Blog Tour: SPY ON HISTORY: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring

mary-bowser-blog-tour-bannerToday I’m joining Workman’s blog tour for the first book in their Spy on History series.

Spy on History: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy RingSpy on History: Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring (2017) by Enigma Alberti, illustrated by Tony Cliff is an adventure based on the true story of Mary Bowser, a freed slave who became a spy for the Union and worked undercover as a maid for Jefferson Davis to gather Confederate secrets.

Mary pretended to be illiterate but in reality her photographic memory was as much of an asset to her spying as her ability to skillfully avoid discovery. In addition to detailing Mary’s life as a spy, the book is filled with lots of details about Mary’s spycraft techniques including ciphers, codes, and even the language of flowers. Hidden clues and secrets in the text of the book wait to be revealed by the reader and answer the question of where Mary hid her secret diary.

For the blog tour, I was asked to answer a simple question:

“If you could go back to any time or place in history, where would you put your spy skills to use?”

My answer for any time travel question is the same: I don’t want to travel anywhere else. While I love the idea of time and learning about the past–I prefer to engage with both from the comfort of my own home in the present. After all, you never know when a time machine might break down or a passage to the past might collapse. And then were are you? Likely trapped in an era without modern conveniences like medicine and antibiotics, running water, or electricity! I know my limitations and while I enjoy being an amateur spy in my own time, I also am well aware I would not be at my best in any period in the past.

Now that we’ve established where I would (not) time travel, I have a question for you and answering it will enter you in my giveaway:

Where would YOU visit in the past if time travel were possible?


***Tell me where you’d visit in the past in the comments to enter my giveaway.***

I’ll pick one winner from the comments to receive a Workman prize pack for a bundle of books including Spy on History, Who Wins?, and Boss Babes.

Giveaway is US only and ends February 12. Winner will be notified February 13. Be sure to comment to enter!

Week in Review: January 21

This week on the blog you can check out:

I decided to dedicate my birthday week on here to one of my favorite book series. There’s still time to enter to win the full series in my giveaway. 

Unfortunately I was sick for most of my mini staycation for my birthday. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery. 

If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my January Reading Tracker.
How was your week? What are you reading?  Let’s talk in the comments.

Blog Book Giveaway: The Lost Sun, The Strange Maid, The Apple Throne by Tessa Gratton

This year I finally worked up the nerve to read the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies: The Apple Throne by Tessa Gratton. I’m happy to say it was excellent.

The Apple Throne by Tessa GrattonSo much so that I want to share the series with all of you in this giveaway for the entire USAsgard series.

I’m giving away Kindle eBooks of The Lost Sun, The Strange Maid, and The Apple Throne to one reader.

Giveaway is open to any readers over the age of 13. US only.

Giveaway will run from midnight January 16 through January 22.

Winner will be notified January 23 and win 3 a copy of each of the titles mentioned above.

If I don’t hear back from any winner by January 24 I will pick a new winner from the entry pool.


I’m running the giveaway through a Rafflecopter giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found by clicking “enter” above or clicking the photos!

End of Year Giveaway: Pick Me Up by Adam J. Kurtz

Pick Me Up by Adam J. KurtzI heard about Pick Me Up by Adam J. Kurtz in one of the most inventive pitch emails I’ve received as a blogger. My interested immediately piqued, I requested a review copy which I’m currently working with and planning to review in January (for the new year). And I also have a copy to giveaway to one reader.

To explain exactly what Pick Me Up is (and why it ties so well with my resolution to be more mindful this year) let me quote the summary from Kurtz’s website:

PICK ME UP: A Pep Talk For Now & Later is a new interactive book-journal-guide-thing from the artist/author of 1 Page at a Time that will help you write and draw your own way through the dark parts.

This weird, optimistic book pushes you along with unexpected prompts, “existential activities,” some dark humor, and pages that keep you #connected, even when you feel alone. More than anything, you’ll build your own guide now for figuring shit out later – because someone telling you to “cheer up” is infuriating, but a pep talk from yourself might just work.

Pick it up and leave your mark. When you come back, leave a little more. Watch yourself change as you record and reflect on where you are and where you’re going.

Thanks to the publisher, I am excited to have a copy to giveaway to a US reader.

The giveaway will run from today through January 3.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post with one good thing that happened in 2016 (there has to be something, right?) OR one way you’re hoping to pick yourself up in 2017.

(No need to follow me or promote this giveaway but it would be appreciated.)

The Sailor Moon Book Tag

When I saw this tag at Rachel’s blog, I filed it away to do when I had more time. Now is the moment.

This tag was created by Cee of The Novel Hermit, Cristina of Girl in the Pages, Kristin of Super Space Chick, Sierra of SDavReads and Alexa from Alexa Loves books (graphic from them too).

Be sure to stop by Rachel’s blog to see her answers.

Moon | A book that makes you hungry

I feel like a monster for picking this book but every time the characters in Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson started talking about rationing food or just not eating, I was so hungry.

Mercury | A book that features science and technology

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGeeWhile it doesn’t have a ton of science, The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee has a ton of technology.

Venus | A book that makes you want to play video games

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande VeldeEasy. Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde. Just don’t get stuck in the game like Giannine!

Mars | A book inspired by mythology or folklore

The Lost Sun by Tessa GrattonThe Strange Maid by Tessa GrattonSince I just finished this trilogy (review of the last book to come), I have to go with The Lost Sun and The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton which reinvent by Norse mythology.

Jupiter | A book that gave you strong feelings

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah KonenMost recently I was completely wrecked by all of the emotions I experienced while reading The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen.

Saturn | A post apocalyptic book you love

The Darkest MindsThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I feel like it’s not really a book tag if I don’t mention her somewhere!

Pluto | A time travel book

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligAnother obvious choice because I love it so: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Uranus | A book featuring elemental magic

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare BlakeI read a lot of fantasy so there were a few options here. I decided to go with one of my most recent reads: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake which features several types of magic including elemental magic.

Neptune | A book featuring music

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen KleinThe Game of Love and Death by Martha BrockenbroughFor a non-musically-inclined person, I read a lot of books with musical characters. Again going with a recent read: Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein. (Honorable mention: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.)

Tuxedo Mask | A book with masquerades or hidden identities

Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumBreaker by Kat EllisThis answer took me in two directions: 1. sweet romance for which I’d say Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum and 2. scary mystery for which I’d say Breaker by Kat Ellis.

Rini/Chibi Moon | A favorite middle grade book

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan StroudBoth a favorite to read and to recommend: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

Luna, Artemis & Diana | A book for animal lovers

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan MatsonLet’s go with the book with a ton of dogs on the cover: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.




For this post I’m tagging:

This Month at YALSA’s The Hub: Booklist: So You Want to Read a Scott Westerfeld Book

Booklist: So You Want to Read a Scott Westerfeld Book

This month (or last month since it published August 31) at the Hub, I gave a detailed rundown of all of Scott Westerfeld’s books for new readers and long-time fans:

Scott Westerfeld is one of the most inventive sci-fi writers writing for teens right now. His book Uglies helped lay the groundwork for the dystopian trend that would take hold in a few years with The Hunger Games. With a new co-authored series in the works, a movie adaptation of Uglies in development, and a new multi-platform middle grade series launch later this year, Scott Westerfeld is definitely an author you should know.

If you want to start reading Scott Westerfeld, or want to know where to go after reading your favorites from him, head over to the Hub to read my full booklist and see if there’s anything new to add to your “to read” list!

A Small Housekeeping Announcement

This is pretty small news but I have made my blog a part of Amazon’s Associates program. What that means is that when you click a link from my blog to Amazon, it will generate a very small commission for me if you make any purchases.

Moving forward all of my posts will feature a link to Amazon in the first instance of the book’s title and author (typically right at the end of my book summaries that start each review). I’m also working on updating my older posts but as you can imagine, it’s taking a while for a blog as old as this one.

It’s tedious adding the links but it’s also giving me a chance to update a lot of photos so that they are a better size. You might also see me tweeting some of my older reviews as I “rediscover” them.

Being part of Amazon Associates won’t change anything about how this site runs or influence my opinions. But I just wanted to publicize the change so people know what the new links are in each post.