Blog Tour: TWELVE STEPS by Veronica Bartles – Book Review

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Happy Thursday!! Today I’m participating in the blog tour of TWELVE STEPS by Veronica Bartles! My review is below as is the link to the giveaway. Enjoy!

twelve steps cover

Twelve Steps

by Veronica Bartles Genre: YA Contemporary Romance Publisher: Swoon Romance (25 March 2014) Book Summary: Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina’s shadow, Andi’s only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina’s perfect everything else. When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something. Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that’s two steps in one. Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right? Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run.  When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she’d hoped, and realizes she may need a new program–perhaps with less steps! As cracks in Laina’s flawless façade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

Add to Goodreads!

Buy Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | iTunes

My Review

Owl Rating

five owls

I absolutely adored this book! I first heard about TWLEVE STEPS during Pitch Wars when the book’s author, Veronica Bartles, shared, via Twitter, the story of how she ended up getting published and got her agent. It’s story of a girl living in her sister’s shadow drew me in not only because of the girl’s humorous yet practical approach to dealing with her problem (aka her twelve step program), but because I’m the older sister and my siblings are always saying things like, “I’m not you, Patrice.”

That being said, I’m not Laina, maybe my siblings see me as that, but I strongly identify with Andi: her feelings of being lost and wanting to be something more than who people see you as, especially. And I LOVE theater…I actually recited a monologue from Our Town during a UIL competition senior year of high school & I love Cinderella so that only brought back great memories…Also, in musicals I NEVER got the part I wanted (plays were my strong suit) so, like Andi, I had to learn how to steal the show “from the shadows.”

There were so many great lines in the book. It read so well, I could easily see this staged, as a play or movie. I think it’s the theater person in me + my junior year of AP English during which my teacher made me fall in love with sentence structure that had me highlighting lines. Here are a few of my favorites from Andi (I picked them from early on so as to not spoil anything):

  • “It isn’t as easy as you’d think to keep up the “I am who I am, and I don’t really care what you say about me” act, but what other choice do I have?”
  • “They believe me, because they want to.”
  • “You never have to actually answer most questions. You only have to make people think you did.”

I resonate so much with these lines. I like to think I’m a reformed manipulator and I can definitely say that acting like you don’t care is often much harder than letting your emotions show.

I focused a lot on the sister-sister relationship 1) because you don’t see a lot of that in YA and 2) because that’s what really drew me in, but the romance is equally as good. It’s sweet, bittersweet at first, but all’s well that ends well! I love how Andi gets to see that Laina isn’t as perfect as she thinks she is. I try to be very honest with my siblings about that, even though it’s hard to let those who look up to you know that you have made (& make) mistakes.

It’s a fast read that’ll have you laughing during one chapter and crying during the next, but it leaves you feeling refreshed and so much more content with yourself. I’m definitely going to give this to my little sister(s) to read when they’re a bit older (my brother would likely say, “ugh, I already know I’m awesome, duh.”…completely missing the point, LOL.) It’s $2.99 so you should definitely go buy you a copy, it’s worth every penny!

**I received this book from YA Bound & Swoon Reads to read & review for the tour. This is a 100% honest review.**

 About the Author veronica bartlesAs the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy.   When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes.  TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles’s first novel. Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

***GIVEAWAY***

 1 ebook of Twelve Steps & $10 Amazon gift card (INT) Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bounk Tour Button

YA Bound Book Tours

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Many Sides of Medusa Blog Hop!

many sides of medusa
Hello Readers 🙂 It’s a Monday! (I know, no need to remind you.)
This Monday is extra special because I’m participating in the Many Sides of Medusa Blog Hop hosted by Heather Lyons and Kelly Hashway! Now, there are many things I love, like sexy people, and superheroes, fairy tales, and mythology (I LOVE mythology), but the only thing that can beat that love is my love for villains…I love when writers make them as complex as their heroes. Better yet, I LOVE when writers take characters who’ve traditionally been villains and make them the heroes… that’s what Heather Lyons & Kelly Hashway did for Medusa, one of my favorite “villains.”
I hope you enjoy these excerpts as much as I did!
 
Door Prize: Your door prize for joining us is the short story prequel to the Touch of Death series titled Curse of Death. It’s the myth about Medusa and how she was cursed by the goddess Athena. Claim your free gift by clicking here.
 

Heather and Kelly are teaming up to show you a very different side of Medusa. Forget the monster you might think she was, and check out these excerpts from The Deep End of the Sea and Touch of Death. You just might change your mind about Medusa.



The Deep End of the Sea excerpt:

The Deep End of the SeaBut there’s no way around it. I am, in fact, a monster. A hideous one, to be precise, but as I don’t have any mirrors on Gorgóna, I can’t verify that one for certain. I rely on the fact that every single person I’ve frozen over the ages boasts abject fear on their face, which makes me believe they find me pretty horrifying. And it sucks. It genuinely, truly, absolutely, unequivocally sucks. I hate stealing lives.

Thus, not only am I a monster, I’m a really lousy one. A lonely, classic Five Stages of Grief following, insecure, shut-in of a pathetic beast who talks to the snakes on her head and the statues on her island.

lyons teaser





Find Heather online: 

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Purchase The Deep End of the Sea on Amazon or B&N.

Touch of Death excerpt:

My hair blew up, flying wildly all around me. My blood bubbled in my veins like boiling water, but it didn’t hurt. It was the feeling of power. Too much power. My body felt like it was going to burst. Still I held on. My eyes closed, and I threw my head back. An imaged filled my mind. Medusa. Her snakes wriggled their bodies at me, flicking their tongues. Chills ran down the backs of my legs, but I forced my eyes away from the snakes. Lower. To Medusa’s face. She smiled at me. Her face and eyes filled with warmth. She looked like…Mom.



“Do not fear me, Jodi. My blood lies in your veins and in your heart. you are one of mine. My children.”

<–Blogger Note: I rated Touch of Death as my top 2013 YA Paranormal Romance &/or Urban Fantasy read & I read a LOT of PR & UF books. It’ll suck you in from the first page, not to be missed for sure! Read my review, if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what can 🙂

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Find Kelly online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Purchase the Touch of Death series on Amazon or B&N.

If you want more Medusa, be sure to check out The Deep End of the Sea and the Touch of Death series. And…Heather and Kelly have a giveaway for you. Enter on the rafflecopter form for your chance to win a $20 gift card to either Amazon or B&N, Medusa Makeup lipgloss, signed bookmarks from both authors, buttons for each book, and Touch of Death stickers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s your favorite character from mythology? 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Blog Tour: Review of ALL THAT GLOWS by Ryan Graudin

AllThatGlows

Good morning, readers :) Today I’m participating in the blog tour of ALL THAT GLOWS by Ryan Graudin. Enjoy (my review is below & there’s a giveaway)! Also, isn’t the cover gorgeous!!

AllThatGlows pb cTitle: ALL THAT GLOWS

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 480

Pub. Date: February 11, 2014

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

My Review:

Owl Rating

 When I started reading this book, I was immediately drawn in by the author’s rich writing. Graudin is masterful at weaving setting and with a book set in London, mastering the setting is key. Not to mention, it’s a book about faerys and I LOVE faerys. I love the twist Graudin brings to the table. A faery godmother who, while being very old, doesn’t walk around with a magic wand, etc…but is a guardian and looks like a teenager. The worldbuilding is well drawn out, especially when it came to faery lore or instances like spellcasting, I felt like I was in the book wit goosebumps appearing on my arms.

The contrast  between Richard and Emrys is hilarious. From the very beginning she’s unhappy about guarding this party animal of a prince (I would be too) then she starts to like him and that’s when things really get interesting. Not to mention Richard surprised me. I thought he would be this pompous A-hole but he’s sweet and caring and smart, even if he does like to party and drink a little much he wins you over from the beginning.

I was surprised I liked this book as much as I did. I’m not a huge romance person however I think it was because from the beginning, I knew the romance would play a large part. My only thing is I found Emrys’s characterization at times to be a bit irrational, maybe? Because for a thousand year old Faery she sure was overly careless at the beginning nor does she act as mature as I would expect one of her age to however I think that’s mostly because as a reader, you have to remember that while she’s old in human years, she’s a teenager in faery years.

All in all, I’d recommend this to anyone whose a fan of popular fairy tale books like Holly Black’s Tithe but wants something with a bit more romance and a little less dark (writing wise both are amazing).

RyanAbout Ryan:

Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at http://www.ryangraudin.com.

Her work is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Website/Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

2 signed copies OF ALL THAT GLOWS and two tins of tea! US/Canada only.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Tour Schedule

Week One

2/3/14- Fantasy Book Addict– Review

2/4/2014- Crossroad Reviews– Review

2/5/2014- Whimsically Yours Review

2/6/2014- Step Into Fiction– Interview

2/7/2014- Book Whales– Review

Week Two

2/10/2014- Fiktshun– Guest Post

2/11/2014- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

2/12/2014- All Things Urban Fantasy– Guest Post

2/13/2014- Kindle and Me– Excerpt

2/14/2014- IceyBooks– Interview

 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

 

Blog Tour: AVALON by Mindee Arnett (Book Review)

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Good morning, readers 🙂 Today I’m participating in the blog tour of AVALON by Mindee Arnett, a book I’ve been wanting to read practically since was announced. Enjoy (my review is below & there’s a giveaway)!

avalon cover

Title: AVALON
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Pub. Date: January 21, 2014
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound

Book Blurb:

A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.
Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon’s cult hit show Firefly.

My Review:

Owl Rating

I’d never seen Firefly when I first started reading AVALON. I know, I know, it’s my dad’s favorite show, I thing Joss Whedon is brilliant (& definitely on to some gov’t conspiracies…Dollhouse anyone? *(too real)). But, I’ve never had time to properly indulge & I hate shows canceling early (Dollhouse, Lie to Me…every one of my favorite shows). But, after reading AVALON now I have to.

The more I write, the better writer I become I start to study the books I read more. Every book becomes a mini-lesson. If I love it, I want to know what it did well. In AVALON’s case other than the ah-mazing brother/sister relationship (I’m a big sibling and I’m a sucker for those in books), it was the characterization of every person in it that won me over and made me give it 5 owls (also the world building & evil corporations…love that stuff). Every book I’ve loved has not only had great main character but secondary characters. While reading AVALON I wanted to get to know everyone, especially Celeste more because she seemed like a boss. I wanted to know the man on the bench, Hammer, his guard’s…I did a lot of acting and when I’m reading sometimes I see things being staged, from the moment each character in AVALON “stepped on stage,” they played their part well.

I will admit, I didn’t like the book at first. I’m a Sci-Fi person and the first ten pages were very I’ve seen this before, too much backstory, not grabbing me. But, give it time. Have faith. Yes, Jeth is bit of a…bootyhead (as my ten-year-old sister likes to say), but seeing him care for his sister gave me a reason to root for him. Also, like Harry Potter, who is one of the most unlikable protagonists (especially in later books), he’s an orphan and he “belongs” to a disgusting man. Like wait until you get to the part where Arnett describes Hammer *shudder* (that was good). You HAVE to root for Jeth and his crew, you’d be cruel not to.

Oh, and the twists. Oh, they’re there. I guessed half of it, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. There’s also romance which I liked, but didn’t think was necessary not that it was bad but the book was amazing already without it. This was my first time reading anything by Arnett (I’m buying The Nightmare Affair today though because I’m hooked), and huge kudos for straddling the line well between world building overload and not enough. I know it’s hard with Sci-Fi, info dumps are annoying, but if you don’t paint a good enough picture, people are clueless. It’s for this reason that I’d recommend AVALON for fans of Sci-Fi (depending on how big of a fan you are you might find it too light) as well as those who have never read it before, especially those who have never read it before as it’s a great first.

I hear this is the first in a series 😀 I’ve been waiting for the “rise of YA Sci-Fi,” and this was my first recent foyer into it. I’m looking forward to reading more. I’m so pleased that I loved every book I’ve picked up this year (5 so far?). I’ve always had good taste in books, haha, *hair flip* but even I’m surprised.

You can find AVALON at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

**This is a 100% honest review. I received a copy of the book from the publisher to read & review.**

About the Author:

mindee arnett

Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Giveaway Details:

2 Signed copies of AVALON (International)

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/13/2014- IceyBooks– Interview

1/14/2014- Word Spelunking– Guest Post

1/15/2014- Fantasy Book Addict- Interview

1/16/2014- Falling For YA- Review

1/17/2014- Whimsically Yours- Review

Week Two:

1/20/2014- Such a Novel Idea- Review

1/21/2014- The Eater of Books!- Interview

1/22/2014- Bewitched Bookworms- Guest Post

1/23/2014- NerdophilesReview

1/24/2014- The Irish Banana Review– Guest Post

Many thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for having me as a host, Happy Friday everyone!!!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Holiday #Readathon Challenge + Giveaway!!!

Liza over at WhoRuBlog is hosting the 3rd Annual Holiday #Readathon. The concept is simple, complete super easy mini-challenges and enter for chance to win really cool prizes. For a list of all blogs and their mini-challenges, click here. Also don’t forget to sign up for the #Readathon!!!!

Okay here’s my challenge:

1. What’s your favorite holiday smell?

For me I love waking up in the morning on Christmas day and helping to our Christmas Day brunch. The whole family comes over and I love smelling the meets and pies and cookies, yum! I usually spend the night at my grandparents’ house and it’s something I look forward to every year 🙂

Now to make things even more fun, I’m giving away a set of 3 books to one lucky winner. You get to choose from these ten books below. They’re some of my favorite reads from this year so I really hope you enjoy them 🙂

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FYI, a few of these are sequels, and and two are advanced reader copies (ARCs).

Here’s the full list:

The Chaos of Stars (ARC) | Ink | The Eternity Cure (ARC – Blood of Eden #2) | Antigoddess | Not a Drop to Drink | ScorchedOf Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) | Reboot (one of my top five picks of 2013) | Dead Silence (The Body Finder#4) | Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3)

..quite a few of these are mythology retellings or dystopian YA books because those are two of my favorites genres/subgenres and 2013 definitely saw an increase in mythology based and dystopian books.

The rules

1. Click this link to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway

2. You MUST comment on my blog telling me your favorite holiday smell.

3. As a bonus entry you can also tweet me your favorite 2013 reads & your most anticipated book of 2014 (I added this as an option on the rafflecopter widget but feel free to change the wording)*

4. Open to U.S. & Canada only

*As for my favorite 2013 reads, I loved every book pictured above as well as PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL & PROXY! In addition to their sequels, I’m looking forward to every one of the OneFour Kidlit author’s debut books especially MONSTROUS & THE NINJA LIBRARIANS (MG) and UNINVITED, STITCHING SNOW & EXTRACTION (YA).

Happy Reading & Stay Warm!! 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC