Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith Blog Tour: Interview

Hey guys, I have the pleasure of having Lindsay Smith on the blog today for the blog tour for her new novel, A Darkly Beating Heart! I hope you guys enjoy our interview, and be sure to check out the other tour stops and giveaway below!

~The Book~
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N
A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.

No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt at her home in Seattle, Reiko's parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu's life . . . until she discovers Kuramagi's dark secret and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.

~Meet the Author~

Lindsay Smith is the author of Cold War-era espionage novels Sekret and Skandal, as well as the fantasy novel Dreamstrider. She writes on foreign affairs and lives in Washington, DC.

Connect with Lindsay: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

~The Interview~

Brittany: How long have you been interested in Japanese culture and why did you decide that Edo Japan was the best setting for A Darkly Beating Heart?

Lindsay: I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, particularly the pre-Meiji periods, but it wasn’t until I visited a historically preserved village on my 2014 trip to Japan that I got the idea for A Darkly Beating Heart. The exteriors of the town of Tsumago in Kifu prefecture has been kept more or less exactly as it appeared in the 1860s. No external electric lights or cables, just low two- or three-story wooden structures with clay tile roofs, all winding their way up the hillside, lit by paper lanterns. It was such a spooky place to walk around at night, when fog came up from the valley, and it really got me thinking about what secrets could hide in the darkness, especially during such a tumultuous period at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Brittany: As I already said, A Darkly Beating Heart is set in Edo Japan and your dulogy Sekret is set in Russia. What other countries would you like to use as setting in future books?

Lindsay: I’m honestly not sure! There are plenty of other stories in Russian history that I’d love to tell, but I really enjoyed branching out of what I know best and learning more about Japanese history for this book. It would be awesome to do that for another setting. Colonial India, maybe, or WWII Great Britain, or Romania during Tito’s rule. I am a writer for Serial Box’s The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, which is set in USSR-occupied Prague during the 1970s, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working on that as well.

Brittany: What is your favorite thing about writing Historical Fiction?

Lindsay: It feels a lot like writing fantasy, honestly, except the worldbuilding is already done for me. ;) I love getting to immerse myself in another time and place and tease out all the tiny details that bring it to life.

Brittany: What is the creepiest or scariest thing you have ever done for fun?

Lindsay: Oh man, if you ever need a ghosthunting buddy, let me know! I’m all about exploring spooky abandoned places. In high school, I went to one of the “crybaby bridge”s of urban legend with a group of friends, parked on the bridge, and told scary stories while we took photographs and scared ourselves silly with the creepy sounds in the woods.

Brittany: What are your favorite and least favorite scenes to write?

Lindsay: ANGST. I love writing angst. More generally, I love torturing characters, and feeding on all their delicious tears!

My least favorite scenes are pretty much all of those “connective tissue” bits—crucial to keep the story moving logically, but very hard to keep interesting. I always challenge myself to dig deeper in them and find something to make them stand out rather than just look like the scaffolding that they are.

Brittany: What fictional character that is not your own do you identify with the most? Could be from a book, TV show, or a movie. 

Lindsay: I identify with all the poor Slytherins at Hogwarts who WEREN’T evil as hell! Man, they sure got a bad rap. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and relentless!

Brittany: Who was your first OTP?

Lindsay: Han and Leia, definitely—the dorky scoundrel and the tiny spitfire diplomat. I think their dynamic in the original trilogy describes my husband and me pretty well, too. ;) My OTPs right now, though, are Steve/Bucky (Cold War parallels?! Compare/contrast in free will and compulsion?!, epic love story that transcends the chains of time against all odds?!), and Putin/Ridiculous Photo Ops.

Brittany: Could share with us what your writing process is like? Do you draft? Do you have a certain schedule for yourself? Things you specifically must have with you when writing, etc?

Lindsay: It’s always evolving, but lately I’ve become an outlining evangelist. I used to keep my outline in my head, then inevitably left huge gaping logic holes that I’d have to tie myself up in knots to fix. Or rewrite the book. About a dozen times. Now I try to tackle all those knots ahead of the time in the outlining stage.

I can write pretty much anywhere, but the worse the internet connection, the more success I’ll have. Oops. Right now I get a lot of writing done on my train commute, to the point where sometimes I have trouble stockpiling enough outlines/projects to fill the time.

Brittany: Could you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

Lindsay: I’m currently rewriting an older fantasy novel draft, and giving the side-eye to a couple of potential cyberpunk-ish plots. Nothing concrete, though! Also, the first season of The Witch Who Came In From the Cold will be out next spring in an omnibus from Saga Press, and then Season 2 will launch!

Brittany: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Lindsay: There isn’t any one correct way to write, so find what feels right to you—outlining, making it up as you go, writing every day or only when you feel like you have a clear enough head. That being said, the surest way to get better is to keep writing, and that inevitably will mean getting some bad writing out of your system first. Don’t be afraid to put something less than perfect on the page.

~The Tour Schedule~
~The Giveaway~
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&NKepler's
Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Fate is the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Crown’s Game, an atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia.

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

I have had this post ready to go since last year when I read The Crown's Game, I have just been waiting for the cover reveal and description to be released. But I didn't need either of these things to be freaking excited for this book.

The wait for this book is going to kill me. I need to know what happens to my precious Nikolai, Vika, and even Pasha (who I'm still a little mad at).

What about you guys? Have you read The Crown's Game? Did you love it? Are you excited for this one? Let me know ^_^

Evelyn Skye is the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author of THE CROWN'S GAME and its sequel, THE CROWN'S FATE. Evelyn was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on "So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. She can be found online at and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA
Connect with Evelyn: Website | Twitter | FB | Instagram | Tumblr

Did you guys know that you can still sign up to be a member of the Tsar's Guard? Sign up HERE!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Hey guys, today I have the pleasure of having the awesome Aprilynne Pike on the blog today sharing with you, her guest post and giveaway. I hope you guys enjoy it! ^_^

by Aprilynne Pike

        Maybe I should call it a nigh-fi. You know, like “near-future sci-fi.” Or should we go with faux-historical corporate intrigue? Too stuffy? Well, YA cyberpunk seems a tad gritty, what about corsetpunk? Pompadourpunk? Pannierpunk?

        In my first proposal, GLITTER took place on a space station—an asteroid-mining operation like you’d see in TV shows like Cowboy Bebop or Firefly. But instead of the wild American west, the past revived looked more like the court of the Sun King. I’d never written science fiction before, but I love space westerns. The pairing of romantic historical settings with the innovations of science fiction appeals to me—and, clearly, not just me. From the BBC’s Doctor Who and Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age, to HBO’s new take on Westworld, tech-laden faux-history has a marvelous pedigree.

        When the space station idea evolved into a “smart house” Palace of Versailles, the main character’s isolation transformed from literal to figurative and I found that my biggest challenge with GLITTER wasn’t writing it, but describing it. This was terrifying precisely because I knew I was breaking one of the cardinal rules of the publishing world: pick a genre. I teach this in my classes! If a bookstore doesn’t know where to shelve your book, they might not shelve it at all!  With clear comparisons to popular shows ranging from Breaking Bad to Versailles to Mr. Robot, I found myself struggling to craft those pithy pitches we authors so adore—“hot show meets other, totally different hot show!” And while there’s much to be said for art, selling books is how I feed my family. How could I persuade my readers to give this quirky text a try?

         If the shoe fits, they say, wear it. But what if all the shoes fit?

         That, I suppose, is why I wanted to write GLITTER in the first place. There are many shoes that fit Danica’s feet, and by the end of the story she gets to wear them all—often, dance in them, too.  She wants to be a coder; her mother wants her to be Queen.  Who among us hasn’t been there, at times, longing so deeply to be so many things, knowing on some level that becoming a wealthy, famous, vampire-hunting unicorn surgeon princess ballerina governor just isn’t in the cards? How many of us, in our desperation to be too many things to ourselves and too many other people, have made… you know… mistakes?

         The Gods of Marketing tell me that GLITTER is “science fiction,” and, as labels go, it’s not a bad one. The story has self-driving cars and robotic servants and a touch of augmented reality; if it also has castles and ballgowns and deadly court intrigue, so much the better. But if you catch me in private sometime and twist my arm a little and demand to know what GLITTER is really about, here’s what I’ll probably tell you:

         GLITTER is about one amazing young woman who, in a fit of desperation, makes a lot of really, really terrible mistakes.

         GLITTER is the story of an anti-heroine.

         Whether or not it’s the story of an anti-heroine’s redemption, well—that, I suppose, is an exercise for the reader.

~Meet the Author~

Aprilynne Pike is a critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times best-selling author of young adult fiction. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found running; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne lives in Arizona with her husband and their four children.

Connect with Aprilynne:  Website | Wattpad | FB | Twitter | GR

~The Book~

Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | GR
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike comes a truly original new novel—Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life. 
Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.
When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.
Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.
But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

~Tour Schedule~

Week One:
10/17/2016- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview
10/18/2016- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
10/19/2016- Pandora's BooksExcerpt
10/20/2016- BookHounds YAReview
10/21/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

Week Two:
10/24/2016- Brooke- ReportsReview
10/25/2016- Brittany's Book RamblesGuest Post
10/26/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
10/27/2016- A Glass Of Wine BlogInterview

10/28/2016- Mundie MomsReview


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Thursday, October 20, 2016

I'm Not Your Pixie Manic Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Hey guys, today I'm lucky enough to share with you an excerpt from I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil plus a great giveaway below! I hope you guys enjoy it ^__^

~The Book~

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Pub Date: October 18, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff and Morgan Matson’s Since You've Been Gone.
Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She's starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.
So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it's time to use The Formula for herself. She'll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.
Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn't all it's cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she's messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine.


“We should probably get going.  Don’t want to be late on the first day, right?” 
“Don’t we?” Gabe slouched back against the sofa, all thoughts of Jesse and me forgotten. “I  mean, I’m not exactly in a hurry to get my ass kicked.” 
Spencer snorted. “If you could just remember to not mouth off in front of the football team or get their beloved coach fired, you’d be golden. Now me, on the other hand . . .” He drew his thumb across his throat and lolled his head to the side, tongue hanging out of his mouth. “I’m a dead man.” 
“Maybe it’ll be different this year,” Jesse said. “I mean, you’re seniors now. Won’t those  guys have freshmen to pick on?” 
Jesse had only been at Fullerton Hills a semester, but that had been long enough to know exactly where Gabe, Spencer, and I fell in the social hierarchy at school—i.e., the bottom—so I really had to appreciate his optimism. 
Gabe propped his feet up on the coffee table. “Dude, even the freshmen pick on us.” 
“Maybe if you toned it down a little bit?” Jesse suggested. “Blended in?” 
I winced. As much as I would love for us to fit in, the last thing I’d want would be for my friends to change who they were. 
“How exactly should I blend in?” Spencer asked, his eyes cold. “Do you think if I pretended I were actually gay they’d stop calling me a fag in the halls?” He nodded at Gabe. “No offense.” 
“None taken,” Gabe said. “But, you know, if you were really a flaming queer, they’d probably leave you alone. They wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that stereotypical homosexual bullshit for fear it might rub off on them.” He pursed his lips and drew his hand up to his chin, posing like a cover model. “Thad, your cheekbones are fabulous. Has anyone ever told you that? I just want to run my tongue up and down them.” Then he roared like a tiger. 
Spencer laughed. “I’d pay to see the look on Thad’s face.” 
“Right before his fist connected with your nose,” Gabe said, then turned to me. “And I don’t know what Bea could do to shake her nickname.” 
“If she’d just agree to do their algebra homework,” Spencer said, naming the one thing I absolutely refused to do, “she’d probably be able to hang out with Cassilyn and her crew whenever she wanted.” 
Jesse grabbed my hand. “Maybe that could be your thing? You could be a math tutor.” 
I jutted out my chin. “I’d rather cut off my arm than help those half-wits figure out the value of x. It’s insulting to the memories of Diophantus and Brahmagupta.” 
Jesse blinked. “Huh?” 
Gabe waved him off. “Math stuff. Don’t ask or you’ll get a lecture.” 
I took a deep breath. “Jesse’s right.” Sort of. Though I disagreed with his suggestion that we tone down our personalities, my boyfriend did have a point. “We’re seniors now. Definitely not the freaks and weirdos we were freshman year. This is our school, and our last year at it, and we’re not going to let a bunch of roided-up assholes take that away from us. We have to act like we’re not afraid of them.” 
“Exactly,” Jesse said. “Just act like you’re cool and everything will be fine.” 
I smiled at him. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I was willing to give it a try. 
Excerpted from I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL © Copyright 2016 by Gretchen McNeil. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

~Meet the Author~

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, a writer, and a clown. She is also the author of Get Even as well as Ten, which was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and an ALA Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth and was nominated for Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012 by Romantic Times. Gretchen blogs with the Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels.

Connect with Gretchen: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram

~The Giveaway~

To enter the giveaway you guys only need to answer this question: Who is your favorite “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” character from a movie or book — why?

Use the Rafflecopter below to provide proof of your entries! <3

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub Date: March 14, 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

 So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

 Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

I love fairy tale retellings, I'm always curious to see how the authors will put their own spin on the original story. What makes me so excited is the fact that Beauty is a hunter! For some reason, I automatically started picturing Katniss as Beauty, or in this case, Yeva ^_^ 

What do you guys think of this one? Is it already on your TBR? Are you adding it now? Let me know!

~Meet the Author~

New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.
She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there. She's the author of the award-winning Starbound trilogy (These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light) and the Skylark Trilogy (Skylark, Shadowlark, Lark Ascending) as well as the upcoming Beauty and the Beast retelling Hunted.
In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.