Month: June 2016

Frayed by Kara Terzis | Debut Author Book Review + Giveaway

Posted June 30, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult / 2 Comments

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 Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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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

Posted June 29, 2016 by Jana in About Me, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 4 Comments

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.

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

Posted June 28, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 2 Comments

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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Books That Take Place In Or On the Water | Goldfish Blog Tour

Posted June 27, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour / 1 Comment

Books That Take Place In Or On the Water | Goldfish Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the Goldfish blog tour! Goldfish, written by Nat Luurtsema, is a young adult book about swimming and the Olympics so all of us on the blog tour are posting about swimmers and swimming and the Olympics. Nat is guest posting a lot, too, so this is a really fun tour to be on and I’m happy to be a part of it.


I absolutely love books that make the ocean or other body of water one of the main settings of the story, so for my post I’ve written up a list of books I love that take place in or on the water! Some of these books take place on boats, ships, and lifeboats. I’m also highlighting books about mermaids and books that take place in underwater worlds. I even threw in a couple that feature swimmers aspiring to make it to the olympics just like our heroine, Lou, in Goldfish. The book links will take you either to my review or Goodreads.

BooksontheWater

 

1. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Clementine spends her summer on her parents’ sailboat nursing a broken heart. But it might not be the kind of heartbreak your mind just jumped to. She falls in love and spends a lot of time with her family eating disgusting meals made only from canned foods, eating s’mores by blow torch, star gazing, sunbathing, laughing, and bonding. I really loved this book!

2. Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
This book is SO much fun and SO underrated. This book takes place on Clio’s dad’s luxury yacht in the Mediterranean Sea with side trips to amazing Italian towns. The story has a little of everything: history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. We see clio go through a lot of introspection as she works through the barely-there relationship between a her and her estranged father and discovers what kind of person she wants to be.

3. Catherine and the Pirate by Karen Hawkins
This book is part of the Avon True Romance for Teens series, and I loved it. It’s no surprise that the story takes place aboard a pirate ship. I read this as a young teen, and all I remember is that Derrick St. John is REALLY swoony. This book got my hooked on pirate romances.

4. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
A mermaid book! Emma, for some reason, can communicate with sea life even though she’s a human. She learns of her ability during a shark attack. Galen, the prince of Syrena, has gone to land to find her because his kingdom is in trouble. I love the characters and the humor mixed in with the more intense moments. Anna’s take on mermaid and Greek mythology is very interesting, and the underwater scenes are amazingly well done.

5. Renegade by J.A. Souders
Another highly underrated book. The people (humans, not mermaids) of Elysium live in a glass structure at the bottom of the sea. Who needs wallpaper when you’ve got whales swimming past you? It’s absolutely beautiful, even though it is hiding a very creepy world inside. Our heroine, Evelyn, has been brainwashed to believe life is perfect in this little “utopia” at the bottom of the sea, but when Gavin, a Surface Dweller, finds them by accident she discovers the truth. The descriptions of the scenery, the world, the feelings, and the romance are amazing.

6. Captivate by Vanessa Garden
Harlequin Teen Australia accidentally approved me for this title on Netgalley and it was the best mistake ever. This is one of my FAVORITE books. This book takes place in Marin, which is a gorgeous and colorful and sparkling underwater world. The city has rivers and gondolas and a modern colosseum where people go to watch criminals get thrown to the sharks in a big aquarium-like tank. When they look up to the sky they see the ocean instead. Their world is lit and warmed by light crystals that sparkle, and oxygen is brought down to them through air shafts. There’s a garden and a park with real grass. I could go on and on. I’m in love with this place. While taking a midnight swim, Miranda is abducted by sexy Marko and taken to Marin where danger and secrets lie.

7. Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
I’ve loved every book I’ve read by Kate (her writing is gorgeous), but this series is my favorite. Itlantis is a series of underwater cities spread out across the entire ocean floor. Aemi has been captured from her village at the surface and taken to the city of Celestrus to serve as a slave. This city has, what I can only describe to be, glass spheres that are suspended in the water. Each sphere is a library dedicated to each of the different cities of Itlantis. You can see sea life swimming by and light from the surface dancing. The libraries are filled with books, foliage, sculpture, fountains, and walkways. Nol, her arch nemesis from her old village, has also been captured and they work together to try and escape.

8. By Love or By Sea by Rachel Rager
“When a mysterious and ragged sailor appears in the seaside town where Alice Lind Frank lives with her grandparents, Alice is shocked to learn that the sailor is her childhood love, Caleb, who she thought was lost at sea.”

9. Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
This book has a male narrator, guys! Anyway, this mermaid novel takes place in Lake Superior. I LOVE that the story took place here rather than in the cliche tropical location. Rather than hearing about rainbow fish and sea turtles, you get to read about sunken ships and the unexplored depths of the lake. We even get a mention of an ancient road down there. Calder is a merman from a family of human-killing mermaids. He was not born this way, but was changed to a merman after falling off a boat and drowning as a young child. He and his family are hell-bent on murdering the man they blame for their mother’s death, but oh crap… Calder falls for this man’s daughter Lily.

10. Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
I actually liked book 2 in this trilogy better than this one, but I figured I’d add this one because you kind of have to read it before book 2. Again, we have a book about mermaids. Tempest is half mermaid and has to decide by her 17th birthday whether she will life her life as a human or a mermaid. It doesn’t help that Kai’s a sexy merman who wants her to choose him. I enjoyed Tracy’s descriptions of the underwater world. The sea life and the scenery were so beautifully described, which is what made the story exciting to me.

11. The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
Denver, our heroine, is basically Veronica Mars. And she’s found herself a survivor of a huge tsunami and is floating around in a lifeboat with her least favorite people in the world. This book gets deep. There’s a lot of soul searching and healing that goes on out there in that lifeboat. There are some heart-wrenching moments, some funny moments, some horrifying moments, and some tender moments. I loved all the different dimensions of the story.

12. 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival by Jonathan Franklin
Non-fiction! This is the true story of Salvador Alvarenga, the man we all remember from the news as having survived a grueling 438 days lost at sea in the tiniest boat ever. This man’s story is unfathomable, and inspiring. There are really no words that can accurately describe what he went through. So much detail is used to describe his day-to-day activities, the weather, his surroundings, etc. that I felt like I was there. He continued to amaze me throughout the entire story. I honestly have no idea how he was able to survive for so long drinking turtle blood and eating raw birds and fish. Every time I think of this man, the words “amazing” and “miraculous” come to mind. I really enjoyed reading it, and felt feelings of hope throughout. I felt inspired to do great things. I love it when books have the power to do this to a person, and that’s the beauty of survival stories.

13. Undercurrents by Traci Hunter Abramson
This book is a work of LDS (Mormon) fiction, but it’s not at all preachy so don’t worry. “Shaye Kendall, an Olympic-bound swimmer, has been in the witness protection program ever since she witnessed her boyfriend’s murder.” This is the first book in a trilogy that was really exciting and suspenseful.

14. Girl Underwater by Claire Kells
This book “cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.” This story is predominately about surviving your life after you survive a disaster. We read a lot about Avery’s attempts to deal with her PTSD and her efforts to pick up where she left off the moment her plane went down. It was a very powerful, yet sometimes depressing, portrayal of someone who has gone through the unthinkable. I loved the characters, especially Avery and Colin who ended up having to not only survive and cope but help three young boys survive and recover after their rescue as well.


Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema
Published by: Feiwel & Friends on June 7, 2016
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Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

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Book Covers with Beautiful Hair by Everly Frost | Debut Author Guest Post

Posted June 24, 2016 by Jana in Cover Talk, Guest Post / 1 Comment

I’m happy to welcome Everly Frost, 2016 debut author of Fear My Mortality, to the blog today to share her favorite book covers that feature models with beautiful hair! Following her post, read more about her and her book below. Thanks for stopping by, Everly!


Book Covers with Beautiful Hair
by Everly Frost

A while ago, I cut my hair. Not a big deal in the history of the world, except that it ended up far shorter than I’d intended. The main character in my book knows that feeling only too well: she’s been waiting her whole life to grow her hair past her shoulders.

Because people in her world (an alternate Earth) can’t be killed and live for hundreds of years, they need a way to tell how old a person is. To do that, there’s a universal social rule about hair: a person’s hair length has to match their age. Children under the age of sixteen aren’t allowed to grow their hair past their shoulders and people over a hundred years old are expected to grow their hair past their waist. (This applies to boys as well as girls. Bring on the man buns and dreadlocks a la Thor and Legolas.)

In line with that, I went searching for book covers with beautiful hair – the kind that make me go all heart-eyed and wish I had lovely locks like that.

Here are just a few I found …

Everlys Covers 1

 

Exiled by RaShelle Workman – It’s the silvery light reflecting on delicate butterflies that makes this cover so wistful.

Cress by Marissa Meyer – That amazing Rapunzel-style hair just keeps going and going, all entwined with shiny, red ribbon.

Huntress: Life After by Julie Hall – This cover is all about the hair with that gorgeous slash of purple-blue highlighting the layers across the middle.

Everlys covers 2

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – This is the kind of cover that makes me wish I could stride across a sea of white, deadly weapon in hand and equally deadly locks sweeping behind me.

Nobody’s Goddess by Amy McNulty – Everything about this cover is appealing and the hair is simply one more part to love.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova – Sweeping wind and endless grace, I love how the girl’s hair is a seamless part of this cover.

everlys covers 3

 

And now for the reds – Each of these covers puts red hair front and center, from the rippling waves of Everblue by Brenda Pandos, to the fiery tresses of Fury by Elizabeth Miles, and finally the dark and mysterious locks of Hidden by Sophie Jordan. These beautiful covers really make me miss my long(er) hair.


Make sure you grab a copy of Everly’s new book, Fear My Mortality, in stores now! 

Fear My Mortality by Everly Frost
Series: Mortal Eternity #1
April 5, 2016 from Month9Books
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The future is bright for 16-year-old Ava Holland and the residents of Evereach. They don’t have to worry about old age or even getting sick. In their world, humans regenerate, heal, and live for hundreds of years. Mortality isn’t something to fear. Disease has been all but eradicated. Everything changes when Ava watches her brother die and he doesn’t regenerate. Ava’s genetics are called into question by the government, scientists, extremists, and Ava herself. Could her genes hold the answer to mortality? Is she an anomaly or something to be feared? Determined not to become anyone’s guinea pig, Ava doesn’t stick around to find out. She wants answers too, but the only person who can help her is 17-year-old Michael Bradley, the boy who killed her brother. If either of them have even the slightest chance of survival, they must find the genetic keys hidden in Ava’s DNA before it’s too late.


About Everly

Everly Frost wrote her first story when she was nine. She grew up in a country town, lived for a little while in Japan, and worked for several years in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Now, Everly lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She doesn’t speak Japanese so often anymore, has left the cold Canberra winters behind, but has never stopped writing.

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What do you think of these covers? Can you think of any others that feature beautiful hair?


29 Bright Candles | 50 Things About Jana

Posted June 23, 2016 by Jana in About Me, Discussion, Personal / 3 Comments

Yesterday was my 29th birthday!! I can’t believe it! So often it’s all about books or blog tours or the Debut Author Challenge here on the blog, so I thought it would be fun to post a little about myself today so you can get to know me better! So I interviewed myself with questions I found around the Internet.


1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I’d love to live in a little villa in Italy somewhere, probably in the middle of the countryside but close enough so that I can visit all the beautiful places there. I’d also want to be close to a town markets and bakeries so I can buy all the yummy foods.

2. What is your biggest fear?
Losing my mom too soon.

3. What is your favorite family vacation?
A few years ago, my family and I went on a transatlantic cruise that ended in Rome, Italy. We made so many amazing stops along the way, and then spent a few days in Rome. Then my dad and little sister flew home and my mom and I spent three more weeks traveling through Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. It was amazing!

4. What would you change about yourself if you could?
My health. Definitely.

5. What really makes you angry?
Injustice! lol. I get so mad if something happens to me or anyone I’m even aware of really, that was just wrong. Or if someone gets away with something they shouldn’t have. I also get angry when someone is rude just for the sake of being rude. This happens a lot on the Internet and it bothers me so much.

6. What motivates you to work hard?
I’m a perfectionist, so my inner drive to do everything right is more motivation than I need.

7. What is your proudest accomplishment?
Wow, this is hard. I’m proud of myself for a lot of different things. I’ll be graduating grad school this December with a 4.0 GPA, I’ve got a blurb in a book and am mentioned in several acknowledgments pages, and I’ve made some choices regarding my church that were really big.

8. What is your favorite book to read?
This is hard, but it’s got to be A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. It was my first and only re-read to date!

9. What makes you laugh the most?
Lots of things make me laugh, so it’s hard to narrow it down. Funny/cute cat videos do it for me the most, probably.

10. What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?
I saw Finding Dory on Tuesday, and thought it was really cute! Baby Dory was cute, but that short called Piper at the beginning was amazing.

11. What did you want to be when you were small?
A teacher, because I wanted to write on a chalkboard all day.

12. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Hmmm… Well, this might be cheating a little… but I’d love to have a day where booking travel arrangements was free. Like, all plane tickets, cruise fares, hotels, etc. are free. I’d book everything for the rest of my life!

13. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
I don’t really enjoy playing sports or watching sports on TV, but I do like going to the occasional football game.

14. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?
Vacuum the house.

15. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?
Cleaning, for sure.

16. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Pasta with chicken in it. I need my protein, but pasts is love.

17. Who is your favorite author?
This is a rude question. Marissa Meyer.

18. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
I’ve had a TON from friends and family. Probably my favorite is “Squirtie Bird”, which is what my grandpa calls me.

19. Do you like or dislike surprises? 
I LOVE them!

20. In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read?
Read!

21. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?
Hmm… Depends on the time of year. I love Alaska (been twice) and I’m going to Hawaii next year. I don’t love hot weather, so Hawaii in the winter would be very fun.

22. Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?
I’d rather win the lottery so I can stop worrying about money and do things I love.

23. Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
My mom!

24. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Travel. I’d love to spend my life traveling.

25. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
Hmm… I’d like to go back to Rome in 1508 and watch Michelangelo paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

26. How would your friends describe you?
I’ve asked this over the years, and people have described me as being doe-eyed, sweet, caring, a good listener, trustworthy, and funny.

27. What are your hobbies?
Reading, organizing, making jewelry, graphic design, shopping, traveling, watching movies, going to museums, playing games, book blogging, and so many more.

28. What is the best gift you have been given?
This is hard! I’ve gotten lots of great things, but those are not as important to me as the experiences I’ve had in my life and the people who are in it.

29. What is the worst gift you have received?
Oh wow. When I was a kid I got this weird pottery kit from a friend who came to my birthday kit that had a mold that you pour plaster into and then paint with pastel acrylics. It was the ugliest thing. lol.

30. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
Honestly, my phone. And that’s pitiful.

31. List two pet peeves.
Poor grammar/spelling and people who wander through stores oblivious to the fact that they are not the only ones there.

32. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working as a librarian, possibly married?

33. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
I should know this since I just organized them all, but probably 40-50.

34. If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Teleportation, the ability to read minds, and the power to eat whatever I want and stay perfectly thin.

35. What form of public transportation do you prefer? 
Cruise ship.

36. What’s your favorite zoo animal?
Polar bears and penguins.

37. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
I never would have stayed at that one job that sent my health into a downward spiral.

38. How many pillows do you sleep with?
Four.

39. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep (and why)?
I think it was roughly 24 hours when I flew home from Amsterdam. I don’t even know.

40. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of?
Empire State Building

41. Would you rather trade intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?
Looks for intelligence. Dumb people bug me.

42. How often do you buy clothes?
One or two times a month.

43. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
I have! I had a couple in high school and one in college.

44. What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas.

45. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve taken a lot of pictures

46. What was the last thing you recorded on TV?
The Bachelorette.

47. What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading 738 Days by Stacey Kade. The last book I finished was Frayed by Kara Terzis.

48. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
I shower at night, so it takes me about 30-40 minutes to do my makeup and hair in the morning.

49. What’s your favorite movie?
Father of the Bride (the one with Steve Martin)

50. What language do you wish you spoke?
Italian

Thanks for stopping by to get to know a little about me! Pick a question (or a bunch) and answer it in the comments! I’d love to get to know you better as well. 


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

Posted June 22, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult / 5 Comments

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 Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (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


My Virtual Reality App Wish List | Unplugged Blog Tour

Posted June 20, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 6 Comments

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
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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.)

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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
 


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

Posted June 17, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult / 3 Comments

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: Publisher (Edelweiss)
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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

 


The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas | Cookbook Review

Posted June 15, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cookbook Review / 3 Comments

The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas | Cookbook Review

The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas | Cookbook ReviewThe Make-Ahead Kitchen: 75 Slow-Cooker, Freezer, and Prepared Meals for the Busy Lifestyle by Annalise Thomas
Published by Front Table Books on June 14, 2016
Genres: Cookbook
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2.5 Stars
Skip the hassle of last-minute meals and leftovers and replace them with simple, healthy, delicious, and easy-to-prepare make-ahead dishes! Your family will love these comfortable meals, new favorites, cozy drinks, and tantalizing desserts--all of them prepared ahead of time so you don't have to worry! Enjoy simple, soul-filling foods without the chaos of preparing them at the last minute.

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Annalise Thomas’s new cookbook, The Make-Ahead Kitchen, hosted by Cedar Fort! I don’t get many opportunities to review cookbooks, but I enjoy them a lot and always have fun looking over recipes and mouthwatering pictures of yummy food. I’m reviewing the PDF version of this cookbook, so I won’t be talking about print/image/paper quality like I usually do, but that’s ok. I’ll be talking about the recipes, the layout of the book, and any other details that I think you might be interested in.

The author provides a set of general notes at the very beginning of the book to help readers understand how she measures certain ingredients, and to provide more information on the kinds of ingredients she uses. For example, if the recipe calls for butter the author always means salted butter. She also touches on how to tell if her recipes are gluten free and notes that she offers gluten free options if she can. I thought this was a nice touch. We then move into the introduction, where the author enthusiastically pushes this idea of planning ahead and having meal options already made either in the freezer or the fridge the accommodate busy lives and particularly busy days. She claims that all of the recipes in this book can be made ahead of time and frozen and refrigerated for later consumption. I really like this idea!

The rest of the book is broken down into 7 sections of recipes: breakfasts (15 recipes); soups and salads (9 recipes); appetizers, snacks, and sides (9 recipes); main dishes (13 recipes); cookies and bars (14 recipes); desserts (12 recipes); and drinks (3 recipes). There is an index at the end. All recipes have accompanying instructions that explain how to save the meals for later. The recipes do not seem to be very difficult to make, and the instructions are detailed and make sense to me. I was a bit disappointed that 14 of the 75 recipes in this book centered around cookies/bars (most cookies can be made ahead and frozen already), especially when the book’s sub-title claims that this book contains recipes for 75 meals. Technically, the book only contains 37 recipes for make-ahead meals (if you count soups and salads as meals instead of side dishes/appetizers).

Each recipe (except 1) is accompanied by a large, colorful photo of the dish. Many cookbooks I’ve looked at over the years only have pictures here and there of a few of the star recipes, so I love having a picture of each dish. So often I decide I’m hungry for something by seeing it instead of reading about it, so this is a huge selling point for me. Many of the photos looked very appetizing and delicious, but there were also several food photos that looked a little crusty and old, like they had been sitting out for a long time waiting to be photographed (this was the case with the cashew chicken and brown rice casserole, the rich & creamy fully loaded make-ahead mashed potatoes, and the easy baked mac & cheese, among others).

There is a large assortment of recipes, but I quickly noticed that the theme here is sweet stuff. 26 of the 75 recipes are cookies, bars, or desserts. Only one of the breakfast recipes is not sweet (the roasted veggie & ham overnight egg bake), and all three drink recipes are sweet. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it’s worth noting. I eat sugar very sparingly and tend to like more savory foods (especially for breakfast), so this book would not be one that I would buy for myself. If you love sweet foods, though, it’s got some very unique sounding recipes, such as easy cardamom sweet cream biscuits, sour cream pumpkin bread, peanut butter & jelly puffs, and freezer-friendly salted carmel corn. There are savory recipes that sound good as well including make-ahead pepperoni pizza rolls and slow cooker french onion beef soup. There are just fewer than I would have liked to see.

Overall, I love the idea for this cookbook. Planning ahead by making meals and saving them for later is becoming a huge thing in my neck of the woods, and I think it’s a great idea. It saves you from having nothing for dinner when you just don’t have time to cook that day. I did have a few issues with the selection of recipes and the ingredients used (there’s several recipes that use coconut and/or curry, and I’m allergic to both of those), but that’s just a personal thing on my part. It does, however, affect my rating. I was also not overly impressed with the book’s layout and would have liked to see a little more creativity there.

If you’re searching for recipes for dishes that will hold up after refrigeration or freezing, or if you’re looking for some unique recipes to try, perhaps this cookbook is just what you’re looking for. However, it will not be my go-to recommendation for friends and family.