blog tour

BLOG TOUR: Sadie, Courtney Summers (September 4, 2018)

I first heard about SADIE at BookExpo, where it was named a YA Editor Buzz Pick. I love a good thriller, murder mystery and this seemed just twisted enough for me to love. And, boy, was I right. SADIE was a wild ride from start to finish and kept me completely engrossed the entire time. Trust me, you’re going to want this on your TBR and on your shelves. I’ve got an exclusive excerpt to prove it—read on.


The 411: Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


—Excerpt—

THE GIRLS
EPISODE 1

[THE GIRLS THEME]

WEST McCRAY:
Welcome to Cold Creek, Colorado. Population: eight hun- dred.

Do a Google Image search and you’ll see its main street, the barely beating heart of that tiny world, and find every other building vacant or boarded up. Cold Creek’s luckiest—the gainfully employed—work at the local grocery store, the gas station and a few other staple businesses along the strip. The rest have to look a town or two over for opportunity for them- selves and for their children; the closest schools are in Park- dale, forty minutes away. They take in students from three other towns.

Beyond its main street, Cold Creek arteries out into worn and chipped Monopoly houses that no longer have a place upon the board. From there lies a rural sort of wilderness. The highway out is interrupted by veins of dirt roads leading to nowhere as often as they lead to pockets of dilapidated houses or trailer parks in even worse shape. In the summer- time, a food bus comes with free lunches for the kids until the school year resumes, guaranteeing at least two subsidized meals a day.

There’s a quiet to it that’s startling if you’ve lived your whole life in the city, like I have. Cold Creek is surrounded by a beau- tiful, uninterrupted expanse of land and sky that seem to go on forever. Its sunsets are spectacular; electric golds and oranges, pinks and purples, natural beauty unspoiled by the insult of skyscrapers. The sheer amount of space is humbling, almost divine. It’s hard to imagine feeling trapped here.

But most people here do.

COLD CREEK RESIDENT [FEMALE]:
You live in Cold Creek because you were born here and if you’re born here, you’re probably never getting out.

WEST McCRAY:
That’s not entirely true. There have been some success sto- ries, college graduates who moved on and found well-paying jobs in distant cities, but they tend to be the exception and not the rule. Cold Creek is home to a quality of life we’re raised to aspire beyond, if we’re born privileged enough to have the choice.

Here, everyone’s working so hard to care for their families and keep their heads above water that, if they wasted time on the petty dramas, scandals and personal grudges that seem to define small towns in our nation’s imagination, they would not survive. That’s not to say there’s no drama, scandal, or grudge—just that those things are usually more than residents of Cold Creek can afford to care about.

Until it happened.

The husk of an abandoned, turn-of-the-century one-room schoolhouse sits three miles outside of town, taken by fire. The roof is caved in and what’s left of the walls are charred. It sits next to an apple orchard that’s slowly being reclaimed by the nature that surrounds it: young overgrowth, new trees, wild- flowers.

There’s almost something romantic about it, something that feels like respite from the rest of the world. It’s the perfect place to be alone with your thoughts. At least it was, before.

May Beth Foster—who you’ll come to know as this series goes on—took me there herself. I asked to see it. She’s a plump, white, sixty-eight-year-old woman with salt-and-pepper hair. She has a grandmotherly way about her, right down to a voice that’s so invitingly familiar it warms you from the inside out. May Beth is manager of Sparkling River Estates trailer park, a lifelong resident of Cold Creek, and when she talks, people listen. More often than not, they accept whatever she says as the truth.

MAY BETH FOSTER:
Just about . . . here.

This is where they found the body.

911 DISPATCHER [PHONE]:
911 dispatch. What’s your emergency?


COURTNEY SUMMERS lives and writes in Canada. She is the author of What Goes Around, This is Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, Please Remain Calm, and All the Rage.


More about THE GIRLS podcast:
THE GIRLS: Find Sadie is the first-ever YA thriller podcast. The Serial-like show is based off the novel Sadie by Courtney Summers. In a brilliant move, Summers scripted periodic chapters of the novel like a podcast script, hosted by fictional radio personality West McCray. The six-part podcast series brings these chapters to life with a 30+ person cast, music, and sound effects and was a collaboration between Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Podcasts, and Wednesday Books. Episode 1 launches on August 1st, and the show will air seven weekly episodes available on all the major podcast platforms. The final episode will feature a bonus interview with Courtney Summers and her editor Sara Goodman.


See what I mean?! You have to read to find out the rest. Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of SADIE and for including me on the blog tour. SADIE is available now.

BLOG TOUR: Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Adib Khorram (August 28, 2018)

I let Dad hold me, like that tiny potato-sack version of myself, sleeping on his chest when I was a baby.

“You’re okay,” he murmured.

“No. I’m not.”

“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It’s okay not to be okay.”

This book has been on the top of my TBR for months. So when Penguin Teen contacted me about being a part of the official blog, I jumped at the chance. DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY has everything: a diverse main character, an accurate description and portrayal of mental illness, and realistic family dynamics.


The 411: The son of a Persian woman and a Caucasian man, Darius has never felt like he belonged. He doesn’t speak Farsi. He’s not athletic or fit enough to please his seemingly alpha-male father. The only thing he appears to have in common with him is their daily ritual of taking their medication for depression. Darius would rather master the perfect pot of tea than be the captain of the football team and because of this, he feels even more isolated from his family, his school, and his community.  When his maternal grandfather’s health begins to decline, Darius’ family makes the  trip to Iran to visit before he passes. It’s there where he meets, Sohrab, the teenage neighbor to his grandparents. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.


DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY tackles a bunch of big issues: the stigma of mental illness, racism, fatphobia, sexual identity…and they’re all covered with a subtlety that feels perfected over the years vs. a debut novel. Sometimes books need to hit you over the head with the message and sometimes the strength of the moral is in the quiet. And that’s where DARIUS lives.

Darius’ struggle with the feeling of not belonging felt overwhelmingly real and personal. I am not biracial, but an international adoptee who grew up in a largely white area and has often felt the sting of not belonging or being in between. Sohrab and Darius’ friendship melted my little heart. I loved seeing Darius feel a part of something for the first time. A place where he intrinsically fit in just because of the person he is. I hope everyone finds their Sohrab. And I hope that everyone has their moment when they are Darioush to someone.

DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY is such a feel-good novel that I have a feeling will touch hearts everywhere. I’m incredibly excited to see where Khorram goes from here. We need more Dariuses in our lives.


Adib Khorram is an author, a graphic designer, and a tea enthusiast. If he’s not writing (or at his day job), you can probably find him trying to get his 100 yard Freestyle (SCY) under a minute, or learning to do a Lutz Jump. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri. This is his first novel.

Thank you Penguin Teen for my copy of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY and the bag of Earl Grey Tea—it was the perfect accompaniment to this heartwarming novel.

BLOG TOUR: Star-Touched Stories, Roshani Chokshi (August 7, 2018)

When you look up “beautiful writing” in the dictionary (just go with it…), there’s just a picture of Roshani Chokshi. I have read all of Roshani’s books and there’s something about her writing voice that lends itself so well to the fantasy genre. The way she introduces the world is always just perfectly lyrical and descriptive and flowy and I could wax-poetic all day.

But don’t just take my word for it—keep reading for a brief synopsis and exclusive excerpt from STAR-TOUCHED STORIES.


The 411: STAR-TOUCHED STORIES is a collection of three short stories set in the universe of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN and A CROWN OF WISHES.

Death and Night: He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold: Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Gauri and Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she will have to battle her insecurities and maybe, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword: There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?


ExCLUSIVE EXcerpt

Night’s dance thrummed with purpose. Her grace sharpened into a lathe, and with it she sculpted the promise of tomorrow from nothing but shadows. She was potential incarnate. When she shaped shadows to every sleep-creased fold in the earth, she was balancing time, wiping slates clean, allowing any beginning to take shape. When she frosted night over the world, dawn whispered the lyrics of every tomorrow: here is a thing not yet started, here is a thing of magic. My own halfhearted attempts of invention paled before her. She was the beginning of all ideas.

And before her, I was humbled.

Her laughter was still ringing in my ears when I arrived back to the palace. Gupta was meditating upside down and cracked open an eye when he saw me.

“Oh no,” he said, paling. “Not a single insult? My sherwani jacket is practically around my head.”

“I can see that.”

My hounds ran up to me, snuffling my palms with bemused expressions. I scratched their ears absentmindedly.

“What did she do to you?”

She had laughed at me. And made me laugh at myself. And she had been freely honest. People always threw their honesty and last secrets at me, as if by expelling them in a dying breath, they could shorten their time in the less savory parts of my kingdom. But she had given her honesty without expectation. And her honesty was a gift.


About the author

ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.


Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press for including me on the blog tour and for my galley.

BLOG TOUR: Sanctuary, Caryn Lix (July 10, 2018)

Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures. If you’re a fan of epic sci-fi adventures, SANCTUARY is right up your alley.

Thank you Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on this blog tour! Full tour schedule here.


The 411: Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.


BUY LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryKoboIndieBound | iBooks


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day. When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.


GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a copy of SANCTUARY! US only, ends 8/1

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLOG TOUR: All Your Perfects, Colleen Hoover (July 17, 2018)

“Sometimes when people change, it’s not always noticeable in a marriage, because the couple changes together, in the same direction. But sometimes people change in opposite directions.”

Every once in a while we all need one of those rip-your-heart-out-cry-through-a-whole-box-of-tissues kind of book and Colleen Hoover’s yearly releases always provide this for me. Even though it was very different from her previous works, I highly enjoyed WITHOUT MERIT—but if you prefer the heartwrenching romance aspect of CoHo’s work…she’s back in full force with her newest release.

And DEAR LORD keep a box of tissues close and well-stocked because you’re going to need it.

 


“If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.”

The 411: Quinn and Graham have a perfect love story, but their unique connection is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart, day by heartbreaking day. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair. So do they risk it? Is their history worth saving?

ALL YOUR PERFECTS is a profound novel about a damaged couple struggling with a relatable issue – infertility – whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. In Colleen Hoover’s inimitable style and brilliant narrative voice, this heartbreaking page-turner asks: Can a resounding love with a fairytale beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?


For as much as I read, I haven’t read a lot of books about infertility, and this book was certainly a deep dive into the pain couples go through when they’re struggling to get pregnant. The book is from Quinn’s POV and the sorrow and pain she feels is palpable. There were many parts where I was physically hurting from A) how much I was crying and B) simply by empathizing with her character.

We alternate between present day Quinn and Graham and when they first met. The difference is so striking and really a testament of how quickly something like infertility can derail a marriage. As per typical CoHo, Graham is a complete dreamboat and gives some magnanimous speeches that had my poor little heart fluttering. The climax of the book is a scene so incredibly heartbreaking and, ultimately, uplifting that I’m convinced no one else could have pulled this book off other than Colleen.

I have loved every single one of Colleen Hoover’s books and there hasn’t yet been one that didn’t make me cry uncontrollably. I like that her books aren’t just sex, sex, sex (not my cup of tea), and they always have intense stories and a conflict that tackles an important subject.


MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰✰
RECOMMENDED READING: Colleen Hoover’s entire catalog (obvi), but also Lauren Layne, and Christina Lauren.

Thank you Atria Books for including me on this tour and for my galley.


COLLEEN HOOVER is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Maybe Not, Ugly Love, Confess, November 9, It Ends with Us, and Without Merit. Colleen has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three times—for Confess in 2015, It Ends with Us in 2016, and Without Merit in 2017. Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Colleen and her family founded The Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service offering signed novels donated by authors. All profits are given to various charities each month to help those in need. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Visit ColleenHoover.com.


Colleen will be hitting the road on the ALL YOUR PERFECTS tour! See below for all the dates, and hopefully see some of you at the Minneapolis stop!

  • 07/17: Denver, CO, 7:00 PM | TATTERED COVER BOOKSTORE | Tickets
  • 07/23: Portland, OR, 7:00 PM | POWELL’S BOOKS | Call store for details: 503-228-4651 or pre-order
  • 07/24: Seattle, WA, 7:00 PM | THIRD PLACE BOOKS | Tickets
  • 07/25: San Francisco, CA, 7:00 PM | BOOK PASSAGE | Tickets
  • 07/26: San Diego, CA, 7:30 PM | WARWICK’S | Tickets
  • 07/27: Phoenix, AZ, 7:00 PM | CHANGING HANDS BOOKSTORE | Tickets
  • 07/28: Los Angeles, CA, 4:00 PM | THE RIPPED BODICE | Tickets
  • 07/29: Dallas, TX, 6:00 PM | HALF PRICE BOOKS | Information
  • 08/02: Atlanta, GA, 7:00 PM | EAGLE EYE BOOKS | Tickets
  • 08/03: Asheville, NC, 6:00 PM | MALAPROP’S BOOKSTORE/CAFE | Tickets
  • 08/04: Cincinnati, OH, 5:00 PM | JOSEPH-BETH BOOKSELLERS | Tickets 
  • 08/05: Chicago, IL, 3:00 PM | ANDERSON’S BOOKSHOP | Tickets
  • 08/06: Detroit, MI, 6:30 PM | SCHULER BOOKS & MUSIC, Okemos | Tickets
  • 08/07: Minneapolis, MN, 7:00 PM | BARNES AND NOBLE/Edina | Call for more details: 952-920-2124
  • 08/08: Kansas City, KS, 7:00 PM | RAINY DAY BOOKS | Tickets
  • 08/09: Austin, TX, 7:00 PM | BOOK PEOPLE | Tickets
  • 09/17: New York, NY, 7:00 PM | THE STRAND BOOKSTORE | Tickets

BLOG TOUR: Heart Land, Kimberly Stuart (July 17, 2018)

Summer is the perfect time to spread out a blanket on the beach and pick up a fluffy, feel-good romance. HEART LAND by Kimberly Stuart is the book you need this summer. Think, Sweet Home Alabama: The Midwest Version. So basically, Sweet Home Iowa. As an Iowan myself, I jumped at the chance to read a book about Iowans, set in Iowa, and written by an Iowan. Go Hawkeyes.


The 411: Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.

Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.

And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.

But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland?


Ok. So I LOVE books that are set in Iowa or have characters from Iowa. But they always seem to follow this kind of narrative: Main Character is made for more than their small town. They move to the Big City where they are finally able to blossom and grow. Personal growth stories are always great to read, but this kind has always left a bad taste in my mouth. What’s wrong with small towns? What’s wrong with staying in your small town? Some people may need to go to the Big City, I’m not denying that. But not everyone does. Some of us can flourish just fine in our small towns. And I’m over-the-moon that HEART LAND doesn’t fall into this type of story.

I think this is also part of the reason why I didn’t find Grace all that relatable for the first few chapters. Her feelings of superiority over her hometown and her classmates who stayed there were upsetting at first. Stuart made me love Grace, her passion, and, ultimately, her love for Silver Creek.

Now can we talk about how dreamy Tucker is?! I’m not gonna lie, in Sweet Home Alabama, I was all for Patrick Dempsey over Josh Lucas (sorry.) In HEART LAND, there’s not really a prominent triangle but Tucker plays the Josh Lucas character and he wins. He just wins.

The faith factor was also an unexpected and not completely unwelcome aspect to HEART LAND. Tucker and Gigi are both devoutly religious, to the point where Grace teases them about praying and church. Grace’s journey back to Christianity and finding faith in her life again is another part of the journey she goes down during her time in Silver Creek. If you’re looking for a Christian book that isn’t preachy, HEART LAND is perfect. And if religion is something you’d rather not read about, it’s a small enough part of the story that you should still be able to read with no problem.


About the Author: Kimberly Stuart has always treasured a good story and a good laugh. When she’s not engrossed in the charming chaos of motherhood, Stuart writes stories that are intended to make readers laugh often and cry once—maybe twice. Kimberly resides in Des Moines, Iowa, with her fantastic husband and their three wily children.


MY RATING:  ✰✰✰
RECOMMENDED READING: KEEP HER SAFE by K.A. Tucker, KISSING GAMES by Tara Eglington

Thank you Atria/Howard Books for including me on this tour and for my galley.


BUY LINKS:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound