Thursday, April 30, 2015

Author Event: Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce

On Tuesday I took my cousin, Evelyn, to her very first author signing! She was a little skeptical because, as she told me in the car, "Reading is....ok."

I firmly believe that no one dislikes reading, or thinks that it is merely "ok", these people just haven't found their perfect story yet. So, while we waited for the event to start, I grabbed a copy of Pip Barlett's Guide to Magical Creatures and told Evelyn to start reading. When Maggie and Jackson began speaking she was already 10 pages in and completely hooked.

By now I have been blogging for almost 4 full years and this was not my first author signing rodeo. It was my first Middle Grade/Children's event though and I really enjoyed how Jackson and Maggie tailored their presentation to the audience.

Each author told funny stories from their childhood involving animals and then, with the help of the audience, we got to create our very own made-up animal. This was a lot of fun because the kids really had free reign to create whatever they wanted and I was impressed by all of their fabulous suggestions!

Maggie Drawing the Arctic Herring Penta
 After creature-creating. Jackson and Maggie did a brief Q&A. My favorite question was:

Question: How did you two (Jackson and Maggie) meet?
Paraphrased Answer: Maggie: I used to fight crime and I was cruising in my fancy/fast car when I saw Jackson and realized I need someone in the passenger seat because, as you know, cars have passengers seats and for weight reasons that's really the best way to go.
     Jackson: I was a go-go dancer and Maggie showed up and I got in the passengers seat and we fought crime.
     Maggie & Jackson: So, yeah, we met on the internet.

After the Q&A Jackson and Maggie sat down to sign books! I brought a stack of books from home and the authors were kind enough to sign all of them and a take a picture with my cousin and I.

I also bought a copy of Pip Bartlett for them to sign, but my cousin was quick to snatch that up. It is now signed to her and in her bedroom in a place of honor. 

Overall, this was a truly fun event and Evelyn is already hoping there is going to be a tour for Pip Bartlett 2!

 Make sure you check out Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures!

Pip Barlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
Authors: Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: April 28, 2015

From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.
Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Sound by Sarah Alderson

The Sound
Author: Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon Pulse (US)
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ BookOutlet

Ren is an aspiring music journalist who runs a popular online blog. After a breakup she takes a summer job nannying for a wealthy family in Nantucket. The summer should be idyllic but the rich kids are hiding something and there is a serial killer targeting nannies. Summer is about to get interesting.

Initially, I had trouble getting in to this novel. It felt like I was watching an episode of gossip girl and every character was an American stereotype. Luckily, as I kept reading that feeling slowly melted away and I found myself being sucked in to The Sound.

My favorite aspect of this novel was the nanny murders. Unfortunately, the murders took up very little page time. The novel is mostly about Ren, the love triangle she finds herself in, and hanging out with rich kids. It seemed like the serial killer was added as an afterthought and the mystery, which took a while to establish, was rushed in the end.

I wasn’t keen on the love triangle that Ren found herself in. At first she crushed on rich boy stereotype, Jeremy, and then she realized she had more in common with townie Jesse and she tried not to crush on him. It was obvious that Jesse was better suited for her but, of course, it took Ren the entire book to figure this out.

Overall, The Sound was the type of book you read when you need a break. It is a light, beach read and with summer right around the corner you should definitely think about adding it to your beach bag!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Lexie Project by Heather Demetrios

Heather Demetrios announced today that she is writing a sequel to her critically acclaimed debut novel, Something Real!

The Lexie Project is a multi-media, multi-platform storytelling experience, a novelized memoir that reaches readers through social media, including Wattpad and Tumblr. Demetrios will be writing the story in serialized form with weekly installments, at no cost to the reader. Daily updates on Lexie’s social media accounts will give readers the chance to interact directly with Lexie, as well as provide readers with opportunities to influence the course of the story. 

Said Demetrios, “YA readers are passionate fans and their deep investment in the stories they love is something I took into consideration when I set out to work on the sequel. Lexie’s story is about a reality TV star who’s now trying to make it in Hollywood. As such, I want to give my readers a fresh, modern way of entering into into her story—this is how Lexie would tell it. Fan interaction and crowd sourcing allows the YA fandom to be part of the creation of the story and I’m excited to see where it will take us.”

The first installment of The Lexie Project comes out on Wattpad on June 8, 2015. Lexie is already active on her social media accounts. Readers can find out more on

The Lexis Project
Something Real #2
Author: Heather Demetrios

Lexie Baker is ready for her close up and nobody’s gonna get in her freaking way.
Nearly a year after graduating high school and taking a hiatus from her family’s reality TV show, "Baker's Dozen: Fresh Batch," Lexie is in Los Angeles, on a mission to take Hollywood by storm. From red carpet premiers to helping her YouTube star roommate film weird videos, Lex fits right in with the droves of girls just as hungry as she is for some screen time. When Jax Wilson, a young, hot producer, offers to launch The Lexie Project, a reality show that will chronicle Lex’s adventures trying to make it as an actress in LA, she jumps at the chance. It isn’t an Oscar-winning role, but it’s a start.

Then she meets Liam, a film student who brings books to parties and is one of her twin brother’s closest friends. When it becomes clear that her brother, Benny, has a serious drinking problem—one that lands him on the front page of tabloids and threatens to get him kicked out of his university—Lexie relies on Liam to help her protect her brother. But spending time with Liam throws Lex into a spiral of self doubt: is this the life she really wants? And how far will she go for the stardom she’s always longed for?
The City of Angels soon becomes Hell on Earth and Lexie realizes that everyone—even Liam—has something they’re hiding. Fed up with Hollywood, Lexie decides she needs to find a new role to play–not the one she was cast in at birth.
Goodreads ♥ Wattpad (Where the story will be told)

Connect with Lexi: Tumblr ♥ Twitter 

Something Real
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publication Date:

There’s nothing real about reality TV.
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.
About the Author
When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her other novels include Exquisite Captive, the first in the Dark Caravan Cycle fantasy series, and I’ll Meet You There. She is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. Find out more about Heather and her books at or come hang out with her on Twitter (@HDemetrios) and any number of social media sites.   

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stacking The Shelves 138

The Last Two Weeks
Netgalley & Edelweiss
Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles
The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

Dreamleand by Robert L. Anderson
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ BookOutlet

This book is my new favorite thing! I went in to this not realizing it was a Beauty and the Beast re-telling with faeries. I’m not usually one for re-tellings and I’m not crazy about faeries but leave it to Sarah J. Maas to take two things I’m not really keen on and make me absolutely love them!

After nineteen year old (I would class this book as New Adult) Feyre kills a wolf in the woods that happens to be a faerie in disguise she is forced to live on Tamlin’s estate. Initially, Feyre is suspicious of Tamlin and his court but as time passes she begins to learn more about their world and is drawn in to their mystery and curse. A curse that could kill not only the faerie’s country but Feyre’s human lands to the South.

My favorite thing about this novel was the characters. Feyre is smart, strong and had a Katniss Everdeen, hunter air, about her. Tamlin took me a little longer to like but once I finally came around to him it was totally worth it. He is the perfect mix of swoony and stoic. Lucien is Tamlin’s right hand man and he never failed to make me laugh and smile. It was Rhysand who truly surprised me. He doesn’t appear until later in the novel, and I wanted to hate him, but I loved how shady he was. I can’t wait to see more of him in future books.

I would have loved this book if it was only about the characters but A Court of Thorns and Roses had the added bonus of a wonderful mystery and a quick paced plot. When Feyre arrives at Tamlin’s estate she isn’t told anything about them and is left to uncover the clues of the curse in order to break.

Overall, I adored A Court of Thorns and Roses. The characters were well rounded and multi-faceted and the plot was quick and always interesting. I definitely need the sequel right now! If you haven’t already, make sure you snag yourself a copy of this novel.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ BookOutlet

Twylla’s mother is the Sin Eater and Twylla trained her entire childhood to take over for her mother. But a chance encounter with the Queen revealed Twylla to be Daunen embodied a Goddess who can consume poison and not be killed. A Goddess who can kill anyone with just a touch.

The world building was my favorite aspect of The Sin Eater’s Daughter. The world is well thought out and has a Game of Thrones, medieval-esque vibe. I really enjoyed the history of the realm. I wish that this part of the story had been expanded. Alas, the main focus of the story was on Twylla and the cringe-worthy romance that surrounded her.

Initially I was fine with Twylla. I thought she needed more of a backbone but being taken to the palace at a young age, and struggling with the fact that her skin could kill someone, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. This might have been okay but as the story progressed Twylla never got any better. She looked to everyone else to defend her and she became almost unbearable to read about.

My other issue with The Sin Easter’s Daughter was the romance. Twylla is given a new, extra cute, palace guard and the two of them fall in insta-love. But Twylla is also engaged to Prince Merek and she might just have feelings for him as well *Cue eye roll*.

Overall, The Sin Eater’s Daughter started out so strong but Twylla’s lack of backbone, the insta-love love triangle, and the fact that the character’s weren’t fleshed out really took away from the story. I’m seriously on the fence about whether I will read the sequel or not.

*Note: This novel totally ends the same way as season 2 of Veronica Mars. Just saying.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Paradise City by CJ Duggan Blog Tour + Giveaway

Paradise City
Author: CJ Duggan
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: April 28, 2015

There's bound to be trouble in Paradise . . .
When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home schooling on a rural Australian property, she's sure that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure.

Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying . . . and exciting. But when she meets Luke Ballantine, exciting doesn't even come close to describing her new life. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one. The resident bad-boy leader of the group, he's sexier than any boy Lexie has ever known.

Amidst the stolen moments of knowing looks and heated touches, Lexie can't help but wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?
Amazon ♥ iTunes ♥ Kobo ♥ B&N ♥ Google

How did writing Paradise City differ from writing the Boys of Summer series?
The Boys of Summer had been in my head for many years and I wrote it with no expectation in mind with how it would be received, it was just a story I wanted to tell. Paradise City is the next level for me, it's exciting, new territory with brand new charters and setting. It's grittier and edgier than the Summer series, and I had such a blast creating it. It's also one of the first Australian New Adult Romances to be affiliated with a traditional publisher (Hachette, Australia) - something I am very proud of.
If Paradise City had a theme song what would it be?
Definitely Cool Kids by Echosmith (on repeat) Among many others.

Your novels are set in Australia and I love your use of Australia slang! For your US fans what is one Australian slang word we should know before reading Paradise City?
I'm married to an ex-shearer so I am quite accustomed to Australian slang. It's when I receive messages from people overseas that tell me they had to Google what a Car Bonnet was (Car Hood) or a Car Park (Parking Lot) The one I am always rather cautious about and pause when I got to write it, is how 'thongs' have a very different meaning in America, and it's definitely something that you don't wear on your feet. I learnt this out the hard way when I went to Disneyland and walked into a charming tourist shop and asked for some thongs before I quickly corrected myself after the rather strange look from the shop lady. Flip flops! I mean Flip Flops!

I do love bridging the gap in the cultural divide, I love that reading is educational, even on the smallest of scales. 
What was the last book you read and loved?
The Duff by Kody Keplinger - Love it!
Can you share anything about your next project with us?
Working on the follow up book to Paradise City with Paradise Road available September 2015. I can't say too much, but what I will say is that it was a lot of fun to write and it kept me guessing the entire time.

About The Author
C.J. DUGGAN is an internationally bestselling author who lives with her husband in Mathoura, a rural border town of New South Wales. Her self-published Summer series has sold over 180,000 copies worldwide, and PARADISE CITY is her eighth book, and the first in a new series of New Adult romance.

When she isn't writing books about swoony boys and 90s pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein Blog Tour + Giveaway

Becoming Jinn
Author: Lori Goldstein
Publisher: Feiwel + Friends
Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ B&N ♥ BookOutlet

Becoming Jinn Playlist
When I’m writing, listening to music with words distracts me from the words I’m trying to extract from my brain and get down on the page. And yet pure silence causes my mind to wander. My sweet spot is listening to instrumental music, sometimes classical, sometimes something like Bonobo, but most often, it’s one thing played on repeat: the Downton Abbey soundtrack.

I listened to those songs nonstop while writing Becoming Jinn and they’ve become the soundtrack to my writing life (minus the few songs with vocals!). The two albums together last for almost two hours, and when the first few notes sound, I’m instantly in writing mode. The familiarity and repetition allow me to push out all other distractions and focus solely on my writing. 

While I don’t have a playlist that I’ve listened to while writing or revising Becoming Jinn, the playlist here is a musical journey through the novel. Each song in this list represents a pivotal scene in the book in chronological order. I’ve kept it spoiler-free, so you’ll have to see once you read the novel if you can you figure out which scenes the songs toward the end go with. And here’s a link to a Spotify playlist with them all: 

1. Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks – When Azra wakes up to find her life changed and she’s now tied to the Afrit, she doesn’t give herself over to this life easily: “I'm not ready to make nice; I'm not ready to back down; I'm still mad as hell, and I don't have time; To go 'round and 'round and 'round.” 

2. You Make Me Feel by Cobra Starship – I cannot hear this song without picturing a room full of people dancing and having a blast at a party. While that’s not exactly the party scene in Becoming Jinn, this still fits for me: “You make me feel so; La la la la la….” 

3. My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson – The friendships Azra begins to develop with Henry in a couple of important scenes couldn’t be summed up better: “You got a piece of me; And honestly; My life (my life) would suck (would suck) without you.” 

4. Pompeii by Bastille – Toward the middle of the book Azra grants a wish, but it doesn’t turn out the way she hopes. It’s her first real glimpse into the responsibilities associated with being Jinn: “How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” 

5. Feel Again by One Republic – A brief moment of calm precedes the storm that Azra faces at the end of the book that leads into book 2. The happiness in this song is what Azra feels before tragedy strikes: “I'm feeling better ever since you know me; I was a lonely soul but that's the old me; A little wiser now from what you've shown me; Yeah, I feel again; Feel again...” 

6. Smile by Mikky Echo – There’s a scene toward the end of the book in which Azra is hit with the weight of something that happened in her past and it hits her hard. But as this song says “the worst is yet to come.” 

7. Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons – And then the worst comes. The lyrics here are perfect for what Azra must face: “Oh, you tell me to hold on; But innocence is gone; And what was right is wrong.” 

8. I Won’t Back Down, version by Johnny Cash – Azra at the end of Becoming Jinn, ready for what’s to come in book 2: “There ain’t no easy way out; I’ll stand my ground; and I won’t back down.” 

About the Author

My debut novel, the Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy Becoming Jinn, is a modern spin on the traditional tale of wish-granting genies. It will be released on April 21, 2015, by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I am represented by Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency.

Too much of my day involves chatting books, obsessing over The Vampire Diaries, and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter. Find me at @loriagoldstein and follow my blog at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.comor my Tumblr at Like my author page on Facebook for fun book-related photos, tidbits, and happenings as well as news on Becoming Jinn.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
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I can’t believe this series is over. Vampire Academy has been in my reading life for a long time and I was ecstatic when I learned about the Bloodlines series. After a rocky start in the first book I fell in love with The Golden Lily and The Indigo Spell, but something started changing in The Firey Heart, and by Silver Shadows I was losing interest. I went in to The Ruby Circle with high expectations. I wanted the series to woo me once again. Instead I was left feeling a whole lot of meh.

The plot of The Ruby Circle picks up where Silver Shadows left off. Adrian and Sydney are staying at the Moroi court and trying to avoid the Alchemists. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though and soon Adrian and Sydney must leave to rescue Jill. This wasn’t a bad plot it was just meh. It lacked the immediacy of Richelle’s other books and it felt rather basic.

A mediocre plot would have been okay had the characters been given a chance to shine. Unfortunately, the characters only followed the plot and there wasn’t much growth from any of them. Adrian and Sydney had completed their character arcs and there was nothing more for them to do. Still, Adrian did find time to shine and once again he was my favorite character in this book. That guy’s just awesome.

Sadly, the mediocre plot led to a so-so ending. It was a nice closure for Adrian and Sydney but I feel like Richelle left the world open for yet another spin off.

Overall, I loved the first few books in the Bloodlines series but as the books progressed I felt myself being drawn further and further away from the series. The Ruby Circle instead of going out with a bang went out with a whimper. If there is another Vampire Academy spin-off series I will have to think long and hard about reading it. I want something more then meh.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

10 Book Quotes that I Love

I love motivational quotes...or just quotes in general so this was a super fun top ten Tuesday for me. I can't wait to see the quotes everyone else has chosen, so make sure to leave your links in the comments!

1 "A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent" -William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

2 "Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so." -Belva Davis

3 "She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring." -Zelda Fitzgerald, The Collected Writings

4 "Isn't that...Isn't that what friends do? They change our perspective on the world. Part of why we care about them is because we love that feeling. The feeling of being changed." -Marie Rutkoskil, The Shadow Society

5 "I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me." -S.E. Hilton, The Outsiders

6 “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

7 "People shout when they don't have the vocabulary to whisper." - Maggie Steifvater, The Raven Boys
8 "I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time." -Banksy

9 "I said, I prefer the ocean when it's gray. Or not really gray. A pale, in-between color. It reminds me of waiting for something good to happen." -Lauren Oliver, Delirium

10 Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman, Coraline