Monthly Archives:: April 2016

LitKit Subscription Box Review

April 29, 2016 Uncategorized 1

Today I’m reviewing a new (or at least new to me!) subscription box for bibliophiles! If you’re a writer or just a lover of books, you might enjoy LitKit. Learn a little about LitKit below, check out my unboxing experience, and see what I got in the March LitKit! I held off on posting earlier because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who ordered last month’s box.

Born of the wet streets and dusty bookstores of San Francisco, LitKit is a monthly subscription box lovingly crafted to delight devotees of experimental literature, creative writing, and pen-and-ink publishing. Each month, we pair up with an independent author, poet, or small press publisher to showcase their most innovative and thought-provoking work. We bundle these carefully chosen publications with an assortment of unique literary devices, including high-quality writing implements and supplies, beautiful journals, thought-provoking prompts, and other interesting items intended to get your creative inks flowing freely.

Other things you should know:

– Price: $37 per month/$96 per 3-months/$334 per year
– Gift subscriptions available?: Yes.
– What does the box include?: “Small-press experimental literature, archaic and anachronistic writing supplies and technologies, tools and materials to make and repair your own books, beautiful journals and prompts to push your boundaries as a writer, mail art supplies and interactive projects, and various book-related goodies.”
– Who curates these boxes?: Read about them here.

So what did I get?

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The LitKit box is shipped Priority Mail 3-Day, and got here looking great! This logo is stamped on the two ends of the box so you know what’s coming as soon as you see it.

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Upon opening the box you get a little letter from the creators of LitKit, explaining what’s in the box. If you don’t want your items spoiled, hide this until the end! The back of this paper contains a monthly writing prompt calendar that provides one prompt a week, such as “What does the sun smell like?” and “”Who scares you?”. I love the crinkle pieces, and thought it was a fun way to pack the box.

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After taking the crinkle stuff out, voila! Stuffs!

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So, what is all this? Well, I got:

  • Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A DIY Resource for Zines and Zine Culture by Alex Wrekk of Portland Button Works. The note says that this book is “an indispensable resource for literary creators”.
  • A Read More Books button from Portland Button Works.
  • An I <3 Books magnet from Portland Button Works.
  • A retractable fine-tip sharpie.
  • Two zines from Ellen Bae: Fixed and Fleeting meant to inspire me to create my own zines after reading the Stolen Sharpie Revolution.
  • A kit to make three of my own little books, all supplies included except the glue stick.

How do I feel?

I think the idea behind the LitKit is very fun. When Meg, LitKit co-founder, pitched me this box she said it’s a great box to inspire writers and lit lovers. I can see that this might be true, however I was surprised that this month’s box surrounded zines. I’ll be honest, zines are not the first thing I think of when I hear “writing inspiration”. I actually had to look up what a zine is. lol. Wikipedia says a zine is “(an abbreviation of fanzine or magazine) most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier”. This is cool to me! The zines I received are very simple, yet fun to look at. I can definitely see these inspiring people to try and create their own.

The book making kit is very cute, and I think it will be fun to make the books. The instructions appear to be easy to follow, and I will probably use the kit to make some journals for my purse. I’m a huge fan of bookish buttons and magnets, so I am happy to have these to add to my collection. And who doesn’t need a sharpie? Pretty sure my mom stole mine already. The packaging is very nice and I like that a note was included to explain what each item is.

Would I subscribe?

No, I don’t think I would. For what I got, I feel like the price is a bit high for a bookworm on a budget. I looked up each item online, and I could have put this box together myself for less money. I understand we’re paying for the labor of the curators, though, and I totally support that. I guess my biggest thing is that I personally will not get enough use out of the items I received to justify the cost involved. I feel like this theme was a bit obscure for the general writer/bookish person. There are other subscription boxes out there that fit my needs as a book lover more than this one does.

Should you subscribe?

When you buy any subscription box, you are buying a service as much as your are buying items. You are also going into things without knowing the outcome. Meg and Michael do a great job, and I can tell they care about their subscribers. Looking at past issues of the box, there are some interesting items included. If you’re an aspiring or independent writer looking for some tips and inspiration, perhaps this is the box for you!

Thanks so much, Meg and Michael, for sending me a box in exchange for my review! As always, my review was not swayed because I got something for free and my opinions are my own.


Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey Excerpt | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

April 27, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Excerpt, Giveaway 2

Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey Excerpt | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey Excerpt | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Published by Swoon Reads on April 19, 2016
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
AmazonBarnes & Noble Add to Goodreads
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

Welcome to my spot along the blog tour for Love, Lies, and Spies hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! Cindy Antsey is a 2016 debut author (yay Debut Author Challenge books!), and I have an excerpt that is sure to get you excited to grab a copy soon. Make sure you enter to win a print copy of the book as well!

“Oh my, this is embarrassing,” Miss Juliana Telford said aloud. There was no reason to keep her thoughts to herself, as she was alone, completely alone. In fact, that was half of the problem. The other half was, of course, that she was hanging off the side of a cliff with the inability to climb either up or down and in dire need of rescue.

“Another scrape. This will definitely give Aunt apoplexy.”

Juliana hugged the cliff ever closer and tipped her head slightly so that she could glance over her shoulder. Her high-waisted ivory dress was deeply soiled across her right hip, where she had slid across the earth as she dropped over the edge.

Juliana shifted slowly and glanced over her other shoulder. Fortunately, the left side showed no signs of distress, and her lilac sarcenet spencer could be brushed off easily. She would do it now were it not for the fact that her hands were engaged, holding tightly to the tangle of roots that kept her from falling off the tiny ledge.

Juliana continued to scrutinize the damage to her wardrobe with regret, not for herself so much as for her aunt, who seemed to deem such matters of great importance. Unfortunately, her eyes wandered down to her shoes. Just beyond them yawned an abyss. It was all too apparent how far above the crashing waves of the English Channel she was—and how very small the ledge.

Despite squishing her toes into the rock face as tightly as possible, Juliana’s heels were only just barely accommodated by the jutting amalgamate. The occasional skitter and plop of eroding rocks diving into the depths of the brackish water did nothing to calm her racing heart.

Juliana swallowed convulsively. “Most embarrassing.” She shivered despite a warm April breeze. “I shall be considered completely beyond the pale if I am dashed upon the rocks. Aunt will be so uncomfortable. Most inconsiderate of me.”

A small shower of sandy pebbles rained down on Juliana’s flowery bonnet. She shook the dust from her eyes and listened. She thought she had heard a voice.

Please, she prayed, let it be a farmer or a tradesman, some-one not of the gentry. No one who would feel obligated to report back to Grays Hill Park. No gentlemen, please.

“Hello?” she called out. Juliana craned her neck upward, trying to see beyond the roots and accumulated thatch at the cliff’s edge.

A head appeared. A rather handsome head. He had dark, almost black, hair and clear blue eyes and, if one were to notice such things at a time like this, a friendly, lopsided smile.

“Need some assistance?” the head asked with a hint of sarcasm and the tone of a . . .

“Are you a gentleman?” Juliana inquired politely.

The head looked startled, frowned slightly, and then raised an eyebrow before answering. “Yes, indeed, I am—”

“Please, I do not wish to be rescued by a gentleman. Could you find a farmer or a shopkeep— anyone not of the gentry—and then do me the great favor of forgetting you saw me?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I do not want to be rude, but this is a most embarrassing predicament—”

“I would probably use the word dangerous instead.”

“Yes, well, you would, being a man. But I, on the other hand, being a young woman doing her best not to call attention to herself and bring shame upon her family, would call it otherwise.”


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Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun | Blog Tour Mini Book Review (+ Giveaway)

April 26, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 8 ★★★★

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun | Blog Tour Mini Book Review (+ Giveaway)Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 26, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.

Welcome to my stop along the Heir to the Sky blog tour, hosted by Hannah at The Irish Banana Review! I’m so happy to review this book today because I really enjoyed it! I guess I had been needing a really good dystopia because I ate this one up! I’m really at a loss for words, and am having a hard time coming up with a coherent review. So much happens in the book and it is so well done. I love that it’s a standalone, as it is super refreshing to read a fully fleshed-out story for a change. Anyway, I’m going to keep my review short and sweet so as not to give too much away.

The premise of the story is really interesting, and I was immediately intrigued even though I was a little worried that the floating continents aspect would be too similar to Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin. The bulk of this story takes place on Earth, though, so everything ended up feeling unique and fresh. And really, the story picked up for me after Kali fell and was literally thrown from her extravagant life as a royal to surviving a cold, dirty, scary life. Her first night on Earth was really exciting for me, and I loved reading about her experiences with the crazy beasts and dragons. But Griffin. Oh, Griffin. I LOVE him. He definitely made this story for me. I loved the bond that he and Kali formed, and I loved how sweet he was to her as he protected her and tried to get her back home.

This story is surrounded by a lot of legend and secrecy, and I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold regarding how the islands really ended up in the sky, what Earth is really like, and who these people really are. Kali has been lied to her whole life, and falling to Earth gave her the awful truth very quickly. She no longer wants to get home for selfish reasons, she wants to get home to save the world. She learns a lot about herself in the process and what she is capable of. She also meets a lot of people, makes some friends, falls in love, and experiences some very dangerous and life-changing things. I enjoyed watching her grow and become more aware and fierce.

I loved Sun’s writing style and the details she provided. Earth is portrayed in vivid detail, with lots of colors and ferocious beasts. I felt like I was there. I loved the characters and all the little secrets to society and politics and ways of life that shaped the story. Heir to the Sky is a fast-paced, action-packed read that had me turning the pages as quickly as humanly possible. I’d definitely recommend it to people who are looking for an interesting dystopia/fantasy mash-up.


About Amanda Sun

I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.

In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.

The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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Tour Schedule:


The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller | Book Review

April 24, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller | Book Review

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller | Book ReviewThe Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Series: Nerd #1
Published by Entangled Teen on May 7, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in a giveaway
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

Welcome to my spot along the Romancing the Nerd blog tour, hosted by YAReads Blog Tours! Today I get to read the first book in this cute set of companion novels, and I’m pretty excited because I LOVED The Summer I Became a Nerd! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Nerd. I was sold at nerd. I’m a nerd myself and I love nerdy things (like Big Bang Theory and Sidney White and fangirling), so this book spoke to me. I love all the nerdiness: the comic books, the LARPing, the cosplay, the smelling of the comic book store, the Princess Bride references. It was just so much fun!

2. We have Maddie, our closet nerd… She is hilarious! Yes, she bugged me at times because I wanted to shake her and say, “EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE SILLY GIRL!!” but she’s a teenager and teenagers can be like this in high school. I can understand her need to adhere to her popular image and date the idiot jock whom she didn’t even like, much less love, just because he’s a status symbol, but I didn’t love this about her. She does grow and change, though, and that made me love her. So yay for winning my heart, Maddie!

3. Logan is an adorkable dream. He’s so self aware and confident with who he is. I loved watching him try to win Maddie over. The scene where they meet for the first time is about the cutest meet cute I’ve read.

4. The supporting characters are golden. I loved Logan’s mom, and how supportive and fun she was. I loved his little quirky sister. Dan’s drama was great, but his language could use a little cleaning up. Really, though, the entire cast of characters was amazing.

5. The romance, like I said, is pretty dang cute.

This review was short and sweet, but I don’t want to spoil anything by going on. All in all, this is such a fun, sweet, swoony book! I loved everything about it! If you’re at all nerdy, love a nerd, or wish you were a nerd I beg of you to grab a copy of this book!


Romancing the Nerd is all about Logan’s best friend Dan, and it came out on April 5th! See how his former nerdom (seriously, how can Dan become un-nerdy?) creeps back in to his life in the form of a cute redheaded girl named Zelda. Once a nerd, always a nerd? I guess you’ll have to read and find out!

romancing the nerdRomancing the Nerd by Leigh Rae Miller
April 5, 2016 from Entangled Teen
Add to Goodreads | Buy from Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Dan Garrett has become exactly what he hates—popular. Until recently, he was just another live-action role-playing (LARP) geek on the lowest run of the social ladder. Cue a massive growth spurt and an uncanny skill at taking three-point shots in basketball and voila…Mr. Popular. It’s definitely weird.
And the biggest drawback? Going from high school zero to basketball hero cost Dan the secret girl-of-his-dorky dreams.

A tuba-playing nerd with an eclectic fashion sense, Zelda Potts’s “Coolness” stat is about minus forty-two. Dan turning his back on her and the rest of nerd-dom was brutal enough, but when he humiliates her at school, Zelda decides it’s time for a little revenge—dork style. Nevermind that she used to have a crush on him. Nevermind that her plan could backfire big time.

It’s time to roll the dice…and hope like freakin’ hell she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.


Follow the rest of the tour! 


The Debut Dish: April 2016, Issue #2 (+ Giveaways)

April 17, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Meghan Rogers (Crossing the Line), Kristy Acevedo (Consider), Wendy Spinale (Everland), Shari Schwarz (Treasure at Lure Lake), and Cindy Anstey (Love, Lies, and Spies).


Crossing the Line by Meghan Rogers
April 12, 2016 from Philomel Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

If Jason Bourne were a teenaged girl…

Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. When her agency sends her to the U.S. to infiltrate the very group her parents once worked for, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to turn double agent and finish off her kidnappers once and for all. She convinces the head of the American spy agency to trust her, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Jocelyn has to fight the withdrawal symptoms from the drug that the North Koreans used to keep her in line, and her new fellow spies refuse to trust their former adversary. Worst of all, there might be some new information to uncover about her parents – if she even wants to find out.

This action-packed spy thriller is part Gallagher Girls, part Alex Rider, and part Bourne Identity.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teen spy thriller.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
It’s really hard to pick a favorite, but I love any scene where my two main characters are pushing each other.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Cheesy fries (which make an appearance in the book).

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The baseball that I cut open and tore apart in an attempt to make a pinterest style baseball lace bracelet. (It didn’t work–or maybe I’m just not very crafty…).

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Consider by Kristy Acevedo
April 19, 2016 from Jolly Fish Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

As if Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear from the sky, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet they say is on a collision course with earth. How’s that for senior year stress?

The holograms, claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.

To stay or to go. A decision must be made.

With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl–anxiety–holograms–apocalypse–family drama.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have many favorite scenes, but as River Song would say, “Spoilers.”

There’s a riot scene at a Stop & Shop over food shortages that resonates with me. Lots of tension and drama happening at once with great character interactions so true to the moment.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had to return the call from my soon-to-be editor, so I shut myself in my bedroom. We spoke for almost an hour since it was for a two-book series deal and he asked about my ideas for book 2.

After the call, I opened my bedroom door, and my husband and daughter were waiting on the other side. Of course, then we screamed and jumped around like idiots.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Coffee ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Pizza is always good, too.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A framed picture of my old cat watching me write. (R.I.P. Theodore)

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Everland by Wendy Spinale
May 10, 2016 from Scholastic Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Steampunk Peter Pan.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Gwen Darling arrives in the Lost City where Pete and dozens of other orphaned children live, she encounters a sweet boy named Gabs who earned his name rightfully so. Gabs bring innocent humor to underlying darkness that is EVERLAND.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Building legos with my son on his bedroom floor.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything that involves salted chocolate caramel.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A blue mechanical bug that walks when you turn it on. It’s fairly steampunkish now that I think about it.


Treasure at Lure Lake by Shari L. Schwarz
April 12, 2016 from Cedar Fort Publishing and Media
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the clues to unearth both, even it means hiking in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. Bryce must work with his bickering brother, Jack, or they may never see the light of day again!

Describe your book in five words or less.
HATCHET meets IF I STAY.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of them is when one of the brothers in the book is sleeping out under the stars and wakes to an ice storm plus a smell that reminds him of being in one of the enclosed animal houses at the zoo, and a scuffling noise right next to his head. He’s sure he’s going to be mauled by a bear…but you’ll have to read it to find out what happens!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Checking emails in my kitchen in the middle of the day when no one was there to hear me freak out!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Lately? Tortilla chips and guacamole.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I actually don’t have a desk. But, I often type standing up at our kitchen bar and…on there is a Lego Stormtrooper.

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Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey
April 19, 2016 from Swoon Reads
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Regency. Romp. Bluestocking. Spy.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I love the very first scene of the book where Juliana is hanging off the side of a cliff in desperate need of help… but asks her rescuer to find someone else to aid her.

–“Please, I do not wish to be rescued by a gentleman. Could you find a farmer or a shopkeep—anyone not of the gentry—and then do me the great favor of forgetting you saw me?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I do not want to be rude but this is a most embarrassing predicament—”
“I would probably use the word dangerous instead.”
“Yes, well, you would, being a man. But I, on the other hand, being a young woman doing her best not to call attention to herself and bring shame upon her family, would call it otherwise.”

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home, sitting in the front room–our library. Fortunately it has a carpet, so my jaw wasn’t damaged when it hit the floor.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pastries. We lived in Belgium for eight years and I fell in love with their bakeries.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Camera? Not really odd, but the pens, coffee mug and mouse would definitely not fall into that category.


Giveaway: Journey to Death by Leigh Russell

April 8, 2016 Book Spotlight, Giveaway 1

I don’t know about you, but right now I’d rather be anywhere than sitting at my desk working on my final projects for this semester of grad school. Seriously. Anywhere. When Journey to Death was pitched to me, the first thing I thought was “SEYCHELLES! Tropical paradise! A Thriller!” Basically, it has all the makings of a pretty awesome beach read, and I can’t wait to read it. Wunderkind PR agrees with me, so they are offering up a print copy to one of my readers in the USA! Read a little more about the book and enter to win a copy!

Journey to Death by Leigh Russell
Published by Thomas & Mercer on February 9, 2016
Genres: Adult fiction, contemporary, thriller
Add to Goodreads • Amazon

Lucy Hall arrives in the Seychelles determined to leave her worries behind. The tropical paradise looks sun-soaked and picture-perfect—but as Lucy soon discovers, appearances can be very deceptive. A deadly secret lurks in the island’s history, buried deep but not forgotten. And it is about to come to light.

As black clouds begin to gather over what promised to be a relaxing family break, Lucy realises that her father stands in the eye of the coming storm. A shadow from his past is threatening to destroy all that he holds dear—including the lives of his loved ones.

A dark truth is about to explode into their lives, and that truth is going to hit them right between the eyes.

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Inner Child: Pigs and a Blanket by James Burks | Blog Tour

April 6, 2016 Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Inner Child 1

InnerChild

Inner Child is an original Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I take a moment to highlight a cute book for kids! I love children’s books. Hey, I started out on them! They are the foundation of my love of reading. When I need a smile, or a quick dose of the “good old days”, I never hesitate to crack open a picture book and feed my inner child.

 

Welcome to by stop along the Pigs and a Blanket blog tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review!

Pigs and a Blanket by James Burks
Illustrated by: James Burks
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on April 5, 2016
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the publisher for the blog tour
Add to Goodreads • Buy from Amazon

Pig siblings Henry and Henrietta love their green blanket. It is soft, it smells good, and it makes a great cape! As much as they each love playing with the blanket, they don’t love sharing it. Will ripping it in two solve all their problems?

Author/illustrator James Burks has created a funny, relatable, sweet story about two pigs who, despite their individual interests pulling them in different directions, really prefer to remain side by side.

Pigs and a Blanket is a very sweet, simple story about sharing, getting along, and loving your siblings. I loved the illustrations. The two pigs have some of the cutest facial expressions! The colors are also bright and vivid, with lots of details that are fun to point out with a child. The story is very short, so it makes a great bedtime read.

There are very few words on each page, so emergent readers will not be intimidated. There is some repetition of phrases, and the font is large, black, and easy to read. The illustrations essentially tell the story on their own, so children who are experiencing reading for the first time will be delighted when they discover that they can make up the story as they go. For this reason, Pigs and a Blanket is a wonderful book talk book.

I really loved the ending. This book subtly teaches a lesson on sharing without preaching to the child or shoving the message down their throats. It simply alludes to the fact that playtime is more fun if you’re playing together. I would definitely recommend this story.

Tour Schedule:
4/4: Vi3tbabe

The Debut Dish: April 2016, Issue #1 (+ Giveaways)

April 3, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Laura Shovan (The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary), Janet Sumner Johnson (The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society), Dana Elmendorf (South of Sunshine), and Brooks Benjamin (My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights).


The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan
April 12, 2016 from Wendy Lamb Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.

But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

Laura Shovan’s engaging novel is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. The students grow up and move on in this big-hearted debut about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Kid poets protest school closing.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
While Ms. Hill’s fifth grade poets stage a sit-in at the board of education, they sing protest songs and argue that their school is the backbone of their community.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
On the way to an Orioles baseball game.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate chip cookies.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A bright yellow business card holder shaped like a hedgehog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society by Janet Sumner Johnson
April 1, 2016 from Capstone Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason’s home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It’s worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She’s one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Wow, this is hard!

Friendship cemented through PB&J.

or

No! You can’t move.

or how about:

Crazy plans to avoid moving.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Annie, my main character, is deathly afraid of turkeys. So when I tell you that there is a scene involving a bunch of turkeys and a pile of turkey poop, you know it’s going to be epic. I’d love to say more, but spoiler-alert!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at my daughter’s gymnastics class. The moment is ingrained in my mind!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Twix. Not even a contest!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have an unopened Playmobil toy of a crocodile trainer and crocodile. Yeah, I don’t know why either.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf
April 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.

Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.

Describe your book in five words or less.
lesbian romance southern setting

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Chapter 7 – I call it the “Super Secret Library Meeting” where the MC, her gay best friend and the love interest are planning how to decorate the homecoming float and the MC and gay friend have the love interest take “The Oath.” I think it’s a funny, cute scene where the MC realizes she has a crush on the new girl.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In the middle of the grocery store on a Friday afternoon. My agent called me. The ONLY other time she has called me was to offer representation. I started balling like a baby. People were walking by me, scared. I kept saying, “I’m ok. It’s a happy cry.”

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chips but mostly the kind you have to lick the flavoring off your fingertips, like Cheetos. Or Funions…mmm, Funions are good.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My dear writer friend Kathryn Rose drew me an “Edward Cullen Owl.” It’s framed, sitting on my desk. He’s holding a little red apple too. Next the sketch it says, “Edward Cullen Owl want to be the lion to your lamb.” Kat knows what a Twilight dork I am. #Twihard 4lyf!


My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin
April 12, 2016 from Delacorte
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

LIVE IT.

All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

WORK IT.

At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

BRING IT.

Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Total dance anarchy.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is where the Dizzee Freekz (my main character’s dance crew) perform at a mall and everything that could possibly go wrong in a dance routine goes wrong.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my classroom eating lunch. I nearly choked on an olive when I read the email.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza, although there is nothing junky about it. It is a glorious food that I can’t live without.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A stack of tarot cards. I wish this was because I happened to be a genius tarot-card reader, but I’m not. These are for book research only. But maybe one day…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Debut Author Challenge 2016: April Review Link-Up

April 2, 2016 Debut Author Challenge 10

DAC2016S

So sorry this is a day late! Perhaps it’s my April Fool’s joke? Can you believe April is here already? This year is seriously flying by! This is a big month for me. I’m finishing up the semester this month, but first I have to tackle a million hours of projects. What are you up to this month?

I know that many people have already reached their reading goal for this challenge! That’s great! I hope you will continue on, though, as the year is not even half over and we still have tons of awesome books to look forward to! Increase your reading goals! Keep linking up your reviews! I’m really pleased with how many reviews we linked up in March. Let’s make April even bigger!

Some things to remember:

– It’s never too late to join the fun! If you’d like to join or make sure you’re signed up, there is a sign-up list and list of participants located in the Debut Author Challenge tab at the top of my blog.

– In order to get credit for your review, you must have read the book in 2016. If you read an ARC of a 2016 debut in 2015, it does not count. (I don’t want people with access to ARCs to have an advantage over those who don’t.)

– I’m here if you have any questions at all, so don’t hesitate to shoot me a message via Twitter or comment or homing pigeon.