Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Winter Wonderland w/ The Golden Girls

I am so excited to bring to you Penguin Young Readers' WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND Blogger Campaign!

The book I'm featuring is by far the most ME book that was offered-- and fate brought it to me because the books were sent randomly!!  It is a Golden Girls rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

When I think about The Golden Girls, I think about those Saturday nights in the late 80's-early 90's when I would get home from a day of mall shopping with my mom.  We would run into the house because we didn't want to miss our favorite weekend show-- and I would usually end up straining to keep my eyes open, but not wanting to miss a minute of these sharp-tongued ladies.

It reminds me of college-- watching it in the dorm with my friends and all of us swearing that would be us one day (you know, after our husbands die).

The Golden Girls will always hold a place in my heart-- because really, there will never be anything else like it.

The Golden Girls: Twas the Night Before Xmas

Celebrate this holiday season with the Golden Girls!

     'Twas the night before Christmas and out on the lanai...

This holiday season, celebrate with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia. This illustrated gift book is a perfect stocking stuffer for fans of the show that won eleven Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, and a place in pop culture fame as one of the best shows of all time.

A look inside:

As a bonus, I've put together a list of books to read when you want a winter feel.  These aren't "Christmasy" books.  These are books that make me think WINTER when I see them.

  • The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
    • The group of Mercies travel across lands through winter to fight a beast 
  • 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
    • A girl falls into icy water and is dead for 13 Minutes
  • The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig by Don Zolidis
    • Takes place in Wisconsin in winter-- so, VERY COLD.
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
    • Flora travels to the Arctic in search of the boy she kissed.
  • Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
    • This mystery takes place in winter with a lot of outdoor wintery scenes.
  • Trapped by Michael Northrop
    • These boys are trapped at school in a killer snow storm.
  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
    • The ultimate winter book.  Ice skating, hockey, upstate New York.  It's all cold and wintery goodness.

What books get you in the mood for Winter?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The End of Year Fear: 2018 Edition

It's officially time to PANIC!!

It's December (how did that happen?), and every December I start thinking about all the books I wanted to read in the previous year and STILL HAVEN'T YET!!  Every year end I have (at least) 1 stack of books that I was really really excited about and didn't get around to reading.  This is usually due to me being a slow reader, a mood reader, and a hype-avoider.

So, here are the books that I'd really like to get to before 2019, and I probably won't:

Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand

  • I don't read a ton of books like this, but it sounds eerie and I want to try it.

Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody
  • I love Jessica Brody SO MUCH.  Her books are my kind of books even if I'm not that into Contemporary Romance anymore.

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • I have never read a book by this author and I've been wanting to.  I was hoping for a super interesting debutante Mystery/Thriller, but I've heard it's light on the Mystery/Thriller part.

Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith
  • I love Andrew Smith, but I DEFINITELY have to be in the mood for his weirdness.

The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith
  • I loved The Way I Used to Be and was SO EXCITED for a new book by this author-- and then I just didn't read it??

More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
  • I loved Letters to the Lost and wanted to know all about Rev and his story-- but then I was never in the mood for the emotions, so I've put it off.

The Lies They Tell by Gillian French
  • I must read this book.

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
  • I was hoping to read this before Halloween and that was a big fail.

The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston
  • This is another book that is MUST READ.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
  • Doesn't this book sound and look AMAZING??  I can't believe I didn't read it when it came out.

Since I am physically unable to read 10 books in the next 4 weeks, I need your help deciding which books to push to the front of the line.

Which books should I make top priority before 2019 happens?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher-- Interview & 10 book Giveaway!!

Hello FFBC team!!  We are announcing a new tour we're hosting for This Lie Will Kill You that is being released December 11, 2018.

**Tour Banner Designed by the talented Vicky Who Reads**

This Lie Will Kill You

by Chelsea Pitcher
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
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Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago. 

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all? 

Hi Chelsea!!  We’re so excited to have your book in our FFBC Tours, and can’t wait to ask you a couple of questions about THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU!


Favorite Book?

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Diviners are at the top of my list!

Favorite TV show?

Pushing Daisies and Veronica Mars

Favorite movie?

Mean Girls 

Favorite Song?

Is There Somewhere by Halsey

Favorite Food?

Thai yellow curry with tofu

Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat. 

Eretz, Camelot, and Holly Black’s version of Faerie

What were your favorite books during your elementary/junior high years?

I loved the Bunnicula series as a kid, the Chronicles of Prydain as an adolescent, and any 
Francesca Lia Block books I could get my hands on as a teenager.

 Favorite Quote?

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

What are your fandoms?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Veronica Mars, His Dark Materials, Morgan le Fay, Hanson and anything faerie related!

What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans?

I had the chance to read an early version of AdriAnne Strickland’s Beyond the Black Door, a
deliciously dark YA fantasy with an ace narrator. The book is absolutely fantastic and comes out in 2019.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU?

On the surface, THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU is about a murder mystery dinner that turns ugly. Five teens attend the party, only to find that someone is already there watching them. Someone has been watching them for a very long time. And that person will stop at nothing to uncover what happened one year ago, when a classmate died in a tragic accident.

An accident that might’ve been premeditated. 

Under the surface, though, the book might be about something else. It might be a guidebook to exposing predators. It might even be an instruction manual on how to burn the patriarchy to the ground. 

Let’s leave it up to the audience to decide.

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU.)

#TrustNoOne #TellTheTruthOrFaceTheConsequences #BurnItDown

Do you have any favorite mystery/thriller books/movies/tv shows?

Oh, tons! I grew up reading Christopher Pike books and watching movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. More recently, I loved reading We Were Liars and admit to 
watching all seven seasons of Pretty Little Liars. (I had a killer Toby theory that would’ve lined up with everything.)

Can you tell us anything about our 5 suspects?

Juniper Torres is whip smart and would do anything for the people she loves. Anything.

Ruby Valentine has a flair for the dramatic, and she loves putting on a show for anyone who will watch her: friends, lovers… and mortal enemies.

Parker Addison is planning to win back the love of his life, and if anyone tries to stop him, well… good thing he brought a rope to the party.

Brett Carmichael is a fighter, always has been. Always will be. Of course, always isn’t as long as you might think, in a house with five liars and a killer.

Gavin Moon is the keeper of everyone’s secrets. It’s easy, when you’re looking in from the outside. But tonight, Gavin’s stepping into the party, and into a massive web of lies. Can he expose the truth… before someone tries to silence him?

Tell us your favorite quote from THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU.

“Each of them had a secret. Each of them was wearing a mask. And one by one, those masks would fall away.”

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THIS LIE WILL KILL– Which one would you pick?

AJR: Burn the House Down

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU (specific music, snacks…)? 

The book comes out in December, which is perfect, because the murder mystery dinner takes place on December 21st. So make some hot chocolate, settle in by the fire… and prepare to start glancing behind your back every few minutes!

What’s next for you? 

A YA mystery with witches (the real and fairy tale kind!) 

Thanks so much for chatting with us!!

Thank you for having me!! I’m thrilled to be featured on your fabulous site!

  • I don't even know where to start on this interview!!  First, I am SO excited about this book-- I love YA Mystery/Thrillers and I haven't read/watched a murder dinner party book/movie in a long time!!  Sounds fun!
  • My answer to fave movie would also be Mean Girls (and Clueless).  And YES to Bunnicula!!  I loved the original as a kid and I've read that one and a few of the sequels to my son & he enjoys them too!  I would love to hear your Toby theory.  I went through a whole Toby-induced rage-depression for a while during that show.  It was definitely a roller-coaster ride.  Last but not least-- I can't wait to see what the YA Mystery w/ witches is like!!
  • Thanks again for being on my blog!!

Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for twisty mysteries. She is the author of THE S-WORD, THE LAST CHANGELING & THE LAST FAERIE QUEEN.

Watch for her new YA thriller, THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU, coming December 11, 2018 from S&S/McElderry!

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Truly, Devious by Maureen Johnson-- The Mystery With No Pay-Off

Truly, Devious

True-crime buff, Stevie, is admitted to Ellingham Academy-- an exclusive private school in the mountains of Vermont.  It was founded by an eccentric man who wanted to give people a place to learn without financial or educational boundaries.

Stevie's purpose for going to Ellingham is to solve the decade's old case of what happened to Ellingham's daughter and wife.  The kidnapper who calls him/herself Truly Devious left a cryptic riddle and no one has been able to figure out what it means.

After Stevie settles in, Truly Devious makes reappearance and murder seems like it might be back at Ellingham.

This was supposed to be a 5-star book for me.  It had all the makings-- alternate timelines, dual mysteries, a boarding school, and a girl from Pittsburgh-- it's all there!!  Oh yes, I went into this book wanting to love it, but as the book went on, I realized it wasn't going to quite hit the mark.

Stevie gets accepted to an exclusive boarding school in the wilderness of Vermont where no one pays tuition, expense is not spared, and everyone is studying their own interests.  Stevie happens to be interested in the school itself-- she was accepted on an essay explaining her love for solving crimes and her particular interest in a murder/kidnapping that happened at the school 80 years ago.

It perplexed me why this school would want someone like Stevie in there poking around.  It would be like a celebrity hiring the president of their fan club to be their personal assistant.  How could you trust them not to be like taking your used tissues and selling them on Ebay??  Stevie was a superfan of this place and it felt kind of icky that she was there.

I put that aside though because the historical mystery was interesting.  There's a riddle involved and an intricate cast of potential suspects.  The present-day mystery wasn't as thrilling.  Someone dies and it's basically just treated as an accident for most of the book.

What made me feel MEH about this book was the ending.  The book is 400+ pages long and there are zero conclusions.  Yes, I know that series generally end in cliffhangers, but I expected at least part of one of the mysteries to be cleared up.  We were just left with so many more questions and I felt a little cheated.

The second thing that turned me off throughout the book was the virtue signaling.  If an author wants to be inclusive with their work, great-- but do the work.  I felt like this was just throwing out ethnicities and disabilities and sexualities, but not including those people in any real way.  I felt like this author just wanted her ally-cookies-- and whatever dude.

The whole storyline with the parents also bugged me.  Stevie's parents are campaign volunteers for a politician that Stevie doesn't like-- and okay, that's cool.  But honestly, she acted like her parents were the anti-christ when all I saw of them was:

A. they allowed her to go to this school which clearly did not align with their exact views so that she could follow her dreams.
B. they immediately came to check on her and were extremely worried when they found out about the student death.

Wow, they sound TERRIBLE.  Or actually not.  Stop putting politics in these YA books, it's gross.

I might read the second book-- but basically just because I want to know what happened 80 years ago.  I mean, I read 400 pages to find SOMETHING out, and I got nothing....

OVERALL: Had potential, but didn't quite get there for me.  If I read a 400+ page YA Mystery, I want some sort of pay-off, even if it is a series.  The ending and the obvious virtue signaling squashed what was originally an interesting book with a cool historical mystery.

Date Published: 1/16/2018
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: HarperCollins

Add it to my To-Read List!!

My Rating: 2.5/5

Character: Stevie Bell
Book: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

  • Stevie would probably figure out most book mysteries, but this one has a timeline that goes backward from the end to the beginning and would probably be able to hold her interest.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene-- Interview & Giveaway!!

Amber & Dusk

by Lyra Selene
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. 

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.


Hi Lyra!!  We’re so excited to have your book in our FFBC Tours, and can’t wait to ask you a couple of questions about AMBER & DUSK!!


Favorite Book? 

You realize this is the hardest question for a book lover to answer? I have so many favorites, but I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith ranks near the top.

Favorite TV Show?

Definitely Buffy the Vampire Slayer—I’ve rewatched it so many times!

Favorite Movie?

Amelie—it’s heartfelt, whimsical, and wildly romantic!

Your Favorite Song?

Dissolve Me, by Alt-J

Favorite Food?

Ambrosia of the gods, of course! 

Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Red London (from V. E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic series), Alaka (from Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes), and of course Hogwarts!

Name a recent book you’ve read that you would recommend to our YA fans.

I recently read The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, and absolutely adored it!

What were your favorite books while growing up?

The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper, The Song of the Lioness quartet, by Tamora Pierce, and ElfQuest, by Wendy and Richard Pini

 Favorite Quote?

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” —Oscar Wilde

What are your fandoms?

Harry Potter, BtVS, ToG, SPN, Jane Austen


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about AMBER & DUSK?

In the sun-scorched twilight of the Amber Empire, an illusionist with a mysterious past fights for a place at the royal court of Coeur d’Or. But the palais’ mirrored hallways, winter gardens, and gilded marble may be nothing more than a mirage to hide a brutal past and deadly secrets.

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

I daydreamed of the world first—a vast empire lit by an unmoving sun. And although it was years before the story came together, I always knew it would be the kind of book I wanted to read: courtly politics and ball gowns, treachery and sarcastic banter, flawed characters and romance!

I am constantly trying to fill the creative well with all kinds of stories. I take inspiration from so many incredible authors—Angela Carter, Roshani Chokshi, Holly Black, David Mitchell, Leigh Bardugo, Haruki Murakami, Sabaa Tahir. And I always find inspiration in TV/movies with plenty of magic and glamor, like Outlander, Reign, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Can you tell us 3 interesting things about Sylvie?

I wrote Sylvie to be a complicated and sometimes difficult heroine. She is ambitious—she will reach too high even if it means falling too far. She cares what other people think, even though she pretends she doesn’t—she desperately wants to belong somewhere. And she is a dreamer—she dreams of a radiant, exquisite world that just might be impossible.

Tell us your favorite quote from AMBER & DUSK.

"I may not have been born in a palais, but my bones were forged in the dusk and my veins are alight with dreams. Do not ask whether I deserve a place at court. Ask whether this court deserves me.”

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for AMBER & DUSK– Which one would you pick? 

Control, by Halsey

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of AMBER & DUSK.)

#dusklands #perilousdreams #impossibleworlds

Do you have favorite fantasy books/movies/tv shows?

In addition to all the ones I’ve already mentioned, I adore Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, LotRThe Magicians, and Legend of the Seeker!

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read AMBER & DUSK (specific music, snacks…)? 

Dim the lights, burn a candle that smells like resin and shadows, and nibble on something luxurious and decadent, like truffles or macarons!

What’s next for you? 

I’m currently drafting a secret project that readers of A&D will hopefully be very interested to read!

Thank you so much for everything, Lyra!

Thanks for having me!

Lyra Selene was born under a full moon and has never quite managed to wipe the moonlight out of her eyes. When she isn’t dreaming up fantastical cities and brooding landscapes, Lyra enjoys hiking, rainstorms, autumn, and pretending she’s any good at painting. 

She lives in New England with her husband, in an antique farmhouse that’s probably not haunted. AMBER & DUSK is her debut novel.

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