Month: February 2015

Q&A with Marie Rutkoski | The Winner’s Crime Blog Tour (+ giveaway)

Posted February 28, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 14 Comments

Q&A with Marie Rutkoski | The Winner’s Crime Blog Tour (+ giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the The Winner’s Crime blog tour! I love this trilogy, and am so excited to have Marie on the blog today for a little Q&A! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a hardcover copy of The Winner’s Crime as well!

TARG: If you wrote yourself into the Winner’s trilogy, what kind of character would you be?

MR: I’d probably be Sarsine. I’d be the one telling Arin, “Get your head on straight, will you? I love you, but you’re a mess.”

But I also feel close to Kestrel in several ways—or at least closer than I’ve felt with any of my other main characters.

TARG: If you were to give The Winner’s Crime a theme song, what would it be?

MR: U2’s “With or Without You.”

TARG: What already released book do you wish you had written? (Not because it was badly written or anything like that… but because you loved it so much!)

MR: I’m going to choose my favorite recent release: I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson.

TARG: Tell us about your most relaxing day ever.

MR: I wake up to the sound of the ocean somewhere warm, preferably in Positano, and lay in bed reading while someone brings me tea and a French apricot pastry. I know that my parents or in-laws are taking great care of my children and they are having a blast. I go down to the beach, swim, read and lie in the sun. When the day gets too hot, I go into the cool interior to write. I take the longest shower ever. I practice the violin for a bit. I go out to dinner with my family and then for drinks down by the dark sea with my best friends. The stars are bright. I can see the Milky Way.

There should be a massage scheduled in there, too.

TARG: Tell us the most unique and/or random thing about yourself.

MR: My spine is slightly crooked. I like to drink plain hot water in winter (I call it “silver tea”). I sometimes have incredibly detailed dreams.

Don’t you just love Marie? Her perfect day sounds AMAZING, and what great taste in music she has!

So. Time to get excited about The Winner’s Crime! If you’re brand new to the series, read about the first book, The Winner’s Curse. If you feel like tweeting about how excited you are, or how much you love Marie, use #TheWinnersCrime so everyone knows! (Oh, and tweet @marierutkoski and let her know, too!)

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #2
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the Book • Add to Goodreads

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

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Rebound by Noelle August | Book Review + Giveaway

Posted February 26, 2015 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, New Adult / 2 Comments

Rebound by Noelle August | Book Review + GiveawayRebound by Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #2
Also in this series: Boomerang
Published by William Morrow on February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Barnes & Noble Add to Goodreads
4.5 Stars
Hooking up is only the beginning of the fun in this sexy and irresistible second installment of the thrilling New Adult series, Boomerang.

Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.

Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.

Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.

But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.

I love Boomerang so much (see my review), and so I was very excited when I was approached to be a part of the blog tour for Rebound, the second book in the series. I’m pretty leery of new adult books because they tend to be all angsty, dramatic, and full of bad decisions and one-night stands. I absolutely love this series, though, so if you’re like me and avoid new adult as often as possible, give this series a shot! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I know everyone knows this already, but Noelle August is a pen name for an author duo including VERONICA ROSSI. I love her! And I am seriously so happy that she was the one who made me decide to read these books and give new adult a chance.

2. Rebound is FUN. It’s all about being sexy and exciting without the focus falling on sex and lust. There’s a pretty adorable scuba diving scene that had me swooning. Rebound is steam, tension, humor, and serious issues. These people are real and flawed, which is what I want in my characters!

3. Adam. Blackwood. BOY does he have a story. He’s the creator of Boomerang, and I loved learning more about him and his secrets. He’s got a hard exterior, not letting anyone in since his ex died. He has his friends, and that’s that. Alison makes him want to change and let someone new in, but it’s hard. However, it’s fun for us! I love watching him trust Alison more and more, connecting with her in ways he’s scared to with anyone else. MAN is he swoony. And sexy. LOVE Adam.

4. Alison is given a chance to redeem herself in this book, as many people are unhappy with her for what she did to Ethan. And she does! I really liked Alison. She’s tender (she saves and rehabilitates horses!), caring, and trying to fit in to her jerky father’s huge shoes. She has her flaws and insecurities as well. She’s made mistakes and she owns them.

5. I loved seeing the rest of the gang at Boomerang again! Mia makes an unfortunate return to us, but I still adore her. I was even happy to see Cookie again, and I’m not her biggest fan. It was like catching up with old friends.

6. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, going back and forth between Alison and Adam. I love it when an author (or in this case, authors) does this, but is has to be done right or things feel redundant. This was done RIGHT, and added so much to the dynamism of the story.

All in all, I loved Rebound. I’m not sure I loved it as much as I did Boomerang because, as we all know, our first loves hit us the hardest. But I loved returning to Boomerang and these characters, I loved seeing Adam and Alison figure things out, and I can’t wait for the next book, Bounce, which is all about Adam’s hilarious younger brother.

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Find Noelle August on Facebook and Twitter!

And be sure to follow the rest of the Rebound blog tour!

Gone Pecan 2/26/2015
Travels n Reads 2/26/2015
GenGen’s Book Blog 2/26/2015
Lustful Literature 2/26/2015
That Artsy Reader Girl 2/26/2015
Hiver & Cafe 2/26/2015
Reese’s Reviews 2/26/2015
Seeing Night Book Reviews 2/26/2015
Curling Up With a Good Book 2/26/2015
Avid Reader Musings 2/26/2015
Making it Happen 2/26/2015
FicWishes 2/26/2015
Book Angel Booktopia 2/27/2015
Cere’s Books World 2/27/2015
Chaotic Reader 2/27/2015
Milky Way of Books 2/28/2015

Ellie Cahill’s (aka Liz Czukas) Workspace | When Joss Met Matt Blog Tour

Posted February 23, 2015 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 2 Comments

Ellie Cahill’s (aka Liz Czukas) Workspace | When Joss Met Matt Blog Tour

I’m so happy to be a part of the virtual blog tour for When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill! Today we’re learning a little more about Liz/Ellie through looking at pictures of her various workspaces. I’m going to turn the blog over to her now, but be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter the giveaway!

I am deeply jealous of writers who have beautiful offices. A room with a gorgeous view, a clean desk, and a comfy chair would be a dream come true. I also covet treadmill desks, because I know I should really be more active than I am, and I definitely have myself convinced that would be the key to motivation (this is probably a lie).

Instead, what I have is a laptop and a few favorite spots around the house that I like to work. Of all the little corners I carve out for myself in the house, my most frequent “office” has got to be my couch. It’s a nice couch, don’t get me wrong. Plus, it features the fantastic throw blanket my aunt and cousin got me for Christmas.

Ellie1Yes, that IS the cover of my latest YA book in blanket form!

But the problem with any of my workspaces is that they always include my very sweet, but very curious and attention-hungry golden retriever Alex.

Ellie2This is the face of trouble.

So when I sit down to work, I nearly always have “the office pet” right there with me. She is very very helpful. Just ask her.

Ellie3No worries, I wasn’t using my left hand for typing or anything, Al.

So if you’re thinking of getting me a gift, I’ll take a dog-free office, please. Or maybe side-by-side treadmills–one for me, one for Alex.

Now that you know more about the author of When Joss Met Matt, let’s get to know the book itself! Stay tuned for my review, which should be showing up any day now!

When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Published by Ballantine Books on February 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Buy the Book • Add to Goodreads

Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

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The Debut Dish: Catherine Doyle (+ Giveaway), Jovana Rodolakis (+ giveaway), and Abi Elphinstone

Posted February 22, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 7 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle
February 24, 2015 from Scholastic
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it feels like another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill, waitressing at her family’s diner and hanging out with her best friend Millie. But then someone moves into the long-abandoned mansion up the block–a family of five Italian brothers, each one hotter than the last. Unable to resist caramel-eyed Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him — and willfully ignoring the warning signs. Why are Nic’s knuckles cut and bruised? Why does he carry an engraved switchblade? And why does his arrogant and infuriating older brother, Luca, refuse to let her see him? As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. Suddenly, she’s torn between two warring dynasties: the one she’s related to and the one she’s now

in love with. She’ll have to choose between loyalty and passione. When she does, blood will spill, hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, dishonor can be the difference between life and death.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A thrilling and dangerous romance.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Because it’s something different. Vendetta is a mob thriller with a teenage girl at the heart of it all.

Sophie is just a normal, bored teenager whose life gets turned upside down when five mysterious, hot brothers move into her neighborhood. She ends up falling into a world of secrets and family rivalries, and discovering the thrill of forbidden romance. It’s an exciting journey, with lots of twists and turns. It’s got danger and humor, love and friendship, and a whole host of dynamic characters who toe the line between good and evil.

Ultimately, it’s about revenge and passion, and what happens when they clash.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Becoming part of a community of people who love and champion books as much as you do. Also, getting to read books before they come out is a great perk!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Galaxy minstrels inside popcorn. I believe they’re called Dove chocolate in the US. They make these small chocolate discs with a hard shell, but the chocolate inside melts when you put them in popcorn. I know that’s technically two, but the magic is in the combination!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now? 
A quill. Odd, but necessary, I think.

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Forever in Hollywood by Jovana Rodolakis
February 18, 2015 from The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

Fresh out of college, Marissa Pearson is ready to take on the world. That is, as long as the world isn’t confrontational. She never learned to deal with opposition, instead she runs from it. She ran from a violent boyfriend, a cheating husband, and now she’s on the run from Andrew Reed. He’s the sexy Hollywood playboy intent on nailing her down in more ways than one.

Long days on a movie set can bring people together. Soon Marissa finds herself falling for the wrong guy– again. When Marissa’s past catches up with her, in the form of a vengeful ex, she learns the price of running. But Andrew channels the heroes he plays on-screen in order to give Marissa the strength to do the right thing.

Only when Marissa learns to face challenges thrown at her, will she also learn Andrew was the right guy all along.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Real life, real Hollywood.

Why should readers pick up your book?
I tried to bring a real Hollywood romance to my story. It’s not sensationalized.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Besides the stress, sleepless nights and loads of self doubt? Seeing your blood, sweat, and tears come to life is the best part of being a debut author. We (first time authors) do everything we can to put out the most entertaining story we can. I literally bled for this novel when a wine glass slipped from my hand and I had to decide if I wanted to let my laptop, or the glass fall.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
I still try to use my Twizzlers as a straw. It’s never been the same as my childhood, but still makes cherry coke.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A troll doll named Lonnie. He guards a hole in the drywall that contractors neglected to patch about a year ago.

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The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone
February 26, 2015 from Simon & Schuster
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Witchdoctors. Gypsies. Catapults. Secrets. Magic.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Because critics say these lovely things about it: ‘fast-paced,’ ‘full of charm’, ‘Pullmanesque’ and ‘packed with suspense, adventure and heart’. And I say: the main character, gypsy girl Moll, will catapult you pretty fast if you ignore her. And you’d better watch out – she’s got a wildcat by her side. Not to mention the Dreamsnatcher trailing her every move…

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Seeing your name ON THE SPINE OF A BOOK, finally (after all the rejections and hurt) seeing your dream come true, meeting so many wonderful people (librarians, bloggers, teachers, other authors) who are passionate about books and speaking to children who loved your story.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Unicorn farts lipsalve.

The Debut Dish: Rhiannon Thomas (+ giveaway), Alison DeCamp (+ giveaway), Karen Bao, & Caitlin Sinead

Posted February 15, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 25 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
February 24, 2015 from HarperTEEN
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Sleeping Beauty wakes up.

Why should readers pick up your book?
I lovelovelove fairy tales, but I get reaaally tired of a lot of fairy tale tropes, so A Wicked Thing is basically a traditional fairy tale world where I try to explore what would actually happen if you woke up after a hundred years to the kiss of a total stranger. It has magic and rebels and balls and the occasional dragon, with a heroine who doesn’t know how to wield a sword, but finds strength in her own way.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Soon after I sold A Wicked Thing to HarperTeen, I went to the YA section in Barnes and Noble and nearly started crying because I was so happy that I was going to have a book on the shelf there too. I’m sure anyone who saw me was very confused. So beyond any of the other fantastic things, it’s that gradual dawning realization that I’m achieving a dream, and that my book WILL be all pretty and book-like and sitting on bookstore shelves all around the country.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
A big bag of Maltesers. They’re kind of like England’s answer to whoppers, but lighter and more chocolate-y.

My favorite American movie theater candy are Dippin Dots, since I first had them when I moved to the US when I was 18 and I decided they were pretty much made of magic. Candy and ice cream??? Definite sorcery.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A mini Disney Princess tea set, with a china teapot and little teacups and saucers. My college roommate gave me it for my birthday, and it makes me think of her. :)

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My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!) by Alison DeCamp
February 24, 2015 from Crown Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

It is 1895. Stan is on a mission to find his long-lost father in the logging camps of Michigan. And he’s embellishing all of it in his stupendous scrapbook.

There are many things that 11-year-old Stanley Slater would like to have in life, most of all, a father. But what if Stan’s missing dad isn’t “dearly departed” after all? Who better to find this absent hero/cowboy/outlaw than manly Stan himself? Unfortunately, Stan’s fending off his impossible cousin Geri, evil Granny, and Mama’s suitors like Cold-Blooded Killer Stinky Pete. If only he could join the River Drive, the most perilous adventure of all, where even a fellow’s peavey is at risk.

It’s a wild ride for Stan as he finds out about true manliness. But at least Stan has his scrapbook, full of 200 black-and-white 19th-century advertisements and photos, “augmented” with his commentary and doodles.

Stan’s tale will leave readers in stitches, but not the kind that require medical attention.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Diary of Wimpy Kid 1895.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s the type of historical fiction where readers learn things without knowing they’re learning things (for example, about lumber camps in 1895–and who doesn’t want to learn more about that? :) The main character is an 11 y.o. boy who has just learned his “dearly departed” father is actually just “long lost,” and he is determined to find him in the lumber camp. All while his evil granny and devious older cousin constantly try to thwart him.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The best thing about being a debut author is meeting other debut authors and all the people who promote children’s books.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
It is imperative to buy Jujyfruits. And it is never necessary to share them.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A guidebook on Munich and the Bavarian Alps.

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Dove Arising by Karen Bao
February 24, 2015 from Viking (Penguin Young Readers Group)
Add to Goodreads | Author Website | Author Facebook

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Nerdy introvert joins Lunar militia.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Everything from breathing to handshakes is different on the Moon. There’s spaceship racing, political intrigue, and some cute love between nerds. Phaet’s also kind of interesting – her head is full of minute observations and calculations, but she doesn’t actually speak out loud until Chapter 3.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Friends. I’ve met so many cool authors and readers at conventions and over the Internet. Also, people I haven’t talked to for years are suddenly contacting me again, and it’s great to catch up with them.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Swedish Fish. I bite the tail off first.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A coffee cup full of Nutella.

Heartsick by Caitlin Sinead
February 16, 2015 from Carina Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Quinn is looking forward to her senior year at Poe University. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend, flirt with a certain boy genius, party at her favorite dive bar and figure out what she’s going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major. But that’s before she meets Luke, a hot townie who’s moved back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it’s before a weird epidemic sweeps across campus, mysteriously turning people’s eyes purple.

Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug?

Is it a rogue virus developed in a campus lab?

Is it the mark of the devil?

Soon the town starts blaming the university and the student religious group becomes frighteningly aggressive in their on-campus accusations. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle—until a tragic accident forces Luke to reveal the one part of himself he’s kept carefully hidden. That he’s so much more than the happy-go-lucky boy next door Quinn had believed him to be isn’t a surprise…but this truth might be too dangerous for her to handle.

Describe your book in five words or less.
New Adult, Mystery, Speculative, Romance.

Why should readers pick up your book?
I think I have a fun take on the New Adult genre. It’s a little different, while maintaining a lot of “New Adult” goodies. :)

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Getting to share my work!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A camel picture holder.

Dove Arising by Karen Bao – Propaganda Video Reveal

Posted February 13, 2015 by Jana in Book Spotlight / 2 Comments

Hello! I’m pretty excited to be revealing one of the propaganda videos (in conjunction with my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish) for Dove Arising by debut author Karen Bao! The first video was revealed yesterday on Hypable, and two more are being revealed by IceyBooks and Fangirlish today as well.

Karen is going to be here for the Debut Dish on Sunday and then she’ll be here again for her blog tour on March 3rd, so there’s lots of Karen happenings coming up! Read about Dove Arising on Goodreads! This is a book that should totally be on your radar. I mean, it’s about a girl who lives on the moon and has barely spoken since her father’s death. Well, not until her mother was arrested by the government. Now she has to join the Militia to free her mom and save her siblings!

Anyway, on to the video!

So, what do you think? Did you like the video? Does Dove Arising sound like something you’d enjoy reading? Let me know in the comments!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | Book Review

Posted February 9, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | Book ReviewThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave #1
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on May 7, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Survival
Pages: 457
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

**This is one of the books I chose to read for my YA literature class**

I’ve been very excited to read The 5th Wave, and am so glad I finally had the chance! It’s a very exciting books that I loved so much more than I thought I would. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Rick Yancey has created a very convincing post-apocalyptic setting, taking place right here in the United States. He really took his time giving us all the details about what the world is like now, what the aliens have done so far (in the first four waves of human extermination, essentially), and what life is like for the few remaining humans on Earth.

2. Everything seemed so frighteningly real to me, that I was completely engrossed. Yancey has convinced me that this can really happen!

3. The writing style portrays so many different emotions: Cassie’s heartbreak when her brother is taken, her skepticism as to whether or not to trust Evan, her fear at being alone, her sorrow over losing her family, and her determination to survive.

4. In that same vein, Rick Yancey did such a good job at getting into the head of a teenage girl. I kept forgetting a man wrote this book! Cassie’s voice is quintessentially female. I particularly loved the part of the book where Cassie woke up in a strange guy’s house, all cleaned up and wearing new clothes. Her inner thoughts are hilarious when she realizes a boy saw her naked. She reacts exactly the way any girl would, and I loved her for it.

5. I loved all the characters. Cassie is a wonderful heroine, who has the courage of Katniss Everdeen. She’s also got a pretty great sense of humor. And she’s a girl after my own heart because she is dragging books around in her backpack as she fights off aliens! Evan is mysterious and kind and caring. He’s a very dynamic character, and he’s constantly being torn in two directions. I love Cassie’s little brother and the people he encounters on his new mission in life. I felt very connected to everyone, which makes sense because they are fighting for their lives. True humanity comes through in these situations, and the characters were so real and relatable because they’ve got nothing left to be but themselves.

6.This book is non-stop action and excitement! Then there’s a little romance and some violence and some survival scenarios… It’s pretty gripping, and I had a very hard time putting it down.

My Favorite Quotes:

– “But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.

– “How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

All in all, this is one LONG book but I didn’t even care. I didn’t want it to end! I was so amazed by the situation and captivated by the characters’ stories that I could not put it down to go to sleep! The 5th Wave has everything a reader could want and even some things you might not realize you wanted in the first place.

The Debut Dish: MarcyKate Connolly, Cindy L. Rodriguez, and Kathryn Holmes (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 8, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 2 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
February 10, 2015 from HarperCollins Children’s Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic.

1. Describe your book in five words or less.
Frankenstein meets the Brothers Grimm.

2. Why should readers pick up your book?
Hopefully they will pick it up for the lovely bright blue cover, and they’ll stay for the unusual dark fairytale with Frankenstein themes and the sweet, yet monstrous main character.

3. What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
EVERYTHING is exciting. Edits! More edits! Covers! People I don’t know reading my book! The constant newness is thrilling. And really, how cool is it that people everywhere can read my book soon?

4. What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Junior Mints!

5. What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A reindeer koosh pen.

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
February 10, 2015 from Bloomsbury Children’s
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

3 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girls battle depression, find hope.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Readers will empathize with two girls who experience and battle depression in different ways. Mental health is an important issue that affects millions, and suicide continues to be the third leading cause of death for young people. Beyond addressing this important issue, the novel has other aspects for readers. It’s a bit of a mystery, so you’ll want to keep reading; the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson are important and featured throughout the novel; the characters are diverse; and there is a positive adult–a teacher–who is an important supporting character. 

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The best things about being a debut author are having a longtime dream come true and sharing the experience with everyone: family, friends, and the ultra-supportive people in the kid lit world. It takes a village to publish a novel. The entire process required not only determination and discipline on my part to get it done and not give up, but it also required dozens of other people to help at key moments. While writing can be a solitary thing, I love that there has also been this feeling of communal support and celebration, especially from fellow debut authors and online friends. Every debut author should be a part of a debut group!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A bag of makeup remover wipes. I hardly ever apply or remove makeup in normal places like the bathroom.

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
February 17, 2015 from HarperTEEN
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

Describe your book in five words or less. 
Lost in mountains, girl finds herself. (“In” doesn’t count as a word…right? Right.)

Why should readers pick up your book?
The Distance Between Lost and Found is both a coming-of-age story and a survival story. It’s about a girl who has lost herself. Only when everything is stripped away — home, comfort, food, safety — can she come to terms with what happened to her six months ago and rediscover the parts of herself she thought were gone for good.

If you enjoy lyrical writing about characters on journeys of self-discovery, you should pick up this book. If you prefer page-turners packed with tension and very real dangers, you should pick up this book. And if you love the Smoky Mountains, or any mountains, or hiking, or reading about the great outdoors from the comfort of your sofa … well, you get the idea. :)

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The sense of discovery throughout the process. As a debut, everything’s a first. First book contract. First advance. First editorial letter. First time seeing a book cover with my name on it. First ARCs — aka, the first time something I wrote looks like a real, honest-to-God book. And on and on and on.

Also, it’s amazing to be a part of a community of fellow debut authors (shout out to the Fearless Fifteeners!). It’s been wonderful to experience and revel in those milestones together.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Nestle’s Buncha Crunch. Preferably mixed with lightly buttered popcorn. Yum!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk is currently clutter central, but I think the winner has to be the paper mustache-on-a-stick that was left over from our wedding photobooth three years ago. Who doesn’t write with a mustache-on-a-stick inserted amongst her pens and pencils?

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If I Lived in a World With Soulprint Technology… | Blog Tour + Giveaway

Posted February 2, 2015 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 12 Comments

If I Lived in a World With Soulprint Technology… | Blog Tour + Giveaway

Welcome to the very first stop along the official Soulprint blog tour, hosted by Bloomsbury Publishing! In honor of Soulprint‘s upcoming release tomorrow, I was asked to answer the following question:

soulprintQuestFor those who don’t know, soulprint technology gives the government the ability to trace a person’s soul across their lifetimes and keep track of who they’ve been, just like today’s law enforcement can track your fingerprints and place you at the scene of a crime. Alina has fallen victim to this technology, and is imprisoned on an island for crimes the government tells her she committed in her past life.

So. If I lived in a world with this kind of technology, I would want to be reincarnated as a famous person who gets paid to travel the world, chronicling their adventures and recommending the best hotels, restaurants, and touristy things to do. Basically, I want to be Samantha Brown! She and her film crew are sent all over the world to make travel shows and see the world. Instead of being on TV, though, I would want to write memoirs and travel books. I’d make sure my first few stops included going to Finland and renting a glass igloo to watch the Northern Lights; the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, New Zealand; and on a tour to Machu Picchu in Peru. I have a whole Pinterest board of places I’ve been to and places I’d love to visit again or for the first time.

What would you like to be reincarnated as? A celebrity? An animal? Let’s discuss in the comments!

 But before you go, here’s some more information on Soulprint by Megan Miranda, followed by a giveaway you won’t want to miss!

Soulprint by Megan Miranda
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Buy the BookAdd to Goodreads

A new literary, sci-fi thriller from acclaimed author Megan Miranda.

With the science of soul-fingerprinting a reality, Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned for the crimes her past-self committed. In an attempt to clear her name, Alina unintentionally trades one prison for another when she escapes, aided by a group of teens whose intentions and motivations are a mystery to her. As she gets to know one of the boys, sparks fly, and Alina believes she may finally be able to trust someone. But when she uncovers clues left behind from her past life that only she can decipher, secrets begin to unravel. Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat the past.

This compelling story will leave readers wondering if this fictional world could become a reality.

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Follow the blog tour!

February 2nd – That Artsy Reader Girl
February 3rd – Nose Graze
February 4th – Effortlessly Reading
February 5th – Andi ABCs
February 6th – What Sarah Read
February 9th – Across the Words
February 10th – Great Imaginations
February 11th – The Eater of Books
February 12th – Step Into Fiction
February 13th – Dana Square

The Debut Dish: Laurie McKay (+ giveaway) and Abbie Rushton (+ giveaway)

Posted February 1, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 3 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay
February 3, 2015 from HarperCollins
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Unexpected magic, villainous teachers, and dragons in disguise await readers in the first book of a delightful new tween adventure series by debut author Laurie McKay.

All his life, Prince Caden has dreamed of being sent on a quest to slay a dragon. But before he has the chance, he is ripped from his home in the Winterlands of Razzon and finds himself in Asheville, North Carolina—a land with no magic and no dragons. But a prince must always complete his quest. And the longer Caden is in Asheville, the more he realizes there is magic in this strange land after all. More important, there may just be dragons here, too. But what if Caden’s destiny isn’t to slay a dragon, like he’s always believed?

Fans of Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil and Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories will be transported by this first book in an epic new series for middle grade readers about a brave young prince’s quest to find answers, honor, friendship—and what it really means to be a hero.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Dragons, magic, lunch-witches, friendship, adventure

Why should readers pick up your book?
To me, it’s interesting to explore our world from the perspectives of characters who come from a magical land. Cars, cell phones, and middle school are new things to them and there are many fish-out-of-water moments. Also, there’s a horse named Sir Horace, dragons-in-disguise, and a evil plot that connects this realm to the other!

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
There have been several best things. One, was seeing the cover of my book and knowing it’s going to be published. Two, was meeting other authors and finding even more great books to read. I guess the best of the best so far for me, however, was when I was told a fourteen-year-old read my arc. Then reread it three more times. It feels great to know someone out there likes what I’ve written.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
KitKat – especially if it’s the white chocolate version.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
There is not one odd thing on my desk right now. Just papers, books, an e-reader, bottled water, and tissue. However, there is a beaded jellyfish (made from beads, not strung with them) hanging from the lamp beside it.

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Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton
February 5, 2015 from Atom (Little, Brown UK)
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

Megan doesn’t speak. She hasn’t spoken in months.

Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan’s head – things that are screaming to be heard – that she cannot, must not, let out.

Then Jasmine starts at school: bubbly, beautiful, talkative Jasmine. And for reasons Megan can’t quite understand, life starts to look a bit brighter.

Megan would love to speak again, and it seems like Jasmine might be the answer. But if she finds her voice, will she lose everything else?

Describe your book in five words or less.
It’s about finding your voice.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Er … I’m not very good at self-promotion/blowing my own trumpet kind of stuff. *Cringes* For a start, I’d say readers should pick it up just so they can ogle the stunning cover. As I had absolutely nothing to do with it, I feel OK saying that it’s perfectly beautiful and I adore it! My book is part thriller, part gay love story. It’s about a mute girl with a secret. As she starts to fall in love, she begins to find her voice, but if she lets the secret out, she risks losing everything else. It’s set in a quirky and charming part of the UK called the New Forest, and my character – like me.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
When lovely readers get in touch and tell me how my book made them feel. I have all kinds of guilt for being so happy when people say it made them cry, but as an author, there’s no better validation than knowing that your book made someone feel something.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Popcorn. Half and half. I always have been indecisive!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
An eraser from Highclere Castle, which is where Downton Abbey is filmed – just ten minutes away from my home. My brother bought it as a gift – he was housesitting while my husband and I were gallivanting around Tanzania on honeymoon.

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