Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Addison Cooke And The Tomb Of The Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes - Rave Reviews Spotlight

I am excited to be a part of the promotional blog tour for Addison Cooke And The Tomb Of The Khan set up by Penguin Random House! I will be spotlighting some rave reviews for this book as well as the first book in the series.

Book: Addison Cooke And The Tomb Of The Khan
Author: Jonathan W. Stokes
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Pages: 464
Source: I received an ARC in exchange for participation in the blog tour.

About The Book:

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.

Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.

Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.

Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, 
Addison Cooke and the Tomb of Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson’s Treasure Hunters series.

About The Author:

Jonathan W. Stokes ( is a former teacher who is now a Hollywood screenwriter. He has written screenplays on assignment for Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, Paramount, New Line, and Sony/Columbia. Inspired by a childhood love of The Goonies and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jonathan set out to write his first novel, Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas. Born in Manhattan, he currently resides in Los Angeles, where he can be found showing off his incredible taste in dishware and impressive 96% accuracy with high fives. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonathanwstokes.

Rave Reviews Spotlight:
Advanced Praise for the Addison Cooke Series

Praise for Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan:

"Addison Cooke is Indiana Jones and James Bond rolled intoone for the middle-grades set. Stokes’ witty second adventure only improves upon the first, giving greattheatrical drama to this rollicking ride." - Booklist

"Humorous and thrilling...a clever and well-done fast-paced adventure for intrepid readers." - Huffpost

Praise for Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas:

"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrills for readers who love adventure." - Booklist

"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never short in supply . . . and Addison’s endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing." - School Library Journal

"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes’s debut." - Publishers Weekly 

“What to give the kid who's read all the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books? Try 
Addison Cooke...this fast-paced adventure will enthrall middle-grade readers and leave them wanting more." - Parents

Addison Cooke And The Tomb Of The Khan is out NOW so feel free to check out this great book and purchase a copy if you like what you read in these wonderful reviews! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blog Tour: Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi - Favorite Quotes & Excerpts

I am so happy to be a part of the Whichwood Blog Tour by Penguin Random House. This fantasy book was such a delight to read. It had an endearing storyline, beautiful writing, and fascinating worldbuilding for the magical land of Whichwood.  I will be sharing my favorite excerpts and quotes from Whichwood with you, all taken from the first one-third of the book, to avoid spoilers. I wish I could share more with you, but if you like what you read, I hope that you will consider purchasing the book! It really is wonderful!

But first, here is the beautiful cover & synopsis of Whichwood:

Book: Whichwood
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: Nov 14, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: 360
Source: I received a finished copy from the publisher to be a part of this blog tour. All opinions expressed are my own.

About The Book:

A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

About The Author:

Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me series and Furthermore. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book. You can find her online just about anywhere at @TaherehMafi or on her website,


My Favorite Quotes from Whichwood (taken from the finished hardcover copy):

Quote #1: Winter death: pg. 5

          "Winter in Whichwood, you see, was a very popular season for dying."

Quote #2: No fear: pg. 7

          "Laylee wasn't a child oft bothered by the fuss and furor of fear; no, she dealt with death every day, and so the unknowns that startled most had little effect on a person who could talk to ghosts."

Quote #3: Laylee's gift: pg. 9-10

          "Laylee had one gift: She had a magical talent that enabled her (and those of her bloodline - she'd inherited the gene from Baba) to wash and package the dead destined for the Otherwhere, but such heavy work was never meant to be carried out by a single person - and certainly not by one so young."

Quote #4: Mordeshoor hope: pg. 11

           "The magic that ran through her veins made it so she was bound by blood to be a mordeshoor, and when the dead were delivered to her door, she had no choice but to add them to the pile . . . But one day, she swore, she'd breathe light and color back into the dimness that had diminished her life." 

Quote #5: No school: pg. 12

          ". . . School was a thing of luxury; it was meant for children with working parents and domestic stability - and Laylee could no longer pretend to have either."

Quote #6: Sugar Flakes: pg. 12

          "The first fresh flakes of the season were made entirely of sugar - this was a magic specific to Whichwood - and although Laylee knew she should eat something healthier, she simply didn't care. Tonight she wanted to relax. So she ate all five flakes in one sitting and felt very, very good about it."

Quote #7: Whichwood outsider: pg. 20

          "She was an odd-looking person for the land of Whichwood, where the people were renowned for their golden-brown skin and rich, jewel-toned eyes. Laylee couldn't help but be curious about this unusual girl."

Quote #8: Disappointment in humans: pg. 47

          ". . . She lived in a world where goodness had failed her, where darkness inhaled her, where those she loved had haunted and discarded her. There was no monster, no ghoul, no corpse in a grave that could hurt her the way humans had. . ."

Quote #9: Aftermath of hard work: pg. 50

          "The scrubbing of six bodies took just under seven hours. Hands red and raw, fingers frozen, noses numbed beyond all sensation: by the end, all three children were nearly dead themselves."

Quote #10: Perserverance: pg. 51

          "The children's arms were nearly broken with effort - and legs nearly paralyzed by cold - but the work of the evening was still unfinished. Laylee (who, lest we forget, had washed nine bodies of her own not ten hours prior) could hardly move for fatigue, but she made one final effort."

Quote #11: Unhappiness: pg. 60

          ". . . 'Something bothering me? What do you think is bothering me? Do you think I enjoy this line of work? Do you think I'm thrilled to be the sole mordeshoor for a land of eighty thousand people?'"

Quote #12: Alice's Useless Magic: pg. 60

          "'You see, I have a very particular kind of magic . . . and mine isn't much good for washing dead bodies. . .'"

Quote #13: Normal: pg. 62

          "Laylee secretly wished she were a normal child . . . "

Quote #14: Unkindness to others: pgs. 70-71

          "It is, after all, a simple and tragic thing that on occasion our unkindness to others is actually a desperate effort to be kind to ourselves."

Quote #15: Discover a Solution: pg. 76

          "Alice would have to be clever enough to sort out her path, her task, and its solution - all on her own."

Quote #16: Help: pg. 77

          "Help, after all, is at its best when offered unconditionally - with no expectations of payment in return."

Quote #17: Regret: pg. 82

          ". . . The residents of Ferenwood remained, for the most part, happily unaware of their excised freedoms, until one day their village would break this code of solitude to send a thirteen-year-old girl through sea and snow to do a bit of friendly magic. It was a decision they would soon regret."

Quote #18: Benyamin Romance: pg. 88

          "As a girl, you see, she was the most astonishing he'd ever beheld. She was quite perfect in his estimation, more exquisite than even his saffron flowers, which he loved so dearly. . . He felt that her heart, quietly tripping in the cold, was a kindred one, and he could not explain why."

Quote #19: Whichwood vs. Ferenwood: pgs. 89-90

          "In Ferenwood, all citizens Surrendered their talents; they openly celebrated magic and their magical abilities, seldom hiding what they were destined to be. But here in Whichwood, Alice and Oliver had unwittingly stumbled upon a . . . keeper of secrets."

Quote #20: No pride: pg. 94

          "There was no longer any pride in being a mordeshoor. No pomp, no circumstance, no decadence in dying. And now, as she traced the blue veins snaking under her skin, Laylee laughed at how much life she'd sacrificed for death."

Quote #21: Three months limit: pg. 99

          "There could never elapse more than three months between a death and its spirit's dispatch to the Otherwhere. Any longer than that, and the souls grew too attached to this world and would do whatever they could to stay."

Quote #22: Two skeletons: pg. 110

          "Every mordeshoor was born with two skeletons: one they wore under their skin, and another they wore on their back. It was a symbol of their dual life and the death they carried . . . they could never leave home without it"


My Favorite Excerpts from Whichwood (taken from the finished hardcover copy):

Excerpt #1 - No joy during Winter: pg. 4

          Every new snowfall arrived with a foot of fresh excitement, and with only two days left till winter, the people of Whichwood could scarecely contain their joy.

          With a single notable exception.

          There was only one person in Whichwood who never partook in the town merriment. Only one person who drew closed her curtains and cursed the song and dance of a magical evening. And she was a very strange person indeed.

          Laylee hated the cold.

          At thirteen years old, she'd lost that precious, relentless optimism reserved almost exclusively for young people. She'd no sense of whimsy, no interest in decadence, no tolerance for niceties. No, Laylee hated the frost and she hated the fuss and she resented not only this holiday season, but even those who loved it. (To be fair, Laylee resented many things - but winter was the thing she resented perhaps most of all.)

          Come sleet or snow, she alone was forced to work long hours in the cold, her kneecaps icing over as she dragged dead bodies into a large porcelain tub in her backyard.

Excerpt #2 - A mordeshoor's purpose: pgs. 28-29

          "What is a mordeshoor?"

          "It's what I am. It's the name given to those of us who wash the dead and package their bodies for the Otherwhere. We are mordeshoors."

          "Goodness, that seems just awful," Alice, patting Layee's arm and looking overly sympathetic. Laylee bristled, snatching her arm way at once, but Alice didn't seem to notice; instead, she gestured to a chair. "Would you mind if I sat down?"

          "You must leave," said Laylee sharply. "Now."

          "Don't you worry about us," Oliver said with a smile. "We'll be fine - we're not afraid of a few dead people. We just need a warm place to rest awhile."

          "Laylee rolled her eyes so hard she nearly snapped a nerve. "You will not be fine  here. You won't survive the night."

          Alice finally showed a flicker of fear. "Why not?" she asked quietly. "What would happen?"

          Laylee dragged her eyes over to Alice. "The ghosts of the freshly dead are always terrified to cross over - they'd much rather cling to the human life they know. But a spirit can only exist in the human world when it's wearing human skin." She leveled them both with a dark look. "If you stay here, they will harvest your flesh. They will make suits of your skin as you sleep and leave you rotting in your own blood."

          Alice clapped both hands over her mouth.

          "This is precisely why I exist," said Laylee. "The process of washing the body calms the wandering spirit; when the body crosses over, so too will the ghost."

Excerpt #3- Laylee's mordeshoor uniform: pgs. 35-37

          Her work was always done in uniform - in accordance with proper mordeshoor tradition - and she was never more grateful for the ancient armor of her ancestors than she was on these nights. She'd latched an old, intricately hammered chest plate atop her heavy, tattered gown, clamping solid gold cuffs on both forearms and ankles, and upon her head - secured atop her floral scarf - she wore the most impressive heirloom of all: an ancient helmet she wore only in the winters for its added protection against the blustery nights. It was a gold dome of  a cap embellished with a series of ornate, hand-hammered flourishes; emblazoned all around the dome in timeworn calligraphy were wise words captured long ago, in a language she still loved to speak. It was the work of the poet Rumi, who'd written,
          Last night a sheikh went all about the city, lamp in hand, crying, "I'm weary of all these beasts and devils, and desperately seek out humanity!"

          The helmet was topped by a single proud spike that stood five inches tall; the brim adorned by hundreds of fussy hinges from which hung a fringe of jagged chainmail. The sheets of deftly braided steel rained down the back and sides of Laylee's head, swishing quietly as she walked, leaving dents in the wind.

Excerpt #4 - Final act of the dead: pgs. 41-42

          From high above, the scene was spare: a white canvas backdrop painted thick with fresh frost, three winter coats triangulated before a claw-foot tub half-buried in the snow. It was somehow implausibly colder here - as there was a distinct lack of life to lend any heat to the space - and it was silent, desperately silent. Unnervingly so. No living thing - not plant, not insect, not animal - dared disturb the rituals of the final bath, and so they were alone, they three: the strangest sort of children come to hold hands with the dark.

         Forgotten for the moment was the cold, the ice, the fear, the hour. Night had been sliced open and, within it, they found mortality. This, the final act of the dead, demanded respect that could not be taught. This was the least alive they'd be tonight, and a hush fell over their reverent forms as three sets of knees hit the ground before dawn. Alice and Oliver had not been told to be still; they were compelled to be. Shadows crept up their limbs, wrapped their mouths and ears and bones and squeezed. Breaths were extinguished; lips did not move; sounds were not made; and from the silence emerged an understanding: Life would clasp hands with death on these occasions only, in the interest of servicing both worlds and the wandering spirits that belonged therein.

          Break this bond, and you, too, shall break.

Excerpt #5 - Bathtime: Siren song for the dead: pgs. 42-43; Rose magic: pg 45

          The tub had no spigot, no spout, no knobs or levers, but when Laylee placed her bare, frozen hands on either side of the porcelain, its depths began to fill - slowly at first, and then quickly, furiously, sloshing hard against the edges.

          Where the water came from, not even Laylee knew; all that mattered was that it existed. The first fill was always the most heavily perfumed, and the heady aroma was nearly too much for Alice and Oliver, who, bent forward with the weight of its lure, had not yet realized its purpose. The scent, you see, was a siren song for the dead, and the distant sounds of their slogging, dragging limbs meant they'd begun their pilgrimage to water.


          Slowly, very slowly, Laylee had touched her lips. She let her fingers linger at the seam for just a few seconds, and then finally, carefully, she retrieved a single red rose petal from the inside of her mouth.

          This she let fall into the tub.

          Instantly, the water changed. It was now a boiling, churning sea of liquid crimson, and Alice was so stunned she nearly stumbled, and Oliver, who caught her, was staring at Laylee in shock and awe.

Excerpt #6 - Alice washing the dead: pgs. 47-48

          It was Alice who returned first.

          She was carrying a small child in her arms - a boy of seven or eight - and she was openly weeping. Forgotten was her innocence, her fear, her childish approach to their solemn business tonight. For it is one thing to behold the dead - and entirely another to hold it. In her arms this child was human, too real, and Alice could not manage her emotions. She was bordering on mild hysteria, and Laylee had  no patience for it.

          "Wipe your face," she said. "And be quick about it."

          "How can you be so unmoved?" said Alice, her voice breaking. Her arms were shaking from the weight she could not carry and, very gently, she let the child's body fall to her feet. "How?" she said again, wiping at her tears. "How can you do this without feeling -"

          "It's not your place to wonder at what I feel." And Laylee unearthed a small whip (hung from a belt beneath her cloak) and cracked it once through the air.

          Alice gasped.
          But Laylee did not care. For Alice it was easy to grieve; for Laylee it was nearly impossible. The ghost of the young boy was still very much alive for her, and currently was prancing about the tub, making crude comments about Alice's face.

          Laylee cracked the whip again and the ghost screamed, disintegrating for just a moment. The damage was never permanent, but the whip worked well enough to keep the more ghoulish in line. Laylee cracked the whip once more - "Oh, for Feren's sake!" cried Alice.

          - and soon the boy's disgruntled spirit was stone-faced and brooding, shooting Laylee dirty looks as he stood by, awaiting his send-off to the Otherwhere.

          "Put the body into the tub," Laylee demanded. "Do it now."

          Alice swallowed hard, too nervous to be contrary. It took a great deal of effort, but she managed to set aside her tears just long enough to lift the child into the water.

          The moment the body hit the liquid, the churning waves were put to peace, and the red water went clear once more.

          Alice smiled.

          Laylee, meanwhile, had begun clearing a section of snow. From under the drift, she unearthed a large metal chest and unlatched the lid, revealing an assortment of ancient tools. Laylee grapped several hard-bristled brushes, handed two to Alice, and said, "Now scrub off the filth."

          Alice looked up at her, eyes wide with fear. "What do you mean?" she whispered.

          Laylee nodded to the water. "It looks clean now," she said. "But you'll see what your tears were worth as soon as you're done with him."

Excerpt #7 - Reflection: pgs. 53-54

          Alice and Oliver helped Laylee unclip her dead from the clothesline. The corpses had frozen solid while they slept - icicles hung from their chins and ears and shirt hems - but they'd been defrosting steadily in the sunlight, which made them a bit easier to maneuver. Once unclipped, the heavy bodies fell to the ground with a series of tremendous thuds, and Alice and Oliver, who stood stock-still and ankle-deep in dead, were ordered to wait as they were - while Laylee hurried off to retrieve the necessary items for the next steps.

          She was gone for some time, rummaging around in her moldy shed of death, and in her absence Alice and Oliver had time to reflect on their horrible evening. Alice was trying to be optimistic, but Oliver was not having it. They'd been swathed in sludge up to their frozen knees, their clammy skin hugged their sodden dress; they were starved, exhausted, filthy even behind their eyeballs - and had now been ordered to keep still amidst a pile of half-melted bodies. Oliver simply refused to see the good in it.

          "I can't believe," he was saying, "that this is what winning the Surrender got you" He crossed his arms, head shaking. "It's a bad deal, if you ask me. An awful deal."

Excerpt #8 - Oliver Romance/Friendship: pgs. 56-57

          "Now, it was true that Oliver Newbanks thought Laylee was a beautiful girl. But you must remember: Beauty is easily forgotten in the face of death, decrepitude, and general unpleasantness. So, while, yes, Oliver thought Laylee was very pretty (when he had the luxury of thinking such things), that wasn't what moved him now. No, there was something about Laylee - something about her Oliver couldn't quite place - that drew him to her, and though at the time he couldn't understand what it was, the explanation was actually quite simple.

          Reader, he admired her.

          Because somehow, even with the encumberence of such  an unfortunate and isolating occupation, she walked through darkness with elegance, navigating the corridors of life and death with a confidence he'd always secretly longed for. She appeared so self-assured, so steady - so untroubled by the opinions of others - it inspired in him something he'd never experienced before. He was made nervous at the sight of her. He was suddenly eager to understand her. Most of all, he wished she were his friend."

Excerpt #9 - An Ancient Rhyme: pg. 99

You'd try to cheat a mordeshoor?

You'd dishonor this noble deed?

What comes of all this wickedness?

Filthy swindlers!

Take heed:

A gentle warning to remind you

Of the things that you've forgot

Your mortal skin

Will slowly thin

Your heart will fail and rot

Steal from any mordeshoor!

And walk free for just a day.

Steal from any mordeshoor!

And death will make you pay.

Excerpt # 10 - The Rose Significance on the Book Cover: pgs. 108-109

           The very final act of the mordeshoor was the ghosts' favorite part of the process, and they swarmed around her now, eager and proud and grateful, to watch as Laylee did her last bit of magic.

          The mordeshoor fell to her knees where the dead had been buried and, for each person gone, she summoned a red rose petal from between her lips. These, she then planted into the ground.

          In moments, the petals had broken the earth and blossomed into fully grown flowers. It seemed a simple bit of magic, but the roses planted by a mordeshoor would live forever - surviving even the harshest seasons. And they represented a single, unwavering truth:

          That a person once lived.

          Laylee's cemetery was a sad and stunning sea of endless red roses - tens of dozens of thousands of them - that marked the memories of every soul she and her family had touched.


I hope you enjoyed reading through my favorite quotes and excerpts from Whichwood! I'd definitely recommend reading the book! It's magical!


Week One:
November 6 – Omg Books and More Books – Review
November 7 – Buttermybooks – Creative Post
November 8 – Twirling Pages – Mood Board
November 9 – PapertrailYA – Review
November 10 – LivTheBookNerd - Review
Week Two:
November 13 – Bookiemoji – Creative post
November 14 – Bookling Critics – Review
November 15 – Folded Pages Distillery – Review and a styled Instagram photo
November 16 – Crossroad Reviews – Review
November 17 – HelloJennyReviews – Review with a giveaway of Book 1
Week Three:
November 20 – Book Briefs – Review and a Pinterest Board Inspired by the World
November 21 – Bookish Delights – Favorite Excerpts and Quotes
November 22Mundie Moms– Review
November 23Clockwork Bibliophile – Instagram photo with a giveaway
November 24Reads All the Books – Review
Week Four:
November 27The Book Nut – Review and Playlist
November 28A Page with a View – Favorite Middle Grade Reads
November 29The Wednesday Blog – Youtube Review
November 30In Wonderland – Creative
December 1Moonlight Rendezvous – Review/Spotlight