Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Love N. Vegas Convention

Get your planners and washi tape out, because the Love N. Vegas Convention is coming to Vegas October 27-29! It's going to be at Planet Hollywood with loads of author signings, meet and greets, parties, the works. As a book convention vet, I thought I'd share some tips on how to survive (for those who are attending their first one) a book convention.

Do: Plan! Look at the schedule and see who is signing when. It's important, especially if certain authors lap each other. If this happens, think about who you love more and go to that one first.

Do: Get to everything early. If you're wanting to go to a certain signing at a certain time, be sure to get there early and snag a spot in line. Waiting until it starts is not a good idea. If you love the author, chances are others do as well, and the line will be a mile long (meaning you might miss other signings in the process.

Don't: Cut in line. You guys, I've had this done to me, and it sets me off. This is my biggest pet peeve. Whenever we were in Anaheim for ALA, a mom held the front of the line spot for not one, not two, not three, but almost a dozen teenage girls. It wasn't even Teen Day! This was when the booths gave away their display copies, and those girls took EVERYTHING we wanted. It didn't matter that we were there a couple of hours early. It happened, and it was the WORST! I also had a friend who missed out on a DESTROY ME arc/signing with Tahereh Mafi all because people were cutting in line. Don't be that person!

What To Bring: Most conventions have an area where you can check luggage in. See if they have one here. If so, bring an empty suitcase that rolls. It works PERFECTLY for all of the books since you can check the suitcase in and out as you go. There's no point in having back problems when you can easily roll your books away. A backpack is also something nice to bring as well. You can fill it up with books for signings and drop them off in your suitcase later. Also, bring a water bottle. There's always a fountain somewhere where you can refill. No one enjoys spending money on overpriced bottled water! Also, bring a snack! Again, overpriced food? No thanks.

What To Wear: It's important to be both comfortable but also dressed accordingly. My go-to outfit happens to be a pair of leggings, a nice/fun top paired with a cardigan (those convention centers are almost always COLD), and comfortable shoes that were made for walking in. Flip flops are a don't for me. I've done it, and the lack of support will kill your feet and back later. Toms, Adidas, and Converse are my personal favorites. My MO happens to be fun socks. Who doesn't love fun socks?

Go To Authors: Let's be honest, we all have our go to authors. Mine happen to be Laini Taylor, Colleen Hoover, Miranda Kenneally, Katja Millay, and Stephanie Perkins. If I hear they're in town or close, I'm there. If they're at a convention I'm at, I will stalk the living daylights out of their line. If you're not first, you're last (kidding but still).

Be sure to check out Las Vegas Travel Deals for the best deals in town. I'll actually be in Vegas soon and will have some recommendations posted once I get back! Food + books = life.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dark of the West Cover Reveal

"He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner's Curse in Joanna Hathaway's Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe."

Thoughts on the cover: I feel like it works really well with the summary but is also intriguing enough to where if you walked by it, you would pick it up. The only thing I'm not a big fan of is her dress. I feel like a princess would have something much more extravagant, even if her kingdom is small.

What are your thoughts?

Expected publication: May 8th 2018 by Tor Teen

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Wish You Were Here

Title: Wish You Were Here
Author: Renee Carlino
Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by Atria Books
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Book Depository

"Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written. "

Thoughts: Is it just me or does Renee Carlino write some of the most addicting novels (blog pun not intended) known to man? All I have to do is crack one of her babies open and BAM, I'm sucked into the world. They're addicting to the point where I'm blocking out the infant crying in my lap and attempting my best to live in her books for as long as I can. WISH YOU WERE HERE is no exception to this rule. Like all of her books, left me questioning certain aspects of my life and wanting to live it to its fullest extent. This one had me doing it even more so. Let's chat.

One night stand or soulmate? Charlotte isn't the type of girl to just sleep with anyone. She's the type of girl who is constantly trying to find her niche in this world. This makes her completely relatable. Who, regardless of your age, hasn't gone from job to job, major to major, trying to figure out if this is what we're meant to do? Heck, I still do it now! At any rate, after another torturous day swinging soup around, Charlotte's friend Helen convinces her to go out for some drinks and after helping a drunk Helen home, they run into Adam. He seems lost, possibly new to the neighborhood, so Charlotte tries to help him out. The connection between the two is instant, and with one final push from Helen, Charlotte decides to take a leap of faith.

The night seemed perfect, things fairy tales are made of. Sadly, the night cannot last forever and come the next day, Adam seems to have morphed into someone different. What happened? Why the cold shoulder?

Months pass, and Charlotte cannot get Adam out of her mind. These types of fiery attractions don't come very often, so Charlotte decides to track Adam down. This is when the real story starts.

I can't say too much without giving the general story away, but I will say this: WISH YOU WERE HERE will take you on a fantastic journey that will have you wishing for your own Adam. He's hilarious and full of life, and he has the type of personality you can't help but love. There will be moments where you will be questioning his actions, but like all of Carlino's guys, he really, truly has a good heart. Gosh, I've literally fallen for every single one of her male leads. She sure knows how to write them!

If Adam doesn't have you falling in love with this book, Charlotte will. I loved how involved her family was in her life, how much her friends loved her, and how much she loves in return. There are not enough Charlottes in this world.

Overall, I truly loved this book and believe others will, too. There are definitely books I would compare this one to, but I feel like people will look too much into it, so (for spoilers sake) I'm just not going to. You're welcome to find me on Twitter (Lena1xoxo), DM me and ask, but for now just know it's up there with some great ones.


5 Stars

Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: Missing

Title: Missing
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: April 18th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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"The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?"

Thoughts: Kelley Armstrong is a master storyteller who could make a grocery list somehow riveting. To be honest, I had not heard of her latest novel until asked to review it. I didn't even read the summary, because I automatically knew the answer would be yes. There's always something special about going into a book completely blind, and I'm really glad I did. MISSING is the kind of mysterious suspense novel that will keep you up well into the wee morning hours, far later than anyone should truly be up.

First off, the book is about a small town where the people who leave (usually for college) are never heard from again. Enter Winter. This happened to her best friend as well as her sister. When Lennon, a boy who met Edie (her best friend) at a concert and comes looking for her, goes missing, Winter starts wondering if people are really leaving town or if something is actually happening to them.

Enter Jude. Jude is Lennon's brother and comes looking for them. Together, him and Winter decide to team up and see what is happening to everyone and quite possibly solve is creeptastic mystery.

First off, I really adored Winter. She does not have a good life. She lived with her abusive father and is actually hiding from him when she first meets Lennon. You cheer for her the whole time, because you just want her to finally be happy. She has the kind of strength you can't help but admire. Now, Jude. He's the typical (and I use that term loosely) brooding-hands-off-hard-to-get-to-know-even-harder-to-get-him-to-let-you-in guy that Armstrong is known for. These are the guys you kind of hate at first but start to swoon for. It wasn't always a picnic between these two, but it was most definitely interesting.

It's hard to write a review for a mystery/suspense/thriller without accidentally dropping some spoilers, so I'm just going to end it by saying this book is action packed and addicting. It has just the right amount of spook that'll send slight shivers down your spine but not too much to keep you scared awake at night. I recommend it to those looking for a unique, not so easy to solved story.


4 Stars

Monday, April 3, 2017

Blog Tour: Letters To The Lost

Hi, all! Welcome to the next stop in the Letters To The Lost Blog Tour. Be sure to stay turned, because there's also a giveaway where you can win a finished copy of the book. Trust me, you want to read it!

Title: Letters To The Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Expected publication: April 4th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

"Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart."

Review: PUSHING THE LIMITS meets YOU'VE GOT MAIL in this fantastic novel about grief and how we all deal with it differently. You guys, I cannot say enough nice things about this novel. It's the first book I've read all year that I just gobbled up and asked for more. Emotions run high in this book, and I feel like the author did a great job of incorporating the similarities and differences between what Juliet was going through and what Declan was dealing with as well.

First off, I have to talk about the characters and how much I adored them. They're both dealing with loss in their own ways, yet they're also dealing with it together through their letters to one another. While neither has any idea who the other person is, they still somehow support each other and help the other grow. The irony in it all is that they both do know each other from school, and neither is a fan of the other. On top of that, you have their best friends Rowan and Rev, who are pretty much the most amazing friends anyone could ask for.

There were so many moments in the book where I just kept saying to myself "How do these people not realize the person they're talking to is right in front of them?", but then I realized I probably wouldn't have been able to see what was right in front of me either.

The family dynamics in this book were also very interesting. Though the novel centers around Juliet and Declan's grief, you also get glimpses of what their parents are going through and how they've dealt (and are still dealing with) their pain. My favorite of the parents were definitely Rev's. They play a small part in the book, but you can see how blessed he is to have been adopted by such loving people and how it played a role in his character.

This book very much has the underlining message of never judging someone based on rumors, and always giving people a chance. You never know what someone is going through. I highly recommend LETTERS TO THE LOST to fans of PUSHING THE LIMITS, SAVING JUNE, and THE SURVIVAL KIT.


5 Stars

BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Week 1:
3/27: Reading Teen - Review
3/28: Teen Lit Rocks - You've Got Mail Feature
3/29: Love Is Not a Triangle - Review
3/30: Lost In Lit - Bookish Inspirations
3/31: The Irish Banana Review - Review

Week 2:
4/3: Addicted 2 Novels - Guest Post
4/4: Alexa Loves Books - Review
4/5: Novel Novice - Top 10
4/6: Bookhounds YA - Review
4/7: Pure Imagination - Review

3 Finished Copies of LETTERS TO THE LOST (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Blog Tour: A Crown of Wishes Excerpt

Welcome to the next stop in A CROWN OF WISHES Blog Tour! It's the sequel to THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, so if you haven't read that yet, STOP READING NOW!

Are we good? You okay there? Great! Today, I'll be sharing an excerpt from the novel, thanks to the fabulous people at St. Martin's Griffin. Y'all, I finally finished this book last night, and it's all that and a box of cookies. So, so good. Without further ado, here's the excerpt!

The guards unbound my wrists and shoved me into a red room.
I waited for them to go before pulling out a small silk bag of
pearl dust I had swiped from the cosmetics table. I repeated
the flimsy plan in my head: Throw the dust in his eyes, gag him, steal his
weapons. If the Prince made a sound, I’d hold the dagger to his throat
and hold him ransom. If he didn’t make a sound, I’d make him free me
for his own life. I knew I couldn’t get far on my own, but most people
could be bribed, and if bribery didn’t work, threats always did.

I was glad they hadn’t taken me to a throne room. The last time I
was in a throne room, Skanda had ripped away my hopes for the king-
dom and destroyed my future.

Arjun did not meet my eyes. And he refused to look up when his new bride
and my best friend was hauled into the room. Nalini sank to her knees. Her gaze
was frantic: leaping back and forth from me to Arjun and the dead on the ground.

Skanda’s knife was pressed to her throat, sharp and close enough that beads of
blood welled onto her skin.

“I know what you want,” said Skanda.

I closed my eyes, shuttering the memory. I looked around the
room, wondering which corner was the best position for attacking. At
one end, a trellis of roses covered the wall. My chest tightened. I used
to grow roses. One trellis for every victory. I had loved watching the
blood red petals unfurl around thorns. Looking at them reminded me
of my people’s love: red as life. A month before Skanda had me thrown
over the Ujijain border, he had set them on fire in a drunken stupor.

By the time I got there, it was too late. Every petal had curled and

“You think these flowers are tokens of Bharata’s love for you,” he had slurred.

“I want you to see, little sister. I want you to see just how easy it is for everything
you plan and love and tend to go up in flames.”

I’ll never forget what burning roses look like. All those scarlet
petals turning incandescent and furious. Like the last flare of the sun
before an eclipse swallows it from the sky.

“You think they love you now, but it doesn’t last. You’re the rose. Not them.
They are the flames. And you’ll never see how quickly you’ll catch fire until you’re
engulfed. One step out of the line I draw, and they will set you on fire.”

I turned my back on the roses.

I chose a corner of the room, and then sank my teeth into the in-
sides of my cheek. It was a habit I’d picked up on the eve of my first
battle. Nerves had set my teeth chattering, so I brought out a mirror
and glowered at myself. The glowering didn’t help, but I liked the way
my face looked. The small movements made my cheekbones look as
sharp as scimitars. And when I tightened my lips, I felt dangerous, as if
I were hiding knives behind my teeth. Biting my cheeks became a battle
tradition. Today I went into battle.

A door in the distance creaked. I ran through what I knew about
the Prince of Ujijain. They called him the Fox Prince. And given the
way some of the soldiers had jealously said his name, it didn’t seem like
a name given because his face had animal features. He spent part of every
year at an ashram where all the nobility sent their sons. Reputedly
brilliant. Not good. Weak with weapons. Excellent. The guards were
fond of retelling the story of his trial with the council. Prince Vikram
had to submit to three tasks in order to be named heir of Ujijain—give
the dead new life, hold a flame that never burns, and deliver the stron-
gest weapon in the world. For the first task, he whittled a piece of bark
into a knife, proving that even discarded things could be given new life
in purpose. For the second task, he released a thousand jars of fireflies
and held the small insects in his hand, proving that he could hold a
flame that never burned. And for the last task, he said that he had poi-
soned the council. Desperate for the antidote, the council named him
heir. The Fox Prince then revealed that he had lied and proved how be-
lief itself was the strongest weapon in the world.

I rolled my eyes every time I heard the tale. It sounded like some-
thing that villagers with a restless imagination would spin beside a
fire. I’d heard another rumor about him. Something about his par-
entage. That he was an orphan who’d moved the Emperor to pity. But
I doubted the vicious Emperor would be moved in such a way. The
guards told me that the Emperor kept great beasts at his side that
could tear the throat out of anyone who dared to cross him.

Footsteps shuffled down the hall. I clutched the silk bag of pearl
dust. The Prince might be clever and eloquent, but you can’t talk your
way out of death and I wasn’t going to give him a chance to speak. All
my intelligence told me that he was no match for me. I’d have him on
his knees and begging for his life in a matter of moments.

A final door opened.

The Fox Prince was here.

What did you guys think? Was it everything you wanted and more? I hope so! It hit the shelves as of this past Tuesday, so be sure to check it out!

Roshani Chokshi proved herself an author to watch with her young adult fantasy debut last spring, The Star-Touched Queen. Debuting at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, the novel received rave reviews from fans and critics alike and appeared on the most buzzed about lists of 2016. Chokshi once again writes a beautifully crafted story of adventure, love, and magic set in the Star-Touched world with her sophomore novel A CROWN OF WISHES (St. Martin’s Griffin; 3/28/17). Building on her intricate setting based on ancient India and Greek mythology, her follow-up is a novel spun from enchantment with a strong female heroine and a swoony worthy prince who team up to win back the thrones of their kingdoms.

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.
Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels. Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
Early reviews have all agreed that Chokshi has improved on her exquisite writing and lush narrative in her sophomore novel. With an ending that will make even the most cynical New Yorker heart believe in true love, A CROWN OF WISHES takes Chokshi’s talent to all new heights.

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

About The Author: Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review: Footloose

Title: Footloose
Author: Kenny Loggins, Tim Bowers (Illustrations)
Published: October 11th 2016 by MoonDance Press
Source: Physical Copy and CD provided in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound

"Have a rockin' time introducing children to Footloose, rewritten for children by the one and only Kenny Loggins himself. Features a bonus CD with the new children's "Footloose," performed by Kenny Loggins.

Time to cut loose! Have a rockin' time introducing children to the fun of Footloose, rewritten for children by the one and only Kenny Loggins. As a zookeeper named Jack joins the zoo animals in an all-night dance party, this new original story from Loggins is sure to get your feet moving. Little ones will love the cast of characters, including the rockin' chimp Louise ("Geez, Louise"), Mister DJ Elephant, the lemur Marie ("Oo Wee, Marie"), Milo the wombat, Luke the funkiest cat in the zoo, and so many more rocking, bopping, boogeying, tangoing, shaking, rattling and rolling animals!

To add to the fun, the book includes a CD with new recordings by Kenny Loggins. Kids and parents can sing along to the classic hit with new lyrics, as well as a three-song medley families will love. "

Review: After finding out I was pregnant (and now being a first time mom), my latest obsession are picture books. I love them. They're fun and a great way to introduce younglings to the wonderful world of books. When asked if I wanted to review Footloose, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only did it look adorable, I happen to know and adore the song and movie. This book offers everything you think it would and so much more.

First off, the illustrations are wonderful. They remind me of those fun cartoons I used to watch as a kid and not the digitized ones we've grown so accustomed to. They flow well with the story and are simply fun to look at.

Reading (and singing) the book to my daughter was a real blessing. When she was only a month old, I read this to her, and she basically just looked back at me in awe. Really, I wasn't expecting any sort of response, and that's just the way she looked at everything way back when. Now that she's three months, she smiles when she hears music and focuses more on the pictures. She loves it when I play the CD to go with the book, and if I point to the words, she'll look at the page. As she gets older, I know this will be a book she'll love and ask me to read to her over and over again.

Overall, I truly adored this novel and recommend it to parents, educators, and book lovers alike.


5 Stars