Friday, November 20, 2015

Design The Life You Love Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook

"A joyful, inspirational guide to building the life you've always dreamed of, using the principles and creative process of an award-winning product designer.

Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints-time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You can’t have everything, so you have to be creative to make what you want and what you need co-exist. Design the Life You Love is a joyful, inspirational guide to building the life you’ve always wanted, using the principles and creative process of an award-winning product designer. Through four steps that reveal hidden skills and wisdom, anyone can design a life they love!"

Review: I've never really review nor read any sort of guide or life planner, so whenever the opportunity to do so arose, I thought why not? This book ended up being a lot more fun and inspiring than I thought. From fun drawings to wonderful advice, I overall really enjoyed every minute of this one.

One thing I really loved (and it's such a silly thing to love) is the fact that it comes with a book marker. I know that seems random, but I loved that if I found something particularly inspiring, I could mark it with the bookmark and look reflect on it later. The whole concept of the book is to look at life differently, to be inspired and showing techniques on how to do so. I liked the fact that it discussed using a sketchbook and suggests you draw something everyday. Be creative and remember to be playful. Do you know how many semi-used sketchbooks I own? Too many, and I think it's time to bust them out, wake up my brain, be the me I was meant to be!!!

Okay, it got a little intense there, but you get the idea.

"Because an original life is a life well-lived."

Best. Quote. Ever.

All and all, I really enjoyed this one. In fact, I may purchase a couple of these as gifts for some of my favorite people. Will one be you? Do I even know you? Maybe we should change that! ANYWAY, I highly recommend this one for people looking to be inspired or add more light into their life.


4 Stars

Tour Schedule:

11/13: The Irish Banana Review - Excerpt
11/14: Kimberly Faye Reads - Review
11/15: Reading Teen - Excerpt
11/16: Don't Fold the Page - Review
11/17: Seeing Double in Neverland - Excerpt
11/18: Good Books & Good Wine - Review
11/19: Reads All the Books - Excerpt
11/20: Addicted 2 Novels - Review
11/21: No BS Book Reviews - Excerpt
11/22: Resch Reads & Reviews - Review
11/23: Lost In Lit - Excerpt
11/24: Avid Reader - Review
11/25: Rattle the Pages - Excerpt
11/26: Novel Ink - Review

Giveaway: 2 Finished Copies of DESIGN THE LIFE YOU LOVE (US Only)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Lies About The Truth Blog Tour

Title: Lies About The Truth
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Published: November 3rd 2015 by HarperTeen
Goodreads / Amazon / B&N / IndieBound / The Book Depository

"Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past. "

Thoughts: THE LIES ABOUT THE TRUTH completely caught me off-guard in the best possible ways. The emotions, so raw and pure, and the characters...I simply cannot find the right words to describe how truly remarkable this novel really is. I have goosebumps just thinking about it!

From the summary, you can see that this isn't a lighthearted novel. Sadie survived a car accident that took the life of her best friend. Though she survived the accident, she is left with scars on her face and body as well as ones on her soul and heart. It's not until her and Max (Trent's brother) start emailing each other and seeing each other again that she starts to really heal inside.

First off, I really adored Sadie. Though I've never had to deal with something so tragic and heartbreaking, I could experience what she was going to and relate. She has this strength inside of her that I really admired. I enjoyed reading about her journey and the mystery being the accident.

While I liked Max, I don't know if I really loved him. The romance between the two was sweet, and I really enjoyed it. I just didn't find Max swoon-worthy for some reason, and I honestly think it's me (not the book). Maybe I've been reading too many "adult" novels or something. He's more of a best friend type, but I do think he's perfect for Sadie.

Overall, I really enjoyed THE LIES ABOUT THE TRUTH and look forward to the author's next novels. She's definitely on my radar now, and I've got my eye on her. I loved this book so much, I ended up purchasing the ebook for FAKING NORMAL (How could I not?). If you're a fan of SAVING JUNE of FALLING INTO PLACE, you'll easily fall in love with THE LIES ABOUT THE TRUTH.


4.5 Stars

Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. She is also the author of Faking Normal, which Kirkus Reviews called "a story that resonates" and Publishers Weekly called a "rich debut," as well as the e-novellaThe Blue-Haired Boy.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

3 Finished Copies of THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH

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Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for exclusive interviews and more reviews!

Week 1:

Nov. 9: Such A Novel Idea - Review
Nov. 10: Jenuine Cupcakes - Q&A
Nov. 11: Addicted 2 Novels - Review (You're here! Yay! Come back soon!)
Nov. 12: Kimberly Faye Reads - Q&A
Nov. 13: Next Page Please - Review

Week 2:

Nov. 16: Katie's Blok Blog - Q&A
Nov. 17: A Perfection Called Books - Review
Nov. 18: Chapter By Chapter - Q&A
Nov. 19: The Reading Date - Review
Nov. 20: Andi's ABCs - Q&A

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How To Be Brave Blog Tour

How To Be Brave: A Novel
By: E. Katherine Kottaras
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Hardcover: 9781250072801 / $18.99 USD
eBook: 9781466884670 / $9.99 USD

"An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she's always been afraid to do - including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn't always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most - and you learn that you're stronger and braver than you ever imagined. "


This is what it was like:

I didn’t want you to come. I didn’t want you there.
The day before school, the very first year,
we waited in line for my schedule.

They stared. Those in line around us—
the other girls and their moms,
the ones who were my year,
who were never my friends—
They saw how you were big, planetary, next to them.
Next to me.

The girl in pigtails, someone’s sister,
asked: Is there a baby inside?
Her mother, red now, whispered in her ear.

But the girl didn’t mind:
Oh, so she’s fat.

The other girls, the ones who were my year
who were never my friends—they laughed at you, quietly.
At me.

Her mother said she was sorry, so sorry,
And you said: It’s fine. It’s fine.
But it wasn’t.

You squeezed my hand, and then to the girl in pigtails,
you said: I am big, yes. But I am beautiful, too.
And so are you.

Her mother pulled her child away.
She left the line and let us go first.
I didn’t say: You shouldn’t have come.
I didn’t say: I don’t want you here.

But I also didn’t say: I love you.
Or: Thank you for being brave.

Later that night, I cried:
I don’t want to go. I don’t want to face them.
And every year after.

You’d look at me like I was that girl,
and you’d say, as though it were true:
You are possibility and change and beauty.
One day, you will have a life, a beautiful life.
You will shine.

I didn’t see it. I couldn’t see it,
not in myself,
not in you.

Now, it’s not like that anymore.
This is what it’s like:
It’s quiet in our house. Too quiet. Especially tonight. The day before my first day of
senior year.

The A/C hums, the fridge hums, the traffic hums.
I’m standing at my closet door, those old knots churning inside my stomach again.
I don’t want to go tomorrow. I need to talk to her.
Instead, I’ve done what she always did for me the night before the first day of the school
year. I’ve picked out three complete outfits, hung them on my closet door.

It’s a good start, I guess.

Outfit #1: Dark indigo skinny jeans (are they still considered skinny if they’re a size 16?),
drapey black shirt, long gold chain necklace that Liss gave me, and cheap ballet flats that hurt
my feet because they’re way too flat and I hate wearing shoes with no socks.

Outfit #2: Black leggings, dark blue drapey knee- length dress (draping is my thing), gold
hoop earrings that belonged to my mom, and open-toed black sandals, but that would mean a
last-minute half-assed pedicure tonight. A spedicure, if you will.

Outfit #3: A dress my mom bought for me two years ago. The Orange Dress. Well, really
more like coral. With embroidered ribbons etched in angular lines that camouflage my flab.
Knee-length (not too short/not too long). Three-quarter-length sleeves (to hide the sagging). It’s
perfectly retro. And just so beautiful. Especially with this utterly uncomfortable pair of canary-
colored peep-toe pumps that belonged to my mom.

I begged her for the dress. I made her pay the $125 for it. I knew my parents didn’t have
the money, but I couldn’t help crying when I saw myself in the mirror. It fit (it’s a size 14), and I
think she saw how pretty I felt because I did feel pretty for the first time, so she charged it.

But I’ve never worn it.
The day after, she went into the ER, her heart acting up again. She needed another
emergency stent, which meant more dye through her kidneys, which meant dialysis a few weeks
later, which meant the beginning of the end of everything.

I never put it on after that.
It’s just so bright. So unlike everything else I wear.
I could wear it tomorrow.
I could. And if she were here, she would tell me to.
I really need to talk to her.
It’s just so quiet in this house.


E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she's hard at work on her next book.

Giveaway: Thanks to the amazing people at St. Martin's Press, I am giving away a copy of HOW TO BE BRAVE. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends 11/30. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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*Interactive trailer
*Add How To Be Grave on Goodreads
*St. Martin's Website
*Griffin Teen Facebook
*Griffin Teen Twitter
*Griffin Teen Tumblr

Author links:

*Author's website

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What We Left Behind Blog Tour

Title: What We Left Behind
Author: Robin Talley
Published: October 27th 2015 by Harlequin Teen
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound

"From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn't enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won't understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together? "

Thoughts: WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND is a diverse coming of age novel about two people trying to figure out where they belong in this crazy world. This novel brought back so many nostalgic moments for me- What's it like leaving for college and home for the first time, what it was like being on my own, and how scary that can be. Not everyone, but I feel like most people change and start beginning to piece together who they are and will ultimately become those first two years of college. Imagine doing all those things and on top of that, being confused about whether you're meant to be who you were or someone different.

Now, I must admit, I have mixed emotions about this novel. It was a very difficult read for me, and not because of the subject matter. No, the gender identity-genderqueer theme was what originally drew me to WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND. I love diverse books and wish there were more out there. No, what irritated me, if I'm being honest, is Toni as an overall person.

The novel is split between both her and Gretchen's point of view. Toni came off as pretentious, and I felt like she spent the majority of the novel preaching and educating us, the reader, about what it's like being genderqueer. That's great, and yes, more people should enlighten others, help them understand what it's like. The only thing is, when Toni did this, it felt like being in a classroom listening to a monotone professor go on and on, and even though you're interested in the subject matter, you can't help but feel slightly bored at the way it's being explained. Toni's point of view started feeling like I was reading a non-fiction documentary instead of a fictional novel. Top all of the off with a somewhat narcissistic character, and that pretty much rounds up Toni. I understand that she's confused and that she's going through a lot, but gosh...she was just kind of a jerk sometimes, right? She's just too judgmental for my taste, and yes everyone has flaws, but I simply did not like her as a person. I can't be alone in thinking this.

Maybe my feelings for Toni are clouded, because I continually felt bad for Gretchen. She deserved better than her. You, the reader, know going in that this isn't a love story that would end well. There will be heartache, and it will most certainly be a difficult read. It's sad, yet you have to accept that people change and grow apart. Sometimes high school sweethearts last, but it's rare (and beautiful when it does). Towards the end, I kept prepping myself for the ultimate break-up, waiting for them to just tear the band-aid off. Are they really going to try to make it work or will they call a quits? When the defining scene came, instead of grief or bitterness, I felt incredibly touched. Weirdly enough, that was my favorite scene in this novel. It was wonderfully written, and I truly felt touched by both of these characters.

These are two people I will not be forgetting anytime soon.


3 Stars

About the author: Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves (September 2014) and What We Left Behind (October 2015), grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. A Lambda Literary Fellow, Robin now lives in Washington, D.C., with her wife, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. You can find her on the web at or on Twitter at @robin_talley.

Giveaway: The fabulous people at Harlequin Teen are giving away 3 finished copies of WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Special thanks to the fabulous Hannah from Irish Banana Tours for organizing this amazing tour.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Harper Teen Winter 2016 Tour

Welcome, welcome, to The Isle aka the next stop in the Harper Winter 2016 Blog Tour. This will come in handy later, but today's daily word (or safe word, whatever you'd like to call it) is: HAVE. Anywho, let's get the show started!

"The heart-racing and thrilling sequel to The Ward about a teenage female drag racer who will do anything to save her sister—and a flooded futuristic Manhattan.

Drought season is coming....

The Ward is in trouble—its streets filled with seawater after a devastating flood and its impoverished inhabitants suffering from a deadly disease called the Blight.

Ren, with the help of her scientist friend, Callum, and her racing buddy, Derek, has discovered a cure—miraculous spring water—administering it to her sick sister, Aven. But when Aven is kidnapped by Governor Voss, the malevolent dictator of the United Metro Isles (UMI), Ren must go on a dangerous mission to save her sister, again.

The mysterious healing water is the only source of freshwater throughout the entire UMI—water that Ren had been tasked by the government to discover. Although she refuses to give up the water’s location, Governor Voss has his own selfish reasons for wanting it. And he will do anything to satisfy his thirst for unquenchable power.

But Ren and Aven have more enemies than the governor. An ancient order, the T├Ętai, has been guarding the magical water for hundreds of years. And they will kill to protect it. With the Ward in desperate need of freshwater and wracked by disease—and deadly enemies at every turn—the sisters face a dangerous journey, marred by mysterious secrets and horrifying truths, to save their friends and neighbors, and a city. "

About the Author: Jordana Frankel is a Jersey native and does not enjoy nonsense in the least (please refer to exhibit A). She is fluent in procrastination, has a deep and abiding respect for dogwalkers, and was once fearful of fire. She pretends she is invisible from time to time, pretends she is visible from time to time, likes to spin things (fire, her wheels, stories, her keychain when poi are inappropriate), and she lies for a living, but can't lie to save her face.

(This stuff is true though, she promises.)

She's been a camp counselor, a salesperson of diamonds, a hostess at a southwestern grill, an archivist of rare books, a yoga instructor, and a reading teacher, but her shining moment was when she got to hang out in Walmart for 12 hours a day as the AXE girl. (Does your man have hard, spiky hair? DOES HE?!? No, but really, ewww. That's gross.)

Etcetera, etcetera, she received her B.A. in English from Goucher College, graduated, ate lots of pasta, accumulated much laundry, and then went to live in Italy for a year. (You see, Jordana hoped to be an artiste someday. Le sigh.) But then she decided that poetry was more practical, what with poetry reality TV shows becoming all the rage, and those poetry dance clubs with the smarmy, handlebar moustached bouncers. Those guys are awesome. So she went for her MFA in Poetry at Hollins University. Naturally.

But then she graduated, as all students must one day let go of the safe hands of academia, and she moved back to NYC. Which eats people. But hallelujah! She got her first big-girl job at The Literary Group International (bless their hearts for taking a chance on a poetry grad), a literary agency, where she'd started as an intern reading queries and then assisted editorially. At Linn Prentis Literary, also a literary agency, she handled foreign sales, picked up gems from unsolicited mail, and helped authors through the publishing process. And then it was onto The Book Report Network where she handled ads and promos for features on,, and

Jordana's debut novel, THE WARD, (KT Books/HarperCollins) is in stores now.

She hopes never to have to write in third person again.

It was weird.

Add The Isle on Goodreads

Preorder The Isle From...

*Barnes and Noble
*Book Depository

Giveaway and rules: There are actually TWO giveaways going on. Let's start with the first one. The crazy awesome people at Harper Teen are giving away a copy of each title on this tour. That's right, that's the entire Harper Teen Winter 2016 catalog which is well over 30 books (I lost count after 30). Be sure to check out all of the other stops (listed below) to see all of the other books coming out and what you can possibly win!

How to enter: Simple fill out the Rafflecopter form listed below. The more authors you follow, the higher your chances are in winning.

The second giveaway. You can win 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Fall 2015 Catalog. Those 5 books are: The Lies About Truth, Walk on Earth A Stranger, Dreamland, Dumplin’, and Da Vinci’s Tiger

How to enter:

Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Winter 2016 Tour (a total of 45). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to:

1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize

2.) Winner must be over 13

3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.

4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.

5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 11/30/2015.

6.) Winners will be selected 12/1/2015 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.

7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

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This is the Harper Winter 2016 Tour!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Not After Everything Giveaway

"A gritty but hopeful love story about two struggling teens—
great for fans of The Spectacular Now, Willow, and Eleanor and Park

Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself."

If you guys didn't see my review for NOT AFTER EVERYTHING back in August, just know that I LOOOOOVED this novel. It's the first novel this year that brought multiple tears to my eyes. Heck, I'm still reeling from the emotional damage it did to be back then. Like I said before, please, please, to all the book gods out there, please let there be a sequel or a follow-up of some sort!

Thus, thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Random House, I am hosting a giveaway! One of you lucky folks will win a copy of NOT AFTER EVERYTHING (eek!). This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends November 1st.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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We Are All Made of Molecules Review + Giveaway

Title: We Are All Made of Molecules
Author: Susin Nielsen
Published: May 12th 2015 by Wendy Lamb Books

"Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless.
Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink.

Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder.

They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules."

Review: You guys, this a beautifully written, wonderfully crafted coming of age novel about loss, love, family, hope, and more. . It says something when a book brings tears to your eyes, and you're only in the first chapter. WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES is an incredibly touching novel, and though I knew it was going to be good, I wasn't expecting how crazy good it really is. Thank you, Susin, for exceeding my expectations!

First off, I absolutely loved that the novel was told in dual points of views and how the author depicted them. Both Ashley and Stewart were realistic (flaws and all!), and so were the situations they dealt with (death of a parent, a gay father, etc.). Poor Ashley is stuck between being who everyone wants her to be and yearning to be herself. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if I'd like Ashley. There were times where I thought she was downright cruel to Stewart and became increasingly irritated with her overall bratty nature. Once I started realizing her own struggles, I began opening my heart out to her and am glad I did.

Then you have Stewart, Sweet Stewart, who lost his mother and is coping with being the smart yet "dorky" kid at school. He's brilliant but doesn't know how to talk or really be around another people. He's going through this awkward time period, and life just keeps handing him lemons.

Together, I felt like the both of them, even though they had a rocky start, grew so much in such a short period of time. I honestly didn't know if they'd make their new family situation work, and believe me, it was work for them. It's amazing certain circumstances can completely change the course of someone's life.

Would I recommend this novel? Of course! It's heartfelt and just overall extraordinary book about the different types of families out there and adapting as you go.


5 Stars

Giveaway: Thanks to the amazing people at Penguin Random House, I am giving away one copy of WE ARE ALL MADE OF MOLECULES. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends November 1st.

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