Shadow Phoenix, Vol. 1, Episode 1

About

A young maid is catapulted into an inventor’s explosive world. Will a brazen tongue and a desperate attempt to save his life destroy her future?

Louisa balances on the cusp of two very different worlds, but as the bastard child of parents born of the social elite in London, she has no name and no future until one fateful night. Forced to act when her employer accidently blows up his lab, Louisa moves from the shadows to the spotlight.

With destiny upended, she hovers on the precipice of a new life. If she can manage to hold her tongue, and her un-lady-like curses, she could have everything her exiled mother dreamed for her – but is that what she really wants?

Juggling the layers of lies knotted into her existence, Louisa must face her future or die trying.

Thoughts

This series sounded really fun, and I’d been meaning to read it for some time. It’s a quick read, which was nice, because I was able to read the first episode during my break.

I already adore Louisa and Bennett. The episode was well paced, and I’m excited to continue on to the next.

I also really loved the cover, and the idea of setting this series up where it releases in episodes, like Charles Dickens original works. It adds a lot to the world building, and kind of feels like reading a graphic novel.

This is a really fun series and I can’t wait to continue!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Let Me Save You – Review

About Seventeen-year-old Nila Izawa’s life in small-town Japan is orderly, simple, expected. On the walk home from school before winter break, Nila finally sees that […]

Pre-Order Twenty-Eight Years by Telma Rocha

Pre-orders for Telma Rocha’s novel Twenty-Eight Years just opened up. I saw on the authors Instagram, that they would be donating their royalties from pre-orders along with money from their workplace to help with aid in Ukraine.

About

A past love and a new romance have more in common than Jenna bargained for!

Jenna Taylor has it all, or so she thinks: a secure job as a journalist at a prestigious magazine in downtown Toronto, a steady relationship, and a bestie everyone wants. When her fiancé, Josh Harrison, gives her the ultimatum to start a family now or they’re over forever, she’s shocked and hurt. His sudden announcement forces Jenna to accept a much-anticipated promotion in Quebec City-one she would have turned down for him. The promotion comes at the most convenient time and the distance is just the perfect amount of space to start over and nurse her broken heart.

But, when Jenna meets Liam Garnier in Quebec City, the shocking resemblances between the two men unnerves her. Could it be possible that they just look alike-not likely! Jenna takes it upon herself to discover the truth. The reality of the situation comes with a lot of consequences: hurt the people she loves the most or remain quiet and keep the truth from Twenty-Eight years ago buried. Can Jenna live with what she knows and not tell the ones she loves, and can she do so without it tearing her apart?

You can follow the author on Instagram, or check out their website: https://www.telmarocha.com/

“Fantasy based stories aren’t usually my forte – BUT BOY! Am I sure glad I took a chance on this book!”

Vermin has received another wonderful review!

Fantasy based stories aren’t usually my forte, especially ones that are part of series which are still unwritten/ released – BUT BOY! Am I sure glad I took a chance on this book!

Ardin is an amazing storyteller! Though this is her debut novel, she uses good descriptions of actions taking place, good word choices, and the story flows wonderfully. I can envision the facial reactions of each character as described.

At the beginning, I will admit, I was a bit lost with the amount of characters that were quickly introduced. I found it hard to understand who was talking but that soon passed. I came to understand that it was necessary for the storyline to progress as the characters have different storylines taking place at the same time, eventually leading to one that comes together.

I loved the fact that the back stories of most characters were hidden and revealed along the way as the story progressed. Without giving too much away, I adored slowly finding out about what happened to Roland and his family, and also the history with him and Dianna.
Roland is an interesting character; we get sneak peaks into his past as it unravels. I would say he is the main character and discovering the hidden truths with him is something I hope to continue uncovering as the series progresses.
As readers, we were given just enough information to have us hooked and wanting more. I have many questions which I hope I get answers to in books 2 and…3?

There are many cute/ adorable moments between certain characters that I LOVED reading about. Certain scenes stuck out to me and will stick with me for time to come.
I am heavily invested in ALL of these characters (minus Peter, solely because he annoys me). Each page I turned, and each chapter I finished had me begging for more!

**Ardin, if this series gets dropped, I will be outraged!**

— Author, Lindsey-Anne Pontes

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time to post reviews, and who have shared them with me! And no worries, the series won’t be dropped. I’ll be doing an announcement on book two soon, I promise!


Read More about Vermin

April Novel Update

Back in October of 2020 I wrote a post about what real life books the cast of Vermin might have on their bookshelves. It was […]

We Have Our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Vermin giveaway contest on Goodreads! We’re thrilled to announce that we have our four winners, and I personally […]

How to Get Free Books – Book Talk Episode 21

How does one go about getting free books?

Well, seeing as how I get free ARCs every week or so, I thought I’d share how this works, as well as giveaway contests, book fairies, and free libraries.

ARCS

Now, I’d like to start off by clarifying what an ARC is, because not everyone is aware, especially if they’re new to the world of reviews. An ARC is an Advanced Review Copy or Advanced Reader Copy. These can either be eBooks, or print proof versions of of books that are coming out in the near future. They are not final versions, and are sent out in order for books to gain reviews and generate discussion prior to their release.

I get eBook ARCs through websites such as Netgalley, and ARC Reviewers.

With Netgalley, the more reviews you share on your blog, booktok, goodreads etc…the more likely you are to be approved for the most anticipated upcoming releases. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you fill out your Netgalley profile completely, so that publishers know exactly what type of books you are looking for. I often get approved for manga review requests, because I read, and review them frequently on my blog and Goodread’s account. The same goes for children’s literature. With Netgalley, there is also a time limit for completing these books. Most ARCs expire by the books release date, or the week of, and depending on the demand, it can be hard to get approved for popular requests without prior reviews on your chosen platforms.

ARC Reviewers has a smaller selection of books available, but it is much easier to get access to new releases. Usually there are 3-5 eBooks to choose from, with a limit of 20 copies for each book. There is anything from romance, to sci-fi on the website, and it is a great way to build your review roster so that you can get approved for ARCs from larger, more competitive websites like Netgalley. ARC Reviewers also does not have a request system in place, so anyone can download an ARC. This is perfect for people starting out, as these ARCs do not expire after a specific time period, and reviewers can add these books to their reviews on Goodread’s, and other platforms to build a following.

Now onto physical ARCs. Physical ARCs have become much harder to come by in recent years, especially with the pandemic. The most common way to get them, is to work for bookstores like Indigo or Barnes & Noble. Publishers will often reach out to these stores directly when they are are looking for avid readers, to review ARCs because it helps to boost sales upon release. If employees at your local bookstore always seem to have read the latest releases, it is because publishers like Harper Collins, Penguin and Scholastic are reaching out to them with free copies of books, sometimes months in advance. By working at a bookstore, book lovers can get access to great programs, giveaways and much, much more.

This year, I became a Children’s and Middle Grade ARC Ambassador for Scholastic. As an ARC Ambassador, Scholastic sends me physical copies of books to read and review for these specific age groups. On occasion I will also receive books in other genres I enjoy, outside of young readers, such as Science Fiction. I get around 2-6 books to read every few weeks and usually these books are sent to me a few months before the actual release date, but sometimes I will get a recent release to review as well. These reviews I post here on my blog, as well as on Goodreads. I will also share my reviews with my team members, highlighting which customers I feel would enjoy reading that specific book. I always aim to add a personal touch to my reviews, especially when I connect well with a book, as I want my review to attract readers to their next favourite book.

ARC Review Etiquette

One thing to keep in mind is ARC Review Etiquette.

What do we do with DNF’d books or low ratings, if the book hasn’t hit the shelves yet?

My rule as a reviewer is, when it comes to Netgalley, send a direct message to the publisher with my concerns about an unreleased book. In these cases I will choose not to leave a public review, because I don’t feel it is fair to the author, and their team to publically slam an unreleased book. I contact them directly out of respect for the people behind the book, in hopes that any concerns I had with the book would be addressed and corrected before the final version was released. The last time I did this, was to address the descriptions of POC in a debut novel I’d gotten an ARC for. I had been extremely excited to read the book, but once the POC character’s were introduced, I noticed a lot of problematic descriptions, that I don’t believe the author or publisher even noticed as potentially harmful. Unfortunately these issues were not addressed, and the book received poor reviews and ratings. As you might notice, I’m not sharing the title of this book out of respect for the author and publisher. I’ve never posted my review either. To me, if I didn’t even finish the book (DNF) I don’t feel it is fair to post that review publically until after the marketing campaign is over. Although this book has been out for over a year now, I feel there are enough reviews on it, which address the thoughts I expressed in my direct message to the editor and publisher before the release. All I’ll say about that situation is, that there are certain tropes, stereotypes and descriptions that definitely need to be retired, and hopefully the author’s next book is a success. As a reviewer I like to be mindful and will always spend time determining whether or not a public review is necessary. If I do leave a public review, for a book I didn’t enjoy, I like to be as polite as possible. You can still be kind, while providing criticism or sharing your opinion. I don’t like chocolate ice cream, but I would never say “this is trash!” to my sister, who absolutely loves it. Just because I don’t enjoy something, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Sometimes, it just isn’t for you, which brings me to my next point: with low ratings, it is proper review etiquette to provide readers with an explanation, as it’s unhelpful to those who rely on reviews to simply see a 2 star rating, without any reasoning behind it.

Now, everything I mentioned above in terms of Review Etiquette is something that reviewers often debate when it comes to ARCs and book tours. I always reevaluate this whenever I read a book I wasn’t fond of, and try to take into consideration the people behind the book, the amount of work they did, and whether or not what I have to say is thoughtful and worth contributing to the conversation. To completely trash a book during it’s release month or even worse, on the release date is just seen as poor review etiquette, at least amongst reviewers I follow and admire. This is why at times, you’ll see videos made say, three to six months after a book releases titled, “books I DNF’d.” Everyone however, has their own approach to this, but I do encourage people to really reflect before posting a review.

Giveaways

Now onto giveaways.

How does one find book giveaways?

Well, there are many places to look. A lot of giveaways are hosted by authors, publishers, bookstores and even reviewers. I follow the newsletters of several of my favourite authors, and they will announce giveaways a couple times a year, especially for new releases or special editions of books. These can be incredibly cool, and it’s always nice to win free stuff. It’s also beneficial to follow author newsletters because closer to the holidays, they might offer neat treats to their fans. One author I follow gave away Halloween themed goodies, designed by an artist friend of theirs since their novel took place in a haunted mansion!

Author Kami Garcia recently did a giveaway on Instagram for bundles of her novels, and the DC graphic novel series she’s been writing based on the Teen Titan’s characters.

Publisher giveaways tend to be hosted on a variety of social media platforms. Sometimes they’re done in collaboration with specific booksellers, or authors. Other times, it’s just a fun campaign for bookish peeps to check out. Some publishers will also give away tote bags with book related goodies, and exclusive content. I usually see these giveaways on Instagram, but have stumbled across a handful on Goodreads and Twitter over the years. I recently saw a very cool giveaway for Heartstopper to celebrate the film adaptation!

You can also type in #giveaways or #freebooks in the search bars of your favourite social media apps to find some neat stuff, however always be sure to read the details and guidelines of these contests carefully, and make sure that the host isn’t asking for anything sketchy in return. You should never be asked to pay a fee to enter a giveaway (unless it’s a raffle to raise money), or provide information such as your credit card.

One of the best ways to constantly find giveaway’s for books is Goodreads. I’ve entered lots of giveaways through the site, and recently hosted one for Vermin. It’s very easy for people to enter, and it’s also fun to scroll through and see what books are available. All that is required is a Goodread’s account, and Goodreads will of course send you a reminder to leave a review of the book once you’ve finished it.

Book Fairies and Free Mini Libraries

Earlier in this post I mentioned book fairies. Book fairies are very special, magical beings, who leave books around in public places for people to keep and take home. They are more common in the UK, and I’ve yet to catch a book fairy in action, however when I was little one often frequented my local Starbucks. Sometimes a book fairy will leave little notes or wrap the books to keep the contents inside a surprise for the reader! I heard a rumour that Emma Watson is actually a book fairy! Shh…it’s a secret though. The main goal of a book fairy is to provide books to those who may not have access to new books, but to also spread joy and the love of ones beloved stories to others. Perhaps one day I’ll meet one? Or…maybe I’ll find out I was one all along?

Lastly, free mini libraries. There are so many of these in my neighbourhood, and they’re absolutely adorable! The purpose of these is similar to that of the book fairies. Neighbours can take a book to borrow or keep, and can also leave books inside to share with others. It always makes me happy to see what books are in these tiny libraries, and it’s a lovely way to give back to your community. For those like myself, who are avid readers and constantly running out of space, it is also a wonderful place to donate gently used books to those who might not have access. I highly recommend visiting one if you get the chance, and if you have the means to do so, perhaps donate some children’s, middle grade and teen books to mini libraries located near under funded school districts. Some new parents, and young families may also appreciate seeing baby board books, and books for early readers as well! In my neighbourhood, people always donate children’s books, and the free mini libraries are close to the park. This is great because not everyone has access to transportation, but these are within walking distance of their house.

Another thing to keep in mind is that with book fairies, and free mini libraries, reviews are not a requirement. The goal is to merely share books with fellow bibliophiles, and to spread joy. I think that once I have a place of my own, I would love to set up a free mini library…perhaps book fairies will visit me? I’d love it if they did.

How to Get Free Books – Book Talk Episode 21

I hope that through my reviews you find stories that you absolutely adore, and that this post will also lead you to other ways to not only get your hands on a free book for yourself, but also introduced you to new ways to share books with your community as well.


More Book Talk Episodes

YA Faves

As YA week comes to a close, I’ve found myself reminiscing over some of my old favourite books that I read during my teenage years. […]

We Have Our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Vermin giveaway contest on Goodreads! We’re thrilled to announce that we have our four winners, and I personally can’t wait to mail out their books.

Hosting a giveaway always seemed a bit scary to me, but I’m glad I did. I will definitely host another closer to the release of book two, so be on the lookout of that, if you’re interested.

Again, congratulations! I hope you enjoy reading Vermin, and thank you for entering the contest.

Daughter of Black Lake – Book Review

About

It’s the season of Fallow, in the era of iron. In a northern misty bog surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, a settlement lies far beyond the reach of the Romans invading hundreds of miles to the southeast. Here, life is simple–or so it seems to the tightly knit community. Sow. Reap. Honor Mother Earth, who will provide at harvest time. A girl named Devout comes of age, sweetly flirting with the young man she’s tilled alongside all her life, and envisions a future of love and abundance. Seventeen years later, though, the settlement is a changed place. Famine has brought struggle, and outsiders, with their foreign ways and military might, have arrived at the doorstep. For Devout’s young daughter, life is more troubled than her mother ever anticipated. But this girl has an extraordinary gift. As worlds collide and peril threatens, it will be up to her to save her family and community.

Set in a time long forgotten, Daughter of Black Lake brings the ancient world to life and introduces us to an unforgettable family facing an unimaginable trial.

Thoughts


Wow! Cathy Marie Buchanan has done it again!
I absolutely loved reading about Hobble, Devout, and Smith. The story was so vivid. I was constantly filled with wonder, and anxious of what Fox would do next, and what secrets were kept in the past.
I also loved the way the chapters were split, with Devout’s written almost as if they were being seen by someone else, in third person because they happened in the past, whereas her daughter Hobble’s were written in first person, present day. I thought that this made the story stronger, and it also allowed the reader to get a clearer picture as to who Smith was through the eyes of both his wife, who had known him since he was a boy, and his daughter who could tell his every thought just by looking at him.
I loved each and every character in this book, and was definitely drawn to Smith, despite him not having a perspective. It was clear how much he cherished his family, and wanted to keep them safe, making decisions that could put himself in grave danger.
The way the suspense was built up in this story was also fantastic! I was constantly worried about what might happen to this family. I don’t want to spoil anything but it was definitely a thrilling read.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for this talented author!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Let Me Save You – Review

About

Seventeen-year-old Nila Izawa’s life in small-town Japan is orderly, simple, expected. On the walk home from school before winter break, Nila finally sees that she is crumbling under her mother’s strict expectations, both of them fueled by resentment towards Nila’s absentee father. Nila reaches for the courage to break free, but her fear of failure is overwhelming.

Wavering on the edge of stability – and adolescence – rude, annoying, beautiful Kai Kento’s insults, at last ignite Nila’s resilience.

Thoughts

This novel reminded me of some of my favourite emotionally charged shojo series like We Were There and Peach Girl. I think the reason Peach Girl kept coming to mind was because Nila’s father called her Peaches growing up.
The doll house thing made me cry so much. I also built one with my dad as a kid, and I could understand how Nila must’ve treasured doing something so special with her dad. I won’t say anything more about it because I don’t want to spoil anything.
I loved all of the character’s in this novel! I especially drawn to Kenji as he developed throughout the story. I think Kida was my favourite side character. She gave off cool big sister vibes, despite being Nila’s best friend, and she almost reminded me of a combination of Claudia and Stacey from the Babysitter’s Club. She was just cool, and it was obvious her and Nila truly cherished their friendship.
I cried throughout the last half! So much happened. I felt like I was right there with Nila, throughout all of the chaos…Nila’s voice was so clear throughout the story. You could sense her anxiety, joy, and defensiveness within each chapter. There was such a clear reasoning behind her actions, and her initial hesitance with Kai. Even her frustration with Kida, which I’ll be vague about to avoid spoilers, was understandable. Nila was hurt by the very people who were supposed to love and protect her, and although she responds differently to situations and people than her brother Kenji, who is more abrupt and rash, it is clear that the two of them need to lean on each other along with the love and support from Kai and Kida to pull them through. Nila is a force. I loved her story so much. She really blossomed as a character.
Kai was cheeky in a good way. He was adorably sweet. He really pushed Nila to come out of her shell and I don’t think it would’ve been possible if he hadn’t been so open and charismatic. Kai’s very upfront and forward, whereas Nila’s more reserved and in her head about things. I loved how honest he was with her, and how the two of them grew together. It was so cute watching Nila fall in love with him.
Lindsey-Anne Pontes did an incredible job of capturing those glittery…petal covered, panels you might see in a shojo manga, and also included some of my favourite tropes from the genre! It was so cool how she created the feeling of reading those emotionally raw scenes in this medium. Especially with the flashbacks!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of manga like We Were There, Orange, and Mars or coming-of-age novels such as The Steps or Star Girl. I think you’ll adore this book.
The ending was extremely satisfying!

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Anonymous Noise Vol. 2 – Review

About Nino Arisugawa, a girl who loves to sing, experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino […]

Want to get your hands on a signed copy of Vermin? Well, here’s how!

Did I also mention it’s free? That’s right! You can win a free, signed copy of Vermin this month! All you have to do is enter the giveaway on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vermin by Ardin Patterson

Vermin

by Ardin Patterson

Giveaway ends March 31, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Did I also mention it’s my birthday this month? Since it’s also my birthday, the contest winners will also be receiving an additional gift along with their book. I can’t wait to find out who wins! Best of luck to everyone!

Win a Signed Copy of Vermin!

We’re giving away 4 signed copies of Vermin this month! To enter all you have to do is go to the contest page on Goodreads and follow the instructions.

Winners will not only receive a signed book but some fun themed goodies as well.

I’ve wanted to do a giveaway for a long time, and am super excited since this contest will be taking place during my birth month. There will hopefully also be book two announcements following the contest, so please stay tuned.

You can also find Vermin themed content over on tiktok by following @theverminseries as well as here on the blog.

I can’t want to see who wins!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vermin by Ardin Patterson

Vermin

by Ardin Patterson

Giveaway ends March 31, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway