Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #16

Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

This is my first Stacking the Shelves post this 2015 and I have to say I've accumulated a dozen awesome titles from the last time I posted here. But before I show you what I got, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to all of you who still find time to visit my blog. I know, I'm not as active as I used to because of work and our crappy internet connection. But I'll try to change that and post, at least, twice a week. In another news, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm excited to start my new YA contemporary novel, today. Anyway, that's it. 

Here's what I received from January to March.


Between the Covers
No One Else Can Have You (HB)

Thanks to Harper Collins International, Hachette UK, Adi Alsaid, Moriah McStay, Alyxandra Harvey, Andrea Hannah, Pauline of Fathomless Reveries, Leslie of Bibliophile Kid, Michelle of The Escapist and Kai of Amaterasu Reads. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: Let's Get Lost

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Genre/s: YA Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released Date: July 29, 2014
Add to Goodreads TBR List
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.


Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: Cinderskella

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Title: Cinderskella (Scarily Ever After #1)
Author: Amie Borst & Bethanie Borst
Genre/s: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Released Date: October 26, 2013
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Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Cindy is just a normal eleven and three-quarter year-old. At least until she wakes up one night and finds out she’s dead. Well, she isn’t technically dead—she just doesn’t have any hair . . . or a nose . . . or skin. Yep—all bones, no body.

Human by day and skeleton by night, Cindy is definitely cursed. And because her mother recently died, Cindy has no one to turn to except a father who’s now scared of her and an evil stepmother who makes her do the housecleaning with a toothbrush. To make matters worse, the Spring Fling dance is approaching, and Ethan, the cutest boy in sixth grade, doesn’t seem to know Cindy exists. Of course, Cindy doesn’t think letting Ethan find out she’s part skeleton is the best way to introduce herself.

While facing such perils as pickled pig’s feet, a wacky fortune teller, and a few quick trips to the Underworld, Cindy’s determined to break the curse—even for a single night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cut Me Free Blog Tour: Interview and Giveaway

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I have a very special post for today. It's special not because this is my first ever post this 2015. It's not also special because it's a part of a blog tour (which you all know, I only do for books I'm really excited for and/or books I love). No. This post is special because it's about a book unlike any other. It delves deeper than your average suspense thriller and I'm very happy to have J.R. Johansson here for an interview.


Title: Cut Me Free
Author: J.R. Johansson
Publisher: Farrar, Strous & Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Now she's trying to start a new life, but while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks.

That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the threatening notes left in her apartment—without a trace of entry. As the messages grow more menacing, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead.


About the Author:

J.R. Johansson is the author of Insomnia and Paranoia. In researching for this novel, she found several stories about human trafficking which fueled her conviction to join the fight against it. If you'd like information on how to help visit notforsalecampaign.org or enditmovement.com. J.R. Johansson lives on the foothills of the Utah mountains with her two young sons and a wonderful husband. Visit her online at jennjohansson.com.

Interview

1. What makes Cut Me Free different from your Night Walkers series, aside from their genre?


Cut Me Free is darker in theme and topics and set in the real world. They both have a similar pace and thriller tone, but I'd say that Cut Me Free is a little scarier. 


2. What are Charlotte's greatest strength and her weaknesses?


Her greatest strength is her resilience and her ability to never give up. Her greatest weakness is her inability to forgive herself and her struggle with letting anyone help her or get close to her.


3. While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story. If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?


I never doubted this story, but I did struggle with it. Abuse of any kind is a very difficult subject to talk about...but at the same time, it's very important that we do talk about it. That fact drove me forward. I read stories of kids who've been abused and many never really tried to hide it, but still no one ever asked them if they needed help. I wanted to write the story of a victim who wasn't only a victim. I want us to be more aware of the world around us. There are kids out there that need help and it is important we be able to see and be ready to help. 


4. Everything has an origin story. It might started out as a thought, a dialogue or news you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite some time. So tell us, what's Cut Me Free's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?


Cut Me Free actually started as a writing prompt in a critique group. Someone suggested that I should write a story about an attic with a creepy puppet in it. At the same time, I had been reading about child trafficking and how it's far more common than many realize. Somehow I ended up blending those two stories together and the puppet took on a different meaning. The moment I wrote the first page (which is still the first page) and had Piper in the heart of Philadelphia and how differently she saw everything than the people around her--in that instant, I knew I had to write this book. 


5. What are the things you learned or discovered after writing this book?


I've already had readers reach out to me who were victims of abuse. They were grateful to see a victim who struggled with terrible things, but it didn't somehow make her weak. It took her a long time to get out and the ramifications of what happened to her never went away, but she didn't let her abusers steal her whole life. It's been really gratifying to see the book touch people. I'm so happy to be a part of that.
Follow the Tour
Each of the tour stop is giving away one copy of Cut Me Free so feel free to visit them for more chance to win JR Johansson's newest book.

January 13: Review and Giveaway
 Curling Up with a Good Book

January 14: Guestpost and Giveaway
 YA Interrobang

January 15: Review and Giveaway
 Dana Square

January 16: Review and Giveaway
 My Book Muse

January 21: Books for YA

January 22: Forever Bookish

January 27: Fiction Freak

GIVEAWAY
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

ARC Review: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting

Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Title: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemprary Fiction
Released Date: August 1, 2014
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Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Apparently I'm boring. A nobody. But that's all about to change. Because I am starting a project. Here. Now. For myself. And if you want to come along for the ride then you're very welcome.

Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. Most of the time she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents. So she writes.

But when she’s told she needs to start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting is born. Six steps on how to be interesting. Six steps that will see her infiltrate the popular set, fall in love with someone forbidden and make the biggest mistake of her life.

From the bestselling author of Soulmates comes a fearlessly frank take on school, cliques and crushes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #15

Friday, October 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.


How is it the end of October already? Is it me or is the time really flew by, fast? I had a lot of fun this October, though, featuring 2014 debut authors and I hope you had fun too, reading what they went through before being published.  There are still a lot of giveaways happening on our blog, so check them out. (see sidebar)

This month, I received four awesome books that I'm looking forward to reading and a few book swags. Here they are:


Won
with book swags 

A massive thank you to Hachette UK, Rin Chupeco, Rachel of Beauty and the Bookshelf, and Sarika of The Readdicts for this month's book haul. :D


2AMC: Bethany Neal, author of My Last Kiss


"Readers will be immediately sucked into the tale, told from Cassidy’s ghostly perspective, as she attempts to put together the pieces that led to her untimely death."  that's what Booklist said about the debut novel, My Last Kiss, of our last featured author for this month.
Let us all welcome, Bethany Neal!

About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

So many times I doubted why I was writing MY LAST KISS! Mostly because it was crazy hard with all the flashbacks and timeline issues that go along with an amnesiac—not to mention ghost…ish—narrator, but also because writers have serious self-confidence issues. It’s just how we roll, but it’s also hard to be in a business where you spend months, sometimes years, working on a project that may never see the light of day. Being an author takes a truck load of perseverance.

My main source of doubt squashing while writing MLK was very simple: the title. Every time I thought about quitting, I would tell myself that if Iwas browsing through Barnes & Noble and saw a YA book called MY LAST KISS about a dead girl caught between two boys I would 100% pick it up and buy it. That alone got me through the days I was nose-deep in flashback chapters and rewrites, and my reward is seeing it so gorgeously displayed (thanks to cover designer Elizabeth Clark) on a shiny book spine in stores.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

My journey to publication began with a YA paranormal trilogy that started out as fanfiction that I naively decided to query agents about. Needless to say I did not get representation off that manuscript, but I did off my next book that sadly did not sell when my agent sent it out. It did, however, get the most positive rejections an author could ever hope for. With the positive feedback, I knew I was close. So I got to work writing what ended up being MY LAST KISS.

In my initial prewriting, Cassidy wasn’t the one dead. Her boyfriend Ethan was and she could see him, but when I sat down to write it she seemed too sad. Ironic twist, I killed her to make her less mopey. I’m so happy that I did too. Cassidy being a ghost…ish trying to right the wrongs of her last night alive and solve her own murder gave the book the fresh hook that it needed to sell.

When it did sell, I had the privilege of working with Janine O’Malley at FSG Books for Young Readers and the excellent staff of editors and PR folks at Macmillan. I learned so many invaluable lessons from them, and I am forever grateful for the chance they took on me as a newbie. 

Oh, and the first thing I said when my agent called to tell me that we had sold MLK was “Are you serious?!” It was a very surreal moment that actually happened inside my favorite bookstore! To this day, every time I walk into the vestibule at Nicola’s Books (in Ann Arbor, MI) where I took the call, I close my eyes and remember that day. 

About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

Being an author is the best job there is as long as you don’t mind some mild insanity, and I sure as heck don’t mind at all. Maybe a painter has more fun than I do on a work day, but I can’t paint so I’m stuck with writing. I’m not a morning person, so the biggest perk for me is the ability to slowly wake myself up before getting down to work. If you’ve ever had an 8 to 5 “regular” job, you can appreciate the luxury of that. I also am not a fan of stuffy rule following. So being able to create my own world with my own rules (or lack there of is probably more accurate) is pretty ideal for me, as well.

My favorite moments throughout this experience have been meeting young readers who are so excited about my book and begging me to write more so they can read those too. There’s nothing better than that!

About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might have started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

MY LAST KISS was originally titled WHAT HAPPENED AFTER and, as I said earlier, Cassidy wasn’t dead, Ethan was and it was kinda sorta Cassidy’s fault. I could tell that idea wasn’t quite gelling, so my writerly cogs were turning while I drove to see my family for Thanksgiving that year. I was brainstorming ideas while listening to one of my all time fave bands Metric’s CD Fantasies. Then when their song “Help I’m Alive” came on, something clicked. What if the protagonist was dead…and that was a problem that needed to be fixed, something she’d need help solving?

I immediately located a napkin and began jotting down what is now the scene in Chapter 1 where Cassidy wakes up to see her other, dead body in the river. I went on to be super antisocial that entire holiday weekend because I couldn’t stop writing. It was such a magical feeling. I live for that spark moment when the character’s voice eclipses my own brain and demands to be written down.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s my favorite part about being an author.

About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Bethany Neal writes young adult fiction with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and has worked as an interior designer, photographer, and teacher’s assistant at a K-8 school.


Title: My Last Kiss
Genre/s: YA, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary:

She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, dessert, sour gummy candies, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, predestined love, not growing up, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
  
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal's suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.

Giveaway
Open to International Readers (Until November 30)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2AMC: Bethany Hagen, author of Landry Park

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Today we have the author of Landry Park which was described as "Gone with the Wind meets The Hunger Games." by VOYA. Let us all welcome, Bethany Hagen!

About Writing:

While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?


I think doubt is probably the bad angel on every writer's shoulder. I would write a passage one day that I thought was brilliant and beautiful and then look at it the next day and want to light my laptop on fire. More and more, I think the key to a long-term writing career is learning to shut down the bad angel, whether she's telling you that you've completely screwed up a character arc or reminding you of that one Goodreads review with all the gifs. I don't think doubt ever goes away, but with practice, you can turn the volume down so that it's not buzzing in your ear whenever you sit down to work.

About Getting Published:

As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?


I worked on Landry Park by myself and with critique partners for about eighteen months before I thought it was ready to send off to agents. My dream agent, Mollie Glick of Foundry Media, read it and offered me an R & R, which I pounced on because I felt that all of her ideas were amazing. That revision took me three or four months, and then she offered to represent me as soon as she read it. I dropped my agency contract in the mail on Thursday, she subbed to ten or fifteen editors on Friday, and by Monday, we had our first offer, which happened to be from my dream house, Penguin. So I said yes. And then I screamed happy screams at my husband for a couple hours and then drank many celebratory beers.

About Being an Author:

Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?


Being a published author is kind of like graduating college--it's a huge relief, for one, and a huge accomplishment, for another, but it also doesn't guarantee anything for the future, which can be nerve-wracking on occasion.

So far my favorite thing has been getting to meet teens who've loved my book enough to come out and see me at events or to take the time to write me. (But for real, holding my book--and then getting to shelve it at the library I work at--pure awesomesauce.)

About the Book:

Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?


I spent three years working at a tiny history museum, wandering around exhibits and staring at old photos. At this museum, the Gilded Age/Edwardian Era section was just around the corner from the Cold War nuclear hysteria section. After a few hundred times walking the exhibit loop, the idea began to form for a story combining the aesthetics of the Edwardian Era and the science of nuclear energy. Luckily, the job also gave me a lot of spare time to write and that was how Landry Park was born. (I hope my old boss isn't reading this.)

About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up reading Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur, and went on to become a librarian. Landry Park is her debut novel.
Title: Landry Park
Genre/s: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary: 

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.