ARC Review: Now & Then by Katie Rae

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Now & Then

Author: Katie Rae

Release Date: November 16th, 2022

Page Count: 221

Start Date: November 9th, 2022

Finish Date: November 21st, 2022


Story: This story really packed so much into it. I’m still amazed and impressed that the author told so much in the amount of pages they did. It showed present day and parts of the past. I’d have loved to see more of the past and maybe even some parts later on in present day. I’m not complaining or saying that the book didn’t give enough details. It was amazing. I’m just a nosey person and I’m not done being in the lives of the characters in this book.

Characters: I could relate to both Hailey and Walker. They have both been through so much. They came out of it and kept going. The things they went through would always be there. The pain. The struggles. The hurt. It shaped them into who they grew up to be, but it didn’t define them. I would have loved to see more points of view from Jake. I’d actually like to see his story period! He’s such a great guy!

Critiques: I only have one. The blurb. It’s written in a way that makes me think that we will only see Hailey’s point of view. We get multiple points of view. This is probably just a “me” critique. It doesn’t really affect the story. It’s just off to me.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. It was so beautiful. I really felt so emotional in many ways. I have never wanted to walk into the book to hug characters like I did with this one. I’ve also never felt as inspired and hopeful about a couple before either. Walker and Hailey are just beautiful. They are beautiful separately too. There’s one part I’d of liked to see an actual ending to and not just a reference, but that’s just a personal preference. The cover is gorgeous too!

Esperance Blog Tour

Borrow or Buy Here

Twelve strangers. Six marriages. One year in Esperance.

Amryn has many reasons to hate the empire. Her latest is her forced marriage to General Carver Vincetti, better known as the Butcher. If he learns even one of her secrets, he will kill her. And Amryn has many secrets. Not only is she an empath with forbidden magic, she’s also a newly recruited rebel intent on destroying the empire—starting at Esperance.

Carver knows the rebels have infiltrated the remote temple of Esperance. His job is to hunt them down before they can wreck the emperor’s new peace. Despite the demons that haunt him, Carver is intent on his mission—but he’s not prepared for Amryn. From her fiery red hair to her surprising wit, his new wife has captured his attention. The attraction that flares between them is undeniable. Now he just has to determine if she’s the enemy.

When the newly married couples become targets in a violent game, Esperance becomes more dangerous than anyone anticipated. Carver and Amryn are about to discover that no one is exactly who they appear to be—especially each other.

Esperance is book one in a New Adult fantasy romance series by Amazon bestselling author Heather Frost. If you love enemies-to-lovers romance, surprising twists, and an action-packed story you can’t put down, you’ll love Esperance!

Heather Frost is a #1 Amazon bestselling YA author who loves epic stories with breath-stealing romance. She is the author of the Seers trilogy and the Fate of Eyrinthia series. Her books have been Whitney Award Finalists and Swoony Award Finalists. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and call it homework. When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and re-watch Lord of the Rings. She lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in northern Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, visit her website:

Interview With Carter

Hello Carver, thanks for stopping by! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?

Hello, I’m Carver Vincetti. I’m a general in the Craethen Empire’s military, and I’ve recently returned from the front in our war with Harvari. You may have heard that I was wounded, but I’m fine now. Completely. I’m ready to serve the emperor in this new capacity at Esperance.

That’s right—you’re about to get married to a stranger. Can you tell us a little about that?

Of course. The emperor decided that peace in the empire could be strengthened by arranging marriages between the eligible elite in all the kingdoms. Each kingdom offered a candidate, and the emperor paired everyone up. Now we’ve all come to the remote temple of Esperance to get married and live for a year, without distractions or outside biases.

And you really don’t know who you will be marrying? Even though you are a favorite of the emperor’s?

Well . . . can you keep a secret? The emperor learned that some rebels may have infiltrated the temple—they might even be some of the candidates that were sent here to be married. So, the emperor asked me to investigate everyone at Esperance, and make sure this venture succeeds. As part of that, I asked the emperor if I could marry Amryn Lukis. I’ve never met her, and I don’t know anything about her, but she’s from Ferradin, and that was one of the last kingdoms to be brought into the empire. There are some lingering anti-empire sentiments there, which means Amryn might very well be an enemy to watch.

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer”, then?

Yeah, something like that.

How did you feel when you learned about your impending arranged marriage?

Honestly? I was a little wary. Hesitant, even. I always wanted to get married and have a family, but I’ve been fighting a war for years, and marriage has been the last thing on my mind. But I’m happy to serve the emperor however I can, so I will marry Amryn Lukis.

Where did you grow up?

In Westmont, near the coast. I may be biased, but I think it’s the most beautiful place in the empire.

You’re from a large family. Do you enjoy having so many siblings?

Saints, yes. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home filled with family, laughter, and love. I’m the oldest brother, though I do have an older sister. And I’m by far the favorite uncle to my niece and nephew, though some of my brothers might disagree.

Did you always want to be a general?

Going into the military was always my dream; it’s a family tradition that I’m very proud of. My father is High General of Craethen, and I’ve always admired him and wanted to be like him.

Who is your best friend?

Argent Vayne. He’s the future emperor, but he’ll always be the boy who told me it would be a great idea to jump off the royal stables roof when we were little. All jokes aside, I think he’ll make an incredible emperor one day, and I’m honored to have him as my friend.

What is most important to you?

My family. I would do anything for them.

What quality do you most value?


If your mother had to describe you in three words, what would they be?

Oh no. *Chuckles* Well, as a child, she probably would have labeled me as reckless, irreverent, and vexing. Today . . . well, she might actually say the same. But I’d like to think I’ve grown over the years. I calculate risks before I take them. I joke, but I can be serious. As for being vexing . . . I’m definitely still that.

My Review:

I will have a more detailed review later, but I can’t help but to tell you how much I loved this book. I knew going into it that I would love it though. This author is so talented. She has a way with words that just draw you in and keep you hooked. If you haven’t already read them, I’d also recommend her Fate of Eyrinthi series. It’s so beautiful. I can’t wait to read more of it. I’ve read all three and the two novellas. I’m not going to lie. This book is different than that series. That’s not a bad thing though. I loved it and can’t wait to read it again. I can’t wait to read more books in this series. I’ll be buying a physical copy when I can.

ARC Review: Compassion by Xavier Neal

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Compassion

Author: Xavier Neal

Release Date: November 18th, 2022

Page Count: 412

Start Date: November 16th, 2022

Finish Date: November 18th, 2022


Story: I was both leery and curious about this book. I decided to dive into it anyway. I’m glad I did. This was a really hearty book. It did contain some spicy scenes. They flowed nicely with the story. I really loved the overall message of the story. It’s really heart wrenching. It’s also beautiful and inspiring. I think what I love the most is that it covers a topic that nobody really likes to talk about. It talks about how some military people are treated after they are no longer in service. I do feel the need to say that this covers a bit heavier topics than most people would probably be comfortable with. It also has abusive conversations. Especially between the mother and the daughter.

Characters: I am so inspired by Jaye. She is a librarian for a private school. She is also such an amazing person. She puts up with so much and she just keeps on being her amazing self. I absolutely love it. She finds a homeless man going through her trash and decides to show him kindness she feels he deserves. Everything changes from there.

Critiques: None

Final Thoughts: I’m not going to say that this was a favorite book for me. I most likely won’t be reading it again. However, I really did enjoy the story. I fully believe it will make a wonderful and heartwarming movie one day. The message is so powerful. I was definitely brought through many feels while reading this book. I’m definitely glad that this book came into my world. I fully recommend it.

ARC Review: Overtime by Rebecca Barber

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Overtime

Author: Rebecca Barber

Release Date: November 17th, 2022

Page Count: 294

Start Date: November 7th, 2022

Finish Date: November 16th, 2022


Story: This is the fourth book that I’ve read by this author. I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. She has managed to give each story a unique spin while still keeping the character complexity of the other stories! I was so excited to find out that this book was for Luca. He’s Sienna’s brother from another book. She’s a firecracker! From what I can see, there will be two more books in this particular series coming out next month. I am looking forward to reading both of them!

Characters: I was so excited to get to know Luca better. I didn’t really see him as a “book boyfriend”. I just really thought he was a great guy by the way he treated his sisters. I was so right about him. He’s just such an amazing guy and getting to know him in this book was amazing. He winds up meeting Elise. She’s an amazing lady. She was a teacher. She had amazing friends! I really adored Jax. I couldn’t get enough of his bubbly personality and want to read more about him!

Critiques: None

Final Thoughts: This author has a fantastic writing style. I absolutely love her books. She finds a way to put a unique spin on everything she writes. I’m looking forward to reading other books that she has written. This book has just the same amount of sweet and spice as all of her other books that I have read have. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I fully recommend this book and all of her others.

Sword & Sorcery Blog Tour

Sword and Sorcery: FrostfireEthan Avery

Stories By Storytellers
April 22, 2022

Book Links





If you could change your life by trusting in a stranger… would you?

Erevan has a problem. He grew up on the unforgiving streets of Bogudos and has the scars to prove it. His friend, however, is stuck in jail because of his mistake. But when a suspicious courier offers him a chance to fix things, should he lift his sword and journey across treacherous lands to aid her cause?

Meanwhile, Aireyal has been accepted into the wealthiest and most prestigious magical school in all the land. There’s just one problem. She can’t do magic. But that’s far from the only secret within the walls of Darr-Kamo. And what she discovers might just change the world.

Swordsman & Sorcerer
Scholar & Spiritualist

All four have enemies. And all four need help to get what they want. But help is never free.

Review Quotes and Praise

“An intricate and enjoyable adventure with a striking cast.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Avery’s buoyant, character-driven debut… brings a fresh class consciousness to high fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly’s BookLife Reviews 

“The systems of magic are elaborate, immersive, and vibrant.” —Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Readers will find…thought-provoking insights about growth…and a vivid adventure.” —Midwest Book Review

“Exquisite Worldbuilding.” —Indies Today “A YA Fantasy that checks all the main boxes a fantasy lover would be thrilled to see in one book!” —Reedsy

Author Links




My Review:

Title: Sword & Sorcery: Frostfire

Author: Ethan Avery

Release Date: April 22nd, 2022

Page Count: 436

Start Date: November 3rd, 2022

Finish Date: November 12th, 2022

I really enjoyed this book very much. From the cover, to the story, to the cute chapter graphics that started every chapter. It was an addicting read. It’s told in multiple points of view. I wanted to see them all succeed in their own way! I want to read more books by this author! Fully recommend this incredible book. It’s full of adventure, drama, chaos, and excitement!

ARC Review: Killer Revenge by Rosemary Willhide

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Killer Revenge

Author: Rosemary Willhide

Release Date: November 17th, 2022

Page Count: 286

Start Date: November 7th, 2022

Finish Date: November 15th, 2022


Story: I finished this book ten days ago. I’ve been behind on reviews, but I also really wanted to process this one. I really enjoyed this book very much. If I could give it a hundred stars I would. It’s intense. It’s attention-grabbing. It’s everything. That ending though. It’s really stuck with me. This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I promise you it won’t be my last.

Characters: So the story follows Abby who’s house sitting for her sister who’s moved into a beautiful home in a small town. It’s a disaster from the moment she gets out of her ride share. I found it really hard not to empathize with her through the entire story. There were other characters I really adored. Including the author and the book store owner. There were characters I didn’t like. Especially the ex and the narcissist.

Critiques: None

Final Thoughts: I think the ending of this book is going to stick with me for a very long time. I will be reading this book again in the future. If I could, I’d buy all the books in this series in paperback. There’s three out right now, but I have a feeling we will see many more. At least I hope we will. I fully recommend this book!

Audiobook Review: Revelation by Victor Acquista

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Revelation

Author: Victor Acquista

Release Date: August 23rd, 2022

Page Count: 302

Start Date: October 12th, 2022

Finish Date: November 4th, 2022


Story: I really liked this story a lot. I just don’t feel like it held up to the first book. I guess I can understand that though. The first book was so strong and so absorbing. This is just my personal opinion though. I’m sure that other people will feel differently. I do want to state again that I really enjoyed the story. I also think that this book can fully be read independently of the first book. 

Characters: I feel like this book focused more on the bad characters than the good. I didn’t think I would find that as fascinating as I did. I did though. It was interesting seeing the points of view in this one. 

Critiques: None that I can think of. 

Narration: Brilliant! I especially loved the way they narrated the scientist who was responsible for all of the creations. Absolutely brilliant! 

Final Thoughts: I really did enjoy this book a lot. I didn’t love it as much as I did the first one, but independently, it was great. I would love to see both books turned into a movie or mini-series. I think they would be amazing. I’d definitely watch. I fully recommend this book and Serpent Rising. Both of them will take you for a ride!

Climb Harder Blog Tour

Climb Harder

by Philip Barker

October 30 – November 02

YA, 386 pages.

Link for the book on Amazon

Ashley Davies takes her first steps out of Abbeydale into the competition that will determine the rest of her life.

In the highly demanded sequel to 2021’s ‘Climb’, the stakes are raised and with it Ashley Davies begins to realise that sometimes following your dream can cost more than you ever thought you could give.

Philip Barker’s explosive sequel takes the trilogy to new, heartbreaking heights as Ashley discovers what it really means to call yourself a champion.

This is more than a coming-of-age story. It’s an overcoming story. A story of healing and growth. A contemporary, action-packed story that doesn’t stutter or stall. It’s a story of first loves and finding oneself amid the chaos of the world. In one word Climb is satisfying, and I recommend it to readers young and old. I give it 5 stars and look forward to the sequel.

Donna Sundblad about the first book in the series, Climb.

About the author

Young adult literary fiction author Philip Barker believes it is important to do something every day that scares you, even if it’s only a little bit; it means you are pushing yourself to experience new things. Through his writing, he aspires to provide his young readers a different perspective, to put emotions into words so that they can hopefully feel a way that they normally wouldn’t, or even wouldn’t want to.

Philip realized in high school that he wanted to be a writer when he discovered that books have the capacity to make him think outside of the established way that was taught to him growing up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. He likes to ground his stories in reality and relate them to personal experiences. It is his opinion that life itself is amazing and story-worthy, and there are so many interesting people in the world, all things that he can harvest great writing from.

Philip believes a great story is one that has relatable and interesting characters. Everyone lives interesting lives, and getting to know people is the fun part, even with fictional characters. Having them leave their comfort zones becomes fascinating and often hilarious. To Philip, everyone has a story to tell, and he hopes his young readers learn from his own story that life is complicated and things occur that can often be out of their control. But how they overcome obstacles is what’s important and committing oneself to something with a goal and purpose, like rock climbing, can help ground you.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking fiction stories for young adults, Philip enjoys rock climbing, gardening, and watching B Grade movies. His wife, siblings, mother, and father-in-law provided the positive support and courage for his book and in his life. He lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, NSW, Australia with his wife, two dachshunds, Alfie and George, and a rabbit named Abby. Climb is his debut novel.

Social Media



Title: Climb

Author: Philip Barker

Release Date: September 24th, 2021

Page Count: 246

Start Date: October 12th, 2022

Finish Date: October 21st, 2022


Story: This story follows a girl that really loves climbing. She gets in trouble because she decides to engage in a dangerous competition with somebody. It does get her into a team where she can compete legitimately and less dangerously. She’s afraid to tell her mother because she’s afraid her mother won’t allow her to do it.

Characters: This is a middle-grade book. A coming of age story if you will. All the characters in this book are written from a younger point of view. I really found it very refreshing compared to books I normally read.

Critiques: See narration.

Narration: This book is narrated by the author. It’s a decent narration. It just sounds a bit canned. There are also some places that I think that the edits weren’t fully removed from the audiobook. Again, I don’t think it’s horrible. It’s decent. It could use another editing run through though.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book very much. The girl followed her passions. She worked hard to get where she wanted to be. She accepted responsibility when she was in the wrong. It was also very realistic. I loved the representation in this book.

Climb Harder:

To Come

Audiobook Review: Toxic Effects by Joel Shulkin, MD

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Toxic Effects

Author: Joel Shulkin, MD

Release Date: September 20th, 2022

Page Count: 367

Start Date: October 9th, 2022

Finish Date: November 1st, 2022


Story: This story covers so many aspects of mind-blowing events. We follow a woman who is split into two identities. She’s trying to adapt to life the way it is and get answers to why she’s like she is. We also see teens that are seemingly taking drugs and then allegedly killing themselves. Just when I thought I was figuring things out, the author threw another curve ball my way. I loved every moment. Full disclosure, this book is a sequel. I have not read the first book. It seems like it’s okay to be read as a standalone, but I can’t fully say. What I can say is that I will definitely be reading the first books. I would even give this author’s other books a chance too. I love the writing styles. 

Characters: There are so many people in this book. So many strong personalities. I wish I wasn’t so horrible with names. I also feel like if I try to talk about all characters that this section will become somewhat a short story or novel. I loved reading about them all. Even the villains had a bit of a addictive story arc about them. 

Critiques: None

Narration: The narrator did such a great job with this audiobook that I really believed that I was listening to a cast of narrators for a bit while listening to the book. 

Final Thoughts: This book is intense and it took me through the ride. I wasn’t able to predict anything. I was floored at every single twist. I’m really beginning to wish that I had read the first book before I read this one. I fully believe that this gives me a good excuse to reread this one eventually. I do plan to read the first book when I’m able to. I also do fully recommend this book.

Frankie’s Wish Blog Tour

Frankie’s Wish: A Wander in the Wonder

by Once Upon a Dance

October 28-31

Chapter book, 43 pages.

Link for the book

Once Upon a Dance donates all proceeds to charity.

A heartwarming story of gratitude.
An important reminder to enjoy the journey.

Travel to a mysterious island alongside Frankie to make a wish on a magic feather. The path to the hidden feather will only be revealed through patience, wits, and joy. But time is running out, and wishes are only granted on one special day.
Dance along with the creatures of the forest and a professional ballerina in this interactive story exploring movement and dance fundamentals with a powerful message about what’s important in life.

Frankie’s Wish is ideal for children 4-7. It features Frankie (no pronouns), Auntie Duke (she), a dinosaur, a gorilla, and an eagle. Major themes include gratitude, asking for help, friendship, self-affirmation, and believing in yourself. Dance-It-Out!s are above level (language-wise) as they’re intended to be initially enjoyed with a caregiver or teacher. (~700+Lexile)

Ballerina Konora joins the pages with photos and suggestions for movement exploration. Three books in one: readers can enjoy the story, act out the tale in their own way, or try Konora’s suggested activities, designed by an award-winning ballet teacher to develop body awareness and movement knowledge.

Concepts and Movements in this Story:

  • Bridge Pose (*4-5s may need help with this movement)
  • Twirling
  • Squatting/Waddling
  • Balancing on One Leg
  • Jumping
  • Stretching
  • Reaching
  • Swaying
  • Upper Body/Head/Forearm/Shoulder Isolation
  • Moving with Resistance
  • Centering/Breath
  • Small Motor Skills (Rotating, Writing, Counting, Closing into Fist, Opening Palm, etc)
  • Quality of Movement (Calm/Wild, Powerful, Joyful, etc.)
  • Showing Emotion (Surprise, Excitement, Fear, Interest, etc.)
  • Shapes (Twisted, Wide, Tall, etc.)
  • Concert of Left/Right
  • Self Affirmation and Gratitude

This movement journey is ideal for dance, creative movement, physical education, homeschool, kindergarten, first-grade, or second-grade activities. The Dance-It-Out! series features diverse characters, and books make a great gift for boys or girls interested in dance, ballet, gymnastics, or yoga, or reluctant readers who enjoy getting up and moving.

"This is a delightful book for readers who appreciate both an uplifting story and the invitation to interact with it using both their bodies and their minds."

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

About the authors

Once Upon a Dance is an award-winning mother-daughter collaboration.

Ballerina Konora climbed the ballet ladder to pro, and she’s thrilled to be living her dreams dancing with Ballet Idaho. Along the way, she danced iconic roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy and Cinderella.

Teacher Terrel taught dance for decades and was honored by her City Council for “embodying the spirit of partnership and commitment to children in our community” for her work with young dancers. She’s breathed ballet from every angle and worked in early childhood education, for non-profits supporting kids, and as a university English teacher as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Once Upon a Dance 2021/2022 Awards: Mom’s Choice Gold Award, Family Choice Award, Royal Dragonfly First Place, PenCraft Award First Place, Firebird First Place, Pinnacle: Best Book Juvenile Fiction, Independent Press Award Winner, International Impact Book Award Winner, Outstanding Creator Awards Winner, Readers Favorite Certified Great Read, Indie’s Today 5-Star Recommended, The Wishing Shelf 5-Star, Literary Titan 5-Star Award.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am in love with this story and the idea behind it. The story itself is beautiful. The artwork is beautiful. The story is so inspirational. They then went to the next level. They made it even greater by including interactive dances the reader can do while reading the story. I wish that I had a job in the library reading just so I can watch this book come to life. I want to pick up copies for all my loved ones with children. Fully recommend!