Release Day Blitz & Giveaway

 

Happy Paperback Release day to the fabulous Richelle Mead’s The Glittering Court!

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

To celebrate the release of this novel, PenguinTeen is hosting a giveaway, and you could win 1 of 10 copies of The Glittering Court!

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Enter for a chance to win one (1) of ten (10) copies of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead (ARV: $10.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 28, 2017 and 12:00 AM on April 5, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about April 7, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

 

Not familiar with Richelle Mead? Well, just look at her fabulousness!

RICHELLE MEAD is the #1 New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Vampire Academy series and its spin-off series, Bloodlines. Originally from Michigan, she now lives in Seattle, Washington.

 

Book Review & Giveway: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

I swear, I went from reading about two contemporary bad ass women in Done Dirt Cheap to reading about bad ass women in at the height of the Roman Empire. Can we just keep these powerful female narratives flowing?  All of them have a reader in me!

In all honesty, I’ve never seen Gladiator.  I’ve never really paid a whole lot of attention this time period in history, so most of my knowledge of Julius Caesar comes from Shakespeare’s tragedy.  So to say that I had no idea of the wealth of information that can be expanded upon in this time is pretty much an understatement, but I learned so much just talking to Lesley and hearing how passionate she is on the subject.  If I didn’t have so many books to already read, I’d probably pick up a few on Ancient Rome.  Although, I feel like there’s probably a Wikipedia spiral on this topic in my future.

Anyway, let’s start with a bit about where Lesley got the inspiration to write about this topic (see the lovely video):

This book gave me life.

Everything about it spoke to me. I have a rough relationship with my sister, Fallon has a rough relationship with her sister.  Fallon is a bit reckless and is constantly wanting to prove herself, I have those same qualities.  I think there is a lot about this book that teenagers will take from this.  That there are always bad ass women in history that have been marginalized or forgotten due to the nature of HIStorical recording, and that women can chart their own paths. I sincerely wish this has been out when I was scheduling the books for my Feminist Book club this year, because I think it can bring a lot of great discussion about the status of women then and how this narrative can showcase the women’s movement today through its story.

Favorite tertiary character in The Valiant is by far Cleopatra.  That’s right, THE Cleopatra.  Now, she’s not in the book a whole lot, but she has one of my absolute favorite lines in the novel, one that, if I’m going to another women’s march, I might put on a sign: “A woman ought to be able to chart her own course in life.” YAS QUEEN. *bows to the queen* Also, according to Livingston, the timeline of The Valiant puts Cleopatra in her early twenties as a young mother since she and Caesar were “very close friends,” which means the narrative takes place around two years prior to the assassination of Caesar and the Ides of March (which, coincidentally, was yesterday).  Apparently this is something to remember because when I asked her about this in regards to the sequel, The Defiant, Livingston promptly started to mumble nonsense instead of answering (Seriously, I love this woman).

Livingston manages to explore the complexities of familial relationships and friendships, but the different aspects of first love and how moving on from heartbreak is hard but necessary. This entire novel is fast paced and is filled with action after action.  You will not be bored and you will fall in love with this book.

5 Bards.

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Paperback Celebration & Giveaway

To celebrate the paperback release of Sophie Kinsella’s Finding Audrey, we are reposting our 4.5 Bard review of this amazing contemporary novel, and we are hosting a giveaway!

Check out the review and enter to win below!

Finding Audrey Paperback Cover

As a reader who devoured Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for her first foray into young adult literature.

Kinsella has expertly tapped into the growing contemporary corner of young adult that focuses on teens dealing with mental illness.  There are a number of narratives out that deal with depression and suicide, but Kinsella takes on the equally complex social and generalized anxiety disorders.

The characterization of Audrey’s family is really a shining point in this story.  I absolutely adore how Kinsella has explored how different parents and children are in relation to technology.  Granted, a lot of this is exacerbated by Audrey’s mother’s obsession with the Daily Mail.  As an American a lot of my knowledge of the Daily Mail comes from my roommate, who is British, and John Cleese.  Both of them hate the Daily Mail and consider it trash news, which is exactly how it is portrayed in this story so it really just firmed up my belief that we shouldn’t read the Daily Mail.  It’s kind of sad that Audrey’s mother is so wrapped up in believing what some article tells her that it dictates what she does in relation to her children, but it isn’t wholly unbelievable or unrealistic.  It makes her a bit ridiculous and endearing at the same time which is why it is brilliant.

Kinsella Jacket Photo credit John Swannell

Audrey is such a wonderfully complex character.  Her voice is distinct and witty, but still reserved at the same time.  In fact, her voice is one of the things that sets her apart and exemplifies her anxiety almost as well as the situations she describes.  I also enjoyed the breaking of the fourth wall in certain parts of the story.  Frank was what I would consider a typical 13 year old boy to be.  He is obsessed with playing a World of Warcraft type of game and aspires to do that as an official job.  I mean, I think that is a dream job for a lot of gamer kids.  He is snarky, stubborn, and just a bit insufferable.  Frank was an excellent character. The other two family members, Audrey’s father and youngest brother Felix, are the least developed, but it definitely didn’t take away from the narrative.  I actually quite enjoyed the father’s befuddled and somewhat absent-minded attitude.

There is an adorable first love situation going on in Finding Audrey and it is just everything I wish I could have had at 14.  It’s realistic and awkward and really well done.  The synopsis kind of makes it seem like Linus is the whole reason for Audrey being able to start down the path to recovery, but I think that Audrey just needed that little push.  Linus was just a side effect of the push, a good side effect.  Kinsella did such a good job of explaining how recovery and learning to live with mental illness really is like a jagged graph.  There will be highs, lows, stable days, completely messed up days, and everything in between.

Overall I think that Kinsella kicked off the young adult aspect of her career very strongly, and I hope she will continue to contribute to the genre.

4.5 Bards

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Giveaway: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

Okay, so the title may be a BIT misleading as there aren’t any advanced copies of The Last Star as it is an embargoed book.  However, Midsummer Reads has teamed up with Penguin Teen in order to giveaway a prize pack celebrating the series ender, The Last Star!

The winner will receive a special edition Tote Bag for The Last Star, a sampler of the final installment, a poster for the novel, AND copies of the first two novels, The 5th Wave and The Infinite Sea! So while we can’t give you the new novel, we are giving you just about everything we can.

You can enter a number of ways, so get to it!

Giveaway will end on March 29, 2016 at Midnight.

 

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Celebration Giveaway!

I’m not sure if you all follow Sarah Dessen on Facebook or any of her other Social Media outlets, but she finally released that she is currently writing a new novel.

Now, maybe you aren’t as excited about this as I am, but Sarah Dessen is the reason I even enjoy contemporary young adult literature.  I frequently recommend my favorite of hers, This Lullaby, to those who are asking for contemporary book requests.

SarahDessenSelfie

When I got to interview Sarah Dessen

I am super excited about the fact that she is working on a new novel, so I am giving away 2 Sarah Dessen paperbacks!

You can check out my reviews of some of her novels at the following links and read my interview with Sarah, too!

This Lullaby

Along for the Ride

That Summer

The Moon & More

Saint Anything

Interview

Enter to win these paperbacks now!  The contest ends on Monday, March 14.

 

 

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

 

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lovethatsplittheworldNatalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
 
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
 
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

I’m going to guess that you may have reacted the same way I did when you read the title of this book.  I remember thinking, “Wow, that is a bit dramatic.”  But now that I’ve finished the novel, I can tell you that my personal reaction to the ending was something like this:

So now I firmly believe that the title was really just a metaphor for what the story did to my heart.  Henry should just rename it The Love that Split Jessica’s Heart.

This book has the absolute wonderful ability to showcase some of the lesser known Native American myths, mixed with common anglo-saxon religious stories, some time travel theories, and alternate realities.  Whew, that sounds like a lot doesn’t it?  Well, it seems like it would be, but it all comes together extremely well.

Henry did such a great job with the characterization in The Love that Split the World, and I have to say that most teens and young adults I know can definitely understand and identify with Natalie’s main problem: trying to find who they are and where they fit into the world.  Seriously, I’m in my twenties and I completely identify with those questions.  Granted, Natalie has some pretty specific reasons behind her need to find herself and her place, but they can be universally applied and it really causes you to be emotionally invested almost immediately.

Quickly the reader will realize that Natalie isn’t exactly a run of the mill teenager.  She has been visited off and on her entire life during her sleep by a mysterious entity she calls “Grandmother,” and on her last visit Natalie is warned that she has three months to save HIM.  Naturally we all assume that the him is the guy mentioned in the synopsis, but there are actually three other male characters not mentioned in the synopsis that this possibly applies to!

Beau is the typical bad boy with a good heart, but that doesn’t make him any less complex or interesting in this context.  He comes in and out of Natalie’s life in flashes and their time together is precious and full of ALL the romantic and sexual tension (Kudos, Henry).

I’m not going to give away any other spoilers but there’s definitely a River Song and Doctor vibe going here with Natalie and Beau’s relationship.  If you are a Whovian then the correlation should be pretty obvious and make you want to read this even more.  If you aren’t a Whovian, then read this book and go watch Doctor Who! It’s on Netflix for crying out loud!

4.5 Bards for The Love that Split the World! Don’t forget to enter to win a copy below!

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Blog Tour: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Today is Midsummer’s stop on the blog tour for The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore! Check out our information on the novel, the author, read an excerpt, and enter to win a copy from St. Martin’s!

theweightoffeathersThe Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning young adult novel about two teens who fall in love despite the almost impossible odds against them.

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation.

Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

About the Author: 

annamarieAnna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. The Weight of Feathers is her first novel.

 

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Excerpt: 

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Griffin.

 

Giveaway: 

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Book Review & Giveaway: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season—when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17—is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There’s a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she’ll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she’ll uncover the dark origins of the accident season—whether she’s ready or not.

Release Date: August 18, 2015

When Penguin said that this book would be good for fans of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, they weren’t kidding.  Both books have this ethereal quality to them while they are set in reality…the literary community deems these as Magical Realism: “painting in a meticulously realistic style of imaginary or fantastic scenes or images.”  A classic example of Magical Realism would be Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, 100 Years of Solitude.  But anyway, while We Were Liars focuses a little on a possible mental and physical trauma that could have caused these imaginary consequences or scenarios, The Accident Season has a whole separate set of rules.

The whole idea behind this novel is that for one month out of the year, their family is cursed with accidents.  Immediately Fowley-Doyle leaves the narrative for a ton of questions.  Is this caused by some sort of curse on their family?  Is it all just a coincidence?  Is it just because they all dabble in believing in the impossible?  Are they all delusional? SO MANY QUESTIONS.  I firmly believe that books like this have to be done in a very specific way in order to excel, and I really think that The Accident Season does.

The narrative is a quick one that takes place over the course of thirty-one days and while the writing styleaccident is a bit discombobulated at times, as it should be for a story like this one, it flies by.  I read this novel in a matter of hours and still really wished I could have had more.  All of the characters are lovably flawed in their own ways: Bea functions outside of reality and is a story-teller, Sam is haunted by the actions of his father, Alice is unhappy in her relationship, and Cara lives in her imagination for much of the story.  Yet somehow all of these characters fit together so easily, and they were so close.  There is the mystery of Elsie, the enigmatic abandoned house, the forest full of strange objects, and the disappearing costume shop that just adds to the magical aspect of this narrative, and I could not praise that more.

While I absolutely adored the disjointed narration and the magical realism of The Accident Season, I can definitely see where it might not appeal to all young adult readers.  However, I encourage you to give it a try.  You can also enter to win a copy of this book below!

4.5 Bards

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Blog Tour: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

I’m lucky enough to be included as a stop on the blog tour for Courtney Summer’s new novel, All the Rage!  Thanks for stopping by!  You’ll find a brief interview with the wickedly talented author below AND a giveaway!  This novel really tackles some hard hitting topics, and it couldn’t have come at a better time in the midst of rape-culture debates and protests.  Thank you to Courtney Summers for this novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK

alltherageThe sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact.

Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won’t now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada, where she divides most of her time between a camera, a piano and a word processing program. She is also the author of What Goes Around, This is Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, and Please Remain Calm.

Visit Courtney’s Social Media:
Website|Tumblr|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

INTERVIEW

1. What made you want to write a novel with such heavy subject matter? 

All of my books explore heavier subjects and All the Rage is no exception, but I think it’s my heaviest novel yet. I wrote it as a response to rape culture, victim-blaming and the way we fail victims and survivors of sexual violence. I wanted it to be part of that larger discussion about rape culture, because if we don’t talk about these things, they don’t change.

2. Was this story inspired by any specific news story?

No, it wasn’t inspired by a specific news story.

3. What would be your advice to girls struggling with deciding whether or not to speak up? 

I think it’s always important to realize speaking up can be complicated and that the circumstances surrounding the girls struggling with this decision will be unique to them—not everyone has access to the same resources. That’s why foundations like RAINN, https://www.rainn.org, are so important. They offer confidential crisis support for survivors who need to talk and need help figuring out what their next steps are. I would encourage them to visit the site or call 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN also offers a list of International resources for survivors outside the United States: https://www.rainn.org/gethelp/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources

Thanks for having me on your blog!

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon| Books-a-Million| B&N|Indiebound|iTunes|

GIVEAWAY

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Launch Day Blog Blitz!

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She’ll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there’s only one person who’s there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory. 

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn’t do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila’s pretty princess image, Ethan can’t deny they have a deeper connection than he’s used to. If he’s not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he’s learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak. 

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her.

Enjoy an Exerpt from The Temptation of Lila and Ethan courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

“Why is this bothering you so much?”

“It’s not,” she snaps, turning her back to me. “I was just wondering why. That’s all.”

I stare at the back of her head as she rests her chin on her knees, staring out at the desert land. “It seems like you’re bothered,” I point out.

Her shoulders lift and descend as she shrugs. “If you leave, then I’ll be alone.” She mutters it so quietly I can barely hear her.

I’m silent for a while, unsure what to say or if there’s anything I can say—want to say. “You can come with me.” It slips out and I want to smack myself on the head. Taking her with me would defeat the purpose of escaping the noise and people, yet at the same time I know I’d miss her if I left her behind.

She glances over her shoulder with skepticism on her face. “Could you imagine me living in your truck, because I sure as heck can’t.”

“Why not?” Again, what the hell is wrong with my mouth? Why can’t I just let it go? She’s giving me such an easy out to a huge commitment I shouldn’t be taking.

“Because.”

“That’s the silliest reason I’ve ever heard.”

“Because I don’t understand why anyone would want to take off from a city where you have everything at hand and live in a truck where you have nothing but a backseat. It’s pretty much like being homeless.”

I kneel behind her, inching close to her, then hesitantly place my hand on her shoulder. “Shut your eyes.”

She leans away, like I’m scaring her. “Why?

“Because I’m going to prove what’s so awesome about my idea.” I wait for her to do what I ask and she stubbornly drags it on for longer than necessary, then finally surrenders and turns

around.

“Fine.” Her voice softens a little. “Show me what’s so great about a backseat.”

“There’s a lot of great things about a backseat,” I joke in a low voice, and then dip my lips toward her ear and whisper, “Now shut your eyes.”

I expect her to argue, but she very willingly obeys, shutting her eyes the second I utter the words. I shut mine, too, but only because being so close to her, breathing in her scent, feeling the warmth emitting from her body is driving my body into a frenzy.

“Now picture nothing but mountains,” I say softly, picturing it myself. “No city. No noise. No crazy-ass parents who act like children and treat their children like shit. No nothing. Just the quiet.”

“It seems like an awfully lonely place, if you ask me,” she tells me. “Just me and the dirt and the quiet. Although I wouldn’t mind the being without the parents part.”

“You wouldn’t be completely alone.” I sweep her head to the side and rest my chin on her shoulder. “You’d be with me.”

She pauses for an eternity and her breathing is ragged. Or maybe it’s mine. “What would we do at this mountain place together?” she says.

“Anything we wanted.”

“Hike?” There’s disdain in her voice.

“Maybe,” I say. “Or maybe we’d just sit and enjoy each other’s company in the quiet.”

She shifts her weight and situates her hands underneath her legs, leaning back against my chest. “That kind of sounds nice.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”


Be sure to enter to win copies of all of Jessica’s amazing novels! 


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