Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Right Kind of Wrong (Finding Fate #3) by Chelsea Fine | Guest Post + Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Right Kind of Wrong (Finding Fate #3) by Chelsea Fine | Guest Post + Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Right Kind of Wrong (Finding Fate #3) by Chelsea Fine | Guest Post + Review + GiveawayRight Kind Of Wrong by Chelsea Fine
Series: Finding Fate #3
Published by Forever on September 2, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Sometimes wrong can feel oh so right . . .

Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it’s in the streets . . . or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she’s beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he’s been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he’s just coming along to keep her safe-but what’s not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.

Jack can’t get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack’s troubles are catching up to him, and he’s forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm’s way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she’s willing to let love in . . . and how much she already has.

picadillyblueRight Kind of Wrong, the third and final book in the Finding Fate trilogy, lived up to my expectations.  After reading two of Chelsea Fine’s previous novels, I’ve come to expect steamy romance, well-developed characters, and fun, fast-paced stories.  Right Kind of Wrong is not lacking in any of these.

Jenna and Jack take center stage in Right Kind of Wrong.  Their story is a bit different from Pixie and Levi’s and Kayla and Daren’s seeing as they already have a sexual relationship.  They’ve known each other ever since they started working together and they were both immediately attracted to each other.  One drunken night led to them hooking up but their relationship remained just friendly, at least on Jenna’s part.  Jack wants more and he’s willing to push Jenna until she gives in and admits she does too.  Jack really does everything in his power to push Jenna to her limits and admit she’s not as independent as she’d like to think.  He’s fine with her following her dreams but he wants to be there with her along the way.  He’s beyond sweet but he’s by no means perfect.  Jack has a very messed up past that takes a main role in Right Kind of Wrong.  It was refreshing to see someone with such a bad past take the role of the good guy.  It was also refreshing to see how the darkness in Jack’s past didn’t push Jenna away, that she was strong enough to handle anything he threw at her.

Jenna was my only issue with Right Kind of Wrong.  She was such a hypocrite!  She preached to Kayla and Pixie about letting love into their life and letting themselves be happy but she wouldn’t do the same for herself.  She did everything she could to push Jack away, all because he didn’t fit into her life plan.  She was actually downright rude about it to Jack and I hated that about her.  Also, it became a little repetitive with all the talk of her life plan and how Jack would just ruin things.  I wanted to reach into the book and slap Jenna right across the face.

The story was fast-paced and had me laughing a lot.  Jenna and Jack brought out the best and worst in each other and it was quite hilarious.  Jenna’s inner monologue was pure comedic genius.  There was a darker side to the story as well.  Jack’s little brother got messed up in some bad business and it was up to Jack to find out what happened to him and try to save his life.  It was a very different story from the first two books and actually appealed to me more than the other two.  If you’ve read Jay Crownover’s book, Better When He’s Bad, it’s a little similar to that.  And since I loved that one, I loved that aspect of Right Kind of Wrong.

Overall, Right Kind of Wrong has made me a Chelsea Fine fan for life.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.  I’m hoping for more steamy new adult novels from this author!

What others are saying about Right Kind of Wrong:

One Click Bliss’ review: “You’ll have to read it to find out what happens, but Chelsea Fine’s writing grips you from page one and has you fully ensconced in their lives and pulling for their happily ever after.”

Love Between The Sheets’ review: “While I didn’t love Right Kind of Wong, I did like Jenna and Jack’s story enough that I think I’ll go back and read the previous books in the series.”

LovLivLife Reviews’ review: “Really cute story – I enjoyed this one a lot – it was different than the other two books since Jenna and Jack already had the connection.”

Guest Post from Chelsea Fine!

Atrocious, awkward, and amazing: Road Trip Tales

by Chelsea Fine

 

Ah, road trips. An American pastime and a part of most everyone’s vacation memories. They’re romanticized, televised, and idealized, but they almost never go according to plan.

 

When you lock people up in a vehicle for an extended period of time, you’re bound to end up with a good story. And the term “good” is used loosely here because, in my opinion, road trips fall into one of three categories: Atrocious, Awkward, and Amazing.

 

Here’s a brief glimpse into three road trips I’ve taken that fall into each of those categories:

 

ATROCIOUS: Let me set it up for you. My husband and me, traveling late at night, with three children, two of which were 3 years old and both vomiting, while the other child (who was 1 year old and still in diapers) was screaming. We were driving an old SUV, lost on a pitch-black road somewhere between California and Arizona, without any food or diapers, running low on gas, with the car heater broken and one headlight out, during the middle of winter, in the RAIN.

 

It was three hours of pure atrocity.

 

AWKWARD: In high school, a group of friends and I decided to go camping one weekend at a spot three hours away. The camping trip itself was fun, but on the day we packed up to leave, there was some confusion and two people got left behind: me and my ex-boyfriend. Now, you all know how dramatic high school breakups can be and this particular boyfriend and I hadn’t spoken since we called it quits. We made the three-hour road trip journey back home in my little car, driving the entire way in tense silence.

 

Awk-ward.

 

AMAZING: The best road trip I’ve ever been on was, by far, with my husband. A few years ago we attended a wedding in Northern California and rented a car for our stay. We set out to find lunch one day, but took a wrong turn and ended up lost. At the time, neither of us had GPS on our phones so we had no way of knowing where we were. We tried to find our way back to the main roads, but all our turning-around only led us farther away from civilization and, soon, we were headed down a skinny dirt road in the middle of nowhere, tired and hungry. A few hours passed and  suddenly, the scenery changed from dirt roads and scattered shrubbery to winding hills of colorful trees, and rows of manicured vines stretched before us. In all our lost confusion, we’d accidentally driven right into wine country! Just off the dirt path to our left was a lone building that looked like it belonged in Tuscany. It resembled a cottage, with shutters and an oak door with iron hinges, and on a sign above the door was the word: RISTORANTE. Parking, we wandered inside the quaint building and were greeted by a pleasant old man and his wife, the owners of the small restaurant. They sat us on the patio, overlooking rolling hills of vineyards, and served us the most delicious lasagna and wine. We ate and drank to the beautiful rays of the setting sun and marveled at how we’d set out to find lunch and ended up on the best road trip ever.

 

Simply amazing.

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have any of you ever had an atrocious, awkward, or amazing road trip? Or perhaps all three? 😉

Chelsea Fine Headshot

About The Author:
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** YouTube ** Instagram

Author Goodreads ** Novel Goodreads

Giveaway!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Blog Tour: Made For You by Melissa Marr | Scavenger Hunt

Blog Tour: Made For You by Melissa Marr | Scavenger Hunt

Blog Tour: Made For You by Melissa Marr | Scavenger HuntMade For You by Melissa Marr
Published by Harper Teen on September 16, 2014
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

Day 0: “The Party”

Eva

 

“Did you see her?” Piper whispers, lifting the same plastic cup of wine she’s been holding the past two hours as if it hides her. It’s a prop. She’s sober. She always is. She’s also hopelessly prone to melodrama.

I nod, face carefully blank. Of course I saw her. I’ve seen every single girl that flirts with Nate at these parties.

I’d rather not be a witness to it, but that’s one of the downsides to being me: I’m expected to be at every party. Like Piper and the rest of our crowd, I am here because it’s who I am and what I do. Nate isn’t one of us, hasn’t been for a couple years, so he doesn’t always attend, but when he does, he inevitably goes upstairs or down a darkened hallway with some girl. I pretend not to care. My act works on everyone but Piper and Grace, who sit on either side of me.

“She’s not even that pretty,” Piper lies.

Grace says nothing.

The girl is no prettier than us, but she’s not less attractive either.

Nate is a lot more than good-looking. Tall and lean without being gangly, short dark hair that’s cut in an almost military style, and muscles that make it hard not to find an excuse to touch his arms. Even with the fact that he has no social standing, he has to use exactly zero effort to convince girls to wander off into the dark with him.

We used to be friends. He used to be my best friend. Then his parents got divorced, and he became someone I didn’t know. I still watch him, but I never speak to him. I haven’t since the start of sophomore year. Every time I see him glance my way as he walks past with a girl, I think of the last time I tried to talk to him.

It’s the first party of the year, and my parents are away again. I’m sitting with Grace, a new girl who moved from Philadelphia to tiny little Jessup, North Carolina.

“Who’s he?” Grace asks.

“Nathaniel Bouchet.” I look at him, standing in the doorway surveying the room like a hunter. He doesn’t look like my Nate anymore. He’s always been wiry, but now he looks like he works at it. I swallow, realizing that I’m staring and that he can tell.

MelissaAbout the author:
Melissa grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college lit for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing.

Melissa writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date and been bestsellers in the US (NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal) as well as various countries overseas. She is best known for the Wicked Lovely series for teens and Graveminder for adults.

Wicked Lovely was her first novel; it was simultaneously released in the US and UK by HarperCollins in 2007 (with translation rights also sold in twenty-some countries). It debuted as a NY Times Bestseller and evolved into a multi-book series with myriad accolades and international bestseller lists.

Her debut adult book, Graveminder, released to strong critical reception in 2011. Following that she has edited anthologies with Kelley Armstrong (Enthralled and Shards & Ashes) and with her friend Tim Pratt (Rags & Bones), and released a second adult novel (The Arrivals) in 2013.

With Kelley Armstrong, Melissa is the co-author of the Blackwell Pages trilogy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s series about the Norse myth of Ragnarök.

Her upcoming HarperCollins 2014 release, Made For You, utilizes both her graduate degree in Southern Literature and her personal experience with stalkers in a story about a killer who terrorizes a small North Carolina town.

Her first picture book (Bunny Roo) will be released in 2015.

Currently, Melissa resides in Virginia with her spouse, children, and many dogs.

To contact Melissa try:  
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  | Goodreads

Giveaway!

1 winner will receive a full set of the 5 Wicked Lovely series and the Wicked Lovely companion book (all paperback) as well as a hardcover copy of Made For You. US Only

1 winner will receive a paperback of Graveminder & of Arrivals, as well as a hardcover copy of Made For You. US Only.

1 winner will receive a hardcover of Made For You.US ONLY.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Made For You blog tour stops!

Week One:

9/8/2014- Katie’s Book Blog– Scavenger Hunt

9/9/2014- Crossroad Reviews– Review

9/10/2014- Fire and Ice– Scavenger Hunt

9/11/2014- Reading with ABC– Review

9/12/2014- BookHounds YA– Scavenger Hunt

 

Week Two:

9/15/2014- Ticket to Anywhere– Review

9/16/2014- Fiktshun– Scavenger Hunt

9/17/2014- Seeing Night Reviews– Review

9/18/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Scavenger Hunt

9/19/2014- Fictitious Delicious– Review

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack | Review + GiveawayThe Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack
Published by Entangled TEEN on September 2, 2014
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.

picadillyblueThe Girl and the Clockwork Cat stands out as amazingly unique in the YA market.  A steampunk adventure story featuring a half-Japanese heroine and her cat with a clockwork leg?  What’s not to love?

Nikki McCormack has a lot of strengths as an author.  Her writing is gorgeous, her characters are well developed, her setting is vivid, and her story is captivating.  From the very first sentence I had a feeling I would love The Girl and the Clockwork Cat and my prediction was right on target.

From the very first page, readers will have a hard time not falling in love with Maeko.  She’s a strong heroine who really stands out among all the characters in the book.  She’s feisty and I adored her attitude.  She refused to take crap from anyone!  However, she was not afraid to admit when she was in over her head or scared.  She was willing to seek out help when she needed it which really showed her true strength.  Also, while there were boys in her life (two, to be specific) she didn’t rely on them too much.  In fact, sometimes she was the one saving their butts.  It was a refreshing change of pace.  Chaff and Ash (yes there is a bit of a love triangle) aren’t too shabby either.  Chaff appealed to me a bit more since he was always there for Maeko but Ash had his strengths.  He cared a lot for his family and he was an all-around stand up guy (if a bit rude at first.)

The murder mystery aspect didn’t take long to be introduced.  Really everything about The Girl in the Clockwork Cat came about relatively quickly.  Nikki McCormack wasted no time in setting up the story and getting readers truly invested Maeko, Chaff, and Ash’s story.  The mystery will have readers hooked on this story if they weren’t already.  This truly is a conspiracy story and no one is safe from being a suspect.

As for the clockwork cat, Macak really was a character all his own.  When Maeko first finds him, it’s easy to tell that he’s not your ordinary cat.  He’s got a clockwork leg, for one.  Other than that, he’s a cat with personality and some little quirks.  I’m a total cat person so everything about Macak appealed to me.  I also really loved how Maeko didn’t see him as a cat, she saw him as a companion.  For someone who’d been on her own for so long, Macak was just what she needed.

Overall, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat is a wonderful debut from Nikki McCormack.  I don’t know what I expected when I first started reading it but it’s not what I got (and I mean that in the best possible way.)  I’ve never been big on steampunk but Nikki McCormack may have just changed that.

What others are saying about The Girl and the Clockwork Cat:

Buried Under Books’ review: “The author’s other main strength is in her characters who are vivid and engaging, even those who can’t be considered likeable.”

Nicky Peacock – Author’s review: “The Girl and the  Clockwork Cat was a well written, and thought out book, with an interesting storyline and some lovely prose.”

Forever Obsession’s review: “The Girl and the Clockwork Cat has action, mystery, intrigue, and really lovable characters.”

nikki mccormack
About the Author
Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12, which she still has tucked in a briefcase in her home office, waiting for the right moment. Despite a successful short story publication with Cricket Magazine in 2007, she continued to treat her writing addiction as a hobby until a drop in the economy presented her with an abundance of free time that she used to focus on making it her career.

Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her husband and three cats suffering varying stages of neurosis. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She finds peace through practicing iaido or shooting her longbow.

 

Where to find Nikki online:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Blog Tour: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre | Review + GiveawayI Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Series: 2B Trilogy #1
Published by Harlequin HQN on August 26, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B…. 

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other. 

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

picadillyblueI Want It That Way is Ann Aguirre’s first foray into the young adult genre and she definitely did it right!  Nadia and Ty’s story captured my heart and this series has some serious potential.

Nadia reminded me a lot of myself.  She’s hardworking, driven, and pretty hard on herself.  She is a full time college student who also has a part time job.  She has very little free time but she still manages to maintain some great friendships and care about her family.  Ty is similar to Nadia in that he’s working as well as putting himself through school but he’s also got a 4-year-old son to take care of.  What little free time he has he spends with his son and his parents.  Nadia and Ty don’t seem like they’d work since neither of them has much free time but what little time they do have they spend getting to know each other.

Nadia and Ty’s relationship seemed a little instalovey at first but that changed quickly.  It was more that they were both instantly attracted to each other even though they both knew they couldn’t possibly work out.  They decided to be friends and they really spent time getting to know each other.  They definitely had chemistry though and I was just waiting for them to give into the attraction.  They were not meant to be just friends, no matter what they thought.

The story wasn’t action-packed but it was still fast-paced.   Once I started reading, I could not stop.  I fell in love with Nadia and Ty’s story and I wanted to know if they’d get their happy ending.  The story also does a great job introducing the characters that will be center stage in the following two books in the series.  I wasn’t very impressed with Lauren but Max’s story is one I can’t wait for.

I Want It That Way is definitely a new adult book.  There are some serious sexy times.  I knew that Ann Aguirre could do romance but I had no idea they could be this steamy!  She’s right up there with Jennifer Armentrout and Erin McCarthy in that category.

Overall, I Want It That Way is a fabulous new adult novel that I highly recommend.  Ann Aguirre has been added to my list of favorite new adult authors and I can’t wait to read the second 2B novel.

What others are saying about I Want It That Way:

The Book Vixen’s review: “The cast of misfits in apartment 2B are also fantastic!”

The Reading Date’s review: “I think Ann Aguirre is a great addition to the New Adult scene and adds a fresh point of view.”

Talk Books To Me’s review: “At times the story does move slow and the ending was rushed but I still really enjoyed it.”

Ann Aguirre

 

 

About the author:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

Website **Facebook**Twitter**Tumblr ** Goodreads ** Newsletter SignUp

 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blog Tour: Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner | Review + GiveawayCan't Look Away by Donna Cooner
Published by Scholastic on August 26, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident -- maybe because of Torrey and her videos -- Torrey's perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

picadillyblueCan’t Look Away, Donna Cooner’s sophomore novel, shows promise for her as a writer.  I found it to be an extremely quick read that captivated me from start to finish.

Torrey’s story was one that is very relevant to todays teens.  Torry has a great online presence through her Youtube beauty channel as well as Facebook and Twitter.  When her sister is hit and killed by a drunk driver, Torrey’s personal life takes center stage and she’s forced to take a step back from the internet to evaluate her life and where she goes from there.

Surprisingly, very little of the story centers on Torrey’s online life.  After the accident, Torrey takes some time to reevaluate things and she’s not sure how to approach her fans online.  However, that doesn’t stop her from reading articles about herself as well as looking at comments on her old videos or on blogs.  Many people online blame Torrey for her sister’s death and very few of the comments are supportive.  Add to that that Torrey has just moved across the country, started at a new school, and has to deal with some rather bitchy popular girls and she really doesn’t have a lot of joy in her life.

What joy she does have comes in the form of some unexpected friends.  Torrey’s cousin and neighbor, Raylene, is a wonderful source of comic relief.  She is completely quirky and 100% okay with who she is.  She cares very little for popularity and she doesn’t let people hurt her feelings.  She does what she wants and she encourages Torrey to do the same thing.  Raylene’s cat, Stu, is pretty much another character.  Stu cracked me up.  There was also Luis who was not exactly who Torrey needed to be hanging out with to gain popularity.  He works at his family’s mortuary and he plans to one day take over the family business.  Torrey is warned off him from the start but for some reason she just can’t resist him.  Luis is another person who does what he wants.  He’s smart, funny, and kind but he does have a bit of a mystery to him.  He brought out the darker side of Torrey but he helped her a lot with her sister’s death.

Torrey herself was not the greatest character for most of the book.  She was rather shallow and kind of self-centered.  However, it’s easy to forgive those things about her once you understand what she is going through.  What comes across as self-centered at first actually makes sense the more you get to know Torrey.  She’s hurt by her sister’s death and her parents have done very little to help with the grieving process.  She closes herself off from people so she doesn’t have to deal with her emotions.  It was heartbreaking how she blamed herself for her sister’s death.  They fought a lot (like any siblings at that age) but they never got the chance to make up and grow closer.  That hurt Torrey a lot more than she let on and she really was a much deeper character than I originally perceived.

My favorite part of Can’t Look Away had to be all the history and stuff surrounding el Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.  When Torrey first finds out about the Day of the Dead she’s a little creeped out by it but as she learns more about it’s history and it’s purpose she becomes intrigued by it.  I’ve always been interested in the Day of the Dead and finding out more about it’s background definitely kept me reading.

Overall, Can’t Look Away has its flaws but is all around a great contemporary novel.  I’m definitely planning on checking out Donna Cooner’s debut novel, Skinny.

What others are saying about Can’t Look Away:

Rather Be Reading YA’s review: “Can’t Look Away is fairly predictable in its storyline, but the Youtube angle, the character of Luis and,Día de los Muertos give it a little more of an unusual feel.”

Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “Can’t Look Away was a decent YA contemporary novel that I tackled an issue that I didn’t know much about.”

Once Upon a Twilight’s review: “Torrey’s story will keep turning you pages.”

Cooner_5
About the author:

Donna Cooner was born and raised in Texas. She is a three time graduate of Texas A&M University. A former teacher and school administrator, she now teaches teachers and principals at Colorado State University where she is the director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her two labs and a cat named Stu. She’s a big fan of chocolate and laughing (not necessarily in that order).

Donna is the author of over twenty picture books and was a founding member of the Brazos Valley Society of Children’s Bookwriters and Illustrators. She has also written children’s television shows for PBS and textbooks for future teachers. SKINNY is her debut novel for young adults.

To contact Donna try:  
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Giveaway:

5 winners will receive finished copies of Can’t Look Away!  US only!

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Check out the rest of the tour stops!

Week One:

8/18/2014- Such a Novel Idea– Interview

8/19/2014- A Book and a Latte– Guest Post

8/20/2014- The Book Belles– Review

8/21/2014- BookHounds YA– Interview

8/22/2014-Fictitious Delicious Review

Week Two:

8/25/2014- Shayna Varadeaux Books & Reviews– Review

8/26/2014- The Cover Contessa – Guest Post

8/27/2014-Katie’s Book Blog- Review

8/28/2014- Swoony Boys Podcast– Review

8/29/2014- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Homeroom Diaries Guest Post from James Patterson!

Hey everyone!  Welcome to the second stop on the Homeroom Diaries blog tour!  Homeroom Diaries is James Patterson’s newest novel for teens and I’m so excited to have a guest post for you guys!

This One’s for the Misfits – Guest Post from James Patterson

“She’s troubled.”

“He’s at risk.”

Why do we decide that some kids won’t amount to much in life when they’re still teenagers – or even younger?

My new book Homeroom Diaries may be a comedy with some really funny moments, but it’s about kids who don’t fit in. Homeroom Diaries isn’t my first book about misfits. That’s what I was doing when I wrote my first young adult book in 2005 (Maximum Ride). It was about a group of runaways living on their own up in the mountains, trying to make some sort of family for themselves. These kids happened to be mutants with wings, and the book was labeled as science fiction, so no one called Maximum Ride and her friends “troubled” or “at risk.”

But when I started the Middle School series, about a kid in a realistic middle school with problems that millions of kids deal with every day, suddenly I was writing about a “troubled” kid.

Critics commented that kids with issues would relate to the story. As if all kids don’t have issues. As if kids can’t relate to someone in a different situation – unless it’s a sci fi or fantasy book, of course.

In Homeroom Diaries, Cuckoo Clarke has just gotten out of a mental institution. She lives with a foster mother after her real mother walked out on her. She checks just about every box for “troubled” that there is.

But I think teenagers need stories like hers. Got problems like Cuckoo? You need to know you’re not alone. Don’t have problems like Cuckoo? Then you need to give people like her a chance, because they’re actually pretty incredible once you get to know them.

And now, check out an excerpt!

“You know what? Marty kind of got me down,” I say. Then I stand up, give my whole body a shake, and say, “Get off! Get off! GET OFF!” This usually helps me brush away icky, ugly, heebie-jeebie feelings, but it doesn’t do much to counteract my reputation as a nut job.
“Why does Marty have to be such a
Hater, anyway?” Flatso asks, not really expecting an answer.
But I surprise Flatso with my response. “Because”—I give her a grin—“he’s deprived.”
“Hellz yeah,” says Eggy, and Tebow crows, “It’s on!”
“Oh, boy.” Brainzilla puffs out a breath that lifts her bangs from her forehead. “Here we go.”
Yeah, that’s right—it’s time for another round of our favorite game: DEPRIVED!
Goal: To be the object of greatest pity.
How to Play: State a way in which your life has been hideously deprived.
In the end, we declare Zitsy the winner.
He spends the last ten seconds of lunch vacuuming chips and high-octane Coke into his digestive system.
That’s when I know that my friend is all right.

 

HDBlogTour-Post2Artwork

About Homeroom Diaries:

 

In James Patterson’s first highly illustrated “diary fiction” story for teens, the mega-bestselling author’s most endearing and original teen heroine ever proves that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

Margaret “Cuckoo” Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she’s turning over a new leaf with her “Happiness Project”. She’s determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she works through her own moments of uncertainty through imaginary conversations with her favorite literary characters.

Cuckoo’s also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves “the Freakshow”) decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and “bring the Nations together”. Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling…until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.

 

 

 

 

In January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having “transformed book publishing.” Time magazine named him “The Man Who Can’t Miss,” and he is a two-time Children’s Choice Book Award “Author of the Year” nominee, a designation decided on by more than 15,000 children and teen readers.

In the past three years, James Patterson has sold more books than any other author (according to Bookscan), and in total, James’s books have sold an estimated 260 million copies worldwide. Since 2006, one out of every seventeen hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year—a record-breaking feat he’s accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds the New York Times record for most Hardcover Fiction bestselling titles by a single author (76 total), which is also a Guinness World Record.

From his James Patterson Pageturner Awards (which rewarded groups and individuals for creative and effective ways of spreading the joy of reading) to his website ReadKiddoRead.com (which helps adults find books that kids are sure to love) to his regular donations of thousands of books to troops overseas, Patterson is a lifelong champion of books and reading. His critically acclaimed Maximum Ride series debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list at #1 and remained there for twelve straight weeks. The series has so far made ninety-four cumulative appearances on The New York Times bestsellers lists, proving that kids of all ages love page turners. He captured the attention of boy readers with Daniel X series, and his third series for readers of all ages debuted in December 2009 with Witch & Wizard, which spent five consecutive weeks atop the New York Times bestsellers list.

Patterson is the creator of the top-selling new detective series of the past dozen years, featuring Alex Cross and including the Hollywood-adapted “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls,” starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past five years, featuring Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club, from which the ABC television drama series was adapted. He has authored books behind six films on the Hollywood fast-track, including the upcoming Maximum Ride movie forthcoming from Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spiderman.

He is the author of novels — from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon (2005) — that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader’s Digest Reader’s Choice Award. And, he has won a Children’s Choice Book Council’s Children’s Choice Awards “Author of the Year” award (2010).

One of Forbes magazine’s Celebrity 100, James made a guest appearance on the popular FOX TV show “The Simpsons” in March, 2007.

Follow the Homeroom Diaries tour for more guest posts, illustrations, and giveaways!
July 21: BewitchedBookworms.com
July 22: KatiesBookBlog.com
July 23: ALifeBoundByBooks.Blogspot.com
July 24: TheBookCellarx.com
July 25: ReadBreatheRelax.com

Find James Patterson online!

·         Visit the Official Site

·         Follow Homeroom Diaries on Instagram

·         Follow James Patterson on Twitter and Facebook

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blog Tour: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings | Review

Blog Tour: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings | Review

Blog Tour: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings | ReviewThe Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex #1
Published by Harper Teen on June 10, 2014
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

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The Murder Complex is Lindsay Cummings’ debut novel and the start of what promises to be an awesome new dystopian series.  The characters, the story, and the pulse pounding action make for a thrilling read.

Meadow is a strong female character who knows how to take care of herself.  Her dad raised her so that she would never have to rely on other people to save her.  She can fight, she can feed herself, she can be brutal when need be, but above all else, she can still be vulnerable.  She is not some cold person who wants to be alone.  Sure she can take care of herself but that doesn’t mean she wants to always have to.  Enter Zephyr, someone she never expected and someone she definitely couldn’t plan for.  He is a surprisingly vulnerable male character.  He is not afraid to show weakness or sorrow or shame.  He balances out Meadow.  She may not be cold but she doesn’t always show emotion and Zephyr definitely does. They work well as a team because they both have strengths and weaknesses that work well together.

I’ve seen The Murder Complex compared to The Hunger Games and in this case, I have to agree.  This is a gritty story that is very rarely happy and I could definitely see comparisons between Meadow and Katniss.  However, that’s not to say that this is a rip off of The Hunger Games.  It’s a completely new story set in a completely different world but it will appeal  to The Hunger Games fans.

The romance is a little too fast paced for me but otherwise it was cute.  Meadow and Zephyr had some serious chemistry but I felt like their relationship was a little too fast.  The only concession I will make is that it’s set in a dystopian world where death is a daily occurrence so I can see why things might move a little faster than normal.

The familial bonds were some of my favorite things about The Murder Complex.  Lindsay really developed these relationships in the short amount of time they spent together.  Each member of Meadow’s family had a different kind of relationship to Meadow.  Her dad clearly loved her but he was very fierce with her.  He knew that she needed tough love sometimes and he gave it to her.  Her brother, Koi, was protective of her like any older brother would be but he was also so proud of her.  He wanted her to succeed where he had failed and he encourager her a lot.  Her little sister, Peri, was adorable.  Meadow was super protective of her and she was pretty much a stand in mom for her.  She did everything she could to make sure Peri had a good life and it was so sweet.

Overall, The Murder Complex stands out in a crowd of boring, overdone dystopian concepts.  There are so many fresh aspects to this book that will hopefully really help this series succeed.  I can’t wait for more from Lindsay Cummings!

What others have to say about The Murder Complex:

Cuddlebuggery’s review: “There is a small rebellion, some cool science stuff and plenty of tension to keep a reader turning pages.”

Crystal in Bookland’s review:  “If you love fast paced thrillers I would definitely recommend that you read this book!”

The Book Lantern’s review: “While “The Murder Complex” hints at Cummings’s potential as an action writer, there are too many questions left hanging, too many plot holes gaping wide open and a whole barrel-load of problematic content that tries to be shocking but ends up being distasteful.”

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour stops:

June 2 – Fangirlish – GUEST POST

June 3 – The Story Book Kingdom – REVIEW

June 4 – Chapter by Chapter – REVIEW and Reading Teen – INTERVIEW

June 5 – Page Turners – BOOK PLAYLIST

June 6 – The Book Smugglers – GUEST POST

 

June 9 – Shelf to Screen– INTERVIEW and  Never Ending Stories Book Blog – GUEST BLOG

June 10 – Alice Marvels – GUEST POST

June 11 – Hypable – REVIEW

June 12 – Novel Novice – INTERVIEW

June 13 – Sasha Alsberg – REVIEW   and Mundie Moms – REVIEW

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Tour: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack | Review + Guest Post + Giveaway

Blog Tour: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack | Review + Guest Post + Giveaway

Blog Tour: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack | Review + Guest Post + GiveawayAll Lined Up by Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University #1
Published by William Morrow on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

picadillyblueAll Lined Up, the first book in the Rusk University series, is nothing short of spectacular.  Cora Carmack has a sure hit on her hands with this one.  It’s the perfect blend of football, forbidden romance, and family bonding.

All Lined Up is the story of Dallas Cole, daughter to college football coach at Rusk University, and dancer extraordinaire.  She’s tired of living in the shadow of her father’s legacy and all she wanted from college was to get away from it all.  However, plans changed when her dad accepted the coaching job at Rusk, the same place Dallas is starting her freshman year.  Dallas is determined to leave the football life behind her but that’s easier said than done when she starts falling for backup QB, Carter McClain.

All Lined Up has Cora Carmack’s usual sense of humor and while Dallas isn’t nearly as awkward as some of the characters in the Losing It trilogy, she does have some of the same qualities as those main characters which definitely helps her be easy to relate to.  She does seem a little cold at first but it’s easy to see that she has been hurt in the past and does not have the best luck with guys.  With the help of her best friend, Stella (Dallas’ total opposite), Dallas starts to open up and be a bit more optimistic about life in college and all it has to offer.  Stella is quite the funny character and I liked how she helped balance out Dallas.  Then there was Carter.  Carter was a great guy but he did sometimes seem a little too perfect, at least at first.  Don’t let that turn you off though.  He does have his flaws, it just takes a little time for readers to see them.  That doesn’t mean he’s not a wonderful guy though.  I loved him.

The football aspect was fabulously done.  I have come to really love any young adult/new adult sports related books and All Lined Up is at the top of my list of recommendations for books in that category.  Cora Carmack does not overdo it with the sports or the lingo or anything like that.  I know some things about football but not enough to play the game.  Cora Carmack throws in just enough knowledge so that readers know what’s going on but not enough to be overbearing.  It’s the perfect balance.

The romance is just as steamy as I’ve come to expect from Cora Carmack.  I was greatly impressed with how realistic the relationship was and how mature both Dallas and Carter were about everything.  They do have an immediate attraction but luckily it’s nothing that would be considered insta-love.  Dallas and Carter spend a lot of time together getting to know each other and what they want from each other before they take things to the next level.  It was refreshingly well done.

Overall, All Lined Up is the perfect read for new adult fans as well as fans of Cora Carmack.  It’s a wonderful start to the Rusk University series and I can’t wait for the next story.

GUEST POST

Hey y’all! I don’t know about you guys but I am having a BLAST on this blog tour! Last week, Carson McClain stopped by Chick Lit News & Reviews to share with us his favorite things about growing up in Texas. This week, I thought it would be interesting to see what Dallas Cole’s top ten list looks like! Unfortunately, she doesn’t have quite as much state pride as her boyfriend, so she decided to take her list in a different direction.

The Top 10 Worst Things About Growing Up In Texas

by Dallas Cole

10. Unpredictable weather

Some people think this is a good thing – don’t like the weather? Wait a few hours, and it’ll change! But I have a real issue with waking up to a beautiful, clear blue sky only to be dodging hailstones on the way to school and walking to class in a deluge, then trying to fall asleep to the dulcet tones of the tornado warning siren.

9.Crickets in the fall

Every fall, crickets show up in a plague of Biblical proportions. It’s so bad I keep expecting first born sons to start dying at a moment’s notice.
8. Pollen and allergy season

Spring in Texas means everything is covered in a fine layer of yellow dust and you are never NOT sneezing. Someone just hook me up to an IV of Claritin and leave me in bed with a Costco-sized case of Kleenex, and I’ll see you guys never.

7. Mosquitoes

Ah, to be able to take a nice, peaceful walk through your neighborhood in the evening without the fear of contracting West Nile Virus.

6. The vast cultural wasteland

Okay, now that I’m a little older, I know that there is actually art and culture to be found in the Lone Star State. But growing up in a small town in Texas, I was convinced that my home was where art came to die. I wished so badly to live in a big city like New York or Chicago, where I could see musicals and go to museums and attend a dance studio with more than one teacher.  Plus, some of our “artistic outlets” are rather suspect. Which leads me to…
5. Line dancing.
Nothing grinds my gears like seeing a bunch of people swagger back and forth in straight lines and call it dancing. I really do try to have an open mind when it comes to different styles of dance but LINE DANCING IS NOT DANCING. When I was in fifth grade, a girl in my class invited me to her birthday party. “Lots of fun and music,” the invitation said. “Come prepared to dance!” I was really excited! I took my dance shoes, ready to dance my heart out. So you can imagine my disappointment when I walked into the party to find a bunch of 10-year-olds doing the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” Needless to say, I did not stay friends with the birthday girl.

4. Poor grammar

Please read the following phrases:

“I seen it.”

“She done run off.”

“We used to could do that.”

“They was fixin’ to.”

Now please join me in clawing out our own eyes. Speaking of poor grammar…

3. Rednecks.

Have you seen ever seen that TLC show about Honey Boo Boo and her family? What about Duck Dynasty? American Hoggers? They have to use freaking subtitles on those shows just so you regular people can understand their accents! Have you ever thought to yourself, “SURELY that’s all scripted, or at the very least exaggerated. No people are actually like that in real life.” Oh, yes. Some people are. And they have lived next door to me since I was three.

2. It’s so damn hot.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH. Texas only has two seasons: summer and Christmas, and Christmas is only slightly less sweltering than summer. From April to November, you might as well resign yourself to taking three showers a day because you’ll be a sweaty, sticky mess before you even set foot outside. Getting in the car after it’s been in the parking lot all day? You can expect third degree burns from the seatbelt, the steering wheel, the cracked faux leather seats, and literally EVERYTHING else.  And if you think YOU sunburn easily….let me tell you a little story about being a fair-skinned redhead and working at an outdoor summer camp. #lobster
1. Football.

I just…

 

 

 

 

UGH. Okay, you guys. Carson has been reading over my shoulder this whole time and is nagging me to mention at least ONE good thing about growing up in Texas. “You’ve lived here your whole life,” he says, “and your life has not been terrible! There has to be something  nice you can say about our good ole’ Lone Star State!”

*sigh* I guess.

One thing I DO love about Texas is the people. Texans, as much as I have made fun of them, are literally some of the nicest, most genuine people in the world. For a state so big, it really feels more like a small town – everywhere you go, you meet kind and generous people who treat you like family. We don’t all ride horses to school, but your neighbor give you a lift in their pickup without a second thought. Good old country boys are actually pretty good, and sometimes you meet one who makes you feel beautiful and special and understood in ways you’ve never felt before. And then suddenly you’re spending your summer nights in the bed of a pickup truck, staring at a sky full of stars and not caring that mosquitoes are buzzing around your head because he’s holding your hand and everything is finally just…right.

GET THAT SMUG LOOK OFF YOUR FACE, CARSON.

GIVEAWAY (US Only!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cora Carmack bio pic
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** Novel Goodreads

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Interview with Kieran Scott + Giveaway!

I am super excited to be part of the blog tour for Only Everything, Kieran Scott’s newest YA book.  I am a huge fan of Kieran Scott’s so hosting her on the blog is like a dream come true.  =)

Only Everything
Title: Only Everything (True Love #1)
Author: Kieran Scott
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 336 Pages (May 6th, 2014)

High school romance is tough—even for a bona fide love goddess. Can Cupid succeed as a mortal matchmaker?

When Eros (aka Cupid) is expelled from Olympus for defying Zeus after falling in love with Orion, she is banished to what she believes to be hell. We call it New Jersey. If she ever wants to go back to the comforts of her old life, she will have to find love for three couples—without using her powers.

Eros, now calling herself True, immediately identifies her first project in Charlie and believes finding him love will be a piece of cake. Charlie is new at school and eager to break out of his old image of band geek, so it’s lucky for him when he falls in with the right crowd on his first day. But music is still his passion. That is, until he meets Katrina…

Katrina is floundering after the death of her father and takes refuge with a boy who, while not entirely supportive, will be there when she needs him, unlike her mother. Too bad True thinks any girl Charlie talks to is perfect for him. Can she get out of her own way and help Charlie and Katrina connect, or will she be stuck in New Jersey forever?

Describe Only Everything in 140 characters or less.

A teenage female Cupid is banished to earth & must match 3 couples w/o her powers to save the love of her life from the wrath of the Gods. (Love those abbreviations!)

You’re doing a lot of fun promotional things for Only Everything. Did you come up with the ideas for the postcards, the necklaces, etc? How do these types of promotions differ from things you’ve done with your other books?

The postcards and necklaces were my idea, yes. With the postcards, I was trying to figure out a way to make the book visible online before it came out, and I thought it would be nice to get readers involved—give them a chance to show their creativity. I think they’ve really sparked some excitement about the book. The necklaces seemed like a no-brainer, because there’s a necklace that plays a significant role in the book AND I happen to have a friend (author Katie Sise) who’s a jewelry designer. I figured, what girl doesn’t love free accessories? Katie did a lovely job with the necklaces and the people who win them will have a special connection to the book. Honestly, I’ve never done anything like this before. Aside from making author appearances and signing books, I’ve never done much promotion. I’m interested in finding new ways to reach my audience.

What is your favorite part of being a writer?

I love getting excited about a new idea. There’s always a moment when my heart catches and I realize how much I want to write this new thing I’ve come up with. After that, you can’t keep me away from my computer. The day-to-day work is a lot harder, but it helps to always remember that original spark of excitement. It’s kind of like falling in love.

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

Coffee! I can’t get started without it. How sad is that? I also find that I’m a lot more productive on sunny days, and when I can have the windows open so that fresh air is moving through my office. Winter is not a good time for me. Spring and fall are the best. Especially fall. There’s something about that crisp, back-to-school scent in the air that makes me more productive. Also, if I really can’t get going, there are a few albums I listen to and, funnily enough, they’re from college and from when I first started writing. It’s almost like when I hear them my brain flips into a pure, creative mode. Two great ones for me are the original soundtrack from the TV show Felicity and Fields of Gold by Sting. Haim, The Veronicas and Sara Bareilles are the more recent stuff that gets my brain churning.

How did you come up with the idea for Only Everything?

Originally I wanted to write a straight-up contemporary romance series set in a small town in New Jersey. The idea was that in each book we’d meet a new couple, but that the couples from previous books would peripherally touch the current couple’s lives or relationships. My editor thought it needed more of a hook, so I brainstormed a bit about what kind of hook I could create without losing too much of what I wanted to do, and it just hit me. Cupid. Duh. It’s a romance, so Cupid is the perfect hook. I’ve always wanted to write a strong, female protagonist, so I decided to make Cupid a kind of teen Goddess and then I had to give her stakes, so I started reading up on Greek Mythology (in which Cupid was called Eros) to figure out a cool way to incorporate other characters. When I read about how Artemis was tricked into murdering her mortal boyfriend Orion with an arrow to the head, and then committed him to the stars as a constellation, I was hooked on that story. I thought, what if Eros were to bring him back and fall in love with him? It would be such a forbidden relationship—some Gods would resent her for stealing Artemis’s love, others would revile her for falling for a human. It made sense to me as a point of conflict, and helped me create this epic mission and love story. Once Zeus and Ares (the king and her father, respectively) find out about her and Orion, the stakes are huge for Eros. Zeus imprisons her love and sets this challenge for her—to match three couples without her powers in order to save him. In the end it was the best of both worlds, because I got to write a contemporary romance, but with one character who has this huge, mythological back-story and these incredible obstacles to overcome.

You’ve written a ton of books under different pen names. Have you ever been able to pick a favorite book? Or maybe a favorite character?

That’s always been a really hard question for me, because so many of my characters are near and dear to my heart for so many different reasons. I loved Annisa Gobrowski from I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader because she was so positive and plucky. I adored Ariana Osgood from Private and Privilege because she was so crazy and psychotic and therefore so much fun to write. Reed Brennan from Private is basically me in a really awful situation, and I was with her for so long that I still miss her. Jake Graydon from The He’s So/She’s So Trilogy was also a lot of fun because he was my polar opposite and I loved watching him mature and grow. Right now, True’s my girl because trying to get into her mind and heart was such a challenge, and she’s so fun and funny and headstrong. So no, I can’t pick a favorite, but I guess those are my top five.

Why YA?

I love this genre. I love how there’s so much drama to mine in the lives of teenagers, whether it’s in their relationships with their friends, their significant others, their parents, their siblings, their teachers, or the dozens of other people that matter in their lives. Everything is huge when you’re young and everything can seem to hinge on one moment—one decision—even if it’s something that seems small to adults. It’s an incredible time in life, and one I don’t mind losing myself in at my desk everyday. And don’t even get me started on how incredible the readers are. I can’t even express how amazing it is when someone comes up to me and tells me that reading my books made her love reading, or that they’ve read a certain book multiple times. It’s mind-blowing and humbling and life-affirming. What’s better than knowing your work changed somebody’s life? It’s incredible.

What’s next? The next book in this series?

Yes! The next book, Complete Nothing, hits stores in September and the third, Something True comes out in January. They’re all done and ready to go, so I’ve started working on ideas for my next book, but it’s all very top secret right now!

Kieran Scott

 

Kieran Scott is an author of young adult fiction including the upcoming TRUE LOVE TRILOGY (May 2014) and the HE’S SO/SHE’S SO TRILOGY, which includes SHE’S SO DEAD TO US, HE’S SO NOT WORTH IT and THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING. Her other books include the Non-Blonde Cheelerader trilogy, Geek Magnet and Jingle Boy. She also writes Alloy Entertainment books under the pseudonym Kate Brian, including the SHADOWLANDS trilogy and the PRIVATE and PRIVILEGE series, MEGAN MEADE’S GUIDE TO THE MCGOWAN BOYS and THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER, among others. She grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, attended Rutgers University, and now lives in River Vale, New Jersey with her husband and two sons.

Find Kieran Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!!!

ONE winner will receive an signed copy of Only Everything and an Orion’s arrow necklace!

Rules and how to enter:

Fill out the Rafflecopter form.
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian mailing addresses ONLY.
Giveaway ends: June 1, 2014

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Stasia Ward Kehoe + Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on The Sound of Letting Go blog tour.  I was beyond excited when I was asked to be part of this blog tour.  Today I have a guest post from Stasia Ward Kehoe on how an author revises a manuscript.  Oh and did I forget to mention the awesome giveaway at the end?  Read on to find out what you could win and how to enter!

book cover of The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

So, I’m going to let you in on a secret: When I revised THE SOUND OF LETTING GO for my editor, I totally changed the ending! No spoilers here, let me just say that the boy Daisy winds up with in the published version is NOT the boy who stole her heart in the first draft.

When my editor, Kendra, sent me her amazing-as-always (9 single-spaced pages long) editorial letter last spring, she got me thinking. She didn’t tell me the ending felt wrong or anything like that. Her questions and comments just led me to a place where I could truly see and feel what I’d put on the pages and discover for myself the way to make a (hopefully) better book.

I divulge this tidbit to make an important point about the notion of revision.

REVISION IS NOT LINE EDITING.

Revision is not…FACT-CHECKING or DATE-STAMPING or GRAMMAR-TWEAKING or SCENE-SHIFTING either

REVISION IS GOING TO A GUT-HONEST PLACE AND HAVING THE COURAGE TO CHANGE not just a word or a line but the ENTIRE DIRECTION of the story or A MAJOR ACTION POINT or even to TOTALLY REIMAGINE A CHARACTER.

Years before I published my first novel, AUDITION, I submitted a manuscript to a fantastic editor. She told me that she was interested in my novel if I would consider making some revisions. Of course I agreed. BUT, naively, I just took her letter and did a cursory fix. She said the settings needed more details, I added a few lines about snowy treetops. She said a character felt insubstantial, I just cut him. I turned that puppy around in a week. What I hadn’t done was to look more deeply at her comments to see what she wanted me to discover about my novel AS A WHOLE. What I hadn’t done was to stay true to myself while revising but simply to check off the boxes I thought the editor wanted me to check. Needless to say, that manuscript remains, unpublished, in a drawer.

Not every manuscript requires the same amount of butchering. However, one piece of advice that I think can be consistently given to writers is that it is worth taking time to think hard about what revision means to you, what you are willing or unwilling to do to a manuscript, and how you define your ideal process of revision. When you receive feedback from a critique partner, agent or editor, realize that you have to respond to their comments while REMAINING TRUE to your writing style and the elements of the manuscript that you hold dear. But, you also have to be open to what their challenges to your manuscript mean and to be willing, in your own, very personal way, to address them.

In sum, IF YOU’RE NOT SCARED WHEN YOU’RE REVISING, YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT DIGGING DEEP ENOUGH.

Are you curious about the original ending? Maybe I’ll post it sometime!

Stasia Ward Kehoe’s second novel, THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, was published on February 6, 2013, by Viking. She is currently working on a new book and trying not to get too attached to the first-draft ending. Visit her online at www.stasiawardkehoe.com

ENTER TO WIN…a signed first edition of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, one of four different TsoLG Swag Packs, or a pair of author-designed custom Keds sneakers (size 8)

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