Review: Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1)


Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley



I started this book not knowing what I might possibly find between the pages. I did not know what to expect but I can tell you that I was completely underwhelmed. This book did not really do anything for me except make me frustrated.

This is the story of Anglet, a steeplejack in a very rough neighborhood in Lani, South Africa. While fixing a chimney one day, she notices that The Beacon is missing. Also, she realizes that young boys are being murdered and placed in abandoned buildings that have been set for destruction. She takes it upon herself to figure out the mystery of the missing Beacon and who is killing these small boys.

That is the story in a nutshell. What the reader also gets in this story is a lot in a very, very short amount of time. Not all of it good either. The topics the author tries to discuss are misogyny, assault, racial stereotyping, poverty, police brutality, strong political topics, and more. Seems like an awful lot to put into a short book but that doesn’t stop Hartley from doing a bad job of it. I nearly stopped reading at this point. It was just too, too much. It felt like in a super short span the MC went through every single talking point that could possibly effect a poor teenage female protagonist of color working in a rough neighborhood in a job meant mainly for males. This suddenly did not feel like a YA book, it felt like a platform for the author to bring up major topics to a younger set of readers. YAWN.

I pressed on and still found myself not caring what happened to anyone and anything in this world because the main reason for the story – mystery and solving someone’s murder – was shadowed by major political issues. The plot was incredibly slow while the background was being explained, and throughout the rest of the book, actually. It seemed as if every character was only out to protect themselves and you could not trust a soul. Maybe that was the way the characters were written, but it made for painful reading. I did not care for any of the characters as they were flat and dull. They had no dimension to them whatsoever.

I did not enjoy this book and would not recommend it to anyone. I wish I had stopped when my guts told me to. Per the usual, I may be the black sheep with this book, as there was nothing redeeming about any part of this story. I picked this up because it is supposed to be a mystery novel, but it is listed as a fantasy. I never saw fantasy within this story. I’m not sure what it was supposed to be so that is why I gave it 1.5 stars.




Books Left Unread #74


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

The Shadow Hour (The Girl at Midnight, #2)


I cannot believe I haven’t read this yet. I have no good reason for not reading this yet. Have you read it? Should I get over my fear and just read this?


Just A Normal Tuesday Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway!

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unnamed (4)Title: JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY

Author: Kim Turrisi

Pub. Date: May 2, 2017

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Pages: 256

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

It’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide.

Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a “grief camp” for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Kim Turrisi’s beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book’s appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai’s authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.



Jen found this classic desk at a garage sale for like twenty bucks and said if I was going to be a writer, my desk had to mirror my style. Vintage, quirky, retro, that’s me. The classic Rolling Stones Tattoo You album is just getting going. Perfect vibe. I toss the stack of mail and watch as it slides across the slippery surface of my desk. That’s when I glimpse an envelope skidding out of the pile like it’s stealing second base. The lettering on the envelope matches the postcards in my locker. Jen’s writing. Odd that she’d send a letter but she does love to write.

I pick up the envelope and am immediately struck by the weight of it. Two stamps on the front. I’m ultra-careful not to rip it. Learned that the hard way when my grandparents sent money and I tore a crisp hundred-dollar bill. Jen knows I’m saving for my trip. Could she be sending some cold hard cash? That would be so like her. First thing I see is a note.

My very bestest sister, Kai

If you are reading this, I am already gone.

I scrutinize the stationery. It’s definitely my sister’s handwriting. Slanted, looping, like art. If there were an award for best cursive writing, Jen would bring home the hardware, hands down.

I’ve watched you grow up since you were a baby. You’ve turned into an amazing person. I know you know how much I love you and have always wanted the best of everything for you. Please don’t be disappointed in me for being too weak to face down my demons.

Demons? Disappointed? I snag my phone from my pocket and choose her number in my favorites. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk than read stuff that makes no sense. Like this.

Straight to voice mail. I return to the letter, curious.

That’s when I see the word …



About Kim: 

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A graduate of Florida State University, Kim Turrisi began her career in film and television. After a year of on-set production (getting coffee, wrangling actors and taking lunch orders) Kim segued to the development side of the business. First working as a development executive at Columbia-Tri-Star and eventually shepherding many projects in family entertainment for Disney, Viacom and Hallmark.

Kim created and wrote an online web series for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She wrote for ABC Family’s webisode series, PRETTY DIRTY SECRETS, an internet companion piece to smash hit PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.

While she’s always been a voracious reader and writer, she never thought about writing for teens until she immersed herself in the children’s publishing world as the Director of Special Projects for the Society of Book writers and Illustrators. There, reading children’s literature is a big part of her job.

Her debut Young Adult novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is loosely based on the author’s own experience, the debut YA novel follows 16-year-old Kai as she struggles through the emotional aftermath of her sister’s suicide. Kai spends a month at grief camp, discovering a roadmap to piecing her broken heart back together.

One of Kim’s favorite parts of the writing process is to create playlists for her characters that she listens to when she writes. When she revises her manuscripts, she’s generally in mismatched plaid and her desk is riddled with junk food. She collects Chuck Taylor’s, Van’s, and has a killer sock collection.

Born in Hawaii, she credits her love of travel to her life as an Air Force brat moving every two years. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found obsessing over her dogs, Riley and Rocco.

Represented by Tricia Lawrence at EMLA

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kimmyt22

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY & swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.

1 winner will receive JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY swag including a bookmark, magnet, & temporary tattoo, US Only.


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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/24/2017- BookHounds YA– Interview

4/25/2017- The Candid Cover– Review

4/26/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post

4/27/2017- Angel Reads– Review

4/28/2017- A Gingerly Review– Excerpt

Week Two:

5/1/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

5/2/2017- Margie’s Must Reads– Guest Post

5/3/2017- The Bookworm Central– Review

5/4/2017- Literary Meanderings – Interview

5/5/2017- Just Commonly– Review

ARC Review: Blood Rose Rebellion

Blood Rose Rebellion (Blood Rose Rebellion, #1)


Before I started this book, I feared it would be a repeat of nearly every other fantasy book that has come out lately. I wish I could say I was wrong… but I cannot. This felt uneventful and predictable.

Short recap: Anna, a “Barren” girl, follows her grandmother to Hungary. Anna’s family is part of the Luminate, a rich group and powerful throughout society. The society is controlled by “The Circle”, which is an highly elite group of magic-holders. Anna must choose a side in the battle that is about to begin.

This was one of the most boring fantasy stories I have read. It read like historical fiction with a wee bit o’ magic thrown in for fun. I read more about proper edicate of a lady during the time period and how a woman should be courted by a man of wealth than anything about magic or battles. The talk of magic was thrown around like it was a cold to be caught. It was something everyone had yet nobody really wanted. Perhaps it was simply taken for granted. Regardless, the story was dreadfully uneventful. There was no heart stopping moments of, “OH MY GOSH! WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!” or “GASP!”. Instead, it was about high tea and what dress should be worn for what event. Yawn. The best part of the story itself was the setting. I haven’t read a story set in Hungary so that was interesting, but only partially. I really would have liked the author to expand on the historical impact and what actually lead the story to be set in Hungary other than the MC’s grandmother was from there. Too convenient in my mind. Alas, it did not happen and I was left wondering.

The characters did not feel developed, instead they felt flat and dull. I read no personalities, no flair, no individuality. You could have given every character the same name as they all sounded the same. I struggled to keep everyone straight because they never came alive for me. Anna came across as the most naive and dimwitted character I have read in a long time. She continued to do dumb things and then was shocked when the outcome was not favorable. Surprise, surprise. As such, I was not invested in what she did or what happened to the other characters. This should not come as any surprise but the MC was said to be “a special snowflake” with “special abilities” yet she is “just like everyone else because she doesn’t want to stand out”. Not original at all.

The number one reason I did not like this story: instalove. GAAAAAHHH! I cannot stand instalove! On top of that, Anna goes around kissing every single boy she comes into contact with. How can you tell me Anna has instalove with someone, yet continue to write her flirting and kissing every boy? That does not make sense. This story is set in a time when marriages are arranged for the sake of convenience and money. You cannot expect me to believe Anna behaves the way she does and it is okay when her sister is practically in an arranged marriage for money. That caused me to lose all faith in all aspects of this story. There was zero chemistry and I quickly lost interest in who she was flittering after next. I actually lost all interest in characters and the story but refused to DNF because I really didn’t want to DNF an ARC.

After forcing my way through this terrible story, I wish I had swallowed my pride and put this book down. This was such an unoriginal mashup of every other fantasy story that has been released. The characters were bland, the world building was lackluster, but the only thing that was slightly intriguing about this was the setting, which is why I gave this 2 stars and not 1.5. That was not enough to save this story. I know I will not be picking up the next book in this series.



Rockstar Book Tours: Blood Road Release Celebration! (Excerpt & Giveaway)

I am so excited that BLOOD ROAD by Amanda McCrina is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Amanda McCrina, be sure to check out all the details below. 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a 1 month subscription to Owl Crate courtesy of  Month9Books and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About The Book:

Author: Amanda McCrina
Pub. Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 329
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Nineteen-year-old Torien Risto has seen dissidents dealt with before. He knows the young local girl who just knifed him will hang for assaulting an Imperial officer, unless he can stop it.
Someone inside the provincial government is kidnapping Imperial citizens and selling them across the desert to the salt mines, silencing anyone who tries to intervene. The girl’s brother is one of those who has been taken. Rejected by the corrupt courts, she’s waging a personal war against the Empire.
Determined to save her life, Torien sets out in search of answers on the Salt Road, the ancient trade route running deep into the heart of a desert—territory claimed by the hostile Mayaso tribe.
Now, Torien is no longer sure where his own loyalty lies, or how far he will go to break the cycle of tyranny, political bullying, and social injustice in an empire that seals its borders in blood.
Exclusive Excerpt
He touched her arm. She tensed but did not move away. He took off his
glove and traced her cheekbone with two fingers, brushing the tears from her
cheek. She drew a shivering breath. He turned her head and held it between his
hands and brushed the tears from her eyelashes with his thumbs. She stood very
still and silently while he did it, her eyes closed, her lips tight. He bent
his head and buried his face in her black hair—and she slipped in suddenly
under his arms, looping her arms around his neck, resting her cheek on his
chest. Then she twisted against him, tilting her head back to look up in his
face. “It’s no good,” she said. “I can’t feel your heart beat.”
“It’s the plums. I think I’ve suffocated.”
She laughed. He felt it echo through her body. He felt her muscles
loosen. Her breath was warm on his neck. “If that’s all,” she said.
They sat below the boundary wall. She unbuckled his helmet and cuirass
and held the cuirass for him while he shrugged it off. She sat against him with
her knees folded up on his lap, her shoulders under the curve of his arm. She
unlaced his jerkin and bent her ear to his chest. “Better,” she said. “And
this—just to be sure.” She leaned into him and pressed her lips gently to the
pulse in his
He kissed her. He sat up from the wall, cupping her head in his hands,
and he bent his face to hers and kissed her lips, her eyelids, her forehead; he
lifted her chin with his fingers and kissed the hollow at the base of her
throat. Her arms were around his neck and her cheek against his and her tears
running on his face. He tried to lift her to look at her. She shook her head.
Her lips brushed his ear. “Don’t,” she said. Her voice was thick. So he put his
arms around her waist and held her, his head and shoulders braced against the
sun-warmed stones of the boundary wall, his chin on her shoulder, and he
listened with his eyes closed while she cried.
He opened his eyes at the smell of wood smoke. They were smoking the
hives over in the bee field. Over Ceno’s shoulder, he watched the smoke trail
away southward toward the city. He could see the Hill just visible above the pines
in the hazy distance, the Palace and Senate buildings in delicate white-marble
miniature—and the moment shattered against it, and there was nothing but Tasso,
and the orders in his saddlebag, and the cavalry column mustered and awaiting
his command on the parade ground at Vione.

About Amanda: 
Amanda McCrina has studied in Italy, taught English in Japan, and currently tutors Latin in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History from the University of West Georgia, and is now pursuing her MA. She writes stories that incorporate her love of history, languages, and world travel. She drinks far too much coffee and dreams of one day having a winning fantasy-hockey
Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a 1 month subscription to Owl Crate, US Only. 

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Waiting on Wednesday: A Million Junes

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


A Million Junes by Emily Henry

A Million Junes



From Goodreads:

Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.

In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree.

Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.

But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.

Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored. And she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all of the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

This sounds really good! Is it already on your TBR?


Cover Reveal: Hide From Me by Mary Lindsey

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Hide From Me by Mary Lindsey

presented by Entangled TEEN!

I cannot WAIT for this book to come out this fall!

What do you think of the cover?

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Something’s not right about Rain Ryland’s new hometown. On the surface, it’s a friendly, tight-knit community, but something deadly lurks underneath the small-town charm. Everyone he meets is hiding something—especially Friederike Burkhart, the hottest girl he’s ever laid eyes on. Rain’s determined to find out her secret, even if it kills him…and it just might.

Ancient magic and modern society collide in a sexy, spellbinding romance perfect for fans of C. C. Hunter and Maggie Stiefvater that proves sometimes beauty is the beast…

Hide From Me
By Mary Lindsey
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Available for Pre-order:

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

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