Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Interview w/ Talis Jones + ALARUM Giveaway


by Talis Jones
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Western
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I fled as they destroyed my home.
I watched as they murdered my family.
I stood silent as they stole my name and threw my life in chains.

I stare coldly at my fading reflection with only one question to ask:
Them or Me?

Set in a future where the United States has fallen, a girl is ripped from her home as a child and forced to endure the harshness around her or else surrender to the dust of bones she treads on. Her life becomes simple: kill or be killed. What she didn’t count on was the heavy cost this world would drain from her soul. When she crosses paths with a curious stranger who offers to show her a place without a map, they head across the crumbling land in search of the fabled Sanctuary. Neither enemies nor elements that rip her hair and claw at her heels can stand in the way of her will to survive.

They say demons lurk in the shadows, but here they strut boldly under the angry sun.

Book 2


by Talis Jones
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Western


Born in an experimental lab before two outlaws stole him away, Bones has been planted into the vengeful earth growing strong with a gun in each hand. Given freedom by a group called Sanctuary he’s trained his powers carefully until one day they let him leave. Until one day he witnesses something that will cause his loyalty to waver. Until one day it’s his own name they vow to write with blood.

As the life he thought he knew threatens to crumble beneath his feet he takes to the road determined to explore with no tether but his plans quickly go awry when old adversaries capture him to pay for the sins of his saviors. Whether there remains any place in this harsh land that might dare call itself Home, he fights each challenger with a gun aimed at their chest and a laugh in his step.

When the world wants you dead,
dare to smile.


Hi Talis!!  We are so excited to have your Walking Shadows series in our FFBC Tours!!  Thanks so much for taking time to chat with us.

What were your favorite books in elementary/middle school?

I loved reading all of the Nancy Drew books in my local library, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. By middle school my favorite reads became largely dominated by dystopia including Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Giver by Lois Lowry. One of my all time favorites however remains The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

If you could go back and tell your YA self one thing, what would it be?

I would say, “Listen kid, you're not going to find your forever soulmate and single-handedly save the world by age 16. And honestly that should be a big relief to you.” I've always been an avid reader and by age 13/14 I really began wishing to switch lives with the heroines and heroes in my favorite books and every year that went by filled with nothing but the normal mundane I would feel a twinge of disappointment combined with an urgency that I was running out of time. As I got older though I realized to switch lives with any of those characters would be WAY too stressful! I have zero desire to be “the chosen one” anymore haha! 

What are your 3 favorite books that you read in the past year? 

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, Off Planet by Aileen Erin, and Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I could talk about books all day if you let me!

Could you tell our readers a little bit about ALARUM & SOLUS?

Each book is written to be pretty much a standalone however there are character cameos and little threads woven between each book that connects them so it's recommended that you read them in order. Alarum follows a character that lives under several different names, each one given as she's passed along to her next fate. She's lovingly born in a futuristic alternative version of the United States but too soon society shatters and as she's caught in the crossfire her focus is whittled down to one thing: survive. That is, until people she meets along the way try to rekindle a hope in her and slowly her path of vengeance bends into one of redemption.

Solus takes place about seven years after the end of Alarum when we first meet Bones, the main character. Unlike Fury from Alarum, Bones doesn't want to roam and rage against his past, he wants to find a home, to settle and belong. Because of certain gifts he possesses and his unique upbringing he's constantly sought after as someone to control and manipulate but he continues his search for family with a smile on his face and a laugh in his step. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

The idea came to me in a collision of thoughts during a 13-hour road trip with my family. My brother was saying how he wished there were more apocalyptic movies like Book of Eli, I'd been randomly musing over how impressive it really is that the U.S. has remained one united country for so long (I mean, it's massive, plus each state practically has its own culture and geography) and how it's doubtful it will remain so forever, and the realization that there are almost never any characters in dystopian/apocalyptic books (or any books really) with glasses or they're usually just nerdy side characters. As someone with severe myopia I'd often joke that I'd probably die within five minutes in any apocalyptic scenario if my glasses broke, but nevertheless I wanted a main character with this disability.

I was also inspired by the 1930s Dust Bowl, the Berlin Wall, and more random musings over how different two neighboring countries can be. My brain tends to think too much and all of this was fused together during that long trip cramped in a car and I ended up jotting a plot brainstorm on my phone.

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 ALARUM or the series in general.)

#apocalypticwestern #walkingshadowsbeneathanangrysun #cactusita 

Tell us your favorite quote from ALARUM.

I have to go with... “Roars chanting for our souls fill my ears and I swallow back my fear one drop at a time. Let them come.” It's Fury in a nutshell. She's human, she has fears, she has troubles, but she's also learned never to yield. She can be stubborn that way.

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

I had the most fun writing Fury's interactions with Connors and Riker. I love those characters and to watch their amusement as they clashed with a spitfire girl was always a good time. Most of my favorite moments between Fury and Riker ended up cut to help streamline the plot but I couldn't just toss them so they ended up in a novella I wrote titled Dust to Dust.

The most difficult part to get through were any death scenes. I won't spoil anything but each time a good person died the words would just flow onto the page even while tears blurred my vision. I know as the author I should be able to do what I want and save everyone, but when I write it's the characters that take over and they made their choices.

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

“Through the Valley” by Shawn James. It was the first song I added to my playlist and I listened to it a lot while outlining this book. The sound, the lyrics, the acceptance and rawness all fit the story really well.

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read The Walking Shadows series (specific music, snacks…)? 

Rub a little dirt on your face, listen to my “Alarum” playlist on Spotify, eat some beef jerky, light a candle that smells like a horse barn (in a good way), and dive in. That's good for the first book anyway but each book has its own aesthetic. For Solus I'd say stay in a mountain cabin or take a stroll in the woods, light a pine scented candle, drink some wine (or grape juice), and listen to acoustic tracks, while for book 3 you might want to eat sour gummy worms, get familiar with 70s disco and 90s hip-hop, and dye your hair purple. I'll keep the vibe for the last two books a secret for now.

What’s next for you? 

I'm currently wrapping up my YA fantasy series, Otherworld, with writing a prequel that also serves as a villain origin story. I'm also already plotting out the next book in the Walking Shadows series! It's set to take place in the Rochester Alliance so there will be more sci-fi fun to be had.

Thanks so much!!

Talis Jones has always been an avid reader and any good story filled with fantasy and adventure is bound to be on her shelf. Graduated Suma Cum Laude with a degree in Theatre she has explored both stage and film, now finding herself drawn towards the literary world as a new venue for storytelling. Inspired by her mixed heritage as a Mexican-Englishwoman raised in the wilds of America, she rallies for diverse characters and seeks to contribute with her own writing.

Jesus follower, dog lover, chocolate fanatic, and music enthusiast, Talis currently resides in North Carolina where she has found a home for now that provides all of those favorite things.

  • Prize: One winner will receive 1 signed paperback of ALARUM, 1 shotgun shell necklace, and 4 signed bookmarks
  • Open to U.S. residents only

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich-- Review & Giveaway


Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Pub. Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A genre-bending epic horror-fantasy, inspired by the legend of Faust, that spans generations as an ancient evil is uncovered--perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Ransom Riggs.

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil's Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations...

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember--so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward--one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching...

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&N, iBooksKoboTBD

TEETH IN THE MIST is a historical horror must-read!!  I can't remember the last time I've been addicted to a horror the way I was with TEETH, but I've spent the last several days engulfed in this creepy book.

I've tried reading this author's other books with no luck, so I was apprehensive with this one.  I was nervous about it developing too slowly and not being able to hold my attention like the other books.  I had no issues here, I dove right in and didn't once get bored.

My fave parts: The dual storylines & the mixed media.  This book is set in multiple timelines, but there are mainly 2 eras that are focused on.  Today, with Zoey-- a girl with magical abilities and a mission to find out what made her father go mad.  And 1851 with Roan-- a girl who has been brought to a evil house on a mountain... which may or may not bring out her evil side.

The mixed media is what this author does best.  Her other books make use of these pictures, diary entries, letters, etc. as well and I love what these elements do to the books.  Here it gave the book that extra splash of authenticity, which given that it's a horror, made it that much creepier.

The only thing I didn't love was the way it went from zero to HOLY SHIT with very little crescendo.  I wanted more of a slow build to the main event, but given that the book is 400+ pages, I don't think adding more to it is a good option.

I really can't say enough about how dark and compelling this book is.  The way the mountain and the house felt like live characters in the book gave it the best atmosphere... or the creepiest atmosphere anyway.  I also loved and cared about all (well, not Cage) the side characters.  I will now go and try to power through Dawn's other books that I didn't get into.  Now I know it had to be my mood and not the books!!

OVERALL: I am so glad I gave this author another try!!  This book is all you could want in a horror, plus there's a cool historical timeline and present-day mystery to solve.  The coolest part?  All the letters, journal entries, pictures, & news articles.  It gave the book that added spark.  Totally recommend for horror + historical lovers.

My Rating: 5/5

Dawn Kurtagich is an award winning author of creepy, spooky, and psychologically sinister YA, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide.
Her debut novel, THE DEAD HOUSE, was a YALSA Top 10 Pick, An Audie Award Nominee and an Earphone Award Winner. It has been optioned for TV by Lime Productions. She is also the author of THE CREEPER MAN / AND THE TREES CREPT IN, NAIDA and the forthcoming TEETH IN THE MIST, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Orion Children's Books. If you enjoy a creeping chill along your spine, mystery and little bit of terror, then you're in the right place!

By the time she was eighteen, she had been to fifteen schools across two continents. The daughter of a British globe-trotter and single mother, she grew up all over the place, but her formative years were spent in Africa—on a mission, in the bush, in the city and in the desert.

She has been lucky enough to see an elephant stampede at close range, a giraffe tongue at very close range, and she once witnessed the stealing of her (and her friends’) underwear by very large, angry baboons. (This will most definitely end up in a book . . . ) While she has quite a few tales to tell about the jumping African baboon spider, she tends to save these for Halloween!

When she was sixteen, she thought she'd be an astronomer and writer at the same time, and did a month-long internship at Cambridge's prestigious Cavendish Laboratories.

Dawn vlogs on her youtube channel and can be found hanging around Twitter and Instagram.

Tour Schedule:
Blog Tour: 
Week One:
6/3/2019- She Dreams in FictionExcerpt
6/4/2019- Literary Meanderings - Excerpt
6/5/2019- Smada's Book SmackReview
6/6/2019- Book BriefsReview
6/7/2019- 100 Pages A DayReview

Week Two:
6/10/2019- A Dream Within A DreamReview
6/11/2019- Book-KeepingReview
6/12/2019- BookHounds YAReview
6/13/2019- Confessions of a YA ReaderReview
6/14/2019- Two points of interest- Review

Instagram Tour:
Week One:
6/3/2019- fictitious.foxReview
6/4/2019- jypsylynnReview
6/5/2019- Riddle’s ReviewsReview
6/6/2019- Moonlight RendezvousReview
6/7/2019- Jena Brown WritesReview

Week Two:
6/10/2019- PopTheButterfly ReadsReview
6/11/2019- The Pages In-BetweenReview
6/12/2019- A Bookish DreamReview
6/13/2019- Wonder StruckReview
6/14/2019- Pink Polka Dot BooksReview

  • 3 lucky winners will receive finished copies of TEETH IN THE MIST
  • US Only.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- 10 Books For the Last 10 Years

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (June 11h) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books From the Last Ten Years

  • I was going to do this week's topic (Unpopular Bookish Opinions), but I'm pretty sure all of my opinions are unpopular & I should probably not make myself look any more unlikable than I already am.  I missed the book I read in the last 10 years list a few weeks ago, so I'm going to catch up on it now.  I freaking LOVE this idea for a list!!  Very cool!!
  • I'm doing this as my favorite books during the year published as opposed to a book I read during that year:

2018  Sadie by Courtney Summers

  • Obv.  Favorite author writes a powerful/awesome book??  It's going on the list!

2017  Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

  • This book is ME.

2016  The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

  • This book hurt my heart and it was beautifully written.

2015  The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy


2014  I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  • Jandy is queen.

2013  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  • 2013 had so many good books that it was hard to choose, but I ended up picking this one because it has the college setting I've always wanted AND I read it in one night bawling my eyes out.

2012  Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

  • I had to get Ms. Ockler on this list.

2011  Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

  • This book is also ME.

2010  Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers 

  • This book made me a fan for life.

2009  The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

  • I love Jennifer Brown. This book blew me away when I read it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Spring Break 2019: Books, Bathing Suits, and Clothes

Since the demise of Polyvore (RIP), I haven't been doing as many fun posts like these.  They're just not as easy and breezy as they used to be.  Still, Spring is such a big time for books and I don't want to stop doing this annual post just because Polyvore screwed us all over.  If you want to see my previous posts, you can find them HERE, HERE, and HERE.

So, I've found an acceptable alternative (although the clothes aren't as cute or easy to find), and I put together a list of books I think would be fun to read in Spring Break locales.  Even though it's practically summer at this point, let's just pretend we're all going on Spring Break today....

**As always, I try to keep the costs down.  Most items are under $50, some are under $100, and very few pricey exceptions exist.**


If I'm Being Honest by Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

  • This cover screams Spring/Summer.  Also, I would totally read a book about a reformed mean girl at the beach!
  • The Outfit: Obviously I was inspired by the palms and pink on the cover.  I stole the hat from the cover too-- and I think I'm going to get me a hat like this!


Dark Shores (#1) by Danielle L. Jensen

  • Who wouldn't want to read a Fantasy called DARK SHORES while at the beach??
  • The Outfit: I love a cute one-piece.  I chose the ombre towel to go with the background on the cover.


Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

  • Space Opera at the pool sounds legit.
  • The Outfit: As soon as I saw this cover, I knew I had to find a galaxy bathing suit to go with it.  The star-themed cover-up was icing on the cake :)


Hearts Made for Breaking by Jen Klein

  • A book about high school dating seems kind of perfect for a day out-- maybe a day-date??
  • The Outfit: I love a cute wedge for daytime.  Also, I couldn't resist the broken heart earrings to go with the cover.

Night Out

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

  • A night out is a must during Spring Break.  Even if you're just staying home with family, getting dressed up and going out one night should still be on the agenda!
  • The Outfit: When talking anything Cinderella, shoes are key!!  The phone case says: My Shoes are my Solemates... and I know if I had these shoes., they'd be loved and adored like a soulmate for sure!

Casino Night

King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody

  • This book screams Casino Night!!
  • The Outfit: This Kate Spade bag went with the Casino theme too well not to use.

Amusement Park

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

  • Why not go to an amusement park over Spring Break-- if it's open!  I can't wait to read this book about a girl working at one.  Every book I've read that was set in an amusement park created an atmosphere that was captivating!
  • The Outfit: I had to go whimsical when we're talking about theme parks.  And a backpack seemed like the best way to hold on to your stuff without it falling out (unless you're one of those fanny pack people-- of which I am not!).


No Place Like Here by Christina June

  • The story about a self-proclaimed "indoor girl" having to go on a rustic retreat should definitely  get you in that "roughing it" mood.
  • The Outfit: I'm definitely an "indoor girl" and won't be camping or glamping anytime soon (I have camping trauma from my childhood I'm still dealing with).  That may or may not be what inspired me to pick the Crystal Lake tee :)


Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

  • Maybe you're like Lucky and are in search of that perfect hamburger (you wouldn't be the first)-- Whitecastle, Shake Shack, In-and-Out-- they've all been road-tripped for.
  • The Outfit: Comfy jeans and cute sunglasses seem like a must for any road-trip.


Earth to Charlie by Justin Olson

  • Hoping to get abducted by aliens??  Probably the middle of the desert is a good place to try!!
  • The Outfit: Fringe + leggings?  Perfect for Coachella in so many ways.  Also, multiple days = multiple outfits.

I hope you all had an awesome Spring Break-- even if it was just a day or 2 off for Easter.  I know this is coming at you at an almost Summer Reading time... but these books are pretty fresh and would look great on your Summer TBRs as well!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- Books I Want As Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (May 14h) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Cool Movies

  • I'm one of those people who get supremely terrified when my favorite books get made into movies!!  I'm always afraid it's going to feel different (and I kind of don't like sharing my fave books with the non-reading population??  Like, I just feel once it's a movie, then it REALLY belongs to the world of pop-culture and I don't wanna share!!).
  • But at the same time, I feel slighted when my fave books don't get optioned??  It's a weird life I live.
  • Here are the books that I feel have all the elements to make movies out of:

1.  The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando
  • I love the cruise setting.  And the twist at the end!!!  I would love to see that on the big screen.

2.  Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  • More Scooby-Doo!!!  I will always want more Scooby-Doo.

3.  Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
  • I just really want to see Fright Farm AKA Murderland come to life.

4.  The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  • Summer Camp!!!  Ever since the Friday the 13th franchise, Summer Camp has been the creepiest setting for horror for me.

5.  Slayer by Kiersten White
  • The Buffy movie in the 90's was one of my all-time faves (RIP Pike), so I would love another movie-- but with the same feel??  So maybe they could change this book a little and make it more playful.

6.  A Week of the Mondays by Jessica Brody
  • I love a good Groundhog's Day movie.  I think it's fun to watch the same day play out while a character tries to change it.

7.  The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
  • This could be like Something Borrowed but TEEN MOVIE VERSION.

8.  There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
  • Ever since Scream, I've wanted more movies like it.  This one has a similar feel and I think it would make a good movie.

9.  In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
  • I know it's another Jessica Brody book, but all her books would make such good movies!! In Some Other Life is a alternate-dimension story of a girl who gets to see how the road not travelled ended up.

10.  The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  • I want to see the technology and the Tower!!

What books have you read recently that you think would make awesome movies?