Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Sketch: Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury
By: Tracy Banghart
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Series: Grace and Fury (#1)
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace - someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

First Thought After Finishing: Can I have the next book now please?

From just reading the synopsis, Grace and Fury seemed to have all the makings of a great fantasy book. Sisters, role reversal, royalty, secrets—I was hooked! And I ended up reading this book in one sitting because I needed to know what happened!

Serina has always been the model daughter—a submissive beauty, eager to please the prince and become a Grace. Her sister, Nomi, is just the opposite—opinionated, outspoken, and constantly pushing her limits. But once they arrive at the palace, a chance encounter with the prince ends up with Nomi being chosen as a Grace instead of Serina. And when Serina takes the fall for one of Nomi’s decisions, the sisters’ relationship is threatened forever. Both sisters are suddenly engaged in a world they never prepared for, and one mistake could be fatal. Can they survive and find their way back to each other?

As an only child, I’ve always loved stories about sisters. I loved the fact that Nomi and Serina were fiercely protective of each other, even when they didn’t see eye to eye. That’s the kind of sister or friend anyone would be lucky to have. In addition to the sister bond, I really enjoyed the Italianate setting. Traveling to Italy is on my bucket list, so I enjoyed the vicarious trip, even though it wasn’t truly Italy. Then there was the dual POV. The chapters alternate between Nomi and Serina, weaving two very different tales while maintaining the timeline. I was fascinated with both parts of the story but for different reasons.

Nomi is dealing with the secrets and balancing act that comes from palace life. She is determined to avoid the crown prince, but she finds his younger brother intriguing. Nomi walks a fine line of scheming and pretending, but I love the fact that she remains true to herself even when her fortune changes. Serina, on the other hand, has every reason to wallow in self-pity and misery, but she decides to fight back. Her character development is inspirational, and I can’t wait to see what else she does in the second book!

Although a bit predictable at times, the story definitely has potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nomi and Serina continue to grow! If you’re a fantasy fanatic, be sure to add this to your TBR pile!

Most Memorable Aspect: The bond of sisterhood and the dual POVs between Nomi and Serina.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble. She wrote Grace and Fury while living in Hawaii.

I had the opportunity to ask Tracy a few questions! Learn more about the story and Tracy's writing habits below!

How would you describe Grace and Fury in five words?

Sisterhood. Bloodshed. Betrayal. Rebellion. Kissing.

Grace and Fury has a complex story and world. What was the inspiration for this story? Did you always plan dual POVs?

I love writing stories about girls finding their agency, especially when there are significant obstacles they have to overcome. I loved the idea of getting to see that process play out in different ways through two very different main characters.

It actually started out as a story with just one POV (and no sister!) but Nomi appeared and wouldn’t leave. And I’m so glad. I love that Serina and Nomi have very different perspectives and arcs in the story. Serina has to learn to be strong, and Nomi has to learn to play by the rules.

If choosing between Serina and Nomi, which sister would you be and why?

I think I relate to aspects of them both. Serina is the eldest—she’s responsible, protective of her little sister, and feels the weight of her family’s expectations. As the eldest sibling in my family, I felt a lot of that growing up. But I also wanted to rebel against those expectations and all of the ideas everyone else had for my life. Which is where my Nomi instincts kick in.

The Italian-inspired world made me want to plan a trip to Italy! What would your dream vacation be?

Ha! Probably back to Italy, to be honest. I haven’t been to Europe in a few years, and I would love to go back. Italy is one of my favorite places to visit.

If you could have dinner with any author(s), who would they be?

I recently had dinner with Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida C√≥rdova, and Mark Oshiro, and that pretty much blew my mind. They are amazing people and authors! I would love to share a meal with Victoria Schwab, who inspires me daily. And I’d love to have dinner with a struggling author, who hasn’t made it to publication yet. Just so I could say HANG IN THERE. Because this business is tough, and everyone’s journey is different. It can feel so daunting!

What is your writing process like? Do you have any habits or superstitions?

I used to be a pantser but have recently converted to writing outlines, and it’s still a weird feeling to do so much plotting in advance. But I do think it helps me stay on track. I don’t think I have any weird superstitions, but I do get weird about my documents and folders and playlists–I have to have everything organized a certain way, and I can’t start writing a new project unless I’ve got a title. Even if it’s a crappy placeholder title, I need SOMETHING or it doesn’t feel like a real thing.

What message do you hope that readers take away from your book?

Most of all, I hope they have fun reading it. That’s the most important thing! But if they do take anything away, I hope it’s that together, women can accomplish anything. That the pitting of one woman against another, the competition, is often a construct by the patriarchy to divide and conquer us. We get farther supporting each other than we do tearing each other down.

Is there anything you can tell us about the second book?

I wish I could say it’s all happiness and unicorns for my sisters in book 2, but that wouldn’t make for a very exciting sequel. There’s more blood, more heartache, and more badass women warriors fighting back. I’m very proud of it. I hope I do my sisters and the rest of the women of Viridia justice!

Find Tracy Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
7/23/18 - Tea Party Princess - Review
7/24/18 - Paperback Princess - Review
7/25/18 - Confessions of a YA Reader - Review
7/26/18 - Book Dragon Lair - Review
7/27/18 - Laura's Bookish Corner - Review

Week Two:
7/30/18 - The Desert Bibliophile - Review
7/31/18 - Do You Dog-Ear? - Review
8/1/18 - Synopses by Sarge - Review
8/2/18 - Coffee Cocktails and Books - Review
8/3/18 - Kat's Books - Review

Week Three:
8/6/18 - Feed Your Fiction Addiction - Review
8/7/18 - Portrait of a Book - Review
8/8/18 - To Be Read - Review
8/9/18 - Brooke Reports - Review
8/10/18 - Cindy's Love of Books - Review

Week Four: 8/13/18 - A Court of Coffee and Books - Review
8/14/18 - Smada's Book Smack - Review
8/15/18 - The Young Folks - Review
8/16/18 - Book-Keeping - Review
8/17/18 - A Gingerly Review - Review


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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Sketch: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

By: Kara Thomas
Published By: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 384
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

First Thought After Finishing: I've missed reading mystery/thriller stories!

I tend to read a lot of fantasy, but sometimes it's nice to explore other genres. I really enjoyed Kara Thomas's book Little Monsters last year, so I was excited to see what happened in this story. As it turns out, I flew through the pages of this book, eager to unravel the mystery.

Monica can't escape being Jen Rayburn's sister. She has good friends and her high school dance team, but in her small town, she's still the girl whose sister died. And something about Jen's death--and all of her friends' deaths--has never seemed quite right to Monica. When she discovers a possible trail of clues, she knows that she cannot rest until she has uncovered the truth. And if the investigation five years ago was wrong, that means there might just be a killer on the loose.

A good mystery story keeps you turning page after page and always questioning your guesses, and that is just what The Cheerleaders did. Kara Thomas definitely has a knack for mysteries, weaving strong friendship and strained family relationships into the story. From the beginning, the clues leave more questions than answers, and Monica dives right in to solving them. Each time she figures out one piece of the puzzle, she finds something else to challenge the accepted story or casts suspicion back on everyone. Monica's present-day sleuthing is interspersed with flashbacks of Jen's life five years ago, which made for compelling reading, and I found myself trying to guess the real killer's identity right along with Monica. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I was expecting just a bit more from the final reveal, but the ending does fit the book.

Beyond the mystery, there is a lot of character development. Monica has a lot of pressure on her shoulders after Jen's death. She desperately wants her mother's approval but worries that she will never do anything that is good enough. As she is pulled deeper into unraveling the mystery, she also has to confront her role in her family. Additionally, she doesn't work on the case alone. Monica befriends Ginny Cordero, who turns out to be a great friend. She is a quiet realist with a knack for bringing clarity to a situation, and I enjoyed learning more about her throughout the book. Finally, Monica has to sort through her feelings on a romantic situation. I appreciated the fact that romance was alluded to but definitely did not take over the story. Instead, Monica's character development is a great journey for any reader, teenager or teen at heart.

Most Memorable Aspect: The way the mystery has strong subplots and realistic characters.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Kara Thomas is a true crime addict and the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, LITTLE MONSTERS, and THE CHEERLEADERS, all published by Delacorte Press. You can find her on Twitter (@karatwrites), Instagram (@kara__thomas), or at http://www.kara-thomas.com.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
7/23/18 - The Heart of a Book Blogger - Review
7/24/18 - A Dream Within a Dream - Review
7/25/18 - Portrait of a Book - Review
7/26/18 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
7/27/18 - Books and Ladders - Review

Week Two:
7/30/18 - The Clever Reader - Review
7/31/18 - Diary of an Avid Reader - Review
8/1/18 - Never Too Many to Read - Review
8/2/18 - Confessions of a YA Reader - Review
8/3/18 - Adventures of a Book Junkie - Review

Week Three:
8/6/18 - Laura's Bookish Corner - Review
8/7/18 - The Phantom Paragrapher - Review
8/8/18 - Mama Reads Blog - Review
8/9/18 - To Be Read - Review
8/10/18 - Savings in Seconds - Review

Week Four: 8/13/18 - The Young Folks - Review
8/14/18 - Bookhounds YA - Interview
8/15/18 - Simply Daniel Radcliffe - Review
8/16/18 - Moonlight Rendezvous - Review
8/17/18 - Two Points of Interest - Review


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Monday, June 4, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Aesthetic: Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi

By: Anica Mrose Rissin
Published By: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 256
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

With the explosion of Bookstagram, often we really do reduce a picture to a thousand words! With that in mind, here are the six images that I think best represent Always Forever Maybe!

Betts works in a candy store, and it's where she meets Aiden. Several important conversations happen in the candy store. And who doesn't like gummies?

Aiden definitely has the bad-boy vibe down, complete with the motorcycle he built.

Betts and Aiden fall in love quickly. When things are good, they're great, and Betts feels like she and Aiden are the only people in the world.

Their relationship quickly changes. It's far too easy to fall into a trap of confusing emotional abuse with love. This book takes a look at difficult issues.

Tumultuous emotions can make you feel like you're alone. Betts has to take a long, hard look at her relationship and decide what love she is willing to accept.

This book wouldn't be complete without the friendships. Jo, who is Betts' best friend, is definitely the kind of friend any girl would be lucky to have.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Anica Mrose Rissi grew uponan island off the coast of Maine. After college, she moved toNew York City, where she worked as a cheesemonger and book editor. She now writes, fid-dles in the electro-country band Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, and walks with her dog, Arugula, near their home in Princeton, New Jersey. Anica is the author of several books for younger readers, and her essays have been published by The Writer and the New York Times. Always Forever Maybe isherYA debut.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Find all the dates you need to know here!


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Friday, May 25, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Sketch: Nothing Happened by Molly Booth

By: Molly Booth
Published By: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: This modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing takes place at the idyllic Camp Dogberry, where sisters Bee and Hana Leonato have grown up. Their parents own the place, and every summer they look forward to leading little campers in crafts, swimming in the lake, playing games of capture the flag and sproutball, and of course, the legendary counselor parties.

This year, the camp drama isn’t just on the improv stage. Bee and longtime counselor Ben have a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that’s complicated by events that happened—or didn’t happen—last summer. Meanwhile, Hana is falling hard for the kind but insecure Claudia, putting them both in the crosshairs of resident troublemaker John, who spreads a vicious rumor that could tear them apart.

As the counselors juggle their camp responsibilities with simmering drama that comes to a head at the Fourth of July sparkler party, they’ll have to swallow their pride and find the courage to untangle the truth, whether it leads to heartbreak or happily ever after.

First Thought After Finishing: All’s well that ends well!

I love Shakespeare’s plays, including Much Ado About Nothing. I also love my memories from summer camp. So when I saw that they were put together in one book, I was sold. Nothing Happened is a short and sweet retelling of the play and a fun read to kick off summer vacation.

Bee has always belonged at Camp Dogberry. She’s grown up with the camp in her backyard—her parents own it—and is looking forward to one more year of being a counselor. Her younger sister Hana and all of her old friends will be there too—and even one “friend” that she’d prefer not to see again. She’s dreading being reunited with her former camp crush, Ben, who shouldn’t have returned for the year. Still, she has no choice, so she decides to make the most of the year. But once camps start, emotions run high, and not only between Bee and Ben. With counselor parties, long-held secret crushes, and the camp rumor mill, these counselors are in for a roller coaster summer.

From the beginning, this book took me right back to summer camp. I remember the fun and games of “traditional” summer camps and also how we would speculate about our counselors. On the other side, I’ve seen how a week is enough for counselors to go from strangers to an item. But there is something magical about the place and the people you return to year after year, and that magic was felt throughout this book. I loved the scenery of the Maine coast, the descriptions of the forest, and vicariously spending time in nature (because I definitely don’t do that in real life).

Nothing Happened also puts a great spin on the Shakespearean original. It has a cast of diverse characters in terms of races, backgrounds, and orientations. I appreciated that none of this was used as part of the plot but was instead just who these characters were. Bee definitely captured the spitfire personality of her inspiration, but I would have liked to see more biting wit from Ben. The other characters also mirrored the original play, which makes for few surprises but a great retelling.

Finally, I appreciated that this book (in my not-so-teen anymore) honors the spirit of teenagers. There has been some debate recently regarding young adult truly being “young adult,” but I think this book would qualify. And that is actually perfect for a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. The drama, the intensity, and some of the actions we shake our head about later all happen to fit together just right.

Most Memorable Aspect: The camp setting and their activities.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Molly Booth (she/her/hers) writes books about Shakespeare and feelings. She's the author of Young Adult novels SAVING HAMLET (2016) and NOTHING HAPPENED (5.15.2018), both published by Disney Hyperion. In high school, she was a stage manager for three different community theatres, which almost killed her. She graduated from Marlboro College and went onto study more Shakespeare (twist!) at University of Massachusetts Boston. Molly is a freelance writer and editor and has been published on TheMarySue.com, McSweeneys.net, HelloGiggles.com, and various other websites. She co-hosts a Bardcentric podcast, Party Bard, and directs a lovely, hilarious, and fierce group of homeschooling teen Shakespearean actors. She also speaks and teaches workshops at schools, colleges, bookstores, book fairs, camps, and libraries. Molly lives in Massachusetts, where she spends a lot of time with family and friends, and the rest attending to her queenly cat and loaf-of-bread-shaped dog.  ​

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
5/14/18 - The Book Girl - Review
5/14/18 - YA Books Central - Interview

5/15/18 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
5/15/18 - Wonderstruck - Review

5/16/18 - Pretty Little Library - Review
5/16/18 - Confessions of a YA Reader - Review

5/17/18 - Books and Ladders - Review
5/17/18 - Sophie Reads YA - Review

5/16/18 - To Be Read - Review
5/16/18 - Bookhounds YA - Guest Post

Week Two:
5/21/18 - Magical Reads - Review
5/21/18 - The Cover Contessa - Interview

5/22/18 - Dani Reviews Things - Review
5/22/18 - Angelic Book Reviews - Review

5/23/18 - Blushing Bibliophiles - Review
5/23/18 - Two Points of Interest - Review

5/24/18 - Bookworm Cafe - Review
5/24/18 - The Book Nut - Review

5/25/18 - Portrait of a Book - Review
5/25/18 - BookCrushin - Guest Post


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Monday, May 21, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Sketch: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

By: Jay Kristoff
Published By: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Series: LIFEL1K3
Pages: 416
Genre: Sci-Fiy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

First Thought After Finishing: What an adventure! I need the next book now!

I’m always wary of reading sci-fi and robot books. It’s not necessarily my favorite genre, but every now and then a book comes along that makes me appreciate the genre. LIFEL1K3 was one such book. With an intriguing dystopian world and a new world of robots, this book kept me turning pages until the very end—true cert’, as Eve would say.

Eve is trying to survive in the Scrap, battling logika in the WarDome to get enough credstiks to buy her grandfather’s medicine. She’s won eight fights in a row, thanks to a robot of her own creation, and with her best friends by her side, Eve is certain she can’t lose. But when things go awry in the battlefield, Eve suddenly finds herself penniless and a target. And that’s not all she finds. She stumbles across a boy named Ezekiel, who seems just a bit off, and more trouble than she could have possibly imagined. Suddenly Eve is on the run, desperate for safety and answers. But in the fight for her life, who can she trust?

I have only read one other book by Jay Kristoff (shame on me, I know), so I am glad to add another one to the list! LIFEL1K3 is filled with more than robots; it is filled with secrets and intrigue, tales of friendship and bravery, and yes, a hint of a love story. All of this takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, in which the US has been destroyed with technological wars and most people are merely trying to survive. The dangers from street gangs and poverty are still all too real, and there is little respite from the horrors of the environment.

"Your past doesn't make calls on your future. It doesn't matter who you were. Only who you are."

Enter Eve, a fierce, resilient, and determined heroine, but one who certainly does not operate alone. The side characters really make this story—especially Eve’s spunky and loyal best friend, Lemon Fresh, her logika Cricket (who rather reminded me of Jiminy Cricket), and her blitzhund Kaiser. Eve has to undertake multiple journeys throughout the book—physical, emotional, and mental. As the title of the book implies, life is not always what it seems. Like Eve, I wanted to unravel the mysteries around her and have everything be alright. Ezekiel is another intriguing character. There is obviously more to him than meets the eye, but despite the uncertainty, I couldn’t help but want to love him. His strength and devotion and qualities that anyone could appreciate.

Just as the heroes sometimes have hidden motives, so too do the villains. These motives keep both people and corporations pursuing Eve and her friends. At times it was difficult to know who to trust, but making sense of everything was just one more reason to keep reading!

Most Memorable Aspect: The layers of the story.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Jay Kristoff is a #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

His LOTUS WAR trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, ILLUMINAE, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015, became a finalist for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. ILLUMINAE is currently slated to be published in thirty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.

Jay’s new fantasy series, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, commenced in 2016. The novel was an international bestseller, won the Aurealis award and earned Kristoff his second Gemmell nomination. Part 2, GODSGRAVE, was published in 2017, and won the series its second Aurealis award. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in early 2018. A new series with Amie Kaufman, THE ANDROMEDA CYCLE, begins in 2019 with Knopf/Random House Kids. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 12,000 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Find Him Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
5/14/18 - Mary Had a Little Blog - Review
5/15/18 - Fiction Fare - Review
5/16/18 - Birdie Bookworm - Review
5/17/18 - Novel Heartbeat - Review
5/18/18 - Bookish in Bed - Review

5/21/18 - Portrait of a Book - Review
5/22/18 - Confessions of a YA Reader - Review
5/23/18 - Emily Reads Everything - Review
5/24/18 - Zach's YA Reviews - Review
5/25/18 - The Bookish Libra - Review

Week Two:
5/28/18 - Feed Your Fiction Addiction - Review
5/29/18 - Diary of an Avid Reader - Review
5/30/18 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
5/31/18 - Book-Keeper - Review
6/1/18 - Nerdophiles - Review

6/4/18 - Smada's Book Smack - Review
6/5/18 - Novel Novice - Review
6/6/18 - The Book Nut - Review
6/7/18 - Book Briefs - Review
6/8/18 - A Gingerly Review - Review


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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Sketch: The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford

By: Taryn Bashford
Published By: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court--until her coach dropped her for being "mentally weak." Without tennis, who is she? Her confidence at an all-time low, she secretly turns to her childhood friend, next-door neighbor Jacob--who also happens to be her sister's very recent ex-boyfriend. If her sister finds out, it will mean a family war.

But when Harper is taken on by a new coach who wants her to train with Colt, a cold, defensive, brooding young tennis phenom, she hits the court all the harder, if only to prove Colt wrong. But as the two learn to become a team, Harper gets glimpses of the vulnerable boy beneath the surface, the boy who was deeply scarred by his family's dark and scandalous past. The boy she could easily find herself falling for.

As she walks a fine line between Colt's secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must decide between her past and her future and between two boys who send her head spinning. Is the cost of winning the game worth losing everything?

A sizzling tennis romance perfect for the summer months, The Harper Effect, will be a grand slam for fans of Kasie West, Miranda Kinneally and Simone Ekeles.

First Thought After Finishing - I knew there was a reason I always loved the color purple!

After reading Miranda Kenneally’s books, I’m a sucker for sporty contemporary romances. I was never a sports person, so the vicarious experience (plus the passion these characters have) are definite draws to these stories. 

Harper Hunter dreams of being a tennis champion, but she can’t seem to make it past the first round in any competitions. Saddened by defeat and dumped by her tennis coach, Harper is almost ready to give up on her dreams. Enter Milo, a new coach, and Colt, a new doubles partner. Soon Harper finds herself training harder than ever but also trying to discover Colt’s secrets. On top of it all, her childhood friendship group may be falling apart. Her sister is distant, but she might finally have a chance with the boy she’s loved for years. Can Harper juggle everything without letting her game—or her heart—suffer?

I love reading comeback stories. There’s something inspiring about rooting for an underdog and trying to channel their motivation. I’ve never really followed tennis, but this book makes it seem like an exciting sport—different from the team sports with its individual battle, but in some ways this makes it more relatable. Even without sports in my life, Harper’s emotional journey resonated with me. This book is about much more than sports or even first loves; it’s about the inevitable changes that come in life and how we can either struggle against them or choose to grow with them. Harper may not have had a smooth path, but it was all the more real for that reason.

This book also explores different types of relationships—what family and friendship can look like, and also what they shouldn’t look like. I loved that Harper’s parents were so involved, and I especially enjoyed seeing her relationship with her coach develop. Milo certainly had some good advice that can be applied far beyond the tennis world. As for Harper's romantic relationships, this isn't your typical love triangle. Jacob is her childhood best friend; he has her memories, and there is something gratifying about having a chance with your first love. ON the other hand, Colt is her mixed doubles partner. He is withdrawn, moody, and secretive, but there is no denying an electric connection both on and off the court. For me, there was only one choice, only one guy who I wanted to learn everything about and wrap in a hug when I finally did.

Throughout the book, the characters rarely make the best decisions; in fact, as an adult reading this book, there were times I wanted to shake sense into the characters who were, from my perspective, insensitive and foolish. However, as a teenager, these choices may not have always seemed so clear. As teenagers, we all make mistakes. The important thing is how we react to and learn from them. Harper's story shows this process and how we all have to face up to consequences for bad judgement. Navigating teenage years can be difficult, and accepting change can certainly be scary at any age. Reading someone else's story--even a fictional one--gives hope that something good can come even out of bad decisions if only people are willing to learn and grow.

Most Memorable Aspect: Harper and Colt's dedication to tennis.

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Taryn lives the typical writer’s life alongside supportive husband, teen children, and characters from her latest book insisting they help make dinner. This can be disconcerting as Jacob is always sticking his fingers in the cheese sauce and Harper can’t cook.

Taryn’s been an English Literature Honours student, an advertising sales rep and a CEO of an internet company, but writing is her first love. The Harper Effect is her debut novel.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
5/7/18 - Sophie Reads YA - Review
5/7/18 - YA Books Central - Interview

5/8/18 - To Be Read - Review
5/8/18 - Margie's Must Reads - Guest Post

5/9/18 - Portrait of a Book - Review
5/9/18 - Book Sniffers Anonymous - Excerpt

5/10/18 - Bri's Book Nook - Review
5/10/18 - Twirling Book Princess - Excerpt

5/11/18 - FirstBookLove - Reviewt
5/11/18 - A Dream Within a Dream - Excerpt

Week Two:
5/14/18 - taylortalksbooks - Review
5/14/18 - Bookhounds YA - Interview

5/15/18 - Books of a Shy Girl - Review
5/15/18 - Confessions of a YA Reader - Excerpt

5/16/18 - Lattes & Paperbacks - Review
5/16/18 - Wishful Endings - Excerpt

5/17/18 - Two Chicks on Books - Interview
5/17/18 - Paulette's Papers - Excerpt

5/18/18 - Books A-Brewin' - Excerpt


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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Blog Tour & Book Aesthetic: Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

By: Jessica Pennington
Published By: Tor Teen
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

With the explosion of Bookstagram, often we really do reduce a picture to a thousand words! With that in mind, here are the six images that I think best represent Love Songs & Other Lies!

Love Songs & Other Lies involves music, and specifically people playing guitars. The experience of playing, singing, and performing is integral to the story, which is what drew me initially, but the book is so much more than that.

There's a pretty significant road trip involved. I loved the beauty of this picture as well as the idea that there's always something ahead of you, and only you can decide if you will run from it or run toward it.

We couldn't have a book about rock without some rock concerts! Everyone in a venue getting swept up in an emotional high...isn't that what a good concert does?

We live in a world of social media, but sometimes the best thing is still the feeling of pencil and paper...particularly for song lyrics.

Setting can be crucial to a story, and the beach plays a huge role in this one. There's something so comforting and freeing about hours spent on the shore in solitude (or almost solitude) that can be life-changing.

"Summer lovin'...had me a blast..." Really though, it is called love songs. You'll fall in love with the romance in this book!

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her books, where she's currently finishing her second novel, WHEN SUMMER ENDS, out April 2019.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
4/16/18 - Lil Book Lovers - Interview
4/16/18 - Ashleigh's Bookshelf - Review

4/17/18 - The Clever Reader - Dream Cast
4/17/18 - Tale Out Loud - Review

4/18/18 - Smada's Book Smack - Top 10 Quotes
4/18/18 - BookCrushin - Review

4/19/18 - My Fangirl Chronicles - Excerpt
4/19/18 - A Blunt Book Blog - Review

4/20/18 - Bookish Bits Blog - Guest Post
4/20/18 - Books, Life, and Everything Else - Review

Week Two:
4/30/18 - The Candid Cover - Interview
4/30/18 - Belle's Archive - Review

5/1/18 - The Cursed Books - Playlist
5/1/18 - The Heart of a Book Blogger - Aesthetic

5/2/18 - Portrait of a Book - Aesthetic
5/2/18 - Vicky Who Reads - Review

5/3/18 - The Mind of a Book Dragon - Interview
5/3/18 - Boundless Bookaholic - Review

5/4/18 - Clarie's Tales - Fanfiction
5/4/18 - Librarian Laura - Interview and Excerpt


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