Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Books I Love But Don’t Talk About Enough

top ten tuesday 4

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about books that I love but haven’t talked about enough.  I think I sometimes read so many books that I forget to really talk about some of them so here are a few!

1. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I read this one recently but it was during my blogging break and I haven’t really talked to anyone about it other than my IRL friends.  It was exactly what I was looking for in a fantasy novel.  It was fast-paced, full of quick-witted characters, a wonderful romance, and enough of a cliffhanger that I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel.  While this one is very obviously the start of a new series, there is plenty going on to keep readers on the edge of their seats and I think people that aren’t even fantasy fans could love it.

rebel of the sands

2. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

I read this one last year and adored it.  It’s the story of a pair of friends, Emmy and Oliver, who are reunited after 10 years.  Oliver was kidnapped by his father and Emmy’s life changed forever that day.  When he returns, their friendship turns into something even more than it was before.  I loved Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway and I really loved that even though this was a much tougher subject she still managed to imbue a sense of humor throughout.  It was a really quick, cute read.

Emmy & Oliver

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan

I read this while on vacation last year and it was totally my kind of book.  Bex is an American going to school in London and she just happens to meet Prince Nicholas.  In fact, she starts dating him.  It’s a hefty book but it’s amazing from start to finish.  What girl doesn’t dream of meeting a prince and falling in love with him and becoming part of the royal family?  However, it’s not all perfect for Bex and Nick.  They have very realistic struggles and I think that’s what made me love this book even more than I already did.

The Royal We

4. The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

I’ll admit that the cover might have been the initial draw for this one.  Once I stopped staring at it though and actually started the book, I loved it.  It’s one of my favorite new adult books even though it is quite predictable.  I really just loved the chemistry between the two main characters and the secondary characters were some of the best I’ve read.

The Deal

5. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

I’m a big fan of all of Stacey Jay’s books and I feel like I don’t talk enough about any of them but especially this one.  Princess of Thorns follows Sleeping Beauty’s daughter and she is one fierce girl.  She’s disguised as a boy for most of the book so that she can rescue her brother and she acts more like a guy than a girl, at least for her time period.  She’s very independent, a little untrustworthy, but totally great.  She’s by far the best part about this book though I’m a fan of the rest of it too.

Princess of Thorns

6. Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross

This is another new adult book that I really didn’t talk about enough when I read it.  Just like The Deal, this one focuses on sports but in this case it’s baseball, not hockey.  Annie’s dad is the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals, making the rookie pitcher off limits to her.  That doesn’t stop them from having amazing chemistry, witty banter, and some steamy scenes!

Whatever Life Throws At You

7. #scandal by Sarah Ockler

I read this one months before it came out (I’m impatient when it comes to Sarah Ockler books) and because of that I think I didn’t really push it enough when it actually hit shelves.  It’s about Lucy who is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend and it turns out he just might feel the same way.  However, before they are able to let her know, it becomes public knowledge and Lucy is labeled a backstabber, a slut, and worse.  I love how Lucy handled things and the mystery of who was behind leaking her hook up with Cole.

scandal

8. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

The main character in Prisoner of Night and Fog, Gretchen, has grown up as part of the Nazi party, a favorite pet to Adolf Hitler.  She’s loyal to him and never questions him until she meets a young Jewish reporter who claims to know more about her father’s death than she does.  As she gets to know him and finds out more about what really happened, she becomes disillusioned with the Nazi party and Hitler and has to decide who she will ultimately side with.

Prisoner of Night and Fog

9. Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

Now that I think about this one, I really think I need to re-read it soon.  Ask Again Later is an extremely cute romantic comedy about a girl who receives two invites to the prom and flips a coin to see who she should go with.  The weird thing is though, when she flips the coin, she actually gets to live out both dates.  It’s extremely cute and so funny.

Ask Again Later

10. How To Love by Katie Cotugno

I know I talked about this one a lot when it first came out but it’s been a while so I wanted to include it.  How To Love is one of my favorite contemporary novels.  It’s more serious but it’s so cute.  It alternates between the past and present and I loved Reena and Sawyer the whole time.  I also loved Hannah, their daughter, and how she actually played a big role throughout the book.

How To Love

What are some of your favorite books that you don’t talk about enough?  Feel free to leave me your links!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Furious by T.R. Ragan | Book Spotlight + Giveaway

Furious

Synopsis: 

Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance. Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy. The forces she’s up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there’s nothing they won’t do to turn Faith’s crusade into a suicide mission. But they’re about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who’s earned the nickname Furious.

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository

Author Bio: 

T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. Her exciting Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies, has received tremendous praise. In August 2015 Evil Never Dies hit #7 on the Wall Street Journal Bestselling List. Since publishing in 2011, she has sold over two million books and has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, PC Magazine, Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Theresa grew up in a family of five girls in Lafayette, California. An avid traveler, her wanderings have carried her to Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, China, Thailand, and Nepal, where she narrowly survived being chased by a killer elephant. Before devoting herself to writing fiction, she worked as a legal secretary for a large corporation. Theresa and her husband Joe have four children and live in Sacramento, California. FURIOUS, the first book in her most recent Faith McMann series will be released March 22, 2016, followed by OUTRAGE and WRATH.

Early Praise

“Faith McMann, heroine of this gripping novel, is a Sacramento schoolteacher, wife, and mother who comes home just in time to witness her husband’s throat getting cut and her two children hauled away. The attempt on her life is botched—the killers were in a hurry—and as she recovers, she’s convinced the police are brushing her off. So she whacks a detective with his computer keyboard and gets sentenced to anger management sessions. If this were a cookie-cutter thriller, the male hero would be tracking the killers with an automatic weapon and maybe a major babe beside him. But our hero is smarter than that, and her revenge is a product of relationships, not bullets. In classes, she meets other victims as angry as she is, and, together, in fine scenes of action and suspense, they seek explanations and vengeance as well as the children’s rescue, which takes them into a slimy world of human trafficking. Learn here about “lot lizards” and “kiddie strolls” on the way to a wild finale. Suspenseful and smart, in equal measure.” —Don Crinklaw, Booklist

“Searing…Readers with strong stomachs will eagerly await the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

Giveaway

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Exciting Additions To My Shelves | March 19

Exciting AdditionsToMy Shelves

I haven’t been doing Stacking the Shelves posts anymore (I can’t keep up with all the books) but I do still want to share some of the books that have been added to my shelves lately.  This is my way of picking a few and letting you guys know what you should be on the lookout for!

Raw Blue by Kirsy Eagar

Raw Bluw

I’ve had this book on my wishlist for years but since it’s only published in Australia, it’s been a bit out of my price range.  Willa from Willa’s Ramblings was so kind as to send me her copy that she no longer needed.  I’ve heard it’s extremely emotional and amazingly written so I’m eager to check it out.

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

Julia Vanishes

This book holds some serious promise.  It’s got magic.  It’s about a girl who can appear invisible (kind of).  And the girl just happens to be a thief and a spy.  How awesome does that sound?

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth Lost

Look at that cover!  It’s absolutely stunning.  I’m really hoping it hints at what’s between the pages.  This one has been described as a mix of Beautiful Creatures and Daughter of Smoke and Bone so I’m sold.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song

A new book from Victoria Schwab?  Who wouldn’t be excited if this showed up on their doorstep?  I’ve already been hearing fabulous things about it so I hope to make time for it very soon.  The setting is compared to Gotham and it’s full of monsters.  Sounds pretty exciting to me.

What The Dead Want by Norah Olson

What The Dead Want

The cover and title definitely intrigue me with this one.  It’s about a girl whose mom goes missing and years later her daughter discovers that it might have something to do with a crumbling Civil War era mansion that she has inherited.  It’s full of secrets about violence and racism and seems like it could be really creepy.

Are any of these on your TBR?  Which one are you most excited for?

Friday, March 18, 2016

How do you make time to read? | Discussion

You guys know what this is?  The first discussion post I have written in ages.  Topics are hard for me to come up with but this one has definitely been on my mind for a while.

Most of you probably don’t know this but I got a new job back in January.  The first month was a lot of learning and a lot of stressful days.  It slowed down a bit in February but I was just recently given some more work to do and now my days are just packed.  I come home and I’m so tired that I don’t want to do anything.  Never mind the fact that I’m trying to get back in the habit of going to the gym.  Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of free time in my life to read and let me just tell you, that sucks.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to make time to read and short of adding more hours to the day (or just not sleeping) I haven’t really come up with any.  I used to read before bed but now I’m so exhausted that any time I try to do that, I fall asleep.  I try to read at the gym but it’s kinda hard to run on a treadmill and keep the page in focus.  Really, I’m just struggling here.

However, I have been testing out new things and I’ve found some things that work for me.

Ipod

First, I shut off all electronic devices (unless it’s my ipod) and put them in another room so I’m not even tempted by them.  I don’t want my notifications popping up and distracting me all the time.  I also find that if I put on some movie soundtracks (I love the Harry Potter film scores) I can really focus on the book I’m reading and get out of my own head.  Sometimes I spend so much time thinking about other things that I should be doing that I find myself reading the same sentence over and over again without taking in a word of it.  Music surprisingly helps with that.

schedule

Second, I give myself a schedule.  I work from 7 to 4 every day and I’m usually home no later than 5.  I go the gym for an hour and when I get home I can read.  I set aside 1 hour reading time and if I can get in more than that, great, but if not, at least I’ve got that hour.  Sometimes I do take breaks for snacks or whatever and get a little distracted but most of the time I can at least read for 45 minutes of the hour.

bigstock_Audio_book_14340599-e1330386218724

Third, I’ve learned that audiobooks are great for driving or for the gym.  I can’t focus on them if I’m doing anything super productive (like cleaning) but if I’m just driving to or from work or hanging out on the treadmill, they are perfect.  I still don’t like them all that much but I’m trying.  I feel like I just haven’t found the right narrator yet.  I’ve heard that the narrator for the Harry Potter audiobooks is fabulous so maybe I’ll re-read those a different way this year.  (Yes, I try and re-read them at least once a year.  I don’t see this as a problem.)

books

Last, I have found that I have to have something interesting to read.  I tried to force myself to read a book that I just wasn’t feeling and it really made me not want to read at all.  I put that book aside, picked up a different one, and now I’m hooked.  I want to make time to read this one, unlike the last one I was trying to read.  A good book can make all the difference in whether or not you feel in the mood to read.

What do you guys do when you find that you don’t have a whole lot of time to read?  Do you stay up later than normal so you can at least read a chapter a day?  Do you do the audiobook thing and if so, who is your favorite narrator?  How do you feel about music while reading?  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blog Tour: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | Review + GiveawayThe Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on March 8th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

picadillyblue

The Steep and Thorny Way is my first foray into Cat Winters’ work but it won’t be my last.  While the Hamlet retelling aspect of this one was what first caught my attention, it was Cat Winters’ writing that kept it.  I’ll hold out judgment until I can read at least one more of her books but I think she may earn a place on my favorites shelf.

Pros:

  • The writing: As I said, the writing definitely got me with this one.  The Steep and Thorny Way is historical fiction with a twist and Cat’s writing is perfect for this type of story.  It’s atmospheric and haunting.  The story itself was extremely interesting and I was hooked for that aspect but the writing definitely added to my enjoyment.
  • The history: I’m a huge history buff and I loved that Cat Winters didn’t choose the typical 1920s to portray.  The Steep and Thorny Way shows a darker side of the 1920s and it’s not always easy to read.  And while it is very much fiction, Cat Winters did a great job making her story as accurate as possible.  She doesn’t shy away from the reality that would have been Hanalee’s life as a mixed race teenager in that time period.
  • Hanalee: Hanalee certainly had her flaws but I really liked her overall.  She reminded me a lot of myself in some of the things that she did.  I felt that I could relate to her, even though our situations are nothing alike.  She was strong and capable but she didn’t always think things through before acting.  I couldn’t fault her for that but sometimes I could see how things would happen because of her actions.

Cons:

  • The other characters: I was not a huge fan of any of the other characters.  While I felt like I could relate to Hanalee, she was the only one I felt that way about.  Everyone else needed to be a bit more rounded out and I felt like I never really got to know or like them.
  • The retelling aspect: I love Hamlet.  I took a Shakespeare class in high school and college and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him but especially Hamlet.  I feel like saying this is a retelling was a little bit misleading.  There were definitely things about it that tied back to Hamlet but I would say it was more inspired by Hamlet than a retelling.

Overall, The Steep and Thorny Way really did impress me.  I love that I have found a new author that I feel can do the historical fiction genre justice.  I look forward to checking out the rest of her books and if you haven’t already, this one is definitely a good place to start.

Giveaway

5 US readers have a chance to win their own copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Week One:

2/29/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie Interview
3/1/2016- The Forest of Words and Pages Review
3/2/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post
3/3/2016- A Dream Within A Dream Review
3/4/2016- Stories & Sweeties– Excerpt

Week Two:

3/7/2016- Jessabella Reads Review
3/8/2016- Bookish Lifestyle– Guest Post
3/9/2016- Katie’s Book Blog- Review
3/10/2016- The Fox’s Hideaway– Interview
3/11/2016- MEREADALOT– Review

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blog Tour: A Tyranny of Petticoats | Guest Post

I don’t know if you guys have noticed but my rating system is shoes.  I have a thing for shoes.  (Some might call it an unhealthy obsession and those people are entitled to their wrong opinion.)  My love for shoes means I’m extremely excited to share with you this awesome guest post from Jessica Spotswood that just happens to be all about shoes!

Everyone welcome to wonderful Jessica Spotswood!

 

Hi! I couldn’t help noticing that Katie uses shoes to rate books, so I thought for this stop on the TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS blog tour, I’d share some crazy historical shoes that our 15 heroines might – or in some cases definitely would NOT – have worn!

In J. Anderson Coats’s “Mother Carey’s Table,” a runaway slave girl poses as a sailor boy – but the truth is exposed, with devastating consequences, when she tries to sink the Spanish warship threatening her crew (1710: British North America)

1

Would these men’s boots, circa 1700-1710, help convince Half-Hanged Henry (the pirate captain) that Joe is a boy?

 

In Marie Lu’s “The Journey,” Yakone, a young Inuit girl, flees across the frozen tundra after the murder of her parents and the destruction of her family’s village by white traders. (1723: The Great Land)

2

These European shoes from 1720 are made of wool, but I don’t think they’d be nearly warm (or practical) enough as Yakone drives her father’s dogs across the frozen tundra!

 

In Jessica Spotswood’s “Madeleine’s Choice,” a free girl of color seeks advice from voodoo queen Marie Laveau to choose between the longtime family friend, a respectable middle class man of color, who has offered her marriage — and the romantic, wealthy white planter who cannot. (1826: New Orleans)

3

These red French satin shoes from the 1820s would definitely turn Maddie’s head, much like wealthy planter Antoine!

 

In Leslye Walton’s “El Destinos,” the Three Fates are reborn as a trio of Mexican American sisters whose responsibility to control the threads of life and death is tested when two of them fall in love with the same man. (1848: Southwest Texas)

4

Would these delicate Italian slippers, made of silk satin, sueded leather, linen, kid leather, brass, and pearls, be something like what Rosa would wear for her wedding?

 

In Andrea Cremer’s “High Stakes,” a supernatural assassin is hired to protect a powerful player in the poker game that will determine which side the supernatural world will take in the Civil War. (1861: Boston, Massachusetts, and Natchez, Mississippi)

5

How gorgeous are these red leather boots from around 1865? I can picture deadly Klio wearing them as she boards the steamship.

 

In Caroline Tung Richmond’s “The Red Raven Ball,” a bluestocking debutante is tasked with finding the Confederate spy at her formidable grandmother’s annual ball – with surprising results. (1862: Washington, DC)

6

These gorgeous embroidered slippers from the 1860s would be perfect for the annual ball!

 

In Beth Revis’s “Pearls,” a privileged young woman flees a forced marriage to become a schoolteacher in the rough Wyoming Territory and learns courage from her ragtag band of students.  (1876: Chicago, Illinois, and Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory)

7

These bright purple “boudoir slippers” from the 1870s were basically loungewear. Would Helen leave behind fancy shoes like this when she flees Chicago?

 

In Marissa Meyer’s “Gold in the Roots of the Grass,” Fei-Yen, a Chinese American medium, helps a young prospector’s spirit find justice for his murder. (1877: Deadwood, Dakota Territory)

8

Would Fei-Yen wear black boots like these from the 1870s as she tries to fend off greedy prospectors hoping for clues about where to find gold?

 

In Y.S. Lee’s “The Legendary Garrett Girls,” two sisters fight back against the unscrupulous con man, Soapy Smith, who tries to take over their prosperous frontier saloon. (1898: Skaguay, Alaska)

9

Okay, I don’t see either Lily or Clara wearing these fabulous gold evening shoes from 1898…but they seem perfect to represent the story, considering how mad people went in the Alaskan Gold Rush!

 

In Elizabeth Wein’s “The Color of the Sky,” Antonia meets her hero, aviatrix Bessie Coleman; bears witness to Bessie’s death in a tragic flying accident; and finds herself in possession of the plane’s flight record. (1926: Jacksonville, FL & Dallas, TX)

10

I can’t quite see sensible middle-class Tony wearing these black and gold heels from 1926, but perhaps Bessie would at some fine dinner, while fundraising for her flight school?

 

In Saundra Mitchell’s “Bonnie and Clyde, ” Marjorie May Johnson doesn’t see any conflict in running from the law as Baby Boy Wabash, the Most Wanted bank robber in Posey County, and later snuggling up to the same lawman, who just happens to be her beau. (1934: Indiana)

11

Great Depression? What Depression, asks these crazy Ferragamo sandals from 1938?

12

…I don’t even know what’s happening with these furry Schiaparelli boots but I couldn’t resist including them.

 

In Katherine Longshore’s “Hard Times,” Rosie “Curls” Weaver hops trains toward the coast in search of a better opportunity – and may find one when she meets a journalist searching for the truth about hobo camps. (1934: Washington State)

13

Would Rosie wear this pair of men’s black and white brogues, circa 1930-1935, as she jumps trains?

 

In Lindsay Smith’s “City of Angels,” an aspiring screenwriter falls in love with a fellow Rosie the Riveter who’s an aspiring actress – but things change when the men return from war. (1945: Los Angeles, CA)

14

How gorgeous are these purple silk heels from 1945? I can totally see aspiring actress Frankie coveting them!

 

In Kekla Magoon’s “Pulse of the Panthers,” Sandy’s worldview is changed when the Black Panthers hold a meeting at her family’s farm and she learns secrets about her own family’s history. (1967: California)

15

These…uh…whimsical sandals from 1968 are in no way practical for Sandy’s work cooking up breakfast and supper for the Black Panthers, but I couldn’t resist including them!

16

Same with these, but I’d totally wear them!

 

In Robin Talley’s “The Whole World Is Watching,” Jill, a Black college student, questions her relationship with her girlfriend as they get caught up in the riots and police brutality of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.  (1968: Chicago, IL)

17

These 1968 boots are fit for a superhero, but I don’t think they’re quiiiite what Jill would be wearing to run from the cops and tear gas in Grant Park!

 

What do you think, readers? Which pair of shoes is your favorite?

Make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for more amazing posts!

March 8 Katie’s Book Blog www.katiesbookblog.com
March 9 The Book Cellar X http://www.thebookcellarx.com/
March 10 Forever Young Adult http://foreveryoungadult.com/
March 11 The Book Smugglers www.thebooksmugglers.com
March 12 Please Feed the Bookworm

http://pleasefeedthebookworm.com/

 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Blog Tour: Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer | Review + GiveawaySave Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
Published by Delacorte Press on March 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father? This nuanced and bittersweet YA debut will keep you guessing until the end.

Nico Cavan has been adrift since her mother vanished when she was four—maternal abandonment isn't exactly something you can just get over. Staying invisible at school is how she copes—that and listening to alt music and summoning spirits on the Ouija board with her best friend and co-conspirator in sarcasm, Obe. But when a chance discovery opens a window onto her mom's wild past, it sparks an idea in her brain that takes hold and won't let go.

On a ferry departing Seattle, Nico encounters a slight blond guy with piercing blue eyes wearing a hooded jacket. Something in her heart tells her that this feeling she has might actually be the truth, so she follows him to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. When she is stranded there by a winter storm, fear and darkness collide, and the only one who can save Nico might just be herself.

picadillyblue

Save Me, Kurt Cobain is one of those books that popped up on my radar and I added it to my TBR without even really knowing what to expect from it.  I can’t tell you how many times I read the synopsis and I still didn’t know what I was getting into.  I don’t know if that made any difference on my feelings for the book but either way, I devoured it.

Pros:

  • The writing: Jenny Manzer’s writing style engaged me from the very first page.  While contemporary is my favorite genre, I understand that it can be slower to get into sometimes.  The story itself caught my attention, for sure, but Jenny Manzer’s way of telling the story is what really hooked me.
  • The music: If you didn’t already figure this out, Save Me, Kurt Cobain, has quite a few music references.  Each title is named after a Nirvana song and while I actually am not a huge Nirvana fan (don’t hate me!), I really enjoyed this aspect.  Jenny Manzer also managed to include a lot of actual Nirvana facts and events while keeping a lot of things fictional.  Music is a huge part of my life so the way it was woven into this story really appealed to me and helped keep me interested.
  • The mystery: There are a lot of questions brought up early on in Save Me, Kurt Cobain.  Who is Nico’s dad? Is it Kurt Cobain?  Is Kurt Cobain alive?  Nico manages to weave this crazy tale of what might have happened to her mother all based on the idea that Kurt Cobain is her father.  Jenny Manzer uses this and keeps readers guessing until the very last page.
  • Nico: Nico was my favorite part of Save Me, Kurt Cobain.  My heart went out to her.  She manages to come up with this crazy conspiracy theory to explain away the fact that she doesn’t know who her dad is and her mom abandoned her.  She’s lost and confused and alone and this is what she does to try and cope with all that.  I’ve never gone through an experience like that but I really think that everyone who reads Nico’s story will love her.
  • Everything!: I admit that I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately and haven’t really wanted to read anything.  Save Me, Kurt Cobain fixed that.  This was one of the rare books I’ve read where I honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with it.  I loved Jenny Manzer’s writing, Nico’s story, the Nirvana history, every last thing.

Save Me, Kurt Cobain has a little something for everyone.  It’s one of those books that once you start, you’re not going to be able to put it down.  Jenny Manzer’s debut impressed me enough that I will definitely be checking out more from this author in the future.

Giveaway

US & Canada readers have a chance to win one of three copies of Save Me, Kurt Cobain.  Believe me, this is one you want to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Stops

Week 1: 
Week 2:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Blog Tour: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner | Playlist

Blog Tour: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner | Playlist

Blog Tour: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner | PlaylistThe Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House on March 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.
He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.
Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.

 
 
 

A playlist for DILL, one of the three main characters in The Serpent King

Chvrches—Tether
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-zN2KmHg0s

Dill would love this song because he would find very resonant the idea of wondering if he’ll ever get away from a place that’s got him tethered. The energy and intelligence of Chvrches’ lead singer would remind him of Lydia, so he would have a crush on her. And their sound would remind him of the 1980s goth music that Lydia loves.

 Sharon Van Etten—Serpents
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYgyQ20TJAs

Dill would love this song because it’s about personal demons and they just happen to take the form of serpents, just like his. Sharon Van Etten got her start in Murfreesboro and is one of the real-life models for Dill. I imagine his songwriting being similar to hers in its nakedness and vulnerability.

Strand of Oaks—Wait for Love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqPUotRW7CQ

Dill would love this song because it makes beauty out of waiting to be loved, which is a struggle Dill knows intimately. I picture Dill’s voice having the same soaring quality as Timothy Showalter’s.

 Joy Division—Love Will Tear Us Apart
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuuObGsB0No

Dill loves this song because it’s Lydia’s favorite song. Period. But he also loves it because it’s gloomy and poetic and Dill loves gloomy and poetic things. Also, there’s a strangely hopeful lilt in the song, the way Dill holds onto hope even when he doesn’t know he is.

New Order—True Faith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfI1S0PKJR8

Dill loves this song because it talks about destiny and coming of age. It talks about unexpected turns in life. And plus, when Dill’s mom asks the title of one of New Order’s songs after Dill’s told her that they’re a Christian band, it sounds great for him to say “True Faith.” That goes over well in the Early household.

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

Monday, February 22: Jenuine Cupcakes, Kickoff Blog Tour Post
Tuesday, February 23: Book Hounds, Review
Wednesday, February 24: Mundie Moms, Review
Thursday, February 25: Curling Up With a Good Book, Review
Friday, February 26: To Read or Not to Read, Annotate a Scene Guest Post

Monday, February 29: Bookish Lifestyle, Review
Tuesday, March 1: The Book Swarm, Review
Wednesday, March 2: Katie’s Book Blog, Playlist Post
Thursday, March 3: Paperback Princess, Guest Post: Writing a Character with a Parent in Prison
Friday, March 4: Who R U, Behind the Scenes Book Secret Guest Post

Monday, March 7: Icey Books, Review
Tuesday, March 8: Stories & Sweeties, Author Interview
Wednesday, March 9: LovingDemBooks, Review
Thursday, March 10: Swoony Boys Podcast, Review
Friday, March 11: Good Books And Good Wine, Review

Monday, March 14: Winter Haven Books, Review
Tuesday, March 15: Me, My Shelf and I, Review
Wednesday, March 16: Novel Novice, Review
Thursday, March 17: Lili’s Reflections, Review
Friday, March 18: A Reader of Fictions, Author “Don’t Miss” in Nashville Guest Post

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Blog Tour: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr | Review + GiveawaySeven Black Diamonds (Untitled, #1) by Melissa Marr
Published by HarperCollins on March 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

This riveting fantasy marks Melissa Marr’s return to the world of faery courts that made her Wicked Lovely series an international phenomenon.

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them...and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there. The combination of ethereal fae powers, tumultuous romance, and a bloodthirsty faery queen will have longtime fans and new readers at the edge of their seats.

picadillyblue

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book about faeries and that’s because I’m really picky when it comes to them.  Melissa Marr has always been one of my go-to authors for these types of books and Seven Black Diamonds just proved that she’s on that list for a very good reason.

Pros:

  • Characters: I’m all about the boys but I can’t help but love a book with a strong female lead and that’s exactly what Lily is.  She takes control, she knows what she wants, and she doesn’t let others get in her way.  Yeah there are some boys in her life but they definitely are not in charge when it comes to Lily.  I have to say that it’s a little weird that she didn’t have much of a soft side (she was definitely a badass) but I didn’t really have a problem with that.  Speaking of the boys in Lily’s life, let’s start with Creed.  Not only is he fae (totally enough to grab my attention), he’s also a rock star.  Melissa Marr managed to combine two of my favorite things so I definitely loved Creed.  There was also Zephyr (not another love interest) who was the leader and had quite a few secrets.  There’s a good mix of people in the group called the Black Diamonds and I really liked that.  I don’t want to forget the other main character in Seven Black Diamonds, Eilidh (not a clue how to pronounce that one).  She is the daughter of the Fae queen and her side of the story shows the Fae world.  While she is the queen’s daughter, she isn’t necessarily all for what her mother is planning and that’s kinda where her story intersects with Lily’s.
  • Fae powers: I’m not going to say a lot about this aspect but I was totally intrigued by it.  Everyone in the Black Diamonds had a different ability that related to an element or two.  I loved seeing how they used them and I look forward to seeing how they might come in handy in the future books.
  • Romantic tension: I’ve always thought Melissa Marr did a great job with romantic tension and Seven Black Diamonds is no exception.  I don’t even know where I would start with this one.  Lily and Creed are only one of the couples that have some tension between them (as well as secrets.)  I love that as I’ve grown older, I’ve been able to stick with Marr’s books and they almost seem to have grown with me.

Cons:

  • I don’t even know how to label this one so I’m just gonna go for it.  There is a lot of info being shared in Seven Black Diamonds and it could be a bit much at times.  I get that it’s the start of a series and readers need to know these things but it was just overwhelming sometimes.  It also took away from the story and made it seem like there wasn’t a lot going on, plot wise.
  • POV: Just be warned that there are quite a few points of view and it can be a little confusing at first.  I got used to it pretty quickly but it did take me by surprise.

Overall, I definitely think Seven Black Diamonds is a promising start to this new series from Melissa Marr.  While it had it’s flaws, I look forward to seeing what happens next.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week One:

2/22/2016- Gone with the Words- Scavenger Hunt

2/23/2016- Katie’s Book Blog- Review

2/24/2016- YA Book Madness- Scavenger Hunt

2/25/2016- Pandora’s Books- Review

2/26/2016- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Scavenger Hunt 

Week Two:

2/29/2016- The Best Books Ever- Review

3/1/2016- Me, My Shelf and I- Scavenger Hunt

3/2/2016- Rabid Reads- Review

3/3/2016- Once Upon a Twilight- Scavenger Hunt

3/4/2016- YA Bibliophile- Review

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blog Tour: Q&A with Famine aka Sebastian from Riders by Veronica Rossi

Blog Tour: Q&A with Famine aka Sebastian from Riders by Veronica Rossi

I was lucky enough to borrow an ARC of Riders a few months ago and I’ve been dying to tell you guys about it ever since.  When I was asked to participate in the blog tour, I jumped at the chance.  I’m so excited to have an Q&A with Famine aka Sebastian.

Riders-Blog-Tour_Famine-350x200

A few questions for Sebastian, aka Famine, of RIDERS

What’s your favorite thing about being a horseman in RIDERS?

All of it. Daryn, the guys, the horses, the travel. It’s awesome. All of it.

What’s your least favorite thing?

I don’t even know. The thought that someday it might end?

What’s one thing that’s surprised you about being Famine?

The gear, for sure. I have the coolest clothes. They’re sick. Really high-quality.

Give us a little insight into your tastes. What was the last song you listened to? Last thing that made you laugh?

The last song I listened to was actually one I played and sang myself. I did a cover of Ed Sheeran’s Shirtsleeves. Love that song. I do a pretty good acoustic version of it. And what made me laugh was Gideon trying to sing the lyrics. He’s so bad. So tone-deaf. It killed me. If llamas could sing, that’s what it sounded like. I cried, it was so funny. He really gave it his all, though. You have to admire that.

 

VERONICA ROSSI is a New York Times bestselling author of fiction for young adults. She completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. When not writing, she enjoys reading, painting, and counting down the minutes until she can get back to making up stories about imaginary people.

 

Make sure to check out my review of Riders which will be up a little later this week.  And you don’t want to miss the other Q&A’s so check out Eater of Books and Good Choice Reading for those!