Blog Tour: Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Granger

That’s the thing about absence—it sinks into your skin, clinging to the bone until it’s so much a part of you, you can no longer tell where it ends and you begin.

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

 
Thank you Wednesday Books (Sarah!) for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review and joining this tour. Six Goodbyes We Never Said will be published on September 24, 2019 and will be available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.

the blurb

Six Goodbyes We Never Said follows the story of Naima and Dew, two teens who were grieving and healing after a tragedy that caused them to lose their loved ones. Although their first encounter was not all sunshine and butterfly, it soon evolves into something deeper, and maybe, just exactly what both of them needed to heal each other, and also themselves.

the review

I was really intrigued when I first got the offer to read the early copy of this book. Reading its synopsis, I knew this story is going to be challenging and hard-hitting. Six Goodbyes We Never Said started with a genuine note from the author herself, Candace, explaining why she wrote this story in the first place. Candace also used this note to include a list of potential trigger warnings. I really appreciated this gesture of her and hence, from its very first page, Six Goodbyes We Never Said feels incredibly raw and sincere.
 
There were so many important issues that highlighted throughout this story. The representation of multiple mental illnesses, bi-racial characters, body positivity, feminism, and the truth of adopting and getting adopted (which is something that I rarely read, but perhaps it’s just my lack of reading). A lot of these issues are already heavy on their own, and I must applaud Candace to combine them all into a single story.

You can never know someone’s pain or happiness until you’ve stepped inside their shoes

As much as I’m aware how important this book is, not just for the readers but also for the author herself, it seems like I couldn’t manage to fully devour into this universe of Naima and Dew due to its formatting and writing style. It started confusing, especially during the first 10% of the book. I had no idea who’s POV that I was reading since there was no title with POV’s name like how a dual POV story usually was written. Instead, there were one of the POV’s names used as a chapter title and mid-way through the chapter, there will be a voicemail transcript, email drafts, and a recorder transcript from other character and that’s how I’d know that the POV is changing. Although I wouldn’t complaint so much since Candace was amazing at making differences between these two characters and how contrast they sounded.
 
And lastly, something that bothers me ‘til the end of the story is Naima’s attitude. After reading so many thoughts of her and her perspective in life, I was hoping that at the end, I’ll be able to relate to her emotions or grasp her reasons in making certain decisions. But sadly, it didn’t happen even until I finished this book. I have so many unanswered questions about her. I completely understand that she was suffering from anxiety, OCD, and PTSD but I still don’t understand her aggressive behaviors towards others, even to those who don’t mean harm to her. I’m also still questioning about the history of six tappings, six flickings, six balloons, and basically six everything that Naima used to calm herself as I believe there was no explanation on how it originally started in the first place.

the verdict

Six Goodbyes We Never Said was a complex story coming from a talented #OwnVoice author. It explores many important topics which need to be discussed more in today’s literature and highlights the truth behind each one gracefully.

the author

 
 
Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.
 
 

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What’s the latest hard-hitting book that you read? Are you thinking about adding Six Goodbyes We Never Said to your next reading list?

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams | Excerpt + Giveaway

The Babysitters Coven_hi-res cover (1).jpg
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
Thank you Kate, Delacorte Press, and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Babysitters Coven was published on September 17, 2019 and  available on AmazonBook Depository, and other book retailers.
In my blog stop today, I’m glad to bring you the excerpts of this exciting debut! The excerpts below are taken from Pengun Random House Canada. Click here to read the excerpts on the Penguin’s site or read more below.

about the author

000020850002.jpgI’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.

I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.

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A Different Time by Michael K. Hill

Today is the last day of the #UltimateBlogTour for A Different Time by Michael K. Hill and I’m excited to bring you my review of this book! Also, thank you Dave @ TheWriteReads for hosting this exciting tour and give me the opportunity to join the fun! 
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Keith Nolan falls in love with a remarkable young woman from the past, talking to him on a home video she recorded in 1989. To keep their conversation going, he must find more of her tapes—while forces work against them both, and time is running out.
Thank you Michael and Dave for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. A Different Time published on July 2, 2019 and  available on AmazonBook Depository, and other book retailers.

the blurb

A Different Time follows the story of 22 years old Keith Nolan, a comic enthusiast who’d rather spend his weekend digging through the flea markets to complete the comic collection that he inherited from his father. It was supposed to be just another normal weekend, until he accidentally found a home videotape, where he can communicate through the screen with a young woman who recorded it thirty years ago, Lindsey. Thrilled with his discovery and a company that he longed for, Keith must find the rest of the tapes to keep their conversation going.

the review

Concept-wise, I applaud Michael for his unique and original idea. Never in a million years, I’d imagine where someone could communicate through a used videotape, not to mention that they were thirty years apart. Although the alternate timelines concept kind of reminds me of Kimi No Nawa (Your Name), but Michael successfully delivered his own twist in this book. I’m also squealing with all of the comic references in this book and how it was explained as a timeless art piece, whether you lived in 1989 or 2019.
 
Although I’m loving the characters in this story, Keith and Lindsey, unfortunately, I couldn’t engage with their chemistry and romance. It was cute, but it was too instalove-y for my liking and the number of obstacles that Keith would conquer in order to meet the love of his life, was unbelievable to me. Yes, having a crush during your first encounter with someone is totally common, but being ready to give up your everything to fight for them? Seem a bit like a stretch to me.
 
In conclusion, I’m loving the pitch of this book but I can totally see its huge potential if the pages were longer and the characters were dug deeper. 

the verdict

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Are you thinking about adding A Different Time to your next reading list?

Blog Tour: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

I wanted her to stay because I needed her, and I wanted that to matter. I wanted to be reason enough.

She’s the Worst

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.

But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good.

Title: She’s the Worst | Series: N/A | Author: Lauren Spieller | Genre: ContemporaryYoung Adult | Publication Date: September 3, 2019 | Links: AmazonBook Depository

It is the last day of She’s the Worst Blog Tour hosted by The FFBC and I couldn’t be more excited for my blog stop today! I’m always up for a good contemporary, and Spieller’s newest book seems especially interesting for me because of its focus on family and sibling relationships. 

the setting

Spieller’s love and passion for LA was obvious in this book. As someone’s who never went to the city before, I really had a good time reading Jenn and April one day adventure as they’re trying to rekindle their sibling’s connection. Each place that both sisters visited was very well-written and the scene was vivid! So, I applauded Spieller and her writing for that.

the plot

The plot was simple enough and exactly how it was presented on the blurb. What I found to be the most surprising was, as a character-oriented reader, I found the plot to be very much entertaining. I was digging each destination and enjoyed the memories’ revealation between the dual perspective of both sisters. It surely feels overwhelming at times, because I couldn’t imagine how someone could go through so many places and activities just in one day, while also making life-changing decisions and dealing with so much dramas. 

the characters

Oh my God, how do I start with all these characters?! Most of them had such a bold and strong personality. Now let’s combine that with years of family drama, ineffective communication, and self-oriented issue. Boom. A complete roller coaster ride from the beginning until the very last page. 

As much as I enjoyed how Spieller wrote these characters and their multidimensionality, it was surely exhausting and overwhelming to witnessed them interacting with each other. I have no idea who to root for, as none of them was describe as that flawless protagonist. For someone so smart and perfectionist about almost every aspect of her life, Jenn was obviously not as perfect as she think herself to be. I couldn’t explain too much without spoiling the story, but I found it to be unbelievable that Jenn was capable of keeping such thing for so long. And I found April to be a bit more okay, since she’s a teenager yet she’s dealing with how her own family can’t trust and support her enough to pursue her ultimate dream. And please don’t get me started on both parents, because they were plain horrible. I didn’t find any good aspect from them and they were nothing but continuous loud action packs 24/7.

Thankfully, I found a bit of time to relax and lay back when it comes to Nate. The guy was super sweet and deserves all the good things in the world! I wish he got more screen time in the story because his perspective as someone who grew up with Jenn and April will be super interesting! As for other side characters, they were okay but definitely not stand out. 

the verdict

She’s the Worst was a fun family-oriented story. The dynamic characters combined with the adventurous one-day plot could be a huge potential if the writer didn’t use ineffective communication and manipulation as the ultimate source of the problems. There were many aspect that Spieller could use to spark more drama within this story without making everyone always screams at everyone.

Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

dream cast

about the author

Lauren Spieller is an author and literary agent who lives in New York with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. She is the author of Your Destination is on the Left and She’s the Worst. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller and Instagram @laurenspieller. You can also visit her website at www.laurenspieller.com

Photo Cred: Dave Cross Photography

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Blog Tour: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Magic has a price if you’re willing to pay.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron


Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Title: Kingdom of Souls | Series: Kingdom of Souls, #1 | Author: Rena Barron | Genre: FantasyYoung Adult | Publication Date: September 3, 2019 | Links: AmazonBook Depository

Trigger warnings: Blood magic, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), mind manipulation, parental abuse, an act of a sexual nature that occurs when a character tricks another character while disguising their appearance, and violence.

I’m not being overdramatic when I said this is one of my most anticipated reads this year. I’ve been mentioning this book on my two previous posts because I’m that excited. Ever since I read the premise and knowing the fact that it’s an #OwnVoices debut book, I know I need to read it immediately. But, from the trigger warnings above, it’s obvious that Kingdom of Souls is not going to be an easy read. 

the worldbuilding

This aspect is the most amazing part in Kingdom of Souls. I’m always a sucker when it comes to not just a new universe, but also a detailed, magical, and very-well explained one. It was without a doubt that Barron poured her heart and Ka (tribal common tongue for “soul.”) within this universe and I’m completely blown away by how everything works. If you’re like me and you’re reading the ARC of this book, I’d suggest you to go to the book’s website to gaze over the beautiful world of the kingdom. I’m pretty sure the map will be included in the finished copy, so don’t worry!

Some people can pull magic from the fabric of the world. Some can coax magic to come with rituals and spells. Many can’t call magic at all.

the plot

Being the opposite of its extraordinary worldbuilding, the plot in Kingdom of Souls could be better. During the earlier chapters, the pace was incredibly dynamic and I feel as if everything happened so fast, in a good way that I found myself to enjoyed every second of it. But then it got slower. Too slow that I found it shocking. I’m not a fan of this atmosphere’s turnover and I keep flipping the page while whispering to myself, “Okay, interesting backstory of too many forgettable side characters… but what it’s gotta do with Arrah?”. 

Don’t get caught in the shadows, for a demon waits to steal your soul. The younger the soul, the sweeter the feast.

the characters

As a character-oriented reader, I don’t mind with five to ten characters. The thing with big group of characters is… it’s either a hit or a miss. I’m afraid to say that Kingdom of Souls is leaning more toward the latter. I only engaged with a few characters and although I wanted to, I simply don’t care for the rest because I couldn’t relate to them. I also often forgot their names because there were too many of them. Hopefully, a characters list will be included in the final copy of this book, but since I only read the unfinished copy, that’s how I felt about it. 

And as for the relationships among the characters, my favorite one is between Arrah and her father. It was genuine and pure. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way with Arrah’s romantic relationship with one of the characters in this book. Although it took quite a big appearance within the story, I just couldn’t sense their chemistry, and at the end, it just felt unsettling. 

But one thing for sure, I loved the diversity in this story. There was diversity within the diversity and I applauded Barron for that. Often times, a book considered as diverse when it featured one African or one Asian character. But the truth is, no one is just African or Asian. There are many sub-countries and sub-cultures within these countries that people often missed.

I once laughed at stories about demons, and now I know that one may walk in my shadows. She does not mean well.

the verdict

Although I enjoyed this debut, I’m not going to lie that it felt overwheming at times. The intricate universe was definitely not easy to digest in instance. I’m thinking about picking up this book again in the future because I know there was many potential in it. 

★★★

Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

about the author

Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventuresparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, shegraduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all thingsscience fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimedspace nerd. Whenshe’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French. Followher at @renathedreamer and renabarron.com.

Rena prefers not to be tagged in reviews to save her sanity.

She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.

Author’s Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

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Are you a fan of epic fantasy? Do you think about adding Kingdom of Souls into your next reading list?