// Bookish Campaign // Book Review: Ferryman by: Claire McFall #BookReview #Ferryman #WalkerBooksUS

Ferryman by: Claire McFall
Published July 27, 2017 by Kelpies Edge

Summary:

Dylan has escaped a horrific train crash unscathed.

Except she hasn’t.

The bleak landscape around her isn’t Scotland. It’s a wasteland haunted by wraiths searching for human souls.

And the stranger waiting for her isn’t an ordinary boy. Tristan is a Ferryman, tasked with transporting her soul safely to the afterlife, a journey he’s made a thousand times before.

Except this time, something’s different.

Torn between love and destiny, Dylan realises she can’t let Tristan go, nor can she stay with him. Eventually, inevitably, the wraiths would capture her soul and she would be lost forever.

Can true love overcome the boundaries of death?

Ferryman is a thought-provoking and truly original story of a love that refuses to be limited by death. This stunning, award-winning debut novel is being reissued to coincide with the publication of the eagerly-anticipated sequel, Trespassers.


I joined Bookstagrammers.com and this is my first campaign. A HUGE thank you to the author, the publishers and bookstagrammers.com for giving me this opportunity and I can’t wait to do more!

I like greek type stories. I especially love retellings. I’m a sucker for them. I can’t help myself and no I do not have a problem! The cover to this book, this one, is absolutely gorgeous and it does really show the theme and imagery for this story. Dylan, after realizing what had happened to her on the train, is being escorted across some wasteland by a mysterious guy named Tristan. Tristan is sworn to guide and protect her so that she may move forward with her afterlife. Think of Charon…

The beginning of the story did have me hooked. I wanted to know about Dylan and this relationship with her supposed father, but hopefully there will be answers in the coming second book.

The wasteland that Dylan travels through is a place that works and creates based on her emotional state that time. Kind of a scary thought when you really think about it. You find out that you died in this crash and this land goes off by your state of mind…I can’t imagine what I would have to travel through if my mind was like ‘wtf just happened to me?’ I’m a huge true crime fan too…no telling what my head will concoct.

I’m getting off track now.

I won’t go into great detail because there is going to be a second book and questions are raised and we don’t have all the answers as of right now. That’s the point of a series, lol.

I like the style of this story. I enjoyed how it was told. It was nice that it wasn’t told from the MC point of view. I don’t always enjoy that view because there’s always the idea that the MC isn’t very reliable – I have to be in the mood for an unreliable narrator, just saying. Tristan is an interesting character. He takes the form of whoever he is guiding is most comfortable. It was kind of cute when he talks about how he took the form of Santa Clause for a young child…cute but a little sad.

I think my only genuine complaint, not really a complaint, is the relationship establishing between Tristan and Dylan. I had a hard time buying that there ‘had’ to be some sort of feelings of romance between them. Dylan wanted to stay with Tristan more than anything and I just…I wasn’t entirely on board with them. This is the first book so perhaps it’ll be developed better, but right now, I’m not entirely convinced.

But that’s just me. I look forward to a second book and seeing how this story plays out.

// ARC Review // If the Shoe Fits by: Julie Murphy // #BookReview #JulieMurphy #ARCReview

If the Shoe Fits by: Julie Murphy
Published August 3, 2021 by Hyperion Avenue

Summary:

After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own


I’m WAY overdo for this review. Thank you to NetGallery and the Author/Publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review the newest novel by Julie Murphy. IF you have not read or seen Dumplin’, you have missed out and should redeem yourself at this very moment!

Now that I got that out of the way…

If the Shoe Fits is a sort of retelling of Cinderella, but totally not! I know, I know, Cinderella is such an overdone retelling, right? Well, make an exception for this one. I sure did and I’m SO DONE with Cinderella stories. We follow Cindy who is given this opportunity to join her step mother’s reality show, Before Midnight. Think of the Bachelor. The winner would get over 100,000 dollars and Cindy would also benefit with getting her name out there in the fashion industry.

The woman LOVES shoes and plans on designing them.

And yes, in this book, she is given a very expensive and nice glass slippers for her date with ‘the suitor’. You’re wondering, why is this so different than other Cinderella retellings?

Well, for one, the step mother and step sisters are awesome! There is no hostility nor fake niceness, yes, actual nice and loving family Cindy has after the death of her father. Did I mention that Cindy is plus size and is not at all self conscience?

I’m not at all a fan of the bachelor or bachelorette shows. I really enjoyed this kind of setting. The guy, Henry, is a nice guy who genuinely likes Cindy and is torn between his business and the contract with the show. It gets complicated and a little sad, but you wind up rooting for Cindy in getting what she deserves, including Henry.

I adore Julie Murphy and this story was so enjoyable. I’m seeing that it is a series so who knows what will happen in a second book – I want to know more about Cindy’s step sister, Anna – but I won’t say why because I don’t want to spoil that little side story. I’m really not into shoes or fashion, but I endured some of that talk for this book.

And let’s just say there is an activity where Cindy totally pwns one of the women in the competition that dares call her ‘fat’. You go girl!

// Discussion // Author Influences // Does the Author sway your decision to read their work?

I really hope I’m explaining this right because I think this could be a very important topic.

So, we are all aware of JK Rowlings views on Transgenders. I know that Emily Griffin was also under fire for some remakes made on Twitter as well in regards to Megan Markle. When it came to JK, her comments and statements caused so much backlash that most people now will not have anything to do with Harry Potter.

I’m not entirely sure, nor did I find much, if Emily Griffin suffered in her sales, but I’m really curious.

Do you let an author’s views, statements, or even actions persuade you from reading or enjoying their work?

My answer is mostly yes. To an extent. It’s not so when it comes to Harry Potter. Because I have loved the series for so long and it means something to me. I can’t just dislike this series over night or just stop loving it all together. How can you?

Do I condone what she said, hell no. And really, anybody of such high status should really be more mindful as to what you say. And it’s really common sense. Yes you have freedom of speech but you’re not exempt from scrutiny for it, in other words, freedom of speech.

Now if it was an author I never read or really heard of, then I think the influence is greater. At least to me.

I really want to hear your opinions. Not just on JK but in general about authors influences. Please keep it civil. No hate comments.

// Audiobook Review // People Like her by: Ellery Lloyd // #AudioBook #BookReview #Thriller

People Like Her by: Ellory Lloyd
Published January 12, 2021 by Harper

Summary:

To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life.

To one of Emmy’s dangerously obsessive followers, she’s the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it.  

As Emmy’s marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family.


I know I’ve been MIA for the week, but what can you do when life gets in the way of my bookish feels? Gotta love Audible. When they recommend you books based on ones you’ve already read (listened) or looked at briefly, you gotta wonder if the book is going to be good or not. And by the summary of it, I was pretty curious. The summary, however, seemed to be better than the book, which kind of stinks because I was looking for a good thriller/stalker type story after reading a few YA novels. I say reading, but listening and reading are two similar ways of retaining information and I will stand by that statement no matter who says otherwise.

The book is told in three points of views: You got Emmy who is the ‘Mama Bear’ Instagram influencer who makes her living off of photos of her children and the struggles of being a mom. Her husband, Dan, who was a writer but now makes the excuse that he has a hard time writing since Emmy kind of leaves him with the kids all the time (he’s a bit of a whiner and a complainer). Then there is the stalker whom you don’t get to know the identity of till much later, as well as the reason she wants to get rid of Emmy.

I wanted to like this story. I was interested when it started but while I normally appreciate different points of views, not when the two main characters are so unlikeable and constantly have some sort of negative thing to say about one or the other. Emmy is basically making her living off of her children, Coco (good lord why would you name your child that?) and baby Bear (again, why?!) She busies herself with her agent, photo sessions, award ceremonies (yes, an award ceremony) and complains about her husband who used to be a writer. Seriously, nothing nice to say about the guy.

You know how the met? She was seeing someone for three years and ended it when she met him. And he had no idea!

If that doesn’t scream red flag I don’t know what!

Then Dan who constantly complains about his wife to where I don’t even think he actually likes her at all. I don’t even think he much liked his children, especially when he has to be the one to watch them. He tires to be ‘supportive’ of his wife but it’s like watching someone who has gotten into this rut of a routine and just keeps going with it, and complain to whomever listens – in this case it’s the listener, me.

When we hear for the stalker, there’s no introduction or chapter break. The stalker just keeps talking. The woman is pretty vindictive for what she believes is Emmy’s fault. To be fair…I don’t think it’s really Emmy’s fault, but at the same time, you probably should keep record of what you tell your fans when the DM for you parental advice. I’m just saying. Emmy also did something that WAS SO UNFORGIVABLE that honestly…I was absolutely stunned that she did it and what made it sad, she sees it as she just used it as a story and feels she did nothing wrong.

I don’t want to tell you about it because it would give off spoilers, but let’s just say she used a friend’s tragic story as her own to land a TV show. That’s all.

I’ll get to the point.

I felt like the stalker’s reason for wanting to find Emmy and make her pay was highly weak. She lost her daughter but blames it on Emmy and the reasoning was the weak part. The ending was kind of cringeworthy meaning to be a some sort of happy ending but it definitely did not work out that way. I’m wondering if this was supposed to be some sort of story about the dark side of social media, it could have been better.

This is not at all against the author. She definitely told a story really well, the story itself just didn’t do it for me.

// Book Review // The Search for Synergy by: Brett Salter // #BookReview #Dragons #MiddleGrade

The Search for Synergy (Talisman Series Vol 1) by: Brett Salter
Published May 31, 2017

“The Search For Synergy” is the first book in The Talisman Series by author Brett Salter. It follows the exploits of two middle-school boys, Rome Lockheed and Julian Rider, as they transition from normal kids into epic warriors fighting for the existence of the Earth realm. Rome is secretly a fire dragon from the Den of Volcana placed under a spell which hides his true form. Julian is an oddball, up-and-coming knight with a case of the “try-hards”. Together, they perform an ancient pact which bonds their lives and souls forever. Under the tutelage and guidance of an eccentric, local librarian, Mr. Jones, the two learn of an impending invasion from an archaic evil desperate to invade from the other side of The Void.


Okay, it says ARC on the graphic, so ignore that little error. That and I’m too lazy to go back and change it and then re save it…I’m exhausted just even thinking about it. Anyway, I would like to give a shout out thank you to the author for reaching out to me to read this book for him. I do enjoy some fantasy from time to time, and I don’t often read stories about dragons. No real reason, I just never did. How would you react if someone told you that you were secretly a fire dragon? Would you react with total hesitance like Rome?

If you said no, you’re lying because come on!

Unless you’re Toothless…anyway…

The series is targeted for middle grade audience. That does not mean us of not younger people (I’m not saying old) cannot enjoy this series either. The start of the book was really fun. Rome takes his time to come to terms with being a dragon and having this bond with Julian. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of this old cartoon movie called, ‘Flight of Dragons’. That was/is one of my favorite cartoons when I was younger. John Ritter was the one of the voices…RIP.

The first book is introduction and story building. You got Rome who has been put under this spell to hide his dragon self and Mr. Jones helping to help him control himself. A few things happen along the way when Rome’s dragon self makes an appearance – cops were involved a little, but, don’t worry, no body was hurt…at least not then. I liked the bond between Rome and Julian and at times I wanted to be like ‘Julian! Rome is trying to tell you something about this woman! Pay attention man/little man!’ Yes, I talked to the words in my book and think maybe they’ll listen to me – it never works out.

It was a fun beginning to the series. You get to learn more about Rome and Julian’s family (old english talk and all) and how Rome really begins to embrace his inner dragon.

I think we all need to do that.

It is middle grade level so it’s not for everybody like me who likes to read YA or middle grade from time to time. If you like dragons and learning some history behind why Rome has his dragon hidden and why it was, it’s a good series to absorb yourself.

// The Neverending TBRs // But We don’t Want it To // #TBR #NeverendingTBR #Bookish

Ahh yes. A bookworms most prized and sometimes overwhelming possession: the to be read stack. And this stack just gets bigger and bigger. Do you have the guts to count the books you haven’t read yet.

Me? Nope. I don’t even want to think about it.

I have a full tote bag from Barnes and Noble, a large stack sitting on my night stand, several stacks sitting in a bottom cabinet and a few in a bag I carry with me everywhere.

Those are just the physical copies!

Do you get overwhelmed by the tbr stack you have sometimes? Or does it always make you smile on a day where one is needed?

I choose smile.

// Audio Book Review // The Summer of Jordi Perez by: Amy Spalding // #BookReview #AmySpalding #AudioBook

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by: Amy Spalding
Published April 3rd, 2018 by Sky Pony Press

Summary:

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Pérez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?


Yes, I posted the summary from Goodreads (not the whole thing) because quite frankly, writing my own summary for this book would just confuse people…and myself. I’ve wanted to try this book for the last year or so and just never picked it up or listened to it. I love YA, I do, but there are times I pick the book that just makes me want to roll my eyes obsessively and be like…oh geez, seriously? But I can’t fully judge, because weren’t we all there at one point in our lives? I feel like sometimes I’m still there…and I’m in my 30’s.

Yeah, it really does.

Anyway, back to the review.

This would be one of the books that made me want to roll my eyes, question Abby’s choices out loud (granted I’m in my car when I do this) and every now and then agree with a resounding ‘RIGHT?!’ I liked Abby, but I just adored Jordi. With Jordi and her photography, made me think of those days where I used to take pictures all the time. Abby’s wardrobe choices so sound so damn cute. I’m wondering if I could really pull off fruitful outfits. I mean like the ones with pineapple pattern on a skirt. Could I? We shall see.

I really enjoyed the story. You get to the root of Abby, even when the story is in her point of view, there’s no questioning if we can trust her story or not. I felt for her when her when she mentions her mother at one point targeting her weight. Girl, I unfortunately, have been there before and it almost caused a rift between us. It happens and I’m glad it didn’t, but every situation is so different. Her mother is die hard NO CARB cook and has her own local show and whatnot – sorry lady, but the body cannot live without carbs. Science. Just saying.

I was really wondering WHY people were so mean to Jacks! I absolutely loved him. Sure, he had some flaws, but what person doesn’t, but I liked him and couldn’t understand some of the hate he got. I’m just saying. And the guy wants to get burgers to provide research for an app! Sign me up!!

I do like how the story ended. I hate when people don’t resolve issues they have in the beginning, or at least confront them and begin the path of resolving or coming to a resolution. Yes, I agree, Jordi kind of messed up a little, but my little heart was so happy to have those two girls back together! I can’t help myself. I am a hopeless romantic after all.

It is a pretty typical YA story with LGBTQ representation and plus size! I liked it for its story and its characters…and made me hungry for burgers. Yum!

// End of Month TBR // No Pressure? // #Discussion #TBR

Happy Sunday and first day of August! I’d like to start the month how a good majority of the bookish community start off – only difference is, I’m not going to discuss the books I’ve read in the month of July (which was only like three), instead, I want to talk about this very topic. This is just for pure fun discussion. I’m not trying to change something or call out something, but it’s out of curiosity. I’m enjoying this discussion posts and I love the response I’m getting. So this one should be a bit more fun.

This also pertains the ebook TBRs as well. I do not discriminate because I have not only a bunch of physical books, but also ebooks. I try not to count the ARCs that I’m given because I prefer to keep those to myself until I post the review. So, while I did finish an ARC, I won’t post information about it until I post the review.

I never set a Goodreads reading goal this year. Last year, I relented and set one, and I still didn’t meet it. I wound up changing the number to make me feel a little better. Granted, last year was the start of the pandemic, but I’ve done this before and I still wound up changing my goal. This year, I’m keeping my ground and not setting a goal this time. For me, that kind of brought on some mental pressure that I almost felt bad for not meeting a goal that I myself have set. There are times where I can’t sit and read because I can’t concentrate. Audiobooks are an absolute godsend but even times I don’t want to listen to something and concentrate or else I’ll miss something.

It’s tough living with an overactive brain.

Enough of about me. For those that make these posts all the time, or see them, do you sometimes feel bad when you haven’t read as much in the month? What about how you feel when you’ve read so much in the month? Have your own questions about TBRs? Comment and let’s have a fun discussion.

// Trigger Warnings: Advised or Not // #BookBlog #BookishDiscussion

Happy Saturday! The week was so complicated at work that I’m just so glad it’s over. I did finish another audiobook and that review will be out soon.

This topic came to me when I watched someone’s Book Tok and someone asked about trigger warnings. She said that if her, herself, is not triggered then she wouldn’t remember to give these warnings for any reviews. This honestly got me thinking about this kind of topic.

Yes, trigger warnings should definitely be given by the author – but if the author isn’t triggered by it, should it still be given to those that could be? And what of us book reviewers? I myself kind of recognize any sensitive material, anything graphic or even mentions I’ll give a minor or major trigger warning. I don’t know everything, but I’ll still give warnings whether I was triggered by them or not.

I’m not saying anything negative to those that don’t give warnings when they are not triggered themselves, but that got me just curious.

Should you remember those triggers for future readers? Not talking about authors, but reviewers. This might be some off question for discussion, but I’m genuinely curious about it. Discuss and please, be civil.

Fairy Tale Retellings // Not Enough or Overdone? #FairyTaleRetellings

I started this topic on my Instagram and I was surprised by the responses when I asked what Fairy Tale was over done. Would you believe a vast majority of them said Beauty and the Beast. I said Cinderella. I thought more on this and I wanted to get more insight on this topic here.

No, we are not talking Disney. Don’t get me wrong!! I’m a Disnerd through and through, HOWEVER, I LOVE the original fairy tales. To me, they are more grounded and in touch with what we have to deal with when it comes to reality. Little Riding Hood – Don’t stray from the path (nor talk to strangers). They teach morales.

Although, Little Mermaid was MY movie growing up:

I mean, how can it NOT BE! I loved mermaids before liking mermaids was considered cool! I’m just saying. But did you know the story is much more sad than Disney made it? I wrote something about that so long ago. I still love the Disney version and Hans Christian Anderson. I’ve read TWO retellings for this story and while they were good, I wouldn’t say they were the best. At least, not as far as I have found as of yet.

There are QUITE a number of fairy tale retellings. Just to name a few…

Okay, I said a few, but I found more than I thought I did. And…yeah I can see why my Instagram post got Beauty and the Beast as the most answers. My answer was Cinderella. Quite frankly, how many times can you tell the story of Cindrella (male or female) being mistreated by step family and getting to go to a ball/party and prince or whoever finding the person they danced with? I don’t know. It might be because I’ve mostly found those first and just got so SICK of the story being retold. I’m not dissing the authors for writing the most told fairy tale retellings – not at all. I’m saying that if you want to tackle a retelling, I would try to find another way to tell the story. What other way is there? I have no idea.

I do think some fairy tales don’t get a lot of love like they should. I have read a few Peter Pan ones.

I’ll always love my copy of Grimm’s fairy tales.

So now begs the question here: What do you think is the most overdone fairy tale retelling? Discuss!