Blog Tour: The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk (Review)

I am super excited to be part of the international blog tour for The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk, organized by Penguin Random House International. This is a debut contemporary novel from the author who I must say done a great job for her first novel. Ashley Woodfolk delivered a powerful story in the Beauty that Remains. Check my review below for more of my thoughts about the book and also I’ll be sharing a mood board below.

Personal Thoughts:

The Beauty That Remains tells the story of three teenagers coping with griefs and how music become integral part of their lives.

Autumn’s lost her best friend, Tavia in a car accident; Logan’s ex-boyfriend, Bram has committed suicide; and Shay’s twin sister, Sasha died from leukemia. All three suffered from loss of love ones, and connected through grief and music. Each deals with their own griefs on their own way. Autumn is eaten by guilt for not being there with her best friend blame herself for Tavia’s death; Logan is in denial hiding behind alcohol; while Shay pretends to be fine and put on a brave face despite of all the panic attacks and anxiety. All three have to face their own griefs to fully continue with their lives even at times when they don’t feel okay.

For a debut novel, The Beauty that Remains is well written and surprisingly affecting. Author Ashely Woodfolk successfully delivered a heartwarming tale of griefs in different perspectives. Even if you are not on the stage of grieving someone in your own life, the story still easily resonates. The heartaches and griefs of the main characters feels achingly real that sometimes you will wish for them to find peace and acceptance.

The diverse characters are realistically drawn and explored very well as Ashley write the story in three different points of view. Not only their feelings become easily accessible, but also their griefs more painfully heartbreaking. Ashley also didn’t shy away in adding sensitive topics to make these characters more believable, making the book more of a heavy read. But still, in-spite of all the heartache and loses, The Beauty that Remains also offers hope not only to the characters but also to the readers. As the characters deals with their own grief and eventually find their path to move forward with the help of friends and friends, readers will also be reminded that losing someone we love is not the end and that there are other people left who also love and care for us. We are not alone in loneliness.

The novel theme of grief will also reminds readers that it is normal to undergo heartbreak and loses. That we don’t need to always put up a strong facade in front of others. And sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable and accept defeat. Heartache is part of life.

“There’s no way to measure grief.”

All in all, The Beauty Remains is both heavy and surprisingly hopeful read. A touching and heartwarming story of loss, grief and moving on that will break readers’ heart and put back together. The three protagonist at the heart of the story are all flawed, and believable and through them readers will be reminded that heartache and loses are part of life, but there’s still beauty that remains even after those tragic times.

* This review is based on an eBook I received from the publisher, Penguin Random House International (@prhinternational) via Netgalley.




Book Details:

Title: The Beauty that Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9780525578284

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.


Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Blog Tour: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Review & Aesthetics)

“There was always someone with more power.”

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Tempest and Slaughter is a new prequel series from the legendary fantasy writer, Tamora Pierce, that tells the early years of one of the greatest mages of Tortall, Arram Draper or most know from other Tortall books as Numair Salmalin.

Arram Draper is a talented young mage. At the age of ten he went to studies magic at the Imperial University of Carthak. Arram loves to learn new skills and he excel in his studies. When he accidentally flood his classroom during one of his lectures, Arram was given an advanced classes instead of suspension. At a young age his masters saw the great mage that he is. From then on, Arram honed his natural talent in magic, learning from the university masters. Being the only kid in higher classes is not easy for Arram, but he eventually found his closest friends with Verice and the young Prince, Ozorne. The three of them become inseparable since then. Together they start to carve their paths in the world of magic and politics.

“Learn it now or learn it later,..But a wise man does learn it.”

It’s been a while since I last read a novel from Tamora Pierce, and I am gladly surprised that she is finally writing from a point of view of a male character in Tempest and Slaughter. To those who haven’t read Tamora’s other fantasy series, Tamora is known for her kick-ass heroines. She always created a champion in them. Girls who are not only feminine but also warriors. I drew inspirations from her characters and from her as an author. Her books shows girl-power and a lot more. Her male characters, though not the main narrators are also well crafted, and to have one of them tell a new story in this latest fantasy novel, Tempest and Slaughter is surely a welcome experience for Tamora Pierce’s followers like me.

Tempest and Slaughter is a character driven novel which may easily feel dragging, especially to readers who are not yet familiar with the Tortall realm. But if you fall into that category, I dare you to continue reading, because not only Arram is really an interesting character but also Tamora Pierce offer a wonderful world of magic and myth in Tempest and Slaughter. Even if you haven’t read her other fantasy books, there are many things to love and to enjoy in this first instalment of a new prequel series from Tamora Pierce.

“If a little power doesn’t do what you want, think of something else before you try using a lot of it.”

Arram’s character development is interesting to follow. From his inner struggles to fit-in with his classmates, the challenges he encounter in learning more about magic, and using what he learned to help people around him. His inner thoughts shows his true character, like how he questioned the life around him, the slavery, and role of mages in politics. He maybe young but he is learning not only about magic but also other important things around him. I look forward reading how he transformed from Arram Draper to the powerful Numair Salmalin in the future.

Tamora Pierce also introduced a rich mythology in this book. The presence of Gods in different forms, like Enzi, the crocodile god of Zekoi, and other powerful beings that shows their interest to Arram are all wonderful addition to the story. Even if you haven’t read the other books of the Tortall world, Tempest and Slaugther will give you enough background to fully grasp the fantasy world of mages.

Overall, followers of Tamora Pierce will surely love this new addition to the world of Tortall, as they read new things about the familiar character, Numair Salmalin. It’s like rediscovering the greatest mage and loving him more than we never thought is possible.

It’s really an interesting read to discover the beginning of many familiar characters in this book. I am looking forward to see more about Arram and his friends, Verice and Ozrone as well as the other mages in the next book of Numair Chronicles.

* This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, Penguin Random House International.


Here are some aesthetics for Tempest and Slaughter to entice you more into reading the book.

@credit to owners / artists

Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter (Review)

“Don’t do anything you know you’ll regret. But do enough to know exactly what you’ll regret and learn to regret less.”

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

This Heart of Mine is a genuine portrayal of life of a teengage girl living with chronic illness with a dose of mystery.

Leah McKenzie’s heart failed due to virus that caused Myocarditis, so she has an external mechanical heart to keep her alive while waiting for a heart that will match her. But with her rare blood type, Leah is not very optimistic in getting a transplant soon.

Matt Kenner has lost his twin brother, Eric after declared brain-dead due to the gunshot in the head. Eric’s heart match to Leah’s need, so she received a new heart the same day Eric’s died. Leah knew Matt and Eric, they attend the same school and live in the same town, and after realizing that she has Eric’ heart, she can’t help but think that Eric is gone and she is alive because of it.

The police ruled Eric’s case as suicide, but Matt doesn’t believe it. He knows his twin brother very well, and he can’t accept that Eric will take his own life. When Matt and Leah finally able to catch up with each other, they learned that they’ve been having the same dreams lately, and it’s all about Eric. Like Eric is telling them something about his death. The two then try to find out what actually happened that night Eric died, hoping to bring justice for Eric.

Told in alternating views between Leah’s first person and Matt’s third person narrative, This Heart of Mine offers story of griefs; from Leah and her family who is dealing with Leah’s condition, to Matt and his mother’s grief after losing not only Eric but also Matt’s Dad, and also those friends who are somehow connected to those who are gone like Eric.

Aside from dealing with griefs, and the mystery of Eric’s death, and more than the romance between Eric and Leah, the story also reminds readers how important it is to live in the moment and take chances in life. With Leah’s condition, Leah doesn’t know how long she has to live. Even with the new heart, there’s still the possibility that her body will reject it. And Leah learn to accept that the hard way. She learns to appreciate whatever time she got and try to live her life as normal as possible. She seize the moment, try to be brave and be happy with her life even with her condition.

“Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Win or lose. That’s what life is, a bunch of chances.”

C.C. Hunter successfully delivered a heart-warming story with a touch of mystery in this first contemporary novel of her.

A story with a heart.

* This review is based on an eGalley I received courtesy of the publisher, MacMillan in exchange of honest opinion about the book.

Blog Tour: Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu (Review)

Happy Thursday to all.

I am super excited to be part of Batman: Nightwalker Blog Tour organized by the publisher, Penguin Random House International. Batman: Nightwalker is the second installment of DC Icons series, after Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer. This ya series is a four books installment which feature different DC Superheroes in their teenage years, re-imagined by four talented ya authors.

In Batman: Nightwalker, Marie Lu shows to readers the life of the teen billionaire Bruce Wayne in Gotham City.

If you’d like to know what I thought about BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER, scroll down for my review. And if you haven’t yet heard about this amazing book, check down the book description below.


Title: Batman: Nightwalker
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780525578567
Publication Date: January 02, 2018
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover, Ebook

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Book Links: Amazon | B&NBook Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Batman: Nightwalker is Marie Lu’s rendition of Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the superhero we all know as Batman.

Bruce Wayne is a teenager, recently inherit his parents’ wealth after turning eighteen. His newly acquired richness made him a target to a group of criminals who called themselves as Nightwalkers. This group is killing Gotham’s most powerful and wealthy civilians after draining their bank accounts. It’s their way of seeking justice. When Bruce end up in Arkham Asylum for his community service, he met one of the members of Nightwalkers, Madeleine Wallace. Madeline is hard to break, the police can’t get any information from her. So when Madeline started talking to Bruce, he thought he can help the police find the Nightwalkers. But Madeline has her own motives for reaching to Bruce.

“You’re fighting for the wrong side.”

Given that the story centered during Bruce Wayne’s teenage years, I think it is fair that we don’t get yet the dark and brooding superhero we all know in most Batman movies. In this version, Marie Lu portrayed Bruce Wayne as young, kind, innocent and hasty. He is not Batman yet in this book, instead he is still in the process of becoming the rich superhero we all know. With that Bruce in Batman: Nightwalker is just a regular kid (well as regular as any rich and famous kid can be). He has friends, he go out, do some reckless things, and make mistakes. He is not that smart yet, nor techie, but with his curiosity and determination, add the experiences he gain, we all know how will he be in the future.

With Bruce’s close friends – Dianne Garcia and Harvey Dent, we see the real Bruce Wayne. They easily brings out Bruce’s character. With them readers will see the playful, happy and even protective Bruce. Dianne and Harvey makes me wish there is a continuation for this book. I want to see how Harvey Dent become the Gotham City’s District Attorney, and then the two-face villain that every Batman followers know.

Marie Lu also nailed Alfred Pennyworth character. Though with little part in the book, I still picture Alfred as the loyal, resourceful and caring guardian to Bruce. The banter between him and Bruce is perfect, just like in the comics or in the movies. They shows Alfred’s intelligence, quick wit and resourcefulness. Clearly, Marie Lu did her research well.

“The world would always have the liars and traitors and thieves, but there were still those who were good at heart.”

Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker is not about Batman, instead it is about the making of the Batman. It is about Bruce Wayne before the mask or the Caped Crusader we all know. This is Batman in his most humanized form. An origin story that is not a rehash of overly used material that is Batman.

Overall, Batman: Nightwalker is a quick and well written origin story. Marie Lu offers an interesting take to Bruce Wayne’s younger life by bringing the story up to date to modern readers while retaining the Batman concepts intact. If you are not overly familiar with the Caped Crusader’s origin, Marie Lu’s version is a good start to be get acquainted with the fictional superhero before he go full time saving Gotham City.

* This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, Penguin Random House International.

Blog Tour: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday (Review)

Happy Sunday everyone!

Today is the last stop for The Conspiration of the Universe Blog Tour organized by the publisher, Pop Fiction. This is my second time to join their blog tours, and I’m excited to introduced to all of you a new story to read.

Personal Thoughts:

The Conspiration of the Universe has an interesting premise – book character comes to life and manage to exist in real world. It’s sound intriguing to me the first time I read the synopsis, so I am defenitely in. I want to know what it is all about. I didn’t exactly expect an Inkheart kind of plot, afterall this one is ya romance not fantasy. So I started reading with few expectations.

“Every day we had to make a choice. Most of the time, the effect of our choices would be so small that we’d forget about it. But sometimes, it would be so big that you’d never forget it for the rest of your life.”

The characters – Luke, Eureka and even Matthew had their own set of charms that makes reading their story so much fun. Luke and Matthew are self confessed nerd/geek, which you all know that I’m usually fan of. My only complaint is, I don’t think that they were given the chance to show how brainy they really are, because the plot is too much focus to Luke’s love life. I would really love to read more of Luke and Matt’s geeky sides and friendship. Their little banter, and the flashback at the end is not enough for me. I think it would be more fun to see them show their personal side and talk other things than just Luke’s love life. Because to be honest, Luke’s character sometimes come up too whiny with all the love talks.

As for Eureka, I like the mystery of her character and what she symbolized. Her very own existence makes me thinks of a lot of possibilities for the ending and possible explanations that the author has in his sleeve. And I’m glad that Kenneth Olanday delivered well. It’s actually one I predicted, but never the less glad to see how smoothly it was executed. Kudos to the author for delivering a believable ending.

I admit there are some issues with the writing. But given how fun and quick I finished the book, I am willing to let those pass. Eureka and Luke story is something to be enjoy and not to analyze. It’s fiction and a love story after all.

Overall, the Conspiration of the Universe is a quick, light and fun read. Kenneth Olanday did a wondeful job fleshing out Eureka and Luke’s story. Something that pop fiction readers will surely enjoy.


Luke believes in a quote by his favorite author — that is you want something so bad, the universe will conspire to help you get it.

Luke must have wanted to find love so much that Eureka, the heroine of his favorite book, comes to life and falls in love with him.

There is just one catch: once Eureka reaches the end of her book’s storylike in the real world, then her story with Luke will end, too.

Will the universe conspire to help the star-crossed lovers find true happiness with each other?

One thing is for sure, Luke will do everything he can to keep Eureka forever.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser (Author Interview + Giveaway)

I’m super excited to welcome new author Karina Yan Glaser on the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Karina answered few questions for me about her upcoming debut middle-grade contemporary novel, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. I have read the book few weeks ago and I really love it. It has a classic-old-vibe feel to it, which makes me missed my younger days where my dad used to tell me stories during bedtime. This is a perfect read-out-loud book for kids, and also a perfect holiday read since the story is set around Christmas.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street releases on October 3rd, so there’s plenty of time to pre-order a copy from your favorite book stores and receive it on release day. And if you’d like to know more what I thought about this book, stop by  again a week before the book release for my review.

Following the author interview is Karina Yan Glasers’ author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to pre-order copies of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.

And if you would like the chance to win a signed advance readers copy of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, buttons and stickers, Karina is giving away below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post. I hope you all enjoy the interview.

Interview with Karina Yan Glaser

Please tell us a bit about your journey with your book, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?
I began writing The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street in November of 2013. My youngest daughter had just started preschool, and since she only went there for three mornings a week, I would walk over to the local Coffee Bean and park myself at a table and write. I drafted the entire book during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It was a terrible draft, but it gave me something to work with! I took some writing classes, got feedback, and wrote revision after revision in the next year and a half. When I finally felt like the manuscript was ready, I began querying for agents and the wonderful Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown offered representation in the summer of 2015. We went on submission in the fall of that year, and it got picked up by Ann Rider (best editor ever!) at HMH within a couple of weeks.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street have a strong focus on family and community. How much does this reflect on your own life?
I live in Harlem with my husband and two kids, and like a lot of people I know that live in New York City, we don’t have a lot of family that live nearby. There’s no support network, which was really hard especially when our kids were young. As a result, we developed family relationships with friends and neighbors that really influenced the setting where the Vanderbeekers lived.

I love your characters, they are diverse and charming (even the bunny, Paganini). Which of them is the most fun to write?
Oh, that is a hard one! Hmm, I loved each character, but it was particularly fun getting into Laney’s head. I love the uncomplicated way she sees the world.

What scene in The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street are you most proud of, and why?
I really loved writing the climax of the book. I won’t give anything away, but it was a scene that played itself out over and over in my head before I actually wrote it.

What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?
Middle grade readers are the best! It’s such a beautiful age for discovery. Kids that age are full of questions about the world and their place in it. Middle grade books were the ones that made me fall in love with reading, and they are still my favorite books to read now as an adult. I count myself as very lucky to be able to write for these kids.

Where do you see your work going after the release of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street? Do you think you’ll stick with middle or branch out into something else? What are your writing career ambitions?
I plan to stick with middle grade, but I might want to try writing early chaper books. I have three more middle grade books with my Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, so that will keep me busy for awhile!

Thanks for having me on your blog!


Originally from California, Karina came to New York City for college and has stuck around for nearly twenty years. She has had a varied career teaching and implementing literacy programs in family homeless shelters and recruiting healthcare professionals to volunteer in under resourced areas around the world. Now as a mother, one of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can’t go anywhere without a book. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two daughters, dog, cat, and house rabbit.

Find Karina

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

The Vanderbeekers of 141st StreetTitle: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Author: Karina Yan Glaser
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 03, 2017
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover, eBook

The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.

A modern classic in the making reminiscent of the Penderwicks series, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is about the connections we make and the unexpected turns life can take.

Book Links

Amazon | BAM | Book Depository | Goodreads | IndieBound


What’s up for Grab?

  • signed ARC of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
  • Buttons and Stickers

  The Rules:

  • Open to US only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends September 22nd, 2017
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.