Friday, August 31, 2018

Blog Tour: Mirage by Somaiya Daud...Review

Hello!  I want to apologize to the people at the Fantastic Flying Book Club & To Somaiya Daud. I was supposed to post this earlier in the week, but I was very sick with a migraine and completely forgot to make sure it went up. Oops.
I apologize to everyone, including my readers, for my slip up.

Anyway, Mirage is a fantastic book that I highly recommend so keep reading to learn more!
Mirage (Book #1 in the Mirage series)
by Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release date: August 28, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction


In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.


Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut, and is due from Flatiron Books in 8/28/2018.

Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud 
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Netgalley 

With a hint of romance, a bit of sci-fi, and a touch of its own mythology and history, Mirage was easily one of the most surprising books I read this summer. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Due to her resemblance to the princess, Amani is forcibly taken from her home and taken to the palace where she undergoes harsh training and body modification so she can be the body double for the controversial and disliked Princess. As the cruel Princess Maram’s stand-in, she must know the history of the royal family, everything about the Princess’s inner circle including her fiancé, Idris, not to mention her speech patterns and mannerisms. One wrong move or slip up could mean her death. She truly undergoes a transformation that fools almost everyone, yet she never loses her strength, spirit, and determination. They may be able to physically change her, but they can’t break her. She is truly a great character with a big heart who I wanted to see succeed and can’t wait to read more about.

In addition to strong characters, Somaiya Daud has created a fascinating world with different planets and moons and more. The beautiful descriptions had me picturing the lush landscapes and various settings that our main characters visit. I wanted to see it for myself. There is also a fascinating backstory and history to this world that is revealed that made me want to know more about all the characters, traditions, and different lands.

As for the genre of the book...well, this is where I struggle to define or find the words to explain what exactly this book is. It felt like a little bit of everything and that is why I found it so surprising. There are several science fiction elements (bots, modes of travel, scanners, weapons, etc.). If you’re not a fan of that genre and you’re thinking of skipping this book because of that, don’t. I didn’t think there were enough elements to overpower the story and turn you off, if that makes sense. There is so much more to the story. For example, there is also a bit of romance in the story (I won’t say who) as well as drama, mythology, suspense, politics, and so much more. There were even times when I felt like I was reading a historical novel set in a faraway land...I completely forgot the sci-fi elements existed as I became lost in the story. Anyway, all of these different genres or elements from the different genres shouldn’t have meshed together so well, but Somaiya Daud found a way to do it and make it entertaining. It’s unlike anything I’ve read lately.

As I mentioned, once I started Mirage, I couldn’t stop reading it. It got off to an exciting start, but I have to be honest, the the pace slowed a bit as Amani transformed into Princess Maram. Once her mission of deception started though things picked back up bit and I enjoyed learning more about the world outside the palace as well as more about the history of the various people in this fictional world as well as the main characters. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger and I can’t wait to read more! Oh, and with all of YA books being turned into films lately, I’d really love to see a movie version of this one.

*I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
Please check out the other stops on the Tour.

You can find the schedule by clicking here!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Blog Tour: Fresh Ink...Review & Giveaway!

An excellent new anthology to tell you about today...keep reading to learn more and to enter to win a copy!
About the Book:
Title: FRESH INK Anthology 
Author: Lamar Giles, Nicola Yoon, Malinda Lo, Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan, Eric Gansworth, Walter Dean Myers, Daniel José Older, Thien Pham, Jason Reynolds, Gene Luen Yang, Sharon G. Flake, Schuyler Bailar, Aminah Mae Safi
Pub. Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 208
Find it:

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

All it takes to rewrite the rules is a little fresh ink in this remarkable YA anthology from thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors writing today including Nicola Yoon, Jason Reynolds, Melissa de la Cruz, and many more, and published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. This collection features ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print. It will give readers the opportunity to discover how the next chapter is up to them.

Careful--you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written--whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

“I absolutely love this mix of established and newer talents, and I’m really intrigued and excited by the mixed formats.” –BookRiot

“A powerful and varied collection…”—Booklist, starred review

“The stories are distinct in themes, subjects, genres, and formats, creating an inclusive, authentic, and incredible collection”—School Library Journal, starred review

Title: Fresh Ink
Editor: Lamar Giles
Authors: Nicola Yoon, Malinda Lo, Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan, Eric Gansworth, Walter Dean Myers, Daniel José Older, Thien Pham, Jason Reynolds, Gene Luen Yang, Sharon G. Flake, Schuyler Bailar, Aminah Mae Safi
Format: Hardcover 
Source: Blog Tour

Fresh Ink is a fantastic anthology filled with not only a variety of diverse short stories, but also a play and even a graphic novel. The anthology as a whole is not only entertaining, but also provides a little bit of something for every reader especially those looking for diverse reads.

In the letter to the reader, editor and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, Lamar Giles, points out the lack of diversity in YA books and his own disappointment as a child who read. In the 12 entries in this anthology each author provides readers with varying POVs, genres, and styles that also include different races, genders, and sexualities.

In each of these stories, many of the themes are universal despite the genre with the characters facing their own set of problems or issues that everyone can relate to regardless of race, gender or sexuality. Each short story left me wanting to read more and were left a bit open-ended providing readers with the opportunity to expand on or imagine what might happen next. This might either disappoint or inspire some, it all depends on your perspective.

I enjoyed the opportunity to explore and read about characters different from me as well as characters I could relate to. I also loved the idea that others were getting the chance read about a character they could relate to on a deeper level. The inclusion of diverse authors brings an authenticity to the stories and the characters. 

As with most anthologies, you are bound to have stories or entries that seem stronger than others and those that seem weaker. But as with all books, what doesn’t work for one reader might work for another. That was the case for me with Fresh Ink...some stories captured my attention more than others. That being said, I was particularly moved by TAGS, the play by Walter Dean Myers, for some reason and plan to check out more of his other work. In fact, I plan to check out work by ALL of the authors in this anthology and encourage you to do the same.

Fresh Ink is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. It entertains while also bringing attention to the lack of diversity in YA publishing by simply existing. I definitely want to read more stories and books like the entries in this book.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of FRESH INK US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Schedule:
Week One:
8/1/2018- YA Books CentralSpotlight
8/2/2018- Always MeReview
8/3/2018- Book-KeepingReview

Week Two:
8/6/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
8/7/2018- BookHounds YAReview
8/8/2018- Confessions of a YA ReaderReview
8/9/2018- Wonder StruckReview
8/10/2018- Life of a Literary NerdReview

Week Three:
8/13/2018- Literary MeanderingsSpotlight
8/14/2018- Mama Reads BlogReview
8/15/2018- Novel NoviceReview
8/16/2018- Savings in SecondsReview
8/17/2018- Sweet Southern HomeReview

Week Four:
8/20/2018- The Layaway DragonReview
8/21/2018- Eli to the nthReview
8/22/2018- Comfort BooksReview
8/23/2018- Moonlight RendezvousReview
8/24/2018- laura's bookish cornerReview

Week Five:
8/27/2018- Never Too Many To ReadReview
8/28/2018- The Book NutReview
8/29/2018- Cindy's Love of BooksReview
8/30/2018- The Pages In-BetweenReview
8/31/2018- A Dream Within A DreamReview

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Blog Tour: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas...Review & Giveaway!

Another amazing book to tell you about today!
Keep reading to learn more and to enter to win a copy!
Author: Kara Thomas
Pub. Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 384
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
About Kara:

Kara Thomas is a true crime addict and the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, LITTLE MONSTERS, and THE CHEERLEADERS, all published by Delacorte Press. You can find her on Twitter (@karatwrites), Instagram (@kara__thomas), or at

Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher/Blog Tour 

With The Cheerleaders, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was it going to be a mystery? A thriller? A horror story? A drama? Well, it turned out to be all of these things in a way and more....well, maybe not so much a horror story, but I still loved every bit of it.

When The Cheerleaders first begins we meet Monica, a high school dance team member going through some personal drama. Her sister also happens to have been one of the local high school’s last cheerleaders. You see, five years ago, after the tragic deaths of five cheerleaders, the squad was disbanded. Two of the five were killed in a car accident, two were murdered, and one, Monica’s sister, killed herself. Now, as the anniversaries of the deaths approach, Monica is discovering things may not quite be what they seem when it comes to these deaths and she is trying to discover what really happened and if the deaths were connected in some way.

To be completely honest, when I first started reading, I had no idea what direction author Kara Thomas was going to take the story. Would history repeat itself? Was this going to be a story of justice finally being served? Or would this turn out to just be a case of an unreliable narrator? I won’t spoil the story and say exactly what happens, however, I will say that while there were so many different ways Thomas could have taken or handled the actual main plot and mystery of the story that Monica sets out to investigate, I was both surprised and pleased with how the story unfolds.

In The Cheerleaders each new discovery Monica makes or the author reveals through flashbacks from other characters’ POVs, leads to a new twist or turn exposing a new detail in the story from the past ultimately leading to a fascinating and stunning conclusion as everything begins to click into place. From beginning to end, it was perfect and I couldn’t wait to see how the story would play out and how the characters we meet throughout the story were connected or involved in the overall plot, if at all. Everyone seemed to have a secret related to or a connection to the tragedy. Like Monica in the story, I was never quite sure who or what was relevant. And I definitely was not expecting the outcome, but thoroughly enjoyed it and the entire book. I love reading suspense and mysteries and dramas or whatever you want to classify this book had a little bit of everything that would surely please fans of all of these genres.

As for our main character, Monica, she goes through a lot in this book both on-page and off-page. In addition to dealing with some heavy personal stuff, discoveries made by Monica turn her world upside down affecting not only what she thought to be true in the deaths of her sister and her sister’s friends but also who she remembered and thought her sister to be. As she looks deeper into the past and learns more about her sister, she also uncovers some uncomfortable truths about herself and those close to her. I don’t want to say too much, but the ways in which the author subtly tied Monica’s story to her sister’s and the similarities between the two was so well-done.

The Cheerleaders is easily one of my favorite reads in a good while. This is not only a story with a bit of mystery and suspense, but also one filled with heart and emotion. I loved how Thomas balances and blends everything into a cohesive and engrossing story. The Cheerleaders had everything I love in a book: great characters, an entertaining story, an unpredictable outcome, plus it left me wanting to read more.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE CHEERLEADERS, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Schedule:
Week One:
7/23/2018- The Heart of a Book BloggerReview
7/24/2018- A Dream Within A DreamReview
7/25/2018- Portrait of a BookReview
7/26/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
7/27/2018- Books and LaddersReview

Week Two:
7/30/2018- The Clever ReaderReview
7/31/2018- Diary of an Avid ReaderReview
8/1/2018- Never Too Many To ReadReview
8/2/2018- Confessions of a YA ReaderReview
8/3/2018- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview

Week Three:
8/6/2018- laura bookish cornerReview
8/7/2018- The Phantom ParagrapherReview
8/8/2018- Mama Reads BlogReview
8/9/2018- To Be ReadReview
8/10/2018- Savings in SecondsReview

Week Four:
8/13/2018- The Young FolksReview
8/14/2018- BookHounds YA- Interview
8/15/2018- Simply Daniel RadcliffeReview
8/16/2018- Moonlight RendezvousReview
8/17/2018- Two points of interestReview