ARC Giveaway: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

 

 

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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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Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

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In accordance with Penguin Teen’s Gayle Forman celebration for the paperback release of I Was Here, I finally read the sequel to If I Stay, Where She Went.  Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the review, because 5 winners will win a complete set of Gayle Forman paperbacks!

 

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that this book didn’t bring the feels.  Now, it’s a whole different type of feels than those in If I Stay.  Where If I Stay was full of life and death and first love, Where She Went is full of despair in the midst of success, struggle to move forward, and the hope that something better is ahead.

The novel is told from Adam’s perspective this time, and so the reader gets a lot more information about how the accident and the loss of Mia’s family affected him as well.  He suffers from crippling panic attacks and is increasingly unhappy with the direction his life has taken since Mia ghosted him.  Seriously though, I love Mia as a character, but come on, you ghosted him?  The guy that was there for you through the accident and the aftermath? Turns out she has a decent reason, but I still question that choice.

Fate seems to have a hand in their lives because not only are they in the same city, but are finally both in the same emotional place at the same time.  There are a lot of really heartrending moments in this book concerning Adam’s need to accept and let go of Mia.  She tries her hardest to show Adam all the little formanquoteplaces that make her happy she moved away to New York and never returned to her hometown.  Readers see through Adam’s eyes how Mia has healed and how she has rebuilt her life without her family.  It’s beautiful to see the growth in her, but Forman manages to leave just a bit of mystery in the process so there are enough places for readers to fill in their own details.

The novel is full of Forman-isms (that’s right, I called it that), and they can be applied to everyone in one way or another.  If you haven’t read If I Stay or seen the movie, I recommend picking up the first installment now so you can have the pleasure of reading Where She Went.

4 Bards

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Enter to win a complete paperback set of Forman’s novels, here!

 

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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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Blog Tour: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

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Welcome to A Midsummer Night’s Read’s stop on the Blood and Salt Blog tour, hosted by Penguin Teen!

Check out the book synopsis below, listen to the book playlist, and enter to win a hardcover copy of the book.  My Review of Blood and Salt will be up tomorrow!

 

bloodandsalt“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Blood and Salt is full of creepy goodness, but there’s also a scorching hot romance.

This is the official Ash and Dane playlist directly from the author herself! (Click on the song title to listen!)

1) Neighborhood #1— Arcade Fire

I love this song– I think it captures that all-consuming feeling of first love.

2) I Never— Rilo Kiley

“I’ve got nothing to give, except everything. The good and the bad.” The ache in this song is so real.

3) Flow — Sade

This is a seriously sexy song. I can just imagine this playing during the lake scene.

4) Use Me— Holly Golightly

I think this shows Ash’s attitude to her brother’s warnings.

5) The Crystal Ship— The Hot Rats

Dark, gritty with a slight hallucinogenic quality. I can imagine this playing during that incredibly hot kiss on page 236.

6) I Want It That Way— Backstreet Boys

If this seems like an oddball choice– you’re right. Read the book and you’ll understand everything. ; )

7) Bloodstream— Stateless 

This song feels like a dream– a perfect combination of anguish and bliss.

8) It Won’t Be Long— Jason Collett

“When you close your eyes, kiss my mouth, I know I’m closer now than anyone has ever been.” Nuff said.

9) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want— Clayhill

I always think of Dane when I hear this. It reminds me of his focus on Ash– he’s trying to do the right thing, but he’s clouded by desire.

10) Closer— Kings of Leon

“She took my heart, I think she took my soul.” This song is dark, dangerous and sexy.

11) I Want You— Elvis Costello

I wrote an incredibly hot scene to this song that didn’t make it into the final book. But this song belongs on this playlist.

12) Night In My Veins— Pretenders

“It feels good, even if it’s just the night in my veins.” I think there’s a part of Ash that knows this is dangerous, but she doesn’t care. It feels too good.

13) Can’t Seem To Make You Mine— The Seeds

This is such a fun song! Very Ash and Dane.

14) Fall At Your Feet— Boy & Bear

This is a beautiful song, but there’s a certain sadness that reminds me of Ash and Dane.

15) Shade And Honey— Sparklehorse

This song is so romantic and dark and strange. Just like Blood and Salt.

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Be sure to check out some of the other stops on the Blood and Salt tour, and come back tomorrow to see my review!

Good Books & Wine –  9/14
Addicted Readers – 9/15
Jessabella Reads –  9/16
A Midsummer Night’s Read – 9/17
It Starts At Midnight –  9/18

The Book Bratz –  9/21
No BS Book Reviews – 9/22
Once Upon a Twilight – 9/23
Please Feed the Bookworm – 9/24
The Irish Banana –  9/25

Winterhaven Books – 9/28
My Friends are Fiction – 9/29
Fiction Fare –  9/30
A Dream Within a Dream –  10/1
Two Chicks on Books –10/2

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