September 4, 2023

BLOG TOUR Between Monsters and Marvels by Alysa Wishingrad


I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS by Alysa Wishingrad Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 About The Book:


Author: Alysa Wishingrad

Pub. Date: September 12, 2023

Publisher: HarperCollins

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 400

Find it: Goodreads 

A standalone high-stakes middle grade fantasy by Alysa Wishingrad, author of the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection The Verdigris Pawn.

Monsters are still lurking on Barrow’s Bay.

Dare Coates is sure of it. No drifter or ruffian could have killed her father, the Captain of the Guard, while he was on patrol. But everyone insists that monsters have been gone for years now. Dare’s mother. Her classmates. Even the governor, who swiftly marries her mother just months after her father’s death.

Dare’s suspicions grow even stronger when the governor suddenly ships her off to the mainland, away from any hope of uncovering the truth about her father’s death.

Or so she thinks. Soon Dare finds solid proof that monsters still exist and she starts to question everything she’s always known. Was her father who she thought he was? Who can she trust? Where is the line between good and evil?

The truth hides behind danger and deception. But with the help of an unlikely crew of cohorts and a stray beastie, nothing can stop Dare from finding out what happened to her father and exposing who the real monsters are.

Perfect for fans of Ellen Oh’s Spirit Hunters and Lauren Oliver’s The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street.  

REVIEW of Between Monsters and Marvels by Alysa Wishingrad
Rating: 4 Stars

Alysa Wishingrad’s new standalone middle-grade fantasy Between Monsters and Marvels is a memorable and whimsical tale that is reminiscent of a cross between Netflix’s Wednesday and How to Train Your Dragon. The premise of this book is super cool, and I love the cover. Monsters are thought to have been eradicated, and Dare and her monster hunter father are seemingly the only ones who believe otherwise. After her father’s death, Dare is thrust into a new environment where she must learn more about her heritage and the truth of how he died. 

Dare is a super cool main character. She reminds me of a lovable, slightly thorny and cantankerous old lady. Her whole life, she’s been told she’s been different but she takes that and uses it as a strength instead of something to be ashamed of. There are some surprises that come to light later in the book about her heritage and gifts, and I really appreciated how that played into the overall storyline. Her friends Nell and Gil round out the story well, and even though reading the synopsis does spoil some of the events of the book a bit it kept my attention throughout the story. The mystery aspect of figuring out what happened to Dare’s father was a fun touch. Early on in the book, I did think all of the adults were villains or kind of useless in general but my opinion changed by the end of things. 

The world building is interesting. It reminds me a bit of a Victorian setting, but there are elements of the setting that come across as more familiar. It was fun getting to learn about the different monsters (The Garbinol and the Occisor were super cool in my opinion), though I do wish there would have been some sort of bestiary pages I could refer back to as it was hard to keep track of all of their different characteristics as I was reading. 

The book is very whimsical and fun, befitting a middle-grade level novel, but it doesn’t shy away from some of the tougher themes. While there are literal ‘monsters’ in this book, the author also explores the idea of what makes a monster a monster. In particular, some of the monstrous things that humans can do (for the right price, or just out of sheer desperation) are highlighted within the story. There’s also an overwhelming sense of loss - we meet Dare’s father briefly at the beginning of the book before his untimely death. That ultimately allows readers to connect to him and Dare’s loss a bit more than if we had entered the action after his passing. While I am past the age of the intended audience for this book, I always try to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge books that don’t dumb down or dilute tough things for young readers, as I think it’s important for kids to be exposed to that as they go through the process of figuring out themselves and how they relate to the world. 


Overall, Between Monsters and Marvels was a very entertaining read. I love the the take on the idea of ‘monsters and marvels’ that the author presents within the book. Narrator Carlotta Brentan did an excellent job bringing the story to life with her performance in the audiobook version of the book. If you or a young reader in your life would enjoy a standalone story that crosses fantasy with a bit of mystery (and monsters of all shapes and sizes), you’ve come to the right place. 

Thank you to the author, the publisher HarperCollins, Jaime at Rockstar Book Tours, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary copy of the book as part of my participation in the tour. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review the book immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way. 

About Alysa Wishingrad:

Alysa Wishingrad writes fantastical stories for young readers, tales that ask; is the truth really true? Her favorite stories are those that meld the historical with the fantastic, and that find ways to shine a light on both the things that divide and unite us all. The Verdigris Pawn, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, is her debut novel. Alysa lives in the Hudson Valley with her family and two demanding rescue dogs. You can find her at www. or on Twitter at @awishingrad or Instagram at @alysawishingradwrites.

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Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS Bookmarks and stickers, US Only.

Ends October 3rd, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Interview/IG Post

Week Two:


Eye-Rolling Demigod's Book Blog

Guest Post or Excerpt/IG Post


Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post or Excerpt/IG Post


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Guest Post or Excerpt/IG Post



TikTok Spotlight


Rajiv's Reviews

Review/IG Post

Week Three:


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post



IG Review/TikTok Post


Lifestyle of Me



Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post



IG Review

Week Four:



IG Review


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic/TikTok Post


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review/IG Post


One More Exclamation

Review/IG Post



IG Review

Week Five:





The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review


Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's

Review/IG Post

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