Atlanta and currently teaches at Emory Continuing Education and The Decatur Writers Studio, at which she is also the Executive Director. She lives in Decatur with her family.

Find out more about Zoe at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

And as always, check out the other TLC Book Tour stops!

Instagram Features

Tuesday, September 24th: Instagram: @book.hang.o.ver

Wednesday, September 25th: Instagram: @jennsbookvibes

Thursday, September 26th: Instagram: @simplykelina

Friday, September 27th: Instagram: @tarheelreader

Saturday, September 28th: Instagram: @nerdybooknurse

Sunday, September 29th: Instagram: @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Monday, September 30th: Instagram: @thebookclubmom

Tuesday, October 1st: Instagram: @rendezvous_with_reading

Review Stops

Tuesday, September 24th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, September 25th: Comfy Reading

Friday, September 27th: Instagram: @barkingaboutbooks

Sunday, September 29th: The Reading Corner For All

Monday, September 30th: Instagram: @readingmama_reviews

Tuesday, October 1st: Literary Quicksand

Wednesday, October 2nd: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Wednesday, October 2nd: Girl Who Reads

Friday, October 4th: Thoughts On This ‘n That

Monday, October 7th: Instagram: @kraysbookclub

Tuesday, October 8th: Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, October 9th: Instagram: @beccasbookishlife

Thursday, October 10th: Stranded in Chaos

Friday, October 11th: she treads softly

Monday, October 14th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, October 15th: Instagram: @books_with_bethany

 After the Flood

September 25, 2019

• Hardcover: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (September 3, 2019)

An inventive and riveting epic saga, After the Flood signals the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.

The world has changed, leaving most of the planet covered in water.

Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, scrape out a meager existence at the edge of the world, interacting with others only as they absolutely need to.

Myra lost her older daughter seven years before, and eventually finds her absence too heavy to bear. She and Pearl start out on a mission to find their lost family member, dangerous as the journey may be.

Along the way, Myra and Pearl find their way into the camaraderie of another crew. At first, this seems like a saving grace but as in most stressful, post apocalyptic situations, what appears to be too good to be true, usually is.

After the Flood is such a gorgeous (and at times heart breaking) story of love, loss, and survival. I am so grateful I was able to be on this tour.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Nancy Kohler

About Kassandra Montag

Kassandra Montag is a poet and novelist. Her work has appeared in Mystery Weekly Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, and Prairie Schooner, among other literary journals. She has won the Plainsongs Award, New Year’s Poet Award, and 1877 Award.

Find out more about Kassandra at her website, and connect with her on Facebookand Instagram.

Instagram Features

Tuesday, September 3rd: Instagram: @girlwithnoselfie

Wednesday, September 4th: Instagram: @jennsbookvibes

Thursday, September 5th: Instagram: @readingbetweenthe__wines

Friday, September 6th: Instagram: @thats_what_she_read

Saturday, September 7th: Instagram: @wherethereadergrows

Sunday, September 8th: Instagram: @happiestwhenreading

Monday, September 9th: Instagram: @thepagesinbetween

Review Stops

Tuesday, September 3rd: Instagram: @crystals_library

Wednesday, September 4th: Instagram: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Thursday, September 5th: Instagram: @readingmama_reviews

Friday, September 6th: Instagram: @somekindofalibrary

Monday, September 9th: Instagram: @theunreadshelf

Tuesday, September 10th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Wednesday, September 11th: PhDiva

Thursday, September 12th: A Dream Within a Dream

Friday, September 13th: Literary Quicksand

Friday, September 13th: Comfy Reading

Monday, September 16th: Instagram: @readvoraciously

Tuesday, September 17th: Write – Read – Life

Wednesday, September 18th: A Bookish Affair

Thursday, September 19th: Instagram: @shereadswithcats

Friday, September 20th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, September 25th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

The Only Skill That Matters ~ Jonathan Levi

September 18, 2019

About The Only Skill That Matters

when I was growing up, my mom always talked about this house cleaning book written by two people who were inherently messy and disorganized. She swore by it because it is so much more comforting to take advice from someone who isn’t naturally good at something but has learned how to navigate The Thing.

In The Only Skill That Matters, Jonathan Levi does exactly that. A self described “slow learner”, Levi has put his energy into figuring out how to learn faster and smarter. As a clinical social worker who spends her time up to her ears in psychology and neuroscience, I absolutely ate this up.

Not surprisingly, the book is written in a way that is easy to read which makes it so much more palatable than most books that attempt to tackle brain science.

This isn’t just a self help book (though it could very well function as one in the right light); it’s also a really neat look at something that is near and dear to my heart.

I’m super grateful that I was given a chance to be on this tour and I highly recommend this for everyone (even the already “fast” learners).

Purchase Link

Superhuman Academy | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Jonathan Levi

JONATHAN LEVI is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, podcaster, and bestselling author of the Become a SuperLearner book and online course series. After struggling for decades as a student and “slow learner,” Jonathan discovered a powerful methodology for learning faster and remembering more. Since 2014, Jonathan has taught this methodology to over 220,000 people in 205 countries and territories. His award-winning podcast, SuperHuman Academy, has been downloaded over 3 million times. Jonathan has been featured in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, Inc., BusinessInsider, and LifeHacker UK. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, with his wife, Limmor. To learn more, visit

Instagram Features

Tuesday, September 3rd: Instagram: @libraryinprogress

Wednesday, September 4th: Instagram: @happiestwhenreading

Thursday, September 5th: Instagram: @meganthemeganerd

Friday, September 6th: Instagram: @rynicolereads

Saturday, September 7th: Instagram: @megsbookclub

Monday, September 9th: Instagram: @rendezvous_with_reading

Tuesday, September 10th: Instagram: @sarahandherbookshelves

Review Stops

Tuesday, September 3rd: bookchickdi

Wednesday, September 4th: PhDiva

Monday, September 9th: Booked J

Tuesday, September 10th: Write – Read – Life

Wednesday, September 11th: Unabridged Chick

Thursday, September 12th: Instagram: @book.hang.o.ver

Friday, September 13th: Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, September 17th: Openly Bookish

Wednesday, September 18th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Thursday, September 19th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, September 20th: Comfy Reading

Friday, September 27th: Girl Who Reads

Sunday, September 29th: Instagram: @books_with_bethany

Monday, September 30th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, October 1st: Lit and Life

TBD: Thursday, September 5th: Ms. Nose in a Book

TBD: Monday, September 16th: Instagram: @megabunnyreads

TBD: Tuesday, September 17th: The Desert Bibliophile

*GIVEAWAY* His Hideous Heart ~ edited by Dahlia Adler

September 8, 2019


Just in time for the change in weather, Poe’s stories return with a brand new twist. Dahlia Adler pulled together more than a dozen contemporary authors to revamp the creeptastic world of Edgar Allen Poe.

I’m not really a scary story kind of gal but for some reason, Poe has always had my heart (pun intended). And the stories included in this collection have a modern twist that makes Poe accessible for those who think he’s just a dusty old classic.

I am so grateful I was able to be part of the promotion campaign for Flatiron Books and even more grateful because I get to bring this awesome book to YOU! I’m hosting a giveaway. All you have to do is comment with the name of your favorite scary story and tell me a little bit about why it sends glorious chills down your spine. The post will be open for one week and I will announce the winner next Saturday.

{From the Publisher}

About the Book:
The Cask of Amontillado. The Tell-Tale Heart. The Pit and the Pendulum. Filled with love and loss, vengeance and regret, the dark, chilling stories of Edgar Allen Poe have haunted us for over 150 years. Now, thirteen of YAs most celebrated writers reimagine Poe’s stories for a new generation.

These contemporary retellings will grab readers by the throat and drag them along to surprising and unsettling places, whether they are Poe aficionados or new newcomers to these classics. Tiffany D. Jackson, award-winning author of Monday’s Not Coming, transports “The Cask of Amontillado” to the streets of Brooklyn during the present day West Indian Day Carnival in Brooklyn. Poet amanda lovelace finds new meaning in the classic poem “The Raven” by blotting out words from the original lines. And Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series, gives the unreliable voice narrating “Metzengerstein” a contemporary edge.

With the original stories printed in the back of the book, HIS HIDEOUS HEART offers up a fun way to meet Poe for the first time, or for readers to revisit old favorites with fresh eyes. His work reminds us why we love to be scared, whether we get that thrill from watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, visiting a haunted house at Halloween, or by reading Poe’s spine-tingling stories

Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens, LGBTQ Reads, and Frolic by night, and an author of Young Adult and New Adult novels at every spare moment in between. Her books include the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, and the Radleigh University trilogy, and her short stories can be found in the anthologies The Radical Element, All Out, It’s a Whole Spiel, and His Hideous Heart, which she also edited. Dahlia lives in New York with her husband, son, and an obscene amount of books, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @MissDahlELama.



Dahlia Adler

Kendare Blake

Rin Chupeco

Lamar Giles

Tessa Gratton

Tiffany D. Jackson

Stephanie Kuehn 

Emily Lloyd-Jones

amanda lovelace

Hillary Monahan 

Marieke Nijkamp

Caleb Roehrig

Fran Wilde

The Oysterville Sewing Circle ~ Susan Wiggs

September 4, 2019

About The Oysterville Sewing Circle

• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (August 13, 2019)

“Stitched together with love, this is a story just waiting for your favorite reading chair. With her signature style and skill, Susan Wiggs delivers an intricate patchwork of old wounds and new beginnings, romance and the healing power of friendship, wrapped in a lovely little community that’s hiding a few secrets of its own.”
— Lisa Wingate, New York Times Bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

This book, y’all.

When I agreed to the tour, I was excited but a little wary of the subject matter. With complete open honesty, I have been on the victim end of domestic violence, as well as on the therapy side for women leaving and processing domestic violence.

The story isn’t one single story but’s beautiful and heart wrenching tapestry of many stories being told together, ultimately making the fabric of sisterhood that much stronger.

It’s a book of self discovery, of new paths, or homecomings, and growth and I think I read it at exactly the right time.

I love when writers are able to pull beauty into the deepest and darkest aspects of human relationships because we all need to see ourselves and those around us in clear light.

For those reasons, I am so unreasonably grateful for this opportunity coming my way.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, I highly recommend it. Though the subject matter is heavy, it still holds an incredible amount of sweetness.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for including me on the tour!

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Yvonne Wong

About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs’s life is all about family, friends…and fiction. She lives at the water’s edge on an island in Puget Sound, and in good weather, she commutes to her writers’ group in a 21-foot motorboat. She’s been featured in the national media, including NPR, PRI, and USA Today, has given programs for the US Embassies in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, and is a popular speaker locally, nationally, internationally, and on the high seas.

From the very start, her writings have illuminated the everyday dramas of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. Her books celebrate the power of love, the timeless bonds of family and the fascinating nuances of human nature. Today, she is an international best-selling, award-winning author, with millions of copies of her books in print in numerous countries and languages. According to Publishers Weekly, Wiggs writes with “refreshingly honest emotion,” and the Salem Statesman Journal adds that she is “one of our best observers of stories of the heart [who] knows how to capture emotion on virtually every page of every book.” Booklist characterizes her books as “real and true and unforgettable.”

Her novels have appeared in the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List, and have captured readers’ hearts around the globe with translations into more than 20 languages and 30 countries. She is a three-time winner of the RITA Award,. Her recent novel, The Apple Orchard, is currently being made into a film, and The Lakeshore Chronicles has been optioned for adaptation into a series.

The author is a former teacher, a Harvard graduate, an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier and terrible golfer, yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book. She lives on an island in Puget Sound, where she divides her time between sleeping and waking.

Visit her website at, and connect with Susan on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Instagram Features

Tuesday, August 20th: Instagram: @simplykelina

Tuesday, August 20th: Instagram: @book.hang.o.ver

Wednesday, August 21st: Instagram: @beauty_andthebook_

Thursday, August 22nd: Instagram: @readingwithmere

Friday, August 23rd: Instagram: @crystals_library

Saturday, August 24th: Instagram: @lauralovestoread

Sunday, August 25th: Instagram: @thats_what_she_read

Monday, August 26th: Instagram: @tarheelreader

Review Stops

Wednesday, August 21st: Reading Reality

Thursday, August 22nd: Laura’s Reviews

Friday, August 23rd: bookchickdi

Monday, August 26th: I Wish I Lived in a Library

Tuesday, August 27th: Books and Bindings

Wednesday, August 28th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, August 29th: Kahakai Kitchen

Friday, August 30th: Girl Who Reads

Friday, August 30th: Write – Read – Life

Tuesday, September 3rd: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, September 4th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Thursday, September 5th: Into the Hall of Books

Friday, September 6th: A Bookish Way of Life

TBD: Tuesday, August 20th: Bibliotica

Castle of Concrete ~ Katia Raina

September 4, 2019

About Castle of Concrete

• Paperback: 304 pages
• Publisher: Young Europe Books (June 11, 2019)

The story focuses on Sonya and her mother, who are both suffering the pressure of living as Jewish women in the heat of the final Soviet collapse, winding their way through both personal and political mayhem as the world crashes down around them.

Sonya is falling in love with a boy (or two) who may not be right for her and her mother is falling in love with a country that may be perfect but also terrifying. The typical YA love triangle works in a different way, here, with a sort of ominous fear of hatred and bigotry. Though the antisemitism of Sonya’s peers (and perhaps love) highlights the ingrained feeling of such biases, making it obvious that the feelings of young people are simply passed down, generation to generation as opposed to being honestly felt by those acting on their true feelings.

I come from a Russian Jewish family which made Katia Raina’s Castle of Concrete a wonderful and quite personal read.

For a little book, Castle of Concrete packs quite an emotional punch and it came at a time in our own history that has highlighted just how horrible these generational ideals and biases can impact normal, every day life.

Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to review this book for the tour. If you have a chance to read it, definitely do so!

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About Katia Raina

When she was a child, Katia Raina played at construction sites and believed in magic mirrors. She emigrated from Russia at the age of almost sixteen. A former journalist and currently a middle school English teacher in Washington, D.C., she has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family just outside of D.C., and still believes in magic.

Find out more about Katia at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Instagram Features

Monday, August 19th: Instagram: @wherethereadergrows

Tuesday, August 20th: Instagram: @shereadswithcats

Wednesday, August 21st: Instagram: @storied.adventures

Thursday, August 22nd: Instagram: @inquisitivebookworm

Friday, August 23rd: Instagram: @girlsinbooks

Tuesday, September 17th: Instagram: @theunreadshelf

TBD: Saturday, August 24th: Instagram: @_ebl_inc_

Review Stops

Monday, August 19th: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Tuesday, August 20th: Stranded in Chaos

Wednesday, August 21st: Becca Leighanne

Thursday, August 22nd: The Reading Corner For All

Monday, August 26th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, August 28th: PhDiva

Thursday, August 29th: A Chick Who Reads

Friday, August 30th: A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, September 3rd: Write – Read – Life

Wednesday, September 4th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Thursday, September 5th: Kahakai Kitchen

Friday, September 6th: Sincerely Karen Jo

Tuesday, September 10th: Instagram: @babygotbooks13

Wednesday, September 11th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Friday, September 20th: Girl Who Reads

TBD: Tuesday, August 27th: Teachers Who Read

Here There Are Monsters ~ Amelinda Berube

August 23, 2019

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit
Genre: Young Adult/Suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781492671015
352 pages
Source: Barnes and Noble

Skye has been her sister Diedre’s protector for as long as they both remember. They’re three years apart but at 13, Diedre seems like a tiny dandelion puff, liable to blow away in a magical wind, if Skye loses sight of her for a second.

Diedre is weird. Like most little kids, except now she’s a teenager and still hasn’t grown out of whimsical worlds and bizarre stories. The two girls have been through their fair share of mayhem and tragedy involving Diedre’s weirdness (being a social outcast and tracking down bullies). When their family moves to a new town, far, far away, Skye resolves to being completely done playing her sister’s white knight. she’s going to make her own friends and leave her sister to fend for herself.

All goes according to plan. For a while at least. Skye makes friends, does normal teenage stuff, gets through her school days.

But new beginnings have a way of crumbling when old patterns rear their ugly heads. Diedre refuses to change and the teasing starts at their new school. Soon, she is off on her own little adventures, again. which would be fine except for the night she goes missing. Skye is supposed to be watching her for the evening but all hell breaks loose when Diedre goes missing and Skye is on the hook for her disappearance. the police and the girls’ parents fear the worst. At least in terms of human “worst’. but Skye thinks there may be something darker and more sinister at play, dipping deep into her sister’s inner, magical worlds.

As Skye straddles the world of normal and sinister, her sister’s mysterious situation drags her deeper into the dark woods by their new house. And in doing so, she is dragged into far deeper places inside herself.

This was one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long time. I loved the creativity of Diedre’s creepy wooded world and, as well as the very real sisterly bond. Our book club got to chat with author Amelinda Berube about a few things and she talked a bit about what it was like to grow up with two sisters of her own and how that upbringing aided her in creating the relationship between the girls.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on this one, yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a stellar choice for cozying up with something dark and creepy as the weather turns to autumn.

Slammed ~ Colleen Hoover

August 22, 2019

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Publisher: Atria Books

ISBN: 9781476715902

352 pages

Source: Amazon

Slammed started like a one arc wonder run of Ari and Ezra from Pretty Little Liars. Older high school girl meets cute college guy over the summer when neither really knows much about the other. Lo and behold, Cute Collge Guy is actually High School Girl’s teacher. 

I’m trained in a practice that emphasizes power dynamics, even when everyone is of legal age. Aside from the icky feeling this kind of thing usually gives my sense of ethics, I decided to push on. So the student-teacher thing really gets wedged under my skin in an uncomfortable way. As a social worker and fledgling therapist, relationships between adults is not ethical, even when they would otherwise be seen as consenting (spoiler: when one person is in a position of power, teacher, therapist, boss, etc, they absolutely must steer clear of relationships with their students, clients, or employees). so this started off awkward to say the least. 

But, being a fledgling therapist, I decided that I’d push on because this is one of those old romance tropes that people rehash over and over again. Anything that appears with that frequency is worth exploring. While I still feel gross about the premise, I will say that the other elements in the story made the read worth it.

For the purposes of highlighting the rest of the awesome elements of the novel, I sort of had to push the whole teacher-student element into the back of my head. And I’m glad I did. From the other side of social work, this book was a work of genius. 17-year-old Layken has moved from the home she loved, her friends, her childhood house, the entire state of Texas. Most of all, she’s left her father, who passed suddenly before the hauled off and moved up the middle-America corridor.

Layken, her mom, and her little brother move to small-town Michigan on the heels of her father’s death, relying on her mother’s meager nurse’s salary. Finding new friends proves just as challenging for Layken as finding a boyfriend who isn’t ethically off-limits.  Her next-door neighbor, Will, is proving to be an awkward challenge and not only because she is the super hot, super sweet teacher she had her eyes on before she realized her error. To make things more difficult, Will and his little brother (inconveniently the same age as and new best friends with, Layken’s little brother) have lost twice as many parents as Layken, leaving Will as the sole caretaker of himself and his little bro.

The two families weave in and out of romance and school, parent-teacher conferences, and normal life. When that already upside-down reality hits yet another speed bump, the makeshift family nearly comes undone.

When all was said and done, I really did love this book. there are so many threads of my work wrapped up in the story, including an incredibly sweet foster story and some unconventional (yet completely natural) conversations around grief and loss. when I was able to push out the ickiness of the ethical hangup, I really enjoyed the book. I even cried, once. (Ok, twice).