Blog tour: Yolk (Excerpt + Giveaway!)

Hi beauties! Today I am a stop on the YOLK by Mary H.K. Choi Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I am so excited to read this one! I’ve heard her books are amazing! Check out the excerpt and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About The Book:

Title: YOLK

Author: Mary H.K. Choi

Pub. Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 400

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, AudibleB&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBDBookshop.org

From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives.

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.


EXCERPT

From Chapter 1 of YOLK

By Mary H.K. Choi

Depending on where I focus and how much pressure I apply to the back of my throat, I can just about blot him out. Him being Jeremy. Him who never shuts up. Him being my ex. He whose arm is clamped

around the back of the café chair that belongs to another girl. She’s startlingly pretty, this one. Translucent and thin. Achingly so. She has shimmering lavender hair and wide-set, vacant eyes. Her name is Rae and when she offers her cold, large hand, I instinctively search her face for any hint of cosmetic surgery. Her lids, her lips, the tip of her nose. Her boots are Ann Demeulemeester, the ones with hundreds of yards of lace, and her ragged men’s jacket, Comme. 

“I like your boots,” I tell her, needing her to know that I know, and immediately hating myself for it. I’m so intimidated I could choke. She smiles with such indulgent kindness I feel worse. She’s not at all threatened by me. 

“I got them here,” she tells me in faultless English. I don’t ask her where there might be.

Jeremy says I’m obsessed with other women. He might be right. Then again, someone once described Jeremy’s energy to me as human cocaine, and they were definitely right. 

“Mortifying.” He shudders, blotting his slick mouth with a black cloth napkin. Jeremy’s the only one eating a full-on meal here at Léon. A lunch of coq au vin. I draw in a deep breath of caramelized onion. All earthy, singed sugar. 

“Can you imagine failing at New York so publicly that you have to ‘move home’?” He does twitchy little scare quotes around the last bit. He does this without acknowledging that for him, moving home

would be a few stops upstate on Metro-North, to a town called Tuxedo. A fact he glosses over when he calls himself a native New Yorker.

I watch Rae, with a small scowl nestled above her nose, purposely apply a filter on her Instagram Story. It’s her empty espresso cup at an angle. I lean back in my wicker café chair and resume lurking her

profile, which I can do in plain sight because I have a privacy shield. 

It’s the typical, enigmatic hot-girl dross on her main feed, scones cut out onto a marble surface dusted with flour, her in a party dress in a field. A photo of her taking a photo in a mirror with a film camera.

In an image farther down, Rae is wearing a white blouse and a black cap and gown. Grinning. It’s a whole different energy. When I arrive at the caption, I close my eyes. I need a moment. I somehow

sense the words before they fully register. She graduated from Oxford. It’s crushing that most of the caption is in Korean. She’s like me but so much better.

My will to live leeches out of my skin and disappears into the atmosphere. I should be in class. I once calculated it, and a Monday, Wednesday, Friday course costs forty-seven dollars, not counting rent.

Counting rent in this city, it’s exactly one zillion.

“Yeah, hi.” Jeremy flags down a passing server. A curvy woman with a tight Afro turns to us, arms laden with a full tray of food. “Yeah, can you get me a clean glass of water?” He holds his smeared glass to the light.

“I can,” she says through her teeth, crinkling her eyes and nodding in a way that suggests she’s garroting him in her mind.

“That’s not our server,” I whisper when she leaves. As a restaurant kid, albeit a pan-Asian strip-mall operation that charges a quarter for to-go boxes, I cringe with my whole body. Jeremy shrugs.

I check myself out in the strip of antique mirror behind Rae’s and Jeremy’s heads. I swear my face is wider now than it was this morning. And the waistband of my mom jeans digs into my gut flesh, stanching

circulation in my lower belly and thighs. I can feel my heartbeat in my camel-toe. It’s a dull pain. A solid distraction from this experience. I wonder if they were talking about me before I arrived.

I eye the communal french fries. Saliva pools in the back of my gums. Ketchup is my kryptonite. Especially swirled with ranch dressing, which I’ve trained myself to give up. The Raes of the world would

never. Or they would and it would be quirky and wholesome.

Her leg is the circumference of my arm.

I smile at the room in a way I imagine would appear breezy yet bored in a film about heartbreak. I love this place. You’d never guess that a dumpy French restaurant from the seventies would be the new hotspot, but that’s the other thing Jeremy’s good for: knowing the migratory practices of various clout monsters. That and ignoring the tourists as he sweet-talks Oni the hostess into ushering us past the busy

bar and into the seats in the way, way back.

Someday I’m going to eat a meal in a New York restaurant by myself without burning with shame.


About Mary H.K. Choi: 

Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer. She attended a large public high school in a suburb of San Antonio, then college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Textile and Apparel.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon 


GIVEAWAY

Giveaway Details: 

2 winners will win a finished copy of YOLK, US Only.

To enter click on the following link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21245/


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

3/1/2021Westveil Publishing Excerpt
3/1/2021A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
3/2/2021BookHounds YA Spotlight 
3/2/2021Book-KeepingReview
3/3/2021Lifestyle of MeReview
3/3/2021What A Nerd Girl SaysReview
3/4/2021Momfluenster Spotlight 
3/4/2021Not In Jersey Review
3/5/2021Kait Plus BooksSpotlight 
3/5/2021Trapped Inside StoriesSpotlight 

Week Two:

3/8/2021My Fictional OasisReview
3/8/2021Eli to the nthReview
3/9/2021The Scribe OwlReview
3/9/2021Nay’s Pink BookshelfReview
3/10/2021Lala’s Book Reviews Review
3/10/2021The Mind of a Book DragonReview
3/11/2021Odd and BookishReview
3/11/2021Little Red ReadsReview
3/12/2021Amani’s ReviewsReview
3/12/2021michellemengsbookblogReview

Blog tour spotlight (+ giveaway!): Jo and Laurie

Click the banner above to see the full tour schedule

Happy publishing day to Jo & Laurie! Today I am stop on its blog tour. Be sure to keep reading this post to find out how you can enter the giveaway!

BOOK INFORMATION

Jo & Laurie

by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 2nd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, 

Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?


BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48895207-jo-laurie

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3eKjILC

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jo-laurie-margaret-stohl/1136270761?ean=9780593112861

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/jo-laurie/id1489092197

Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Jo-Laurie-Melissa-de-La-Cruz/9781984812018?ref=grid-view&qid=1587559819389&sr=1-1

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/jo-laurie-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=8Pe_DwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-8Pe_DwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_atb&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb


AUTHOR INFORMATION

MELISSA DE LA CRUZ

She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

MARGARET STOHL

Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.

As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.

She has published fifteen novels and graphic novels, as well as contributed to several games and countless comics since her debut. Her last book, Cats Vs Robots: This is War, was a family affair, illustrated by her child, the artist Kay Peterson, and co-written with her husband, Lewis Peterson. It also starred three of her family’s five cats.

After Beautiful Creatures was released as a feature film from Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, Margaret began working with Marvel on her bestselling Black Widow: Forever Red duology; in 2017 she began writing the ongoing Mighty Captain Marvel comic, followed by the acclaimed Life of Captain Marvel miniseries, where she established a new origin story for Carol Danvers in preparation for the theatrical debut of Brie Larson as “Captain Marvel” for the MCU. 

When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie – where she oversees the creation of new global IPs – Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), the largest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at mstohl.com.

AUTHOR LINKS

MELISSA DE LA CRUZ

Website: https://melissa-delacruz.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21911.Melissa_de_la_Cruz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelissadelaCruz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorMelissadelaCruz/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormelissadelacruz/

Tumblr: https://authormelissadelacruz.tumblr.com/

MARGARET STOHL

Website: https://mstohl.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2895707.Margaret_Stohl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mstohl

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/margaret_stohl/


AUDIOBOOK SAMPLE

Click here to listen to a sample of the audiobook.

GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a copy of JO & LAURIE by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz (US Only)

Starts: 27th May 2020

Ends: 10th June 2020

Click here to enter the giveaway!


Review: Marilla of Green Gables

Click the picture to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours as part of a review tour. 

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Anne of Green Gables. I read the book and used to watch the animated TV show on PBS. I wanted to live in Avonlea with Anne. So naturally I was excited to read this book. 

I was not disappointed. The book felt in the spirit very much like Anne of Green Gables. I can tell that the author did her research (in her author’s note she goes over in detail how much research she did). It had the same quaint feel as the original. Even the stylistic choices mimicked the original. The book is divided into three parts: Marilla of Green Gables, Marilla of Avonlea, and Marilla’s House of Dreams. The chapter titles even paid tribute too. 

The author has a fantastic writing style. The whole book just flowed so nicely and transported you into Marilla’s world. 

I thought the inclusion of the Underground Railroad in Canada was a bold choice. I was happy the author incorporated it because it was an area of history that I did not know much about. I enjoyed learning more about Canada and its history. 

Overall, this was a worthy prequel to an iconic classic series. I think a reread of Anne of Green Gables is in my future. 


Connect with me!

Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | TikTok

Blog tour: 10 Blind Dates

Hi beauties! Today I am a stop on the 10 Blind Dates blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. There is giveaway for this book so be sure to keep reading!

About the Book

Title: 10 BLIND DATES

Author: Ashley Elston

Pub. Date: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, AudibleB&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

“This piece-by-piece romance doesn’t need its Christmas theme to sell, but it makes it glitter all the more.”—Booklist

“In a funny holiday romance that has Sophie dog-sitting in a hockey rink, watching porn at a drive-in theater, and playing the Virgin Mary in a middle school Nativity, Elston cleverly reflects the family members’ personalities through their choices of dates for Sophie.”—Publishers Weekly

About Ashley: 

Ashley Elston is the author of several novels, including THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Awards) and THIS IS OUR STORY. She graduated with a Liberal Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Ashley worked for many years as a wedding photographer before turning her hand to writing. Ashley lives in Louisiana with her husband and three sons. 

Ashley is represented by Sarah Davies at The Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of 10 BLIND DATES, US Only.

To enter click here!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/1/2019- BookHounds YAExcerpt

10/2/2019- Odd and BookishReview

10/3/2019- FictitiouswonderlandReview

10/4/2019- Here’s to Happy EndingsReview

Week Two:

10/7/2019- PopTheButterfly ReadsExcerpt

10/8/2019- Read. Eat. Love.Review

10/9/2019- Paper ReaderReview

10/10/2019- A Bookish DreamReview

10/11/2019- Savings in SecondsReview

Week Three:

10/14/2019- book briefsReview

10/15/2019- Shelf-RatedReview

10/16/2019- Smada’s Book SmackReview

10/17/2019- Do You Dog-ear?Review

10/18/2019- Wishful EndingsReview

Week Four:

10/21/2019- Southern Girl BookaholicReview

10/22/2019- Eli to the nthReview

10/23/2019- fictitious.fox– Review

10/24/2019-  Fire and IceReview

10/25/2019- Two points of interestReview

Week Five:

10/28/2019- Riddle’s ReviewsReview

10/29/2019- Jena Brown WritesReview

10/30/2019- Moonlight RendezvousReview

10/31/2019- Novel NoviceReview

Review: Bill Marriott

Click the picture to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Initially, I thought this book might be on the dull side since it’s nonfiction, but I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

First off, I’m a big fan of Marriott hotels. Whenever I stay in a hotel, it’s usually a Marriott. However, I had no idea just how big the Marriott company actually is. 

This book is jammed packed with information. I could tell that the author did a tremendous amount of research. I learned so much about Bill Marriott and the company. Like I had no idea that Marriott built Great America, which is an amusement park in my hometown. I also did not know that Marriott almost bought Disney. Or that the Marriotts were friends with the Romneys (Mitt Romney is actually named after Bill’s father). My mind was blown. 

The book also discusses Bill Marriott’s faith. Bill belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The discussion o his religion never gets too overpowering or preachy, but instead gets woven throughout the book. It was interesting to see how his faith influenced his business decisions and his way of life. 

Overall, this was an insightful book about an incredible man and his company. I’m so glad I read this book because now I love staying at Marriotts even more since I know all the history behind it. 

Review: Flora Air

Click the picture to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★

I received this book for free as part of a blog review tour.

This was a very interesting book. I’m not quite sure what to make of it. 

Initially I was drawn to the premise. It’s about a woman getting involved with a married professor who helps her with her novel writing. I didn’t quite know how this would play out. I didn’t know if it would take a more scandalous route or play it safe. 

In the end it did go a safe route. For me, I thought it got too safe past the halfway mark. I was really into the story in the first half, but once I got into the second half it got a bit boring. There wasn’t much conflict to make it more interesting. 

There was an unexpected touch of magic to the story. I’m not quite sure it really added much to the plot. It definitely gave the book an extra something but it also felt a bit out of place and random at times. 

I did like the setting. The story takes place in Ireland which gave it a very quaint feel. I loved Oliver’s house by the sea. He had an amazing library. The book states, “the minute the library door was fully open, there was a heavenly smell of books, the intense aroma of lots and lots of books. The smell was like a heavenly perfume…it was truly a spectacular literary oasis. There was a gold mine of books in this enchanted nook. And the whole atmosphere was entirely magical” (pg. 41-42).

I also liked the message of finding love later on in life and the message of not giving up on your dreams. 

Overall, there were some things that I didn’t like, but there were also things that I did like. If you like the premise and you’re looking for something quick to read, then consider reading this. 


Synopsis

Flora Air is passionate about writing and she dreams of becoming an author, but she’s in a fog with her mundane day job. She meets a charismatic professor who nurtures her writing and suddenly her dreams seem possible. A touch of magic at the professor’s home adds old-fashioned charm and enchantment to Flora’s writing journey. When she realises she loves the married professor, her journey takes a wild turn. Can Flora actually succeed in becoming an author? What happens to the love Flora Air feels for the professor

Author Bio

Janice Cairns is the author of quality romantic fiction.  For more than thirty years she has lived in Edinburgh and her first three novels are set there.  She now lives in a historic market town not far from Edinburgh.  Most of her time is spent writing or thinking about writing.  She loves long country walks, reading good books and eating out in lovely restaurants.

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway click here

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

Patron Saints of Nothing blog tour: author guest post!

Hello beauties! Today I am so thrilled to be a stop on the Patron Saints of Nothing blog tour. As a biracial Filipino American like the main character, this book means the world to me because representation matters! I have written a review for this book (which will be up on a later date, spoiler alert: I gave it 5 stars), but for today I have an awesome guest post from the author, Randy Ribay, where he describes why he decided to tackle the heavy subject of President Duterte’s war on drugs.

Without further ado, here is the post written by Randy Ribay:

In the novel Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami writes, “Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still.”

I think about this concept a lot, and I think it helps explain why I’ve always been drawn to “heavy” subjects, as the books and TV shows and movies I love the most are usually stories grappling with very serious issues. I feel as though such stories get at the core of what’s real. They show us who we truly are—as individuals, as humanity—at our best and our worst. I believe it’s important to confront these moments to figure out what leads us down one path or another. 

As a Filipino American, I wanted to explore the drug war in the Philippines because the thousands of extrajudicial killings comprise such a moment. I wanted to think through why President Duterte and other politicians believe it’s a good solution, why so many Filipinos support it, why some fight it, and why so many people (Filipino and otherwise) choose to ignore it. Of course, it’s one thing to try to understand this at the macro-level as a matter of policy, but there’s also a human impact of these cumulative actions/reactions/inactions, and that’s what I wanted to look at through Patron Saints of Nothing

The main character, Jay, is a Filipino American only vaguely aware of the drug war going on in the country where he was born. But when he gets news of his cousin’s death as a result of that drug war, he decides to try to figure out what really happened. Pursuing that question causes him to also confront a whole host of other questions about identity, family, faith, morality, truth, etc., that he likewise hadn’t given much thought to before. I think it’s only by struggling with such questions that can we develop a better understanding of who we are as individuals and who we are as a community. With that, we have a much better chance of becoming who we want to become. 


BOOK DESCRIPTION

A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.


AUTHOR BIO:

Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest. He is the author of After the Shot Drops and An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes. He earned his BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his Master’s Degree in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He currently teaches English and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Review: Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4)

Version 3

Click the picture to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour for the book. 

This is my second time reading Hannah R. Goodman. I had previously read the YA anthology book she edited and contributed to, Sucker Literary Magazine Vol. 1. I remember really enjoying it so I was excited to read this book. 

Going into this book I did not know that it was part of a series so in the beginning I was a tad bit confused because there were a lot of reference to things that happened in the past. However, I was still able to piece together what happened in the previous books, so you can read this book as a standalone. 

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This was a very touching and realistic story full of emotion and heart. It tackled a lot of heavy topics like cancer and anxiety in a respectful and caring way. There was a good balance between the happy moments and the more somber ones. 

As to what I didn’t like, the ending felt a but rushed to me. It ended pretty quickly. I would have liked for it to have been fleshed out a little more. 

There was also one line in the book that didn’t sit well with me. In describing the main character’s trip to NYC the book states, “We are right in front of one of those grocery stores that reek of Asian food and rotten produce” (83). I don’t quite know what this line was trying to get at, but to me it seemed like a slight jab at Asian grocery stores since they can sometimes be smelly. 

Overall, this was a wonderful and moving book. It had a few flaws, but was still an enjoyable read. 


 

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab). 

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear. 

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.

Purchase Link:

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/1684330807/‬‬  

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1684330807/‬‬


 

Author Bio 

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Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreenOC87 Recovery Diaries,  Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.

Hannah’s  first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.

Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe

Social Media Links 

You can find Hannah:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/969127.Hannah_R_Goodman

Twitter: @hannahrgoodman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tillitstopsbeatingnovel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tillitstopsbeating/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-goodman-76b9596/

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-R.-Goodman/e/B002BLU56K

Website: https://www.hannahrgoodman.com


 

Till It Stops Beating

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Blog Tour: Chasing Petalouthes guest post

For today’s post I am partnering with Love Books Tours to bring you a guest post from the author of Chasing Petalouthes, Effie Kammenou. In her post she discusses how she finds inspiration for her books. Keep scrolling to read her post and to find out more about her book!


 

Guest Post Written by the Author

Inspiration

Inspiration can come from any number of sources – a life experience, a fleeting yet compelling observation, or perhaps an unforgettable dream. For me it’s been all of the above and then some. I believe every writer draws from personal experience and any creative person tends to possess keen observation skills.

My younger daughter is a graphic designer and art director. I can see her eyes light up when inspiration strikes. I might not understand what caught her attention or what was running through her mind, but when she’s done setting up her shot and I see the final product of what she created, then I understand.

The same is true for my eldest, a dance teacher and choreographer. She’ll hear a piece of music that speaks to her and it’s as though a light switch was turned on. I can almost see her eyes dancing as her mind begins to create.

The smallest seemingly insignificant moments can be the most inspirational of all. Each year my family and I attend the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. It’s a crowded park at that time of the year. Actually, it’s always pretty crowded, but during the festival there are lines of people waiting to sample food & alcoholic beverages from kiosks that represent dozens of countries. I was sitting on a bench waiting for my family and I noticed a young couple sampling some of the offerings. It was apparent that the young man enjoyed what he’d tasted and he brought the wax paper clad pastry up to his girlfriend’s lips. He watched her eagerly, hoping she would enjoy it as much as he did and smiled when her reaction was the same as his. He then sweetly brushed off a flake of pastry from her bottom lip, allowing his finger to linger long enough to caress her mouth before lowering his head to gently kiss her. The whole exchange couldn’t have been more than fifteen seconds but it stayed with me. There was so much love in the young man’s gesture. I could see from that tiny slice of their life that he cared deeply for her and it moved me. I decided I would write a similar sweet moment into one of my stories. (Hint – It’s in Waiting For Aegina)

I began writing my first novel, Evanthia’s Gift, when my mother passed away. It had always been in the back of my mind to write, but I’d always dismissed the idea until this life-altering event and inspiration was born from grief. The story I had always played with in my mind grew from as simple love story to a family saga when I created a character that honored the essence of my mother’s heart and soul.

My mother like her mother before her never wanted to leave this earth, and they especially didn’t want to leave their family. My grandmother, who we called Yiayiá, would say in heavily accented English, ‘Don’t forget me,’ years before she had to worry about dying. My mother promised to always be with us and watch over us. And I believe she has done just that. I’ve had several dreams since I’ve lost her. Ones that contained an important message. I’ve used those dreams as inspiration although I changed the details and used them in a different context.

In 2004 I reluctantly attended my thirtieth high school reunion. The committee chairperson, an old friend I hadn’t seen since those school days, contacted me repeatedly until I finally agreed to attend. I ended up having a wonderful time and reconnected with many old friends. We became a close-knit group, and fourteen years later, we still get together. Because of this, the idea came to me to write a fictionalized story about a circle of friends who grew up together. I added these friends to Book One: Evanthia’s Gift as secondary characters, but in Book Two: Waiting For Aegina they are the focus of the story and each have their own subplot.

Although there may be bits and pieces of my friends in these women they are purely a figment of my imagination. I thought back to those days when we were young and idealistic and remembered what we all thought we would be doing with our lives years later. I expected to be a successful actor. There was a 1:1,000,000 chance of that! I was certain one of my friends would be a fashion designer and another a very important politician. Neither is the case in their real lives but my teenage ideals for them was inspiration enough for me to develop completely new characters with different histories, backgrounds and physical attributes from my friends.

Although none of the characters in Chasing Petalouthes are based on my daughters or any of the children in my family, it is their generation that inspired the storylines of Evvie and Stella. In truth, a very brave young woman shared a personal and painful part of her life with me and she inspired part of the plot. And of course, like I do in the rest of the saga, I delve into the past in a way where the current generation can learn valuable lessons from the generations before them.

I’ve already started to plot the next series in my mind. As a matter of fact, I witnessed something recently that inspired me enough to have my new love interests meet in a similar manner. But I’m not saying a word just yet!


Book Blurb

Chasing Petalouthes cover

Click the picture to purchase the book on Amazon

The Gift Saga concludes with the next generation coming into the forefront of the story during their tumultuous years between adolescence and adulthood.

Evvie has lived through more tragedy than a young girl should ever endure, having lost both her father and a most beloved grandmother at a young age. Her rebellious ways are her only defense to mask the ever-present pain in her heart. Closing herself off emotionally, Evvie vows to never let anyone into her heart. But will her determination to keep everyone out see her lose the only person who could heal her broken soul?

Over-achieving, focused, talented, determined to succeed. Those are the traits Stella envies in her siblings and cousins. Her insecurities and lack of confidence stunts her ability to realize her own worth. When an older, handsome young man claims her as his own, Stella believes she has finally found who she has been looking for—someone to love her enough to mold her into the best version of herself. But has she fallen in love too quickly for a man she barely knows anything about?

 Chasing Petalouthes (Chasing Butterflies) is the coming of age story of two flawed, young women who push their way out from the confines of the cocoons they’d built around themselves and discover how to soar.

 Can be read as a standalone. For the full emotional impact on the character’s live and histories, read Evanthia’s Gift & Waiting For Aegina.


About the Author

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Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.


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Blog Tour: Letting Go of Gravity blitz- author guest post + giveaway

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Today I am partnering with Xpresso Book Tours for a blitz post for the book, Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder. Continue scrolling to read the synopsis of the book, author bio, and a guest post from the author. There is also a giveaway which I have a link to at the very end of this post.


 

LettingGo

Book & Author Details:
Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder
Published by: Simon Pulse
Publication date: July 17th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:

 

“The anticipation and slow burn of Parker and Finn’s relationship is electric…[an] absorbing novel that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell.” —Booklist

Parker struggles to reconnect with her twin brother, Charlie—who’s recovering from cancer—as she tries to deal with her anxiety about the future in this powerful new novel.

Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.
Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.
Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.
Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.
And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got cancer. Parker didn’t.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.

AUTHOR BIO:
A former bookseller and teacher, Meg Leder currently works as a book editor in New York City. Her role models are Harriet the Spy and Anne Shirley. She is the coauthor of The Happy Book, and spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Author Links:

 


Guest post from the author

In my new book Letting Go of Gravity, my main character Parker struggles with anxiety, even though she doesn’t quite know what’s going on until the end of the book. As someone who also has a hard time getting out of her own head, like Parker, I’ve discovered a few ways to help manage my busy mind. Here are some of the tricks Parker and I have used to calm ourselves:

 

  • Immerse yourself in the words of others. For Parker, it’s listening to Taylor Swift. For me, it’s finding a book that I can lose myself in. Sometimes, the mere act of letting yourself spend time with other voices is enough to give your worried mind a break.

 

  • Get busy. In my book, Parker starts helping out at a local ceramics shop, working with a group of old women while discovering the joy of making things with her own two hands. For me, it’s writing and being a reading buddy at a local elementary school. Creating and volunteering are both great ways of slowing the worry train, letting your mind focus on other avenues.

 

  • Be kind to yourself. It’s very easy to be mad at yourself when you’re anxious. You know that you’re not thinking rationally, but that doesn’t stop the anxious thoughts. But being mad at yourself doesn’t help you feel better—in fact, it makes Parker (and me) feel worse. Instead of being hard on yourself, be kind. You can’t always stop the thoughts, but you can at recognize that anxiety is hard and you’re doing the best you can.

 

  • Talk to your friends and family. Throughout the book, Parker’s new friends Ruby and Finn encourage her to talk about her feelings, and it’s only when she starts to tell people that she’s worried and scared that things start to get better. I’ve found that being open about my worried thoughts with people I trust—my family, my best friends, my therapist—is often the first step toward owning and overcoming my anxiety.

 

  • Know that it’s okay to seek help. It takes Parker a long time (a whole book!) to recognize she needs help in managing her worry. It took me twenty-plus years. More than anything, I hope that anyone who sees a little or a lot of themselves in Parker knows it’s okay to ask for help, whether it’s from a teacher, trusted adult, therapist, or good friend. Anxiety can be a hard road, but having someone on your side can make the journey a lot easier.

 

I hope you enjoy Letting Go of Gravity, and if you’re anxious too, please know you’re not alone—Parker and I are both with you.


 

There is a giveaway for this book and if you would like to enter it, then click here!

 

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