Monday, May 21, 2018

Mood Reading Strikes Again: I've been reading Adult Mystery/Thrillers and Liking Them????

The life of a mood reader is tough.  I want to read so many books that people recommend to me, but my brain won't let me!!!  Like-- Fairy Tale retellings, and light Fantasy, and Magical Realism, and Cutesy Romances.  But my brain says: YOU MUST READ THIS CERTAIN GENRE OR I WON'T LET YOU BE INTERESTED IN IT.  And not only that, but lately it's been saying: YOU WILL READ ADULT MYSTERY/THRILLERS AND LIKE THEM!!!

I've never been much of an Adult reader.

I've read some Jodi Picoult, some Emily Giffin, some Sophie Kinsella, all of Gillian Flynn, and some Stephen King, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, and that's about it.  I went through a whole bookish identity crisis when I was in college because I thought once I became an adult, I should read Adult books.  Obviously, it didn't work out, and I thought I didn't like reading as much anymore-- but really I just wasn't reading the right books.  Once I ventured back into the YA section (and found out that it had EXPLODED with popularity during my "lost years"), I found my real reading place.

So color me surprised when lately I want to read Adult books.  What's up with that??

Here's the TBR I've been making:

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  • Ummm, YES!!!  I LOVED Final Girls last year, and we're touring this book in my blog tour co., so YES!!

The Missing by C.L. Taylor
  • It had me at "for fans of Reconstructing Amelia".

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
  • Missing sisters and messed-up families.

Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith
  • A missing twin bro, who also may have been having relations with one of his students-- who happens to be found dead.  This sounds SUPER twisty.

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen
  • A multi-POV murder-at-work book.

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  • I'm actually reading this now.  I LOVE Megan Miranda, so I know I'll like it.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • I saw this on a shelf at Target and thought "I like books with people who have secrets".

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
  • I think this has the most potential of any of these books to completely mess with my head.

And Basically THIS whole page.  I want to read them all-- at this moment anyway.

Let's Talk:
Do you read Adult books?  Which ones would you rec for me??

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday-- Sometimes It's Fun To Dislike Things

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 15th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books I Disliked But Am Glad I Read

  • This is a mix of books I enjoyed rage reading and books that I'm glad I read so I'm no longer wondering if I'll love them (because I won't).

1.  The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eullberg
  • I think I'm most happy I read this one because it introduced me to my favorite example of "teen talk".  I don't think anything will beat "What to the evs" for me.

2.  Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • I go back and forth on this.  I didn't hate hate it, but I did rage read all of Lily's parts because she was SO ANNOYING.

3.  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • I'm glad I read this because SO many bloggers love it, and now I know what all the fuss is about (or I don't really know because I thought it was confusing as all hell).

4.  Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane
  • I enjoyed getting my feelings out about this book.

5.  Some Boys by Patti Blount
  • I'm glad I read this book, but it pissed me off so much-- but it also made for an easy review to write because SO MANY FEELINGS.

6.  This is Where it Ends by Marie Nijkamp
  • I think this is one that I would always think I would like, so I'm glad I'm not still thinking that.

7.  Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
  • I had so much fun reviewing this book.  There was so much material for me to rant about.

8.  Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
  • I'm kind of lying here because I honestly wish I didn't read this one.  The review was super fun to write though because ANGER.

9.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • This is another one that I'm glad I read just so that I'm not still sitting around thinking it is a cool spooky horror book.

10.  Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  • This is my best RAGE READ of all time.  I could not have wanted to punch a character more and could not even believe what I was reading once the twist came out.

What books are you glad you read despite kind of hating them??

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: LOVE & LUCK by Jenna Evans Welch Interview & Giveaway

Love & Luck 

by Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Hi Jenna!!  We are so happy to welcome you to the FFBC!!  This tour was SO popular— it seems like everyone wants to read your new book!!  Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.

Hooray! Thank you so much for featuring my book on your blogs. 


Favorite Book?

I love answering this question because it’s pretty rare for me to run into someone who’s already read it, and I always feel like I’ve offered them an incredible gift! The book is A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, by Michael Dorris and it’s been my favorite book since I was 17. The story is told from three perspectives, a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter and even though the events overlap, their takes on what is happening are all completely different. (Aren’t people fascinating?) I love stories about family dynamics and the ending of this book gives me goosebumps every time. I reread it every few years. 

As far as YA books, I really love Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande—it was the first YA book I ever read that made me think, Maybe I could do this one day. Also, Sara Zarr’s Story of A Girl.

Favorite TV show?

Currently…the Great British Baking Show (ha!). When you describe the show to someone (happy people baking in a tent in the English countryside) it comes across as incredibly boring, but I think that may be a sign of the times for me—motherhood/writerhood carries plenty of drama, so after a long day I just want to watch something sugary/happy that makes me feel good! 

Favorite movie?

I really love old movies, and my favorite is Some Like It Hot starring Marilyn Monroe. I’ve also watched Dirty Dancing more times than anyone really should. 

Your Favorite Song?

I’m one of those weirdos who finds a song they love and then listens to it on repeat for months. Right now I’m stuck on Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, I listened to it a lot while writing Love & Luck. 

Favorite Food?

I really, really love Italian food (particularly my Italian grandfather’s recipe for spaghetti and meatballs). I’m also always up for a good burger and fries. 

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

Gatsby’s mansion (during party season, of course)
Pemberly (Hello, Mr. Darcy!)
Wonderland (I’ve had a fascination with it since I was very young)

What were your favorite books when you were growing up?

I don’t think I can answer that well because I just really, really loved books and all but devoured them whole. The Little House on the Prairie series was my gateway drug, and after that I read about a thousand Goosebumps novels, The Boxcar Children series, the Ramona Quimby series, and everything by Roald Dahl.  From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was a special favorite, and I read Gone With the Wind until my copy fell apart.

Favorite Quote?

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain. 

You know that question people always ask “If you could invite anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would it be?” Mark Twain is a strong contender for me. 

What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?

It’s always authors. When I go to book festivals and other author events I have to constantly remind myself that I am also an author and to not freak out when I see the likes of Stephanie Perkins or Becky Albertalli. It’s really difficult. 

What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans?

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. Not only is she delightful and funny, but I just started it and absolutely love the characters. 


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about LOVE & LUCK?

Of course! When I finished my first book LOVE & GELATO I knew two things: my next book would be about a small character from that first book (Lina’s best friend Addie), and that it would be a road trip story. From there, the rest took its time coming to me. 

As far as a quick synopsis, LOVE & LUCK is about a 16-year-old girl named Addie who is in Ireland for her aunt’s destination wedding and is carrying a very big secret—she’s made a choice that has not only left her heartbroken, but now has her completely at odds with her brother/best friend Ian. After getting into a mid-wedding fist fight (eek!) their mother presents with an ultimatum—start getting along or say goodbye to playing sports back home. And then there’s a twist—Ian’s been harboring a secret of his own and the two of them end up on a road trip across Ireland with Ian’s cute Irish friend, Rowan, Addie’s heartache tagging right along with them. 

Can you tell us a little bit about Addie??  What are her faves, what would she wear to class, etc?

This will probably sound strange, but I am really, really crazy about Addie. She is impulsive, fiercely loyal, persistent and loves with her whole heart—all traits that have managed to get her into trouble. She loves cars, her brothers, sports, her trusty Converse and is up for an adventure. 

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?

Addie’s character was already waiting for me, but as far as the story, the original idea came from an old, broken down VW I kept seeing on a route I drive regularly. Every time I passed it I thought, there’s a story in there. Then one day I had this thought: If I was 16 years old, and my parents didn’t know where I was, I had no supervision, and I could go anywhere, where would I go? Love & Luck was my answer to that. 

Tell us your favorite quote from LOVE & LUCK.

My favorite quote would spoil the story, so I’ll choose another one! One of the fun challenges of Love & Luck was writing a book within a book—throughout the trip Addie and Rowan follow along with a guidebook that Addie finds early on in the novel. This is quote is from one of the entries:

What are 3 cool things people who aren’t familiar with Ireland should know about it?
  1. The people really are musical, friendly and fun loving. Of course this is a generality, but both times I’ve been to Ireland I’ve been struck by the kindness and overall cheeriness of the people I’ve met along the way.
  2. It’s call the Emerald Isle for a reason—you haven’t seen green until you’ve been to Ireland, there are shades of it I haven’t seen anywhere else!
  3. Irish roads (particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way) are narrow, twisty overgrown, and terrifying. In LOVE & LUCK there’s a scene about Addie’s mother driving based entirely on my misadventures on Irish roads. 

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 LOVE & LUCK.)

#heartache #family #adventure

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

I mentioned it earlier, but probably Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill. It carries the same sense of motion and nostalgia, and is about how the people you grow up with shape you. I listened to it whenever I was having a hard time getting into my writing!

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

This is a fun question! How about your favorite road trip junk food, a snuggly blanket, and a rainy day? (Sunny will work too, but we all know rainy days are for reading…)

What’s next for you? 

I have a new book slowly making its way onto paper, but no announcements yet!

Thank you so much!!  We are SO excited about your new book!!

Thank you for the great questions!

Jenna Evans Welch was the kind of insatiable child reader who had no choice but to grow up to become a writer. She is the New York Times Bestselling author of LOVE & GELATO and the upcoming LOVE & LUCK.

When she isn’t writing girl abroad stories, Jenna can be found chasing her children or making elaborate messes in the kitchen. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and two young children.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND by Alison McGhee Interview + Giveaway

What I Leave Behind

by Alison McGhee
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each.

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.

When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

We’re so excited to have Alison McGhee in our FFBC Tours and can’t wait to ask her questions about WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND!


Favorite Book?

This question is too hard! ☺️ I have to cheat and give you a few: My Book of Life by Angel, by Martine Leavitt. For Every One, by Jason Reynolds. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, by Warsan Shire. The Song-Poet, by Kao Kalia Yang. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. The Saga series, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. 

Favorite TV show?

It’s a toss-up between The Gilmore Girls and Friday Night Lights. 

Favorite movie?

Recent: Wonder Woman.
Past: Love Actually.

Favorite Song?

Recent: “That Year,” by Brandi Carlile.
Past: “Comes a Time,” by Neil Young.

Favorite Food?


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
The island that the Swiss Family Robinson were shipwrecked on. Isla, an island I wrote about in my novel Pablo and Birdy. And the island that Wonder Woman grew up on. (I seem to have an island thing going here!)

What were your favorite books growing up?

I loved books about children surviving on their own, like My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, and Stuart Little, by E.B. White.

 Favorite Quote?

“Walk slowly. All you can ever come to is yourself.”

What authors would you “fangirl” over?

I’m a total fangirl for poets Warsan Shire, Sharon Olds and Danez Smith. And I’m a fangirl for writers who write anything and everything, like M.T. Anderson, Jason Reynolds and Kazuo Ishiguro.

 What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans?

I just finished two that I’d highly recommend: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah, and Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND?

Will, the star of What I Leave Behind, reminds me of myself at his age. Will is lonely, even though he’s loved by everyone who knows him. He absorbs the sadness and struggles of those around him. He’s trying so hard to make sense of his father’s death by suicide, and he can’t bear to think of the pain his friend Playa is in after being raped at a party. 

         He wonders: If he had been at the party, could he have prevented the rape? If he had said the right thing to his dad, if he had only known what was in his dad’s mind, would his father still be alive?

         One of the ways that Will tries to make sense of this un-sense-making world is by walking. He walks and walks and walks the streets of his downtown L.A. neighborhood until he finds a rhythm that lets his thoughts roam free. It’s like meditation for him. What Will is figuring out is that you can walk your way into a new way of living, in which your grief and confusion transform you into a person of enormous tenderness.  

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 WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND.)


What gave you the idea to write a book with 100 chapters & 100 words per chapter?

Whenever I write a book, I create a secret structure for it. The secret structure is usually known only to me, invisible to the outside world, but it gives me a framework within which to work. With “What I Leave Behind,” I had the image of a boy who worked in a dollar store. Everything in a dollar store costs $1.00, so I decided to write a book with exactly 100 small chapters (because a dollar is100 pennies, get it?) and then I challenged myself further to make each of those passages 100 words exactly. I love giving myself weird, cool assignments. 

Tell us your favorite quote from WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND.

“Music is the refuge of the lonely.”

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 about the little butterfly dude throughout, because he’s so sweet and almost otherworldly in his trust. The most difficult parts to write about were Will’s profound sadness over both his childhood friend’s rape and the loss of his dad.

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND– Which one would you pick?

Oh, this one’s easy! “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. It’s threaded throughout the entire book.

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

Put on some David Bowie and make sure you repeat “Space Oddity” at least three times as you read. Have some fresh-baked cornbread with butter by your side. And after you read the book, go for a long, long walk. You might want to leave a secret gift for someone on your way.

What’s next for you? 

I’ve got a new novel for adults/older teens coming out in the fall of 2019, and I just finished writing a brand-new YA novel, set in Minneapolis and tentatively titled How to Speak Poem. 
Thanks so much for chatting with us!!

Thank YOU for all these great questions! ☺️

Alison McGhee writes novels, picture books, poems, and essays for all ages, including the forthcoming novel Never Coming Back (out in October 2017) and the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages. She lives in Minneapolis, California and Vermont.

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