Thursday, October 23, 2014

FORBIDDEN: Trailer and HUGE Pre-Order Giveaway

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. 

See below for full details on how to enter.

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at

Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

GET HAPPY by Mary Amato: Review and Giveaway

Get Happy
by Mary Amato
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Published by EgmontUSA
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Indiebound

from Goodreads

In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

A hip high school girl who loves music, writes songs, and is desperate for a ukelele, learns to her shock that her father did not abandon her years ago and has been trying to keep in touch. She begins to investigate him, only to discover that he has a new life with a new family, including the perfect stepdaughter, a girl who Minerva despises.

My Thoughts

 Get Happy is the first book that I have read by Mary Amato. The cover and title immediately caught my attention (I just noticed the sea horse on the cover as I am typing this, LOL, and it is very significant to the story), but it is the story that kept my attention. Amato gives readers an imperfect character who has a strained relationship with her mother, an absent father, but tries to make her own way the best that she can.

Minerva is a far from perfect character and she has a lot of family issues that permeates almost every aspect of who she is, but I want to get to know her. I want to see how she deals with her struggles. Amato shows versatility on how Minerva expresses herself - sometimes through humor, sometimes through song, and on occasion, by throwing a complete tantrum.

The friendships that Minerva has are strong and that is what I loved most about Get Happy. Reading the interactions between Fin and Minerva were hilarious - with their inside jokes, making the mundane humorous and their adoration for each other - it was obvious that they were best friends. I also like the introduction of Hayes to their friendship and reading how he began to fit into their lives becoming a trio. He is a bit of a mystery, and it was fun to get to know more about him.

I loved to read all of the scenes with the Get Happy crew and how the Minerva, Fin, Hayes, and Cassie interacted with all of the families. And it was funny to find out what Get Happy was really meant. I'll leave that to readers to discover for themselves.

There were so many times that I identified with Minerva and her feelings of neglect and her animosity toward her mother and even some of her peers. Sixteen year old me would have picked this book up in a heartbeat. Amato balances the serious and the silly in Get Happy and lets readers know that they are not alone. After finishing the book, there were some questions that I had that remained unanswered, but I genuinely liked reading this story and am excited to read more books by Mary Amato.

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from EgmontUSA in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

 Mary Amato is an award-winning children's book author, songwriter, musician, puppeteer, and poet. She writes for children of all ages, and is beginning to focus on YA. Her first YA novel was Guitar Notes. Mary lives with her family outside Washington, DC, where she also performs regularly, singing and playing her own songs. Mary is a popular speaker and runs numerous workshops for teachers and students, including many on all aspects of creative writing, even songwriting. The author lives in Silver Spring, MD. You can visit her online at

Tomorrow's Stops

The publisher has generously donated a copy of Get Happy to giveaway here on my blog. Enter by Rafflecopter below. 

 Giveaway Details 
Prize donated by Publisher
Must be 16 years or Older to enter
U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
Giveaway ends October 31, 2014 

If I cannot verify an entry, that entry will not count.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DAMAGED by Amy Reed: Guest Post and Giveaway

I'm feeling pretty lucky today because I have Amy Reed here on the blog. Her fifth novel DAMAGED released earlier this month. She is here to share the books that made her fall in love with reading in writing. Find out what books inspired her to become a writer and then enter for a chance to win a copy of DAMAGED.
Welcome Amy!!!
I’ve been thinking about what made me want to be a writer, particularly what books I read that that made me fall in love with writing. The first book on this list would definitely be The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton, which I discovered at age thirteen, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Though I did not end up being a poet (trust me, you’re lucky—my poetry was horrible), Sexton’s poetry was the first time I saw myself in something I was reading. She was a sensitive and deeply wounded woman, and I immediately related. I think before that, I had only really read things by men that were about men. Or the things I read by women, particularly books for people my age, were so wholesome and squeaky clean I couldn’t relate. Sexton’s poetry was dark and confessional, perfect for a troubled kid like me. In reading her writing, I realized I could write too, that there was a place for my voice on the page, that writing could be a way to work through pain. During a very lonely time in my life, her words helped me feel less alone and inspired me to start writing my own.
            Another book that inspired me to write was Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. I read this for the first time as a teenager and, like the work of Anne Sexton, I felt like it gave me permission to write, to tell my own story. It is Kaysen’s memoir of her commitment to a psychiatric hospital as a young woman, and I was blown away by how vulnerable the book was and how much I related to her feelings of being lost and trapped. The book taught me that it is brave to be vulnerable in writing, that giving yourself fully to the page is the purest form of truth. I realized that what I wanted was to write stories that move people; I wanted to make people feel.
            Other books that affected me in similar ways when I was young are The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, and Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison.
All these books are about young women in trouble, women who are hurting and are yearning for ways to heal. I guess that’s the kind of thing I needed to read during a certain time in my life, and it turned out to be the kind of thing I write about now. Who knows what would have happened to this lost kid if I hadn’t found those books when I needed them. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a writer now. Maybe worse. Books have the power to change lives, and they definitely changed mine. I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to write books that hopefully do the same.

by Amy Reed
Published by Simon Pulse
October 14, 2014
  384 Pages


Two teens must come to terms with their friend’s death—and her afterlife—in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, Crazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend’s ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.

Amy Reed is the author of the edgy, contemporary YA novels BEAUTIFUL, CLEAN, CRAZY, and OVER YOU. Her new book DAMAGED released October 14, 2014. Find out more at

Follow Amy online:

 Giveaway Details 
Prize donated by Author
Must be 16 years or Older to enter
U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
Giveaway ends October 30, 2014 

If I cannot verify an entry, that entry will not count.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (26)

This week I'm joining Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews and sharing the books that I acquired throughout the past week.

(links to Goodreads)
My True Love Gave to Me ed. by Stephanie Perkins (Purchased) - one copy is damaged and will be returned
Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop (Purchased)
Tackled by Love by Rachael Duncan (Gifted) - Thanks Rachael!!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon Wrap-up

End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 1:00 a.m  - I wanted to keep reading, but I fell asleep
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? for readers who like novels-in-verse: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Have a place to list all giveaway winners in one location in addition to the hourly announcements. This really wasn't an issue for me, but other readers may find it helpful.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I liked who the website was organized. All of the information was easily accessible
  5. How many books did you read? 2 and started a third
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Foreign Exchange by Denise Jaden, Tomboy by Liz Prince, and started The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Foreign Exchange by Denise Jaden
  8. Which did you enjoy least? I liked them all.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I wasn't a cheerleader this year.
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I will. I'll participate as a reader and donate a copy of prizes like I did this time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon

Woo-hoo, it's read-a-thon time! I love participating in Dewey's Read-a-thon. This year I'm going the low-pressure route. I've selected a couple of books to read and plan to finish a couple of in progress books. I hope by doing this, I will have a chance to stop by some other blogs participating, cheer some people along and do a few challenges. I have a break planned later today to go see Gone Girl (keeping with the book theme) with some friends. Other than that, I'm ready to read!!! I'll post most of my updates on Twitter @ActinUpJoli and check in here periodically.

Books to Read:

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder - this is a reread for me
Tomboy by Liz Prince - a graphic memoir/review book
Foreign Exchange by Denise Jaden - already in-progress
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige - already in-progress

Let's get this read-a-thon started!!!

Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Virginia, USA
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Finishing Foreign Exchange
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Popcorn
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am a thirty-something blogger who rediscovered my love for young adult books during my last semester of college and have never looked back. When I'm not reading or blogging, I spend my time with my book club Provisions and Paperbacks, scoping out independent bookstores, singing along to the tunes of Maroon 5, and generally just actin’ up in any way I can.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? This time I don't have an overwhelming to-read pile of books.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Love My Indie Bookstore with Heather from The Turning Pages

Love My Indie is a feature where fellow bloggers, readers, and authors share their favorite independent bookstores. I love the feeling I get when I go into an independent bookstore - like it is filled with hidden treasures just waiting for me to find them.

Showing some Indie Love today is on of my favorite bloggers:

Heather of The Turning Pages

I've made it a mission of mine to visit an indie bookstore wherever I travel. This all came about when I visited my very first indie back in 2012 & immediately knew that indie bookstores are something to be treasured. They are the kind of place that you walk into and instantly feel their warmth and welcome take you in. They are the kind of place that as you walk slowly through the aisles, hear the hundreds of stories calling your name. And they are the kind of place that take your breath away and as you take a deep breath to collect yourself, smell the sweet, leathery scent that any book lover has come to know. 

When Joli approached me about writing about my favorite indie, I struggled to pick just one! After taking some time and going back and forth between my top three, there is one that I just can't help but share. 

The Strand Book Store in the city that never sleeps, NYC, is any book lovers paradise. It is the home of 18 MILES. . .yes, you read that right. . .of books! I had the opportunity to visit the Strand this past May after traveling to NYC for Book Expo America. After spending two days among the madness that is BEA, I didn't think a bookstore could take my breath away the way an entire book expo did, but I was wrong. Just walking down the street and seeing the red Strand banner swaying in the breeze, I stopped and stared. Call me crazy, but I teared up a little bit. Hey, it happens when I get really excited about something.

When I walked in, I couldn't help but struggling to close my gaping mouth. It was a sight to be seen! Every square inch of that bookshop is filled with books and anything having to do with the written word. So much to look at and not enough time in one day to look at it all. I tried to capture it all in a picture, but it's definitely not possible when there are multiple floors and 18 miles of books to be seen. So a little snapshot will have to do. 
My favorite part? The moment where I had to go grab a ladder to get a book from the top shelf. Yes, there are ladders placed all about so you can help yourself. It was my Belle moment and took everything in me not to break out in song. 

Another thing I loved? The prices! I purchased a hardback for only $9! That's pretty good if you ask me and something I wasn't expecting. So, if you're ever in NYC, I highly recommend setting aside some time to explore the Strand. I know that I'll be going back if I ever find myself living the city life again. 
Heather Sheffield is the creator of The Turning Pages where she blogs along with her cousin Christie. She also devotes her time as an Author's Assistant. You can follow her on Twitter.


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