Holiday Gift Ideas 2015

Monday, 30 November 2015
It's almost December and even though it's (thankfully) not snowing yet (I wish it wouldn't snow at all because everything turns to ice and I am prone to slipping on ice), I thought I would offer up my best holiday gift ideas of 2015.

So let's get on to the books!

Book: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Genre: Fantasy, Political Intrigue, Historical, Young Adult

Comparable Titles: Game of Thrones, Throne of Glass, Graceling

For: Anyone really. If you're worried you'll get them something they won't like, go with The Winner's Curse. With an enormous amount of praise and the last book in the trilogy coming out March 2016, now's the perfect time to get the book nerd(s) in your life this exquisite book. (This is also my one repeat from last year because it really does make for a great gift.)

Synopsis: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Book: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Comparable Titles: Sarah Dessen's books, John Green's books, Eleanor and Park

For: People who want something similar to John Green or Sarah Dessen's books but have already read all of them. Bonus: the movie adaptation is in the works!

Synopsis: The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Book: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman\

Genre: Western, Young Adult, Historical

Comparable Titles: Walk on Earth a Stranger, True Grit

For: Vengeance Road is a grittier book that'll surely please Western fans (and even the non-western fans/people who have never read or watched a western). With it's gripping plot, great characters, and fantastic writing, this would make for an amazing gift for anyone on your list!

Synopsis: Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

Book: The Conspiracy of Us

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Young Adult

Comparable Titles: The Da Vinci Code, Ally Carter's books

For: Anyone. Seriously, anyone and everyone will love this book. It has a gripping plot, fast-paced action, and a freaking fantastic romance.

Synopsis: A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance--perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.

Book: One by Sarah Crossan

Genre: Sick Lit, Contemporary, Verse, Young Adult

Comparable Titles: Sarah Dessen's books, The Fault in Our Stars (BIG TIME!!!!)

For: Anyone who adored The Fault in Our Stars and still hasn't gotten over that book hangover. Also Cat (if you're reading this), you should read One ASAP.

Synopsis: Grace and Tippi. Tippi and Grace. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two dreams. Two lives. But one body.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy.

But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

How long can they hide from the truth—how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives?

Book: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult

Comparable Titles: Gravelling, Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses

For: If they like epic fantasies with magic and adventure with an unexpected ending (that completely destroyed me), then I don't understand why you wouldn't buy them The Orphan Queen.

Synopsis: Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

There may be a part two to this if I think of other books that would make great gifts.

How To Write A Novel 101

Wednesday, 25 November 2015
This is STILL in response to THAT BOOK because THAT BOOK has a sampler and It. Was. TERRIBLE.

I didn't think anyone needed to be reminded of this, but THINGS CANNOT MAGICALLY HAPPEN SO YOU CAN FURTHER YOUR PLOT. LIKE, NO.

So it's PSA time because Liran is tired of people coming in and hijacking YA so they can make a huge profit. Newsflash publishers, readers want well written novels by novelists who have respect for the genre they are writing in. So let's get sarcastic because that'll make me feel better.

How To Write A Novel 101
  1. Reference other popular novels and proceed to bash them. This is of course after you mention parts of the book that actually happened. (Don't ask.)
  2. Make your protagonist magically lose an ability because readers won't notice of care. (Again, don't ask.)
  3. Make everyone besides your protagonist hate the subway because this is very realistic and she is a freaking special snowflake.
  4. Generalize all YA novels.
  5. Bash dystopia and proceed to write dystopia.
  6. Describe your heroine and proceed to bash heroines. (Because we're generalizing here.)
  7. Talk about how cheesy other novels are and continue with the food references.
  8. Give the places in your world boring names that people have seen before, you totally original you. (East River? Really? That's the best you could do?)
  9. Personify memories and make them slap your protagonist. (J.K. Rowling did it better, kid.)
  10. Make your protagonist interesting by making them read. (THEY ALL READ. THAT SHOULDN'T BE AN ATTRIBUTE YOU GIVE TO YOUR CHARACTER IF YOU'RE GOING TO BASH THE HUNGER GAMES. Oh my gosh, I read. I'm so freaking special. Oh my gosh. This book sucks. The one you're reading is freaking fantabulous. GET. OUT.)
If I ever read it, it'll only be to bash it.



(Sorry. I had to.)

YA Is Not A One-Trick Pony

Tuesday, 24 November 2015
The rage is real. The sexism in THAT article is out of control. YA is not a money-making machine. It's readers do not buy into money-making scams. 

That's right. We see you, sir, and we know when something is wrong. 

THAT DEAL. Yeah, THAT BOOK. Oh, boy. That's not okay. 

THAT BOOK is not a Freaking. Special. Snowflake. 

Nope. It's a rip off of other YA novels--namely, The Hunger Games and so many others that are written by FEMALES. Females rule the NYT bestsellers list for a reason. They write great fiction and when given the chance, they have proven themselves to be capable of writing great pieces of fiction. 

Yes, men are still kicking butt, but that's nothing new. For centuries now, men have been writing these successful novels and have been praised for them. 

The fact is, the reason this man self-published originally is because dystopian is done. You've got to pull out something *very* original to catch people's attention with it nowadays. Dystopias just aren't making for bestsellers like they used to. (Victoria Aveyard's RED QUEEN is the exception, not the rule because it is freaking fabulous.)

Here's the deal: men cannot tell a woman's story the way a woman can. 




So excuse me if I think publishers should not be supporting that kind of book in a YA community that wants more diversity and more acceptance. 

Remember everyone: money talks. If you don't like something, don't buy it. I won't be supporting this book and I hope you won't support it either.

November: The Slow Month // YA's Current State

You: Hey Liran! Where've you been?

Me: Oh boy. Where to begin?

I've been writing my butt off for NaNo (I HATE NANO (but not's a long story)) and that leaves no time for anything besides mandatory things.

You: So blogging took a backseat?

Me: Sorry!!! But I promise I'll try my hardest to post more of all the things in December! (Also, holiday gift guide for book nerds and non-book nerds: yay or nay?)

Also, grrrrrr at how true this is:

Oh, YA, what happened? *face palm*

Seriously! Just last Friday I was complaining to my friend/carat Cat (@KainesCat on Twitter!) about this whole "protag has to be skinny or else she gets shamed by someone" phase and GAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. No no no no no no no no. Since when is a size eight "curvy in all the right places and some of the wrong ones" like, NOOOOOOO. Why does weight loss = a good thing in YA???!!!

Like, no no no no no!!!

And female writers are brilliant!!!! Why, oh, why would anyone look down upon them when they are DOMINATING the NYT bestsellers list???!!!! No.


Just don't.

(I would link the article but I don't want to support it.)

Sorry for my rambling, but well...this is my blog.

Review of Dead Upon A Time

Saturday, 14 November 2015
Remember when I said it's Halloween year-round for me? 

Yeah, I'm totally listening to This Is Halloween while I write this.

Book: Dead Upon A Time

Author: Elizabeth Paulson

Publisher: Scholastic

Genre: Horror, Fairy Tale Retellings, Mystery, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Summary: It's a fairy-tale nightmare . . .One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she's given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles -- and if she pricks her finger, she'll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate's world. She's not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother's house in the woods -- and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can't get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what's happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention -- even though the girl's stepmother would rather he didn't. It's up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that's far from happy.

Review: "Over the river and through the woods...

to a killer's house we go."

I'm going to tell you all something that you already know if you've read some of my past reviews: I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings. As in, I will read any of them that you shove my way. Here's another fun fact about me: Halloween is my favourite holiday. (This is Halloween, this is Halloween pumpkins scream in the dead of night!) So of course I had to read a horror retelling that combined several fairy tales.

Thank goodness I did. 

The writing and great plot made this book so easy to read (which is good because it's not a long book in the first place). It was also a lot of fun (as I'm sure you would expect) which I found refreshing in a sea of darker horror-y/mystery stories.

I really liked the characters too. Kate Hood (aka Little Red Riding Hood) made for a great protagonist. I liked her drive as a character and overall her personality. She came off likeable. The other characters were also great (go character development!) and I loved going on this adventure with them. 

Dead Upon A Time is a fast-paced, clever mash up of beloved fairy tales that entertains until the very last page. Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love it!

***A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way influenced my thoughts and opinions.

How To Lose A Bachelor Book Tour

Friday, 13 November 2015
Hello lovelies!

Today I have the wonderful Anna Banks (yes, NYT bestselling amazing human Anna Banks) on my blog to inform you all on whether or not you should read her book. And trust me, the answer to that question is ALWAYS yes!

  1. If you don’t get sarcasm, or don’t enjoy it, then this is not the book for you. Seriously, walk away. Keep walking. Okay run.
  2. If you think reality TV is real, you’re better off investing the $2.99 purchase price in buying stock in the London Bridge. Run along, now, and have some tea.
  3. If you enjoy submissive heroines who always do what they’re told and who would rather gnaw off their own pinky fingers than cause a scene, please do not buy this book.
  4. If you enjoy coloring books, this is not that.
  5. If you hate happily-ever-afters and would rather the characters contract STDs and die slow painful deaths, probably you should move on.
  6. If you laugh through your nose, you might not want to read How To Lose A Bachelor. Or at the very least, don’t drink anything while you’re reading it…
  7. If you don’t believe a guy deserves a kick to the rocks now and again, you might want to reconsider. 
  8. If you don’t believe in second chances, then you shouldn’t read this. And you should probably talk to your doctor about getting some happy pills.

Anna Banks
Releasing Nov 9th, 2015
Entangled: Bliss

When Rochelle Ransom auditioned for the dating show Luring Love, she had big plans
for winning the prize money to help her favorite charity–and if she won the hot
bachelor's heart, even better. But at the last minute she finds out the hot
bachelor is her ex-boyfriend, Grant Drake. Desperate to keep her distance from
him, she'll do anything–and everything–to get voted off.

Years ago, Rochelle broke Grant’s heart, and he's out for revenge. There's no way
he'll vote her off.  After all, vengeance
is a dish best served red-hot...and on live television.

When her hilarious antics to get kicked off the show escalate, Grant’s reminded why
he fell in love with her the first time. Now he isn't sure which might be more
fun... Seeing how far Rochelle is willing to go to get away or how far he will
to keep her forever.


Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

You can also enter to win a $100.00 Amazon eGift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anna Banks is the NYT Bestselling YA author of The Syrena Legacy series: OF POSEIDON (2012) OF TRITON (2013) OF NEPTUNE (2014). Repped by rockstar Lucy Carson of the Friedrich Agency. She lives with my husband and daughter in the Florida Panhandle. She has a southern accent compared to New Yorkers, and she enjoys food cooked with real fat. She can't walk in high heels, but she's very good at holding still in them. If you put chocolate in front of her, you must not have wanted it in the first place.

Thank you Anna and Tasty Book Tours for letting me be a part of this blog tour. Everyone, make sure to go buy How To Lose A Bachelor because it's going to be hilarious!

The Elementals Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Sunday, 8 November 2015
So Michelle Meadow (yes, THAT Michelle Madow, you know, the one who wrote THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS/all the excellent books) has a new book coming out called The Elementals and it has a cover. Want to see it?

Isn't it gorgeous????

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!

Title: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows
Author: Michelle Madow
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Series: Elementals #1
Format: eBook
ISBN: 2940152448849


When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

Pre-order: Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  iBooks  

Rafflecopter for Cover & Blurb Giveaway:

Michelle is offering one lucky winner a signed paperback ARC of Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

About the Author:

Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!

Connect with Michelle:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Be sure to go preorder The Elementals!

Secret Truthwitch Blog Tour

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Happy November everyone! *jumps into a pile of leaves*

Can you tell that this is no ordinary post? Because it's not. I've got some explaining to do, don't I? Okay then, let's start at the beginning.

So last week during the Clan Chat, I realized just how much time, money, and energy the lovely Susan Dennard was putting into her Truthwitch street team. And while I'm not on the team itself, I still try to help promote Truthwitch in any way I can (because I have a not-so-secret obsession with it).

Jump to a few minutes later and an idea pops into my head: what if there was a blog tour that wasn't strictly limited to members of the street team? And what if it was a surprise? And what if I secretly recruited both members of the street team and non-street team members?

SURPRISE!!! That's exactly what I did.

All through the week, different bloggers will be posting some awesome posts to show you all how excited they are for Truthwitch!

11/1/15 - Liran @ Empress of Books
11/1/15 - Alexandra @ Literary Legionnaire
11/2/15 - Kit @ Let The Pages Reign
11/3/15 - Hedvig @ Sunroadreads
11/4/15 - Angel @Avid Reader
11/5/15 - Stacey @Write All About It
11/6/15 - Jaimie @ Jaimiesam
11/7/15 - Casey Marie @ Little Red's Reviews

I guess it's time for me to tell you all why Truthwitch is a huge obsession of mine.

*Cue the fangirling*

  1. Merck Nihar
  2. Aeduan
  4. It's by Susan Dennard.
  6. Kick-butt female leads.
  7. Their friendship.
  8. Slow burning romances.
  10. Because Sarah J. Maas also loves it.
  11. Because it has awesome fans.
  13. Badassery.
  14. I have made so many references and tweeted so much about it.
  15. THAT MAP.
  16. It's going to look gorgeous on my shelf.
  17. You can write self-insert fanfic about it no matter who you are.
  18. It only comes out in a few months.
  19. It's a great book.
  20. Why wouldn't you be excited for it?
There you have it. Twenty reasons to go preorder Truthwitch ASAP! Be sure to check out everyone's posts this week and good luck if you're doing NaNoWriMo!