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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Countdown (The Taking #3) by Kimberly Derting | Harper Teen Summer 2016 Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway

HarperTeenSummer2016Tour

You know that amazing Harper Winter tour that I was a part of a couple months ago?  Well look at this!  I was lucky enough to be chosen as part of the Summer tour and I’m here to promote one of my favorite authors! Stick around, find out a little about The Countdown, and prepare to enter some epic giveaways.

Oh and don’t forget to check out the other blogs that are part of the tour as they will be spotlighting the rest of Harper Teen’s Summer catalog.

Hitting Shelves May 10, 2016

the countdown

She may no longer be human…but she’s their only hope.

In the concluding book in the otherworldly Taking trilogy, Kyra struggles to understand who she is as she races to save the world from complete destruction.

Ever since Kyra was abducted by aliens and then returned to earth, she has known there was something different about her. Now she knows the truth: she is an alien too. Her alien captors replaced all her human DNA with their own—gifting her with supernatural powers like incredible healing, enhanced eyesight, and telekinesis. But when she’s captured by an unexpected enemy, Kyra begins to wonder if her abilities are also a curse. And is she, as her enemies believe, meant to play some key role in helping an impending alien invasion? Is it programmed into her, something inescapable? Or can she fight that destiny?

No matter what the truth is, Kyra is sure of one thing: She just rescued the love of her life, Tyler, and she is not going to stand by and let anyone hurt him or her friends. Whatever it takes, Kyra will do everything in her power to save the world…even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Giveaway time!

#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prizepack of 45 books*.

*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, The Countdown by Kimberly Derting, & United As One by Pittacus Lore

In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.

US Only

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#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Winter 2016 Catalog

5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

US Only

How to enter:
Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to: HarperTeenTour@gmail.com

Prize Rules:
1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
2.) Winner must be over 13
3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.
5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
6.) Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

#3 – Leap Year Giveaway – 4 of the most anticipated ARCs from Summer 2016

Books are: My Lady Jane, Ivory & Bone, The Crown’s Game and This Savage Song

US Only

How to enter:
This giveaway will only run on February 29, 2016. The rafflecopter form will work for 24 hours and a winner will be chosen on March 1, 2016.

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Lastly, don’t forget about our amazing Facebook Author Chats where you will have chances to win more prizes and books! The first chat will be 2/16/16 at 8 pm EST!

RSVP TODAY
Or CLICK HERE for more info!

Check out the other stops on the blog tour!

This is the rest of the Harper Summer 2016 tour!  Don’t miss a single stop


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin | Review

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin | ReviewWolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #1
on October 20th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 388
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

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I am pretty much the biggest history buff ever.  I have a very weird fascination with anything Nazi Germany related (probably something to do with my History minor) so Wolf by Wolf was added to my TBR as soon as I heard about it.  Ryan Graudin had been on my radar since I heard about her debut novel, The Walled City, so I had pretty high expectations for this one.  I’m happy to say that this definitely met my expectations and left me dying for more.

Pros:

  • Writing:  Ryan Graudin’s writing is seriously beautiful.  You have to know going into the story that it’s going to be depressing.  Yael is a Jew who watched everyone she loved die because of Hitler.  Some of the chapters take place in the concentration camp that she is imprisoned in and it’s extremely hard to read.  Ryan Graudin’s writing honestly adds to the depressing air but also shows the beauty in everything Yael goes through.
  • Characters: Yael is obviously the main focus of this story but there are many more characters who fill the pages with her.  The depth that went into each character was pretty fantastic.  Yael is this badass who was raised in a terrible situation.  She spent time in a concentration camp and had to see most of the people she loved die.  Even when she left the concentration camp, she couldn’t escape death.  It seemed like that was a big reason for why she chose to take on the task of killing Hitler.  Having lost so much, she didn’t want to see anyone else suffer like that.  She also wasn’t afraid to die.  She knew it was a strong possibility when she took on Adele’s life.  I had some mixed feelings towards the people who put her in that situation though.  Everyone in the resistance wanted one thing and that was to rid the world of Hitler.  They knew that they would lose people to the cause and they were willing to take that chance with Yael’s life.  I truly think they loved her but they were more concerned with the world than with just one person.  It was hard for me to think of it that way but I understood why they were willing to put her life so at risk.
  • Romance: The romance in Wolf by Wolf is really subtle and I loved that about it.  Yael is posing as someone who has a history with Luka so of course there has to be something there.  However, it’s hard to tell where things are going to go with them.  Luka and Adele have a history (that no one knows all the details about, including the reader) so Yael has to figure out that history and guess how she needs to act with Luka.  Luka doesn’t make any of these things easy for Yael.  He’s kind of an ass but I have a feeling that has something to do with Adele’s actions in the past.  Their interactions with each other were really pretty great.  They had some serious chemistry and the banter between the two of them was perfect.  I really thought it helped lighten the mood at times.
  • Family: I have to mention how much I loved Felix.  I know he was trying to stop Adele and bring her home to their family but it was because he loved her and feared for her safety.  He was a good brother and he always meant well.  That wasn’t the only family in the book though.  I have to say that while Yael lost her real family, the resistance pretty much adopted her.  She created a family within in the resistance and even though they were willing to risk her safety, they loved her.  Family doesn’t always have to be about the ones who share your blood.

Con:

  • Unanswered Questions: I really only have one complaint about Wolf by Wolf and it’s the mystery surrounding Adele and Luka’s history.  I know that it will eventually be explained (in the novella or sequel) but I really think it would have added to this story.  I just kept wondering what could have led up to their end of the first race.  I think I’m just being nitpicky now because I truly did love this book.

Overall, I can’t recommend Wolf by Wolf enough.  I know it’s been getting a lot of praise and it deserves every bit of it.  Even if historical fiction isn’t really your thing, you should give this one a chance.  I don’t think you will regret it one bit.

What others are saying about Wolf by Wolf:

Prettybooks’ review: “Wolf By Wolf is a clever and impressive combination of alternate history and fantasy.”

Please Feed the Bookworm’s review: “I was on the edge of my seat for this entire read!”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Blogs That Inspire Me

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday was a freebie so I decided to branch out a bit and talk about some amazing blogs that inspire me to try and be a better blogger.

1. The Perpetual Page-Turner

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I have been following Jamie’s blog for years and I am constantly impressed by everything she does.  Her creativity knows no bounds.  I really want to try and bring some more personal posts to my blog like she does.  I’d also like to create just one feature as awesome as all of hers.  I love her Save The Date posts, If We Were Having Coffee posts, and of course Top Ten Tuesday.

2. A Perfection Called Books

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Where do I even begin with Rachel’s blog?  I adore everything about it but I think it’s her support for debut authors that really impresses me.  I always attempt to participate in debut challenges but Rachel just takes it above and beyond.  It also doesn’t hurt that she has awesome discussions on her blog.  I want to be able to come up with great discussion topics like she does.

3. Icey Books

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Hafsah is a blogger that I have followed since the very beginning and over the years the things she has done with her blog have shocked and impressed me.  She is always coming up with creative new features and her Waiting on Wednesday posts always manage to feature books that I know nothing about.  Also, she has an amazing design site and yet she still manages to keep up her blog.  That takes dedication.

4. Lost In Literature

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Lisa and Becca are both amazing bloggers and Instagrammers.  I don’t know how they both manage to read so many books but it seems like they are always posting about the hottest new releases.  I love that their reviews are written in a more informal style and invite readers to chat about them in the comments.  I really want to open discussions in my comments like they do.

5. The Irish Banana Review

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Hannah is the blog tour queen!  She runs Irish Banana Blog Tours and she participates in a ton of the blog tours that she puts together.  I have no clue how she does it.  I also really want her to do my makeup.  She has incredible taste in makeup and I love how she incorporates it into her blog.  I’d love to figure out how to incorporate some of my other loves into my blog.

6. Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

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Cuddlebuggery manages to post all the things!  They post reviews, TV reviews, bookish news, and so much more.  Not only that, they might post some of the snarkiest, funniest posts ever!  The amount of personality in one blog seriously blows my mind.

7. Bookiemoji

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Crystal and Jenna impressed me long before they got together and created Bookiemoji but I can’t tell you how excited I became when two of my favorite bloggers got together and created one epic blog.  Their use of GIFs is just plain perfect and I love how their reviews include just enough info to entice me without feeling like too much.  One day I hope to find someone I connect with as much as Jenna and Crystal do.

8. Maji Bookshelf

Maji Bookshelf

I can’t tell you how many recommendations I have gotten from this blog.  I might be partial to it because we seem to like a lot of the same books but that’s not the only reason.  Their graphics are gorgeous and their posts are always fresh and quick reads.  They don’t just post reviews but they also don’t just post memes.  There is the perfect mix of posts and I admit that I haven’t yet found that perfect mix for my blog but I’m working on it.

9. My Friends Are Fiction

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Lego Cover Art.  What more do I need to say?  Seriously, though.  How creative and fun is that?  Kristen is incredibly nice and she also posts a ton of interviews, something I don’t think there are enough of these days.  I’m also seriously impressed by her interview questions.  They are so thoughtful and I always end up learning new things from her posts.

10. My Not So Real Life

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Last but definitely not least I have to give a shoutout to Aneeqah.  Her discussion posts are amazing and insightful and give me all the thoughts.  Her recent post about book bloggers making money sparked quite the discussion and I want to be able to do that with my discussion posts.  And to top it all off, she’s applying for colleges.  I don’t know how she manages it all but she does.  I need to take a page out of her book!

I can’t do justice to these bloggers but if you don’t already follow them, please do.  You will not regret it.  I’m going to continue taking inspiration from their blogs and hope that some of their creativity rubs off on me.

Who are some bloggers that inspire you?

Monday, January 25, 2016

7 Years| Looking Back and Moving Forward

7 yearsI don’t really know how this happened.  I never thought my 7 year anniversary would come.  I’ll be honest, I figured I would blog for a few months and then give it up just like everything else I had tried as a hobby.  I tried sports, dance, crafts, scrapbooking, and so on and so forth, and nothing ever stuck.  Who knew that blogging would be the thing that never lost it’s appeal to me?

I figured for this pretty epic blogoversary, I’d look back at my blog and see what all I’ve accomplished.  I don’t know about you guys but my blog is a huge thing for me.  I’m extremely proud of what I’ve done here and I’m not afraid to admit that.

  • I’ve attended BEA four times and I’ll be attending for my fifth time this May.
  • I’ve attended both ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual.  I think this summer will be my fifth time for ALA as well.
  • I’ve met some of my favorite authors such as Veronica Roth, Victoria Schwab, Alexandra Bracken, Sarah J. Maas, Marissa Meyer, and Leigh Bardugo.
  • I’ve met some amazing fellow readers/bloggers.  I can’t even begin to name them off but y’all would love them all!
  • I’ve posted 2,248 posts.
  • I’ve received 22,576 comments.
  • I would love to tell you how many page views my blog has had over the years but I switched to WordPress and can’t even remember how many I had before that but I know it’s over a million!
  • I’ve been part of promotions for Divergent, The Hunger Games, and many other exciting books.
  • I’ve toured multiple publishing houses.

I could go on and on about the things that have happened to me all because of my blog.  I never thought that my blog would come to mean so much to me or open up so many doors for me.  I’m pretty excited to see where things lead from here on out and these are only a few things I have planned for this year.

  • I’m opening up advertising options to see if I can make this more of a career.
  • I’m heading to Chicago for BEA and planning to hang out with some amazing book lovers.  (And also eat pizza.)
  • I’m attempting to use Instagram to reach a new audience of readers.
  • I’m incorporating some new posts to shed some light on other details of my life.
  • I’m branching out and using skills I’ve made online to make some new friends in real life.

I have no idea what this year will bring me but I know it’s going to be epic.  I want to thank everyone who has found this blog and kept me company on this crazy journey.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Monday, January 25, 2016

7 Years| Why I Love The Blogging Community

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Guys, I’m about to get personal so if you don’t like that, you’ve been warned.

I started Katie’s Book Blog 7 years ago.  I was a senior in high school at the time.  I was just as nerdy back then as I am today but I didn’t accept that part of me.  I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere and I had some people in my life who only made that worse.  I was severely bullied my last year of high school by people I had called my friends for the previous 2 years.  They didn’t like that I was graduating a year early and they thought I thought too highly of myself because I was smart enough to do that.  It didn’t matter that I had to graduate early to move across the country with my family.  They knew everything about me, my strengthsm my weaknesses, and all my insecurities.  One of my biggest insecurities was what people would think of me if they knew how nerdy I really was.  They did everything they could to make me ashamed of my love of literature and knowledge and my smarts.  I missed so much school because I was afraid to face them.  I went home in tears so many times.  I missed a lot and those girls succeeded in pushing me even further into my shell.  However, Katie’s Book Blog got started because of that shell.  I was afraid to share my love of books with people in my life so I decided to share it with strangers on the internet.  It was a pretty great idea, if I do say so myself.

So here we are, 7 years later, and my life is so different.  I literally wear my love of books on my sleeve (I have a Harry Potter tattoo on my wrist.)  I couldn’t be more proud of all the reading I do and the love I have for authors and publishers and fellow readers.  I keep my business cards handy for anyone who might need some book recommendations.  I wouldn’t say I’m extroverted or anything that drastic but I’m not afraid of people anymore.  I’m not afraid to be myself anymore.  All of these things are because of the people I’ve met through my blog.

Nobody in this community looks at my like I’m weird.  Nobody tries to make me feel bad for my intelligence.  Nobody tries to tell me what is cool and what is not.  Nobody judges me if I love a book and don’t want to shut up about it.

Everybody encourages me and lifts me up.  Everybody tries to put a smile on my face if I’m having a bad day (no matter how crappy their own day might be.)  Everybody makes me feel welcome and loved and that was not something I ever thought I’d find.

This community is my home.  It’s where I can be who I’ve always been and always wanted to be.  It’s where I can grow and learn and not be afraid and I love you guys for that.  Thank you for 7 years of acceptance and here’s to many more.