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,,, 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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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Release Day Blitz: Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

By: Jessica Leake
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.


Once upon a time, Jessica Leake was a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn’t stop writing.

She wrote and wrote until she got her first book published, and then she wrote some more. In between all that writing she had four beautiful and hilarious children with her husband (best friend and man she’s known since high school; also hilarious), moved back to her adopted hometown of Greenville, SC, built a chicken coop, and got a bunch of chickens that poop breakfast every morning. She also has two dogs to keep the chickens in line. (The dogs made her write that last bit.)

Arcana and The Order of the Eternal Sun are available now, and Beyond a Darkened Shore, her YA debut from HarperTeen will be released in April 10, 2018.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Blog Tour and Book Sketch: Antipodes by Michele Bacon

By: Michele Bacon
Published By: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Series: None
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.

First Thought After Finishing: I want to go to New Zealand, stat!

I love books with foreign settings, and I’ve always been intrigued by the beauty and lifestyle of Australia and New Zealand. I was excited to dive into Antipodes and experience a different way of life vicariously through Erin’s study abroad experience. Needless to say, this book everything I didn't know I wanted and needed at the moment.

Erin has her future all planned out. Clinch a swimming championship, be a fabulous cellist, get into Columbia, become a doctor, have a great life. Under the watchful eye of her powerful mother, Erin has worked her entire life to reach this dream. But new swimming students and one drunken night derail Erin’s plans. To save her college applications, Erin’s parents send her to study abroad. The new plan is simple: find something to wow Ivy League colleges. Instead, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to travel around the world just to find yourself.

At the beginning of this book, I did not care for Erin very much, despite (unfortunately) seeing a great deal of my former self in her. Despite having the opportunity to fix her mistake, she was focused only on what had gone wrong in her life and her parents’ worldview, which translated into being rather snobby toward and judgemental of her host family and those around her. However, it doesn’t take long for Erin to start to realize how life is different in New Zealand—slower, more relaxed. This calm gradually rubs off on Erin, and she starts to reevaluate what is really important in life.

This is a true story of self-discovery and proof of why travel is so important. She meets new friends—Jade, Marama, and Hank—who help to show her how life can be different. Honestly, I loved all of the New Zealanders that Erin meets. Her kiwi friends are the kind of friends everyone wants—welcoming and supportive without expectations. Her host family, despite having to learn how to get along with her, is warm and loving, and her younger sister is adorable. I especially enjoyed Hank’s life philosophy and hope that I am able to keep the words in mind as I move forward.

"New Zealand was changing her--or revealing parts of her she didn't know existed."

Erin’s journey resonated a great deal with me on a personal level. The lush, rich descriptions of the New Zealand landscape almost do justice to what must be breathtaking views. I cheered as Erin started to find her own voice and found something that made her truly happy—it was almost enough to make me want to go rock climbing, until I remembered that I’d likely die in such an attempt. Still, anyone who has ever had to rediscover themselves, break away from expectations, or simply wants to be transported will find something to love about this book.

Most Memorable Aspect: The New Zealand setting. I’m in love with all of the scenery described!

~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ ~ ~

I was born in Trumbull County, the only square county in Ohio, where books were my favorite means of escaping an unhappy childhood. Writing was my transparent attempt to create the things I craved: big happy families, international adventures and unconditional friendship. From a young age, I was drawn to people’s stories, and I still want to know how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner.

In high school, I embraced my inner geek and wrote my first novel. In college, there were short stories and still more novels. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in English, with concentrations in critical theory and creative writing.

Full-time work sapped my creative brain for several years, but my professional life was one of reinvention. In state government, business management consulting, and nonprofit fundraising, I adapted easily and absorbed the languages of different professions. My last paying job was as an independent fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations. That was seven years ago.

Since then, I have been writing and traveling (and, let's be honest, chasing down small people who don't like to wear clothes). I've traveled to all 50 states and dozens of other countries, always collecting pieces of characters and ideas for stories. I recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I may have left my heart at Ilam School. Now that we've settled back in the States, I'm writing for adults and young adults, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and baking like a fiend. (You'd thinking baking would be the same everywhere, but it's not. Something is different about kiwi butter.)

When an idea strikes, I scrawl sweeping plot outlines, character idiosyncrasies, and ideas for scenes on the nearest blank spot of paper. My current manuscript was born of those torn slips of paper, used envelopes, lollipop wrappers, fuel receipts and--once--that little paper bit that keeps a nursing pad sticky until it's time to use it. My manuscripts are better than the quality of papers where they began. Promise.

Outside of writing, I am a tabletop game enthusiast, passionate skier, and lover of prime numbers. I also am a mentor at the Moving Words Writing Clinic, and a freelance copyeditor.

I live in Seattle with my husband and three growing children.

Find Her Online:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


Week One:
3/26/18 - Pretty Deadly Reviews - Interview
3/26/18 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review

3/27/18 - Katie's Bookaholic Rambling Reviews - Excerpt
3/27/18 - Lattes & Paperbacks - Review

3/28/18 - Wonderstruck - Review
3/28/18 - Portrait of a Book - Review

3/29/18 - Bookhounds YA - Interview
3/29/18 - Shelf Rider - Review

3/30/18 - The Reading Life - Excerpt
3/30/18 - RhythmicBooktrovert - Review

Week Two:
4/2/18 - YA Books Central - Interview
4/2/18 - Blushing Bibliophile - Review

4/3/18 - Lilly's Book World - Review
4/3/18 - MetalPhantasmReads - Review

4/4/18 - Caffeine and Composition - Review
4/4/18 - Two Points of Interest - Review

4/5/18 - The Infinity Words - Review
4/5/18 - Novel Novice - Guest Post

4/6/18 - Paulette's Papers - Excerpt
4/6/18 - Books Are Love - Review


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