Posts Categorized: Giveaway

The Babcock Sisters of Tell Me Something Real | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

August 22, 2016 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 1

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m excited to have Calla on the blog today, discussing the sisters in her debut novel! Following Calla’s post, read a little more about the book and enter to win one of three copies!


Jana: Tell us a little about the sisters and the incredible sisters dynamic in this book. Did you model them after real people? Was it difficult to give each of them unique voices?

Calla: Tell Me Something Real follows three sisters. Profane and passionate Adrienne. Shy and observant Vanessa. And devout and quirky Marie, the baby and most loved in the family.

I have two sisters, Irish triplets, only a year apart each. They are nothing like the Babcock girls in my novel, and I think my desire to make them different from my own family drove me to develop them deeply. I didn’t want them to resemble my own sisters. I do have a similar relationship with one sister, to whom I dedicated the novel, as Vanessa does with Adrienne. Two very different people in the world who have a fierce bond and truly understand each other despite being opposite in so many ways. I drew from that love as I wrote the book.

This novel began as a short story and I couldn’t stop writing about these girls. The very first draft of Tell Me Something Real was a collection of linked stories with chapters written from each character’s point of view, and it followed them into adulthood. While the novel focuses on the dramatic events of one summer, I spent so much time exploring each sister, from college majors to romantic relationships to careers. I think I brought those early drafts to the final one, and I so vividly see each girl. They are real people to me, which may sound a bit strange, but I am invested in them as characters and I wrote them with the same compassion and empathy I try to bring to the real relationships in my life.

Music helped me develop each one. Vanessa, the narrator, is a pianist, so I listened to Chopin and Beethoven and this contemporary Italian composer who is amazing, Ludovico Einaudi. Adrienne is much more into pop, so because the book is set in the seventies, she starts out idolizing Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and moves onto Blondie. Marie, only nine years old, becomes obsessed with virgin saints, young girls who were burned at the stake for believing in something greater than themselves. I listened to choral music as I wrote those scenes. I think listening to dramatically different kinds of music helped me shift gears as I shifted my focus between the sisters.

I hope the Babcock sisters resonate with readers. They are a buffet of sorts, each a different flavor, and I hope readers connect with them and find them emotionally satisfying. I hope they are as real to you as they are to me.


Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin
Published by: S&S/Atheneum on August 30, 2016
Genres: Young Adult – Contemporary
Amazon • B&N • Indiebound • iBooks • Book Depository • Add to Goodreads

Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…


About Calla Devlin

Calla Devlin is a Pushcart nominee and winner of the Best of Blood and Thunder Award whose stories have been included in numerous literary journals and in anthologies, including Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers Reflect on the Mother-Daughter Bond, for which she was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine.

Tell Me Something Real is her first book.

Website | Twitter 


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Tour Schedule:

8/22: That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
8/23: Pondering the Prose – Review
8/24: Rebelle Reads – Top 10
8/25: The Litaku – Review
8/26: Never Too Many to Read – Q&A
8/29: Arctic Books  – Review
8/30: Such a Novel Idea – Guest Post
8/31: The Book Return – Review
9/1: I Turn the Pages – Mood Board
9/2: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review


My Dream Heist Crew | Smash & Grab Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

July 18, 2016 Blog Tour, Giveaway 3

My Dream Heist Crew | Smash & Grab Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the Smash & Grab blog tour, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! In honor of this heisty, exciting new book by Amy Christine Parker I get to tell you all about the heist crew I’ve dreamed up! I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have a crew of awesome peeps who would drop everything at a moment’s notice to help me take over the world. My crew consists of characters from the big screen, the TV screen, and my favorite YA books because these are my rules. Make sure you hang around to read more about the book, the author, and enter for a chance to win a copy of Smash & Grab for yourself!


Jana’s Heist Crew

Neal Caffrey from White Collar
Ok, so every crew needs a little eye candy but Neal is SO much more than that! He’s a master con artist, art forger, smooth talker, and killer dresser. He’s sweet, loyal, makes you feel good about yourself, loves fine things, and would always be in it for the long haul. This guy is not going anywhere, and who would want him to? (And seriously. He’s gorgeous.)

Nikolai Karimov from The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Every heist crew needs a little magic and enchantment, right?

Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
He’s pretty powerful, plus he’s the perfect blend of loyalty, protectiveness, chivalry, bravery, nobility, angst, and fierceness.

Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This girl gets things DONE. She stops at nothing, and will put everyone in their place.

Cress from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Universe-class hacker right here, ladies and gents! All heist crews need hackers.

Maggie Silver from Also Known As by Robin Benway
She’s an expert safe cracker. So is Neal, but since he’s super versatile it’s nice to have another one so he can do something else.

Mal from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
He’s awesome at tracking things!

Jason Bourne from the Bourne films
Do I even need to explain?

Marguerite Caine from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Someone with a Firebird who can travel between parallel dimensions would be PRICELESS.

Kari from Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton
She will stop at nothing to clear the names of those she loves, so basically we need her for her loyalty and her determination. She also has connections, and we could totally use those.

Who would be in your heist crew?


Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker
Published by Random House BFYR on July 19, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon • B&N

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story.Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.


About Amy

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at amychristineparker.com and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Tour Schedule:

7/11: Fiction Fare – My Heist Crew
7/12: Who R U Blog – Novel Secrets
7/13: Bookish Escapes – Review
7/14: Paperback Princess – My Heist Crew
7/15: Bookiemoji – Review
7/18: That Artsy Reader Girl – My Heist Crew
7/19: In Wonderland – Review
7/20: Live to Read – Review
7/21: Go Read a Book – Review
7/22: Bibliobuli – Q&A


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

July 17, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 8

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 Sonya Mukherjee (Gemini), Tracy Edward Wymer (Soar), and Kathleen Burkinshaw (The Last Cherry Blossom).


Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee
July 26, 2016 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In a powerful and daring debut novel, Sonya Mukherjee shares the story of sisters Clara and Hailey, conjoined twins who are learning what it means to be truly extraordinary.

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence, and they’re slowly becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s, and figure out what it means to be her own person.

Told in alternating perspectives, this unconventional coming-of-age tale shows how dreams can break your heart—but the love between sisters can mend it.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Conjoined twins with conflicting plans.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
All I can tell you is it involves soccer, Lady Gaga, and aliens.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in the parking lot of Michael’s Arts & Crafts when I got a mysterious email from my agent, asking me to call. For various reasons, I thought it was about bad news. I was congested, grumpy, and had a headache, and I almost convinced myself to put off calling him until the next day, when I figured I’d be feeling better. I’m glad I didn’t wait!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate chip cookies! Wait, no, brownies. Wait, cheesecake. Chocolate chip brownie cheesecake?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A Tupperware container full of light bulbs.


Soar by Tracy Edward Wymer
July 5, 2016 from Aladdin (Simon & Schuster)
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Seventh grader Eddie is determined to honor his father’s legacy and win the school science fair in this fun and quirky debut novel.

Eddie learned everything there is to know about birding from his dad, including the legend of the Golden Eagle, which Dad claimed he saw once down near Miss Dorothy’s pond. According to his dad, the Golden Eagle had wings wider than a creek and talons the size of bulldozer claws. But when Eddie was in sixth grade, Dad “flew away” for good, leaving Eddie on his own to await the return of the elusive raptor.

Now Eddie is starting seventh grade and trying to impress Gabriella, the new girl in town. The annual seventh grade Science Symposium (which Dad famously won) is looming, and Eddie is determined to claim the blue ribbon for himself. With Mr. Dover, the science teacher who was Dad’s birding rival, seemingly against him, and with Mouton, the class bully, making his life miserable on all fronts, Eddie is determined to overcome everything and live up to Dad’s memory. Can Eddie soar and make his dream take flight?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Boy. Bird. Love. Loss. Family.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in my book is the very last scene. It’s my favorite scene because, honestly, the outcome of my story is inevitable, but the surprise comes in how the main character gets to that outcome.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just walked into my office at school. I’m an assistant principal. I had just come from a meeting, and I checked my cell phone and had a voice message from my agent, John Rudolph. He had also sent me an email. Needless to say, he was trying to contact me! I high-fived everyone in sight. Administrators. Teachers. But especially the students.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Wings. Spicy wings with blue cheese dressing.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
On my desk at school I have this pencil holder my daughter made out of purple Play-doh. It’s all bent out of shape now and as hard as stone. It’s actually kind of gross. I’d say that’s fairly odd.


The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw
August 2, 2016 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan’s fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden fom its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Family, friendship, secrets, loss, survival.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene takes place when MC Yuriko is on the veranda with her Papa, as he tells her stories.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home when I received the email from my agent. I wanted to share with my husband, but he was outside trying to get our dog away from a squirrel. So I’m standing in the door way trying to get his attention through all the barking and squirrel shenanigans!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Rice crispy treats tied with chocolate!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Olaf candy dispenser!

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Rebellion by J.A. Souders | Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)

July 15, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 8 ★★★½

Rebellion by J.A. Souders | Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)Rebellion by J.A. Souders
Series: Elysium Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Renegade, Revelations
Published by Tor Teen on July 12, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Barnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks Book Depository Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
The thrilling conclusion to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller series for teens

In this conclusion to J. A. Souders’s thrilling, twist-filled Elysium Chronicles series, Evie Winters and Gavin Hunter return to the isolated, dangerous underwater city that they fought so hard to escape.

Back in Elysium at last, Evie has finally found her true self hidden under layers and layers of false memories implanted by the woman she knew as Mother. Thanks to the intervention of her father, she knows the horrible truth about Mother and her insidious plans for her city. With the help of the love of her life, Gavin, and her best friend, Asher St. James, she’s determined to free her people from the cruel dictatorship of Mother’s laws. But how do you free people who don’t know they need rescuing?

Working with the growing Underground rebellion, Evie tries to remove Mother from her position by force—with disastrous results. As the body count rises, Evie must find a way to save Elysium before Mother destroys them all.

Welcome to my stop along the official blog tour for Rebellion by J.A. Souders! Rebellion (released on July 12, 2016) is the final book in the Elysium Chronicles, which is a trilogy I absolutely LOVE (see my reviews for the first two books here and here). This concluding story has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you today! I’m going to keep things as spoiler free as possible, which is why my review will be shorter than some, but please be aware of the fact that my review might end up spoiling parts of the first two books in the trilogy.

Many of my points in my reviews for Renegade and Revelations apply to Rebellion as well. The city of Elysium is amazing, and we get to experience more of it in this book. I was really happy to be back here, rather than in the Outlands (which was the dangerous stretch of land Gavin and Evie crossed in Revelations). I just love cities beneath the surface of the ocean. Souders does a wonderful job of describing the setting and the scenery.

Again, the story is written in dual perspectives from Evie and Gavin. I really enjoyed reading both their thoughts, and felt it enriched my reading experience. Our beloved characters have gone through some changes, and it was fun to see them grow. Evie, who started out as a naive, brainwashed, lightweight of a girl has transformed into a stubborn, kick-butt heroine who essentially holds the world of Elysium in her hands as she leads the rebellion against Mother. Gavin is the same old knight-in-shining armor I fell in love with in the first book, and will stop at nothing to make sure Evie is safe. Asher is still the sweet older brother figure, and Mother has reached new levels of insanity. We even meet some new people along the way.

The action is non-stop, heart-pumping, and ends in a way I’m not sure anyone will see coming. Rebellion is a strong conclusion to an even stronger series, and I will miss this world and the characters I’ve enjoyed so much. I definitely recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a unique sci-fi reading experience. I’m excited to see where J.A. Souders takes us next.

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Tour Schedule

July 11 – Chapter by Chapter
July 12 – Seeing Double in Neverland
July 13 – Short n Sweet Reviews
July 14 – Gizmo’s Reviews
July 15 – That Artsy Reader Girl
July 16 – The Nocturnal Library


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
Amazon Barnes & NobleIndieBound iBooks 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.

Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

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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
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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).

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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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