BLOG TOUR: Secondhand Origin Stories

Book Information Secondhand Origin Stories cover

Title: Secondhand Origin Stories

Author: Lee Blauersouth

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing

Publication date: 15 March 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction


Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s

noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Book links

Goodreads —


Lee Blauersouth.jpg

After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.

If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.

Author links

Author website —

Goodreads —

Pinterest —

Twitter —


Unfortunately I did not manage to finish the book in time so my review will be delayed but till then enjoy this excerpt that will leave you craving more!

Yael handled the subject change. “Do you have siblings?”

Opal grinned, digging out her phone. “I have a little sister.” She pulled up a picture, holding it out for them to see. “Shani’s 12. She’s deaf, and super-fast with her signing. She got Daddy’s upper-speed.” Opal laughed. “Even Auntie has trouble keeping up with her sometimes.”

Jamie sounded curious. “A deaf altered?”

“Sure. Just like my daddy. … Dad. She’s got luminescence, and speed, but no super-strength or anything She wants to be an EMT when she grows up, too. Just like him.” It was the perfect opening to ask, so she turned to Yael. “What about you? I mean, I saw… uhm… your powers…” Oval petered out.

All seven feet of Yael had gone rigid. Opal had overstepped. Not that Opal could blame her – if Opal had inherited the superpowers of Ezekiel of the Heavenly Rule Line, she might not want strangers commenting on it, either. The APB guards weren’t surprised, though, so it wasn’t exactly a secret.

More like a conspiracy.

Backtracking was impossible, so Opal forged ahead gamely. “The silver stuff looked pretty cool. Like CGI, almost. More like movie superpowers than anybody I know.”

Yael blinked, studying Opal silently. She looked confused. Jamie regarded them both from within the pod of her chair.

“Can you make ice out of thin air?” Opal blurted. She wanted to signal that she knew what it was without being weird about it. She’d call that a half-win.

“… Yes.” Yael answered slowly. “But not very much.”

“And heat resistance too, right? I thought I read that. That’d be really handy with cooking. No oven mitts, no grease burns – way more useful than live-in Christmas lights,” she finished, gesturing at her own blinking, nervous hands. Just ignore the awkward and maybe it’ll go away.

Yael opened her mouth, then closed it. “I never tried it.” Jamie was smiling, so Opal’s flailing reassurance had sort of come across, at least. Yael’s broad shoulders slowly dropped back to a posture of relaxation, re-engaging. “You know, they weren’t supposed to be lights. They were supposed to deliver electrical shocks. Like Papa’s. Er – like Helix.”

Opal blinked, tilting her head to the side. “Where did you hear that?”

Yael shrugged. “Jenna told me, I think. They used to give her and Melissa notes from altering events, so she was one of the people who figured out what was going on.”

This was the APB all over. Opal wasn’t allowed complete access to her own medical records. Even her mom, who was a nurse, wasn’t allowed to see them. But it was idle gossip for the people the APB was cozy with. “Huh,” was all she said.

Jamie gripped the ropes of her low chair, leaning forward, voice low. “Yael, show her the other one.”

Yael chewed her lip, looking at Opal, hoping but hesitant. Opal leaned forward as well. A second power? So – two altered parents, from different lines?

Yael stood, and looked over her shoulder, as if checking to see if anyone was around. Then looked back at Opal, then the floor, as if focusing. The shift was accompanied by a tiny noise that distracted Opal at first. Like a crinkling, but wet. It was barely on the edge of Opal’s hearing. The change was subtle, but the end effect was clear. “Oh! That’s why I thought you were a huge dude when I first met you! You were!”

Yael seemed a little bashful about the attention. “It’s helpful sometimes. It makes some people easier to deal with.”

Opal nodded. She tried to imagine flipping from girl to boy like that, and couldn’t.

Shape changing. So that meant – Oh. Sure. Miriam. The other half of the South Dakota Uprising. Geez, what a family tree.

“Maybe we could learn the sign for ‘xe’?” Jamie suggested with a lean.

“Xe? Oh! Oh, that makes sense, huh? A pronoun that covers all your options. ASL doesn’t have gendered pronouns, though, so you’re all set.”

Yael’s smile was hesitant, almost shy, and was interrupted by the nearest door opening.


23 April (Monday)

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26 April (Thursday)

27 April (Friday)


Blog Tour: The Voting Game – Peter Gulgowski + Giveaway!

Story: 4/5
Writing: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

BOOK INFORMATION The Voting Game cover

Title: The Voting Game

Author: Peter Gulgowski

Publisher: Self-published

Publication date: 06 March 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian


In the year 2084, Every Interaction Counts.

Darrius Young’s sixteenth birthday brings a harsh reality: It’s time to join the Voting Game. Playing is mandatory and each day may be his last.

In this bleak future’s society, citizens rate their interactions with one another. Highest scorers are members of an elite upper class. An average score means you can keep playing.

Fall below average? You are taken and killed by the government entity known only as The Bureau.

Darrius has prepared his whole life for this challenge, knowing the reality he will soon face — especially after the death of his mother to the game.

But despite preparation, he’s losing — and not just the Game. Suddenly the people he loves are getting brutally downvoted and taken by the Bureau. It’s soon clear there’s a target on his back, drawn there by the Bureau itself. And Darrius has no idea why.

In a frantic race against time against a society that’s already sentenced him to death, can Darrius save himself and those around him before it’s too late?

Book links:

Goodreads —

Amazon —


Peter for Voting Game (3).jpg

Bio: Peter Gulgowski was born and raised in a suburb in Wisconsin. He began writing at the age of fourteen during a study hall session in which he had already finished his homework. Several years later, his debut novel, The Government, would become published. Mr. Gulgowski remains a student, with hopes of becoming a full-time writer.

Inspired by authors such as J.K. Rowling, John Green, Veronica Roth, and so many others, Gulgowski hopes one day to join their ranks in inspiring the next generation of storytellers.

His latest novel, ‘The Voting Game’ became the #1 New Release in Teen & Young Adult LGBT Issues Fiction and is his fourth bestselling book. Currently, he is working on several new novels to be released later in 2018.

Author links:

Author website —

Facebook —

Goodreads —

Instagram —

Twitter —

YouTube —


Thank you to Shealea at That Bookshelf Bitch for giving me the chance to take part in my first ever blog tour! I joined the tour in an effort to get more involved in the blogging community and the synopsis of the book was intriguing. Twitter was hyping up the book the entire time I was reading it but I’m so glad my expectations didn’t fall flat!

The Voting Game by Peter Gulgowski follows the life of Darrius, in a world where every interaction could mean life or death. Darrius lives in a dystopian future where humans rate each interaction they have. The average of these scores is your number, and essentially dictates how your life will go. Let me tell you, I was hooked from the first page. I opened the book to flip through it and check it out and ended up reading well into a 100 pages without even realizing.

Gulgowski has created a story that is intriguing and full of twists, that keep you hanging on to every word. The dystopian future he describes might be fictional, but the parallels to our current society are eery and make you wonder about the future of technology. China is in the process of implementing a social credit system. However unlike in Darius’s reality where people who score less than 2.5 are killed, China is restricting travel, admission to private schools etc…for now.

Wright, who is the president of the United States in the book, at times reminded me of Donald Trump. Whether intentional or not, it made the story more than just fictional. If anything it made me more apprehensive about our futures. I also liked the characters and the diversity between them. I haven’t read many books, especially young adult, that have anything other than cis-white protagonists so this was a breath of fresh air.

Overall, the book was good and I would recommend it for anyone looking for something a little different. The only problem I have with the book is the writing. While it wasn’t bad, there is much scope for improvement on Gulgowski’s part. His writing is very easy to read. At times, too easy. Gulgowski often just flatly states what is going on and lacks a subtle finesse to his storytelling, making it predictable in parts. The ending of the book also seemed a little rushed and left me feeling unsatisfied. Though I am hoping that the sequel will help get rid some of the questions I have.


For the giveaway, multiple winners will be drawn. 1 winner will receive a paperback copy of The Voting Game (US residents only), and 5 winners will receive a digital copy of the book (international residents).

Link to Rafflecopter —


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14 April (Saturday)


Wishlist Wednesday

27188596War Storm – Victoria Aveyard


Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.


*all information taken from

My Thoughts:

I know each book keeps getting worse but I made it so far so I figured I should stick it through. Also it’s releasing on my birthday, so maybe that’s a sign?


King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains some spoilers

Story: 3/5
Writing: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5    

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I knew I was going to like King’s Cage better than Glass Sword almost as soon as I started reading. Sure enough, King’s Cage was better than Glass Sword but it didn’t have the same appeal as Red Queen. The book starts off with a lot of action, intrigue, drama. Then Mare is rescued along with a few hundred or so (I think?) other newbloods. Just when Aveyard was beginning to redeem herself in my eyes, it starts get boring.

Once Mare is rescued we’re back to her being whiny and lovestruck in the most annoying way. I get it, she has been through a lot and her issues are legitimate, but Aveyard ‘s depiction of her is just so bad. Just like the previous books in the series, the mediocre writing yet again destroys what could potentially have been a brilliant series. Evangeline’s perspective is worse than Mare’s. She crumbles into a mere shadow of the fierce woman Mare paint’s her out to be. Cameron’s perspective was the most interesting of the three and also the most well written. This is the one place Aveyard showed some potential in her writing and I wish that there had been more of Cameroon in the book.

The plot twist were slightly improved. While many were predictable, there were one or two that caught me by surprise. While I figured Cal’s grandmother would play some part, I didn’t predict that Aveyard would do it that way. I also wasn’t expecting an assassination attempt on Maven or that they would rescue all the newbloods and not just Mare.

Although there was more action than the previous one, there was almost too much happening. At times it felt kind of confusing and I felt like there were gaps in my understanding. Overall, it was pretty average but I’m still holding out hope that the final installment will be as good as Red Queen.

Where’d You Go Bernadette? – Maria Semple

Spoiler Alert: This review contains some spoilers

Story: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetWhere’d You Go Bernadette (WYGB) written by Maria Semple is a witty and entertaining read, telling the story of Bernadette, who disappears two days before a family trip to Antarctica. Bee, Bernadette’s fifteen year old daughter narrates the story, piecing it together through various documents – emails, invoices, memos, etc – and her own clever insights.

Writing a book is never easy, and using this format to effectively tell your story adds its own challenges. Semple manages to create a story that is compelling and complex. She uses this format to excellently enhance every aspect of the story.. The characters each have their own quirks, adding a realness that allows the reader to connect to them or really dislike them on a personal level.

Bernadette herself is witty and sharp, a genius architect who always seems to be running away from life, Her attitude towards Seattle’s elite, Microsoft, the helicopter parents at her daughters private school, is in a way a satirical comment on Seattle and how it is now. Bernadette has a past riddled with complications that only begin to explain how she became to be the person she is today. Despite her dislike for seattle and borderline rude treatment of other characters, she ends up being likeable and funny. Just like a real person she has her flaws and her redeeming qualities.

Bernadette is not an exception. Semple creates characters that are real enough to connect to. Like her mom, Bee is funny and easy to like despite the occasional teenage tantrum. Bee is close to Bernadette and her disappearance causes significant changes in Bee’s world. Elgin – her husband, is a little harder to judge. He’s a quirky tech guru for Microsoft that is famed for having the 4th most watched Ted talk in the world. He tries his best to be a good husband and father but his love for Microsoft and Seattle, constantly tear at his relationship with his family. He’s not as bold as his wife and daughter, and is easily manipulated by the people around him.

Semples use of non conventional writing techniques definitely sets her novel apart from others in the genre. However, it’s not the first time I’ve read a book in this format. In fact Meg Cabot has an entire series written in this format. Not that I’m complaining, I love this format and it was definitely part of the reason I enjoyed WYGB as much as I did. Semple does a great job at hinting about things to come without actually exposing chunks of the plot. Unexpected alliances, shocking twists, and ultimately a surprising yet warm ending, make this book a pleasure to read.

Though the story was nowhere near what I expected, I loved it. It’s been awhile since I read a book I enjoyed as much as this one. I definitely urge you to add it to your reading list. If my review doesn’t convince you, maybe the awards its won, will 😉


“That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”

“Can you believe the weather?’…’Actually, I CAN believe the weather. What I can’t believe is that I’m actually having a conversation about the weather.

“One of the main reasons I don’t like leaving the house is because I might find myself face to face with a Canadian.”

“Its like a hypnotist put everyone from Seattle into a collective trance. “You are getting sleepy, when you wake up you will want to live only in a Craftsman house, the year won’t matter to you, all that will matter is that the walls will be thick, the windows tiny, the rooms dark, the ceilings low, and it will be poorly situated on the lot.”

“Just because it’s complicated, just because you think you can’t ever know everything about another person, it doesn’t mean you can’t try.”


Wishlist Wednesday

23437156Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


*all information is taken from

My Thoughts:

It sounds interesting, I love fantasy, a friend reccommended it, and it starts with the words criminal prodigy. That’s pretty much all the reason I need to add this to my shelf.

Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers

Story: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

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Glass Sword was kind of frustrating to read. It took me a lot longer to read than Red Queen. It was slow, the plot was dull, the characters either annoying or unremarkable. Yet somehow Aveyard has me hooked and I can’t wait to start King’s Cage later today.


It has a super slow start and only really picks up a little more than half way through. For a good part of the book, nothing happens. Then the nothing drags on for a little longer. All of a sudden the last third of the book is packed with explosions, prison escape, plot twists, and some tear jerkers. Aveyard’s writing was problematic in Red Queen and this only becomes more evident in Glass Sword. Once again, the story and the characters have potential but are left stunted with Aveyards average wordcraft.

Mare’s character is annoying and bratty for 95% of the book. She’s self centered, whiny, and naive. She falls into trap after trap, only to be rescued miraculously by her friends and comrades. She swings between being an entitled princess and a humble hero more times than I could keep count. I understand that Mare’s character has been through a lot and that her character is supposed to be complex. She’s the center of the entire series and yet her character isn’t strong enough to carry the series. In fact, Cal is the only reason I continue to be enamored by the books. (What can I say?).

Also, can we talk plot twist for a moment? Why is every single twist basically a trap. How stupid do you have to be to walk into trap after trap. I actually started to get bored by trap 3. Shade’s death seems kind of unnecessary but then again I have no idea where this is going. I admit the last couple of pages were really intriguing with the hints at other rebellions, countries with different systems, etc. It all hints at how big this setting is and how little we know and just how much potential this series could have.

Much like Red Queen, Glass Sword is also pretty predictable, with the last 10% of the book being the exception. Aveyard really needs to delve deeper into the relationships between the characters and also their own self perceptions. I would like to hope we’ll see that in the third installment but I fear that would lead to disappointment. I really hope it’s not a bunch of Mare just complaining about being trapped, and being confused between Maven and Cal.

The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff

Writing: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Overall: 3/5 


I grew up reading, and watching Winnie-the-Pooh, so when I walked into a random San Francisco book store and saw the Tao of Pooh, I was intrigued. Flashforward a year later and I found myself with a copy – it was meant to be a gift but my friend texted me the same day saying he finished reading it so I kept it for myself.

It was my second read of 2018 and a quick one as well. The concept of the book was intriguing but overall it was slightly underwhelming. Hoff’s aim is to explain the principles of Taoism through Winnie-the-Pooh and his adventures. I know nothing about Taoism, and I had hoped that reading this book would help me understand it a little better. Sadly, it did not turn out that way.

It wasn’t terrible, in fact it did lead to a good amount of self reflection and shift in perspective. However, I don’t think I actually learned anything about Taoism. The authors explanations of Taoist principles, at times, comes across as misunderstood. Perhaps he lacked the appropriate language and things were lost in translation. There were moments where the author basically tells you to be selfish and only do things you enjoy doing. He encourages the reader to do nothing at all because that’s the secret behind being happy. Life will just work it’s path.

Maybe, I am not spiritually deep enough to understand what Hoff was trying to say, or maybe he was poor at communicating it. Either way, I would still recommend this book to anyone who’s even slightly intrigued. It’s an easy read, perfect for travelling. Most of all because despite the gaps in his writing, Hoff does have his moments of introspection that start your wheels whirring. In fact this weeks Wishlist Wednesday might even feature the Te of Piglet.


13624183.jpgThe 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).

It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, ” The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” has charmed readers across the world.


*all information is taken from

My Thoughts:

It just seems like it would be a fun book to read tbh

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Story: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Cover: 3/5

Processed with VSCO with 10 presetRed Queen was another bookstagram buy but it was also my first read of 2018. I was pretty excited to read it since it seemed to be popular. It was a pretty “basic” book, if you catch my drift. It followed your basic YA guideline; love triangle, strong-ish female lead, handsome male protagonists (double points if they’re brothers), some form of evil, special powers, blah blah blah.

Nothing in particular stands out about the characters or Aveyard’s writing style. Yet, I lapped up every word because after a long time I found a dystopian YA that fed every one of my guilty pleasures.

The story is decent, and definitely has potential if Aveyard can improve her writing. As is, it’s not terrible but it’s uninspired and flat. There’s nothing memorable about the dialogues, and the characters have neither depth nor originality. In some ways the characters seem to be a mash up of several prominent YA characters, but because YA is still a very guilty pleasure, we let not just Aveyard but several other writers get away with it as well.

I really enjoyed reading the book and have already started the second part Glass Sword, but I don’t have much else to say about the story because in reality the writing is very average. It’s not bad but it’s not great either. It’s insanely predictable but I think I’ll stick it through and see where this goes.