Month: May 2015

The Debut Dish: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, Emily Adrian (+ giveaway), and Melissa E. Hurst

Posted May 31, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 6 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?

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
June 2, 2015 from Christy Ottaviano Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Puzzle adventure in San Francisco.

Why should readers pick up your book?
There’s a good mix of mystery, puzzles, and humor. I have been told it’s a page turner. It’s set in San Francisco, which is a great city and one that I don’t often see in novels. I had a lot of fun weaving in odds and ends of trivia and history about ciphers, literary figures, San Francisco, and publishing lore. And I’m partial to the characters.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The whole experience has felt like a dream come true, but I’ve especially loved working with my editor and connecting with other debuts through the Fearless Fifteeners and Emu’s Debuts.

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

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Three-way tie between Cabbage Patch Kid calendars from the 80s, a squeezable cupcake, and a chicken tape dispenser.

Like it Never Happened by Emily Adrian
June 2, 2015 from Dial/Penguin
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Deciding between truth and lies.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Because it’s about the thrill of making new friends, and the uneasiness of falling for the wrong person, and the comfort of playing a familiar role. Two sisters reunite after ten years apart. There’s a tree house, and a taxidermied puffin. And the protagonist is funny. Much funnier, somehow, than I am.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Hearing from readers, definitely.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
One box of Junior Mints. One bag of Sour Patch Kids.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A squirrel puppet.

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The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. Hurst
June 2, 2015 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In 2013: Sixteen-year-old Alora is having blackouts. Each time she wakes up in a different place with no idea of how she got there. The one thing she is certain of? Someone is following her.

In 2146: Seventeen-year-old Bridger is one of a small number of people born with the ability to travel to the past. While on a routine school time trip, he sees the last person he expected—his dead father. The strangest part is that, according to the Department of Temporal Affairs, his father was never assigned to be in that time. Bridger’s even more stunned when he learns that his by-the-book father was there to break the most important rule of time travel—to prevent someone’s murder.

And that someone is named Alora.

Determined to discover why his father wanted to help a “ghost,” Bridger illegally shifts to 2013 and, along with Alora, races to solve the mystery surrounding her past and her connection to his father before the DTA finds him. If he can stop Alora’s death without altering the timeline, maybe he can save his father too.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Time travel, thriller, murder mystery.

Why should readers pick up your book?
If you enjoy time travel based in the future and in a contemporary setting, murder mysteries, conspiracies, and dual POV books, then I think you would like THE EDGE OF FOREVER.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The whole process of watching my story go from being nothing more than a manuscript on my computer to becoming a printed book. It’s been a wild and thrilling ride, one I hope to experience many more times.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Definitely Milk Duds!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A small bell from Germany that my sister-in-law gave me.

The Debut Dish: T.A. Maclagan (+ giveaway) and Adam Silvera

Posted May 24, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 6 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?

They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan
May 20, 2015 from Full Fathom Five Digital
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Spy. Identity Crisis. Twists galore.

Why should readers pick up your book?
If your life’s a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Is family? Friendship? Love?

Those questions are the essence of They Call Me Alexandra Gastone. Being a teenager is hard enough but what if you were a teen sleeper agent, living a life that was meant for someone else? A life you wouldn’t have chosen for yourself?

It’s a situation that is open to so many different and intriguing scenarios, many of which are explored in They Call Me Alexandra Gastone. Plus, the book has all the suspense and twists you’d expect from a spy novel.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
You write the book solo but getting the book out into the wild involves meeting so many awesome new people from my agent, editors and publicist, to other authors, to the readers. I’m really looking forward to the reader stage because they are who I wrote it for! It sounds cheesy, but it’s very true.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Sour Patch Kids! There’s something about the sourness, then the sweet that really floats my boat.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
That would be the two bungee cords I took off my son yesterday. He was trying to hook them onto both my computer chair and his dump truck. I thought this was cute at first, but then I started to worry about an eye injury.

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
June 2, 2015 from Soho Teen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Boy seeks out memory erasure.

Why should readers pick up your book?
More Happy Than Not explores the struggles of sexuality and grief, and what life would look like if a teenager could change being gay to save his own life. I think it shows how sexuality isn’t a choice, which is something anti-homosexual heterosexuals don’t always understand.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Not to be lame or chorus a billion others, but it’s a dream come true. And you only get to debut once so I’m happy it’s with the book of my heart.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Anything sour or gummy, preferably both at once. Though I’m on a Candy Ban right now that will likely last another week or until the next time I go to the movies because eating sunflower seeds was NOT a good movie snack.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A pack of Oreos and it’s odd because I haven’t eaten them yet–Oreos don’t usually survive this long.

Nil Unlocked Blog Tour Author Guest Post: If Lynne Matson Had 365 Days to Live + Giveaway

Posted May 22, 2015 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 10 Comments

Nil Unlocked Blog Tour Author Guest Post: If Lynne Matson Had 365 Days to Live + Giveaway

Welcome to my spot along the Nil Unlocked blog tour, hosted by Macmillan! I enjoyed Nil, and was excited when I found out about this sequel!

Today I’m turning my blog over to Lynne! If you end up on the island of Nil, you have 365 days left to live unless you can get off the island before your time is up. I thought it would be fun to put Lynne in this position. What kinds of things would fly through her head if she knew she only had 365 days left to live? Take it away, Lynne!

This question is one of the coolest ones I’ve ever been asked. What would I do if my days were numbered? I think I like it so much because this question is a HUGE part of the Nil world.

As y’all may know, the teens on Nil have exactly one year, to escape the island–or die. And how they choose to spend their days on the island is a big part of both books. Do they make connections with other teens, risk growing close to someone or falling in love, knowing that they might not have a future together? Do they choose to hope? Do they choose to help one another, or simply fend for themselves? How do they fight the unknown? Do they choose to fight at all? Do they give up? How do they cope every day with the knowledge their clock is winding down?

Those were the questions I toyed with as I wrote both NIL and NIL UNLOCKED. The pressure of time—of dwindling time—adds another layer to each decision the characters make. In NIL UNLOCKED, Rives wrestles with whether to risk his heart again, when his time is short and his responsibilities seem endless. And Skye makes choices that impact everyone’s time clocks, not just her own, ultimately risking Rives’s life in a way she’d never anticipated. The lack of time makes each victory sweeter and each defeat that much more painful.

So how would I spend my life if I knew I only had 365 days to live?

Well, if I was stuck on the island of Nil, I know I’d spend a good chunk of my time foraging for food, running from tigers and other crazy things on Nil, and generally fighting a sense of doom in paradise. I’d like to think I’d stay strong, and help and hope, but I’m certain that at times, it would be HARD. Hard watching people you care about die, hard watching people you care about leave–and live–even as you’re still stuck on the island. Hard to maintain hope as time runs out. But at the same time, hope and faith are a huge part of my life, so I know somehow I wouldn’t give up.

But how would I spend my life here, in this world, if I knew I only had 365 days to live? I should answer that I’d live just like I do now, because you never know when your time is up, right? I mean, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. But I think if I KNEW I had only a year to live, I’d really let the small stuff go . . . the stuff that doesn’t matter. Hug more people, stop to appreciate life’s blessings, both big and small. Tell everyone I love that I love them, thank the people who have touched my life, try something new, read ALL THE BOOKS, go to more concerts, hug and kiss and stay up late with my boys as much as I could, eat more cookies, and take a trip to Hawaii with all my boys and super cute husband…because that’s where the idea for the Nil world was born.:)

Now that I write this post, I think I’m going to live a little more like I only have a year left.:) More hugs, books, and cookies, less worrying about the small stuff. More time with the people I care about, and more thanks to those who touched me. Like all the awesome bloggers and readers who’ve made the world of Nil come alive. *GIANT SMOOSH* Thank you!!!

And thank you, Jana, for having me on your blog today!!!! You’re awesome!


nil unlockedNil Unlocked by Lynne Matson
Series: Nil #2
Published by: Henry Hold and Co. Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 432
Amazon • Add to Goodreads

On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.

Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil—and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

Can’t wait for your copy of  Nil Unlocked to arrive? Read an excerpt!

Lynne is going on the Fierce Reads tour in May! See if she’s coming to you!
Visit Lynne’s website.
Follow Lynn on Twitter!


The lovely people at Macmillan have given me a hardcover copy of Nil Unlocked to giveaway, along with a paperback copy of Nil! If you’ve been wanting to give these books a try, now’s your chance! This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only.

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Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their Own Book

Posted May 19, 2015 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 7 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s freebie day, and I’m excited because I really wanted to do this topic back when it was on the schedule, and I ran out of time! So now’s my chance!

I have adored some of the minor and semi-major characters in the books I’ve read, and would love to see them get their own books so I can learn their stories and their thoughts. Here are my choices, although it’s hard to narrow it down to just 10!

1. Captain Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
He kind of got his own book (ish) in Cress because he’s Cress’s love interest… but I seriously just want a full-length novel (I know he has a novella) of his life before he joined the Cinder bandwagon. He’s full of so much snark and sarcasm. I just know his one-liners will be referenced forever.

2. Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I might be the only person who is on team Gale… I’m sorry, but I really do not like Peeta. At all. And I wanted Gale to find love!!!! So he needs his own book and his own love story.

3. Nikolai from The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
I don’t think we need much of an explanation here. I LOVED him so much. Can I please read a book alllllllll about him? Please?

4. The Darkling from The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
I dunno. Maybe I like bad boys. But I want his story! We got tiny pieces of it, but I want to know him better and why he became who he became.

5. Captain Chaol from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Maybe I like captains?

6. Lucien from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I think I’m beginning to see a trend here… I’m a fan of snarky, swoony guys. I loved Lucien! He’s got the best sense of humor, and he’s so loyal. I’d love it if he was the start of his own book.

7. Perry’s nephew, Talon, from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a book from not-so-young-anymore-Talon’s point of view now that they have made it to the Still Blue? Second generation spin-off series, no? Or we could learn about what his life was like during the time he was kidnapped.

8. Reneesme from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
Seriously. I’d devour this.

9. Edward from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.
We were promised this, dangit!

10. Roar from the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi
Roar is my love. I want him to find happiness!

The Debut Dish: Jennifer Latham (+ giveaway), Francesca Zappia, and Kelly Loy Gilbert

Posted May 17, 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?

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
May 19, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A voice-driven mystery perfect for fans of Veronica Mars.

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Hardboiled girl detective — Muslim twist.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Hopefully because they’re on the lookout for a new-school detective story with old-school heart. Or because they like smart main characters, care about diversity, or just want a fun read.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The same thing that makes it terrifying: people I don’t know are going to read my book.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Dots. Twizzlers in a pinch.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
You know, I don’t really have one. I work in bed, on the couch, or standing at the counter. There’s a shared desk in our kitchen, though, covered in my kids’ homework papers and a giant carton of Goldfish crackers and this bolt I found in our driveway…

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Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
May 19, 2015 from Greenwillow Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Schizophrenic girl wants normalcy, please.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Readers should pick up MADE YOU UP if they like contemporaries, or stories about mental illness, or slow-building romances. (Also if they enjoy lobsters, history, or Germans.) Overall it’s more lighthearted and hopeful than I think most people expect from mental illness, and I hope that will encourage more people to read.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The best thing about being a debut author is getting to see my book as a real thing. It’s been on my computer as a Word doc for such a long time, it’s very surreal to hold it in my hands, and hear from complete strangers that they read it and that it meant something to them.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
The kind I bring from home. Okay but really, if I had to pick, probably Junior Mints. All the non-chocolate candy gives me headaches and anything chocolate without mint or peanut butter in it is just a waste of time.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Maybe it’s not the oddest of all the things, but for Christmas one of my best friends gave me a picture frame containing motivational posters with very vulgar Scarface quotes on them. It’s my favorite of the odd things, and I keep it right next to my computer so I can see it while I’m writing.

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
May 19, 2015 from Disney-Hyperion
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Impossible, high-stakes moral dilemma.

Why should readers pick up your book?
CONVICTION is the story of seventeen-year-old Braden Raynor, who questions everything he ever held true when his father Mart, a conservative Christian talk show celebrity, is accused of murdering a police officer.

As Mart awaits trial, Braden’s estranged older brother returns to their small town to assume custody of Braden, and the brothers navigate a complicated relationship as Braden tries to unearth family secrets.

Braden is a key witness in his father’s trial. He’s also a heavily-scouted pitcher, and in an upcoming game is going to have to face off against the nephew of the police officer who was killed.

As both the trial and the game approach, Braden faces an impossible choice.

I wrote CONVICTION because I wanted to write a book about people who couldn’t face their truest selves, and I wanted to explore the ways people endure their own transgressions.

At its heart CONVICTION is about a moral crisis I think a lot of teens and a lot of people face: what to do when you’re forced to choose between the beliefs that have always defined you––and maybe even the people who’ve always defined you, too.

It’s about how to live in a world that turns out not to be as black and white and as simple as you always thought it was, and who you are when nothing is what you always believed.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The writing community–such incredible, talented, wonderful people. And, of course, sharing the characters who mean so much to me with the world.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Milk Duds, if I had to pick one. But really I could pick about a thousand.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Valentine’s Day card from my aunt with an otter wearing heart-shaped glasses (it’s so cute!).

A Court of Thorns and Roses Masquerade Ball Decorations | Blog Tour + Giveaway

Posted May 12, 2015 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 4 Comments

A Court of Thorns and Roses Masquerade Ball Decorations | Blog Tour + Giveaway

Welcome to the next stop along the A Court of Thorns and Roses Masquerade Ball tour! The Fae in Sarah J. Maas’s beautiful book were cursed, and the masks they were wearing at their ball were permanently fused to their faces. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to us at this ball!

Yesterday Alexa and Elena told you all about the ball’s amazing musical line-up, and today I get to show you the beautiful venue and decorations I’ve dreamed up in my mind’s eye (be sure to head to Icey Books to see Hafsah’s decorations post as well). Sarah’s magical fairyland world is gorgeous. So gorgeous that I can’t even begin to describe it. Hopefully I can bring out at least some of this world in the venue and decorations I’ve chosen!

The Venue



Tamlin lives on a beautiful, sprawling estate… where spring never ends. There’s endless trees, rolling hills, flowers, sunny days, and starry nights. I picture this ballroom being a part of Tamlin’s estate. I can see him in all his sexy swooniness dancing with Feyre (we’re getting rid of the tables for ample room) and mingling with his people. I chose this room (which is really the Garden Court Restaurant in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco) for the lovely architecture, celestial chandeliers, and glass ceiling. I picture the stars shining brighter in this fairyland, so the chandeliers and the stars will cast a beautiful glow over the beautiful people.

The ballroom itself opens up onto a beautiful garden courtyard with a swing, intimate seating areas, lanterns, twinkling lights, a fountain, and tons of flowers. How would you like to meet your special someone out here, under the glow of the full moon?

The Decorations

The ballroom itself is so beautiful that it does not require many decorations, but roses and candles are happening.

So, what do you think? Is this the masquerade ball you pictured? Would you like to attend? Who do you hope to meet there? Let me know in the comments! 

a court of thorns and roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
May 5, 2015 from Bloomsbury Children’s
Add to Goodreads ♥ Order from Amazon

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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Visit the rest of the tour!

May 5: Perpetual Page Turner – Blog Tour Kick Off with Sarah!
May 5: Lili’s Reflections – Top Five Fairytale Retellings
May 5: Words Read and Written
May 6: Bookish Broads – Lightning Round
May 6: Dark Readers
May 6: Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
May 7: Paper Riot – An Interview with Sarah
May 8: Polished Page-Turners – Would You Rather…
May 8: So Many Books, So Little Time
May 8: Behind the Pages

 The Masquerade Ball!
May 11: Novel Sounds & Alexa Loves Books – The Soundtrack
May 12: Icey Books & That Artsy Reader Girl – The Decorations
May 13: Jenuine Cupcakes & Writer of Wrongs – The Food
May 14: What Sarah Read & Andi’s ABCs – The Clothing
May 15: Fiction Fare & Belle of the Literati – The Casting Call

The Debut Dish: Krista Van Dolzer (+ giveaway), Taran Matharu (+ giveaway), and Kimberly Karalius

Posted May 10, 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?

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer
May 5, 2015 from Putnam Juvenile
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A fascinating speculative historical fiction debut set in 1950s California—perfect for fans of When You Reach Me

Twelve-year-old Ella Mae Higbee is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables and wants to be just like Sergeant Friday, her favorite character on Dragnet. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about a scientist who can bring her cousin back to life from blood on his dog tags, Ella Mae is skeptical—until he steps out of a bio-pod right before her eyes.

But the boy is not her cousin—he’s Japanese. And in California in the wake of World War II, the Japanese are still feared and despised. When her aunt refuses to take responsibility, Ella Mae and her Mama take him home instead. Determined to do what’s right by her new friend, Ella Mae teaches Takuma English and defends him from the reverend’s talk of H-E-double-toothpicks. But when his memories start to resurface, Ella Mae learns some shocking truths about her own family and more importantly, what it means to love.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Historical science fiction with spunk.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Come for the genre mash-up, stay for Ella Mae’s sharp wit and emotional journey.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Fulfilling a lifelong dream.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
If I’m in a fruity mood, Sour Patch Kids. If I’m in a chocolate mood, Whoppers!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Nothing? (I don’t have a desk.)

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The Novice by Taran Matharu
May 5, 2015 from Feiwel and Friends
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When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Potter meets LOTR meets Pokemon.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s a story that combines all my favorite fantasy elements into one book!

It has orcs, dwarves, elves, gunpowder muskets, swords, pet demons, magic academies, epic battles, class warfare, racial prejudices and fantastical creatures!

The best way to describe it would be Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon, with a dash of Eragon and His Dark Materials for seasoning.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
I think it’s when you meet a fan who read your book and loved it! It’s the most surreal feeling in the world.

I remember when I started writing, it was such a solitary and personal thing. Nobody knew my story or characters but me. The fact that so many people are suddenly enjoying my work and loving my world and its characters as much as I do is a wonderful feeling.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Gosh, that’s a tough one! I’m usually chowing down on a mix of salty and sweet popcorn, but I also love a bag of Haribo!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Probably a 3D printed model of one of the demons in my book, Ignatius. He acts as a paperweight, keeping my early drafts safe from prying eyes :P.

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Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius
May 12, 2015 from Swoon Reads
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In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?

Describe your book in five words or less.
A girl dares to love.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Because in a magical town where love fortunes reveal your fate, a group of teenagers are about to defy theirs. The consequences could either be disastrous – or just what the town needs to be set free.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Experiencing a brand-new series of firsts. First edit letter, first cover design, first interview – I feel like a kid again, enjoying the unexpected that comes with the process.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Sno-Caps. Always.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A foam hamburger that holds my sticky notes. It’s a great conversation piece, though a bit dangerous around lunchtime for coworkers thinking that it’s real.

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud | Mini Book Review

Posted May 8, 2015 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 0 Comments

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud | Mini Book ReviewThe Sculptor by Scott McCloud
and illustrated by Scott McCloud
Published by First Second Books on February 3, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Romance
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier!

This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. It's about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.

The illustrations are well done, and convey a lot of emotion and add a lot to the story, making it more powerful than if words were used alone. I was initially very attracted to the artsy storyline. I was just expecting it to resonate with me more than it did. Being an artist myself, I connected only a little bit (but then again, I am not the stereotypical starving, troubled, tormented artist). David’s favorite medium is stone… so why is he happy when he can work with it as if it were play dough? The best part of art (for an artist) is the creative process. I would imagine that Michelangelo would have been upset if he’d been forced to mold David instead of carve him. I don’t see this as a good deal, especially since he’s traded his life for it. So basically, the plot just did not make sense to me as an artist. I did like the underlying theme of living on borrowed time and what that means, though.

I did not love the characters. I found David to be whiny and selfish and vain, found his character to be very uninspiring. His deal with Death comes from a selfish, egotistical place, and he only gets worse as the story goes on. He does not learn and/or grow. He turns his love, Meg, into a vessel instead of a person, which bothered me a lot.

(This book contains R-rated content and graphic images of nudity and sexual situations. You’ve been warned!)

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher | Mini Book Review

Posted May 6, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 4 Comments

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher | Mini Book ReviewThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published by Razorbill on October 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0 Stars
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

I have not reacted this negatively to a book in years, and I was so unbelievably upset by it that I had nightmares. I disagree with all this book stands for, and would not have even finished it if I were not reading it for a class assignment. Bottom line, I feel like this book glamorizes suicide. It makes it look like it’s ok to kill yourself. I was so mad at Hannah the entire time, and my opinion of her and her decision grew less and less as I heard her snide voice and her petty justifications. She killed herself because people were mean to her (in sometimes awful ways, yes.), and instead of confronting them she went and killed herself and then blamed them for it. She did something much worse to them than they did to her by blaming them for her death. It seemed like a revenge suicide—like she killed herself to get back of them, and it just made me mad. People don’t kill themselves for reasons. They do it because a switch has been triggered in their brain that makes them feel like it’s a necessity. It’s a mental thing.

If I set my opinions and feelings aside, I can agree that the writing was done very well. The author inserts Clay’s thoughts and actions as he is listening to Hannah talk, which is unique and real. I enjoyed being in the moment with him. Clay cares deeply, and his thoughts seem very accurate for someone who has his hands tied and is unable to help. Hannah’s voice, while sarcastic and rude, is very much like an argumentative child who is mad at everyone (which is basically what she is). They both portray emotions that are brought out in the reader, and I was very convinced. There has GOT to be a better book out there about suicide, though, because this one is pretty awful in my opinion.

The Debut Dish: Lori Goldstein (+ giveaway), Sarah Benwell, Holly Bodger (+ giveaway), and Sona Charaipotra (+ giveaway)

Posted May 3, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 5 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?

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
April 21, 2015 from Feiwel and Friends
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Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Modern spin on genies.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s no secret that life can kick us all in the tush, right? I think one of the best things about reading is the ability to escape into another world, but especially when it’s a familiar world. Becoming Jinn is a contemporary fantasy, meaning the magic is grounded in the world we live in. It’s the best kind of “what-if” to me because you can read and think “maybe…just maybe this could really happen.” I love that.

Personally, I’m always looking for humor in books. While there’s loss and longing and deeper themes about what it means to be a part of a family and to live up to expectations and responsibilities, Becoming Jinn explores it all while still hoping to make readers smile and laugh.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The people. Which sounds cliché, right? But it’s completely true. From the readers who love my characters as much as I do to the bloggers who are so supportive and make this all incredibly fun and rewarding to my fellow authors, especially the debuts. This writing community is generous, inclusive, and welcoming. Every day I feel lucky to be a part of it.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Junior mints. I’m a sucker for the combination of chocolate and mint. Mint chocolate chip ice cream, peppermint patties, bring it. Strangely, I don’t like mint flavor on its own. But combine it with chocolate…ah, my “one food I’d bring to a dessert island” answer.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I don’t know because I rarely sit at it. I’m a laptop and the couch kind of girl. Thankfully my job lets me work from home!

Fun event opportunity!

Lori and some of the other Freshman Fifteens are turning the month of May into a fun spring break tour, hitting bookstores and libraries along their way from New York City to New Hampshire. Four authors (Jen Brooks, Lori Goldstein, Lee Kelly, and sophomore advisor Trisha Leaver), three launch parties, 11 locations, and a ton of fun! Click here to see their schedule, and make sure you go visit them! Please say hi for me!

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The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
May 5, 2015 from Simon & Schuster BFY/January 29, 2015 from Random House UK
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And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this…

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teenager boy faces his mortality.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It asks difficult questions: what’s the value of life, of dreams, of choice. And it (I hope) allows readers the space to find their own answers.

Also, it *might* give you the feels. >:D

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Getting to share my stories – my characters, their worlds, and things which I really care about – with readers. It’s just about the greatest privilege I can think of.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
I only ever get pick ‘n’ mix when I’m at the cinema, and OMG, those watermelon slices! <3

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Without context, the stack of death certificates is pretty odd, I guess. That, or the Lego meditation balls.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
May 12, 2015 from Knopf Books for Young Readers
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In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

Describe your book in five words or less. 
Gender selection gone wrong.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s unique because it’s set in futuristic India but also because it’s half verse, half prose.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The fans! Seriously, I am a small-town Canadian girl so when someone from another country gets excited about my book, it totally freaks me out!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Glosette’s Raisins. I could eat them by the truckload (just ask my butt).

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A note about my WIP that says “food get to KG kitchen”. I have no idea what it means but have kept it because I’m hoping to remember eventually.

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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
May 26, 2015 from HarperTeen
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Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Note from Jana: While Tiny Pretty Liars was co-written by two 2016 debut novelists, Sona is here to answer the Debut Dish questions.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Mean Girls at ballet school.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s delicious, it’s diverse, and it’s a world very few people get a peek at.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Meeting all these other awesome writers!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Sandbox (complete with pail and shells) for those days I wish I was at the beach instead.

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