Friday, August 21, 2015

Kaitlyn’s Scariest Moment | The Dead House Blog Tour

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I don’t know about you guys but I am currently loving the fact that horror is becoming more popular.  I love being scared out of my mind every now and then and I have a feeling The Dead House is going to have that effect on me.  Clearly I’m very excited to be part of this unique blog tour that Little, Brown has put together.

The Dead House is about Kaitlyn and Carly, two different girls, one who shouldn’t exist at all.  In honor of the interesting nature of the story, Little, Brown has put together a blog tour that features one US blogger and one UK blogger each day.  I’ve got a guest post about Kaitlyn’s scariest moment of her life and Jess Hearts Books has Carly’s.  Make sure to head over there when you’re done reading this one!

Since the book features journal entries, today’s post from Kaitlyn comes in the form of one of those.

Scariest Moment of Your Life

Diary of Kaitlyn Johnson,

Date Unspecified

I would never have met the Viking if it hadn’t happened, so for that reason alone, I wouldn’t change it. But it sucked, just the same.

One of the perks of being around at night is that all the freaky people come out. When we were back in Chester, an “Artists Town”, that was especially true. One of the drawbacks of being around at night is that all the freaky people come out.

I was heading out to the Watergates Bar, as usual. Another night, another distraction. Watergates was out of the way, underground—the worst kept secret in Chester. A totally miserable place to be honest, but they served alcohol to pretty much anyone.

It was as I left that I realized I had someone following me. It was early yet, only 8pm, so there weren’t too many people around. I could smell this guy. He’d been drinking all day, no doubt.

So when he grabbed my arm it was a clumsy stumble, but it startled me. Someone had seen me. I was meant to be invisible. I was used to it. Hadn’t I thought I wanted it?

He fumbled at my waist, trying to get my purse, maybe. Or worse. For a minute, he was strong, and I couldn’t free my arm. It didn’t occur to me to shout. He shoved me, pretty hard, but I wasn’t wasted, like he was, and all that did was help me to get away from him. I ran. When I had some distance, I looked back. He was stumbling into one of the side alleys, alone, staring at me with this look of disgust in his bloodshot eyes.

I realized that night that I wasn’t invincible because of my “invisibility”. And I also realized, I liked that. I liked the idea of being hurt. Of someone hurting me. Noticing me. I felt an urge to push the boundaries of what my life was. I started practicing my suicide note, and leaving it all over Chester.

When you read this, my throat will be a bloody, red smile.

I know. I am one for melodrama.

But I wasn’t stupid enough to go back to the Watergate after that. Not to that creepo.

And that’s why I went looking for something else, and found Masqued.

And the Viking.

I adopted my disguise, and let myself be seen, my veneer carefully in place.

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Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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Dawn Kurtagich_Author Photo

Dawn Kurtagich writes psychologically sinister fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and adults may have something to hide. She lives in Wales, but grew up all over the world, predominantly in Africa. She writes and blogs for YA Scream Queens and is a member of the YA League. THE DEAD HOUSE is her first novel.

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Make sure to follow the complete tour so you don’t miss any of the extra content!

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Blog Tour | Guest Post with Carrie Ryan

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. Welcome Carrie Ryan to the blog today to talk about the inspiration for her short story in this creepy collection!

My Inspiration

I was on the edge of sleep when an image popped into my head. In it, several young girls sat around a rustic table in the tree-shaded clearing of a forest. A tea party was laid out in front of them with mis-matched cups and chipped saucers. And the girls were all dead — had been for days. Except for one. She sat at the head of the table as the guest of honor. When she lifted her cup, the other girls mimicked her, their motions controlled by fishing line tied around their wrists, turning them into gruesome marionettes. The March Hare, a man-sized rabbit, watched from the trees, his tall ears a white slash against the shadows.

The tea party was his gift to the girl and she accepted it without hesitation.

This image became the inspiration for “In the Forest Dark and Deep,” my short story for the Slasher Girls and Monster Boys anthology. I wanted to know what kind of child would come to this clearing day after day while her dead friends’ bodies grew bloated in the heat (I once worked for the Coroner’s Office and have first hand experience with rotting bodies; I knew well what they would look and smell like). I wanted to know what happened to her as she grew older.

But most of all, I wanted to learn more about the March Hare — a creature the size of a man, with the proportions of a man, yet still somehow not a man but a white rabbit with ears that stood out against the darkness. I wanted to know what his relationship was with the girl — what tied them together. And the only way for me to figure that out was to write the story and see where it took me.

“In the Forest Dark and Deep,” is perhaps one of my favorites stories because its origin is rooted in such a disturbing and gruesome scene that’s complicated by the deep undercurrent of connection between the girl and the March Hare. It’s a story about friendship and understanding, monsters and darkness, and whether the two are irrevocably intertwined.

– Carrie Ryan

19364719For fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Duncan, and Daphne Du Maurier comes a powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best writers of YA thrillers and horror

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:

Stefan Bachmann
Leigh Bardugo
Kendare Blake
A. G. Howard
Jay Kristoff
Marie Lu
Jonathan Maberry
Danielle Paige
Carrie Ryan
Megan Shepherd
Nova Ren Suma
McCormick Templeman
April Genevieve Tucholke
Cat Winters

Order your copy now!
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound

Friday, July 24, 2015

Blog Tour: A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl | Review

Blog Tour: A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl | ReviewA School for Brides: A Story of Maidens, Mystery, and Matrimony by Patrice Kindl
Series: Keeping the Castle #2
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on July 14th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The eagerly awaited companion to the award-winnng Keeping the Castle.The Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy of Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, has one goal: to train its students in the feminine arts with an eye toward getting them married off. This year, there are five girls of marriageable age. There’s only one problem: the school is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no men.Set in the same English town as Keeping the Castle, and featuring a few of the same characters, here’s the kind of witty tribute to the classic Regency novel that could only come from the pen of Patrice Kindl!

picadillyblueA School For Brides, the companion to Keeping the Castle, is an adorable read.  Having read Keeping the Castle, I was intrigued enough to come back to this setting once again.  While A School For Brides can definitely be read as a standalone, it reminded me why I enjoyed Keeping the Castle so much.

Like I said, this can totally be read as a standalone.  I read Keeping the Castle a few years ago and I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read since that time so it’s not like that story was fresh in my mind when I started this one.  I only very vaguely recalled what happened and the characters from that story only make a couple appearances throughout A School For Brides.  This story focuses on a new cast of characters and they are quite a mix!

The girls at the Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy of Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire are technically there to be educated and trained in the arts that they will require to run a household.  They all know they are really there to find husbands though.  That’s harder than they imagined though since Lesser Hoo only has one eligible bachelor and he’s not one that anyone is terribly interested in marrying.  That all changes though.  When an accident causes a young bachelor to break his leg and be forced to move into the Academy, he brings some friends along and the young girls at the Academy suddenly have quite an array of men to choose from.

The girls were all extremely unique.  Some of them were younger and didn’t play a huge role in the story but their antics were cute.  The older girls who were of marrying age were determined to make something out of all the young men suddenly in Lesser Hoo.  Each girl really found her match in some way or another.  The men and women varied from incredibly intelligent to rather clueless.  However, each one had something different to offer the story.  Some of them were clearly there for humorous reasons and they definitely played their parts well.  I found myself giggling a time or two while reading A School for Brides.

The story really reads like a Jane Austen novel or something similar to that.  It’s definitely historical fiction, that’s for sure.  I got a bit annoyed with all the talk of how women were inferior and only required to run a household once they got married.  I understand that that is how people saw things back then but it was a bit repetitive.  There were definitely some girls at the Academy though who put that idea out of their minds and did what they wanted.  I appreciated that.

Also, while it is a story about girls searching for husbands, it’s not really a romance.  Being set in the time and location that it is, romance was very different.  It’s nothing like a romance today.  It was very chaste and slow moving.  Like I said, very much like a Jane Austen novel.  The romance aspect was extremely cute though so I liked it.

Overall, A School for Brides is perfect for fans of historical fiction and Jane Austen novels.  It was fun seeing the cameos from Keeping the Castle and I enjoyed revisiting Lesser Hoo.  If you ever get the chance to read these books, I would recommend them.

What others are saying about A School for Brides:

The Psychotic Nerd’s review: “This was a very quick and easy read with charming fun!”

The Book Cellar’s review: “A School for Brides is an absolutely charming read that captures everything I love about a good historical fiction read.”

And if that’s not enough to convince you, check out this super cute limerick from the author!

Limerick 3
Limerick #3

Once there was a girl with a brain,
Stuffed to the brim with knowledge arcane.
She spoke Latin and Greek
(These days we’d call her a geek)
And she dwelt on a cerebral plane.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer of Jinn Blog Tour: Lori Goldstein Guest Post + Giveaway

Summer of Jinn Blog Tour: Lori Goldstein Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Summer of Jinn Blog Tour.  I don’t know about you guys, but I love learning more about the processes authors go through when writing their books.  Lori Goldstein, author of Becoming Jinn, was nice enough to write a guest post about revising and her personal struggle with her stubbornness.  🙂

Overcoming the Stubborn Gene: A Revision Lesson

“So, I’ve been thinking about the ending of Becoming Jinn,” my stellar agent says one day on a phone call prior to submission.

*panic*

The ending of Becoming Jinn is a bit controversial. Readers would either love it or hate it. I loved it. And I wanted to keep it as much as I feared I wouldn’t be able to.

This particular call with my stellar agent came after a two-month revision of the manuscript in preparation for submission. Now, mind you, stellar agent’s suggestions had involved some intense reworking—moving things from the third act to the first, from the second to the third, changing a character’s role from a friend to a brother, beefing up scenes and magic rules. It was a lot of work. It was also 100 percent necessary. Her suggestions were spot on and helped me to create a strong manuscript I loved more than the original. But her initial feedback never touched the ending. I thought I was safe. The ending I Ioved, the ending some people told me I should change, was going to stay.

*happy dance*

Until, one day, on the cusp of submission, she calls with one final thought: to change the location of the ending scene.

My initial reaction was, “I’m not changing the ending, no how, no way!” My next was, “No more revisions! I’m done!” And here you are getting a glimpse into the Lori who has three-quarters Italian blood, meaning she can be a tad stubborn.

Which is why it’s a very good thing she has critique partners willing to call her on it. My good friend and CP listened to my whining and then, tactfully, said, “I hear you, but what can it hurt to try? You don’t have to use it.”

She was right. My agent said this was up to me. It was my call. So what could it hurt to try? The setting my agent had suggested didn’t feel right, but her questioning the location set my brain a’ storming and the one I came up with felt and still feels—two years later—like the perfect one. It completes the arc of the book and the character.

And this is why writing a book is very far from a solo endeavor. We need people around us who will not only spark our creativity, but help us overcome our own DNA.

Lori Goldstein Author 5My debut novel, the Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy Becoming Jinn, is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. It will be released on April 21, 2015, by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I am represented by Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency.

Too much of my day involves chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter. Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog atwww.lorigoldsteinbooks.com or my Tumblr at http://lorigoldsteinbooks.tumblr.com. Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on Becoming Jinn.

Twitter Tattoo promo photo 2

Click here to enter the SUMMER OF JINN Blog Tour Giveaway! Lori’s giving away two $20 gift cards: one to her local indie Harvard Bookstore and one to B&N! Redeemable in person or online. Open internationally. And she’s also running a special promotion in honor of the summer season. Buy #BecomingJinn by July 30 and receive free bracelet temporary tattoos. More info on Lori’s blog: http://www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com/2015/06/30/beach-read/

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Blog Tour: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega | Review + Interview

Blog Tour: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega | Review + Interview

Blog Tour: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega | Review + InterviewSurvive the Night by Danielle Vega
Published by Penguin on July 7th 2015
Genres: Horror
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

We're all gonna die down here. . . .  Just back from rehab, Casey regrets letting her friends Shana, Julie, and Aya talk her into coming to Survive the Night, an all-night, underground rave in a New York City subway tunnel. Surrounded by frightening drugs and menacing strangers, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse...   ...until she comes across Julie’s mutilated body in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Casey thought she was just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music. And by the time they get back to the party, everyone is gone.   Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway tunnels, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.   They’re being hunted.   Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to Aya’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here.”From the Hardcover edition.

picadillyblueDanielle Vega has done it.  She not only managed to scare the crap out of me, she also managed to tell a captivating story that kept me hooked from start to finish.  Survive The Night seriously impressed me.

The whole book takes place over one night and I can’t tell you how much I love stories like that.  Casey and her friends set out for a night of adventure and instead they get a night of terror.  The Survive the Night rave takes place once a year in the abandoned subway tunnels beneath New York City.  There have always been rumors that people are killed in the subway but nobody really takes those rumors seriously.  That all changes when Casey stumbles upon the body of her friend Julie, gruesomely murdered by someone or something hidden in the subway tunnels.  And, of course, instead of being able to leave the same way they entered the subway, their way is blocked and they must set off through the tunnels to find a way out before it’s too late.

To be completely honest, the characters weren’t the greatest but I didn’t care that much about that.  Casey was the only one that I really ended up liking.  She made some serious mistakes but she was trying to change things.  She was easily led astray by people that she thought were her friends.  Shana was bad news.  She drugged Casey, she encouraged her bad habits, and she betrayed her every chance she got.  I wanted her to get what was coming to her.  Casey did not deserve how her supposed friend treated her.  As for Aya and Julie, they cracked me up but they weren’t anything too special.  Sam and Woody were the same way.  Sam seemed like a sweetheart but he had some secrets and he hurt Casey too.  He was just so judgmental.  I didn’t like that about him.

The creep factor was definitely up there with this one, at least for me.  I admit to being easily scared but books don’t usually have that capability.  That was not the case with Survive the Night.  There was a lot of gore but that wasn’t the only scare thing.  I never knew what was going to happen from page to page.  I didn’t have a clue who or what was coming for Casey and her friends.  I was jumpy and biting my nails from start to finish.

Overall, Survive the Night was everything I hoped it would be.  Danielle Vega’s sophomore novel is one that I will surely be recommending to all horror fans and anyone looking to give the genre a try.

What others are saying about Survive the Night:

Good Books and Good Wine’s review: “This pink covered book reads like a horrific thrill ride.”

Escape Through the Pages’ review: “I will definitely be checking out Danielle Vega’s other book The Merciless and recommend Survive the Night to anyone looking for a little creepy in their life.”

Interview with Danielle Vega

Describe Survive the Night in 140 characters or less!

When an illegal rave turns deadly, 5 teens must fight their way through the abandoned NYC subways while someone hunts them from the shadows.

Have you always been a horror fan? Do you prefer horror books or movies? What’s your favorite?

I have been a horror fan since I was a very tiny child. My mom never shielded me from scary movies and books, in fact she used to read me Stephen King to help me get to sleep. I can’t choose between books and movies—they’re too different and wonderful in their own special ways. Favorite horror novel is HOUSE OF LEAVES, favorite movie is SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What’s your inspiration?

Yup, I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a writer. There really isn’t one person or career that I look to for inspiration, but I love hearing about other writers’ journeys. Recently, I found Amy Poehler’s honesty about the writing process in YES PLEASE very refreshing, and Stephen King’s ON WRITING is a classic for a reason. Writing is such a hard, weird, crazy job and I love hearing about how people end up doing it for a living. The stories are always good.

Do you have any must haves while you’re writing?

Coffee! I’ve also recently become addicted to Muji pens, and had a minor panic attack this morning when I thought I forgot it.

Can you share anything about what you’re currently working on?

I have a novel called BURNING coming out in April 2016 under the name Danielle Rollins—it’s been called Orange is the New Black meets Carrie. But the book I’m writing now is a secret! Be prepared for boys and bunnies and blood.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Blog Tour: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams | Review + GiveawayRuthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 14th 2015
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

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Ruthless is a survival story done right.  It’s just the right amount of creepy, thrilling, and pulse pounding.  From start to finish, I was on the edge of my seat, praying that Ruth would find a way out of her situation.  There wasn’t a second that went by where I wasn’t terrified of what was going to come next.

Ruth Carver is not a perfect heroine, not by a long shot.  She’s a little full of herself, a little rude, and she is pretty much just obsessed with things that benefit her.  She was willing to trample people to get where she needed to be and while I didn’t necessarily approve of those methods, I obviously still didn’t think she deserved anything this guy had in store for her.  I think this in this case, it doesn’t matter about the heroine’s past, as long as she will have a future.  It’s not like anyone is going to root for her to die.

Let me just say, this is not one for the faint of heart or a young reader.  Carolyn Lee Adams does not pull any punches.  I was terrified for Ruth’s life and sanity, every page of the book.  The guy who abducts her is seriously creepy.  The bulk of the story is told from Ruth’s point of view but there are flashbacks in his point of view and he is extremely messed up in the head.  I was sickened and terrified.  I don’t mind that from a book but if you do, this is not the one for you.

The story itself isn’t so much all about Ruth being abducted but also about how she escapes and spends her time in the wilderness.  She is on her own, no supplies, and no help in sight.  Like I said, this is a survival story above all else.  It’s not just about surviving the ordeal with her abduction but surviving her escape as well.  There isn’t a second that goes by where you don’t fear for Ruth’s life.  Even if she isn’t killed by a crazy madman, the elements could get her just as easily.

Overall, Ruthless is truly one story that stands out in the YA market.  I have never read anything like it and it definitely made me eager to see what Carolyn Lee Adams is going to do next.

What others are saying about Ruthless:

Confessions of a Bookaholic’s review: “For her debut young adult novel, Carolyn Lee Adams really knocks it out of the park with Ruthless.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “Watching Ruth outsmart Jerry again and again is a great deal of fun and the book flies by as long as you have the time to read it in one or two sittings.”

The Forest of Words and Pages’ review: “A brutal fight-for-your-life story that is sure to keep you up late at night to discover its character’s fates,Ruthless is a brilliant, twisted tale that shocks and thrills chapter after chapter.”

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi | Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi | Review + Favorite Quotes + GiveawayThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Published by Harper Teen on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

picadillyblueThe Night We Said Yes is the perfect summer read.  I was in the mood for a fun contemporary novel and that’s exactly what I got.  Once you pick this one up, you will not be able to put it down!

The Night We Said Yes is told in alternating chapters.  Both are from Ella’s point of view but one is the night she met Matt and the other is present day, 6 months after he left her and broke her heart.  Now he’s back in town and he seems to want to pick up where they left off.  The similarities and differences between the two nights are what make this book so perfect.  Ella and Matt are so naive and open to anything when they meet.  A year later, things are very different but recreating the night they first met brings back old feelings.  It also helps them come to terms with who they have become and who they want to be going forward.  One night changes everything for them, both for good and bad.

Ella was adorable.  She was nerdy and fun and kinda shy and she just reminded me a lot of myself.  Her progression throughout the course of the book was intense.  Her personality remained the same but she quickly started to take control of her life and decide who and what she wanted in it.  Matt was adorable but he made some stupid choices.  I had a hard time liking him after finding out what he did to Ella and why but he grew on me.  As I learned more and more about his past, I found myself feeling bad for him and wanting Ella to forgive him.  He was definitely a flawed character but I liked how he tried to redeem himself.

The secondary characters are what really did it for me though. The friendship between Ella and Meg was so perfect.  They fought but they always came back to each other because that is what true friends do.  The relationship between Ella and Jake was great too.  Sure he was her friend as well as her best friend’s on-again, off-again boyfriend but he was also kinda like a big brother to Ella.  He looked out for her and he stood up for her, even when it was his own friend he had to stand up to.  Barker and Gaby were cute too but they didn’t have as big a role as Meg and Jake.  Also, while Meg and Jake’s relationship may have been a bit toxic, I was definitely rooting for them.

Overall, The Night We Said Yes is perfect for fans of contemporary novels.  It’s a quick read that left me with a smile on my face.  I can’t wait to see what’s next from Lauren Gibaldi.

What others are saying about The Night We Said Yes:

YA Midnight Reads’ review: “Overall I found myself distant and uncaring about the characters and relationships in the novel.”

Writing My Own Fairy Tale’s review: “I really enjoyed this book and I definitely recommend it to fans of YA contemporary romances.”

Book Nerd Addict’s review: “Her writing style is effortless and enjoyable and would recommend this book to anyone that loves friendships and summer reads.”

Favorite Quotes:

“I’ve spent my life on the road, trying to find home, when really, you were always home to me.”

“It was my favorite part of the night – when the evening’s events were still unknown and unpredictable. It was the sense of possibility that I loved, the idea that anything could happen next.”

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella | Review + Interview + GiveawayFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Delacorte Press on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

picadillyblue Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella’s young adult debut, proves that not only can she write amazing novels for adults, her talent transfers wonderfully to young adult.  Bullying, mental illness, romance, and humor all take center stage in Finding Audrey and Sophie Kinsella balances it all perfectly.

Audrey suffered from Social Anxiety Disorder because of a bullying incident at her previous school.  She was terrified of everyone other than her family and therapist. She refused to leave the house and even the thought of leaving the house would send her on a downward spiral.  Her family was so supportive but they also knew that she needed to make some progress.  With the help of her family and one of her brother’s friends, Audrey finally started to see that maybe all people weren’t so bad.

First off, the way that Sophie Kinsella addresses bullying and mental illness may be off-putting for some people.  She does not make light of it in any way but she does intersperse humor throughout the novel to balance Audrey’s depression and social anxiety.  In no way does she try to distract from Audrey’s problems but at times it can come across that way.  For such a serious topic, Sophie Kinsella addresses it in a very unique way.

Audrey’s family is just plain bonkers and it totally worked for them.  Her mom is obsessed with the effects of video games on her brother’s mind.  Her brother, Frank, is just plain obsessed with video games.  And her dad just does what he can to get by.  The family relationship is very unconventional but it was perfect and it cracked me up.  It was nice to see a young adult novel where family, especially parents, played such a huge role.  As for Audrey and Frank’s relationship, I liked it a lot.  They were close in age but it wasn’t just that.  He was always there for her as a friend, a brother, and a protector.

Audrey’s relationship (if you can call it that) with Linus was so adorable.  They had quite an interesting beginning to their friendship and it only continued to get weirder with time.  Linus accepted Audrey even with her quirks caused by her Social Anxiety Disorder.  He was not only accepting of her, he truly wanted to help her.

Overall, Finding Audrey was a fantastic introduction into the YA world from Sophie Kinsella.  Her quirky sense of humor, fast-paced style of writing, and wonderful storytelling make for a book that I couldn’t put down!

What others are saying about Finding Audrey:

The Bibliomaniac’s review: “Highly recommended, if you’re looking for a heart-warming tale; a perfect blend of humour and hope.”

Escapades of a Bookworm’s review: “Finding Audrey is about finding yourself, accepting yourself for who you are, and progressing forward.”

Read. Breathe. Relax’s review: “Finding Audrey is deep and so very funny and ultimately relatable and lovable – highly recommended.”

A Q&A With Sophie Kinsella

Describe Finding Audrey in 140 characters or less!

This is the story of Audrey, her family, and a journey to recovery. It’s sad in places, funny, too, and romantic as only a teen story can be.

What made you decide to finally write a YA novel?

I didn’t set out to write a YA novel in fact. I just had the inspiration for the character of Audrey, her gaming-obsessed brother, and her crazy family. It was only when I started to plot the story that I realized it would be told through Audrey’s eyes, and become a YA book.

How was it different writing for a younger audience? Do you relate to Audrey in any way?

I definitely relate to Audrey, but like all my heroines, she is made up not just of bits of me but of people I know. Audrey’s observations of family life, particularly in the film scripts, remind me of my teenage years, but I’m a parent of teenagers myself now and that helped me a lot.

What about Finding Audrey do you think will appeal to your adult fans?

Audrey’s journey is touching, but it’s not just a story about her—it’s about her family and the chaotic, loving world she lives in, so I think it appeals to all generations. I hope that it provides reassurance to any young reader—or indeed parent—going through similar problems, and that they can take heart from Audrey and her story.

Giveaway

One US winner will receive a copy of Finding Audrey and a super cute coffee sleeve! (You’ll get it when  you read the book)

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Blog Tour: Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen | Guest Post + Giveaway

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen my gushing reviews for Scarlet and Lady Thief.  If not, here is the first and the second.  I’ll give you a second to go check them out.

While I haven’t had the chance to read Lion Heart just yet (it’s on the TBR for this month!) I pretty confident that I will love it.  When I was asked to be part of the blog tour, I jumped at the chance.  I’ve got an awesome guest post and giveaway for you guys so check them out and get started on this trilogy if you haven’t already!

Lion Heart
Goodreads Add

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

 

Top 10 Favorite Songs

Let’s talk methodology.  My first attempt was to look at iTunes and see how many times I’ve played every song, and pull the top ten out of that.  But I think that’s very weirdly weighted, because there’s no way all these recent songs are my top 10 all time plays:

top 10

Not that it’s wildly off base—I do love songs that feature my name (Sweet Annie), and Taylor Swift, and OMG that remix of Seven Nation Army is DEFINITELY one of my all time favorites.  But Battleships?  That’s pretty new and not one of my go-tos.  What’s going on here? 

So now I think I’ll have to try harder and give you my ALL TIME TOP TEN.  I think that rather than songs that make me feel a certain way, these are songs that actually kind of get to the core of ME—who I am as a human. 

Kryptonite, by 3 Doors Down

This song is literally my favorite love song of all time.  This is my kind of love—“if I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?”  #ThisIsWhyI’mSingle…

Far Away by Ingrid Michaelson

This is legitimately my fantasy of happiness, living on an island in the ocean and having babies with strawberry curls and a husband that smells like the ocean.  It makes me feel like I’m folded in my favorite sweater.

Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

God, this song is just emotional.  This is the song I turn to when I’m a little bit broken—it feels so jagged and raw, and the weird contrast of how stark and also how digitized her voice is just cuts me.  It makes me feel like it’s ok to break down a little.

Demons by Imagine Dragons

I’ve always felt like I have a lot of darkness inside of me—and you can definitely see some of my feelings about that reflected in Scarlet, particularly in her journey during Lion Heart.  There’s a scene when Margaret is talking to her in a graveyard about how Scarlet chooses her darkness over her light, and I’ve felt like that so often.  Even though sometimes I feel like that darkness and anger is one of the only things that’s truly mine and no one else’s, this song reminds me that I don’t have to hold on so hard to that.

All About Your Heart by Mindy Gledhill

Ah—okay, I do have a sweet side, despite everything above!  This song is just beautiful and sweet and lovely and makes me feel like a pretty girl in a pretty dress.  “Oh/I’ve loved you from the start/In every single way/and more each passing day/you are brighter than the stars/believe me when I say/it’s not about your scars/it’s all about your heart.”  <3 <3

Famous Last Words by My Chemical Romance

“I am not afraid to keep on living/I am not afraid to walk this world alone”—Preach, MCR.  Preach.  Like I said, guys, I have an angry side!  One that I usually like to indulge alone in the car with loud music while I’m mentally cursing at bad drivers.

You May Be Right by Billy Joel

“Remember how I found you there/alone in your electric chair/ I told you dirty jokes until you smiled?” Dude, this is my personality down to a T.  Give me a crisis, and I will not only be steadfast by your side, but I will be making that’s what she said jokes right up until go-time.   Plus, Billy Joel, guys.  What’s not to love?

The Fire by the Roots

So, about two weeks before I got The Call, my friend Alex sent me a message and said “I think you’ll like this song.  It reminds me of you”.  I started listening to it non-stop, became totally obsessed with it, and when I was crying in the car after receiving The Call that Scarlet was going to be published, this was the first song that came on.  “You don’t say good luck/you say don’t give up”—yeah, I was pretty touched that this made my friend think of me, and I continue to keep it as my spirit animal song.   And actually, I don’t think fans of the series will be even a tiny bit surprised to find that language very strongly mirrored throughout the Scarlet Trilogy.

Life Less Ordinary by Carbon Leaf

All of my hopes and dreams in a single song.  Though it was a pretty close choice between this and their songs “Grey Sky Eyes” and “Shine”, for similar reasons.  But this one is just pretty and happy—“live a life less ordinary, live a life extraordinary with me”.  That’s all I want—not much to ask for.  Just an extraordinary life.

Run by Snow Patrol

I actually can’t really talk about how much this song means to me without getting insanely emotional.  Do you ever feel like someone gave you a song as a gift?  A friend introduced me to this song—long before Snow Patrol made fetch happen and they were just an unheard-of band in her hometown—and died soon after.  “Light up, light up, as if you had a choice”—every time I hear this song I remember her, and I associate other loss in addition to hers, and I remember to fight.  You have to fight to be happy—you have to light up.  Because you’re stunning, and the world is just waiting for you to show it.

AC Gaughen

I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won’t give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I’m not that mad at Scotland).

 

 

Giveaway!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Review

Blog Tour: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Review

Blog Tour: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | ReviewDaughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Published by Dutton on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

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Daughter of Deep Silence is the first book I’ve read by Carrie Ryan but it will not be my last. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, mystery-filled novel, look no further.

I was a little thrown off by the beginning of the book. It takes place right after the attack on the cruise ship and Frances is hysterical. She’s also only 14 years old. For a while I thought that was how old she’d be for the whole book but it jumps to 4 years later after a couple chapters. I was also a little thrown off by the brevity of the relationships between Frances and Libby as well as Frances and Grey. From the synopsis I’d expected them to have been long time friends but it turns out they’d just met on the cruise. It didn’t really make a huge difference but it seemed a bit unrealistic that after such a short period of time Frances could take Libby’s place. Same with the romance. Not only were they just 14 years old but they had also just met each other. Yet they claimed they were in love. I was a little skeptical.

Daughter of Deep Silence clocks in at almost 400 pages but it takes no time at all to read. The chapters are short and the writing style is very simple and straightforward. The story is also extremely gripping, which helped the pace. There is quite a bit of mystery and I had no clue what was coming. The mystery behind the attack on the cruise ship was not at all what I expected.

The characters were not exactly easy to like. Frances (as Libby) was completely driven by vengeance. She had her sights set on the senator and his family and she would stop at nothing to take them down. It reminded me of the TV show Revenge and that is definitely not a complaint. Frances has emotions but they are buried very deep. She’s hard to connect with because of that but it’s not hard to understand where she is coming from. As for Grey, he was possibly a bit too perfect for my tasters. He was a total gentleman (which I loved) but only in private. I wanted to see him stand up to his father who was a complete asshole. I had no problem rooting for Frances to take him down. As for the romance between Frances and Grey, I could see why she had trouble not falling for him. They had great chemistry and their history together made things even harder for her. Grey was just such a sweetheart.

Overall, I was impressed with Daughter of Deep Silence in spite of its flaws. I look forward to reading more from Carrie Ryan, especially if she continues to write suspense novels as awesome as this one.

What others are saying about Daughter of Deep Silence: 

Midnight Bloom Reads’ review: “Delving into deeper psychological themes such as identity and grief, Carrie Ryan’sDaughter of Deep Silence is more than just an addictive revenge thriller.”

Carina’s Books’ review: “I would say that you should all read Daughter of Deep Silence.”

The Forest of Words and Pages’ review: “Daughter of Deep Silence is an addictive thriller you won’t regret picking up!”