Blog Tour Book Review: Yesternight by Cat Winters

yesternight-coverAbout Yesternight

� Paperback: 400 pages
� Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 4, 2016)

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core.� A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O�Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they�re no more than the product of the girl�s vast imagination.� But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

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Happy Tuesday everyone! I am happy to bring you my review of Yesternight by Cat Winters. I received this book from the publisher Harper Collins through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Yesternight is a historical fiction story about a young trained psychologist, Alice Lind, who travels the country testing children’s educational aptitude for the department of education. On her current assignment she meets an extraordinary young girl who seems to have the knowledge and memory of someone twice her age, quite literally claiming to have lived another life. Meeting her sends Alice on a hunt for answers, not only for the child and her family, but also for herself.

Yesternight wasn’t quite what I was expected it to be, which turned out to be a wonderfully good thing. I definitely wasn’t expecting to react to it the way I did. When I finally read this book, it had been months since I had last read the synopsis so I went into my read of it with fresh eyes and no clue as to what to expect, other than the front cover as a clue. I was way off judging from the cover. I expected a women’s historical fiction book. While I definitely got that in this book, it was actually so much more than that. It was unexpectedly creepy, which was awesome for an October read! I don’t know if this book was meant to be chilling and suspenseful but I read this book between the hours of 12 and 4 in the morning with the rest of the house asleep and all the lights off (except my handy dandy book light) and it was definitely a bit creepy! Aside from that, this was a wonderful read. It definitely dealt in the realm of women’s fiction as our main character, Alice, is  working in a predominantly male profession and is struggling with the preferential treatment of men in her field and in academia. She is very much an independent, modern woman in command of her own sexuality which I loved to see in this book.

I just really loved that this story was so layered. We have that women’s fiction layer but deeper than that there is this mystery/thriller beneath the surface that I did not expect but was fascinated by. This was a thrilling, entertaining story that I would highly recommend to historical fiction or mystery fans alike. Loved this book, I could not put it down! A five star read!

Photo by Tara Kelly

Photo by Tara Kelly

About Cat Winters

Cat Winters’s debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was released to widespread critical acclaim. The novel has been named a finalist for the 2014 Morris Award, a�School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and a Booklist 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children.

Find out more about Cat at her website, and follow her on tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram,�Facebook, and Twitter.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Spot 12 by Jenny Jaeckel

Spot 12 coverAbout Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU

Spot 12 delivers the gritty details of a new mother and her newborn daughter, Asa, during a five-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in this visually gripping graphic memoir by Jenny Jaeckel. A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and Jaeckel and her husband find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crises. Surrounded by disagreements and family tensions, death, and questions of faith, Jaeckel struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind.

Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated doctors and nurses are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the caring individuals who do all they can to save Baby Asa. At times Jaeckel and her husband battle feelings of helplessness and despair, but their determination, hope, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little girl alive.

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“A memorable and beautifully executed memoir of a newborn’s difficult first months.” —Kirkus Reviews

“It’s a sad, lovely, tragic story. It reminds us how close we are to tragedy at any moment in our lives…” —Tom Hart, author of Rosalie Lightning

“Spot 12, the novel, a unique combination of text and remarkable drawings, was able to completely hold my interest. The topic of parenting a critically ill newborn in the NICU is not a new one…But Spot 12 was matchless in its comic book format associating pictures with feelings….It is very impressive.” —Anita Catlin, for Advances in Neonatal Care

Spot 12 is a graphic memoir that follows a couple who go into the hospital for an ultrasound and find out that there are complications with their baby. These complications lead to an unexpected delivery followed by months of surgeries and stress.

This was the second graphic memoir that I have read. Interestingly both are told using animals (specifically mice). I really like this aspect of it as I feel like even kids can read this book and be both interested by it but it also feels like that makes it easier for them to understand.

I thought the narrative itself was really affecting and rather beautiful. I loved the illustrations…the use of black and white only to illustrate this story was essential I think to relaying the kind of emotion that the story has. Put together I felt that the story and the illustrations both complemented and fit together so well. They made the story so easy to follow and understand and really drove home the emotion. I am not a parent myself, but I do feel as though the illustrations and narrative did a really good job of pulling me into the raw emotions of the situation. It was heartbreaking and painful seeing this child and her parent’s suffer in this book,  I can’t begin to imagine how it felt in real life.

I am giving this book a five star review, it was definitely sad in some parts and heartwarming in others. It is a super light read and I think also a thought provoking one. Graphic memoir fans may enjoy this title!

Note: I received this book from the author and TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it. Thank you for the chance to read and review this book!

Jenny JaeckelAbout Jenny Jaeckel

Jenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a certified interpreter and translator (Spanish) and teaches illustration. She lives in Victoria, Vancouver Island in British Columbia with her husband and daughter.

Jaeckel is the author and illustrator of three graphic memoirs: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU, which won a 2008 Xeric Grant (printed in Canada, to be released in the US in 2016 in both English and Spanish), Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob (published in 2014), and Odd Pieces: Memoir of a Childhood (to be published in 2017). For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is her first collected fiction (2016).

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


Book Review: Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter by Nina Norstrom


Title: Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter by Nina Norstrom
Genre: Nonfiction – Memoir
Publisher: WriteLife Publishing
Page count: 190 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Rating – 4 stars!!

Symbolizing a Journey ─ Learning Lessons ─ Letting Go ─ and Gaining Insight . . . tools that lead to relationships.

Relationships are formed with people, alcohol, animals, battlefields, diseases, drugs, environments, and even our emotions. Whether toxic or nontoxic they’re an integral component of daily living. That’s just the way life is!

Follow Author Nina Norstrom through the journey as she peels off those toxic relationships she endured. In this book, you will experience her relationships with grief, pain, trauma, and forgiveness. Writing about those types of relationships can be therapeutic. So she started journaling. And that’s how this story took its roots.

The tale exposes a mother’s struggle to escape her world of toxicity. Along the way, their journey takes them into the clutches of diseased relationships. As the shoe prints are molded in and out of a variety of toxic relationships, they’ll leave behind a blazing trail of lessons.
This story in its raw image projects a remarkable voice to the heroic fight and bravery gained when striking back to wipe out the toxicity of deadly relationships. Its message reveals the importance that life brings many challenges, and that each challenge provides lessons to be learned. You will find, ultimately, this story speaks to the beauty of love, compassion, courage, determination, and strength.

“Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter. A Journey Through Toxic Relationships,” is a powerful, insightful, and inspiring personal story . . . a riveting account about one family’s cycle of toxicity.

To ensure relief from toxic elements, portion of proceeds will go to fund the fight against toxic relationships.

One thing that I absolutely love is reading about a person’s life and seeing the world through the lens of theirs. Books like Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter by Author Nina Norstrom do that for me. They take me out of my life and teach me life lessons through the experiences of the person who wrote it.

Nina Norstroms memoir is a journey through relationships and the life lessons that she learned from them. The overall theme of this book is a focus on toxic relationships. One thing I really liked is that the author explored different kinds of toxic relationships in romantic relationships, friendships, between family members and also toxic relationships that can occur within the human body.

I found tremendous value in the sections that come after each chapter where the author includes the lessons she had learned that the reader can take away from her experience. It actually made me think back on relationships and friendships in my past that at the time I didn’t realize we’re very toxic but that when I look back at them I am able to recognize that they were wrong.

This book was a mixture of feelings for me ranging from happiness at happy, loving moments to sadness at the sad, heartbreaking moments that occur. I found the author and her daughter to be extraordinarily strong women throughout their lives, especially when they only had each other. Just beautiful. 4 stars!

Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Took You the Longest to Finish

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by GingerReadsLainey and is now hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. For more information on the weekly topics and if you are interested in participating please visit the Goodreads page: Top 5 Wednesday on Goodreads

This week’s topic is: Books That Took You the Longest to Finish 

402045The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – I read The Mists of Avalon for an Arthurian Literature class in college. I had been shamelessly stalking this book on bookshelves for years and finally had an excuse to plunge into this book. Up until that point it was definitely on the top of my “most intimidated books I want to read” list. I am soooo happy that I finally read it because I freaking loved it, it was everything that I had hoped for and more. I kind of want to read it again as well as the follow up.

Game of thrones US 1A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – Let’s get real, it takes me a million years to read any of the books in this series for two reasons: 1) They’re lengthy and 2) I try to prolong the experience. I freaking love them but it takes me awhile because of the amount of detail and world building. The writing is a little dense which I do really love but it just generally means the read is going to be a bit on the longer side for me.

22544764Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I LOVED uprooted but I found myself prolonging the reading experience with this one as well. I took a couple of weeks with this one. This is something I tend to do ALOT of if I am really enjoying the book. I get attached and lost in a story and it’s hard for me to pull myself away from it so having a long reading time on this one was actually a good thing for me!

6186357Maze Runner by James Dashner – I know this was one of those super popular books but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it. I was really excited to read it because I had heard so many good things about it but it just wasn’t for me. It took me a full 3 months to get through it. I ended up giving it three stars because I did find aspects of it enjoyable but I crawled through it because I was just having a hard time getting lost in it. I didn’t bother continuing with the series so if it get’s significantly better, PLEASE let me know and I just might pick it up!

17933522Please Don’t Tell by Laura Tims – I actually really liked this book. It took me a full two months to read it and I believe that it was purely because of how busy I was when I was reading it. Whenever I picked it up, I just couldn’t get into it enough to set everything else I had to do aside. It was, however, a pretty good book and I ended up really liking it. It could have been a much faster, lighter read for me but for some reason it ended up taking me awhile.

Anyway, I hope you guys liked my picks for this topic. Let me know if you have read any of these and whether or not it took awhile to read them. Feel free to share any that have taken you a long time to read. As always, thank you for stopping in to visit!

Blog Tour Book Review: The Quest for Merlin (Magimakía Book One) by Rafael Lovato

mtqfmkindleTitle: The Quest for Merlin (Magimakía Book One) by Rafael Lovato
Genre: Fiction – YA Fantasy
Publisher: Howling Wolf, an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing
Page count: 286 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: June 30, 2016
Rating – 3/5!!

“The Quest for Merlin” is the first book of the Young Adult fantasy series “Magimakía”, goblin word meaning “The Great Battle of Mages and Witches.”

Follow Oliver’s journey, a skinny, naive 15 year old boy who knows nothing about magic, let alone how to survive high school as a bullied and outcast teen, as he attempts to help save the Order of Mages from destined extinction.

Kidnapped by a midget goblin and his troll cohorts, Oliver’s only hope is to learn the whereabouts of the all powerful Merlin who has been missing for over 500 years.

With the help of two witches, Avery and Violet, Oliver begins his journey in a world full of potions, spells, and bubbling cauldrons, learning a lot about witchcraft and magic.

You will be spellbound as you are transported into this amazing landscape where anything could happen, as tragic events unfold that could keep Oliver from saving Merlin and the entire world of Mages and Witches!


Good morning! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author and publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book!

Oliver has grown up thinking that he was just like any other kid. Little does he know that he comes from the bloodline of the famous wizard Merlin and is part of a magical world existing simultaneously with the not-so-magical world full of characters like wizards, goblins, demons and more. When this world seems on the verge of war, Oliver is taken and plunged into this unknown world in order to find his famous ancestor, who has been hidden away for years.

I have always been deeply fascinated by the wizard Merlin, so I was totally here for a story involving him.

The way the story was told felt a little weird to me and took a little getting used to. It jumped from the goblins telling the story to other goblins to our main character’s perspective and inner thoughts. That was a bit confusing to me and seemed a bit awkward but I was able to work with it even though I never quite got 100% used to it.

That being said there are definitely things I liked about the magic system and about this world. I liked the plot to this book, I thought it was entertaining. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the main character but I did enjoy following him on his journey and seeing him interact with some of the other characters he encounters. I was really interested in the idea of a character who was previously unaware of this world being confronted with ideas and seemingly “out of this world” things like demons, magic and the surprise of his famed lineage. Although I wasn’t crazy about the main character, I did enjoy that he wasn’t perfect – he was scrawny, awkward and insecure. That did make him more human to me even if I didn’t quite connect with him. I loved the use of color to distinguish between magics and I also enjoyed the use of portals to access worlds or dimensions. That really pulled me in.

I am giving this book a 3 star review as I liked and enjoyed this book. Fans of YA fantasy may enjoy it!

P.S. This is a really cool book cover, love it!


rafaAbout the Author

Rafael Lovato is a Brazilian author with six books published commercially in Brazil, and one in Portugal, “Magimakía, a busca por Merlin”. This is his first book published in the US. In 2014, the prestigious Oxford University Press bought one of his award-winning short stories to use in their courseware as writing model to teach students, already published in the book “Portuguese language for 6th Grade”, by Oxford.

AMAZON US:ía-Book-ebook/dp/B01EI2R4V8

AMAZON UK:ía-Book-ebook/dp/B01EI2R4V8


BARNES & NOBLE:;jsessionid=3E933572BB6A6699C9EB512693D80A46.prodny_store01-atgap05?ean=2940153226026








Blog Tour Book Review: Finding Libbie by Deanna Lynn Sletten

findinglibbie-22781-cv-ft-v4-2About Finding Libbie

Paperback: 331 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 6, 2016)

Poring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother’s closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.

In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie’s well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack’s humble family and his aspiration to become a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie’s mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.

Now that Emily’s mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple’s fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Finding Libbie by Deanna Lynn Sletten. I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley thanks to TLC Book Tours and the Publisher  Lake Union Publishing in exchange for my honest review of it.

Finding Libbie is about a young woman named Emily who, when helping her grandmother ready her home for sale, finds a box full of old photographs. When she learns that her father was married to his highschool sweetheart before her mother, their love story unfolds.

This isn’t my typical read but I am so glad that I read it. When I first started reading Finding Libbie I had no clue what I would be in for. It started off like a normal contemporary but then the narrative changed and it became a beautiful, tragic love story. I wasn’t expecting that at all!

I am giving this book a four star review, I really enjoyed it and finished it in a day. I loved the beginning stages of Libbie and Jack’s romance. It was tender, sweet and beautiful. This book really drives home the affect that addiction has on your loved ones and how it affects your well being and relationships, we can see that through how Libbie’s addictions affect her relationship with Jack and just her judgement and well being in general.  The story turns heartbreaking and tragic. My heart literally soared and then broke for these characters. I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot and what happens to the characters but at some point I found myself doubting whether a happy ending could even be possible, it had me fearing the worst.

This book was beautifully written! So many things come into play like the hard stuff i.e. Addiction to substances, war and social classes but it also had some wonderful things like first love, friendship and hope. An unexpectedly beautiful read! I look forward to reading more from this author.


deanna-author-photo-lake-union-246x300About Deanna Lynn Sletten

Deanna Lynn Sletten grew up on the sunny coast of Southern California before moving to northern Minnesota as a teenager. Her interest in writing novels was sparked in a college English class, and she has been writing in some form or another ever since. In 2011, Deanna self-published her first novel and has since published several more, both on her own and with Lake Union Publishing.

Deanna enjoys writing heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime. She believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, magic, and happily ever after—all of which are reflected in her novels.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian shepherd or relaxing on her boat in the summer.

Connect with Deanna

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Book Blast: They Were Like Family to Me by Helen Maryles Shankman

they-were-like-family-to-me-197x300About They Were Like Family to Me: Stories

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (October 4, 2016)

Critically praised, beloved by readers, In the Land of Armadillos has an evocative new cover and title, They Were Like Family to Me. Now in Paperback! Available October 4.

  1. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland’s towns and cities of their Jewish citizens. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.

Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town. We meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son’s favorite picture book; a Messiah who appears in a little boy’s bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town’s most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect “his” Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker, struggling to survive.

Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, They Were Like Family to Me is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.

One of the most original and consistently captivating short story collections to have appeared in recent years…(They Were Like Family to Me) is a singularly inventive collection of chilling stark realism enhanced by the hallucinatory ingredient of top-drawer magical realism, interrogating the value of art, storytelling, and dreams in a time of peril and presenting hard truths with wisdom, magic, and grace.” —Jewish Book Council

Moving and unsettling…Like Joyce’s Dubliners, this book circles the same streets and encounters the same people as it depicts the horrors of Germany’s invasion of Poland through the microcosm of one village…Shankman’s prose is inventive and taut… A deeply humane demonstration of wringing art from catastrophe.” —Kirkus Reviews

…by turns forthright and tender, oblique and intimate, brutal and ethereal…Though each story stands beautifully on its own, it is the completed tapestry of interwoven details that finally reveals the entire picture and provides the full emotional depth of the collected stories…The author’s greatest accomplishment is in leaving the horror to speak for itself, and instead giving voice to the enchantment.” —Historical Novel Society



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helen_maryles_shankman_hi-res-254x300About Helen Maryles Shankman

Helen Maryles Shankman’s stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She was a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s Story Contest and earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers competition. Her stories have appeared in The Kenyon ReviewGargoyleCream City Review2 Bridges ReviewGrift,, and other publications. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Color of Light and the story collection They Were Like Family to Me. She lives in New Jersey, with her husband and four children.

Connect with Helen

Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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