Friday, February 27, 2015

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry, Holt & Co.
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon Book Outlet

I’ll Meet You There was the first “5” star book I had the honor of reading in 2015. The story of Skylar Evans trying to escape Creek View, her dead-end hometown, and Josh an injured marine was compelling, honest, and a book everyone should read!

I knew I was going to love this book the second Demetrios described the town of Creek View. It felt completely real to me. I could see the Taco Bell that Skylar’s mom worked at, smell the hot summer air, and picture the strawberry fields outside of town. The town itself became a character.

Although the setting was fantastic what made this book so amazing were the characters. Skylar has just finished her senior year and is ready to leave Creek View behind but things conspire to make her reconsider. The story also explores Josh’s struggle to return to normal life after losing his leg and watching his Marine comrades die. I’ll Meet You There is about these two imperfect characters, each struggling to hold it together, falling in love with one another.

It wasn’t just Skylar and Josh that I loved it the secondary characters also shined. Skylar’s best friends Chris and Dylan were well fleshed out. I loved how they supported Skylar but also told her when she was being a complete idiot. They were real, true, friends.

Demetrios did a truly fabulous job handling heavy subject matter like PTSD and teen motherhood. It made me feel like the people in these situations were my own friends. She brought topics, not talked about enough in YA literature, to the forefront of the story and made them real.

Overall, I adored this story. The setting, characters and issues felt utterly real. I’ll Meet You There has become my favorite book by Demetrios and that’s saying something because I really enjoyed both Something Real and Exquisite Captive!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott Blog Tour {Review & Giveaway}

Check out the other stops on the tour here!

Salt & Stone 
Author: Victoria Scott
Pub. Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press

What would you do to save someone you love?
In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.
But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?
The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win. 
At the end of my Fire & Flood review I said that I hoped Salt & Stone would start off with a bang and up the stakes. I am happy to report that Salt & Stone did just that! The beginning of the novel picked up where Fire & Flood left us and immediately dropped us back in to the high stakes race for the cure. 

I really liked how Tella came in to her own during this novel. In the last book one of my qualms with Tella was that she relied too much on Guy. She was a badass in her own right but she was constantly second guessing herself. In this novel Tella truly becomes her own person and shows the reader that she isn’t just getting by because of Guy. Tella is in this race for her brother and she is a leader.

One of my favorite elements of this series was the pandora’s. Salt & Stone had more pandoras and even more heart-wrenching scenes with them! I loved how Tella became a champion for the pandoras and looked after even those she wasn’t responsible for.

Although Salt & Stone was complete it was definitely left open for a sequel or spin-off series. I still have so many questions about the committee, Tella’s brother, and what’s going to happen after the race. So, if anyone from Scholastic is reading this. I want the next book. Now. Right Now.

Overall, Salt & Stone was an action packed sequel. I loved how Tella became a leader in this story and championed the pandoras and I’m really hoping to read more of Tella’s story!

About the Author

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout Release Blitz + Giveaway

The Return Release Week Blitz banner

I'm so excited to bring you the Release Blitz for Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Return! The Return is a New Adult Paranormal Romance and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Titan Series.

The Return - Cover
The Return 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publicaiton Date: February 16, 2015

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off... It's been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they've given him have been violent and bloody--which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He's got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet. Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy's deal might be, but it's a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her. But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Booksamillion

I was a half-blood, but I was also the Apollyon, a child of a pure and a half, a union that had been forbidden for thousands of years because an Apollyon was more powerful than any pure or half could ever hope to be.
And I always got to the traitors’ hideouts before they did, so the Sentinels were usually left with the cleanup, which I was sure absolutely thrilled them.
The first to enter was a female half-blood dressed just as I was. Her black hair was pulled back in a neat little knot at the top of her head. She was older, probably in her mid-thirties. It was pretty rare for a Sentinel to live that long. Her dark skin paled as she stopped just inside the entrance. She clenched titanium daggers in her hands like she expected something vicious to pop out from under the bloody mess.
The female Sentinel tipped her chin up, and the overhead light sliced across her broad cheekbones. She bore a jagged scar under her right eye, the skin lighter in tone. She saw me and froze.
My smile widened.
Behind her, another Sentinel rushed in, almost mowing her over. He saw me and whispered, “Seth.”
He’d said my name like I was the monster under his bed, and I sort of liked that. Then another Sentinel and another rolled in. The fifth took one look at my interior design work and keeled over. Slamming his hands on his knees, he hurled up his dinner.
Our society existed completely unknown to the average mortal and had operated under what was known as the Breed Order for thousands of years. The Order had been dismantled, which meant halfs were no longer forced to choose between becoming Sentinels—hunting down violent creatures, protecting pures, enforcing laws, and otherwise usually dying pretty damn quickly on the job—or servants, which was a job that really wasn’t a job, but more like slavery. Since then, many pampered pures had signed on to be Sentinels, making up for the loss of the halfs who’d pretty much said “screw this shit, I’m out.”
This wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
For example, the dumbass puking all over my blood-covered floor was a pure. When he straightened, his face a greenish hue, he backed away, shaking his head. “I can’t,” he gasped out. “I can’t do this.”
Then he turned and hauled ass out the doors.I sighed. This was why we couldn’t have nice things.

Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Stacking The Shelves 133

Week in Review
Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
Guest Post: Why Men Opt Out of the (Women's) Fiction World by Leonce Gaiter
One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin Blog Tour {Excerpt}
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Friday, February 13, 2015

One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin Blog Tour

One of the Guys
Author: Lisa Aldin
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: February 10, 2015

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.
Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.
One month later, I’m sitting in a brightly lit classroom at the Winston Academy for Girls. My dad used to joke that the day I wore a skirt would be the day the zombie apocalypse rolled into town. Two hours in and I have yet to see a zombie, but I do feel like the living dead. Someone bathed in raspberry perfume this morning, causing a war to rage inside my nostrils. I might fall to the floor and convulse, the smell’s that thick.

Maybe it’s not the perfume. Maybe I’m allergic to all this estrogen.

“You okay?” the girl next to me whispers.

I respond by covering my mouth and sneezing so hard that a giant wad of snot lands in the palm of my hand. Carefully, I move my hand under the desk and smile.

“Fine,” I reply. “Just tired.”

The girl chews on a strand of her honey-colored hair as she attempts to write down every word of the lecture. A leather day planner rests at the edge of her desk, a name embroidered in pink curly letters at the bottom: Emma Elizabeth Swanson.

I’m definitely not in public school anymore.

Our Business Mathematics teacher pity-smiles at me from behind her glasses and dives into a discussion about supply and demand. I continue to wonder what I should do with the snot on my palm. If I were sitting beside one of the guys at Burlington High, like I should be this year, the snot wouldn’t be an issue. I would wipe it on Cowboy, the least likely of the group to retaliate, and laugh.

But what would a “lady” do?

Here at Winston, boys feel as mythical and mysterious as unicorns. There’s no sign of them anywhere. No obnoxious belches. No stupid high- fives. No talk of monster hunting. It’s unsettling, like I’m walking among a race of polite aliens wearing plaid jumpers and lip gloss.

How am I supposed to survive a year on another planet? 

About The Author

Lisa Aldin graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English Literature. She now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and daughter. ONE OF THE GUYS is her debut novel.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Guest Post: Why Men Opt Out of the (Women’s) Fiction World by Leonce Gaiter

Fewer and fewer men read fiction.  They compose only about 20% of the fiction market according to surveys. Some lay this off to genetics, suggesting that the way men’s minds work discourages them from entering into another’s experience the way fiction demands.

“Boys and men are, in general, more convergent and linear in their thinking; this would naturally draw them towards non-fiction,” wrote author Darragh McManus, pondering the question.

Others, like Jason Pinter, suggest that the overwhelmingly female publishing industry simply overlooks books that appeal to men because they fall outside the female experience.  In other words, men now suffer the same fate women suffered at the hands of a male-dominated publishing industry for so many years—and payback’s a bitch.

Others suggest that boys are discouraged from reading at a young age by children’s books that fail to engage them.  Give them the proper material, the story goes, and young boys will engage with reading.  They point to the fact that young males were principal consumers of the Harry Potter books as proof.  “More boys than girls have read the Harry Potter novels,” according to U.S. publisher, Scholastic. “What’s more, Harry Potter made more of an impact on boys' reading habits. Sixty-one percent agreed with the statement ‘I didn't read books for fun before reading Harry Potter,’ compared with 41 percent of girls.”

I always balked at these rationales because I read fiction all the time.  However, thinking on it, I had to admit that I avoid modern fiction like the plague.  I have tried the popular plot-thick page-turners and the feel-good tearjerkers and the occasional cause celebre with a literary reputation.  So many have left me so cold, that I simply won’t shell out the cash for a paperback or e-book version, much less a hardcover. 

Trying to assess what I found lacking in most of the current novels I attempt, I find their utter reliance on the world around them (and me) supremely dull.  So many work so hard to place characters in a world I will recognize.  Too many work hard to create characters with which I (or their prime demographic audience) will ‘identify,’ and recognize as someone they could be, or someone they know. 

It then made sense that men would ask why they should read something “made up” about this world when there was plenty of factual reading material on that subject.  I have never approached fiction to re-visit “this world.”  I’m already here.  Instead, I want an alternative—a vision of this world exhaled through the writers’ and characters’ hearts, minds and eyes.  Exhaled with the distinction of the smell of an individual’s breath.  Fitzgerald’s Long Island in The Great Gatsby is his own creation, no kitchen sink recreation.  Fitzgerald’s people and prose warp this place into something utterly unique. 

Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles is his distinctive projection of that city. You don’t pick up Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me with the idea of identifying with the protagonist.  You don’t grab Faulkner to meet the boys next door or titter with recognition of your kith and kin.  You don’t visit Patricia Highsmith to look in a mirror.  You pick them up to enter worlds as fantastical in their way as Harry Potter’s.  I read fiction to meet characters I otherwise would not.  I read fiction for the larger than life—not a retread of this one.  I want to watch and think with characters who are nothing like me, who dare what I never would, who experience in ways that I cannot. 

In an article titled, “Why Women Read More Than Men,” NPR quoted Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain suggesting a biological reason why women read more fiction than men:

The research is still in its early stages, but some studies have found that women have more sensitive mirror neurons than men. That might explain why women are drawn to works of fiction, which by definition require the reader to empathize with characters.

What horseshit. Reading, and reading fiction, require no such thing.  They require that you understand and grow intrigued by characters and situations.  You need not imagine yourself as them or believe that they behave as you would.

Perhaps more men stopped reading fiction when fiction stopped presenting unique worlds, and settled for presenting this one so that readers could better “identify.”  Maybe we’re too megalomaniacal to “identify” with that.  We want words recreated, not rehashed. 

“Shall I project a world,” asks Oedipa Maas in Thomas Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49.”  Somewhere along the line, in tandem with the female domination of the publishing industry and fiction readership, the ideal of doing so fell from vogue.  Instead, writers rely on identification with this one.  Male readers seem have checked out.

About The Author
Leonce Gaiter is a prolific African American writer and proud Harvard Alum. His writing has appeared in the NYTimes, NYT Magazine, LA Times, Washington Times, and Washington Post, and he has written two novels. His newly released novel, In the Company of Educated Men, ( is a literary thriller with socio-economic, class, and racial themes.

In the Company of Educated Men
Author: Leonce Gaiter
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Publicaiton Date: September 20, 2014

After Lennie Ashland graduated from Harvard, he faced grave personal loss that caused him to question his worth, and fear the future. Armed with the arrogance and drive of Harvard-educated wealth, coupled with a young man’s aimlessness, Lennie planned a trip for himself and his two best friends to discover America—to view first-hand the re-ascendant grandeur of the American common man, a creature as foreign to them as any. The trip started off as most do—by not meeting the hype of its imagined romance—until the three happened upon an unlikely pair: a gun-toting teenager and a refugee little girl escaping from domestic hell. As gangland forces and family disputes descend on them, the five find safety and solace in one another. Together, they will both witness and embody the hope, grandeur, violence, innocence and hopelessness. A powerful new novel from Leonce Gaiter, author of Bourbon Street.
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My Thoughts
I think this is a really hot topic in all genre's right now not just women's fiction but YA fiction as well. Let me know in the comments what you thought of the article! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

A Cold Legacy
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

I don’t know if you remember the move 10 Things I Hate About You but it asked a seriously tough question “I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever be just whelmed?” Whelmed is exactly how I felt about A Cold Legacy.

I had ridiculously high expectations for this book. It follows one of my favorite stories, Frankenstein, and after Megan Shepherd thoroughly creeped me out in the previous two novels I expected the same with this installment. Instead, the story was slow to start and the mystery was bland. I was just whelmed.

I think I would have been okay with the slow start if the mystery had been a bit more involved. After the ending of Her Dark Curiosity, what with the beasts they’re trying to bring back to life, the deaths of the scientists and the police chase. I expected this story to feed off that plot but this novel begins a new chapter that has more to do with Frankenstein then anything that came before it. Juliet does often think about her father and what happened on the island and in London but there wasn’t a lot of carry over and I found myself missing the creepiness that pervaded the other two novels.

My favorite thing about this book was the character development we got to see from Lucy, Juliet’s friend. Looking back on the flippant girl she was in The Madman’s Daughter you would hardly recognized her! I loved her independent spirit and the fact that she was willing to do anything for those she loved.

Overall, A Cold Legacy left me feeling whelmed. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing either. I wanted to be stunned and creeped out by the final book in this series and instead it just felt like an end. I do have high hopes though for Megan’s next book The Cage, coming in May!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stacking the Shelves 132

The Last Two Weeks
The Winner's Curse/Crime by Marie Rutkoski Blog Tour + Giveaway
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd Release Day Blitz + Giveaway
Waiting on Wednesday: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Review: Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge - February Link-Up
Invaded Book Release Blitz + Giveaway
Wishing For You by Elizabeth Langston Cover Reveal
Playlist for the Dead Blog Tour {Review, Excerpt} + Giveaway
Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Blog Tour + Giveaway
New on the Shelf
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin
Schizo by Nic Sheff
(Thanks for the trade Montana!)

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by 
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz
(Thanks for the trade Margie!)

Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Bottom of the Sea by Jonathan Kranz (Thanks Macmillan!)
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall (Won from YA Romantics! Thank you!)
Netgalley & Edelweiss
Crash by Eve Silver
The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver & Von Schonweth

The Paintbrush Playbook by Ana Montiel
500 Tangled Artworks by Beckah Krahula

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Blog Tour + Giveaway

Tuck Everlasting
Author: Natalie Babbitt
Publisher: Macmillian
Publication Date: 1975

About the novel
2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Natalie Babbitt’s celebrated, ground-breaking title Tuck Everlasting (Anniversary edition on sale January 20). In celebration of the anniversary, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group will publish a special anniversary edition featuring an introduction from Wicked author Gregory Maguire.

Tuck Everlasting asks readers “What if you could live forever?” Doomed to, or blessed with, eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less of a blessing than it might seem. Then complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Upon the book’s publication in 1975, Natalie was greeted with concern from parents and educators who were stunned to read a book about death written for children. She is an author who challenges her readers and thinks the best questions are the ones without answers.

This 40th anniversary will introduce a whole new generation to this timeless classic. The book has sold over 3.5 million copies in the US alone, and has never been out of print since publication.

Goodreads ♥ Amazon  B&N
What if I could live forever?
I read Tuck Everlasting for the first time this year. I know, it seems like some kind of travesty never to have read this book, but it wasn't ever school reading and during my days aimlessly browsing the library I never came across it. I now want to make it my personal mission for elementary and middle schoolers to read this novel!

Tuck Everlasting handles death in a manner that is easy to understand and makes seriously tough subject matter seem simple. I loved that each character represented a decision and that the author left it to Winnie to decide for herself if she wanted to drink from the spring and live forever or if she wanted to live her life naturally.

One of the philosophical questions in Tuck Everlasting is if you could live forever would you? And my answer to that is no. Mr. Tuck does a great job explaining this to Winnie, there is a natural order to things; you are born, you live, and you die. If everyone got to live forever there would be too many people and we'd all be living atop one another. If I knew about the spring I wouldn't drink from it, after all forever is an awful long time.
About The Author 
NATALIE BABBITT is the award-winning author of Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Knee-Knock Rise, and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-Ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Knee-Knock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Connecticut, and is a grandmother of three.
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Playlist for the Dead Blog Tour + Giveaway

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour here!

Playlist For the Dead
Author: Michelle Falkoff
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 27, 2015

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.
Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.
As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

…I stepped into the cafeteria for the first time since Hayden died.  I’d spent most of the morning nodding off in my classes, but there was this kind of protective bubble around me—I could tell none of the teachers wanted to say anything to me because of Hayden.  The kids were friendlier, though—people said hi to me in the halls who’d never spoken to me before, and some even complimented my t-shirt.  This strange attention from people who used to ignore me was confusing.  It was almost as if they were treating me like a celebrity.  Best-friend-of-dead-guy=famous.  Like it was some kind of accomplishment.
Before, everyone pretty much had left me alone.  I didn’t fit into any of the groups—I wasn’t a grind like the brainiacs in my classes, who looked down on Hayden because they thought he was stupid; I was too uncoordinated for sports but big enough to be hard to knock over; I wasn’t artsy or creative or talented at anything; it turned out that the kids in the gaming club were way too dorky, and they weren’t into music like Hayden and I were.  And the kids who were into the music we liked looked down on anyone who was into gaming.  We couldn’t win. 
Anyone who was anyone at this school fit in somewhere, even if the lines were fluid—jock brainiacs were still cool, the kids who had the best drugs could hang out with anyone, that sort of thing.  Parties were fair game for anyone as far as I knew, though Hayden and I hadn’t ventured into that scene very much.  Until we did, and look where that had gotten us.  No, after that day in the cafeteria I’d figured out it was safest to stick with Hayden, and apparently the whole school agreed with me.  Some days I wondered whether, if it wasn’t for him, I would talk to a single person.
 …I stepped into the cafeteria for the first time since Hayden died.  I’d spent most of the morning nodding off in my classes, but there was this kind of protective bubble around me—I could tell none of the teachers wanted to say anything to me because of Hayden.  The kids were friendlier, though—people said hi to me in the halls who’d never spoken to me before, and some even complimented my t-shirt.  This strange attention from people who used to ignore me was confusing.  It was almost as if they were treating me like a celebrity.  Best-friend-of-dead-guy=famous.  Like it was some kind of accomplishment.
Before, everyone pretty much had left me alone.  I didn’t fit into any of the groups—I wasn’t a grind like the brainiacs in my classes, who looked down on Hayden because they thought he was stupid; I was too uncoordinated for sports but big enough to be hard to knock over; I wasn’t artsy or creative or talented at anything; it turned out that the kids in the gaming club were way too dorky, and they weren’t into music like Hayden and I were.  And the kids who were into the music we liked looked down on anyone who was into gaming.  We couldn’t win. 
Anyone who was anyone at this school fit in somewhere, even if the lines were fluid—jock brainiacs were still cool, the kids who had the best drugs could hang out with anyone, that sort of thing.  Parties were fair game for anyone as far as I knew, though Hayden and I hadn’t ventured into that scene very much.  Until we did, and look where that had gotten us.  No, after that day in the cafeteria I’d figured out it was safest to stick with Hayden, and apparently the whole school agreed with me.  Some days I wondered whether, if it wasn’t for him, I would talk to a single person. 
I’ve been reading a lot of contemporaries lately with very heavy subject matter. I don’t know what drew me to this sub-genre of YA fiction but I’m glad I found it. There are some seriously skilled authors there that know how to tug on the heartstrings and Michelle Falkoff’s debut is no exception. 

Sam’s best friend Hayden committed suicide and all he left was a playlist. Sam and Hayden have been best friends since childhood and after a party Sam takes his life. Following the funeral Sam tries to piece together the puzzle that led to his friend’s death and hopes to find answers in the playlist he left. 

One of my favorite aspects of this story was the relationship Sam had with his best friend who committed suicide. They were each others only friends so losing him changed Sam’s entire life and forced him to look to others for answers as to why his friend chose to take his own life. 

I also really enjoyed the mystery element this story had. Throughout the novel someone is getting revenge on those that Sam believes are responsible for Hayden’s suicide. Between not sleeping and mourning Sam isn’t sure that the person getting revenge isn’t himself. This psychological element really added to the story. 

Overall, although Playlist for the Dead deals with heavy subject matter it is ultimately a hopeful book. It is the story of Sam figuring out who he is and how to live after the loss of his only friend.
About the Author 
Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake, and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law. This is her first novel.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wishing For You Cover Reveal

Wishing For You
Author: Elizabeth Langston
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
With high school graduation only months away, Kimberley Rey is eager to discover what her future holds. The next big decision is rapidly approaching--where to apply to college. But this choice is complicated by a memory disability. How will her struggles to remember affect her once she moves away from home?
Help arrives through an unexpected and supernatural gift. Grant is a "genie" with rules. He can give her thirty wishes (one per day for a month) as long as the tasks are humanly possible. Kimberley knows just what to ask for--lessons in how to live on her own. But her wishes change when she discovers that a good friend has been diagnosed with a devastating illness.
As she joins forces with Grant to help her friend, Kimberley learns that the ability to live in the moment--to forget--may be more valuable than she ever knew.

Special: The first book in this series, I Wish, is currently on sale for  99 cents and you can check out special I wish bonus material here!
About the Author
Hello, I'm Elizabeth Langston, and I write Young Adult (YA) fiction. I have two magical realism series. First is the Whisper Falls series (Whisper Falls, A Whisper In Time and Whispers From the Past). I Wish, the first book in the I Wish series, is available now. The next book will release in 2015.

I live in North Carolina, USA and work in the computer industry for my day job. I have two daughters in college and one husband at home. At night, when I'm not writing, I'm watching TV (dance reality shows, Outlander,Castle) or reading (and that is all over the place.) 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Invaded Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

I am so thrilled to help Melissa Landers with her release week launch party for INVADED! See a note from Melissa below and make sure to enter the giveaway!

Hey, fiction lovers. I’m Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated series (YA sci-fi from Disney-Hyperion), and today I’m bouncing with excitement because THE SEQUEL IS FINALLY HERE!

It’s been a year since we left Aelyx and Cara onboard the intergalactic transport, and INVADED begins with an emotional goodbye as they part ways—Aelyx returning to Earth to salvage the alliance, and Cara continuing to L’eihr to serve out her part of the student exchange. While they’re apart, our star-crossed lovers will face assassination attempts, betrayal, crippling self-doubt, and a sadistic alien Phys Ed class. (Because there’s no escaping PE, even in another galaxy.) When Aelyx and Cara finally reunite…well, let’s just say it’s combustive. ;-)

What do reviewers think? I’m glad you asked!

Author: Melissa Landers
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publicaiton Date: February 3, 2015

“Readers will love the seamless blend of suspense, humor, and romance set against an interstellar landscape. Dual narratives and a tightly plotted mystery keep the suspense running high, and the chemistry between Aelyx and Cara smolders.” –Booklist

“Excellent character development and integration between modern reality and science fiction. Teens will be rooting for the galactic couple while enjoying the action and suspense that runs through the two volumes.” –School Library Journal

“The protagonists' forced separation gives greater depth to their romance. Each learns to turn a critical eye upon the flaws of their native societies while confronting genuine obstacles to a future together. These complications only underscore the growing sense of menace that propels the narrative to an action-packed climax.” –Kirkus

I hope you’ll make tracks to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of INVADED! If you’re snowed in, here are some easy links to bring the sequel right to you:

About The Author
Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit

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To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble and an autographed swag pack, complete with mini posters of BOTH books! This giveaway is open internationally, and due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge - February Link-Up

Welcome to the February Review Link Up for the 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge. Before linking your reviews make sure you are signed up for the challenge here.
  • When submitting a review please do it in this format: Title of Reviewed Book (Name of Blog). Author names are not necessary. 
  • This link up will be open until February 28th 
  • If you have and questions feel free to ask in the comments, email, or tweet me @FallingForYA
February Review Link Up