Blog Tour Book Review: What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine

What the Waves Know coverAbout What the Waves Know

• Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 9, 2016)

“A beautifully written story of a daughter’s journey to find her voice, both literally and figuratively. Valentine reminds us that to be fully human is to be both a storyteller and a story dweller.”—Christina Meldrum, author of Madapple and Amaryllis in Blueberry

On the sharp crags of tiny Tillings Island lies the secret of Izabella Rae Haywood’s sixth birthday. That night, her father vanished, taking her voice—and the truth of what really happened—along with him. In the autumn of 1974, after eight long years of unsuccessful psychiatrist visits and silence, Iz’s mother packs up the tattered remains of their life, determined to return to Tillings in one last attempt to reclaim Iz’s voice—and piece together the splintered memories of the day her words ran dry. But when the residents of Tillings greet them with a standoffish welcome, it becomes clear that they know something about Iz, and the father she adored, that she does not.

Now, as the island’s annual Yemayá festival prepares to celebrate the ties that bind mothers to children, lovers to each other, and humankind to the sea, Iz must unravel the tangled threads of her own history . . . or risk losing herself—and any chance she may have for a future—to the past.

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Purchase Links

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Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine. I would like to say a BIG thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the tour and getting to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is about a girl that loses her father at a very young age. Traumatized by the experience she withdraws inside of herself and stops talking altogether. As the years go by her and her mother struggle with this and as a last effort her mother takes her back to the island where the loss of her father took place.

This story takes place from the perspective of Izabelle. It weaves very lightly in between past and present with the bulk of the narrative taking place in the present. It was a very interesting and at times heartbreaking read.

I ended up giving this book a five star rating, hands down one one of the best books I have read so far this year. I am in love with the writing. It has the beautiful, poetic writing that I am such a big fan of.  This book is full of some of the most beautiful sentences I have read. I knew that I was going to fall in love with the writing from the very first sentence. I was completely drawn into the story from that first sentence and gripped until I turned the very last page.

I loved the characters in the story, I thought they were really well fleshed out. I also loved the setting – it felt very real to me, very romantic and exotic at times but at the same time very warm. To me, this was a very affecting and emotional story. I was very invested in it from the beginning and there was a few times I was on the edge of my seat dreading what was going to happen next. Also, there’s a puppy in this story which for me is like an instant emotional tie in a story. I can’t deal with it when there are puppies in stories, I literally become a mess. I just really thoroughly enjoyed this book and the flow of the story, the process by which Izabelle starts to get her memory back and the really beautiful conclusion and the path towards it.

I highly recommend giving this book a read and I will definitely be following this author. It reads like adult fiction but I also think that young adults would benefit from reading this book and would enjoy it, especially those making the foray into the literary fiction world. This was just such a beautiful, rich story. I could totally see it becoming a movie, possible a focus features film because I think they make the most beautiful and meaningful films.


Tamara Valentine APAbout Tamara Valentine

Tamara Valentine obtained an M.A. with distinction from Middlebury College and has spent the past fourteen years as a professor in the English Department at Johnson & Wales University. Presently, she lives in Kingston, Rhode Island, with her husband and three children.

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

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Book Review – Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas by Lilly Kirckof

GLKINDLETitle: Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas by Lilly Kirckof
Genre: Fiction – Historical fiction
Length: 726 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: November 30, 2015
Publisher: White Stag, an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing
Rating – 4/5

Great Lakes, the novel is a tale as wide and deep as the lakes themselves; a rare combination of history, romance and, “what just might have been,” rolled into a read so fascinating it is literally impossible to put down.

From the earliest days of the old “wind wagons” to the steel behemoths of today, Great Lakes, sails into the drama, mystery and outright treachery of the dark side of navigating the lakes. Screaming “nor’easter’s” and back-stabbing corporate boardrooms all form part of the novel’s captivating saga of the sweetwater seas.

As an historian reading “historical novels” has always been like scraping fingernails down chalkboards for me. The plot may have been believable but the scope of the times was so misunderstood and characters mere poorly constructed cardboard cutouts, the book invariably collapsed of its own ponderous ineptness.

By contrast Great Lakes, is everything a historical novel should be; rich in history with an overarching storyline balancing nicely between fact and fiction, believable characters, a narrative rarely told; all set against a backdrop that while we think we understand it, surprises keep emerging from the shadows.

Great Lakes, the novel is certain to become a classic for the inland Seas.

~~ Fred Stonehouse


TGIF! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas by Lilly Kirckof. Thank you to the author and Ravenswood Publishing for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas is a historical saga centering around the Great Lakes and the Gilster family.

I am generally a fan of historical fiction but I have only read a few that centered around seafaring life so I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. I went into my reading of it without any expectations and was pleasantly surprised to find that I rather enjoyed reading it. It is definitely NOT light reading as it definitely is a story that is epic in scope and has a bit of length to it as well. I have read books about families but I don’t believe that I have ever read a family saga and I must say that I rather quite liked it.

I loved the writing. I am a huge fan of detailed and somewhat dense writing. I love the storytelling aspect that we get from that kind of writing that really builds up the world and paints a history rife with descriptive elements and events, I especially enjoy this in fictional stories that are based on historical events or settings. That really makes a story like this feel real to me. This book had that kind of writing and I really enjoyed it.

While I can’t say that I am a great fan of maritime literature, I can definitely attest to the fact that I thought this book enjoyable – there were quite a few aspects that I enjoyed like the danger and the romance that this type of lifestyle possessed.  I ended up giving it four stars because I enjoyed it greatly. I will admit that I didn’t get into right away with the prologue but I did start getting into it in the first chapter so that is still pretty good! I think historical fiction fans, especially of lengthy dramatic historical fiction sagas would definitely enjoy this! You can purchase a copy at one of the links below!


About the AuthorLK!

AUTHOR BIO:  Lilly Kirckof is a Mechanical Piping Estimator and builds cars in her spare time. She recently completed, with help, an “Eleanor” Mustang from “Gone in 60 Seconds.” She is a certified Nitrox diver under Richie Kohler and an SCCA GT1 race car driver. She is currently writing her next fiction novel.




Book Review: Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble

511gsEfIpjLTitle: Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! by Grant Goodman
Genre: Fiction – Middle Grade Adventure
Length: 196 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: April 30, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Rating – 4/5


Thirteen year-old Agent Darcy is one of the top students at the Bureau of Sneakery, where there are three rules every agent must follow: never make friends with an outsider, never speak of the Bureau, and never reveal your real name. Lately, Darcy has hit a rough patch: her rival, Agent Serena, keeps outdoing her. If things keep going this way, Darcy is convinced that no one will ever assign her a real mission. Ninja Steve’s city, Ninjastoria, is the home of sword fights, throwing stars, and Tae Kwon Donuts. Unlike his genius older sister, twelve year-old Steve isn’t the best ninja student. He’d rather be swinging a sword instead of taking notes in class. Steve, however, is about to learn that being a true ninja means far more than being able to use a sword. When Darcy is sent to Ninjastoria as an exchange student, it will turn both of their lives upside-down and raise all kinds of questions: What do the mecha-moles want? Who is the man in the gray mask? What do ninjas eat for lunch? And why is there a menacing tiger on the cover of this book? Time to read and find out!


Happy Wednesday everyone!

Today I am sharing with you my review for Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! I’d like to take a moment and thank the author Grant Goodman for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! is a middle grade adventure told in the alternating perspectives of Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve. When Darcy gets sent on a mission to infiltrate the ninja school and gain Intel on one of their most secret hidden artifacts, she quickly befriends Steve. Soon though they find themselves in the middle of a ghost chase and both are affected in ways they never would have imagined.

I had ALOT of fun reading this book. I ended up giving this book a four out of five star rating because of how much I liked the story and how much I enjoyed it. I thought it was really fun, fast paced and an overall entertaining read.

It is a middle grade adventure so the characters are young and the feel of it is young as well but, as an adult I was certainly entertained by it so I think it is a great book for all ages to enjoy. There were definitely parts that actually made me laugh out loud, which was really great because not every book does that so I can appreciate when one does. The only thing that I wanted more out of was the big fight. I wanted it to be a much bigger event than it was but it was still fun to read. This book went by pretty fast because my attention was held the entire time and at a little over 190 pages it’s a pretty light read.

I think that if you are a fan of middle grade books or know any kids who would love to read a story involving ninjas, ghosts, and spies this would definitely be a great read. It was definitely a great time and I would love to continue the series and see what happens with these characters. I think my niece and nephew would enjoy this book so I am going to be recommending it to them! You can purchase a copy on Amazon here: Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble!


61HHUj+ZFEL._SX150_About the Author

Grant Goodman teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland. He is fueled by Ray Bradbury stories, spicy curry, and 9:30 Club concerts. Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! is his debut novel.

Blog Tour Book Review: Rags and Ruins by Bob Dixon

RARBANNERRRKINDLETitle: Rags and Ruins by Bob Dixon
Genre: Fiction – Middle Grade/YA–  Fantasy
Length: 292 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: October 30, 2015
Publisher:  Chimera, an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing
Rating – 5/5

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Rags and Ruins. I would like to thank the author Bob Dixon and Ravenswood Publishing for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rags and Ruin is a fantasy novel about a young goblin and his wife who take in and raise an abandoned human baby as their own. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the child is one half of a prophecy that will end in the battle between good and evil.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a really fast read because of how it read – the pacing was great and the story itself was interesting. It captured my attention easily and was just a really good story. I loved the writing, I thought the writer did a fantastic job writing and editing this story which made it such a pleasure to read.

I liked the characters and the settings alot. I will probably never look at a landfill the same and will always wonder if there isn’t more than meets the eye in them…maybe a world of fantastical creatures that escapes human attention. I thought that concept was really clever and really enjoyable. The protagonist and antagonist are both very young throughout the story and it all comes to a head on their thirteenth birthday so I would classify this story as more of a middle grade story but it would still be super enjoyable to a young adult audience. As an adult of twenty nine years, I really enjoyed it so I think that everyone would find this story interesting, enjoyable and well worth a read. This is the first book in a series and I am super excited to continue it in the future and would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.

If you are looking for a light, fun read be sure to check this one out! I also think it would be a great introduction to the fantasy genre for younger readers! I am planning on purchasing a paperback copy for my niece who is just now beginning to get comfortable with reading and fantasy is her genre of choice…I’m excited to see how she enjoys this story.

P.S. I absolutely love the cover too, it’s super cool!


About the AuthorBD2

Bob Dixon is a a two-time Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest cartoon strip. Author of Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic and A Tough Call. He has created and written a number of comic book titles for Pocket Change Comics, including Assassinette: The Mind Stalker, Psyco Duck, Jester’s Dead, The Holy Knight, Riplash, Shadow Slasher, and Warzone 3719. He has written two children books, Rooty the Tree Troll and Holiday Bunny. In addition, Bob is a certified special education teacher who works with children with intellectual delays and autism.

BARNES & NOBLE:;jsessionid=2357F7DE49BC13C2F1AB27F1C361187E.prodny_store01-2?ean=2940151014151



Graphic Novel Review: Uncanny X-Men: The Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont(Author), Jo Duffy(Author), and John Byrne(Illustrator) 

61DwIoQr52L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Uncanny X-Men: The Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont(Author), Jo Duffy(Author), and John Byrne(Illustrator).
Genre: Fiction – Superhero
Length: 200 pages
Format: Graphic Novel
Publication Date: April 25, 2012
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rating – 5/5

An epic tale of triumph and tragedy! When the Dark Phoenix rises, suns grow cold and universes die! Gathered by Charles Xavier, the X-Men have dedicated their wondrous abilities to protect mankind – even those who hate and fear them. one of their own, Jean Grey, has unwittingly attained power beyond conception – and been corrupted, absolutely. The X-Men must decide: Is the life of the woman they cherish worth the existence of an entire universe? This touching tale of ultimate power and the triumph of the human spirit has been a cornerstone of the X-Men mythos for over three decades.

I have wanted to read The Phoenix Saga for awhile now. I vaguely remember this from when I was a kid but since Dark Phoenix is my primary cosplay I wanted to go back and refresh my memory. I was definitely not disappointed.

The Phoenix Saga collects issues 129-138 of the Uncanny X-Men which consists of Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Phoenix, Cyclops and Colossus. This particular arc is just what the title of the trade suggests. Basically The Hellfire club, a secret club within a club that seeks power and dominance wants to capture the X-Men and use them and their powers to create an army of mutants. Through the use of Mastermind’s illusions they gain control over Jean which serves as a catalyst to unleashing the über deadly Phoenix force which once again sweeps through the galaxy leaving devastation in her wake.

There is actually so much more to the story than that but that’s a very broad description. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this arc. I thought it was fun to read. Anytime I get to spend with the X-Men is always a great time and this one is definitely one of my most favorite arcs ever.

There is a lot of detail in this story and a lot of back references that are more or less explained or there is a small note referring the reader to the number of a past single issue that includes a particular event or character. I love that and found it to be super helpful.
Originally the issues collected in this trade were published in the late 70s and continuing into the 80s so the artwork is classic and still beautiful to this day. I absolutely love the depiction of the Phoenix force.

I just really love this whole story. It was super hard for me to put it down and it was easy to lose myself in it. I highly recommend this trade to anyone who is an X-Men fan and hasn’t read this. You will enjoy it!

And just because this is my favorite character to cosplay, here is a pic of my Dark Phoenix cosplay!

For more superhero pics like this check out my Comic Con Pics page!

I have been super into reading graphic novels lately and have gotten to read quite a few new ones and am reading some older ones in the upcoming weeks. If you have any recommendations for me, I would be thrilled! Thank you everyone and have a happy Thursday!

Happy Reading!

Book Review – Pieces Like Pottery: Stories of Loss and Redemption by Dan Buri

26878042Title: Pieces Like Pottery: Stories of Loss and Redemption by Dan Buri
Genre: Fiction – Short Story Collection
Length: 179 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: October 2, 2015
Publisher:  DJB Publishing
Rating – 5/5

Having spent time at #1 on multiple bestseller lists, the first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery, announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love mirroring themes from each of the five Sorrowful Mysteries. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.


Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I am sharing with you my review of Pieces Like Pottery: Stories of Loss and Redemption written by Dan Buri. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Pieces Like Pottery: Stories of Loss and Redemption is a collection of short stories that explore such themes as loss, grief, redemption, love and tragedy. There are also a few poems included within this collection.

I really enjoyed each one of these short stories and together I think they made a beautiful collection. I thought that each of them was beautiful and poignant. They were not only well written and overall great stories, they also had great messages and themes that left an impression on me after I read them. I think these are the types of stories that teach you things about life and make you think. They are the types of stories that stick with you long after you have read them and are certainly some of my most favorite short stories that I have read in my reading career thus far. I haven’t read many but this is definitely one of my top five, it may be even top three most favorite short story collections ever and I am really happy that I had the opportunity to read it.

I love the title of this book. I thought it was very fitting of the overall feeling of this collection. I love it when collections, although consisting of individual stories that can stand on their own, are also connected together to form one cohesive whole. This collection definitely achieved that and it was breathtaking. I just really really wish I could buy a physical copy to have on my shelf in my personal collection!

I am giving this book a five star rating! I highly recommend it. If you love short story collections or are a fan of memorable, touching stories you may enjoy this book! It is available on Amazon here: Pieces like Pottery by Dan Buri.

Happy Reading!


About the Author

61T9F3tBVFL._UX250_Dan Buri’s first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and has spent time at #1 on multiple bestseller lists, including for inspirational short stories and inspirational fiction. The writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.

Mr. Buri’s non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.

Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World’s Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.





Book Review – The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal by Ashley Scheller


Title: The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal by Ashley Scheller
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult –  Fantasy
Length: 329 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: September 10, 2015
Publisher:  Howling Wolf, an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing
Rating – 3/5 – I liked it

At five, her presence alone could transform lions into human-like beings. At nine, she could manipulate everything inanimate, in turn, creating her surroundings to her liking. She is their Saqui, a precious child with awesome power.

Now, if she could only remember.

A 12-year-old girl awakens after a long sleep and, mysteriously, has no recollection of her past. Upon the insistence of four, who claim to be her guardians and friends, Kayla begins to read from a bizarre diary, hoping to gain her memories before she loses her kingdom. A journey of self-discovery, wonder and adventure begins when she opens the covers made of crystal.


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal! I want to thank the author and Ravenswood Publishing for giving me the chance to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal is about a young girl named Kayla who wakes up in a strange place with no memory of who she is or how she got there. The people in this place are basically shape shifting animals that are separated into tribes that peacefully coexist with each other like zebras, birds and lions. Kayla looks completely different from them and her presence caused them to change. Over time she changes as well.

This story is a fantasy story so I was excited to read it. I was intrigued by the prospect of reading about shapeshifting animals and magic. I want to make sure to mention the gorgeous cover of this book. Isn’t it beautiful? I have fallen in love with and just love looking at it.

I definitely thought that the story itself was promising. The issues I had with it were mostly editing issues but I think maybe it just wasn’t entirely for me, although like I said I did like it. There were a lot of characters which was a good thing. Each chapter was told from alternating perspectives which I typically fall head over heels in love with but it alternated between a lot of different characters at different timeframes. The narrative switched from like past to present and back again and that for me was a little bit confusing. I don’t know if I’ve read a book like that yet so it was interesting to experience but hard to get used to.

I can’t decide on my favorite character because there were quite a few that I liked and enjoyed. One thing about the alternating perspectives that I mentioned above that I loved was getting to know many of the individual characters and then seeing their thoughts about the other people and events in the story.

I ended up giving this book three stars because I liked it and found it to be pretty enjoyable. It is the first book in a series. I would definitely give the second book a read to see where this goes as it does end on a good cliffhanger. I think younger fantasy fans may enjoy this book as some of the characters are younger and grow in the story.


About the Author

asAshley Scheller has always liked creating. Currently residing in Omaha with her family, if she isn’t sewing costumes inspired from medieval times or anime characters she is writing. Passionate about both hobbies, she loves to connect with fellow costumers and writers through social media. The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal is her first book and has planned an exciting trilogy for the title.


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