Readathon, Wrap-up

PanMacIndiaYAReadathon- Wrap-up

Statistics

Duration: 10-12-2019 to 10-01-2020

Dates read: 11-12-2019 to 31-12-2019

Number of books read: 4

Highest rating: 5/5 stars

Lowest rating: 3/5 stars


I love taking part in readathons. They are a fun way to challenge yourself and you usually end up meeting like-minded people. The Young Adult genre is one of my favorites to read so when Pan Macmillan India announced a one month long YA readathon, I knew I had to participate in it.

It was an added advantage that I had just been sent a review copy by the publishing house so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start.


Book 1: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

First in the readathon was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, a 3 star read for me. I read it in preparation for the review copy of A Children of Virtue and Vengeance. I expected the series to captivate me but it felt like the author fell into the YA-romance-loophole rather than concentrating on the magic and the rich culture that she began with. 

Book 2: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

The second book of the Legend of Orisha series was slightly better than the first since we see more action here. It was still just a 3.5 star read.

Book 3: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

I was waiting for the release of Wayward Son ever since I fell in love with Baz in Carry On during Pride Readathon. I think I may have been a bit disillusioned or perhaps my expectations were a tad too high because it was a 4 star read.

Book 4: Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Next was an unexpected 5 star read with Deeplight. A worthy last read of 2019 that I received in my @tbb_box Secret Santa package. I loved how inclusive it was of people with disabilities.

The readathon experience was a fun way to end my 2019 bookstagram journey and I also discovered two new authors, one of whom I now love!


TL;DR: A fun readathon with books ranging from 3 to 5 stars


Have you participated in any readathons?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Statistics

Format: eBook

Length: 496 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Re-telling, Young Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Date of Publication: 29th January, 2019

Rating: 5/5 stars


I received the ARC of second book of the CurseBreakers series from the publishers and I wanted to start the series from the beginning. So I got myself the ebook of the first book and boy, was I glad that I read it!


The Blurb

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

The Book

I sometimes find re-tellings a bit unnecessary and repetitive. How do you make something better when it is a classic story that you have loved over the years? However, with this book, I found that although the basis of the story was Beauty and the Beast, every other detail was better and more ‘adult’. A young and arrogant Prince is cursed by a sorcerer to live as a beast until he finds true love. A nerdy girl arrives with no frills and immediately calls the Prince out on his not-so-Princely behaviour. I expected the character descriptions of the girl to be stereotypical of a ‘strong’ girl but I was pleasantly surprised that the author remained as true as possible to real-life girls. She is affected by Cerebral Palsy but she does not let it affect her everyday life any more than it needs to. Was the Cerebral Palsy really needed for the story or was it included to get an additional depth to the book? That will be left to the reader’s perception. The girl is smart and headstrong. She only cares about doing the right thing and getting back to her family. I found her surprisingly likable.

Descriptions of the Prince as well as his Commander were predictable as was the forbidden attraction between the Commander and the Princess. I was glad that the author did not concentrate on the romantic aspects as much as she did on the actual story. The sorcerer needs to be vanquished but no one knows how. The girl must fall in love but that seems extremely improbable. The Prince must get rid of his inhibitions but that seems unlikely. How is an author to wring out a story that has so many predictable elements? She concentrates on world-building and fierce characters and lets them do the talking and the readers love her for it!

I was glad to see that the book did not preach an ‘All ends well when people fall in love’ approach. The book talks about good intentions and honorable actions. However, it was predictable and the ‘cliff hanger’ ending felt unnecessary in a story that seemed to have reached its logical conclusion.

The Author

Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). A full time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband, her boys, her dog, and her cat. When she’s not writing or being a mommy, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell.

Her work include:

  1. Storm (2012)
  2. Spark (2012)
  3. Elemental (2012)
  4. Fearless (2012)
  5. Spirit (2013)
  6. Breathless (2013)
  7. Secret (2014)
  8. Sacrifice (2014)
  9. Thicker Than Water (2015)
  10. Letters to the Lost (2017)
  11. More than We Can Tell (2018)
  12. A Curse so Dark and Lonely (2019)
  13. Call it What You Want (2019)
  14. A Heart so Fierce and Broken (2020)

TL;DR: A fun re-telling that is inclusive, witty and fun!


What’s your favorite re-telling?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Advanced Review Copy (ARC), Book review, Received for Review

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kimmerer

Statistics

Format: Paperback (ARC)

Length: 464 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Date of Publication: 20th January, 2020

Rating: 4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review


When I received an ARC of the book, I hadn’t read the first part of the CurseBreakers series yet. I was in a dilemma about reading this book directly or after reading the first book. I decided to read the first book and boy, was I glad that I did! The book was diverse and inclusive and all sorts of amazing! I was really excited to read this book immediately after completing the first one.


The Blurb

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

The Book

While the first book of the CurseBreakers series concentrated on action and world-building, we see more of character development and dialogue in this one. I cannot say if I prefer one over the other but I do know that I missed the quick pace of Book 1. I fell in love with Grey and his retinue of misfits as was intended but it never felt forced. We are allowed to leisurely stroll through the characters’ minds and hearts until they become endearing. Nolla Verin and Lia Mara did not have as much effect on me as I expected but maybe they will take a more firm hold of my heart as the series progresses.

We see that the story continues where the first book left us. The Kingdom is saved from the enchantment while it begins drowning in neglect of the last five years. The new Prince and Princess try to keep their heads above water but they are treading very dangerous waters indeed. While the twist with Grey and Lia Mara was expected, I did not expect to see so less of Rhen and Harper in this book. I was glad that seemingly lesser characters like Jake were allowed to grow into the story.

The book stays true to its intention of being inclusive both of people of color as well as people with disabilities. Although I was wishing for more action while reading the book, in hindsight I realise that I was glad of the slower pace that let me enjoy the character development. I wish that the author had not felt the need to end on another cliff-hanger because, just like with the first book, this one seemed to have reached its logical conclusion.

The Author

I’ve spoken about Brigid Kimmerer in my review of her book A Curse so Dark and Lonely.


TL;DR: A slower pace when compared to the first book, but one which has brilliant character development


What was your first read of 2020?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Readathon

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

Statistics

Format: Paperback

Length: 434 pages

Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Fiction

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers

Date of Publication: 29th October, 2019

Rating: 5/5 stars


This year I took part in four separate Secret Santa gift swaps. I received Deeplight in the Secret Santa organised by The Big Book Box. It was such a pretty cover that I fell in love with the book even before I began reading it. I read it as a part of the PanMacIndiaYAReadathon hosted by Pan Macmillan India and it was brilliant!


The Blurb

On the jumbled streets of the island of Lady’s Crave live Hark and his best friend Jelt. They are scavengers: living off their wits, diving for relics of the gods, desperate for anything they can sell.

But now there is something restless stirring beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it. Something valuable.

Something dangerous…


The Book

This was to be my last book of 2019 and I wanted it to be something special. It was warm and cozy while being thrilling and mysterious. The perfect holiday read for that end-of-the-year feeling.

I love inclusivity in books and movies. However, of late I’ve noticed that authors add gay characters or people of color just to cater to the audience even if the story does not warrant it. But with Deeplight, people with disability were an integral part of the story. Their loss of hearing was seen as a badge of honor. They had developed an exclusive community that celebrates their difference rather than hides it much like the deaf community in our world where being deaf is not considered a disability.

The book talks of friendship and growth in relationships in a very healthy manner. I was glad to see that it addressed co-dependence in relationships and of the pressure to please someone else in a friendship at the cost of your self-confidence. It talks of the necessity to walk away from unhealthy relationships and manipulative behaviour. It was very real in descriptions of PTSD and childhood trauma. Of all the books that are touted as being good advocates for mental health, I think this one came very close to being relatable even though it was fantasy.

The ‘thriller’ part of the story felt a bit too long and predictable towards the end. But given the fact that there were quite a lot of loose ends to tie up, I think that the author did a brilliant job of not creating a ‘cliff hanger’ ending just to earn a sequel to it as we see in new books nowadays.

The Author

Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge, isolated old house in a small, strange village, and the two things inspired her to write strange, magical stories from an early age. She studied English at Oxford University and now lives in Oxford, England.

Her work include:

  1. Fly by Night (2005)
  2. Well Witched (2007)
  3. The Lost Conspiracy (2008)
  4. Fly Trap (2010)
  5. Cuckoo Song (2014)
  6. A Face Like Glass (2012)
  7. The Lie Tree (2015)
  8. A Skinful of Shadows (2017)
  9. Deeplight (2019)

TL;DR: A brilliant story that is filled with mystery and beautiful world building and is also inclusive of disabilities.


Did you receive any books for Christmas?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Readathon

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle)

Length: 356 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Date of Publication: 24th September, 2019

Rating: 4/5 stars


I loved reading the first book of the Simon Snow series- Carry On. I read it for the Pride Readathon this year and fell in love with the characters. When I heard that the author was coming up with the second part, I couldn’t wait to read it. I timed it to coincide with PanMacIndiaYAReadathon hosted by Pan Macmillan India and it was perfect!


The Blurb

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

The Book

What makes some books that use cliches predictable and annoying while others that use them, brilliant? Is it the author’s prowess or is it the reader’s state of mind? I had just completed reading a YA fantasy book that had used everything that is supposed to make a YA book successful and I did not like it at all. But when I began reading Wayward Son, I knew that it had started as a Harry Potter fan-fiction and that it will be peppered with references and innuendos. Maybe this prepared me for it or the author was so exceptionally good but whatever the reason, I enjoyed every bit of the story. I finished reading the entire book in two days flat!

The book begins where the first book left off. Simon, Baz, Penny, and Agatha are now at University and trying to put all of the past behind them. While Penny and Baz have dived into schoolwork to try and forget everything that happened, Simon and Agatha have not been so lucky. Simon has become depressed and refuses to talk or get off the couch while Agatha left everything behind including her wand and enrolled in an American University for a clean start.

But we find that you can take the magicians out of magic but you cannot take the magic out of magicians. While Penny plans a road-trip to get everyone out of the funk that they are in, they discover that they have unresolved issues to work on while saving the world, yet again, from magical hybrids that threaten the very nature of magical existence. What is brilliant is that the author admits to this being an ongoing theme in the books and that makes it hilarious rather than boring.

I loved how the author describes the PTSD that each character suffers from. They each deal with it in their own way and the book does not preach about there being a ‘right way’ to do it. The author gives each character the space that they need to grow and stays true to what we have come to expect from them. The only thing that I wish was explained better were the rules of the magic world when it came to things like stealing, forgery and magicking up money. I also wish that there had been more explanation about the nature of various creatures that we were introduced to. But I understand that it was beyond the scope of just two books in a series and I hope that in the next books the author continues to cement the creatures that are introduced rather than inventing more fantastical creatures just for the gang to fight.

The Author

I’ve spoken about Rainbow Rowell in my review of the first book of the series- Carry On.


TL;R: A fast paced book with enough cliches to actually make them fun to read


What books have you been waiting to read from a long time?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Readathon, Received for Review

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Statistics

Format: Paperback

Length: 416 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Date of Publication: 3rd December, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review


I received a copy of the book from the publisher and began reading it immediately after I finished the first book in the series- Children of Blood and Bone. It was also my second book for the PanMacIndiaYAReadathon by Pan Macmillan India.


The Blurb

“After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

The Book

I began reading the book immediately after I finished the first book and I had all the details fresh in my mind. I was glad that the author developed each concept that was mentioned in the first book and cemented the rules of the world of Maji before introducing us to the new ways of acquiring magic.

The book begins where the first book ends. Magic has returned to the world but it has brought with it an entirely unexpected side to it. Not only the Maji but also the Nobles have some form of magic and everyone is unhappy about it- the Maji feel betrayed by the Gods while the Nobles want to squash the Maji using that very magic against them. In the midst of all of this, we have our main characters growing up and having to deal with emotions that they are not familiar with.

The plot twists were a bit predictable in this book as they were in the first book. However, I was pleased to find that the pace was much quicker than it was in its predecessor. We have Zel and Inan trying to figure out what they feel towards each other, we have Amari and Tzain assuming that things were safe and secure. We have an introduction of new relationships with cousins and mercenaries where you want to scream that they seem to have ulterior motives that our naive characters don’t seem to notice. I expected Roen to be my favorite character and I wasn’t disappointed. I wish we had seen more interaction between him and Zelie.

The growth of the characters of Amari and Inan was a pleasure to read. It was realistic in a way of ‘two steps forward, one step back’. Dealing with PTSD and propaganda that one has grown up with is never an easy process. I expected the betrayals that happened but I did not expect the reasons behind it. The descriptions of the Maji powers as well as the process of them working to strengthen it were my favorite things to read. I was glad to see that the author concentrated on action in this book and not just descriptions of estranged love and confused teenagers.

The Author

I’ve spoken about Tomi Adeyemi in my review of her debut novel- Children of Blood and Bone.


TL;DR: A fast paced sequel that again ends in a cliff hanger


What’s your favourite book with a cliff hanger ending?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Statistics

Format: Paperback

Length: 531 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers

Date of Publication: 18th March, 2018

Rating: 3/5 stars


Children of Blood and Bone had been on my TBR for ages. When I saw that the second book in the series was set to release this month, I thought that this was the best time to start the series. When Pan Macmillan said that they would send a review copy of the new book, it was the motivation that I needed to finish reading the first part quickly.

It also coincided with the #PanMacYAReadathon happening from the 10th of December to the 10th of January and was a great way to begin the readathon.


The Blurb

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

Zelie remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zelie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orisha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The Book

The book begins with great promise. We see a young girl who is set to prove herself to be the best fighter of her class while making sure that she is available to look after her father so that her brother can compete in his tournaments and win laurels. But then it slips into the young-adult genre loophole of unlikely pairings, forbidden romances, predictable plot twists, lovable privateers, and not-so-unexpected betrayals.

The depiction of grief at the loss of a parent and of a dear friend were rendered beautifully. The anguish of trying to win parental approval and the undeniable heartbreak at finding out that you are a constant source of disappointment was gut-wrenching. The characters suffer from PTSD due to childhood trauma and the author has stayed true to the symptoms and thoughts of the victims. However, I wish that the book had picked up its pace. There was a lot of potential to make the book un-put-down-able. There was magic, there were clans that wanted to spill blood, there were two entire armies keen on destroying each other but it felt like the author concentrated more on long-winded descriptions of longing between the main characters. But that can be attributed to my personal preference of action over description.

The development of the relationship between Amari and Zelie was wonderful to read. It was heart-warming to see both sets of siblings trying to protect each other and knowing the pain that the other suffers. The Zelie-Inan relationship went through predictable phases and I can’t say that I was ever rooting for them. While the book held important family values, it read as a bit too preachy in the moral department for me in some places.

I loved how the author incorporated the culture and traditions of the West-African inspired clans into the story. I wish there had been more explanations of the inheritance of magic, especially among the nobles but I think that might be seen in the second book. The book ended on a cliff hanger like most of the books in this genre tend to do. I hope that the second book makes up for what this book sorely lacked and builds on what this book took to a good beginning.

The Author

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. The movie of her debut novel, Children Of Blood And Bone is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

Her work include:

  1. Children of Blood and Bone (2018)
  2. Children of Virtue and Vengeance (2019)

TL;DR: A book with an incredible plot, steeped with African culture that could have benefited from a fast paced story-telling


Are you waiting for a sequel in any series?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Received for Review

The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas

Statistics

Format: Hardcover

Length: 320 pages

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Zubaan Books

Date of Publication: 15th November, 2018

Rating: 4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review


It had been a while since I read contemporary fiction. When I saw that this was Pakistani contemporary fiction, I jumped at the chance of reading it since it was going to be my first.

Zubaan Books has such wonderful book choices that I was spoilt for choice. I can’t wait to read more from them.


The Blurb

In 1970s Karachi, where violence and political and social uncertainty are on the rise, a beautiful and talented artist, Tahira, tries to hold her life together as it shatters around her. Soon after her wedding, her marriage is revealed to be a trap from which there appears no escape. Accustomed to the company of her brother, Waseem, and friends, Andaleep and Safdar, who are activists, writers and thinkers, she struggles to adapt to her new world of stifling conformity.

Tragedy strikes when her brother and friends, are caught up in the cynically repressive regime. Faced with horror and injustice, she embarks upon a series of paintings entitled ‘The Empty Room’, filling the blank canvases with vivid colour and light.

Poetic, elegant, and powerful, The Empty Room is an important addition to contemporary Pakistani literature, a moving portrait of life in Karachi at a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, and a powerful meditation on art and on the dilemmas faced by all women who must find their own creative path in hostile conditions. 

The Book

I had forgotten how wonderful it can be to read a story with family drama rather than the mystery thrillers and fantasies that I have been reading of late. The Empty Room reminds you of a time that was simpler in terms of what was expected of people but it was also a time where the society was undergoing radical changes. This makes it a time of turmoil and heartbreak for the people at the cusp of change.

Tahira is one such character who has grown up in a house that encouraged her talents and gave her the freedom needed to pursue her passion. But it was also a house that expected her to put all of it down and become a ‘good’ wife and mother the minute she got married. Her husband is the typical male who believes that a wife must be educated and talented so that she is fit to be paraded in front of society but she must submit to his will at all times. He and his family are hypocrites who refuse to give their daughter-in-law the same love and opportunities that are given to the daughters of the house. The entire book had me screaming on the inside at all the injustices that a woman is supposed to silently accept. What made it worse was the fact that although this was a book set in the 1970s, the situation is not much better after half a century!

I was enraged at Tahira’s parents’ inability or unwillingness to help her but was glad to see that her siblings and friends were a source of strength. The political aspect of the story motivated me to do a bit of research on it and I was appalled at how situations have been used for political gain while people that truly want to help the society are silenced by any means necessary. The descriptions of Tahira’s art were vivid and it was one of the things that I kept waiting to read more of. The only thing that I wish had been better was the pace of the book. Some areas seemed a bit too long and unnecessary but I chalked it up to the author’s creative process.

The Author

Sadia Abbas grew up in Pakistan and Singapore. She received her PhD in English literature from Brown University and she teaches in the English Department at Rutgers University-Newark. Sadia is Adjunct Professor at the Stavros Niarchos Center for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University. She loves long walks, the Mediterranean and, indiscriminately, all sorts of films.


TL;DR: A beautiful book with descriptions of the everyday life of an average family abundant in drama and art


What are your favorite contemporary fiction?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Promotion

Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley- Blog Tour Stop, Review and Giveaway

About the book

Title: Finding Esme

Author: Suzanne Crowley

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Date of Publication: 14th August, 2018

Formats: Hardcover, Audiobooks

Length: 288 pages

Genre: Middle Grade literature, Children’s literature, Fantasy, Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book as a part of the Blog Tour organised by Magico Libro Casa tours

Find it at: GoodreadsAmazonIndigo, B&N, itunes, Kobo, TBD


The Blurb

Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on her family’s peach farm in Texas.

Fans of Wendy Maas and Lynda Mullaly Hunt will love this perfectly pitched story about friendship, family, and loss from Suzanne Crowley, the acclaimed author of The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous.

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor.

The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.

The Book

I love reading Middle Grade books. They have a sense of purity that adult books sorely lack. I’ve been wanting to read Finding Esme ever since it was released and was over the moon when I got a chance to be a part of this blog tour.

The book begins with the description of Esme’s family life. While you pity the little girl for the lack of parental love, you can’t help but admire her grit. She seems to have inherited her wilfulness from her grandmother along with her ability to ‘find’ things. I was glad that the author described their gift as being highly attuned to intuitions and signs from nature rather than ascribing it purely to magic.

The descriptions of familial duty, estranged love, need for parental approval, sisterly concern, and the tortures of coming of age were rendered beautifully. The book even manages to put across messages of body positivity and being at peace with oneself. There were times where I had tears in my eyes for the little girl who had to grow up well before her time. I was glad that the author found an authoritative figure who she could look up to and that not every adult in her life betrayed her. Bo gives a much-needed lightness to the story when you are heartbroken at how their mother treats them. I enjoyed every aspect of the book and can’t wait to read more of the author’s work.

The Author

Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. After living all over the United States, Suzanne and her family now make their home back in her native state of Texas.

Her work include:

  1. The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous (2007)
  2. The Stolen One (2009)
  3. Finding Esme (2018)

Find her at:

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Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive a Swag Box of Finding Esme with lots of other goodies Check out Magico Libro Casa Tours for the rules on winning it.


Blog Tour Schedule

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Book Reveal, Promotion

Children of Virtue and Vengeance- Announcement

Statistics

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

Length: 448 pages

Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Pan Macmillan Publishers)

Date of Publication: 3rd December, 2019


Tomi Adeyemi’s ground-breaking debut became a global phenomenon and instant #1 New York Times bestseller! Children of Blood and Bone by 24-year-old author Tomi Adeyemi has exploded into a global phenomenon. Entertainment Weekly called Adeyemi “the new J.K. Rowling” and readers and critics alike are calling this fantasy novel inspired by both West Africa and the American black experience ground-breaking, relevant, and impossible to put down.  The second book in this series, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, will be on sale December 3, 2019.

The Series

The Legacy of Orisha series follows Zélie Adebola, a young woman on a quest to return the magic that was stolen from her people by an oppressive ruling class, while learning to embrace her own magic in an epic adventure set in a world that is both richly fantastical and uncannily reflective of our own society.

The Book

In the second book of the series, Zélie has finally succeeded in returning magic to the land of Orïsha, but the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too. Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

The Author

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. 

Her work include:

  1. Children of Blood and Bone (2018)
  2. Children of Virtue and Vengeance (2019)

TL;DR: The second book of the Legacy of Orisha series by Tomi Adeyemi, Children of Virtue and Vengeance releases on the 3rd of December by Pan Macmillan


Did you read the first book in the series, Children of Blood and Bone? Did you like it?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and _book_life