Month: September 2019

Top Ten Favorite Snacks to Eat While Reading

Posted September 16, 2019 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 27 Comments

Today’s TTT topic was submitted by my mom, and I love it! Anything involving food is great, in my opinion. I only drink water, so I’m just going to talk about the things I love to eat while reading. And, let’s be honest… I’ll eat these things anytime. I don’t have to have a book with me. lol

Double Dark Milano Cookies

Buttery Popcorn

Dove Milk Chocolate

Tortilla Chips

Christmas Cookies

String Cheese

Goldfish Crackers

See’s Candies Dark Butterchews

 

Haagen Dazs Milk Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

Strawberries and Chocolate

Hungry yet? I am!
What do you love to eat/drink while reading?


Top Ten Books On My To-Read List That I’m Avoiding

Posted September 9, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 27 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic was submitted by Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea through the TTT top suggestions form, and is about the books on my to-read list that I’m avoiding reading for one reason or another. Perhaps I’m intimidated by the page length or the hype surrounding the book. Maybe it’s a book I know I should read, but am not really excited about. Or maybe it’s a book I’ve hyped up so much in my own head that I’m scared of disappointing myself. lol. Whatever the case may be, I know we can all think of a book or two that’s book on our to-read list forever and it might just stay there indefinitely. I’m excited to see which books those are for you!

1. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
My mom loved this book, and it’s a classic that I’ve heard about so much over the years. I watched the miniseries based on the book and enjoyed it (and the music), but this thing is huge and I’m really worried it’s not going to have enough going on to keep me interested.

2. The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato
I feel like I got this from Costco eons ago because I love Italy and the back of the book says this is super exciting and suspenseful, but I never pick it up! I’ve gone through my books multiple times over the last few years, and I always get to this one and think I’m for sure going to get rid of it and then I read the back of the book and I’m excited about it all over again. It’s a cycle I can’t break, so maybe I should just bite the bullet. I don’t know what I’m waiting for.

3. Into Thin Air by Cindy Miles
This is another book I keep coming across on my shelves that I consider getting rid of until I read the back. It sounds like so much fun and like something I’d really enjoy, but I guess I worry it’ll be too cheesy or hokey because of the cover.

4. Beauty by Robin McKinley
I know I haven’t read this one because of the hype. People love this book, and I love Beauty and the Beast retellings so this should be a no-brainer. But what if I don’t like it? It’s happened to me before.

5. Juliet by Anne Fortier
This thing is HUGE. But it sounds so good! I love historical mysteries and Italy and I’ve heard great things. But it’s a really big book.

6. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
This is another hyped book I bought LONG ago because it was recommended to me. I LOVE spy books and historical fiction. And it mentions the Scarlet Pimpernel, which I love. So I should love this. Maybe I’m just never in the right mood?

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I really, really want to read this! I love the BBC adaptation, and I’ve read multiple retellings. I love the story, so I should read the original. I even have the pretty Barnes & Noble leatherbound, so I have no reason not to read it. I think I’m scared it’ll be hard to get through and then I’ll be a fraud for loving everything about this book but the book. lol.

8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
I’ve never read this series before (only the first book), and you’d have to be living under a rock to not know the spoilers for the series so now I’m scared to continue. I don’t want to get attached to anyone!

9. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Ah, the oldest unreviewed book on my Netgalley account (sheesh I’ve been reviewing forever). It sounds adorable, I’m just never in the mood. No idea why.

10. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Everyone loves this and what if I don’t? And what if I do!? It’s a big series to commit to!

Talk me into (or out of) reading these please!!


Interview with Annie Sullivan | Tiger Queen Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted September 4, 2019 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 5 Comments

Interview with Annie Sullivan | Tiger Queen Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour for Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan! As the organizer for this tour, I got the opportunity to interview Annie!


Interview with Annie Sullivan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

1. Your bio says that you teach at the Indiana Writers Center. How does this job impact your writing career?

I taught a couple classes there and love teaching there. I love giving back to writers—especially local writers—who are trying to break into publishing. I know how hard it is to break into this business, so any tips I can give them can go a long way to helping them achieve that goal.

I have a real day job at Wiley Publishing. I work in their marketing department. I love my team their. However, it can be hard to fit in writing time around my real work. But, I’ve mastered writing late into the night and then getting up for work the next day. Who knew all it took to become published was never sleeping again [I’m joking of course ;) ].

2. What have you learned since your debut novel, A Touch of Gold?

I’ve learned to trust my own writing more. I know when something isn’t working. I don’t have to wait for someone else to tell me that. I’ve also learned how amazing it is to have other friends in this business who you can go to when you need a listening ear or word of advice. It’s such a great community.

3. What are some books you think everyone (teen or not) should read?

Ahh!!! How do I choose? I’m just going to give you a long list of books that I love and that have impact:

1.) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
2.) Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
3.) Caraval by Stephanie Garber
4.) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
5.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer
6.) The Giver by Lois Lowry
7.) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

4. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing/working?

I’m a runner, so I enjoy running and working out. That also helps me work through story ideas. I also love traveling! I’m always off on a new adventure, which is probably why I’ve visited every continent! Outside of that, you can find me reading and watching TV!

5. What’s next for you?

The sequel to A Touch of Gold—called A CURSE OF GOLD—comes out in October 2020. It’s going to be filled with even more adventure, Greek mythology, and heart-pounding action!!! I cannot wait for readers to see what’s next for Princess Kora…and they might just meet some new characters along the way—one of which has been one of my favorite ones to write EVER!

ABOUT THE BOOK

1. What about “The Lady, Or the Tiger?” by Frank R. Stockton inspired you to retell it? What does the original mean to you?

I read Stockton’s tale in grade school, and it has a cliffhanger ending. That one time reading it really set my mind ablaze. How did the story end? What choice did the princess make? I just knew that I had to give the story the ending that it always should have had…at least the ending it should have had in my opinion anyway!

2. How does an author successfully retell a story and add something new, while remaining true to its inspiration?

I think you’ve hit it right on the head in your question. You keep the vast majority of the story like the bones of a body. Then, you have to build the flesh and blood around it so that it comes to life in a new way. You always have to give it something new so that readers have a reason to read the story because you don’t want it to be too similar to the original. I think in my version, I’m hoping having the Princess have to fight in the arena against suitors to win her throne is enough of a twist to the original to get readers interested!

3. Tell us about Princess Kateri. What kind of heroine is she?

Princess Kateri was practically born with a sword in her hand, and she is ready to enter the arena to win her right to rule—which she has to do because of an old law. She’s talented yet stubborn. She doesn’t think she needs anyone’s help…until her last opponent in the arena is announced as the one man she’s never been able to beat in a fight. Then, she has to scramble to figure out how she’s going to win her throne! She’s a character that I love and that I can’t wait for the world to meet!

4. What do you hope readers take away from Tiger Queen?

Empowerment. I want readers to see Princess Kateri facing her biggest fears with sword in hand, and I hope they take away that they too have the strength to face whatever it is life throws at them. I want them to enter the fantasy worlds I create and come out of them believing a little more in themselves and their place in the world. I want them to find the tiger within.


Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan
Published by BLINK on September 10, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction  —  Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Add to GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook Depository

From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.


About Annie Sullivan

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

Website | Twitter

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Five Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

Posted September 2, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 32 Comments

This week’s TTT topic is books I enjoyed that are outside of my comfort zone. These books could be genres I’m not typically interested in, subject matter I’m not usually drawn to, etc. I don’t push myself much since I insist that reading be a fun and pleasurable experience for me, and not a growing or learning experience (at least not all the time) so I only have five picks this week.

1. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I went in to this thinking it’s bookish and it could be fun, but I didn’t have very high hopes. It’s a memoir and I’m super selective of which ones I read, so I wasn’t entirely sure it’d be a win for me. But it ended up being very fun! I’m actually reading the sequel right now, and it’s delightful. Helene is very funny.

2. Three Mages and a Margarita by Annette Marie
This is adult urban fantasy, which I seriously never read. It wads an Audible Daily Deal one day, and my friend sent it to me because he thought I might like it. Guys, I’ve binged the entire series since. And it’s weird because there’s no romance! That’s another thing that makes it a very non-Jana book. The audio is fun, and I like the fantasy elements and the banter between characters. I’m looking forward to the release of the next book in October. It must be noted that I hate the book cover so much.

3. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
I read this only because I heard the audio was really good. There’s pretty much no romance and I’m not usually a steampunk fan, but the audio was amazing and I ended up loving this book!

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This one was out of my comfort zone because I hate crying. lol. As such, I tend to avoid WWII fiction. It’s also narrated by Death, which worried me. But it’s such a beautiful story.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I’m not a fantasy for fantasy’s sake kind of person. I don’t love magic on its own. Either one of these story elements require romance, and there’s none in this. lol. I’m also not so much a middle grade fan right now, but I knew I had to give Harry Potter a shot. I really loved it! Now I just have to read the rest of the series.

Which books have you really enjoyed that were outside your comfort zone?

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