Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC: Hunting Prince Dracula







Elizabeth from Tea and A Tantrum, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I are big fans of Kerri Maniscalco. We started the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC with Kerri's debut novel, Stalking Jack the Ripper. You can see the first post here. It was only fitting to also share our thoughts about the sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula. Not only is Kerri a fantastic storyteller, but she is also created a series where mystery and horror collide.

We love promoting books especially for authors that we love. Pre-ordering books is very important to the sales and how well the author does in the long run. High pre-order numbers can help the author get another print run for their book. Help support authors by spreading the word about their titles. Brownie points goes to readers who pre-order books or purchase finished copies even after they read an ARC.



Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Reading Hunting Prince Dracula is like jumping on a bike again. Readers are immersed into the same world with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell shortly after where Stalking Jack the Ripper left off. After the uncovering the true identity of Jack the Ripper back in London, Audrey and Thomas venture out to Romania to pursue an education in forensic medicine while hunting for Dracula.

From the first page, Kerri Maniscalco grabs the reader's attention with striking imagery. Carefully chosen words are used in descriptions of Audrey Rose's surroundings. Kerri Maniscalco's rich yet engrossing, atmospheric descriptions make readers crave more. Every detail is exquisite. In the second novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper trilogy, readers join Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell while they battle out for two out of the nine spots at the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science.

Readers are introduced to a whole new set of characters in Romania. Audrey Rose meets a few females to keep her company such as Anastasia, Ileana and Daciana. Who knew Thomas's sister, Daciana, is just as charming as he is.

Chockful of mysterious and thrilling encounters, Hunting Prince Dracula is just as intriguing as its predecessor. It's cleverly executed and I find myself loving this installment even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper! Kerri keeps readers on their toes the whole way through with twists and turns. The whole entire time when I was reading the book, I kept changing my mind about who the murderer is. Macabre and cadavers are taken to a whole new level.

Wadsworth and Cresswell are the quintessential duo. The banter between Audrey and Thomas is still there but their relationship continues to grow into something more than a friendship. The banter between them is perfect and they work very well together as partners in crime. There are times when Audrey is uncertain if Thomas would become distant but their loyalties lie within their strong friendship. I cannot wait to see them undercover mysteries in America.

I highly recommend Hunting Prince Dracula for those who enjoyed reading Stalking Jack the Ripper and for those who love thrillers, mysteries and the paranormal.


If you want to follow the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC feature on social media, please check out the hashtag, #TravelingARC3, for more reviews and photos.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eventful Summer

So I haven't been blogging too much this summer due a very eventful summer because of work. I work with first generation and low-income high school students at a college prep program for my full-time job. Every year I go away for three weeks as part of a six week summer academy and staff work 24/7 around the clock weekdays and weekends. During the academic year, we provide tutoring, workshops, classes and so much more after school and on the weekends. During the summer, we have a 8-4 day for three weeks at the community college that I work at. The last three weeks is the residential component that involves living at a residential college campus. It's an intense and exhausting job but it's so rewarding.

Seeing students succeed and reach higher is something money can't buy. Although the pay isn't that great, I've helped countless amount of students graduate high school and go to college. The great thing is seeing some of the alumni who graduated college. Not only do I see students' growth throughout the years, but the program I work with provides the atmosphere for a second family to bond. 

I just came back last Saturday and took off Monday to relax before going back to the office. But of course my co-workers and had to pack the whole office in less than 3 days to move to a new office. Because we already moved 2.5 hours away for the three weeks of summer and back, packing is something we were not looking forward to do on Tuesday. Nevertheless, we succeeded in packing by putting in overtime hours. I am looking forward to a wonderful vacation next week in New Orleans. Speaking of New Orleans, I will be doing a recap of my trip sometime after I get back from my trip.


I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. What did you do in July and for the first couple weeks of August?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani

Title: Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: August 22, 2017
Pages: 176
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆ 

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Part how-to, part girl-empowerment, and all fun, from the leader of the movement championed by Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, and John Legend.

Since 2012, the organization Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to and inspired over 40,000 girls across America. Now its founder, Reshma Saujani, wants to inspire you to be a girl who codes! Bursting with dynamic artwork, down-to-earth explanations of coding principles, and real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA, this graphically animated book shows what a huge role computer science plays in our lives and how much fun it can be. No matter your interest--sports, the arts, baking, student government, social justice--coding can help you do what you love and make your dreams come true. Whether you're a girl who's never coded before, a girl who codes, or a parent raising one, this entertaining book, printed in bold two-color and featuring art on every page, will have you itching to create your own apps, games, and robots to make the world a better place.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Girls Who Code is an inspiring book for girls who want to learn how to code. Reshma Saujani encourages girls to embrace their love for computer science and STEM related fields. It's okay for girls to like coding. In a male dominated world of coding, Saujani tells girls that coding is for everyone.
The book is divided into many chapters and each chapter has a mixture of text and also images. The timeline of the computer is a nice touch and visually explains the history of the first computers to give readers knowledge of how coding came to be. Girls Who Code explains coding in a way where readers can relate coding to their own lives. From loops to functions, Girls Who Code clearly describes coding terms.

The book also has a section with each coding language with their uses which I find handy. It's a good guide when you're trying to figure out what coding language to use. The glossary is clearly organized and defines many terms for coders to learn and understand.

Girls Who Code is a good companion to the website girlswhocode.com. This is a good resource to check out to find more about coding before delving into the world of coding. However, I wish their was more information about practicing coding in the book or a section of good resources about coding for readers to check out either online or in their local communities besides what is on Girls Who Code website. A printed list of other organizations would be great to see in the book as well.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Venturess Banner

Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for allowing me to participate in the Venturess Blog Tour! I am happy to showcase Venturess by Betsy Cornwell, which is a companion novel to Mechanica. If you are looking for a fairytale retelling of Cinderella merged with steampunk, check out both novels.


Venturess CoverTitle: Venturess
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 320
Source/format: ARC from Emma from Miss Print
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads

Rating: ☆☆☆
Synopsis:

Young inventor Nicolette Lampton is living her own fairy tale happy ending. She's free of her horrible step-family, running a successful business, and is uninterested in marrying the handsome prince, Fin. Instead, she, Fin, and their friend Caro venture to the lush land of Faerie, where they seek to put an end to the bloody war their kingdom is waging. Mechanical armies and dark magic await them as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries—and for themselves.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Nicolette Lampton finally moves away from her stepmother and her stepsisters to open up her own workshop. While everything seems like a happily ever after for Nicolette, everything doesn't seem how it looks. King Corsin is not faring well as his health declines. Fin ends up getting injured while Fitz plots a plan for the people of Esting to fight against the Fey in Faerie. Nicolette ends up embarking on a journey to Faerie with Caro and Fin in order to safe both worlds from rampage and war.

The friendship between Nicolette, Caro and Fin is perfect. They are three peas in a pod. Betsy Cornwell extends Mechanica, which is a retelling of Cinderella, into something more! She transports readers to a magical world of Faerie. However, I wish readers explore the world of Faerie more before the war broke out. Just like Mechanica, Cornwell focuses on the friendship between the trio instead of focusing on romantic relationships. Jules, the mechanical horse, makes an reappearance and readers are introduced to new characters such as Captain Wheelock and Talis, the Fey leader.

Nicolette is a strong woman and doesn't follow the norms. She is independent and doesn't need anyone to help her be who she is. She finds the value of pants while other fashionable ladies would not be caught dead in something so pratical. Two thirds into the novel, readers will run into a plot twist which definitely caught me off guard. Also, Venturess answered my question from Mechanica about what the Ashes are. Readers get a better understanding of the Faerie world even if it's slightly unpleasant.

Venturess is a dazzling story fusing steampunk and fairytales. If you haven't read Mechanica yet, pick it up as soon as you can. Dive into Venturess right after and enjoy the magic!


ALSO BY BETSY CORNWELL


Title: Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Pub. Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books (HMH)
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

Synopsis:

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

ABOUT BETSY CORNWELL


Hi! I'm Betsy Cornwell, an American writer and teacher living in a stove-heated cottage in west Ireland, together with my horse trainer spouse, a small herd of dairy goats, and an increasing number of other animals. I write fiction and nonfiction and blog about Irish folklore, travel, wild food, goats (of course!), homesteading, and growing up.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

GIVEAWAY

3 winners will receive a finished copy of VENTURESS. US Only. Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!


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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE

7/24/2017 - Two Chicks on Books - Interview
7/25/2017 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
7/26/2017 - BookHounds YA - Guest Post
7/27/2017 - The Book Nut - Interview
7/28/2017 - jrsbookreviews - Review

WEEK TWO

7/31/2017 - Nicole's Novel Reads - Review
8/1/2017 - Novel Novice - Guest Post
8/2/2017 - History from a Woman's Perspective - Review
8/3/2017 - YA Book Madness - Interview
8/4/2017 - Sarcasm & Lemons - Review

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Pop! Presented by Quirk Books



Quirk Books is proud to present Book Pop! According to Quirk Books, Quirk Books is teaming up with some amazing bookstores and libraries to host one-of-a-kind events full of fun activities, exclusive giveaways, and maybe even a chance to meet some of your favorite Quirk authors. If you’ve ever been to a comic convention, it’s kind of like that. And if you haven’t, welcome to the party!

Plus, for everyone unable to make it to the live events, we’ll be hosting an online version of Book Pop! from July 31 to August 11.

Keep an eye on this page—Quirk Books will update it with lots of important information over the next couple months. And make sure to sign up for our Quirk E. Newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest news.

Book Pop! Code-Word Challenge: 

The code-word challenge kicks off on July 31! Stay tuned for more information on how to play.
  • Grand prize: Advance access to our fall titles, signed copy of a Book Pop! participating author's book (winner's choice), $50 gift card to Out of Print, Quirk tote, and more prizes to be announced
  • Second place: Choose two published Quirk titles, signed copy of a Book Pop! participating author's book (winner's choice), Quirk tote
  • Third place: Choose one published Quirk title, signed copy of a Book Pop! participating author's book (winner's choice), Quirk tote

DATES TO LOOK FORWARD TO

WEEK ONE

Monday, 7/31:
  • Cosplay Contest semi-finalists are announced
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Sam Maggs on SuperSpaceChick
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Fred Van Lente
Tuesday, 8/1:
  • Online Event: Facebook Live with Fred Van Lente and Grady Hendrix at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Paul Krueger on Hollywood News Source
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Sam Maggs
Wednesday, 8/2: 
  • Online Event: Twitter Takeover with Sam Maggs at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Hope Nicholson on Panel Patter
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Kim Smith
Thursday, 8/3:
  • Online Event: Instagram Live with Kim Smith at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Ashley Poston on Forever Young Adult
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Grady Hendrix
Friday, 8/4:
  • Online Event: Facebook Live with Rick and Blair at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Bonnie Burton on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Ashley Poston
WEEK TWO

Monday, 8/7:
  • Online Event: Instagram Live with Ashley Poston at 2:00pm ET
  • Ashley will announce cosplay contest finalists; voting opens up to fans, closes Friday at 12:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Fred Van Lente on Doom Rocket
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Jon Morris

Tuesday, 8/8:
  • Online Event: Twitter Takeover with Jon Morris at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Guest post by Tania Del Rio for Nerdy Book Club
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Ian Doescher
Wednesday, 8/9:
  • Online Event: Facebook Live with Ian Doescher at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Jon Morris on The Beat
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Hope Nicholson
Thursday, 8/10:
  • Twitter Party with Quirk authors! at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog:
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Will Staehle
Friday, 8/11:
  • Online Event: Cosplay Contest prize winners announced on Facebook Live at 2:00pm ET
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Paul Krueger

EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Name of Event: Book Pop!
Date of Event: Saturday, August 12, 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Location of Event: Watauga Public Library, 7109 Whitley Road, Watauga, Texas 76148
Age Range: 8 through Adult
For more information, contact: Dana Harper, Adult Services Librarian, 817-514-5865, dharper@wataugatx.org

Name of Event: Book Pop Day!
Date of Event: August 30
Location of Event: Queens Library at Corona
Age Range: 14 and under
For more information, contact: Queens Library at Corona (718) 426-2844

Name of Event: BPL Comic
Date of Event: September 30, 10:00am - 4:30pm
Location of Event: Burlington Public Library, 210 Court Street, Burlington, Iowa 52601
Age Range: All Ages
For more information, contact: Mallorie Graham, mgraham@burlington.lib.ia.us

Name of Event: Book Pop!
Date of Event: Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
Location of Event: Round Lake Area Library, 906 Hart Rd., Round Lake, IL 60073
Age Range: 5-14 Years Old
For more information, contact: Aleece Michalak at amichalak@rlalibrary.org

Name of Event: Geek Fest 2017
Date of Event: Saturday, October 14 11:00am - 3:00pm
Location of Event: Antwerp Activity Center, Mattawan, MI
Age Range: All ages
For more information, contact: Hillary Berry, hberry@richlandlibrary.org
Facebook event URL: https://www.facebook.com/SWMGeekFest/


If you are interested in learning more about Book Pop!, check out this site here. There's a digital cosplay contest, an interactive map and more! Check out the Facebook Event to RSVP!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lucky in Love by Kasie West


Title: Lucky in Love
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 333
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"We make our own luck...We chose our own fate. We controlled our own future."

Maddie Parker is a senior at Tustin High School. She has two close friends, Elise and Blaire, and she currently works at the Santa Ana Zoo. Maddie's dream school is UCLA and she wants to study veterinary medicine. Although Maddie works hard in school, she is worried about the finances to pay for college. She is hoping she will get decent amount of scholarships since there are finance issues at home. Her mother works overtime and two jobs and her father is still on the lookout for a job. Beau, her brother, took some time off from college to try to get a job to pay off his loans. Maddie doesn't believe in luck but one day she buys a lottery ticket on the whim and she wins! She thinks the lottery winnings will solve her problems but unfortunately money isn't everything.

Kasie West wrote a honest book about real life things that teens have to worry about. Many teens are often trying to find ways to pay for their college tuition and fees and there are many teens who have finance issues at home. When there is not a lot of money to pay for things, it can put a damper to your spirit. However, Maddie makes the most of it and tries to be optimistic. Lucky in Love teaches readers that there is more to life than money. Sometimes people change because of money. Who can you trust? Maddie had to learn the hard way about which people are there for her just for her and not for the money. She had to learn who she can trust.

I love how Maddie is a hard worker and she strives for the best. Even though things are tough at home in terms of finances, she makes the best of what she has. Maddie has supportive friends that always has her back. Elise and Blaire are always there for Maddie. Seth Nguyen, Maddie's coworker, has always had an honest friendship with Maddie. I haven't read too many books with an Asian male love interest so it's refreshing to see this type of interracial relationship in a YA novel.

Seth is probably one of the very few people in the book that isn't using Maddie for their own benefit. He is the one that Maddie looks forward to see everyday. Also, there is no instalove in this book which I love! I enjoy reading about relationships that slowly progress from a friendship into something more. Maddie's quirk of randomly saying facts is something I can relate to since I do the very same thing. I appreciate Seth's passion in film making despite her parents disapproval of it as a career. Because Seth and Maddie attend different schools, it's nice to see them bond at work at the Santa Ana Zoo. There is no pressure in school to act a different way since they only see each other at work for the most part.

Lucky in Love is a fluffy contemporary novel that teaches teens good morals and has a cute friendship that blossoms into something more. It's the perfect summer read and you will fly through the book with a smile. I highly suggest this novel for those who enjoy To All the Boys I've Loved Before, When Dimple Met Rishi and I Believe in a Thing Called Love.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee AhdiehSoman ChainaniSusan DennardSarah EnniMarissa MeyerCindy PonVictoria SchwabSamantha ShannonAdam SilveraAndrew SmithApril Genevieve TucholkeNicola YoonSasha AlsbergBenjamin AldersonWhitney AtkinsonTina BurkeCatriona FeeneyZoĆ« HerdtSamantha LaneSophia LeeRaeleen LemayRegan PerusseChristine RiccioSteph SinclairJesse GeorgeKat O'Keeffe
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Source/format: Publisher//Hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Leave it to the heroes to save the world--villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Because You Love to Hate Me is an anthology about 13 villains spanning from Medusa to Hades. Authors are paired up with booktubers, creating short stories about a villain prompted by their assigned booktuber. The anthology seemed promising but like most anthologies, stories vary in interest and rating. Some short stories I couldn't get through, while others I plowed through quickly. The ones that I enjoyed showed honesty and the characters are genuine in what they say and do. The words flowed well and the stories was decently paced.

I have always loved reading backstories of villains about how and why they become who they are today. There is a reason someone becomes a villain. People are not born villains. Usually something tragic happens in a person's past that turns them into a villain.

Some notable stories include "Jack", "Gwen and Art and Lance", "Sea Witch", "Beautiful Venom" and "Death Knell."

The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh: 2/5

Jack by Ameriie: 4/5

Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani: 5/5

Shirley & Jim by Susan Dennard :3/5

The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni: 3/5

The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer: 4/5

Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon: 5/5

Death Knell by Victoria Schwab: 4/5

Marigold by Samantha Shannon: 3/5

You, You, It's All About You by Adam Silvera: 4/5

Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith: 2/5

Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve Tucholke: 2/5

Sera by Nicola Yoon: 3.5/5

Because You Love to Hate Me will satisfy readers who want to read from the villain's point of view and those who idolize the contributing authors and/or booktubers.