Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder

by Lisa Schroeder
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Published by Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon / B&N 

from Goodreads

What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people's wishes -- and gives them his wallet full of money. 

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day -- maybe even their own.

My Thoughts

I am a fan of books that take place in a twenty-four hour period. They are usually filled with fun adventures and new experiences for the characters. A lot can happen in a day. Now add the fact that is the last day on earth. That changes everything! How do you spend your time and who do you spend it with? All We Have Is Now gives readers one answer with the story of Vince and Emerson.

What I loved:
  • The close friendship of Vince and Emerson.  Even though they kept secrets from each other, they trusted each other. 
  • Dual storylines
  • How much I cared about the characters. All of them. 
  • The inclusion of poems among the chapters
  • The various ways Vince and Emerson grant wishes and the people they meet along the way. Vince is imaginative and wants to make sure everyone has a memorable experience.
  • The Mini-tour of Portland, Oregon - as Vince and Emerson grant wishes they spend the night all over the city
  • Conspiracy theories and pumpkin pie (when you read it this will make sense)
  • There's a ROAD TRIP! (How can that happen in 24 hours when the world is about the end- you'll have to read it and find out!
There are a lot of poignant moments as the characters consider their last hours on earth. Here are some quotes that stood out to me:

"Regret is a hard thing to shake."

"Doughnuts and Justin Timberlake," . . . "Now this is an awesome last day."

"No, see, you guys are looking at it all wrong," Vince says. "The amount of time isn't important. A hundred minutes or a hundred years. Whatever, it doesn't matter. Just make it count."

"Tears sting her eyes, and she tries to stop them, but it's useless. It's not fair, her thoughts whisper over and over again. How can it be over now, when she's just getting to the best part."

All We Have is Now is a really special book. Readers will appreciate the depth of the story while still having a fun time with the characters. It will move readers and hopefully make them consider their minutes, all of them, and make them count. I really enjoyed it. A recommended read!

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from the publisher as part of a promotional tour in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Quotes are taken from ARC and may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Lisa Schroeder is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including the YA novels I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Bridge From Me to You. She loves tea and cookies, flowers, family hikes, books and movies that make her laugh and cry, and sunshine. Living in Oregon, she doesn’t get nearly enough sunshine, but the hikes are amazing. You can visit her online at on Twitter at @lisa_schroeder.

AUTHOR ONLINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse- There’s just a little over 24 hours until a meteor is scheduled to hit the US. What do you wish for?

I don't know. Everything I can think of seems boring. I think I need Vince to help me come up with some fun adventure. 

The author will be giving away $40 Powells e-gift card (US) OR a signed copy of All We Have Is Now (INT) to the winner of the below Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends August 5th.

Tour Hosted by

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: NEVER BROKEN by Jewel

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Jewel
Publication Date September 15, 2015
Published by Blue Rider Press

New York Times bestselling poet an multi-platinum singer-songwriter Jewel explores her unconventional upbringing and extraordinary life in an inspirational memoir that covers her childhood to fame, marriage, and motherhood.

Why I'm Waiting 
  • As much as I love Maroon 5, I may love Jewel more (but it's not a competition)
  • "Songs are only half the story" - and they say a whole lot, so I want to know what else she has to say
  • She has a new album coming out at the same time and I want to find out how the album and the book compliment each other    

Friday, July 24, 2015

Blog Tour: THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES by Nina Berry - Interview and Giveaway

I'm please to be one of the hosts for The Notorious Pagan Jones blog tour. I have the author here today to share details of researching and writing The Notorious Pagan Jones which is AVAILABLE NOW. After you read the interview, please enter for a chance to win a hardback copy of The Notorious Pagan Jones.

Welcome Nina!!

Your book is set in the 1960's. What research did you do to make this time period feel authentic to your story?

Research galore – of all kinds! Good thing I actually enjoy it. I read several books on the Cold War, bought travel guides to Berlin, and watched a lot of movies made during that period. Lucky for me I studied film and TV in graduate school, work in Hollywood, and have always loved history.

I also did a lot research on pop culture in the early sixties. I fell in love with some of the fashions (but not the girdles they had to wear), Googled magazine covers, and downloaded and listened over and over to the popular songs Pagan would’ve heard playing on the radio.

It was fun to watch many popular films of the era, like the famous Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I also latched into a film called One, Two, Three, which was shot in West Berlin during the exact period my book covers. That movie was the inspiration behind the film Pagan goes to Berlin to shoot. In fact, a lot of real life events, like a garden party thrown by the leader of East Germany, became an integral party of the story. It was really fun to put my fictional trouble-maker, Pagan, into contact with historically terrible men like the murderous head of the East German secret service.

Who is your inspiration for Pagan Jones? And Devin Black?

Pagan has a family and a past that is unique to her, but her look, her movie career, and her first boyfriend were inspired by a combination of sixties teen stars who were all acting and modeling from childhood: Sandra Dee, Sue Lyon (who starred in Kubrik’s Lolita), and Hayley Mills. Pagan did a few beachy movies like Dee’s Gidget, but is as talented as Sue Lyon and Hayley Mills. A more modern day inspiration was Drew Barrymore, who admits to having a substance abuse problem very early in life, but who overcame it beautifully.

Devin Black was inspired by several gentlemen, some of whom I’ve met and cannot talk about! But he’s also like a combination of a young James Bond (the Sean Connery or Daniel Craig versions) and French actor Alain Delon when he was young.

I love the cover of the book! It has a Valley of the Dolls feel to it. Did you have any input or contribute to the design of the book cover?

I have to give all credit for the super cool cover to the design folks at Harlequin Teen. My input consisted of sending them links to my Pinterest pages to show them the “look”

I had in mind for Pagan, the clothes she’d wear, and the settings she’d visit. They came up with the font, the texture, and the concept of the cover, and I love everything about it. It particularly tickles me that we only see the character of Pagan through the letters of her name. She’s partly hidden, and partly revealed as if by a tabloid headline. It’s so incredibly perfect for the character!

The Notorious Pagan Jones is described as Historical Fiction. Will your readers need to have knowledge of the Cold War to understand the story?

Nope. No need to do any historical research before you plunge in. I tried to provide whatever info you might need to know, plus some extra for atmosphere and fun, along the way. I wrote an afterward in the back of the book that explains some of the real Cold War inspiration and precedents, including politics, Hollywood machinations, and espionage and provides links to sites with even more information. So it’s there if you want to know more.

And if you do know anything about the city of Berlin, the nuclear stand-off between the US and the Soviet Union, or the history of the Berlin Wall, you’ll get a kick out of the historical details in the book. You might even learn a thing or two. I sure did while I was researching.

This is the first of a series. When you came up with the story, did you intend to write a series or did the story continue to develop as you continued writing?

I first conceived of this as a sort of teen girl James Bond series. The James Bond part of it changed (Pagan’s not a full-time spy like Bond, and the tone is different), but the series part of it remains. Men and boys always get to be the heroes with the troubled past, and I wanted to give that to a girl - a past where she made mistakes, that showed how far from perfect she was, that forced her to grow up too soon. Boys get to be funny and full of regret at the same time – but girls live complicated lives too. Pagan is both funny and sad. She’s full of love, and full of pain all at the same time.

So I planned the series from the start to show Pagan growing and learning about herself and the world while she battles her inner demons, falls in and out of love, does a few things right, but also makes mistakes. And sometimes, if she’s lucky, she makes a difference.

by Nina Berry
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Published by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 400

Pagan Jones went from America's Sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night she accidentally killed her family in a drunk driving accident. Nine months later, she's stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt—not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Hollywood actress.
But when Pagan’s Hollywood agent arrives at her reform school with a mysterious studio executive Devin Black, Pagan must decide if she can stay sober – while shooting a new comedy with award-winning director Bennie Wexler in war-torn Berlin just as the Wall is going up. All the while, her ex-boyfriend shows up in Berlin with his new wife – a Pagan Jones lookalike. Will she run into him? What will she say? Ultimately, Berlin is her chance at redemption: both personally and professionally.
With a court-appointed guardian, her every move scrutinized, and her recovery still in question, can she pull herself together, rescue her co-star and re-win the hearts of the American public?

Purchase Links

About the Author

Nina Berry has been working in Hollywood for years, and is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of movie and TV sets. She took her love of old movies, her knowledge from her day job as well as a heartbreaking personal story of the loss of a friend who succumbed to alcoholism to create the world of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES.

Find Nina Online:

Giveaway Info:
Thanks to the amazing team at Harlequin Teen, each stop on the tour will be offering up a copy of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES, so be sure and follow along for more guest posts, interviews and chances to win! 
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Complete Tour Schedule:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Blog Tour: LOVE LIES BENEATH by Ellen Hopkins - Review and Giveaway

by Ellen Hopkins
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Published by Atria Books
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Indiebound

from Goodreads

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Collateral comes a gripping novel about a woman caught in a love affair that could be her salvation...or her undoing.

Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.

Writing in beautiful prose, Ellen Hopkins unveils a new style while evoking her signature poetic form that readers fell in love with in Collateral and Triangles.

My Thoughts

As a long time fan of Ellen Hopkins and her books, I always experience great excitement when I know she has a new book coming out. I love her writing style and the depth that she goes to reveal the lives of her characters. I went in blindly reading Love Lives Beneath knowing that it was an adult novel, but not much else since I hadn't read the synopsis or book description. When I began reading the novel, I was surprised to discover that it wasn't written in verse like her other novels. As I read, I would catch myself thinking how different this book felt from the others because it was written in prose, but at the same time recognizing the nuances of an Ellen Hopkins book. I think readers will enjoy this writing style just as much as her verse novels. I know I did.

Love Lies Beneath is full of tension and suspense. And romance. It was easy to get swept up in the love affair between Tara and Cavin. He was charming and attentive and just the kind of man you would want to spend your days and your nights with. Yet, sometimes he seemed a little too good to be true. He had some secrets that he was keeping which became even more evident when his son was around.  

Something that I always find interesting about Hopkins's books are the dynamics of relationships. There is so much more going on that what the characters reveal on the surface. She is careful in how she presents the characters and EVERYTHING MEANS SOMETHING. Nothing exists just as filler. In Love Lies Beneath, the relationships, both romantic and familial, are complicated. There are power struggles throughout and they are intense. These are some of my favorite parts of the story.

I mentioned before that I went in blindly reading this novel, but about halfway through, I unintentionally read a small snip-it of the synopsis and discovered a major spoiler that had not yet been revealed in the book. Of course I was disappointed and surprised that this information was in the synopsis, but it didn't ruin the book for me. It did change the way I viewed the characters and how I read their story.  

Love Lies Beneath provides many elements of intrigue that make for a perfect book club selection and would make for a great discussion. I would put this book in the hands of readers who have missed out on Hopkins's books because they "don't like verse novels" (what is wrong with people). I think they would like Hopkins's storytelling so much that they would rush to read her other books. I like the new style and hope she continues to write more novels like Love Lies Beneath. I will definitely read them!

Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Atria Books via Edelweiss 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.

Tour Wide Giveaway

Complete Tour Schedule

July 20th Fangirlish – Review, Author Interview
July 20th - J & J Book Bangers – Review
July 21st - Bookhounds – Review, Top Ten
July 21st - Reads All The Books – Review
July 21st - Fiction Dreams – Guest Post
July 22nd - Between The Pages Book Blog – Review, Interview, Top Ten
July 23rd - Actin' Up With Books – Review
July 23rd - All For Love of the Word – Review
July 24th - Books & Bling – Review
July 24th - Ramblings of a Perpetual New Girl – Review, Author Interview
July 27th - Backseats and Airports – Review
July 28th - Books and Ladders – Review
July 29th - Journeys & Life – Guest Post
July 29th - Book Chic – Review, Author Interview
July 29th - Room With Books – Spotlight/ Excerpt
July 30th Bibliophilia, Please – Guest Post
July 31st - Alec John Belle – Review
July 31st - Bookish - Debbie – Review
July 31st - Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – Review
July 31st - Heather Ann Book Reviews - Review

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