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.

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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.