Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Zodiac Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Welcome one and all to the next stop in the ZODIAC Blog Tour. Three cheers for Romina Russell. Hip hip...HOORAY! Hip hip...HOORAY! Hip hip...HOORAY! Romina is here today to talk about ZODIAC and things like her favorite book of 2014. There will be a giveaway, so keep an eye out for that. But first, here's Romina!

1. How did you come up with the idea for ZODIAC?

My editor, Liz Tingue, and I came up with ZODIAC together—she brought her love of astrology, and I brought my passion for Space. We actually met ten years ago in a college class and have since been hoping for the chance to team up creatively—so I think ZODIAC was always in our stars.

2. Did you base any of the characters on people you know in your life?

I didn’t! I’m not sure I know anyone who is a perfect representation of their Zodiac sign, so I had to craft new people who fit the parameters of this universe.

3. What is your sign, and what does it say about you? Do you believe it to be true?

I’m from House Virgo, and we’re supposedly fussy, OCD, practical, analytical, controlling, perfectionists…basically, a bunch of words I’ve heard before…a few times…maybe.

4. What are you currently working on now?

The sequel to ZODIAC! It’s so hard to keep quiet about what happens to Rho next….

Oh?!?!? *Ahem* You and I can just talk about that later. Let's continue.

5. What is your favorite book that you read in 2014?

WINTER FALLS by Nicole Maggi, the first installment in a new paranormal trilogy.

6. In Twitter form (140 characters or less), tell everyone why they should read ZODIAC.

ZODIAC is a Sci Fi series that's more Fi than Sci, featuring 13 made-up cultures, 11 futuristic technologies, 2 hot guys, and 1 fallible MC.

If you haven't heard of ZODIAC yet, here's your chance!

"At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs. "

*Zodiac Website


Thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Random House, I am giving away a copy of ZODIAC to one very lucky winner. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends December 28th.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It features each bloggers most anticipated books. My pick this week is JESSE'S GIRL by Miranda Kenneally (and now the song is stuck in my head...).

"Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?"

Why I Can't Wait: Maya Henry? Is she related to Sam Henry? I just squeed a bit. Anywho, I love each and every one of Miranda's books. They're fun and witty with these lovable characters I can't forget (HA, THINGS I CAN't FORGET). I love that this particular book involves music. I'm sitting here picturing a young me chasing after a very 90's Justin Timberlake- highlights, perm, and all! Now comes the hard part.

The waiting part.

Expected publication: July 1st 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

*Add it on Goodreads.
*Preorder it at B&N.
*Excerpt from Miranda's Website

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: Poisoned Apples

Title: Poisoned Apples
Author: Christine Heppermann
Published: September 23rd 2014 by Greenwillow Books
Source: Finished copy sent by the publisher for an honest review

"Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again."

First line: (From "The Never-Ending Story") "Once there was a girl who wore her bones outside her body."

Thoughts: Ahh poetry, my old friend. We meet again. POISONED APPLES is a collection of poetry that circulates around real issues young people (and even adults) face today. A few examples include anorexia, vanity, feminism, etc. What makes this particular novel special? There's a hint of fairy tale lore and a whole lot of dark, sometimes gruesome elements and writing in it.

Though I enjoyed most of the poems in this novel, there were some that I thought to be either okay or didn't find very moving. Random even. The one I found the most relatable and interesting was Sleeping Beauty's Wedding Day. It's spot on. Weddings are very much a joyous occasion, but the preparation process can become somber, and I felt like this poem (and the photo that went with it) captured this.

Speaking of the photos, I have to say that my favorite part of this collection were the photos. They had this American Horror Story element to them, which also created a bit of a morbid yet fascinating atmosphere. It was perfect for this sort of collection and also reminded me of Ransom Riggs' MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. With that said, I must admit that I did find the photographs more interesting than the poems. That's not to say I didn't like the poems, however, I just felt as though the pictures overshadowed the actual writing. It felt like the author used the photos for inspiration, and I thought it should've been the other way around.

Overall, I didn't love this collection, but I did like it. While it's not something I would immediately run out and buy, especially considering the book itself is very thin and kind of pricey for what it is, it is something I would consider buying at a discounted price or possibly borrow. I'd probably recommend waiting for the paperback to come out or maybe seeing if your local library carries it.


3 Stars

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: Half Lies (Half Bad # 0.5)

Title: Half Lies (The Half Bad Trilogy # 0.5)
Author: Sally Green
Published: November 13th 2014 by Penguin
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"Set in the months before Half Bad, Half Lies takes the form of a diary written by Michele, the sister of Gabriel, Nathan’s Black witch friend. Having fled Europe for Florida, Michele falls in love with a local White witch boy. There, she finds that the divide between the Black and White witch communities is just as dangerous as it was in the life she's left behind."

First line: "We've been in the USA for five days now."

Thoughts: Of all the short stories and novellas I've read in the past, HALF LIES is (in my opinion) one of the better ones. I really enjoyed HALF BAD and was really excited when I heard this short story was both set before the first novel and also from Michele (Gabriel's little sister)'s point of view. I already love Gabriel. If I thought my love for Gabriel was strong before, HALF LIES only enhances it. Let us all please take a moment and let out one swoony sigh for Gabriel.


Anyway, this novella is told in a journal/diary type of form. I'm personally a huge fan of this and wish more novellas were written this way. The story is short (61 pages to be exact), but it definitely packs a punch. To say it's a roller-coaster is putting it lightly. I wasn't expecting to feel so much in such a small amount of time, and all I can think about now is how much I want to read HALF WILD. I love that it adds more to the HALF LIES world and also goes into details about things I both didn't know or had forgotten. And that ending? Holy cow! Have I mentioned how I cannot wait to read HALF WILD? I'll just mention it again.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the prequel. I do wish it had been longer, but then it would be a novel and not a novella. At any rate, I'm hoping for more of these journal entries, possibly from other characters? They're a lot of fun, and I recommend them for both current and potential fans of HALF BAD.


4 Stars

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Silver Heart

Title: Silver Heart
Author: Victoria Green
Published: July 25, 2013
Source: Bought

"There comes a moment in everyone’s life when they must decide which road leads to personal happiness. For Dylan Silver, this is that moment…

For the past twenty-two-years, Dylan has been living in her parents' carefully crafted world, always putting her own dreams on hold to play the role of a dutiful daughter. When her best friend coaxes her into a winter getaway to a mountain resort, she sees it as a chance to forget about the responsibilities waiting for her at home. At least for a little while.

But then her past catches up to her—in the form of sexy snowboarder, Sawyer Carter. Six long years had passed since Dylan bid goodbye to the only boy she ever truly loved. Now he's standing right in front of her, bringing up bittersweet memories and igniting suppressed desires as he dares her to be the person she has always wanted to be.

Dylan and Sawyer’s unexpected meeting is a second chance, but will a girl who doesn't believe in fate and taking risks be able to overcome her fears of losing control and finally embrace the life she desperately wants?

Only one thing is certain: after a week in Whistler, Dylan's world will never be the same."

First line: "'This is going to be the best vacation ever!'"

Thoughts: Technically, thanks to my good friend Vi from Vi3t Babe, I read this last year. It's finally getting cold again, so I decided to curl up on the couch, have a bit of a reread, and remind myself of how much I adore SILVER HEART. Verdict: Yep, still love it. Chemistry? Check! Drama? Check! Sexy Snowboarder? CHECK!

First off, can we please talk about what a great name Sawyer is? I love it, which ended up with me crushing on him before I even met him. The novel starts in the present (before the Winter Olympics) where Dylan, her best friend Maddie (whom I adore), and her brother Adam decide to take a bit of a skiing vacation. With med school in the horizon and the pressure from her parents, Dylan needs this break from her life. Maybe it'll give her a chance to photograph a few things. After all, that seems to be her passion.

It's here where Dylan "Silver" runs into her old friend and crush Sawyer. This is when the the good stuff happens. The chapters occasionally jump back to the past, so you get to see how Silver and Sawyer met and what happened to their friendship. This is also when things start getting a tad complicated and ridiculously steamy. Phew, let me fan my face for a few seconds before I continue.

What I love about this book is how relatable Silver is. Anyone who comes from a strict and demanding family knows how hard it is to follow your dreams. You're too busy following in your parent's footsteps or following their dreams that you ultimately forget who you are. I love how Silver deals with her issues and grows in this novel, basically evolving into the woman she's meant to be.

Of course, it also helps that she has this hunk of a man to help make this journey a bit more...interesting to say the least. Swoon worthy? You know it! The fact that he's also this down to earth guy and genuinely kind essentially makes him the perfect man. The sexy scenes were intense and though one of the scenes was surely unrealistic (you'll know the one), it doesn't change the fact that they were hot, hot, hot! After all, aren't vacations all about adventure and exploring cabins that belong to rangers?

Overall, I'm rather smitten with this novel and think you will be as well. Winter is coming, therefore, you should curl up next to a fireplace (or by a candle in my case) with this novel. It really is a fantastic winter read, and it'll make you kind of wish the Winter Olympics was happening now.


4 Stars

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas + Minted

Can you guys believe it's already November? Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and Christmas is in 41 days. Where did the time go?!

At any rate, every year the (now) husband and I take photos (usually with our cats), order Christmas cards online, and send them out to our friends and family. This year, I happened to stumble across Minted and cannot help but be floored by some of their card designs. They even have a blog where they discuss designing and DIY projects. Where have you guys been all of my life?

Since the holidays are just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to post some of my favorite card designs and ask you guys to help me pick one!

Winter brush foil-pressed
Okay, I'm a total sucker for calligraphy, foil, and all things gold. I like to think of it as classic with a modern twist.

Happy! Holiday Photo Card
Maybe it's just me, but does this card resemble the cover of THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE? Maybe that's why I love it so. I've always wanted to be on the cover of a book. *wink, wink*

Holiday Map
Shout out to all the Texas folks out there. Love, y'all! But seriously, this is the Midwest card? Aren't we...you know, southern?

Golden Bright Holiday
This one reminds me of The Great Gatsby, and I love it! Though it looks great in gold, I think I'm more attracted to the silver. Thoughts?

Patterned Tree
CUUUTE! Photo of the hubs and me here, Dexter there, Skittles in the last spot. Oh, the possibilities!

Gilded Type Holiday Photo Card
Cause, you know...I did get married this year.

Etched Holiday
Another book shout out! This one reminds me of WICKED GAMES.

What do you guys think? Which one is your favorite? Did you see another one on Minted that you like more? Let me know!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their Own Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. I haven't done one of these in a while, so here we go!

1. Brennan from MAYBE SOMEDAY. Brennan is Ridge's brother, and even though he's not really in the book that often, I can't help but be curious about him and his life. Maybe it's because he's in a band? At any rate, I enjoyed what little humor he offered to the novel. Maybe, just maybe someday, he'll have a book of his own.

2. Cookie from BOOMERANG. Okay, I know she wasn't exactly nice, but I'm wondering what makes her so mean. Her story would be an interesting one!

3. Chaol from THRONE OF GLASS. Let's be honest- We all want this!

4. Julia from EVEN IN PARADISE. While he's one of the main characters from the novel, I can't help but wonder what she's up to now. I'd love to see how she views the world through her eyes, and not just read about it through Charlotte's.

5. Zuzana from the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy. It's the best friend thing. She is Karou's best friend, and I just want to know more about her. See how she sees the crazy alternate world, especially sense she's one of the few humans in the book.

6. Kim from IF I STAY. Again, it's the best friend thing. Would love to catch back up with Kim.

7. Kenji from SHATTER ME. Because why the eff not?

8. Drew from THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY. I've practically bribed, begged, and pleaded with Katja for this book. WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME?!

9. Puck from THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I'd prefer Puck, but I'll settle for anyone from the novel.

10. Jesse from WINTER LONGING. I haven't read this book in ages, but I still remember Jesse, and I would love it if I was able to revisit that world (maybe sans the heartache), and see how he dealt with everything.

There you have it! I'm sure I left plenty of characters and worlds I'd like to revisit, which leaves me to ask you what characters you'd like to have their own book?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Loop Blog Tour- Review + Giveaway

Title: The Loop (Loop #1)
Author: Karen Akins
Published: October 21st 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future. "

Thoughts: Don't you love that feeling you get when a book completely consumes you from the beginning until the very end? This, my friends, is how I felt about LOOP. Hilarious, witty and captivating are just a few words that best describe this novel in a nutshell.

First off, I have to mention that the main reason why I was so anxious to read this book is because it came highly recommended to me by my friend Andi from Andi's ABCs. I was a bit skeptical, being that time-traveling books are typically a hit or miss with me, and the only two I really loved were THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE and the HOURGLASS trilogy. It took about 10 pages for me to forget my hesitation and fall in love with this novel. I completely adored Bree. She's comical and an overall fun character. I loved that she "accidentally" holds a younger Finn captive. I also love that, in order to prevent any future consequences, she goes back and tries to fix her mistakes. Sadly, she doesn't quite go back far enough. Then, as if these blunders weren't enough, she ends up taking an older, hotter Finn back with her to her present day.

Now, can we please talk about how amazing Finn is? He's just that charming, sweet, next door neighbor type of guy you wish you knew. There were so many moments when I just wanted to reach into the book and hug him. Give him puppy kisses and whatnot. I love how Bree is initially annoyed with him but grows to love him. To me, it made him more realistic and the romance more believable. Once you start reading THE LOOP, I know you'll fall in love with him the way I did.

Overall, I recommend LOOP to anyone out there looking for a unique, fun, and all-consuming read. I seriously cannot wait for the sequel and believe everyone should read it, just so I can have someone to talk to about it (with spoilers, as oppose to spoiler-free). If you read it (or win the giveaway!), tweet me (Lena1xoxo), so we can discuss all of the fabulous things that make up THE LOOP.

Alas, for now, I must just settle with waiting for the sequel (TWIST) coming out in March.


5 Stars

Giveaway time! Thanks to the fabulous people at St. Martin's Griffin, I am giving away a finished copy of THE LOOP. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends November 16th. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Atlantia Blog Tour: Ally Condie's Top Ten Books

The Top Ten Books of My Life
by Ally Condie

Over the years I’ve read a lot of good books. And now that I’m an author, people ask me all the time what my favorite books are. I always have lots of favorites—favorites that I’m reading right now, favorites for my kids, etc. But these ones are books that I have loved for years, that I can honestly say have shaped me as a reader and as a person.

1. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery. I read this one over forty times, starting in third grade when we bought it on a trip. How do I know how many times I read it? I marked the inside of the cover each time I finished. I loved everything about this book, and I passionately wanted to BE Anne. For several years, in my own mind at least, I was Anne about half of the time. I also think this book changed my vocabulary—it gave me access to lots of words and their meanings that I might not have encountered otherwise.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. My mom gave it to me in sixth grade and said, "This is a really important book." Later, I got to teach it for a couple of years, and it was absolutely my favorite book to teach. My hands would shake the day we started it in class because I was so excited and nervous--I wanted the kids to all love it the way I did.

3. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie. On our way to England when I was twelve, my dad bought me a book of Agatha Christie mysteries. I think this is why Agatha and my first wide-eyed exposure to England are inextricably linked; I can't get enough of either Agatha or her country.

4. Saint Maybe, by Anne Tyler. Another one given to me by my parents, this time my mom. I was in ninth grade. Something about Anne Tyler has always spoken to me; I think it's her normal, everyday, flawed characters trying to do the best they can. This one remains my favorite of her books, although I also adore Digging to America. I think it's because I read it first.

5. Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton. Also read in ninth grade, but not for school. My dad gave it to me. At first, I thought it was going to be boring, but it only took a few pages and I was hooked. I sobbed harder at the ending of this book than any book before or since.

6. Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. I read this book in ninth grade. (Again with ninth grade! That was a good year!) I also loved teaching this one. It's about a summer in the life of a boy who realizes that he is alive. I could and can relate to it many different levels.

7. Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner. My grandmother gave it to me in tenth grade and said, "If you want to read some gorgeous writing, read this." She was right. This book is different every time I read it because I find something new every time I read it.

8. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. I was twenty-two, and teaching at Timpview High School. Another English teacher gave me this and said, "This is going to knock your socks off." He was right. I think about this book all the time. It was a game-changer for people personally, and for young adult fiction in general.

9. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin. I love this book because it feels timeless, and because the story is about a girl who did something everyone said was impossible. The illustrations are also exquisite.

10. Book of A Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale. Everything about this book is achingly perfect. The heroine, the prose, the individual beauty of each scene and of the story as a whole.

Ally, thank you so much for joining us today! A special thanks to Jen at Penguin Random House for putting this fabulous tour together.

Now, it's your chance to join and show your support for TEAM ATLANTIA ABOVE! Simple leave a comment and give a shout out to the fabulous Ally Condie. Keep checking back, too. There may be a giveaway on this post later on today...

Just saying. AND DON'T FORGET TO TWEET #AtlantiaAbove

"Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Epic Forbidden Giveaway

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter.

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.



1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)
3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White
4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt
5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf
6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)


2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)


1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Follow Kimberley:

About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.

Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Make It Count

Title: Make It Count (Bowler University #1)
Author: Megan Erickson
Published: June 3rd 2014 by William Morrow Impulse
Source: Bought

"Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it."

First line: "Kat chewed on her pen and studied her tutor's bent head."

Thoughts: Is there anything better than a fun and cute read? I had high expectations prior to reading MAKE IT COUNT, which came recommended to me by my twinnie Alexa at Alexa Loves Books. Anyone who reads her blog knows that this girl has GREAT taste in books, fashion, and food. You guys, I cannot tell you how many times MAKE IT COUNT made me smile and giddy. I had the hardest time putting this book down and continuing with my every day life. It's truly that good.

I was a little worried going into this book, being that Alec is Kat's boyfriend's best friend. In my eyes, there is nothing worse than a book that condones cheating. It's basically the kiss of death for me. Not to worry, folks, because MAKE IT COUNT shows both the frustration and complexity that comes with forbidden love without the moral turpitude.

Like most New Adult novels out there, MAKE IT COUNT alternates POVs between the two main characters. Of the two, I think I enjoyed Alec's point of view more than Kat. Reading about his struggle containing his attraction to Kat, as well as his thoughts on all of the drama that unfolded, kept me intrigued. I constantly wondered what he would do next, especially since he's a genuinely good guy and loyal friend. His inner turmoil regarding his father touched me in a way I didn't think would happen. The feels definitely caught me off-guard. No wonder he always seems so angry at the bar!

I also enjoyed reading about Kat's learning issues, but I was also surprised that none of the other characters caught onto why she has such a difficult time. I figured it out right away, but it's strange that her friends, her brother, even Alec didn't catch on sooner. At any rate, her wandering, usually rambling, thoughts definitely made me "LOL" on occasion. Just don't tell Lea I said that. I hear she hates acronyms.

Oh, and for anyone curious, there's a Brazilian dish mentioned in this book that sounded so tasty, I immediately searched for a recipe and plan on making it soon...or should I say making it count? Food and books, what can I say? I love them both!

Overall, MAKE IT COUNT surprised me in a way I wasn't expecting it to (but in a good way). I really loved it and would recommend it to fans of BOOMERANG by Noelle August and anyone out there looking for a genuinely funny, sexy, and light-hearted book. I loved it so much, I immediately bought MAKE IT RIGHT (the sequel), and am now I'm impatiently waiting for MAKE IT LAST. Is it January yet? Sheesh!


5 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

"She imagined this would be an amazing scene in a movie, where he whispered in a tortured voice, Kat, I want you. I've always wanted you. Let's retreat to my boudoir and consummate our mutual attraction...

His lips were moving, and she snapped back to attention.

'...It was acting up, so flush twice'"

He didn't want to tell her he remembered the smoothie was green because it matched her green sweater she was wearing that day. Because that definitely be weird. She he shrugged. 'Yeah.'"

“You know, nerd is the new black. I read that in Cosmo.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Release Day To Whatever Life Throws At You


Life loves a good curveball…
Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas is too young to remember her dad’s glory days as a pitcher for the Yankees. So when her father is offered a coaching position with the Kansas City Royals, Annie is intrigued to see the baseball side of her dad. Of course, knowing he’ll be a mentor to hot young rookie pitcher, Jason Brody, certainly makes it more enticing.

After an awkward first meeting with “Brody” involving very little clothing and a much-too-personal locker room interview, Annie’s convinced she knows Brody’s type: arrogant, self-involved, bossy. As her dad grows closer to the pitching phenom, the friction between Brody and Annie increases. But when opening day arrives and it looks like both her dad and Brody may lose their dream jobs, Annie steps up and offers support. She and Brody call a truce that grows into friendship—and beyond. Falling for a rising star who’s quickly reaching a level that involves rabid female fans is not what Annie would call smart, except suddenly she’s getting hints that maybe this crush isn’t one-sided after all. Could someone like Brody actually fall for a girl like her?


He eyes me skeptically. “What kind of article?”

“It’s for Sports Illustrated,” I say without hesitation and then quickly realize that I don’t look nearly old enough to be a real reporter for a huge publication. “I’m an intern,” I add.

The skepticism falls from his face and he looks nervous, which gives me a boost of confidence. I walk closer and pull out the chair in front of the locker beside his, propping my feet up on the bench across from me. “Frank

Steadman said you’d be willing to answer a few questions.”

His mouth falls open, and he looks down at his towel and then back at me. Water drips from his hair and off his dark shoulders. “Um…okay,” he says. “Mind if I get dressed first?”

I wave off his concerns, my face heating up, blowing my confident cover. But him getting dressed might allow enough time for Dad to return, and I’d rather not have to deal with that. I duck my head down, letting my hair hide my cheeks and flip open the first page of the notebook. “This will just take a minute… So, you’re nineteen? And you’re from Texas?”

“Chicago,” he corrects.

I had no idea where he was from but figured it sounded better if I pretended to know. I write down this information and then search my brain for some more questions. “Does the wind in Chicago affect your curveball? Do you throw into it or against it?”

He gives me a funny look. “I…well…I just throw toward home plate.”

My face gets even hotter. “Right, kidding. What’s your favorite color?”


I take my time writing orange in really big loopy cursive while I think of my next question. “What are your opinions on sushi?”

His forehead wrinkles like I’ve just asked him to publicly declare a political party. “Raw fish and seaweed? I think it’s best eaten while stranded on a desert island with no other options.”

“Very diplomatic.” I scribble down his answer. “How many strikes have you thrown in your career?”

Don’t know,” he says. “Do people actually count that stuff? Before the majors?”

“Some of them do,” I say, though I have no idea. “If you could be any magical creature in the Harry Potter series, which would you choose?”

“You said this is for Sports Illustrated, right?”

“Yeees, But it’s the…kids’ edition.”

“Oh, right.” He scratches the back of his head. “I guess maybe one of those elves.”

“A house elf? Seriously? They’re slaves.” I shake my head. “Why would you want to be an enslaved elf? They can’t even wear clothes.”

He grips his towel tighter and releases a frustrated breath. “Fine, I’ll choose an owl. That’s what I’d want to be.”

I snort back a laugh and drop my eyes to the page again.

“What? What the hell’s wrong with being an owl? They’re smart, they know geography and shit like that.”

“Owls in real life are actually pretty stupid. But no big deal, I’ll just relay that message on to the children of America. Jason Brody, temporary Royals pitcher, wants to be an owl when he grows up because they know geography and shit like that.”

Okay, I’m getting way too into this fake reporter role.

“Who says this is temporary?” he snaps.

“Your two-way contract.” Isn’t that how Dad explained it? He plays a few games then goes back to Triple-A, all without signing a real major league contract.

He yanks a pair of jeans from his locker and then grabs a bundled up orange T-shirt. “Well, I plan on kicking some ass on Opening Day and making this a permanent gig.”

“I think you need a reality check,” I say. “One game isn’t going to be enough--”

“Annie, what the hell are you doing?”

I leap off the bench and turn around to face Dad and Frank standing about five feet from me. “Introducing myself to your new pitcher.”

“Brody, what are you doing here, son?” Frank asks. “We’re off today.”

“Just getting in some cardio and weights.” His gaze darts from me to Dad to Frank. “I was just finishing up this interview for Sports Illustrated. The kids’ edition.”

“Well, we won’t keep you from getting your clothes back on, then,” Frank says, like he’s trying not to laugh. “And just for future reference, all interviews will go through the team’s publicity department so no one will be wandering in here, surprising you. Savannah will meet with you tomorrow to discuss publicity.”

Dad moves forward and extends a hand to Jason Brody. “Jim Lucas, nice to meet you, son. I’ve seen your spring training videos. You’ve got some real talent. I’m looking forward to working with you.”

Brody shakes Dad’s hand, his eyes still on me.

“And this is my daughter Annie,” Dad adds.

Brody glares at me. “Let me guess—you don’t work for Sports Illustrated?”

Giveaway: Enter to win one of three signed copies of WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU

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Amazon ** Amazon UK ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** Powell’s Books

Julie Cross Bio:

Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast and longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOUctor with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credentials, Julie is a committed—but not talented—long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar-weather survivor, and expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym-shoe addict.

Author Goodreads:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Review : Even In Paradise

Title: Even In Paradise
Author: Chelsey Philpot
Expected Publication: October 14th 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now."

First line: "I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard someone throwing up in the bushes outside my dorm room."

Thoughts: I'll admit, what originally drew me to this novel was the cover. It screamed light beach read, and I had to get my hands on it. What I wasn't expecting were the intense amount of emotions that came with this novel. EVEN IN PARADISE is a book about friendship, first love, and the bittersweet nature of growing up.

The novel is broken down into three parts: The beginning, the middle, and the end. It starts with the first day Charlotte (who will later be deemed Charlie) officially meets Julia. It's not exactly an ideal meeting, considering what happens to Charlotte's slippers, but it's one of those life changing moments that you'll one day look back on and think of as the good old days. Charlie is immediately infatuated with Julia, her life, and her family. After all, Julia is the campus mystery and rumor-mill. One thing I have to admit that I didn't like about Charlie was how quickly she abandoned her old friends for Julia. She even admits to knowing what she was doing and not being able to stop. Just reading about it hurt my heart a bit. I know this happens to everyone, and it's often part of growing up, but I guess I just wish it didn't have to be one or the other.

Julia isn't exactly an angel. She's sweet and can be a good friend, but she's reckless. The entire Buchanan clan have been through devastating experiences, and Julia is coping the only way she knows how. I love that Charlie is not only a fantastic friend to Julia but also a great addition to her family. I always find it fascinating how one person can truly change an entire family's dynamic, especially if it's the right person. The best thing about this novel is reading about Julia and Charlie's friendship, and how it affected and changed them both. Out of the two girls, Charlie was probably my favorite. There were times where I questioned her actions, however, she ended up staying true to herself, and I really admired that.

As far as romance goes, I very much enjoyed the innocence and sweetness of Sebastian and Charlie's relationship. I usually prefer my books to be oozing with swoon, but I'm so grateful that the book stayed true and focused more on Julia and Charlie. The moments with Sebastian were simply perfect, with the right about of angst, love, and a bit of heartache as well.

After reading the opening page and seeing the word "Beginning", it left me with an uneasy feeling as to what's to come. EVEN IN PARADISE did not disappoint. From the opening of the book to the end, the overall tale balanced itself out, and never once drifted from the story line. I love how everything went full circle and that the story follows up with the characters in the end. Not necessarily an epilogue but enough information to give you closure.

Overall, I recommend EVEN IN PARADISE to fans of Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (author of OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE) and Huntley Fitzpatrick (WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE). It's a great coming of age book that will easily sweep you into the world of luxury, scandal, and many, many firsts. Toss a penny and make a wish. You'll get that reference once you read the book.


4 Stars

Favorite Quotes

“Even knowing, as I do now, that grace, power, and, yes, love can hide the darkest elements of the human heart, I would do it all again.”

“Before that night, I didn't grasp that the shadows that sometimes crossed her face weren't momentary clouds passing in front of the sun. Her deep silences were more than daydreams. And her habit of standing with her arms wrapped around her ribs was a way of holding herself together.

I didn't get there must be balance.
She couldn't hold so much life, light and joy without also containing their opposites.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Interview With Sandy Hall + 2015 ARCs Giveaway

Want a chance to win all of these highly anticipated 2015 ARCs? Is that THE WINNER'S CRIME I see? Well, I'll tell you more about that in one minute. Thanks to the fabulous people at Macmillan, I had the honor of interviewing Sandy Hall, author of Swoon Reads first published novel, A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Y'all, I read devoured this novel last week, and it is SUPER cute! If you haven't read A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT yet, this interview will definitely make you want to ASAP. Without further ado, here's Sandy!

How did you come up with the storyline for A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT? Why did you decide to write this novel in 14 different points of view?

These first two questions have related answers because the idea for the book came about in a bunch of different ways. As a teen librarian, I know what my kids at work are looking for and what they're not finding on the shelf. Several years ago, I had a teen ask why there weren't many books about the first year of college. I filed that question away, thinking that if I ever wrote a book it should show normal everyday college life. Then when I heard about Swoon Reads I asked some teens what kind of romance they'd like to read. And one of the girls gave me a long paragraph about a boy and a girl who live parallel lives that never intersect. I loved the idea of that story, but felt like it'd been written many times. BUT! I realized that if I got out of the main characters' heads, and told it from everyone else's point of view, that it would be something different. And definitely nothing that I'd personally read before.

Which character in your novel do you relate the most with?

I like to think that there's someone in this book for everyone, but I feel like I personally relate to all of them in one way or another. Although I recently took a quiz that Swoon had linked on their website to find out which ALSD character you are and I got Victor.

If you could pair Gabe and Lea with other fictional characters, who would they be and why?

Oh gosh, as much as I love this question it's so hard for me to answer! I like to think of ALSD as sort of an ode to shipping and Gabe and Lea are the OTP of everyone in the book, and they're definitely mine. I just like them together so much that my brain is rejecting any legitimate answers.

What's your favorite quote from A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

It's not so much a quote, but a moment. When Gabe is reading his essay about himself and compares his shyness to the bicycle that grew into the tree. It's the first bit of Gabe characterization I came up with and I really love that image.

Care to share what you're currently reading and working on now?

Reading-wise, I'm catching up on my lengthy TBR list. I have a ton of ARCs from Book Expo that I haven't touched yet, not to mention all the great books that came out while I was busy editing and touring. I listened to I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson over the weekend and I loved it. It was such a great story to immerse myself in while I was driving to Virginia for a convention. Writing-wise, I'm one of those people that doesn't like to talk about what they're walking on until it's done. Otherwise I feel like I could jinx myself. But I'm definitely working on another romance!

Sandy, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. Now, it's giveaway time! Let's take a second and take a look at the prize again, shall we?

What you can win:

*I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
*The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2) by Marie Rutkowski
*Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson
*Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
*A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me by Jason Schmidt
*Save Me by Jenny Elliot
*The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

I'm seriously jealous of the winner here! To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends October 25th. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

"The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together...."

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Boys Blog Blitz + Giveaway

YA author, Patty Blount, is back with another novel that addresses one of today’s most pressing issues facing today's youth. SOME BOYS is a gutwrenching and edgy love story told from alternating points of view that's perfect for fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry.

"SOME BOYS belongs in every YA collection." - School Library Journal

"5 stars. Very well-deserved! This book did quite a number on me - unlike most books (contemporary or not), this one made me FEEL, and feel really strongly." - The Eater of Books

Want to get to know Patty better? Check out this exclusive interview!

Oh, crap, I’m late. I’m freaking late. I jog up the stairs and turn west and skid to a halt.

No. No, no, no!

Please let this be a mistake.

Mr. Jordan said he’d assigned locker cleanup to somebody besides me.

Oh, my God, I’m cursed.

They both turn when they hear me. I look for it—the expression on their faces that matches the expression on every other face when I walk by. The expression that says, Here comes the lying whore!
“You Grace?” the janitor asks, and I nod. “You’re late. I’ll have to report that to Mr. Jordan.”
Knock yourself out, pal. Principals don’t scare me.

Students do.

I pay only the slightest attention to the instructions the janitor provides. I’m watching Ian Russell out of the corner of my eye. Tall and lean. Great mouth, dark hair, and dark eyes that have their own gravitational pull, Ian’s easy on the eyes, but that’s not all. There’s some­thing about him, something that’s always been there every time I’ve looked at him.
I’ve looked at him a lot.

He’s got this restlessness, this energy that practically sizzles, and I don’t understand it, even though I always wanted to.
He’s on the lacrosse team. Why isn’t he on the field with the rest of the team? What did he do to get stuck with this job?
But none of those are the real questions I’m asking. I don’t want to think about the real questions. But how can I not? How much did Ian see? How much does Ian believe? Why did he help me that night?
The janitor gives me the master key and instructions on what to put where and then points to the lockers across from Ian.

Hell no.

He’s deluded if he thinks I’ll turn my back on any friend of Zac McMahon’s.

The janitor leaves, and I grab a pair of rubber gloves, anxious to get started. I keep Ian in my visual field, ready to defend myself if he so much as raises a hand to me, but all that dark hair hides his face. I spray a locker and can’t reach the top. And suddenly Ian’s right there, and my arms are too busy holding me up to fight.

“Here, I got it.”

Shit. I jump so hard I hit my elbow. He mumbles some apology, but I can’t hear him over the rush of panic. He backs off and returns to his own locker, and for a long moment I think about climbing inside one of the lockers—who cares if it’s clean—and just hiding inside until the shift is over. Six days. How the hell am I going to get through six days of this? I take some more deep breaths and scrub the hell out of the next locker.

Enter to WIN a $10 gift card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble + all 3 of Patty's books & SWAG including a SEND wristband, a TMI magnet and a Some Boys safety whistle!

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Some Boys go too far. Some Boys will break your heart. But One Boy can make you whole.

Seventeen-year-old lacrosse player Ian Russell—sidelined by a concussion—is sentenced to spend spring break scrubbing out lockers. It’s bad enough when Ian discovers his partner for the week is Grace Collier, the girl who claims his best friend raped her at a party in the woods a few weeks ago. But what sucks most of all is that he used to have a thing for Grace… before Zac MacMahon got to her first.
Grace wants to crawl into one of the lockers and die. Ian was the only reason Grace even bothered to go that stupid party, but he never showed up. Not until… after. Suddenly, someone was shaking her awake. The last thing she remembers is the expression on Zac’s face. But Zac told the entire school the sex was consensual and posted a video on Facebook to prove it. Her best friends have abandoned her and even her parents aren’t too sure.
But Ian and Grace surprise each other. He never disrespects her, and she even helps him when a dizzy spell hits. Ian still likes Grace with her bad-ass style. Unlike the rest of the school, who has rejected Grace, calling her a slut and a liar, Ian is funny and kind with secrets of his own. But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you challenge your best friend and call him a liar? How do you believe in love?

About Patty Blount:

In addition to writing novels for teens, Patty Blount writes technical information for a computer company. Her first novel, Send, was inspired after a manager suggested she learn more about social networks. A short version of that same novel finished in the top ten of the Writer's Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition. She is also the author of the young adult book, TMI. She lives on Long Island with her family. Visit her at pattyblount.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Of Monsters And Madness Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Title: Of Monsters and Madness
Author: Jessica Verday
Expected publication: September 9th 2014 by EgmontUSA
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father's home in 1820's Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father's assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they're letting on."

Thoughts: For those who know me, I'm a huge fan of retellings, especially ones involving classics. Needless to say, when I first heard of this novel, I knew I had to read it. Annabel Lee is probably my favorite of Poe's poems, thus, I was definitely interested in seeing how this novel went. Sadly, though I enjoyed the writing and found it to be lyrical, I just couldn't get into the story.

When I hear the word "retelling", it's exactly what I want. I want to see a connection between the classic poem and also a twist or some sort of modernization that differentiates the two but still leaving me satisfied with the overall connection. While some of the characters are referenced, I didn't this novel to be in any relation to the original poem at all. This was something that really disappointed me. It lacked that connection I was looking for, and I really tried to look past this but found it hard to do so.

Another issue I had with this book is the pacing. So, so slow. I felt like the whole book revolved around character development with very little plot progression. The ending definitely leaves room for a sequel, so maybe that's where the action will be? I hate to say it, but I really did struggle pushing myself to read until the end, and even then, I found myself skipping pages and apparently not missing much in the process. I will say that the last quarter of the book progressed much more rapidly than the rest, and I pretty much devoured this part of the book.

I know it sounds like I'm tearing this book apart, but I'm really not trying to. Like I originally say, the writing is beautiful, and that was the main reason I kept reading it. Verday has a way with words. The thing is, I just don't think this was the book for me. I was expecting one thing, and it ended up being something entirely different. I hear horror and except some, but there really wasn't any. It's more of a Gothic novel with a few disturbing elements.

For the most part, I liked OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS, but I don't see myself reading a sequel (if there is one).


3 Stars

Giveaway time! Thanks to the fabulous people at Egmont, I'm giving away a copy of OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS. This giveaway is open to US/CA participants only and ends 9/26.

Be sure to check out the next few stops on the blog tour for my chances to win!

* 9/4: Actin' Up With Books
*9/5: Icey Books
*9/6: Tales of a Ravenous Reader and A Dream Within A Dream
*Link to the rest of the tour

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Jessica Verday is the New York Times best-selling author of The Hollow trilogy. She wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of The Haunted took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. The Hidden took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. She lives in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her husband. You can visit her online at www.jessicaverday.com.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks topic is the top ten books I really want to read but don't own yet. Umm, narrow this down to ten? I guess I'll try...

1. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons. I absolutely LOVED Kristen's ARTICLE 5 series, so I'm definitely looking forward to her next novel,. The Handmaid's Tale meets Blood Red Road? Innnnnteresting.

2. Winterspell by Claire Legrand. Hello, this book was inspired by The Nutcracker. Enough said.

3. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. I keep hearing amazing things about this book.

4. Come Back To Me by Mila Gray. Another one I've heard great things about!

5. Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot. This one sounds like a great yet possibly heavy beach read!

6. No Place To Fall by Jaye Robin Brown. You guys, how cute is the cover? I'm also seriously in love with the summary.

7. The Bridge From Me To You by Lisa Schroeder. Umm, why don't I own this book yet, and why haven't I read it? I pretty much love all of Lisa's books, so I need to remedy this ASAP!

8. On The Fence by Kasie West. No idea why I don't own this one yet, especially since I loved PIVOT POINT.

9. Pointe by Brandy Colbert. We've pretty much established how much I stink at book buying lately...

10. I Was Here by Gayle Forman. Love this lady and all over her books. Very much excited about this one!

There you have it! What books do you really want to read but don't own yet?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Infinite Sea Giveaway

"The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate."

Let us all take a moment and appreciate the cover of THE INFINITE SEA...


Okay, for those of you guys who have read THE 5th WAVE, I'm sure you're as excited about THE INFINITE SEA as I am. Rick Yancey couldn't write fast enough. We're less than one month away from the release, and it still feels too long. Ack!

Thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Young Readers Group, I'm not only giving away a copy of THE INFINITE SEA, I'm giving away a SIGNED copy. WOOHOO! We'll go over that in a bit, but first let's take a moment and watch the epic trailer for this book.

EEK! Are you excited yet? If so, I'm got another surprise for you. You can actually read an except from this novel NOW! Check it out...

Okay, and now it's time for the giveaway. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and answer this question in the comments below: What 3 books would you want to bring in the event of an apocalypse? This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends September 16th.

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Good luck, and remember... They are coming for us. All of us.

*Follow Rick Yancey on Twitter
*Follow PenguinTeen on Twitter
*Rick Yancey's Website
*Penguin Young Readers Group

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: August 14th 2014 by Dutto
Source: Bought

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

First line: "It's midnight, it's sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy- that guy right over there- that's him."

*slow claps*

I can honestly say this is the best book I have read all year. From the very first sentence, the author pulls you back into her world filled with laughter, friendship, art, and so much love leaving my heart aching by the end. I've recommended quite a few books this year (thus far), but guys, this is THE book. This book tops every other book that you've read and will literally have you both smiling due to it's epicness yet crying because it's over.

One thing I highly recommend doing prior to reading ISLA is rereading both ANNA and LOLA. I personally read ISLA before rereading the other two, then went back and reread them all. The second time around (the one with the rereads) somehow made this whole experience much more magical. Every loose end is tied up, and it's done beautifully. Honestly, prior to the rereads, I forgot who Isla was. I loved that the author left little breadcrumbs in each book leading you towards the end. Quite frankly, I haven't read such genius since J. K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series.

Out of the three heroines, I must admit Isla is my favorite. I love that she adores wearing dresses and high heels. As a five foot nothing woman married to a six foot two man, I can assure you sometimes flats just don't work. I actually have a couple engagement photos that look like my husband is walking a small child rather than his future wife. At any rate, like most girls her age, Isla is confused about where her life will take her. Should she attend a university in New York or Paris? Maybe she should explore somewhere she hasn't been? What should she do with her life? As seniors in high school, we all ask ourselves these questions. There are a few that know exactly what they want to do with their lives (Josh being one), but I think it makes it even harder for people that don't know to be around people that do. Perkins does a great job of displaying this in her novel and to me, it makes the characters much more real.

Josh ended up being more complicated than I originally remembered. I didn't realize how sensitive he was nor how boyish he can be, but if anything, he is the epitome of a hopeless romantic. To all the single ladies, if you ever find a guy like this, do not let him go. He is a rarity and sees beauty in this world that you can't even imagine. I love that he's an artist who loves graphic novels. I love it even more that if he sees something spectacular, he has to drop everything and draw it. Memories come and go but drawings? Those can last forever.

Now, my favorite part of this book is the romance. Wowzas! I can see why this book is recommended for people 14 and up. The angst, the confusion, the chemistry, all of it led up to these intricate, perfect moments that had swooning all over the place. I felt like a cesium atom bouncing in a stable gravitational cavity. You guys, I'm actually sighing right now just thinking about it. I will admit sometimes the angst was just too much for me. Agony, so much agony! Can't we all just kiss and make-up? Alas, the world is not perfect, but all we can hope and ask for is a happily ever after.

All in all, as you can see from this ranting and raving review, I cannot recommend ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER enough. I loved this book so much that I ended up not only purchasing it but also purchasing the paperback copies of both ANNA and LOLA as well. Yes, I do own the hardbacks but hey, I have to have my favorite ladies matching, right? Right!


5 Stars

Favorite Quotes:

“I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?”

“There's no story,' I say. 'I saw you one day, and I just knew.”

“Josh grins. It’s wide and relieved and reveals a rarely seen pair of dimples. I could live inside those dimples for the rest of my life.”

“You know that because you asked me out, you’re the one who has to pick the place, right?”
Throat. Dry.
Dry throat.
All of the dryness in my throat.
“Whatever you suggest.” He grins. “I’ll say yes. You’ll definitely get a yes. If that helps.”