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




I am very excited to be a part of the blog tour from Rockstar Book Tours for the start of this awesome series focusing on Disney Princes, Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller.  Check out the excerpt below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Book Information

Title: Prince of Song & Sea (Princes #1)
Authors(s): Linsey Miller
Publication Date: October 4,
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 352 pgs
Publisher: Disney Press
SourceRockstar Book Tours
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.  Please note the purchase links above are affiliate links.

Tour Schedule

Week One
10/1/2022 - The Reading Devil - Excerpt/IG Post

Week Two
10/2/2022 - Celia's Reads - Review/IG Post
10/3/2022 - a GREAT read - Review/IG Post
10/4/2022 - Kait Plus Books - Review/IG Post
10/5/2022 - @ReadsReaders - YouTube Review/IG Post/TikTok Post
10/6/2022 - Wanderingwitchreads - TikTok Review/IG Post
10/7/2022 - OddandBookish - Review/IG Post
10/8/2022 - @simplybeccamee - IG Review

Week Three
10/9/2022 - Nerdophiles - Review
10/10/2022 - YA Books Central - Excerpt/IG Post
10/11/2022 - A Bookish Dream - Review/IG Post
10/12/2022 - bookbriefs - Review/IG Post
10/13/2022 - onemused - IG Review
10/14/2022 - One More Exclamation - Review/IG Post
10/15/2022 - Ohyouread - IG Review

Week Four
10/16/2022 - pluvioreads - Review/TikTok Post
10/17/2022 - Eli to the nth - Review/IG Post
10/18/2022 - Eye-Rolling Demigod's Book Blog - Review/IG Post
10/19/2022 - @ReaderOfTheWrittenWord - IG Review
10/20/2022 - A Backwards Story - Review/IG Post
10/21/2022 - A Dream Within A Dream - Review/IG Post
10/22/2022 - booksaremagictoo - Review/IG Post

Week Five
10/23/2022 Novel Novice - IG Spotlight
10/24/2022 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers - Review/IG Post
10/25/2022 - @bookishreviews_byalison - IG Review
10/26/2022 - @jacleomik33 - IG Review
10/27/2022 - Nonbinary Knight Reads - Review/IG Post
10/28/2022 - @thebookishfoxwitch - IG Review
10/29/2022 - @drew_ambitious_reading - IG Review/TikTiok Review

Week Six
10/30/2022 - PopTheButterfly Reads - Review/IG Post
10/31/2022 - Books with Brandie Shanae - YouTube Review/IG Post

The Summary

For fans of Twisted Tales and Villains is a brand new YA series that retells the classic Disney stories you thought you knew from the Disney Princes' perspectives.

Before Prince Eric’s mother, the Queen of Vellona, went missing two years ago, she reminded him about the details of the deadly curse that has plagued his entire life. The curse? If he were to kiss someone other than his true love, he would die. With a neighboring kingdom looking for any excuse to invade their shores, and rumors of ghost pirates lurking the seas, Eric is desperate for any information that may help him break his enchantment and bring stability to Vellona. The answers he has been searching for come to him in the form of a letter left from his mother that reveals Eric must find his true love, the one with a voice pure of heart, or kill the sea witch responsible for cursing him in the first place.

Now Eric is on a quest to find the Isle of Serein, the witch's legendary home. But after he is rescued by a mysterious young woman with a mesmerizing singing voice, Eric’s heart becomes torn. Does he enter a battle he is almost certain he cannot win or chase a love that might not even exist? And when a shipwrecked young woman with flaming red hair and a smile that could calm the seven seas enters his life, Eric may discover that true love isn’t something that can be decided by magic.
My Review

Let's first start off by scrolling back to that cover.  God, it is beautiful.  Also, disclaimer time: Eric is my favorite Disney Prince, so I might have been a bit biased going into this book.  But luckily, Prince of Song & Sea by Linsey Miller hit the hype; a great expansion on the original The Little Mermaid, but from the point-of-view of Prince Eric.

Taking the original storyline, but expanding it, and showing the story from Eric's side of things brought a freshness to the series of events in the original.  Linsey Miller did an amazing job placing her mark on the work, and really fleshing out Eric's personality.  He isn't just a handsome hero, he has fears and dreams, and really gets to be his own person in this book.  I loved the addition of his friends, which Linsey used to highlight some diversity of the cast.  The push and pull that Eric faces being the Crowned Prince of his country while wanting to be free on the sea was really well-crafted.

There are some slight tweaks to the original story, such as how Eric was shipwrecked, but all the major plot points are there.  What I really loved is the time we also got to spend seeing him and Ariel get to know each other.  Linsey Miller did a great job making Eric a rounded and dynamic character.  He always, I felt, had a bigger role than many other Disney Princes, but still, we don't truly know him.  Prince of Song & Sea really allows layers to develop, which was great.

I am very happy with the first book in the Princes series; Linsey Miller is also writing another of the books in the series, this one about Prince Phillip.  That will definitely be an interesting one to read.  I adored Eric in The Little Mermaid, and this book made me fall even more in love.  Staying true to the original story, but creating its very own place, Prince of Song & Sea is a must-read for Disney, and non-Disney fans alike!

Final Rating



PAIN washed over Eric in waves, salt sticking to every scratch. Water lapped at his legs, and a  bone-deep cold shuddered down his spine. He tried to turn  his head and groaned. He couldn’t move. Why couldn’t  he move? 

The ship! He had been on the ship. A storm, worse  than any he had ever weathered, had swept over them  faster than lightning. They’d caught fire and crashed,  the powder kegs exploding, and he had been thrown into  the sea. Eric tried to call out and choked. Each breath  stung, the acrid taste of ash prickling across his tongue.  His chest ached. 

But all of it meant he was alive. He had survived. A soft hum broke through the pain. It started low  and sad, like far-off whale calls. Fingers stroked his face,  brushing salt and sand from his sore skin. The melody,  the tender touch, became a pinpoint of light in the dark,  and he struggled to hold on to it. The gentle voice grew  louder and stronger. Sunlight burned through his eye lids. Eric forced his eyes open and gasped. 

She was breathtaking, a backlit shadow glittering  with seawater. Her features were as distorted as her  words, but the hand against his cheek was so tender that  he knew she meant no harm. He reached for her, and she  eased him back into the sand. A warm, fluttering feeling  flowed over him. 

Safety, he thought. This was safety. 

She must have been strong to drag him from the  wreckage and kind, too, to risk her life for his. The sweet  lilt of her song filled his head. 

She and her voice were the only things between him  and death at sea. 

And they slipped through his fingers like sand.


Fathoms Above

THE SUN hung high and hot above the whitewashed, red-roofed homes nestled in the kingdom  of Vellona’s Cloud Break Bay. Warm winds whipped  through the cobblestone streets and canals, and voices  called out across the rippling waves. The soft notes of a  song, as cheerful as it was distant, drifted through the  piers. Eric turned his ear toward the tune and shuffled  his feet back in time with it. A sword sliced through the  air where he’d stood. 

“Too slow!” Eric shouted, sweeping one leg back and  bowing. 

The crowd hollered. The dock above them rattled,  salt peppering down like snow. Eric dunked his stinging hands into the low tide. Across from him, Gabriella,  his childhood friend and the only person who regularly  outmatched him, paced along the edges of the fighting  ring, and her gaze flicked from his hands to his face. She grinned, brown skin gleaming with sweat and seawater.  Seaweed clung to her sword. 

These weekly bouts had been small at first, an easy  way to help train folks who might otherwise never see a  sword. They had only started using live blades this week.  Eric had gathered his friends into the little nook on the  beach beneath the last dock and strung up an old canvas  sheet between the posts to hide them away from curious eyes. It hadn’t worked, and these last three months  had seen their numbers swell. This little fighting ring  beneath the docks was all Eric could do to make up for  the ever-present fear of pirates that infused Vellona these  days with more towns being raided and razed every week. 

“You’re too cocky,” Gabriella said and shoved her  damp sleeves up to her elbows. “If I were a pirate, you’d  be dead.” 

Gabriella was the only one here who’d lived through  a pirate raid. The sparring had been fun at first, but now  there was too sharp an edge to it.  

“If you were a pirate, we’d have bigger problems  than—” 

She struck out and nicked his arm. He reared back. “You always give in to the urge to chat,” said  Gabriella, lunging for him. “Real fights aren’t fairy tales.  No one will stop so you can monologue.”

“Then stop me.” He met her in the middle, both of  his knives blocking the thrust, and locked them together  at the center of the ring. “And don’t worry about my  breaking.” 

“Never.” She grinned. “Princeling.” 

Eric laughed. This was why he liked the morning  fights. These bouts were a good way to relax and find  out what people needed help with before heading to work.  Would these spars fix all of Vellona’s problems? Never.  Would they help a few survive? Maybe. Did they make  Eric feel like part of the crowd, just another soul living in  the bay instead of a prince always held at arm’s length?  Absolutely. 

“Every time you call me that,” he said, “I’ll hit  harder.” 

“I’m quivering,” she said, and fluttered her off hand  over her heart. “Come prove it.” 

Eric reversed his grip on his knives. He feinted  for her left, her sword scraping down his blades with a  teeth-shuddering grind. She kicked him back, and they  circled each other. He slashed at her, but she angled  away. The frantic rush of blood in Eric’s ears drowned  out their sloshing steps. 

“You going to hit me?” she asked. 

Eric thrust one blade at Gabriella, herding her right, and aimed a backhanded slash to where she’d have  to step. She pivoted and ducked, the knife catching only  her sleeve. The crowd roared. 

Someone behind Gabriella shouted, “Trounce him!” “His right side’s weaker!” yelled Vanni, Eric’s best  friend and, in this moment, worst enemy. 

Gabriella shifted to attack his right. Eric pretended  to stumble, windmilling his right arm back. She lunged,  and he swept his knife up. Their blades collided. 

His riposte sent her sword flying. It splashed behind  her, sinking beneath the murky tide. Eric rushed toward  her, expecting Gabriella to chase after her sword, but  she crouched down and met his charge. Her shoulder  slammed into his stomach and knocked the wind out of  him. His arms went limp, the edge of his knife bouncing uselessly off her collar. Gabriella’s hands grasped his  ankles. 

She tugged at his boots. Eric pressed his shaking  knife to her neck. She froze. 

“Well,” said Gabriella, her odd crouch muffling her  words against his wet shirt, “I’ve lost in more embarrassing ways.” 

Eric couldn’t recall any. The raid that had driven  Gabriella to move to the bay as a child had killed her  sister, Mila, and now Gabriella trained with her aunt almost every day. Once she’d gotten over Eric’s being  the prince, she had always had the decency to leave Eric  with far more bruises than his tutors did when sparring. No part of this loss was embarrassing. 

“If you insist,” he said, and cleared his throat, moving his knives away from her. 

“Princeling!” A pair of arms looped around Eric’s  neck and pulled him into a tight hug. “You lost me  supper, so I expect some compensation.” 

Vanni—far more interested in swords and sailing  than his baker of a father would have liked—clapped Eric  on the shoulder and spun him around. 

“Stop betting against me, then.” Eric bowed to him,  glaring the whole way down. “Keeping you and your ego  fed is my only goal in life.” 

“Obviously,” Vanni said, tossing his flaxen hair from  his face. He didn’t sweat in the stifling heat beneath the  docks so much as gleam, looking far more princely than  Eric ever did. “Who’s up next?” 

“You,” Gabriella said, and dragged him to the center of the crowd. “I want a real fight.” 

Vanni laughed, and Eric let out an uncomfortable chuckle. 

“Rude of you to say it wasn’t a real fight,” he  muttered, and Gabriella flinched.

Vanni and Gabriella didn’t bow to each other. Vanni  fought with a single sword, and Gabriella switched to a  dagger. He was limber enough to dodge her strikes, and  Eric had assumed she would be too exhausted to match  Vanni’s intensity given how she had lost. But each of her  strikes was as strong as the last, though, and Vanni was  gasping in the humid air after only three minutes. He  swung wide, and she dropped to one knee.  

Vanni smiled like he’d already won, but an uneasy  revelation wormed its way through Eric’s chest. Gabriella  wasn’t shaking or out of breath, and when Vanni lunged,  she plunged her off hand into the water. Quick as lightning, she yanked his foot out from under him. Vanni  collapsed with a splash. 

“You’ve got the balance of a fish on land,” said  Gabriella, holding up his leg like a trophy. 

The crowd applauded, and she dropped him. Vanni  coughed up mouthfuls of water and peeled seaweed  from his face. Gabriella handed Eric Vanni’s sword, and  Eric mumbled in response. All the joy of finally doing  something useful and fun with friends condensed onto a  single memory. 

Gabriella’s hands had been on Eric’s boots, and she  could have taken him down. Or up, as it was.

“Eric?” Vanni called, shaking out his sopping shirt  with a smile. “Your head’s in the clouds.” 
Eric forced himself to smile. 

“Bit overcast,” muttered Eric, “but I’m fine.” Vanni snorted and patted his shoulder. “Least you  won and won’t be wearing sand all day.” 

He shook some from his hair and onto Eric and  Gabriella. Eric jerked away. Gabriella shrugged. “I work outside,” she said, and checked the knot of  the kerchief covering her black curls. “You needed a bath  anyway.” 

“Gabriella,” Eric said, and leaned down slightly so  that Vanni wouldn’t hear. “You let me win.” Gabriella stilled. “I did.” 

“Why?” he asked. “Why let me win now?” 

“We’ve been using training swords for months, and  the sharp edges drew a crowd. It’s better if they don’t  see their prince flipped head over heels,” said Gabriella.  “Isn’t that what Grimsby is always going on about—the  crown is an idea, not only a person? Seeing you getting  dunked would be bad for morale.” 

“If Grim keeps giving you ideas like that, I’ll dunk  him,” Eric said. Of course, Eric’s status was seeping into  his one escape from the castle. 

The crowd milled around them, people kissing  cheeks and comparing bruises while they said goodbye.  Sparring was a fine way to pass the morning, but now  the day had begun and there was plenty of work to be  done in the bay. Vanni wrung out his shirt, muttering  under his breath. Eric slapped his shoulder. 

“You’re getting better,” said Eric. 

“Damper, more like.” Vanni shook out his hair. “I’m  going to be squishing about all day.” 

“You’re improving, though. You both are.” Gabriella  glanced up at Eric and grinned. “Do you know why I  always beat you?” 

“Because you’re better than me?” Eric asked, and  Vanni laughed. 

“You lean on your training too much. You never go  for a hit or kick when you start the fight with blades,”  she said and punched his arm. “You’ve got better form  with a sword and stick, and you can disarm me a dozen  times. If we were dueling, you’d beat me—I can’t fence  to save my life—but we’re not dueling. You fight in the  same order you run drills, and one day you’re going to  have to make the choice of what to do on your own. Get  dirty.” 

Eric bit back a grimace. He couldn’t choose anything.  That was the problem. Politics and circumstance within the last ten years had made sure that he had no choices  that wouldn’t lead either to a battle with the neighboring kingdom Sait, destruction at the sword points of the  pirates, or a civil war over his throne. One wrong move,  whether it was an impolite look or a strike back at the  wrong pirate ship, could get Vellona destroyed. 

Once most of the crowd had scattered, the trio  emerged from their makeshift meeting place, squinting in the bright morning light as they walked along  the beach. Cloud Break Bay was the largest city in the  small kingdom of Vellona, and the pale green waters  were as much a home to Eric as the castle tucked into the  cliffs. Masts listed across the harbor, their ships rolling  unevenly as cargo shifted. Summer rose in humid spirals  of steam from the decks, and voices called out across the  waves as people basked beneath the first warm, clear sky  in weeks. Vanni squinted up at the sun. 

“We went long today,” he said, and turned to Gabriella. “Won’t get you in trouble with your aunt, will it?” “No, we’re doing repairs this week before taking  off,” she said. “She doesn’t even really need me for those.” Carpentry was one of the few things she didn’t excel  at. Still a touch too young to take over her grandfather’s  fishing ship and too needed at home to take off and join  her aunt’s crew, she had spent more time at sea than Eric and dreamed of captaining her own merchant ship like her aunt. 

“I could help with repairs,” said Eric, eager to  stay with his friends. That way, he could be Eric, just  Eric, for a little while longer. “Does your aunt need the  extra hands?” 

“Not really,” Gabriella said, and made a face. “That  last storm did a number on the ship, and we’d be in the  way of the good shipwrights. Hopefully we’ll be able to  pay them. We’re getting wrecked by storms every time  we leave the docks.” 

“Those hurricanes aren’t normal,” said Vanni. “That  last one came out of nowhere.” 

“It’s magic. Got to be,” Gabriella said. 

Magic was uncommon but not unheard of. It was  limited to reclusive sorcerers and old tales swapped over  pints. Small magics, like tonics and whistling up a wind,  were alive and well, and Eric knew there were stories  about witches in the old days who could call down lightning or manipulate souls like puppets. Grimsby wouldn’t  hear of it, but Eric agreed with Gabriella. Sait, the large  kingdom to the north dead set on expanding, had almost  certainly found itself a witch. 

“Even your mother, bless her, would be struggling  these days.” Gabriella nudged Eric. “Especially with Sait in the mix. Can you prove it’s them organizing the  pirates?” 

The pirate attacks, suspiciously well organized and  as regular as the storms, had started up eight years ago  once Vellona’s money was nearly drained by the near constant squalls and droughts that had plagued the kingdom  for as long as Eric could remember. It was then that Sait,  with a navy as flush as its coffers, had started poking at  Vellona’s defenses. When Eric’s mother, Queen Eleanora,  had died in a shipwreck up north two years ago, Sait had  gotten bolder and Vellona had gotten desperate. Eric  had been left with a floundering kingdom and dozens of  others eager to take his throne. 

He shook his head. “Grimsby calls it a long game,  weakening us before striking, but accusing them out right would start a war we can’t afford.” 

Eric suspected that was exactly what they wanted— justification to conquer Vellona. 

“Is there not some rich old widow with a flair for  dramatics you could wed to get us out of this mess?”  Gabriella asked. 

Vellona had exhausted every avenue that led to  money save for one, and only Eric could take it. “Sadly, no,” he said, pulling his flute from his pocket.  He always had it on him. He played a quick tune, taking the moment to calm himself. The familiar motion of his  fingers eased his worries. 

“I thought Grimsby wanted you married before your birthday?” Vanni asked. He glanced around and  lowered his voice. “You’ll have to kiss them at the wedding, but how can you when—” 

Eric froze, song dying off, and Gabriella grabbed  Vanni by the collar. 

“Shut it!” she hissed. “Sait finds out about that, it’ll be the easiest assassination in the world.” 

A shock of panic shuddered through Eric. Here, on  the docks with people working around them, no one was  paying attention, but they had never discussed his secret  in public before. He pocketed his flute. “Grimsby wants  me to marry well and figure it out after. Personal feelings  cannot trump convenience and duty, he says, but I refuse  to hand over control of Vellona to someone I don’t trust.” 

Vanni and Gabriella shared a look. 

“Is Grimsby still angry about Glowerhaven?” asked  Vanni. 

“Incandescent,” Eric said. “The only reason he  didn’t force it was because she loathed me as much as I  loathed her.” 

She hated music and dogs, and he couldn’t stand the  scent of the paints she treasured. Looking at art? Fine. 

Living in a miasma of paint fumes and odd alchemical  mixtures? Not for him. 

Gabriella laughed. “Wasn’t your fault Max didn’t appreciate her trying to glaze him. When’s your next  marriage proposal?” 

His next proposal? Never again. His next entrapment? The lunch with— 

Eric’s blood rushed in his ears, drowning out  Gabriella and Vanni’s chatter, and he wiped suddenly  sweaty palms on his trousers. He took a deep breath. 

“Grimsby’s going to kill me.” Eric looked around,  trying to figure out what time it was, and groaned. It  had been ages since he had forgotten a meeting, and he  had no excuse today. “Lord Brackenridge arrived this  morning, and I’m supposed to have lunch with him and  his daughters.” 

Gabriella’s eyes widened. “Run.” 

“How do I look?” Eric asked. “I won’t have time to  bathe.” 

“Like you were running late because you were spar ring,” said Vanni. “It’s almost like—” 

“Don’t you say it,” muttered Gabriella. 

Vanni ignored her. “You’re cursed.” 

“I’m letting that one slide,” Eric shouted over his  shoulder as he started running. “You only get one.”

“A day?” 

“A lifetime!” 

“Ignore him,” said Gabriella over the sound of  Vanni’s laughter. “Enjoy your prince-ing.” 

Eric rarely did. He was always Prince Eric first, a citizen second, and—secretly, terribly, through no fault of his own—cursed third.

About the Author

About Linsey Miller:
Once upon a time, Linsey Miller studied biology in Arkansas. These days, she holds an MFA in fiction and can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee. She is the author of the Mask of Shadows duology, Belle Révolte, The Game, What We Devour, and the upcoming Disney Princes books for Eric and Phillip. Visit her at linseymiller.com.

1 winner will receive a finished copy of PRINCE OF SONG & SEA, US Only.




I am very excited to be a part of the blog tour from Rockstar Book Tours for this middle grade graphic novel, Ghoster Heights by Corey Landsell, Kelly Mellings, & Lisa Larose.  Check out my review below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Book Information

Title: Ghoster Heights
Authors(s)/Illustrator(s): Corey Landsell, Kelly Mellings, & Lisa Larose
Publication Date: September 27,
Edition: Paperback, eBook; 208pgs
Publisher: Wonderbound
SourceRockstar Book Tours
PurchaseAmazon - Kindle - B&N - iBooks - BAM! - Kobo - 
TBD 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.  Please note the purchase links above are affiliate links.

Tour Schedule

Week One
9/12/2022 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers - Review/IG Post
9/13/2022 - hauntedbybooks - Review/IG Post
9/14/2022 - hodophile_z - IG Review
9/15/2022 - Jazzy Book Reviews - Guest Post/IG Post
9/16/2022 - Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post
9/17/2022 - @jaimerockstarbooktours - IG Spotlight

Week Two
9/18/2022 - YA Books Central - Guest Post
9/19/2022 - Eli to the nth - Review/IG Post
9/20/2022 - @allyluvsbooksalatte - IG Spotlight
9/21/2022 - One More Exclamation - Review/IG Post
9/22/2022 - A Dream Within A Dream - Guest Post
9/23/2022 - BookHounds YA - Guest Post/IG Post
9/24/2022 - RiverMose-Reads - Guest Post

Week Three
9/25/2022 - The Real World According to Sam - Review/IG Post
9/26/2022 - Nerdophiles - Review 
9/27/2022 - Novel Novice - IG Spotlight
9/28/2022 - @jacleomik33 - IG Review
9/29/2022 - The Bookwyrm's Den - Review 
9/30/2022 - Two Points of Interest - Review
10/1/2022 - A Blue Box Full of Books - IG Review

Week Four
10/2/2022 - @enjoyingbooksagain - IG Review
10/3/2022 - @thebookishfoxwitch - IG Review
10/4/2022 - The Momma Spot - Review/IG Post
10/5/2022 - booksaremagictoo - Review/IG Post
10/6/2022 - GryffindorBookishNerd - Review/IG Post
10/7/2022 - Mom with a Reading Problem - Review/IG Post

The Summary


Eight-year-old Ona has lost just about everything: her home, her possessions, her mother, and almost her life. When she and her father move into her Baba’s apartment complex after these traumatic events, they had hoped for a clean start. But a mysterious specter follows her, and Ona befriends the ghost she discovers haunting the boiler room. When her new friendship starts allowing her to see other ghosts—the ghosts who haunt the other residents of her building—she decides to use her ability to help her new neighbors face their troubles and free themselves from their specters. In doing so, however, Ona must eventually come face to face with a much darker foe—her own trauma and grief. The earnestness of Judy Bloom meets the raw emotion of I Kill Giants in this beautifully hopeful story of childhood tragedy.

An original graphic novel for middle grade readers about grief, loss, and the ghosts that haunt us all.

For fans of Sheets by Brenna Thummler, Small Spaces by Katherine Arden, and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

My Review

Ghoster Heights by Corey Landsell, Kelly Mellings, and Lisa Larose was an adorable kick-off to my Fall reads!  Bold, graphic art with a spooky, but heartfelt, story makes this graphic novel a fun read for younger kids, and the young-at-heart!

Eight year old Ona and her dad have to move in with her grandmother due to a tragic event.  Uprooting her entire life, Ona is not having the best time.  She is also targeted right away by the apartment complex's bully, which makes her transition even harder.  But one day, when she is trying to capture one of her grandmother's wandering cats, Ona discovers a ghost--a friendly ghost.  Haunty, as the specter is dubbed, leads Ona to discover her own strength and find a place for herself in her new home.

The concept of this book is great.  How Ona is able to help her neighbors via Haunty was really original.  I loved the sense of family that was created within the apartment complex, and that Ona got to see people have layers and explanations behind their actions/attitudes.  The lessons taught are important for kids to learn, and I think the vehicle of ghosts and graphic novel works well to convey that.

I wouldn't consider this book middle grade, but upper elementary level. While the topics that are being dealt with are serious, they are explored at the surface level from the understanding of an eight year old, albeit one who has experienced tragedy already.  The plot is not quite clear in a few places.  That may have been purposeful for the mystery aspect of the book, but I found it distracting, and it would pull me out of reading as I had back track what happened.  Also, this is probably dating myself, but I didn't know Tamagotchis were a thing again (Ona has a digital pet, which looked very similar to old school Tamagotchis).  So that made my eyebrow go up, as it was unexpected for the assumed time period.

However, the book was entertaining, and the art was adorable.  I felt it was eye-catching, and fit the tone of the book.  Bright colors gives it youth, and a light-hearted tone to sometimes difficult situations.  Ghoster Heights was a quick read, and one I think developing readers will gravitate.  Pick up a copy to start off your Fall reading list!

Final Rating


About the Creators

About Corey Landsell:
Corey Lansdell is a multiple award-winning illustrator and animator. He is a skilled communicator, expert storyteller and passionate collaborator. Corey heads up a SCBWI illustrators group in Edmonton, Alberta.

About Kelly Mellings:
Kelly Mellings is an award-winning art director, illustrator, and designer. His work has
appeared in comic books, TV commercials, magazines, apps, museum exhibits, and video
games. He is the co-writer of Ghoster Heights and illustrator of the Canadian best-selling
graphic novel, The Outside Circle. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

About Lisa Larose:
Lisa LaRose is a pop surrealist painter, illustrator, and comics artist in Vancouver, Canada. She is best known for her paintings: Bizarre and Colourful artworks. She creates lively and exciting colour palettes and is always making something a little weird. Lisa loves middle-grade fiction (books, comics, cartoons, you name it) and so she also moonlights as a middle-grade comics artist.

2 winners will receive a finished copy of GHOSTER HEIGHTS, US Only.





I am very excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Undead Truth of Us, the debut novel from Britney S. Lewis.  Check out my review below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Book Information

Title: The Undead Truth of Us
Authors(s): Britney S. Lewis
Publication Date: August 9,
Edition: Hardcover, eBook; 368pgs
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
SourceRockstar Book Tours
PurchaseAmazon - Kindle - B&N - iBooks - BAM! - Kobo - 
TBD 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.  Please note the purchase links above are affiliate links.

Tour Schedule

Week One
8/1/2022 - Wanderingwitchreads - TikTok Review/IG Post
8/2/2022 - BookHounds YA - Excerpt/IG Post
8/3/2022 - Lisa-Queen of Random - Excerpt/IG Post
8/4/2022 - Author Z. Knight's Guild - Excerpt
8/5/2022 - Lifestyle of Me - Review/IG Post
8/6/2022 - Brandi Danielle Davis - IG Post

Week Two
8/7/2022 - Celia's Reads - Review/IG Post
8/8/2022 - The Momma Spot - Review/IG Post
8/9/2022 - YA Books Central - Excerpt
8/10/2022 - 100 Pages A Day - Review
8/11/2022 - booksaremagictoo - Review/IG Post
8/12/2022 - @jypsylynn - IG Review
8/13/2022 - Kait Plus Books - Excerpt/IG Post

Week Three
8/14/2022 - @jacleomik33 - IG Review
8/15/2022 - A Dream Within A Dream - Review/IG Post
8/16/2022 - onemused - Review/IG Post
8/17/2022 - @ReaderOfTheWrittenWord - IG Review
8/18/2022 - A Bookish Dream - Review/IG Post
8/19/2022 - @drewsim12 - IG Review/TikTok Post
8/20/2022 - @lexijava - Review/IG Post

Week Four
8/21/2022 - @bujos_n_books - Review/IG Post
8/22/2022 - @amysbooknook8 - IG Review
8/23/2022 - pluvioreads - Review/TikTok Post
8/24/2022 - Eli to the nth - Review/IG Post
8/25/2022 - Eye-Rolling Demigod's Book Blog - Review/IG Post
8/26/2022 - Momfluenster - IG Review/FB Post
8/27/2022 - Cocoa With Books - Review/IG Post

Week Five
8/28/2022 - @just_another_mother_with_books - IG Review
8/29/2022 - Lisa Loves Literature - Review/IG Post
8/30/2022 - The Clever Reader - Review/IG Post
8/31/2022 - PopTheButterfly Reads - Review/IG Post

The Summary

Death was everywhere. They all stared at me, bumping into one another and slowly coming forward.

Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can't seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn't want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she's been seeing zombies everywhere.

Then Bo moves into her apartment building—tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can't help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother's death.

As Zharie sifts through what's real and what's magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you—for good or for dead.

In this surrealist journey of grief, fear, and hope, Britney S. Lewis's debut novel explores love, zombies, and everything in between in an intoxicating amalgam of the real and the fantastic.

Praise for The Undead Truth of Us:
"Britney Lewis has really nailed it with this one. I loved this striking, suspenseful, and deeply heartbreaking debut about a Black girl named Zharie on a quest to discover the truth about her mother and the darker parts of life and family! Spooky good.”―Jay Coles, author of Tyler Johnson Was Here and Things We Couldn't Say

"Deeply healing and impossible to put down, The Undead Truth Of Us, is an affecting portrait of grief’s many shades, and an affirming reminder to live.”―J. Elle, New York Times best-selling author of Wings of Ebony

"The perfect blend of emotion, sweet romance, and creepy imagery, The Undead Truth of Us is a journey you won’t soon forget."―Lauren Blackwood, New York Times best-selling author of Within These Wicked Walls

"THE UNDEAD TRUTH OF US is a revelation of a story, both macabre and magical, full of heartache, hope, and the infinite mysteries of love. I adore this book."―Rebecca Podos, author of Lambda Award-winning novel Like Water

The Undead Truth of Us is unlike any book I’ve ever read before. In this eerie and otherworldly story, Britney Lewis layers explorations of grief and love on the page like bright colors of paint on a canvas.”―Elise Bryant, author of Happily Ever Afters and One True Loves

“A devastatingly poignant tale of grief, healing, and the monsters we make of ourselves and of others. In American popular culture zombies have been used to represent our greatest fears and what do we fear more than losing the people we love? In Zharie, Lewis has created a perfectly imperfect character―someone who is learning to navigate grief and love and friendship all at once. Her moments of vulnerability feel familiar as do her moments of healing and joy. This story is an emotional and gripping take on the classic zombie archetype. A must read for lovers of genre bending horror.”―Kalynn Bayron, best-selling author of Cinderella is Dead

“A lament, but with fireworks.”―Nafiza Azad, author of The Wild Ones

“A wonderful book full of lyrical prose, but also grief―and the painful, sometimes beautiful, steps we take to get through it.”―Jessica Lewis, author of Bad Witch Burning

“Britney S. Lewis explores love and death in a debut that is tender, poetic, and wholly original.” Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost

My Review

Warning: this is not your typical zombie book.  Which is one of the things that makes The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis stand-out.  At the heart of it, this is a contemporary story dealing with grief and the multitude of ways that grief impacts someone's life.  But it is also a story about rebirth.  Grief, death, hope, and rebirth: if those aren't perfect topics to feature zombies in, I don't know what are.

Our main character, Zharie, lost her mother, the most important person in her life.  But prior to her mother's actual death, Zharie was seeing zombies.  She even saw her mother transform into one before the EMTs took her body away.  Then zombies are popping up everywhere Zharie turns, and she doesn't understand why she is the only one who can see them.  This brings Zharie to question things, as she navigates surviving the grief that has taken over, and forging a path to find her purpose again.

My favorite part of this book was the lyrical writing and the mirroring of post-impression art through Van Gogh himself.  This book is character-driven, which is very different from most zombie books, most of which are action-driven.  Zharie's use of viewing her reality through Van Gogh's art and questioning if what she is seeing is real or a hyper-reality is crafted with a deft hand.  I would caution that this book has a deep threshold into it, and will definitely not be for every reader.  However, if you do start reading, it will be worth it.  Britney S. Lewis does such an amazing job crafting Zharie, and bringing her grief to life, that the slightly more complicated aspects of the book are not a barrier for long.

The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis is not a normal zombie gore fest, which was such a breath of fresh air.  Definitely a great debut, and makes me intrigued to read more books from her!

Final Rating



FIVE DAYS. FIVE . That was how long it took for Mama to turn  into a zombie. 

Day one she was stoic. She refused to move from the couch, even  after I turned off the TV in the evening. I still remembered how frigid her face looked in the dimness of the flickering candle before I blew it out. The spaces above her cheeks were sunken in, eyes bulged away  from her face. A wiggle under there, only slightly, but it did. I saw it  move. I saw it twist. 

And her brown skin looked frail and thin—any wrong move, and  I was afraid it would tear away in small slits, revealing the tissue  beneath.

“Mama . . .” I whispered, creeping closer to her in the darkness.  One foot after the other, the floorboards creaking with each step. I  wanted to know if she was okay, if she was even awake, but she didn’t  say anything. Looked at her again, waited. She released a deep breath,  the air cracking on its way out. Sounded like something was in there,  inching its way up her trachea. 

I left it alone. Kissed her clammy head, pulled a blanket over her, and tucked her in, hoping she’d be fine in the morning. And she would be fine. She always was. 

Day two was strange. It began with her golden-brown eyes. They  glazed into a cynical gray like cataracts, and the brightness that  used to be in them dissipated like smoke in the wind. When she  spoke, her sentences were short and sloth-like—every word a complete struggle—almost as if someone had stuffed cotton beneath her  tongue. 

On day three, her veins oozed a thick green sludge under her skin.  They pulsed and vibrated, not quite right. And her shoulders slouched  inward, like they were weighed down by a thousand invisible moons,  causing her inner tide to disrupt entirely. 

As she inched closer and closer to the invisible abyss, her dark cloud  of sadness stripped away the caramelized flesh from her face, leaving  her disfigured. 

By the fourth day, every breath came with a creaking croak. It was  like watching a sped-up time lapse of a fire burning out. Everything  I loved about her was gone.

We didn’t dance. 

We didn’t sing. 

She wasn’t the bleeding sunrise anymore—she was the deep, deep, dark ocean. 

And on November 4, before daybreak, her last breath rolled up her  throat and turned her into the undead thing that I feared. It was the worst day of my life. 

I found her on the floor in the kitchen, and my throat swelled.  Her body lay in the fetal position, her right hand below her heart,  crumpled like an old rose. 

But I didn’t get it. Zombies weren’t supposed to die so easily, yet  Mama did. 

When the EMTs came, I tried to tell them, but the words wouldn’t  come out. They couldn’t see that she wasn’t only dead—she was  undead

I—I, uh, my thoughts stammered, all I could do was stare blankly.  How could they not see it? How was I the only one? 

And she . . .she needed more time. We needed more time. I didn’t understand. What was wrong? How did she die? Was she really dead? But they rushed her out, and I couldn’t move from that spot in the  kitchen where I’d found her. 

Couldn’t force the air out of my lungs. Couldn’t take any more  steps forward. 

I tried to hold myself, but a sharp pain in my navel forced me to  my knees. I curled into a ball on the laminate floor, and the smell of the brewing coffee nestled in my nostrils, reminding me of how she  was just here, alive. 

She was alive. 

Closed my eyes, warm cheek against the cold tile now. And she was  gone. I knew she was because of the permanent goosies on my arms. When Mama died, I think her soul shattered into a Postimpressionist painting filled with yellows and blues. We were the zigzagged, black  lines in that painting, the birds. And I swore I flew with her soul that  day, the wind still fresh between my fingers, but I couldn’t reach her.  Didn’t matter how fast I flew, she flew farther, and the sapphire horizon created a million miles between us. It swallowed her. They later told me that her heart exploded in her chest. Exploded. I  didn’t know how that could be humanly possible, but when they told  me, I saw those colors again. 

She was yellow. I was blue. 

She was dead and undead, and now the earth was flooded with  zombies, drowning me with the constant reminder of Mama. Why? I didn’t know why. 

But why? 

I didn’t know why. 

But I terribly, terribly, terribly wanted to.


About the Author

About Britney S. Lewis:
Britney was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas where she fell in love with storytelling and the idea that magic moved and breathed in our world. After getting her Bachelor’s of Arts and Science, she worked in the world of marketing and communications for a few years before accepting a position as an editor for greeting cards where her job is to make sure to get the best words on paper. When she isn't daydreaming about new stories, Britney can be found binge-watching TV shows with her husband and pup or practicing West Coast Swing in one of her local dance studios. The Undead Truth of Us is her debut novel. For more information, you can follow her on social media @britneyslewis or visit her website at https://www.britneyslewis.com

1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE UNDEAD TRUTH OF US, US Only.
Ends 9/6/2022, midnight EST.


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