Month: February 2018

Keeping Up With the Debuts: Tricia Levenseller | Daughter of the Siren Queen Blog Tour

Posted February 28, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Guest Post, Keeping Up With the Debuts / 2 Comments

Keeping Up With the Debuts: Tricia Levenseller | Daughter of the Siren Queen Blog Tour

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 Tricia Levenseller to the blog today as part of the official blog tour for her sophomore novel, Daughter of the Siren Queen! Tricia’s debut novel, Daughter of the Pirate King, came out exactly one year ago today on February 28, 2017. What better day than today to invite her back to the blog to tell us what’s she’s been up to over the last year, and what’s on the horizon!


Keeping Up With Tricia Levenseller

Guest post by Tricia Levenseller

Being a debut author was, in a word, magical. It was unreal having complete strangers read my work for the first time, and it was even more surreal when they wanted to discuss themes and topics that I hold dear. I’ve loved getting to know so many bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers. The book community as a whole is very welcoming and fun.

Doing book events was a new experience. I loved being able to connect with readers directly, instead of solely over the internet.

In some ways, however, being a writer was exactly the same. I was working on my next project as soon as DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING released. The sequel, DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN, was already done, and so I had to be thinking about the next project I wanted to try to sell to my publisher.

I’m excited to share that I have sold two new books! The first of which is a Viking fantasy titled WARRIOR OF THE WILD, which will release in 2019. It’s about a teen warrior who is banished after failing her coming-of-age test. With only two boys who were banished the previous year for company, she must survive the monster-filled wild and kill her village’s oppressive deity if she is ever to return home.

My current task is my first round of edits on WARRIOR OF THE WILD. It’s been a fun break from pirates, and I’m excited to for readers to get to read Rasmira’s story next year!


Daughter of the Siren King by Tricia Levenseller
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King #2
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 27, 2018
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
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Buy from Amazon

Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


About Tricia Levenseller

Tricia Levenseller writes historical fantasies for young adult readers. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, is set to release Feb. 2017 from Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Visit the other tour stops!

2/20  Love is Not a Triangle – Guest Post on research about lady pirates
2/21  Page Turners Blog – Moodboard
2/22  Fiction Fare – Author Interview
2/23  Avid Reader – Fancast
2/24  Mundie Moms – Character Interview
2/25  Stories & Sweeties – Quote Highlights
2/27  Moonlight Rendezvous – Playlist
2/28  That Artsy Reader Girl – Keeping Up With the Debuts


Top Ten Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Posted February 26, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 36 Comments

I’m not one to re-read many books because I have SO many books to read that I find I have a hard time justifying re-reading. I have many books that I absolutely love, though, and would be happy to read again and again if I had the chance. I’m also thinking that these are probably the 10 books I would choose to take with me to a deserted island, or they are the 10 books I would choose to hide if we had a Fahrenheit 451 situation… the books I’d steal if I were The Book Thief. You get the idea! And of course there’s romantic elements in all them because I’m Jana.

 

1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Swoony, hilarious office place romance.

2. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Exciting, enthralling, forbidden romance between two people stranded on a deserted island.

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Whirlwind romance that happen in Paris, in one day.

4. Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Girl ditches art program to travel solo in Italy, continually running into swoony guy.

5. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Rhysand. Enough said.

6. Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
The perfect historical romance with tons of amazing banter and a really swoony scene involving cake.

7. The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Popular girl embraces her inner nerd one summer, falls for the comic book boy, and never turns back.

8. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Sexy, swoony, dangerous, dark, and truly captivating.

9. Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Girl backpacking through Florence, Italy falls in love with the street musician as well as the country.

10. Starry Night by Debbie Macomber
Christmas love story that takes place under the Northern Lights in the Alaskan bush with a reclusive, husky, cold teddy bear of a man and his really huge, really lovable dog.

 

Which books could you reread forever?


Top Ten Books I’ve Lost Interest In

Posted February 19, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 29 Comments

This week’s topic is about the books you used to be interested in but have changed your mind about, for one reason or another. Perhaps your reading tastes or personal interests have changed. Maybe you read things in reviews that made you decide it wasn’t a book for you. Who knows why we change our minds on books like these?

Today I’m sharing some of the more popular books I once wanted to read, but have changed my mind about. Feel free to talk me out of my decisions and pitch these books to me if you think I need to read them! Most of these I lost interest in for no real reason other than I no longer liked the sound of the synopsis. If there was a deeper reason I’ll include it. lol.


1. In Honor by Jessi Kirby

2. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I heard where the series went (mainly a spoiler for how the final book ends), and it killed any interest I had in continuing.


4. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Too heavy for me. It sounds really depressing and I read to be happy.

5. Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
I picked this up at ALA and had not heard anything about it. There was no series title, and the synopsis was vague. I’m not a fan of paranormal, and I’ve never liked afterlife storylines either. I didn’t realize until reviews started surfacing that these elements are a part of the story, and I kind of deflated. I never would have picked this up if I’d known. lol.

6. My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
I loved Meant to Be, but then I did not like Being Sloane Jacobs and The Trouble with Destiny was horrible. I’ve kind of given up on the author, and it makes me really sad.


7. The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

8. The Body Electric by Beth Revis
I’ve gotten pretty picky with my sci-fi.

9. Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton


10.
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
It just sounds like it’s full of too many deep issues…

Ok, there you hate it… Have I lost interest in a book you love? Tell me why I should read it! Am I better off without any of these? Throw your opinions at me!


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | Book Review

Posted February 16, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | Book ReviewThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on March 14, 2006
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 552
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (ALA)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery ...

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I read this book over the course of almost two years in the hopes that I would not get attached and that I would not cry. I was unsuccessful on both accounts. There’s not much to say, really. It’s a beautiful story that is beautifully told.

The Book Thief, narrated by Death himself, tells the story of Liesel who discovers her very first book at her younger brother’s graveside after being put into foster care by a mother who could no longer take care of her. Her foster father teaches her to read, and she discovers her love of books as the Nazis run rampant through her country, reeking havoc on those just like the Jewish man hiding in her basement. She learns about love, life, and loss.

This book is probably the best book I’ve ever read in terms of writing, message, creativity, and thought. The writing style is immaculate in a way I can’t even explain. Emotions and feelings jump off of the page and into your soul. The story is true and heart wrenching, yet I smiled so many times. Death’s voice is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. He is cynical and caring at the same time, and is more grandfather than Grim Reaper. The characters are perfectly flawed and hopeful.

I think the most wonderful thing about this book is that it has teen appeal as well as adult appeal. We get to watch Liesel grow up, and even though she is younger than most readers, her maturity shines through because of her experiences. She could be 10, 17, 25, or 80 and each reader could identify with her and appreciate her voice. The themes of death, the importance of literature, friendship, family, love, and loss are so beautifully conveyed. It’s such a unique take on the Holocaust, and one that really spoke to me. I can see The Book Thief becoming a classic that is read for generations and generations because it is timeless and beautiful. Even though it is a very heart-wrenching and difficult book to read, I would recommend it to any and every reader. It’s so important that this event in history never be forgotten.


Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison | Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 14, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult / 10 Comments

Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison | Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison | Book Review (+ Giveaway)Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
Series: Secrets of Itlantis #1
Published by Self on February 2, 2014
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Amazon Barnes & Noble Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Aemi lives in a village carved from stones and surrounded by sea. She wins spear-throwing competitions in disguise and earns slaps from her spoiled mistress by talking back. She hates being a slave. She survives by remembering her mother's tales of home, a paradise called Perilous.

Aemi intends to find it.

But then, black ships rise from the sea in the night. Aemi is captured and taken to Itlantis, an underwater world of cities and gardens encased in glass, dazzling technology. and a centuries-long war.

She is determined to escape, even if it means conspiring with fellow prisoner Nol, who fills her with equal parts anger and desire. Even if it means impersonating her mistress. Even if it means fleeing into the territory of the Dron, the bloodthirsty barbarians of the deep.

But when Aemi witnesses firsthand an attack by the Dron, she realizes not all is as it seems below the sea.

And Perilous might be closer than she thinks.

I love everything Kate has written, so I was very eager and excited to read Of Sea and Stone. I’m happy to report that I’m still a Kate Avery Ellison fangirl, and absolutely loved Of Sea and Stone! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love the world of Itlantis. It’s beautiful! There are different underwater cities spread across the ocean, each one special in its own way. Aemi has been captured from her village at the surface and taken to the city of Celestrus. This city has, what I can only describe to be, glass spheres that are suspended in the water. Each sphere is a library dedicated to each of the different cities of Itlantis. You can see sea life swimming by and light from the surface dancing. The libraries are filled with books, foliage, sculpture, fountains, and walkways. I’d LOVE to visit!

2. Kate’s writing is so beautiful. She describes things as if you were right there! I kept wanting to highlight all the descriptive passages because I loved them so much.

3. I really liked Aemi. She’s strong, versatile, brave, smart, and level-headed. She takes her kidnapping very well. Haha. She adapts well to her new home, but she’s got plans to escape. She’s assertive and makes people fall for her, whether it be in love or in friendship.

4. Nol is pretty swoony. In the beginning he was a very cocky, jerky guy who Aemi loved to hate. But they are the only survivors (that we know of) from their village, so they learn to work together. And I loved watching him grow from such a jerk to such a caring, selfless person.

5. There’s a little mystery, a little romance, and even some action! It’s the perfect blend of everything I love.

6. Holy cliffhanger. I can’t WAIT to buy the second book!

All in all, Of Sea and Stone pulled me out of a deep reading slump. I loved everything about it, and I love Kate’s storytelling and writing style. This is a wonderful fantasy/dystopia, and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone!


About Kate Avery Ellison

I’m the author of the Frost Chronicles, an Amazon bestselling series and source material for the adventure app game Frost by Delight Games, as well as numerous other fantasy and science fiction novels. I love putting a dash of mystery in everything I write, an ode to a childhood spent reading Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes. I can’t resist adding a good twist in the story wherever I can.

I wish I could live in a place where it’s always October, but until that’s possible, I make my home in humid Atlanta with my husband, children, and two spoiled cats.

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Top Ten Romantic Things Book Characters Have Said

Posted February 12, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 34 Comments

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow this week’s topic is a love freebie! I’m so excited to see what you chose to write your list on.

I love swoony romances. I can’t help it! I am a hopeless romantic, and I love reading about people in love. Today I’ve chosen to share some of the swooniest, most romantic, most lovey dovey things that book characters have said to each other. I’ve limited the list to books I’ve actually read and can vouch for.

1. “You’re like a song that I heard when I was a little kid but forgot I knew until I heard it again.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver

2. “For there are no limits to the stars, their numbers infinite. Which is precisely why I measure my love for you by the stars. An amount too boundless to count.”
– Kerri Maniscalco, Hunting Prince Dracula

3. “I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.”
– Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

4. “I think I died to be reborn with you”
― Jodi Meadows, Incarnate

5. “There is no end to our story.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

6. “I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again  just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me we don’t belong together.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone

7. “I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you.”
— Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

8. “Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens.”
— Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

9. “I have no need for a world without you in it.”
— Claudia Gray, A Thousand Pieces of You

10. “How could you not know?” His voice was full of wonderment. “You changed me utterly. You were like a…like a bright, wonderful bloom in a garden full of weeds. Like a graceful capital on a page of plain script, a letter decorated with the deepest, finest colors in all Erin. Like a flame, Caitrin. Like a song.”
― Juliet Marillier, Heart’s Blood

What’s your very favorite romance novel? What about your favorite romantic quote or scene? I’d love recommendations, or to hear your thoughts on the quotes I shared!


A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare | Mini Book Review

Posted February 8, 2018 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare | Mini Book ReviewA Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #1
Also in this series: Once Upon a Winter's Eve, Beauty and the Blacksmith
Published by Avon on August 30, 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 372
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are... nowhere to be found. Or are they?

Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.

Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters... and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army.

Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle... but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?

It goes without saying that I love Tessa Dare. She’s amazing, and always delivers when I need a good dose of historical romance filled with swoons, banter, and warm fuzzies. I discovered her Castles Ever After series and devoured those quickly. Then I decided to read her backlist starting with Spindle Cove. Guys, Spindle Cove is this adorable, quaint little seaside hamlet that I completely fell in love with and the people there have really big hearts.

Susanna and Bram are such a fun couple. They are one of those hate-to-love duos that I so enjoy. She’s in Spindle Cove to build it up and take care of the other ladies who society has kind of rejected for one reason or another. Bram is there to infiltrate their leisurely lives and build a volunteer militia from the town’s citizens (honetly, what were they thinking sending him to a town like this?). Luckily the ladies in Spindle Cove are no strangers to weaponry, as they shoot on Thursdays. Why not build a militia of spinster women? Susanna and Bram butt heads like you wouldn’t believe, but that passion ignites a romance that gave me all the swoons. The supporting characters are all wonderful, and it’s exciting to think about returning to visit them and read their love stories as well. While this is not my favorite romance, it definitely sets the tone for a series that I’m sure will continue to get better and better.

Dare’s writing is wonderful. She’s so great at capturing humor and romance and hatred and rolling them together into a romance filled with sparks and tension and excitement. This is a very sweet story that I’d definitely recommend.

 


Top Ten Books That Have Been on my To-Read List the Longest

Posted February 5, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 37 Comments

This week I want to know which books have been hanging out on your TBR the longest, yet you still haven’t read them. My tastes tend to change over the years and I’ve removed many books from my TBR that I lost interest in. But there are some that have hung in there for 5-10 years and I just haven’t read them yet even though I still really want to. Those are the books I’m going to share with you today!


A Thousand Days In Venice by Marlena de Blasi (VENICE, guys!!)
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (Sounds amazing!)
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullogh (My mom loves this!!)


Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (Sophie!!)
Spirited Away by Cindy Miles (Trime travel romance. YES!)
Beauty by Robin McKinley (B&B retelling!!)


Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (Sounds great!)
Must’ve Done Something Good by Cheryl Cory (MC loves The Sound of Music like me!)
360 Degrees Longitude: One Family’s Journey Around the World by John Higham (Travel memoir!)


Juliet by Anne Fortier (Sounds wonderful!)

Which books do I need to read ASAP? Which would I be better off removing from my TBR forever? Have you been wanting to read any of these?