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Monday, June 30, 2014

Blogger Truth: I'm afraid to DNF

So today I want to talk about the books I've started this year but failed to hold my interest... 

There's the blogger truth, I feel guilty when I start a book
and don't finish it. 

SO guilty that I leave the bookmark in there and leave it on my shelf, telling myself I'll read it later. 

Then months go by and nada... Why can't I just say "not for me" and walk away? Instead I have a pile of partially read books haunting me! 

So, at what point do you label a book DNF?
Most of these reads are not offensive, I just went "meh" somewhere and life moved on. 

I want to give one of them a second shot, start from the beginning and make it through. 

So Let's take a look at what is waiting in limbo...

I got a little over halfway through and while I really loved the MC I just didn't get where we were going and could not see the resolution. 

I really loved the first book in this series. Made it about 43% and just ran out of steam... 

Crazy opening scene! Got about 25% through and was exhausted from all the shock value.

Leave a comment and tell me which book I need to give a second chance!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Comic Sunday #7: Moonhead and the Music Machine by Andrew Rae

Comic Sundays are an American newspaper tradition where new comic strips are published weekly. At Becoming Books this tradition will continue focusing on comic strips, comics and graphic novels appealing to young adult and adult audiences.

Moonhead and the Music MachineStory and Illustrations by Andrew Rae
[Twitter | Website]

YA Fiction – Graphic Novel, 176 pages //  July 15, 2014
Nobrow Press // Recommended for ages 14+ 
Advanced Review Copy – Opinions are my own, review policy here.

Synopsis via Goodreads

Life's a peach when you've got a moon for a head and your head's in space. You can wander out of the Earth's atmosphere on intergalactic daydreams, drift blissfully across star-speckled skies and fly close to the Sun, like a fireproof Icarus.

Snap! Back to reality—having a moon for a head at high school is much more tricky. You get picked on for your "crater-face" and the cool kids kick your head around like a soccer ball!

But when the school talent contest is announced, Joey spots an opportunity to impress his classmates and so begins Joey Moonhead's stellar mission to create a music machine that is out of this world!

The Story:

Showcasing that we're all just a little different Joey Moonhead navigates high school with his spacey dreams and moon for a head. Joey's voice is authentic emphasizing the desire to fit in and define a place in this world where the secondary characters come across as two dimensional. There are opportunities where the best friend, the love interest and ghost boy to become more robust characters that add shading and highlights to Rae's amazing ink. Covering issues of bullying, disinterest in school and friendship Rae crafts a story that will ring true through the generations. However, more depth in this area could have truly made this a staple for teens and nostalgic adult readers. 

What makes this a winner is the illustrations which bring Joey's daydreams to the forefront. Going pages between letterings the reader can really grasp the emotions that fuel Joey's feelings of displacement, his lackluster attitude towards school and his love for making music. From the opening sequence of his headless school journey to his daydreams with the hottest girl in school, the visuals guide you to feel Joey's search for identity and really tied the story together.

Overall, the western 90's style illustrations leave a nostalgic taste for the fans of MTV and Nickelodeon, reminding us of the teenage wasteland we found so entertaining.

3.5 Stars – Intertwining humor and a little darkness, Moonhead and the Music Machine becomes a psychedelic ride in the spirit of 90's rock films tailored for the British school yard.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #15: June 22 – 28

So last week... I asked if people would be interested in guest blogging for the keep the ARC. In the next few weeks I will be looking at my TBR and putting up ARCs for guest review. So keep an eye out!

click cover photos for Goodreads

In the Mail


The set of three books if from my Blogger Swap partner! I'm so excited by these picks :)
The Chipper Jones book is from the Reddit Baseball Gift Exchange. I've been in love with Chipper since I was a kid surround by a family of Braves fans. 

Digital Review Copies


What did you add to your shelf this week?

Friday, June 27, 2014

[Promo + Giveaway] Bloomsbury Spark's 6 Month Anniversary!

Hey Everyone! I'm soooo a day late on this blitz but check out the interview with Spark authors and the amazing giveaway! Scroll down to enter for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite pre-loaded with 12 titles (pictured below) and it's open INTERNATIONALLY!

Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA, and new adult readers.

What has been your best experience since the release of your book?

Ashley Poston: Definitely all the support on Twitter and Facebook! I never thought I’d have so many people out of the blue just tweeting me to tell me how much they loved my story! It means a lot to me. I think every author has one story that’s their “baby” and mine is The Sound of Us. While it’s a very funny, very light-hearted YA/NA crossover (think Fangirl), its tackles some heavy-hitting stuff that’s pretty personal to me. And it’s surreal and wonderful and thrilling to read how much other people enjoyed it!

Caroline Dunford: I loved seeing the face of my heroine Sharra on the beautiful cover. She is just as I imagined her.

Cat Kalen: I am thrilled with reader response. I heard from students who were using my book for their school reports and it thrilled me.

Christine Duval: Really it is more than one moment. It is all the times women have come up to me, written to me, tweeted to me about how Positively Mine reminded them of their own situations. Many are women who were teen moms or who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant in college. I am so moved that something I created has had meaning in another person’s life.

Frankie Brown: Meeting so many wonderful people! The Sparkies are a wonderfully sweet, vivacious group, and the online YA book community is a ton of fun.

Jen McConnel: Listening to the amazing audiobook for the first time! My narrator, Carolyn Bonnyman, has the perfect voice for the story, and I could listen to her all day long. It’s funny, too; when I was revising the sequel, I heard it in her voice. She’s become an integral part of my story, and I’m so glad!

Jenny Kaczorowski: The moment my book popped up in my local library’s eMedia collection! More than any other publishing dream, I’ve always wanted to have something I wrote in libraries. I stumbled across it by accident and nearly screamed.

Jenny Morris: Reading people’s reviews and knowing they totally got our story. It’s still crazy to me that a total stranger is reading something that I wrote and relating to it.

Judith Tewes: My title isn’t out in the world yet (releases in July), but I’ve had a blast supporting my fellow Bloomsbury Spark authors as each new title has launched.

Kate Jarvik Birch: It might sound a little sadistic, but hearing that my book has brought someone to tears is one of the best feelings EVER—it’s also pretty awesome to hear that I’ve made them yell and cheer, but for some reason the tears feel like the biggest payoff.

Kelley Lynn: Fans (Eep! I still can’t believe I have fans…haha) contacting me wanting to talk about the book. I actually had one twelve-year-old girl somehow get a hold of my phone number. She called me and in this really sweet, shaky voice, asked how she could get a signed copy of my book. It was just so flattering and is totally the reason I do this.

Marie Langager: It’s an awesome feeling when you connect with readers. Especially when they’re in a country you’ve never been to!

Theresa DaLayne: Since my book doesn’t release until mid-August of this 2014, I probably haven’t had it yet. THE EDGE OF YOU is my new adult debut, and although Ron and Lilly’s story isn’t full of rainbows and gumdrops, it’s real. I think my favorite part about writing the story was reliving my years spent in Kodiak Island, Alaska, where I grew up. A few characters, like Lori for example, play a small but beautiful role, and are depictions of real people. It was an honor to incorporate part of my life into the story that will be shared with so many others.

What is the best thing about being part of Bloomsbury Spark?

Ashley Poston: Definitely the authors. We’re like one big family. I’m thankful and so very glad to have met every single one of them. They’re all so talented, and they’ve enriched my life more than they know!

Caroline Dunford: Everyone has been so warm and welcoming.

Cat Kalen: The support from Meredith and all the authors. Everyone is so giving, helpful and wonderful, not to mention talented!

Christine Duval: The enthusiasm of everyone involved with it! It has been so amazing watching Spark grow under Meredith’s guidance and I feel I’ve made a bunch of new friends on this journey. I love hearing about everyone’s successes and learning what’s coming next while watching our readership grow.

Frankie Brown: Again: the people. Meredith is incredible, and everyone at Bloomsbury--from the social media team to the cover designers--is passionate about what they do. It's infectious. 

Jen McConnel: It’s so hard to pick one thing, but I’d have to say that the sense of community is amazing. The authors, the team at Bloomsbury, and our fearless leader, editor Meredith Rich, all come together to create a wonderful, enthusiastic literary family.

Jenny Kaczorowski: The support! Meredith is an amazing editor, the cover artist for FALLING is amazing, and the other Spark authors are fantastic! Not only are we publishing siblings, but friends. I love having so many people with me on this journey!

Jenny Morris: The Sparkie Family. Meredith connected all of us together and the other authors really are amazingly supportive, and the best cheerleaders.

Judith Tewes: Bloomsbury Spark is in good hands with our editor, Meredith, and I love how she’s willing to take risks in her selections for this new YA / NA line. Spark titles (and authors) are ones to watch!

Kate Jarvik Birch: Being part of the Spark family has introduced me to a tight knit group of fantastic writers, all of whom support and buoy one another. Plus, it’s given me a chance to read some pretty stellar books by my fellow authors.

Kelley Lynn: Can I say everything? Everyone on the Bloomsbury Spark team is so wonderful. Meredith, and her supporting cast are the best. And the other authors in this family are so talented and nice. It’s just such a wonderful community to be a part of.

Marie Langager: I feel so lucky to be a part of this group of fantastic authors. So much support and so much fun. You really get to be a part of something special and make friends along the way!

Theresa DaLayne: My publishing career has had its peaks and valleys, but being a part of Bloomsbury Spark is most definitely a peak. My editor, Meredith, and the talented cover art department have worked hard to ensure I love the cover to my book. That’s something invaluable. And my fellow Sparkies are just about the best group of young adult and new adult authors I’ve had the honor of working with. With only six months under Spark’s belt, the future of our growing family is bright!

What are you working on now?

Ashley Poston: The sequels to THE SOUND OF US, actually! WE OWN THE NIGHT follows Ingrid, who hosts a late-night radio show to escape the reality of her small-town life, and finds herself drawn to a regular caller who is trying to escape his own life, too. It’s like Sleepless in Seattle if the main character was Rebel Wilson. YOU BURY ME is about two ex-best friends who find themselves on a road trip to complete a bucket list their late friend left behind. I’m really excited for both of them, and I hope you are, too! While they’re not direct sequels to Junie and Roman’s adventures in love, JuRo definitely make appearances (and maybe some other lovely secondary characters, too?)

Caroline Dunford: I have stories I'm working on, but I don't tend to reveal anything until the time is right!

Cat Kalen: I’m working on Pride Unleashed and Pride’s Pursuit the follow up books to Pride’s Run.  

Christine Duval: The sequel to POSITIVELY MINE! The first draft is done, I am happy to say, and I am getting ready to send the detailed synopsis off to Bloomsbury!

Frankie Brown: A lot of different things! Stay tuned...

Jen McConnel: I’m shifting gears out of NA mode for awhile, and focusing on revising the second book in my YA fantasy series from Month9Books. It’s fun to flip flop between contemporary with a touch of paranormal and full-on fantasy, with witches and gods and goddesses popping up like whack-a-mole. GODS OF CHAOS, the sequel to DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, is due out next March...squee! There’s always another story to be told, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Jenny Kaczorowski: I am working on two follow-ups to THE ART OF FALLING, set in the same high school but following different characters. THE TRICK TO LANDING is about Summer, a semi-pro skateboarder trying to build a new life after a DUI. After moving to Oceanside, she meets Bastian, a brilliant photographer fighting for a future beyond the bleeding disorder that defines his life. Their romance is messy and painful, but very sweet. THE RHYTHM OF BREATHING follows Abby, Bria’s best friend in FALLING. When she kisses Jackie, the drummer in a metal band, on New Year’s Eve, she expects it to be a one-time fling. Instead, she finds herself head over heals for a boy with a dark past, deep scars and exactly what she needs to confront her own issues.

Jenny Morris: I am working on a story outline for a follow-up to ROAD TO SOMEWHERE. It follows Charlie to college and Lucy in her last few months of high school. Kelly Lynn and I are excited about the possibility of continuing the sisters’ story. I’m also working on another collaboration called REMEMBER. It’s Romeo and Juliette meets Total Recall.

Judith Tewes: I’m gearing up for the release of MY SOON-TO-BE SEX LIFE, can’t wait for the blog tour madness to begin.

Kate Jarvik Birch: What am I NOT working on now? I’m just finishing up co-writing a middle grade novel about unlikely friends navigating middle school while trying to discover whether magic is real. I’ve got another YA novel, PERFECTED, coming out July 1st from Entangled Teen and I’m busy writing the sequel, which is due out next year. I’ve got some picture book projects in the works and still need to find the time to write the screenplay I’ve been marinating for years. Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Kelley Lynn: Jenny S. Morris and I are working on the sequel to ROAD TO SOMEWHERE. We just love being back in Charlie and Lucy’s world! I’m working on the final edits for another edition to the Bloomsbury Spark family, ONE WISH AWAY, which is a science fiction twist on the ‘when you wish upon a star’ theme. I’m also negotiating a contract for another YA Contemporary and my super duper agent, Jamie Bodnar Drowley, and I are putting the finishing touches on a YA Thriller so we can start submitting that soon. Busy, busy, busy

Marie Langager: I’m finishing up a project that has been a long time in the making. Imagine a protagonist who’s a little bit like Jo March but hears voices and is very, very angry. She’s viewed by many as odd and unfixable. In this character’s world the Archbishop teaches her to stay away from the lying peddlers of magic. This book is madness, magic, darkness, and lots of cool new magical weapons!

Theresa DaLayne: I’m working on a few projects at the moment. One is a new adult story about a nineteen-year-old California socialite with a kleptomaniac habit that gets her in big trouble. It started out as a fun, rich-girl-gets-forced-into-being-a-maid kind of story, but when my main character meets a kind-hearted guy with a humanitarian streak, her eyes are opened to a whole new world. That’s where the real life change happens, and I can’t wait to see where my agent puts it! I’m also working on the first of a new adult thriller series, tentatively titled, GLACIER PEAK. It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever written in the sense that most times, my heroine grows into her role as a leader. In this story, my main character struts into the story with a snarky attitude, the mouth of a sailor and a hair trigger temper. When her father goes missing, she sets out on an epic five-day hike through the wilderness to find him. And when she meets a guy covered in tats with a hidden agenda, the temperature in the tent goes from zero to smoldering. It’s all set in the rural mountains of Washington State, where the weather is unpredictable, the wild animals are hungry, and the romance is ice-melting.

Where to find Bloomsbury Spark titles:

Deliver Me by Kate Jarvik BirchBloomsbury | Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes

The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston

The Art of Falling by Jenny Kaczorowski

Positively Mine by Christine Duval

Until We End by Frankie Brown

Pride’s Run by Cat Kalen

Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel

Her Secret Inheritance by Jen McConnel

Road to Somewhere by Jenny Morris and Kelley Lynn

Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager

My Soon-To-Be-Sex Life by Judith Tewes

Mapmaker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford

This giveaway is set and managed by Bloomsbury Spark, not Xpresso Book Tours or Becoming Books.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[Blog Tour Review + Giveaway] Defector by Susanne Winnacker (Variants #2)

Today I'm really excited to be a part of the Defector Blog Tour! Impostor, the first novel in the Variants series, was amazing! You can read the review here. I hope you enjoy Defector as much as I did and don't forget to scroll to the bottom to enter into the tour giveaway!

Title: Defector 
Series: Variants #2
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June 26, 2014 // Pages: 288
Genre: YA Fiction – Thriller
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.


Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.

But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit.

When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?

When the FEA’s efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.

The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for—even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.

At the end of Impostor Tessa was settling back into life at FEA with Alec by her side and the mystery of Abel's Army looming ahead. Luckily for us there's not a lot of downtime before the action kicks up again. During Tessa's first mission back her best friend Holly is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity. This leads Tessa to start digging and begin her journey to find Holly and the truth about her family. 

I really, really enjoyed Defector for a number of reasons...

It's not your typical "bridge" book in a series. Bridge books or book two is notorious for being slow, a possible journey of sorts and nothing really happening. So yes, Tessa goes on a road trip but we're moving and quickly, not to mention all of the information being unveiled as she turns over some rocks. With less than 300 pages Winnacker balances plot, character development and word building to keep you on your toes minus the whiplash. 

I love the Variants. Each Variant has their own power and as alluded in Defector even a possibility of more than one. In Defector we learn about new Variants and see just how unique each one's abilities are. I'm invested in each character, their back story and trying to figure out they're FEA or Abel's Army. 

The Swoons. Yes, there are swoons. On one hand you have Alec who is perfect for Tessa. He's her rock, or is he? Remember Devon from Impostor? Yeah, he takes a spotlight role and there's definitely some chemistry there. Adore them both but trust neither. 

The Villain. It's sooo not clear and kind of confusing. With each reveal there's a power move fueled by betrayal and distrust. Between the Variant powers, the history of the FEA and Abel, and the mystery of Tessa's family you're constantly guessing and the only team you can be on is Tessa's. 

This ending. WTF? was the exact reaction. There's so many ways this can end. With an unclear villain and cliffhanger combination there's no telling where the chips may fall in book three. 

Honestly, the second book has me wound up and ready to go for what can only be an epic conclusion. 

My advice to Tessa: 
Girl, I know you want to be loved, but RUN!!

Fav Quote
"Was revealing the truth worth losing everything I'd held dear? I would find out soon enough." - Tessa
- page 122, quote is subject to change in final copy

4 Stars – Buy It. Read It. Live It. Book three isn't out for another year so there's
plenty of time to re-read as well. You'll thank me.

Author: Susanne Winnacker

Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog that looks like a sheep and three bunnies that have destroyed every piece of furniture she's ever owned in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.
You can find her on Twitter and on facebook.

Week One:
6/16/2014- Jump Into BooksReview
6/16/2014- Literary MeanderingsGuest Post
6/17/2014- YA Story TellerReview
6/17/2014- Supernatural SnarkInterview
6/18/2014- Crossroad ReviewsReview
6/18/2014- The Cover ContessaGuest Post
6/19/2014- Book SwoonReview
6/19/2014- Bittersweet EnchantmentInterview
6/20/2014- The Storybook KingdomReview

Week Two:
6/20/2014- Fantasy Book AddictGuest Post
6/23/2014- Shayna Varadeaux Books & ReviewsReview
6/23/2014- Fire and IceInterview
6/24/2014- FiktshunPromo Post
6/24/2014- A Dream Within A DreamGuest Post
6/25/2014Such a Novel IdeaInterview
6/26/2014Becoming BooksReview
6/26/2014Addicted ReadersGuest Post
6/27/2014Library of the SeenReview
6/27/2014Mom With A KindleInterview