Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What We Left Behind Blog Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3 Stars

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 23, 2015

Harper Teen Winter 2016 Tour

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

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

Drought season is coming....

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

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

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

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

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

(This stuff is true though, she promises.)

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

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

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

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

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

It was weird.

Add The Isle on Goodreads

Preorder The Isle From...

*Barnes and Noble
*Book Depository

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

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

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

How to enter:

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

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

2.) Winner must be over 13

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

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

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is the Harper Winter 2016 Tour!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Not After Everything Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We Are All Made of Molecules Review + Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5 Stars

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 12, 2015

Can't Live With 'Em: Favorite Character That's A Sibling

Welcome, welcome, to the next stop in the First & Then Superlatives Blog Tour. I'm so excited to be a part of this tour, because (to be honest) FIRST & THEN is probably my favorite Swoons book thus far. Expect a glowing review soon.

In the mean time, I have the very awesome Emma Mills, author of FIRST & THEN, to discuss Devon and a certain fictional character.

If Devon could pick anyone in literature to be her sibling, who would it be and why?

I would love for Devon to have a sister! If I could pick anyone in literature, I’d have to go with Jane from Pride and Prejudice. Jane has such a naturally sweet disposition that might help to ground Devon a bit. Devon is pragmatic, and can be a bit negative, while Jane is so loving and inclined to see the best in people; I think they’d balance each other out very well!

GREAT answer! I, too, think they'd balance each other out well!

"Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself. "

Giveaway: Thanks to the fabulous people at Swoon Reads, I am giving away one copy of FIRST & THEN. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends October 31st (boo, muhahahaha, etc.). Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

*Add FIRST & THEN on Goodreads
*Emma's Twitter
*Emma on YouTube
*Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Madness So Discreet Blog Tour: Mindy's Top 10 Favorite Horror Books/Movies

Welcome, welcome, to the next stop in the A Madness So Discreet Blog Tour. I actually met Mindy a year or so ago during one of Harper's fall tours. Let me tell you guys, she is both brilliant and hilarious, and her books reflect both of these things (maybe more brilliant and not as much hilarious). Anywho, let's talk about the book!

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Now, it's time for Mindy's Top 10 Horror Flicks/Books. It is, after all, that time of year, oui?

1) Book: The Stand by Stephen King

2) Movie: Event Horizon (1997)

3) Book: In The End by Demitria Lunetta

4) Movie: Paranormal Activity (2007)

5) Book: Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

6) Movie: Vertigo (1958)

7) Book: Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard

8) Movie: The Woman in Black (2012)

9) Book: The Passage by Justin Cronin

10) Movie: The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Great list, Mindy, and thank you so much for sharing this with us! I've personally have seen Event Horizon, and it was definitely the scariest movie I have ever seen. No, all of the noes, haha.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | The Book Depository

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Week 1:
10/5 - My Guilty Obsession: Top 10 Reasons Mindy Would be Committed to an Asylum in the 1800's
10/6 - Reads All the Books: Review
10/7 - The Book Addict's Guide: Q&A with Mindy McGinnis
10/8 - Paperback Princess - Review
10/9 - Addicted 2 Novels (you're here, duh!)

Week 2:
10/12 - Words We Heart: Review
10/13 - Winterhaven Books: 10 Scariest Sounds
10/14 - A Perfection Called Books: Review
10/15 - Across the Words: Top 5 Creepiest Asylums
10/16 - Adventures in Reading: Review

GIVEAWAY: One winner will receive a Harper Teen horror themed prize pack! This giveaway is only open to US participants.

Good luck, and don't let the bed bugs bite!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Illuminae Blog Tour: Giveaway

Greetings, beautiful bookish people! Happy Saturday, and welcome to the next stop in the ILLUMINAE blog tour. Thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Random House, I am giving away a copy of this special book to one lucky winner. Haven't heard of it? Have you been living under a rock? Just kidding, but seriously, let's remedy this!

"This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes."

Giveaway time! To enter all you have to do is fill the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US and CA participants and ends October 25th. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway