Category Archives: Giveaway

October New Release Giveaway Hop

Hi everyone! I’m participating n the October New Release Giveaway Hop hosted by Shannon. I’ve never done one a giveaway hop before, but I entered a lot before when I first started blogging. Ha. I’m a bit excited to participate in one.

new_release_giveaway_hop

I’ll be giving away an ARC of The Weight of Zero, a novel about a girl who has bipolar disorder and slowly learns how to deal with that. I recently read this and liked it a lot!

Here’s some more information from Goodreads if you’d like it:

Seventeen-year-old Cath knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disease, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, time is running out. In an old ballet shoebox, Catherine stockpiles meds, preparing to take her own life when Zero next arrives.

But Zero’s return is delayed. Unexpected relationships along with the care of a new psychiatrist start to alter Catherine’s perception of her diagnosis. But will this be enough? This is a story of loss and grief and hope and how the many shapes of love – maternal, romantic and platonic – impact a young woman’s struggle with mental illness.

The manuscript was awarded the 2014 SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant in the Contemporary YA category, named a finalist in the 2015 Tassey-Walden Awards and won the Serendipity Literary Agency 2013 YA First Page/Novel Discovery Contest.

Rules:

1. U.S. Only (I’m sorry international people!)

2. Email me within 48 hours

Have at it! Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter.

If you click below, you’ll be taken to the linky with the rest of the blogs participating in the hop.

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Interview with Jessica Love and Giveaway

Hi everyone! In Real Life has been one of my most anticipated books of the year. I love a good online friendship story and even more so when it turns to real life friendship. I was so happy to be able to be on the blog tour today put on by St. Martin’s. For today’s post I’ll be sharing an interview with Jessica Love.

First though, I’m going to share some information about In Real Life.

In Real LifeIn Real Life by Jessica Love

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on March 1st, 2016

Goodreads Summary

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

~Interview~

1. In the acknowledgements, I read that you met your husband on AOL in 1998. How do you think the internet helped shape who you are today, if in any way?

Oh, the internet has 100% shaped who I am today! Not only did I meet my husband online (back before that was a normal thing to do), but I’ve also met most of my close friends online.

2. How do you think the internet can help or harm teens and adults?

I’m a huge fan of the internet, but sometimes it’s too much. I can’t even imagine being a teen with the internet. I was a teenager right when the internet was brand new. Seriously, it was me and one other kid in my high school who had it. Being in high school was hard enough, but having access to the internet would have been way too much for me. The constant access to all of this information about everyone, and them having constant access to you…it’s like you can never leave everyone behind and have some peace. Or just time to figure yourself out without an audience.

3. Did you base any of the experiences, activities or settings from In Real Life off of your real life?

The general story…no. But there are quite a few little incidents in the story that absolutely happened to me or friends of mine in real life. Like the story of the first time Hannah and Nick try to meet but it’s an epic bust…that came straight out of High School Jess’s life. I tried to meet a guy I had been talking to on the phone, but things went wrong in a similar fashion. We never met. I still wonder about that guy.

Also, Hannah is from Orange County, CA, which is where I live.

4. What was your writing process for In Real Life like? Did you begin writing it knowing the ending situation and how it would all turn out? Was it difficult to write? Would you have changed anything?

When I started, I really only knew the characters. Originally, I wanted the entire book to be Hannah’s road trip to Vegas mixed in with flashbacks of her friendship with Nick and have it end with them meeting. There wasn’t any conflict or plot with the story that way, though, so things evolved a lot as I revised and revised the book. I had to write it all wrong about three or four times before I finally figured it out. The book was so much fun, but it was also very difficult for me because I couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted it to. It was a glorious day when it finally all clicked. I do wish it had my original vision of lots of flashbacks to Nick and Hannah’s friendship…I wrote a bunch of them and I love them so much. But they just weren’t the right fit.

5. If you had to give up social media for a month, would you be able to do it?

Oh my gosh, no. I really couldn’t. I probably SHOULD, because, man, I would be so much more productive. But I am really addicted to the internet and I probably wouldn’t even last 24 hours without social media.


~About The Author~

Jessica Love is a high school English teacher in Los Angeles, California, where she met her  husband and her two tiny dogs online. She is the co-writer of Push Girl with Chelsie Hill.

Author’s Website / Facebook / Twitter


I hope you enjoyed the interview, if you’d like, you can check out the author’s website, Facebook or Twitter above!

Now for the giveaway. It will run until March 31st!


How To Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras |Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be able to share (what I hope to be) a great post for How To Be Brave. The best part? Today’s the publication date! YAY! So, I am the first stop in the St. Martin’s tour for How To Be Brave. I’ll be sharing my review, an interview and finally a giveaway. So I’ll get started now. 🙂

How To Be BraveHow To Be Brave: A Novel
By: E. Katherine Kottaras
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Amazon / Book DepositoryBarnes & Noble / IndieBound / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo / Indigo

ABOUT THE BOOK

An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.
Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.

First Line: This is what it was like: I didn’t want you to come.
Favorite Quote: Life will turn us upside down, and it will still be okay.

~Review~

How To Be Brave will be a quiet YA book, I believe. It doesn’t scream at you to read it, so you may pass it by at first glance. I don’t think it will immediately stick out in stores cover wise either. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. I think How To Be Brave may stick out most to those who do decide to randomly give it a chance [or read my interview! ;)].
I found the main character, Georgia to have a unique voice. I didn’t immediately find Georgia to be a very likable character, she was angry a bit, but then I loved that because it made her more real. Georgia is a character who is between a size 14 to a size 16, it’s mentioned throughout the book that Georgia is overweight. I felt like this aspect of How To Be Brave wasn’t exactly realistic enough because in none of the descriptions of her, did I really feel like she was anything more than a bit chubby based on that. I did like that Georgia was a larger character though either way and that it wasn’t the focus.
What I loved about her was being able to sense all of her emotions and she shows them all. She was happy, sad, angry, depressed and scared. I liked how well they were all shown. Sprinkled throughout How To Be Brave are passages of poetry that tell part of Georgia’s mother illness, death and Georgia’s own personal life. As a former (sometimes) user of poetry, these were some of my favorite parts of How To Be Brave because how much they told. They were written very raw-like. It was a different way to “tell” Georgia’s backstory then just randomly inserting it into the story. I felt it was more authentic that way.
In the beginning, it’s been months since Georgia’s mother has passed and after reading a letter her mother wrote, she decides to write a bucket list of sorts. On this bucket list are ways that she will “be brave”. She makes this list with her best friend, Liss. I liked their friendship quite a bit, they were mostly supportive of each other.
On Georgia’s bucket list were things like skinny dipping, skipping a class, smoking pot, and learning to draw. I thought the list was interesting and was surprised by other items like trapeze school and tribal dancing. It was an interesting mix of “brave” things.
For me though, the book picked up when it went beyond the bucket list items, it happened when Georgia realized she couldn’t really just stick to her list and make it through. I loved hearing about her family given that they’re Greek and how that affected how her father saw her (as his good, little girl) at 18. 
A couple of things that I really liked was Georgia’s love interest, Daniel and the school bit. Like Georgia, he’s going through a similar experience with one of his parents. I loved seeing them connect and relate to each other in that way. As for the school bit, I think it’s rare to see students actually IN classes and working on assignments out of the school setting. This wasn’t the case for How To Be Brave. Due to Georgia wanting to learn to draw, she takes an art class which helps with that a lot and is brought up frequently. 
Georgia has quite a few outlets in How To Be Brave, she has her list, her art, tribal dancing and smoking pot. Knowing how important an outlet is to someone with stress and hard times, I loved that Georgia had things to help her through. With that said, there were a few things in How To Be Brave that I didn’t like such as the smoking pot, drinking, skipping class, somewhat stereotypical characters and the weight portrayal.
I like how I saw Georgia think a lot about her mother given the circumstances. I thought it did well at showing grief and how hard it was for Georgia to deal with her mom being gone.
Something I thought was really unique was how Georgia questioned her mother’s actions because she didn’t take better care of herself and that was why she died. Georgia’s mother was overweight and had diabetes and heart issues because of that. Georgia made me think about how people with health issues of any kind should try to diminish them, especially if they have children because it can affect how their kids will see them. Or how long they’ll be around with their children.
 
~Overall~
I really liked How To Be Brave. I loved the family and art aspect. I found some characters a little stereotypical at time. There was a great job done with the grief aspect of Georgia’s life. I loved how this went from being a light book to a darker book because of subplots. I would recommend this book.

And now an interview with Katherine:

~Interview~

What’s currently in your TBR pile?
My L.A. buddies:
For the Record, Charlotte Huang and The First Time She Drowned, Kerry Kletter
The Lies About the Truth, Courtney Stevens (my publication date buddy)
Hoodoo, Ronald L. Smith (we were classmates!)
Are there any “must-haves” at your work station? (M&Ms, coffee, etc.)
Dark chocolate at the ready. Another chair so I can put my feet up. Two Ugly dolls as elbow support. My cat, purring underneath my chin and blocking my view of the screen. She’s doing it right now. (Purr, purr, purr.)
What was your path to publication? How long did it take you to write the book? Was this the first book you wrote or just the first one that got published?
I’ve been writing since I was four years old (strange little odes to Crystal Gayle’s, my favorite country singer of the ‘80s – oh how I wanted her hair). I wrote throughout high school via environmentally-themed zines that my friends and I Xeroxed and handed out to the entire school, as well as secret poetry written in journals stashed under my bed. Of course, there were all those papers for college and grad school. (I’m a freak because I love writing essays for school.)
However, I didn’t pursue creative writing seriously until I was 25 when I signed up for classes at UCLA. About seven years later after taking classes in short story, nonfiction, and YA, I finally decided to start submitting my work places – poetry, short stories, essays, etc. Around the same time, I decided to write a book. It’s YA paranormal, took me four years to write, and was rejected by absolutely every single agent I queried. Not even one request.
So, after a bit of soul-searching and some acceptance that perhaps this book wasn’t “the one,” I started over. I took some more classes through Litreactor where I started the book has eventually become HOW TO BE BRAVE. I’ve been extreeeeeemely lucky as the process has been fairly quick from initial draft to publication. Between beginning the book and publication, it will be a grand total of two years and nine months, which is actually quite amazing!
HOW TO BE BRAVE addresses issues of positive body image. Was this something you set out to address or did it spring up organically? Is body image something you struggled with?
When I was growing up in the 1980s, I didn’t have access to the amazing body of work known as “YA literature” as it exists today. I was fairly obsessed with Sweet Valley High, but Elizabeth and Jessica were suburban twins (I’m an only child) with “perfect size-six figures,” and that was totally outside the realm of my experience.
Thankfully, I did have Judy Blume, who was bravely offering characters that worried and obsessed about their growing bodies. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and Blubber spoke to me about my awkward body and bullying and the need for kindness.
But for the most part, I didn’t belong in the books I read. I was the only child of a Greek father and Russian-Jewish mother who were both of peasant stock (farmers on both sides) and who owned a restaurant in downtown Chicago. I didn’t know anything about suburban high schools, about size six.
This last one was especially hard for me. When I was twelve, my pediatrician told me that I needed to lose twenty to thirty pounds, thus starting a lifelong battle with my weight. My ballet teacher told my mother I was too big too dance and she was wasting her money. I was constantly picked last in gym, alongside my BFF, who also struggled with her body. When I asked her recently what she remembered of our time as kids, she said:
“I remember our PE teachers who didn’t help or guide but rather assisted with shaming by making the whole class wait for ‘free day’ until a pull-up was done (as though the situation was rooted in straight up defiance rather than inability) leading to a life-long dislike of physical activity.” 
I remember those many days, feeling embarrassed and shamed by my teachers, which led to feeling more uncomfortable and awkward (as though my own self-shame wasn’t enough). By the time I was in high school, I absolutely hated my body.
I spent my twenties battling my weight. I yo-yo’d between diets and hunger and new workout trends and gyms. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I never was able to become a perfect size six – nothing even close to that – and my body retained its fullness, its roundness, its hardy, muscular, stocky, peasant stock shape. My short arms weren’t going to suddenly become lean and long. My thick thighs always remain thick. My belly likes being round, what can I say?
I fought it for so very long. And then, after giving birth to my daughter, I stopped fighting. I had to. I learned to love my body in a new way. It was life-giving. It was strong. It was mine.
So when I sat down to write my own book, I knew the character had to be several things: she had to be Greek, she had to live in Chicago, and she had to have immigrant parents who didn’t always understand her. I also knew that she would struggle with her body. BUT. I didn’t want losing weight to be central to her experience. I knew I didn’t want it to be a goal. For the longest time, it was for me. I didn’t want to do that to her.
HOW TO BE BRAVE is about a girl who has lived her life in fear and who sets out to try new things, despite her insecurities. Before her death, her mom commanded Georgia to live differently—to try everything at least once and to never be ruled by fear.
When Georgia is first creating her list, she asks her best friend, Liss:
“What about losing weight?”
And Liss responds: “You don’t need to be brave to do that.”
Georgia agrees, but of course, her insecurities don’t just disappear. They are always there. However, at the end Georgia finally realizes, “I’m not going to kill myself trying to achieve microscopic proportions. I’m still curvy me, and I always will be.”
Of course, there are many similarities between Georgia and me. Georgia also feels uncomfortable in her body that’s deemed “overweight” by society’s standards, and part of her storyline is that she finds confidence in her body, as it is – that losing weight does not equal being brave. This has been part of my storyline has well. 
How do you address body image issues with your daughter? Was that part of the drive to write this book?
Absolutely. We talk a lot about how the media often “sells” a certain body type. .” I’ve shown her Photoshopping videos like this one.
and we discuss, quite openly, how it’s unrealistic to try to change your body to meet the standards presented in magazines and on screens. I try to guide our conversation as a discussion, asking her questions about why she thinks the media represents women and girls in certain ways. We talk about how every body is beautiful, and that she is beautiful, just as she is.
Your protagonist, Georgia, lost her mother and is honoring her by completing her bucket list. How much of this premise was taken from your own experiences?
HOW TO BE BRAVE specifically started as a thought experiment to see what my relationship with my dad would have been like had my mom died first. As I started writing, Georgia became her own character with her own struggles. 

 ~Giveaway Time~

Thanks to St. Martin’s, I am going to be giving away a copy of How To Be Brave to one person in the U.S OR Canada from my Rafflecopter giveaway. It ends in 20 days. 🙂
Rafflecopter

E_Katherine_KottarasABOUT THE AUTHOR 
E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she’s hard at work on her next book.
Author’s Website / Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / Instagram / Goodreads

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp Giveaway! (Don’t Miss This)

Hi everyone! I was invited by Sourcebooks Fire to help get the word out about This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp with a giveaway. Thank you, Sourcebooks!
You may have remember me mentioning last month that I read This Is Where It Ends and liked it a LOT. Due to this, I am so excited to share this giveaway with you today. I’ll be sharing my own review for this heartbreaking book in December, so look out for that too!

You can enter the giveaway here.

From Sourcebooks on their own This Is Where It Ends tumblr
Sourcebooks Fire is giving away advance copies of This Is Where It Ends along with chalk boards & chalk. We invite you to read This Is Where It Ends and use the chalkboards to express how this book made you feel. Feel free to use words – even a single word – or pictures. Was there a certain character that spoke to you? Were you left speechless and angry? We want to know – and SEE it on your board. Snap a photo and share here on the Tumblr site for the book, or any of your social networks. Please tag all posts with #thisiswhereitends #sourcebooksfire.

I love the idea of bringing chalkboards into this and giving readers the chance to share our feelings in that form! It’s perfect, especially given the lovely cover of the book!
This giveaway will run until November 1st so you still have nine more days to get your entries in. 🙂

If you need more information about This Is Where It Ends, here you are!
This Is Where It Ends
Goodreads Summary:
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, and is an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, the founder of DiversifYA, and a founding contributor to YA Misfits.

If you’re entering the giveaway, let me know why you’re interested in this book or i you’ve already read it, let me know what you think. 🙂

Tiny Pretty Things Giveaway Contest

Tiny_Pretty_ThingsHey everyone! Today on my blog I am so happy to share a giveaway for Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton. Deb Shapiro & Company are hosting this giveaway and invited me to help them out! I couldn’t have been more happy to oblige.
If you haven’t heard of Tiny Pretty Things, I’ve added the Goodreads summary below and some information from the authors. 🙂
Tiny Pretty Things (on sale May 26th) by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed debut novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.
Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.
Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton met while attending the New School’s Writing for Children MFA program. Sona is a journalist who has written for the New York TimesPeopleParadeCosmopolitan, and other major media. Dhonielle is a librarian at a middle school in Harlem and taught English at a cutthroat ballet academy. Together, the pair have also co-founded CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent. Find them online at www.cakeliterary.com

You may remember that I mentioned I received an E-ARC of Tiny Pretty Things curtesy of Edelweiss and Harper Teen. I haven’t gotten around to reading it quite yet, but I’m so excited to. When I heard about Tiny Pretty Things, I was drawn by the Pretty Little Liars and Black Swan comparisons it had. As if that weren’t enough, the promise of a diverse cast and an elite ballet school certainly did. I’m so excited to read this because it sounds so unique and dark. If you don’t know, I love my dark contemporary.
So, if you want a chance to win Tiny Pretty Things (and why wouldn’t you?) just comment and tell me why you’re excited to read this and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway that I’m linking below. 🙂
A Rafflecopter Giveaway
If you’re interested in pre-ordering it, I’m listing sources here: B&NAmazonIndieBound, Book Depository.
Good luck. ❤

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