Category: Giveaway

Rachael Lippincott’s Connection to Five Feet Apart | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted November 12, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 8 Comments

I’m pleased to kick off the official Five Feet Apart blog tour with this lovely guest post by author, Rachael Lippincott! I didn’t know that this story was a screenplay before a book, and that a movie is currently in production. That makes things even more interesting. I have a bit of a personal connection to this story, as someone I care about has cystic fibrosis. It’s so nice to get a little background on it, and what inspired its creation before the movie, starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson, hits theaters on March 20, 2019.


Rachael Lippincott’s Connection to Five Feet Apart
by Rachael Lippincott

To put it simply, this book is the product of the hard work of many, many people. From the screenplay itself, written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, to Claire Wineland’s incredible contributions and spirit, to Justin Baldoni’s work as the director of the movie, to my physical writing of it, all of it had this innate desire to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis at the very core.

For me, everything started the day I got the screenplay for Five Feet Apart. I poured over the words, finishing it over the course of an afternoon, the story of Will and Stella leaving me filled with a myriad of emotions, from anger to joy to sadness to longing. When I finished, my computer screen was filled with tabs about Cystic Fibrosis and B. cepacia and medical statistics for the disease.

My inspiration started with the screenplay and grew to so much more than that over the course of that afternoon and the coming weeks and months. It became about the real life Wills and Stellas. People like Claire Wineland, who stare CF in the face and inspire so many others to live a life that they can be proud of. It became about a mom in Des Moines with this superhuman perseverance to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation so that her daughter and so many other CFers can live to see a cure. It became about people that had never heard about Cystic Fibrosis reading Will and Stella’s story, or watching it on the big screen, and taking the time to open up google and learn about what the disease is.

I am acutely aware every day that this book could have had anyone’s name on the cover next to Mikki and Tobias’s. But I was lucky enough to be able to use my greatest passion, writing, to join a team of people committed to raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, and I take that very seriously. I can say earnestly that I will do everything I can to raise awareness for CF and I hope beyond all else that Five Feet Apart helps in some small way to bring about a cure.


Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
Original screenplay written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 20, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?


About Rachael Lippincott

Rachael Lippincott was born in Philadelphia and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, splitting her time between writing and running a food truck with her partner.

 

The publisher has graciously offered up a copy of Five Feet Apart to a lucky reader of That Artsy Reader Girl!

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Blog Tour Schedule

November 12 – That Artsy Reader Girl

November 13 – Vivacious Bibliophile

November 14 – A Gingerly Review

November 15 – Life of a Simple Reader

November 16 – A Glass of Wine

November 17 – Book is Glee

November 19 – Bumbles and Fairytales

November 20 – Adventures of a Book Junkie

November 21 – Jen Ryland Reviews

November 22 – Joyous Reads

November 23 – Chasing Faerytales

November 24 – Folded Pages Distillery

November 26 – Oh, Hey! Books

November 27 – Book Briefs

November 28 – Novel Knight Book Reviews

November 29 – A Dream within a Dream

November 30 – My Guilty Obsession


Author Interview With Mila Young | Apollo Is Mine Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted September 26, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 1 Comment

Author Interview With Mila Young | Apollo Is Mine Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Mila Young’s Apollo Is Mine (book #1 in the Harem of the Gods series), hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! Pardon the late arrival of this post. We had a gmail mishap, and I only just received Mila’s interview today.

I’m excited to have Mila stop by the blog today and participate in this month’s Magic, Myth, & Mischief interview series!


Interview With Mila Young

What makes your book magical, mythical, and/or mischievous?
A reviewer recently described Apollo Is Mine as Shadowhunter meets sexy Greek gods with lots of steam! Elyse, the heroine comes from a long lineage of hunters who have been blessed by Zeus to fight mythical creatures that come to Earth to kill humans. They are the last line of defense, except Elyse is the last of her kind, and even supernatural abilities may not be enough when Hades arrives in town with Death right on his heels.

What magical power do you wish you had?
To control water… imagine all the good I could do on Earth :)

If you were a character in a fairy tale/myth, who would you be?
Ariel from Little Mermaid… I grew up loving this fairy tale and have wanted to be a mermaid for ever!! Haha

If you could live in any fairytale or mythical world, which one would you choose to live in and why?
Harry Potter world… of course :P

Dragons or unicorns?
Unicorns!!

Hans Christian Andersen, Grimms Brothers, or Disney?
Grimms Brothers… I grew up being told these kind of tales, hence my twisted imagination when it comes to tales :)

Which magical/mythical creatures do you love reading about in books?
Werewolves. Don’t know why but I watch everything and anything on them I can get my hands on .

What recipe would you use to create your own gingerbread house?
No idea if it would work, but I would love to make a gingerbread house out of snickerdoodles… drool!

Who are your favorite villains of lore?
Ursula

Would you rather be a hero or a villain?
Villain

Would you rather be locked up in a tower or a dungeon?
Tower

What elements of the (fairy tale/myth/retelling) did you use when incorporating the tale into your own novel?
I have written my own spin on Red Riding Hood, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid and Rapunzel :) They can be found here.

Which magical/mythical creatures exist in your books?
Oh I definitely have lots… from werewolves, to lion and dragon shifters, to gargoyles and genies, to Greek gods and death casters.


Apollo Is Mine by Mila Young
Series: Harem of The Gods #1
Self-published on September 18, 2018
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I’m a warrior. Cursed to fight monsters. Sworn to act as Zeus’ sword to protect mankind.

But I’d give it all up for one last kiss with the god who stole my heart…Apollo.

I never wanted to carry my family’s legacy. But blood ties cannot be broken, and I’ll keep the promise I made my father on his dying bed. Legendary monsters hunt in city streets of Chicago, and my job was to take down the worst.

I’ve trained with Heracles.

Been blessed with super human powers.

What I’ve never done is fallen in love—until Apollo crossed my path. But he isn’t the only god to catch my attention. Hades is here too, and with him comes a darkness that leaves behind a trail of human bodies. Heracles and my gut instinct urges me to destroy this creature, but each step brings me closer to the truth…

Darkness cannot win…or the Earth will tumble into chaos and I’ll lose the god I’ve come to love…Apollo is mine.

Apollo is Mine is book 1 in the Harem of the Gods reverse harem series.

Content Warning: Steamy love scenes, dominating alphas who protect their female, and plenty of sexy Greek gods who will leave you breathless.


About Mila Young

Bestselling Author, Mila Young tackles everything with the zeal and bravado of the fairytale heroes she grew up reading about. She slays monsters, real and imaginary, like there’s no tomorrow.

By day she rocks a keyboard as a marketing extraordinaire. At night she battles with her might pen-sword, creating fairytale retellings, and sexy ever after tales. In her spare time, she loves pretending she’s a mighty warrior, walks on the beach with her dogs, cuddling up with her cats, and devouring every fantasy tale she can get her pinkies on.

Mila’s Newsletter | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group

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2nd Annual Magic, Myth, & Mischief | Event Info, Schedule, & Giveaway

Posted September 1, 2018 by Jana in Blog Event, Giveaway / 1 Comment

Welcome to the 2nd annual Magic, Myth, & Mischief event, which Bonnie from A Backwards Story and I host each September!

This month-long event 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! It’s going to be a really fun month of book reviews, blog tours, guest posts, and author interviews, so make sure to join back each day for fun new content!

Here you will find the event schedule on my blog (links will be added as posts go live, and additional content will be added as we receive it from authors and guest bloggers), the calendar for the coordinating Instagram photo challenge that we hope you will participate in, an awesome giveaway, and the link-up for anything you’ve posted that fits our event (we want to come visit!).

Our official event hashtag is: #MagicMythMischief

Event Schedule

9/1 – Event Information, Schedule, & Giveaway

9/3 – Illusions by Aprilynne Pike | Book Review

9/5 – Dragon Nail Art | As She Ascends Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

9/6 – A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier | Book Review

9/7 – The Forbidden Sister by Kieran Higgins | Book Spotlight
Interview with A Touch of Gold Author, Annie Sullivan

9/10 – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater | Mini Audiobook Review

9/12 – Author Interview with Kerri Maniscalco | Escaping from Houdini Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

9/13 – Heartless by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

9/14 – Fairytale Retellings In the Real World: Melanie Dickerson’s Medieval Fairy Tale Series | Book Blogger Guest Post

9/17 – An Entreaty for Under-Represented Mythological Creatures In Recent Fantasy | Book Blogger Guest Post

9/18 – Interview with Seventh Born Author Monica Sanz

9/19 – Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown | Book Review

9/20 – The Dragons of the Fallen Isles by Jodi Meadows | Author Guest Post

9/21 – Firelight by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

9/24 – The Flight of Swans and Stinging Nettles (Or How I Came to Love Benadryl) by Sarah McGuire | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

9/26

9/27

9/28

(Here is the schedule of posts on Bonnie’s blog, too!)

 

Instagram Photo Challenge

 

Giveaway

During Magic, Myth, & Mischief, we’re giving away a book of your choice featured during the event! You can enter each day of the event by visiting our blogs and commenting on our posts. This giveaway is open anywhere Book Depository ships.

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Link-Up


Hot Pursuit by Kay Marie Book Excerpt | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted August 29, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Excerpt, Giveaway / 2 Comments

Hot Pursuit by Kay Marie Book Excerpt | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Kay Marie’s Hot Pursuit, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! I’m excited to share an excerpt of the book with you today to get you even more excited to read Hot Pursuit, which has been marketed as “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days meets White Collar”. Read more about the book below and make sure you enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card!


Excerpt of Hot Pursuit by Kay Marie

He didn’t want to notice the perfect O her plush lips made as she said her name, but he couldn’t control it…or the immediate reaction his body had at the sight. Nate froze, jaw clenching as he fought to control the blood rush coursing to a very distinct place.

Jo leaned closer, tightening her grip.

His gaze darted to those jade eyes staring up at him, vibrant and sparkling with hidden mirth. He’d always had a weakness for green eyes. And women in barely there red bikinis…

He jerked back, shaking free of her hold.

Jo folded her lips together for a moment, holding back a smile, then licked them slowly. A single brow arched. “You have a name?”

Nate frowned, cleared his tight throat, and nudged his chin in the direction of her jet ski. “I said good day, Miss Carter.”

“No fun,” she sighed with a pout, then smirked. “You know I can find out if I want to, right?”

She can’t seriously be… Nate shook off the thought and pushed his brows together in question. “You wouldn’t be implying what I think you’re implying, would you?”

Her smile widened with an unspoken challenge. “What if I am?”

Nate straightened his spine and crossed his arms over his chest, funneling his disbelief into a stern, scolding expression instead. “Breaking into a government database is a federal crime,” he said calmly, the edge of a threat laced through his tone. “Class B felony, punishable by up to twenty years in prison.”

The flames in the centers of her eyes brightened. “Only if you get caught.”

Unbelievable…she’s unbelievable.

No shame.

No remorse.

No…no…

“Can I tell you a secret, Miss Carter?” Nate murmured, not really sure why he was playing along, but the words tumbled from his lips before he could stop them. Her eager expression intensified. An almost childlike sense of wonder was etched into the grooves of her face as she nodded. He leaned in, just to prove to himself that he could, and forced his rebellious pulse to remain even. Her auburn hair tickled his face as he pressed his lips close enough to feel the heat of her sun-kissed skin. Something in his chest hitched, but he didn’t back down. “Eventually, you always get caught.”

She sucked in a breath. He leaned back just enough to stare into her eyes, not at all liking the defiant golden sparkles dancing at the centers of her irises, flickering like sunshine through a dark forest, brilliant and burning.

The air between them was tense.

A silent battle of wills.

Neither backing down.

Both fighting for the win.

She opened her mouth to speak, drawing his gaze, and—

Static cracked loudly over the two-way radio.

“Parker, Alvarez, do you copy? Are you there? Satellite feed says Carter should be in sight momentarily.”

Nate snapped upright.

Jo didn’t move except to perk one corner of her plush lips, watching him unflinchingly, victory simmering in her eyes.

“Parker, are you there? Do you copy?”

She turned her head toward the sound and shrugged. “You going to get that?”

Nate took a slow step back, eyes never leaving her for a second. His gun was four feet behind, resting next to Leo’s on the control panel. But his phone was on the table, along with his notes. All within reach of her thieving hands.

A pulse of static coursed through the radio again.

Nate lunged for it. Pressing the button to speak, he kept a laser focus on Jolene Carter, trouble personified. “Here, Boss.”

“Parker, do you see Carter?”

A small smile danced across her lips as she mouthed, Parker.


Hot Pursuit by Kay Marie
Series: To Catch a Thief #1
Self-published on August 27, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon

All Jolene Carter has ever wanted is to own a bakery of her own. There’s only one problem. Her father, Robert Carter, is a world-renowned art thief and she’s, well, sort of his protégé. But he’s promised her that this next job in New York will be their last, and she won’t let anyone get in the way of her dreams…especially not the distractingly delicious FBI agent hot on her tail.

Agent Nate Parker has been on the Robert Carter case for years, and if the rumors of the aging criminal’s retirement are true, this might be his last chance to nail him. With the legacy of his late father in the back of his mind, the stakes are more personal than anyone realizes. He won’t let anything stand in the way of justice…especially not the red-headed vixen who keeps giving him the slip.

He’s a cop who’d never bend. She’s a con who’ll never break. But all’s fair in love and larceny…


About Kay Marie

Kaitlyn Davis, a bestselling author with over a quarter of a million books sold, writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie. Publishers Weekly has said, “Davis writes with confidence and poise,” while USA Today has recommended her work as “must-read romance.”

Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found playing fetch with her puppy, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com

Sign up for Kaitlyn’s newsletter to stay up-to-date with all of her new releases, to receive exclusive subscriber bonus content, and more!

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A.J. Pine’s Summer Reading Recs | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event (+ Giveaway)

Posted August 15, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway, Guest Post / 0 Comments

A.J. Pine's Summer Reading Recs | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event (+ Giveaway)

A.J. Pine’s Summer Reading Recs

During the months of the school year, I’m a high school librarian. I’m also a mom of two fabulous kiddos. Add writing into that, and you probably wonder where I find time to read. The answer? Audio books! I get to “read” while doing other things like driving…or less enjoyable activities such as laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or blow drying my hair (yay earbuds!). Also, I just plain love audio books, so here are a few of my recent listens that you should definitely add to your audio list!

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: I read this book for my summer book club, and it blew me away. I could talk about this book for days—and have. There’s so much to discuss, and I can’t do it justice without spoiling it, but what a fascinating exploration of self vs. projected image we let others see; of how parents see their children and vice versa; of how prejudice can so easily blind someone to the truth; and of what it truly means to be a mother.
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton: Dual timelines, dual narrators, forbidden love, exile from Cuba, family secrets—this book has so muchAnd that cover??? STUNNING. A must read!
  • It Happened on Love Street by Lia Riley: I’m a sucker for small town romance. And men who are good with animals. So a southern veterinarian hero and a heroine who is—shall we say—dog averse? Puh-lease. You had me at Rhett Valentine and Pepper Knight.
  • Burning Up by Jennifer Blackwood: Sometimes I just need a good romcom, and Jennifer Blackwood’s humor always has me legit laughing out loud. As an educator myself, I love a strong school teacher heroine. And I mentioned before my penchant for men and their dogs. Even sexier—a man who’s a good dad. Did I also mention he’s a firefighter?
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: I just started listening to this one but know it’s going to be spectacular. Bahni Turpin is one of my favorite audio book narrators, plus the story has fantasy, magic, and romance yet also a storyline that deals very much with the reality of the world we live in. I’m sure I’ll be flailing about this one on social media when I’m done!

 

 

A librarian for teens by day and a romance writer by night, A.J. Pine can’t seem to escape the world of fiction, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. For more on A.J. and her books, please visit AJPine.com.

 

 


Tough Luck Cowboy by A.J. Pine
Book #2 in the Crossroads Ranch series
Published by Forever on August 28, 2018
Genres: Adult – Contemporary, Romance

The only girl he ever wanted was the one he could never have.

What’s the saying, bad luck comes in threes? If so, Lily Green is due for something good. First, her divorce is finalized—on her birthday, no less. Then the first job she lands for her catering company turns out to be for her ex-husband’s wedding. To top it off, she’s stuck working the event with Luke Everett, the sexy-as-hell best man who’s never been able to stand her. When can a girl catch a break?

For years, Luke has kept his feelings for Lily safely hidden. Hitting on his best friend’s ex-wife would definitely break the cowboy code of honor. But ever since an injury sidelined his rodeo riding, the two of them keep getting thrown together. It’s only a matter of time until his true feelings come to light. When that happens, it will either be the biggest mistake of his life, or a sign that his luck is about to change.

 

 


Summertime Q&A with Debbie Mason | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event

Posted June 15, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 1 Comment

Summertime Q&A with Debbie Mason | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event

I’m excited to be a part of the Forever Summer Reading event that celebrates all the fun romances releasing by Forever this summer! I’m excited about several of them, but particularly Debbie Mason’s Sandpiper Shore, book 6 in the Harmony Harbor series, which sounds so sweet (out 6/26/18). Debbie is here on the blog today to answer some summery and writing questions! Read more about her upcoming book, and enter to win a tote filled with Forever’s beach reads to enjoy this summer (including Sandpiper Shore!)!


Summertime Q&A with Debbie Mason

All-time favorite beach read?
I can’t think of just one. But some of my favorite authors to catch up on in the summer are: Ilona Andrews, Kelly Armstrong, Christine Feehan, Kristin Hannah, Faith Hunter, Sophie Kinsella, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes, Chloe Neill, Jodi Picoult, and J.D. Robb.

Sun bather or a shade dweller?
Sun bather.

What is your favorite food to snack on while you write?
Peanut butter by the tablespoonful or white cheddar popcorn.

What is the craziest thing in your browser history that you’ve researched for a book?
The best garden plant to poison someone with, that mimics a heart attack and is difficult to detect.

What’s one personality trait you share with the heroine of your latest book?
Empathetic and always happy to lend a helping hand.

Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado and Harmony, Harbor series. When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children and their son-in-law, and their two adorable grandbabies in Ottawa, Canada. For more on Debbie and her books, please visit www.debbiemason.com.


Sandpiper Shore by Debbie Mason
Book #6 in the Harmony Harbor series
Published by Forever on June 26, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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USA Today bestselling author Debbie Mason presents the latest novel in the Harmony Harbor series. Perfect for fans of feel-good romances by New York Times bestselling authors Emily March, Sheila Roberts, and RaeAnne Thayne!

Jenna Bell loves her job as a wedding planner and loves a happy ever after even more. Until the day she meets with her newest client and discovers that the bride’s fiancé is the man she’s had a crush on for years. But she knows the #1 work rule: Never fall in love with the groom.

Secret Service Agent Logan Gallagher arrives at Tie the Knot to make plans with his bride-to-be. But coming face to face with Jenna after all these years brings back feelings that he’s fought long and hard to forget. Does his attraction to Jenna mean that he’s about to make the biggest mistake of his life?


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

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

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

Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison | Book Review (+ Giveaway)Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
Series: Secrets of Itlantis #1
Published by Self on February 2, 2014
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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5 Stars

Aemi lives in a village carved from stones and surrounded by sea. She wins spear-throwing competitions in disguise and earns slaps from her spoiled mistress by talking back. She hates being a slave. She survives by remembering her mother's tales of home, a paradise called Perilous.

Aemi intends to find it.

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

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

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

And Perilous might be closer than she thinks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About Kate Avery Ellison

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

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

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5 Stars

A Polish Christmas by Ksenia Winnicki | Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted December 11, 2017 by Jana in Giveaway, Guest Post / 4 Comments

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

Celebrate #ChristmasWithJanaInstagram ✦ Twitter Event Schedule

I love Ksenia so much! She was the very first publicist who took a chance on little old me and sent me my very first ARC (Of Poseidon by Anna Banks) and put me on my very first official blog tour (again, for Of Poseidon). After she left Macmillan I continued to work with her while she was at ABRAMS, Tor, and Simon & Schuster. Now she’s living her dream and writing, and I can’t wait to see where life takes her next! I love hearing about her Polish heritage, so we’re all in for a huge treat today to read about how she celebrates Christmas.

A Polish Christmas

by Ksenia Winnicki
Ksenia in the kitchen cooking yummies.

I love Christmas! Let’s just get that out of the way. I love the decorations, I love the music, and I love decorating a Christmas Tree. But one of the main things I get really excited for is the FOOD! Growing up Polish, I was always surrounded by Polish food anyway, but for some reason, the Polish food at Christmas was just extra special.

But before I start rambling on about the delicious food, let me take a step back and tell you a bit more about a few Polish Christmas traditions. Poland is a Catholic country, and so Christmas is a very big deal. In our Polish household, the main festivities happen on December 24, Christmas Eve, aka Wigilia.

Below, is a list of some of the Polish Christmas traditions and superstitions (including some that my family and I keep):

The first person to enter the household on Christmas Eve has to be a man, otherwise it will bring bad luck. Because my husband and I rent an apartment from my parents in the same building here in Queens, when my mom wants us to pick something up from downstairs that day, she will insist that it be Josh, not me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

During the day, you’re supposed to be fasting, in preparation for the Christmas supper. With all the other preparations going on during the day, I do in fact forget to eat anyway.

Christmas Eve table setting.

When setting the table, you are to leave one place setting for an extra guest, whether that guest be someone unexpected who is in search of a place to stay that night, or for someone that has departed. The table also has some hay hidden underneath the tablecloth. My mom brought some with her from Bethlehem when my parents visited one year, so we’ve been using that batch of hay for a few years now.

Christmas supper is supposed to begin when you see the first star light up in the sky. My parents and I do not hold to this tradition, but I know a close friend of mine did when she was growing up.

Right before sitting down to eat, there are two very important things that must happen.

Oplatek (picture from wikipedia)

The first one, is that we all take an opłatek (a thin wafer with a religious Christmas image), and go around the room to each person, breaking off a piece of that opłatek from one another, and exchanging good wishes for the upcoming year. There are some dipped in honey, but that is saved for after the meal, so that you may also have a sweet year, too. In addition to the wafer, we all take a bunch of change, and exchange the coins with one another. That way, at the end, you have coins from everyone else. And you are to tuck those coins away and not spend it, in order to ensure prosperity for the coming year.

Midnight Mass is especially a big occasion. For YEARS growing up, my parents and the family friends we spent Christmas with together talked about going to Midnight Mass. My friend and I always took bets on how many bottles of wine our parents would drink instead. One year, finally, one year when I was in college, we all went to Midnight Mass. It was loud! It was boisterous! It’s a whole church filled with Polish people who have been drinking and have been merry all day and night. It’s quite a sight (and sound)!

At midnight, the superstition is that animals begin talking. We sadly, never got to hear any of our cats and dogs speak, because we were either in bed by then or completely did not notice the time go by, and so we had no idea what wisdom our cats and dogs might have given out! Along that same line, my mom’s father (back in Poland) would go out to the barn to share an opłatek with the horses and cows and other farm animals.

Ksenia’s Pierogi

All about the food: In addition to fasting during the day, there is to be no meat. So all the dishes for Wigilia are vegetarian and of the fish-based variety. Any food that has meat can be eaten on Christmas Day. Supposedly, there are to be twelve dishes, because of the twelve apostles. We do not hold to that tradition. For food we traditionally have red borscht with mushroom dumplings, pierogi (with cheese and potato), stuffed cabbage (with rice and mushroom), and carp. My mom likes to make kompot, a sweet and juicy beverage from pears and other dried fruit; for the longest time she would make kutia, this Polish-style pudding with poppy seed and other grains, but then she gave up when she noticed none of us ate it! Over the last several years, I’ve taken up the mantle of hosting Christmas Eve, as well as cooking the majority of the dishes. If you know me, I don’t cook. So instead, I spend the two days prior to Christmas Eve making and cooking stuffed cabbage, pierogi, uszka (the dumplings for the borscht), and some cookies and pies.

Ksenia’s Polish cookbooks.

I’ve accumulated some Polish cookbooks in the last few years, but when it comes to the pierogi, I make sure to follow my grandmother’s recipe!

After the meal, we will sit down for some light desserts, some Polish Christmas carol singing, and then we open our gifts. Depending on how long everyone stays, our Christmas Eve can last long past midnight.

So those are some of the Polish Christmas traditions from my Polish household. Josh is a real trooper and has adapted quite well. ;) I do insist that he works from home on those days I’m cooking for fear of burning down the house.

The one thing I hate is how quickly it all goes by; I wish I could make Christmas Eve last longer!

So to celebrate in the spirit of the season and this post, I have three Polish-themed books to give away! They are:

 

The Dragon of Krakow and other Polish Stories by Richard Monte: A short but great collection of Polish legends featuring a dragon, a mermaid, and more!

Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak: One of my favorite real Polish heroes is a bear (yes, a bear), a soldier of the Polish II Corps who fought in WWII. His name is Corporal Wojtek, and his story is pretty much amazing and unbelievable.

Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin: Polish Historical Fiction! This is an epic saga that takes place during the late 1700s, when Poland is being partitioned by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. The story is based off the diaries of a real noblewoman. There’s romance, scheming, politics and more! I read this like ten years ago and have been meaning to revisit. It’s the first in a trilogy!

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Hope you’ve all enjoyed this small peek into my Polish heritage! Happy Holidays everyone!!!!!

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

Posted December 8, 2017 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review, Giveaway / 13 Comments

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 Romance, Holiday - Christmas
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (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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4 Stars

Happy Holidays from Forever! | Christmas Book Spotlights & Giveaway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Jana in Book Spotlight, Giveaway / 5 Comments

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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