My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SF Bay Area Book Events #1

I am attempting to make this a one stop place to find book signings in the San Francisco Bay Area!  I will mostly focus on YA books, but I will also include some general fiction if I think it will be of interest.

 Updated June 28th, 2016:

  June 2016

June 29th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book:  Bull Mountain
Author: Brian Panowich
Location:  A Great Good Place For Books, 
Address:  6120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, CA

Tel: (510) 339-8210 

This book is hard to describe.  It seems to be about a man trying to escape his family's criminal lifestyle.  It looks like a great book.

June 30th, 2016 at 1:00pm

Book:  Invisible Man, Got The Whole World Watching
Author:  Mychal Denzel Smith
Location:  Book Passage
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA
Tel:  (415) 927-0960, (800) 999-7909

The book is about what it's like to grow up as a young black man in America.  This is a non-fiction book.

July 2016

July 5th, 2016 at 7:00pm


Book:  Caught Bread Handed
Author:  Ellie Alexander
Location:  Barnes & Noble
Address:  3600 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA
Tel: (408) 984-3495
This looks like a fun mystery romance!

 July 14th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book: Dragoncrown 
Author:  Emery Garriott
Location:  A Great Good Place For Books
6120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, CA
Tel: (510) 339-8210

A Fantasy book with dragons...  Well that hooked me right away.  This is a debut author so I hope there is a good-sized crowd for this.

July 22nd, 2016 at 7:00pm


Book:  Red Swarm
Author:  David Massengill
Location:  A Great Good Place For Books
6120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, CA
Tel: (510) 339-8210

This is a pulp fiction novel about a plague of deadly bugs.  Sounds like a creepy good time!

July 26th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book:  Valley of the Moon
Author:  Melanie Gideon
Location:  A Great Good Place For Books
6120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, CA
Tel: (510) 339-8210

This is a launch party for this book!  It has some of the elements of Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (people living in a time bubble) but the main characters are adults.
July 26th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book:  Monstress, Volume 1
Authors: Marjorie Lui & Sana Takeda
Location:  Books, Inc.
Address: 1491 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Tel:  (510) 525-7777

This is a steam-punk graphic novel that looks really beautiful.

 July 30th, 2016 at 2:00pm


Book: Expect Deception  
Author: JoAnn Smith Ainsworth.  
Location:  Barnes & Noble
Address:  Slatten Ranch Shopping Center
                5709 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, CA
Tel: (925) 978-1031

This looks like a cool book with Nazis, spies, and wizards!  Historical fiction mixed with fantasy.

August 2016

August 2nd, 2016 at 7:00pm



Book:  Valley Of The Moon
Author:  Melanie Gideon
Location:  Book Passage
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA
Tel: (415)0 927-0960 (800) 999-7909
If you didn't get a chance to attend the book launch, here's another opportunity to here about this timey-whimey fantasy, set in Sonoma.


August 15th, 2016 at 7:00pm



Book:  The Immigrant Princess
Author:  Variny Jim
Location:  Book Passage
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA
Tel: (415)0 927-0960 (800) 999-7909

This looks like a wonderful story of the culture clash that many children of immigrants face.

August 29th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book:  Ghostly Echoes
Author:  William Ritter
Location:  Books, Inc (Laurel Village Store)
Address:   3515 California St. San Francisco, CA
Tel: (415) 221-3666
This is the author of the popular Jackaby series!  If you are a fan, you will probably love this.

  September 2016

September 13th, 2016 at 7:00pm


Book:  The Empress Of Tempera
Author: Alex Dolan
Location: Barnes & Noble
Address:   313 Corte Madera Town Center
                 Corte Madera, CA 94925

Tel:  (415) 927-9016
Set in the art world, this book looks to be great for those who enjoy books such as The Last Painting of Sara deVos. 

 September 13th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book:  Truly Madly Guilty
Author: Laine Moriarty
Location:  Book Passage
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA
Tel: (415)0 927-0960 (800) 999-7909

Oh, I loved Big, Little Lies!  This new book should be awesome.  Since this is an author that lives in Australia (and I doubt she gets to the U.S. often), I will definitely try to attend this event.

September 14th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book: Tell Me Something Real
Author:  Calla Devlin
Location:  Books, Inc. (Opera Plaza Store)
Address:  601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA
Tel: (415) 776-1111
This is a debut YA novel that looks at sisters trying to keep their family together as their mom is dying of cancer.

September 15th, 2016 at 7:00pm


Book:  Leave Me
Author:  Gayle Forman
Location:  Books, Inc. (Opera Plaza Store)
Address:  601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA
Tel: (415) 776-1111

This is Gayle Forman's first adult fiction.  Given the popularity of her many YA books, this should be a big event. 

 September 29th, 2016 at 7:00pm

Book:  The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Location:  Book Passage
Address:  51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA
Tel: (415)0 927-0960 (800) 999-7909

This is one of my favorite books that I have read this year, and I am so excited that she will be coming to the Bay Area!!!


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ARC Review: Age Of Myth


Please Note:  I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not influence my opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Since time immemorial, humans have worshiped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.


This is the first time I have read a book from author Michael J. Sullivan, and it won't be my last.  Age of Myth is everything a fantasy novel should be:  Engaging characters, a complex plot and an Epic setting.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


The book has so many interesting and unusual characters that I cannot write about them all.  One of the main characters is Persephone, the widow of the recently deceased chieftain.  She has been the "second chair" for twenty years, giving wise counsel to her husband.  When a new chieftain takes over, Persephone finds it hard not to speak her mind when she sees Konniger  making mistakes.  This, of course, gets her in trouble.  Even when everyone is against her, Persephone is level-headed, wise, and compassionate.  She is a natural leader.

Another wonderful character is Suri, the teenage mystic.  She is a child of the forest and is more comfortable sleeping outdoors with her wolf than being cooped up in a lodge.  She comes to the village to warn about a grave danger, saying,   "Everyone is going to die".  She is brave, intelligent and loyal to her wolf companion.    


I thought the plot to be complex without trying to be deliberately confusing.  There are power struggles in the two societies, mythology that may, or may not, guide the story, and blossoming love.  I appreciated that there was a balance of exposition and action.  So often, in the beginning of a new series, there is a tendency to burden the first book with explanation upon explanation of the book's universe.  The author is a wonderful storyteller who doesn't need to spell everything out to the reader.  He knows that we are along for the ride and can wait to have aspects revealed to us at the appropriate time.  This also shows great respect for the audience.  There are harrowing scenes of battles that had me staying up late because I couldn't put the book down.


As with any fantasy novel, the setting creates the tone.  Age Of Myth is set in a time long ago (it seemed very like the middle ages in Europe).  Of the various societies there are the Rhune (us mere mortals), and the Fhrey ( a race of people who live for thousands of years).  The Fhrey can perform "The Art" and are believed by the Rhune to be gods.  The Fhrey don't see the Rhune as even human.  They consider any other races to be sub-human; more like wild animals.  Both cultures will begin to see their perceptions tested when a fateful encounter occurs that begins the events in the book.

This is an exciting beginning to a five book series.  I loved that the events in this book are resolved, but some things started will carry over into the next book.  If you enjoy action, adventure, and fantasy, you are in for a treat. 


Release Date:  June 28th, 2016

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-book

Recommendation:  With strong characters, both male and female, a complex plot, and "The Art", this book has it all.  A must read for fantasy readers. 



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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Street Team: ARC Review of The Way To Game The Walk Of Shame Giveaway & Playlist!


Please note:  I received an ARC copy of this book as part of Nori's Sunday Street Team in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.


This was a fun book!!!  Overachiever Taylor is the best at everything, but when she doesn't get accepted to her dream college, she goes on a bender, and winds up with a reputation.  This is not something she was prepared for.  Where once she is the apple of most teacher's eyes, she is now thought of as "that girl"who got drunk and hooked up with notorious bad boy, Evan.

It was painful to read about how Taylor was slut-shamed after the party.  But I think that, sadly, this happens to teens all the time.  No one is doing that to the guy; they are high-fiving him and calling him a stud.  I wish that more people had stood up for Taylor and called people out for their double standards.  But, I think this is how this would play out in real life.

Taylor takes the abuse of her classmates for a while and then decides she has had enough.  Evan sees how the students are treating Taylor and begins to feel guilty.  She talks Evan into pretending to be more than just a one-night stand.  They will pretend date.  It works and people stop harassing Taylor.  Of course, you know what will follow...

Although this seems so cliche, it was actually really well done.  Taylor and Evan begin to see each other as actual people, and not just stereotypes.  I liked that neither of them actually had perfect home lives.  They both had family issues to deal with.  Perhaps author Jenn P. Nguyen could have added more about Taylor's absent dad, but I think that issue was for Evan's character to come to terms with, and it may have distracted from his story arc.  More could have happened with Taylor seeing how no one is perfect.  It would have been good for her to go from being judgemental to being more accepting of others.  But the main focus of the book was on the romance.

I liked this so much I was inspired to make a playlist on Spotify!  Here it is:


Release Date:   June 7th, 2016

Source:  Nori's Sunday Street Team & the Publisher

Format: E-book ARC

Recommendation:   This will be a fun read for teens dealing with all the pressures of college applications and relationships.



AND...Here is a giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stacking The Shelves #36

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews.  Each week, nearly 100 bloggers share what books they have read and received.  It is so fun to blog hop and see what everyone is excited about.  Go to the Team Tynga's blog page for a complete list of all the participating blogs.

This was the second week of my vacation and I seem to be busier than when school was in session!  My sweet daughter is on a trip with a friend and their family, so the house is quiet and the cat is whining.  I have had to spend my reading time in my daughter's room to keep Kiki the cat company:

I did manage to read a lot this week, which is quite satisfying.  I was able to read two of the books for my COYER (Clean Out Your E-Reader) challenge, and read a cool ARC!  And I'm mostly finished with another ARC.  This is a relief as I have 9 books on my dashboard on NetGalley.  I don't want to go below 80%, so I can't request anything new for a while.

All book covers are linked to GoodReads

Read This Week:


I loved Age of Myth!  This is an epic fantasy that will be released on June 28th.  I will post a review next week, but I will tell you now: This is a must read for fantasy fans.  Puff Pastry Princess was a true disappointment.  This book was only 100 pages, but they were painful to read.  I thought the idea was intriguing, but the plot was so stupid and the writing was uninspired.  I thought Turning Pointe was lovely.  It was a very sweet romance that you just know is doomed.  Now I want to read the whole series.

Blog Tour:


I feel so lucky to get on this Blog Tour for Nori's Sunday Street Team.  I follow Katherine Glasgow on Twitter and so I'm really excited to read her book.  

That's it for the week.  I hope to add a feature to my blog soon with listings for book signings in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I may list it as a post first and then try to make it a separate page on the blog (I just need to get some technical help from my son, first).

BTW:  If you like this blog, I would really appreciate a follow.  Just put your method of following in a comment, and I will follow you back!  Thanks and happy reading.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Blog Tour Review & Gievaway: Change Places With Me, by Lois Metzger

Please Note:  I received an ARC copy of this book as part of Irish Banana's Blog Tour.  This does not affect the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (From the author):

Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.

But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.


I wasn't sure what this book was about at first.  Given the description, I thought maybe this was a story where the main character somehow really changes places with someone.  But this is just a metaphor for how this character is dealing with crippling depression.  It is also a futuristic tale, where people can use technology to solve problems such as loneliness, anxiety, and fear.  But these solutions can have unexpected side-effects...

(I truly do not want to include spoilers so this is a really difficult review to write!)

What I will say is that this book presents an original voice in Rose, who is bright, optimistic, and never seems to be bothered by anything.  But something in the back of her mind is nagging at Rose.  Why is everyone around her so surprised by her behavior? Was she somehow different last week?

I think this book has a lot to say about how all of us see other people and think that their lives must be perfect compared to ours.  This causes people to think if they just fixed themselves everything would be fine.

I really liked this book.  I found the character of Rose to be tragic.  What really makes a person an individual?  Is it our personality, our memories, or our emotions?  If any one of these things drastically change, then who are we then? 

I can relate to this in my own life.  When I was growing up my father was a loud, boisterous person.  He was also rather volatile.  When he was 55 my dad had a massive stroke which changed him forever.  He recovered physically, but his personality was completely different.  He was soft-spoken and  even-tempered.  For those of us who walked on egg shells around his moods, we saw this as an improvement.  But it was also a loss because he lost so much of what made him him.  He no longer was the fun, creative person who was the life of the party.

We all have easy and challenging aspects of our personalities.  I hope when people read this they will reflect on how having both sides makes us more complex, interesting people.  And that (even if we are dealing with difficulties) we do not need to erase what makes us unique in order to be happy.




Release Date:  June 14th, 2016

Source:  Irish Banana's Blog Tour and the publisher.

Format:  Physical ARC

Recommendation:  An unusual book that will make you think about what it is about each of us that makes us unique.

And now for a wonderful giveaway:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fathers in Fiction

With Father's Day here, I thought it would be great to look at depictions of dads in literature.  Fathers often get a bad rap in novels as absentee parents or worse.  I am so very grateful to my husband for being a calm, loving father to our four children.  I can always count on him to co-parent with me and give me a different perspective.

Here are some great examples of good fathers in fiction:

1. Mr. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin:

At first it would appear that the character of Mr. Bennett is too aloof and stays in his study to avoid his wife and daughters.   But I found his character to be very outside the norm of men of that time.  He actually respects his children!  His concern is not to marry them off to whomever just to get them off his hands.  He cares about whether or not his daughters actually want to be matched up with their suitors.  This would have been a revelation for this era.  I love that Mr. Bennett lets the young women lead their own lives, but intervenes when then get in over their heads, as Lydia does.

2. Dr. Covey from To All The Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han:

This is the father of the main character, Lara Jean.  I really liked how the dad (who was Caucasian) made sure his daughters knew about their Korean heritage.  After his wife dies, Dr. Covey works hard to try and cook Korean dishes, and upholds New Year's Day traditions such as visiting his former In-Laws with the girls dressed in special Korean clothing.  Keeping these cultural aspects in their lives helped his daughters remember their mother.  I thought that was very sweet of him and it couldn't have been easy.

3.  Mr. Weasley from the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling:


Arthur Weasley is the dad to the many Weasley children (Ginny, Ron, Fred, George, Percy, Charlie, and Bill).  He must work at the Wizards government Ministry of Magic, even when it is dangerous for him.  Having to make enough money to raise seven kids, and put them all through private school, must have been an enormous challenge. So he didn't have the option to quit and find a less hazardous occupation.  Both he and his wife created a loving home so that, even without a lot of luxuries, they had a very happy family life. 

4.  The dad in A Night Divided, by Jennifer A. Nielsen:

Although this character is absent for much of the book, the dad plays a very important role in the story.  This novel follows a family separated when the Berlin Wall goes up.  The dad had gone to the western part of the city with one of his sons to look for work just as The Wall goes up.  His wife and two other children are trapped in East Berlin.  Through his determination, the dad finds ways to communicate an escape plan to his children.  He never gives up trying to reunite his family, even if it will take years to do so.
What are your favorite fathers in fiction?  Let me know in the comments.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Stacking The Shelves #35

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews.  Each week, nearly 100 bloggers share what books they have read and received.  It is so fun to blog hop and see what everyone is excited about.  Go to the Team Tynga's blog page for a complete list of all the participating blogs.

Happy Saturday!  It is the first week of my summer vacation, and I couldn't be more happy.  I have been staying up late reading and waking up at 7:00am (very late for me).  So I have been having so much fun.  I also took a serious look at my TBR on my Kindle and joined the COYER (Clean Out Your E-Reader) Challenge.  There are 22 books I need to read!  So I am trying to read one or more e-books a week...Starting next week!  This week has been all about reading the gigantic Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare.  It is 669 pages of awesome!  

BTW:  If you like this blog, I would really appreciate a follow.  Just put your method of following in a comment, and I will follow you back!  Thanks and happy reading.

Read This week:

I loved Lady MidnightThe Shadowhunting world is back, baby!  I was not so impressed with The Life-changing Magic Of Tidying Up.  I lived in Japan for three years, so I understand the need to live without many material things.  Japanese homes simply are not that big.  One must throw out old things.  But I objected to getting rid of mementos such as photographs and letters.  I can't do that.  I just can't.

New from NetGalley:

What can I say?  I love Jay Kristoff's storytelling, so I am over the moon that I got accepted to read this book through NetGalley.

From Edelweiss:

This looks like such a fun book!  I can't wait to read it.

Bought during B'Fest:

I saw Wendy Spinale last two weeks ago at the Bay Area Book Festival, but I waited until now to buy her book, Everland.  She was super nice to my daughter and her friend, and signed the book, "To Princess Jenny"!  That is what I called her when she was very young.  Amazing.

From The Author:

 I met this author at the Bay Area Book Festival.  The novel seems to be about mermaids, so I couldn't resist.

From The Publisher:

Thank you, HarperCollins and author Lois Metzger for the finished copy of Change Places With Me.  I read an advanced readers copy and am posting a review of it on June 21st.  I really enjoyed this book, and the finished hardcover is so lovely.  Lots of flowery details on the pages!

That is it for now.  I hope everyone gets to read, sip a refreshing beverage and have an exhilarating week.

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2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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