Category Archives: Reading

Book Tour: Top 5 Reasons to Read Isoldesse

There are some books you read that you just can’t stop thinking about, and Isoldesse by Kimberly Grymes is one of those books. Due out on March 2, 2021, Isoldesse is YA Sci-fi Fantasy, and Grymes’ debut book! It’s the first book in the Aevo Compendium Series.

Today I’m helping kick off the Isoldesse Blog Tour. You can check out the other stops on the tour here.

Here’s what the book is about:

Friendships are tested, new alliances are made, and the truth of one woman’s actions from over a millennia ago are revealed.

Kenna and Meegan are college students dealing with upcoming finals, needy parents, boy drama, and what to do with their lives after they graduate in a few weeks. What they weren’t expecting was for Kenna to receive a powerful stone necklace that ultimately changes their plans for a relaxing summer.

Strange things begin to happen to Kenna, like being the only one who can see and talk to the mysterious old woman with a golden aura. Or how in her dreams, a man with vibrant orange eyes keeps appearing who may or may not be real. Though, not all of Kenna’s mysterious encounters are pleasant as she’s haunted by massive beings carrying long swords and wearing armor covered in black scales.

Besides solving the mystery of where the stone necklace came from, Kenna, Meegan, and their friends are taken to another world for a routine evolutionary assessment. The assessment gets sabotaged and causes more chaos for Kenna and her friends, especially for Meegan who is forced to open up and reveal her true identity and the magic she hides.

There’s one name that Kenna, Meegan, the Sendarians, and the monsters who’ve been hunting Meegan and her family for over a century all have in common…

ISOLDESSE


Ok, let’s talk about 5 reasons why you should add this book to your TBR:

5. The cover

This is a given. Just look at it, it’s beautiful! The cover for Isoldesse is stunning, with tons of little details and a gorgeous silhouette of the four main characters. And something about the gold on navy is just eye-catching!

4. The cast of characters

Even just from looking at the cover, you can tell this book is character-driven. From the four leading ladies Kenna, Meegan, Ally, and Darci, to well-meaning scientists, to aliens masquerading as humans, you’ll get to see the story from several points of view. One of my favorites was one of the ‘bad guys’, or I should say, alien gals who is at the heart of the conflict.

3. The quest for answers is never-ending

It all starts with a mysterious necklace given to the leading lady Kenna. And from then on, more mysteries begin piling up for these characters, and each person–human, alien, whoever–holds part of an answer. The multiple POV really works well in the unraveling of the story, and it was really exciting when you get to see some of the characters meet for the first time.

2. The unique storyline

Just like the book’s cover, this story is unique and full of rich detail. It mainly focuses on Kenna and Meegan, two best friends who are just about to finish college when strange things start happening. What I really liked was even though I thought I knew where the story might be going, Grymes took it down several surprising plot twists which made for a really fun adventure.

1. It’s a perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy

Isoldesse meshes both an epic fantasy journey with hard science fiction. The world building is just fantastic, with so much thought put into every little detail. With magic gemstones alongside space colonies, and aliens next to goddesses, it’s a fascinating stage for the epic adventure these friends take.


Giveaway (US Only)

One reader will win a finished copy of Isoldesse. This giveaway starts on February 22nd and ends on March 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

When Kimberly Grymes is not writing, reading, or blogging, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and kids, baking treats, or keeping busy with crafts. As much as she enjoys reading books, she loves watching movies and TV, and is always on the lookout for the next great sci-fi or fantasy show to watch. Her favorite part of the day is TV time in the evening with her husband and two min-pins, Jubilee and Cori. She currently lives in Kansas, where her allergies are much better than they were in Connecticut.

Kimberly has a small book blog called the Plum Report in which she reads and reviews science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and or dystopian books. She also enjoys taking bookstagram pictures and sharing them with the book community on Instagram.

Follow Kimberly on:

Her website * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads * Facebook

Book Review: Reformed by H.L. Burke

I’ve never read super-hero fiction before, but I’ve watched plenty of superhero movies and TV shows, so I thought I’d give this book by H.L. Burke a shot.

Normally I like to pair my book reviews with tea, but this one deserved a little margarita action; read it and you’ll find out why!

Reformed is the first book in the Supervillain Rehabilitation Project series. I had been hearing a lot about it, and with Book 4 coming out next month, I decided now was the time to read it!

It only took me three days, because I couldn’t put it down.


Here’s the blurb:

Once a villain, always a villain?

Optimistic and idealistic superhero Prism is determined to redeem her father’s legacy by rebooting his supervillain rehabilitation program. To do so, she sets her sights on Fade, the relapsed supervillain who was the reason the government canceled the original program in the first place. However, when she petitions for Fade to be released into her custody, she finds out things might not be as simple as she thought.

Convicted of an unforgivable crime, Fade received a choice: surrender to trial and possible execution or endure a memory erasure so he could start fresh. Now with no recollection of his time before incarceration, Fade doubts he has the ability to be anything but the villain the public believes him to be.

A series of attacks by a mysterious power-swapping villain points back to Fade’s past and the crime that cost him his freedom and memory. With her father’s legacy and her own reputation on the line, even Prism has to wonder: can a villain truly be reformed?


The pacing was excellent, and the writing is such quality that it just flows so naturally making it wicked easy to binge.

With alternating perspectives between former villain Fade, and optimistic hero Prism, there was always more intrigue to keep you guessing until the very last paragraph.

My only critique is I guess I enjoy more description, and with the fast pacing and a lot of dialogue, I could have used a bit more scene setting/ character description.

The characters were wonderful, and the superhero hierarchy and powers really well done.

Lots of snark, plenty of feels, and really great characters in a unique story!

Book & Tea Review: Heart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke

A book with heart, and a hearty tea

I’ve been in a reading slump for a while now. I don’t know whether I’ve just been busy with my new fall releases, or if it’s the social/political/health climate, or what. But I finally finished a book!

I chose this one because H.L. Burke writes fun and snarky characters, and I figured it would keep my interest until the end. And it definitely did. So today I have a book & tea review for you; keep reading to see which tea I chose to go with it and why!

This post contains affiliate links.

📖 The book: Heart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke

Key points:
🌇 Awesome world building
👥 Great characters
🎭 Theater
🪄 Magic
⚙️ Steampunk
🥐 Pastries
🐌 Snails

Having read this author before, I knew I was going to be in for a fun yet heartfelt tale. And it was set in a theater, with characters who can do magic? Sign me up.

Leo and Muse find a home in The Curiosity Theater, their respective “knacks” (little magics) giving them jobs as a dancer (Muse can levitate) and a professional audience member (Leo can influence other people’s emotions).

When the theater becomes in danger of closing after a tragedy, their livelihoods, their home, and their happiness are all threatened.

Leo is a great main character, her scruples about using her knack on other people an excellent point of character development. And her love of pastries… Comes close to her growing love for another certain someone at the theater.

There are so many interpretations of what the title could really mean as you read the book; there is so much heart in this story and these characters. I definitely found myself actually smiling the last two chapters.

Where do the snails come in? I’ll let you read it to find out!

“Yes, people need food and shelter and goods and services, even buttons, but they need art as well. They need to smile and laugh and cry and see ideas expressed in ways that make them think and feel. They need The Curiosity, or at least what it stands for.”

– (Paxton) H.L. Burke, The Heart of the Curiosoty

☕ The tea: Rooibos Lemon Cloud by Adagio Teas

Tea choice inspired by the somewhat magical pastry shop that Leo frequents, this tea has a bold rooibos flavor with the right amount of creamy lemon. Great hot in this cool weather!

I’m careful not to oversteep this tea, because as with most rooibos teas, the hearty rooibos will overpower any flavor if left too long. I also like to use my disposable tea bags, because, again, the rooibos flavor can get intense, and I’m far too lazy to clean my usual teamaking stuff with soap everytime I use it!

The only thing this tea could be wanting is maybe some lemon peels for added flavor and vibe. But it’s a great decaf tea for anyone who likes lemon, with a hearty rooibos base.

Book & Tea Review: The Cruel Prince and Dragonfruit Dream

Today I’m reviewing another book and tea pairing!

📚The book: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
🍵The tea: Dragon Fruit Dream by Adagio Teas

📚
The Cruel Prince is an exceptional story that draws you in just like getting tricked into a bargain to go into the land of Faerie! I could not put it down, and I have really been meaning to get the rest of the series.

I hadn’t read anything by Holly Black since reading Tithe as a teenager. I remember it being one of my favorite books.

I was fortunate enough to meet Ms. Black at a convention in February (one of the last public things I’ve gotten to go to! So glad I went) at Boskone in Boston.



The characters of The Cruel Prince are complex and I really enjoy that a lot of them are morally grey. The fae characters are very grey, and though they can be dark sometimes, I think it’s “realistic”, as realistic as writing fae can be.

I can’t wait to read the next one and see where all the scheming goes!

It pairs nicely with Dragonfruit Dream tea, an intoxicating fruit herbal tea from Adagio Teas.

I picked it because it has these cute little apple pieces which reminded me of the sweet fruit of the realm of faerie. It makes a great iced tea, and I used my Teavana Teamaker to steep it in.

Kirkland Green Tea & Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Today I decided to expand my Instagram books & tea feature to my blog!

🍵 The tea: green tea sachets (from Costco!)
📚 The book: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

It’s far too hot for hot tea. These green tea sachets are pretty much the only “teabag” tea I willingly drink. They’re sold by Costco, but the tea itself is actually from Ito En, a Japanese beverage company that specializes in tea, and produces some excellent green tea.

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you can get cans of green tea (hot, right out of the vending machine), and they’re from Ito En. So it’s a nice throwback to our trips there.

The tea sachets can be brewed either hot or cold. For hot, I steep for under a minute. (Steeping long is how you get bitter tea!) For cold, you can just put a tea sachet in some cold water. I brewed mine for about half an hour to get this nice green hue. Cold water won’t make your tea bitter. Then throw some ice cubes in, and you’re good!

I don’t generally sweeten green tea. It’s such a mild flavor to begin with, I feel like any sweetener would overpower it. But you could always throw in just a smidge of your favorite sweetener–I like stevia the best.

I thought it would pair nicely with one of my All Time Favorite Books: WICKED.

I remember writing a book report on this book in high school, I’ve loved it that long. Getting inside Elphaba’s head and exploring Oz though a whole new lens was fascinating. In fact, I think it’s about time for a re-read of this particular book. Though I have to say, I didn’t quite enjoy the rest of the books in the Wicked Times Series, but I did read them to find out what happened.

Wicked the book is very different from the musical. I’ll admit I’ve never seen it, but I did go to college for theatre, and so have listened to the soundtrack once or twice. The book is dark. It has some very dark themes and adult situations that might be inappropriate for younger readers, so be warned. It’s not all defying gravity.

But the political, social and human elements fascinated me even as a highschooler. And the most fascinating aspect: How did the witch become wicked?

So in honor of miss green herself, let’s sip a glass of some green tea and think wicked thoughts.
😉🍵

Coming May 1st~ Reformed Blog Tour by H.L. Burke

The new book from one of my favorite indie authors, H.L. Burke, is a departure from her usual fantasy and steampunk genres, but promises to be just as awesome. The first in a superhero series, Reformed is coming out May 1st, and is currently available for preorder for only 99 cents!

And check out that cool cover art!

Once a villain, always a villain?

Optimistic and idealistic superhero Prism is determined to redeem her father’s legacy by rebooting his super villain rehabilitation program. To do so, she sets her sights on Fade, the relapsed super villain who was the reason the government canceled the original program in the first place. However, when she petitions for Fade to be released into her custody, she finds out things might not be as simple as she thought.

Convicted of an unforgivable crime, Fade received a choice: surrender to trial and possible execution or endure a memory erasure so he could start fresh. Now with no recollection of his time before incarceration, Fade doubts he has the ability to be anything but the villain the public believe him to be.

A series of attacks by a mysterious power-swapping villain points back to Fade’s past and the crime that cost him his freedom and memory. With her father’s legacy and her own reputation on the line, even Prism has to wonder: can a villain truly be reformed?

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Dragon and the Scholar,” the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy “Cora and the Nurse Dragon,” among others .

Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com

Preorder Reformed here

Follow H.L. Burke on:

Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Website

Review: A Song in the Rain by Lydia Deyes

This book is charming middle-grade fantasy novel about a young sparrow named Sheer. Sheer reminds us that even when there is no hope, and all is dark, there is still light to be found, still something good in the world.

“Everything was desolate empty, hollow.

Except for one tree. One strong, persevering tree. Just ahead I could see it through the mist. It had a few leaves, still green despite the fact that it was mid-winter. How had it survived?”

-Lydia Deyes, A Song in the Rain

The book starts off with Sheer waking up in a terrible fire, with no idea where he is, and his hearing gone. Deaf and confused, he seeks help, but a dark force follows him and ruins every place he tries to call home, until he meets the animals of the thirteenth floor.

This was an unexpected and fun twist. Samuel, the lynx leading the animals who call the thirteenth floor of a building in the human city home, grants Sheer protection with special magic. And he isn’t the only one with magic. Sheer has begun to realize he has a certain magic too, one that he doesn’t understand. Samuel helps Sheer learn how to cope with his newfound deafness, while also helping him to come to understand that he is the catalyst in a prophecy–one that concerns the dark force that Sheer encountered.

Sheer must confront several creatures who have been taken in by the dark force. These animals are featured on the gorgeous cover: Nyoka the snake, Finsternis the wolf, and Spike the crow.

Sheer finds himself uniting the animals of the forest and the thirteenth floor, to prepare them–so they can save themselves from the coming darkness, helped to spread by the snake, the wolf, and the crow. Sheer is thrust into leadership, and suffers many losses and even betrayal, but most interestingly, he wages a war with himself.

The inner turmoil Sheer experiences is what is special about this book. He experiences greed and then guilt, desire for power coupled with self doubt, loyalty and loneliness. The feelings of this little sparrow are big.
It’s sectioned into four parts, each part having a particular challenge Sheer faces. Overall a great middle-grade read.

The only question I was left wondering, was how the thirteenth floor came to be. Samuel and the other animals have been there for a while, and they have an established and lively community that Sheer comes to join. Maybe a short story or a prequel is in the author’s head somewhere?

Romance Book Review: Mae’s Cafe

What a small world this is! I got a chance to review an advanced copy of author Elsa Kurt’s new book, Mae’s Cafe. Why is it a small world? Let’s see. I first met Elsa at a writer’s group here in Connecticut about a year and a half ago. So we’re both from Connecticut!

Mae’s Cafe is set in fictional Chance, Connecticut. But it’s not fictional, or at least, it doesn’t read fictional. The small town life Elsa writes is spot on. It’s like you grew up in Chance yourself, reading all about the different histories between the characters; the drama, the connections.

I’ve never read any of Elsa’s books before, but I slipped into this book really easily. It’s a fast read. I also only just started reading romance, and I’ll blame Outlander for that ;) I enjoyed the romance and the tension and build and everything with Mae and William. William thought he was just “passing through” but he is very quickly sucked in to the cafe and Chance–Mae, the small town drama, Mae, and–what else?–Mae, draw him in.

I also really liked the “cafe” itself, it’s like its own character. It has a lot of history and detail that speaking of Outlander, is reminiscent of Diana Gabaldon’s incredibly detailed writing.

Grab a copy on Amazon!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2MoNknU
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2W8k4kT
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/314WzwQ
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2wACxfq

And also give Elsa Kurt a follow to watch for the rest of the Welcome to Chance series on BookBub * Facebook * GoodreadsTwitter * Website

H.L. Burke’s Cover Reveal for Heart of the Curiosity

I am excited to take part in the cover reveal for one of my favorite indie/hybrid authors, H.L. Burke! Her new steampunk fantasy, Heart of the Curiosity will be released on June 27, 2019.

First, about H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. 

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture. 

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Now, onto the cover reveal!

Wow! I can’t wait to read this in June! What a great cover. I also hear there are snails involved in this book….

The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd’s mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity’s sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater’s stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

You can pre-order Heart of the Curiosity from Uncommon Universes Press here:

Amazon * B&N * Apple * Kobo * Uncommon Universes Press

Or follow H.L. Burke online for more of her writing:

Facebook * FB Reader Group * Twitter * Instagram * Website