Tuesday, May 26, 2015

BLOG TOUR + INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Welcome to my stop on the NOWHERE BUT HERE Blog Tour!
I'm so excited to be able to share the start of Katie McGarry's brand new THUNDER ROAD series with you. 

 

~ Author Q+A ~

  

1) I'm really excited about your new series, Thunder Road! Who was the most difficult character to write?

In Nowhere But Here, Oz was the most difficult character for me to write. In this book, someone he loves dearly, someone who is like a mother to him, is dying.  

Growing up, I had the most epic friendship. Tiffany and I had been a duo our entire lives. It’s rare for me to have a memory that doesn’t include her. I loved her…like a best friend, like my sister, like a part of my soul.

She had a genetic disease that unfortunately took her life. I watched her battle this disease for years and losing her was like losing a part of my soul. I gave Oz my sadness, frustration, grief, and then appreciation for the amazing life I had because I had been blessed, if even for a short time, to have someone so incredibly special in my life. I also gave him the hope that after experiencing such a loss that we can still find happiness.

 
2) I've read where you like to have a hands-on research experience when working on your books. You've been to a race, taken kickboxing, etc. for your Pushing The Limits series. What kind of research did you do for Nowhere But Here?

I LOVE doing hands on research for my books.  For Nowhere But Here, I asked then received permission to hang out with a motorcycle club. The experience was unreal. I was expecting the hardcore biker guys and the parties, but I was blown away by the sense of loyalty, love of family and community, and the brotherhood ever present with this group.

These were men were brought together over their love of motorcycles and the need to belong to this family. The club I visited was a legit club, meaning they don’t participate in illegal activities, and they were absolutely awe-inspiring with their love of family. I took this part of the club and used it as inspiration in Oz and Emily’s story.

 
3) If Emily and Oz had their own themes songs, what would they be? 
 
I love this question! I’m heavily influenced by music and have a playlist in the back of Nowhere But Here. The song for Oz would be “Hey Brother” by Avicii. This song is a personal favorite of mine, but the entire song represents the motorcycle club that Oz wants to be a part of—the Reign of Terror. They are a close group of men who are like a family to each other.  The lyric: “If they sky comes falling down, for you, there’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.” That sums up Oz and the Reign of Terror perfectly.

For Emily I choose Jewel’s “Standing Still.” The song, to me, represents someone who is going through a particularly rough life journey and they are questioning everything they have been taught to believe up to this point. This is exactly what Emily is going through. Once she’s in Kentucky and surrounded by the men of the Reign of Terror, she learns that what she believes is the truth regarding her past is a lie and that is a devastating blow to Emily as this rocks her relationship with her mother.


4) What 2015 book (that is not your own) are you most excited to read? 

Can I pick more than one? I’m very excited for Jennifer Armentrout’s Every Last Breath and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s The Boy Next Door.  

5) What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
 
I was once told that if I don’t hurt or laugh while I’m writing, then I’m not writing the right thing. This has been priceless advice for me. 
 
6) All of my blog guests are asked this one...brownies, cupcakes or pie? Yes, it's totally cool to say all three. This is a judgment-free zone. ;) 
  
Love all three, but I do enjoy a fantastic key lime pie!

Thanks Katie!



~ About the Book ~


Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1)
An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
 

 

 

~ About the Author~

 

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Giveaway ~

One finished copy of NOWHERE BUT HERE by Katie McGarry provided by HarlequinTEEN. 

 

 

 

~ Blog Tour ~

Week 1:
5/20 - Novel Ink
5/21 - Mundie Moms

Week 2:
5/29 - Fiction Fare

 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Last Year's Mistake
Author: Gina Ciocca
Publication: June 9, 2015
By: Simon Pulse
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
4 Stars

Before:
Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decided to move away, she couldn't wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go...

After:
Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go.


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

I'll admit, based on that cover (which I LOVE) and that synopsis, I was expecting an edgy story about love, loss and second chances. And in a way that's what this was, but it was much lighter in tone. 

Kelsey and David--both of whom I liked AND wanted to shake some sense into---are relateable characters. In fact, Gina Ciocca gives readers an accurate representation of teenagers being teenagers and doing very teenagery things. Things like, making mistakes, misunderstanding intentions, reacting before thinking, and freaking out over things that really aren't as bad as they seem. But that's okay. Teenagers aren't supposed to have it all figured out yet. And Kesley and David sure don't. 

Kelsey's eagerness to give David "a pass" on their past bugged me a little. In all honesty, he was just as responsible for what happened in the moments before their communication breakdown as she was. If he really felt the way he did, why didn't he try harder? Pull out all the stops? Simple answer: He's a teenage boy. They aren't mind readers, much to the chagrin of every teenager girl in the history of ever.
 
This may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. It's well written, fast paced and the underlying themes of friendship, forgiveness and new beginnings made me smile. Read it.

Fans of Sarah Dessan, Lauren Morrill and Lauren Barnhodlt will enjoy this.





Sunday, May 24, 2015

#VMafia: TITANS by Victoria Scott

Coming soon from Victoria Scott 

Releasing: February 23, 2015
By: Scholastic Press

Titans 

Astrid Sullivan's family can't catch a break. Her grandfather played cards and her dad bet on the Titans--half-horse, half-car that race around impossible tracks. They've lost their home, their savings, and each other.

So when Astrid makes some new friends who give her the chance to participate in this year's Titan races, she wonders if it's worth risking everything. She never thought she'd even touch a Titan, and this one is first gen when the models racing now are Titan 3.0s. There's no way for her to win...but with her family slipping away and her dad without work, Astrid can't help but feel like the only person she can bet on is herself.

Titans delivers Victoria Scott's signature blend of incredible action and impossible odds, and will leave readers' hearts racing.



 ~ GIVEAWAY ~

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 22, 2015

BLOG TOUR + Q&A + GIVEAWAY: The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey

The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey
Publication: April 28, 2015
By: Delacorte Press


The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.



"Sparks fly...This first novel will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters...[and] a breathtaking climax that...cannot come soon enough!"—Booklist, Starred
 

"Grey's energetic debut offers a strong protagonist... [this] well-built world, vivid characters, and perfect blend of action and amour should have readers eagerly seeking the sequel."—Kirkus, Starred






~ About the Author~

MELISSA GREY was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn't stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she traveled the world, then returned to New York City where she currently works as a freelance journalist. To learn more about Melissa visit melissa-grey.com and follow @meligrey on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

~ Q&A with Melissa Grey ~

Describe in a couple of sentences THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT.
In THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, Echo, a runaway human girl, is taken in by a magical race of creatures who live beneath the streets of New York. She’s trying to figure out where she belongs, and it’s the kind of journey everyone experiences in their late teens, but hers is complicated by a subterranean society nestled beneath Manhattan, otherworldly races at war, and a prophecy about a mysterious being—the firebird—that might be the only thing that can bring that war to an end and save the people Echo loves.

How did the idea for your book originate? What was your inspiration? Was there a particular event, circumstance, or something else that spurred you to write your first book?
There were two distinct seeds planted in my brain that grew into THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT. The first was Echo. She’d been organically blossoming in my head as a character for a while, and I knew the basics about her: She was a pickpocket turned career thief who was always ready with a timely quip. I just needed a story for her to occupy.
And then there was the firebird. Stravinsky’s Firebird is a fantastic piece of music, and I’ve been a fan of the ballet for years, so I started exploring the folklore behind the firebird and eventually discovered the story where Echo would live.

Please describe the greatest challenge you faced in writing this book, why it was difficult, and how you resolved it.
Figuring out the narration was the hardest part of writing the book. The first draft of the first chapter was in first-person present tense and that wasn’t quite working. First-person past wasn’t right either. I then realized that it couldn’t be a first-person narrative. In order to fully develop the world and the mythology of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, I needed to tell the story from different perspectives so that you would see it from different angles. Once I started writing it with multiple narrators, everything just kind of fell into place.

How much and what kind of research went into writing this book?
I researched a ton of mythology. I started with the firebird in Slavic folklore and branched out from there. There are two magical species in the book: the Avicen and the Drakharin. As their names would suggest, they’re related to birds and dragons respectively, so I broadened my area of research to cover bird and dragon mythologies from all over the world. I also had some logistical concerns, like how one would go about breaking into the best-guarded museums in the world. My search history is full of incriminating information. I really hope the FBI doesn’t come knocking on my door.

If you could create a sound track for THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, what songs would you pick and why?
THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT playlist kept me company when writing the book, and most of the songs on it are ones I think Echo would like or ones that have lyrics that are relevant to the plot or characters.
“When I’m Small” by Phantogram
“Before” by Amanda Mair
“Bones” by MS MR
“Come Come” by Hot As Sun
“Wolves” by The Good Natured
“I Wrote in Blood” by Still Corners
“Better Off Dead” by The Sounds
“Keep It Low” by The Hundred in the Hands
“Black and Blue” by Uh Huh Her

Any words of wisdom and advice to aspiring writers?

Don’t aspire to write. Just write. You don’t need to be published or have an agent to be a writer. Writing is an activity, not necessarily an identity. Always put the writing first. Write anything. Write little poems on napkins while you wait for your chicken nuggets at McDonald’s. Write songs no one will ever sing but you. Write stories starring your favorite characters from Disney movies as baristas at Starbucks. Start writing anything that gets you excited, and then finish it. That last part is super important. Finishing can be hard but you’ll be really proud of yourself when you type “The End.”


~ Giveaway ~ 

U.S/Canada Only  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams #2) by Caisey Quinn

Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams, #2)Series: Neon Dreams #2
Author: Caisey Quinn
Publication: June 16, 2015 
By: William Morrow & Company  
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads  
4.5 Stars!

In the second novel in bestselling author Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dreams series, a country rock band and its members embark on the rocky road to fame and find love along the way.

Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.



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


My WORD these books need to come with a fan.
 
I really like how these books are companions and not necessary sequels, OR the same story told from different POVs. Each one has it's own voice and unique storyline. I'm a sucker for second-chance-at-love stories, and LOVING DALLAS did not disappoint! Both Robyn and Dallas are strong-willed characters determined not to let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their dreams.

And then they run into each other again. 

*cue FIREWORKS*

They try to set boundaries; no PDA, no commitments, etc., but quickly find themselves unable to resist the pull of their shared past or each other. One pancake date leads to another and before they know it, this causal relationship is anything but. Caisey Quinn knows how to pull at my heart-strings while kicking me in the feels in the best way!

LOVING DALLAS has all of the elements I love in a NA; witty banter, romantic tension and a good story with an abundance of steam. It makes for a FANTASTIC addition to the NEON DREAMS series and I CAN.NOT.WAIT for Gavin's story now!






Monday, May 18, 2015

YOLO Juliet by William Shakespeare & Brett Wright + srsly Hamlet by William Shakespeare & Courtney Carbone

YOLO JulietPublication: May 26th 2015 
By: Random House Books for Young Readers
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 
4 Stars!

Romeo and Juliet, one of the greatest love stories ever told . . . in texts?!
 
Imagine: What if those star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!
 
Two families at war.
A boy and a girl in love.
A secret marriage gone oh-so-wrong.
 
and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)
 
tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, checking in at certain locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means
too long; didn’t read. 




srsly Hamlet Author(s):
Publication: May 26th 2015 
By: Random House Books for Young Readers



Hamlet, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!
 
Imagine: What if Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, and the tragic Ophelia had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!
 
A kingdom on the brink of war.
A stolen throne.
A boy seeking revenge.

and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)
 
tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, checking in at certain locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means too long; didn’t read.



* I received copies of these from the publisher in excahnge for honest reviews* 
 
These were both hilarious and so much fun to read! Even my 10 year old enjoyed them. For me, reading and understanding Shakespeare has always felt like trying to read and understand a foreign language. What these two books offer is a fresh, fun and modern take on the classics. I can't wait to share them!
 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: A Matter Of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy

A Matter of HeartAuthor:
Publication: May 12th 2015
By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
4.5 Stars!


A novel that will make your heart pound--anxiously, joyfully, triumphantly."
--New York TimesBestselling author, Lauren Myracle

Sixteen-year-old Abby Lipman is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials when a fainting incident at a swim meet leads to the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition. Now Abby is forced to discover who she is without the one thing that's defined her entire life.





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


When I opened this book, I only meant to read a few pages. I ended up finishing it in one sitting because I could not put it down. Abby's story is not only well-written and fast-paced, it's also a compelling blend of sports, romance and learning how to make tough choices. I thoroughly enjoyed it! 



~ About the Author ~

Amy Fellner Dominy worked as a copywriter in the advertising business before leaving to earn her MFA in playwriting. Her plays for adults and children have been staged in various cities around the country. Amy's novels for teens include OyMG (Walker, 2011) and AUDITION & SUBTRACTION (Walker, 2012.) Amy's next book is a contemporary YA coming May 12, 2015 from Random House/Delacorte. It's called A MATTER OF HEART

 

~ GIVEAWAY~

a Rafflecopter giveaway