2015 Annual End Of The Year Survey

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This survey is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

2015 Reading Stats
Number Of Books You Read:
 80
Number of Re-Reads: I think it was 2 books. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller & Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary. No surprise there, right?


Best In Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
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Best Fantasy: A Court of Thorns and Roses

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Best LGBT book: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Best thriller: Damage Done

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
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 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
PJ 

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
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 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

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Series starter: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Series ender: Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
This one is hard because I discovered so many new-to-me authors in 2015. I think I’m gonna go with Tamara Ireland Stone & Melina Marchetta.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
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 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
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 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?79670-tsomay

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
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11. Most memorable character of 2015?
PJ
Audie’s voice was so unique and I loved it.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
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13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?af79a-lp

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
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 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
“Real love is support, even when you’re fighting. Real love is honesty even when the truth hurts like hell. Real love is being there through every miserable minute and every infinite moment. Real love is-it’s sitting in that cage together with a gun pointed at your head, knowing all you have to do to save your life is kill him, and instead you hold each other because living without him isn’t living at all.”

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
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Longest book: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (528 pages)
Shortest book: Gracefully Grayson (250 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
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18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
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19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
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I couldn’t decide between these three. I loved all three of these books.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
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Pretty much EVERYONE in the blogosphere has been begging me to read this book.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
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Jonah Griggs!

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
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All of them deserve this award because these three books I think are the cream of the crop.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
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25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
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26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
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27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
PJ

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
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This book destroyed all the feels in my body.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
TBI
I read this one for a blog tour and found myself REALLY enjoying it, even more than I expected.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
ATR
This book made me so mad, sad and everything in between. It was a heartbreakingly real book.


Your Blogging/Bookish Life
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Oh gosh, there’s been way too many to name.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Probably the review I wrote for My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
The one celebrating my second blogoversary

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I think I’m gonna go with Bloomsbury’s Spring Preview liveshow. It was so awesome to see upcoming releases and to get excited about them.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Either moving my blog to WordPress on my own or when I agreed to be Bekka’s co-blogger. They BOTH stick out in my head.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Blogging wise, I made the switch to WordPress and then only a few months later I decided to join forces with Bekka and co-blog with her. I am still so proud of how well my solo blog has done and trying to decide if I want to keep this blog active or not has been a rough decision.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I’m pretty sure it was this one: Do ARCs Symbolize Blogger Status?

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
My review of All the Rage by Courtney Summers.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Society6 would be my pick. It’s not technically a bookish site, but it’s where I’ve bought a lot of things including 2 bookish coffee mugs that I absolutely LOVE.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I had to lower my Goodreads reading goal twice this year. It was the only reading goal I really had, but I had such a rough reading year. I did meet that goal though, so YAY me!


Looking Ahead
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
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2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
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3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
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 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
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5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
I want to read 150 books in 2016. That is over double what I read this year, but since this year was terrible, I’m aiming high and going to challenge myself.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone?
TLTSTW


So let me know if you did this survey and if we share any of the same answers.

Merry Christmas!

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 Hi guys!

For all of you that celebrate it, hope your Christmas is AMAZING. You all deserve an awesome holiday filled with food, family and lots of fun. For those of you who don’t celebrate, I hope your day is just as amazing. You deserve a relaxing beginning to your weekend.

I wanted to let you guys know that after I complete previous commitments on this blog (SST posts, blog tour posts, reviews etc) I will be closing down this blog to focus 100% on co-blogging with my good friend, Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews. So be sure you go follow that blog so you can keep up with my reviews, discussion posts etc and get to know Bekka if you don’t already know her.

I am so proud of how well I’ve done with blogging on my own, but I’m ready to branch out and I’m so excited for the plans Bekka and I have for Pretty Deadly Reviews.

Review: Queen (The Blackcoat Rebellion #3) by Aimee Carter

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Book Title: Queen
Author: Aimee Carter
Published Date: November 24th, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Book 3 in The Blackcoat Rebellion trilogy
(Pawn & Captive)
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
PAWN…CAPTIVE…QUEEN?

Kitty Doe is a Blackcoat rebel and a former captive with a deadly connection to the most powerful and dangerous man in the country, Prime Minister Daxton Hart. Forced to masquerade as Daxton’s niece, Lila Hart, Kitty has helped the Blackcoats take back the prison known as Elsewhere. But Daxton has no intention of ceding his position of privilege—or letting Kitty expose his own masquerade. Not in these United States, where each person’s rank means the difference between luxury and poverty, freedom and fear…and ultimately, between life and death.

To defeat the corrupt government, Kitty must expose Daxton’s secret. Securing evidence will put others in jeopardy, including the boy she’s loved forever and an ally she barely trusts. For months, Kitty’s survival has hinged on playing a part. Now she must discover who she truly wants to be, and whether the new world she and the rebels are striving to create has a place in it for her after all.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the final book in this series and I am so glad I finally got to read it. The anticipation was absolutely killing me. So when my copy became available at the library I promised myself I’d start it the minute I picked it up.

This book was an awesome ending to the series. I loved the series overall, and although the 2nd book, Captive, is still my favorite of the three, Queen had a whole heck of a lot of awesome inside of it. A whole lot of craziness and even an eleventh hour ship change, which thrilled me for reasons.

Kitty took a lot of risks in this final book, but they were risks that paid off for the most part. They were risks that had me breathless as I kept reading to find out the outcomes of certain things.

I don’t know who was more of the breakout star in this book: Greyson or Celia. They were both captivating and I could never figure out what their next plans were.  I had always liked Greyson so I was happy to see more of him. Celia had always interested me. I had always wanted to know more about her and what made her tick.

I want to talk more about other characters, especially Knox & Benjy, but I won’t. I don’t want to accidentally let something slip about their character arcs. I still love Knox and I grew to dislike Benjy in this book. That’s all I’ll really say.

I am so sorry to say goodbye to these characters, but I am so glad that I got to read this series. It was captivating, exciting and fascinating. I am giving it 4.5 stars. It was so freaking awesome and I would totally recommend this series to everyone who likes dystopian books.

Blog Tour: Half in Love With Death by Emily Ross

HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH

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Half in Love with Death
by Emily Ross
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: December 18th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

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Synopsis
It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She’s invisible to her parents, who can’t stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish.The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline’s desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.Inspired by the disturbing case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’, Half in Love with Death is a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.

Review:
I was a little iffy on this book when I first saw it. It didn’t look like something I’d be into, so I passed on it. Later, when I looked at the synopsis, I was very intrigued.

I took a chance with this book because normally historical fiction is not what I reach for when I want to read. However, after a slow start, this book hooked me in and did not let go of me the rest of the book. It was the kind of book you need to be patient with because it was a bit slow in the beginning and I found myself frustrated at both the pacing and the characters.

I think that’s why it took me so long to read a book that’s not even 300 pages.

Caroline was a fascinating character to me. She was maddening, but she also clearly loved her sister, so she was in a near constant state of conflict. Her parents were cold and distant with her. Maybe that was part of the 60’s parenting thing, I have no clue. Caroline also had boy problems. She had Billy, but she also starts falling for Jess’ boyfriend, Tony.

But is Tony innocent?

As the book continues, things get very creepy and questions begin to arise about Tony, about his friends and about whether or not Jess is actually in California like everyone else seems to think she is.

This book was a slow start, but it ended up being very enjoyable and it left me questioning everything and even wanting more after I finished reading it. I am giving it 4 stars because outside of the slow start, it was a VERY enjoyable book and I’m really glad I took a chance on it.

About the Author
EMILYROSS
Emily Ross’s YA mystery/thriller HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH is forthcoming from Merit Press(12/2015). She received a 2014 MCC Artist Fellowship finalist award for fiction, and is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program. When not writing she works as a web developer and is the mother of two millennials. Find out more at http://www.emilyrosswrites.com/ or https://twitter.com/emilyross816.

Giveaway Link
Rafflecopter

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Book Blitz: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T. A. MacClagan

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They Call Me Alexandra Gastone
by T.A. Maclagan
Release Date: 05/20/15
Full Fathom Five Digital
226 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

Add to Goodreads
Sale Blitz: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is $1.99 Amazon Holiday Deal

Veronica Mars Meets the Bourne Identity-2

About the Author
ta maclagan
T.A. Maclagan is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington, New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son and four pampered cats. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her ‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing. They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is her first novel.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

GIVEAWAY:
There’s a $15 Amazon gift card up for grabs today as a thank you for stopping by, so check out the rafflecopter below! And if Alexandra Gastone sounds right up your alley, check out T.A.’s dream movie cast or her blog post on the top 10 butt kicking females that influenced Alexandra Gastone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

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Blog Tour: Clean by Mia Kerick

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Clean by Mia Kerick
Release Date: December 1st 2015
Young Dudes Publishing
Add to Goodreads
Buy Links: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads:
High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.

Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.
Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?

Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

Hello! And thank you for welcoming me to visit your blog. Today I am here to promote the release of my new book Clean, a YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance.

Clean is the story of two teenage boys who, for various reasons, experience a feeling of complete isolation in the world. Unable to face their problems, they search for an escape, and together find release in the world of drugs and alcohol. Trevor and Lanny soon hit rock bottom, partying constantly, and when one boy makes a decision to stop using, the other spirals downward into addiction. This is the edgy YA fiction illustrating how they are saved, by themselves and each other.

I can remember as a teen, sitting on the velvet couch in the living room, trying not to put my feet on my mother’s beautiful coffee table, and listening to my record albums, while staring at the faces on the covers of the musicians who created the music. Music has long had a great impact on me as a person, and it also affects me as a writer.

I have selected five classic songs that deal with alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and recovery to form the playlist for Clean. I will tell you a little bit about each song as I list it.

Play List for Clean by Mia Kerick

Let’s star with Ed Sheeran….

“The A Team” by Ed Sheeran

From Songfacts…

Sheeran explained the song title to Billboard magazine in a video interview “A drug like crack cocaine is called a ‘class A’ drug. That’s in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what the problem was, I’d say, ‘She’s in the ‘class A’ team.’ It was kind of my way of covering up (a person’s addiction), I guess, making it a bit more subtle.”

  Ed Sheeran’s wrote “The A Team” about meeting a homeless prostitute at the shelter where he was volunteering.

“The song is a true story and was written by Sheeran after meeting a girl called Angel, whilst volunteering at a Crisis homeless shelter…

Sheeran explained the song title to Billboard magazine in a video interview: ‘A drug like crack cocaine is called a ‘class A’ drug. That’s in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what the problem was, I’d say, ‘She’s in the ‘class A’ team.’ It was kind of my way of covering up (a person’s addiction), I guess, making it a bit more subtle.’” ~Songfacts

“Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

According to Songfacts, “Lead singer Anthony Kiedis wrote this about his days as a heroin addict and the loneliness that went with it. The bridge mentioned in the song is a place where he sometimes went to buy drugs and get high….

This song was originally just a poem that Kiedis wrote. He didn’t write it for the Chili Peppers – it was a very personal poem that he thought he might use somewhere else. Producer Rick Rubin found it in one of his notebooks and told Anthony that it could be a great song. At first, he didn’t want to sing it or share it with anyone, but he eventually came around.”

“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

From Songfacts….

“This song describes a drug user’s descent into crystal meth addiction. The line, ‘I want something else…’ contains a reference to crystal meth in the song. Third Eye Blind lead singer Stephan Jenkins explained on the HBO show Reverb that they intentionally put a chipper melody to the dark lyrical content…

Jenkins said, ‘It’s a song about always wanting something. It’s about never being satisfied, and reaching backwards to things that you’ve lost and towards things that you can never get. I think everybody has some identification with that. The story line between the people, the demise of this relationship, is just an extreme example of that condition. I think that’s what makes people really relate to ‘Semi-Charmed Life.'”

How about a couple of classics from The Eagles who know how to live life in the fast lane?

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

Though many fans and critics have interpreted it as a song about heroin addiction, “Hotel California” has been described by the Eagles’ Don Henley as their “interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”, and “…a song about a journey from innocence to experience.” ~Songfacts

I tend to think that the high life must include some types of substances that get you high, and innocence to experience indicates drug use, as well.

“Desperado” by The Eagles

Here are two perspectives on the Eagles’ song Desperado that deal with a fast, hedonistic life style that is somehow meaningless.

“On the surface, this song is about a cowboy who refuses to fall in love, but it could also be about a young man who discovers guitars, joins a band, pays his dues and suffers for his art. The stress of being a rock star is a recurring theme in Eagles music (e.g. “Life In The Fast Lane”). The overall theme is how you must suffer for your art.” ~ Songfacts

“At first glance, “Desperado,” a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, depicts a hardened outlaw who refuses to fall in love. This conclusion, although parallel to a majority of the themes lyrically depicted by The Eagles, is incorrect.  While the depicted individual exhibits traits parallel to that of an outlaw or rock star, the difference is that the confused individual is longing for love rather than rejecting it. The tone and literary devices embedded within the text support the theme that the young man is victim to his confusion, lifestyle and decisions.” Jhalpino9

“In the first couple of lines, the song’s author depicts the young man’s confused state as justified and prolonged by the pleasure the individual presently experiences.  The lines “These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow” allude to the underlying dangerous nature associated with the pleasurable things in the individual’s life. …“

About the Author
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Giveaway Link
Rafflecopter

Book Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

Stacking the Shelves #86

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This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Hi guys!

So things have changed drastically over the last month or so. I recently made the decision to start co-blogging with my good friend, Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews.  I am undecided on whether or not I will be closing down this blog, but I will keep you all posted on the decision I make.

Anyway, here is my haul for the past month!

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-
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With Malice by Eileen Cook
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

-NetGalley-
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Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill
The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz

-Blog Tour-
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Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Library
DIITNKI
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Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley
The Naturals (The Naturals #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

Have a great week!

2015 Debut Authors Bash: Special Guest Amanda Panitch

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Hi guys!

Today on the blog, I have an interview with Amanda Panitch on the blog. I also have a giveaway. So don’t forget to enter the giveaway after you read the interview.

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Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Interview with Amanda
The twist in Damage Done was so startling and so dark. How did you decide on that twist?

The twist actually came first. I got to know Julia and what she was hiding, and built the book around that.

Where did you get the idea for this book?

I was reading an article about a suicide bomber that mentioned the bomber’s siblings, and I wondered: what would it be like to be that sibling? You’d be grieving the death of your sibling even as you were horrified over what they’d done, which I imagined would lead you toward feeling guilty for mourning someone who’d done something so horrendous. And if you were close, you’d be wondering how you could have stopped it, what you could have done. Julia’s relationship with her brother, a school shooter, grew from there.

I found Dr. Spence’s notes to be the most captivating subplot of the book. Were his insights always a part of the book or did you add them in a later draft?

Thank you! They came out of a suggestion from my brilliant agent and were added in a later draft. It was a lot of fun to explore Julia and Ryan’s relationship from an outside, comparatively unbiased perspective, and give readers that extra view.

Did you know how it was going to end before you started the first draft?

Yes. I’m not generally a big outliner, but before writing a book, I always need to have, at the very least, a good sense of the characters and where they’re going to end up.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did a lot of research on twins and the bonds between them, as I don’t have a twin of my own (though I do have a lot of siblings). I also learned a lot about school shootings and psychopaths (those were a dark few days), and did some Google Maps exploration of California – the book is set there, but I’ve never been west of Pennsylvania.

That final scene between Lucy & Michael was so intense, and it turned out to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. Do you have a favorite scene from this book?

My very favorite part is the last chapter, which is only one scene. Without spoiling anything, Julia’s finally free to be herself and stop pretending to be something she most definitely is not.

I loved how we got to look back at Lucy & Ryan’s childhood. What made you decide to delve into their childhoods?

I thought that we needed to understand their beginning if we were going to understand their ending. If we didn’t get to see their complicated relationship develop, I don’t think their story would have had as much of an effect.

The ending turned out to be very open ended, which I didn’t mind at all. What made you decide to have the ending be open ended?

I’m always surprised when people say this (and a lot of people have), because I actually didn’t see it as being all that open-ended – all the main plotlines have been wrapped up, and we know what happens to everybody. I’m not knocking anybody – I just find it fascinating! Without spoiling anything, I guess we don’t know what’s going to happen to Julia in the future, but isn’t the unknown sometimes more frightening than the known?

What advice would you have for aspiring writers?

Write a lot and don’t give up. Some people get a book deal with their first novel, but most don’t. DAMAGE DONE was the seventh novel I finished.

Also, get to know the industry before you start searching for an agent and/or a publisher. There are a lot of “schmagents” out there – people who call themselves agents but don’t know the first thing about selling a book or managing an author’s career. Some of them are all over contests and social media, so they have the appearance of legitimacy. Being agented or published badly is worse than not having an agent or publisher at all – it might not seem like it when you’re in the trenches and getting rejection after rejection, but trust me, they can tie up rights to your book and future books with bad contracts and make it incredibly difficult to have a future career at all. Even just getting your book read can depend on the reputation of an agent – editors might request to see a manuscript from a schmagent’s pitch just in case, but good luck getting them to take the manuscript seriously.

What can we expect to see from you next?
My next book, NEVER MISSING, NEVER FOUND, comes out next June. It’s a stand-alone YA psychological thriller set in an amusement park like the one where I worked in high school. As a young child, Scarlett was kidnapped and held hostage with another little girl for several years. Eventually she escapes, but in the process is forced to make a terrible choice, leaving the other girl behind. Several years later, she’s regained a semblance of a normal life and is working a summer job at an amusement park, but one of her coworkers strikes her as familiar. Strangely familiar. Could it really be the little girl she left behind? And if it is, what does she want from Scarlett now?

About the Author
AP
Amanda Panitch grew up next to an amusement park in New Jersey and went to college next to the White House in Washington, DC. Amanda now resides in New York City where she works in book publishing by day, writes by night, and lives under constant threat of being crushed beneath giant stacks of books. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaPanitch, and visit her online at www.amandapanitch.com.

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

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Truest Banner
Truest
Genre: YA realistic contemporary
Published on September 1st, 2015
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Purchase Links:AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryBooks a MillionFishpondIndieBoundKoboPowell’sHarperCollins

Synopsis
Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck’s small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He’s curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening– and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister– and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Guest Post
A Modern Parable

Truest was always going to have some religious themes– the narrator, Westlin Beck, is the daughter of the local pastor, after all. But I wanted to write the story in such a way that wasn’t preachy, cheesy, or saccharine– because my personal faith isn’t those things either. It’s messy and beautiful and hard and raw. I wanted Truest to reflect that reality.

But it’s hard, you know? How do you write a novel intended for the secular market that includes a discussion of faith?

Some epiphanies are as quiet as a word crawling into your mind while you try to sleep and making a nest for itself there. The word, for me, was parables. Parables in biblical times were meant for some to see … and some to not. I wondered if I could write about faith in such a way that those who wanted to see those things would and those who didn’t want to wouldn’t have to. What resulted are a handful of scenes in the book that mean different things to different audiences, and frankly, I’m delighted by that. It’s been fascinating to hear a variety of interpretations.

My faith– and the faith of so many of my friends– is a wild thing, often complicated, rarely sentimental, and centered around grace and freedom. But so many people think of faith as a greeting card, an after-school special, and a lot of pretense. It was important to me to show Silas Hart, the love interest and the biggest spiritual influence on West, as a boy who screws up, loses his temper, curses like a sailor, battles his own inner demons– and who loves God. I’m hopeful that– just like me– others are drawn in by authenticity of any stripe.

About the Author:jackie

Jackie Lea Sommers lives and loves and writes in Minnesota, where the people are nice and the Os are long. She is the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize. She dislikes OCD, horcruxes, and Minnesota winters. She likes book boyfriends, cranky teenagers, and Minnesota springs. Truest is her first novel.

Connect With The Author
www.twitter.com/jackieleawrites
www.jackieleasommers.com
www.facebook.com/jackieleawrites
www.instagram.com/jackieleasommers
www.pinterest.com/jackieleas
www.jackieleasommers.tumblr.com

Giveaway
One signed and annotated hardcover of Truest
Giveaway Link

Waiting on Wednesday #33

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This weekly feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles we’re excited about.

My Pick
ATW
Book Link: 
Goodreads

Synopsis
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

My Thoughts
Wait, I have to have thoughts other than “Gimmie it” Okay fine, I’ll come up with words. Holy crap, I need this book in my hands immediately. This is one book that I will more than likely be pre-ordering at the beginning of 2016. Mystery/thrillers always seem to excite me. Plus I love stories that have friendship as a major theme and the friendship between Julia & Liz sounds potentially complicated.

What book are you most excited about?