My Dream Irish Countryside Excursion | Love & Luck Blog Tour

Posted May 10, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour / 10 Comments

My Dream Irish Countryside Excursion | Love & Luck Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Love & Luck by Janna Evans Welch, hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! The bulk of Love & Luck takes place on a road trip across Ireland, passing castles and historic sites and tons of beautiful scenery.

I’ve always dreamt of touring the Irish countryside so, in honor of this blog tour for a book I LOVED, I’ve decided to share with you the things I’d love to see while on my own road trip. It’s really all about the rolling hills and the castles for me! These are the kinds of scenes I pictured as I read about Addie, Ian, and Rowan on their tour.


My Dream Irish Countryside Excursion

Blarney Castle

Dunluce Castle

Dunamase Castle

The Rock of Cashel

The Cliffs of Moher

It was really hard to limit my post to these ten images. Ireland is so beautiful, and I want to go even more now! Hopefully someday I can take the trip! Anyone in the mood to sponsor such an excursion?


Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Companion to: Love & Gelato
Published by Simon Pulse on May 8, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance — Young Adult
Add to Goodreads
Amazon • B&N • Book Depository • iBooks • Kobo

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.


About Jenna Evans Welch

Jenna Evans Welch was the kind of insatiable child reader who had no choice but to grow up to become a writer. She is the New York Times Bestselling author of LOVE & GELATO and the upcoming LOVE & LUCK.

When she isn’t writing girl abroad stories, Jenna can be found chasing her children or making elaborate messes in the kitchen. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and two young children.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Follow the rest of the tour!

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Top Ten Beautiful Purple Book Covers

Posted May 7, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 45 Comments

This week’s topic surrounds your favorite color. It can either appear on the cover or in the title itself. I have a ton of favorite colors, and my Favorite changes all the time depending on my mood. Does anyone else go through phases with their favorite colors? I also like different colors for different situations, such as colors I wear versus colors of things I own. Anyway, I’ve chosen to showcase purple covers today!


That Inevitable Victorian Thing
by E.K. Johnston
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović


A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco


Goldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Various Authors


Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier


The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

I haven’t read any of these, but I want to!
Tell me which ones to prioritize and which ones I should pass on.
Which color did you choose this week?

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Top Ten Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early

Posted April 30, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 33 Comments

I’m blessed with the opportunity to read many advance reader copies (ARCs) of books, but some of them are tricker to get or just never release as ARCs because the publisher doesn’t need them in order to sell books (or they’re the last book in a series and ARCs don’t happen in order to minimize spoilers). The following books are titles I’d really love to get my hands on early.


1. Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (Out 9/18/19)

Everyone who knows me knows I won’t shut up about how much I loved Hunting Prince Dracula last year. I cannot WAIT to read the next installment in Audrey Rose’s and Thomas Cresswell’s story. And this one takes place on an ocean liner! I couldn’t have asked for a better setting.

2. The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely (Out 7/10/18)

I love a good fake romance, and this one sounds fun and flirty, not to mention the fact that it has all the right ingredients for a hilarious string of events. April needs a date for her family’s summer reunion, so what better place to look than Craigslist? I can’t wait to read it!

3. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare  (Out 8/28/18)

Tessa Dare is my favorite historical romance author, and I can’t wait for her new book!


4. Snow in Love by Melissa de la Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimee Friedman, and Kasie West (Out 10/30/18)

I love wintry/holiday romances, and I’ve come to really enjoy YA anthologies. And Kasie West has a story in this one!! I’m sold.

5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Out 1/29/19)

I live for Beauty & the Beast retellings, and this one sounds wonderful. Plus, that cover!

6. Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (Out 8/7/18)

With the exception of the final book in the trilogy, which went kind of wonky for me, I love the Remnant Chronicles. The world is amazing, the characters are great, and Mary’s storytelling and writing are out of this world. I’m so excited to see where she goes next.


7. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (Out 2/5/19)

It’s Leigh Bardugo! And it’s Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy! I’ve always wanted him to get his own book, and now he has it!

No covers yet!

8. Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (Out 1/22/19)

It’s a ninja-inspired fantasy! I love Evelyn’s writing and worldbuilding skills, so I’m counting on this one to be amazing.

9. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (10/2/18)

To be honest, I don’t care what this book is about. I just know I want it. I loved The Hating Game so much, and I’m excited for Sally’s next book!

10. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (2019)

I am such a Jenn Bennett fangirl. She writes such cute contemporary romances. And this one has some mystery aspects to it, from what I’ve heard!

Which books would you love to read early?
Do we share any of the same picks?

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Ten Frequently Used Words In YA Book Titles

Posted April 23, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

So this fun little topic came through on the TTT topic submission form, and I’ve actually had a lot of fun with this one! We all see the trends that come and go regarding book title structures and word choices. I spent a lot of time searching the books I’ve added to Goodreads and came up with this list of commonly used words in YA book titles. The number next to each word tells how many YA books I’ve added to Goodreads that have that word in the title. And these are just the ones I added. There are like a million others. lol.

1. Girl/Girls (60)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Dangerous Girls, New Girl, The Goose Girl, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, Smart Girls Get what They Want, Geek Girl, Girl Underwater, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Lost Girl, Fangirl, Jesse’s Girl, The Girl at Midnight, etc.

2. You (49)
P.S. I Like You, The Devil You Know, A Thousand Pieces of You, Wish You Were Italian, As You Wish, The Distance Between You and Me, What You Always Wanted, Seven Days of You, The Season of You and Me, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, etc.

3. Star/Starry (48)
Starry Eyes, Starry Nights, Stars Above, The Fault In Our Stars, Second Star, These Broken Stars, Even the Darkest Stars, For Darkness Shows the Stars, The Name of the Star, The Chaos of Stars, Eyes Like Stars, Across a Star-Swept Sea, The Last Star, etc.

4. Shadow/Shadows (31)
Shadowlands, Shadow and Bone, Dance of Shadows, Shadows On the Moon, The Shadow Society, Prince of Shadows, Shadow Scale, Shadow Study, Shadow Kiss, Queen of Shadows, A Shadow Bright and Burning, The Shadow Queen, Reign of Shadows, The Library of Light and Shadows, etc.

5. Blood (27)
Silver In the Blood, Blood Promise, Anna Dressed In Blood, Days of Blood and Starlight, Blood Passage, Sisters of Blood and Spirit, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, Blood Rose Rebellion, RoseBlood, Frostblood, etc.

6. Queen (26)
Beauty Queens, The Queen’s Choice, Red Queen, Queen of Shadows, The Orphan Queen, Queen of Hearts, The Shadow Queen, The Impostor Queen, The Star-Touched Queen, etc.

7. Daughter (23)
Daughter of Deep Silence, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Daughter of Venice, The Musician’s Daughter, The Madman’s Daughter, etc.

8. Blue (22)
Into the Still Blue, Nantucket Blue, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Words In Deep Blue, Everblue, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, The Savage Blue, Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, etc.

9. Bone (13)
Ivory and Bone, Shadow and Bone, Ink and Bone, The World of Shell and Bone, The Bone Witch, etc.

10. Smoke (10)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Curses and Smoke,Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, Silver Smoke, Bright SMoke, Cold Fire, Riot of Storm and Smoke, etc.

Which genre or age group did you decide to focus on today?
Do we have any words in common? 

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The Debut Dish: Adrienne Young

Posted April 22, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish / 4 Comments

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 Adrienne Young (Sky In the Deep).

 

 


Sky In the Deep by Adrienne Young
April 24, 2018 from Wednesday Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Brutal. Bloody. Introspective. Action-packed.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I think my favorite scene is the one the title came from. Eelyn is standing on a frozen lake and the ice is reflecting the night sky, making it look like the sky is beneath her. It’s the first real moment she realizes that she can’t hold on to everything she’s ever believed and that when everything’s over, she will be different.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home. The book went to auction, which means that there was a set day and time when the offers would be submitted. I spent the morning on the phone with my agent going over everything and when I hung up on the final call, my husband and two of my best friends were waiting in the other room with mimosas.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Donuts. All the donuts in the world.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A turtle shell. I love to collect things from the natural world like stones, feathers, insects, or bones!

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Top Ten Books My Mom Loves

Posted April 16, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 80 Comments

This week I gave you the opportunity to come up with your own topic. I love doing this because then I can visit all the participating blogs and steal your ideas!! Haha, just kidding. That’s not totally the reason. I always get requests for really specific topics that I can’t broaden enough to make them apply to everyone who wants to participate, such as “top ten science fiction books” or “top ten books to read if you liked [insert book title here]”. Not everyone can do those kinds of topics and then they would have to sit out that week. So this week you get to do whatever you want!

Today’s my mom’s birthday, and since she’s my favorite person in the world I figured I’d share with you some of the books she’s read and loved, both as a child and an adult, and recommended to me throughout my life.

To my first and favorite follower:

 

 

The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
Cherry Ames, Student Nurse by Helen Wells
Racoons Are the Brightest People by Sterling North
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Mary Higgins-Clark (all her books)
Virgin River by Robyn Carr (The entire Virgin River series)
Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs (The entire Lakeshore Chronicles series)

Have you read any of these books?
Which books do your mom or dad recommend to you all the time?
What topic did you come up with this week?

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Roomies by Christina Lauren | Book Review

Posted April 12, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, New Adult / 3 Comments

Roomies by Christina Lauren | Book ReviewRoomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books on December 5, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

I love marriages of convenience and fake/sham romances, so I was excited to find another one from an author (or author partnership) I’ve been hearing really good things about. I also love books set in New York and/or surrounding the theme of music. And… it kind of goes without saying that I love Irish men, so the synopsis checked all my boxes. I eagerly jumped in, and had a lot of fun with this one! As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I really loved Holland Baker. She’s so relatable, and I think we can all see at least a small part of ourselves in her. She’s a 25-year-old plain Jane living in New York City (with the help of her two uncles who pay most of her rent), working a dead-end job (that her uncle go her) that is way below her qualifications as she tries to achieve her dream of becoming a published author. Who has been in this position before? *raises hand* Her morning subway runs to work become bearable when she stumbles across a musical genius busking in the station one morning. She gives him a name and makes up his life story in her mind, going out of her way to hear him play as often as she can. This mysterious musician has her completely entranced even though she’s never seen his face or heard his voice. If you haven’t ever had a crush on someone you don’t know, then you’re either crazy or lucky.

2. Calvin is a swoony Irishman who is also working below his qualifications while trying to achieve his dream of becoming a Broadway musician. While busking in the subway station one evening, he saves Holland from an attack and then pretty much disappears. We learn a lot about Holland’s mystery musician, and the two of them end up in a marriage of convenience–both for very different reasons. Calvin is pretty cute (his accent comes through the pages), but not my favorite male love interest. I had a really hard time trusting his intentions with Holland, and questioned his feelings pretty consistently throughout the story. He’s not incredibly thoughtful or romantic, either. I did change my mind about him, and by the end I was in love with him. I was sad I didn’t get more pages with him like he was in the end.

3. I did really like the banter between Holland and Calvin. They’re pretty funny and flirtatious, and I ate it all up.

4. I could not help but picture scenes from the movie, The Proposal, while I read about Holland and Calvin at their interview to prove the validity of their marriage. And their cramming sessions where they tried to learn as much about each other as possible were great.

5. I LOVED Holland’s two uncles, Robert and Jeff. They took care of her like they were her parents, and I loved how tender and concerned they were for her. They call her “Hollsy”, which is so cute! Robert is the mastermind behind a hit Broadway show, but he’s still super down-to-earth and even a little silly.

6. I loved the walks through New York in the freezing cold because it took me back to when I was there at Christmastime freezing my butt off.

7. I love the author’s descriptions of music and what it does to a person. There were some beautiful, sweeping passages that perfectly described the impact music has on people.

8. A fair amount of the book takes place at the theater, and I enjoyed all the tidbits of life behind Broadway. 

9. I think things went slightly sour for me when Holland and Calvin left the getting-to-know-you phase and jumped into the lustier side of their relationship. I loved the sincerity that they brought to the scene as they got to know one another and were intoxicated by Calvin’s new job and Holland’s secret infatuation with him had her checking herself to see if she was dreaming. That was all very sweet and exciting. When they started lying to each other and sleeping together for no meaningful reason, it cheapened everything for me.

10. There was a lot of needless drama, in my opinion. I’ve never read a book where the main couple argued with one another so much, or had so many disagreements. 

11. I loved watching Holland find herself. 

12. The ending was very sweet, if not a little convenient and quick. It all seemed to wrap up too fast for me.

13. I could have done with fewer f-words. 

So, there you have it! My slightly all over the place review. There were parts I loved, and parts I didn’t love. Overall, however, I am so glad I read this book. It was fun and fresh and different from all the other contemporary romances I’ve read.

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Top Ten Books I’m Scared to Re-read

Posted April 9, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 55 Comments

Today’s TTT topic was submitted by Brandyn @ Goingforgoldilocks. Thanks for the fun idea, Brandyn! If you have ideas for future topics, submit them here!

A note about last week’s topic:

I know how hard it was for many of you to come up with a list of characters you liked from books you didn’t like, and I’m sorry if you couldn’t participate! Always feel free to switch up a topic to make it work for you when this kind of thing happens. I really loved the topic idea when I saw it come through my TTT topic submission form, but was pretty daunted by it at the same time. I usually don’t like a book because I didn’t like the character(s). I know I’m just one person, though, and I shouldn’t only pick topics that are easy for me. And honestly, I really liked the challenge because I ended up mentioning some books I’d never talked about before on the blog!

Anyway, I posted a discussion a few days ago about whether or not you’re a character or plot driven reader, and we’re having fun over there. Jump in and tell me what kind of reader you are, and if last week’s topic was a bit of a challenge for you!

We did a topic a couple months ago on books we could re-read forever. This time we’re showcasing books we liked but will never re-read. For me those books are usually books I loved years ago that I’m scared I won’t love anymore if I read it now (tastes change, you know?). It’s kind of like meeting up with a best friend from childhood and then not liking them anymore and ruining the memories of your time together as kids. I don’t want to erase the experience I had reading it when I loved it. I also run into this issue with books that have major plot twists or are mysteries because I know I will never be able to duplicate the amazing reading experience I had before I knew what was going to happen. These are the kinds of books I’m going to talk about today.

 

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I really loved Twilight (it came out while I was in college), and it re-ignited my love of reading and introduced me to the magical world of YA books. I didn’t have YA as a teen and spent my teens years reading historical romance novels. I wish I’d had YA back then, with characters and situations that I could relate to.

 

2. Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard
Wanderlove changed my life. It’s one of those books that I found at just the right time, and I’m not sure I’d ever feel like I did when I read it. It scares me that I’d taint that life-changing reading experience if I tried to re-read it now. 

 

3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I read Delirium right when it came out. I was still on a dystopia kick after reading and loving The Hunger Games. I LOVED this book so much. When I read the synopsis now, though, it’s the kind of story I’d pass over. Maybe I read too many dystopian novels, or maybe I got tired of reading so many similar stories. I don’t think I’d love it anymore, which is sad because I own Requiem and want to see how it ends. But that means I’d have to re-read Delirium and Pandemonium because I’ve forgotten everything. I’m worried I wouldn’t make it through and then I’d have ruined one of my favorite books for myself.

 

4. Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout
Ah, this is one of my favorite romantic suspense novels! And I’m oo scared to re-read it because I already know what happens and I don’t ever want to forget how terrified and confused I was. lol. I had NO CLUE who the culprit was, and I loved trying to figure it out. Would I enjoy this book as much the second time if I already knew the ending?

 

5. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
This is another favorite book of mine. There is a very strong musical theme throughout that I really connected with. It’s the kind of connection I would never want to lose, and it scares me to think of re-reading it even though I want to so bad!

 

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I miiiiight not hold myself to this becuase I LOVE this book so much. It’s another one I’m scared I won’t love anymore because I’ve been having a hard time with contemporary YA lately.

 

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
While the writing is beautiful, and I loved this book a lot, I’m not sure I could put my heart through it again.

 

8. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
I’m really done with any and all fae that are not Sarah J. Maas’s.

 

9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie’s writing is beautiful (and I loved this book), but I’ve really fallen out of love with most paranormal/folkloric creatures. I still love mermaids, but that’s about it. I also think I’d eyeroll over the instalove and the Twilight-esque feelings.

 

10. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
MAJOR PLOT TWIST that I can never ever re-experience unless I get amnesia. If I do, remind me I want to read this book.

Which books did you enjoy, but will never re-read? Why?
Do you ever experience this problem I have where you’re worried you won’t like a book as much the second time and end up ruining everything? What do you suggest I do about this fear?

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The Debut Dish: Jessica Leake, Emma Berquist, Kaitlyn Sage Patterson, & Carolyn O’Doherty (+ Giveaways)

Posted April 8, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 11 Comments

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 Jessica Leake (Beyond a Darkened Shore), Emma Berquist (Devils Unto Dust), Kaitlyn Sage Patterson (The Diminished), and Carolyn O’Doherty (Rewind).

 


Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
April 10, 2018 from HarperTeen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Action-packed mythological fantasy & romance.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
One of my non-spoilery scenes comes in the beginning of the book when the main character Ciara meets the Morrigan for the first time. The Morrigan forces her to watch all the horrible things that can happen to Ciara’s world and family if she doesn’t do anything to stop the coming evil, and it’s creepy and intense and dark…just like the Morrigan herself.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just had my fourth baby the week before, so I was at home in that state of happy exhaustion, and I saw that I had a missed call from my agent. I listened to the voicemail right away, of course, (I actually still have the voicemail lol) and she said that I needed to call her immediately, that if I was driving, I needed to pull over and call her right away. So my mom was there helping with my other kids, and she excitedly told me to hurry up and call my agent back. I went into my room, and I listened in a state of shocked confusion as my agent told me that HarperCollins had offered to buy not just one, but TWO books!! I remember I just kept saying, “What?!” over and over. And then I went out of my room and told my mom, and she cried. Such an incredible surprise! One of my happiest memories, for sure.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate and just about anything sweet. I try to tell myself eating dark chocolate isn’t really the same as eating junk food, but I’m pretty sure it is when I chase a square of it with chocolate-chip cookies 😆.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I just cleaned out my office so I can answer this definitively: a small figurine of Willow from the movie Willow circa 1988.

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Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
April 10, 2018 from Greenwillow
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Ten years ago, a horrifying disease began spreading across the West Texas desert. Infected people—shakes—attacked the living and created havoc and destruction. No one has ever survived the infection. Daisy Wilcox, known as Willie, has been protecting her siblings within the relatively safe walls of Glory, Texas. When Willie’s good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most dangerous shake-hunters in town, she finds herself on the hook for his debt. With two hunters, including the gruff and handsome Ben, to accompany her, she sets out across the desert in search of her father. But the desert is not kind to travelers, and not everyone will pass through alive.

Western meets horror for this riveting story about survival, family, and inner strength. Tense, short chapters propel readers from one action-packed scene to the next, while Willie’s distinctive, introspective voice deepens the emotional stakes with every turn of the page. High concept and character-driven, Emma Berquist’s debut will satisfy fans of The Magnificent Seven, Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger, and HBO’s Westworld.

Describe your book in five words or less.
No Country For Young Adults

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I’m a sucker for the quiet moments that sneak up in-between all the chaos. I tried to give Willie a few of those moments, and they stuck with me the most.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d just finished taking my dog out, and I got tangled up trying to get the leash off while lunging for the phone. I could barely hear anything, I was breathing so hard.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Tough to choose just one. I’m partial to a giant bowl of popcorn with olive oil, salt and pepper. That or a spoon in a jar of peanut butter.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Random plug adaptor that I’m sure belongs to something I’ve already lost. A tiny cake made out of clay.

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The Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
April 10, 2018 from Harlequin Teen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.

The singleborn

A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.

The diminished

When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace.

As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Siblings, grief, politics, loneliness, rebellion

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in THE DIMINISHED is a kissing scene that takes place in a pool on board a ship. It’s all about letting go and living in the moment, which is really hard for my main characters.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in a board room, making a presentation to my bosses. I’d forgotten to put my phone on silent, and it started blaring “Formation” by Beyoncé. You cannot imagine the blushes.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ruffles and canned french onion dip 4eva.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Is it weird to keep hot sauce AND nail polish on your desk? I don’t know what’s normal anymore. I’m too deep in my deadline.


Rewind by Carolyn O’Doherty
April 10, 2018 from Boyds Mills Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Sixteen-year-old Alex is a Spinner–she has the ability to rewind time to review past events. Hated and feared because of their ability to find the truth, the small population of Spinners is restricted to Centers–compounds created to house and protect them. Alex’s society uses the Spinners’ skills to solve major crimes, but messing with time comes with consequences: no Spinner lives past the age of twenty. At sixteen, Alex is in her prime–until time sickness strikes early. When she is offered an experimental treatment, Alex sees a future for herself for the first time. But the promising medication offers more than just a cure–it also brings with it dire consequences.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Teenagers who can freeze time.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when Alex wakes up in the clinic and discovers her time freezing skills have changed. It’s a pivotal event in her life and a place in the story where the stakes start to ratchet up. It was also a super fun scene to write — especially in a book where my main character doesn’t get to have too many lighthearted moments.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
You know what’s crazy? I’m not 100% sure. It was two years ago and I think I was at work, but I’d imagined the scene in my head so many times it’s possible I’m remembering the fantasy rather than the reality!

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

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A big bag of sweet li hing mui (pickled plums). I grew up in Hawaii and these were my favorite snack so I bought some for my son’s birthday. They were not a hit. Now the whole bag is for me!

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Are You a Character Driven or Plot Driven Reader? | Discussion

Posted April 6, 2018 by Jana in Discussion / 39 Comments

 

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday has brought up an interesting discussion that I wanted to expound upon. Let me set the stage: I have a Top Ten Tuesday topic suggestion form, where participants can submit their suggestions for future TTTs. The topic “Characters I Liked from Non-Favorite/Disliked Books” came through and I was kind of intimidated by it, but figured I’d put it on the schedule because I want topics to apply to a variety of readers and not just be ones that are easy for me.

As I started building my list a couple weeks in advance I realized how unbelievably hard it was for me to come up with 10 characters I liked from books I didn’t like. I am a very character driven reader. If I don’t like a book it’s usually because I did not like the characters. I’ve never disliked a story but liked the characters enough to continue reading it. If I can’t connect with or fall in love with the characters, then it’s a pretty automatic DNF for me. There’s just no reason for me to stick around. I started looking at all my one and two star reviews to try and find books I rated low, but found redeeming qualities in the characters. Most of the time I was actually complaining about the characters! I ended up picking a lot of characters that I used to love, who took a bad turn in sequels and series books because I couldn’t come up with much else.

Once this TTT went live and the Linky was open for people to link up their posts, I quickly noticed how slowly the links were submitted. Usually the Linky explodes with submissions within minutes of the post going live. I started visiting the blogs who participated, and made it through the first 20 or so posts before sleep took over. I noticed that many people were in my same boat and struggled with coming up with their lists. Some of them reversed the topic and wrote about characters they hated from books they loved, which would have been so much easier for me. Someone even changed the topic to characters they loved. Period. Participation was also down. By the next day only 85 people had linked up their posts, as opposed to the 300-350 I usually see.

Clearly, I’m not alone! I saw several posts where people said they loved the topic, and easily came up with 10 picks. For a lot of us, though, I know how tricky it was and I feel bad that so many people struggled with it. I’ll do my best to not make such a hard topic anymore.

So, let’s discuss!
– Are you a character driven reader like me, or plot driven reader?
– Or does something else drive your love of books? The writing? The world? The author? Your own stubbornness? All of the above?
– Do you DNF over characters you can’t connect with, or can you keep going with a book even if you don’t like them?
– Which books come to your mind when you think of this discussion topic? 

There’s so much to talk about!

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