Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Review of Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO RACHEL HAWKINS!!! RUBY & OLIVIA OFFICIALLY COMES OUT TODAY!!! I am so excited to participate in the Ruby & Olivia Blog Tour by Penguin Random House on such a special day! You can read all about the book in the synopsis below, but before you do, be sure to check out the lovely book cover! I think it artistically captures the book perfectly, the colors make the book stand out, and it gives enough spook by the creepy looking house. And I love the faces of Ruby and Olivia outside the silhouette of an Oak tree, with personalized touches to their hair. Risa Rodil, the cover artist, did a wonderful job!

Book: Ruby & Olivia
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: Oct 24, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 256 for Hardcover
Age Range: 8-12
Source: I received this ARC for review in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | TBD

About the Book:

A contemporary story with a twinkle of magic, RUBY AND OLIVIA is a pacey, gently creepy book filled with lovable characters and snappy humor. At its core, this is the story of two girls who are not friends learning that they might have more in common than they ever expected – even if it takes the magic and mystery of a rumored-to-be haunted mansion to bring them together.

Ruby is bold and opinionated, while Olivia has always been respectful and well behaved. They don’t get along at all, but they share a best friend – Olivia’s twin sister, Emma. Olivia’s good-girl image is tarnished when she takes the fall for one of Emma’s misdeeds. And now Olivia is stuck with Ruby all summer – at a community service day camp for troublemakers. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are tasked with cataloging the contents of an abandoned mansion called Live Oaks. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working with each other is the last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually kind of cool – there's everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to stuffed deer heads.

However, it isn't long until little tricks – like wash water turning freezing cold and doors slamming and shadows rising – start to spook the girls. They'd like to think the other campers are pranking them, but soon realize that this empty mansion might just be looking for new residents. To solve the mystery at Live Oaks, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their grudges aside and figure out how to be a team, with or without Emma.

While Rachel's haunted house will give readers a thrill, the real treat is being enveloped in her warm and inviting world – full of family, friendship, and the ups-and-downs of growing up. The girls’ story is told with all the heart, humor, and authenticity that make Rachel Hawkins a favorite with kids, parents, and teachers alike.

My Review:

I enjoyed reading Ruby & Olivia! It was a fun, cute, and delightful middle grade read with a spooky edge, and an interesting mystery that Ruby & Olivia have to try to solve at Live Oak House. Live Oak House is rumored to be a haunted mansion and that's exactly where Ruby and Olivia end up doing community service during the summer after each of them gets into trouble - only Olivia is completely innocent, taking the blame for something her twin sister Emma does, just so Emma can go to a fun summer camp. Talk about loyalty!! Ruby & Olivia aren't considered friends in the beginning of the book, as Olivia and Emma had a falling out with Ruby previously. So there is immediate tension between the girls as they start Camp Chrysalis to catalog creepy items at Live Oak House. These girls have to learn to work together and develop a comradery despite their differences. Mysterious and spooky things start to go on in the house and this becomes the glue that binds these girls into an otherwise unlikely friendship in order to solve the mystery of Live Oak House.

I liked how Ruby & Olivia eventually bonded at Camp Chrysalis and how their relationship strengthened authentically towards the end. Each of them also had to resolve issues in their own lives and learn how to deal with people in a way that was authentic to who they really were. But growth was definitely observed in each of their personalities. Spunky, brave, and outspoken Ruby softens a bit and learns to have some boundaries, while Olivia learns to speak up about how she truly feels about things. Each of these girls take something important away from Camp Chrysalis. So that was a good thing. And an added bonus is that they had more fun at Camp Chrysalis than they thought they would have! Who knew doing community service could turn into fun?!

It was so much fun reading about Ruby & Olivia's investigative activities, thoughts, and paranormal sleuthing when it came to the strange activity going on at Live Oak House. I really wanted them to figure out what was behind it all. At some points, you can't help but laugh at their antics, in an enjoyable way. And the length these girls go to is incredibly honorable, even at the scariest of times at Live Oak House! Definitely impressive for young girls! It was also refreshing that the story is told in alternating points of view by Ruby & Olivia, so you really get an in-depth look at what each of the girls are thinking and feeling.

Olivia's twin Emma isn't a central role in this story, only mentioned sporadically, so I wish Emma was integrated more into the story. I felt that, being a twin myself, Olivia would have wanted to talk to Emma more while she was away and she would have wanted to tell her all about the creepiness of Live Oak House and maybe ask for her help on what to do. But the author does a good job of explaining away why this doesn't happen more often, even when some attempts to make contact are made but are not followed though. But I truly believe Emma being away at camp to create an intentional distance between the twins was an essential part of the plot.  It was necessary in order for Olivia to become independent from her sister, develop her own identity, and grow as a person. I also liked how loyal Olivia was to Emma, but I wish the opposite was true as well. Too bad the loyalty had to be under these circumstances of being "punished" during the summer. Hawkins did a good job of describing the dynamics of twin relationships, and how they feel. I could definitely relate, especially when I was Olivia and Emma's age.

I liked the integration of the history of Live Oak House into the story. I love learning about history, especially if it pertains to a house that is considered haunted! Rachel Hawkins made this history lesson fun and interesting for kids, so they will want to be immersed in it! Also, the initial owner of the house, Felix Wrexhall, and his son Mr. Matthews were well known in the town due to happenings at Live Oak House, so this added to the drama for the kids in terms of the spook factor.

The ending felt a bit rushed and not as thoroughly developed as I would have liked. I wasn't completely satisfied with how the mechanics of the ending happened or the explanation of things and I was left with some questions at the end. But I did like the final outcome of the story. And I liked the overall message of the story. Ruby & Olivia was full of self-discovery, sisterhood, friendship, second chances, and the importance of learning from your mistakes. We can all learn something from Ruby and Olivia. It was a highly entertaining read, and I am sure not only middle grade kids and young adults will devour this book, but so will adults who are kids at heart! I enthusiastically recommend reading this book!

Rating: 4 STARS

About The Author:

Rachel Hawkins is the author of Journey's End, the Rebel Belle series, and the New York Times bestselling Hex Hall series. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English before becoming a full-time writer.

Now that you have read my review of Ruby & Olivia, FOLLOW THE REST OF THE BLOG TOUR!










Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sun Warrior (Tales of a New World #2) by P.C. Cast Releases Today, Oct 17th!! Paperback of Moon Chosen Also Releases Today!

ORDER SUN WARRIOR TODAY!!! The Second Installment in the New York Times bestselling Tales of a New World series by the #1 NYT Bestselling Author P.C. Cast.

Sun Warrior, Book #2 in the Tales of a New World series by P.C. Cast Releases Today, Oct 17th!! If you would like to learn more about the book, read below:

Book: Sun Warrior
Author: P.C. Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Wednesday Books)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 608
GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes&Noble |

The battle lines have been drawn and Mari, an Earth Walker and Nik, a Companion, who were once from rival clans now find themselves fighting to save each other and their people from destruction.

Thaddeus betrayed his own people, killing Nik’s father and destroying their entire clan. But he wants more. He wants the power he believes Mari has stolen from him and his people and he will do anything he must to get them back, even if it means destroying everything in his path. There is only way to stop Thaddeus, but it means a harrowing journey for Mari and Nik into the heart of darkness. But if they hope to survive the coming fight, they have no choice but to believe in each other.


"Nik and Mari's aspiration to build a community founded on the principle of inclusion is both noble and refreshing. The members of this new clan explore their differences and feelings gently and respectfully, and readers will likely enjoy the hints of new romance budding between characters." - Kirkus

The paperback version of Book #1, Moon Chosen, of the Tales of a New World series by P.C. Cast, is also releasing today on Oct 17th!  You can learn more about his book below:

Book: Moon Chosen
Author: P.C. Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Wednesday Books)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 624
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes&Noble


Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.


"While many fantasy series style themselves as epic, this one may actually be worthy of the description. Fantasy lovers who are fans of Cinda Williams Chima's "Seven Realms" novels will fall
in love with Mari and Nik." - School Library Journal

"Cast's spectacular new series kicks off with a unique tale suitable for fans of fantasy both young and old. Earth as completely changed, and the author grants readers a chance to use their imagination as the engaging storyline rapidly unfolds." - Romantic Times, 4 stars!

"Cast's fans should find much to be pleased with in this new venture" - Kirkus

"...engaging characters and a fast-paced narrative" - Publishers Weekly

About The Author: P.C. Cast
#1 NY Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author PC Cast was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school, she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurir, Booksellers' Best, and the Laurel Wreath. PC is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. Ms. Cast lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Review + Book Birthday Giveaway: Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss

Happy Book Birthday to Jessia Bayliss for her novella Broken Chords releasing TODAY!! To celebrate this special occasion, I did a review of Broken Chords and I'm hosting some giveaways!!

Title: Broken Chords
Author: Jessica Bayliss
Genre: YA Horror
Publication Date: Oct 9, 2017
Publisher: Leap Books


They rip, they tear, they feed, and you never come back again.
Here’s how last year’s Gypsy Cob Music Festival should have gone. Lenora “Lenny” Ragno was supposed to rock her duet with her long-time crush, Jeb, during the open-mic competition. Then, swept up in the glow of success, he’d finally kiss her. Instead, Lenny choked on stage and spent the whole year dodging him online. And avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was way wrong.

Now, she’s back at Gypsy Cob where avoiding a public performance is about as impossible as hiding from Jeb. She thinks facing him will be the scariest part of the festival, but when one of their friends talks everyone into trying astral projection, Lenny catches the eye of a demonic entity that marks her as its own.
Whenever it wants, the demon can pluck Lenny from her reality and transport her to a hellish between-world, haunted by its countless, gruesome victims. If she doesn’t want to become one of them, she must discover the nature of the demon’s hold on her and remove it. But how can she defeat a literal demon when she can’t even get over her personal ones.


I adored Broken Chords!  Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of Horror books. Broken Chords being described as "Poltergeist meets Insidious at a music festival" by Jessica Bayliss, it immediately captured my attention and I had to read it.  And it lived up to all of that hype and MORE!  I read this at night, which added an extra layer of scariness, which I highly recommend doing!  I love being scared and having the anxious feeling of what will happen next.  

The novella starts off by one of Lenny's friends picking up a book about astral projection at a psychic's tent at Gypsy Cob, a huge, outdoor music festival. Then the group of friends all try astral projection at night.  Then all "hell" breaks loose for Lenny. As if it wasn't bad enough that she choked up on stage the year prior at Gypsy Cob with her friend Jeb, now she has another problem to deal with, aside from having to perform again this year. A demon.

Broken Chords definitely spooked me when Lenny astral projected to the Hellish between-world and encountered a demon, tortured souls, creepy monsters, and  creatures.  And with enchanting spells and eerie songs in the underworld, it'll make your skin crawl.  The world building in this novella is spectacular. The sinister descriptions of this frightening in-between place in the astral realm were gruesome enough to make you feel like you were really in the demon's lair, including smells, atmosphere, and the setting.

What I also liked about this horror novella, was the fact that it had a nice balance.  It wasn't all horror.  There is a nice blend between a contemporary feel and a horror novella, through alternating worlds of the present day at a music festival, and the hellish demon's world.  So don't worry if horror books aren't your thing.  This novella appeals to those who like contemporaries or those who are fascinated by musical instruments, concerts, and musicians. Music is a big part of this book. Also if you are into psychics or intrigued by astral projection or the supernatural/paranormal, this novella will satisfy your craving too.

The characters in the novella are interesting, relatable, and daring!  There is a nice humanistic feel to the main character Lenny, who goes through trials and tribulations like teens in real life do.  Lenny feels all the angst of a real teen crush, so the reader gets to see how that romance plays out with Jeb. Also Lenny's character goes through a hardship at the music festival and you get to see how she handles it and how she tries to "conquer her demons" both in the real world and the astral world.  You'll have to read the novella to find out how her encounter with her "demons" went.

The characters are strengthened as the novella progresses, and themes of facing your fears and trying to conquer them, having courage, failure and the importance of never giving up, and encouraging others are vitally sprinkled throughout this novella.  Competition is also part of the book at the music festival, and it teaches you that we're really only in competition with ourselves.  We are the only ones who really choose whether we are winners in life.

Overall, I loved Broken Chords!  It was a wonderful and inspiring story.  It had the perfect blend of horror and contemporary, and really spoke to my "soul." It did what a horror story should do, which was scare me.  But what's nice is that it was never so overwhelmingly scary where I couldn't handle it.  I know some people might be concerned about that and say they can't handle being too frightened by a horror book, so they avoid it. But this one I believe you're able to handle. Jessica knew the right amount of scare level to make it just right.  It's a great Halloween read.  Broken Chords was mesmerizingly spooky as much as it was emotionally captivating.  You will definitely be spellbound by this novella. I highly recommend it to everyone!


2 Giveaways:

I will be having two giveaways on my blog today.  One is a giveaway of Broken Chords, which Jessica Bayliss was awesome enough to giveaway! The other is a Bookish Delight's blog giveaway that has items in it that were inspired by Broken Chords. I call it the Broken Chords Book Birthday Giveaway.  It has psychic elements to it by what you'd find in a psychic's tent at the music festival in Broken Chords, such as a "FREE SPIRITS" candle, and a grow your own crystal kit. It also has a demon/devil's horns headpiece and tail. Also a Poltergeist and Insidious DVD, which Broken Chords was described as by Jessica Bayliss. And you'll also get some ghoulish candy of monsters, dead souls, and a demon you'd find in the Hellish between-world! And lastly, you'll get a Halloween bag where I will put all of your goodies in since Broken Chords is released in October.


Broken Chords Book Birthday Giveaway
Open Internationally. Ends Oct 22, 2017 at 11:59pm PST 
USA will get full Prize Pack Below.
International will get Insidious & Poltergeist DVD only (due to shipping costs) + $10 Amazon Gift Card

To Enter, click the link below that says "CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE BROKEN CHORDS BOOK BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY PACK". The link will take you to a giveaway form that you must fill out. It just asks for your name and email to contact you if you win. It also has optional bonus entries. *NOTE: THIS IS A DIFFERENT FORM TO FILL OUT THAN GIVEAWAY #2 FORM. EACH GIVEAWAY HAS THEIR OWN FORM).

1. Comment about my review of Broken Chords in the comment box below. +20 

2. Subscribe to Jessica Bayliss's newsletter on her website: +10

3. Follow Jessica Bayliss on Twitter: @JBaylissWrites +10

4. Follow Jessica Bayliss on Goodreads  +10

5. Add Broken Chords to your TBR list on Goodreads + 10

6. Follow Bookish Delights via GFC ( RIGHT SIDEBAR)  +10

7. Follow Bookish Delights as an Email Subscriber & Confirm Subscription (RIGHT SIDEBAR)   +10

8. Follow Bookish Delights on Bloglovin' (RIGHT SIDEBAR) or  +10

9. Follow Bookish Delights on Twitter: @BDbookblog  +10 

10. Follow Bookish Delights on Instagram: @booklover723   +10




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