Book Review + Q&A | The Shadow Behind the Stars | Rebecca Hahn

I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Q&A | The Shadow Behind the Stars | Rebecca HahnThe Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn
Published by Atheneum on September 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy YA, Mythology, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher via Edelweiss
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A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, whichKirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

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Character Profile + Teaser | Breaking Sky | Cori McCarthy

Book Cover Breaking Sky Cori McCarthy

Breaking Sky • Cori McCarthy

Guys! I’m excited to be able to share some extra goodies with you you today for Cori McCarthy’s adrenaline-fueled dystopian novel that focuses on teenage airplane pilots during a Second Cold War. Reread that sentence if you need to. AIRPLANE PILOTS. SECOND COLD WAR. It’s basically Top Gun, you guys, and I really enjoyed it.

To tide you over until I post my review, the awesome folks at Sourcebooks are hosting this tour to introduce you to some of the pilots from United Star Academy, tease you with some passages, and THEN they’re giving away FIVE COPIES of BREAKING SKY! WOOOO!

So, let’s not waste any more time. Are you guys ready to meet Sylph? (I hope so.)

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Blog Tour Guest Post + Review | Broken | C.J. Lyons

Book cover for Broken by CJ Lyons

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

CJ Lyons: Web | Twitter

Summary: The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now… or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.

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Blog Tour Review | Blackmoore | Julianne Donaldson

Book cover for Blackmoore by Julianne DonaldsonTitle: Blackmoore
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Genre: Historical Romance
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release date: September 9, 2013
Source: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley

Summary: Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.

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Blog Tour: Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison by Bridget Zinn

book cover for poison by bridget zinn

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powells | iTunes | IndieBound 

Add POISON on Goodreads!

Check out more about Bridget and her awesome book and life on the web

Friends, I am so happy to be participating in this blog tour for POISON by Bridget Zinn. It’s so special that so many people are joining up to spread the word about this really sweet, fun fantasy (I’m typing up my review as soon as I’m done posting this). It gives me the warm-fuzzies, even while it makes me a little bit sad: I’d love for the chance to read more of Bridget’s books, but if this is the one we get, I’m more than happy with that, too.

About Bridget Zinn

Bridget Zinn

Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.

Lots of other super people are participating–or have already participated–in this tour. You can check out out the whole list here.

Book Review + Giveaway: The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

Book cover for The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

Title: The Other Normals

Author: Ned Vizzini

Genre: Fantasy YA, Contemporary YA, gaming

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release date: September 25, 2012

Amazon | Goodreads

Source: ARC from the publisher

Summary: The Other Normals centers on 15-year-old Peregrine “Perry” Eckert, who’s seriously obsessed with an uber-dorky role-playing game called Creatures & Caverns. Concerned about his stunted social skills and need for fresh air, Perry’s parents decide to ship him off to summer camp to become a man. He anticipates the worst summer of his life until he arrives at camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals, a place where his nerdy childhood may serve him well — but not without connecting with the real world first.

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Guest Post: Ned Vizzini

Aka, the most awesome guest post ever because NED CODED IT FOR ME. I mean, honestly. Anyway, Ned’s about to give us all a rundown of his experiences with Dungeons & Dragons. Preview: It’s kind of awesome.

◊ ◊ ◊

How Dungeons & Dragons is Supposed to Be Played — With Friendship

The most important part of the Dungeons & Dragons manual, which has been sold with the game for almost 40 years, is the part that gives an example of how to play:

DM: You’ve been following this tunnel for about 120 yards. The water on the floor is ankle deep and very cold. Now and then you feel something brush against your foot. The smell of decay is getting stronger. The tunnel is gradually filling with a cold mist.
Fighter 1: I don’t like this at all. Can we see anything up ahead that looks like a doorway,or a branch in the tunnel?
DM: Within the range of your torchlight, the tunnel is more or less straight. You don’t see any branches or doorways.
Cleric: The wererat we hit had to come this way. There’s nowhere else to go.
Fighter 1: Unless we missed a hidden door along the way. I hate this place; it gives me the creeps.
Fighter 2: We have to track down that wererat. I say we keep going.

[taken from the AD&D Player’s Handbook 2nd Edition]

This is how all my Dungeons & Dragons games actually went:

DM: Okay so we’re starting a game and I’m the dungeon master and —
My Friend: Hold on, aren’t we doing the Barrathur campaign?
DM: No, Ned’s here. So we’re starting a new campaign.
My Friend: With a 1st level character?!
Me: Should I buy rope at the store before my character goes on this adventure?
My Friend: Rope! What’s wrong with — BRRRING BRRRING — hold on my mom’s calling!

So I didn’t have a ton of teenaged D&D experience before I wrote my new book The Other Normals:

The Other Normals -- Cover

But I do have an adult D&D story.

It happened at the Park Slope Food Coop, the world-famous cooperative supermarket in Brooklyn, which is a terrible place to be associated with or even to have heard of — but I have an excuse because I grew up near it.

Park Slope Food Coop

The Food Coop works on a membership basis. To be a member (and get access to the coop’s fresh, organic, inexpensive food) you have to do two hours and forty-five minutes of work there every month.

I volunteered one month to be a cashier, which was tough. You may think that the person who bags and rings up your groceries has an easy gig, but do YOU know the difference between mustard greens and chard? And can YOU select one or the other of these items in .05 seconds on a touch screen while dozens of people are waiting to buy their Amy’s microwave meals?

Microwave Amy's Kids Meal

And then there are the lulls… periods when no one is buying anything and you’re bored out of your skull… To get through these times, I brought the Monstrous Manual to the cash register.

Monstrous Manual

A woman came up with some chard and noticed the book.

“Do you play?”

I was confused. No woman had ever asked me about D&D before.

“Uh, not really… I just like the books…”

“My husband runs games. You should come play with him!”

Two weeks later I was at an apartment in Park Slope with five other guys who had been playing for years. Their level of employment ran from the “gigs” section of Craigslist to corporate law. The leader, Bryson, who was our dungeon master, taught preschool and said of his students: “Four-year-olds are just mean. Two-year-olds want to play with poop, three-year-olds are silly… but four-year-olds are treacherous.”

This was the group I should have found when I was younger. Our games were fun and they moved briskly — even though my characters died a lot. I would name characters things like “Bryshnnkim” that were selected by Samuel Stoddard’s Fantasy Name Generator. That annoyed Bryson and he’d drop lizard carcasses on me and kill me.

I’ll never forgot the day I was playing when I got the phone call.

It was Los Angeles. Someone I was working with was asking me, basically: what happened to your novel?

I had been working on this novel that seemed really exciting at the time, but it was becoming unusable. My career was in a lull that put the Food Coop to shame. I was treading water, wasting time… and on top of all that I was playing D&D!

I had to hide these truths on the call, of course. I said everything was fine and the novel was coming along great. But as I put my phone back in my pocket, I noticed that Bryson & company were staring at me. I’d taken the call in the kitchen and spent the entire time pacing in circles, flexing and clenching my fingers.

“Are you okay?”

“I… uh… I should go… I shouldn’t be playing right now. I have things to do.”

I got my coat and went to the door. There were some unappreciative hoots from my fellow players, but as I left, I’ll never forget what Bryson said. He said it to me quietly, just before I left.

“If things are messed up or whatever, you know, you can tell me. I don’t just play D&D with you. You’re my friend.”

◊ ◊ ◊

Thank you, Ned! I do not know the difference between mustard greens and chard, but I DO recognize a sweet guest post when I see one! So glad to have you on the blog today!

Now, everyone go check out my review of Ned’s book, THE OTHER NORMALS, and enter my giveaway!

Blog Tour: Character Interview with Cat Crawford

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Visit Rachel: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Check the other stops on the tour!

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Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

book cover for Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig Title: Pretty Crooked

Author: Elisa Ludwig (Twitter | Website)

Series: Pretty Crooked, #1

Genre: Contemporary YA

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release date: March 13, 2012

Source: Lit Logistics Blog Tour! (Check these ladies out!)

Trailer: WATCH ME!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

Summary: Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

[Read more…]

Guest Post + Giveaway: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

 Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Visit Julianne: Twitter | Website

Guys!! It’s my first guest post! I’m thrilled to have Julianne Donaldson, the author of EDENBROOKE, as my first guest poster! I loved her book, and I LOVE historical romances, but most importantly for THIS post, I LOVED LOVED LOVED Philip! He got me wondering: Who was Julianne’s favorite historical romance hero? She was awesome enough to answer!

I have loved many heroes, but I have a special weakness for a real gentleman. With an English accent, please! It’s hard to choose a favorite heroic gentleman from literature, because there are so many good ones. Jane Austen alone supplied us with several fine specimens to choose from. Of course Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice is a given (especially when played by Colin Firth).  I love Mr. Darcy’s line, “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” He has all of this restrained passion going on, at battle with his better judgment, and his passion wins. As powerful and influential as he is, he cannot resist Elizabeth’s charms and his growing love for her. Emma is probably next in line, featuring the stalwart Mr. Knightley, who never wavers from doing the right thing. He offers that great “boy next door” charm. His proposal is so sweet, especially when he tells Emma, “if I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” But let’s not forget Captain Wentworth from Persuasion, who writes the BEST love letter. “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope….I have loved none but you…” (sigh) So many passionate, strong, and good men to choose from! I can’t pick a favorite–I’ll just have to claim all three.

Thanks so much, Julianne!! EDENBROOKE really was super enjoyable and a fantastic romance. Because the people at Shadow Mountain OBVIOUSLY love this book as much as I did, they’ve sent me an ARC to give away to one of you guys!

 Win an ARC of Edenbrooke!

  • Be at least 13 years old.
  • Live in the US–sorry rest of the world! 🙁
  • Respond to my, “HEY! You won Edenbrooke! Do a happy dance!” email within 48 hours or someone else will be happy dancing instead.
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Anything you like, just @ me in your tweet and link to this page and we’re good. 🙂

The giveaway closes at 11:59 PM on FRIDAY, APRIL 13!! Winner will be selected at random and emailed. Of course, NONE of the information you submit to me will be shared with anyone EVER.