Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Book Description

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

Synopsis:

Fans of The Girl Who Drank the MoonPaola Santiago and the River of Tears, and Disney’s Encanto will be captivated by this fantastical novel about a girl who must learn to trust her ancestral powers when she comes face-to-face with the Mexican legend La Lechuza. 

Omega Morales’s family has been practicing magic for centuries in Noche Buena. But over the years, the town’s reputation for the supernatural is no longer one the people carry with pride. So Omega’s family keeps to themselves, and in private, they’re Empaths—diviners who can read and manipulate the emotions of people and objects around them. But Omega’s powers don’t quite work, and it leaves her feeling like an outsider in her own family.

When a witch with the power to transform herself into an owl—known in Mexican folklore as La Lechuza—shows up unannounced, Omega, her best friend Clau (who happens to be a ghost), and her cousin Carlitos must conduct a séance under a full moon in order to unravel the mystery of the legend.

Suddenly Omega’s magic begins to change, and the key to understanding her powers is more complicated than she thought. Omega will have to decide what’s more important—trusting the instincts of others or learning to trust in herself.

Content Warning: bullying and grief

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60021190-omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316304166/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza-laekan-zea-kemp/1140835397

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Omega-Morales-Legend-La-Lechuza-Laekan-Z-Kemp/9780316304160

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/omega-morales-and-the-legend/9780316304160-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316304160

Review

Thoughts and Themes: My first thought is that I keep reading Lechuza as Lechuga and was really confused about there being a legend regarding lettuce that I hadn’t heard about. I am glad to tell you all that this story is not about lettuce at all but that would have been funny. But also prior to this thought, I was so happy to see that the author had now written a middle grade book since I loved her two young adult books so much.

I am happy to say that I loved this book as much as the young adult books if not more. This is a perfect read for second graders and up especially during this spooky season. I love that this book is spooky but not too scary to frighten the younger audience. I loved the references to Mexican folklore that this book includes because so much of these tales were things that I grew up hearing about.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is the added images within chapters. I like how these images bring the story to life and it works really well for me since I have a hard time picturing what I am reading.

Characters: In this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Omega. You get to meet her family, her best friend Carlitos, and a ghost that lives alongside them, Clau. Right off the bat it is hard not to fall in love with each of the characters that you are introduced to in this story.

I really loved the relationship that each of the characters that are introduce have with our main character, Omega. I love how supportive each of the characters are of her and how they are supportive regardless of her differences. I love that you can feel the amount of love everyone has for each other seeping out of this book.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Omega. I really enjoyed the story being told through her perspective as it makes you remember the age of our main character. The voice of our narrator really made it hard to put down this book because I just wanted to hear more about the magic and everything going on in her world.

Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.

Author Links

Website: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laekanzeakemp/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6577467.Laekan_Zea_Kemp

Tour Schedule

Lord of the Fly Fest By Goldy Moldavsky Book Review

Book Description

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: August 30, 2022

Synopsis:

One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

Content Warning: violence, missing persons, and bodily functions

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54267774-lord-of-the-fly-fest

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250230128

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-of-the-fly-fest-goldy-moldavsky/1139790471

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Lord-Fly-Fest-Goldy-Moldavsky/9781250230126

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/lord-of-the-fly-fest/9781250230126-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250230126

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This one took me quite a while to finish but not because of a lack of interest, I was trying to savor every moment of this book. I wanted to take things slowly because I was enjoying the world-building in this book and the dystopian aspects. I really liked the way the author describes this island and how things slowly build. So once I finished this book I read some reviews and they all mentioned this being a satirical telling of Lord of the Flies I got this from the title but because I haven’t read that book I wasn’t able to make the connection myself.

I was skeptical about reading this one because I had recently read books similar to it and didn’t really care for them. I am glad that I decided to read this anyway because of how much I enjoyed the book. I liked how this story plays out and how we begin to see our main character as a bad guy because she put them in this situation longer than they had to be. I really like the way this book pokes fun at influencer culture and the people who feed into this. I liked that this book made commentary on our current lives.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Rafi. You get to meet several people who are on the Island with Rafi, such as Peggy, River, Jack, Ryan and Paul, and much more.

I really liked reading as the relationship between River and Rafi develops and how this shifts throughout the book. I liked seeing them both when they are together and seeing how River trusts Rafi but this also makes you skeptical of River just like Rafi is. I like that we never know who the bad person is in this story and that the narrator is removed adds to this mystery.

Writing Style: This story is told in the third person with a narrator who follows different characters around yet it is told mostly from Rafi’s perspective. I really enjoy that this story was told in the third person because we seem to know everything going on with each of the characters. What I really like is that this isn’t an all-knowing narrator though so the mysteries aren’t automatically solved.

This book also includes snippets of the podcast Rafi is recording, which I really enjoyed. I liked getting to see a different side of Rafi through the recording of the podcast and I liked to see the other’s responses to this podcast. I thought the podcast episodes being included added a good portion to the book because it shows us what Rafi is thinking about everything that we are reading.

Author Information

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED (Scholastic), and THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt). Her books have appeared on numerous Best-Books lists and have been translated to other languages. Her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

She is represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency.

Author Links

Website: https://goldymoldavsky.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/goldywrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goldywrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682584.Goldy_Moldavsky

Tour Schedule

We Made it All Up by Margot Harrison Book Tour Post

Book Description

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison

Genre: Young Adult Mystery Thriller

Publishing Date: July 12, 2022

Synopsis:

Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s name and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fan fic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While their bond makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.

Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.

Content Warning: Mentions of past Sexual Assault, Talk of Homophobia (no slurs), Stalking, Slut Shaming

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58363606-we-made-it-all-up

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09L818R2G/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-made-it-all-up-margot-harrison/1140500777

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/We-Made-It-All-Up-Margot-Harrison/9780316275767

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/we-made-it-all-up/9780316275767-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316275767

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I wanted to read this story from the minute that I read the synopsis and how fan fiction was going to somehow play a role in the story. Fan fiction was such an important part of my life as a teen so I enjoy books that use it to tell a bigger story. The way that fan fiction is used in this book is similar to the purposes in why I used to write before, sometimes fictional words on paper are easier to deal with than the truth.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the way that fan fiction was used to reveal things about Celeste’s past. I liked that she was willing to share pieces of herself through her writing but only if she got to be someone else in that story. I liked how this made it seem like it was detached from Celeste but as we get to know her you learn that this is her story that she is finding a way to tell.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Celeste and through her memories of them. You get to meet her friend, Vivvy, Seth, Joss, and more. You also get glimpses into the Seth and Joss that are a part of Vivvy and Celeste’s world through their shared fan fictions.

I really enjoyed getting to know more about each of the characters and that some of these characters we only know through the memories that Celeste has of them. I thought the friendship between Celeste and Vivvy was done quite well even if I wouldn’t say it was a good friendship. I liked how we get to see a side of Vivvy that only Celeste can see because the others have been around her too long now.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Celeste with bits of the fan fiction written by her included. I liked that everything was told through Celeste’s perspective because she was an unreliable narrator since she didn’t recall much of the night in question. I liked that we were learning things alongside her about the incident but that we were also learning about her.

About the Author

Margot Harrison has a lifelong habit of creeping herself out and now attempts to creep others out via her fiction. Her teenage dream was to see as many movies as possible and write about them, which she does as a Tomatometer critic for Vermont media company Seven Days.

She is also a Harvard grad, wrangler of calicos, speaker of French, native of New York City, and lover of horror podcasts and strong black tea.

She loves hearing from readers! Fill in the contact form to send her a message.

Representation: Jessica Sinsheimer, Context Literary Agency

She sometimes tweets, but mostly chronicles all her ways of wasting time on Instagram.

Author Links

Website: https://margotharrison.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargotFHarrison/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/margotfharrison/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14215617.Margot_Harrison

Tour Schedule

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White Book Tour Post

Book Description

Hell Followed Us by Andrew Joseph White

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: June 7, 2022

Synopsis:

Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.

Content Warning: parental death, graphic death, body horror, violence, religious abuse, discussions of genocide; instances of homophobia, transphobia, misgendering, and deadnaming

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit skeptical of reading this one because of the trigger warnings that are included at the start of the book. I figured though since I was in a good place I could read it and I am glad that I did because I really enjoyed this one.

I love dystopian books especially ones that are focused on pandemic, viruses, etc. that are no where near anything that this world has experienced. I find that this focus allows me to escape into another world while reading even if that world is also not ideal.

I really enjoyed how religion was tied into this story and the pieces of the bible that are included. Some of those pieces hit harder than others even if I knew they were in the bible. I really liked seeing how this book interpreted some of those pieces. For me, I’ve been reading a lot of books that include Catholicism and its been interesting to see how each book uses the bible verses to make their point.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Benjamin/Benji. You get to meet his ex-fiance, his mom, other people at the Acheson LGBTQ+ Center (ALC), and more. I really loved each of the characters that you get to meet throughout this story and even found the bad guys to be intriguing.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of each of the creatures that are introduced throughout this story and loved trying to picture what they looked like. I wish this was turned into a movie so that I could see these words come to life and see what Seraph looks like, what the Graces look like, and what the Angels look like. I loved learning about each of them and what they stood for and why they existed.

I loved the relationships that Benji had with each of the people involved in this story. I liked getting to see his relationship with his dad from his perspective and how that differed from his mom. I also really enjoyed getting to see his feelings for his fiancee, Theo, and how those feelings change throughout the course of this book.

I really enjoyed that this book included an Autistic character as the love interest and how we get to see some of those traits throughout the book. I like how Nick tries so hard to not show that he is Autistic to the rest of the group even if they are aware. I like how we get to see him stimming and also moments in which he is overwhelmed. I loved the relationship that develops between Nick and Benji and how complicated their feelings are for each other.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person through the perspective of Benjamin/Benji. There are bits and pieces that are told in the third person to give the perspective of Theo and Nick. I really liked getting a chance to see the story unfold through Benji’s perspective and only getting snippets of the others. I think that us being in their head allows us to see what he is thinking and how scared he is of some of the things that are happening to him and around him.

Author Information

Andrew Joseph White is a queer, trans author from Virginia, where he grew up falling in love with monsters and wishing he could be one too. He is a graduate student in George Mason University’s Creative Writing program and has a habit of cuddling random street cats. Andrew writes about trans kids with claws and fangs, and what happens when they bite back.  

He is represented by Zabé Ellor of the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency. Author photo by Alice Scott.

Author Links:

Website: https://andrewjosephwhite.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajwhiteauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajwhiteauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19719767.Andrew_Joseph_White

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/04/26/tour-schedule-hell-followed-with-us-by-andrew-joseph-white/

Out of the Blue by Jason June Book Tour Post

Book Description

Out of the Blue by Jason June

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publishing Date: May 31, 2022

Synopsis:

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder–or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They’ve pollluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country.

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest’s pespective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…

This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves. 

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ Indiebound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really wanted to read this book because the cover looks so cute and the description made it sound appealing. I was so happy to get a chance to be on this book tour so I could read the book in advance but I decided to listen to it on audio.

When I first started listening to this one it reminded me instantly of the Disney movie, Luca just this one is obviously Gay. If you liked that movie then you will certainly enjoy reading this book because Ross’s first moments on land are so similar to Luca’s first moments on land. I love how confused Ross is about so many human things and how we get to see what they think about those things and how they try to make sense of everything.

There are so many moments in this book that I am laughing out loud just like Sean is laughing at Ross. I love how clueless they are but also love how innocent everything is because they don’t know about our world. I like how we get to see everything that we take for granted or things we are so familiar with in a different way because of the way Ross is experiencing our world.

I loved getting a chance to hear Ross and Sean both exploring the city of LA. I felt like they were just in my backyard and they made the city sound so beautiful when its my every day. And then this book sold me with the Grey’s Anatomy quote so you all have to read it to see what I mean.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Ross and Sean. You get to meet Sean’s ex-boyfriend, Dominic, some of the people back at Ross’s home, and Sean’s best friend, Kavya.

I really loved learning about Ross and their world. I also loved that Ross is non-binary in the human world and love how we get to see them navigate this when introducing themself to others.

I kept being frustrated with Sean’s obsession with Dominic but I keep remembering that this whole thing is only happening because Ross wants to help him get his ex back. I love the way that Ross makes Sean see things so differently because they are experiencing so much for the first time. I loved the way that their relationship develops throughout the course of the book and how they were instantly friends.

I just really enjoyed how the relationship between Ross and Sean develops. I liked the way this all started and then what it becomes instead for both of them. I just love hearing their feelings for each other when they are in their heads especially since they don’t share their feelings out loud.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person dual point of view going back and forth between Ross and Sean’s perspectives. I liked that this book goes back and forth between both of the boys so that you can see how each of them navigates things. I also like how this back and forth allows you to get to know more about Ross and their world in the chapters told from their perspective.

I liked getting to hear both of their perspectives because it allows us to see how each of them feels about this whole scheme to get Dominic back. I also liked seeing both of their perspectives because it allows us to learn more about Ross’s world in the ocean during his section.

Author Information

You’ve come here wondering, “What is the meaning of life?” Er, I mean, Jason June’s life. Jason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) is a genderqueer writer mermaid who loves to create picture books that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark, and young adult contemporary rom-coms full of love and lust and hijinks.

When not writing, JJ zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, Pomeranians, and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. JJ is a tried and true Laura Dern stan, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend.

​His picture books include WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, illustrated by Jess Pauwels, and PORCUPINE CUPID, a queer-inclusive Valentine’s Day story, illustrated by Lori Richmond, both from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster. For under-the-sea whimsical adventures, check out the MERMICORN ISLAND chapter book series from Scholastic! And get ready for JAY’S GAY AGENDA, Jason June’s debut YA, queer rom-com, coming June 1, 2021 from HarperTeen!

Author Links

Website: https://www.heyjasonjune.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heyjasonjune

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heyjasonjune/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15906433.Jason_June

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/04/23/tour-schedule-out-of-the-blue-by-jason-june/

A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy Book Tour Post

Book Description

A Little Bit Country Brian D. Kennedy

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: June 7, 2022

Synopsis:

Emmett Maguire wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar – a far reach when you’re seventeen and living in Illinois. But for now, he’s happy to do the next best thing: Stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, for the summer and perform at the amusement park owned by his idol, country legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.

Luke Barnes hates country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, Luke knows how much pain country music has brought his family. But when his mom’s medical bills start piling up, he takes a job at the last place he wants: a restaurant at Wanda World.

Neither boy is looking for romance, but sparks fly when they meet – and soon they’re inseparable. Until a long-lost secret about Verna and Wanda comes to light, threatening to unravel everything.

Will Emmett and Luke be able to get past the truths they discover…or will their relationship go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song?

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I wanted to read this one because I love country music and theme parks, so this seemed perfect. I am so glad this was the first book that I read for pride month because it killed me with cuteness. I was trying so hard not to squeal from the cuteness while reading this at work.

There was just so much that I loved about this book even the parts that I kind of saw coming. All I wanted for both of these boys throughout the whole book was happy because they both deserved it. There are parts of this book that break your heart for all of the characters but then this author knows how to take those pieces they just broke and make your heart whole again.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with Luke and Emmett. You get to meet Luke’s ex-girlfriend, Luke’s family, some of the people in the Jamboree, and Emmett’s aunt.

I really liked getting a glimpse into Luke’s home life and how that dictated his every move. I liked that we got to see what it was like for him to be poor and feel responsible for taking care of his family, and what that all meant for his dreams of being a chef and coming out. I also liked how seeing a glimpse of his home we got to see his mom who has a chronic illness and how that impacts her life as well as Luke’s life.

I liked getting to see how they each viewed their relationship with each other and the fears that they both had about that relationship. The relationship between Luke and Emmett was my favorite part of this book. I liked how Luke calls Emmett out about what it would mean if he was out and how it isn’t always easy for everyone to be out. I also like how they both get in their heads about things and how if they would just communicate things would be so much easier for both of them.

Writing Style: This book is told from a dual perspective going back and forth between Emmett and Luke. I thought this was a great choice for this book because you needed to know what was going on in both of these boy’s heads. I think hearing things from both sides and getting to know them as individuals made their love story so much more precious.

Author Description

Brian D. Kennedy writes books for young adults. Born and raised in Minnesota, he occasionally elongates his vowels still. He now lives in New York City with his husband and their very photogenic dog. When he’s not writing, Brian can be found working at the LGBTQ Center, sitting in the audience at a Broadway show, or out buying more books—despite the stack of unread ones he has at home.  

Author Links

Website: https://www.briandkennedybooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bdkennedybooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bdkennedybooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20814893.Brian_D_Kennedy

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/03/25/tour-schedule-a-little-bit-country-by-brian-d-kennedy/

Jordie and Joey Fell from the Sky by Judi Lauren Book Tour Post

Book Description

Jordie and Joey Fell From the Sky by Judi Lauren

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Publishing Date: April 19, 2022

Synopsis:

Twin brothers Jordie and Joey have never met their parents. Maybe it’s because they aren’t from this planet?

When another kid at school tried to force Jordie to show him the “crop circles” on his back that prove he’s an alien, it was Joey who took the kid to the ground. And when the twins got kicked out of their foster home because Joey kissed the other boy who lived there, it was Jordie who told him everything would be okay. And as long as Jordie and Joey are together, it will be. But when the principal calls their current foster mother about a fight at school, the boys know she’ll be done with them. And, from spying in their file, they also know they’re going to be separated.

Determined to face the world side by side rather than without one another, Jordie and Joey set off to find their birth parents. From Arizona to Roswell to Area 51 in the Nevada desert, the twins begin a search for where they truly belong. But Jordie’s about to discover that family isn’t always about the ones who bring you into the world, but the ones who help you survive it.

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indiebound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoy reading middle-grade books so when I was given the chance to be on the book tour for this one I was quite excited. I really enjoyed this story and how so much is packed in not so many pages. This book touches on the foster care system, family, friends, belonging, and more.

This whole time you know that it is very unlikely that the boys are actually aliens but you are wondering what else could explain the things that Jordie is saying. I wonder if other adults may have picked up on the signs and knew what was coming before I did. I certainly didn’t see the explanation that happens at the end of the book and I was hurting right alongside Jordie as he learns information that was missing from his memories.

I really liked the adults that are included in the later portion of the book. I like how they show Jordie and Joey what it means to have a sense of belonging in the world and what it feels like to be wanted. I can’t give too much away but by the end of this story, you get a sense that Jordie and Joey both found what they were searching for at the start of this book.

Characters: There are several characters that you get introduced to in this story through their interactions with Jordie and Joey. You get to meet their best friend who goes along the journey with them in search of their birth parents. You get to meet their social worker who has tried her best to make sure they stay together. You get to meet some of the people whom Jordie and Joey cross while on this trip and more.

At first, I wasn’t too interested in any of the characters but once I got about 50% of the way I was invested in the well-being of Jordie and Joey. These boys have been through so much as they go from foster home to foster home and all they both want is a place in which they belong. Joey would do anything to protect his brother which includes keeping some memories locked away until he is ready to learn about them. I really liked how this book showed the love between these brothers and showed them being affectionate with each other. I also really liked how they were allowed to have feelings, they allowed each other to have real emotions and the adults in their lives also were prepared for that.

Writing Style: This book is written in the first person from the perspective of Jordie. The book also includes snippets from an online blog that Jordie follows regarding alien encounters along with information that he may have been searching for regarding other topics that become important later on in the story.

I really enjoyed this being told through Jordie’s perspective as he is missing memories from several years of his life. As he is missing those years so are you as the reader and that makes it so much more believable when he thinks that they came from aliens. I like how Jordie seems to be a lot younger than Joey and we learn why that is throughout the story. There are so many scenes in which my heart breaks for these boys and I just want to protect them the way so many others they meet want the same.

Author Information

Judi Lauren was born in the Midwest and misses those winters. She now resides in an area where the bugs are way too large. She has an unnatural obsession with Chicago, Dean Winchester, and Friends (the TV show.)

Judi is represented by Heather Cashman of Storm Literary Agency, where she writes books for kids and teens about family, friendship, and surviving impossible things.

In her spare time, she also works as an editor at Radish Fiction. You can connect with her on Instagram @judilauren.

Author Links

Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/02/03/tour-schedule-jordie-and-joey-fell-from-the-sky-by-judi-lauren/

Scout is Not a band Kid by Jade Armstrong Book Tour Post

Book Description

Scout is Not a Band Kid by Jade Armstrong

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Graphic Novel

Publishing Date: April 5, 2022

Synopsis:

A young girl in middle school will do whatever it takes to meet her favorite author–even if it means joining her school band! A contemporary graphic novel about making your dream come true–and the friends you make along the way.

When Scout learns that her favorite author is doing an exclusive autograph session at the end of the year, she’s determined to be there! She officially needs a plan…and when she finds out that her school’s band is heading to the same location for their annual trip, an idea takes shape. Being a band kid can’t be that hard, right?

As it turns out, learning how to play an instrument when you can’t even read music is much, much, MUCH tougher than expected. And it’s even harder for Scout when her friends aren’t on board with her new hobby. Will she be able to master the trombone, make new band friends, and get to her favorite author’s book signing? Tackling everything seems like a challenge for a supergenius superfriend supermusician–and she’s just Scout.

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I love reading graphic novels as I find they are a great way to immerse yourself in whatever you are reading. I really liked how this book mixed academics, band, and fandom together to create the story. I liked how we get to see the expectations that Scout’s old friends have of her and how they expect her to like new things now that they have “grown” up. While Scout hasn’t let go of her favorite things, she does keep her interests away from her friend group and only lets her true self out while amongst her online friend, Lou.

Characters: This story introduces you to several characters as they interact with our main character, Scout. I really love the way each of them is introduced to the reader as it feels like you are playing a video game. I also like how we get not only their stats but name and pronouns for each character as well. I found that there was a lot of diversity among the characters that are included in this story.

I loved the friendship that develops between Scout and Merrin throughout this whole book. I liked how their friendship first was forced because they both played the same instrument within the band but then it became a choice. I loved how Scout is the first real friend that Merrin has and isn’t deterred by her personality, and how Scout is able to be herself around Merrin, unlike her other friends.

Writing/Art Style: I really enjoy the art style of this book and would love to see the whole thing printed in color. I love how you can tell which character is whom and there is no point in time in which I was confused about the character’s identities. I also really loved the variety in the clothes that all of the characters wear depending on their setting.

Author Information

My name is Jade Armstrong, and I am a non-binary cartoonist. I was raised in a little town called Almonte, Ontario, before heading off to Toronto to work in comics and animation. I’ve worked as background painter in television for 4 years. At the moment, I float between Toronto, Almonte and Montréal.

More than anything I love to make comics. You can check out my full CV here!

My debut middle grade graphic novel, SCOUT IS NOT A BAND KID, is set to be published by Random House Graphics April 5th, 2022.

I’m also a member of the comics collective HELLO BOYFRIEND. We are a bunch of pals who love comics and make comics together!

Author Links

Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/02/21/tour-schedule-scout-is-not-a-band-kid-by-jade-armstrong/

Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp Book Tour Post

Book Description

Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: April 5, 2022

Synopsis:

Clap When You Land meets On the Come Up in this heart-gripping story about navigating first love and overcoming grief through the power of music.

Aarón Medrano has been haunted by the onstage persona of his favorite musician ever since his mother passed away. He seems to know all of Aarón’s deepest fears, like that his brain doesn’t work the way it should and that’s why his brother and father seems to be pushing him away. He thinks his ticket out is a scholarship to the prestigious Acadia School of Music. That is, if he can avoid blowing his audition.

Mia Villanueva has a haunting of her own and it’s the only family heirloom her parents left her: doubt. It’s the reason she can’t overcome her stage fright or believe that her music is worth making. Even though her trumpet teacher tells her she has a gift, she’s not sure if she’ll ever figure out how to use it or if she’s even deserving of it in the first place.

When Aarón and Mia cross paths, Aarón sees a chance to get close to the girl he’s had a crush on for years and to finally feel connected to someone since losing his mother. Mia sees a chance to hold herself accountable by making them both face their fears, and hopefully make their dreams come true. But soon they’ll realize there’s something much scarier than getting up on stage—falling in love with a broken heart.

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I decided that I had to read this book as I loved the author’s debut novel. I was so pleased to find that while this book is also a romance like the first one it was significantly different but just as great. There are so many sections of this book that I highlighted on my kindle because of how these lines spoke to me.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was how our main characters communicate with each other and the world through music. It reminded me of how I use songs to convey my feelings and sometimes only songs or books completely understand the way that I am feeling. I liked that these two main characters were able to pour themselves into music and how music shapes their lives.

Something else that I loved about this book was the way that it handled grieving and how we see different ways in which people are handling grief. I thought it was great to see both guys and girls dealing with grief, and how both Aaron and Mia lost their parents in different ways. I think because of the way that they lost their parents, the grief that they experience is different and while one of each of their parents is alive, they still are grieving because it is the loss of the parent they had before.

I really enjoyed how this book added the musician into the story and how he was an important part of Aaron’s life and grieving process. I thought it was a great way to show how everyone can have mental health issues and I loved the way he took care of himself. I don’t want to spoil that for you so I’ll let you read to see more about him.

Characters: There are several characters that you get to meet through their interactions with our main characters, Mia and Aaron. You get introduced to Mia’s siblings, friends, and family, and Aaron’s family and friends too.

I loved reading the interactions that Mia has with her brothers and how they try to heal each other. I liked getting to see how they raised her and also getting to see each of them show their grief in a different way. I really liked getting the chance to see how one of her brothers was healing through poetry but how he was still hiding and he only gets the courage to present to show her that it is possible.

I also really enjoy the theme of found family in this book which you really see through the people in the neighborhood. I loved getting the chance to meet Mr. Barrero who takes care of both Mia and Aaron when they need an adult figure in their lives. I really liked seeing how this man has shaped both of these people’s lives and how important he is to them. I also like how we get to see his back story as well to understand why he feels the way he does about Mia.

Writing Style: This story is written from a dual point of view that goes back and forth from our main characters, Aaron and Mia. I really liked getting to read this story from both of their perspectives since I think they both add different things to the story. I really liked getting to go back and forth between these two characters because they had things going on in both of their lives that weren’t intertwined with each other.

Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.

Author Links

Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/02/15/tour-schedule-heartbreak-symphony-by-laekan-zea-kemp/

Pink, Blue, and You! by Elise Gravel with Mykaell Blais Book Review

Book Description

Pink, Blue & You!: Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes by Elise Gravel

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Publishing Date: March 8, 2022

Synopsis:

Simple, accessible, and direct, this picture book is perfect for kids and parents or teachers to read together, opening the door to conversations about gender stereotypes and everyone’s right to be their true selves.

Is it okay for boys to cry? Can girls be strong? Should girls and boys be given different toys to play with and different clothes to wear? Should we all feel free to love whoever we choose to love? In this incredibly kid-friendly and easy-to-grasp picture book, author-illustrator Elise Gravel and transgender collaborator Mykaell Blais raise these questions and others relating to gender roles, acceptance, and stereotyping.

With its simple language, colorful illustrations, engaging backmatter that showcases how appropriate male and female fashion has changed through history, and even a poster kids can hang on their wall, here is the ideal tool to help in conversations about a multi-layered and important topic.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ Indiebound

Tour Schedule

Review

The first thing that stood out to me about this book is the style in which it is written. This book is written as questions to children who you may read this to along with factual information about gender, sexuality, and sex. I really liked that this book is written this way because it opens up the conversation for children and shows them that it is okay to question things that they may have learned from society.

I know that this is going to be a book that conservatives have issues with just because of the way it opens up these conversations. I believe that this book is acceptable for children as young as 4 because it is a great introduction to these topics in a way that they would understand. I shared this book with my mom who works with young children and she said it was a great book.

Something that I enjoy about this book is how it frames the concept of family and the diversity that it shows in the families that are displayed. I love how throughout the book there is a diversity in the images that are drawn and in the examples that are given. I think that was an important part that was included because so many children will be able to see themselves in this book.

Author Information

I was born in Montreal in 1977 and I started drawing not very long after I was born. In kindergarten I was popular because I was able to draw princesses with long spiral hair. Then, in high school, the girls would ask me to draw their ideal guy in their diary. I became very good at drawing muscles and hair, which I used later when I illustrated my book The Great Antonio . On the other hand, I am always just as bad when it comes time to use a diary correctly.

Later, I studied graphic design at Cegep and that’s when I understood that I wanted to do illustration. After my first book, the Catalog des Gaspilleurs , I wrote and illustrated about thirty others . One of my books, The Wrench , won the Governor General’s Award in the Illustration category, and since that time I have a big head and I brag all the time.

I live in Montreal with my two daughters, my husband, my cats and a few spiders. I am currently working on various projects in Quebec, English Canada and the United States. My books are translated into a dozen languages. I hope to live a long time so that I can still make lots and lots of books because I still have lots and lots of ideas.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Reddit