Monthly Archives:: June 2015

Top Ten (Seven) Books I’ve Read in 2015 So Far

June 29, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 12

TTT

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

So now that we’re past halfway through 2015 (WHAT!?), what better time than to remember all the amazing books we’ve read so far? Sadly, it has not been the BEST year for me (required reading really puts a damper on things), but I have read a few I really loved! So, here we go. The links will take you to my review!

Bestof2015SoFar

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare


The Debut Dish: Rebecca Phillips (+ Giveaway)

June 28, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 7

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?


Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips
June 30, 2015 from Kensington
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

When Lexi Shaw seduced Oakfield High’s resident bad boy Tyler Flynn at the beginning of senior year, he seemed perfectly okay with her rules:

1. Avoid her at school.
2. Keep his mouth shut about what they do together.
3. Never tease her about her friend (and unrequited crush) Ben.

Because with his integrity and values and golden boy looks, Ben can never find out about what she’s been doing behind closed doors with Tyler. Or that her mom’s too busy drinking and chasing losers to pay the bills. Or that Lexi’s dad hasn’t been a part of her life for the last thirteen years. But with Tyler suddenly breaking the rules, Ben asking her out, and her dad back in the picture, how long will she be able to go on faking perfect?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Edgy contemporary YA with heart.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Faking Perfect is about discovering new sides to people, even the people we think we have all figured out. I think everyone can relate to that.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Meeting other authors. The YA community is such a close-knit, supportive place.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Peanut M&Ms and anything else that involves chocolate.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A fat gray cat. She’s not odd, exactly, but she is fat. And spoiled.

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To My Secret Sister #2

June 26, 2015 Uncategorized 5

SecretSisterButton

I just thought I’d take a moment or two to thank my secret sister and address some questions she had for me in her letter(s)!

Hi Sis!

It’s been a little while since I wrote to you, and I wanted to thank you again for being such a sweet, thoughtful sister! I have loved the monthly cheer you send me. I had no idea participating in this secret sister project would make my life so much happier, but it has! I really hope we’ll stay the best of friends when July comes to an end. :) Up to this point I’m pretty sure I’ve answered all your questions, but please ask me again if I missed one! You can comment anonymously on this post, you can have a Twitter person ask me, or you can email me through your secret email address! I don’t want to accidentally ignore you!

I know I wrote you an email and a bunch of tweets since my first blog post to you, but I just HAD to line up all the pictures of what you’ve given me since and thank you properly now that I’ve got the time.

Feb2015 2015Month May2015

 

Wooooow! And these pics don’t include the Kindle books you’ve sent me either. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. :) The Oreos and chocolate disappeared very quickly. Jolly Ranchers are awesome road trip candy, so I’m bringing these on my girls trip to Las Vegas next week! All Fall Down is a book I have wanted SO BADLY since I found out about it! Same with The Royal We. Marry Poppins sits on my bookshelf, and she is so cute! And I kid you not, I have been listening to The Wanted almost every day while I do my hair for about a month now. That journal is so cute, and I’ll be filling it up using my colorful pens in not time!Thanks for sending me Tessa Dare’s book for my birthday! I’ve really gotten into her books all of a sudden, and I was just talking to a friend about this series when you sent it to me! Perfect timing. :)

To answer your most recent letter, yes! May was CRAZY! I was gone for the entire month, and I left town before the semester was over! So I was going crazy trying to get my assignments done early, packing for a month, scheduling blog posts, and getting loose ends tied up here for the Debut Author Challenge before I left. You sound like you were crazy busy too! I did notice the change in address, so I assumed you had gone home for the summer. Congrats on the new job! You found one quickly! I can’t wait for your big reveal! I’ve tried and tried to figure out who you are, but to no avail. lol. Have we talked any? Do I KNOW you!? Haha. I’m going nuts, but it’s so much fun!

Well! Thanks again! I hope you’re enjoying your summer and your new job (what are you doing?). When does school start back up for you? August 17th for me, and it’s coming way too fast. :( I’m fine with getting rid of the hot weather (it’s been in the 100’s for over a week now), but I don’t want to give up my freedom!

Talk to you soon!

Love,
Jana


Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

June 25, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★½

Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on January 27, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction
Pages: 222
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

I’ve never really been a fan of the villain in any story because I don’t usually like the villain! Sure, there have been some exceptions to that rule, but I really wasn’t sure I wanted to learn about Levana and her excuses for being such an awful person. But I love Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, so of COURSE I wanted to read Fairest. While I did not love it as much as the full-length novels in this series, I enjoyed Levana’s back story, I feel prepared to read Winter, and I also learned quite a few things about Cinder that surprised me. Bottom line, this book was certainly worth reading! So if you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should, definitely do it. You’ll learn things and more pieces will start to fit into the puzzle.

Levana is EVIL. I mean wow. Pure evil. At times I felt bad for her, but she is seriously a psychopath. I felt bad for her. She went through a lot in her youth, and all of these things helped shaped her to be a ruthless, evil witch she is. She had a horrible upbringing. We hear the heartbreaking story of why she must hide behind an artificial glamour, we hear her experience with being rejected by the man she loved, and her inner feelings and compulsions are brought to light. It’s a very interesting character analysis, and it adds a lot to the story, giving it more of a solid foundation. I do like knowing the why’s and how’s of any situation, and this book gives you that. I’ll never feel like Levana is justified in her actions, but at least I know why she is so crazy.

As always, Marissa Meyer’s writing is flawless and I loved being immersed in this world once again. I’m even more excited for Winter now!


Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare | Book Review

June 22, 2015 Adult Fiction, Book Review 7 ★★★★★

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewSay Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #2
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, When a Scot Ties the Knot
Published by Avon on December 30, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and... and...?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn't kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

So I’m feeling like a review is not even possible because I loved everything about this book and have no complaints. I’m not kidding. Just go buy it and be done! This book was perfection to the highest degree, and I wish I had another one just like it to read right now. I think Tessa Dare is my favorite historical romance author! I love that I’m getting well-read enough in the genre to have favorite authors! Say Yes to the Marquess was even better than the first in the series, Romancing the Duke (You do not have to read that one to read this book. All of the books in the series stand alone.), and I really enjoyed that one too (read my review).

This book is funny. I love all the banter and the pent up tension that brings humor with it. But it’s dry humor that does not hit you over the head with its cheesiness. Rafe and Clio say some of the funniest things to each other, and their inner thoughts are pretty hilarious too. These two kind of grew up together, so they have a really strong foundation to build their feelings on. It felt so real. She’s engaged to his brother but doesn’t want to be anymore, and he is trying to be honorable and marry her off to his sucky brother anyway. But that’s so not working. Their flirtations, some of which involving a cake scene that had me swooning, were so sweet. I just loved everything about these two! She’s this prim, proper, sweet thing and he’s a hardened prizefighter with all kinds of worldly experience under his belt. It’s a very Lady and the Tramp story, and I loved it.

I’m going to stop here before I gush about everything. Basically, you should read this book if you’re in the mood for a fun historical romance. It’s funny and sizzling and sweet and soooooo romantic. Say Yes to the Marquess is a favorite of mine that I know I will want to revisit time and time again. When A Scot Ties the Knot is on the tippy top of my wish list! I can’t wait!

 


The Debut Dish: Lynn Lindquist (+ Giveaway) and Shari Becker (+ Giveaway)

June 21, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

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?


Secret of the Sevens by Lynn Lindquist
June 8, 2015 from Flux
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Everyone at Singer, a boarding school for underprivileged kids, knows the urban legend of the Society of Seven. Decades ago, the original members of the secret guild for elite students murdered the school’s founder and then perished in the fire they lit to hide the evidence. Or so the story goes. Talan Michaels doesn’t care about Singer’s past. He’s too focused on his future and the fact that he’ll be homeless after he graduates in May. To take his mind off it, he accepts a mysterious invitation to join a group calling itself the Sevens. He expects pranks, parties, and perks. Instead, he finds himself neck-deep in a conspiracy involving secret passages and cryptic riddles about the school’s history. Even worse, he’s now tangled in web of lies someone will kill to keep hidden.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Romance, secret society, boarding school
(someone else once said, “like Harry Potter without magic”)

Why should readers pick up your book?
Readers tend to like the romance and challenges. As two professional reviews put it:

“At the end of the day, it’s Talan and his endearing combination of bravado and vulnerability, coupled with the crackling chemistry he shares with Laney, that will keep readers turning the pages. A satisfying read for secret-society fanatics and romantics alike.” -KIRKUS REVIEWS

“…it’s impossible to put the book down. Conspiracy, loyalty, secrets, oaths, lies, and riddles flourish, making this the perfect book for readers who love to untangle mysteries by puzzling things out.” -BOOKLIST

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
When a teen is kind enough to take their time to contact me about enjoying the book. It’s a high I can’t explain. :)

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

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A plastic tiara. It’s a metaphor, I’m sure.

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The Stellow Project by Shari Becker
June 23, 2015 from Skyscape
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

When a killer storm unexpectedly hits Manhattan, seventeen-year-old Lilah Stellow’s dad insists that she and her younger sister, Flori, take refuge at their cabin in the mountains. But instead of joining them with the experimental drug that keeps Lilah alive, he disappears just as news reports name him as a prime suspect in an act of ecoterrorism.

As days pass without her medicine, Lilah finds herself teetering on the edge, caring for her sister, and growing increasingly certain they’re being watched. In her search for answers, Lilah is thrown into the center of a mystery involving an off-the-grid research facility and finds herself drawn in by Daniel, an intriguing boy who is the son of the lead scientist. As she dares to seek answers, Lilah slowly realizes that even the best intentions can go horribly wrong.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Sickly girl finds her grit.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Because it’s a smart mystery, adventure with relatable characters who have complex relationships. It has a climate disaster, action, romance and chickens. What more could you want?

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
I always knew I wanted to write stories. But it took me a really long time to figure out how to actually do it. Seeing the book, the gorgeous cover, and the positive reviews … seeing my friends and family rally around me with so much support and love … it’s like a lifelong dream is coming true. It’s more than just a book, it’s the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Pun intended.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
I’m actually a popcorn girl — no butter. But if I have to eat candy, there’s no question it would be Reeses Pieces.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Uhm, you kind of have to see my desk to believe it. How can I choose between the Presidents of the United States ruler, my dog’s brush, a Lego door, and antibacterial ointment? I think the winner has to be a nail clipper. It’s not mine, and I have no idea how it got here. But it’s been here for at least a week … maybe two.

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Discussion: Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read?

June 19, 2015 Discussion 25

This is a topic that has been bugging me probably since I started blogging six years ago. I’m not the fastest reader in the world. I’m not SLOW, but I can’t possibly read as quickly as many of my friends do. I can’t do a book a day. I can’t even always do a book a week because I have a lot of hobbies aside from reading. I also like to take time between books to absorb what I read and reflect on the experience I had. It’s kind of like breaking up with someone. I can’t just start dating someone else immediately. I need my time!

Back in January I set a goal to read a book every 4.5 days. I was doing really well for a while, but I’ve fallen behind. Required reading for my YA lit class in my grad program took up all of my reading time for a few months. I went on vacation for a month, and even though I like to think I read a lot on vacation I don’t ever have as much time as I plan on having. I love sightseeing and shopping, too!

So I guess this all boils down to one question. Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read? Do people get more followers if they post reviews almost every day? Do publishers trust the bloggers who read 200-300 books a year more than those who read 70-80? I’ve always been a firm believer in the quality versus quantity concept, but I’m not so sure that’s the case here.

What have you noticed? Do you feel like you don’t read enough? How many books did you read last year? How are you doing on your Goodreads reading challenge so far?


Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves Chapter Reveal

June 17, 2015 Book Excerpt 0

It’s no secret here that I love Tracey Garvis-Graves and every book she’s ever written and all her future books as well because reasons. So when I found out about her newest book, Heart-Shaped Hack (coming on August 25, 2015), I was excited before I even read the synopsis! But I was even MORE excited when I read it because this book has me written all over it! I am going to LOVE it! Read about the book, read the first chapter, and then click the links at the bottom of this post to read four more chapters and enter a giveaway for your very own copy of the book!


Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Add to Goodreads

When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian—a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies, and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks


Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Chapter 1

“The babies are going to starve,” Helena said.

“Don’t be so dramatic,” Kate replied. “No one is going to starve, least of all the babies.” But her pinched expression and the way she was jabbing at the keyboard as she refreshed the donations page on their website said otherwise. For the first time in the sixteen months since Kate had left her position as a corporate attorney to open the food pantry, she faced the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away. She couldn’t stand the thought of letting down her regulars, especially the young mother of three who relied on the pantry to feed them.

The problem was that Kate’s nonprofit organization was not the only one in Minneapolis that needed help. Tomorrow was the first of September, and everyone was trying to stockpile whatever resources they could before they headed into the colder months.

“Let’s see,” Helena said. “We could rob a bank. We could pawn our valuables. You could sell your body on a street corner.”

Despite their dire circumstances, Kate cracked a smile. Helena had walked through the front door of the food pantry shortly after Kate opened and said, “I’m sixty-five, and they’re forcing me to retire from my job at the insurance company. My husband retired two years ago, and now he’s home all day. That’s too much togetherness for us. I have to find something to do outside the house, and you wouldn’t have to pay me much.” Kate hired her on the spot and had never regretted it.

She swiveled her chair toward Helena. “Why am I always the one who has to sell her body? Why can’t you sell yours?”

“Who do you think is going to bring in more money? A gray-haired grandmother of seven, or a willowy twenty-nine-year-old beauty? It’s a no-brainer.”

It was hard to argue with logic like that.

Kate had been so determined not to let down their clients that she’d resorted to begging her ex-boyfriend Stuart—who worked as the executive producer on an hour-long talk show on the local ABC station—to let her appeal to the public during the afternoon broadcast.

“Do you know how hard it is for me to be around you, Kate?” Stuart said when he received her call. “Do you ever think of that?”

“Of course I do. But this is really important to me.”

“I used to be really important to you.”

Kate remained silent. They’d been through this before.

He sighed in defeat. “Come in tomorrow. I’ll squeeze you in after the cooking segment.”

“Thanks, Stuart.”

The skirt had been Helena’s idea. “We need to do whatever we can to grab viewers’ attention.”

“You mean I need to do whatever I can.”

“Of course I mean you. You have great legs.”

 

On the day of the broadcast when Helena arrived at the food pantry, Kate said, “I don’t remember this skirt being quite so short. I’m actually a little worried about the type of viewer I might attract with it.” She tugged on the hem, pulled out her desk chair, sat down, and crossed her legs. “Can you see anything?”

“You’ll be fine unless you decide to recross your legs in the middle of the segment like Sharon Stone did in that one movie.”

“I can assure you I will not be doing that. The skirt is as far as I’m willing to go. I draw the line at flashing people, not even for the babies.”

Kate had paired the black-and-white houndstooth skirt with a black short-sleeve top and her favorite black heels. When she arrived at the TV studio, she ducked into the bathroom to check her teeth for wandering lipstick. Before she left the food pantry she’d applied a raspberry lip stain that Helena claimed looked stunning on her. That morning she’d curled her long dark hair and then brushed through the curls with her fingers so they draped across her shoulders and down her back in loose waves. She’d used plenty of mascara to play up her brown eyes. The extra primping made her feel a little like she was standing on a street corner, but she banished those thoughts. At this point, they needed all the help they could get.

After Stuart snaked the mic up the back of her top, his hands lingering on her skin in a way that made Kate feel sad, he positioned her on a stool and told her to wait for his signal. She kept her legs tightly crossed, and when the light on the camera turned red, he pointed at her and she began to speak.

“Good afternoon. My name is Kate Watts, and I’m the executive director of the Main Street Food Pantry. As we head into the winter months, our needs—and those of all local food pantries—will be greater than ever.” Kate stared into the camera, imagining she was speaking directly to anyone who might have the means to help them.

“No child should ever have to go hungry, and many of our local residents depend on the food pantry to feed their families. I’m here today to personally appeal to you should you have the ability to help us in any way. The families we assist, and especially the children, depend on your generosity more than you could ever imagine. Thank you.” She ended the short segment with the food pantry’s telephone number and street address, and when Stuart gave her the all clear, she reached under her shirt for the microphone and handed it back to him.

“Thanks, Stuart,” she said, giving him a quick hug. “I really appreciate this.”

“Sure,” he said, looking over her shoulder as if there was something very interesting across the room. “Take care, Kate.”

 

That was yesterday, and so far only a few additional donations had trickled in. She and Helena spent the rest of the afternoon making calls to local churches and schools to set up additional food drives while continuing to monitor the donations page. Finally, at a little before three, Kate went into the back room to recount their inventory. It was the end of the month and they were down to their last cases of infant formula and baby food. Almost all of the canned vegetables had been depleted, and they were completely out of peanut butter and soup. If it was this bad now, Kate didn’t want to think about what might happen when budgets were stretched even thinner by holiday spending. Dejected, she was sitting on the floor, clipboard in hand, when Helena burst into the back room.

“I ran after him,” she said, gasping for breath. “But he was too fast. Boy am I out of shape.”

“Who did you run after?”

Helena tossed a brown paper bag to Kate and leaned over, resting her hands on her knees as she took in giant gulps of air.

“The man who dropped off the money. Seriously, I may need supplemental oxygen over here.”
Money?

Kate looked into the bag and blinked several times. “Did you lock the front door?”

“Yes.”

She turned the bag upside down and watched in disbelief as hundred-dollar bills rained down on the concrete floor. She counted it quickly. “There’s a thousand dollars here.”

Their website listed four levels for donations with amounts ranging from ten to one hundred dollars. There were higher amounts for corporations, but this was the largest donation they’d ever received from one person, and it was more than enough to replenish their shelves. Kate was already picturing herself pushing a giant cart through Costco. “Did he leave his name?”

“No. He walked up to my desk and said, “Give this to Katie. He must have seen you on TV yesterday.”

“Young? Old?” Rich?

“Young. Early thirties, maybe? Tall. Blondish-brown hair. He was in a real hurry to leave. I chased him out the door, but he jumped into the driver’s seat of an old blue car.”

“An old car? Are you sure?”

“I think it was old. It didn’t look like any car I’ve ever seen. It had stripes on the hood. And then he burned rubber.”

“Why would someone who drives an old car drop off a bag full of money?”

“I have no idea. But whatever the reason, he just saved us.”

Continue reading the next four chapters here!

And enter to win a copy of Heart-Shaped Hack here!


Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, and Cherish.

Tracey is on Facebook and Twitter.


Top Ten Books On My TBR For Summer 2015

June 15, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 7

TTT

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

Are you at all interested in what I’m planning to read this summer? I’ve already done quite a bit of summer reading, but we’re only just beginning! I’m a bit of a mood reader, so there’s no guarantee I’ll actually do this… but in a perfect world these are the books I’ll be reading!

As you can see, I tend to focus on fun romantic contemporaries and mysteries during the summer. They are my very favorite kinds of books this time of year! If you have recommendations for other great mysteries or romantic contemps, please let me know!

SummerTBR SummerTBR

 

1. Wild Hearts by Jessica Burkhart
2. Something Real by Heather Demetrios
3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (How how I not read it yet!?)
4. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
5. Song of Summer by Laura Lee Anderson
6. The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
7. The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas
8. Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
9. My Summer Roommate by Bridie Hall
10. Finding Paris by Joy Prebel

So, what are you planning to read this summer? Have you read any of these? What did you think? Should I prioritize some over the others? Help a girl out!


The Debut Dish: Katie M. Stout, Lauren Gibaldi (+ Giveaway), and Sharon Huss Roat (+ Giveaway)

June 14, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

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?


Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
June 9, 2015 from St. Martin’s Griffin
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

Describe your book in five words or less.
American falls for KPOP idol.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Because who doesn’t want more swoons in their life?!

If you love romances that are cuter than they are steamy, books set in other countries, YA stories that include parents and siblings, and hate-to-love relationships, then I think you’ll like HELLO, I LOVE YOU.

Also, KPOP.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
There are a lot of awesome things, but I think the coolest part for me so far is having total strangers read the book and connect with it in ways I had dreamed and hoped they would. I remember distinctly an early reader telling me the book made her cry, and that then made me cry. Not to be super corny and lame, but that moment basically made my heart explode with feels.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Sour Patch Kids.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I travel a lot and collect postcards from places I’ve been, so right now, I’ve got postcards displayed from Namibia, Northern Ireland, and France.


The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
June 16, 2015 from HarperTeen
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Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Four friends, two crazy nights. (That was hard!)

Why should readers pick up your book?
It has a little bit of everything-excitement, romance, music, friendship, and high fives.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Everything is new and exciting. Every email is cause for celebration, ever comment is thrilling. And the community of debut authors is phenomenal.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Sour gummy worms (snuck in, shhh).

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Harry Potter wand. Is that odd? One should always be prepared.

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Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat
June 16, 2015 from Harper Teen
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When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

Describe your book in five words or less.
When life turns upside down.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Any reason is fine with me! Hopefully readers will relate to Ivy, a musician who suffers from stage fright, who is scared to leave her home and best friend, who is fiercely protective of her disabled brother, who is trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The support and encouragement of the YA community has been amazing. I’ve made so many new author friends, connected with bloggers and readers, and learned so much from everyone. It’s a wonderful place to be.

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

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Confession: I haven’t sat at my desk in weeks. I write outside on the patio under a trumpet vine trellis when it’s nice weather, or in a reclining chair, or at the kitchen table. I go to my desk only when I must close the door and shut out my family, which I hate to do. (But will, when a deadline is close.) My 15-year-old son took over my desk to study for finals last week, so it is now covered in Algebra II notes.

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