Monday, April 25, 2016

The Star-Touched Queen Blog Tour


Welcome to the next stop in The Star-Touched Queen Blog tour. Today I'll be sharing with you guys an excerpt from the book. For those who haven't heard of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN yet...

"Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget."


Excerpt:

“I don’t care for the ways of men and demons,” I hissed. “Your
lessons are lost on me.”

What ever darkness my mind had imagined melted. Parrots
singing. Fountains gurgling. The distant voice of a courtier dron-
ing about wars. Sound pushed up between those lost seconds,
blossoming into fi erce murmurs, hushed tones. What had I
imagined? I searched for the tutor’s shadow splayed against the
wall. I waited to see something slinking along the ground, darkness
stretched long and thin over tomes and cracked tiles, but there
was nothing.

“You,” he hissed in an exhale that ended in a whimper. He
backed into a corner. “It’s you. I thought . . .” He gulped down
the rest of his words. He looked lost.

I blinked at him, shaking off the fi nal remnants of that drows-
iness. I felt groggy, but not with sleep. A moment ago, I thought I
had seen horns limned in shadow. I thought something had coursed
through me in defense— a low note of music, the bass of a thun-
derclap, a pleat of light glinting through a bruised storm cloud. But
that couldn’t be right. The person before me was just . . . a person.
And if I had heard him say something else, saw him morph into
something else, it was all distant and the fi ngers of my memory
could do nothing but rummage through images, hold them to the
light and won der if I hadn’t slipped into a waking nightmare.

The tutor trembled. Gone was the blocky fi gure choking out
the light and lecturing me on silence. Or had he said something
else in those lost moments? Something about weakness and de-mons. I couldn’t remember. I clutched a table, my knuckles white.

“I must go,” he said, his face pale, like blood had drained from
him. “I didn’t know. Truly. I didn’t. I thought you were someone
else.”

I stared at him. What did he mean? How could he not know
who I was? Someone must have told him that I was the princess
he would be tutoring this after noon. But I was wasting time. He
was just another tutor scared by a reputation pronounced by far-
away lights in the sky. Curse the stars.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ROSHANI CHOKSHI comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern
accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually
napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in
pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a
year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at
the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. More information on
the author can be found at www.roshanichokshi.com.


Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Goodreads / IndieBound



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Top Ten Craziest Things We Did In High School


Welcome to the next stop in the MY KIND OF CRAZY Blog Tour (woot!). Today Robin Reul (the author) and a few other authors/bloggers (including myself) will be sharing with you guys some of the craziest things I did in high school. First, let's talk about the book!


"Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton."

Expected publication: April 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository


Now, are you reading for some shenanigans?

1. Exes stink, and everyone knows it. One night, my friends and I decided to dress in all black (like ninjas), and TP (aka toilet paper) our exes' houses. We went to Kroger, bought all the necessities (including shaving cream and Vaseline) and just went nuts. Toilet paper everywhere, shaving cream all over their yards, and if their cars were sitting in the driveway (which they all were), we Vaselined their door handles. Because f you, that's why! - Me

2. Confession: I truthfully wasn’t much of a shenanigatrix in high school. Crazy for my standards was my friend and I used to drive by gas stations and scream loudly out the window to customers, “Hey, have you got gas?” or that time we went swimming in the outdoor fountain at the mall. Yeah, we were pretty hilarious. But there was that one time my parents ever went out of town when I was a teenager and made the mistake of leaving me in the care of another teenager. We threw a wild party, of course, which I almost got away with except for that the neighbor had left a message on my parents’ answering machine that someone was walking on our roof. Oh, and the part where someone drove by as they arrived home and yelled “Great party Friday night!” I just got done being grounded last week. - Robin Reul, author of MY KIND OF CRAZY

3. When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a boyfriend who was a senior. He had access to his dad's cool cars and it was pretty amazing cruising around in them. This particular night, he took one of his dad's MGs. We went to Klode Park, which wasn't too far from my home and parked in the small lot. Things started to really heat up quickly and we fogged the windows. Thankfully, fully clothed...because a police officer beamed his flashlight right into the car and told us to exit IMMEDIATELY! Our community had a 10 PM curfew, though who knew??? We didn't. Unfortunately, the driver's side door wouldn't open and we both climbed out of the passenger side door. It was so embarrassing, especially when my boyfriend had to spread eagle, ya know? Gah, I could have died! Needless to say, we were cured of PDA! - Liza Wiemer, author of HELLO?

4. Does it sound nerdy to say in 9th grade my friend and i took her parents' car out of garage and drove it around the neighborhood and put it back before they came home? - Sasha from Sash and Em

5. Okay, I definitely don't recommend doing this. Times are different! Anywho, whenever I was 17, I went on this school trip to explore Europe. We spent the summer in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland visiting castles, landmarks, and studying their cultures. Well, did you know the legal drinking age in Germany is 16? One night, after all of our chaperons went to bed, a group of us stunk out and went bar hopping. I personally didn't drink (one of us had to be responsible), but my friends did, and we didn't stumble back to the hotel until well after 2AM. The next morning, we had to pack up and move on to the next country, and all of us looked destroyed. - Me

6. I told my parents I was going to church. Then took their car and drive to Nashville for an Aerosmith concert. Grounded for a week. - Miranda Kenneally, author of CATCHING JORDAN

7. There was this one time when I was 16 and wanted to go see this guy I was talking to. My mom was away in Vietnam at the time too, so I decided to sneak out, but my dad was downstairs watching over the house. So there's this balcony part to the house I was living in at the time (it was a row home). I ended up going out that window, going over to my uncle's roof, and jumping down 2 stories into his backyard. He let me out Haha. I think I twisted my ankle a bit, but still walked ok, lol. Hurt my butt like heck tho. Anyways, I ended up meeting him out back and we went bowling and did other stuff together. Later that night I snuck back in thru the front door since everyone was asleep and my mom didn't know until I told her later on. - Vi from Vi3tBabe

8. This is actually one I did in jr high, but I was hanging out with my friends who were freshmen in high school. That counts, right? Moving on, my friends and I bought tickets to see The Blair Witch Project way back when. Unfortunately, neither of us were of age, but Katie's boyfriend worked at the theater. He said he could sneak us in (do they even have people checking your age at the entrance anymore?). When push came to shove, he chickened out, because he didn't want to get fired. My friends were not problem solvers, so I started talking up some random guy. He laughed and knew what I was doing, but he ended up telling the people working the door that we were with him, and behold- movie time! - Me

9. I don't know why we did this, but we randomly sought out fountains around town and decided to jump in and swim in them. We called that night The Fountain Fiasco. - Me

10. I got high for the first time, hooked up with a coworker in the shower, then went up to my work and was lucky I didn't get fired, because I was sitting on the floor laughing like a maniac. I worked at Boston Market. Super classy. -A blogger who would like to remain anonymous (It's not me, I swear!)


That's all, folks!




ABOUT ROBIN REUL: Robin Reul has been writing since she was in early elementary school, when she used to make her own book club flyers for her classmates and then pen them original stories. Though she grew up on movie sets and worked for many years in the film and television industry both as an actress and in motion picture development, she ultimately decided to focus her attention on writing young adult novels. She likes to write the same kinds of stories she loved as a teen: the ones that give her with butterflies in her stomach and are filled with quirky, memorable characters who stay with the reader long after the story ends. When she’s not writing, Robin can be found singlehandedly driving up the profit margin of her local Starbucks and indulging her love of baked goods, particularly those in the key of pumpkin. She lives in Los Angeles suburbia with her husband, son and daughter.

Website | Twitter | Facebook




Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of MY KIND OF CRAZY (US Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Be sure to check out MY KIND OF CRAZY as well as the rest of the blog tour!

Week 1:

3/28: Novel Ink - Review
3/29: Swoony Boys Podcast - Character Interview
3/30: Kelly Vision - Review
3/31: Addicted 2 Novels - Top 10
4/1: Avid Reader - Review
4/2: Behind Closed Covers - Review

Week 2:

4/4: No BS Book Reviews - Q&A
4/5: Fiction Fare - Review
4/6: Actin' Up With Books - Playlist
4/7: Arctic Books - Review
4/8: A Book & A Latte - How I Write
4/9: The Irish Banana Review - Review




Friday, March 25, 2016

Stone Field Blog Tour


Welcome, welcome, to the next stop in the STONE FIELD Blog Tour. Today, I have Christy Lenzi here to tell us what makes a great romance story. Ready? Let's go!

What do you believe makes a great romance story? Is it all about chemistry or is there more to it?

I love the explosive chemistry of two characters combining and reacting—the sparks of energy, the heat of skin, the heart pumping like mad. I freely admit that in my favorite stories, the characters often fall in love immediately or suddenly. And why not? Biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher says, “You can be instantly scared. You can be instantly happy. So why can't you be instantly romantically in love?”

It has been said that in real love, you want the other person’s good. In romantic love, you want the other person. True, that. But ah, the wanting. Desire is what gets us going and ignites in us the hope of enduring love in the first place.
For me, the best romances create this desire, this love, then threaten it. Isn’t that what any good storyteller does? She makes us care about something, raises the stakes, then tries to steal it back from us. When obstacles arise (whether from the couple’s own issues or from outside forces) or separation tears the lovers apart, that’s when longing intensifies. Longing is an essential component to a great love story, no? It’s why I kept hearing Cecilia whispering to Robbie, “Come back to me” after I finished Atonement and Ada’s echoing plea to Inman after reading Cold Mountain. It is why, years after closing the covers of Jane Eyre, I still hear Rochester’s agonized voice crying out in the moonlit night, “Jane! Jane! Jane!”

A good romance story puts my heart through the wringer and almost breaks it. And when it’s over, I feel slightly bruised and rather tender. But I also feel more awake to the world and more alive.


About The Author: Christy lives with her family in California’s Central Valley, not far from the mountains, the big trees, and the Pacific Ocean. When she's not working, writing, or reading, she is fond of stuffing messages into bottles, making art, and zooming around on her motor scooter, Roxanne. If you find one of her bottle messages, write her back!

Thank you Christy for taking the time to drop by! Be sure to catch the rest of the STONE FIELD tour!



3/19/2016: www.bookrookreviews.com (Retelling)
3/21/2016: www.fictionfare.com (Romance)
3/22/2016: http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com (Historical)
3/23/2016: http://katiesbookblog.com/ (Retelling)
3/25/2016: http://www.addicted2novels.com (Romance)
3/27/2016: http://aperfectioncalledbooks.blogspot.com/ (Historical)
3/28/2016: http://www.fiktshun.com (Romance)
3/29/2016: http://www.intothehallofbooks.com/ (Historical)



"In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights."

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Book Depository


​​

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Way I Used To Be Blog Tour


Hello all! Today, Amber Smith, the author of THE WAY I USED TO BE, will be discussing her novel and why she decided to split it into four parts. This book, I cannot tell you the amount of feels this book made me feel. For those who haven't heard of this powerful, fantastic novel, here's some background information.


"Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year."

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

Now, here's Amber!

*What drew me to the novel (other than the cover and summary) is the fact that it's told in four parts, each grade we experience in high school.  Why four parts?


I wanted to use the element of time to show just how deep and lasting the wounds of violence

can be. By following the main character, Eden across all four years of high school, we can see

the person she was before she was raped and understand how and why she evolves into the

person she becomes by the end of the book. In reality, recovery from trauma and violation is a

long and complicated journey, though I feel like we often see more condensed timeframes

represented in stories that deal with this issue. I think many people—those who have

experienced rape and abuse, as well as those who haven’t—often have an unrealistic

understanding, even expectations, about what it means to be a survivor. Namely, that trauma is

something that one can “get over” rather than something that, more often than not, takes a lot

of time and work to heal. By dividing the book into four years, I wanted to show what this

process can sometimes look like when, as we see in Eden’s case, the person does not have (or

know how to ask for) the support they need.


The other main reason I structured the story in this way was to show how, with the passage of

time, silence itself can become a force of violence, one that often begins with a slow burn, but

can quietly build up to disastrous proportions, not only for Eden herself, but for everyone

connected to her. For me, it’s not so much the assault that keeps Eden in a state of trauma, it’s

her silence. By telling the story across four years I wanted to show how difficult it can be to

stand up to abuse, why speaking out is not always as simple or easy as some might assume. But,

most importantly, what I hoped to reveal along the way is the reason behind her silence: She

doesn’t tell anyone what happened because she doesn’t feel like she’ll be heard. Each year that

passes, we see Eden trying to gain power over her life, as she struggles to find the strength to

become a survivor, in her own way and on her own terms. I’m also drawn to the idea of four

parts because, to me, four parts, just like four seasons, make up a complete cycle. And in those

four years, we see Eden come full circle, finding her way back to her truth and back to finding

her voice.


ABOUT AMBER SMITH:
Amber Smith grew up in Buffalo, NY and now lives in Charlotte, NC with her two dogs. After graduating from art school with a BFA in Painting, she earned her MA in Art History. When she’s not writing, she is working as a curator and art consultant. She has also written on the topics of art history and modern and contemporary art. The Way I Used to Be is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of THE WAY I USED TO BE (US Only). You guys, the photo for this book does not do it justice. The cover is gorgeous and beautifully done. You want this book in your life!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more chances to win!

Week 1:
3/21: Once Upon A Twilight - Review
3/22: Addicted 2 Novels - Guest Post
3/23: Pretty Deadly Reviews - Review
3/24: The Irish Banana Review - Q&A
3/25: A Leisure Moment - Review

Week 2:
3/28: The Hardcover Lover - Top 10
3/29: I Turn the Pages - Review
3/30: Such A Novel Idea - Q&A
3/31: Take Me Away to a Great Read - Review
4/1: Arctic Books - Playlist


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Harper Teen Summer 2016 Blog Tour (Lots of Giveaways, Y'all!)


Greetings and Happy Trails! Today, I'll be promoting THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott. I'll also be discussing some road trip musts and things you need to bring and do before going on your own little adventure. First off, let's talk about the book!


In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her...and to each other.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Book Depository


Keep an eye out for the secret word of the day. More details below.


First off, who doesn't love a good road trip? There's magical something about hitting the road, driving through the country and seeing everything. Driving wise, I've been from Texas to California and Texas to Tennessee. No further than that, but maybe one day! In the meantime, here are some of my must haves when it comes to traveling across the U S of A!


First off, a girl (or guy) needs her Starbucks. Caffeine is a must! You don't want to fall asleep at the wheel, and it's the wingman's job to keep the driver awake. Grab a coffee, tea, Red Bull, soda, whatever you need to help keep you awake!

Next up, snacks and books/magazines!


YOU. NEED. SUGAR. I cannot stress it enough. Maybe also throw in some popcorn or something savory. Also, I personally can't read while riding in a car (It makes me dizzy), but I do like to pack some books for whenever we pull over to rest or call it a day. Also, if you're a blogger or bibliophile, is there anything more fun than taking photos of books while traveling? Seriously.


Don't forget to pack comfortable clothes and a sweater of some sort (It might be colder somewhere else!). You definitely want to stay comfortable during long drives!

If you're from or going to/through Texas...


BUC-EE'S! You must stop at Buc-ee's. It's a hybrid mixed with a gas station, yummy made to order (or grab and go) food, the best snacks, giant fountain drinks for cheap, and the absolute CLEANEST public restrooms around. It's actually what they advertise the most, and it's no lie! Try some beaver nuggets while you're there. They sound weird, but they're delicious!


Stop for meals at fun restaurants. It's important to try the local cuisine whether it's TexMex, beignets, BBQ, salads, whatever. Sit back and relax a bit. Enjoy the rest of your evening and re-energize before hitting the road again. If you're spending the night and are old enough, try one of the local drinks. If you're hitting the road right after, DON'T!


Lastly, because this is very important, don't forget the stowaway kitty. Because cats!

Be sure to do your research and see all that you can. Here's a link to strange attractions you can see in every state!



Prizes:

#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prizepack of 45 books*.
*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, The Countdown by Kimberly Derting, & United As One by Pittacus Lore
In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.
US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway


#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Winter 2016 Catalog
5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
US Only

How to enter:
Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to: HarperTeenTour@gmail.com

Prize Rules:
Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
Winner must be over 13
Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
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.
All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

***The code word of the day is bolded throughout this post!***

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for the other secret code words.







Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Some of the Parts


Title: Some of the Parts
Author: Hannah Barnaby
Published: February 16th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes And Noble / IndieBound
Source: Finished copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Sometimes bad things happen, and we are not the same when they are over.

For months, Tallie McGovern has been coping with the death of her older brother the only way she knows how: by smiling bravely and pretending that she's okay. She’s managed to fool her friends, her parents, and her teachers so far, yet she can’t even say his name out loud: “N—” is as far as she can go. But when Tallie comes across a letter in the mail, it only takes two words to crack the careful façade she’s built around herself:

ORGAN DONOR.

Two words that had apparently been checked off on her brother’s driver’s license; two words that her parents knew about—and never confided to her. All at once, everything Tallie thought she understood about her brother’s death feels like a lie. And although a part of her knows he’s gone forever, another part of her wonders if finding the letter might be a sign. That if she can just track down the people on the other end of those two words, it might somehow bring him back.

Hannah Barnaby’s deeply moving novel asks questions there are no easy answers to as it follows a family struggling to pick up the pieces, and a girl determined to find the brother she wasn’t ready to let go of."

Thoughts: SOME OF THE PARTS is a heartfelt, captivating story about a teenage girl who loses her older brother and desperately needs an escape. It's one of those rare real YA novels that will make you think about the decisions you make and how grief can affect people in different ways. From the writing to the characters, to the overall touching story, I found myself falling in love with this novel.

First off, let's talk about Tallie. Her brother dies in an accident, and Tallie is stricken with both grief and guilt. She wasn't expecting to lose him and still isn't ready to let go. One day, she learns that Nate was actually an organ donor. Are pieces of her brother still out there? To help with her anguish, she enlists Chase to help her begin searching for the recipients in the hopes of finding Nate again. To do this, she must lie to her parents, sneak around, and do things I don't necessarily approve of. Regardless, you have to understand that she's 16 years old. My mind may be wiser now, but it took over a decade to get there. With that said, I'm not sure if my 16 year old self would've done some of the things Tallie does in order to find the patients and meet them, but I can understand why she did.

It was interesting to read about the grief process and how others acted towards her. The sheer awkwardness of it all felt real yet sincere. What do you say in a situation like this when nothing can fix it? I also felt the way Tallie coped with it all was authentic. I was grateful for Mel, her friend, who stuck by her and didn't look at her differently. She treated Tallie like she always had, and I think that helped. The part her parents played was both touching and heartbreaking. I just couldn't imagine what everyone was going through, and they tried to help in whatever way they knew how, but how do hurt people help those who are hurting?

Now, while romance doesn't play a huge factor in this story, there is a guy who's there to help Tallie. I really admired Chase. Both him and Tallie will always have a soft spot in my heart. He's simply one of those rare good guys willing to help and doesn't want anything in return.

All in all, I truly adored this novel. I found myself shedding a few tears here and there and praying for even the smallest amount of comfort for these characters. SOME OF THE PARTS is a well-written novel I think both young adults and adults will enjoy.

Rating:

4 Stars


Friday, March 4, 2016

Blog Tour: In Real Life- Playlist, Excerpt, and Giveaway


Welcome to the next stop in the IN REAL LIFE Blog Tour. Today I'll be sharing with you an excerpt, playlist, a few of my personal thoughts on this novel, and finally, a chance for you to win a copy of your very own. First, let's start with a bit of background information, shall we?

Title: In Real Life
Author: Jessica Love
Published: March 1st 2016 by St. Martin's Press

"Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then. "


Sounds amazing, right? Now it's time for an excerpt!

CREDIT: In Real Life by Jessica Love; Courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books


My best friend and I have never met.

We talk every day, on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone. Like, deep into my soul. But we’ve never actually seen each other in real life.
Sometimes, when I’m talking to Nick, I wonder how we man- aged to get ourselves into such a bizarre, complicated friendship. At first glance, our relationship probably doesn’t seem all that odd. Like right now, it’s the Friday afternoon that kicks off the spring break of my senior year. I’m lying out next to my pool with my feet dangling in the chilly water, my back flat on concrete, and I’m talking to him on the phone. This is how I spend pretty much every Friday from 3:30 to 4:25-ish, before he goes off to band practice and I have one of my various school or family obligations. Sounds pretty normal.

But the thing is, Nick lives in a different state, 274 miles away. Yes, I looked it up.

“Ghost,” he says, because he never calls me Hannah, “you know I will do anything for my best friend, and this is no exception. I’ll have this girl killed for you without a second thought. Just give me twenty-four hours.”
I laugh as I swish my feet back and forth in the pool. “There’s no need to resort to murder. It’s just a stupid student government trip. I’ll be over it by the end of the week.”

As tempting as it is to plot Aditi Singh’s violent end, the only reason she applied to go to the national leadership conference when it should have been a given that the senior class president (aka me) was going was because I got into UCLA and she didn’t, so a big ol’ middle finger to her. But she can’t see my middle finger, because she’s in Washington, D.C., for spring break and I’m at home with no plans like a big loser.

“Well, if you change your mind,” Nick says, “just let me know. That’s how much our friendship means to me. The code word is ‘Platypus.’ Just say it, and—poof!—I’ll make her disappear.”

I sit up and pull my feet from the pool, crossing them in front of me. “And how can you do that?”

“Hey, I live in Vegas. I have connections to the mob. Everyone here does.”

“You’re a senior in high school, and you live in a tract home in Henderson. You’re not exactly Al Pacino.”

“You don’t know. Everything I’ve told you for the past four years could be a front. I need to have a cover. No one suspects the quiet, nondescript white boy.”

“You’re right. There is a lot I don’t know about you. I mean, there are any number of huge secrets you could be keeping from me.” I say it just because I’m playing along, but it’s not true at all. I’m pretty sure I know
everything there is to know about Nick Cooper.

I know when my sister met his brother at a concert four years ago and they told us we should start talking online, he thought I was one of his brother’s friends playing a joke on him until I e-mailed him a picture. I know in the middle of junior year, he shaved his head when his favorite English teacher started chemo. I know the gravelly scratch of his voice when he wakes up in the middle of the night to answer one of my random “I’m bored, talk to me” phone calls. I know the hole in the sleeve seam of the lucky Rage Against the Machine T-shirt he inherited from his brother, Alex, since I’ve seen so many pictures of it. I know his middle name (Anthony), the date and time he was born (September 24 at 3:58 A.M.), and his favorite color (gray). And he knows more about me than absolutely anyone else, even the über-embarrassing stuff. We’ve IM’d, texted, sent a million pictures, mailed each other packages, video-chatted, and talked on the phone.

We’ve just never been in the same place at the same time.

I don’t think it’s strange to be so close to someone I’ve never met. Yeah, he’s in Nevada and I’m in Southern California, but I talk to him more than to people I’ve been in classes with since kindergarten. I do wish we could go to the movies together or something normal like that, but we watch the same movies at the same time and mock them over video chat, which is pretty much the same thing.
On the other end of the phone, his laugh stops abruptly and his voice changes. “Secrets? What kind of secrets could I have?”

“Who knows!” I try to sound shocked and serious, but I can’t keep a laugh from creeping in. “For all I know, you do have a secret mob life. Do you have some sort of gangster name I’m supposed to call you?”

His voice lightens again when he realizes I’m joking. “Oh yeah. Knuckles Nick. Or, no. Wait. Nick the Click.”

“What does that even mean?”
“I don’t know. It rhymed. Don’t those names always rhyme?”

“I know nothing about mob names, Nick the Click. But rhyming names do make mobsters seem a bit less murder-y.”

There’s a shuffle, a thump, and a squeak on his end of the phone, and I imagine him collapsing backwards onto his twin bed. “I just hate that you’re still bummed over missing out on the trip.”

“It’s not that I’m bummed, it’s just . . . I followed all the rules, Nick. I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Serving four years as class president means I go on that trip, not Aditi Singh. Onetime vice-presidents don’t get to go! It’s supposed to be my year. She broke the rules, but she got picked. How do you break all the rules and get what you want like that? It isn’t fair.”

“Well, you know what they say. . . .” “Life’s not fair?”

“Well, that, too. But I was thinking rules are made to be broken.”


Playlist

Ah, don't you love it? With the cover and the way the story goes, you definitely want to be able to listen to the playlist, which can be found HERE on Spotify. Songs include ones like What If We Could by Blue October, Edge of Desire by John Mayer, Dizzy by Jimmy Eat World (LOVE this one!), and Anyone's Ghost by The National. There's Lorde, Cold War Kids, Weezer, and just a ton of different, great songs you'll definitely want to listen to when you're reading this book.

Mini Review: I personally loved this novel. I loved the fact that our heroine is Korean (diversity is always a plus), I loved the fact that Hannah's sister and Nick's brother hit it off at a concert and thought their siblings would hit it off as well, and I adored how sweet these two are. Did you know Nick's a Game of Thrones fan? Winter is Coming. I mean, how can you not fall for a guy like him? There's a road trip and Vegas, lovable awkward but wonderful characters, and a great build up to when Hannah and Nick finally meet. Seriously, it's an uber cute book, and I had a blast reading it. I rate this book 4 Stars.

Giveaway: Thanks to the amazing people at St Martin's Press, I am giving away a copy of IN REAL LIFE. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends March 30th.

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