Month: March 2016

Harper Summer 2016 Spotlight Tour: Wanderlost by Jen Malone (+ Giveaways)

Posted March 19, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway / 10 Comments

Harper Summer 2016 Spotlight Tour: Wanderlost by Jen Malone (+ Giveaways)

Welcome to me spot along the HarperTeen Summer 2016 tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m day 44 of 50 days of awesome books, so you NEED to run around and check them all out!

I’m pretty excited to be spotlighting Wanderlost by Jen Malone today. I love traveling. Actually, I went on a whirlwind trip through Europe just like our heroine, Aubree, does in this book. I had a lot of pretty insane and wonderful experiences. Just some of these include getting a bad case of pneumonia while on a transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; breaking a rib while coughing in Florence; almost being abducted in Venice; being epically pooped on by a pigeon in Delft, The Netherlands; being hit on by a server in Bellagio, who gave me free chocolate on my gelato; making my way uphill both ways through Siena; eating the best nutella crepe ever in Paris; and getting caught in a downpour in Interlaaken, Switzerland. I discovered who I am, how tough I am, and how wonderful this world is. I learned what I’m capable of, how far I can push myself, how much I love art and architecture and culture and pizza, and how special and loved I am. Even though I came home a very sick puppy six weeks after I left, I was a brand new person with more confidence and love in my heart.

This is what traveling can do to a person. At least, this is what traveling does to me. I loved my time in Europe, and I would go back in Europe. There’s just something so special about discovering the world while discovering yourself. I wish everyone could have the kind of experience I had, but if all you can do is experience it through a book then Wanderlost is a fantastic option.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Published by HarperTeen
Releasing on May 31, 2016
Add to Goodreads
Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan begins unraveling, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

Make sure you enter to win all the prizes!

#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prize pack of 45+ books*. (USA Only)
*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, & United As One by Pittacus Lore

In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Fall 2015 Catalog. (USA Only)
5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

How to enter:
Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to:

Today’s code word is bolded and in all caps at the beginning of this post.

Prize Rules:
1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
2.) Winner must be over 13
3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.
5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
6.) Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

Keeping Up With the Debuts: Lori Goldstein

Posted March 16, 2016 by Jana in Guest Post, Keeping Up With the Debuts / 2 Comments

Keeping Up With the Debuts is an original That Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I bring back former debut authors and give them the opportunity to talk about what they learned from their debut novel and what’s next for them!

I’m so excited to welcome Lori Goldstein to the blog today! Lee’s debut novel, Becoming Jinn, came out in April of 2015, and she’s here to tell us about what she’s learned, what’s she’s been up to over the last year, and what’s on the horizon!

Keeping Up with Lori Goldstein
Guest Post by Lori Goldstein

I’m an all-in kind of person. If I need to bake a cake, I do it from scratch. If I need to clean out my closet, I strip it down to the bare rod. If I need to learn how to write a novel, I read every craft book, take every writing course, and write, revise, write, revise until I’ve achieved my goal. I don’t do things halfway. But in the world of publishing a debut novel, this can be a dangerous thing.

Because doing things all the way means you begin to veer away from your original goal: to write a book, sell a book, and write another.

For me, doing things all the way meant immersing myself in not just the writing, but in the marketing and promoting of a debut novel. For months, I didn’t just dive into the deep end, I sprouted gills and lived underwater. I went down the Internet rabbit hole and read all I could about booking events, promotional campaigns, blog tours, media pitching, book festivals, writing workshops, and more. I hopped on all forms of social media and learned them inside and out. I watched my fellow authors, and I was fortunate to be able to talk with some amazingly smart writers and marketers and learn from them. I absorbed it all. And then I put it all into motion.

Since April 21, 2015, when Becoming Jinn released, I’ve attended more than forty-five events in thirteen states, I’ve spearheaded initiatives to mentor teen writers, online and in person, and I’ve helped countless writers with their own journey to publishing, editing query letters and first pages as part of the Pitch Wars contest as well as for writers who purchase or preorder new copies of my books, a marketing initiative that I’m continuing to implement.

Marketing took over writing in 2015, and still, as much as I did, there’s so much more on my list that I never got to. Because no human being is capable of learning and doing all it takes to both write and promote a novel. The field is too vast and the options and opportunities are limitless. But I tried. I really tried. Not just because I wanted Becoming Jinn and its sequel, Circle of Jinn, to be successful (which of course I did!), but because it turns out that in my debut year, I learned something: I love the “business” side of publishing almost as much as I love the writing side. It may seem a strange thing to say—and I know it is hard for some writers to believe. But marketing is actually a creative endeavor too, and it works a different side of your brain than writing does.

The time I spent marketing in 2015 did take away from writing, but I can’t imagine Becoming Jinn releasing into the world any other way. I’m an all-in kind of person, remember? And still with all that I did, I also completed revisions and edits on Circle of Jinn, which releases on May 17. I wrote a prequel story called Genius of Jinn, which will be available as a free e-book on March 15, and I wrote one manuscript that I’m revising now and plotted another that I’m writing now.

Oh, and did I mention I’m a bit tired? 2015 was a crazy year. I worked harder than I ever have, and I enjoyed it all more than I ever thought I would.

Being an all-in kind of person can be dangerous, yes, but it can also open the door to adventures you never imagined you’d have. Much love and thanks, 2015.

Thanks, Lori, for such an interesting and inspirational post! Lori brings some exciting news to those of you who have been itching to read Becoming Jinn, and also for those of you who loved it and want more!

Becoming Jinn Price Drop

Becoming Jinn is $2.99 across all ebook retailers until April 4th! This gives you time to read it before the release of the sequel, Circle of Jinn, on May 17th.

Get Becoming Jinn on ebook  today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes!

Pre-order Circle of Jinn from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound!

Genius of Jinn Ad

If you need a quick fix in the meantime Genius of Jinn, a free prequel e-short, was released yesterday! Grab it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!


Bug Zoo Illustrated by Andy Harkness | Children’s Book Review (Blog Tour)

Posted March 8, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Inner Child / 0 Comments

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Bug Zoo, hosted by The Irish Banana Review!

bug zoo

Bug Zoo by Lisa Wheeler
Series: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase
Illustrated by: Andy Harkness
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on February 16, 2016
Pages: 40
Source: From the publisher for the blog tour
Add to Goodreads • Buy from Amazon

Ben loves bugs: armored, teeny, leggy, greenie, floaty, wingy, jumpy, springy bugs! After a trip to the city zoo, Ben collects all of the bugs he can find and sets up a bug zoo. He couldn’t be happier–but what about his bugs?

As soon as I received this book, I noticed that it is part of a series called Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase. Being an artist myself, I was curious about what this series is all about and did a little research. Here is what I found, from an article on Publishers Weekly:

The Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have teamed up with Disney Worldwide Publishing to launch a series of children’s books created by animation artists and storytellers at each studio. The Animation Studios Artist Showcase program gives employees the opportunity to bring their artistic talents to the page in picture books featuring original art and characters.

I thought this was really cool, and knowing the whys of the series really changed my reading experience. According to Amazon, Lisa Wheeler wrote this story and Andy Harkness, who has worked on many of my favorite Disney movies (Mulan, Tangled, and Frozen to name a few), dreamed it up and designed the illustrations using sculpture. You can tell that the focus is meant to be on the magical illustrations and not the story, as the story is very simple. Ben’s love of bugs drives him to create a bug zoo, but nobody comes. He slowly begins to realize that the bugs are not happy, and that maybe keeping them in jars is not the best idea. While the story is simple, the illustrations are quite the opposite.

Andy’s style is striking and vivid, and the colors are amazing. The extreme detail and the three-dimensionality makes each page feel like an extension of your own world. I felt myself wanting to reach out and touch the tree bark or the grass. These same details also tell the story on their own, which is wonderful for emergent readers because they can “read” without assistance. I can just imagine a little child ooing and ahhing over the illustrations and making up their own story to go along with them. Personally, I really hate bugs, but these ones don’t make me squeamish. You don’t have to love bugs to love the illustrations, but if you have a child in your life who does love bugs this book is a treat. The words in the story are simple and easy to sound out, and the font choice does not hinder from the readability of those words. The moral of the story is simple, and reminds us all that nature is truly magical and needs to be left alone sometimes. Picture books for boys can be harder to come by, and this is definitely one that can be added to the pile. Girls will appreciate and enjoy it as well, though, and parents will be pleased with a bedtime story that is not overly wordy. It’s a win for all, but especially for the little bug lover in your life.

Read more about Andy’s creative process and inspiration for Bug Zoo on Disney Insider.
Follow him on Instagram to see more of his artwork, including some of the illustrations from Bug Zoo.

Visit the rest of the tour stops for more reviews!

3/7: Reads All the Books
3/8: That Artsy Reader Girl
3/9: Gun In Act One
3/10: Such A Novel Idea
3/11: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes

Q&A with Author Kathy Parks | The Lifeboat Clique Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted March 1, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 5 Comments

Q&A with Author Kathy Parks | The Lifeboat Clique Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Happy book birthday to The Lifeboat Clique!

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour for Kathy Parks’s The Lifeboat Clique, hosted by The Irish Banana ReviewI really enjoyed The Lifeboat Clique, and am so happy to have Kathy here today to answer a few of my questions!

1. The geography of the lunchroom is a very big deal, and was discussed in The Lifeboat Clique. Which table would your high school self have sat at?

I think I would have sat at one of the Uncategorized tables. I wasn’t an outcast but not terribly popular though I remember being friendly with most people. Of course I may be remembering wrong, and ate lunch in a closet.

2. What are the top 5 things you would have wanted with you if you were stranded on that lifeboat?

Great question!

1. A pony keg full of water. And if no water is available, then tequila. Might as well enjoy myself.
2. A laptop, so I can write about various perceived injustices from the others.
3. A wide brimmed hat. I hate the feeling of getting sunburned.
4. A very long and absorbing novel to pass the time while I’m waiting to be rescued. Maybe Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy.
5. Mrs. Field’s Chocolate chip cookies. I just know when I start hallucinating I’m going to think there are cookies in the boat. Might as well have some of those on hand.

3. What advice would you like to give the kids in the lifeboat? They are all going through physical, emotional, and mental challenges. What would you like to tell them as they are floating around in the ocean?

I’d tell them that this whole popularity thing, this important person versus unimportant person, is all an illusion, and that catastrophe should bring out your best self, because if in fact you do die, it’s better to die as a good person. I’d also encourage them not to drink seawater.

4. YA mash-up! In The Hunger Games, sponsors could send items to help the tributes survive. Let’s pretend the lifeboat clique’s journey to survival was televised, for entertainment and sponsors could help them. What item would you have sent to the lifeboat, and who would it have been for? Why? 

I think I would have sent a Ronco Pocket Fisherman so Denver wouldn’t have had to use the wire holding together her bra to make a fishhook. I know that when a girl is on a lifeboat and her bra is uncomfortable, that makes for a very long ordeal.

Thanks for the questions!

Find Kathy on Twitter and Tumblr

As my review states, I highly recommend The Lifeboat Clique! Denver is the Veronica Mars of survival, and I’m pretty sure you will love her. Read a little about the book, and make sure you enter the giveaway below!

the lifeboat cliqueThe Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, survival
My Review
Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

2/29: The Irish Banana Review – Review
3/1: That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
3/2: Bookiemoji – Review
3/3: Andi’s ABCs – ABC Post
3/4: Novel Ink – Review
3/7: A Book & A Latte – How I Write
3/8: Reads All the Books – Review
3/9: Actin’ Up With Books – Q&A
3/10: Paperback Princess – Review
3/11: Life According to a Bibliophile – Guest Post