Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Frazzled by Booki Vivat (GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY)



Meet Abbie Wu! She’s about to start middle school and she’s totally in crisis.

Abbie Wu is in crisis—and not just because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because the lunch ladies at school are totally corrupt or because everyone seems to have a “Thing” except her. Abbie Wu is in crisis always.

Heavily illustrated and embarrassingly honest, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is, where she belongs, and how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up. With Abbie’s flair for the dramatic and natural tendency to freak out, middle school has never seemed so nerve-racking!

Packed with hilarious black-and-white illustrations and doodles throughout, Frazzled takes readers through Abbie Wu’s hysterical middle school adventures.

Amazon | B&N  





My Thoughts

This book is so freaking adorable! I can't wait to see the finished version with all of Booki's (the author) sketches. I also can't wait for my own Middle to read it; he's going to love it!

Abbie Wu is a lovable character whose relatable to readers, young and old alike. Even if you don't have a Middle Schooler, you were one--even if it was like, a million years ago. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, you won't be sorry.



 

 Guest Post 

 5 FREAK-OUTS IN THE MAKING OF FRAZZLED (AND WHAT I LEARNED FROM THEM)
 
I’ve never been good at giving advice. Mostly because I never feel fully qualified to give advice. What do I know, really? One thing I know for sure: writing is hard. Writing Frazzled certainly was! More often than not, I questioned whether anyone would want to read about this flustered, fictionalized version of my younger self trying to figure out who she was. So while I may not feel qualified to give proper writing advice, what I can do is share 5 freak-outs I had while working on this book (in doodle form, of course) and talk about what I learned from those freak-outs. Here goes!



1. Protect your writing time.

Life can be crazy. There never seems to be enough time to write and/or you never feel like you’ve accomplished enough in the time you’ve set aside! I learned that it’s important to make time to devote to your work and concentrate on using that time the best you can. Also, it’s good not to put too much pressure on what you are producing or feel unsatisfied by how you spent that time. The important part is that you give yourself space to be creative!

Some writers set word count goals they want to reach each day, while others choose to schedule blocks of time to focus on writing. Do what works best for you! Different people choose to do this in different ways, but it’s safe to say that every writer has to be intentional about protecting their time. 




2. Embrace writers block.

Writers block hits everyone—and I mean everyone. It hit me hard with Frazzled. The danger of writers block is not necessarily the work you lose when you’re stuck in it, but the much deeper effect that it has on your confidence and resilience as a writer. It’s easy to lose sight of why you’re writing or give up altogether.

I say we collectively learn to embrace writers block. Rather than fearing it or dwelling on it, maybe it’s better to just find ways to work around it. That can mean shifting attention to another project, getting some outside perspective on your work, or even just cutting yourself some slack and taking a break. There isn’t one simple way of getting over writers block, but I know it can be done!




3. Keep working no matter what. 

 

Sometimes it just feels like you’re running in circles and you’ll never finish! Empty pages seem so empty and the little letters clumping together to form words and sentences don’t seem nearly big enough to fill all that blank space. I know this feeling. There were so many times when I thought I would never finish this book—but here it is, complete! 

It’s challenging when you’re faced with all the pages you haven’t filled and it looks like there’s no end in sight, but sometimes looking back at what you’ve already accomplished can be encouraging! It’s good to get perspective and keep in mind that writing a book is a long process. Perseverance is key!



4. Find people who will encourage and support you. 

Writing itself is hard enough, but sometimes, it can also feel really lonely and isolating. While working on Frazzled, there were definitely moments that made me doubt whether or not I could pull it off. I have so many doodles illustrating all my frustrating moments. But if doodling was my way of releasing my fears, then drawing strength from the people around me was what helped me move past them.

I’ve learned that the best way to combat all the uncertainties is to surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you in different ways. Besides friends and family, finding community with other writers can be a great way to connect with people who understand how confusing, rewarding, and maddening the creative process can be!




  
5. Do not dismiss or devalue your creative work. 

No matter what, creative work is still work. I used to dismiss a lot of my writing and drawing because I was embarrassed it wasn't good enough or I was afraid people would think I was just a total fraud. So I just wrote it off like it didn't matter and like it wasn't important—it didn’t “count.” But the truth is, everything counts!

If you're taking the time to be creative and you're making something—that takes time. That takes effort. That takes heart! You could be binge watching something on Netfix or playing Minecraft or taking a nap, but instead you're choosing to do work. Nothing can take away the value of that action. Doing the work is the only way anyone gets better, so don’t disregard the importance of your efforts and just keep working! 





About the Author

Booki Vivat has been doodling somewhat seriously since 2011 and not-so-seriously since childhood. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. She currently works in publishing and lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first novel. 

Website | Twitter | Instagram




 




Tour Schedule:
Week 1:
9/19: Swoony Boys Podcast - Review
9/20: Such A Novel Idea - Guest Post
9/21: What Sarah Read - Review
9/22: Supernatural Snark - Q&A
9/23: Mundie Kids - Review

Week 2:
9/26: The Irish Banana Review - Q&A
9/27: Fiction Fare - Review
9/28: Jenuine Cupcakes - Guest Post
9/29: Wiritng my Own Fairytale - Review
9/30: Reads all the Books - Review


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of FRAZZLED (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Monday, September 26, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes! 
This is my stop on the AFTERWARD blog tour.


Afterward: A Novel
Author: Jennifer Mathieu 
Publication: September 20, 2016
By: Roaring Brook Press

A tragic kidnapping leads to an unlikely friendship in this novel about finding light in the midst of darkness from the author of The Truth About Alice.

When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. 

But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.

*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*




~ My Thoughts ~

This was one of those rare times when a book affected me both as a reader and as a parent.

Much like Jennifer Mathieu's two previous books, The Truth About Alice and Devoted, this story was difficult to read at times. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and the rawness of Ethan and Caroline's emotions hurt. But it's also story filled with forgiveness, healing, and hope. 


Read it!


 ~ About the Author ~

Jennifer Mathieu is an English teacher, writer, wife, and mom who writes books for and about young adults. My debut novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, was published by Roaring Brook Press on June 3, and my second book, DEVOTED, came out in June of 2015.

My third novel, AFTERWARD, about two small town Texas teenagers whose lives are linked by a terrifying crime, will be out in September 2016.

My favorite things include chocolate, pepperoni pizza, and this super hilarious 1980s sitcom about four retired women called The Golden Girls. I can basically quote every episode.

I live with my husband, son, one rescue dog, and one old kitty cat.

When it comes to what I read, I love realistic young adult fiction (duh), creative nonfiction, super scandalous tell-all memoirs and unauthorized biographies, and basically anything that hooks me on the first page.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe 
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publication: October 4, 2016
By: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 
 
From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review*

 
My Thoughts

Describe Holding Up The Universe in three words: Honest. Heart-breaking. Hopeful

This book sent me on a roller coaster of emotion from the Author's Note in the front of the book explaining how she drew on personal and family experience to write this story, right up to the last page.

I laughed, I cried and I cheered! 
  
Jennifer Niven does a great job of portraying these characters--their stories, struggles and victories--in a relatistic and relatable way. And Libby and Jack are the kind of characters who stick with you long after you finish reading their story. The message this book leaves with the reader is one of self-love, confidence, and seeing people for who they really are.    
 
"Life is too short to judge others. It is not our job to tell someone what they feel or who they are. Why not spend some time on yourself instead?" ~ Libby Strout (hashtagCanIGetAnAmen)

Read it.  

Side note: Jack Masselin's RL doppelganger works at my local Jimmy John's. I foresee a lot of turkey subs in my future. 





About the Author 

Photo credit: Author's website
By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson ("If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win"), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven't stopped... I've written nine books (#9 will be out Oct 4, 2016), and when I'm not working on the tenth, I'm writing the screenplay for All the Bright Places, contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 



Friday, September 9, 2016

COVER REVEAL: Unrest (Unknown Series #2) by Wendy Higgins



 
Being on the run in the desert means food and sanctuary are hard to come by, but Amber Tate and her crew are not about to give up. Not after having so many of the things they love brutally ripped from them by an unknown enemy who sent their world into the apocalypse.

Survival takes precedence, but once safe shelter is found, their guards fall and the emotions they’ve been holding in are finally released. Anger, insecurities...lust. In their tight quarters, Amber, Rylen, Tater, and Remy can't escape it. The past must be faced, and passions run even stronger in the darkest of times.

In the midst of unrest, their worlds are rocked again when they discover the truth about the war that’s ruined their lives. They thought finding out the enemy's identity would give them the edge; instead it’s revealed terrifying dangers they never thought possible.

Publication: February 16, 2017


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30344064-unrest?ac=1&from_search=true



Buy Unknown: Book One in the series here...





Enter to win a copy here...


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Unknown by Wendy Higgins

Unknown

by Wendy Higgins

Giveaway ends October 10, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, August 29, 2016

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: For This Life Only by Stacey Kade




A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently. 

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him.







My Thoughts:

Stacey Kade takes an honest, realistic look at family, faith, and the importance of discovering for yourself what you believe. No one can do it for you.

Jace and Eli are PKs (Preacher's Kids). As so often happens to offspring of religious leaders, they've been cast in their roles as Sinner and Saint. They're held to a higher moral standard, expected to always make the right choice, but aren't afforded the same forgiveness and grace as their peers when they don't. Neither is Thera. Everyone thinks they have her and her mother all figured out. They would be wrong.

Eli is the one everyone loves, depends on and respects. He's the one expected to do great things with his life. And Jace? Well, it'd be awesome if he could manage to stay out of trouble just once. When Eli dies leaving everyone, Jace included, with too many questions and not enough answers, Thera may be the only person who can help.

I was convinced I knew what the twist was, but like they say, pride goes before a fall. ;) I'm glad I was wrong, it made for a more compelling story.





ABOUT STACEY KADE:

  
As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.

She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and two retired racing greyhounds, SheWearsThePants (Pansy) and Shutter. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television catching up on her favorite shows (Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Walking Dead, and Sherlock, among others.)

Stacey is the author of the The Ghost and the Goth trilogy (THE GHOST AND THE GOTH, QUEEN OF THE DEAD, and BODY & SOUL) and The Project Paper Doll Series (THE RULES and THE HUNT). You can find her (far too often) on Facebook and Twitter as well as http://www.staceykade.com 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr



a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8) Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips 
Publication: August 23, 2016
By: William Morrow

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy. 

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is. 

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.




My Thoughts

It was a lot of fun being back in the world of the Chicago Stars! While this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. Fast-paced, interesting, romantic and funny. First Star I See Tonight is everything I've come to expect from a SEP novel. 

Piper is a no-nonsense, shrewd business woman. She's comfortable in her own skin and doesn't give one iota about Cooper Graham's appearance or his star power. Not at first anyway. Things change once she gets to know him. Cooper Graham---Coop is a trip! The opening scene had me laughing out loud. He too, knows what he wants and what he doesn't, and Piper Dove is not his type. Until she is. 

Watching the two of them work together while trying not to fall for each other was entertaining. And the Epilogue was great!

One of the things I enjoy about SEPs characters is, her heroines can survive all on their own. They aren't damsels in distress, they don't need a man--a hero to complete them. And her heroes are often attracted to the heroines strengths, not just a great pair of legs. When the two eventually do fall in love, it's a true partnership.  






About the Author 

The Huffington Post says the books of Susan Elizabeth Phillips provide a “gateway drug to the whole [romance] genre,” which she assumes is a good thing. Bookpage magazine calls her “the crown jewel of romantic comedy writers,” which is definitely a good thing. Since she wrote her first novel on a typewriter in her kitchen, her books have been published in over 30 languages and appear on bestseller lists all over the world. 

In addition to being a New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestseller, she is a hiker, lazy gardener, horrible singer, passable cook, passionate reader, wife, mother of two grown sons, and grandmother of two adorable little ones. Her newest book, HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS, is now available in paperback. Susan is excited to announce her next book FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT, the next edition in the CHICAGO STARS SERIES, will be released Aug. 23, 2016. You can visit Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on her website.


Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram






Wednesday, August 17, 2016

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Unknown (Unknown #1) by Wendy Higgins

Series: Unknown (Unknown #1)  
Author: Wendy Higgins
Published: August 16, 2016 

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.


This is a portion of my email [edited to remove spoilers] to Wendy upon finishing the book--which I read in a short amount of time. I couldn't put it down!

"I finished UNKNOWN, and I'm going to need Book Two like yesterday, okay? Thanks.

I really enjoyed the story, especially the old school Red Dawn vibe it had going on! I still remember how scared I was to go to school after watching that movie, convinced enemy soldiers were going parachute onto the playground and take me hostage.



I liked how opening chapters laid the groundwork for the series and wasn't simply a bunch of flashbacks. I never felt like I was confused about what was going on or where I was in the timeline. I loved Amber and Rylen, and her family is the best! It was nice to see a diverse, multi-generational family under one roof.

The camping scene made me laugh! 

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!"
 
In this first installment, action, tension and relationships take center stage, which adds a layer of authenticity to the overall story. Don't get me wrong, I love kissing and everything else that goes along with romance, and it's there simmering below the surface, but the world is literally falling down around these characters. They're focused on survival, as they should be. 

A fast-paced, action packed start to what's sure to be an epic love story. READ IT!



About Wendy (Who is honestly one of my FAVORITE people!)
 
Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue. 

Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram




 ~ GIVEAWAY ~

One EBOOK Copy (Kindle or Nook) of UNKNOWN 
Must be 13 years old to enter


a Rafflecopter giveaway