Blog Tour – Excerpt for The Oddmire: Book One Changeling By William Ritter

blogtourHello bookish friends! Today, I’ll be sharing an EXCERPT from Changeling, Book One of The Oddmire Series by William Ritter. Huge thanks to Algonquin Readers for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley and asking me to be part of the book blog tour.

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Published: July 16, 2019

Pubisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Genre(s): Children’s, Middle-Grade, Fantasy

Format: Hardcover 272 pages

ISBN: 978-1-61620-839-4

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AMAZONBARNES AND NOBLEGOOGLE PLAYBOOK DEPOSITORY

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synopsis

Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.

Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.

In The Oddmire 1: Changeling, the New York Times bestselling author of the Jackaby series brings to life a bold new adventure, the first in a series about monsters, magic, and mayhem.

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PROLOGUE

A VERY LONG TIME AGO, HUMANS AND FAIRIES

and elves and dolphins and all of the other intelligent beings of the world got sick of one another—which was understandable, as intelligent beings were all pretty much rubbish in those days. After much arguing, they decided to split up the world and build a sort of magical wall between the two halves. On the human side of the barrier, life would be governed by logic and reason and the laws of nature. It would be an honest world of soil and struggle. The other side would be ruled by forces more ancient than any earthly science, a world of magic and madness and raw potential. Humans called their side the Earth, and magical beings called their side the Annwyn (all except for the gnomes, who called it Pippin-Gilliewhipple—which is one of many reasons that, to this day, nobody from either side much cares for gnomes).

For many centuries, the wall stood—a sort of veil between two worlds, invisible but everywhere. Neither side could see or touch the other, and in time many creatures forgot there was another world at all. This remained the state of things until rogue groups brought their simmer- ing strife to an unruly boil and a new war broke out. As it turned out, intelligent beings were still fairly rubbish if not properly supervised. The resulting battle blasted a great, gaping hole right through the invisible barrier.

When the dust had settled, some felt the hole in the wall should be patched back up, and others felt the barrier should come down entirely. In all the hubbub, nobody noticed as the thing that had been inside the wall—the thing that may have been the very soul of the wall—escaped. Nobody was watching as the thing that had spent countless centuries listening at the cracks and growing hungrier and hungrier slipped past the rubble and across the bloody battlefield. Nobody saw it slide quietly into the forest.

The Thing clutched at shadows as it moved between the trees, drawing the darkness around itself like a rid- ing cloak. It had never known sunlight, or birdsong, or honey-sweet breezes, or even the sound of its own name. If the Thing even had ever had a name, it had never had anyone to speak it.

The Thing whipped past mossy boulders, through tow- ering trees, and over the muggy, murky Oddmire. When it reached the very heart of the Wild Wood, it finally slowed and came to rest. The trees grew more densely there, and the air was still. Even the sound of the birds died away. The shadows here were thick and heavy, and the Thing gathered them up, greedily.

The Thing knew shadows. In that sunless, starless place between worlds, there had been shadows so absolute they had no form. The Thing’s whole world had been a shadow—its whole life had been one great shadow, and within it, the Thing had felt impossibly small. But the shadows in this new place were different. They would do as it bid them. They were powerful, those shadows of stones and boulders and tall pine trees, and the pieces torn from them felt comfortable as they knit together across the Thing’s back. The Thing felt strong. Beneath its swelling cloak of darkness, the Thing began to take on new shapes. Bigger shapes. Terrible shapes. Still, there was one shadow that caught the Thing like a thorn: its own. The creature’s meager slip of a shadow followed it, clung to it, taunted it with its own true, trifling form.

The creature plunged its talons into the forest floor, and for a time, the only sound was the scratching of unseen claws digging into the soil. When the hole was deep enough, the Thing turned its talons in on itself. It tore and it ripped until finally, reverently, it lowered its own severed shadow into the cold earth and buried the humble scrap beneath the dirt. All around it, pools of darkness blossomed as if the entire forest floor were a fresh, clean napkin laid over a seeping ink stain.

The darkness grew.

The Thing drew itself up to its full height, and then it drew itself up a little higher, and higher still. Countless stolen shadows rippled along its cloak like waves of grain shimmering in a breeze. The Thing would be whatever it pleased now. It was never going back.

The darkness spreading across the forest floor solidified into angry coils and knots as it grew. Wicked thorns burst from its surface. For just a moment, there was silence and the forest was still. And then the darkness began to creep.

Follow Algonquin Young Readers  – Twitter @AlgonquinYR & Instagram @AlgonquinYR

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This book is delightfully entertaining and will have readers glued to the pages. I haven’t read many stories about Changelings so I’m having so much fun exploring the world Ritter has created. I’m also really enjoying the magical aspects, getting to know the wonderful characters, and the intriguing storyline. I think Middle-Grade readers who love fantasy, adventure and magic will really love this book! I’ll have a full review once I finish, but so far, I’m loving this novel.

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“Funny, exciting, and ultimately epic. Wow. I can’t wait for the next one.” — Adam Gidwitz, author of the New York Times bestseller A Tale Dark and Grimm

“Set in a magical world filled with incredible creatures from folklore, this fast-paced fantasy will keep readers turning the pages as they follow the twins through the dark and mysterious woods. Unique characters with complex personalities will give readers insight into the feelings and actions of not only Tinn and Cole and their mother, but the creatures—both good and evil—they encounter on their journey. A captivating series opener.”
Booklist, starred review

“[A] charming middle grade fantasy…Ritter (the Jackaby series) crafts a well-paced adventure filled with whimsy and peril, in which the bonds of family and love prove stronger than any spell or curse. With memorable characters—especially the irrepressible protagonists, who make a delightful team—and an atmospheric setting, this is a strong series opener.” —Publishers Weekly 

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abouttheauthor

 

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William Ritter is an Oregon author and educator. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark. The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling is his first book for middle-grade readers. Visit William Ritter online at rwillritter.wordpress.com and find him on Twitter: @Willothewords.

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Thanks for stopping by lovelies! Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

sincerelykjologo

ARC Review – There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandya Menon

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Hello lovelies! There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon is one of my favorite reads this year and you should totally grab a copy! Sweetie and Ashish are just the cutest and will make you smile, swoon, laugh, cry, and just feel so many wonderful emotions!

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aboutbook

Published: May 14, 2019

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: Kindle 384

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AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE GOOGLE PLAY – INDIEBOUND

synopsis

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

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A delightful and uplifting story that made my heart sing

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OHMYHEART!!! I am so undeniably smitten with this book and Sweetie and Ashish! I still have this dorky smile on my face just thinking about them and their story.

When Dimple Met Rishi is one of my favorite YA contemporary books. I adore Dimple and Rishi and was absolutely charmed by their story. Going into this book, I just knew I would feel the same and there would be plenty of swoons and some of the best FEELS. And, I was not wrong… not even a little bit. If I’m being honest, I actually like There’s Something About Sweetie a little bit more than WDMR. Not by much, but there really is something so dazzling about Sweetie and I can’t wait for your to meet her.

Sweetie is an awesome heroine. She has my heart and I absolutely adored her. She’s confident, driven, funny, kind, and caring. She’s an amazing daughter, talented and smart, a good friend, and just a beautiful person inside and out. She does have insecurities, but Sweetie doesn’t feel sorry for herself or want others to pity her. She’s proud and loves who she is. She shows everyone that she is happy with herself and no one else can make her feel otherwise. Getting to know Sweetie and seeing her grow into her own was truly inspiring.

I don’t quite remember how I felt about Ashish in When Dimple Met Rishi, but I definitely fell hard for him in this book. He may seem overly confident and so full of himself and it is partly true, but Ashish also has a tender and vulnerable side to him that not too many people get to see… at least not until Sweetie. He is charming, swoony, surprising and downright lovable. He respects his parents, he cares about his friends, and he loves with all his heart. He grew so much throughout the story and I think he is just so sweet and I loved that Sweetie brings out the best in him.

The romance is fun and I loved the chemistry between Ashish and Sweetie. Obviously, I think they are adorable and perfect for each other. I can’t give it all away, but they have the cutest first meeting that made my heart race, super adorable dates that made me laugh and swoon, and the sweetest kisses (and there are PLENTY of those) that gave me never-ending butterflies. I shipped them with all my heart and enjoyed seeing them fall for each other.

There are so many things I loved about this book. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and affecting, the plot is perfectly engaging, and the characters are irresistible and charming. I loved every moment I spent with Ashish and Sweetie. Their interactions made my heart melt and I could not get enough. I also really liked that they both have friends who are caring and incredibly supportive. Ashish’s parents are super awesome and I enjoyed their quirks and seeing how much they love their son was heartwarming. Sweetie’s mother did not make it easy for me to like her, but in the end I could see that she really just wants what’s best for her daughter. I thought Sweetie’s relationship with her father was endearing and I wanted to see more of them bonding. I also really enjoyed the humor, the diversity, and getting a taste of Indian culture. This book is simply wonderful and I hope you get to read it and fall in love with Sweetie and Ashish just as much as I did.

SWOONS to the max and all the FEELS, this delightful and uplifting story made my heart sing. Sandhya Menon is truly an amazing writer – incredibly gifted in creating meaningful stories that are not so easily forgotten. She writes with so much heart and her stories feel like a lovely warm embrace. There’s Something About Sweetie is adorable, sweet, funny and romantic. Obviously! But, it’s also an EMPOWERING story about ACCEPTANCE and SELF-WORTH. Because regardless of our color, size, shape, religion, and whatever other category we fall in, we are all BEAUTIFUL and we are ENOUGH.

There’s Something About Sweetie is without a doubt one of my favorite reads this year. I obviously and wholeheartedly recommend it to EVERYONE.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing via Netgalley (BIGGEST HUGS AND THANKS BTW) in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings, and swoons are my own.

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(Quotes taken from the ARC. Final publication may be different. Please don’t read if you don’t want spoilers)

I don’t want to change just to keep other people quiet. I don’t think I can change and just suddenly look like you, but thatn’s not even the point. The point is I don’t want to. I like who I am. I just wish you could see that.

She was power. She was grace. She was beauty. She was totally kicking his ass.

“I think you’re beautiful. And I don’t mean on the inside, though I’m sure that’s true too. When you run… I see power and passion. I see focus and dedication. I see someone who isn’t afraid to break people’s expectations. And to me, that’s way more attractive than the number on your weighing scale.” He paused and then continued in a rush. “Okay, and also I think you’re really just straight-up pretty. I want to lay it all out there in the open, and it’s all one hundred percent true.”

But there was something about Ashish Patel. Something completely and utterly compelling. It wasn’t just his physique, though it had been hard to keep her eyes off those ridiculous biceps and broad shoulders. It was something about him… Behind the cocky smile and the easy laugh, there was something vulnerable and almost sad. […] Whatever had happened, it had made him softer and sweeter, someone she wanted to get to know better.

Somehow, in spite of everything, she managed to round out his rough edges to fit with her soft ones. Somehow, it felt right.

I see the real you. I see you and you’re sweet an dfunny and stubborn and vulnerable. You love with everything you have, and when you get hurt, you curl around yourself to protect the softest parts of you. But you don’t have to do that with me. I won’t hurt you. And I… I think you know that. I think you’re falling for me too.

Gently, gently, in her Sweetie way, she’d changed the core of him. She’d shaken his world and reshaped it into something bright and light and colorful.

She taught me what it means to be kind and gentle while also pursuing what you know is right in your heart.

I already have everything you want for me. I have it all, and I have it as a fat girl. I’m not afraid to live my life as I am right  now. I don’t need to change.

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abouttheauthor

(Bio and photo taken from the author’s website)

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Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met RishiFrom Twinkle, With Love, and There’s Something About Sweetie. A full-time dog servant and part-time writer, she makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado.

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WEBSITEGOODREADSINSTAGRAMTWITTER

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Thanks for stopping by loves! Don’t forget to grab a copy of this book. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Have you read this book? What did you think? What are some of your favorite YA contemporary books?

sincerelykjologo