Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Healing Rain Blog Tour

Woop woop! Another blog tour! I was so happy when I got approved for this one.

Some people just naturally seem to have it all. Until five months ago, sixteen-year-old Rain Sawyer was one of those people. She had the perfect life, with a loving, wealthy family and a strong Christian faith, complete with popularity, sports, clubs, and good grades. 
When one tragic incident shatters everything Rain thought she knew, she finds herself five hours away, starting over in a small town very different from her glamorous big-city life. 
Armed with a different outlook on life – one that no longer includes her faith – she struggles to create a new identity for herself. Determined to keep her dark past as secret, she navigates through a new school year, a new town, and new relationships while trying to figure out who she wants to be. 
Buy Links:

You gotta take a look at the book trailer. It's one of the bests I've ever seen. 

Author Bio: Katy Newton Naas
Katy Newton Naas
From the time she was old enough to talk, Katy Newton Naas has been creating characters and telling stories. As a child, they sometimes got her into trouble. She knew she wanted to write books when she won a Young Author's competition as a second-grader for her short story titled, "The Grape Pie." (Don't let its tasty title fool you - it was actually a sad little tale!)

Katy devoured books as a child and young adult, always doing chores and odd jobs in order to make enough money to buy more of them. Though she continues to age, her true literature love is and has always been children's and young adult fiction.

Katy currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. She enjoys her life out in the country with her husband, her sweet and rowdy young son (soon to be SONS - her second little boy is due any day!), and all her four-legged kids: Shakespeare, Poe, Morgi, Cappy, Ana, and Gray.

She loves creating both realistic and futuristic stories about kids, tweens, and teens, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

Author Links:
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Friday, July 17, 2015

July Uppercase Box!

Last month I vlogged about my first experience with Uppercase, a subscription service that sends you a book each month, plus bookish goodies! Uppercase Box is so much fun, because what's better than a surprise each month? I have the Expert Pick subscription, where Lisa picks the book. You can also choose a personalized box (say, if you hate fantasy--you can opt out of those and get something else instead), or you can get just the book of the month. Most of the fun for me is the stuff that comes with it, so Expert Pick, at $30 a month, is perfect.

They always come in these sacks.
Book this month: Finding Audrey
One of my favorite reviewers gave this one star...fortunately we have opposite tastes. I'll probably love it.
Also in the box:
Socks (YIPPEE! I've actually see these on pinterest before and really wanted them. They're a smidge too big, but super adorable.)
Books marks with quotes from Paper Towns (which I'm totally going to get from the library tomorrow)
A coffee sleeve which promptly made me go to the coffee shop uptown
A book club ice-breaker booklet
A personalized note from Lisa
The author's signature (Sophie Kinsella).
A few of my favorite things!
Yes, my church is having an ice cream social soon. That's all the silverware in the background.
I also got a new dress today!
I can't wait for August's book of the month!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Go Set A Watchman

Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird, #2)Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was incredible.

First off, the Atticus here looks very different from the one we all know in To Kill a Mockingbird. He's extremely racist. He's a little annoying oh wait, he was in the first book as well. And yet, he's still very much the same. I don't know how much editing, if any, that Harper Lee did in the past year, but still, this book was written first. This is the real Atticus. Many readers feel as betrayed as Scout is when they find out what he really thinks, but something Uncle Jack said at the end fits perfectly: Scout (and everyone else) needed to stop making him God. Atticus is only human. He's makes mistakes, goshdarnit, but what can you expect? He's not perfect.

There's other shocking differences from TKAM as well. Calpurnia, Jem (OH MY GOSH I WAS SO SAD), Scout's horrific teen years, and Henry/Hank, whoever the heck he is. Frankly, I didn't remember him at all, and I'm pretty sure I read TKAM last year or something. Still, he's darling. At least in the beginning.

Scout, or Jean Louise as she's more often called, is back in town for two weeks when the book takes place. She's a firecracker! I wish she had held to her beliefs a little more strongly, but again, all of the characters are very, very human.

Go Set a Watchman had similar problems to TKAM, but fortunately pulled through better. It's not nearly as boring, even though barely anything happens. Scout's desperate/sarcastic narration glued me to the book. All in all, I'm so glad I read this anyway even though I didn't like the first book. Go Set a Watchman gave me a lot to think about.
[Scout's] voice was heavy with sarcasm: "We've agreed that they're backword, that the're illiterate, that they're dirty and comical and shiftless and no good, they're infants and they're stupid, some of them, but we haven't agreed on one thing and we never will. You deny that they're human."

"How so?" [Atticus said].

"You deny them hope. Any man in this world, Atticus, any man who has a head and arms and legs, was born with hope in his heart. You won't find that in the Constitution, I picked that up in church somewhere. They are simple people, most of them, but that doesn't make them subhuman.

"You are telling them Jesus loves them, but not much. You are using frightful means to justify ends that you think are for the good of the most people. Your ends may well be right--I think I believe in the same ends--but you cannot use people as your pawns, Atticus. You cannot.

So many messed up morals--sexism, racism, to name a few--but still worth the read.

View all my reviews

Language: D
Sexual Content: A or B
Violence: A?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dream of Me Review

You may remember when I participated in the blog tour for Dream of MeYA Bound Book Tours (or any blog tour company) ask that 3 star reviews or less not be posted during the tour, since they're trying to promote the book positively. While I definitely think negative reviews are good for books, I agree those reviews can wait. So since I was kind of iffy on DOM, I held off to post my review till now. But FIY, all the supporting characters ROCKED. Just not the main ones.

Dream of Me (Dream Maker, #1)Dream of Me by Quinn Loftis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note to self: reading on a computer makes me ridiculously indecisive.

Thank you, Quinn Loftis and YA Bound Book Tours, for this free book to review!

Usually I read books in print or on my kindle, but since I didn't know how to download the file for this book, I had to read it on the computer. I have no idea why, but reading books in a format I'm not used to somehow makes me less angry at character flaws. So I'm pretty sure Dair is a possessive stalker and Serenity has no personality beyond "nice", but I'm not super mad about that. I HAVE NO CLUE WHY. So maybe they actually were great? I dunno.

The only character I know for sure that I like is Emma. She's one of those spunky kids who's always got a good quote from her mama. And yet NO ONE (except Raphael, but he's an angel and wasn't allowed to get too involved) helped her! Apparently Serenity's aunt was very kind to Emma, but when her drunk/high guardian showed up at the library to make Emma go home, Aunt Darla did nothing! Maybe she could have, hm, called a child protection agency or something? Pretty sure those exist. She had such a lame reason at the end for not doing anything--apparently they would "take too long", so it's better to do nothing.

Also, there's no plot besides romance. On one hand, duh, this is a romance novel. Of course that's the main focus. On the other hand though, Dair only influences the dreams of people who are going to impact history in a major way. The dream he gives Serenity is to convince her not to leave her tiny town after graduating, because something is in store for her. Serenity accepts this without hesitating! She's so busy drinking in Dair's "swirling" eyes that she never even considers leaving, so Dair's visit at the beginning didn't seem to matter much.

On the up side, I did enjoy Quinn Loftis's writing, although she kept using "drug" instead of "dragged". That created multiple hilarious images in my head...Serenity's inner monologue was deliciously sarcastic though. I love it.

Would I read other books by Quinn Loftis? Maybe. She's got a knack for writing awesome supporting characters, like Serenity's friend Glory.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Nora and Kettle Cover Reveal!

I can't WAIT for Nora and Kettle to come out! It sounds a little...violent, but it's published by Clean Teen Reads, so it at least won't have sexual content.

Nora and Kettle
Release Date: 02/29/16
Clean Teen Reads

Summary from Goodreads:

What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to na├»ve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world. 

About the Author
Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology. 

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing. 

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

Author Links:
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