Monday, June 28, 2021

6/28/2021 The Place Beyond Her Dreams By Oby Aligwekwe

Publisher ‏ : ‎ ECLAT Books (March 12, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 285 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1775106446

At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain drives her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities. There, she discovers she is an Eri, chosen to accomplish a special purpose on earth, and is handed a box in exchange for what she desires the most.
Burdened by her quest, Ona learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. As evil looms, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.

Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, The Place Beyond Her Dreams delivers life lessons using a powerful fable. This coming-of-age fantasy takes the reader on the path to self-discovery and demonstrates the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose.

The Place Beyond Her Dreams blends magic with real-world issues of cultural interactions, abuse, and tragedy. It will attract both fantasy and contemporary readers by blending these two scenarios, adding Ona's first-person perceptions about her changed circumstances and her role in transforming them.

The story's unique combination of forays into self and the wider world create compelling scenarios in which the determined young woman must achieve the impossible to set things right and regain her life.

Young adults ages 13 and up will find The Place Beyond Her Dreams an inviting, thought-provoking adventure that surveys family, communities, and the power and consequences of personal decisions. ―D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Oby Aligwekwe (Hazel House) transports readers in her debut YA novel, part fairy tale romance and part realistic fiction rooted in West African traditions and folk tales. Protagonist Ona has had the gift of "intuition," or seeing into the future, since the age of seven; when her beloved grandfather dies, she realizes she can travel between her hometown of Ntebe and an idyllic dreamland called Luenah. In Luenah, she learns the power of manifestation- manifesting her thoughts in physical reality-and is sent back to Ntebe on a quest to find her purpose and "give something back to humanity."

Aligwekwe shines in her development of characters, each offering an avenue to reflect on the ways social class unfairly dictates daily lives and relationships. Ona's ultimate goal is to find "love and happiness," but she's not sure if that love will be with Albert-the handsome crown prince of Ide, a town involved in border clashes with Ntebe-or Okem, her childhood best friend and household servant. Will she find happiness with her one true love despite their differing social statuses, or become a Queen and bring peace to Ide and Ntebe? "I don't know how people will feel about me marrying someone of a lower status than me," Ona says. "They will castigate me and wonder why I gave up comfort."

Although branded as fantasy, the majority of the narrative takes place in the real world rather than Luenah, a choice that might disappoint readers desiring the fantastic. Despite this, Aligwekwe deftly weaves commentary on colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism into an appealing and suspenseful story of love and whimsy. She presents many nuggets of wisdom as Ona seeks her life's purpose while emphasizing that "Two things must occur for love to be manifested. The first is to believe you're worthy of love. The second is to love yourself." Young adults and older readers will be enchanted by this fantasy's magic, romance, and life lessons. ―Booklife by Publishers Weekly

2021 National Indie Excellence Awards Winner in Young Adult Fiction!


The Place Beyond Her Dreams by Oby Aligwekwe is a young adult fantasy adventure I really enjoyed. She also authored two other books, Nfudu and Hazel House, and this book is her YA debut. She is only a gifted and talented author but she is also a fantastic inspirational speaker and supports her community through her charity, Eclat Beginnings.

The Place Beyond Her Dreams is told from the point of view of our protagonist Ona - who discovers that she is an Eri with special gifts and finds herself at the crossroads between two men who are after her heart. Inspired by Oligwekwe's West African heritage and myths, this adventure story with a formidable heroine is a great story that transports the readers to far away lands but with relatable and timely themes of love, family and dealing with loss and grief.

I found this book to be amazing and


Oby Aligwekwe is the author of Nfudu and Hazel House. Her Young Adult debut, The Place Beyond Her Dreams, takes readers on a magical journey to discover what matters most. A talented writer, Oby is also an inspirational speaker and a chartered accountant. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her family and supports her community through her charity Éclat Beginnings.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

6/24/2021 SHUTTER By Melissa Larsen - EXCERPT and REVIEW Blog Tour

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (June 15, 2021)
Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 15, 2021
Language ‏ : ‎ English

A Most Anticipated Novel by PopSugar * Bustle * Buzzfeed * Crime Reads and more!
"[A] chilling debut novel." -- The New York Times Book Review

A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker's latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.

In the wake of her father's death, Betty Roux doesn't allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn't know what she wants, except to run.

When she's offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino's new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.

Anthony gives her a new identity--Lola--and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she's been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island's caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.

Praise for Shutter

"Taut and barbed as razor wire, Melissa Larsen's prose catches hold of you and won't let go until the last reel. In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith and Daphne du Maurier, SHUTTER is a stunning debut!" --Carol Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of The Sea of Lost Girls
“With precise control over each tantalizing puzzle piece, Melissa Larsen gives us an irresistible mystery. SHUTTER is eerie and intimate, a perfectly plotted dive into a voyeuristic world where nothing is private, even the darkest secrets--where you never know who might be watching."--Danya Kukafka, national bestselling author of Girl in Snow
"An immediately engrossing tale about intimacy and identity. SHUTTER will keep you guessing until the final shot. Melissa Larsen is one to watch.”--Eliza Jane Brazier, author of If I Disappear
"Shutter draws on the familiar--Hitchcock thrillers, tragic starlets, the angst of making art--but in a voice that is wholly new and immediately compelling. Larsen's smart, self-aware protagonist reads like a lovechild between Daphne du Maurier and Lorrie Moore. Larsen’s supple prose and intricate plotting make this book a dark delight."--Nicola Maye Goldberg, author of Nothing Can Hurt You
"Shutter is blade-sharp, tense and surprising at every turn. Melissa Larsen's debut marks the arrival of an incredible new talent."--Lauren Grodstein, USA Today bestselling author of A Friend of the Family.


Thank you so much for the Netgalley eARC copy of this book for the blog tour.

Shutter by Melissa Larsen is a great debut full of exciting twists but in a slow burn kind of a way. I thought that the dark atmosphere was well written that did give me the creepy vibes while reading this book. But more than that, the characters were very well thought out in a psychological thriller premise that slowly unravels through the story in a very complex way. I found that to be the highlight of this book in that the writing will really draw you in. 

I thought this was a phenomenal debut I enjoyed.




Melissa Larsen has an M.F.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She has interned and worked extensively in publishing. She lives in San Francisco, and Shutter is her first novel.




“Looking at you,” he says, replaying the short clip. “It’s like wandering into a labyrinth.”


“Thank you,” I say, though it sounds more like a question. I tear my eyes away from the camera, back up to his face.


All at once, the reality of this night hits me. I’m sitting in a restaurant in Brooklyn, talking to Anthony Marino. No, auditioning for Anthony Marino. And he thinks I’m beautiful. Like wandering into a labyrinth. I dont know how I got here. But this is real, isnt it? This is happening.


Without lifting his gaze from the screen, Anthony tells my video self, This would be a commitment. This isnt your usual film. Its not a bigbudget sort of thing. Its going to be an intimate shoot. We’ll live in my family’s cabin up north, for about a month. Maybe more, maybe less. And thats where well be filming, in the cabin. On the water. Its just a small group of usyou, me, Ben, and Mads, the other actor. Mads Byrne. Well, you wont have heard of him since you havent seen Reverence. Sofìas taking some days off work to join us for a bit, too. But this film is lowkey. No extra crew, just me and Ben working the set. Are you comfortable with that?”


I sit back, considering him. This is so fast. We havent done anything close to an audition. And I could believe, maybe, that he doesnt care whether I tell him yes or no, because hes been so casual about everything. He hasnt asked for anything from me yet, no references, no monologue, nothing. But he’s looking at me too intently—his knuckles turning white around the camera—for this to be a spontaneous offer. Didnt Ben say that Anthony was too picky? He could have anyone, thats what he said. Hes delayed filming to search for just the right actress.


It seems he’s found one. Me.


I find myself saying yes before I can properly catch my breath. It doesnt even sound like a word, yes, just an emotion jettisoned into the air.


Its a demanding project, he tells me. Most of it is pretty intuitive. But you’d have to be comfortable with some things. Nudity, for instance. Some violence.”


“Violence?” I feel another smile climb my cheeks, this one an imperfect reflection of my unease. How can there be violence when the film consists of just Mads Byrne and me? “What kind of violence? Like in a horror movie?”


He laughs. “Nothing like that. Arguments, shouting, you know, that kind of stuff.”


“Does it pay?”


“Of course.”


“How much?”


“Twenty thousand dollars.”


I try to stifle my gasp. What happened to the small budget? “That’s upon ‘signing.’” He crooks a finger in halfhearted air quotes. “And then another twenty thousand after we finish filming. Sound fair?

Maybe theres more to this than I understand. Forty thousand dollars? Thats a lot of money. A person will do a lot for that. A person will be expected to do a lot. And I know this should make me nervous. Everything about tonight should make me nervous. Suddenly, I wish I were older. Maybe then I would know how to handle this situation. I would know the right thing to say, the right thing to ask about this project, and why he’s so convinced I’m the one he wants, after such a short time together. I would know how to look at this man, and how to be looked at by him in turn. I wouldnt be so overwhelmed.


But I’m not older. I’m just me. And no matter how much I know I should be, I’m not worried. This is like a dream come true, and I’m not going to question my impossibly good luck. I told people I wanted to be an actress in New York, and I meant it, even if it felt like a flimsy way of saying I wanted to figure out who I was, after Dad, as far away as possible from anything that re minded me of him. Here is the opportunity to do exactly that. With Anthony Marino.


I suck out the dregs of my NorCal margarita through a pink straw. I don’t know why this drink is so region specific. Nothing of the tequila or lime reminds me of the wispy fog rolling off the cliffs, the soft, moist bark of redwood trees, the dusty roads. But the name is enough to transform it into home. I close my eyes on the last swallow. When I open them again, my mother’s voice and the images of my father hiking through the brush, out to the dazzling expanse of the Pacific, are replaced by Anthony’s eyes.


I nodYes, yes, I am comfortable with all thatbut I cant seem to find my voice yet.


He reaches for my wrist. “Are you sure?” he asks. “I’m not going to lie, I think you’re perfect for it. There’s something about you. He motions to the camera between us.Like I said, its impossible to look away from you. But a location shoot and the lead role are a lot to ask of an inexperienced actress. Do you have the energy for it?”


I nod again, once.


“I need to hear you say it,” he says, releasing my wrist. “Are you in, one hundred percent?”


I take his hand. He thinks for a second that I’m holding it, but I turn the gesture into a businessman’s handshake. His bones, as rigid as they look, bend a little in my grip. “Yes,” I hear myself say. “Of course.”


This is my new beginning. This is what I want. This is what  I need.



“Excerpted from SHUTTER by Melissa Larsen, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Melissa Larsen”



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

June 16th, 2021 Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun: A Novel By Jonny Garza Villa @tlcbooktours

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Skyscape
Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 8, 2021

A poignant, funny, openhearted novel about coming out, first love, and being your one and only best and true self.
Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.

Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.

Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.

Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

“Garza Villa’s debut is buoyed by tenderness and humor amid moments of deep pain…An open-hearted expression of love in its many forms.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Although parts of the story are heartbreaking and heavy, they are balanced with humor and hope, giving queer teens of color opportunities to see joy and love reflected back to them. Tender, touching, hopeful, and hilarious; enthusiastically recommended for all collections.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

“Offering accessible prose that impeccably interweaves Spanish and English, Garza Villa’s tender debut is sex-positive and romantic, balancing humor and heartfelt relationships even as it shows the joys and pains of one person’s experience coming out.” —Publishers Weekly

“Emotional, heartfelt, and at times heartbreaking, this vulnerable and ultimately hopeful story is healing. Jonny writes with clear care and intention for their younger readers. Beautifully done.” —Kacen Callender, author of Felix Ever After and This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story

“Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is the gay happily-ever-after romance I longed for as a teen! With its fun and refreshing voice, the book depicts a long-distance relationship that is sweet and incredibly authentic for teens nowadays. This book tackles the intense, nuanced struggles queer Latinx kids face with care and compassion. It’s a story of love, hope, and healing that we all need right now.” —Aiden Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys

“This book is a revelation. It’s like Jonny Garza Villa wrote a book for seventeen-year-old me just as much as they wrote it for the person I am today. Told in a wildly entertaining, conversational style, it’s equal parts heartbreak and joy, and it centers queer people of color in all their brilliant glory. It’s the Whataburger to my In-N-Out, and I can’t wait for the world to lose their shit over it.” —Mark Oshiro, author of Anger Is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert

“Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun perfectly captures everything bittersweet about digital dating and long-term long-distance relationships without sacrificing an ounce of romance. Jonny Garza Villa lights up the sky in a debut that’s equal parts heartbreaking and healing, sincere and snarky, with a cast of teens you will want to fight for.” —Anna Meriano, author of This Is How We Fly

“Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun shines like a supernova. A heartfelt debut that sings with its authentic moments of discovery, pain, triumph, humor, and tender romance. Julián Luna’s journey is universally relatable and deeply needed.” —Julian Winters, award-winning author of Running with Lions

“An emotionally honest book that captures both sides of coming out as a gay teen: the light, laughter, and joy, and the difficulties and devastation.” —Adiba Jaigirdar, author of The Henna Wars

“A stunning debut about first love, longing, and loving yourself.” —Mason Deaver, bestselling author of I Wish You All the Best and The Ghosts We Keep

“A refreshing addition to LGBTQ literature, Garza Villa’s Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun authentically reminds us of the power of love, the strength of friendships (near and far), and most importantly, the complexities of living as our true selves. A book I wish I had when I was a teen, and a must read by all those, no matter their ages, working to define themselves in this messed-up, complicated, beautiful world.” —Kosoko Jackson, author of Yesterday Is History


Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa is a phenomenal debut novel that pulled every emotion out of me. This was the perfect read for Pride Month and LGBTQ representation - a story that made me laugh, swoon, sad, angry, and hopeful. Fifteen Hundred Miles is such a poignant story about being your true and authentic self despite family expectations or peer pressure to fit in and to belong.

The story is so well written with amazing well developed characters you will find yourself cheering Julián and Mat on as you read and become immersed into these characters' stories.

Heartbreaking and heartwarming, this book is not to be missed. I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to find their true authentic selves. Be ready as some tissues handy, this one is amazing!


Jonny Garza Villa is a product of the great state of Texas, born and raised along the Gulf Coast, and a decade-long resident of San Antonio. Jonny is an author of contemporary young adult fiction that maintains a brand of being proudly Latinx, and the most queer, and embracing the power and beauty of the chaotic gay. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is their debut novel. For more information, visit

Friday, June 11, 2021


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Unsolicited Press (March 16, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 248 pages

34-year-old Angie Dugan struggles with many things--anxiety, her career as a social worker in a retirement home, and her difficult family. Her biggest struggle, though, is finding love. When she meets Matt, she's swept away by his attention. As issues from his past come up she wonders if she can trust him. Should she break it off, or give him another chance? In the end, all she can do is listen to her heart, and evaluate what she wants most.

"An outstanding, unsentimental portrait of family, love, and unavoidable hardships." KIRKUS 

"Anne Leigh Parrish does it once again. In A Winter Night, she brings her signature wisdom and wit to the world of Angie Dugan, a retirement home social worker who spends her days caring for others while yearning to be cared for herself. Part social commentary in the spirit of Jane Austen, and at moments romantic comedy in the vein of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, A Winter Night is ultimately a poignant and powerful novel that delves deep into the meaning of trust, understanding and forgiveness. Anne Leigh Parrish proves the rare writer who can make readers laugh hard while taking them on a serious journey--and this is a journey upon which readers most certainly wish to embark."Jacob M. Appel, author of Millard Salter's Last Day.

"The author's spare, vibrant prose dives deep into the emotion of each moment. Angie is an interesting character because she is so real. She is not exciting, not gorgeous, not very sure of herself, and not always likable. Her inner narrative is authentic to her past life experience; this is what resonated with me most while I read. Angie's anxiety, self-doubt, and desperate hope for the new relationship she has begun with Matt sometimes manifest as harsh words to the people she cares about the most; she worries that she doesn't know how to love. At the same time, she spends most of her life caring for the people around her. The author does a fantastic job narrating the voice inside Angie's head. This inner dialogue-sometimes sarcastic, sometimes scared, occasionally kind-is what brought the book to life for me." HannahReads, Online Book Club


A Winter Night by Anne Leigh Parrish is a novel about Angie Dugan, a social worker working with the elderly in a senior living facility. The novel explores her thoughts, her current situation, anxieties and trust issues. She is embarking on a romantic relationships and learning to trust and discover herself within this rlationship.

Though we are in the midst of summer reading, this book reminded me of how I long for the cool winter nights and activities related to the winter season. The winter season in itself is like a character in this novel, as well as, creating this atmospheric read - one that brings the sense of coolness/chill rather than the warmth of sunshine.

A fantastic character driven story.

About the Author

Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of Nell's Dream; Maggie's Ruse; The Amendment; Women Within; By the Wayside; What Is Found, What Is Lost; Our Love Could Light The World; and All The Roads That Lead From Home.

Saturday, June 5, 2021



The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Thomas Nelson
Paperback & eBook; 384 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary

Through letters with a famous author, one French librarian tells her love story and describes the brutal Nazi occupation of her small coastal village.

Saint-Malo, France: August 1939. Jocelyn and Antoine are childhood sweethearts, but just after they marry, Antoine is called up to fight against Germany. As the war rages, Jocelyn focuses on comforting and encouraging the local population by recommending books from her beloved library in Saint-Malo. She herself finds hope in her letters to a famous author.

After the French capitulation, the Nazis occupy the town and turn it into a fortress to control the north of French Brittany. Residents try passive resistance, but the German commander ruthlessly purges part of the city's libraries to destroy any potentially subversive writings. At great risk to herself, Jocelyn manages to hide some of the books while waiting to receive news from Antoine, who has been taken to a German prison camp.

What unfolds in her letters is Jocelyn's description of her mission: to protect the people of Saint-Malo and the books they hold so dear. With prose both sweeping and romantic, Mario Escobar brings to life the occupied city and re-creates the history of those who sacrificed all to care for the people they loved.

Amazon | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | Hudson Booksellers


The Librarian of Saint-Malo is a sweeping story about the beautiful French coastal town of Saint- Malo and how the small community is affected by the German occupation.

The story is centered on Jocelyn, the courageous woman and a librarian who is also a newlywed whose husband Antoine was called to serve and protect France. In a series of letters to a famous author Marcel Zola, she recounts her story and the suffering her town is going through with the food shortages, the treatment of the Jewish people, and other deplorable acts by the Nazis. Jocelyn’s unflinching bravery in this gut wrenching historical fiction novel is the heart of the story.

Well researched and beautifully written, historical fiction lovers cannot miss this heart wrenching book that will inspire readers. Pick this one up now!

About the Author

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 1
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 2
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, June 3
Review at Hallie Reads

Friday, June 4
Review at Nursebookie

Saturday, June 5 Review at Reading is My Remedy
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Monday, June 7
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Wednesday, June 9
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Thursday, June 10
Review at McCombs on Main

Friday, June 11
Review at Impressions In Ink

Sunday, June 13
Review at A Darn Good Read

Monday, June 14
Review at Girl Who Reads

Wednesday, June 16
Review at The Enchanted Shelf


Enter to win a paperback copy of The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar! We have 5 copies up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on June 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Libarian of Saint-Malo

12/5/2022 WITCHA GONA DO By Avery Flynn

  Publisher: Berkley (December 6, 2022) An unlucky witch and her know-it-all nemesis must team up in the first of a new, hot romantic comedy...