Friday, May 20, 2016

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You Blog Tour

Welcome to the next stop in The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You Blog Tour. Woohoo! Today, I will be sharing an excerpt from the novel but first, for those who haven't heard of this book yet, let's do a bit of a background check!

"Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side."

Published: May 17th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin

There's a reason everyone is raving about this book, and I think all it'll take is for your to check out the first chapter to see why. Are you ready? Let's do it!


Ben West spent summer vacation growing a
handlebar mustache.


Hovering over his upper lip—possibly glued
there—was a bushy monstrosity that shouted, “Look out,
senior class, I’m gonna tie some chicks to the train tracks
and then go on safari with my good friend Teddy
Roosevelt. Bully!”

I blindly swatted at Harper with my comic book,
trying to alert her to the fact that there was a mustachioed
moron trying to blend in with the other people entering

“I know I should have made flash cards for the
poems that Cline assigned,” she said, elbowing me back
hard, both acknowledging that she wasn’t blind and that
she hated when I interrupted her monologues about the
summer reading list. “But I found Mrs. Bergman’s
social inguistics syllabus on the U of O website and I’m
sure she’ll use the same one here.”

The mustache twitched an attempt at freedom, edging
away from West's ferrety nose as he tried to shove past a
group of nervous looking freshmen. It might have been
looking at me and Harper, but its owner was doing
everything possible to ignore us, the planter box we were
sitting on, and anything else that might have been east of
the wrought iron gate.

“So,” Harper continued, louder than necessary
considering we were sitting two inches apart. “I thought
I’d get a head start. But now I’m afraid that we were
supposed to memorize the poems for Cline. He never
responded to my emails.”

Pushing my comic aside, I braced my hands against
the brick ledge. The mustache was daring me to say
something. Harper could hear it too, as evidenced by her
staring up at the sun and muttering, “Or you could, you
know, not do this.”

“Hey, West,” I called, ignoring the clucks of protest
coming from my left. “I’m pretty sure your milk mustache
curdled. Do you need a napkin?”

Ben West lurched to a stop, one foot inside of the
gate. Even on the first day of school, he hadn’t managed
to find a clean uniform. His polo was a series of baggy
wrinkles, half tucked into a pair of dingy khakis. He
turned his head. If the mustache had been able to give me
the finger, it would have. Instead, it stared back at me
with its curlicue fists raised on either side of West’s thin

“Hey, Harper,” he said. He cut his eyes at me and
grumbled, “Trixie.”

I leaned back, offering the slowest of slow claps.

“Great job, West. You have correctly named us. I,
however, may need to change your mantle. Do you prefer
Yosemite Sam or Doc Holliday? I definitely think it
should be cowboy related.”

“Isn’t it cruel to make the freshmen walk past you?”
he asked me, pushing the ratty brown hair out of his eyes.

“Or is it some kind of ritual hazing?”

“Gotta scare them straight.” I gestured to my blonde
associate. “Besides, I’ve got Harper to soften the blow.
It’s like good cop, bad cop.”

“It is nothing like good cop, bad cop. We’re waiting
for Meg,” Harper said, flushing under the smattering of
freckles across her cheeks as she turned back to the
parking lot, undoubtedly trying to escape to the special
place in her head where pop quizzes—and student council
vice presidents—lived. She removed her headband,
pushing it back in place until she once again looked like
Sleeping Beauty in pink glasses and khakis. Whereas I
continued to look like I’d slept on my ponytail.

Which I had because it is cruel to start school on a

“Is it heavy?” I asked Ben, waving at his mustache.

“Like weight training for your face? Or are you just trying
to compensate for your narrow shoulders?”
He gave a half-hearted leer at my polo. “I could ask
the same thing of your bra.”

My arms flew automatically to cover my chest, but I
seemed to be able to only conjure the consonants of the
curses I wanted to hurl at him. In his usual show of bad
form, West took this as some sort of victory.

“As you were,” he said, jumping back into the line of
uniforms on their way to the main building. He passed too
close to Kenneth Pollack, who shoved him hard into the
main gate, growling, “Watch it, nerd.”

“School for geniuses, Kenneth,” Harper called.

“We’re all nerds.”

Kenneth flipped her off absentmindedly as West
brushed himself off and darted past Mike Shepherd into
the main building.

“Brute,” Harper said under her breath.

I scuffed the planter box with the heels of my
mandatory Mary Janes. “I’m off my game. My brain is
still on summer vacation. I totally left myself open to that
cheap trick.”

“I was referring to Kenneth, not Ben,” she frowned.

“But, yes, you should have known better. Ben’s been
using that bra line since fourth grade.”

As a rule, I refused to admit when Harper was right
before eight in the morning. It would just lead to a full
day of her gloating. I hopped off of the planter and
scooped up my messenger bag, shoving my comic inside.

“Come on. I’m over waiting for Meg. She’s
undoubtedly choosing hair care over punctuality. Again.”
Harper slid bonelessly to her feet, sighing with
enough force to slump her shoulders as she followed me
through the front gate and up the stairs. The sunlight
refracted against her pale hair every time her neck
swiveled to look behind us. Without my massive aviator
sunglasses, I was sure I would have been blinded by the

“What’s with you?” I asked, kicking a stray pebble
out of the way.

“What? Nothing.” Her head snapped back to

attention, knocking her glasses askew. She quickly
straightened them with two trembling hands. “Nothing. I
was just thinking that maybe senior year might be a good
time for you to end your war with Ben. You’d have more
time to study and read comics and…”

Unlike the tardy Meg, Harper was tall enough that I
could look at her without craning my neck downward. It
made it easier to level her with a droll stare. Sometimes,
it’s better to save one’s wit and just let the stupidity of a
thought do the talking.

She rolled her eyes and clucked again, breezing past
me to open the door.

“Or not,” she said, swinging the door open and letting
me slip past her. “Year ten of Watson v. West starts now.
But if one of you brings up the day he pushed you off the
monkey bars, I am taking custody of Meg and we are
going to sit with the yearbook staff during lunch.”

“I accept those terms,” I grinned. “Now help me
think of historical figures with mustaches. Hitler and
Stalin are entirely too obvious. I need to brainstorm
before we get homework.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.





Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer Days and Summer Nights Blog Tour

Welcome to the next stop in the Summer Days and Summer Nights Blog Tour. If you guys have yet to check out this fabulous anthology, please do so. I read most of the stories while laying on Kamala Beach in Phuket. Never had a more perfect summer moment (It was summer to me!).

Today, the lovely editor herself, Stephanie Perkins, is here to talk about all things summer. Are you ready for this jelly?

What is your ideal summer day? Summer night?

My ideal summer day and night are the same—sitting inside my house with my husband and my cat. I love my house. If it were possible, I would never leave it.
Plus, mosquitos really like me. And I sunburn easily.

What are the ingredients to your perfect summer, and have you had one?

Fireflies. Honeysuckle. Fresh fruit and vegetables. I grew up in Arizona’s Sonoran desert, so there wasn’t a lot of this in my childhood. But as an adult, I’ve been living in Asheville, North Carolina, so I have this summer every year. I’m very lucky. It’s one of the many awesome things about being an adult—choosing where you live.

What are your thoughts on summer romances?

Naturally juicy! When you’re a teenager, they’re often fleeting and filled with drama. So much can happen over a single summer. You can reinvent yourself. There’s magic in that.

What are your favorite summer love stories?

Several of the authors in my two anthologies have written swoony summer romances. A few that immediately spring to mind: I’m pretty sure all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books take place over summer (The Geography of You and Me is a favorite), as well as Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments and Everything Leads to You, and Jenny Han’s Summer series, starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty.

Which do you prefer--poolside or beachside summer reading?

Beachside! Ocean waves are the perfect white noise to a delicious book.

Do you have any go-to summer books you like to re-read summer after summer?

I’ll recommend one of my mother’s favorite summer reads: Sarah Dessen’s Keeping the Moon. It might be my favorite Dessen novel, too.

If you had to pair Summer Days and Summer Nights with a summer-y drink, what would it be?

Watermelon juice. It’s so simple—it’s just watermelon that’s been put into a blender, but it’s heaven.

About the Editor:

Stephanie Perkins has always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. She's
the author of the international bestsellers Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, as well as Isla and
the Happily Ever After. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories is her first anthology. Stephanie and her
husband live in the mountains of North Carolina.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound

About Summer Days and Summer Nights:

Internationally bestselling author Stephanie Perkins brought together some of her closest friends and fellow bestselling young adult authors for the holiday anthology My True Love Gave to Me that a starred Publisher’s Weekly called “a rare holiday treat” and Romantic Times claimed “this is what all anthologies should aspire to be”. Now, she’s doing it again with SUMMER DAY AND SUMMER NIGHTS: Twelve Love Stories (St. Martin’s Griffin / On Sale: May 17, 2016), another anthology filled with twelve new stories from a superstar lineup of young adult authors. Already receiving rave reviews, this anthology is the perfect beach companion for those long, hazy summer days.

Featuring twelve brand new short stories from:

 Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, My True Love Gave To Me)

 Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, The Grisha Trilogy)

 Francesca Lia Block (Love in the Time of Global Warming)

 Veronica Roth (The Divergent Trilogy)

 Lev Grossman (The Magicians Trilogy)

 Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments Series)

 Jennifer E. Smith (The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love, The Geography of You and Me)

 Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty)

 Tim Federle (The Great American Whatever)

 Nina LaCour (Everything Leads to You, You Know Me Well)

 Jon Skovron (Misfits, Man Made Boy)

 Brandy Colbert (Pointe)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Guest Post + Giveaway with Invisible Fault Lines Author Kristen-Paige Madonia

Today, I had the privileged of hosting author Kristen-Paige Madonia, author of FINGERPRINTS OF YOU and newly released INVISIBLE FAULT LINES. She definitely has a way with words, and today she'll be talking about books and babies. You'll see what I mean.

“The Facts and Falsehoods Behind a Simile: A Book is Just Like a Baby”

Authors often compare publishing a book to having and raising a child -- the small but magical beginnings, the months imagining, nourishing and waiting, the birth and sending out, hoping the world will see what you see: an original, beautiful and important addition to society. As a hopeful young author, I believed that I understood the simile and felt protective and proud of my debut novel, Fingerprints of You, in the same way I imagined a parent feels about dropping their child off at school for the first time. But then, in the gap of time between publishing my first book and selling my second, I became a parent –- the actual guardian to an actual baby, the mother of a child that began as a handful of cells in my belly and now walks, talks, laughs, dances and sings Bob Marley songs. And during the process, I confronted both the accuracy and the ridiculousness of the comparison between publishing a novel and being a parent.

I’ve written four novels and can tell you the precise moment at which they were conceived: my first, standing at the stove while in graduate school making a grilled cheese sandwich (my “in-the-drawer” manuscript); the second, in a coffee shop in San Francisco (Fingerprints of You); the third, in a bar in Portland during Wordstock Book Festival after hearing David Levithan speak (Invisible Fault Lines); and the fourth, in the middle of the night as I woke from a dream, scrambling for a pen on my nightstand to jot down the early inklings of what has become my current work-in-progress. I remember the sounds and smells and moods of the rooms where the ideas first landed, the way the slanted light ping-ponged off the rain-streaked windows while my husband and I shared a beer and talked out the concept for Invisible Fault Lines. But there was no such defining moment when we decided to become parents, no one conversation that solidified my confidence that I was ready, that the time was right to begin something new, something that would become all consuming and self-defining as having a child does. My husband and I were confident in our commitment and our love for one another but fearful over our finances. We were certain in our ability to care for a child but were terrified conception might be difficult, as it had been for some of our friends. We knew we liked the idea of a family, but we were also one hundred percent satisfied with our lives just the way they were. We craved to engage with the world in a new and significant way but also hesitated to adjust our lifestyle.

I discovered I was pregnant three months after I began jotting notes in Portland for the project that would become Invisible Fault Lines. My son grew just as a novel does: slowly, day by day, one step at a time. Just as we feel during the drafting phase, my pregnancy was inundated with doubt and fears, elated moments of confidence followed by weeks of anxiety. Was I strong enough and smart enough, patient enough and brave enough to be a good mother? To write a beautiful and important book? As my belly swelled, so did my conviction in the manuscript, the pages multiplying, the words coming together, the characters blooming into life. Like most authors, I’m a reader and researcher at heart, and because the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Firestorms play a key role in my character’s journey in the novel, I alternated between historical research and baby books and websites. I’d spend afternoons scrolling photos and reading articles from the on-line Bancroft Berkeley Library, reading biographies of those that survived the earthquake and watching silent-movie clips from the aftermath in 1906. Then I’d spend my evenings curled on the couch researching the best foods to eat when you’re pregnant and a vegetarian (dark green leafy vegetables), the best exercise programs for pregnancy (yoga), bottles to buy (glass), and mattress to use in the crib (the ridiculously expensive organic one).

I emailed my manuscript to my agent the day before I was induced.

Just like writing a book, there’s no one way to birth and care for a child. Like the decisions you make when writing, the decisions you make as a parent are based on your personality, your experiences, your belief system, your wants and goals and hopes. But as writers we write alone; for me, being a parent is a messy, wonderful good-intentioned but often-confusing collaboration with my husband that requires compromise, patience and the willingness to admit when you’re wrong. As a writer and a parent there are many days when I am certain that I have no idea what I’m doing, when I can’t find the light to guide me through the tunnel. I also have equally just as many days when there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s nothing else in the world I’m meant to do, no better way to spend my time, no more worthwhile place to invest my heart. I’ve learned that both require an immense amount of patience. And willingness to make mistakes. To be vulnerable. To get dirty and venture outside of your comfort zone. We need a keen ability to multitask but also to be present, to be focused.

But most of all, as authors and as parents, we give up so much control. We leap into the unknown. Each day, at my writing desk and with my son, I reevaluate my priorities, my goals in terms of what I want to share with the world and what kind of role model I hope to be. Each role is all consuming, unbelievably rewarding, and full of unpredictable challenges.

I was warned about reading your own reviews, about giving readings with no one in attendance but your relatives, about the emotional ups and downs of watching your book become part of a larger conversation. But no one warned me of the severity of love and protection I would feel for my son. Reading a luke-warm review pales in comparison to the sound of him crying when he’s sick. There is nothing like the joy of receiving an email from a teacher who has decided to teach my book in her class and then, only moments later, watching my son pull a picture book into his lap and create a story to go with the images. There are certainly similarities between creating and publishing a book and having a child, and most are rooted in emotion and the intimacy of sharing something you care about with the world, but unlike publishing a novel -- whose words are stitched in ink, permanent once pressed on the page -- a child is ever evolving and always growing, the state of constant change. And while I’m unbelievably proud of the books I’ve published, I’m even more proud as I watch my toddler grow into a caring, thoughtful artistic child. Like any literary device, the simile has its flaws and risks, but regardless, I’m so grateful I have the chance to participate in the comparison firsthand.

Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful journey with us, Kristen. I love that your son sings Bob Marley songs. "'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

"'My father disappeared on a Tuesday that should’ve been like any Tuesday, but eventually became the Tuesday my father disappeared.'

Tired of living in limbo, Callie finally decides to investigate her father’s disappearance for herself. Maybe there was an accident at the construction site that he oversaw? Maybe he doesn’t remember who he is and is lost wandering somewhere? But after seeing a familiar face in a photo from the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, she wonders if the answer is something else entirely.

Hailed by Judy Blume as a "remarkable young novelist," Kristen-Paige Madonia, author of Fingerprints of You, explores how to rebuild a life after everything seems lost."

Published: May 3rd 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
LINKS: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Book Depository / Goodreads

Now, time for the giveaway. The lovely Kristen is giving away a copy of her latest novel INVISIBLE FAULT LINES. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends May 28th.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

The Way Back To You Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: You guys, I absolutely adored this novel. It's heartbreaking yet beautiful, at times funny and sweet, and is an all-around good read. It's so easy to connect with the characters, and oh, did I mention there's an adorable kitty name Arm? What's not to love?

As you can see, the story is about two people connected to Ashlyn, both in different yet similar ways, who grieve for this person they've lost. When Cloud, Ashlyn's best friend, discovers her friend's mother donated Ashlyn's organs, she decides to steal the names of the recipients and go on an epic journey to find and meet this people. Kyle, Ashlyn's boyfriend, also tags along.

One thing I'm a sucker for is a good road trip book. It's even better when the adventure has purpose behind it. Now, with any long road trip, if you decide to go with someone that you got along with but were only connected to through another person, the beginning tends to be a bit awkward. These two actually have a deeper history, and these memories start to unfold as their expedition continues. You find out why there's tension between the two, and though it can be uncomfortable at times, I promise you it's worth the read.

I really don't want to give more away, because I'd hate to ruin this book for anyone. Just know that it's an extraordinary read, and please be sure to have a box of tissues nearby. It's not a light and fluffy read, but it is a great one, one you don't want to miss. If you're a fan of Morgan Matson's AMY AND ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR, this is definitely the book for you.


5 Stars

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


Michelle Andreani is the co-author of THE WAY BACK TO YOU (my debut novel!) with Mindi Scott, forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. Also an occasional scatterbrain, milkshake devotee, and liker of love stories.

Mindi Scott lives near Seattle, Washington, USA with her drummer husband in a house with a non-sound-proof basement. Freefall, her first novel, was published by Simon Pulse in 2010. Her second novel, Live Through This, was published (also by Simon Pulse) in 2012. She contributed a chapter to Violent Ends, a collaborative novel written by 17 young adult authors (out in 2015), and co-wrote, along with Michelle Andreani, the 2016 novel The Way Back to You. She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

Michelle LINKS: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Mindi LINKS: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Week 1:
5/2: Addicted 2 Novels - Review
5/3: Swoony Boys Podcast - Q&A
5/4: Mostly YA Lit - Review
5/5: The Irish Banana Review - Playlist
5/6: The Bookkeeper's Secrets - Review

Week 2:
5/9: Fangirl Confessions - Top 10
5/10: Literary Lover - Review
5/11: Reading Teen - Guest Post
5/12: In Wonderland - Review
5/13: A Book & A Latte - How We Write

3 Finished Copies of THE WAY BACK TO YOU (US Only)

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