Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#TopTenTuesday: Ten Most Excellent Beach Reads

Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

First order of business today though before we talk about beach reads is announce the winners of the giveaway featured in last week's Top Ten Tuesday blog. Woohoo! Hooray! Yippeeee!

Drumroll please...
  • Emily @ Forever Literary has won the signed poster.
  • Grace Fonseca has won a signed bookplate.
  • Rachel Burden has won a signed bookplate.
  • Beth @ The Quiet People has won the third signed bookplate.
Send me your addresses to bjhwhatever@gmail.com and I will send out your prizes right away. Thanks. If I do not hear from you in three days time, then a new winner will be picked. 

Now onto the beach... hah! 
I wish. Anyone else still a slave to the school schedules?

These will be broken up into my beach reads for this summer and five books I recommend for your beach bag this summer. Why am I doing the list this way? Because I've read some really great books that should accompany you to the beach but of course, that will not be necessary for me to take to the beach given I have already read them. :)


Definitely putting Jenny Han's To All the Boys I Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You in my bag this summer! I have been dying to read her but since my main focus has been on getting through the numerous fantasy series I have... Jenny was put aside. Aren't these titles perfect for the beach though?!

Next up is another ridiculously romantic read so I've been told. Must read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins at the beach, yeah? Relaxing setting. Warm Sunshine. Adorable characters! 

For me, knowing that I have absolutely no time or excuses to interrupt the books I should be reading and reviewing because of all the ARCs piled up in my office, looks like A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas will be coming to the beach with me.

Sadly, my fifth book, Jackaby by William Ritter has been on my TBR pile forever, but since the second one in the series has been promised to me to read, I must get on with this book and the beach is going to be the magical setting for me to get it read. *fingers crossed*


Omigosh... I just read this book and have a review planned but totally add it to your beach bag! Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly is quirkily romantic. It will be a great read beachside.

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder, the latest book in her series featuring Yelena will be a good beach read. You can take breaks to jump in the water without missing a beat since the narrator switches and the mood shifts in a variety of places. Despite not being the best from this series, it still satisfies and brings about a new plot thread that really cannot be ignored.

When you need something to make you think about how good you have it, and sometimes the beach makes me feel this way, check out Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King. It delivers a feminist treatise with magical realism that will stimulate any conversation lacking the depth you need to determine whether you really connect with that person or not.

If you would like some spooky ghost story along with your romance, how about Suspicion by Alexandra Monir. Atmospheric and tense, the story delivers in a lot of ways that will leave you happy whether there is another novel in this world or not.

The heat gets to the best of us, but we still bask in the sun, so if you need a little cooling off, My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins is good place to start. An anthology featuring some of the best writers in YA right now and many of them feature the cold. Win-win for a beach read, right?!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stacking the Shelves & #WeekReview 5/23/15

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews is meant for sharing books you are adding to your shelves. They can be physical, virtual and/or ARCs -- anything really that's ending up on your bookshelf for awhile. Or your children's in my case. Both my little people have their own shelves and I do include book purchases for them which is mostly why I even have bought books this week.

Also, check out my little guy's #booksarentdangerous photo on Twitter and then go post your own. A campaign happening across multiple social media platforms where if you post a pic with a book and tag it with #booksarentdangerous you can help First Book, Little Brown and The NOVL get books in underfunded school libraries thanks to Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia for hosting.

Yeah... those are storm troopers and Boba Fett in the background of the photo. Darth Vader was pleased to be included in my boy's photo for the campaign. Also, the boy loves THE IRON TRIAL by Cassie Clare and Holly Black and that's him getting his own copy since we already own a hardcover of the book and he doesn't like sharing books with his mum and sis.


The TOMBQUEST books are for the boy and I will probably not read those. THE IRON TRIAL has already been talked about up above and why it shows up in "bought books" even though we already own a copy of it. THE 13TH REALITY is by James Dashner and my daughter is reading MAZE RUNNER right now since she really liked the movie and wants to be caught up on the books before watching The Scorch Trials. We all want to read Jonathan Stroud's 2nd in the LOCKWOOD & CO. series because he is such an amazing author who we really adore writing-wise and real-life wise.


WHILE YOU WERE GONE by Amy K. Nichols ~ Let me tell you how much I adored the first in this Duplexity duology! Soooooooo much! In fact, I gushed a bit about NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE on Amazon. Too happy that this ARC showed up today when I will have time over the weekend to read it.

Summary: An artist without a cause meets a rebel without a clue.

Eevee is a promising young artist and the governor’s daughter in a city where censorship is everywhere and security is everything. When a fire devastates her exhibition—years in the making—her dreams of attending an elite art institute are dashed. She’s struggling to find inspiration when she meets Danny, a boy from a different world. Literally.

Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud ~ Really have not heard any prior buzz on this book until the publicist contacted me in regards to it. It looks really good though and both my daughter and I are looking forward to reading it. On Fangirlish, I should have an exclusive interview with the author, Michelle Painchaud closer to its July 2015 release date.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.

"Waiting On" Wednesdays:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday #9: Drug & Drop V2 by Clamp

So Clamp and I have one of those love-hate relationships. They tear my hopes and dreams apart whenever I think one of my fav characters might just get an okay life living without death. 

My life-long fascination with art, fashion and macabre probably is their fault too. Might think that Alexander McQueen was influenced by them too and that would explain my love his clothing designs. Of course, Tim Burton fits in all of this influence too. So we'll stop there before I expound on other things than books.

This manga volume is on pre-order and I cannot wait to read it. So happy to see these characters again and the new artwork for them. Clamp's touch is golden, even still... today.

  • Title: Drug & Drop
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books
  • Publishing date: May 26, 2015
  • Author(s): Clamp
  • Series: Legal Drug Spin-off with xXxholic cross-over

SUMMARY: After completing Watanuki's request, Rikuo disappears upon his own ever-mysterious purposes. Fraught with worry over Rikuo, and bearing the new burden of "carrying memories" all by himself, Kazahaya makes a rendezvous at an unknown house--whose signpost has his family name! From behind the wisteria tree appears something even more unexpected...a tiny angel named Kohaku.

As always thanks to Breaking the Spine for hosting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#TopTenTuesday: Ten Must-Read Tales Retold, Re-imagined

Today's TTT was a freebie and since well... I've a great giveaway associated with Alethea Kontis and Leanna Renee Hieber, today is all about the retold, re-imagined.

That's right... You can win a hand-signed poster by Alethea Kontis AND Leanna Renee Hieber from their Florida signing this winter. It's the Barnes & Noble sign behind them in this video with their photos on it, announcing their visit and personalized by them. A perfect addition to any bookish hoards or library. Also, I have some signed bookplates that I will send to runner-ups. All you have to do is comment below on what story is your favorite that has been retold or re-imagined or anywhere on the site between now and the next TTT. 

Thank you to the Broke & the Bookish for hosting.

1}  Cinder ~ Marissa Meyer adds a sci-fi bent to Cinderella's story that's absolutely brilliant and allows her to play off the rest of some really popular fairy tales. Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), Fairest (Sleeping Beauty) and Winter (Snow White). Honestly, if you aren't following, reading the Lunar Chronicles, it's a shame.

2}  Woodcutter Sister Series ~ For someone who has three younger sisters, you'd think I'd be too traumatized to read these books. LOL! Nope. They're adorable, fun, snarky and edgy with plot twists that are not meant to shock but just take into account reality even if there's magical happenstance everywhere in these stories. Alethea Kontis knows how to spin a tale of happily ever after and make it seem possible even in this modern age.

3}  A Thousand Nights ~ The cover of this book is beautiful and E. K. Johnston has a good track record. Oh yeah... I wanna read this one too! 

4}  Ella Enchanted ~ Pshhhh... do not be looking to the movie as a good summation of the intelligent story found inside this book by Gail Carson Levine. Also, for another great read, check out her Fairest novel.

5}  Return to Oz ~ I actually read the book for this movie before watching the movie. They both were spectacularly creepy and felt very much in tune with the Frank L. Baum I read and loved. Yes, all the titles were mine via the library. If you aren't interested in a movie adaptation novel, check out the Dorothy Must Die books by Danielle Paige. They fit the bill quite scarily too. 

6}  The Looking Glass Wars ~ Frank Beddor writes a Wonderland plagued by political maneuverings that benefit very few people, but the readers. Clever and devious, this reworking of the Alice stories definitely have a Machiavellian bent. If you're a gamer, not giving a shout-out to American Mcgee's Alice would be criminal. LOVE THAT GAME.

7}  The Sleeper and the Spindle ~ Even though this is Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell, I still have not read this retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I want to read it though! Right now... if you have not read The Graveyard Book , a retelling of the Jungle Book by Neil, I feel you're missing out. It's lovely.

8}  Snow White and Rose Red ~ If you ever want someone who can write pretty much anything in a spectrum of types, genres and fiction; you only have to look at Patricia Wrede's bevy of books. This story is no exception to her brilliance and still reads just like a fairy tale of old. Check out her Dealing with Dragons series too... while you're looking.

9} Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast ~ Sometimes I forget about this beautiful book only to find and reread it again every so many years. I think it is time to pull it out again. Robin McKinley how is this one of your first books?! So talented even starting out!

10}  The Isle of the Lost ~ Call it a fun addition to some very serious stories, but Melissa de la Cruz evokes the Disney ruse of making things lighthearted and heavy in the same scenes to offer up a delightfully good read about all your favorite fairy tale villains and their children.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stacking the Shelves & #WeekReview 5/16/15

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews is meant for sharing books you are adding to your shelves. They can be physical, virtual and/or ARCs. They all count if you've got your grubby paws on them. :)

Oh you readers... guess what all has been happening this week?! Laini Taylor has THREE MORE books coming and a gift paperback set right in time for the holidays at the end of this year. Woohoo!

That's some of the best news ever! So excited about these books. Although it just added another book to my must read pile for 2016. Don't miss out on the special Twitter event this June so we can get to read a never-before-written chapter from Eretz. Just tag tweets of your favorite quotes with #UnlockLainiTaylor and after 613 hashtags have been reached, we'll get it. 

Hope you have had a good book week too! My haul is relatively small compared to what I usually get lately. Check these books out though... I haven't read a lot of these so that's good for me. Any of you know which I should read first?


Vicious by V. E. Schwab ~ Omigoodness this book... you all... this book is sooooooo good! 

Summary: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

The Prestige by Christopher Priest ~ Have you seen this movie?! Yeah, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman together dominating the screen as dueling magicians. There's a price to their tricks though. Ouch! However, you can read this book and feel like it is totally different in ways that the movie will not have spoiled you even though I feel the The Prestige film did a good job capturing the moodiness of the book.

Summary: In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose one another. Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magicians' craft can command--the highest misdirection and the darkest science.

Blood will be spilled, but it will not be enough. In the end, their legacy will pass on for generations...to descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.

Look at those two pretties up above. I purchased those from Amazon for the Kindle this week too. Every time I saw them on Amazon, I just wanted to pet their pretty covers. So yeah... I do not have physical copies but am excited to read these steampunkish magician stories. There's a third book I believe that is green. Yeah... these books totally feed my sorting like things fetish. Get you own copies HERE


LOCK & MORI by Heather W. Petty ~ Oh I have read this book... twice now and just, you all what can I even say about this incarnation of Sherlock and Moriarty without gushing. Really... nothing! It's all ramblings of a very pleased Sherlockian, however, I did post a bit to Goodreads just so my support was out there in words. Also, I hopefully will be interviewing Heather Petty for Fangirlish and having a guest post show up here closer to the release date. You can pre-order this brilliant book now though. 

Summary: In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart. Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

Life Unaware by Cole Gibson ~ Oh this book needs traction, readers. Please go out and purchase one for your teen, for a local library, high school or middle school. Such a good, important read and also, Cole is a great role model of a person who's a little bit punkish and a whole lotta of kind and understanding. 

Summary: Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success?cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society--until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.
Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.
The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched... Especially Regan Flay.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Trombly ~ This book looks adorable and I cannot resist whenever anyone says oh... this character is a lot like Sherlock. Yep... I'm a sucker. Anyone read this one yet? I am looking froward to it because it sounds delightfully romantic in all the awkward ways that I adore.

Summary: Sherlock meets Veronica Mars meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in this story of a wisecracking girl who meets a weird but brilliant boy and their roller-coaster of a semester that’s one part awkward, three parts thrilling, and five parts awesome

When Philip Digby first shows up on her doorstep, Zoe Webster is not impressed. He's rude and he treats her like a book he's already read and knows the ending to. But before she knows it, Digby--annoying, brilliant and somehow attractive?--has dragged her into a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all related to an investigation into the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that may be connected to the tragic disappearance of his own sister eight years ago.

When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can't say no. Digby gets her, even though she barely gets herself. But is Digby a hero, or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exercise his own obsessive compulsive tendencies?

A romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a crime novel where catching the crook isn't the only hook, a friendship story where they aren't even sure they like each other--this is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and the most charismatic dynamic duo you've ever met. 

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

How could Kody Keplinger fill out the story she started in The DUFF?! Uh... she could give their family a happily ever after where Wesley's parents get their act together and Amy finally feels safe, secure and gets the best BFF a girl could ask for. Except that BFF Sonny isn't all she's making herself out to be. Truly confused over just how to be herself, Sonny affects Amy in ways that take her back to a bad place before her parents and brother became the solid fixtures in her life. However, that doesn't keep readers from bonding with Sonny and Amy and surprisingly becoming quite protective of both of them.

  • TITLE: Lying Out Loud
  • AUTHOR(S): Kody Keplinger
  • SERIES: Companion novel to The DUFF
  • PUB INFO: Scholastic Press/April 28, 2015
  • ACQUIRED HOW? Edelweiss e-ARC
  • BOOK RATING: Lemon Tart

So Bianca and Wesley remain my favorites, but seriously Amy Rush has picked a choice friend here in Sonny. She's a mess and a lying liar who lies... ALL THE TIME! She means well though and I do believe a lot of us live by that motto. Yet we forget how egotistical it makes us to do so. Not only are we breaking the trust of our friends by lying to them, we are disrespecting them by taking away their choice to know and make decisions based upon the truth of the matter and not from the information we chose to feed to them. Lying definitely reduces the agency of everyone involved in the situation. 

Sonny screws up big time in this regard, because her crush becomes her boyfriend under false pretenses and while she's never been so real in someone's presence, she cannot keep up living the fake life she leads in an effort to remain truly herself while chatting with Ryder. While I'll forgive her the first few attempts to come clean, she eventually crosses the line when she tries and recruits and does successfully pull Amy into the con. Doing so though, only hurts Amy's feelings more, and despite how loyal of a friend she is, Amy pushes back and demands from Sonny the same kind of patience and understanding Amy has shown Sonny all these years.

QUOTE ME: Lying Out Loud is an interesting study in how friendships can evolve into something less than healthy and the best laid plans, the best of intentions can still land you in a world of hurt if you aren't being honest with those you love. As Sonny realizes life isn't avoidable and that family and love and acceptance can truly be hard to believe in, being yourself and allowing yourself to be vulnerable can be the most honest and rewarding experience of all in the right company of friends makes this story shine.

Aesthetically speaking now, I am so pleased that this cover ties into the movie-tie-in cover of The DUFF. These really should be read as companion novels because Bianca and Wesley show up so often and add a lot of character to the struggle between Sonny and Amy. Also, knowing now that Kody imagined Sabrina Carpenter from Girl Meets World as Sonny just makes my heart swell. That show you all... if you aren't watching the little Disney spin-off show of Boy Meets World, ahhh... you're missing out on some of the sweetest moments on television.  

Lastly,  the soundtrack of the book was powered by Tegan & Sara. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday #8: We Are The Ants by Shaun Hutchinson

How cool is that cover and summary. So enticing, yeah?! The absurdist angle of this plot mixed with the very dire circumstances mixed with the very hard lesson of growing into who you think you're meant to be gives me all the feels and I haven't even read this book yet. Knowing how deftly Shaun maneuvered the tough topics in his other books though, I am not ashamed to say that I am dreading the emotional whiplash that will come inevitably with reading We Are The Ants and simultaneously so disappointed that it doesn't arrive in bookstores until 2016. 

  • Title: We Are The Ants
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publishing date: 2016
  • Author(s): Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Series: Standalone

SUMMARY: Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button. But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind. 

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

As always thanks to Breaking the Spine for hosting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#TopTenTuesday: Ten Authors I Would Like To Meet in Person

Now here's the thing... I have lived a long life already and met some of my most favorite authors who definitely make my top ten list, but they're going on the list again for reasons. You know... I just need them on here again because the first or even second meeting was not what it should've been or enough to satisfy being able to bask in their awesomeness. Also, I stuck with authors that fall mostly in YA/Fantasy or that I associate with the YA/Fantasy grouping because those are the books I most remember them by.

1) Terry Pratchett

          Sadly, the first person who made my list and who I have actually waved to from up above but never actually met face-to-face other than being a nameless face in a multitude of others gawping at him is no longer here for me to meet. A little bit of my heart, my happiness and hope died a bit when he did. He was one of the most influential authors for me and affected me in a profound way during a time when I really needed his words the most.

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman illustration by John Cuneo
2) Neil Gaiman

           So guess what? The same day I met Terry Pratchett was the same day I met Neil Gaiman for the first time. They were eating at a restaurant in Minnesota that my husband and I had heard so much about. We were about to move to the area and we wanted to see the downtown area of the Twin Cities. We walked into that restaurant with no expectations but I saw a crowd and was curious. Asking someone, they kindly told me that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett were eating, having come from a signing and that I could wave to them. I did... of course I did. Who wouldn't?!

          Thing is though, that would not be the last time I met Neil Gaiman. Yeah... so the next time it's Printer's Row Book Expo in Chicago. I am standing in line for the elevator with about three other people including my sister and her baby waiting to get into the auditorium for the NPR taping of Neil Gaiman speaking when who should walk by?! It's Neil Gaiman! Omigod it's Neil Gaiman. I said this little bit over and over -- telling Neil Gaiman -- to his face repeatedly for about five minutes who he was. How embarrassing! He was still quite lovely and did try to prompt my brain into coming back online by asking if I would like to take a photo with him or get an autograph. Didn't happen. I only repeated to his face who he was until he had to go, which again, he was very sweet by politely telling me had to leave and go give a speech now. Later he would even tweet me names of gluten free restaurants even though he remembered me as the blathering fan who could only seem to tell him who he was.

So yeah, I need another chance at meeting Neil because these two times do not cut it! Plus neither time did I get to talk to him or tell him how much his work has meant to me.

           If it were not for this lady and her books, my developing years would have been miserable. She had characters who started at the bottom of the self-esteem pool maturing into girls who understood body image, self-love and just being yourself. She didn't shy away from periods, pimples or peer pressure and since my parents were strict fundamentalist, I needed her real talk and her real characters. She deserves all my adoration and I really, really have always wanted to meet her just so I could say, "Thank you."

           Not only does she write contemporary fiction that my middle-school and high school students loved, but she is such a fangirl in real life. When she won the chance to attend the Veronica Mar premiere and walk the red carpet with Kristen Bell, it was so exciting. She shared on her twitter and was so sweet to her fans who were fans by showing them what a great time and person Kristen Bell was. I have always thought she'd be a great person to just hang out with and discuss lady heroes with.

5) Rainbow Rowell

             She is utterly perfect in her activism through her social media, her words on a page and her willingness to open up about herself. Charming, sarcastic and oh so personal... she comes across as so real, lively that I definitely think meeting Rainbow Rowell would be fun and lead to a lot of laughs and sharing about our childhoods. Her mother sounds a lot like mine.

6) Heather Petty

          We need to meet because I absolutely loved Lock & Mori and how Heather Petty was inspired to come up with a female Moriaty. She is the reason I have Sherlock pillows on my couch and recliner in the living room. Not only does she have a love of all things Sherlock but she too is an activist who constantly blogs, reblogs, and comments through her social media with a fierce, feminist perspective and is not afraid of how people will react when she stands up for what she believes in. Also, we'd probably bond over food too. Sometimes after reading her posts, I crave noodles, sushi and cupcakes. I am the weakest link!

7) Ransom Riggs

         The man has met Tim Burton. The man optioned his book so that Tim Burton could turn it into a film. Besides that, my daughter LOVES his series and so I would be helping her realize one of those lifelong dreams of meeting one of the authors who she absolutely adores. We almost drove over to stalk the set of Peculiar Children when he tweeted that he was there. Ransom Riggs and Tim Burton together in the same place. Mind blown.

8) Sabaa Tahir

         Sabaa and I would have tons to discuss. I would do my best not to pester her about innermost secrets of her An Ember in the Ashes world and distract myself by engaging her in conversations about the latest Hot Chip single or what she thought of Nate Ruess and Florence Welch. Because music is the next best thing to books and it would be soothing for both of us I think not to have to contemplate never being able to revisit the Ember world ever again in published format.

9) Hillary Monahan 

           This meeting must happen! Seriously, she will probably eat me alive and send me home scared to ever come out in public because I will make a fool of myself by not being able to stop laughing, cringing or imagining the horrifying scenes she will put in my head; and despite this inevitable embarrassing situation for me, I still want to meet her. She is AWESOME. And there will be rants and ravings and speeches that will stick with everyone around, because Hillary too speaks only the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts but she refuses to back down or from a fight when she knows empowering females is the ultimate outcome.

10) Tamora Pierce

                 I have met Tammy only one time, but it was just she and I and a little Kosher nook of a NY restaurant around the bend from her favorite Sephora. We had a couple of hours together, chatting about books, gossiping about publishing houses and editors and the changes happening in the industry. It was one of the most memorable times of my life because if anyone influenced my "I can do anything despite being a girl" attitude... it was her. She signed all my books with amazing little quips and personalizations that I shall cherish until the day I die. Also, in all the years that have passed between that breakfast date and now, we have not had one chance to speak in person again. So yeah... so what if I have met her before. One awesome visit doesn't negate my wish to meet up with her again. There's so much catching up to do.

As always, thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

BLOG TOUR: What Remains by Helene Dunbar Review & #giveaway

To be honest, I was not quite sure what to expect when beginning this book. Sure... I knew there was tragedy intermingled with grieving, adapting to a new perspective and lease on life and an identity crisis -- what I didn't know though is how relatable Cal and Spencer would be and how wonderful certain other characters would be once Lizzie was gone. Such a sweet, grown-up YA contemporary story that tugs at your heart strings and leads with its heart and the hope of a better tomorrow.

  • TITLE: What Remains
  • AUTHOR(S): Helene Dunbar
  • SERIES: Standalone
  • PUB INFO: FLUX (May 8, 2015)
  • ACQUIRED HOW? Received ARC for honest review
  • BOOK RATING: Cherry Pie

What Remains by Helen Dunbar tackles the life of hard knocks and opens your eyes to the tragedy of a life taken way before its time. As Lizzie leaves Cal and Spencer on their own to face each new day, Cal's beating heart feels like its not entirely his own. A turn in the story, and a reality many transplant receivers feel, lucky to be alive causes guilt and survivor remorse. Cal feels like he failed Lizzie forgetting his childhood friend loved him and there was no one else she would've wanted more to see saved by her own actions than him. 

QUOTE ME: If I'm being vague, it's because the true pleasure in reading this book is watching Cal grow into his own person all the while struggling to hang onto one of the dearest, most loved persons who he feels is being lost to him. This part of the story should be an experience that's unsullied or spoiled by another person's perspective.


In less than a second... two of the things Cal Ryan cares most about--a promising baseball career and Lizzie, one of his best friends--are gone forever.
In the hours that follow... Cal's damaged heart is replaced. But his life will never be the same. Everyone expects him to pick up the pieces and move on. But Lizzie is gone, and all that remains for Cal is an overwhelming sense that her death was his fault. And a voice in his head that just...won't...stop. Cal thought he and his friends could overcome any obstacle. 
But grief might be the one exception. And that might take a lifetime to accept...


Helene Dunbar usually writes features about fiddles and accordions for an Irish Music Magazine, but she’s also been known to write about court cases, theater, and Native American Indian tribes. She’s amazed that she has a day job that pays her to spend time on Facebook and Twitter, and that, on a good day, gives her time to let the voices in her head out into the world to tell a story. If she had to put money on it, she’d bet that if music didn’t exist, she wouldn’t be able to write. She’s lived in two countries, six states, and is currently holed up in Nashville with her husband, daughter, two cats, and the world’s friendliest golden retriever.


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