Month: October 2016

Author Molly Booth’s Love of Shakespeare | Saving Hamlet Blog Tour

Posted October 25, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 2 Comments

Author Molly Booth's Love of Shakespeare | Saving Hamlet Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for debut author Molly Booth’s Saving Hamlet, hosted by The Irish Banana Review! I’m so excited to have Molly here today! She’s here to talk about her discovery of Shakespeare, and how hard she fell for him! After her post, read more about the book, Molly, and enter to win a copy of Saving Hamlet!


Jana’s Question: 

Tell us about your love of Shakespeare and what it was like discovering him.

Molly:

I didn’t fall in love with Shakespeare until college, but when I did, I fell hard. Right through the stage, down to the basement.

At Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, MA, spring semester of my sophomore year, I signed up for a literature course called Shakespeare and Sophocles. I was super intimidated by the reading list, but I’d heard awesome reviews about the professor, Lucius Salisbury. He immediately assigned us Hamlet, and I was scared. I’d only read some of Romeo and Juliet in high school; I’d skimmed it for the origins of West Side Story. Reading a Shakespeare play, eek especially Hamlet!, and writing a paper about it was a totally different ball game. (Professor Salisbury loves using baseball metaphors.)

I had a long commute to the campus, so I did a lot of homework on the train or on the bus. One afternoon, on the blue line train, I’d cracked open my well-worn, used copy of the play, and braced myself to not understand a word.

Who’s there?

Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself.

Long live the king!

Those first lines hooked me, and I fell into the play. My mind swirled with the beautiful text, the supernatural (ghost dad) plot, and the connection I felt to the main character. I was in the middle of applying to transfer schools, and a little depressed, so Hamlet’s identity struggle really pulled me in. I’d never encountered anything that described being a human better or more eloquently. I was so into Hamlet that I almost missed my transfer to the orange line.

And I’ve been obsessed ever since! I went on to Marlboro College, where I studied Shakespeare and Elizabeth history, and along with my creative writing courses, this passion evolved into writing Shakespeare-oriented YA novels. Like Saving Hamlet, which is a historical time travel Shakespeare YA, and Nothing Happened, my spring 2018 book, which is a YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. I’m also about to start graduate school in Boston to continue my Shakespeare nerdiness in academia.

And this school year, I’m directing a Shakespeare play with a student theatre company in Massachusetts, All the World’s a Stage Players. We’re doing TWELFTH NIGHT, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had!! A stormy shipwreck, mistaken identities, a prank with yellow socks — I’m thrilled to be directing it, especially with such a wonderful group of young actors.

So yeah, once I discovered Shakespeare, there was no turning back for me. I turn to Shakespeare for advice, for comfort, for direction, and for creativity. In a recent interview, author Patrick Rothfuss said: “When you’re a geek for something, it means you love it beyond all sense.” I am a total Shakespeare geek. I don’t exactly know why, but my life revolves around these texts and this history, and I couldn’t be happier about it.


Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth
Published by Disney Hyperion on November 1, 2016
Genres: Time Travel, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N

Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions ofHamlet before time runs out?


About Molly Booth

Molly Booth grew up homeschooled in Massachusetts with her four boisterous siblings. She stage managed for three different community theatres in high school. Her first college was Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA; she then went on to study writing, literature, and Elizabethan history on a very cold hill at Marlboro College in Vermont. There, she wrote the first drafts of Saving Hamlet, her debut novel, coming 11/1/16 from Disney Hyperion. Her second book, Nothing Happened, will be coming spring 2018.

Molly also writes for The Mary Sue, and sometimes other sites like HelloGigglesThe Tempest, and McSweeney’s.  She spends most of her time snuggling her adorable dog Suzie, pet rats Meg and Marigold, and Harriet the queen cat.

She’s represented by Alex Slater at Trident Media Group, and edited by Kieran Viola at Disney Hyperion.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

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Tour Schedule:

10/24: Fiery Reads – Review
10/25: That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
10/26: The Young Folks – Review
10/27: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
10/28: The Book Cellar – Review
10/31: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10
11/1: The Plot Bunny – Review
11/2: Adventures of a Book Junkie – Q&A
11/3: Betwixt the Pages – Review
11/4: Princessica of Books – Guest Post


Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz | Mini Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Posted October 19, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz | Mini Book Review (+ Giveaway)Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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Buy on AmazonBarnes & Noble
3 Stars

THE FACTS
• Julian Roman, age sixteen, is an escapee from the Fairmount County Juvenile Detention Facility.
• His parents, Michael Roman and Jennifer Roman, are dead.
• Julian is wanted for murder.

THE QUESTIONS
• Why is Julian Roman on the run?
• Just how dangerous is he?
• And who did kill Michael and Jennifer Roman, if not Julian?

Seventeen-year-old Day Baker views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she pictures and the truths she believes-neatly captured in black and white-begin to blur.

Julian is not the "armed and dangerous" escapee the police are searching for, but his alibis don't quite add up, either. There is more to his story. This time, Day is determined to see the entire picture . . . whatever it reveals. Did he? Or didn't he?

Day digs deeper into the case while Julian remains on the run. But the longer her list of facts becomes, the longer the list of questions becomes, too. It's also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels for him. Is it real? Or is she being manipulated?

Day is close to finding the crack in the case. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is a master of suspense and romance. In this page-turning thriller, Stolarz tackles dark truths with a powerful, contemporary voice. Shutter will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Welcome to my stop along the Shutter blog tour, hosted by the Irish Banana Review! Doesn’t the book synopsis sound awesome? I was totally on board as soon as I read about it, as I love reading mystery-type books in October. Shutter takes place during the exact same time of year as I read it, which I thought was a lot of fun. It got me so excited for fall and colder weather. I love this time of year, and the author did a great job of really capturing the season.

I liked Day a lot. Her obsession with photography was unique and fun to read about. I saw a lot of myself in her. I’ve always had an artistic outlet in my life, so I understood her passion and desire to always keep it close to her heart. I also understood her desire to help Julian. I would have wanted to do the same thing, especially since Julian is such a nice guy. I actually found him to be more interesting to read about, though. The chapters alternate between Day’s narration and Julian’s journal entries, and I liked getting more insight into Julian’s past and how he got to where he was even though some of it was very heartbreaking. He had a horrible family life as a child, and I really felt for him.

The story itself was very interesting, but not as mystery/thrillery as I expected it to be. I wasn’t biting my nails or wishing I could sleep with the lights on. It was a slower, more controlled mystery. Day goes on a hunt for the truth while hiding Julian in her barn in the backyard. It enjoyed reading his story and what other people had to say about him. His story never quite added up, so I wasn’t really sure I could trust him… and I wanted to slap Day for being SO trusting. He’s a wanted murder suspect! I could have done without the romance… I liked the story more before that happened, but it did add a complicated layer to things and that’s always entertaining. I was definitely eager to get to the end to see how everything turned out.

If you’re in the mood for a whodunit with a Nancy Drew-type detective, some heavier subject matter and a good dose of autumn, give this book a try!


About Laurie Faria Stolarz

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. 

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.

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Tour Schedule:

10/10: Pretty Deadly Reviews – Review
10/11: The Irish Banana Review – Q&A
10/12: A Writer Named Charley – Review
10/13: Novelgossip – Guest Post
10/14: The Worn Bookmark – Review
10/17: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review
10/18: Bibliobuli YA – Guest Post
10/19: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review
10/20: In Wonderland – Top 10
10/21: Stuck In Books – Review

3 Stars

Becky Wallace | 2017 Apollycon Author Spotlight Tour

Posted October 19, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 3 Comments

Becky Wallace | 2017 Apollycon Author Spotlight Tour

Woohoo! Today I get to spotlight the lovely Becky Wallace, who will be joining us at Apollycon in Orlando next year! Becky was one of my 2015 debut authors, and I got to spotlight her last March on the Debut Dish. I love it when Becky takes up my blog space because she is so much fun. I haven’t read either of her books yet, but I own them and am super excited because HELLO. They sound amazing, right?


About Becky Wallace

In second grade, Becky Wallace had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything except princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she’s been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own real-life Prince Charming. They have four munchkins and live in happy little town near Houston, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

 

The Keepers’ Chronicles

beckywallacebooks

The Storyspinner Synopsis

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


All 2017 Apollycon attendees are eligible to win one of these awesome prizes! Gift Cards will be distributed to the winners at Apollycon 2017 to be used within the Apollycon bookstore. The passes will allow you to skip to the front of one author’s signing line (your choice).

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Follow the rest of the tour!


738 Days by Stacey Kade | Mini Book Review

Posted October 12, 2016 by Jana in Book Review, New Adult / 1 Comment

738 Days by Stacey Kade | Mini Book Review738 Days by Stacey Kade
Published by Forge Books on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

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?

I’ve been on a new adult kick lately, and was really excited when I heard about this book and heard what others were saying about it. I read 738 Days months ago, and have been unsure as to how to review it. I really, really enjoyed the book but it wasn’t totally what I was expecting. I was expecting more time with the kidnapper, more mystery, and more suspense. What I got was much more real. It was a surprise, but not a bad one.

The book starts off with a bang. We see Amanda in her little room in her kidnapper’s home, and we see one of the most despicable men I’ve ever read about. Immediately, I was invested because I saw a small piece of what Amanda dealt with for so long. I wanted her to be ok. After her rescue and return home, she is understandably a shell of a person. She’s dealing with very severe PTSD and an intense fear of living. Her family is not entirely sure what to do with her except shield her from everything, so relationships are strained. I felt for all of them. It must be so hard to see a sibling or child recover from something like this, much less recover from it on your own. I have not experienced anything like Amanda did, but I felt like I understood her a little. This is a testament to the author’s writing and storytelling.

I really liked Chase, and I liked who he was with Amanda. I liked who Amanda became when she trusted him and pushed herself to take risks while she was with him. Chase has a past too, and he is recovering from that past. These two heal in one another, and it was beautiful to watch. Chase is so delicate and patient and compassionate and caring in his interactions with Amanda. He is constantly checking on her and asking her if things are ok. He completely puts her first and puts his own feelings aside. I loved watching them open up to one another and begin to trust. They are so sweet together, and I loved their romance.

The ending was crazy, and I wasn’t expecting it at all. Our pasts always seem to catch up with us, and that was the case with one of our characters. Things were intense and suspenseful and I was on the edge of my seat until the last page.

All in all, I really enjoyed this story. I was not expecting such heartbreaking reality, but I really liked what I did get. Kade does a great job of depicting PTSD and other strong, heavy issues in a way that was not overly depressing and dark. Every word was highlighted with a sense of hope and resilience. I loved these two perfectly flawed characters and their quest for happiness. I would highly recommend it to lovers of new adult, survival stories, and sweet, real romances.

4 Stars

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Book Review

Posted October 3, 2016 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 1 Comment

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Book ReviewP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 330
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on AmazonBarnes & Noble
5 Stars

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds thatsomeone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

What’s a girl to read the day after she finishes A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas? I was worried no book would pull me out of the already very strong hangover I was experiencing. I had heard amazing things about P.S. I Like You, so I figured I’d give it a try. I LOVED it. It was exactly what I needed! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

(This is a spoiler-free review. I will not use the names of any guys in this story, so you won’t find out who Lily’s mystery guy is from me!)

1. This is my first Kasie West book. I had tried one other of hers, but did not finish it. I must have been in the wrong frame of mind or needing a different kind of book that day. I’m going to go back to that book and pick up more of hers!

2. The story is so unique and special to me. I loved this romance that bloomed from handwritten notes hidden under desks. It felt nostalgic to me, and reminiscent of my high school years where we wrote notes to each other rather than texts or emails (boy, do I sound old… it’s not like these things weren’t around, but texting was relatively new, Facebook wasn’t a thing yet, and the lack of smart phones prevented email/MySpace communication during school hours… lol).

3. Music is a huge theme in this story, and I loved that! I love that Lily and her mystery guy connected over their nearly identical tastes in obscure music. Lily is also a songwriter, so we read a lot about her lyrics brainstorm sessions.

4. The characters are amazing. I love awkward, odd, hilarious Lily and her sweet family. She’s got adorable relationships with her little brothers, her older sister, and her parents. This book has the family dynamic done right. I love the strong friendship between Lily and her best friend. Those two are friendship goals. There’s also the hunk of burning love Lily has a crush on but is scared to look at for too long and the jerky guy who has caused her so much hurt and embarrassment for years. Each character is well developed, their own person, and an important part of the story. And seriously, the relationships are the best part.

5. The notes are so cute! Both Lily and her mystery guy let their personalities shine through and are their true selves with one another. That’s rare, especially in high school when you’re not even completely sure who your true self is. We get to learn so much about these two–intimate details that round them out and make you pull for them. I was just as excited to read their daily notes as they were!

6. I LOVE the mystery guy. So much snark, sarcasm, and swoon. He’s adorable, yet flawed. He’s real and sweet and even though I figured out who he was pretty easily I loved the mystery anyway. I also love that his identity is revealed at about the halfway point and we get to see how everything pans out.

7. So. Much. Swooning. The romance is adorable.

8. Halloween and Thanksgiving happen in this book, so I will always associate this book with fall and the holidays. I read this at the exactly perfect time of year, and I love how the holidays were covered in this book. I would love to go to Thanksgiving at Lily’s house. I adore her family and their silly traditions.

Bottom line, I have no complaints. I loved this book, and I can’t wait to read more books from Kasie West. Definitely give this a try if you’re looking for wonderful, developed relationships; sweet, amazing characters; and a swoony romance. Seriously, just read it.

 

5 Stars