Saturday, September 30, 2017

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 225: Monstress, by Marjorie M. Liu

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

Monstress Vol.2: The Blood
Marjorie M. Liu
Graphic Novel, 152 pages
Bloomsbury USA Children's
July 11, 2017
   Comics, Fantasy, Horror

My Thoughts About This Cover

I've started to feature graphic novels on this blog, although I'm not really reading that many of them yet. I'm not likely to read this one, either, as it's classified under the horror genre, but I just HAD to create an SCS post on the cover. It is just GORGEOUS! I saw it featured on the blog Musings of a Bookish Kitty, and well, it just drew me in right away! 

The artist is Japanese, and that's very obvious in the design style. I love the nod to Hokusai's famous wave in the right-hand side background. Absolutely STUNNING!  The wave is also very well-integrated into the overall scene.

The influence of Western art styles -- especially Art Nouveau -- is also evident in this amazing, magical image -- in the decoration on the young woman's coat sleeves, the use of space, as well as in the more realistic depiction of her figure, the cat, and the owl flying overhead, in the upper background.

There's also a touch of humor in this brilliant cover; the contrast between the young woman's steely determination, which shows in her facial expression, is comically contrasted with the abject look of fear on the little girl's face, while the poor cat is getting squeezed, and it seems that he will soon start to squirm! He also looks REAL ticked off! Lol. 

I also LOVE the Stempunk vibe at the bottom of the cover, plus the overall Manga look. 

All in all, this is an AMAZING cover.

The incredibly talented artist responsible for this BEAUTIFUL creation is Sana Takeda, born in Nigata, Japan. She currently resides in Tokyo. She has no formal art training, which is truly admirable. She simply drew a lot as a child. 

At the age of 20, she started out as a 3D CGI designer for SEGA, a Japanese video game company. She got her break illustrating American comics by contacting C.B. Cebulski at Marvel, sending him some of her work. He replied, and she was all set! She is currently a freelance artist and illustrator, and is working on the Ms. Marvel comics.

Takeda has previously collaborated with novel author and comic book writer Marjorie Liu on previous comics projects. Takeda works through digital processes exclusively, which makes her art all the more remarkable! I LOVE the intricacies of her artwork!

I already know that I will be featuring more covers by my newest addition to my favorite book cover (and graphic novel cover) artists' list!!

What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tour Spotlight/Giveaway!! The West Woods, by Suzy Vadori

Welcome to the blog tour for 
The West Woods,
sponsored by
YA Bound Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring 
a mini-review with excerpt!
There's also a tour-sponsored giveaway!!

The West Woods
(The Fountain Series, Book 2)
Suzy Vadori
Trade Paperback, 290 pages
Evil Alter Ego Press
September 22, 1027
Contemporary Fiction, 
Fantasy, Speculative Fiction,
Young Adult Fiction

Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus Boarding School. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school's fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.

As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.

This mini-review is of the excerpt below, 
not the entire book.

This short excerpt offers an interesting inside look at the rather troubled relationship between Courtney and her dad. We get a glimpse of her feelings about this boarding school she's so eager to escape. It looks like the author has woven some psychological depth into this novel, and I really like that! This type of plot will never fail to intrigue me. 
 I like Courtney's voice, too. She certainly has a poetic flair about her, as she describes the ivy growing on the school buildings. 
In short, I definitely want to read this one! Of course, I want to read the first book, The Fountain, as well! I think this is a series to watch!

Chapter One

No Retreat

Courtney had one foot out of the car door, with her body still firmly planted inside. Her throat tightened as the campus loomed before her. A dusting of snow graced the trees and roofs. Though she’d attended St. Augustus for ninth grade and half of the tenth already, it didn’t feel like home.

The school’s buildings were set well back from the road, and Courtney stared at them now. The whole scene felt out of place in Massachusetts. She’d always thought the oldest building on campus could be a castle like you’d find in France or England. At one time, its coating of green ivy had fascinated Courtney, like it was being gobbled up by the vines. As the semesters had passed, though, the plain red brick of the newer buildings seemed more in tune with the personality of the school she’d come to know.

Courtney sighed as she watched her dad walk away from the parking lot toward the dorm with her older sister Hanna. Winter break had ended too soon.

“I’ll wash your car every night if you reconsider?” she called out.

As if he hadn’t heard her, her dad pulled the lapel of his suit jacket up over his face against the cold and continued walking toward the dorm. He didn’t turn back. She wracked her brain for something else to offer, but came up with nothing.

After a long pause, Courtney hoisted her duffel bag from the car seat beside her up onto her shoulder. She pulled her long, bushy red hair out from under its strap. She could just stay in the car. Once her dad got Hanna settled in her room and returned to the parking lot, the two of them could go. Home. Courtney pictured his face turning a deep shade of red if she tried that. It wasn’t going to be that simple. She’d argued her case all last semester, the entire winter break, then the whole car ride up here from Boston today. He hadn’t given an inch.

Finally, she pulled herself off the leather seat of the car and stepped out into the staff parking lot where they weren’t supposed to park. Jim Wallis regularly ignored "No Parking" signs. Besides, he wasn’t planning to stay long. Courtney shut the car door with a satisfying slam.…

Purchase Links
Amazon US/Amazon CA/Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble/Kobo

This is the first book in this 
EXCITING series!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Suzy Vadori is an operations executive by day, writer by night. The Fountain was her debut novel for Young Adults, and was an Aurora Award Finalist in 2016. The West Woods is Book 2 in The Fountain Series, a prequel telling the story the year before The Fountain takes place.

Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers' community; she has served as Program Manager for Young Adults at "When Words Collide" (a Calgary festival for readers and Writers) since 2013. 

Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with her husband and three kids. 


To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!

Book Blogger Hop No. 107: Books I Have Cuddled With

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Have you ever slept with a favorite,
beloved book under your
pillow, or cradled in your arms?

(Submitted  by Maria @ 

My Answer

Oh, yes!! These are part of my treasured childhood memories!

The first book I remember doing this with was Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. This book not only tells a WONDERFUL, very sweet tale, in which a little girl goes to live with her grandfather, but it also has sentimental value  for me.

When I was around 10, I came down with the measles, and had to stay in bed for a few days. Of course, I could not go to school. Well, one night, I got a very nice surprise...... When my dad came home from work, he went to see me in my bedroom, and presented me with a copy of Heidi! I had been feeling glum because I was bedridden, but Dad really cheered me up by giving me the best gift a bookworm could ever hope for!! So of course I started regularly sleeping with this beloved book in my arms! 

I wish I knew where it disappeared to..... it got misplaced somewhere along the way.... I LOVED it so much, too!! I would really love to get another copy of it, although it won't have the same sentimental value of the original. However, I've looked all over the Internet, and have been unable to locate the same edition. I wish I could go back in time and thank my Dad again.... that was such a thoughtful, loving thing for him to do! I have never forgotten this, either! 

This is not the original edition my dad bought me, but I have just ordered it from Amazon, as it expresses my feelings toward him. When my dad hugged me, I felt safe, loved, and that all was right with the world.

The edition pictured above has a rather poignant feeling for me, too, because I wish I had had this kind of relationship with my maternal grandpa, as well. Sadly, he was never affectionate with us kids, and was always very serious. I realize that he had a lot of stress related to our forced move to this country, but still.... I do wish we could have been closer to him.

Another book I can remember cradling in my arms was Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell. Mom bought me this one. I saw this book at a Winn-Dixie store. It was very reasonably-priced at the time. Well, I began to pester her to buy it for me, and she laughingly gave in. This book marked the beginning of my great love for horses, which has stayed with me to this day, although, alas....I have not been lucky enough to actually own a horse.... Still, I treasured this book, and also went to sleep with it cradled in my arms. Oh, how I wish those days were back.......                          

This is the EXACT edition Mom bought me. It, too, disappeared. I have not been able to find this one online, either. However, I do own another, very beautiful edition of this childhood gem. It doesn't have the same sentimental value, of course.

At least I still have the books I was able to bring with me from Cuba, when we came to the States!

This is the edition I own now. I really must re-read this novel, especially since it holds such special memories for me.

Some of the most wonderful, touching memories in a bookworm's life have something to do with books. That has certainly been the case with me, and I'm sure there are many of my fellow bookworms who also have precious bookish memories! 

Although I haven't cuddled with books again since I grew up, I have from time to time HUGGED beloved books! And there have been several of them, too, such as the books of The Twilight Saga, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter books, as well as some HIGHLY beloved classics such as Jane Eyre!! 

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tour Spotlight/Giveaway!! Love and Other Hazards, by Claudia Riess

Welcome to the blog tour for 
Love and Other Hazards,
sponsored by 
Bewitching Book Tours!!

Be sure to enter the 
tour-sponsored giveaway!!

Love and Other Hazards
Claudia Riess
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
May 10, 2017
Kindle Edition, 230 pages
June 6, 2017
Publisher and Cover Art:
River Grove Books
Contemporary Fiction
Contemporary Romance
Women's Fiction

Love and Other Hazards is a novel about urban singles stumbling toward fulfillment in an odyssey of sex, love, and parenting.

Glenda Fieldston is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her seven-year-old daughter, Astrid, when Eugene Lerman comes walking by with his eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, a schoolmate of Astrid’s. The families spot each other, Glenda and Eugene engage in long-range cursory assessments, and then they go their separate ways.

But not for long. Glenda and Eugene cross paths professionally soon after, and circumstances at work bring them into close association. So begins a friendship fraught with 111complications. Glenda’s independence is self-imposed and fierce. Eugene’s was foisted on him by a wife who left him. Although Glenda’s and Eugene’s personal demons are incompatible, their longings are, confoundedly, in harmony. Their cautious friendship is further inhibited by past and present relationships, and it remains to be seen if they can break out of their set ways to make a break for uncharted love.

Purchase the Kindle Edition on AMAZON for ONLY $2.99!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Claudia Riess, a Vassar graduate, is a novelist and author/illustrator of children’s books. She has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker and Holt, Rinehart and Winston and has edited several art history monographs. Her first novel, Reclining Nude, was published by Stein and Day. Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of Awakenings, commenting on Reclining Nude wrote: “…exquisite–and delicate…a most courageous book, full of daring–a daring only possible to a passionate and pure heart.”
Claudia's next soon-to-be published title is Love and Other Hazards. She is hard at work on her next novel, tentatively titled Dangerous Light
Claudia lives with her husband in the Hamptons and New York City.

Google +/Amazon

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 34: Moonlight Over Manhattan, by Sarah Morgan

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!
This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings, and inspired by "Waiting On Wednesday", which used to be hosted by
 Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

For more information, please click HERE.

As in the previous meme, this one showcases future releases  we book  bloggers 
are eagerly anticipating!!
There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

 Moonlight Over Manhattan
(From Manhattan with Love, Book 6)
Sarah Morgan
Mass Market Paperback,  400 pages
HQN Books
November 28, 2017    
Christmas Romance
Contemporary Romance
Women's Fiction

She'll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle...

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant Spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list--dealing with Madi's temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi--how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple--he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there's nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan's kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all--letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

Why I can't wait for this one!

Here's another Christmas-themed romance!! YAAAAY!!!  And it, too, is set in NYC!! For some reason, I LOVE the idea of Christmas in that city! I guess this must be a holdover from watching "Miracle On 34th Street" (both new and older versions) every Christmas! Lol.  But it's also the fact that I read another Sarah Morgan book last holiday season -- Miracle On 5th Avenue -- which I just ADORED. 
Moonlight Over Manhattan (gee, the initials in the title spell out "MOM"! Lol.) also has a bonus for my pooch-loving blogging buddies (you know who you are!)....yes, there are dogs involved in the story! I like that, too! So I want to read this one before the Big Day arrives!!

These are the other books 
in this FUN, romantic series!!

(From Manhattan With Love, Book 0.5)

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance. Her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America, and has been nominated five times. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

What do you think of my choice?
Leave your link below, so I can
come check out your pick(s)!