Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

TITLE: The Thirteenth Fairy (Never After, #1)
AUTHOR: Melissa de la Cruz
PUBLISHER: Roaring Book Press
RELEASE DATE: December 1st, 2020
GENRE(S): Middle Grade Fiction–Fantasy

Real life and fairy tales collide in Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy, book one in the new middle-grade Never After series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants series, Melissa de la Cruz.

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho’s sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there’s no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.

Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent–he’s real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!

Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.


I have been a huge fan of Melissa de la Cruz for an incredibly long time, but when I picked this book up I realized that I have never actually read any of her middle grade books. And I’m glad it was this one that I picked up first because, well, fairies, but also it was incredibly funny and still felt like de la Cruz to me. Plus it has so many odes to classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes that I couldn’t help but fall in love with what I was reading.

There’s just so much to love with this one. We’ve got some diversity with our main characters, you’ll find yourself chuckling throughout, and there are classic story elements you know and love made fresh. Plus the overarching fairy tale this one is based off of is Sleeping Beauty. And if you know me you know that’s my favorite (naps, all I have to say). So I always get excited when I see a reworking of this story because it’s not the same “tale as old as time” as we much more frequently see in books.

But I am digressing with this review, so to wrap it up: there is plenty of adventure and fantasy throughout this one that you won’t be able to much else other than furiously flip through the pages. And it’s just a really well written and well done middle grade book that will have appeal for middle schoolers and adults alike.

About the Author

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Tour Schedule

March 1st

Turn the Page Tours – Welcome Post
The Writer’s Alley – Review

March 2nd

Leann Reads Books – Review & Author Interview
sparkfromtheinfinite – Review
Musing of Souls – Review

March 3rd

The Bookwyrm’s Den – Review
Books by Maeve – Review
Ya It’s Lit – Review

March 4th

Book Butterfly in Dreamland – Review
Melancholic Blithe – Guest Post & Review
The Momma Spot – Review

March 5th

The Tattooed Librarian – Review
The Book Blog Around the Corner – Review

March 6th

WhimsicalyMe – Review
She Reads Again – Review

March 7th

The World of Celia McMahon – Review
WhimsicalBlessings – Review & Author Interview


Up for grabs, we have ONE (1) physical copy of The Thirteenth Fairy (Never After, #1) by Melissa de la Cruz. This giveaway will run from March 1st to March 8th at 11:59 PM CST and is open to US residents only.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Kidnap on the California Comet Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Book Title: Kidnap on the California Comet (Adventures on Trains #2)
Authors: M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 23, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure

In this second book of the middle-grade Adventures on Trains series, amateur sleuth Hal Beck travels to the U.S. with his uncle to ride a famous train–the California Comet–and stumbles on a new mystery to solve, in M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman’s Kidnap on the California Comet…

After his adventure on the Highland Falcon, amateur sleuth Hal Beck is excited to embark on another journey with his journalist uncle. This time, they’re set to ride the historic California Comet from Chicago to San Francisco.

Hal mostly keeps to himself on the trip, feeling homesick and out of place in America. But he soon finds himself drawn into another mystery when the young daughter of a billionaire tech entrepreneur goes missing!

Along with new friends–spunky 13-year-old Mason and his younger sister, Hadley–Hal races against the clock to find the missing girl before the California Comet reaches its final destination.


This series is just shaping out to be lots of fun and lots adventure. The perfect combination for middle grade books! And really any “grade” book for that matter. But the characters, the atmosphere, and the plot all come together to create a story that will leave you turning the pages as fast as you can.

It takes a certain style of writing to make a middle grade book have that extra…. oomph… to make all levels of readers enjoy it. You know what I mean? And these two authors certainly did that. I just found myself thoroughly enjoying the story as I read it and could picture any number of people picking the book up and doing just the same. And the characters in this book are just what really make the story. You can’t help but find yourself falling into their antics and adventures and really caring about what happens next.

All in all I am really much more in love with this series than I expected to be and I can’t wait to find out what comes next. I can only imagine how much growth we’re going to see as the books progress. And again, give this series a try because you might find yourself enjoying it even more than you expected. Even as an (ew) adult.

About the Authors

M. G. Leonard is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Beetle Boy books. She works as a freelance digital media producer for clients such as the National Theatre and Harry Potter West End. She lives in Brighton with her husband and two sons, all of whom are crazy about trains. She is the co-author of the Adventures on Trains series.

Sam Sedgman is a novelist, playwright, and award-winning digital producer. He works as a digital project manager for the National Theatre, where he also hosts and co-produces their podcast. He grew up with a railway line at the bottom of his garden and has been fascinated by trains ever since. He is the co-author of the Adventures on Trains series.

Tour Schedule

February 22

Turn the Page Tours – Welcome Post/Author Interview
Jypsylynn – Book Review

February 23

The Book View – Book Review
TheReadingRoom444 – Book Review

February 24

Ruby Reads and Reviews – Book Review
The Bookwyrm’s Den – Book Review, Favorite Quotes

February 25

Leann Reads Books – Author Interview
Pop Read’s Reviews – Spotlight
The Momma Spot – Book Review

February 26

Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review

February 27

DJ Reads Books – Book Review, Favorite Quotes
Whimsical Blessings – Author Interview

February 28

Ya Its Lit – Book Review
Magicallykatie – Book Review, Favorite Quotes
Trapped Inside Stories – Author Interview


The prize is one (1) set of finished copies of The Highland Falcon Thief and Kidnap on the California Comet. The giveaway will run Monday, February 22, 2021 – Monday, March 1, 2021. There will be 1 winner, and it is open USA only. 

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*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Book Title: Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found
Author: Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Magic has all but disappeared in Brooklyn, but one tenacious young magician is determined to bring it back in this exciting middle grade mystery.

Kingston has just moved from the suburbs back to Echo City, Brooklyn–the last place his father was seen alive. Kingston’s father was King Preston, one of the world’s greatest magicians. Until one trick went wrong and he disappeared. Now that Kingston is back in Echo City, he’s determined to find his father. Somehow, though, when his father disappeared, he took all of Echo City’s magic with him. Now Echo City–a ghost of its past–is living up to its name. With no magic left, the magicians have packed up and left town and those who’ve stayed behind don’t look too kindly on any who reminds them of what they once had. When Kingston finds a magic box his father left behind as a clue, Kingston knows there’s more to his father’s disappearance than meets the eye. He’ll have to keep it a secret–that is, until he can restore magic to Echo City. With his cousin Veronica and childhood friend Too Tall Eddie, Kingston works to solve the clues, but one wrong move and his father might not be the only one who goes missing.


I mean, a book about magicians is bound to be good. And make it a middle grade book and you know it’ll be a hit! But what I really like is that there is diversity in this middle grade story. Plus there’s so much adventure and fun found within these pages. And it’s really just an enjoyable story.

It seems like I’m in a middle grade mood lately and I’m really happy I’ve been checking out some of these books recently because I’ve come to the realization that it has been a LONG time since I’ve kept up to date with middle grade books. Which is a shame because some of the most popular books out there are middle grade. And I mean, I feel this is when a love for reading really flourishes, so good books are bound to come. And Kingston is such an excellent addition to this list of good middle grade books. There were just so many elements to it that really amplified the importance and quality of the story.

I really enjoyed this one and look forward to seeing what this collection of authors comes up with next. This was such a magical read but there was also so much more to it. I can see many people falling in love with this one and think it’d be quite popular amongst all of the middle schoolers.

About the Authors

Rucker Moses is the pen name of Craig S. Phillips and Harold Hayes Jr. They both hail from Atlanta and started telling stories together at the University of Georgia. Together, they’ve been nominated for three Emmys for writing in a children’s program and have written for TV shows based on books by R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike. They also make virtual reality experiences and own a production company named SunnyBoy Entertainment. In no particular order, their favorite things to write about are ninjas, magic, space, and abandoned amusement parks. When not doing all that, they are hanging with their wonderful families at home in Los Angeles.

Theo Gangi is a novelist and writing teacher based in Brooklyn. He’s written several acclaimed novels and short stories, and he’s worked on shows for Netflix. He writes far-out adventures that happen right next door. He directs the MFA program at St. Francis College and lives with his wife, young son, and their dog. Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is his first book for young readers.

Tour Schedule

February 15

Turn the Page Tours – Welcome Post/Author Interview

February 16

Ya Its Lit – Book Review
Belle’s Archive – Spotlight

February 17

The Book View – Author Interview

February 18

Leann Reads Books – Book Review
Nat Reviews Books – Book Review

February 19

Kait Plus Books – Author Interview

February 20

Reading Stewardess – Book Review

February 21

Whimsical Blessings – Author Interview


February 15

Turn the Page Tours – Welcome/Blogger’s Choice
Midnightbooklover – Book Review

February 16

Ya.its.lit – Blogger’s Choice
Belleeeey_ – Blogger’s Choice

February 17

Books_and_Dice – Blogger’s Choice
TheBookViewBlog – Blogger’s Choice

February 18

Leannreadsbooks – Blogger’s Choice
Natreviewsbooks – Blogger’s Choice
Technicolorybooks – Blogger’s Choice

February 19

DJReadsBooks – Book Review
Kait Plus Books – Blogger’s Choice

February 20

Skygoddess1 – Blogger’s Choice
Mellasmusings – Book Review

February 21

Whimsicalblessingsblog – Blogger’s Choice
Turn the Page Tours – Closing/Blogger’s Choice


Enter to win one (1) finished copy of Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found by Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi! Open USA only. There will be 1 winner.

Giveaway starts: Monday, February 15, 2021

Giveaway ends: Monday, February 22, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CST

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*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

The World Between Blinks Review

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About the Book

Discover a magical world where lost things are found.

Whenever cousins Jake and Marisol get together, adventure follows. They have their late Nana to thank for that. Her epic trips and treasure hunts were the stuff of family legend.

This summer, with the whole family reuniting for one last vacation at Nana’s home, the cousins are in for a legendary trip of their own.

Following a map Nana left behind, Jake and Marisol sneak out to a nearby lighthouse—then accidentally slip into another world! The World Between Blinks is a magical place where all kinds of lost things (and people!) end up. Everywhere they turn, the cousins find real mysteries from history—plus a few they thought were only myths.

But the man who holds the key to Jake and Marisol’s return journey doesn’t want to be found . . . and if the cousins don’t catch him fast, they could end up lost in this world for good.


Isn’t this book just so cute?! And then add in these amazing authors and I knew before even picking it up I was in for a treat. But let me tell you, the story doesn’t disappoint either. I always find that I either really appreciate middle grade books or I’ve just gotten far too old to get into it. And this was one of those that anyone of any age can pick up and fall in love with. It’s just so cleverly written and a wonderful story.

There’s just so much to unpack with this story because there’s so many elements that were woven into the story. There are the unique fantasy elements found within but there are also some darker deeper elements mixed in with the story. We get to dive into grief and how children deal with losing someone close to them, something many of us have to deal with at such a young age.

Overall this is such a wonderful story that anyone can relate to. The world is unique and the concepts are fresh. Plus adding in dealing with loss just makes this such a more meaningful and touching book.

About the Authors

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her multi-award winning work is slated for publication in over 30 countries, and is in development for film and TV. Raised in Australia and occasionally Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library.

You can sign up for her newsletter to see what she’s working on, hear when she releases a new book, and be automatically entered for giveaways:

Ryan Graudin was born in Charleston, South Carolina, with a severe case of wanderlust. When she’s not traveling, she’s busy writing and spending time with her husband and wolf dog. She is the author of Invictus, the Wolf By Wolf duology, The Walled City, and the All That Glows Series.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!*

The Winter of Enchantment Tour – Review and Audio Excerpt

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Author: Victoria Walker

Narrator: Kim Bretton

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes

Publisher: Victoria Clayton Limited

Series: Sebastian and Melissa, Book 1

Released: Jun. 15, 2020

Genre: Fantasy; Children’s

Continue reading “The Winter of Enchantment Tour – Review and Audio Excerpt”

A Misplaced Child Tour – Review

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About the Book

Torn between two worlds, which will she embrace?

Elodie Harper is heir to the magical kingdom of Aluna. Trapped by an evil wizard in an illusion; Elodie grows up caught between two worlds, one of magic, and one of technology.

As the facade of her mundane life of lies and fake smiles cracks, her kingdom crumbles in the absence of its ruler. Join Elodie as she navigates both lives not knowing which to embrace, and which to push into the back of her mind and forget as a bad dream.


A Misplaced Child tells us the story of a girl stuck between two worlds: the “real world” and a magical realm in which she is a princess. This is a whimsical and lush story that interweaves some deeper themes throughout. As I read it I kept flipping back and forth with theories on the underlying themes and just fully immersed myself in the story. This was truly just such a delightful book!

While this book is fun and whimsical there is still so much depth to the story. There is something almost dark to the content that is layered in magic and wonder. And the switches from the real world to the magical world of Twoshy and the characters in each of the worlds just makes this story seem that much bigger! Yet everything was still really well elaborated on and I never felt lost or confused.

This book definitely toes the line between middle grade and ya. I could see younger individuals really connecting with the story as well as some sightly older ones. Plus the magic and delightfulness of the story just makes it something that can be easily enjoyed by anyone. So if you’re in need of some comforting and heartwarming magic, this one is for you!

About the Author

Heather Michelle is an emerging author of young adult fantasy. She lives in Acworth, GA with her cat Mister Bingley and a slew of unique roommates.

Growing up, Heather Michelle spent more time living in her imagination than outside of it. Small town life sandwiched between the redwood forests and the Pacific ocean provided a rich scope for the imagination. Before the age of twelve, Heather Michelle was not a reader, but a chance encounter with a rented audiobook launched her into the vast world of the printed word, and she never looked back.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

The Last Angel Warrior Review

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About the Book

“I’m not going to be the good guy in this story. You should know that before you get the wrong idea. You’re probably expecting that I’m some kind of hero, or warrior, or chosen one. Yeah, I’ve heard it all before. But I’m not. I’m just a normal kid. Some would even argue that I’m evil, and I guess… I am. It’s complicated; you’ll see.”

When Kalib Andrews imagined his sixteenth birthday, he never thought his adoptive parents would try to kill him. Or that he’d spend it running away from The Order – a secret society seeking the blood of the last Angel Warrior to raise a lost goddess. Then again, Kalib never suspected that Angels, Demons, Nephilim, and Magicborne even existed. And he never – even in his wildest dreams – thought he was one of them!

Packed full of exhilarating action, suspense, mystery, and magic, this is the first book in an exciting series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The Last Angel Warrior is the perfect read for fans of the Percy Jackson series and those who love young adult fantasy novels.


What a fun book this one was! I mean, I am a sucker for anything Nephilim, sooooo, The Last Angel Warrior was right up my alley! Plus this book is WILD! I mean, you will not be bored with everything that happens in it! And also, I know the book isn’t out yet (SOON THOUGH, it releases October 5!), but I kind of want book two like…. Now.

I have to admit, I don’t often read books outside of the “female” perspective and it’s definitely something that I need to stop doing. I mean, this was meant to be the year of me diversifying my reading so I’m glad that this book pointed that out to me. Because I really enjoyed this one! It had a lot of adventure and a lot of fun within mixed in with some more difficult (not the right word, but what is a brain?) topics interwoven throughout.

The one thing that I really enjoyed about this book is that it didn’t fall into the trap of all action and no development. I really loved being introduced to all of the characters and the world/magic. And I really can’t wait to continue with this series and see what happens next!

About the Author

John W. Wells III was kicked out of the 3rd grade because he had an overactive imagination. Okay maybe not kicked out– but he was sent home for telling other students, that he had super powers. So what better profession could he have gone into other than story telling. John prides himself for being a novelist, playwright, and author of the debut novel The Last Angel Warrior.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

Magic Dark and Strange Review

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About the Book

The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life.

When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she is sure that the mysterious item must contain some kind of enchantment. So she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. And as they watch, he comes back to life—not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.

This magic is more powerful than any Catherine has ever encountered, and revealing it brings dangerous enemies. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death—for all of them.


Another book, another review, and another one that is perfect for spooky season! AND, it has necromancy! I have a special place in my heart for my love of all things dead and necromancy related (sounds weirder aloud/written than I thought) so, as you can guess, I was so excited for this little gem of a book!

The only bad thing about this book is that it’s so short! I just want MORE (I like me a thicc book)! But it also makes it sort of special that it’s all wrapped up in a small little bow. While I love a little more world building, I also appreciated how everything in the book seemed so natural. The magic wasn’t necessarily explained, but it all made sense and the characters all fit with it. And it was a fun cast of characters that set off on this adventure.

This book is a fun and lush read! It’s one that you can curl up with for the evening and quickly devour. A nice story to take your mind away into a world of dark magic and adventure. And like I said, it’s spooky season so that’s reason enough to read this book!

About the Author

Kelly Powell writes fantasy for young adults and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and book & media studies from the University of Toronto.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review!*

The Sisters of Straygarden Place Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (October 13, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 153621227X
ISBN-13: 978-1536212273

A riveting middle-grade fantasy about sibling bonds, enchanted houses, and encroaching wildness, lyrically told in eerily beautiful prose

The grass grew taller than the house itself, surrounding it on all sides. It stuffed the keyholes and scraped against the roof. It shook the walls and made paintings shiver.

Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. “Wait for us,” the note read. “Sleep darkly.” Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine–feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company–while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game: Think of an animal, think of a place. Think of a person, think of a face. Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel. With luscious, vivid prose, poet and author Hayley Chewins transports readers to a house where beloved little dogs crawl into their owners’ minds to sleep, sick girls turn silver, and anything can be stolen–even laughter and silence.

You can purchase The Sisters of Straygarden Place at the following Retailers:

Praise for The Sisters of Stragarden Place

Lyrical and imaginative, rich and riveting. This is Hayley Chewins at her best, writing about magical girls with secrets and sisters who rise above the odds. An absolute must-read! —Christine Day, author of I Can Make This Promise, an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book

Chewins’ prose is exquisite, her eerie concepts heart-wrenching…Superb, spooky, and unforgettable. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chewins (The Turnaway Girls) weaves a vivid, otherworldly tale of family and secrets, with a gothic setting that serves as a character in its own right. Through themes of identity, forgiveness, and longing, Mayhap’s unpredictable quest becomes intensely personal, especially as the sisters reinvent their familial relationship. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A strong opening and consistent sense of urgency makes this an ideal choice for reluctant readers interested in slightly spooky fantasy. Give to fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, or The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee. —School Library Journal


What a magical little book! This book is like stepping into an ethereal realm and just getting lost in the magic. It’s just so beautifully written and I could’ve spent many more pages in the story. And I love how it’s not just a sweet and cute magic, but a dark and twisted magic that lures you in. So, basically this is the perfect book for spooky season!

This book is like taking a trip into a lush fairy tale. Everything is not as it seems and magic lives with every breath. This is such a short story but there is so much yet so little within the pages. You feel as if you’ve gone on an incredible adventure, only to find out that you’ve just gone for a stroll. The prose is just so lyrical and poetic (which makes sense, given author) that you can’t help but to fall in love with the story.

This book is a fairy tale without being a play by play retelling of the same handful of fairy tales. I love books that are surreal feeling, so immediately fell in love with this one. I mean it’s ghostly, beastly, and ethereal aka my holy trinity of bookish loves.

About the Author

Photo Credit: SLDV Portrait

Hayley Chewins is an author and writing coach. She grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a house so full of books that she learnt to read by accident. She’s fond of telling people that she writes books about magical girls with secrets—even if that’s not an actual genre. Her books are literary fantasy, surreal fairy tales, or weird magic. (Or: all of the above.)

Her debut, The Turnaway Girls, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2018 and made the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List of Best Feminist Books for Young Readers. Her second book, The Sisters of Straygarden Place, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press on October 13th, 2020, and has already been called “superb, spooky, and unforgettable” in a recent starred review.

Hayley lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her soulmate/husband/fellow coffee addict, Liale, and their toy poodle, Darfer.

She is represented by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, otherwise known as The Most Amazing Agent Ever.

Tour Schedule

SEPTEMBER 18th FRIDAY The Bookwyrm’s Den REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 18th FRIDAY Reading Adventures of a Book Dragon REVIEW 

SEPTEMBER 25th FRIDAY My Fictional Oasis REVIEW 


5 Winners will receive a Copy of The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Alina Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Alina: A Song For the Telling by Malve von Hassell
August 27, 2020
BHC Press
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Medieval

“You should be grateful, my girl. You have no dowry, and I am doing everything I can to get you settled. You are hardly any man’s dream.” Alina’s brother, Milos, pulled his face into a perfect copy of Aunt Marci’s sour expression, primly pursing his mouth. He had got her querulous tone just right.

I pinched my lips together, trying not to laugh. But it was true; Aunt Marci had already introduced me to several suitors. So far I had managed to decline their suits politely.

Maybe Alina’s aunt was right. How could she possibly hope to become a musician, a trobairitz, as impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage?

But fourteen-year-old Alina refuses to accept the oppressing life her strict aunt wants to impose upon her. When the perfect opportunity comes along for her to escape, she and her brother embark on a journey through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem.

Alina soon finds herself embroiled in the political intrigue of noble courts as she fights to realize her dream of becoming a female troubadour.

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I don’t often read middle school age books, but when I do it’s because it’s compared to Anne of Green Gables or Little Women. Alina is a delightful story of a young girl coming of age in a very tumultuous time. It’s a really interesting look into the time period and focuses on the people that lived and persevered during this time.

This is very much a story focused on the characters, so while there is tons of character development the action sometimes falls to the wayside. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s action throughout this story, but it is all through the eyes of Alina and her own thoughts and feelings. While there were some aspects that could have been a bit more detailed, this story was extremely enjoyable and gave us a wild tale.

Alina is a wonderful story that provides a small insight into the lives of those who lived during this time period. And it’s also a reminder that life was not always easy for those who strive to live it. And although this is a middle grade book, adults and younger individuals can enjoy this story alike.

About the Author

Malve von Hassell is a writer, researcher, and translator. Born in Italy, she spent part of her childhood in Belgium and Germany before moving to the United States. She lives in Southampton, New York, close to the ocean and a bay beach where she meets flying sea robins and turtles on her morning walks with her rescue dog Loki. She enjoys reading, playing chess with her son, gardening, anything to do with horses, and dreams of someday touring Mongolia on horseback. Her works include the children’s picture book, Letters from the Tooth Fairy, written in response to her son’s letters to the tooth fairy; The Falconer’s Apprentice, her first historical fiction novel for young readers; The Amber Crane, a historical fiction novel set in Germany in the 17th century, and Alina: A Song for the Telling, a coming-of-age story of a young woman from Provence in the 12th century who dreams of being a musician.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, August 27
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, August 28
Interview at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Saturday, August 29
Feature at Books, Cooks, Looks

Monday, August 31
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, September 2
Review at History from a Womanís Perspective

Thursday, September 3
Feature at SplendeurCaisse

Friday, September 4
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Alina by Malve von Hassell! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.