Apr 29, 2016

Blog Tour: Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn


In DOWN WITH THE SHINE, clueless high schoolers make a bunch of random wishes that have literal consequences. So, in the spirit of that, I am raising a proverbial glass of shine and toasting to some of my own bloggers wishes.

1. I wish I had the biggest blog EVER
Except ... do I really want that pressure? Do you want the pressure of "being the biggest blogger"? 

2. I wish I got all the ARCs from all the publishers
Whoa, whoa. Hold on. My bookshelves have reach maximum capacity as is. I'm fairly certain my UPS guy and mailwoman hate me with a passion. And my family regularly threatens to evict me if one more book shows up. Plus, do I really want a bunch of books I'll probably never read that could go to a blogger who will read it? And all those ARCs in a lot of responsibility.

3. I wish the book community would just all get along
But ... I don't. Do I wish things like that happened this week didn't happen? That people didn't get hurt or upset or threatened or made to feel bad because they did what they thought was right? Yes. But I don't think everyone having the same beliefs and thoughts benefits anyone. We need to learn and grow from each other, and sometimes that includes through conflict.

ABOUT DOWN WITH THE SHINE:
There's a reason they say "be careful what you wish for." Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for "balls of steel" and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...
 




ABOUT KATE KARYUS QUINN:

Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would... build character. Another Little Piece is her first novel.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of DOWN WITH THE SHINE (US Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 27, 2016

Blog Tour: Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun


HEIR TO THE SKY Playlist

I have weird taste in music. Let’s just get that out of the way first. I listen to Celtic pop, video game soundtracks, Icelandic pop, KPop, JPop. My favorite artists are Enya, Arashi, Loreena McKennit, SHINee, B2ST, and Sigur Ros.

I’m sorry, but also not. I love this weird mix of sounds. And I hope maybe you’ll find something new that you like, too!

Here are the top 5 songs I listened to while writing HEIR TO THE SKY:


Noel’s Theme (The Last Hunter) – Final Fantasy XIII-2

This has been repurposed as Griffin’s theme. ^_^ There’s a sadness in it that to me echoes the earth on the edge of destruction. There are so few survivors left on the surface, and so little hope to cling to. But that little shred of hope is beautiful and sharp as a diamond.

Awake – Skyrim

This is the theme I played over and over as I wrote the scenes in Ashra. In particular, I used it to help me visualize the opening scene, when Kali is standing in her field of flowers and fireweed, the earth at a dizzying distance below. It sets the scene, too, for the rainbow of fireflies in the outlands, and for the swamps of earth when they glow at night.

Ultima Weapon’s Theme – Final Fantasy XIV

There are a lot of monster fights in HEIR TO THE SKY, and I had a lot of game music to turn to. Ultima Weapon was a good piece, as well as the final Ganon battle from Ocarina of Time and the Esper Battle from Final Fantasy XII. It also brings back good memories of playing FFXIV with my character Tomo. ^_^ (and yes, he was an arcanist/summoner—drawings coming to life ftw!)

Kolniður – Jonsi

An Icelandic song, it was useful for the broad and wild landscapes of the earth as I was writing them. I was in Iceland a few years ago and I remember the amazing variety of the scenery—snow one minute, then coils of hardened lava ten minutes down the road.

I May Not Awaken – Enya

Enya has been a favorite of mine since forever. Her music evokes amazing landscapes when I write. I can only hope to capture the wildness on the page as I listen to her. I hope if you listen to this song, you’ll see the variety on earth and on Kali’s floating continents, too.

You can get a full playlist for HEIR TO THE SKY here. I hope you’ll listen as you read!


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxOJ1abCyAQVOgtgkQyRQYKUZMHHfMr8s



ABOUT HEIR TO THE SKY:
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.


ABOUT AMANDA SUN:
I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.

​In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.

​The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.


LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of HEIR TO THE SKY (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano


Welcome to DAY 1 of the HOLDING SMOKE Tour! Elle Cosimano is a fantastic author and an awesome woman that I'm sure you'll love. I had a chance to interview her to kick things off!


1. Describe HOLDING SMOKE in less than 10 words:
The Shawshank Redemption for teens meets If I Stay.

2. Without being too spoiler-y, what was your favorite scene to write?
I can’t share anything about my favorite scene. It would spoil everything. You’ll know it when you read it… when every loose thread in the story suddenly weaves together into something solid and twisty and intense. So instead, I’ll just say I loved writing the romantic elements of this story. It’s a challenge to write a love story when the love interests can’t touch each other, not because of family or societal obstacles, but because one isn’t corporeal and it can never be physically possible. The scenes between John and Pink are sweet and poignant and moving. There’s such a longing in them. Their connection transcends a physical relationship. Writing these scenes challenged me to explore the hearts and minds of my characters more deeply, in order to translate that yearning and tenderness to the page.

3. How will teens be able to relate to Smoke? 
Smoke truly believes he is living the life he deserves – that he isn’t worthy of redemption. There’s such a hopelessness to his situation, because he believes his life is over and he’ll never overcome what he’s done, or what’s happened to him. He’s resigned himself to the labels society has put on him – worthless, criminal, killer. The teen years are the first years when most of us make our biggest formative choices, and often our biggest mistakes. These are often our first experiences being labeled and judged for those choices. And the aftermath of those choices sometimes feels damning in permanent and life-altering ways. I wanted to tell the story of a teen who realizes that he isn’t the sum of his circumstances and mistakes, and that he can change the direction of his life, even when everything feels hopeless.

4. Why do you write young adult?
I love stories of self-discovery. And the teen years are about unraveling the mystery of who we are, and making choices about who we want to be.

5. What do you have coming up next?
My next book, THE SUFFERING TREE, comes out in spring of 2017. It’s a YA mystery/thriller with a hearty helping of historical romance and a pinch of paranormal. Think Outlander meets Warm Bodies and you’re on the right track.

Fast 5:
Favorite Drink: Coffee, cream, no sugar

Favorite Food: Stuffed jalapeños

Favorite Movie:  Gross Pointe Blank

Favorite Song:  This week? GHOSTS THAT WE KNEW by Mumford & Sons (it ties in closely with the themes of HOLDING SMOKE).

Favorite Book:  Steve Hamilton’s THE LOCK ARTIST


ABOUT HOLDING SMOKE:
John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name. 

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.


ABOUT ELLE COSIMANO:
Author of NEARLY GONE, NEARLY FOUND, HOLDING SMOKE, and THE SUFFERING TREE (Disney*Hyperion, 2017). Represented by Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.




Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of HOLDING SMOKE (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 19, 2016

Blog Tour: Solider by Julie Kagawa




Dragons ... Dragons ... Makeup...? Yes. What goes better than dragons and makeup - seriously, the bright jewel tones, the fiery lips, the smoldering eyes - YES. So here are some of my favorite dragonesque looks!







ABOUT SOLDIER:
That was what Garret Xavier Sebastian thought he was part of as a soldier of the Order of St. George. What he learned from a fiery dragon hatchling twisted all he believed in and set him on a collision course with certain death-but not without a chance to put things right.

Betrayed and on the run again, Ember and rogue dragon Riley discover an unthinkable truth about Talon and St. George. They'll need Garret's skills and insider knowledge of the Order to negotiate an impossible deal-and if they fail, there will be no way to stop all-out war.



ABOUT JULIE KAGAWA:

Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time (okay, at least the illustrations did), but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a
real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, an obnoxious cat, an Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and a hyper-active Papillion.


Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

Giveaway:
1 set of TALON, ROGUE & SOLDIER (US Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 16, 2016

Blog Tour: The Darkest Corners

Review:
For me, mysteries are a hit or miss genre (more miss than hit, to be honest). I love a good mystery, especially when the twists and turns keep me guessing. I do not like when there is mystery for mystery sake (lot of allusions to things that everyone sans the reader knows, or random reveals that reveal more unanswered questions). THE DARKEST CORNERS was one of those mysteries that I really enjoyed, though. Kara Thomas does a great job of moving the story along at a nice pace, keeping the reader (me) entertained and guessing.

Admittedly, I guessed a few of the twists in the book, but I didn't really mind because the writing was so good. I found Tessa to be a smart character - she questions things and thinks for herself. She's not perfect and gets into a trouble a bit, but she's one of the more rationale teenagers I've come across in YA fiction. The only downside to Tessa was she could be a tad grating at times and I needed to take a break from Tessa, not the book.

Overall, THE DARKEST CORNERS is a dark, twisty book that will leave readers entertained and guessing. 

About THE DARKEST CORNERS:
The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.


About KARA THOMAS: 
Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming April 2016 from Random House/Delacorte. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin's Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor. Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.

Apr 9, 2016

Blog Tour: My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul


Review:
MY KIND OF CRAZY is the crazy (yet adorably fantastic) story of a boy who sets fire to someone's house and another person's heart. OK, two people's hearts if you count mine, too, because Hank absolutely stole my heart with this book.

Hank is my people - he's a bit of a sarcastic ass but he has this heart that genuinely loves and any reader can empathize with. As much as Hank drove this story for me, it would not be complete without Peyton (our resident pyro). What I especially loved was the evolution of their relationship with felt organic and natural, not forced along as a plot point to check the romance column for this book.

Robin Reul's debut is a breath of fresh air. She lends an authenticity to the voice of teens in fiction, balancing humor with grace that makes me wholly excited to read anything and everything she writes next.

MY KIND OF CRAZY is without a doubt my kind of crazy. Crazy awesome, that is.


ABOUT MY KIND OF CRAZY:
Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house. 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.



ABOUT ROBIN REUL:
Robin Reul has been writing since she was in early elementary school, when she used to make her own book club flyers for her classmates and then pen them original stories. Though she grew up on movie sets and worked for many years in the film and television industry both as an actress and in motion picture development, she ultimately decided to focus her attention on writing young adult novels. She likes to write the same kinds of stories she loved as a teen: the ones that give her with butterflies in her stomach and are filled with quirky, memorable characters who stay with the reader long after the story ends. When she’s not writing, Robin can be found singlehandedly driving up the profit margin of her local Starbucks and indulging her love of baked goods, particularly those in the key of pumpkin. She lives in Los Angeles suburbia with her husband, son and daughter.


LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of MY KIND OF CRAZY (US Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 8, 2016

Blog Tour: Don't Get Caught

Review:
First thoughts when I finished DON'T GET CAUGHT? Dang. That was fun!

Kurt Dinan's debut splashes loudly and wildly across the pages, drawing me in from the first chapter and keeping me smiling, bemused, and entertained the whole way through. It's a fabulously fun way to read away an afternoon.

Max is one of those characters I wish I had known in school, and Dinan does a wonderful job of nailing the voice of a teenager. There is a lack of strong male teen leads in YA fiction (in my opinion), so Dinan's voice is a welcome addition to the YA landscape and one that is clearly here to stay.

DON'T GET CAUGHT absolutely caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did, but it's a book I am more than happy to add to my bookshelves. Definitely try this one out as soon as you can!


ABOUT DON'T GET CAUGHT:
10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club

When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he's Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He's Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it's also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust...

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security "catches" them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It's time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Let the prank war begin.






ABOUT KURT DINAN:
Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher living in Cincinnati. His debut novel, DON'T GET CAUGHT, will be released in April of 2016. He is represented by Kerry Sparks of LGR.


LINKS: Website | Twitter


Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of DON'T GET CAUGHT (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway