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BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Antipodes by Michele Bacon

Antipodes

by Michele Bacon

YA Contemporary 

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Book Description

When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.

  1. What made you want to become a writer?

I cannot remember wanting to be anything else. Except a majorette. I desperately wanted to be a majorette. Aside from that, I’ve been writing and telling stories all my life. While I’ve been a writer all my life, I always wanted to be a published author. Now I realize there are many ways to have a rich and fulfilling life as a writer, and I’m happy.

 

  1. What are some of your favorite books?

In YA, anything by Brittany Cavallaro, Jandy Nelson, Courtney Summers, or Nicola Yoon. Also Eleanor & Park (Rowell), Genuine Fraud (Lockhart), If I Stay (Forman), The Inside of Out (Thorne), and Shine (Myracle). In adult, anything by Bill Bryson, Michael Cunningham, Laurie Frankel, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Tropper, or Kevin Wilson. Also Left Neglected (Genova), The Nest (D’Aprix Sweeney), Before You Know Kindness (Bohjalian), and Station Eleven (Mandel)

 

  1. Are your characters based on anyone you know?

Yes and no. I’ve invented each of my characters, but I often steal personality quirks from people I know or give characters my passions. I gave my first protagonist, Xander Fife in Life Before, my childhood. While no character is based on a singular person I know, I do steal surnames of my favorite people for every manuscript.

 

  1. Why do you love writing?

I love words and telling stories, plotting a book, discovering the best way to tell a story, writing dialogue, and inventing new characters. But the thing I love best about writing is hearing from readers that what I wrote made them think or feel something. When my stories touch the brain or heart of someone I’ve never met? That’s a great feeling.

About the Author

Michele Bacon writes novel-length fiction for young adults and older adults. When she’s not writing, she’s skiing, playing tabletop games, traveling, or dreaming of travel. She lived in Christchurch, New Zealand for over a year, and is eager to return. Today, Michele lives in Seattle with her partner and three children. She is also the author of Life Before.

PURCHASE LINKS

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iBooks IndieBound

Prize: 1 copy of the book (US Only)

Starts: 3/19

Ends: 3/30

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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SPOTLIGHT: Retribution by CJ Laurence

Retribution 
by C.J. Laurence
Breaking Free Series, Book One
 
 
Louisa Simmons is one of the lucky ones. She escaped her abusive relationship before it was too late. However, her ex still has access to their eight-year old son. Not only does Louisa have to rebuild herself, but she faces a daily fight of her ex attempting to charm his way back into her life.

In the middle of all this, Louisa stumbles upon a new man who sweeps her off her feet. With major trust issues and a meddling ex, Louisa is left dealing with a whole new set of troubles. When her ex realises he’s losing her for good, a campaign of terror is ignited. 

How can a new relationship blossom under the shadow of an obsessed ex? And more importantly, can Louisa stop her ex from taking things too far?
 
 
BUY NOW
 
 
 
About CJ Laurence 
 
Born in the grand year of 1986, I am currently a 31 year old female living in Lincolnshire, England. 

By day, I work in an office from 8.30 – 3.30 but my mind is never quiet from scenes, ideas and characters chattering away.
By night, I am an aspiring author, hoping to touch others with my crazy, wild ideas.
I am a mother to an energetic 10 year old boy and partner to the world’s best boyfriend.

My main interests are in the paranormal but I am interested in all genres and am planning stories to cover the vast array of different tastes. I’m passionate about serious issues such as domestic violence and mental health. As a result, these themes do run in alot of my stories. 
I am also a hardcore conspiracy theorist and all of my stories contain twists, turns, and ideas that will hopefully leave you thinking ‘What did I just read?’

I am a redhead (and proud of it!), and as such, most of my female characters are redheaded as I feel we are underated and albeit forgotten!

Anyway, I hope you find something of mine to enjoy – thank you for stopping by!
 
Stalk Me
 
 

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Legends of the Lost Causes by Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester

Legends of the Lost Causes

by Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester

Middle Grade Fiction

Book Description

The first book in a new middle-grade fantasy action-adventure series set in the Old West.

A band of orphan avengers. A cursed stone. A horde of zombie outlaws. This is Keech Blackwood’s new life after Bad Whiskey Nelson descends upon the Home for Lost Causes and burns it to the ground.

With his home destroyed and his family lost, Keech will have to use the lessons he learned from Pa Abner to hunt down the powerful Char Stone. Luckily, he has the help of a ragtag team of orphans. Together, they’ll travel through treacherous forests, fight off the risen dead, and discover that they share mysterious bonds as they try to track down the legendary stone. Now, it’s a race against the clock, because if Bad Whiskey finds the stone first. . . . all is lost.

What made you want to become a writer?

Louis: I love stories. Reading is one of my favorite activities and I try to read for a couple of hours every day. As I read, I discover inspiration for my own stories and characters. I also enjoy playing games, especially role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons, in which you and a small group of friends create a story together. After enjoying a big adventure, I wanted to share my characters and plots with other people. It didn’t take me long to realize that the best way to share my stories was through writing.

Brad: This might sound silly, but growing up with a novel constantly in my hand, I always enjoyed imagining myself as one of those mythical Authors (capital A) who created the stories I loved. I would read a book and envision my name on the cover, or see my photo on the back of the jacket, and before long I couldn’t contain the desire to see that in real life. So I started writing my own stories, and thanks to the endless support and encouragement of a wonderful mother, I never stopped.

 

What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?

Louis: While I enjoy a nice can of Pepsi when I’m writing, what I most require nearby is my copy of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Whenever I feel like I’m stuck or blank, all I need to do is pick up this book, read a page or two, and I find that I’m reinvigorated and ready to write some more.

Brad: I’m a huge sucker for chocolate and coffee — I think those are my lucky charms. If I start a session of writing, I have to make sure I have at least one of those two items on hand. If I don’t, I go for the next best substitute: hot cocoa! (What can I say? I’m a choco-fiend.)

 

What are some of your favorite books?

Louis: My favorite western books include True Grit by Charles Portis and (as mentioned above) Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. My favorite fantasy books are The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie and Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I grew up loving Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Douglas Adam’s hilarious The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Also, anything by Neil Gaiman makes for a wonderful read.

Brad: I grew up absolutely adoring Robert Arthur Jr.’s The Three Investigators series, particularly The Secret of Terror Castle and The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy. Like Louis, I’m also a massive fan of Ender’s Game, and I never grow tired of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. On the western side, my favorites are True Grit and Lonesome Dove — both being the gold standard, I think, for the western genre.

 

Are your characters based on anyone you know?

Louis: I think every character is infused with aspects of people I know. But none of our characters are exactly like people in my life.

Brad: I agree with Louis that I can’t pinpoint specific people who our Legends characters are based on. That said, I do find myself from time to time envisioning the faces and hearing the voices of certain childhood buddies while writing our kid characters. For example, I sometimes see the grinning face of my best friend in middle school when I contribute to the character of Sam.

 

Why do you love writing?

Louis: There is something amazing about witnessing a story growing into life. When you first start working on a story, you think the tale will go a certain way, but as you revise and edit and rewrite, the characters come alive and often demand that the story move in surprising directions. I love the way a story can take me by surprise and I love seeing how a character can come alive on the page.

Brad: As I mentioned before, so much of the passion I have for writing started with my mother. An elementary school teacher for most of my childhood, she personally taught me how to read and write and draw appreciation and strength from stories and storytelling. In fact, I don’t recall a single day of my youth when Mom took a book from my hands and told me to stop reading. So I think my passion for writing came from her desire to grow me into a solid reader. And when I started tinkering with my own stories, she always lifted up my creativity and encouraged me to keep pushing toward my dreams.

 

About the Authors

Born and raised in Arkansas, Brad McLelland spent several years working as a crime journalist in the South before earning his MFA in creative writing from Oklahoma State University. A part-time drummer and singer, Brad lives in Oklahoma with his wife, stepdaughter, a mini-Aussie who gives hugs, and a chubby cat who begs for ham.

Louis Sylvester is a professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. He earned his PhD from
Oklahoma State University. He enjoys playing tabletop games from his collection of over 1,000 card and board
games, watching western films, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with his wife and two dogs.

PURCHASE THE BOOK:

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Macmillan will give away one copy of the book to one commenter from the US or Canada!  Leave a comment letting me know what your fave middle grade books are.  Giveaway ends 3/25/18.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin

If I Die Tonight

by Alison Gaylin

Mystery

Book Description

Late one night in the quiet Hudson Valley town of Havenkill, a distraught woman stumbles into the police station—and lives are changed forever.

Aimee En, once a darling of the ’80s pop music scene, claims that a teenage boy stole her car, then ran over another young man who’d rushed to help.

As Liam Miller’s life hangs in the balance, the events of that fateful night begin to come into focus. But is everything as it seems?

The case quickly consumes social media, transforming Liam, a local high school football star, into a folk hero, and the suspect, a high school outcast named Wade Reed, into a depraved would-be killer. But is Wade really guilty? And if he isn’t, why won’t he talk?

MY THOUGHTS:

2.5 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS


If I Die Tonight
by Alison Gaylin

Jackie is a single mom of two teenage sons: Connor, the youngest, is mostly obedient and helpful to his mom, but Wade, who used to be his mom’s sidekick, has been secretive and seems to have a dark cloud hanging over him for the past several months. When a classmate dies, Wade is implicated in the accident and soon the little town turns on him and his family. But if he didn’t do it, and he won’t reveal the truth to his own mother, how can he clear his name and stop his life from being ruined?

From the beginning, I wasn’t as into this mystery as I could have been. Teenage boys hiding something is nothing new, and some of the plot points seemed very obvious to me. I also thought the progress was very slow, and this wasn’t helped by the author throwing in all kinds of relatively useless information about the characters.

So we have a washed up rocker named Aimee, who claims that she was robbed after a show one night by a teenage boy in a black hood. When Liam, the victim of the story, tries to stop the robbery, he is hit by Aimee’s car and dies. There are multiple suspects including Aimee herself, and it’s like extracting teeth to get any of the players involved to tell the truth about the night of the accident.

I didn’t like how the mother, Jackie, basically ALLOWED her son to be so shady and hide things from her. Yes, I know, teens will do that, but when someone has died, the kid doesn’t GET to have secrets anymore. I also wouldn’t have sent him to school in such a situation, but Jackie did. There were some bad parenting decisions made for the majority of the book. I also felt that Wade was highly overdramatic, and when the truth finally came out about what he’d been keeping from his mother, it wasn’t as serious as the life or death situation he was trying to take the blame for instead. I couldn’t believe the kid would rather go to prison than tell his mom the truth.

The author does a fine job of making you suspect that maybe Wade really did kill Liam, but there are so many other characters involved in the incident of that night that your attention is thrown in a lot of different directions. In the end, there is a deus ex machina that really just brought the story to a rather bland ending.

I know this is a thriller, but I didn’t feel any thrills at all. I would recommend avoiding this one as it’s quite forgettable.

View all my reviews

 

About the Author

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Author Links: Website, friend her on Facebook, and Twitter

 

COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: Mayfly by Jeff Sweat

Today Jeff Sweat and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for MAYFLY, his new YA
Dystopian which releases May 8, 2018! Check out the awesome cover and enter to win an ARC!
On to the reveal! 
 
 
Title: MAYFLY
Author: Jeff Sweat
Pub. Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 320
Find it:  AmazonB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads
Jemma has spent her life scavenging tools and supplies for her tribe in the their small enclave outside what used
to be a big city. Now she’s a teen, and old enough to become a Mama. Making babies is how her people survive—in Jemma’s world, life ends at age seventeen.
Survival has eclipsed love ever since the Parents died of a mysterious plague. But Jemma’s connection to a boy named Apple is stronger than her duty as a Mama. Forced to leave, Jemma and Apple are joined in exile by a mysterious boy who claims to know what is causing them to die. The world is crumbling around them, and their time is running out. Is this truly the End?
Exclusive Content!
 
 

The People of Ell Aye
Mayfly is set in the land of Ell Aye, a once-mighty city now in ruins. The old divisions of the past are gone, and in their place new peoples have emerged, each with their own origins and unique cultures.
The Angelenos
The dominant people of Ell Aye, they are a largely peaceful female-led society who live primarily in the hills. They are made of four interrelated peoples:
The Holy Wood
The oldest Angeleno settlement, on the shores of the Lake of the Holy Wood and the old Holy Wood sign.
The Malibu
The farthest west of the Angelenos, who live in the mountains next to the ocean of Malibu.
The Downtown
The Downtown guard the former towers of Ell Aye as sacred ground and live in a giant stadium in a ravine.
The San Fernandos
The San Fernandos live in the great valley north of the Holy Wood and frequently compete with the Holy Wood for scarce resources.
The Last Lifers
A feral band of Children who’ve gone mad in anticipation of their early deaths; they live throughout Ell Aye in violence and chaos because they fear no consequences.
The Palos (The Biters)
A cannibal society from the smoking Palos Verdes peninsula, they are Ell Aye’s most feared enemy. They are intelligent, vicious, and well armed.
The Ice Cream Men
A wandering tribe of traders who travel on three-wheeled ice cream carts, the Ice Cream Men know all the peoples in Ell Aye.
The Kingdom
A mighty civilization built by former gang members, the Kingdom occupies a huge castle fortress in Orange County, the OC.
About Jeff: 
Jeff Sweat has made a living from words his entire career, starting out as an award-winning tech journalist for InformationWeek magazine and moving into marketing.
He led the content marketing team for Yahoo and pioneered its use of social media. He directed PR for two of the top advertising agencies in the country, Deutsch LA and 72andSunny. He now runs his own Los Angeles–based PR and marketing agency, Mister Sweat.
He grew up in Idaho as the middle of eight children—seven boys and one girl—and attended Columbia University in New York. Jeff lives in a big blue house in Los Angeles with his wife Sunny and their three kids, two cats, and a racing greyhound.
He loves to travel and writes everywhere he goes, even when there’s not a desk. He likes karaoke, motorcycles and
carpentry. He was once shot in the head with a nail gun, which was not a big of a deal as it sounds. But it still hurt like crazy.
 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive an ARC of MAYFLY, US Only.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

REVIEW: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night

by Erica Ferencik

Thriller/Suspense

Book Description

A high-stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller.

MY THOUGHTS:

3 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS


The River at Night
by Erica Ferencik

It occurs to me that I have never read a book about surviving in the wilderness, and because that was what I was expecting this book to be about, I now want to. But, The River at Night was not the book I expected it to be.

A group of four friends in their late thirties go to Maine to conquer a tough whitewater rapids along with a young guide. Though the friends have all been through their own struggles, both separately and among themselves, only the bravest of them, Pia, is even close to being physically and psychologically ready for this adventure. Through a series of freak accidents and bad decisions, the women become trapped in the forest with a raging river and a very unexpected threat chasing them as they attempt to make it home alive.

The story is told through the point of view of one of the women, Wini, who is stuck in a job which will soon be obsolete and is on her own after a failed marriage. The rest of the group consists of Pia, the thrill seeking leader who pushes her more introverted friends to take these dangerous vacations; Rachel, an RN and recovering alcoholic who balances her blunt manner with a deep love for her friends; and Sandra, a mother who is recovering from cancer and getting ready to leave her marriage.

The women were not feeling great about going on the trip in the first place, and some sketchy things happen before they even get started that would have made some people run. The friends, though, all have some desire to impress and follow Pia, so they do. This is one of the main things I couldn’t understand about the dynamic between the characters. I am not that far behind these women in age and I feel like if you have been friends with someone for fifteen years, as they all claim to have been, this feeling of needing to prove yourself to your friend should be long past. Especially if you have been at each other’s sides through tough situations.

I also thought that the plot pacing was off. It took half the book until the group really got into the river and started their journey, and then while there were some heart racing and action packed scenes in between, the end seemed to come very fast after the women came across their threat. I also didn’t feel like there was enough follow up to the end, and I just wanted more of a sense of how all the women were affected after the events.

All in all this was not a bad book, but as I said, just not what I expected. It’s sort of a nature/suspense novel with the bonds of friendship tying it all together. It makes a sort of sense in its’ way, and others might like it better than I did.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Oprah chose Erica Ferencik’s debut novel, The River at Night, (Simon & Schuster, Gallery/Scout Press,) as a #1 Pick, calling the book “the page-turning novel you’ve been waiting for, a heart-pounding debut.” Entertainment Weeklynamed it a “Must Read,” and calls the novel “harrowing…a visceral, white knuckle rush.” Jungle, a thriller set in the Peruvian rainforest, will be released in late 2018. Her work has appeared in Salon and The Boston Globe, as well as on National Public Radio. Her novel, Repeaters, has been optioned for film.

Buy Links:
Simon & Schuster
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
iBookstore (ebook)
Kindle (ebook)
Nook (ebook)
Google Play (ebook)

Social Media:
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Instagram

 

 

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

Girl Unknown

by Karen Perry

Family Drama/Thriller

Book Description

David and Caroline Connolly are swimming successfully through their marriage’s middle years—raising two children; overseeing care for David’s ailing mother; leaning into their careers, both at David’s university teaching job, where he’s up for an important promotion, and at the ad agency where Caroline has recently returned to work after years away while the children were little. The recent stresses of home renovation and of a brief romantic betrayal (Caroline’s) are behind them. The Connollys know and care for each other deeply.Then one early fall afternoon, a student of sublime, waiflike beauty appears in David’s university office and says, “I think you might be my father.” And the fact of a youthful passion that David had tried to forget comes rushing back. In the person of this intriguing young woman, the Connollys may have a chance to expand who they are and how much they can love, or they may be making themselves vulnerable to menace. They face either an opportunity or a threat—but which is which? What happens when their hard-won family happiness meets a hard-luck beautiful girl?

MY THOUGHTS:

4 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Girl Unknown
by Karen Perry

Let me start by saying that this book has a very slow burn. Usually, I would have given up on a book in which the plot moves do slowly, but I could sense that the relationships between the characters were the main attraction here and what needed to be watched more than plot development. But if you’re expecting a lot of things to happen, this is not the book for you.

David and Caroline’s marriage was probably not hanging on by much anyway, by the time Zoe came into their lives. Zoe claims to be David’s daughter from a previous relationship, and Caroline, who has always known that Zoe’s mother was the real love of David’s life, is rocked to see such a reminder of his past back in their lives in the present. Add to this the fact of the children David and Caroline have and their not taking too kindly to this wisp of a girl, and the whole book simmers like a pot about to boil over.

From the first meeting between David and Zoe, I could tell something was up with here. It’s hard to believe David couldn’t see through her, but in my opinion he wanted that connection to his past so badly, he chose to see what he wanted to see when it came to Zoe. Zoe is not a good person and that is confirmed by multiple people throughout the novel, but she has a way with men and can usually get them to see her innocent persona when she needs them to.

As a woman I couldn’t help but feel for Caroline, though she was not entirely innocent through this story. She strayed from David, but who among us wouldn’t be hurt upon learning our spouse only married us as a second option? I don’t know if I ever really felt any love between the couple.

I would say the main problem I had with Girl Unknown is that only Caroline seemed to be able to see through Zoe’s flaky shield. She couldn’t get David to believe her, even when blatantly mistreated by Zoe, and this just put the nails in the coffin of their marriage. Zoe was able to way too easily manipulate so many people.

The final chapters of this book are amazing. They tell what unfolds from a distant third person point of view, and it’s chilling to see. I was not expecting anything that happened, and I was left in shock for the last few pages. Girl Unknown is a dreary but highly entertaining read that those who enjoy tales of family intricacies will love.

View all my reviews

photo by Edmund Ross Photography

About the Authors

Karen Perry is the pen name of Dublin-based authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. Together they wrote Girl Unkown.

Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A recipient of the Hennessy Award for New Irish Writing, he teaches creative writing at University College, Dublin.

Karen Gillece is the author of several critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland).

Connect with them on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

 

COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: Something of Substance by Tia Souders

Something of Substance

by Tia Souders

Contemporary YA

Expected publication: March 28, 2018

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Grace Michaels is determined to be thin, even if she dies trying.

Part of the in-crowd at Providence High, she is steps away from being asked out by the most desired guy at school, winning a prom queen nomination, and her parents’ approval. If she can just get skinny enough, be pretty enough, and popular enough.

But Grace is thin on the outside and fat on the inside. No amount of weight-loss ever seems enough. Convinced the melting pounds will solve her problems, every pound lost brings her closer to her goals. But flesh and bone can only hide the weight of her secret for so long before it kills her.

 Fans of the emotional and thought-provoking contemporary YA fiction, such as Before I Fall, Tell Me Three Things, and All The Bright Places will fall in love with Souder’s heart-wrenching novel, SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE.

I count the days until prom like I count calories. Ninety-eight days. Thirteen hundred calories.

I almost puke at the number.

Thirteen hundred. Maybe. I’m not even sure, which scares me more than the weight of the number.

How could I not keep track? And how could I go over? Do I really have no self-control? If I keep this up, I’ll be right back where I started—fat and unpopular.

My forehead beads with sweat and my fingers twitch, as I glance at my alarm clock—only three a.m. I turn on my side, then get up, knowing there’s no falling back asleep now. Not with all the numbers running through my head. Not with the fat I must’ve stored throughout the night resettling on my thighs like it found its way back home.

I tip-toe away, out of bed, afraid someone might hear me, which is unrealistic since my mother’s snore rivals a bass drum and my father sleeps like the dead. As for my sister, Kelly, she couldn’t care less what I do.

When I come to a stop in front of the full-length mirror on my bedroom door, I don’t even take the time to assess my silhouette in the moonlight. Instead, I lift the soft cotton of my t-shirt. My eyes home in on my ribs, barely visible under a layer of fat, then move to the paunch above the drawstring of my pajama bottoms. I poke at the skin there and grimace at the cushion I find. All I see are the two cookies I ate at Cara’s house last night and I wonder how many calories were in each bite. Fifty? Twenty-five? I have no idea and my ignorance scares me. I had fun and felt too safe, too included. I let those feelings cloud my judgment and lull me, blanket me into false security, where I allowed myself to lose control.

Stupid.

As I lower my shirt, I silently berate myself, then drop to the floor and lie on my back. With closed eyes, I cross my arms over my chest and start sit-ups. I count as I go. One. Two. Three. I do this until the memory of the cookie fades and my abdomen aches. When I can do no more, I stand back up and bend forward in a deep lunge. I ensure my knee touches the ground each time, my legs at perfect ninety-degree angles. Ten laps around my room, I tell myself, then I’ll try and go back to sleep.

I once read sleep burns more calories than lying awake, something about your body recalibrating your metabolism. I don’t buy it. Regardless, there’s no way sleep burns more than lunging, so as my thighs begin to burn and catch fire, I allow the sensation to ease the fluttering in my chest and the rise of bile in my throat.

Right lunge. It will be okay. Left lunge. I’ll be okay.

I won’t gain ten pounds from two cookies.

But I could gain one.

When I finish, slightly sweat-damp and out of breath, but feeling a tiny bit better, I get back under the covers of my bed. Though I’m too hot with the thick comforter pulled up tight under my chin, I leave it there because it will make me sweat. And while perspiring won’t burn excess fat, it might help me lose water weight, giving me the tiniest bit of peace to help me relax into the mattress and slip off into a light slumber.

 

About the Author

Tia Souders is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel, Waiting On Hope and the upcoming award-winning young adult novel Better Than This (formerly titled Freedom Road). When she isn’t writing, she’s likely renovating their century home. She’s a wine-loving, coffeeholic, with a sweet tooth and resides on a farm in rural Ohio with her husband and children.

 

Author Links:

 Website | Facebook | FB Street TeamInstagram

 

Win a signed ARC paperback of Something of Substance.

Click here to enter!

 

Be notified when SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE releases – Subscribe to Tia’s mailing list: http://eepurl.com/deIqg5

 

REVIEW: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Literary Fiction

34273236

Book Description

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

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MY THOUGHTS:

4 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

With a novel with a great number of characters and such a sweeping plot as this book has, it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to a review. Little Fires Everywhere can be thought of as a thick rope, in which each strand of twisted nylon is intricately woven into the whole, and each strand has something important to offer when it comes to contributing to the overall story.

As its’ basis, it’s a story of how two very different families become intertwined in each other’s lives one year in the late 90’s, in prim and proper Shaker Heights, Ohio. There’s much to be said about the town being a character of its’ own; the setting and all the reader comes to know about it play an integral part of how the plot plays out.

The Richardson family is well off and has been a part of Shaker Heights since its’ founding. The father is an attorney and isn’t actually present that much, and the mother Elena is a journalist working on small pieces for the local newspaper. Elena is proud and thinks herself kind and giving, but I could tell from the beginning that her kindnesses didn’t come without later-to-be-named stipulations. Oldest daughter Lexi is a senior and Ivy League bound. Son Tripp is a sports star, attractive and beloved by all the girls. Younger son Moody is sensitive and speculative, and youngest daughter Izzie is a rebellious spitfire who is always at odds with her mother’s meticulously planned life.

The Richardsons come to know the Warrens when they move into their rental duplex. Mia is young, an artist with a wandering spirit who only holds down menial jobs because they pay for her art supplies. Pearl is her daughter, quiet and bookish but longing for a sense of home. Pearl and Moody become immediate friends, and before long the Warrens and the Richardsons are getting involved in each other’s lives in intimate and irreversible ways.

Now, the first chapter of the book will tell you what the immediate consequences were, and then the story unfolds from the beginning to tell you how the characters got to where they are. There are also several flashbacks to the pasts of a lot of characters, so if you don’t like non-linear storytelling, I would say Little Fires Everywhere is not for you. I happen to like a good deal of background information as long as it is relevant to the plot, and the flashbacks here only enrich the story further.

The conversations and the way events unfolded in the novel felt so natural to me; I could really see and hear each character in my mind. I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and I’m glad I did because I am sometimes a skip ahead reader ( :O ) and getting ahead of myself in this book would have made the whole thing not come together as beautifully as it did, in my opinion.

The Warrens and the Richardsons couldn’t be more different, and that’s why the two families coming together ultimately leads to dissension. There really wasn’t too much interaction between the two mothers in the story until the end, and I was waiting for this because I knew when it happened it would be disastrous. But the story ended quietly, with not as many fireworks as I had hoped for.

I enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere a great deal, but the ending did let me down a little bit. I was both sad at the way things worked out, and frustrated that the entire truth did not get revealed to everyone. I feel like reviewing this book doesn’t do more than give you a broad picture of what the plot is about, so I’ll say it’s worth a read just so you can see a masterpiece in story weaving, because that’s what the author has accomplished here.

View all my reviews

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About the Author

Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.

Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.

Currently, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, was published by Penguin Press in fall 2017.

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: The Leak of Madness by Alice J Black

 
I am so excited that THE LEAK OF MADNESS by Alice J. Black is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Alice J. Black, be sure to check out all the details below.
 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for 10 eBook copies of THE LEAK OF MADNESS, International, courtesy of Parliament House Publishing and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About The Book:

Title: THE LEAK OF MADNESS (Soul Seekers, #1)
Author: Alice J. Black
Pub. Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: eBook
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kobo
 
The spirit world has been in touch with Peyton, and it’s more than she
can tolerate. Sometimes their messages are loud enough even to pierce beyond the veil of her alcohol-induced stupors.

When she is invited to attend her best friend’s brother’s wedding at The Manor House, Peyton is compelled to stare down memories of her life before it was decimated by fire and tragedy. Continuously topping herself up with alcohol to keep the voices at bay, it becomes clearer and clearer that there are forces at work in the old building…shadows darker than Peyton could have ever imagined.

The Leak of Madness is the beginning of a thrilling, fast-paced series of horror novellas overflowing with intrigue, romance, redemption, and most importantly…ghosts.

Will Peyton find the normal life she could have if only she stops drinking or will the forces of evil drive her mad?
Book Trailer:
Exclusive Excerpt:


“What would the lady like?” he asked as he stood behind the bar, waving at the bottles in their optics. Little did he know how much each of those bottles appealed. Like a kid choosing candy in a store, I was transported back to my first drink, stolen from my dad’s cabinet. That one had been whiskey. Back then, I took whatever I could get. Now I was old enough—and I might argue wise enough—to choose my own
poison.

“Do you know,” I started as I leaned over the bar, looking between the man and the bottles. He really was a good-looking guy. “That you’re giving me reason to give in to temptation.”
His smile widened. “Hey, if I didn’t ply you with alcohol, what sort of bar man would I be?”
I grinned as he continued to watch me. This guy still wore the label of lad, and he was cute, but I had a couple of years on him. Still, age wasn’t everything. “See the thing is,” I started again. “My friend doesn’t like it when I drink.”
“And is your friend your keeper?” He raised his brow.

“No, but see, that’s my point. This has to be a secret.”

“Secret.” He leaned in conspiratorially and I couldn’t help but inhale the deep scent of his aftershave. “I like secrets.”

About Alice:

I’m an author in the North East of England where I live with my partner and overly-ferocious cat. I have been writing for as long as I can remember mostly in the dark genres but recently, I have expanded into other genres (such as young adult). My cupboard is stocked with an array of different and funky notebooks (because you can never have too many). My inspiration tends to come from a lot of different places but my first novel and a lot of my ideas come from my rather vivid dreams (which my partner tells me I tell him about as I’m still dreaming!)

Giveaway Details: International
10 winners will receive an eBook of THE LEAK OF MADNESS, International.

Ends on February 13th at Midnight EST!


CLICK HERE TO ENTER!