Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Unplugged by Donna Freitas Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff ARC Review + Giveaway!

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf BFYR/Penguin Random House
Publication Date: Oct. 18, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

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!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Change Places with Me by Lois Metzger Blog Tour!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

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!

Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 7, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely makes it to the Caribbean, where she hopes to learn more about her ancestry. What she doesn’t expect is a port filled with lawless criminals and danger lurking around every corner.

With the mutinous Teach in chains, Anne must brave the perilous, pirate haven of Nassau in order to save not only Teach, but her new friends on the island. But when Teach is offered a deal—capture a notorious pirate or waste away in the Governor’s dungeons—what he discovers brings him closer and closer to becoming a pirate himself. And further away from Anne who is being held hostage in exchange for Teach’s loyalty to the Governor.

Now Teach must decide if he should risk his own soul to save Anne. Even if that means turning into a ruthless pirate…

Even if that means turning into Blackbeard.

Ever since I read Blackhearts, I've been dying for this sequel! I was prepared to start a protest with picket signs in front of the Simon and Schuster building before it was announced that there would be a sequel. Thankfully, it didn't come to that xD. I can't wait to find out what has become of Anne since Blackhearts left off, and I'm so excited for all the piratey goodness this book promises!

Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.
Connect with Nicole: Website | Twitter | FB | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Interview with Kerri Mansicalco + Giveaway!

Brittany: Hi guys! I'm back with the 2016 YA Debut Authors Bash with another awesome author, Kerri Mansicalco!

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a small town just outside of New York City where her love of the arts was fostered from an early age. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, her debut YA gothic horror, is coming September 20, 2016 from JIMMY Patterson/Little, Brown. It’s the first in a new series and incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.
Connect with Kerri: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | Tumblr | Pinterest

Brittany: Hi Kerri! Thank you for doing this interview with me! <3

Kerri: Hi Brittany! Thank YOU for interviewing me :D

Brittany: Could you share what your writing process is like? Do you outline? Do you just write and see where your mind takes you to? Do you have a specific routine or things you need in order to write?

Kerri: Usually I like to come up with a small blurb, kind of like what you see on the back of a book, and then let my muse take me from there. With Stalking Jack the Ripper, I immediately knew who my villain was going to be and how I wanted it to end, but allowed myself the freedom of how to connect the dots. I was also able to use the historical timeline of events from the murders, so it was interesting filling in the blanks between the crimes.

Brittany: What made you interested in Jack the Ripper?

Kerri: I’ve always been intrigued by the psychology behind serial killers, and forensics was a field I considered in college. The Ripper case was so interesting because it was one of the first times in history where forensics were applied and used widely. And the mystery? Goodness. The mystery that still lingers around it today is something that just BEGS to be explored more. “What if?” is like creative catnip to a writer. Once I’d figured out that I wanted to write a Victorian Era CSI with a strong female lead, there was really only one case for her to become embroiled in.

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

Kerri: Oh my gosh. I’ve got a hefty list. But I think the scariest thing I’ve ever done for fun was go to the Headless Horseman Hayride when they had a killer clown theme. I am TERRIFIED of clowns and as we were coming toward the end of the hayride, a bunch of chainsaw-wielding clowns jumped out and “attacked” our group. (There were no chains on the chainsaw, but they were loud and scary and smelled like gasoline and terror. I seriously wanted to DIE when the killer clown brought it down on my leg.)

Brittany: What are some of your pet peeves?

Kerri: Hahah oh man. These are embarrassing. I usually take a deep breath when I see people tossing around insults on the interwebs and they use the wrong your/you’re, or there/they’re/their. It takes most of my willpower to not be the one who points out “you’re* being a jerk.” Also, whenever I see text shorthand or no punctuation I kinda cringe.

Brittany: What is your favorite non-spoilery quote or scene from your book?

Kerri: One of my very favorite quotes comes in chapter one. It’s at the end of the closing scene and my main character, Audrey Rose, promises her uncle that she’ll be as silent as the dead when attending his forensic class in disguise the next morning. His response is:

“Ah,” Uncle said, putting a hat on and tugging it low, “the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

It’s such a true statement coming from this forensic professor/medical examiner, and it’s delightfully creepy and wonderful at once. I think it really captures the essence of SJTR.

Brittany: Who was your first OTP?

Kerri: My first? Hmmm. This is hard because I ship so many characters now. Sherlock and Watson were my first one true pairing for friendship. As for first romantic pairings? That will forever be Romeo and Juliet. (Followed closely by Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.) I am clearly awful with sticking to the first one…

Brittany: What would automatically make you stop reading a book?

Kerri: This is really tough because I don’t think there’s a book that I’ve DNF’d. I’m an eternal optimist who keeps going with the hope that it’ll get better in the next chapter. However, if I ever came across a rape scene used solely as a plot device or reason for a young woman (or any woman or man) to start kicking ass, I’d probably stop reading. To geek-out for a second on The Force Awakens, one of the reasons Rey was such an amazing character was because she was simply good at being a mechanic, and she didn’t apologize for her skills. I like seeing female characters who are empowered to just be themselves and live authentically.

Brittany: What is one material possession you could not live without no matter what?

Kerri: I’m going to cheat here and say my mother’s Nancy Drew set. My grandmother was very, very poor, but with each paycheck she’d put pennies away and slowly add Nancy Drew stories to her collection for my mom every month. Without my grandmother’s love of reading—she even used to read to my mom while she was pregnant with her—I would not be who I am today. Knowing how hard she worked just to bring these stories into our lives, I could never live without those beautiful, tattered, used books. They mean more to me than all the money in the universe.

Brittany: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Kerri: I come from a long line of family members who enjoy cooking. My grandmother, my uncles, my mom, the list goes on. When I’m not writing, I’m usually in the kitchen with my family or friends. I love the whole creative process of coming up with something fun and different. And beautiful! We eat with our eyes as much as our mouths, so I really enjoy making food look good too. I’m also really into music. I used to write about live shows when I still lived in New York, and I’ve always got some album on when I’m not working. I don’t get to go as much, but when I have downtime I try and get out to see live shows.

Brittany: Which fictional character (not from your own book) do you identify with the most? The character could be from a book, TV Show, Movie, Comic, etc.

Kerri: Great question! I think that I’d have to say that I identify with Jo March the most. (And my family would likely agree.) We’d be the very best of friends and have lots of things to discuss from time spent writing plays when we were younger, to our fierce belief in maintaining our individuality throughout our lives.

Brittany: Thank you again, Kerri, for doing this interview with me and being on the blog today! 

I hope all of you enjoyed this post. Be sure to check out Kerri's amazing debut novel, Stalking Jack the Ripper!

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Mansicalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown & Co.
Publication Date: Sept. 20th, 2016
Buy it: Amazon B&N | Book Depository | IndieBound
Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 10, 2016

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | Book Depository
Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

A Traveller by Joshua Khan - Guest Post

“Ah, friend! I see you are on the road north, like myself? Perhaps we could keep one another company, yes?”

The man perches himself on a mile stone, and he looks friendly enough. I tighten my grip on my sword hilt, making it clear, in not so many words, that I am no fool.

Yet he is thin, old, no threat to me nor anyone else.

Why would such a threadbare vagabond want with the likes of me, or of the kingdom of Gehenna?

I nod, curtly, and he gathers his pack and we fall into step together.

He looks up at the stars, smiling. “A cold night and yet we have a few miles before we reach any shelter.”

I frown. “I was told there were no inns along this road.”

The man smiles and points a bony finger ahead. “Oh, there is a place to dine, not so far from here.”

I watch him, sideways. Best be cautious, even with beggars.

It is cold, and I huddle my shoulders deeper into the cloak. I left in haste, as murderers do, blood still on my sleeve and the cry of the watch ringing in my ears. Just time enough to gather a small purse of silver—my victim was poorer than I’d hoped—my sword and this cloak, taken off the dead man’s shoulders and not as thick as I’d wished.

Still, I live, I breathe, and there may be richer pickings in Gehenna.

Gehenna, a land only the daring and desperate venture. I smile to myself. Am I not both?

We reach a crossroads. There is a sign, but the moonlight is too faint to make out the words. Both paths lead only deeper into Spindlewood. And darkness.

“You have not been to Gehenna?” asks the man, noticing my indecision at the offered paths. He gestures to the left. “That way.”

I grunt, and take the left path.

I walk in silence. My companion does not.

He laughs as a host of bats wheel and whirl above us. “Look, they herald our coming! Gehenna is poor in soil, poor in coal and decent grazing but, oh my, tis rich in so many ways. Bats, it has plenty of. The nobles here use them to carry messages.” He flutters his hands. “Ffft. Form Castle Gloom to Sable Manor. Then from Tomb Town to the Troll Teeth Mountains. Back and forth, flapping on their leathern wings. They are beautiful, are they not?”

“Bats carry diseases,” I answer. I want him to shut up.

“Not just bats,” says the man. “There are so many types of diseases, I believe we all carry something… foul.”

My hand drops back to my hilt. “Do you mock me, old fool?”

He steps away, and bows. “My humblest apologies, my friend. I meant nothing. I can see that you are a bold warrior, and I am, as you say, just an old fool. But I have been to Gehenna before, so wish, in exchange for a meal, to give you some advice.”

“I have little food,” I reply.

The man’s eyes sparkle. “Then perhaps just a drink? To warm my old bones?”

I tap the wineskin dangling from my shoulder. “Perhaps. If your advice is good.”

He nods, then does a spindle-boned skip. “Gehenna, what to say about the kingdom of darkness? Where to begin? Shall I start with the living, or the dead?”

I scoff. I’ve heard the old wives tales about the dead that walk in this kingdom. Tales to frighten children. I’ve seen enough dead men. Made a few myself and not one stood up, nor as much blinked an eye when I was finished with him. I fear nothing from the grave. “Tell me about the living, fool.”

He smirks. I do not like the cleverness in his eyes. Yet, if he was so clever, why does he wear just rags? “Then be warned, my brave companion, that there are three great killers in this world, and Gehenna is home to one of them.”

“Tyburn,” I reply. “I have heard the name.”

“And does not your heart freeze at the sound of it?”

I shrug my shoulders. “There are many tales about Tyburn, but tales grow in the telling. He may be as good as they say, and he may not.”

Still, I am no fool. I intend to stay well away from Tyburn.

“What of the rulers?” I ask. “They say Lord Iblis Shadow is a great sorcerer.”

The man claps. “Indeed, great he is! He respects the old ways, the ways of the ancestors and those that live, either side of the grave. He hosts a ball every Halloween, an elegant masquerade! You should see it!”

“Masquerade? Why? Are the Gehennish so ugly?”

“Ugly? You would not think that if you but glimpsed his wife, Lady Salome! There is no fairer creature in all the New Kingdoms! No, the masks are so you do not know who is from the living, and who is from the lands of the dead. So, for one night, the two worlds mingle and celebrate together, as is the way here.”

I shiver. It is cold and my cloak is thin.

The old man sighs, and sits himself on a stone. “Yet the dead may rise at any time, not just on Halloween.”

I peer down the path, expecting the light of an inn. But it is dark. “I thought you said there was a place to eat?”

“We shall dine here, my friend,” says the old man. He taps his fingers upon the stone. “Then I shall sleep again.”

I back away and draw my sword. “Stay away, old fool. I will kill you.”

He merely smiles. “I do not doubt it. I can smell a killer from some distance. Your scent brings me from my bed.” He glances down.

The stone he sits is a gravestone. We have stopped at a grave, and the earth around it is churned and broken.

The man moves in a blur. One hand grips my wrist, crushing the bones, making me drop my sword. I cannot scream, as he holds me by the throat. He leans closer and sniffs, closing his eyes as if overwhelmed by some heady perfume. “So sweet, the smell of fresh murder.”

“I have given you advice,” he smiles and his fangs are revealed. “Now about that drink you owe me…”


About Joshua Khan

Born in Britain. Lives in London. Would rather live in a castle. Writes fantasy. Enjoys it.
Connect with Joshua: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele ARC Review

The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…

When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…

Action-filled and steamy, The Marked Girl combines parallel universes and time travel, resulting in a wonderful debut novel packed with romance, adventure, and demons! It's a unique premise with characters that have intriguing, interconnecting story lines, and I can't wait to find out where the next book takes us. With all of that said, the book did slow down a bit towards the middle, and some aspects of the plot were slightly predictable. However, I still greatly enjoyed The Marked Girl, and would undeniably recommend it to all young-adult fantasy lovers!

1) My favorite part of the book was the dialogue—particularly between Liv and Cedric. It was hilarious, electric, and it hit me right in the feels each time.

2) Each time Liv had to explain to Cedric and his friends about modern day living was hysterical. I especially enjoyed Liv telling Cedric how it isn't normal to carry a sword onto public transportation.

3) The family dynamics in this book are eye-opening. The Marked Girl sheds a light on the foster care system, and how siblings can be torn apart; It depicts both loving family relationships, as well as dysfunctional ones.

4) The teenagers aren't just running around with swords and fighting demons without anyone noticing—there are actually cops and government officials involved. This almost never happens!

5) Action scenes are among the hardest to execute in a book. It's not easy to write a fight scene that gives me an adrenaline rush, and in most cases, I find action scenes nonsensical and dizzying (and not in a good way). I didn't just love the action scenes—I simply couldn't get enough of them. They were clear, well-written, and read like a scene from a movie.

6) The chemistry between Liv and Cedric was awesome! There was a great connection and energy between. For book two, I just hope my ship doesn't sink . . .

1) Villain monologuing . . . I've never been a fan of it. It takes away from the villain's evilness, and I like my villains evil.

2) I enjoyed The Marked Girl's plot, but around the middle of the book, the pacing slowed and I wasn't sure where the story was going. I felt that some of the side characters involved didn't add much to the story, but rather took away from the main focus of it.

3) The Marked Girl is told through Liv and Cedric's POVs, but it's predominately told through Liv's. I would have preferred more balance so that I could see more of the story from Cedric's side.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Meet the Newbies: Michelle Andreani

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts!

Author Most Likely to Ship Everyone and Everything So Hard

Hi! I’m Michelle.

I was born in New York City, and have never lived anywhere else. (I should maybe try at some point? What’s your town like? Does it have weird bugs?)

I first learned to drive a car when I was in my twenties, which is totally normal because I’m a New Yorker, I swear! I also have two agoraphobic cats who would not be great at road trips, honestly, but they make up for that with extreme cuteness.

I am a liker of many things. These things include staying in, going out dancing, love stories, beach air, milkshakes, pop songs, and Luna Lovegood.

I am also a disliker of things, namely my terrible memory (though I’ll never forget the word that cost me the Spelling Bee in third grade: Dinosaur. Dinosaur. GOD. Just . . . It’s fine.), talking on the phone, that gross noise people make when they eat, and humidity. Blech.
Nickname: It is one of my greatest disappointments that I never got the nickname Elle. But some of my friends do call me Pixie! (Long story.)  
First Day of School: May 3, 2016
Homeroom: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
Grade: Contemporary 
Extracurricular Activities: Impromptu Dance - Break Club, Leslie Knope Appreciation Society, Emoji Enthusiasts, Overthinkers of America
Favorite Class: Advanced Bookstore Browsing
Favorite Quote/Motto: “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” —Hafiz

When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

Michelle: This is such an interesting question for me, because I am not one of those writers who saw the light at a young age! Despite being an A+ daydreamer, I was already in high school when it clicked that I even enjoyed writing fiction. And all through college, what I really wanted to do was write for television and/or film. (My college notebooks are FILLED with dialogue I'd write during class instead of like, actual class notes.) And then it wasn't until after college that I fell in love with novel writing. So, it did take me a bit to figure it out. But I like to think of it as a slow burn romance. ;-)

What are some of your pet peeves?

Michelle: I'm going to hold back on this one so as to maintain an image of being 100% cool and a negative percentage of neurotic. *puts on sunglasses* But my tip-top, #1 pet peeve is loud eaters. My blood pressure went up just typing that. I want to burrow under the earth when I'm around any loud eating mouth noises. OMG. And another biggie for me is music/book snobs. I just have no time for that. Take your snobbery elsewhere!

Which of the other Sweet Sixteen authors would you like to take a spontaneous road trip with, and why?

Michelle: Firstly, I <3 this question so much. Secondly, I'm going to cheat! The Sweet Sixteens are the most wonderful group of talented human starbursts, so I'm proposing a road trip caravan for all 100+ of us. Imagine the snacks!

What would make you stop reading a book?

Michelle: Oh, gosh. I'd say not connecting with characters is what would pull me up short. If I'm not invested in their journey, it's probably a good idea to move on. We all have to protect our time, you know? But the best part of the reading experience is that it's different for everyone. A book you might not have connected with at all could be my absolute favorite.

What fictional character is most like you? (It can be one of your own characters, or a character from another book or movie!)

Michelle: All right, so, the character that came to mind immediately is Liz Lemon from 30 ROCK. She's nerdy, self-deprecating, and occasionally awkward, but she's also kind of comfortable with all that. And she loves staying in, sweater weather, and when Muppets present at awards shows. She is my Patronus -- or maybe I'm hers?

What is your favorite non-spoilery quote or moment from your own book?

Michelle: Ooh! I'm cheating here, too, if that's okay? One of my favorites is when Cloudy and Kyle first arrive in Los Angeles. They're at a club to see an all-girls Beatles tribute band perform, and it's such a fun, transformative scene for them. But there's also a scene later on in the book when Cloudy and Kyle are in Sedona. There's a moment when they're speaking to each other before heading off to a birthday party, and it makes me swoon so hard. (Swooning is my favorite!)

What is one thing that you want your readers to take away from reading The Way Back To You?

Michelle: I think something that was really important to Mindi and me as we wrote TWBTY was showing the ways Cloudy and Kyle were grieving Ashlyn. The depth of their pain and loss was similar, but they expressed it so dissimilarly. Grief is an incredibly personal thing. We all feel it and work through it differently. We don't have to understand it all the time. All we can really do is respect what people are going through and show up for them however they need us to.

Brittany: Thank you, Michelle for doing this interview with me! It was a pleasure ^_^

Everyone, make sure to check out Michelle and her co-author Mindi's book The Way Back To You and enter the giveaway below!

The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her...and to each other.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Behind the Scenes of My Kind of Crazy by 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.
Connect with Robin: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

by Robin Reul

It’s always fun to go behind the scenes and learn a little more about what went into the creation of a story. Chances are, there are some major changes that happened between when the book was written and that final version on the shelf, as well as stories behind how the characters or settings or elements of the plot came to be. Here’s a list of eight things you probably don’t know about “MY KIND OF CRAZY”:

1) The main character, Hank Kirby, is actually named for fellow YA author Jessi Kirby. When I was looking for the perfect last name for my main character, I took to Facebook and scoured my friends list. Kirby fit perfectly, and was a fitting choice since Jessi has been such an influential part of my writing career. Aside from being one of the nicest people on the planet and my stumbling upon her book MOONGLASS, which hit me when I needed it most, she also helped refer me to my now-agent (not once but twice!).

2) Though Hank rides a bike, I have only ridden one once in my life. I was not very good at it. Needless to say, my husband had to teach both our kids.

3) The book originally had a completely different ending. There is a line where Hank is talking with his friend Nick about Kyle Jonas, a guy at school who makes his life a living hell. Nick tells him that his father has a friend who owns a fish market and suggests that he dump fish in Kyle’s car. I thought the image was hilarious, but then, when I watched the trailer for the movie adaptation of John Green’s PAPER TOWNS I realized why: because there it was as part of that story. I chalk it up to great minds think alike and immediately set to work on an alternative ending. While John Green comparisons are a writer’s dream, plagiarizing him is not.

4) The How High burger is a real thing, though I have no idea if they put people’s pictures up on the wall after they finish one. My son told me about a place near campus when he was at UC Santa Barbara that sold them called the IV Deli Mart, and it just seemed to fit the story perfectly, so I had to go back in and pepper the manuscript with places where it would be mentioned so that it would all come together at the end in a natural way.

5) As I wrote Hank’s voice, I was heavily influenced by the voice Andrew Smith created for his character Ryan Dean in WINGER and also Tim Tharp’s Sutter Keely in THE SPECTACULAR NOW. They were both such rich characters whose voices jumped off the page to me and felt very real and relatable.

6) The book went through three title and two cover changes before publication. Originally it was titled “Hank Kirby” but that sounded like a middle grade novel and told the reader absolutely zero about what was between the pages. When it sold, it was called “Rebel Without A Clue” but the publisher feared teens might not get the Rebel Without A Cause reference. Ultimately, my editor and I came up with “My Kind Of Crazy” together. The original cover featured Hank standing in front of a house, his face obscured by a giant heart made of sparklers in the center of the cover. It was gorgeous, but the consensus felt it would pigeonhole the book as a teen romance (which it has elements of but is not the meat of the story) and limit the audience by turning away potential male readers as a result. The designers dug back in and came up with the current gorgeous cover that fits the story so much better.

7) As soon as I started writing the book, I knew immediately it felt like it needed to be set in Massachusetts’ South Coast. I went to college in Boston (Yay Boston University! Go Terriers!) and met my husband there, who is from the New Bedford area. I spent a lot of time there in the summer between our junior and senior year, and the setting stayed with me. It’s a diverse stretch of towns about an hour outside of Boston that is a mix of older, wealthier quaint New England towns bordering on blue collar ones where people are struggling day to day to make ends meet.

8) In the opener when Hank nearly sets Amanda’s house on fire by writing “prom” in sparklers on her lawn, we had to make a major tweak in revision. It turns out (thankfully!) that my editor’s husband is a volunteer firefighter, and he said it would be next to impossible for the sparklers to ignite the grass and tree unless they were planted in something flammable. Hence, the sparklers were subsequently planted instead in a patch of pine tree mulch under the tree. Pine trees produce turpentine, which is highly flammable and thus allowed the perfect solution to the quandary of how to make Hank’s promposal fail in an epic way!

Brittany: Thank you, Robin, for sharing with us! 

You guys can check out info about Robin's book below as well as my review by clicking on my rating ^_^

My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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.

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