Thursday, June 14, 2018

Blog Tour: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky...Mood Board & Giveaway!


Today is my stop on the Dive Smack Blog Tour...keep reading to learn more about this book & its author and to enter a fantastic giveaway!
Dive Smack
Publisher: TorTeen
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

To Purchase:
Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut novel, is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection.

Author Demetra Brodsky has created a wonderful Mood Board for Dive Smack that I am thrilled to be able to share with you today. It’s absolutely perfect for this story and the images she chose are gorgeous! I particularly love the center message.


To see more, be sure to check out Demetria’s Pinterest Board for Dive Smack by clicking here.



Prize
Hardcover copy of DIVE SMACK by Demetra Brodsky & Prize pack of necklace, bracelet, signed bookmark, & signed book plate
US Only
Starts: 6/13
Ends: 6/26

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Check out the rest of the tour stops to learn more about Dive Smack!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson...My Favorite Fictional Weddings & Giveaway!


I am so excited to be a part of the Save the Date Blog Tour!
This book was so much fun and I hope you’ll check it out!

Keep reading to learn more about the book, some of my favorite fictional weddings, and to enter the giveaway!
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis:
Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.


Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, but halfway through a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.

Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she received her M.F.A. in Writing for Children from The New school and worked as an editor for YA novels. She received a second M.F.A. (for reasons that made sense at the time) in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Her novels have been translated into dozens of languages, and published all over the world.

Morgan’s first novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her love of road trips, snacks, and the quest for the perfect playlist. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize.

Her second novel, Second Chance Summer, was inspired by her experiences spending summers in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was the winner of the California Book Award (YA category) and was named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults List, selected for the Oklahoma Sequoya List, and selected as a School Library Journal Best Book.

Her third novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, was published in 2014, and was a Publisher’s Weekly and international bestseller. It was named to the YALSA Teens Top Ten list, and the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award List.

Morgan’s fourth novel, The Unexpected Everything, was published May 3rd, 2016.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Murphy.


My Favorite Fictional Weddings
By Jennifer Y.

In Save the Date, Charlie’s family is gathering for her older sister’s wedding and all Charlie wants is for everything that weekend to be perfect and I won’t spoil things, but you guessed it...it’s one disaster after another. And to be honest with you, this is what makes weddings and wedding planning, both real and fictional, fun for me. I love the imperfections and hijinks that can occur...of course, I’ve never been a bride so it’s never been MY wedding, so I might have a different opinion if that were the case. But you kind of just have to go with the flow.

For example, my brother & sister-in-law’s cake almost toppled over as they cut into it and they spent their wedding night bailing the best man out from jail. At my sister’s wedding, my mom caught my younger cousins drinking directly from the chocolate fountain, their heads completely under it. And my grandmother got the champagne mixed up with the nonalcoholic grape juice all night and thought her camera was broken as she tried to take photos with it upside down and backwards.

But nothing is ever perfect, but that’s what makes life fun. And each of these fictional weddings or films about weddings proves this. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite fictional weddings from films, television, and books. 

1. Sixteen Candles (film, 1984)
Honestly, this was the very first thing that came to mind when I first read the synopsis for Save the Date. In this classic movie from the 80s, which happens to be one of my favorites, Samantha’s sister is getting married and in all the hoopla her family seems to have forgotten her 16th birthday. She’s also dealing with a crush on the hottest guy in school as well as embarrassing moments with her family. I love this movie and technically it’s not the wedding that makes it a favorite, but it’s such a big part of the movie and so fun.

2. The Brady Bunch (TV Show, 1969, Season 1, Episode 1)
If you’ve seen the show, then you know story of how they all became “The Brady Bunch.” This was one of the first weddings that came to mind when I saw the cover of Save the Date as it involves a backyard wedding reception with a mishap involving the cake...although Mike Brady was not as graceful-looking as our cover model. It is also one of the most memorable TV weddings.

3. Wings (TV Show, 1995, Season 6, Episode 26)
Another memorable TV wedding, this one involves two of the main characters of the show that fans waited years to see if they’d finally end up together. A dropped ring and a hand stuck in a toilet require the ceremony to move to a bathroom of all places, the groom on the floor. But for fans of the show and the couple, it was perfect for the couple and worth the wait.

4. The Wedding by Julie Garwood (book, 1996)
The only book on my list (although others could have made it), the wedding in this one is one of my favorites because it made me laugh. To be honest, no one does weddings or marriages of convenience in historical romances quite like Julie Garwood and I could have put several of her books on this list, but the wedding in The Wedding definitely stood out and is one I remember years and thousands of books later.

5. Father of the Bride (film, 1991)
I haven’t seen the original version, but this version with Steve Martin is one of my favorites (as is the sequel). I love his relationship with his daughter and the interactions with the kooky wedding planner played by Martin Short are such fun. The buildup to the wedding is what makes this movie so much fun for me.

6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (film, 2002)
This is another favorite movie of mine. I love the craziness that is Toula’s family and can relate even though I am not Greek. I definitely have some...um...interesting...family members, too. There is just so much to love and to laugh about in this movie.

7. Bride Wars (film, 2009)
This movie is a fun one with each character trying to ruin the other one all because they are getting married on the same day at the same place. Now, I would hope real friends wouldn’t behave the way Liv and Emma do in this movie considering how long they’ve been friends and they’re supposed to be lifelong best friends, but you never know...they say weddings make people crazy. And the actual wedding day turns out pretty cool.

8. How I Met Your Mother (TV Show, Season 2, Episode 21)
The wedding of Marshall and Lily...hilariously, just about everything goes wrong...well, hilariously for viewers, but eventually the couple does make it to the “I Do’s,” but it is still one of my favorite episodes and one of the most memorable TV weddings I’ve seen.

9. License to Wed (film, 2007)
Starring one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, this film is about an engaged couple who have to go through a wedding prep course in order to get married at the bride’s church and of course each test has hilarious, yet detrimental results. Like Bride Wars, it’s another fun movie that you would hope wouldn’t happen in real life, but you never know. It’s also more about wedding prep, but I still enjoy it.

10. Sweet Home Alabama (film, 2002)
This one has one of my favorite wedding moments (and not just because it was filmed at my alma mater) involving Reese Witherspoon’s and Candice Bergen’s characters. In fact, I just love this entire movie and have watched it many times.

So do you have a favorite fictional wedding? Any real life wedding mishaps?


US Only
Starts: 6/4
Ends: 6/21

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Blog Tour: Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi...Some Random Thoughts & a Giveaway!


Today I am a stop on the Always Forever Maybe Blog Tour!
It’s an emotional read about abuse in a relationship and I share some rambling (but hopefully coherent) thoughts on the topic, so keep reading!
Always Forever Maybe
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:

When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Even before they share a first kiss, Betts already knows the two of them are destined to become an us.

Betts has a bruised, cautious history with love, but she feels safe and empowered in Aiden's arms. He trusts her with the darkness in his troubled past, and his devotion opens up a new future for Betts just as everything else in her world is changing. With graduation inching closer, Betts and her best friend, Jo, have been sliding slowly apart, and that fissure is blown wide open by Aiden.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from Jo, but suddenly there's a long list of things she won't tell her, things Jo wouldn't understand. Because Jo doesn't see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She's wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

Anica Mrose Rissi grew up on an island off the coast of Maine. After college, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a cheesemonger and book editor. She now writes, fiddles in the electro-country band Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, and walks with her dog, Arugula, near their home in Princeton, New Jersey. Anica is the author of several books for younger readers, and her essays have been published by The Writer and the New York Times. Always Forever Maybe is her YA debut. Visit her online at anicarissi.com, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @anicarissi.


The Rambling Thoughts of This Reader...

When I first read the synopsis of Always Forever Maybe, a million post ideas ran through my head for this. Now, as I sit here trying to write down exactly what I want to say, I am struggling. This book and its subject matter is a tough one, both to read and to write about...especially if you’ve lived it or are currently living it.

Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea, I was never in a controlling or possessive relationship like the one portrayed in the book...no, I was the friend who wanted to help, the family member who watched a loved one suffer at the hands of her abuser, the one who always said, “That won’t be me” and still prays it never is.

But I can easily understand how it could happen...even more so now that I am an adult than when I was a teen and that’s what is so hard for me about abuse in teen relationships. Because many teens don’t get it, they don’t see or know the signs because no one has told them or they interpret them as something else. Some long for any attention or affection and sometimes that comes with a price...sometimes they tell, sometimes they don’t. And occasionally friends don’t want to get involved or don’t want to ruin a friendship or are unsure themselves of what’s going on so they stay quiet, too. Like I did...a decision I still regret all of these years later.

Guess I better start at the beginning with that one. I knew a girl in elementary school who became more of a friend in middle school. We weren’t super close, but we had lunch and gym together so we would hang out and talk then. Around this time Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg had a movie out called Fear about a teen girl who gets involved with an older boy who ends up being possessive and abusive (this movie was actually the very first thing I thought of reading the synopsis for Always Forever Maybe). While I absolutely hated the Wahlberg character, my friend loved him and thought he was so sexy and romantic. He was an abusive jerk, I would say and she’d counter with, but he loved her a lot. I was left wondering if we saw the same movie. Then it clicked...my friend had an older boyfriend, one she rarely talked about, but everyone at school knew about. Could he be like Wahlberg’s character? I dismissed the thought because surely my friend would’ve said something or left him or something. I began paying more attention to things after that. Small bruises on her arms and legs...I bruise easy, she’d say. A few weeks later, she came to school with her arm in a brace and a black eye...a door she said. I finally called her out on the lie and asked her who hurt her and she told me it was him, but her parents had pressed charges so it was over. She was also moving. I felt terrible for not voicing my suspicions to someone before it had gotten to this point and told her so. She said that it wouldn’t have mattered because no one would’ve believed me without proof and she would’ve just lied...she still loved him. She moved a few weeks later and I never saw her again. But I still wonder about her.

I can’t help but also wonder if she and other teens would have benefited from one of the best college classes I ever took: Self Defense. Yes, I learned ways to defend myself against would-be attackers, but we also spent a lot of time discussing a topic you wouldn’t think you’d need to know about in this type of class...abuse in relationships. We learned warning signs to look for in people we date, warning signs in other people’s relationships, where and how to get help for ourselves and others, and so much more. We shared personal stories and it opened my eyes to things that I might not have realized were warning signs before. It also gave me a better understanding of those who stay in abusive relationships and the cycle these types of relationships creates. My only regret is that I didn’t get this information until my 20s...I believe that teens, especially those who date, could really benefit from of all of this info and I hope there are programs that provide it.

Earlier I mentioned the film Fear, and how the synopsis of the book reminded me of it, there is another movie I want to bring up because it brings to light the fact that it’s not just females who are the victims, for lack of a better word, in abusive relationships. Years ago, network TV stations would air “Movies of the Week” that were like Lifetime movies, but better (in my opinion). There is one that has stuck with me since I was a child...Men Don’t Tell. In the film, the husband is being physically abused by the wife but no one believes it and he gets blamed because he is the male in the relationship. It takes the couple’s daughter asking if Mommy was going to get in trouble for hurting Daddy for people to finally start to understand what’s really happening. This film struck a chord with itty bitty kid me and stuck with me for years because it is one of the first times where I had seen them portray the man as the victim. It’s important and I wanted to mention it because we often forget that guys can also be victims of abusive relationships as well and deserve the same help and consideration as girls.

There are so many examples of toxic, unhealthy, and/or abusive relationships portrayed on television, in film, and in books. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may be dangerous or unhealthy, I hope you know that you are not alone. There are ways to get help. YOU ARE WORTH IT!


  • Prize: 1 copy of ALWAYS FOREVER MAYBE
  • Starts: 5/29
  • Ends: 6/14



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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Blog Tour: The Archivist by Christy Sloat...Review & Giveaway!


Excited to tell you about The Archivist today!
Keep reading to learn more and to enter the giveaway!
Title: THE ARCHIVIST (The Librarian Chronicles #2)
Author: Christy Sloat
Pub. Date: May 28, 2018
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads

"With the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland and the romance of Outlander dive back into the next installment in the Librarian Chronicles."

Savannah Preston has a rare and precious gift: The ability to time travel through books. She, and others who share this unique ability, are faced with the insurmountable task of preserving history. They are known collectively as The Librarians.

While researching infamous Scottish outlaw Sir Malcolm Wash during the raging conflicts of the 14th Century, Savannah loses the only thing that tethers her to her own time. She must rely on her knowledge of both the present and the past to survive long enough to find a way home. Along the way, she enlists the help of a misfit named Eoin. With his guidance, she might just get home. It’s a risky and dangerous adventure, but then, so is Eoin.
About Christy:
I am Southern California native, now living in New Jersey! How did that happen? I am married and have  two beautiful little girls who love to read just like Mommy. I have had a passion for books since I was a little girl and an imagination for just as long. I hope my books can inspire others to read and to write too.

Title: The Archivist 
Author: Christy Sloat 
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Blog Tour

The Archivist is a fun and fascinating follow-up to Christ Sloat’s first book in “The Librarian Chronicles” series, The Librarian. Don’t worry if you haven’t read The Librarian, you can read this book first as it stands on its own, but you might want to pick that one up anyway as it’s pretty good, if you ask me, and helps you understand what being a “Librarian” with a capital L means (although The Archivist does a good job at explaining this, too).

As for The Archivist, in it we are introduced to Savannah, a college student who comes from a family of Librarians, or people with the ability to travel through time through books. Savannah is traveling to 14th century to discover what happened to the notorious Scottish outlaw Sir Malcolm Walsh during the few years he seemed to fall off everyone’s radar and to make sure that historians got things about that time period correct.  However, things don’t go quite as Savannah planned on one of her journeys to the past. What should have a simple trip to research and preserve history turns into a dangerous adventure as Savannah must use her knowledge of the past and the help of others as she tries to survive long enough to find a way back home.

I love time travel stories and The Archivist is definitely a fun and interesting one. It got off to a really quick start, which made me feel like I may have missed something, but once I got into the story and Savannah began her “mission,” I fell into a reading groove and couldn’t put the book down as Savannah first journeyed between the past and the present trying to balance both of her very different lives. It was fascinating to see life in medieval Scotland through the eyes of a modern young lady and get a better understanding of Savannah’s role as a Librarian as well as see the effects it has on her life. Sloat could easily make things overcomplicated or too flowery, but she manages to write in a style that makes for easy understanding while not being too simple...I hope that makes sense.

Things definitely get tricky for Savannah when she unexpectedly gets stuck in Scotland on one of her trips to the past. As she tries to keep her secret and work to figure out a way back home, she encounters Eoin, a fascinating young man who attempts to help her on her journey back home even if he doesn’t initially know that’s her goal and she faces several risks across the dangerous medieval Scottish countryside. It was quite a ride filled with several interesting encounters and some unexpected moments. And a bit of romance.

Sloat has also created some interesting and complex characters. I have to be honest though, at first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Savannah. She just seemed a bit too nice and too self-deprecating as everyone else seemed to take advantage of her or be flat-out rude to her, but I found myself relating to her on some levels so perhaps that was why she irked me at first. On one hand she is a typical college student who struggles with family issues, time management, and other issues facing others her age. But she also struggles with her gift and responsibilities as a Librarian and how that affects her life and relationships. I loved the growth Savannah showed throughout the story as she became stronger and more confident...she definitely has a backbone and it was great to see her show it throughout the story.

She turned out to be quite a complicated character filled with contradictions...insecure, yet proud...naive, yet knowledgeable...fearful, yet adventurous. It was a little confusing as I wasn’t sure which Savannah we were going to get from chapter to chapter and she was a hard character to really get a feel for because she was a little bit of everything, but I guess that is realistic in a way considering who and what Savannah is. She has learned to hide her true identity and adapt to new environments as a Librarian, which can make for a very complicated personality.

A few of the other characters rubbed me the wrong way a time or two and were a little hard to get a read on as well. But Savannah and the others grew on me and I wanted to know more about them even while wanting to smack some sense into a few of them.

Overall, it was a entertaining read that made me wish I could time travel or jump into a book, but definitely with the ability to come back home...I need my modern-day hygiene products and gadgets, thank you very much. If you enjoy stories with time travel, rich history, relatable characters, touching romance, and intriguing plots, then I recommend you try The Archivist.


*A free digital copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.*


Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE ARCHIVIST, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:
Week One:
5/21/2018- The Young Girl Who Loved BooksReview
5/21/2018- The Cozy Reading CornerGuest Post

5/22/2018- Reading Is My SuperPowerReview
5/22/2018- BookHounds YAInterview

5/23/2018- Never Too Many To ReadReview
5/23/2018- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt

5/24/2018- Wonder StruckReview
5/24/2018- Sincerely Karen JoExcerpt

5/25/2018- Fire and IceReview
5/25/2018- TMBA Corbett Tries to Write- Interview

Week Two:
5/28/2018- To Be ReadReview
5/28/2018- Owl Always Be ReadingExcerpt

5/29/2018- Books of TeacupsReview
5/29/2018- Novel NoviceGuest Post

5/30/2018- Book-o-CrazeReview
5/30/2018- ParajunkeeExcerpt

5/31/2018- Bookish Lifestyle- Interview
5/31/2018- RhythmicBooktrovert- Review

6/1/2018- Bluestocking Bookworm- Review
6/1/2018- Paperback PrincessExcerpt




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