quotes Elisquared likes


"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green

7.09.2021

BLOG TOUR - THE OKAY WITCH AND THE HUNGRY SHADOW BY EMMA STEINKELLNER - MIDDLE GRADE GRAPHIC NOVEL [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]


Title: 
The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow (The Okay Witch #2)
Authors(s): Emma Steinkellner
Publication Date: June 6, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, paperback, eBook; 256 pgs
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
 - Barnes & Noble - 
iBooks - Kobo The Book Depository - Bookshop.org 
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.



Tour Schedule


Week One
6/28/2021 - A Dream Within A Dream - Excerpt
6/28/2021 - Rajiv's Reviews - Review
6/29/2021 - Kait Plus Books - Interview
6/29/2021 - Two Points of Interest - Review
6/30/2021 - cindysloveofbooks - Review
6/30/2021 - laura's bookish corner - Review
7/1/2021 - Hurn Publications - Excerpt
7/1/2021 - celiamcmahonreads - Review
7/2/2021 - @drewsim12 - Review
7/2/2021 - The Momma Spot - Review

Week Two
7/5/2021 - brittreadsalattebooks - Review
7/5/2021 - Lady Hawkeye - Excerpt
7/6/2021 - Fictitiouswonderland - Review
7/6/2021 - Pandora's Books - Review
7/7/2021 - hauntedbybooks - Review
7/7/2021 - Curlygrannylovestoread - IG Spotlight
7/8/2021 - Confessions of a YA Reader - Review
7/8/2021 - Nerdophiles - Review
7/9/2021 - Eli to the nth - Review
7/9/2021 - Simply Daniel Radcliffe - Review

The Summary

In this hilarious and heartwarming sequel to the bestselling and critically acclaimed graphic novel, The Okay Witch, half-witch Moth Hush uses magic to boost her confidence with disastrous results—perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Molly Ostertag!

Moth Hush is starting to settle into her newfound witch heritage and powers, but life at school continues to be rough. Even her best friend, Charlie, doesn’t entirely understand what it’s like for her to always be the one who gets mocked, and things only get worse when Moth’s mom starts dating one of the dorkiest teachers in the school! Then Moth gets hold of a mysterious charm that can unleash another version of herself—one who is confident, cool, and extremely popular. What could possibly go wrong?

PRAISE FOR THE OKAY WITCH:

“Lighthearted and cheeky.” – The New York Times

“Steinkellner’s debut graphic novel is a tour de force of middle grade storytelling.” – School Library Journal, starred review

The Okay Witch is the perfect read for kids who love Hocus Pocus.” – A.V. Club

My Review

The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner is a best-of addition to graphic novel lists everywhere.  Following up Book #1, The Okay Witch, Steinkellner beats back the sophomore slump with an even more developed story surrounding our "Okay Witch" Moth Hush (she just has a witchy-name).

Moth is still coming to terms with finding out about her heritage, and her family's history in their town of Founder’s Bluff.  On top of the witchy stuff, Moth has to deal with bulling, racism, and a demon who may or may not be making Moth's life hell.  Moth is loveable, as are the supporting cast of her mother Cal, her best friend Charlie, and her familiar (and pet) Mr. Laszlo, with a new character introduced in the form of her off-beat teacher, Mr. Gorski-Garcia.  Each character helps Moth is some way discover who she is and help her fight off her inner demons, along with the very real one causing mayhem all over the place.

What Steinkellner does so beautifully is merge her very bright and expressive imagery with the fun and quick-witted dialogue.  Both captures the reader's attention, and makes you want to race through the plot, following along on these hijinks, as Moth tries to fix things and learn to control her powers.  You get a great taste of what lays in-between the pages of the graphic novel below (and it is a little recap of The Okay Witch, if you missed Book #1).  Just really eye-catching and clearly expressive (my two must-haves when it comes to graphic novels).

A fantastic end to a fantastic series, I can't wait to read more from Emma Steinkellner.  Pick up both The Okay Witch AND The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow - a great addition to anyone's library!

Final Rating


Excerpt



About the Author


Emma Steinkellner is an illustrator, writer, and cartoonist living in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the illustrator of the Eisner-nominated comic Quince. She is the author and illustrator of The Okay Witch graphic novel series.



Giveaway
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE OKAY WITCH AND THE HUNGRY SHADOW, US Only.

CLICK THE GRAPHIC



6.20.2021

BLOG TOUR - INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING BY NICOLA YOON - YA FICTION [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]




Title: Instructions for Dancing
Authors(s): Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 304 pgs
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
 - Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition
iBooks - Kobo The Book Depository - Bookshop.org 
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.







Tour Schedule

Week One
6/1/2021 - YA Books Central - Excerpt
6/2/2021 - Kait Plus Books - Excerpt
6/3/2021 - Jotted by Jena - Excerpt
6/4/2021 - Stuck in the Stacks - Review
6/5/2021 - EveryonesLibrarian - Review

Week Two
6/6/2021 - BookInNeverland - Review
6/7/2021 - Rajiv's Reviews - Review
6/8/2021 - Do You Dog-ear? - Review
6/9/2021 - The Reading Wordsmith - Review
6/10/2021 - What A Nerd Girl Says - Review
6/11/2021 - Emelie's Books - Review
6/12/2021 - Nay's Pink Bookshelf  - Review

Week Three
6/13/2021 - Midnightbooklover - Review
6/14/2021 - Lisa Loves Literature - Review
6/15/2021 - Becky on Books - Review
6/16/2021 - Books and Zebras @jypsylynn - Review
6/17/2021 - Two Points of Interest - Review
6/18/2021 - BiancaBuysBooks - Review
6/19/2021 - A Court of Coffee and Books - Review

Week Four
6/20/2021 - Eli to the nth - Review
6/21/2021 - Books Are Magic Too - Review
6/22/2021 - Amani’s Reviews - Review
6/23/2021 - onemused - Review
6/24/2021 - FrayedBooks - Review
6/25/2021 - Fire and Ice - Review
6/26/2021 - Book Briefs - Review

Week Five
6/27/2021 - Polish & Paperbacks - Review
6/28/2021 - Book-Keeping - Review
6/29/2021 - The Book View - Review
6/30/2021 - The Bookwyrm's Den - Review



The Summary


#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with her eagerly anticipated third novel. With all the heart and hope of her last two books, this is an utterly unique romance.

Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything--including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?




Praise for INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING

A Junior Library Guild selection 

★ “An endearing, affecting exploration of the journey of love. Everything Yoon touches turns to gold and this cinematic supernatural romance will be no exception.”—Booklist, starred review

★ "A remarkable, irresistible love story that will linger long after readers turn the final page."—Kirkus, starred review

★ “Yoon delivers a story of love’s unpredictability and the importance of perspective that unfolds with ease and heart.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “A sweet, genuine love story sure to pull on the heartstrings.”—School Library Journal, starred review

★ “Yoon delivers this captivating story of first love with beautiful prose, clever dialogue that swings between laugh-out-loud funny and wildly insightful, clear respect for the complexity and nuance of her teen characters’ perspectives and emotions—and just enough magic to make it all truly unforgettable.”—BookPage, starred review



Excerpt

Chapter 2
(Former) Favorite Romance Genres

Contemporary

1. Enemies to Lovers—Asking the perennial question will they kill each other or will they kiss each other? I’m kidding. Of course they’re going to kiss.

2. Love Triangle—Everyone loves to hate love triangles, but actually they’re great. They exist so the main character can choose between different versions of themselves: who they used to be, and who they’re still becoming. Side note: If you ever find yourself choosing between a vampire and a werewolf, choose the vampire. See #1 below for more on why you should (obviously) choose the vampire.

3. Second Chance—These days I realize this is the most unrealistic trope. If someone hurts you once, why would you give them the chance to do it again?

Paranormal

1. Vampires—They’re sexy and will love you forever.

2. Angels—They have wings that they’ll use to envelop you or to take you away from this place to wherever you need to be.

3. Shape-shifters—Jaguars and leopards mostly, but basically anything in the big cat family. I once tried reading about dinosaur shape-shifters. T. rexes, pteranodons, apatosauruses, etc. They are as horrifying as you think they are.


My Review

If you are a romance lover, a contemporary lover, or just a book lover, run and get a copy of Nicola Yoon's Instructions for Dancing. I fell in love with Evie and X from the get, and once you start to read their story, you won't put the book down.

Evie and X (short for Xavier) have the the cutest darn meet-cute I've read in a while.  Bumping into each other at a dance studio that X's grandparents own, and then being partnered for the L.A. Danceball, a ballroom dancing competition that if they win will help the studio out immensely, all seems to be fated.  And in a way it is.  You see, Evie has the power of vision (to her immense surprise), and this led her to the dance studio in the first place. 

Evie has gone through a lot, her parents divorce and finding out her dad cheated (hence the divorce), and has stopped believing in love because of it.  And now, through her visions, she sees the entirety of a relationship of a couple when they kiss, and, unfortunately, the relationship never has a happy ending.  This is what makes her and X's story so irresistible, both to the reader and to Evie.  Because, love, well love can sock you right in the gut and you can't always stop it.

Nicola Yoon writes the most likeable, real characters.  The way she crafts Evie, with her struggles and her joy, and her  cynicism, and her big big big heart, she just lifts off the page.  X has his own struggles, but his big personality and unfailing belief in the world, both in reveling in the good and accepting the bad, makes him swoon-worthy.  And while the main characters are my favorites, I love the entire cast from the best friends to the parents.  These characters are real with faults and dreams, and they sing on the page.

I definitely prefer my romances to be character-driven, so check that off, but Nicola also has this adorable plot focusing on ballroom dancing that I just love.  Fifi, the dance instructor, is a firecracker, and made me laugh every time.  The reason Evie and X agree to the competition pulls at the heart strings.  You want them to win, so that X's grandparents get to continue their dream.  Love, in all it's forms, is center-stage in this book.

Once other character I'd like to mention is Los Angeles itself.  Nicola always does an amazing job of bringing the city her books are set in to life.  I love when I get to meet L.A. as a local, and not a tourist, which is so often how the city is portrayed in the media.  There's a little love story to L.A. wrapped in the pages, which I adore.

Irresistible, Instructions for Dancing goes by in a flash.  The realities of love, the highs and the lows, the euphoria and the heartbreak, are all here in the pages, lovingly crafted by Nicola Yoon.  Another fantastic book from one of the Queens of Romance; do yourself a favor and pick up a copy immediately.


Final Rating



About the Author


Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient, and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter.



Giveaway
3 winners will receive a finished copy of INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING, US Only.

CLICK THE GRAPHIC





6.18.2021

BLOG TOUR - CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN BY JENNY ELDER MOKE - YA FICTION [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]



Title: Curse of the Specter Queen
Authors(s): Jenny Elder Moke
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 352 pgs
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
 - 
Bookshop.org - Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.







Tour Schedule

Week One
6/1/2021 - Fire and IceExcerpt
6/2/2021 - Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
6/3/2021 - YA Books CentralExcerpt
6/4/2021 - Jazzy Book ReviewsExcerpt
6/5/2021 - Rajiv's ReviewsReview

Week Two
6/6/2021 - The Reading WordsmithReview
6/7/2021 - Kait Plus BooksExcerpt
6/8/2021 - A Court of Coffee and BooksReview
6/9/2021 - The Bookwyrm's DenReview
6/10/2021 - Stuck in the StacksReview
6/11/2021 - Do You Dog-ear?Review
6/12/2021 - Christen KrummReview

Week Three
6/13/2021 - What A Nerd Girl SaysReview
6/14/2021 - Nay's Pink BookshelfReview
6/15/2021 - Thindbooks BlogReview
6/17/2021 - Emelie's BooksReview
6/18/2021 - Eli to the nthReview
6/19/2021 - @fictitious.foxReview

Week Four
6/20/2021 - Books Are Magic TooReview
6/21/2021 - Star-Crossed Book BlogReview
6/22/2021 - Book-KeepingReview
6/23/2021 - The Momma SpotReview
6/24/2021 - The Book ViewReview
6/25/2021 - MomfluensterReview
6/26/2021 - onemusedReview

Week Five
6/27/2021 - Book BriefsReview
6/28/2021 - Always MeReview
6/29/2021 - The Book Review Crew - Review
6/30/2021 - celiamcmahonreads - Review


The Summary

A female Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider when Samantha Knox receives a mysterious field diary and finds herself thrust into a treacherous plot. After stealing a car and jumping on a train, chased by a group of dangerous pursuers, Sam finds out what’s so special about this book: it contains a cipher that leads to a cursed jade statue that could put an end to all mankind.

MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU...

Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn't return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam's peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose - to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher - one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life. Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?

Indiana Jones gets a refresh with this female-driven mystery adventure, set in the 1920s, full of ciphers, ancient relics, and heart-stopping action - the first in a brand-new series!


Advance praise for CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN:
"Pure fun from start to finish. Curse of the Specter Queen is a delightful historical romp, riddled with cryptic puzzles, hints of romance, and an adventurous cast of characters. An ideal escape for fans of curses, magic, and mystery."—Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Caravel series

“This lush, high-stakes, adventure tale has it all—a rollicking plot, a sweet slow burn of a romance, and a heroine on an epic journey filled with ciphers, curses, and twists that kept me guessing at every turn. A delightful read from start to finish, Curse of the Specter Queen is one of my new favorites.”—Alyson Noël, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals 

“Apocalyptic curses, blood-chilling demons, and a centuries-old treasure hunt with a brilliant bookish heroine. Curse of the Spector Queen had me feverishly turning pages until I finally arrived at the epic conclusion.”—Livia Blackburne, New York Times best-selling author of Rosemarked and Midnight Thief

Excerpt

Chapter One

Sam let the first door chime go unanswered, occupied as she was with the stack of delicate books cradled in her arms. The second chime earned a grunt of displeasure from her as she scanned the shelves for the first edition of John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding she had repaired last week. She spotted it, tucked safely between Kant and Machiavelli. The third chime rang so insistently that she tipped the book forward too hard and it dropped to the floor with an ominous crack.

“Oh dear,” she said, crouching down to retrieve the book. “Mr. Locke, I apologize. And I swear to you if it’s the butcher’s boys again, I will take the broad side of his cleaver to their rear ends myself.”

The spine appeared unmarred, which was more than Sam could say for her disposition as she stacked the book on top of the others and jostled to a standing position. She tottered to the front of the shop and set them down on the desk. In the window stood the rounded figure of Clement’s postman, his face pressed to the glass and obscuring the gold lettering across the door. She checked off each book on her inventory list, letting him freeze in the early January snows of rural Illinois, before crossing to the door and unlocking it. A blast of cold drove it open like an unwanted guest.

“Yes, Georgie, what is it you need?” she asked, shivering back from the chill.

“Got your mail,” Georgie huffed, bustling past her to drop his sack on the desk. He trod in drifts of snow across her pristine carpet and she swept the more offensive piles back out the door as she swung it shut.

“That’s why I had the package drop put in, Georgie,” Sam said.

“So you can leave them in a protected box without them getting soaked by the melting snow you’re tracking in.”

“It’s colder than a brass toilet seat in the arctic out there,” Georgie replied, leaning against his mailbag like he planned to stay. He peered into the stacks behind Sam. “It’s toasty in here, though. Must be nice for you, being tucked up in this place all day.”

“We keep the temperature stable for the books,” Sam said, her patient tone fraying at the edges. She had plenty to do before her long walk home in that same snow, and she couldn’t do it as long as Georgie was here chewing the cud. “Extreme heat and cold damage the leather. You said you had my mail?”

“Oh, sure.” Georgie ducked his head into the thick canvas sack. “Couple of these are too big, wouldn’t fit through the slot.”

Sam was sure his bell ringing had far more to do with the warm interior of the shop than with any oversize packages, but it was too late for that. Here he was already, invading her space and upending the careful equilibrium she maintained. He didn’t care that there was the rest of the inventory list to get to, plus the packages to prepare and send to Mr. Peltingham in London and Mr. Burnham in Oslo, never mind the repairs to the copy of Medieval Remedies for Cistercian Monks they had received at the shop last week. She didn’t have time for Georgie Heath and the trail of muddy snow he dragged everywhere.

He pulled a small collection of boxes from his sack—none of them, as Sam suspected, too large for the mail slot—with an exotic array of stamps across the front. Sam’s heart rate picked up when she spotted Mr. Studen’s scrawled handwriting. He always had the best finds in Paris. She grabbed her letter opener and sliced through the thick paper.

“Books,” Georgie said, in the same tone his father used when talking about the neighbor’s marauding hogs. “Always books, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Sam said with a happy little sigh, extracting Mr. Studen’s letter along with his latest find. “We are a bookshop, Georgie.”

Oh, clever Mr. Studen. She smiled at the first few lines of introduction, a jumble of letters and pictographic marks. He’d sent her another cryptogram, with a small note dashed at the top that read I’m sure to stump you this time.

He wasn’t, but she appreciated the challenge.

Georgie gave a snort. “I don’t know what we need with a bookshop here in Clement, anyhow. We’ve already got a library.”

“A collection of old family bibles does not count as a library,” Sam said, reaching for a pencil and paper. It looked to be a straightforward monoalphabetic cipher despite the distraction of the pictographic marks, but she didn’t want to underestimate Mr. Studen so quickly.
Georgie shrugged. “I was happy enough to give that stuff up the second I walked out of Mrs. Iris’s schoolroom for good.”

“Madame Iris,” Sam corrected.

“Madame,” Georgie said in a gross mockery of the French madame’s accent. “Pa says a book is only good for propping open a door or knocking a fella out.”

“Well I would expect no less from the man who led a town-wide protest when Mr. Steeling hired a Frenchwoman to teach at the schoolhouse,” Sam murmured, making a list of the most frequent letter appearances and the most common letter groupings in the cipher. Georgie craned his neck around, squinting at Mr. Studen’s neat handwriting.

“What is that?” he asked. “Some kind of gibberish?”

“It’s a cipher,” Sam said. “A code. It’s meant to keep a message hidden.”

My Review

I love a great adventure book, and this one has many things I love: books, romance, and friendship.  A great combo when put together and led by a gutsy, sharp-witted, and resourceful heroine.  And Curse of the Specter Queen has it all in spades.

Sam, our heroine, is immediately likable, and the reader will want to go anywhere and everywhere with her. She uses her knowledge and her strength of character to lead her friends on a epic treasure hunt fraught with danger.  Joanna and Bennett are also great characters, bringing the humor and romance individually And what Jenny Elder Moke does so well with this gang of intrepid venturers is putting them in intense situations on their way to unravel the mystery set before them.

This mix of plot- and character-driven story pushes the reader to devour each chapter, especially with all the cliff-hangers.  I do love a good cliff-hanger.  And the world-building was fantastic.  There are puzzles to solve and magic to see all within the context of actual historic events.  The magic was a surprising touch, but done with a deft hand so it doesn't feel out of place within the more realistic scenes.

Overall, Curse of the Specter Queen is a high-speed puzzle of a book. An amazing start to a new series, Jenny Elder Moke delivers with her sophomore book, and I can't wait to read the next Samantha Knox story!


Final Rating


About the Author

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. She worked for several years at an independent publisher in Austin, TX before realizing she would rather write the manuscripts than read them. She is a member of the Texas Writer’s League and has studied children’s writing with Liz Garton Scanlon. She was a finalist in the Austin Film Festival Fiction Podcast Competition in 2017 for her podcast script, Target. When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenny lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children.



Giveaway
3 winners will receive a finished copy of CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN, US Only.

CLICK THE GRAPHIC

6.16.2021

BLOG TOUR - DAUGHTER OF SPARTA BY CLAIRE M. ANDREWS - YA FICTION [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]



Title: Daughter of Sparta 
(Daughter of Sparta #1)
Authors(s): Claire M. Andrews
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 400 pgs
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
 - 
Bookshop.org - Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.






Tour Schedule

Week One
6/7/2021 - YABooksCentral - Excerpt
6/8/2021 - A Court of Coffee and Books - Review
6/10/2021 - The Momma Spot - Review
6/11/2021 - Momfluenster - Review

Week Two
6/14/2021 - Books and Zebras @jypsylynn - Review
6/15/2021 - The Bookwyrm's Den - Review
6/16/2021 - Eli to the nth - Review
6/17/2021 - @fictitious.fox - Review
6/18/2021 - Book Briefs - Review


The Summary

Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the Gods need her to save the world!

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne's brother's fate in her hands—upends the life she's worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods' waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother's life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis's twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne's journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.

Praise for DAUGHTER OF SPARTA:
"A fresh, original spin on classic Greek mythology. Andrews is a debut to watch; Daughter of Sparta is an action-packed adventure with phenomenal writing and empowering female characters that are sure to pack a punch. I was absolutely enamored by this book!"—Adalyn Grace, New York Times bestselling author of the All the Stars and Teeth series

"Daughter of Sparta deftly weaves classic Greek myth into a spellbinding adventure led by a fierce and complex heroine. An utterly transportive and breathtaking debut."—Katy Rose Pool, author of There Will Come a Darkness

"Claire Andrews' Daughter of Sparta is an epic story about female empowerment, packed with romance, adventure and mystery. This fast-paced and well-researched novel was truly difficult to put down!"—June Hur, author of The Forest of Stolen Girls

"Nonstop action, drama, and an unforgettable female warrior will keep readers turning pages.... Awe-inspiring."—SLJ

"A strong female-led adventure story with an underlying romance."—SLC

"Daphne, a Mothakes (stranger) to the people of Sparta, is a well-trained fighter determined to prove to King Menelaus and Queen Helen that she is as good or better than any other.... The Daphne of myth was a naiad stalked by an ensorcelled Apollo, who transformed into a tree to escape him. This twist on the narrative is great for readers aging out of Rick Riordan’s books."—Booklist

Excerpt


Click the image to hear an excerpt from the audiobook of Daughter of Sparta!


My Review

When I was in elementary school I had a book titled, The Traveler's Guide to Ancient Greece by Fiona MacDonald.  I got it at the Scholastic Book Fair, and I was obsessed.  I read that book 100s of times, along with any ancient Greece book I could lay my grubby mitts on.  

The idea of a civilization so diverse and full of mythology as Greece, was fascinating to me.  Multiple Gods instead of one; cities of knowledge or cities of war; monsters slayed by heroes; it all captivated my imagination.  Claire M. Andrews has captured my imagination just as much, if not more, with her beautiful and fierce heroine, Daphne, in Daughter of Sparta.

Daphne is based on the naiad of Greek myth, who catches the unwanted advances of Apollo, and subsequently turns herself into a tree to escape him.  Luckily, this Daphne is no naiad, nor a damsel in distress but a warrior, strong as any Spartan man, even if she is considered a Mothakes by the native Spartans.  This outsider status hangs over Daphne's, and her family's, head, making Daphne want to prove herself despite the restrictions she faces.  She gets the ultimate opportunity to prove her worth when the Goddess Artemis forces Daphne to work with Apollo, Artemis' twin brother, to save the Gods of Mount Olympus.  But up against real Gods and supernatural forces, can a mortal like Daphne prevail? 

From the beginning, Daphne's story captivates the reader.  Claire M. Andrews has managed to make such a dynamic character out of this minor figure in Greek mythology, and turn her into a strong-willed young woman who proves herself even in the face of adversity.  Daphne was an amazing heroine because you immediately root for her, and even when you think she is being pig-headed or making the wrong decision, you still root for her to survive and win.

Claire does an amazing job crafting the cast of characters, many whom the reader knows from myth already, and making them fully come to life in slightly (or sometimes not so slightly) ways then what people are used to, and that is the genius of this book.  Such rich characters, even for the ones barely seen.  I love a great character-driven book, and Claire doesn't skimp on that.

But this book isn't just character-driven, no Claire crafts an epic journey for Daphne, an action-pack, nerve-riddled, all-consuming journey.  Life hangs in the balance, and not just the life of Daphne, but the entire world as she knows it.  No pressure though.  The action is non-stop, and a lot of the journey is pulled from mythology, which lends a sense of familiarity to each scene.  But this is wholly original.

Wholly original is the perfect two words to sum up the start to such an amazing series, whether that be a duology or more.  Claire really captures the essence of the book herself in the Author's Note, stating "[b]ut that is the beauty of myths, stories that are ever changing---we can take from them what is most relevant to us personally, and revel in fantasy" (Andrews, pg. 369, 2021).  Fantasy lovers, mythology lovers, and action lovers are all going to need to add Daughter of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews as soon as possible.  It is knock-out by a debut author, and no one will be disappointed.


Final Rating



About the Author


Claire Andrews was raised in both Alaska and Scotland, but currently lives in Vermont; when not writing, she can usually be found outside swimming, skiing or hiking across the state's famous green mountains. Daughter of Sparta is her debut novel. 



Giveaway
3 winners will receive a finished copy of DAUGHTER OF SPARTA, US Only.

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