Blog Tour: One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin (Exerpt)

One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

Release Date: February 10, 2015 – Spencer Hill Press
320 pages – 978-1939392633

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Summary:

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a “lady” while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.  But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Excerpt:

From Chapter 3

One month later, I’m sitting in a brightly lit classroom at the Winston Academy for Girls. My dad used to joke that the day I wore a skirt would be the day the zombie apocalypse rolled into town. Two hours in and I have yet to see a zombie, but I do feel like the living dead. Someone bathed in raspberry perfume this morning, causing a war to rage inside my nostrils. I might fall to the floor and convulse, the smell’s that thick.

Maybe it’s not the perfume. Maybe I’m allergic to all this estrogen.

“You okay?” the girl next to me whispers.

I respond by covering my mouth and sneezing so hard that a giant wad of snot lands in the palm of my hand. Carefully, I move my hand under the desk and smile.

“Fine,” I reply. “Just tired.”

The girl chews on a strand of her honey-colored hair as she attempts to write down every word of the lecture. A leather day planner rests at the edge of her desk, a name embroidered in pink curly letters at the bottom: Emma Elizabeth Swanson.

I’m definitely not in public school anymore.

Our Business Mathematics teacher pity-smiles at me from behind her glasses and dives into a discussion about supply and demand. I continue to wonder what I should do with the snot on my palm. If I were sitting beside one of the guys at Burlington High, like I should be this year, the snot wouldn’t be an issue. I would wipe it on Cowboy, the least likely of the group to retaliate, and laugh.

But what would a “lady” do?

Here at Winston, boys feel as mythical and mysterious as unicorns. There’s no sign of them anywhere. No obnoxious belches. No stupid high- fives. No talk of monster hunting. It’s unsettling, like I’m walking among a race of polite aliens wearing plaid jumpers and lip gloss.

How am I supposed to survive a year on another planet? 

About the Author:

Lisa Aldin

Lisa Aldin graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English Literature. She now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and daughter. ONE OF THE GUYS is her debut novel.

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Favorite Reads of 2014 & An Update

It’s 2015 and I’m sitting here typing this up, wondering where the time went. I realize that I’ve had this blog for a while and that I always say I’m going to update more and I never really do. I’ve always loved books but as a sophomore in college, I’ve turned my love into a career goal.

For those who have stuck with me and still read this, gold stars and much thanks to you. To everyone who has recently found me (surprisingly, people still do since I get emails about subscribers): welcome! I forever apologize for updating infrequently, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will always be that way.

A little update on my life: Last fall, I interned with the literary agency McIntosh & Otis, Inc. (they’re known for John Steinbeck’s titles). This semester, I’m interning at Bloomsbury USA. Hence, why I never update  (plus college and classes and all that).

Anyways, I’m here to share my favorites of 2014. I read a whopping 42 titles in 2014 (not really, since some of those titles are mangas, but let me believe I read 42 books). As always, my goal for 2015 is to read 100 titles and we’ll see how that goes…Here are my picks for 2014:

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Favorite YA book released in 2014:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Why: What can I even say? I love fairy tales, and I love re-makes of fairy tales even more. Hodge’s book is seductively beautiful. She is a wonderful world and character builder and I was hooked from page one. If you wanna know a little bit more of my love for this book, it’s up on YA Interrobang; all of us posted our fave reads of 2014 there.

Favorite NA book released in 2014:

London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton

Why: I loved the first book, I See London and was excited for the sequel. Cleeton is my favorite NA author because she writes characters that I can connect with and understand completely. Not only that, but there are passages where I find thoughts and feelings I’ve felt forever put into words and that means everything.

Favorite YA book that wasn’t released in 2014:

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Why: I’m sad that I didn’t read this book when it was released a few years back. Everyone talks about this series and I finally got around to it. To me, the idea isn’t 100% brand new to hear about, the way Cass writes America’s story is very addicting. I’m hooked on the relationships in this series and America’s indecisiveness. Not only that, but I also love the idea of having a prince.

Honorable Mentions:

Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Why: Not going to lie, I was captivated with the Stockholm syndrome theme. While the action and destruction in this book is interesting, I really enjoyed this book because the romance is written well.

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Why: Alsaid’s story beautifully captures moments and that’s all I’m going to say.

Now, since I have some time to read before the semester starts I would love to hear your favorites; I need reading material. In addition, what books are you looking forward to in 2015?

My Thoughts: True Fire by Gary Meehan

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Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Megan is pregnant.

As she prepares to tell her family, the unthinkable happens. Her village is razed by soldiers: her grandfather murdered, her twin sister taken.

On a desperate mission to rescue her beloved Gwyneth, Megan discovers a terrifying truth – that the destruction of her old life is inextricably linked to her unborn child. The feared witch soldiers, vanquished a generation ago, have returned to see the fulfilment of a prophecy: one that will put Megan and her new friends – Eleanor, a fiery ex-aristocrat, and Damon, a wayward charmer – at the heart of the greatest war her world has ever known.

My Thoughts:

(**I received this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

With True Fire, Meehan has crafted a world divided by religion and corruption while interrupting reader’s connotations about witches.

I firmly believe I would not have enjoyed the novel as much if not for Meehan’s writing – it is definitely the strongest aspect of True Fire. For me, the book reads as high YA. The writing, along with the book’s themes, is more mature; on the other hand, the characters are highly sarcastic and fall into the mature, yet immature range. Meehan also details scenes with just enough description to keep things entertaining instead of boring readers with a descriptive over-kill.

That being said, I really enjoyed the protagonists Megan, Eleanor and Damon. Like any other novel, they meet under special circumstances; unlike other novels though, the three of them continue a very intense love-hate relationship with each other. I really couldn’t tell if they were going to stay acquaintances or kill each other off; that question itself kept me reading.

Although True Fire has a strong narrative and awesome characters, I found the plot to be average (if that’s a good description). There’s the girl who hasn’t done anything wrong, but is in this huge predicament; the beautiful friend that can kick-ass; and the charming guy who may or may not be on the protagonist’s side. I also must admit I predicted the ending, which I had hoped would be something different.

Still, the themes and conflicts that revolve around religion, belief, and corruption are written in with much thought. In True Fire, there are two groups: the witches and the Brothers. Both believe in God, but are out to destroy each other for the struggle of power. Meehan incorporates these things into the plot well; the reader is able to look into a world controlled by religion without feeling pressured to take on, or think of, notions of their own.

True Fire is a satisfying read. If you are looking for an action filled adventure mixed with sarcasm, I definitely think Meehan’s book is for you.

Cover Reveal: The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyon

The Collectors' Society teaser 1

 

We are very excited to bring you the cover for Heather Lyon’s THE COLLECTORS SERIES!  THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY is a new adult romance title, set to be released on October 23rd!

 

The Collectors' Society front cover

Cover design by Victoria Faye of Whit and Ware

THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY Goodreads

THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY Synopsis:

From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

The Collectors' Society full wrap

 

Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

 

 

 

 

Website ** Author Goodreads ** Twitter ** Facebook

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Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton [Book Thoughts]

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Summary:

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

My Thoughts:

Although I adored I See London, London Falling somehow made me fall in love with Maggie, Samir and the International School a hundred times more.

To be honest, I didn’t really know where London Falling was going to go. Yes, the first book set up a lot of things for the sequel, but I questioned the relationship between Maggie and Samir. Everything between them was already so intense and passionate that I honestly questioned how it could become more intense and passionate. In the end, it was wrong for me to question. Chanel Cleeton crafted an addictive sequel that intensified everything between Maggie and Samir, making me feel every emotion known to mankind.

Even though the book revolves around Maggie and Samir, Cleeton doesn’t forget about the other characters and other important things. For example, Fleur’s past comes back to haunt her, and she’s stuck getting through everything too. Maggie is also challenged with facing her own family issues. What I love about London Falling is that it mirrors true reactions and outcomes. In every scene, I understood and empathized with a character’s decision.

Chanel Cleeton does a wonderful job at capturing moments and emotions and translating them into words one can put on a page. I found myself staring at the book in awe at certain sentences and passages because Maggie’s thoughts about life captured my exact feelings. Those details brought me closer to the characters because I knew how they felt.

In the end, all I can do is applaud Chanel Cleeton for writing a wonderful sequel to a wonderful book. If you haven’t read I See London, the first book in the International School series, then you need to do so right now. If you have, you need to somehow obtain the sequel because this series is my favorite.

Buy Links
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Author Links
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Giveaway!

Win a London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC. Enter the rafflecopter here!

Please check out the rest of the LONDON FALLING tour here!

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Book Thoughts: Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

(**I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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Summary:

In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” Nat’s family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.

Deeply conflicted about her parents’ decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel’s care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates’ agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?

But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity. This page-turning first YA novel by critically acclaimed author Lydia Millet is stylish and dark and yet deeply hopeful, bringing Millet’s characteristic humor and style to a new generation of young readers.

My Thoughts:

Pills and Starships is a fascinating read that constantly keeps you thinking about the world we live in and the future we are headed towards.

Right from the beginning, I was intrigued with Nat’s story. The book begins with Nat’s family starting their final vacation together – the vacation that her parents have chosen to enjoy in Hawaii for their last week of life. Nat is given a journal to use as an outlet; as a result, her whole experience is jotted down for you and I, which I found pretty cool. Throughout the book, Nat acknowledges that she has (or will have) an audience. I’ve read a handful of books that also recognize the reader; here, the author does it in a way that aids the story. Nat tells her story, without always doing the actual telling (if that makes sense).

As a person, I think Nat was alright. She’s nice and caring, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think she has much of a backbone. Even though Nat is sixteen, she is Sam’s older sister. Throughout the book, Sam is the independent character; he is the one who holds his own weight and discovers things for his own. I liked Sam, even though he comes off as obnoxious sometimes. I like Nat also, but she follows Sam too quickly instead of really thinking things out for her own sake.

To continue, the plot of Pills and Starships is very intriguing. Can you imagine a future in which people chose their death dates? It’s depressing and cool at the same time. At first, I thought all of the different pills used in the story would be over done; it’s not. It’s scary to imagine people under the influence of something all of the time instead of experiencing the world through their own senses. I think Millet does a great job at creating a futuristic dystopia that differs from other fiction books out there.

Another thing I liked about this book is that there is little romance. There’s enough that most readers can empathize with Nat, but nowhere enough to drive the plot.

In the end, I enjoyed Pills and Starships. I’m not going to lie, it’s not my favorite book; it is a decent read though, for anyone who enjoys dystopias. Not only that, but it’s a good dystopia published by a lesser known company, Akashic books. I suggest you check it out!

My Very Late Announcement About Joining YA Interrobang?!

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This is going to be a very late announcement (I’ve been swamped with college essays and exams), but I am very happy to have joined the YA Interrobang?! Team! Ever since its beginning a little less than a year ago, I have been an avid reader. As you can see, I am very happy to actually be a part of YA Interrobang!

Now, what is YA Interrobang? YA Interrobang is an online magazine that “[celebrates] YA literature.” Every other Sunday, YA Interrobang releases a new issue (issue = updates with a bunch of new articles) that revolve around anything and everything that is happening within the YA book community. Essentially, it is a roundup of all current YA news. What YA Interrobang doesn’t do though, is review books. It presents news and opinions on other topics, hence why it is called a magazine.

I have joined the Team as a columnist. My column is called “Once Upon a Tweet” and in it, I round up the best of YA author tweets in the past two weeks. This last Sunday, my third post came out (hence why this is a really late announcement).

If you’re an avid YA follower, or you just want to know what’s going on, I suggest checking out YA Interrobang?! While you’re there, you might as well browse through my column too (;

YA Interrobang
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