Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

Brooding YA Hero
By: Carrie Ann DiRisio
Published By: SkyPony Press
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: RHave you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?

Or maybe you're just really confused about what "opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs" actually are?

Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a "self-help" guide (with activities--you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.

As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.

Why it's Wanted:

How hilarious does this sound? I love the YA genre as much as the next person, but we all have to admit there are a few cliches here and there. If laughter is the best medicine, bring on this book!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Sketch: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

By: Susan Dennard
Published By: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Series: The Witchlands #1
Pages: 416
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

First Thought After Finishing: I’m so glad there’s an epic fantasy series in YA!

I started reading Truthwitch almost by accident. I had brought it with me for a photoshoot in the mountains, but I was in the middle of another book on my Kindle. My Kindle died, so I started Truthwitch instead. Almost 100 pages later, I knew this series would become a favorite!

Safi and Iseult have been together for years, and that won’t change, if they have anything to say about it. But when they end up in the wrong place at the right time, they find themselves on the run from not only a Bloodwitch but also those who would use Safi’s Truthwitchery for nefarious purposes. Enter Prince Merik, who becomes tangled up with Safi as well. With political unrest among the kingdoms, can Safi and Iseult stay free from those who want them captured and maybe help right some wrongs along the way?

I love books that explore different types of magic or new magic systems. I think books with witches are some of the best (my first favorite book was The Chimney Witches). This book had me hooked very quickly with its world, magic system, and cast of characters. Safi is wild and impetuous, quick to scheme but fiercely loyal to Iseult. On the other hand, Iseult, has spent her life practicing controlling her emotions and staying calm. They are a wonderful balance, and it was so refreshing to read a story that focused on friendship.

Beyond Safi and Iseult, I also loved Merik and Aeduan. Merik has the wit and drive that I love reading about, and the fire between him and Safi nearly sizzles off the page. I can’t wait to see how things develop between them. And Aeduan is nothing if not intriguing. I wanted to hate him, and yet I wanted to know everything about him. He is clearly hiding something, and those secrets have to be revealed sometime, right? As all the characters move across land and water, there is never a dull moment. From the fighting to the banter hint of romance, this book kept me turning page after page to discover something more.

I have to admit that this book was confusing at time. The intricate politics and the organization of the magic system never seemed to be fully explained, and I found myself wondering how all of the guilds worked and how everyone in the land was tied together. Truthwitch was the beginning of a sweeping epic, and I am hoping to have more of the backstory in the second book. I don’t think I can get enough of this story!

Most Memorable Aspect: How Iseult sees all of peoples’ threads. I loved the inventive descriptions and the bond between Threadsisters!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

27 Hours
By: Tristina Wright
Published By: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

Why it's Wanted:

I'm the first to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi. But how intriguing does this one sound? Treason, talking to the moon, forbidden romance...sign me up!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (116)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"Then Benedick glanced back at her and their eyes met and Beatrice realized the un-storied truth bound them in a private way she didn't care for at all."

Taken from pg. 92 of SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE
by McKelle George

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cover Reveal: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Today Mary Lindsey and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE DRAGONS OF NOVA, which releases November 7, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win assigned ARC of the book! And now, without further ado, I present HAVEN by Mary Lindsey!

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s use to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running rom trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

Ancient magic and modern society collide in a sexy, spellbinding romance perfect for fans of C. C. Hunter and Maggie Stiefvater that proves sometimes beauty is the beast…


When Rain turned back to Freddie, he bit down a gasp of surprise. She’d stripped off her shirt and tipped her face to the moon, eyes closed, like one would do to the sun at the beach. And here he’d thought the landscape was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

The air was still. Eerily still, and her smooth skin appeared to glow from inside in the moonlight—her black lace bra sheer enough to make him a little dizzy.

Without opening her eyes, she said, “Take off your shirt.”

No way in hell was he going to argue with that. He yanked off his shirt, clutching it in his fist, waiting for his next instruction.

He forgot how to breathe when she opened her pale eyes and moved toward him. Her gaze wasn’t focused on his face, though. It was on his chest. Stopping in front of him, she traced her fingers over the ink.

“Raindrops?” she asked, finger outlining one of the shapes.

“Tears,” he replied, again light-headed as she ran her fingertips over his pec.

“For your mom?”

“No. For all of us.”

She stepped back and, for a long time, stared at the tattoo comprised of dozens of drops in a random pattern over his chest, spilling down his ribs.

She traced a scar on his side with the tip of her finger. One of many marring his body from fights. “Your life has been sad.”

And so had hers recently. Maybe that was why he felt so connected to her. Their shared grief, their shared stand against a harsh, unfeeling, screwed-up world. Their shared solitude.

She turned back to the moon and raised her arms. “Do you feel it?”

Well, that was a wide-open question. He was feeling lots of things.

“The moon,” she said. “It’s like aloe when you’re sunburned. Try it.”

He imitated her posture, head back, arms out, but felt nothing other than the throbbing hardness he always felt around her.

“So, what do you think about that legend your aunt told you?” she asked.

He opened his eyes to find her studying him. “That the rock can turn men into beasts?” His mind raced, wondering what would prompt that question and what answer she was looking for. Men were beasts. Horrible monsters at times. He’d seen it firsthand. “I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

There it was again. That strange warm pull in his chest while she studied him. Like she totally got him—something no one else had ever bothered to do. He’d never been understood or accepted. People saw his size and found out his background and immediately wrote him off as dangerous or not worth the trouble. Not Freddie.

She obviously found his answer acceptable, because she wound her fingers in his hair and hauled him against her for another kiss. Raw, open-mouthed, and hungry. He’d never met anyone like this, who made him burn so hot he thought he might die from need. Recovering from surprise, he placed his hands on either side of her bare rib cage, feeling her body expand and contract with each quick breath. Bones and hard muscle working beneath smooth, soft skin. Skin he wanted to touch all over.

“I like you, Rain Ryland,” she said, dragging her nails down his back.

“Like” didn’t even come close. He was on fire for her. Had thought of her night and day since he first saw those eerily pale eyes and badass attitude. She was smart, strong, and terribly, terribly dangerous, which turned him on like crazy. “I like you, too.”

“How much?”

Something was going on here. Something other than foreplay. “More than I’ve ever liked anyone.” Which was true and unexpected. This was more than physical, which was a terrifying thought for him. Maybe this time he could stay. Maybe this time he’d actually found a home and wouldn’t have to leave everything behind.

He kissed her again, not wanting to think about legends, or leaving, or anything else for that matter. He wanted to just live in this moment as long as it lasted. Running his hands lower, his thumb brushed the unmistakable shape of a condom in her back pocket. He froze, and she smiled against his lips.

“You scared, Sprinkles?”


“Of me?” It was like she wanted him to fear her.

“No.” He pulled back, amazed at how her eyes reflected the moon like clear glass. “Of this.” He gestured to the space he’d put between them. “Of whatever this is.” The intensity of it. The urgency. And worse, much worse—the potential loss of it. He’d never feared losing something before because he’d never had anything worth keeping. This girl, though. She was different. And he wanted her.

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband. Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 "pet" Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the "pet" roaches found a home... somewhere else.

Find Mary Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

By: Jennifer Mathieu
Published By: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texan high school in the new novel from Jennifer Matheiu, author of The Truth About Alice.


Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot! .

Why it's Wanted:

How fun and empowering does this book sound? Jennifer Mathieu is one of those authors you definitely need to read (if you haven't done so already)!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blog Tour & Author Interview: The Lost Causes by Alyssa Embree Schwartz & Jessica Koosed Etting

By: Alyssa Embree Schwartz & Jessica Koosed Etting
Published By: Kids Can Press
Release Date: Sept. 5, 2017
Pages: 344
Buy the Book: Amazon

They're the kids that no one knows --- or no one wants to know. The rich depressive, the OCD chick, the hypochondriac, the drug abuser, the athlete with anger management issues. All chosen for intensive group therapy because they're out of other options. They're lost causes, the therapist tells them. She promises this support group will help them heal.

There's only one problem. She's not a therapist. And that water she offers? It contains a dangerous serum that gives each of the kids a psychic power.

Suddenly, they can think clearly, speak to ghosts, see the past, even move objects with their mind. Their earlier problems have vanished, but their new freedom comes with a price. Sabrina, Gabby, Z, Justin and Andrew are to help the FBI solve the grisly murder that has rocked their small town. Their new powers will help them uncover clues and follow leads that have eluded the authorities. Their outsider status gives them the perfect cover.

But the same traits that make them top investigators also make them vulnerable. As they close in on the murderer, they expose a much larger conspiracy that puts them directly in harm's way and makes them wonder who --- if anyone --- they can trust.


Hi, we're Jessica & Alyssa!

We're best pal writing partners who have been obsessed with reading since we each used to hoard The Babysitters Club books in our bedrooms across the country from one another in Los Angeles (Jess) and Virginia (Lyss).

We finally met on the first day of college at USC, long enough ago that Rocket Dog platform flip-flops were fully acceptable night-out shoes and our biggest life decision was whether to watch Dawson’s Creek or Beverly Hills, 90210 on Wednesday nights (90210, obviously).

​We started writing together right after college when we took the “write what you know” adage to heart and wrote a TV pilot that sold to Fox about how life sucks when you’re 22, broke and a freshman in life. We spent the next many, many years writing for TV and film before we jumped into the book world, a major lifelong dream of ours.

The number one question everyone always asks us is how we write as a team so here’s the rundown...After being best friends and writing together for so long, our brains now officially occupy a shared space. Ninety percent of the time, we know what the other person is going to say before she even opens her mouth. Our husbands think it’s creepy, but we think it’s awesome. After this many years, we've honed it to a pretty efficient process....except for when we digress on Facetime to catch each other up on the few hours we weren’t in contact with each other (which takes especially long if we’ve both finished the same book and need to discuss, if one of us needs justification for an argument we picked with our husband or if we’ve discovered a new hair product, self-tanner or blog).

1) Where did you get the idea for The Lost Causes?

We have always been fascinated by the idea of the sixth sense (What causes it? Is it real in some people?) We’ve been playing with a germ of this idea for years… a group of outcasts who gain psychic abilities, using them to solve a murder (and discovering an even bigger conspiracy in the process). We originally envisioned it as a television series (as we were full-time screenwriters at the time), but after completing our first book series, Georgetown Academy, we decided we’d love to write it as a YA thriller. We grew up reading loads of Lois Duncan (an amazing YA author who often featured psychic teens as protagonists in her books) and we were excited about writing a novel that we saw as Lois Duncan meets the Breakfast Club.

2) Who was your favorite character (or what was your favorite scene) to write and why?

Asking an author to pick a favorite character is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child! Even though they may annoy you at times with their choices, you have this underlying affection and empathy for them. That being said, Z’s deliciously cynical POV was always super fun to write (bonus points for scenes that involved her insane mother). Our absolute favorite scenes, though, were the ones where we got to bring all of our characters together – exploring how they interacted with one another – and finding the moments in their journey to becoming unlikely friends.

3) What songs were on your writing playlist for this book?

Dark, moody, pulsating songs got us in the headspace of our characters and our locale, Cedar Springs, Colorado…Sad sad city by Ghostland Observatory, Electric Feel by MGMT, Dangerous by Big Data, Dreams by Beck and a healthy amount of Empire of the Sun were all in heavy rotation.

4) What was your journey like from drafting to publication?

We had the intense honor and joy of working on this book with our editor Kate Egan, who was also the editor of The Hunger Games trilogy (maybe you’ve heard of it, hehe). After selling the manuscript to our publisher KCP Loft, we dove in on revisions with Kate who could not have been more supportive or insightful. Her thoughtful questions allowed us to dive even deeper into our characters and peel back all the extra fluff.

However, because we wanted to hit the Fall 2017 deadline, we ended up doing all of our revisions in an extremely compressed timeline. It was an adrenaline-packed time, where we were living and dreaming the book (literally – we would dream at night about our characters as if they were our friends), but in the end, the intensity of that time crunch made us push ourselves even further and helped us deliver an even better story.

5) Do you have any writing habits?

Besides finding endless new ways to procrastinate? ;)

We cannot sit down to start a writing session without a cup of coffee or tea by our side (and at least one Le Croix/Diet Coke/Iced Coffee break in the afternoon). Generally, music and earphones are what help us get in the zone and start pounding out pages, as well as rotating different writing perches as the day goes on. Finally, if (and when) we get stuck on something, our tried-and-true method of shaking out some amazing creative inspiration is to take a shower! Works every time! (We recently read Judy Blume saying the same thing and almost died of happiness – we’re in good company!)

6) Are there any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

We’re working on our next YA book as we speak. We can’t let too many details out of the bag yet, but we can say that it was inspired by a life-changing event that happened to someone we know – something we couldn’t stop thinking about. Finally, we realized…this is the next story we want to tell. And yes…discussions have begun on a sequel to The Lost Causes.

Find The Authors Online:
Author Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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Don't miss any of the tour stops for The Lost Causes! Find the full schedule below:

Week 1
9/4/2017 - The Autumn Bookshelf - Interview
9/4/2017 - Kourtni Reads - Review
9/5/2017 - Morbid Romantic Review - Guest Post
9/5/2017 - Mama Reads Blog - Review
9/6/2017 - Owl Always Be Reading - Excerpt
9/6/2017 - What the Cat Read - Review
9/7/2017 - Bookhounds YA - Guest Post
9/7/2017 - Bibliobakes - Review
9/8/2017 - Book Princess Reviews - Interview
9/8/2017 - Savings in Seconds - Review

Week 2
9/11/2017 - Smada's Booksmack - Excerpt
9/11/2017 - Jessica's Reading Room - Review
9/12/2017 - Portrait of a Book - Interview
9/12/2017 - Texan Girl Reads - Review
9/13/2017 - A Gingerly Review - Review
9/13/2017 - Cindy's Love of Books - Review
9/14/2017 - Comfort Books - Interview
9/14/2017 - The Desert Bibliophile - Review
9/15/2017 - Rainy Day Reviews - Excerpt
9/15/2017 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (115)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"People almost never believe things because they're objectively true. They just believe in whatever made-up reality hurts them the least. So that's what I'm thinking while our dad is talking: like, that maybe hating Dash so much is the only way he has to hold off the pain of what happened."

by Sarah Porter

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Opening Lines (31)

Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!

By: Jay Kristoff
Published By: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: Sept. 5, 2017
Buy the Book: Amazon

WARNING--MAY CONTAIN NEVERNIGHT SPOILERS: A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

"Nothing stinks quite like a corpse."

Do any of these lines and covers grab your attention? What are your favorite opening lines?
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