Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blog Tour- Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow
"In the world of SORROW'S KNOT, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry, something deadly. Most of the people of this world live on the sunlit, treeless prairies. But a few carve out an uneasy living in the forest towns, keeping the dead at bay with wards made from magically knotted cords. The women who tie these knots are called binders. And Otter's mother, Willow, is one of the greatest binders her people have ever known.

But Willow does not wish for her daughter to lead the lonely, heavy life of a binder, so she chooses another as her apprentice. Otter is devastated by this choice, and what's more, it leaves her untrained when the village falls under attack. In a moment of desperation, Otter casts her first ward, and the results are disastrous. But now Otter may be her people's only hope against the shadows that threaten them. Will the challenge be too great for her? Or will she find a way to put the dead to rest once and for all?"- summary from Amazon


and here's an interview with Erin:
1) How did you get the idea for Sorrow's Knot?

I have no idea.

I’m sorry, I know it’s a disappointing answer. I can remember some of the early and abiding images, chief among them a girl with her hands spread and a cat’s cradle between them. She is wearing red. Something about the gesture — bound up, yet full of power; ancient, but playful — caught my imagination. It ended up on the cover of the book, too.

The other question I asked myself went something along the lines of: “In a world where knots give you the power over life and death, what would happen if someone had too much of that power?”

But where that image and that idea came from, I’m not sure. Some things just come.

2) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

The new book is called Children of Peace. It's set 500 years into the future, in a long period of peace that followed a global climate war. To keep that peace, the rulers of various countries send their children to be raised together in these idyllic country schools, where they make friends with other future leaders, grow their own food, learn about ruling the world, and get killed if their countries go to war. It's sort of a hostage drama and sort of a boarding school novel, and it has randy goats and snarky artificial intelligences in it. I like it a lot. How can you not like a book narrated by Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy?

I envision Greta’s story as a trilogy but I’ve yet to sell it — so I’m afraid it will be some years before anyone can read it.

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, a favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

Please don’t hate me, but I’m not a huge candy person. I love chocolate. I have a secret bar of fair trade chocolate in my desk drawer that I nibble a little at a time. Any dark chocolate will do, but bitter flavours like orange or chili or sea salt caramel don’t go amiss.

4) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start?

I just read Oryx and Crake and Fangirl. I liked Fangirl better — suck it, Margaret Atwood! I’ve just started One Year in Coal Harbour, an MG contemporary which has a lead character named Primrose Squarp, and is utterly charming. I recommend it for fans of the Penderwicks. Next on my nightstand is a nonfiction book called Love and Math. It’s about math. And I have Untold on order!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cover Reveal- Bleed Like Me by C. Desir

I've been meaning to read Fault Line by Desir and it just sounds so good, so when I was offered the chance to help reveal the cover of her second book, I jumped at the chance. I love being a part of cover reveals and it's just great.

Here's the synopsis for Bleed Like Me:

"Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon is overwhelmed. Her parents are pre-occupied with her high-needs adopted brothers, her best friend is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding, and her job at the hardware store feels more and more like a life sentence. She finds an escape in troubled new guy, Michael Brooks. He's obnoxious, possessive, and addictive. Gannon lets him insert himself into her life, and Brooks is just as addicted to her as she is to him. Swept into an intense relationship, their passion ultimately becomes dangerous to them both."

and here's the beautifully simple cover:

What do you all think? I absolutely love it. Bleed Like Me will be released in Fall 2014. Desir's debut Fault Line is in stores now.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Originals by Cat Patrick

The Originals by Cat Patrick
"17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely loved Patrick's debut and have been meaning to read her second book Revived for a while, but I was glad to pick this new one up from her. It's got a fantastic premise like all her books and she delivers brilliantly, for the most part. I will say that the ending left much to be desired. I felt it ended pretty abruptly and too neatly; like I was surprised at how quickly the final scenes played out. I was expecting much more.

Aside from that, it was a good book. We spend the book in Lizzie's perspective and it was interesting to see her grow throughout the book and become more of a unique person. The romance between her and Sean was really great too. I loved their interactions and they had some good chemistry together.

There's some wonderful twists and turns too, with the mystery and suspense building up throughout the book to keep the pages turning. The reveal is interesting and not necessarily what I was expecting, which was nice.

Overall, a good read and worth a look.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

September Girls by Bennett Madison

September Girls by Bennett Madison
"In September Girls, Sam is spending the summer in a beach town filled with beautiful blond girls who all seem inexplicably attracted to him. But that’s not the only reason why he thinks the Girls are strange. They only wear flats because heels make their feet bleed. They never go swimming in the water. And they all want something from him.

Sam finds himself in an unexpected summer romance when he falls for one of the Girls, DeeDee. But as they get closer, she pulls away without explanation. Sam knows that if he is going to win her back, he’ll have to learn the Girls’ secret."- summary from Amazon

I've noticed there's a lot of extremes with this book- either love or hate. I'm more in the middle- this was a good book but I didn't think it was amazing by any means. If I were in the business of giving stars, it'd be 3.5 out of 5. Madison does a really good job putting a twist on the whole mermaid mythology, and it's very interesting, especially when reading the chapters from the girls' perspectives. They're a bit vague in the beginning, but reveal more as the story goes on.

Most of the book though is from Sam's perspective, and he's a typical teenage boy, which means cursing and thinking about sex a lot. So if stuff like that bothers you, this isn't the book to read. Sam is more introspective and thoughtful though, which gives the book a more grounded, intimate feel to it. It's really a character-based novel and I feel like if you don't care about the characters, the book won't be good. Not a lot happens in the book, so it's certainly not a page-turner. I spent much longer reading this book than most books I read because there wasn't that urgency. I did really like how Madison handled the ending, and it was just very realistic.

Overall, like I said earlier, it's a good book but I feel like it's something you need to read a snippet of online before making your decision to read it. See if it's the kind of book for you.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
""Dear Sunny: I don’t expect you to understand any of this yet, but we’ll always have yesterday . . . and today, and tomorrow. Maybe one day you’ll figure it out. I never could."

With a supportive family, great friends, and a spot on her high school’s swim team, Sunshine “Sunny” Pryce-Shah’s life seems perfect. Until the day her popular older cousin Shiri commits suicide. The shocking tragedy triggers heart-wrenching grief, unanswered questions, and a new, disturbing ability in Sunny—hearing people’s thoughts.

When Sunny “underhears” awful things about what her so-called friends really think of her, she starts avoiding them and instead seeks refuge with the emo crowd. But when she discovers her new friends’ true motives, Sunny doesn’t know who she can trust anymore. Feeling like she’ll drown in the flood of unwanted voices inside her head, she turns to her cousin’s journal for answers. Sunny must figure out how to keep everything from falling apart, or she may end up just like Shiri."- summary from Amazon

I loved Stevenson's debut and this book was just as good. It is different, in that it's got an element of magical realism to it- the underhearing. This whole concept really makes the book very compelling, as does Sunny's character. I really enjoyed being in her mindset and reading her voice. I also liked getting to know her new friends in the emo crowd; they were fun and of course had their own problems and dramas.

The ending of the story worked really well, but if I recall correctly (and I might be wrong), there really isn't an explanation given for why Sunny and Shiri developed this ability. I was hoping there might be some explanation, but there wasn't really. It was a little disappointing.

I did like the emphasis on family and how much they were involved in Sunny's life and in the storyline. So many YA novels leave the family on the sidelines, but Stevenson gave them two big events to work with- Shiri's suicide and the ensuing grief and coping, as well as Sunny's aunt's domestic violence problem.

Overall, this was a good book, though a bit slow at times. It is more of a character-based, coming of age novel than a book all about her underhearing ability. That is a part of it, and it does move the story along and bring up some issues, but the main focus is on Sunny finding her way in the world, at school and at home.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
"She's been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she's been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they've given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do-or see-that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all of the Suits' rules-and her dad's silence. If he won't help, it's time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn't counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who's too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there's only one rule that really matters-survival."- summary from Amazon

This was such a good book. It's full of some fantastic twists and turns (with a great reveal toward the end of the book) and edge-of-your-seat suspense as well as a cute little romance as well. I was a little disappointed that this was the first book in a series, and so the story isn't completely over yet, which means a wait in between books.

There's a great family dynamic here; with Meg moving all the time and trying to lay low, there's less social interaction and more interactions at home. I especially liked the relationship between her and her younger sister; it felt very natural and realistic considering the circumstances. Outside of the house, I liked the budding friendship and later relationship between her and Ethan, and also the scenes involving her after-school job; her boss was a hoot.

Overall, a fantastic start to the series and I'm interested to see where Elston takes us next.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols

Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols
"Twenty-one-year-old showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—he thinks he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her to a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all...and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark for so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief...and falling in love can lead to murder."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoy Echols' books. I've fallen a bit behind on her titles, but made time to read this one quickly and unfortunately, it fell a bit short for me. Now, I have no problems with new adult books (I love reading about the age that the genre covers) so it's not that at all. But the characters just felt too young, despite being 21, and the plot just way too far-fetched. It's not a horrible book, but it's not exactly what I've come to expect from Echols.

The book goes back and forth between Elijah and Holly, and Echols does a fair job with their voices but like I mentioned earlier, sometimes the way they thought and acted just felt too young. It just didn't feel realistic for a 21-year old to fall for the sickness line anymore. When they find out as teenagers, I can understand but as they grow older and they still don't know or question, it doesn't feel realistic.

The last line of the summary plays up the whole "dangerous world" thing way too much, and it's not exactly as dark or as sexy as they make it sound. It's mainly creepy, and there isn't much sex going on, primarily because Elijah and Holly spend most of the book either hiding their feelings for each other or being mad at each other. It just all felt off.

Overall, it's an okay book, but not Echols' best work. I'd suggest reading her upper teen books (like Forget You, Going Too Far, Love Story, Such a Rush, Dirty Little Secret) instead.

FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 14, 2013

When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon
"The year is 1990, and in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Neil Byrne plays rugby, keeps up with the in-crowd at his school, and is just a regular guy. A guy who's gay. It's a secret he keeps from the wider world as he explores the city at night and struggles to figure out how to reveal his real self--and to whom."- summary from Goodreads

I absolutely love that early LGBT books like this are being re-printed for today. While there have been many strides since the early 90s (when this book was originally published) for the GLBT community, there are still many places this story will find some wonderful footing for those teens reading it. It's a bit of a quaint story being that it is set in Dublin in 1990 and there's a lot of focus on coming to terms with one's self and with navigating the murky waters of coming out and finding out who strikes your fancy (and who doesn't).

I really enjoyed Neil's voice- it's introspective, feels mature at times mainly when he's dealing with anything aside from his homosexuality, and with his homosexuality comes the innocence and wide-eyed wonder of a young boy. It was interesting to read his story and follow the emotional arc through it; all readers will find something of themselves in Neil, no matter what your orientation is. When it comes to love, it's universal and the same feelings, nervousness, excitement, etc. still exist.

Overall, please do give this book a try. It's a wonderfully realistic coming-of-age and coming-out novel, and has a wonderful foreword from James Klise, who wrote Love Drugged (which was also fantastic) that provides a great context for this story.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Man-Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Man-Made Boy by Jon Skovron
"Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.

Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more."- summary from Amazon

I am a huge fan of Skovron; I love how he changes things up with each book release. His first book was strictly contemporary, his second was all about demons, and now this one is about the son of Frankenstein going on a road trip. I love it! This book was simply amazing.

I love the way he combined modern day technology with old-school myths and classic literature. Boy is completely into computers and coding and is basically a total nerd. His world though is populated by mythical creatures (centaurs, Medusa, trolls, etc.) and literature characters we thought were fictional (Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde whose granddaughter makes an appearance). It's a fantastic premise and Skovron weaves the two aspects together with ease.

The whole book kind of reminded me of Going Bovine by Libba Bray, in terms of tone (very funny, very surreal, very real moments/emotional journeys), the road trip plot, and the general crazy nature of events. So I feel like if you liked that book, you'd be into this one too.

There's a ton of characters in this book and Skovron works hard to give depth to each one. I always felt like I knew who these characters were and where they were coming from. There's some great emotional arcs too for Boy and also a lot of the supporting characters. It's just wonderful writing and characterization.

Overall, I highly recommend this book (and his previous two books and any future books he writes); it's a delightfully unique novel.

FTC: Received ARC from author (signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Five Summers by Una LaMarche
"Four best friends, five summers of camp memories

Emma, Skylar, Jo and Maddie have all come back to camp for a weekend of tipsy canoe trips to the island, midnight skinny dipping in the lake, and an epic game of capture the flag--boys versus girls. But the weekend isn't quite as sunwashed as they'd imagined as the memories come flooding back...

The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring . . .

The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth . . .

The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle . . .

The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar . . .

Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable...and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart."- summary from Amazon

I liked this book. It's a good look into friendships- how they start, how they continue, and how sometimes they can fade or grow apart. LaMarche does a wonderful job writing these friends and it helps that each of the four girls gets a chance to speak and we see them throughout the five summers and then the reunion weekend. Each of the girls is distinctive and there are differences during each age so it feels real reading them through the various ages.

There's some wonderful characterization here and emotional arcs for the girls. The reader really gets to know these characters, care for them, and be compelled by their story. It's very real and I feel like there's a lot to relate to. There's an enjoyable climax and ending for these characters.

Overall, a good debut and LaMarche has written a great book for fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and anyone who wants to read a book all about friendships.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
"Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it."- summary from Amazon

First off, a disclaimer: I LOVE Eulberg's books SO MUCH. So I might be a little biased when it comes to new releases from her. I basically just love them instantly. This one isn't as good as her previous book, Take a Bow, but it's still pretty darn good. I loved Lexi's voice and Eulberg always shines with the humor she infuses into her novels. I giggled out loud quite a few times.

It was interesting to see the whole pageant world, and how it affected Lexi's family in many different ways. The family dynamics in this book were great to see because it feels like so often parents are shoved off to the side. There's a lot of conflict and turmoil between Lexi and her mom that Eulberg does a great job weaving into the story.

Eulberg just does a really good job with the variety of relationships in her books- friends, dates, family members. Everything feels real and never forced. Dialogue is definitely her strong suit, and that really brings the characters to life and gives them depth.

Overall, another wonderful book from Eulberg. If you haven't read anything else by her, what are you waiting for?! Go get all four of her books- you won't regret it.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blog Tour- Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
"When Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life.

Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows..."- summary from Amazon

OMG I loved this book- it's so suspenseful, has tons of twists and turns, and is a wonderful page-turner. Richards has written a fantastic debut that will have readers begging for more books from her! Chloe is a great main character and it's so interesting to go along on this journey with her, learning things as she learns them and her reaction to these changes in her life. I really enjoyed the budding relationship between Adam and Chloe, and thought it built up nicely throughout the book and didn't overtake the overarching mystery of what happened during those six months.

Overall, loved this debut and I'm excited to read more from Richards. Definitely check this book out!

and here's an interview with Natalie:
1) How did you get the idea for Six Months Later?

Believe it or not, it all started with a nightmare. I had this super-short, but completely creepy dream where I had drifted off to sleep and woken up to a totally different season. It doesn't really sound like a classic nightmare, but I woke up chilled to the bone and completely unnerved.

A question started burning in my brain. "What if you fell asleep and woke up six months later?" It was a scary thought, one that led to many more scary thoughts. :-)

Chloe drifts off in Study Hall and wakes up six months later to a new an improved version of her former life. Everything seems perfect, but why can't she remember? And why does it feel so wrong?

Right away, it was the kind of book I knew I needed to write. It was just too creepy and compelling to not figure out!

2) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

I can tell you it has been both harder and more amazing than any project I've ever tackled. Excited doesn't even touch how I feel about this new book. Sadly, it's in edits, so I can't give too much detail yet.

I will say it's a thriller with a heavy dose of moral ambiguity, a story that follows my heroine through some disturbing discoveries and then into an opportunity to change things for the better. But that opportunity comes at a cost she might not be able to afford.

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s), or if you don't like those, your favorite snack while writing or as a reward for writing?

Alas, I am not a jelly bean fan, though I am a snack fanatic. I usually don't scarf down big means, but I do nibble on something every couple of hours. Which means....no way can I pick one! So I hope a list is okay!

Favorite Fast Food: Raisin' Canes chicken strips (the sauce is CRAZY)
Favorite Salty: Cracked Pepper Triscuits with melted cheese
Favorite Sweet: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (homemade and preferably warm)
Favorite fresh-from-the-oven Snack: Trader Joe's Mini Tacos

4) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start? Any upcoming books you're looking forward to reading?

Eleanor & Park and holy, holy macaroni is that an outstanding book. I can't wait to read Rainbow Rowell's newest--Fangirl, which just released. I also am beside myself over Katie McGarry's Crash Into You which will be out in late November. I typically read a book a week or more, so I'm always looking for new stuff. Any suggestions you'd like to give me??

James, thank you so much for having me here today! I'm so excited to be stopping here as part of my blog tour and really appreciate you hosting me! You're the best!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf
"It's kind of crazy how you can pay so much attention to yourself and still not see a thing.

Izzy is a hypochondriac with enormous boobs that won't stop growing, a mother with a rare disease who's hiding something, a best friend who appears to have undergone a personality transplant, and a date with an out-of-her-league athlete who just spilled Gatorade all over her. Yes, Izzy Skymen has a hectic life. But what Izzy doesn't realize is that these are only minor symptoms of life's insanity. When she discovers that the people she trusts most are withholding from her the biggest secrets, things are about to get epic -- or is it epidemic?"- summary from Amazon

I will never get tired of sarcasm in books, and I love seeing it pop up as a character's style of humor. This book was so funny, but so real too. Raf does a wonderful job of capturing the insecurities of being a teenager, and making Izzy a likable character. I loved reading about her crazy life, and about her friends and potential boyfriends. There's a great cast of characters here and Raf infuses them all with some great depth and subplots.

Overall, a good debut and I can't wait to read more from Raf.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blog Tour- Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
"Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she'd like to forget completely. But when Callie's mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie's real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility."- summary from Amazon

This was such a good book. I absolutely loved Doller's debut and this was a fantastic follow-up. The book doesn't take too long before getting into Callie's new life. Reading Callie's journey was wonderful and compelling; I really felt for her, having to deal with everything. Doller does a great job too with dialogue and the various interactions between characters. There's an awkwardness there in the beginning between everyone that then slowly goes away as the characters get to know each other better.

The romance is handled really well, considering Callie's past and it's not too big of a plot point. I feel like the emphasis is more on Callie finding and understanding herself without her mother and with this new family now, which is refreshing.

Overall, another fantastic book from Doller and I cannot wait to read more from her!

and here's an interview with Trish:
1) How did you get the idea for Where the Stars Still Shine?

I was visiting Tarpon Springs, Florida, a small community on the Gulf of Mexico that has a significant Greek-American population. As I walked through the tourist area with all its restaurants, gift shops, and sponge diving tours, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to be dropped into the middle of this as an outsider. Then I started thinking about what sort of character I would write into a town like Tarpon Springs and Callie started taking shape. I knew she’d lived there once, but I wasn’t sure where she’d gone and that’s when the abduction piece fell into place.

2) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m currently finishing up my third novel for Bloomsbury, which is tentatively titled Arcadia Falls. The name will definitely be changed since there’s another book with the same title coming soon. But, anyway, it’s a psychological thriller about a small town Florida girl named Arcadia (a.k.a. Cadie) who has been burdened with responsibility ever since her mom died. On a rare night off from home, work, and family, she goes to a campfire party where she meets a couple of good-looking guys who are road-tripping through Florida. Cadie impulsively agrees to join them on part of their trip, but when things go tragically wrong, her only goal is to make it home alive.

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, your favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

I don’t eat them often, but when I do, I love putting grape and peanut butter together to make PB&J. My favorite writing snack, though, is honey mustard & onion pretzel pieces.

4) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start? Any upcoming books you're looking forward to?

I’m about to start The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, and I’m really looking forward to that. And the upcoming books I’m most excited about are Amy Spalding’s Ink is Thicker than Water and Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence. I’ve read and blurbed both of them and I can’t wait for everyone else to be able to love them!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.