Blog tour (+ review!): The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsB&NKoboGoogle Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: ARC via FFBT & Netgalley

Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

I’ve been excited about reading The Babysitters Coven since I first saw the title and cover many months ago. Then it was compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite late 90s/early 2000s TV shows, and my anticipation went up about a hundred notches. When I saw the opportunity to join the blog tour, I knew I had to do it, and I was thrilled when I got the email that I’d been chosen to participate! So, first things first, thanks to the FFBT team, the publisher, the author, and Netgalley for making this blog tour and book review happen.

Now, onto the review.

From the beginning of the book, the parallels with Buffy the Vampire Slayer were really clear. Instead of Slayers fighting vampires, we have Sitters fighting evil, and I am 100% here for it. Esme and Cassandra reminded me a lot of Buffy and Faith.

I really enjoyed Esme as a main character. She doesn’t fall into a lot of the stereotypical YA main character pitfalls and instead comes across as a really average teenager. Even with all of this crazy stuff going on around her, she’s still worried about normal things like her mom’s illness, getting her drivers license, and avoiding the school bullies.

There were two things that really kept me from rating this higher than three stars, and they’re both things that are specific to me as a reader and I don’t think are necessarily problems in general. First, there’s a lot of modern slang in this book, and as I was reading, I imagined myself having to explain to my future child what “I was wrong AF, and now I am sorry AF” means. The only other thing that I didn’t love was how the book just kind of… ends. The action really ramps up a lot, then it’s all over with and the book is over too. I know there’s a second book in the series coming out next year, but I wish there would have been at least a little bit more closure.

All in all, though, this was a super fun book! It was cute, it was weird, and I can’t wait to see what Esme gets up to in the sequel.


About the Author

 

I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.

I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.

GoodreadsWebsiteInstagram


Follow the tour!

September 11th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

September 12th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookmark Lit – Review + Cover Colours
TBR and Beyond – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
The Reading Chemist  – Review
Musings From An Addicted Reader – Review

September 13th

Here’s to happy Endings – Review
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flipping Through the Pages – Review
Phannie the ginger bookworm  – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Bibliophagist – Review

September 14th

Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Ambivert words – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Art of Living – Review
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky – Review
The Book Dutchesses – Review + Favourite Quotes

September 15th

The Book Nut – Review + Playlist
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile – Review
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream – Review

September 16th

Bookish Geek – Review
Artsy Draft – Review + Favourite Quotes
We Live and Breathe Books – Review
Bookish In Bed – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Desert Bibliophile – Review

September 17th

Wishful Endings – Review
Novel Nerd Faction – Review
Lili Lost in a Book – Review
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist
Lost in Storyland – Review


Enter the giveaway!

Win a finished copy of The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams!
(US Only, ending September 25, 2019)


Have you read The Babysitters Coven? Is it on your TBR? Can you think of any other witchy books you’ve read recently? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Source: Purchased

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

In case you weren’t aware, I am a huge Rainbow Rowell fan. I’ve previously reviewed Fangirl, Carry On, Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and Landline on this blog. Pumpkinheads was one of my more anticipated books of the year. I’ve been a little wrapped up in my move, though, so I didn’t even realize that it had already released until I found my preorder in my mailbox. I read the whole thing that same night.

Here’s the thing. This is definitely a Rainbow book. The characters are cute. The story is cute. The pumpkin patch is cute. The art is cute. Everything about it is cute. I want to go to this pumpkin patch. I want to eat literally everything in this book and go on every ride. But if everything was so great, why am I only giving it three stars?

The biggest reason for my rating is the fact that I predicted the entirety of the plot on about page three. The plot is very simple, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I just wanted a bit more from this book. I feel like I can’t say anything about the plot because one sentence could give it all away.

I might not have adored this book as much as I’d expected to, but it was still a fun read! Now the countdown to Wayward Son begins…


Have you read Pumpkinheads? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Source: Purchased

PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

Drama is one of those books that I’ve seen floating around the bookish universe a lot. I see it on blogs, I see it on Goodreads, and I see it on lists of frequently challenged books. When I found it at my library’s used bookstore for only $2, I figured I didn’t have much to lose by buying it. I read it over the course of about 45 minutes and while it was fine, I didn’t love it.

To be fair, I don’t read a ton of middle grade books, and especially middle grade graphic novels. I appreciated a lot of the themes in this book — being comfortable with yourself, the normalization of pre-teen gay and bisexual characters, and following your passions. As someone who did tech crew for several plays and musicals in high school, I enjoyed the fact that much of this book takes place behind-the-scenes at a middle school production.

That said… this book was just so dramatic. And I guess that’s to be expected. I mean, the title of the book is literally Drama. While I had expected play-related drama, I hadn’t expected so much romantic drama. The main character, Callie, is absolutely fixated on finding herself a boyfriend. She falls for multiple boys over the course of this 238-page book. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I expected that this story would be more about the play than about this seventh grader attempting to get a boyfriend.

Another thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was the insinuation that romantic relationships should be a big part of middle school. Time to get personal for a second — I didn’t go on my first date until I was sixteen years old, and I didn’t get into my first actual relationship until I was eighteen. One of the characters in this book is referred to as a “late bloomer” because, at twelve years old, he’s never had a girlfriend. Is that really considered abnormal now? I had to keep reminding myself that these characters are supposed to be pre-teens, because their romantic entanglements (and the responsibilities they’re given for the play!!) make them feel more like high school upperclassmen.

Overall, this book was a lot of fun to read, but the sheer amount of romantic drama kept me from rating it any higher than three stars.


Have you read Drama? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher

The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it. 

Let me just start this review off by saying that The Lady Rogue was one of my most anticipated books for the entirety of 2019. Jenn Bennett is one of my all-time favorite authors (if not the favorite, I mean… just look at that drawing of me holding Starry Eyes below) and I basically devour everything that she ever writes. As much as it pains me to say it, The Lady Rogue and I did not click as much as I’d hoped.

Part of this, I think, is definitely me. It’s been a stressful few weeks in this household. Major life changes are coming and I’ve had very little time to read. I’ve been in the mood for something I can sit down and finish in one sitting, not a book that would take several hours of my time.

I picked this one up and put it right back down a few times in the past month because I just couldn’t get into it. But I threw this book in my backpack when I took a quick weekend trip to Tennessee, just on the off chance that I’d get a minute to read it, and ended up with a cancelled flight and, finally, a lot of time to read. And while it might have taken me several weeks to get into it, once I got into it, I finished it in a couple of hours.

All of this is to say that this is not a bad book. There is nothing inherently wrong with this book. And three stars is not a bad rating! It’s one of those it’s not you, it’s me kind of things.

I will explain.

First things first, what I liked. As always, I love Jenn Bennett’s writing style. She’s one of those writers that, once I get absorbed in the book, I can just go for hours without stopping. The action was steady, but never too much. I loved our main character, Theo, and her adventures traipsing around Europe in search of a mystical ring and her missing father.

Now, for what I wasn’t so sold on. I’ve spent a little bit of time sitting here thinking about why exactly I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve loved Jenn Bennett’s other work, and I think a lot of it comes down to the genre. I’ve had a hard time recently getting into this fantastical kind of adventure story recently (see The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy).

I also associate Jenn Bennett with cute contemporary romances (see Starry Eyes, Alex, Approximately, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Serious Moonlight) and although there’s the barest hint of a romance here, it felt kind of like an afterthought. Huck was definitely my least favorite of Bennett’s love interests and I really struggled to feel any chemistry between him and Theo. But, again, romance isn’t really the point of this book. The adventure is the point, and I kept having to remind myself of that.

I think, all in all, that The Lady Rogue is a really well-written, really fun YA historical fantasy. If you go into it knowing that’s what it is and are prepared for it to be very different from Bennett’s previous work, you’ll probably enjoy it. Even though it wasn’t my favorite of her work, I can still appreciate the good writing and the good story, and I’m so excited to read whatever she comes up with next.


#arcaugust
#mm19: mode of transportation


Have you read The Lady Rogue? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: I love this part by Tillie Walden

I love this part by Tillie Walden
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Source: Purchased

Two girls in a small town in the USA kill time together as they try to get through their days at school.

They watch videos, share earbuds as they play each other songs and exchange their stories. In the process they form a deep connection and an unexpected relationship begins to develop.

In her follow up to the critically acclaimed The End of Summer, Tillie Walden tells the story of a small love that can make you feel like the biggest thing around, and how it’s possible to find another person who understands you when you thought no-one could.


I think that it took me all of ten minutes to read this book. It’s a graphic novel, it’s 68 pages, and it is very emotional. This is going to be a pretty short review because, like I said… 68 pages.

This was my first graphic novel by Tillie Walden, and I have to say that I’m impressed. While it was very, very short, it was also very, very emotional. I don’t think I was necessarily prepared for the amount of emotions this book would make me feel, but I really enjoyed it.

The only reason I’m not rating it five stars is that I would have loved for it to be a little longer and to explore things a little more fully, but all in all, this was a great graphic novel and I can’t wait to read more from this author.


Have you read I love this part? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Dodge City by Josh Trujillo

Dodge City by Josh Trujillo
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Dodge City is a YA sports comedy about making sense of a chaotic world and growing up against the insane backdrop of competitive dodgeball, told through the eyes of oddball Tomás and his teammates.

Life comes at you fast, but dodgeballs come way faster! Tomás is a teenage misfit, but when he joins the Jazz Pandas dodgeball team, he’s thrown into a family of oddballs and outcasts who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the summer regional dodgeball championships. Through a season of highs, lows, and blows to the face, Tomás might finally find a place where he truly belongs, and the person inside himself he didn’t know he could be.

I checked this graphic novel out from my library because, first of all, it looked like fun, and second of all, I more or less enjoyed the first several issues of Fence. A graphic novel focusing on dodgeball sounded like it would be a great time — after all, Dodgeball was one of my favorite movies when I was in high school.

The thing is, I feel like this graphic novel was a lot of nice art featuring a ton of diverse characters and not much else. There’s not much of a story aside from the dodgeball, and what little story there is is kind of choppy and confusing. This is definitely a fast-paced story, but it’s almost too fast for anything meaningful to happen. The characters aren’t particularly well-developed either — four issues in and I feel like I know them about as well as I did on page one.

All of that said, I don’t think this is necessarily a terrible graphic novel. There’s definitely potential for character development and for the story to improve, but I don’t know that I’ll be jumping at the chance to read any more of it any time soon.


Have you read Dodge City? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.

But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good. 

Let’s talk about the things that drew me to this book before we talk about my actual opinions on it:

✔️ a book about sisters
✔️ the cover (especially the expressions on the two girls’ faces)
✔️ going away to college
✔️ an “epic day” together
✔️ the general hype I’d seen surrounding this book

So, all things considered, I probably should have loved this book. In the end, I was kind of indifferent. Objectively, there was nothing inherently wrong with it, but I think I might be over the target age for this one, or maybe this type of story just isn’t my cup of tea.

I could appreciate the conflict between the sisters. I could appreciate how awkward it would be for Jenn to have the conversation in question with her family, two adults who can barely keep themselves together and a younger sister with her own life and her own concerns. I could appreciate the idea of the book, a day filled with memories and excursions and family bonding.

What I could not appreciate was the constant drama.

You see, the main conflict in this book could have been resolved in about five seconds if Jenn had just opened her mouth and had a meaningful conversation with literally anyone in her family. Instead, everyone dances around the topic. Jenn avoids an uncomfortable conversation even more deftly than I do. I’ve talked so many times about how much I hate the trope of purposeful miscommunication. In this book, it just came across as childish. I understand that I was reading a book about teenagers, but one of these girls is college-aged. She should be at least trying to act like she’s ready to be an adult.

And, really, don’t even get me started on the parents. I’m sure that parents like this exist, but their existence seems to be primarily in the realm of YA novels. These are parents who are barely capable of surviving without the help of their daughter, who somehow own a business that they don’t know how to run, who blatantly ignore the issues that their children have in favor of their own petty arguments. I can understand how this type of parent creates a backdrop for a story like this, but it’s still very frustrating to me to read a YA novel with stereotypically terrible parents.

Overall, though, I thought that the writing was good. Although the characters frustrated me, they were well-developed and came with their own backstories and their own problems. The thing that kept me from enjoying the book was the constant childish drama, but that might just be my perspective as someone about a decade past the target demographic for this one.


Have you read She’s the Worst? Can you recommend any good books about siblings?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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