Blog Tour: The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount (Review & Giveaway)

The Shadow Girl Blog Tour

The Shadow Girl
by: Misty Mount

The Shadow Girl

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Coming of Age

Date Published: December 28, 2017

Synopsis

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

Goodreads

the shadow girl

Review

Its been a while since a novel has taken me by surprise and The Shadow Girl definitely did do that. In its own unique way, it portrayed somewhat of a creepy fantasy world that happens to those who fall into the shadows or are invisible to the people around them or at least feel that they are and struggle to find ways to be seen as well as acknowledge their own presence. With that said, the message behind this novel is a very strong one especially when bookworms like myself struggle with a similar sort of scenario particularly when I was growing up. The desire to dive into the fantasy world is so strong. The Shadow Girl portrays that really well with her unique character of Zylia who grows up in a packed household full of kids and as she learns more about being in the shadows, she also realizes that she isn’t alone and being the strong character that Misty Mount has build, she makes decisions that will affect her fate. The story and the angle taken here is definitely the strength of this novel.

The novel did take a little while to take off as it set its stage. However, the slow start did help better understand the characters and the backstory while leaving out a little mystery as the plot thickened, The Shadow Girl became quite a page turner. There was a slight writing style inconsistency in certain parts but overall, the language used her was descriptive and vivid. I could almost feel Zylia’s emotions as well as the things she sees. Its always nice to see a YA novel that dives into the coming of age angle instead of a romantic and adventure sort of style. This dives into something much more realistic even if there are fantasy elements and focuses heavily on the underlying message it tries to bring up. Don’t get me wrong that there is an adventure because a personal journey and what happens to The Shadow Girl is absolutely a completely different type of adventure.

Goodreads score: 4/5

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Author Bio

Misty Mount

Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife, and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist. She resides in Wichita, Kansas.

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GIVEAWAY

Giveaway: 1 print copy of The Shadow Girl and 2 digital copies
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*Print copy is available to North American residents only

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A Stone in the Sea (Bleeding Stars #1) by A.L. Jackson

I had a goal to go digging with something nice and romantic for the Valentine’s Marathon and I realized that I had stopped downloading romance books in a while. The only one that I found which I believe I had found fairly recently was this one called A Stone in the Sea which is the first book of the Bleeding Stars series. Never heard anything about this but then with movies, books and games, it is best to go in blind.

Let’s check it out!

A Stone in the Sea
(Bleeding Stars #1)
by: A.L. Jackson

a stone in the sea

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A. Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced. When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she’s helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers. They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air. –Goodreads

Its been a tough ride of this genre of books of late. However, A Stone in the Sea is definitely a step in the right direction. The characters have some depth and back story. There are some very nice moments where other characters come into play to enforce a scene’s effectiveness. It banks a little on the sex scenes but that goes with the genre and those are quite well executed. What I did like the most was that one of the main characters, Shea was written quite self-aware of the normal tropes of the lady in this genre of books however, the frustrating parts is sometimes she will fall into those tropes and written as being irresistibly connected or in love with this mysterious Sebastian fellow. What does save the book a lot is the book structure which works in both Sebastian and Shea’s point of view. For the readers, we get the full picture and this helps us to accept situations as they occur and see how the characters react to know them a little better. At the same time, the supporting characters were quite unique and it would have been nice to have seen them get some bigger arcs as well.

Sadly, A Stone in the Sea was quite decent about halfway until things start getting on the repetitive side in the second half. Plus, a great deal of these books is buying into the characters and their scenarios and being able to imagine it. And in some of these, I’m not sure even my fantasies would wander in that direction and be okay with some of the heartbreaking moments. It hints at such a bad scenario that I wasn’t too fond of when the conflict broke the characters apart and the dialogue of the reconciliation. There were also these weird repeated words that popped up of their emotions or something that maybe reflected their feelings but it didn’t seem to do much for myself.

Overall, A Stone in the Sea is an average book. It works for the most part particularly in the first half. The second half becomes less intriguing to read due to distaste for certain characters and their decisions and the repetitive scenarios and dialogues that seem to dawn on the characters. The finale was also fairly easy to figure out before it ends in somewhat of a cliffhanger after a big reveal which as most of you know, I’m not a big fan of books that aren’t self-contained.

Remy’s Dilemma by Andrew Snook

Remy’s Dilemma is another book that I picked up at Toronto Comicon last year. It has been sitting on my desk for a while in the TBR pile and I finally decided that it was time to start it.

Remy’s Dilemma
By: Andrew Snook

The world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy Delemme believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list – finding the answer to man’s greatest question. There’s just one problem. Detective Tobias Gray, the most respected criminal profiler in the Toronto Police Department, thinks Remy is a serial killer; and he’s not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Armed with a green crayon, smiley-faced stamp and a pack of cigarettes in a race against time, Remy carves a path of hilarious destruction, baffling and infuriating the police, his government and every other person he encounters. – Goodreads

From start to finish, Remy’s Dilemma is odd. Its so very odd. It all dials down to Remy’s character and all the things that happen around him that are both out of this world and unexpected. Sometimes it was purely nonsensical. However, while it did take a while to adapt to the oddities of the story, once you do, it is quite a mesmerizing read if not to just see what happens to Remy and how he manages to achieve his bucket list before the end of the world. To be honest, reading this book reminded me a bit of when I read Mailman by J. Robert Lennon.

Being in Canada all my life, its hard to not feel a little more connected to this book. The author Andrew Snook does a great job at setting up this alternate reality or maybe a future scenario of Canada being broken down where the province of Quebec has finally broken apart from Canada and turned into their own countries. Only those quite familiar with the situation will feel the connections of it all which somewhat adds on to the absurdities of what this book gives to the readers, especially when you consider that his lifelong to-do list might seem quite normal but then he manages to tick off a few of these boxes on his little road trip and for a few categories multiple times. The structure of the book follows both Remy and Detective Tobias Gray both having their own ways of measuring their progress be in figuring out the suspect or getting closer to doing everything on the bucket list.

As silly and as crazy as this road trip with Remy becomes, the story never forgets to shed a little bit of a deeper light on its main character. As the story pulls to the ending, we start seeing something of a glimpse of what perhaps motivates Remy even if it is in somewhat of an unrealistic way. Why would this be realistic when almost everything else that has happened to him also is quite unrealistic and fairly nonsensical. Remy is a very colorful character full of weird decisions and its almost like he’s the guy who walks around and explosions follow him in those CGI heavy movies. Of course, while Remy is an intriguing character, the book is full of other characters like Tobias Gray who also has quite some depth to his character and brings some more serious vibes to the story. However, the story is also scatter with this cameos of characters that Remy encounters that all have their entertaining aspects.

Remy’s Dilemma takes a little getting used to its oddities at the start but it is also these oddities that escalate during the story that makes it a page-turner. Its a fast read. However, its setting might prove to be a little more welcoming to Canadians (particularly living in Ontario and Quebec). However, the geographic story doesn’t quite make that much of a difference here as the characters and scenarios more than makes up for all the entertaining elements. I can’t help to think that Remy’s Dilemma might not be for everyone as it is a rather dark humor sort of story and humor is quite subjective to everyone.

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, Volume 1 by Hope Nicholson

All the backlog of 2017 is finally done with books! Moonshot is the first book of 2018 to be read. I’m going through my book hauls from last year so Toronto Comiccon yielded this book and another that I have just started to read as I’m writing this up. AH Comics are the ones who put this compilation out of Indigenous stories told by various illustrators and writers. I had picked up this one and gotten Titan: An Alternate History, where you can check out that review HERE.

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, Volume 1
by: Hope Nicholson

moonshot

From traditional stories to exciting new visions of the future, this collection presents some of the finest comic book and graphic novel work in North America. The traditional stories presented in the book are with the permission from the elders in their respective communities, making this a truly genuine, never-before-seen publication. MOONSHOT is an incredible collection that is sure to amaze, intrigue and entertain! – Goodreads

Moonshot is a beautiful indigenous comics collection. The variety and the diversity of its stories really had a wonderful touch to the traditions and storytelling nature that the culture has been known for. For myself, there is a lot of unknowns since I have never dug deep however ever since I’ve played the game Never Alone, its somewhat peaked my interest in learning more because there is just so much to learn from the different tribes (if that’s the right world). Each story is preceded with a blurb about the story’s origins and the approach it takes. Some of them stay true to the roots and look at possibly one angle of retelling while some has taken a story and injected into a futuristic world however still managing to portray its essence. Its genuine and knowledgeable while being entertaining as well.

Moonshot is a collection of 13 stories and while I really don’t want to have to evaluate each of them, here are the few that I liked the most:

  • Vision Quest: Echo: This story kicks off the compilation in such a creative way. It says in the beginning introduction blurb that its told uniquely in Indian Sign Language. There is a beauty of seeing the story unfold through elaborate pictures put together like a collage in some ways. Its a powerful and meaningful story told in such an effective way.
  • Ochek: What grabs me the most about this story is its art style and how it tells the story with anamorphic creatures heading out to look for warmth to help their families survive the cold harsh winter. It links it to the well-known constellations which adds on a new meaning and lessons to this story.
  • UE-Purcase: Water Master: A lovely twist of this story shows how lessons learned in these stories are timeless as this story is retold in the collection set in the distant future where people live out in space. The world here and the art along with the story is told so well.
  • Strike and Plot: Also set in the future, Strike and Plot resembles a lot of the story of God of Thunder and Lightning because here the sons posses the power of lightning and electricity respectively. They are sent on a mission that comes back with an unexpected outcome. The art and the world is very nice and the story is engaging.
  • Tlicho Nàowo: This story takes place on Halloween however, it is a story about paying respect to spirits and ancestor and the herds that feed them. The meaning stems deep and is a nice extension of how the indigenous Tlicho would celebrate their Halloween.
  • Ayanisach: Ayanisach means ‘he who tells stories of the past’ in Cree. With that said, this story uses a brilliant art style set in the future to emphasize the importance of storytelling to learn the past to improve on their future. Also one of the final dialogue in the story.

To be fair, a lot of the stories here are very stylistic. Whether it is the way that they choose to tell it in their words and/or the art style. These six are really the ones that appealed to me the most however, I was impressed by all of them. Its an enjoyable read and one that is very educational and entertaining as we learn about different groups (tribes? not sure how to say that) from different places in North America and their stories. Its definitely a creative way to share it.

Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson

This novella somehow slipped my mind in the holiday craze. Lets jump right in!

Miss Kane’s Christmas
by Caroline Mickelson

miss kane's christmas

With Christmas only three days away, Carol Claus agrees to her father’s request that she leave the North Pole on a mission to help save Christmas. Joining single father Ben Hanson and his children for the holidays seems an easy enough task until Santa informs her that Ben is the man behind the disturbing new book ‘Beyond Bah Humbug: Why Lying to Your Children about Santa Claus is a Bad Idea’.
Posing as Miss Kane, the children’s new nanny, Carol pulls out all the stops to show Ben how fun Christmas can be, all the while struggling to understand how one man could hate the holidays so much. How could she, Santa’s only daughter, be so attracted to a man who refuses to believe her father exists? – Goodreads

Miss Kane’s Christmas reads a lot like a Hallmark holiday Christmas. The scenario of using Santa’s daughter and the play on the name is pretty cute however, somehow it loses its momentum quite fast. Miss Kane’s Christmas features an obviously over enthused woman who is sent to bring the holiday spirit into this widower and his two kids life. The going on is fairly straight forward as she ends up asking some elves for help and forcefully decorate the house then end up having them believe because they end up in North Pole.

Honestly, I get that novella are  short form stories and don’t get to be as fleshed out as actual novels but the story here lacks some continuation. It lacked some originality in its execution and in its far fetched moments also turned the characters personality around too quickly. With that said, it is a quick read for a novella but does fall flat every little while. Its not a book I can recommend but then perhaps I am all rom-com’ed out from the holiday films. Its why in the midst of a ton of comparison, this felt like it was lacking. I’m having this feeling that its my problem and not the novellas. If this is your kind of thing, this novella does have some clever moments.

Not a lot to say but novellas are shorter in nature so I’m okay with this being briefer than usual.

Did you read any Christmas books for the holidays?
Feel free to recommend and I’ll jot it down for next Christmas.

Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) by Ruby Dixon

Its hitting almost -40C today here in Montreal so it felt suitable to review a book set in an icy planet. Ice Planet Barbarians is the first book in a science fiction erotica series. Of course, I was two steps too slow and didn’t realize that barbarians would mean erotica so here we are.

Ice Planet Barbarians
by Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians

You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now, the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women – including me – on an ice planet.
And the only native inhabitant I’ve met? He’s big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me… – Goodreads

So…I’m feeling a little embarrassed after I just used the Goodreads synopsis. To be fair, Ice Planet Barbarians sounds so incredibly cheesy and still, there are quite a few redeeming points to it. You didn’t expect that, right? Ruby Dixon creates a very adequate and vivid image of where these 22 year old girls have landed from the description of the first group of alien to these ice planet barbarians. The land they tread and the monsters that roam in it are all very well described. With that said, the well-written description also expands into describing the characters and their feelings as they use two different voices of the main girl Georgie and the alien Vektal. There are some downfalls that I will touch on a little later. However, its easy to almost see who these characters look like especially the hulking alien here even if some of the description comes into somewhat of a suspense as we learn why they keep referring to “khui” and “resonance”. With that said, good on Ruby Dixon to also give us a pretty self-contained story here which helps that in her sequels, it focuses on other human and alien pairings with other characters as I had a chance to take a glance at snippets of the beginning of the other books in the series. Another good part here is that the erotic scenes here work very well. It is expected as she has a great way with her words and while some of it can get a little cringy (as these books do), there is a certain satisfaction to it still, call it a guilty pleasure if you will.

One of the main issues here is really the character themselves and how they actually talk. Yes, I know they are different species and its not to do with the fact that they lack proper communication via spoken language. The character, particularly Georgie is actually really annoying to read. She starts off like a pretty spoiled character and her inner monologue which is what we read as one of the voice is hers, is just grating to read. She does take leadership but its more like she has no other choice in the most self-indulged way and she doesn’t really do much. However, I do have to say that the redeeming part here is that she does acknowledge the whole Stockholm Syndrome deal here and tries to prevent herself from letting sex get in the way of her mission, at least there was an effort in it. On the other hand, Vektal is a pretty good character. Awkward and weird in his own alien ways which is all part of the learning curve of his species and their beliefs. My only issue with his part was the writing of making his understanding of Georgie in jumbled English so you had to decipher it whenever you read it even if he didn’t understand it. I get the purpose. At the same time, his side is somewhat repetitive. There’s a lot of terms like “mate” and “my resonance” and “khui” and repetitive writing over and over again which I’m not a huge fan of it. It got a bit irritating to read.

Overall, props on world building, good erotic scenes and character design however not a huge fan of the writing style and Georgie. It comes midway for myself. I’m not exactly sure thats enough for me to keep reading the series. We’ll see if ever it shows up on my radar.

Announcement: Holiday Marathon & More

Welcome everyone! The holidays are just 2 weeks away!

We usually start off our holiday month at the beginning of December but as I tried incredibly hard to catch up with everything, I had to push it back with other commitments that didn’t feel fitted for the holiday theme I wanted. A lot of that is out of the way now and I happily did get it all completed so we can move onwards. The original plan that I thought of back in October was to give it a franchise linked slightly to the holidays. My choice was the Harry Potter franchise, which surprisingly hasn’t been covered on the blog yet. However, with starting later than usual, I’m debating whether I’ll still do it. Of course, there is still time.  If that does interest you, sound off in the comments and I’ll fit it into the schedule. gilmore girls

It is also important to note that over the years, its changed a lot and honestly running out of Christmas movies to watch also so these next two weeks will be an array of different holiday content: recipes, holiday events, book and movie reviews and more random stuff. I have some posts ready to go already. If you aren’t into the holiday/Christmas overload however, don’t worry about it. I’ll have a few two post days if it all goes well with normal stuff as I catch up with some rentals and some Shudder viewings along with books that I need to finish since I’m wildly behind with the Goodreads challenge also and of course, TV binges for the rest of Gilmore Girls are  upcoming up and I’ve noticed recently that I never actually did the TV Binge for Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Its a busy time of year on and off the blog so I’ll try my best to keep things rolling here and always fun to hang out and hopefully have a post for whatever reason you follow (or drop by) here. The final week of December will be a slower one as I finalize the plans for 2018 and do a ton of housekeeping to get all the indexes updated.

With that said, the official start of the holiday marathon is tomorrow with Music Obsessions! 
Have an awesome day, my lovelies!