Posts Categorized: Giveaway

The Debut Dish: July 2016, Issue #1 (+ Giveaway)

July 3, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Katie Kennedy (Learning to Swear In America).


Learning to Swear In America by Katie Kennedy
July 5, 2016 from BloomsburyUS Kids
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans.

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.

Describe your book in five words or less.

Asteroid, highest stakes, Immanuel Kant.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Hmm…today my favorite scene is when Yuri and Dovie have a picnic on his office floor at the Jet Propulsion Lab as the asteroid nears Earth.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my kitchen. (That’s where the phone is.)

What’s your favorite junk food?
I almost put mint chocolate chip ice cream in the acknowledgments, because the book couldn’t have been written without it. I did name a chapter for it.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Harry Truman Pez dispenser.

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Frayed by Kara Terzis | Debut Author Book Review + Giveaway

June 30, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 2 ★★★

Frayed by Kara Terzis | Debut Author Book Review + Giveaway

Frayed by Kara Terzis | Debut Author Book Review + GiveawayFrayed by Kara Terzis
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks The Book Depository Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Dear Kesley,

My therapist tells me I should write you a letter. Like flushing all my thoughts and feelings out of my system and onto paper. I tell her it's a stupid idea.

But here I am, writing a letter to a dead girl. Where do I start? Where did our story begin? From the moment you were born...or died?

I'll start with the moment I found out the truth about you. Your lies and my pain. Because it always begins and ends with you.
And that end began when Rafe Lawrence came back to town...

Ava Hale will do anything to find her sister's killer...although she'll wish she hadn't. Because the harder Ava looks, the more secrets she uncovers about Kesley, and the more she begins to think that the girl she called sister was a liar. A sneak. A stranger.

And Kesley's murderer could be much closer than she thought...

A debut novel from Wattpad award-winner Kara Terzis, Frayed is a psychological whodunit that will keep you guessing!

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Kara Terzis’s debut novel, Frayed, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m happy to be reviewing this creepy mystery today, and I’ll be keeping it very vague so as not to spoil anything for you. I find that it’s SO much easier to do that with mysteries than any other genre, so I’m keeping things short and sweet. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The synopsis claims that the novel will keep you guessing, and this definitely rang true for me. As the readers learns more about the circumstances surrounding Kesley’s life and death, they are continually adding and erasing people from the list of who they can trust. I was constantly suspecting that everyone did it… except the person who actually did. I read a lot of mysteries, and I’m happy when an author figures out how to keep me from figuring things out on my own.

2. We find out right off the bat (again, from the synopsis) that Ava is not doing too well with losing Kesley. She’s in therapy, and sections of the book contain pieces of the letter that her therapist suggests she write to Kesley. I found that reading these excerpts really added to the story. They give the reader a more detailed look at the troubling relationship these two sisters had, and that intensified the creep factor for me. Really, nobody in this book has their head on 100% straight, but these girls had a very toxic relationship beneath the surface.

3. I never grew to like any of the characters, so I had a bit of a tricky time caring or feeling sympathetic, especially towards Ava. Sure, I felt bad for her for the pain she was going through. But that was pretty much it. Each character gave me an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling so I never connected with anyone. I think that was kind of the point of the story, though, and it added to the mystery for me.

4. Frayed is very dark and depressing, so I was surprised to find that I didn’t ever feel like I had this weight of doom on my shoulders. I hate depressing, sad books… especially when characters are reeling from the death of a loved one. I was so curious that I never felt depressed, and I thank the author for treating the story that way.

5. The ending was great. I was completely surprised and had no idea things were going to go down like they did. Either I missed the foreshadowing completely, or there wasn’t any there. While I would have enjoyed a few more hints, the author’s choice to completely keep me in the dark made the ending that much more insane. It wasn’t the typical mystery novel climax, and that was refreshing.

All in all, Frayed was an enjoyable, intriguing mystery that threw me for a loop with its very unpredictable ending. I’ll be keeping an eye on Kara, and hope she continues writing books for us.


About Kara

Kara Terzis was twelve when she wrote her first novel, and hasn’t stopped writing since. Later she started publishing her work on Wattpad, where in 2013 she won the Sourcebooks Story Development Prize, leading to the publication of her debut novel, Frayed. She adores fairy tales, photography, rainy days, and film soundtracks. When she’s not writing, you can find her buried in a good book and daydreaming. She lives with her family in Sydney, Australia.

Her debut novel–FRAYED–will be out from Sourcebooks Fire on June 7th, 2016.

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Tour Schedule:

6/27: Here’s the Happy Endings – Q&A
6/28: Novel Ink – Letter to a Lost Loved One
6/29: Live to Read – Review
6/30: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review
7/1: With Love For Books – Review
7/4: Lekeisha the Booknerd – Dream Cast
7/5: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review
7/6: One Night Book Stand – Top 10
7/7: Rebel Mommy Book Blog – Review
7/8: Just Commonly – Guest Post


12 Heartthrobs Who Had Teen Me Swooning | 738 Days Blog Tour

June 29, 2016 About Me, Blog Tour, Giveaway 4

12 Heartthrobs Who Had Teen Me Swooning | 738 Days Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the 738 Days blog tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! 738 Days by Stacey Kade is about a girl named Amanda who was kidnapped at age 15, and escaped 738 days later. What helped her survive? A damaged poster of teen heartthrob, Chase Henry. In honor of this extremely unique storyline, I’m sharing with you twelve guys who had me swooning during my teen years. By the way, the book is pretty great! I just finished it last week, so stay tuned for my review!


GUYS. I’m so excited to show you who I was in love with during my teenaged years! I was not the typical teen who always fell for whoever was cool at the moment, which is why you will not find Tom Welling or Zac Efron on my list. It’s been 10 years since I was a teen, but most of these guys wiggled their way into my heart in the 90’s and stayed there forever (I’m a very devoted fangirl). Laugh if you want, but these ten guys made me weak in the knees and I bet I’d still giggle like a school girl if I met any of them today.

 

heartthrobs

 

1. Justin Timberlake of NSYNC – I remember spending hours waiting and waiting with my eyes glued to the TV, brand new VHS tape in the VCR, hoping to see the music video for Bye Bye Bye come on so that I could record it. Note, this was before the days of YouTube. Having the Internet in the house was this brand new thing, and it was slower than molasses on a hill. I don’t remember using it for anything but downloading songs off Napster (downloading just one song frequently took an hour or two). Anyway, the video came on, I jumped up and down and pressed the record button on my VCR, and then I played it over and over again swooning over Justin AND memorizing every dance move. I don’t know what I was thinking with this one. lol.

2. Mark Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris from Saved By the Bell) – Saved By the Bell was one of my favorite shows as a kid, and I remember arguing with one of my friends that I was Kelly Kapowski, and that I was Zack’s girlfriend. I crushed on him so hard… If he had a hard day at school, I felt every emotion he did. lol.

3. Kirk Cameron (Mike Seaver from Growing Pains) – I also loved watching Growing Pains on TV, and I had such a crush on Mike. I even liked his hair. lol.

4. John Stamos (Uncle Jesse from Full House) – Full House was another favorite show of mine, and BOY did I love Uncle Jesse. His cool hair and his “have mercy” and his leather, bad boy look… *swoon* When he sang that Beach Boys song to Becky at their wedding, I just melted even though I was not happy that he was getting married. Yes, I found the video of him singing to her online, extracted the audio, and have it on my iPod. I’m not even kidding. I still love John Stamos, and am so sad that Grandfathered was cancelled.

5. Scott Weinger (Steve Hale from Full House) – I also had a thing for DJ’s boyfriend, Steve. That smile…

6. Brian Littrell of Backstreet Boys – I always thought Brian looked so cute while he was singing, plus he’s got a great voice. He’s also got some pretty great cheekbones.

7. Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees – I think Nick was the beginning of my love of guys with broad shoulders and chiseled jawlines. lol. Again, I loved his voice and his bedroom eyes.

8. Henry Winkler (The Fonz from Happy Days) – Ok, so this choice… and the next two, really, are why I felt it necessary to mention my atypical teen-ness. lol. I grew up on Nick at Nite and I LOVED Happy Days. It was one of my favorite shows, and I loved The Fonz so much. I thought he was so cool and hardened, yet he had morals and values… and he turned to mush when Mrs. Cunningham or Joanie kissed his cheek or said something sweet to him. He’s a bad boy on the outside and a teddy bear on the inside!

9. John Travolta (Danny Zuko from Grease) – Danny Zuko set my heart afire for reasons similar to The Fonz. Apparently I like leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving, hair gel-styling bad boys! But Danny can sing… and dance… and he stole my heart the first time I watched Grease. I used to pretend I was Sandy and sing-along to all of her parts.

10. Patrick Swayze (Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing) – I remember the first time I watched Dirty Dancing. It was on TV one night and I stumbled across it. I was captivated immediately and felt pretty guilty for watching such dirty dancing! Haha! I was worried my mom would come in and catch me! Johnny was everything: sexy, talented, sweet, loyal… I wanted to be Baby so bad so I could fly over Johnny’s head in the final dance of the movie. Patrick Swayze’s death hit me pretty hard, and I have not been able to watch Dirty Dancing or Ghost since! Patrick embodied everything I saw in Johnny, and so much more. He left such a wonderful mark on dance and cinema, and I’m not sure another celebrity will ever take his place in my heart!

11. Christopher Plummer (Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music) – The Sound of Music has always been my favorite movie, and Captain Von Trapp was my very first love. His eyes and his hardened exterior and his little smirk. LOVE him! Let me tell you, I was devastated when I found out Christopher Plummer was dubbed when he sang in this movie. Every time I watch, I make myself forget that fact.

12. Timothy Goeble (2002 Olympic bronze medalist in figure skating) – My entire family thought I was crazy, but I watched the Olympics for this guy. I LOVED him! He had the cutest smile and always looked so happy when he skated. Plus, he was the first person to land a quadruple salchow in competition and the first person to land three quadruple jumps in one program. Amazing!

So! Now that I have proclaimed my love for these 12 swoony guys, tell me which celebrities or well-known figures you loved as a teenager! Do we have any in common?


738 Days by Stacey Kade
Published by Forge Books on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon • B&N • IndieBound • iBooks • Book Depository

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he’s sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?


About Stacey:

As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.

She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and two retired racing greyhounds, SheWearsThePants (Pansy) and Shutter. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television catching up on her favorite shows (Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Walking Dead, and Sherlock, among others.)

Stacey is the author of the The Ghost and the Goth trilogy (THE GHOST AND THE GOTH, QUEEN OF THE DEAD, and BODY & SOUL) and The Project Paper Doll Series (THE RULES and THE HUNT).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

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Tour Schedule:

6/20: Lost In Lit – Review
6/21: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
6/22: Addicted 2 Novels – Review
6/23: What Sarah Read – Guest Post
6/24: Polished Page Turners – Review
6/27: Andi’s ABCs – Q&A
6/28: The Irish Banana Review – Review
6/29: That Artsy Reader Girl – Teen Heartthrobs
6/30: Jenuine Cupcakes – Review
7/1: Bookiemoji – Top 10


Guest Post by Sarah Beard | Beyond the Rising Tide Blog Tour

June 28, 2016 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 2

Guest Post by Sarah Beard | Beyond the Rising Tide Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Sarah Beard’s new novel, Beyond the Rising Tide, hosted by Cedar Fort! I feel very honored to be hosting such a special guest post by Sarah, about her life and her book. After her story, read a little bit more about her and her book below.


On a hot summer day in 2009, I sat in an oncologist’s office and listened to him as he went over the details of my pathology report. His face was grave, his tone careful. He used words like “invasive” and “aggressive” and “a lot of things stacked against you.” My diagnosis: breast cancer. My odds of survival: He wouldn’t give me numbers, only said the odds were difficult. I went home that day and hugged my three children closer, uncertain and terrified of what the future might bring. They were all under the age of four, and they needed me to live so they wouldn’t have to grow up without a mother. So I began the fight. Over the following eight months, I battled cancer through chemo and surgeries and radiation, and never before had I had to tread such a dark and terrifying path. But as hard as it was, it changed me for the better. I saw my world through new eyes, becoming grateful for things I’d never been grateful for before. Such as the ability to do simple tasks like folding laundry, doing dishes, or cooking my family dinner. It reminded me that the most important things in life weren’t things at all, but were the people I loved, and I began cherishing every moment with them—every bedtime story, every trip to the park, every mealtime, every conversation and every hug. In due time, I beat cancer. But the lessons I learned have stayed with me, and I am grateful for every day that I can spend with the people I love.

In my YA novel, Beyond the Rising Tide, the two main characters (Kai and Avery) experience a tragedy that forces them to see life in a different perspective and to re-examine what is truly important to them. In fact, Kai is actually dead, so his perception of life is drastically altered. He died saving Avery’s life, and when the story begins, it’s been six months since his death. He has spent much of those six months watching helplessly as Avery’s life is unraveled by his death, and in order to help her, he steals a ring that temporarily gives his body substance. With limited time, he does all he can to restore her life to the way it was before his tragic death, but Kai’s half-baked plans rarely turn out the way he thinks they will. The two characters have many challenges to face, but in the end, their challenges make them stronger, bring them closer together, and teach them lessons they could have learned no other way.

It’s the same in our lives. When challenges come our way, we can get discouraged and downcast, or we can choose to see the challenge as a way to grow and learn.


Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard
Published by Sweetwater Books on June 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Watch the book trailer!
Add to Goodreads
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Kai met Avery only once–in the moment he died saving her life. Now when he’s not using his new healing powers to help people, he watches helplessly as Avery’s life is unraveled by his death. To help her, he risks everything by breaking the rules, dangerously blurring the barriers between life and death.

Praise:

“Vividly imagined, this novel is the perfect mix of modern love story and literary fiction. One brimming with genuine emotion that had me re-reading passages simply because they were too beautifully written to experience just once.” –Julie N. Ford, author of With No Regrets

“This book is not only an engaging and satisfying supernatural romance, but also a beautiful story about life, death, and the gray places in between.” –E.B. Wheeler, author of The Haunting of Springett Hall

“This is one of those stories that stays with you long after the closing scene. It was beautifully imagined and vividly written and I absolutely loved it!” –Teresa Richards, author of Emerald Bound


About Sarah

Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels Porcelain Keys and Beyond the Rising Tide. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing from VCFA. When she’s not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.

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The Leaving by Tara Altebrando | Boldly Bookish Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)

June 22, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 5 ★★★

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando | Boldly Bookish Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando | Boldly Bookish Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound The Book Depository Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.

Welcome to my stop along Bloomsbury’s Boldly Bookish blog tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! It’s week three of the tour, which means it’s all about Tara Altebrando’s The Leaving. This book is crazy and weird and intriguing and I’m excited to review it today! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’ve always been a huge fan of mysteries involving missing persons and amnesia, and this book treats the topic differently than I’ve ever experienced. Six small children disappear from school one day, and five of them return eleven years later with no memories. At all. They remember snippets of life before “the leaving”, and they have small flashes of what happened while they were gone. For the most part, though, they have forgotten the last eleven years of their lives. What’s crazy is that they are very well educated and are able to transition into their proper grade level with ease after their return. They seem to have been well taken care of. So what happened? And where were they? And why can’t they answer these questions themselves? I was intrigued immediately.

2. The mystery is super unique because all five of these teens (and some family members of theirs) are working with the police and hypnotists and therapists and specialists to try to piece together the past. But nothing is really working. The flashes of memories that I mentioned before continually occur, and these teens are getting more and more confused because they don’t make sense. But this confusion causes them to vigorously search for answers, putting themselves in danger in the process. They don’t know who to trust, and as more information surfaces the reader is left possibly more clueless than the characters. It’s quite a page turner of a book!

3. The story is told in alternating perspectives by three narrators: two of the teens and the sister of the boy who never made it home. This is a really tricky thing to do, and Altebrando did a great job of giving each narrator a recognizable voice. For example, one of the narrators is a little bit crazier… or eccentric? Or maybe she is just not handling things well and is spiraling out of control. Some of her words and sentences made weird designs or were written backwards, and I thought that formatting was a cool touch and gave us more insight into how she was feeling. There were other unique formatting details, but I can tell from reading other early reviews that they did not transfer properly to my eARC.

4. I do wish all five of the returned teens got chapters to tell their thoughts. I would have liked to understand them better. Perhaps that would’ve made things too hard to keep track of, but what’s the point of having four more kids if they don’t contribute to the solving of the mystery?

5. There is some romance that I wish hadn’t been there. I was more focused on learning the why’s and how’s and the romance took me out of that mindset.

6. The suspense was palpable. Practically every chapter ended on a cliffhanger that was not resolved or even addressed until that specific narrator had their turn to talk again. I was just SO curious that I read this book in record time, flying from narrator to narrator and wanting more details and more answers. Altebrando knows what it takes to keep a reader up reading instead of sleeping.

7. The ending was a little anticlimactic and some of the answers went in a direction that almost completely switched the genre of the story. It was a surprise for sure, but I guess I hoped the story would end with more of a bang.

8. I had it all wrong. I thought I knew what was going on, but I was wrong. And that’s a good thing.

Despite my few qualms, I’ve come away from this story with an overall favorable opinion of it. I can’t give many specifics of why I liked it because I’ll end up spoiling things,which is why this review is vague and lukewarm. I was throughly entertained, and Altebrando pulled me out of a reading slump I didn’t know I was in! The unique storyline had me intrigued to the very end, and I enjoyed the ride. I haven’t read a book this fast in years. I’d definitely recommend it to people who are looking for a spin on the normal YA contemporary mysteries. There are twists and turns and details you won’t see coming!


About Tara

Tara Altebrando is the author of numerous books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Her upcoming book, THE LEAVING (Bloomsbury), is a YA thriller that received a starred PW review and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her other YA novels include ROOMIES, coauthored with Sara Zarr; Dreamland Social Club (A Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens), The Best Night of (Your) Pathetic Life, What Happens Here, and The Pursuit of Happiness.

Tara is a Harvard graduate who lives in Queens, NY, with her husband and children.

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Tour Schedule:

Week 1 – BREAK ME LIKE A PROMISE by Tiffany Schmidt
6/6: Pretty Deadly Reviews – Review
6/7: The Young Folks – Q&A
6/8: Swoony Boys Podcast – Character Interview
6/9: In Wonderland – Review
6/10: Jenuine Cupcakes – Guest Post

Week 2 – THE LONG GAME by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
6/13: Beauty and the Bookshelf – Guest Post
6/14: YA Bibliophile – Review
6/15: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist
6/16: The Cover Contessa – Q&A
6/17: Avid Reader – Review

Week 3 – THE LEAVING by Tara Altebrando
6/20: Once Upon A Twilight – Guest Post
6/21: Literary Lover – Review
6/22: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review
6/23: Novel Ink – Q&A
6/24: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10


The Marked Girl Book Cover Makeup Inspirations | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

June 21, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Debut Author Challenge, Giveaway 4

The Marked Girl Book Cover Makeup Inspirations | Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! FYI, this is Lindsey’s debut novel and counts towards the 2016 Debut Author Challenge!

The book cover for The Marked Girl is so beautiful, and I love the colors. I thought it would be fun to pick out makeup in those colors and put together a pretty look for my stop today. See what I chose, and then read more about the book and the author below.


TheMarkedGirl-Makeup

Eyes
Video tutorial, pictures, and supplies found here.

Lips
Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor / Color: HD Addiction

Nails
Fingernails: Julep / Color: Jocelyn / Classic with a Twist  / Finish: Shimmer
Description: Cranberry shimmer with holographic microglitter

Toenails/Accent fingernail: Julep / Color: Cher / May birthstone (Emerald) / Finish: Shimmer
Description: Emerald iridescent shimmer

I’m obsessed with green eyeshadow, and always wear it myself because it makes my green eyes pop and highlights the gold flecks. I loved this eye makeup combination as soon as I saw it. The green matches the green on the cover, and the smoky accents give off a feeling of fantasy and mystery just like the book does.

I love bold, saturated nail colors and if there’s glitter involved I’m even more excited. These two colors go very well together and match the book cover perfectly. I’m not sure if I would use one color for my fingers and one for my toes, or if I would use the Jocelyn color predominately and Cher for accent nails.

I actually own this lipcolor, and it is AMAZING. It goes on so silky and thick without feeling heavy, and the color is gorgeous. How pretty does it look with the eye color? I love this look, and want to buy everything I don’t have so that I can re-create it myself.

What do you think of my choices? Would you wear any of these colors/products?


The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
Series: Marked Girl #1
Published by HarperCollins on June 7, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel, Romance
Add to Goodreads
Amazon • B&N • IndieBound • iBooks • Book Depository

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…

When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…


About Lindsey Klingele

Lindsey Klingele grew up in Western Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on. She eventually moved to Los Angeles (the real land of make believe) and worked as a writers’ assistant for TV shows such as THE LYING GAME and TWISTED. She still loves living in LA, especially since it’s home to great television shows, truly excellent cheeseburgers, and her pitbull, Bighead.

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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Tour Schedule:

6/13: Two Chicks on Books – Q&A
6/14: Across the Words – Review
6/15: The Bookkeeper’s Secret – Graphic Art
6/16: Charmingly Simple – Review
6/17: Bibliobibuli YA – Q&A

6/20: The Book Cellar – Review
6/21: That Artsy Reader Girl – Makeup Inspirations
6/22: I Am Shelfless – Review
6/23: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10
6/24: Fiction Fare – Review


My Virtual Reality App Wish List | Unplugged Blog Tour

June 20, 2016 Blog Tour, Giveaway 5

My Virtual Reality App Wish List | Unplugged Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Donna Freitas’s new YA dystopian novel, Unplugged, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! The people in this book live in one of two worlds: the App World and the Real World. Those who live in the App World are wealthy and live in an extravagant world of virtual reality. Those who live in the Real World are a dying, poor people. Skylar is a transplant member of the App World, whose family sent her there from the Real World for a chance at a better life.

In honor of this interesting storyline about people whose every whim is catered to through an app, I’ve written up a list of virtual reality apps I wish were real and that I could download right now! Learn more about the book, the author, and enter to win a copy of Unplugged for yourself below my list!


My Virtual Reality App Wish List

1. The “Make Me Pretty” App
I want an app that does my hair and makeup for my every morning so that I don’t have to. For some reason, I really hate getting ready for the day. If I had this app I’d save time, money, and a whole lot of frustration. Plus, I’d look perfect every day.

2. The “I Need Gelato” App
An app that transports me to Florence, Italy for the best “cookies” gelato I’ve ever had would be PERFECT. I crave that stuff all the time.

3. The “Make Me Read Books Faster” App
There are SO many books I want to read, and I’m worried that I won’t fit them into the years I have left on this planet! An app that made me read faster or that let me experience stories in less time would tame my TBR pile, my review pile, and my “I should probably read this because it makes me look smarter” pile in no time flat.

4. The “I Want to Go Here” App
Similar, to the gelato one… but bigger. I want an app that will transport me to any location in the world! I could be on the beach in Coronado, California one minute and then on a gondola in Venice, Italy the next. Talk about the perfect vacation ever.

5. The “Matchmaker” App
We all know I’m single… An app that sent me on amazing dates with dream men would be worth all the monies. Just take the monies.

6. The “Kittens and Babies” App
I love holding kittens and babies, so an app that would drop one in my arms whenever I wished would be pretty amazing.

7. The “Book Worlds” App
An extension of the “I Want to Go Here” app. There are so many book worlds I would LOVE to visit that don’t exist: Hogwarts, Elysium (The underwater glass city from the Elysium Chronicles by J.A. Souders), Panem (Just to see it!), and more! This app would transport me to those places.

8. The “Out of this World” App
I’ve always wanted to go to space! This app would take me there!

9. The “Meet this Person” App
This app would allow me to meet anyone. Ever. Living or dead, real or fiction… I could spend time with all my book boyfriends, my favorite authors, celebrities, etc. and it would be amazing.

10. The “Christmas Wonderland” App
I’m a HUGE fangirl of Christmas. If Christmas had a fandom I’d be its most active member. I want an app that will send me to a Christmas wonderland whenever I need a dose of happy or some twinkly lights or some snow. I wouldn’t live there because too much of a good thing is no longer special… but I’d visit often!

What virtual reality apps are on your wish list?


Unplugged by Donna Freitas
Series: The Wired #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 21, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 448
Amazon • B&N • Indiebound • iBooks • The Book Depository
Add to Goodreads

The first book in a provocative new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas—Feed for a new generation.

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’sUglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer.


About Donna:

Donna Freitas is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. Over the years she has written for national newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal,The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Newsweek. Donna has been a professor at Boston University in the Department of Religion and also at Hofstra University in their Honors College. She writes children’s novels for Scholastic, Harper Collins, and FSG, and she loves it very much! Donna splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and Barcelona, Spain.

(To read Donna’s full bio, click here.)

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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Tour Schedule:

6/20: That Artsy Reader Girl – Virtual Reality App Wish List
6/21: One Night Book Stand – Top 10
6/22: Downright Dystopian – Review
6/23: Live to Read – Guest Post
6/24: Pretty Deadly Reviews – Review
6/27: The Irish Banana Review – Q&A
6/28: The Book Bratz – Review
6/29: Brittany’s Book Rambles – Guest Post
6/30: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist
7/1: The Petite Book Blogger – Review
 


The Debut Dish: June 2016, Issue #2 (+ Giveaway)

June 19, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 1

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 Catherine Lo (How It Ends) and Kenneth Logan (True Letters from a Fictional Life).


How it Ends by Catherine Lo
June 7, 2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

There are two sides to every story.

It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They’re BFFs…until suddenly they’re not.

Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is a wildly fast but deeply moving read about a friendship in crisis. Set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing, the novel shows what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Two friends, one year.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I absolutely love the scene where Annie and Jessie are discussing their favorite book quotes. The girls are just getting to know one another at that point, and they reveal bits of themselves through the quotations they choose.

I was very shy as a teen, and I know how hard it can be to open up to a new friend. For Jessie especially, it was easier to connect first over the words of other people, before she found her own voice.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’m a high school teacher, and I was at work when my agent emailed to ask when it would be a good time to call. My lunch break was still more than an hour away, so I had to wait on the edge of my seat for the news. As soon as lunch came, I hid myself in an empty classroom and waited for my cell phone to ring. When she told me the good news, I may have cried some happy tears, so I had to compose myself before I went back out in the hallways!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Potato chips.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A stress ball in the shape of the human brain.

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True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan
June 7, 2016 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Facebook

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Vermont kid mumbles, “I’m gay.”

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
James remembers when his little brother caught a tiny snake in the woods behind their house. I’m not sure why I like the scene so much— maybe because it reminds me of when I was 10 years old, an age I really loved.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in Bobst Library at New York University, grinning like an idiot at one of the long tables on 4th or 6th Floor north.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Salt & vinegar potato chips.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Right now on my desk there’s a copy of my book packaged and ready to be mailed to the soccer player Robbie Rogers to thank him for his blurb on my book jacket. That’s odd because I so rarely correspond with heroic professional athletes.

There’s also an alligator PEZ dispenser perched on a stack of dictionaries and usage guides.

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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)

June 17, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 3 ★★★½

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh | Debut Author Book Review (+ Giveaway)Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Published by HarperTEEN on June 7, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks The Book Depository Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Julie Eshbaugh’s debut novel, Ivory and Bone, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m so happy to be reviewing Julie’s unique pre-historic fantasy novel today! This is the first novel I’ve read set in the old, olden days (mammoths, people!) and I really enjoyed it. As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book is narrated by a boy, Kol. Already, this is a unique and refreshing change for me from the usual female narrator. Even more unique, though, is that the story is written in second person. Kol is essentially telling the story to the reader as if they were his love interest, Mya. It was super hard for me to get used to this, but once I did I found it to be very well done and fun to read… especially when I discovered why it was written this way.

2. You can tell that Julie did a lot of research on the prehistoric era for this novel, and she really brought the time period to life for me. Kol has a close encounter (or two) with some saber-toothed tigers and mammoths. We also get to read about stretching animal skins to make blankets and clothes, tribal lore, and hunting/gathering to survive. The setting and time period really was my favorite part of the book.

3. I liked Kol a lot. He’s such a good, sweet person, with a strong sense of loyalty and a good set of morals. I enjoyed his voice and his thoughts, and am so happy Julie chose to have him narrate the story.

4. I hated Mya from the very beginning, but I gradually started to like her as I learned more about her and her story. I’m still not her biggest fan, but the potential is there for me to like her more in the future.

5. The romantic aspect of the story is very minimal for the most part. The real focus was on the setting and the world of the story, which I really liked. There’s no insta-love and no love triangle. Again, yay unique and refreshing! The romance that was there was very slow burning and filled with tension, just the way I like it.

6. There are a LOT of characters in this story, and I had a little trouble keeping everyone straight. As such, I didn’t really connect with anyone but Kol. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, though, since I really got to know Kol. I loved seeing everything through his eyes.

7. I think it’s worth mentioning that there’s a lot going on in this story, but really only during the second half. The first half of the book set the scene, and then things really picked up for me. Definitely hang in there if you’re feeling iffy because I really enjoyed where things ended up going. Old secrets and mysteries surface and there’s some action and suspense that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could.

8. Julie’s writing is very lovely, although some descriptions and stories were a little bit long for me at times. Even so, her writing is very flowing and she does a wonderful job of painting a picture in your mind.

Bottom line, this is a very strong, unique, refreshing read that had me truly captivated. I loved Kol’s storytelling, and I really loved the prehistoric setting. I’m excited to see where things go next!


About Julie:

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of the upcoming Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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Tour Schedule:

6/6: Quite the Novel Idea – Q&A
6/7: Alexa Loves Books – Review
6/8: The Forest of Words & Pages – Guest Post
6/9: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review
6/10: Avid Reader – Fashion Inspirations
6/13: The Irish Banana Review – Review
6/14: Such A Novel Idea – Guest Post
6/15: No BS Book Reviews – Review
6/16: The Book Cellar – Top 10
6/17: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review

 


My Favorite Works of Art | Roses & Rot Blog Tour

June 8, 2016 About Me, Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Giveaway 3

My Favorite Works of Art | Roses & Rot Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the Roses & Rot tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! In Roses & Rot, sisters Imogen and Marin are accepted to a very elite post-grad arts program, and this school ends up being way different than they expected. The book itself is very atmospheric and the writing is beautiful. Plus, Neil Gaiman blurbed it… so there you go!


I get to do something a little different today for my blog tour stop, and I’m pretty excited about it. I got my undergraduate degree in graphic design and art history, so art is basically my life. I’m all too familiar with the question the book’s synopsis asks us: “How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?” I’ve studied a lot of art and traveled around the world to see some my favorites (but not all!), so today I’m going to show you my favorite pieces of art, many of which were created by artists who sacrificed it all. I had so much fun going through hundreds of pages of my class notes from all my art history courses as I decided which works to showcase.

FavoriteWorksofArt

1. Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh (saw this at the MoMA)
2. Water Lilies by Claude Monet
3. Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap by Pieter Bruegel
4. Rise of the Carthaginian Empire by Joseph Mallord William Turner
5. Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters by Hendrick Avercamp
6. The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice by Canaletto
7. Salcombe Estuary, South Devon by Henry Thomas Dawson
8. School of Athens by Rafael (saw this at the Vatican)
9. View of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau in the Pyrenees, with Brigands by Clarkson Stanfield
10. The entire ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo (sat in this chapel at the Vatican)

Are you an art history lover like I am? What are some of your favorite artworks?


Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
Published by Saga Press on May 13, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Fairy Tale
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon • B&N • IndieBound • iBooks • Book Depository

Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.


About Kat:

Kat Howard lives in New Hampshire. Her short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, anthologized in year’s best and best of collections, and performed on NPR. Roses and Rot is her debut novel. You can find her on twitter at @KatWithSword.

Also, Shane Leonard took her photo, and she’s super grateful.

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Tour Schedule:

6/6: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist
6/7: Cosying Up With Books – Review
6/8: That Artsy Reader Girl – Art History Post
6/9: The Quiet Concert – Review
6/10: Fiction Fare – Q&A
6/13: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
6/14: Curling Up With A Good Book – Guest Post
6/15: Lilybloombooks – Review
6/16: Reads All the Books – Review
6/17: Fangs & Fur Fantasy Books – Review