Tag Archives: YA

Review & Giveaway: Pudge & Prejudice by A. K. Pittman

Categories: YA / Clean & Wholesome Romance / ’80s
Publisher: Wander (a division of Tyndale House)
Date of Publication: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 352 pages
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A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale

It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.


Written with wit and considerable insight into the highs and lows of first love, this coming-of-age twist on the Jane Austen classic had me laughing out loud, singing ‘80s lyrics in my head, and cheering on the brilliant, yet self-deprecating heroine. Pudge & Prejudice is a joy to read from beginning to end! Lorie Langdon author of Olivia Twist and the Disney Villains series

Allison Pittman will have readers laughing (and singing) on every page of this delightfully tenderhearted novel for all ages…[She] crafts a particularly savvy character who learns that beauty really is soul-deep…. Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

I can’t remember the last time I loved a book as much as I love this one. It’s an instant classic I will return to time after time. Bethany Turner, Award-Winning Author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck



Pudge & Prejudice by A. K. Pittman is a delightful retelling of Austen’s popular novel set in the ‘80s. As an Austen late bloomer, I am open to all kinds of reimaginings and castings when it comes to the beloved Pride & Prejudice. Add some zombies? Why not? Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? Yes. Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet? Yes, please. Bridget Jones’s Diary? Heck yes. Colin Firth as Mark Darcy? Yes! Oh wait, did I list Colin Firth twice? My bad. Anyway, my point is, anything based on P&P is good, and when you make it YA with an ‘80s spin, I expect nothing but good things.

And oh, does Pittman deliver the goods. Her translation of each key character might not be exact, but is appropriate to the intended audience and the new time period. If I may speak plainly, mothers do not have to worry about some of the uncomfortable situations presented in the source material being repeated here. I applaud Pittman’s ability to deliver plausible alternatives to the plot that let us focus on the important dynamics that occur between these great characters.


The author’s treatment of the time period as a character itself makes this book extra special to me as a child of the ‘80s. Unlike other novels that only mention a detail or two every few chapters to remind you of where and when you are, Pittman really gives you the full experience of being in a small Texas town during one of the most colorful and musically subversive decades ever. If the mixtape and headphones on the cover didn’t clue you in, there’s some great music mentioned within these pages. My only gripe is that Pittman did not include a complete playlist for easy reference. I have read this book twice (because I love it so much!) and you can bet that I will be listening to the songs while reading through for the third time.


I have read a few reimaginings that took particular characters or plot points and went a bit too far astray from the original. As much as Pittman had to alter, I think that she preserved the most important bits. Things are not always as they seem. Close sisters are best friends that never quit. And your embarrassing family is still your family; you wouldn’t trade them for the world. I think you will enjoy the way that Pittman has transformed the characters and story.

Best believe that I will be reading more of Allison Pittman’s books after this. Especially if there’s an Emma remake. Why would I say that? Well, I won’t ruin it for you. But seriously, read this book now. Share it with that person in your life who loves P&P in all its variations or, perhaps more urgently, share this with someone who, like me in the past, is resisting Austen.

Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.

Each winner receives a SIGNED COPY of the book,
a hair scrunchie, and a $25 Visa Gift Card
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, 2/13/2021
or visit the blogs directly:
2/3/21 Review The Page Unbound
2/3/21 Review Missus Gonzo
2/4/21 Review All the Ups and Downs
2/5/21 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
2/5/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
2/6/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/7/21 Review Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
2/8/21 Review Nerd Narration
2/8/21 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
2/9/21 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
2/10/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/10/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
2/11/21 Review Book Fidelity
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2/12/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/12/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
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Review & Giveaway: Escape from Wheel by Michael Scott Clifton

Conquest of the Veil, Book Two
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Magical Realism / Sword & Sorcery
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Number of Pages: 302 pages



New Life, New World, New Problems
Alexandria Duvalier’s new life on the magical world of Meredith takes a shattering twist when her father, the Duke of Wheel, pledges her hand in marriage to the cruel lord, Rodric Regret. Desperate to escape his clutches, Alex flees the city with the help of her friend, Tell Tollet, a handsome lieutenant in the city guard. But their freedom is short-lived when Rodric’s brutal brother, Stefan, joins in the pursuit.
Hotheaded Prince Tal, heir to the throne of Meredith, has but one goal: kill the Dark Queen and destroy the Veil, the enchanted barrier which has ensnared generations of his people. He discovers a breach in the magical wall and leads an army through, bent on completing his mission.
When an unusual and potent magic calls to him, he follows its trail back to Alex. Thrown together by circumstances and chased across the wilderness by the ruthless Lord Stefan, Tal and Alex are drawn to each other by the greatest magic of all—love. Now they just need to stay alive . . .


Escape from Wheel by Michael Scott Clifton is one of those rare instances where book two outshines the first. Don’t get me wrong, The Open Portal, was a beautifully written book, but it could get so grotesque at times that I needed to stop for a moment and collect myself. Not to say that the sequel is all sunshine and daisies, but Clifton strikes a perfect balance of evil and suspense with love and hope.

In the first book, I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters’ strange names, but this volume had me wishing that Clifton took them a bit further. While the reader wouldn’t mistake Tell for Tal, the names were so similar that I expected Alex to slip up at least once. But perhaps our heroine is too clever to make such a rookie mistake. 

I love how the author portrays this young woman with so much duality: a girl from our world and time transported to this ancient fantasy world, yet fitting in very well; a girl who researches and plots her own way but must rely upon a handsome man to help her stay safe. Alex might be a damsel in distress at times, but she puts up a hell of a fight and has hidden talents up her sleeve as well. 

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good fantasy book, so one thing that stood out to me was Clifton’s vivid descriptions of, well, everything. While fiction books generally rely on dialogue to propel a story, fantasy books truly build worlds in your mind, and Clifton is a master architect and painter in one. You see the lay of the land, the buildings that tower above or crumble before you, and the colorful delights of the court set and fantastical creatures in nature. As someone who loves reading about food, I swooned over the descriptions of feast fare, as well as the roughing it recipes.

While the violence was my least favorite part of the previous book, I actually enjoyed the battles in this one. The gore wasn’t excessive and I particularly liked the cunning of various traps that were set up to help even out the unlikeliest of odds. The pace was just right, until I realized that I was super invested in the story and there were only a few more pages left. Alas, it appears I will have to wait again for the next installment of Conquest of the Veil.

I recommend this book to all you fantasy lovers out there. Definitely read the first book, The Open Portal, which has a George R.R. Martin vibe to it, and then follow up with this book that has an Arthurian legend meets Hunger Games groove to it.

Multi-award-winning author Michael Scott Clifton was a longtime public educator as a teacher, coach, and administrator. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. He currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas, with his wife, Melanie, and family cat. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, Michael enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys: action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. 

His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch and The Open Portal, received five-star reviews from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short-story contests, with “Edges of Gray” winning first place in the Texas Authors Contest. 
The Open Portal, winner of the Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award, launches the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil. Michael’s latest release, Escape From Wheel, is book two in this fantasy series. Visit Michael’s official websiteor google him @authormsclifton.
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One Winner:
signed paperback copy + $15 Amazon gift card
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OCTOBER 1-11, 2020
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Review & Giveaway: Einstein’s Compass by Grace Blair & Laren Bright



Grace Blair & Laren Bright
Genre: Young Adult / Historical / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Certified Lexile Measure: 860L
Publisher: Modern Mystic Media
Publication Date: January 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 394 pages
Coming on Audio, February 2019!SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY! 

How did Albert Einstein come up with his wondrous theories of light and time? In Einstein’s Compass: A YA Time Traveler Adventure, a young Albert is given a supernatural compass that allows him to travel through time and space and find wisdom in other dimensions, including the lost city of Atlantis. But evil forces seek the power of the compass, including a monstrous, shape-shifting dragon from a different age. Can the compass protect Albert from such villainy?

┃ Amazon


“This is an amazing story. Everyone should thoroughly enjoy reading it. I was impressed with how the authors managed to incorporate the known information on the lost continent of Atlantis, Light Workers, souls, reincarnation, time travel and the early years of Albert Einstein before he became famous, into a mesmerizing work of fiction readers will have difficulty putting down. 
–Doug Simpson, Author of We Lived in Atlantis


“I could not stop reading this book. I read at stop lights and in line at the grocery store. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” –— award winning children’s author, Lisa Reinicke

This is highly recommended for those who enjoy a saga of good vs. evil that spans tens of thousands of years, for readers who devour novels that blend history and fantasy, and for anyone who is simply looking for a unique story that they will not want to put down.

— Author Jacqui Murray, Ask a Tech Teacher blog
The weaving of the story between the religion realm and Albert’s world is a captivating tale that keeps the reader’s attention. The good and evil of the timeless religious realm is like watch a chess match to see who outwits whom … I hope there is a next book somewhere in my future. 
–- Rox Burkey, author of the Enigma Series
As someone who struggled to understood math and science while in school, I have a deep appreciation for science fiction books that discuss complicated ideas in a way that not only do I understand but also stokes my interest. I also have particular affection for books that marry science fiction with fantasy, and, even more so, I adore historical re-imaginings. Needless to say, I was very excited to get my hands on this book.
Now, as someone who nerded out on mythology for fun in the fifth grade, I was a little thrown by the Raka story in the beginning. It seemed to stretch onward and I wasn’t sure where Einstein would fit into all of it. Fast forward a bit and we’re heading toward Biblical times, where my Christian upbringing couldn’t help but sit up and lean in. It was like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade grafted itself to Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I knew I was in for a wild ride.
And finally we meet Albert at the wee little age of 6. I knew nothing about Einstein’s upbringing prior to this, and I really enjoy learning about historical figures in this manner. It makes them all the more human rather than reading their stats in an encyclopedia. But from the moment Einstein is given the compass, I am reminded that I’m reading fiction, so I shouldn’t get too attached to what I was reading and embrace it as fact.
I don’t know what I enjoyed more: the chapters about Einstein growing up and his descent into genius or the historical figure cameos. About a third of the way through the book, the story truly brings it focus on Einstein to the point that it’s a little jarring when we leave his timeline for an interlude. Kudos to the authors’ ability to change tone and style so quickly and completely. (Or did one author write the Einstein chapters while the other tackled the rest?) Nonetheless, the Einstein chapters are written in a way that feels very historical fiction, whereas the Raka-Ezekiel storyline has a very distinct fantasy vibe to it.
I feel as though I could go on and on, but you really just need to read the book. It’s a YA, but I feel like it reads pretty adult. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good historical fiction, fantasy, or science fiction book because, honestly, it satisfies all those literary cravings.

Grace Blair is an award-winning self-help and motivational author, and podcast host, who has assisted thousands to find their spiritual wisdom to solve everyday challenges. Throughout her adult life, Grace became a serious student of the spiritual. She found that, often, psychological principles and practices were incomplete, but could be filled out by adding the missing spiritual component. Her approach was always to see practical applications for what she uncovered in the mystical. It was through immersing herself in this field of study and experience that she came up with her idea for her book, Einstein’s Compass. She lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband, Dr. John Blair.

║ Website ║ Facebook ║ Twitter ║ Instagram  
 ║ Goodreads  Amazon Author Page  Bublish 

Laren Bright is a three-time Emmy nominated award-winning writer who has written nearly 100 children’s animated cartoon scripts. He has spent the majority of his professional life over the last two decades assisting authors to produce topnotch books with titles and other promotional writing indistinguishable from those of mainstream publishers. During that time, in addition to Einstein’s Compass, he also co-authored a young adult fantasy series and several books for young children about positive values. Laren lives in Los Angeles with his wife, computer, and two grand-dogs.

║ IMDB Amazon Author Page ║ Website 

FIRST PRIZE: eBook + Einstein’s Compass Cap
SECOND PRIZE: eBook + Einstein socks; THIRD PRIZE: eBook + bookmark
JANUARY 2-11, 2019
(eBooks can be sent internationally, swag USA only)

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