Posts By: Jana

Top Ten Books I’ve Lost Interest In

February 19, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 15

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

February 16, 2018 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★★

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: From the publisher at 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)

February 14, 2018 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 9 ★★★★★

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: From the author
Amazon Amazon UK 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.

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazon Page

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Top Ten Romantic Things Book Characters Have Said

February 12, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 44

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!


The Debut Dish: Rebecca Ross, Farrah Penn, Adrianne Finlay, & Deborah Schaumberg (+ Giveaways)

February 11, 2018 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

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 Rebecca Ross (The Queen’s Rising), Farrah Penn (Twelve Steps to Normal), Adrianne Finlay (Your One & Only), and Deborah Schaumberg (The Tombs).


The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
February 6, 2018 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girls overthrowing kings.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is a HUGE spoiler, so I’ll go with my second favorite, which is when Brienna is about to ride out into battle. There is this moment of peace that comes over her, even though she doesn’t know what’s about to unfold. We truly see her transform from an uncertain young girl into a brave woman dressed in armor who is about to wage war.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just clocked out at work and was walking to my car in the parking lot when my agent texted me, asking if she could call me. I was like, YES, call me! And then I sat in my car and waited a moment for that phone call, thinking I probably shouldn’t attempt to drive just yet. So I was sitting in my car when it happened :)

What’s your favorite junk food?
I have a terrible weakness for Sour Patch Kids.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A jar of Kombucha. I drink this nearly every day.

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Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn
March 13, 2018 from JIMMY Patterson Books/Little, Brown
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can’t be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.

Kira’s Twelve Steps To A Normal Life

1. Accept Grams is gone.
2. Learn to forgive Dad.
3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend…

And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent’s an alcoholic, there’s no such thing as “normal.”
When Kira’s father enters rehab, she’s forced to leave everything behind–her home, her best friends, her boyfriend…everything she loves. Now her father’s sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal…exactly as it was before she was sent away.

But is that what Kira really wants?

Life, love, and loss come crashing together in this visceral, heartfelt story by BuzzFeed writer Farrah Penn about a girl who struggles to piece together the shards of her once-normal life before his alcoholism tore it apart.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Love, loss, and repairing relationships.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Oh man, I am a big fan of kissing scenes. My book is set during the school year, and one character is working on building an enormous Audrey II puppet for the upcoming musical, Little Shop of Horrors. This might be a mild spoiler, but there’s a kissing scene that happens inside the giant Audrey II that was fun and swoony to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d left work on my lunch break to run an errand and my agent called me when I was driving. I pulled over into a gas station after she told me the news because I was so shocked and overwhelmed with excitement. I think I kept repeating, “What? Oh my god!” That lunch break lasted longer than I intended because I also had to immediately call my mom and sister—but I don’t think anyone at work noticed, haha.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pirate’s Booty, cheddar cheese and Wheat Thins, Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Carmel, warm chocolate chip cookies are all tied for first place.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Pencils that have food puns written on the side and a coffee mug that says “Luke’s Diner” on the front. (I love Gilmore Girls)

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Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay
February 6, 2018 from HMH Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Describe your book in five words or less.
The future, clones, love, humanity

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is a tough question! Some of my favorite scenes give a bit too much away and would probably be called spoiler-y, so I’ll choose the scene where Althea-310 and Jack kiss. It’s not a first kiss for either of them, and their past experiences make them wary for different reasons, but they’re still willing to risk their emotions. It’s complicated for both of them, but I love the way Jack handles his need to be cautious.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In a home improvement store near a display of sinks. It felt pretty random, but a lot of the time big news feels that way regardless of where you are when you hear it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Potato chips with french onion dip. Crispy, salty, creamy–what else could you want? I can’t have it in the house or it’ll be gone and I’ll have regrets.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A shrimp bubble. It’s a glass globe self-contained ecosystem with 5 little shrimp swimming around in it. It’s the best I can manage for a pet, only because it requires zero effort on my part.


The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg
February 20, 2018 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare in this debut YA fantasy set in 1882 Brooklyn

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Aura seers – sinister underground asylum.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
So hard to choose, especially without spoilers! There are two that come to mind – one where Avery and her drunk father reminisce about a happier time before her mother was taken. And another when Avery stumbles upon a greenhouse in The Tombs, an enchanting place inhabited by one of my favorite characters.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Wednesday, 3/16/16 at 5:09 pm. I was home, after a long, very ordinary day. I checked my email and the day became magical! My agent informed me that Kristen Pettit at Harper Collins was prepared to make an offer; but she wanted to speak with me first! After an agonizing, jumping-out-of-my-skin, two-day wait, we talked on the phone, and our vision of the book was in perfect alignment! She said she would make the offer! Needles to say, my family and I celebrated that Friday night!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream, especially anything chocolatey and peanut-buttery! I can eat it every night.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hmmm…what’s not odd on my desk? I tend to collect odd things! Right now there is a vertebrae of some animal, fossils, crystals, used bullet cartridges, a naked troll doll from my childhood…I could go on.


A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare | Mini Book Review

February 8, 2018 Adult Fiction, Book Review 1 ★★★

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
Published by Avon on August 30, 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 372
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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

February 5, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 46

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?


The Debut Dish: Jaime Questell & A.M. Rose (+ Giveaways)

February 4, 2018 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 Jaime Questell (By a Charm and a Curse) and A.M. Rose (Road to Eugenica).


By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell
February 6, 2018 from Entangled Teen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl must escape cursed carnival.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
So I figured that living with a traveling carnival means that sometimes you have to make your own entertainment. There’s a bit where while the whole troupe is stopped to get gas, one of the teen equestrians, nicknamed Whiskey, starts a game that equal parts tag and food fight with some mini doughnuts. I loved letting these characters have some fun, not to mention Whiskey’s dialogue was •always• fun to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in the car (Bluetooth for the win!), by myself and certain I was going to be pulled over for freaking out. Luckily I almost immediately came to a red light so I was able to get it together.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I have to pick a favorite?! This is hard, but I think I have to say good, old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. I make them with the best chocolate I can get and add an extra cup of flour to the classic Toll House recipe so they don’t spread everywhere and •chef kiss• Best. Cookies. Ever.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A friend of mine gave me one of those unicorn hand puppets, where you put a hoof on four of your fingers/thumb and the head on the remaining finger. The problem is, the hooves and head never stay together, so there’s a hoof here, a severed unicorn head here…I’ve had some really confused colleagues in my office. :D

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Road to Eugenica by A.M. Rose
February 5, 2018 from Entangled Teen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Two dimensions – And the girl who connects them.

Yesterday, Drea Smith couldn’t do anything spectacular—even walking and texting at the same time was a challenge. But today, she suddenly has more answers than Google, can speak and understand numerous languages, and she can fight. Like a boss.

Super freaky.

Drea has no idea where her encyclopedic knowledge has come from, but she’ll take it when she discovers someone out there knows her secret and wants her badly. And that they’ve been searching for her since she was born.

Since she was created.

With the help of her best friend Dylan, who just wants to keep her safe, and Maddox, a mysterious new boy who is prepared to get her answers, Drea will have to push her new skills to their limit as she uncovers nothing is quite what it seems.

As she uncovers…Eugenica.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Yikes! This is tough… I guess I would say,

Two worlds. Too many secrets.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Phew. I’m glad I get more than five words for this one, otherwise I think it would be impossible. (LOL) I think my favorite scene(s) are Drea interacting with her Dad. He’s such an integral part of her life and they have such a strong relationship that it’s just nice to get to see her be herself. Especially when nothing in her life turns out to be normal.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I remember I was sitting at my kitchen table going through emails when I got to one from Entangled Teen saying they wanted my book. At first I think I was in shock. I had just gone from winning the NJWR Put Your Heart in a Book contest, to being asked for a full from an Entangled Editor, to an offer of publication. I didn’t even have time to query before this deal came in.

There might have been some screaming too, I can’t remember exactly. It’s all kind of a blur. But I do know my friend brought over some champagne to celebrate with me.

What’s your favorite junk food?
It’s a toss up between ice cream and chips. Depending on if I want something salty or sweet. Maybe I should try mixing them together sometime. (Maybe not.)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk lately is my couch (since I am recovering from surgery) so there’s everything from stuffed animals, blankets, sleeping cats, a stack of books, and snacks. All within reach of course.

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10 Things Gloria Chao Learned While Writing American Panda | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

February 1, 2018 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 3

10 Things Gloria Chao Learned While Writing American Panda | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

I’m so excited to welcome debut author Gloria Chao to the blog today as part of the American Panda blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club! Gloria is here to tell us what she learned while writing her first novel. Following her post, read more about Gloria and her book, plus enter to win a copy of American Panda for yourself!


10 Things I Learned While Writing American Panda

by Gloria Chao

1. Writing is a form of therapy.

2. Sometimes during the writing process, you need to put your head on the desk or lie on the floor and that’s okay.

3. Sometimes, for the sake of your book, you need to face your demons and ask your mother why she was so strict, why she didn’t let you date, and other horrible questions that are terrifying but necessary.

4. Don’t look at the word count—only bad things will follow. (How bad? Think Mei’s grandma with a knife threatening to cut off her forehead mole to “help her catch a man.” [p. 87 of American Panda])

5. Humor makes writing more fun!

6. Humor is tough and needs a lot of cutting and reworking.

7. Humor is subjective and scary.

8. Everything about writing is subjective and scary, especially sending your book out into the world.

9. And yet it is so rewarding and wonderful, and I want to hug the readers who so kindly let me know how much they connected with the characters, the story, the jokes, the cover, etc.

10. There is nothing in the world quite like writing, and I am the luckiest person that I get to do this as my job, even if it is a roller coaster.


American Panda by Gloria Chao
Published by Simon Pulse on February 6, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
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An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


About Gloria Chao

Gloria Chao is an MIT grad turned dentist turned writer. AMERICAN PANDA is her debut novel, coming out February 6, 2018 from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.

Gloria currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband, for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for cooperative board games, Dance Dance Revolution, or soup dumplings. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out.

Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at gloriachao.wordpress.com and find her on Twitter @gloriacchao.

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Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Read

January 29, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 72

This week’s topic is “Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Read”. I made this topic broad on purpose so that you could interpret it however you’d like. Were these books out of your comfort zone? Were they guilty pleasures you’re embarrassed to admit you read? Were they a genre you hate or for an age group you don’t typically read? Were you forced to read it in school and were surprised you actually did it instead o pretending you did? Perhaps they were intimidating to you, had a million pages, were on a topic you tend to shy away from, etc. I’m kind of all over the place with my list. lol. I’m excited to see how you’ve spun this topic!

 

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The premise of this book (kids killing each other) seemed SUPER upsetting to me and like something I would NEVER want to read. Ever. I figured it would be way too disturbing, but then I kept hearing about it and my curiosity got the better of me. I really loved it, but I still can’t believe I actually took the plunge.

2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
When I first heard about this book I was a sophomore in college, and the idea of sexy vampires was unheard of to me. In what universe would I ever fall in love with a vampire? Again, I kept hearing about it… And then a guy in my Color Theory class brought his wife’s copy in for an assignment where we had to get up in front of the class and analyze color choices of products. That was the first time I’d ever seen the cover of the book I’d been hearing about. My mom and I decided to read it together for fun, and I was hooked.

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
So… I found this book in a Scholastic book fair (in 1997) at my school library when I was a little kid and I thought the cover looked cool. I’d never heard about this book, and none of the other books had been released yet so nobody was really talking about it. I bought it and brought it home and read 3 pages before I gave up. And honestly, I went years before I even heard of these books again. I even donated my copy! I vowed to never force myself to read them because I was so not into the first one, but then the movies started coming out and the book blogging world became major pushers of the series for me. I still wasn’t interested, though, because I won’t succumb to peer pressure. The only reason I read this book is because a professor in my library and information science grad program required it for an assignment in my Children’s Literature course. 17 years after I DNFd the book I finally read it, and really enjoyed it. Now I’m working my way through the series and it’s so much fun!

 

4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Ok, so I only read this book because Marissa Meyer wrote it. I really hate Alice In Wonderland, so I was not at all interested in this book except for the fact that I love Marissa. And really, I didn’t like it much anyway. lol. But the writing was lovely!

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Blah. Another required reading in grad school, this time for my YA Lit class. I hate cancer books, I hate crying, and I was not at all a John Green person… this book had absolutely nothing going for it in my mind, and I had no interest in it. And… it was super meh. At least I didn’t cry, though! lol. Still not a John Green person either…

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I was terrified of this book. I wanted to read it because I had heard it was beautiful and unique and amazing, but I was so scared because of the subject matter. I have a hard time with holocaust books and crying and death. I met Markus at ALA one year and he personalized a beautiful hardback copy (free from the pub) of this for me. That was what made me decide to bite the bullet. He was soooo nice and I wanted to read his book. The final push, though, was when I was assigned to read this in grad school as well. It is beautiful and I loved it, but it was very hard to read.

 

 

7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This was my first YA contemporary romance! I was never a fan of contemporary novels, and stuck to dystopia or thriller or historical romance, so Anna was my gateway book. The cover is kinda cheesy and the title is a little gaggy, but this is now one of my favorite books of all time and it opened me up to a whole world of really great YA contemporary romances. I’m so glad I took the plunge!

8. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Another gateway book! This was my very first fantasy novel. Ever. I bought it because I was going to a Fierce Reads author signing (my first author signing) and I wanted all the autographs. I knew nothing about it, but when Leigh talked about it at the signing I became intrigued and decided to read it. It’s another one of my favorite novels ever, and I have read so many amazing fantasies because of it.

9. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
This book. I have so much love for this book and the author. I read On the Island way back when, as a self-published novel a couple years before Penguin bought it, gave it a new cover, and published it. I got an email about a book tour and read the synopsis and thought there was no way the book was for me. I didn’t love the age gap between the couple, and I had had some bad experiences working with self-published authors so I was very uninterested. But the synopsis got under my skin and I kept thinking about it, so I decided to go ahead and sign up a few days later. I received my ebook and began reading one evening. I could. Not. Stop. I loved it so much. The writing was amazing and the story was so sweet and wonderful and exciting. This was the ultimate out of my comfort zone kind of book, and I am so proud of myself for being brave and saying yes! It’s now one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I’ve pushed it on many, many people since I read it. And if you look in the acknowledgments of the sequel you’ll see my name. :)

 

 

10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
This was a required read in my Children’s Literature class and I hated it even more than I thought I would. Blech. I can’t believe I can claim I’ve read this. Clearly my dumb grad school never let me make my own decisions! I’m literally fuming as I write this that I will have to lie to people if I want to tell them I’ve never read a Wimpy Kid book.

Which books can you not believe you read?