Month: May 2019

My Favorite Books I Read During Each of the Last Ten Years

Posted May 28, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

This week’s topic was submitted by Anne @ Head Full of Books, and is so much fun! The topic is technically Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years (one book per year), but I put a bit of a spin on it and am sharing my favorite book that I read during each of the last ten years instead. This was VERY hard, but a fun trip down memory lane.

2019 (so far!)

Dating By the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe

This is every book lover’s romance right here. I LOVED it.

2018

I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill

This is the cutest fauxmance ever.

2017

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This needs no explanation.

2016

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Rhysand.

2015

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

Cake. Scene.

2014

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

I just love this sweet little slice of Italy.

2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

*sigh*

2012

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

One of my favorite books ever. I read it back when it was self-published!

2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Where my love of contemporary books began!

2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I only had eyes for vampires until I found this book.

 

I can’t wait to see which books you picked this week!


Interview with Christina June | No Place Like Here Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted May 27, 2019 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 5 Comments

Interview with Christina June | No Place Like Here Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour for No Place Like Here by Christina June! As the organizer for this tour, I got the opportunity to interview Christina!


Interview with Christina June

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

1. Your bio says your day job is writing college recommendation letters as a school counselor. How has that job impacted your writing career?

I feel like I’ve never really left high school! Being surrounded by teens definitely gives me perspective on the things they’re facing and the emotions they’re feeling. Not much has changed since I was their age, which is both comforting and distressing!

2. Your bio also states you eat way too many cupcakes. Which ones are your favorite?

I try to limit my cupcake consumption most of the time, but I do love them. There’s a local bakery in my area, Best Buns, that makes the very best vanilla/vanilla cupcakes ever, so that’s my number one. I’ll also eat anything from Baked & Wired in Washington DC.

3. What have you learned about writing/yourself since your debut?

I’ve learned that I am more capable than I think I am. Writing and publishing are scary, but if you surround yourself with good people and put in the time, you can make progress. I’ve also learned that there is always time if you make it. Even if you write for 15 minutes a day and it ends up being 25 words, that’s 25 words you didn’t have before you started. Every little bit counts.

4. What are some books every person (teen or not) should read?

I think all readers should read books about characters that don’t look like them, worship like then, love like them, have the same abilities as them, etc. We need to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of all kinds of people. I love We Need Diverse Books and the lists they put together—great resources for readers looking for ideas. A few books that have made impressions on me recently have been DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, ANGER IS A GIFT, THE BRIDE TEST, STANLEY WILL PROBABLY BE FINE, FRONT DESK, ALL THE WALLS OF BELFAST, and YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE.

5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I’m usually obsessively planning something. I love reading restaurant menus and reviews, “what do to this weekend” guides, and travel sites. I’m currently working on summer vacation and a fall trip to Disney. I also love to read and binge on TV shows.

ABOUT THE BOOK

1. Describe your book in five words or less.

That’s so hard! How about “feeling powerless at summer camp?” That covers some of it…. 😊

2. The heroine, Ash, loves inspirational quotes. What are some of her favorites? What are some of your favorites?

A lot of her favorites are my favorites. My most favorite of all time is in the book. “I am not who you supposed, but far different,” which is from a Walt Whitman poem that appears in Leaves of Grass. I think it really speaks to being a teen and how there’s this desire to appear one way to the world and also the need for others to really understand who you are inside. Sometimes those two selves don’t match.

Ash also makes reference to Warsan Shire poetry, which we couldn’t put in the book, but I would encourage everyone to read on their own. Her words are incredibly powerful.

3. Did you go to summer camp? If so, tell us your favorite memory.

I did go to summer camp! It was just after 6th grade and I went for 2 weeks to a traditional sleepaway camp with my best friend. I remember sitting around the camp fire singing with the other girls, riding horses and being terrible at archery. One really cool thing we got to do was take our horses into the river and swim with them. I loved it.

4. If you were to write yourself into this book what kind of character would you be?

Ashlyn’s best friend, Tatum, who is the star of my first novel IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE is essentially a braver version of me at sixteen. I’ve often been the one to cheer friends up and would certainly send care packages like Tatum does while Ashlyn is away.

5. What message do you hope readers receive from reading No Place Like Here?

If they’ve had a rough home life like Ash does, my hope is that reader will connect with her and perhaps feel inspired to speak up for themselves in their own life. I want them to know their voice matters and they do have power. If a reader has never experienced similar obstacles, then I hope they’ll gain empathy and new perspective. There’s a reason Ashlyn is emotionally distant, makes poor romantic choices, and feels afraid to stand up for herself. Perhaps reading this book may make those readers think about the people in their lives who might need an ally.


No Place Like Here by Christina June
Published by BLINK on May 21, 2019
Genres: Young Adult — Contemporary, Retelling
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Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.


About Christina June

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

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Sixteen Books I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

Posted May 20, 2019 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

We all have those books that really mean something to us, whether it be a personalized inscription from the author, a valuable edition, or pure sentimental value. I tend to really hate loaning out books to friends and family, but the following ten books are ones I would never even consider parting with. Thanks to Savannah Grace at Scattered Scribblings for submitting this fun topic! Show me your book babies!

1. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (First Edition)
OtI was originally self-published long ago, and I was on a blog tour for the book. As a thank you, Tracey sent me a personalized and autographed paperback copy of the book with its very first cover. It meant so much to me that she would do that, and it’s one of my most prized bookish possessions.

2. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (ARC)
This was the first ever ARC I received after writing to the publisher and requesting it. I was SO EXCITED! Anna came to do a signing here a few months later, and she drew a little shark on the cover page and signed it.

3. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Teeny tiny hardcover)
I bought this copy of Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare & Company in Paris. I had the cashier stamp it with the store’s logo, and it’s a wonderful souvenir of my being able to check off a huge bucket list item. I never thought I’d ever be able to visit that magical little bookstore right next to Notre Dame. :)

4-15. The entire Avon True Romance Series for Teens (Paperbacks)
Technically, this is a major cheat since the series is 12 books long, but they go together! This series is no longer in print, which is so sad! It’s a series of historical romance novels written with teens in mind by popular authors of the historical romance genre (Meg Cabot, Karen Hawkins, Beverly Jenkins, etc.). I loved these books so much, and they were the first “YA” I’d ever read.

16. Cress by Marissa Meyer (Hardback)
My blog is mentioned in the back of this book, plus I got to meet Marissa Meyer again and have her sign/personalize it for me!


Ten Books I Loved That Need to Become Movies

Posted May 13, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 16 Comments

I love movies. Sometimes I think I love movies and TV shows more than I love books, but let’s not get crazy here. For this week’s page-to-screen freebie I decided to share my book-to-movie wishlist. There’s like a million more that I’d love to see, but I’m going to be reasonable today. I can’t wait to see what topic you dreamed up this week!

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
It’s set in Hawaii, which is beautiful and I want to see the lavish honeymoon suite and fun activities they do!

Catherine and the Pirate by Karen Hawkins
This was probably my first favorite book that wasn’t a children’s book. It was also my first pirate romance, and I fell in love with it. I’d love to see the ship, the sexy pirate, and the ocean… and the swoons on screen.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
The scenery alone makes me want to watch this movie, but the cute romance pushes it over the edge for me. Yes to all!

Captivate by Vanessa Garden
I’d love to see this “Glittering underwater world” for myself. It’s so opulent and beautiful!

Heist Society by Ally Carter
The characters visit such amazing locations around the world in this book, plus I love heist movies. And art! The Louvre!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This is a really beautiful Beauty and the Beast retelling, plus it’s one of my favorite books ever. I love the worlds and the characters. I’d love to see the entire series on the screen.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Some of the enchantments done in this book sound amazing and so beautiful. I’d love to see the opulence, excitement, and scenery.

Cress by Marissa Meyer
I love this series so much, and would LOVE to see a miniseries or TV series made from it. But Cress is probably my favorite in the series and I’d really love to see her satellite.

Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout
This would be SO SCARY and an amazing movie!

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
I love this book so much, and a wintry Dracula’s castle would make for a pretty amazing setting. But then you’ve got the chemistry between Audrey Rose and Thomas.

What topic did you choose to do this week?
Would you like to see any of these books as movies?


Hafsah Faizal’s Mood Board for We Hunt the Flame | Blog Tour

Posted May 9, 2019 by Jana in Blog Tour, Mood Board / 1 Comment

Hafsah Faizal’s Mood Board for We Hunt the Flame | Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the official We Hunt the Flame blog tour, hosted by Macmillan! I’m so excited to be a part of the celebration as we lead up to the book’s release date of May 14, 2019! Today I have Hafsah on the blog sharing her mood board for the book. I love seeing what images strike a chord with authors. It adds a fun element to my reading experience. I hope you love it as much as I do!


Hafsah Faizal’s Mood Board for We Hunt the Flame


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Books for Young Readers on May 14, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction — Fantasy, Romance
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People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.


About Hafsah Faizal

Hafsah Faizal is an American Muslim and brand designer. She’s the founder of IceyDesigns, where she creates websites for authors and beauteous goodies for everyone else. When she’s not writing, she can be found dreaming up her next design, deciding between Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim, or traversing the world. Born in Florida and raised in California, she now resides in Texas with her family and a library of books waiting to be devoured. WE HUNT THE FLAME is her first novel.


Top Ten Book Characters That Remind Me of Myself

Posted May 6, 2019 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 10 Comments

I’m a very character-driven reader, so connecting with characters is pretty much a requirement for me if I’m going to enjoy a book. I love finding friends in the characters, and I really love finding things I have in common with them and can identify with. It was tough to narrow this list down to ten! I’m excited to see which characters you see yourself in this week!

1. Daisy from Every Time I Think of You by Tracey Garvis-Graves
On the surface, I have nothing in common with Daisy. But Tracey has this perfect way of writing characters you can find common ground with. I identified with Daisy’s feelings of inadequacy, her fear of failure, her concerns for the future, and her desire to tear down the walls she has built around herself.

2. Holland Baker from Roomies by Christina Lauren
She’s so relatable, and I think we can all see at least a small part of ourselves in her. She’s a 25-year-old plain Jane living in New York City (with the help of her two uncles who pay most of her rent), working a dead-end job (that her uncle got her) that is way below her qualifications as she tries to achieve her dream of becoming a published author. Who has been in this position before? *raises hand*

3. Lily from Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
I really connected with Lily, to the point where I almost forgot I was reading about someone other than myself! Lily is high school me. She’s a bookish, organized, intellectual wallflower with a long list of things she wants to accomplish and her future all planned out. She wants a love story like the movies, but doesn’t think anyone even notices her. She is so me! I was a studious, shy, choir girl who was actually told by one of her best friends that she should be a bank robber because nobody would notice her come and go. I wish I’d had a friend like Lily to commiserate with.

4. Charlie from Save the Date by Morgan Matson
I really connected with Charlie. I understand what it’s like to have everyone needed things from you all the time. She’s kind of the glue that keeps the group together and sane. She’s the peacemaker, and I understand the kind of pressure that comes with that job.

5. Ana from Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Ana connects with music like I do. Music has always been one of the main elements of my life. It brings out such strong emotions and feelings in me. I connect with it on so many levels, just like she mentions throughout this story. I identified with her so much for this reason.

6. Bria from Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Bria is an artist, and a traveler. Do you know who Bria really is? Bria is ME! Her love of art shone through everything she did, and everything she said. I totally identified.

7. Jane from Austenland by Shannon Hale
After dating a ton of losers, this single, 33-year-old, New Yorker has come to the conclusion that no man can compare to the sexy, debonair, and utterly romantic Mr. Darcy. She has given up on the male gender completely. Girl, I get it.

8. Maddie from Gentlemen Prefer Nerds by Joan Kilby
This girl is a nerdy cat lady. I am too!

9. Ellie from A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Ellie reminds me so much of my teenaged self: a bit of a perfectionist, someone who bites off more than they can chew, a people pleaser, a worrier, and a hopeless romantic.

10. Maddie from When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
I loved Maddie. I thought she was hilarious, plus she’s bookish, artsy, and painfully shy. I get her. While I don’t have panic attacks when I’m surrounded by a few people, I know what it’s like to be a wallflower. And I know what it’s like to view life through an artist’s eye. I love that she wrote letters to an imaginary captain to avoid jumping into the dating pool. That’s something I could totally see myself doing.

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