Book Tour, Reviews

The Speed of Falling Objects ( + Giveaway!)

From the author of When Elephants Fly comes an exceptional new novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique. Don’t miss this compulsively readable novel about the most unlikely of heroes.

Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more-more athletic, charismatic, attractive-life would be perfect.

When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.

Goodreads | Amazon

Whew! What a whirlwind of a book!

The Speed of Falling Objects takes off at light speed and does not slow down even once. This story was swift, well-paced, and a thrilling survival tale of a family doing whatever it takes. I had ups and downs with this story, but overall- a frightening, wild tale. Starting the first page off with a plane crash sure does jump-start a book!

The best thing about this book was the rich, descriptive, immersive world that the author creates in the boundless Amazon Rainforest. What seems like such a beautiful and rich place, full of all kinds of different life forms that continue to flourish, proves to be a much less hospitable place than I imagined. For instance: when so much of what’s around you is poisonous, how do you find anything to eat? I’d never thought about that before.

Fischer has a great writing style that clicked well with me too. Her writing simple, straight-forward, and focused. This made it so easy and effortless to read and I flew through this YA contemporary survival story.

My only struggle was that I profoundly disliked one of the characters, the main character’s father. I’ve read some other reviews that struggled with the same character, which leads me to believe- maybe that was the point? Were we supposed to hate him? I’m not sure but, regardless, he will not win father of the year.

Overall, this was a fast, fun, and crazy ride through the jungle at top speed and I flew through this book. If you like thrilling survival tales, this book might be for you. If you like complex characters that make you feel conflicted, this book would be right up your alley.

Check it out for yourself! This one hits shelves tomorrow.

I’m a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles including: The Golden Globe, Lyric’s World and Promises (Junior Jedi Knights Trilogy) for LucasFilm (Berkeley Press), Feel No Fear, The Power, Passion and Politics of a Life in Gymnastics (Hyperion), Monica: From Fear to Victory (HarperCollins), A Journey: The Autobiography of Apolo Anton Ohno (Simon & Schuster), Nadia Comaneci: Letters to a Young Gymnast (Basic Books), and Winning Every Day with Shannon Miller (Bantam Books). 

I’ve written for a circus, a graduate school, tried my hand at waitressing (I was terrible!), baking carrot cakes (I was messy but good!), and been lucky enough to ultimately do what I love – write.

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our mostly wonderful (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla. When I’m not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with my two guys, who both make me laugh for different reasons and are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.

If you want to learn more about my latest novel, When Elephants Fly (publication date September 04, HarperCollins/Harlequin Teen), please visit my website!

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Enter to win a copy of The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 10/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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Happy Monday! x – A

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Reviews

Wilder Girls

“We don’t get to choose what hurts us.”

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true. (Goodreads)


“Did I like this??” That is the question I’ve been asking myself since I finished Wilder Girls by Rory Power. There is a lot to consider, despite this little book’s size and I had a very interesting journey while reading it. I went back and forth on this question for almost all of the book before finally deciding…it just wasn’t for me.

First, let me say that there is a lot to appreciate in this book. The atmosphere and descriptive world-building were strange and beautiful, the characters were tough, Queer, young women, even the element of “wtf?” suspense in this novel were wonderfully enjoyable. For a debut novel, this was so creative and original and I genuinely look forward to seeing what else Power writes in the coming years.

But for me personally…this was a big miss. And because my expectations were so high, also a big disappointment. To be fair, some of that is my doing, so I don’t completely blame Wilder Girls for this review, but I wanted to like it so much that it’s still a bummer.

I came to Wilder Girls knowing almost nothing about it except for the synopsis and that it was widely anticipated. I was one of those anticipators! As it turns out, there was one fact that would have been very helpful for me to know about this book before I read it: It’s a semi-retelling of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, unless you’re like me and you hated Lord of the Flies. The ugliness and brutality, in both character and style, just never felt like stress-free entertainment to me, and Wilder Girls felt the same in some ways. My feelings throughout this book made a lot more sense to me when I learned that fact.

I can’t hold a book accountable JUST because I hated its inspiratory predecessor, but it didn’t help things for Wilder Girls. There was something about the emotional style of this book that held me up more than anything else. I don’t know if it was unintentional or a choice by the author, but for most of the book I felt as if I were a cool, casual observer to what was going on. Instead of enmeshed and engaged and actively feeling. I tend to read with my emotions first, so this kind of style gets tiring very quickly. I wanted to feel more and be sucked further into this world, of which there was so much to explore, but for most of the book I felt kept at arms’ length.

This cool, almost detached perspective against the backdrop of this wild, organic, ugly, beautiful world did have its fascinating moments. The bizarre speculative science and mutations in this story also felt somewhat reminiscent of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, another organic science thriller I read this year. If you liked the Southern Reach trilogy, you may enjoy this YA take on a similar vibe.

Overall, there were a few other struggles for me in Wilder girls: I didn’t click well with the characters, I didn’t understand some of their motivations, and it was often kinda gross. But I could’ve lived with all of that, especially balanced with the book’s positives, if it weren’t for the ending. I’ll try to say as little as possible, which is really hard when reviewing endings, but it didn’t work for me. It almost felt like a sci-fi dystopian “slice of life” novel, in that I did not get any of the answers I wanted. I like answers.

In the end, I’m glad that I read Wilder Girls. Whatever struggles I had, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I’m still left wanting to know. I started this one with big expectations and, sure, it let me down. But I also think this is a beautiful, little novel in its own– weird, gross way. Wilder Girls was gritty, dark, bizarre, and wildly creative for all of its more grisly flaws. Read it for yourself and decide.

I want to know what YOU thought of Wilder Girls!

Did you know it was a retelling? Did you like the open end? What did you think of the book??

Leave me a comment letting me know

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Book Tour, Reviews

Meet the Sky

“It’s amazing how the storm of the century shook up our lives. […] My physical world suffered damage, but nothing that power tools and hard work won’t eventually fix. My emotional world, on the other hand, evolved into something completely new and different.”

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.

After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

I read Meet the Sky in one rainy afternoon and, thinking about it now, it was a good day. Part of that was because of this sweet, turbulent, and romantic little YA novel.

Meet the Sky was a quick and fun read, despite what I thought would be heavy subject matter. Both Sophie and Finn have obstacles in their families and lives at the time this book takes place, not to mention the giant obstacle that they both have to deal with: the hurricane.

Finn and Sophie, being teenagers, didn’t always make the same choices I would have in the midst of this disaster, but that didn’t matter to me. The characters in this book make every choice because they believe its the right one to do. Each of them is stubborn and obstinate and has wildly different views from the other, and yet they find the most vulnerable parts of themselves out in the storm. Like any good “enemies to lovers” plot, I enjoyed their discovery of each other and new ideas the most.

It was also very interesting for me to get a little taste of coastal and/or island life. Not only the storm, but the way their towns are built and maintained, the way their citizens respond to threats like this, the way of life out by the ocean. I’m a midwesterner, stuck out here in the middle of the country without an ocean, so I find things like this fascinating haha.

This story was simple but balanced so well with depth, feeling, and excitement. For all that its about the storm of a century, Meet the Sky is surprisingly light for the soul. I gave this one a solid 4 stars and if you’re a fan of teenage love in the face of death-defying obstacles then this might be just the book for you.

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.

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Enter to win 1 of 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing)!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 8/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

July 22

That Artsy Reader Girl – Summer Reading Tour Kick-Off

July 23

Pages & Pugs – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesMangeuse de Livres – Q&A with Annie Sullivan (French & English)
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesMusings of a (Book) Girl – Christina June Guest PostOhana Cascadia – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesA Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Kayla Reads and Reviews – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Meet the Sky

July 24

J.R.’s Book Reviews – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of No Place Like HereShelf-Rated – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite Quotes
Reading Authors Network – Book Review of Swing
Read At Night – Interview with Christina JuneYA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of Swing
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite QuotesInky Moments – Creative Post

July 25

Marshmallow Pudding – Christina June Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Creative Post for No Place Like Here
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesFictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for A Touch of Gold (Instagram)
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Will Read Anything – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Kait Plus Books – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Instagram Post

July 26

Adventures Thru Wonderland – McCall Hoyle Guest Post
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
What She Will Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
Starlight Reads – Book Playlist for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Book Review of A Touch of GoldWill Read Anything – Book Review of Swing
Inky Moments – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes

July 29

Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie SullivanOnemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like HereCinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)

July 30

What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post

July 31

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like HereBook-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest PostMusings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest PostRead At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney

August 1

Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky

August 2

Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative PostSmada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like HereFaery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing

Thanks for stopping by! See you soon. — A

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Reviews

Truly Devious

“Schools may be famous for many things: academics, graduates, sports teams.
They are not supposed to be famous for murders.”

Truly Devious follows Stevie Bell on her way to her first year at the illustrious Ellingham Academy. Ellingham is somewhat famous for a bizarre murder where the killer left a riddle, that is still yet to be solved. And there’s another odd thing about Ellingham– they believe that learning is a game.

All of her classmates seem to be prodigies or special in some way and she comes to wonder if that doesn’t have something to do with the school’s odd philosophies. Stevie herself is somewhat of a prodigy, or she hopes to be, when it comes to solving crimes. Her plan? To solve the Truly Devious murder that happened right here at Ellingham all those years ago. Which only gets more complicated as another grisly murder envelops the school.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson was a truly fun read.

It had some highs and lows for me personally, but I still can’t say that I didn’t enjoy this book all the way through. There’s something I can’t quite put my finger on.

Let’s start with the highs.

The main character, Stevie, was my favorite part of this book. Stevie is smart, witty, confident and has watched Law and Order: SVU almost as many times as I have. Her humor is quick and funny and I also thought that most of her choices aligned well with her skills and background, which I love to read in a book. I never felt like “why is a high school kid doing this right now?” which is so refreshing. Whether it was her fascination with crime, striving to be herself with conservative and concerned parents, or reacting to a friend’s death, I felt that Stevie was a pretty authentic teenager, and I enjoyed following her around. I could’ve done with a few less Sherlock Holmes references, just because I think the comparison between them isn’t serving to Stevie, but that’s something small I don’t consider a real issue.

Personally, I especially loved her battle with anxiety throughout the book. I struggle with an Anxiety Disorder myself and they are the worst, so to see it portrayed in such an accurate and relatable way was wonderful. From her struggle to remember if she has her medications with her when she needs them to a very authentic panic attack near the end of the book, I felt honesty and empathy in all of these scenes. I appreciated that Johnson added this layer so much.

Another aspect of this book that I liked was the fact that the main plot is written alongside a sub-plot that happens in parallel in 1963, when the first Truly Devious murder took place at Ellingham. Many times I found myself more invested in this story than the other and it was hard to go back and forth sometimes! These were probably my favorite chapters, and reading about the old murder and how it all fell out felt like an important piece of this story.

One thing Truly Devious has an abundance of is side characters. All of them were unique and interesting, but at some point I stopped being able to keep track of all of the people we’d met. Some of them we meet so briefly that I wasn’t sure why they were there in the first place, except that this is a series and they may come into play at a later date. I kept thinking about googling a character chart.

The only aspect that I truly struggled with was an odd one, and that’s the feeling that…nothing really happened throughout most of this book. Some big events cluster at the end, which had a more satisfying feel, but for a lot of the novel Stevie is settling in at school and the focus is on her and her friends’ lives. This may be a personal preference, but I wanted to get to the crime solving already! It’s a great premise for a novel but I felt that there were a lot of opportunities missed to focus on the most interesting parts of this book. Now, knowing that its a trilogy, I temper this complaint with the fact that this book may have been our introduction to the characters for this series. But I still wanted more. Even the end, while technically having two cliffhangers, felt something like a dream melting away when I set the book down. I can’t completely decide how I feel about the end.

Right now you may be saying “Wait, I thought you liked this book, but nothing happened?” Yeah! I did! I know, it’s weird. Aside from any complaints I have about the plot or the characters, Truly Devious was fun to read. I never found myself in a position where I wanted to stop reading or didn’t want to turn the page. It swept me up into a confusing momentum that I rode out until the end.

Overall, I think I would recommend Truly Devious. Especially those who like more contemporary or teen relationships than gritty murder or those who like a gentler kind of crime novel. It definitely achieves these and more. I really do look forward to reading the sequel, both to see how the series improves and because I want to know what happens.

Overall, good and bad, but Truly Devious was still a ride I would get on again. Look for the review to the sequel, The Vanishing Stair, in the coming weeks!

“There is nothing so serious as a game.”

Reviews

On the Come Up

“When I was little I used to stand in front of mirrors with hairbrushes and imagine crowds chanting my name. But I don’t think I could have ever imagined this feeling.”

On the Come Up follows sixteen-year-old Bri, who wants to be one of the Greatest Rappers of All Time, as she navigates a lot of tough issues in her own life and fights to follow her dreams.

Her late father, who was an underground rap sensation, left big shoes to fill and Bri isn’t sure that they fit her. Her mother, who tries so hard, just lost her job and can’t get food stamps without dropping out of school. Bri dreams of not only being able to make it big, but also to provide for her family.

After she’s persecuted at school by a security guard, Bri turns her fury into a song and gets the chance to put her truth into the world. What she finds is that not everyone in the world likes what you have to say, or that she’s the one saying it, and that they make decisions about who she is because of it. Between trying to battle the stereotypes being placed on her, the pressure to embrace a new image that doesn’t fit, and navigating her way through both good and horrible advice, Bri manages to still create something astounding: herself. (And some badass music.)

I already loved Angie Thomas from her debut novel THUG (The Hate You Give) and I only love her writing more now than I did before. On the Come Up is a new book, a different book, from its predecessor but a hit all the same. I loved so many things about On the Come Up that it’s hard to name them all.

Bri was such a relatable character and I loved her voice! She’s not the easiest to love, and I think that’s why I liked her so much. She’s human and authentic, especially for a teen. She’s moody, angry, and impulsive sometimes, but also loving, protective, and strong. She expresses herself without any apology and I both enjoyed reading her character and aspire to be more like that some days.

Another aspect of this book that I loved was how Thomas portrayed Bri’s family life. Her brother is an interesting and strong character for her to lean on, and Bri’s mother was an entirely empathetic character to me. I wanted her, and her family, to succeed so badly! Bri learns a lot about her mom throughout the book which I enjoyed watching unfold, especially with how human and real her discoveries were. She’s always known that her mom is a recovered addict and yet she starts to see that its a struggle her mother has to fight daily. She sees her mother give up her school when its the only way to qualify for food stamps and realizes just how many sacrifices she has made to take care of them. At the end they both see each other in a new and different light, and I loved watching that transformation through Bri’s eyes.

Like THUG, her debut novel, Thomas is able to speak to a lot of important truths in this book. I felt Bri’s pain and anger every time her family had to scrape for bills or her school security guards targeted black and latinx students or her aunt got arrested. But then again— Bri would probably hate that I just said all that. She suffers no pity or sympathy. She takes all of her fear and fury and love and channels into her music, which was a phenomenal piece of this beautiful story. I love how she turned to her music every time she needed to be heard. Bri’s rhymes are poetry and truth, and unapologetically herself.

Thomas’ examination of the double standards and various pitfalls for women, especially a young black woman, in the rap industry (and the world) also felt vital to this story. After Bri releases her song, she quickly finds out that people who don’t know her are making assumptions about her being dangerous and irreverent because of her age, lyrics, and skin color. She’s targeted by the Crowns (a local gang) and by the media who vilify her and her song. She goes on to release a video for the song, demonstrating that her lyrics about guns and rage against authority are in response to a personal persecution in a trend of persecution among people like her. She tries to make her message clear, but it only brings her more hate from outside. Thomas does a wonderful job of examining the hypocrisy of a white journalist arguing against rap being “unsafe for kids” because of lyrics about guns and violence, without trying to understand or support the communities in which there are actual children who need that safety. It felt important that Thomas wrote about Bri’s struggles to say certain things in her lyrics that are never questioned when men are rapping, but questioned for her all the time. It felt important that Thomas, and Bri, used this platform to not just talk about important issues but to express how these struggles made them feel and celebrate the people who fight them every day.

On the Come Up was insightful, full of heart, and unafraid. It’s a wonderful story about a girl so many of us can relate to fighting hard to follow her dreams even when the odds are against her. It’s a story about how freedom of speech is not always free, depending on who you are. It’s a story about music and how it can connect us to new and deeper parts of ourselves. It’s a story about family and love and community. And most of all it is an ode, a love letter, to hip hop. I enjoyed every word.

Gift. One word, one syllable. I don’t know if it rhymes with anything because it’s a word I never thought could be used when it comes to me.