Blog Tour: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light Blog Tour

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About the Book:
Title: THIS RAGING LIGHT
Author: Estelle Laure
Release Date: December 22nd, 2015
Pages: 288
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

“A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise.” —Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

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About Estelle:
Estelle
Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Giveaway
3 winners will receive a hardcover of THIS RAGING LIGHT and a bottle of Essie Nail Polish that matched the book cover. US Only.
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Giveaway Link


Tour Schedule:
Week One:
1/4/2016- The Cover Contessa– Interview
1/5/2016- Just Commonly Review
1/6/2016- Fire and Ice– Guest Post
1/7/2016- Adventures in Reading– Spotlight
1/8/2016- Once Upon A Twilight– Review

Week Two:
1/11/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book Interview
1/12/2016- The Candid Cover Review
1/13/2016- BookHounds YA– Guest Post
1/14/2016- Book Briefs– Review
1/15/2016- Such a Novel Idea– Interview

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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Book Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Published Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley

Review
Nothing I can say will ever do this beautiful book justice in my mind. I mean, WOW. What an incredibly gorgeous, yet heartbreaking book this was. I wasn’t sure what to expect, wasn’t sure I’d love this book as much as I wanted to, but at about 12% of the way through, the tears started falling and they never let up. I think part of the emotion was because this has happened so many times in the US. School shootings are not as rare as they once were.

I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep the 4 different POV’s in my head. I wouldn’t be able to differentiate all four voices. Thankfully, it only took me a little while to get accustomed to them and before I knew it, I had no problem telling each of the voices apart. Claire, Tomas, Sylvia & Autumn each have a connection to the shooter, though the connections aren’t immediately apparent. The different connections they had to the shooter are revealed early on, for which I was grateful.

I cannot say enough about the diversity in this book. In some ways, I think the diversity within the characters was my favorite part. There were characters of different ethnic backgrounds, different family systems, and perhaps my favorite thing, main characters who were lesbian. I did not expect the LGBT aspect of the book, so to see that unfold really excited me, and in some ways, made me sob even more.

This book was very character driven and for a short book, these characters were very well developed. That was one of my concerns with this book, given the length. I was nervous these characters wouldn’t be fleshed out well, but they were.

The pace was quick, but in a book like this I wasn’t bothered by it. A whole lot of stuff needed to be packed into 54 minutes and it felt real to me. I felt the panic. I felt the terror and I felt sadness. I didn’t know it was possible to feel all of these things from a book, and I’ve been reading since I was four.

This book was the kind of book that sticks with you hours, even days after you’ve finished it. I love these type of books. The tough subjects, the books that bring the feels and this book was no different. Marieke Nijkamp’s debut is a stunning book that broke my heart from the beginning.

Blog Tour: The Urban Boys by K. N. Smith

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About the Book:
The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith
Genre/ Age Group: Young Adult Fiction (Action-Adventure w/ elements of Paranormal), 12+
Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Urban-Boys-Discovery-Five-Senses/dp/0989474755/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-urban-boys-kn-smith/1122739135?ean=9780989474757
Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/urban-boys-discovery-five/id1045819157?mt=11
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26850355-the-urban-boys
Synopsis
The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses is an action-adventure story about five teen boys who are mysteriously exposed to a foreign energy source that gives them extremely heightened senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become hypersensitive gifts that forever change the world. The story offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph, which become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama. The story twists, turns, and grinds through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in a diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narrative.

Overview: The story’s small town of Danville Heights, a carefully crafted universe, contrasts with the dark, gloomy town of Sandry Lake, where evil abounds. Upon the boys’ mysterious incident with the energy source, they’re instinctively called to Sandry Lake to root out evil. Their senses guide them each time. However, secrecy about their mission, furious battles with evil thugs, extreme fatigue, and stress and pressure soon overwhelm the boys, but they must find a way to embrace their fate. A lurking, Dark Stranger seems to know their plight, and a strikingly beautiful, fearless girl lends way to heightened confusion. Shocking details about these two characters, and the evil antagonist, the dreaded Druth, twist and grind the story even further. Despite tension and fierce battles, will the boys hold it together long enough to fulfill their destiny? Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for young and mature readers alike!


Ten Things You Didn’t Know About K.N. Smith
1.      She’s an avid home gardener. Remember Sandy’s garden from The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses? Well, that’s all K.N. Smith, who learned gardening from her (late) grandmother and her older sister.

2.     She makes homemade ice cream. Cookies and cream is a household favorite, but grapefruit sorbet, strawberry, and rocky road are close seconds!

3.   She wanted to be an English teacher when she grew up. She never got there, however, communications and writing are pretty closely related.

4.  She owns an award-winning marketing communications firm in addition to being an author.

5.  She has two lovely daughters, both taller than her, and a super-husband who really knows football.

6.  She has only been to a nail shop once, around age 16. She found it too expensive so she’s been doing her own nails forever.

7.  Her favorite part of her post 6:00 a.m. workout is the steam room at the gym.

8.  She’s pretty good at a game of pool!

9.  She’s an Amtrak fan and travels by train instead of plane when possible.

10.  She also has graphic design skills and personally designs The Urban Boys collaterals (except for the book covers).

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About the Author:
K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits. An established non-fiction writer, Smith chose the teen fiction genre as a way to enhance her daughters’ (then) high school literary experience, and to engage other youth in literacy development.

Her creative literary flair offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph. As a result, scenes become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama. Her stories twist, turn, and grind through elements of science-fiction and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. As an ardent supporter of youth and family literacy programs across the globe, she states, “My hope is that The Urban Boys will spark imagination in a wide variety of readers while elevating global literacy efforts. It’s important that we have diverse families of readers for generations to come.” K.N. Smith has over twenty years experience in writing, communications, and creative design. She lives with her family in California.

Giveaway Link
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SST: The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson

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Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis
Kim Culbertson is back with another fantastic new novel about what happens when you’ve been planning for the future, but everything falls apart now.

Mara James has always been a perfectionist with a plan. But despite years of overachieving at her elite school, Mara didn’t plan on having a total meltdown during her calculus exam. Like a rip-up-the-test-and-walk-out kind of meltdown. And she didn’t plan on a video of it going viral. And she definitely didn’t plan on never wanting to show her face again.

Mara knows she should go back, but suddenly she doesn’t know why she’s been overachieving all these years. Impulsively, she tells her mom she wants to go live with her estranged dad in Tahoe. Maybe in a place like Tahoe, where people go to get away from everyday life, and wiht a dad like Trick McHale, a ski bum avoiding the real world, Mara can figure things out.

Only Tahoe is nothing like she thought. There are awesome new friends and hot boys and a chance to finally get to know Trick, but there are also still massive amounts of schoolwork. Can Mara stopping planning long enough to see the life that’s happening right now?

Guest Post
Inspiration is a tricky thing to pin down but, as I’ve spent the last eighteen years teaching high school, I know that much of my inspiration comes from my students. In my first novel, SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD, Calle has moved fourteen times in eight years so she keeps a song journal as her only constant. When she hears a song that reminds her of a time in her past, she writes down the memory that comes from hearing that specific song. My students are passionate about their music and this idea came from watching them work on a school project I’d given them to create a soundtrack for a book we’d read. My students have inspired parts of all my novels. I took sixteen students to Italy for a spring break and INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART grew out of that experience. I overheard a conversation with two of my students about fame and that became the spark of an idea for CATCH A FALLING STAR.

In my newest novel, THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW, the inspiration came from watching many of my students wrestle with stress and anxiety about their futures. I’ve seen them struggle to balance their emotional, social and family lives with the pressure of individually achieving for a future they’ve been told they want. I spent ten years as a college advisor and each year it felt like the process got even more intense. I’ve long thought that too much of our educational (and extracurricular) culture relies on external reward, high-pressure comparison, and the idea that young people should be certain about their futures before they truly know who they are or what they want. I’ve also watched the way online culture has impacted my students and wondered about the correlation to the rise in teen anxiety. THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW explores these themes against the backdrop of Tahoe, a place I often go to unwind, but that also has its own complex, specific culture.

Mostly, though, I’m inspired to write because it helps me to answer questions I have about human behavior. I’m fascinated by what makes us all tick. Ultimately, in all of my writing, I want to find hopeful, honest answers to my questions. Writing novels has been the window into some answers for me.

About the Author:
Kim Culbertson is the author of Catch a Falling Star; Instructions for a Broken Heart, a Northern California Book Award winner; and Songs for a Teenage Nomad. When she’s not writing young adult novels, she teaches high school creative writing. Kim lives with her husband and their daughter in Northern California. For more about Kim, visit http://www.kimculbertson.com.

Giveaway
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SST

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
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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!

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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.

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