Monday, July 22, 2019

The Takedown by Corrie Wang-- a total ME book

The Takedown

Kyla Cheng has everything going her way-- cute "maybe" boyfriend, top grades in her elite/private school, group of popular friends who rule the senior class.  Then, she becomes the target of a takedown.

A video is posted of Kyla having sex with her teacher... only problem is, it's NOT her.  In a future world where your digital footprint follows you every where you turn, Kyle knows she has to figure out who did this, and how.  She follows every lead, ventures into the world of hackers and computer geniuses, all the while having no one really believe her.  After all, it REALLY REALLY looks like her....

You know how every now and again you start reading a book, and right from the start you can tell it is a "you" book??  Those reading moments are so special, and if you're anything like me, they only come along once in a while.  This book was a breath of fresh air for me.  Sure, I've read books recently that I've really loved, but none of them were completely perfect for me.  This one was!!

THE TAKEDOWN was a cross of BEFORE I FALL with THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR.  It was high school dynamics/drama and a mystery set in a future world-- and I think the future part of this book was my favorite part.  I loved reading about the technology and the way New York changed.  I even loved the slang that the future teens used (I usually hate made up slang, but I thought it worked her).

Kyla is just a typical straight A, popular girl until a sex video of her and a teacher is put on her school's website!!  Except IT ISN'T HER!!  It looks like her, exactly like her, but she swears it isn't her.  Proving it will also force Kyla to find out exactly WHO hates her enough to make such a sophisticated fake.  Is it a friend?  A known enemy?  Someone lurking in the shadows?  And how can she make anyone believe her while the video views climb higher and higher?

It was page-turning going on the journey with Kyla.  Her friends are all suspects, her enemies are many, and the futuristic technology made everything so invasive and creepy!!  I just loved the hell out of this story.

Kyla Cheng was the perfect main character to carry a book like this.  She's a little naive, a little bit innocent, but also completely responsible for some bad behavior and unlikable in her own ways.  I am nothing like Kyla as a person, she's very type A and not a risk taker, but I totally found myself relating to her and wanting her to persevere.  I know that's good writing because type A goody-goodies are usually not my jam.

My fave parts: The family and friend dynamics.  I really liked how close Kyla's family was, but that she was still feeling a disconnect from her mom and how that was effecting her despite everything she had going on.  Kyla's friends were horrible but also not??  Thats where I was getting the BEFORE I FALL vibes.  And the love interest was cute, but also a little too good to be true in my opinion.

OVERALL: YES!!  1 million times YES!!!  I could read a book like this every day of the year and never get bored.  It's hard to even think of who to recommend this to because it was such a ME book, but I think all YA fans should like this.

Date Published: 4/11/2017
How I got this book: I bought it
Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Sharma
Book: Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein

  • Sharma is the boss hacker-girl in THE TAKEDOWN, and I think she'd like reading about these 3 girls trying to be the first all-female team trying to win the tech competition.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Interview w/ Danielle Stinson + BEFORE I DISAPPEAR Giveaway!

Before I Disappear

by Danielle Stinson
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
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Rose Montgomery parks her family’s trailer in Fort Glory, Oregon with one goal: to carve out a new life for herself and her little brother, Charlie. They need a fresh start for their family, and she thinks she's finally found it in a town where nobody knows them. 

But Rose’s plans come crashing down when, in an instant, Fort Glory disappears and every person in town vanishes into thin air—including Charlie.

Rose and four other teens become trapped in the Fold, a patch of woods caught halfway between the real world and the lost town. In the Fold, a mysterious force suspends the laws of physics, and everyone’s inner darkness has the power to kill. 

To survive the Fold, Rose must unravel the clues Charlie sends her from the missing town. And Rose has to find Charlie soon—or he'll be gone forever. 


Hi Danielle!!!  We are so excited to have you in our FFBC Tours!!  Thanks you for taking the time to chat with us!

Thank you so much for having Before I Disappear on The Fantastic Flying Book Club

Can you briefly describe BEFORE I DISAPPEAR and the main characters?

Absolutely! Before I Disappear is an emotional and action-packed YA set in the real world with a sci-fi twist. Pitched as ARRIVAL meets A WRINKLE IN TIME, it’s about a girl who risks everything to find her little brother after their small town vanishes into thin air. 

Rose is a 17yo high school student who has been shouldering the weight for her family. She is smart, practical, resilient, extremely introverted and loyal to the core. She expresses herself through actions rather than words and dreams of building a new life for her mom and little brother, Charlie, in Fort Glory. Charlie is the opposite of Rose in many ways. He’s dreamy, and soft, and appears fragile to the outside eye. He is also quiet and uncommonly kind with an innate gift for seeing to the heart of a person—especially those things they would rather keep hidden. Rose has always known that Charlie isn’t like other kids, and she loves him fiercely even though his strangeness scares and frustrates her sometimes.  

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

I created the characters of Rose and Charlie before the larger story came to me. I sort of heard their voices and knew I wanted to capture that sibling bond, which  has played such an important role in my own life. I kept writing down memories and parts of conversations between them. Over time, it became clear to me that there was an impenetrable divide between them. Then I had this very bizarre dream that involved things disappearing, and the rest of the story snapped into place. 

What can the readers expect to find in the Fold?

Honestly, the Fold is a terrifying place. It looks like our world and has the same edge of gritty realism, but that only serves to lull you into a false sense of complacency. In the Fold, the laws of physics are fundamentally altered. It’s volatile and unpredictable and getting more dangerous by the minute. The sky, the weather, even the earth itself may try to kill you. But the greatest threats in the Fold won’t come at you from the outside. No, the most dangerous storms of all are the ones we carry inside. 

What were your favorite books in elementary/middle school?

I remember reading A Taste Of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith and feeling my heart ache. I loved Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I devoured every Boxcar Children, Babysitters Club, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novel I could find. When I got older, I fell in love with classics like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I had many, many favorites, but looking back now, I realize the ones that really stuck with me were those with notes of both sadness and hope. I’m also a sucker for an epic love story. 

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

If I could go back, I would probably tell myself the same thing my parents told me: that the things that feel huge today will one day be blips on the radar. That what other people think of you doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you think of yourself. 

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

If I’m counting all the books I read over the past year and not just those released recently, I’d say Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar, The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh, and The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta.  

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I’m going to cheat and say that the Fold gives me “DLZ” by TV on the Radio and “Blackout Days” by Phantogram vibes. The Rose and Charlie scenes bring to mind “Home” by Cinematic Orchestra, “Holocene” by Bon Iver and “Heavy Feet” by Local Natives. Ian and Rose’s song is Lapsley’s “Falling Short.” Sorry, that’s more like a playlist than a single song, but music is one of my great loves, and I can’t seem to help myself!

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 BEFORE I DISAPPEAR or the series in general.)

#SurvivetheFold #FindFtGlory #Facethedark

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

For music, I would definitely recommend some haunting and emotional score music. No words but lots of feelings. Any type of hot beverage and a blanket. Bonus points if there’s a roaring fire, because warmth is sort of a hot commodity in the Fold. (Terrible pun unintended.) Some sort of pine/Douglas-fir scented candle. Maybe a nightlight. Definitely a window with a full view of the stars. 

What’s next for you?

In the YA genre I’m currently working on two projects in the vein of Before I Disappear. One is a sort of YA Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind about a girl who sees something in the sky when she is seven years old that sets her on a downward spiral. She’s only starting to regain control of her life at 17 when the Lights in the sky come back, only this time, she isn’t the only one who sees them. 

Thanks so much for this!!  We’re really excited to have you in our tours!

Thank you for having me! These questions were so much fun to answer, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this tour with FFBC!

Stories were a central part of Danielle Stinson's childhood. Growing up in a military family meant frequent moves across the US and abroad. She spent many summers in her room surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of library books. She currently lives with her husband and four boys in Virginia, where she writes fiction for young adults. Before I Disappear is her debut novel.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- Upcoming Releases July- December

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 (July 16th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half of 2019

  • I'm still kind of playing catch-up on the weeks that I missed posting a TTT.  I really love posting about these upcoming releases every year, so I didn't want to fully miss this topic.
  • Here is what I was obsessing over for the first half of 2019.
  • And here is what I'm anxious to read from July - December:

1.  Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé- Release Date 8/1
  • It's billed as Blair Witch meets Imaginary Girls.  That's SOOOOO me.
2.  She's the Worst by Lauren SpiellerRelease Date: 9/3
  • This looks cute and also serious.  Siblings, college, childhood, family secrets.  I like everything this has going for it.
3.  The Hive by Barry Lyga & Morgan BadenRelease Date: 9/3
  • I lovvvveedddd We Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.  Because of that, I'm signed up to read every book this author writes.  It's the rule.
4.  City of Beasts by Corrie WangRelease Date: 9/17
  • Did you read The Takedown??  I was obsessed with it.  It's my fave book that I've read so far this year.  This book is a lot more in the fantasy genre, but I still am really excited for it.
5.  Imaginary Friend by Stephen ChboskyRelease Date: 10/1
  • His first book since 1999???  And it's about a mill-town in PA??  Oh yes, I will read it.

6.  The Grace Year by Kim LiggettRelease Date: 10/8
  • I love that this book is like the fantasy version of Rumspringa.
7.  Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson- Release Date 10/20
  • This is a book right out of 2013.  And I neeeeed it.
8.  Call Down the Hawk by Maggie StiefvaterRelease Date: 11/5
  • I really need to reread The Raven Boys series (so that I can actually read The Raven King for the first time) before this comes out.

9.  The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand- Release Date: 11/5

  • I think this book sounds beautiful and sad.  And I need that every now and again.

10.  Scared Little Rabbits by A.V. Geiger- Release Date: 12/1

  • I so loved Follow Me Back.  I read it in one night.  I am really excited to see what else this author has up her sleeve!!

What upcoming books are you excited about?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- Summer TBR

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 (July 2nd) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books On My Summer 2019 TBR

  • I missed last week's TTT because I was traveling for ALA-- but I LOVE to make these seasonal TBR lists (even though I'm terrible at sticking with them and/or completing them), so I decided to go ahead and make it this week.
  • If you're super curious about my fave childhood books (YAY nostalgia!!), you can check out THISTHIS, and also THIS post. I definitely have made lists of books from my past before because that's what started my joy of reading!!

1.  Wilder Girls by Rory Power- I've been wanting to read this for SO LONG.  And it's finally in my hands!!!  I will be reading this soon!!

2.  Notes from a Former Virgin: Junior Year (Chloe Snow #3) by Emma Chastain- I am SO EXCITED for more Chloe Snow!!  No seriously, you have no idea the depth of my excitement for this book (PS!!  It's out TODAY!!!)

3.  The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda- YES to Megan Miranda FOREVER.  I love all of her books, YA and Adult.  I have this on hold at the library, but I will probably also buy it!

4.  Lock Every Door by Riley Sager- Loved his last 2 books and can't wait for creepy hotel!!!

5.  #Murderfunding (MurderTrending #2) by Gretchen McNeil- I didn't LOVE love #MurderTrending, but I'm curious enough to see what happens in the next chapter of Alcatraz 2.0.

6.  When We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall- I didn't know this book existed until I saw it at B&N and it immediately made me thing of LORD OF THE FLIES, which made me immediately want to read it.

7.  The Missing Season by Gillian French- I love all of this woman's books. I've read every single one so far and this one is not going to be an exception (also, I've already got it from the library this week).

8.  Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman- I got this at ALA and I like the idea of it.  I'm curious to see if it'll be able to pull it off.

9.  Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley- So, I've been wanting to read this-- but recently I've been hearing so many good things about it, so now I'm really trying to get to it soon!

10.  Here There are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé- I love the cover, I love the synopsis, I love YA horror, I love Mysteries.  This is definitely a book I'm reading this summer.

What books are you reading this summer?

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.

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