Posts Categorized: Giveaway

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan | Book Review & Giveaway

December 8, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review, Giveaway 13 ★★★★

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan | Book Review & GiveawayMiracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #3
Published by HQN Books on November 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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4 Stars
It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn't expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

Sarah Morgan is one of my very favorite authors, and I can definitely always count on her to get me into the Christmas spirit. I’ve read and loved many of her Christmas romances, so I was very eager to read Miracle on 5th Avenue as well. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Miracle on 5th Avenue is the first book in the From Manhattan with Love series that I’ve read, but I did not feel like I was missing out on any information. It reads perfectly fine as a standalone, but will make you want to grab the other books in the series as well. 

2. I love that one of the main character, Lucas, is an author. He’s on deadline and he’s writing a book that millions of people are eagerly anticipating. Any book that includes other books is always a double win for me. I enjoyed reading about his writing process and the writer’s block and how he comes up with his stories. He writes crime novels, and he’s inspired to model a character after Eva, our heroine.

3. Speaking of Lucas, I loved him even though he’s not super lovable. Readers only see his bad side for a little while. He’s grumpy and stressed and pretty irritating. But then he becomes inspired by Eva, his creative juices start flowing, and when she becomes more to him than a character in his book he becomes caring and sweet. I loved seeing him open up about his past. As he did, so did Eva.

4. Eva is a Christmas fanatic just like me, so we got along very well. While grumpy Lucas worked upstairs in his fortress of solitude, she decorated a tree in his living room and cooked up a storm of so many yummy sounding foods all while singing her heart out. She’s so much like me. And she drove him nuts in an endearing kind of way. Her cheery disposition melted the ice man, and things got cute, if not a little bumpy along the way.

5. This book is so festive, which I’m finding is rare among this year’s “Christmas” book releases. I’ve read quite a few recent releases from this year and last year, and I finally found one that was Christmasy enough for me. Thanks for doing it again, Sarah! FINALLY.

6. I love Sarah’s writing and her ability to create characters that make their way into your heart, her ability to write emotions that you can feel, and her ability to always put a smile on your face. 

All in all, Miracle On 5th Avenue was another win for me! I really loved it and am excited to continue the series. I love New York City, so it’s kind of like Sarah wrote me my own series! Definitely pick this up if you’re looking for a little Christmas cheer and some really fun characters.

In honor of A Bookish Little Christmas, Sarah has offered up a signed copy of Miracle On 5th Avenue to one of my readers! I am so unbelievably jealous of whoever wins! I’d love a signed Sarah Morgan book! Enter to win below!

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Happy Holidays from Forever! | Christmas Book Spotlights & Giveaway

December 6, 2017 Book Spotlight, Giveaway 5

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

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The lovely people at Forever, the romance imprint of Grand Central Publishing, are here to celebrate the holidays with us today with a pretty amazing prize pack giveaway for three of my readers! Read more about Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown, Back Home at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy, Sugarplum Way by Debbie Mason, The Winter Wedding Plan by Oliva Miles, and Maybe This Christmas by Jennifer Snow below, and then enter to win a special Forever tote filled with paperbacks of them all!

Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas (Happy, Texas #2) by Carolyn Brown
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Nash Lamont is a man about as solitary as they come. That’s exactly why ranch life in middle-of-nowhere Happy, Texas suits him. So what the heck is he doing letting a beautiful widow and her three rambunctious children temporarily move in? Before he knows it, they’re stringing Christmas lights and decorating the tree… and he’s having the time of his life. But after everything he’s been through, Nash knows this kind of happiness doesn’t last.

Kasey Dawson thought she’d never get over the death of her husband. Nash, with his strong hands and infinite patience, is stirring something she hasn’t felt in a long time. Kasey knows the sexy cowboy isn’t telling her everything about this past, though. And she refuses to risk heartbreak all over again. But her kids have a plan of their own: Nothing will keep them from having a real family again-even if it takes a little help from Santa himself.

Back Home at Firefly Lake (Firefly Lake #3) by Jen Gilroy
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She has a million reasons to leave.
Can he give her the one she needs to stay?

Cat McGuire’s return to Firefly Lake is turning into much more than she bargained for. Sure, she missed the crisp pine-scented air and the comfort of having her family around her. But being home makes her feel less like the successful single mom she is–and more like the awkward teen who never fit in. It doesn’t help that hockey-pro Luc Simard is back in town, too. Luc was her childhood crush, the hometown hero who never noticed her, and yet somehow he still makes her heart skip a beat.

Luc’s homecoming has been bittersweet. He’s lost his wife and his career, but there’s no better place to start over than Firefly Lake. Coaching the local kids’ hockey team makes him feel alive again, and he thinks his life is complete–until Cat arrives. The shy girl he always wanted to protect is now the gorgeous woman who’s stealing his heart and making him believe in second chances. But how can he convince Cat that Firefly Lake is where she truly belongs?

In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Susan Wiggs and RaeAnne Thayne comes an emotional story about finding love in the most unexpected of places from Jen Gilroy.

Sugarplum Way (Harmony Harbor #4) by Debbie Mason
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Romance writer Julia Landon knows how to write a happily-ever-after. Creating one for herself is a whole different story. But after a surprising–and surprisingly passionate–kiss under the mistletoe at Harmony Harbor’s holiday party last year, Julia thought she might have finally found her very own chance at true love. Until she learns her Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broodingly Handsome has sworn off relationships. Well, if she can’t have him in real life, Julia knows just how to get the next best thing….

Aidan’s only priority is to be the best single dad ever. And this year, he plans to make the holidays magical for his little girl, Ella Rose. But visions of stolen kisses under the mistletoe keep dancing in his head, and when he finds out Julia has written him into her latest novel, he can’t help imagining the possibilities of a future together. Little does he know, though, Julia has been keeping a secret that threatens all their dreams. Luckily, ’tis the season for a little Christmas magic.

The Winter Wedding Plan (Misty Point #2) by Olivia Miles
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All she wants for Christmas is a second chance . . .

Charlotte Daniels has made her share of mistakes, but now that she’s a single mom, she vows to do better–and that starts with a new career. Working at her sister’s event-planning company is just the fresh start she needs.

Kate Daniels has finally forgiven Charlotte for her betrayal, but forgetting it is harder. But as the holidays approach and Kate has her own wedding to plan, she has no choice but to turn to Charlotte for help to throw a high-profile client the holiday party of the season.

Charlotte leaps at the chance to redeem herself . . . until this irresistible client asks her to pretend to be his fiancée for the party. She knows their charade won’t come without consequences–not just for her fresh start with Kate, but also for her own daughter.

As Kate’s wedding draws near and Charlotte’s fake romance starts to feel more and more real, will she fall back into the mistakes of her past, or finally prove herself to Kate once and for all?

Maybe This Christmas (Colorado Ice #3) by Jennifer Snow
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All wrapped up . . .

One more game. That’s all that stands between NHL star Asher Westmore and a major career milestone. But then his brother bashes him against the hockey boards, sidelining him for months. Over Christmas holidays, no less. If staying off the ice doesn’t drive him crazy, staying with his family will. The only bright spot amidst the mistletoe and twinkle lights: His best friend, Emma, is a physical therapist. And working out with her improves his body and his spirit.

One last time. Emma Callaway was in trouble the minute she and Asher added benefits to their friendship. How is she supposed to resist a funny, caring guy who makes her toes curl? Her heart was safe while he lived in a different state. Now that he’s back home recuperating, though, it’s only a matter of time before she blurts out her feelings. Emma’s only hope is that with a little holiday magic, she’ll get the best Christmas gift of all.

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Handmade Holiday Cards by Andi | Book Blogger Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

December 2, 2017 Giveaway, Guest Post 12

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

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Welcome to Andi of Andi’s ABCs, who is kicking off this fun month of festive book reviews and guest posts! I’ve always loved Andi’s blog as well as the fun cards she posts online, so I was really excited when she offered to talk about her cards and make a holiday set for my readers! The giveaway will end in time for you to mail them out to your friends and family this month.

I’m so excited to take part in Jana’s, Bookish Little Christmas. This is Jana’s 6th year doing this feature and my first time guest posting.

For those of you that don’t know me I’m Andi from Andi’s ABCs. In January my blog will be 5 years old (no, I really can’t believe that!). Andi’s ABCs is my baby where I blog about my love of YA books, romance books, and my love of accessories and clothes. But I have another hobby that I fell in love with over a year ago and brings use to my post for Jana: Cards by Andrea S..

When Jana was looking for guest posters I knew I was going to bring my love of card making to her blog so here I am.

When sitting down to come up with a design I decided I wanted to do something simple. I flipped through my stamps and found three sets I wanted to use. These sets by no means go together but they ended up really working for the look I was going for.

I wanted to keep the card simple and use traditional holiday colors. Once I settled on Altenew’s Rouge and Silver Stone, and Gina K.’s Grass Green I was really excited to see how this card set would turn out.

Using my favorite black ink, VersaFine Onyx Black, I stamped the sentiment and the tree. I liked it without anything else, but I knew there was some sparkle that was needed. I scoured my stash and found some clear sequins which were the perfect addition.

And I finished the card off with a holiday sentiment.

If you want to see more cards like this that I have created check out my Etsy shop HERE. I have a variety of holiday and everyday cards available.

But this set; this set is for one of you. I’m giving away all 6 of these cards I made for readers of That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog. Sadly the giveaway is US only. Sorry international peeps, shipping is just too expensive at this time. The giveaway will end at 11:59EST on December 9th.

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A huge thanks to Jana for having me. This was a lot of fun!

Do you send out holiday cards to your friends and family? Do you enjoy receiving them?

The Debut Dish: Anna Priemaza, Amy Giles, & Dave Connis (+ Giveaways)

November 26, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

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 Anna Priemaza (Kat and Meg Conquer the World), Amy Giles (Now is Everything), and Dave Connis (The Temptation of Adam).

Sign up for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge!

Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza
November 7, 2017 from HarperTeen
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Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gamer girl BFFs, anxiety, ADHD.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favourite* scene in the book is told entirely through the chat log of Legends of the Stone, Kat and Meg’s favourite video game. The two of them have logged on to play together for the very first time with one of Kat’s friends on her server, and chaos and hilarity ensues! It was so much fun to write.

*I’m Canadian. We include the letter “u” in everything.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home, in our board game room. (I almost wrote dining room, because in most people’s houses, that’s what it would be. But we’ve covered the walls in shelves and filled those shelves with board games–hundreds of them–and we picked the big table in the middle specifically with board gaming in mind.) I paced back and forth in front of our shelves and shelves of board games and cried many happy tears as my agent gave me the news.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Mars bars. It’s a chocolate bar we have in Canada that has nougat, caramel, and chocolate, and it’s sooooooooo delicious. I was horrified to learn that it’s not sold widely in the United States. Americans, I am very sorry for your country.

Also, birthday cake ice cream with cookie dough, brownies, strawberries, and raspberries mixed into it.

Also, melon ball frozen yogurt.

Also, dill pickle popcorn.

Also… I suppose I should stop now.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Fidget balls. They’re tiny, rubbery, spiky balls that look sort of like tiny hedgehogs. I have dermatillomania, aka skin picking disorder, which is an anxiety based compulsive disorder related to OCD, and which means I tend to pick uncontrollably at my skin until it bleeds. The fidget balls sometimes help me to pick at or play with something else instead.

Now is Everything by Amy Giles
November 7, 2017 from HarperTeen
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The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Suspense, hope, sisters, plane crash

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my favorite scenes is when I introduce Hadley and Lila’s relationship, two sisters hanging out together. Lila lost another molar and Hadley wants to know if Lila will bankroll her with some of that extra money coming in from the tooth fairy. It’s goofy and yet sweet and (I hope!) shows why Hadley will do whatever it takes to protect her little sister.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was putting my shoes on to go out to dinner when my agent called from her cell phone. I didn’t recognize her number at first, so it took me longer than it should have to catch on. I think I said, “Huh? Okay? Are you kidding me? Really?” My family figured it out before I did and started jumping up and down around me. I ended up calling my agent the next morning to ask her to explain it all over again.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate, just about any kind. Though I once bit into a chocolate covered jalapeño and I did not care for it. Not one bit.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A thermometer. I have a stomach bug. (Is that weird or just plain sad? I’m not sure.)

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The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
November 21, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
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Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Deep wounds heal the brightest.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene in TOA where Adam and his sister, Addy, have a fight in the car. Adam lets slip something he’d been holding onto for a long time and Addy is forced to deal with it. The emotion of that moment, as well as how the two handle it always grabs my heart.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
On a ladder scraping popcorn ceiling off a house my wife and I just closed on.

What’s your favorite junk food?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Darth Vader alarm clock.

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The Debut Dish: Nikki Katz, Caitlin Sangster, & Tristina Wright (+ Giveaway)

October 22, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

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 Nikki Katz (The Midnight Dance), Caitlin Sangster (Last Star Burning), and Tristina Wright (27 Hours).

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
October 17, 2017 from Swoon Reads
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When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gothic, historical, retelling.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is such a tough one. It’s like choosing which of my three kids is my favorite! Two of my favorite scenes are actually cut from the published version of the novel, but one of my favorites is the first time Penny and Cricket kiss. Which is really funny, as I do not consider myself a romance author whatsoever! In the first couple of drafts, their first kiss came later in the novel, but I enjoyed rewriting it and setting it where it now takes place. Another favorite (see I can’t choose!) is the fight scene at the end of the novel. Fight scenes are my favorite to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home and got an email from Swoon Reads saying they wanted to schedule a call. I had a feeling that it had to be good news! Then I was home when we had the discussion and they said they wanted to publish my novel as part of the current round.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Candy. Any type but usually a gummi or jelly bean kind!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A voodoo doll that my critique partner and very VERY good friend, Demetra Brodsky, gave me for my last birthday after her trip to New Orleans!

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Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster
October 10, 2017 from Simon Pulse
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Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Chinese dystopian sleeping beauty adaptation.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I think my favorite scene in the book is near the beginning: Sev, the main character is hiding from something scary with Howl, and he tells her a story about the stars in order to distract her.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting in my kitchen, feeding my children french toast.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Kettle-cooked potato chips. With no weird flavorings!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A terracotta warrior themed chess set.

27 Hours by Tristina Wright
October 3, 2017 from Entangled Teen
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Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Queer teens in space.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Rumor and Braeden out-banter each other and bring down a massive dragon threatening their home.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Washing dishes!

What’s your favorite junk food?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A headless Cinderella doll (my kids broke it, don’t judge me)

Never Apart by Romily Bernard | Blog Tour Book Spotlight (+ Giveaway)

October 16, 2017 Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway 3

Never Apart by Romily Bernard | Blog Tour Book Spotlight (+ Giveaway)

Never Apart by Romily Bernard | Blog Tour Book Spotlight (+ Giveaway)Never Apart by Romily Bernard
Published by Entangled Teen on October 3, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Time Travel
Pages: 400
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How many times would you die for love?

What if you had to relive the same five days over and over?

And what if at the end of it, your boyfriend is killed…

And you have to watch. Every time.

You don’t know why you’re stuck in this nightmare.

But you do know that these are the rules you now live by:

Wake Up.




Now, the only way to escape this loop is to attempt something crazy. Something dangerous. Something completely unexpected. This time…you’re not going to run.

Combining heart-pounding romance and a thrilling mystery Never Apart is a stunning story you won’t soon forget.

About Romily Bernard

Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She’s also, of course, now a YA novelist. So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed. Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her debut novel, Find Me, won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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The Debut Dish: Lisa Rosinsky & Gwen C. Katz (+ Giveaway)

October 8, 2017 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 Lisa Rosinsky (Inevitable and Only) and Gwen Katz (Among the Red Stars).

Inevitable and Only by Lisa Rosinsky
October 10, 2017 from Boyds Mills Press
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What if you suddenly found out you had a sister . . . and she took over your life?Cadie is close to her father. They are so much alike—same temperament, sense of humor, and love for the theater—and Dad always knows how to comfort her . . . until the day he announces that he has another daughter. Suddenly, Cadie has a sister, Elizabeth—a sister who is six months older than her, a sister who is about to move in with them, a sister whose very existence means that Cadie’s beloved father cheated on her mother when they were already married. What other secrets might he have? Can she still trust him? Does Cadie really know her father at all? And when Elizabeth arrives, Cadie’s worst fears come true. Elizabeth looks just like Dad; not only that, she seems all too perfect. Until she begins stealing Cadie’s place in the family and even Cadie’s one true love . . . But Elizabeth has secrets of her own. This deeply emotional coming-of-age story explores the choices you make when your family—and your life—changes overnight. Are these choices the inevitable and only ones? And will they ultimately bring your family back together or push you further apart?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Secrets, sisters, and Shakespeare.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is tough! I loved writing the scene where my main character, Acadia, starts falling for her co-star during auditions for her high school production of Much Ado About Nothing (though she doesn’t realize it yet). They have instant chemistry onstage while speaking Beatrice and Benedick’s lines. I’m a huge Shakespeare and theater nerd, and that scene just wrote itself!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Sitting outside a coffee shop on a beautiful warm day in June, about to go teach a creative writing class at Boston University. I couldn’t tell my students that same night because it was still confidential–hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Berger cookies–a Baltimore specialty. It’s a thin, soft vanilla cookie hiding under a whopping helping of fudge.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A large hyacinth plant named Helga and a tiny succulent named Sharon. Look, I get lonely when I write, and I need someone to tell all my terrible jokes to!

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Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz
October 3, 2017 from HarperTeen
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World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teen girls fly in WWII!

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Action scenes! I love all the scenes where I got to write dogfights and “dangerous tricks in the air.”

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Walking home from the library, which is somewhat apropos.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Candy. It’s my weakness.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A habitrail tube.

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, & a Girl with a Golden Slipper by Laura Holt | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

September 28, 2017 Giveaway, Guest Post 0

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

Today I’m welcoming author Laura Holt to the blog to talk about the inspirations behind her Star Crossed series! Laura posted an excerpt of the first book in the series, Fathoms Below, at Bonnie’s blog a couple weeks ago, so check that out if her post piques your interest!

Forbidden Love, Mythological Monsters, and a Girl with a Golden Slipper: The 11 Tragic Love Stories, Fairy Tales, and Greek Myths that Inspired the Star Crossed Series

Thisbe and Pyramus

Why tragic love stories? Because what is more heart-rending, nail-biting, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat than the possibility of not having a happy ending? Take Thisbe and Pyramus, for example. Theirs is the story of a pair of lovers who grew up next door to one another, yet, because of a feud between their families, were unable to be together. When they ran away to elope, Zeus, king of the gods, sent a lion to trick Pyramus into thinking that Thisbe was dead so that he would kill himself and then she, upon finding him dead, would do the same. Tragic? Yes, so much so that some scholars speculate that Shakespeare based the premise of his Romeo and Juliet on this story. Speaking of Shakespeare…

Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra

As soon as I realized I was writing a book about tragic love stories, I knew that I had to turn to the master for inspiration. Enter Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra, two more tales in which love doesn’t turn out so sweet for our heroes and heroines. For Romeo and Juliet, it ended with a dagger and poison. For Antony and Cleopatra, a snake bite and a sword to the gut. But wait, it gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Echo and Narcissus

This tale encompasses every quiet person’s unspoken fear: that the person they fall in love with will never notice them. In Echo’s case, Narcissus was too self-involved to notice her attention, and because she could only echo the things that other people said, she was unable to tell him how she felt. Instead, she got to watch him pine after himself until he wasted away. Definite devotion there, but also a little creepy, seeing as how he never knew she was watching him.

Hero and Leander

One of my favorite tales of tragic love because the lovers in it keep fighting to be together until the bitter end. The basic plot? Hero and Leander meet, fall in love, but their families don’t want them to be together, so they lock Hero in a tower on the other side of a large strait. Does Leander let that stop him? No way! He buys himself a boat and crosses the strait every night to visit his love, until he drowns, and unwilling to live without him, Hero throws herself out of the tower window onto the rocks below. Take that, fate.

Guinevere and Lancelot

Anyone who knows anything about Arthurian lore (or anyone who is a huge fan of the TV show Merlin, like me) is familiar with how Guinevere, though married to King Arthur, fell in love with Lancelot, one of the bravest knights of the round table, and brought about the ruin of Camelot. Poor Arthur. He should have known that not even the sword in the stone was powerful enough to stand against true love, but hey, points to him for trying. Never mind that he and Lancelot both died, and Guinevere had to spend the rest of her days in a nunnery.

Pelleas and Melisande

A lesser known French tale about a girl who marries a nobleman only to fall in love with his brother later and bring about the ruin of his entire household. Rife with wishing wells, forest trysts under the cover of darkness, sword fights, and a line that inspired one of my favorite quotes from the Star Crossed series: “Only I know that it will be the turn of the poor little child soon.”

Paris of Troy and Helen of Sparta and Tristan and Isolde

Who said that you could write a book series about tragic love stories and not include Paris and Helen and Tristan and Isolde? Not me! From the gates of Troy to the shores of Cornwall, here are two women who know what it means to give up everything for the man you love. Too bad they both lose them in the end.

Cinderella and Cupid and Psyche

Did you know that there are more than a dozen different versions of Cinderella in existence? It is arguably the most popular fairy tale ever written, and also one of the most well-known. So when I set out to write the Star Crossed series as a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella, I wanted to do it in a way that was different from all the other versions and retellings that are already out there. Step one: make it dark. Everyone thinks of Cinderella as a pretty blonde in glass slippers surrounded by helpful blue birds and singing mice. But for those who aren’t familiar with the Grimm fairy tale, the story wasn’t always so lighthearted. There were slippers filled with blood, self-inflicted dismemberment, and birds that peck your eyes out. Hence, the tragic love stories and curses. Add a few monsters to the mix (a sea monster here, a gorgon there), and voila! Step two: tie it in with Greek mythology. Why? Because the roots of most fairy tales can be found in Greek mythology, including Cinderella, who’s original version was about Rhodopis, a Greek girl who was taken to Egypt to be a slave until she caught the eye of the pharaoh and was made his wife. And who better to play fairy godmother (or in this case, godfather) to a Greek Cinderella but Cupid, god of Love? And if the godfather turned out to be the prince charming in disguise, well, that’s just one of life’s interesting little twists. This, of course, is where the myth of Cupid and Psyche comes in, with a few of my own personal touches, like stolen slippers, reincarnation, and volcanic eruptions. The rest, as they say, is history. Or, as Hermes would say: “Stories are more than just words written on paper. They are pieces of our soul.” But will there be a happy ending for our Sinderella and the other characters in the Star Crossed series? Or will they all end as tragic as the rest? That, readers, is up to you to find out.

Fathoms Below by Laura Holt
Series: Star Crossed Series #1
Published by The Book Patch on November 30, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings
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Cather Stevens doesn’t love.

Not now, not ever. She has spent her entire life watching love ruin her mother, her aunts, her cousins, her grandmother, and she made a vow a long time ago that she would never let that happen to her. But when she meets a winged boy named Hermes who tells her that she is the key to ending the star crossed curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries, she will have to redefine everything she knows about love, life, and herself.

With more than just her own heart on the line, she must find the location of her great-great grandmother’s diary. It was hidden long ago, fathoms below her town, and holds the answers to all of her questions, especially one: are the fairy tales and Greek myths that she grew up hearing actually fiction like she was taught to believe, or are they something more…something real?

About Laura Holt

Laura Holt is the author of Fathoms Below and Fathoms Above. She is from a small Georgia town, where she lives with her daughter. Growing up as the oldest of three sisters, Laura used her imagination to make up stories as a way to escape from the sometimes crazy-making monotony of everyday life. As she got older, her love of stories grew into a love of books, especially fantasy, and eventually, she wrote her own stories down as well. When Laura isn’t busy writing or thinking up a new way to promote the Star Crossed series, she can be found curled up on the couch reading, working out, or spending time with her daughter. A few of their favorite pastimes include watching shows like Once Upon a Time, shopping, and going treasure hunting. Laura is also active in the children’s ministry at her local church, is addicted to Pinterest, loves anything chocolate (as long as it doesn’t have soy in it), and is always looking for a new way to get her daily adrenaline fix. You can follow Laura on Instagram and Twitter at @authorlauraholt.

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Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

September 25, 2017 Blog Tour, Giveaway 1

Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Nicole Conway’s Savage, hosted by Chapter By Chapter Book Tours! I helped reveal the cover for Savage earlier this month, and now I’m welcoming Nicole to the blog to tell us about Savage and how it ties in to her previous series.

This series is marketed as a companion follow-up to the Dragonrider Chronicles. Tell us about that series and how this one continues that story.

You absolutely do NOT have to have read The Dragonrider Chronicles in order to read this series! Here’s why:

The Dragonrider Chronicles deals with the origins of Jaevid Broadfeather. Each book from that series covers an important time in his life. It’s about how his journey began, how he became a dragonrider, how he was trained to becoming a knight in the king’s service, and how he impacted their world. At the end of that series, Maldobar has finally achieved peace after 20 years of war because of Jaevid’s sacrifice.

The Dragonrider Legacy takes place 40 years after the end of the first series and will tell the second portion of Jaevid’s journey. However, unlike the first series, a majority of it will be told from the perspective of an entirely new cast of heroes. Many of these characters are the children and grandchildren of the original cast from the Chronicles. Because the events of the first series are now legends and tales of heroism told to the current characters, readers new to the world shouldn’t feel alienated. They will be given any information from the first series they absolutely need. My hope was to generate feelings of nostalgia for those who are already fans of the first series, and to also pique the curiosity of new readers about just who this Jaevid guy is whenever parts of his epic story are told.

Overall, The Dragonrider Legacy has been so much fun to write! Having that curtain of history behind it from the original series makes the world feel all the more realistic and immersive. It’s really been an emotional experience for me, especially since this will be my last visit to Maldobar. Training, battling, and soaring with the Dragonriders has been an incredible journey for me as a writer. I hope it’s one that readers will enjoy as much as I have!

Savage by Nicole Conway
Series: (Dragonrider Legacy #1)
Published by Month9Books on September 26, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
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Savage begins the Dragonrider Legacy series, a thrilling companion to the international bestselling Dragonrider Chronicles.

Never send a hero to do a monster’s job.

Forty years have passed since Jaevid Broadfeather brought peace to Maldobar and Luntharda. But that fragile truce will be tested as darkness gathers on the horizon. The vicious armies of the Tibran Empire have crossed the far seas and are threatening to destroy Maldobar completely. Not even the dragonriders can match the Tibran war machines. And after an attempt to awaken Jaevid from his divine sleep fails, the fate of Maldobar is looking grim.

Reigh has never known what it means to be a normal human. Raised amongst the gray elves in the wild jungle of Luntharda, he’s tried everything to fit in. But the dark power within him is bursting at the seams—refusing to be silenced. And while his adoptive father, Kiran, insists this power must be kept secret, Reigh knows he’s running out of time.

As Maldobar burns, the world is desperate for a new hero. Destiny has called, and one boy will rise to answer.

About Nicole Conway

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book. Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation. Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

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The Debut Dish: Lana Popović, Chelsea Bobulski, Rebecca Barrow, & S.F. Henson (+ Giveaways)

September 24, 2017 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 Lana Popovic (Wicked Like a Wildfire), Chelsea Bobulski (The Wood), Rebecca Barrow (You Don’t Know Me But I Know You), and S.F. Henson (Devils Within).

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
August 15, 2017 from Katherine Tegen Books
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All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Witchy twins and family curses.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Most of my favorite scenes are spoilers with High Drama and Magic, but without giving away too much, the scene that actually sparked this story is the one captured in the twins’ shared dream after their mother is attacked. The atmosphere of dark, ancient magic worked by fierce women against a wintry Montenegro backdrop lived with me for a long time before the book was written.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was working from home, and it was the end of a work day in which I’d also been finishing up a deal for an author client. So when the offer from Katherine Tegen Books landed, it was a total “cup overfloweth” moment. I was by myself, and I didn’t have any rakija–which is the Serbian go-to drink for pretty much anything that can be considered a celebratory occasion–so I poured two shots of vodka, cheersed with myself, and then poured one of them out in thanks.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Nachos made with Doritos, then smothered in melted sharp cheddar, black bean salsa, and Greek yogurt. Seriously, try it. Then join my support group.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Part of my desk is a makeshift curio cabinet, so it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to calling out the weird stuff. I think it’s currently a tie between the crystal fractal tree my partner brought back from Sweden in honor of Wicked, and the herbal spell candles that hang from my cabinet knobs and are made by a very crafty friend.

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
August 1, 2017 from Feiwel & Friends
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After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Haunting, atmospheric, dangerous, magical forest.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character realizes why the fabric of time is so important, and why we shouldn’t mess with it, even when we have the noblest intentions.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my house. I got the phone call after having a real heart-to-heart with God that morning about whether or not I was doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. It had been five years since I’d started on my journey to becoming a published author, and the doubt monsters were really creeping in, making me wonder if it would ever happen. I felt God tell me to trust in Him, and that night I got the call! It was one of the most magical, amazing, heart-stopping moments of my life.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Oreos. Kit-Kats. m&ms. Chocolate in general.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A hair dryer.

Don’t ask.

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You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow
August 29, 2017 from HarperTeen
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Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose. Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder—what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Art, love, choices, hope, reality.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favourite scene is kind of a spoiler so let’s go with my second favourite, where Audrey and her best friend Rose hang out in an empty dance studio.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was leaving work and remembered I’d gotten an email while I was closing up so decided to check it before I got in the car. Then I drove home blasting Beyonce at an obnoxious volume.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chips (or French fries as you probably call them!)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Um…batteries and a tape measure.

Devils Within by S.F. Henson
October 31, 2017 from Sky Pony Press
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Killing isn’t supposed to be easy. But it is. It’s the after that’s hard to deal with.

Nate was eight the first time he stabbed someone; he was eleven when he earned his red laces—a prize for spilling blood for “the cause.” And he was fourteen when he murdered his father (and the leader of The Fort, a notorious white supremacist compound) in self-defense, landing in a treatment center while the state searched for his next of kin. Now, in the custody of an uncle he never knew existed, who wants nothing to do with him, Nate just wants to disappear.

Enrolled in a new school under a false name, so no one from The Fort can find him, he struggles to forge a new life, trying to learn how to navigate a world where people of different races interact without enmity. But he can’t stop awful thoughts from popping into his head, or help the way he shivers with a desire to commit violence. He wants to be different—he just doesn’t know where to start.

Then he meets Brandon, a person The Fort conditioned Nate to despise on sight. But Brandon’s also the first person to treat him like a human instead of a monster. Brandon could never understand Nate’s dark past, so Nate keeps quiet. And it works for a while. But all too soon, Nate’s worlds crash together, and he must decide between his own survival and standing for what’s right, even if it isn’t easy. Even if society will never be able to forgive him for his sins.

Like a teen American History X, S.F. Henson’s Devils Within is gut-wrenching, thought-provoking, no-holds-barred look at the plague of white supremacy in contemporary American culture that may have you examining your own soul.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A YA American History X.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is in one of the early chapters. The main character, Nate, is describing how it feels to kill someone. He killed his father, a white supremacist leader, in self-defense, and as hard as it was to take a life, he’s happy his dad is gone. Because with his father dead the beatings stopped, both to him, and to anyone who looked or thought or acted different. With his father gone, Nate finally has some hope of moving past the hate that has always controlled his life.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Standing in my kitchen with my husband. I might’ve literally screamed and almost dropped then phone, and there might’ve been some happy tears, and most certainly was a lot of jumping up and down.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything sweet. Gobstoppers are my favorite writing candy, but otherwise I always gravitate toward chocolate. Especially if it’s covering peanut butter.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hmm, probably two lighters. I love lighting my favorite candle (Snuggly Sweater from Target) while I’m writing, so I keep a lighter handy. Or in this case, two of them, just in case.

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