Month9Books & Tantrum Books Friday Reveal ~ There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane ~ Plus a Giveaway (or two!)

Today Melanie McFarlane and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for THERE ONCE WERE STARS, which releases April 26, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:

I have anticipated this moment for months—the moment I would be able to share my cover with all of you! When I first laid eyes on the cover for THERE ONCE WERE STARS I was immediately drawn to the stars and how they are escaping their glass prison. In my novel, the main character, Natalia Greyes, is also locked in a glass prison: her home, Dome 1618. During Nat’s childhood the stars became more visible in the sky, after being blocked by darkness for decades after the Cleansing Wars. Like the stars, Nat is a symbol of change as she transforms from a na├»ve youth into a strong teen, who searches for her place in her tiny world of Dome 1618, and dreams of escaping to the outside one day. But my favorite detail of all is the grass and how cool and inviting it is in contrast to the hard sheen of the glass jar. It can be seen as a symbol of how mankind can never capture or truly duplicate the beauty of nature, or the wonder of life itself.

Don’t forget to check out my trailer on YouTube:

On to the reveal! 

Author: Melanie McFarlane
Pub. Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it:  Goodreads

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

Exclusive Excerpt
Chapter One
I stretch my arms across my bed, running my fingers along the same sheets I’ve had since I was a child. The stiffness was beaten out of them long ago, but they still carry the memory of my mother carefully stitching the first tear back together when I was seven. The tiny x’s remind me of her long fingers, moving the needle back and forth with the same care as when she worked with samples in her laboratory.
I trace the row stitches, squeezing my eyes shut as I make a wish; it is my eighteenth birthday, after all. But when I open them, the same scene shows from my bedroom window that always does—the grid of our dome. Nothing changes. It doesn’t matter how many birthday wishes are made; I always wake up trapped inside the dome. The grid of thick glass and steel arcs far above our apartment, stretching to where the great Axis, a tower of government offices, meets the peak of our home—Dome 1618.
I crawl out of bed and let my gaze trail down the Axis to the rooftops of the other apartment buildings, row upon row of housing for blue-collar workers. Closer to the Axis are townhouses of the business owners, hidden from the rest of us, but that’s not where I long to be. My eyes drift to the base of the dome, far away from my window where the Outer Forest lies, my only saving grace. It’s forbidden to hike among the trees, but sometimes rules need to be broken.
“Natalia!” Grandmother’s piercing voice comes from the other side of my bedroom door. “Get up. You’re wasting the day away.”
The clock on my dresser reads eight o’clock in the morning. Seriously? It’s been nine years since I moved in with my grandparents, and saying Grandmother and I have differing opinions barely touches the surface. Her rules are sometimes worse than those of the Order, who police the dome. With any luck, I’ll be assigned my own apartment soon and can finally restart my life, again.
I run my brush through my long brown hair, although by the time I go outside it will look unruly once again. It’s my curse; I have thick hair like my mother, with waves that look more like oddly-placed kinks, unlike the smooth-flowing locks worn by some of the other girls at my school. But I won’t have to go back to the Learning Institute again. Today I’m an adult.
My jeans are on the floor where I left them last night, and I manage to find a clean T-shirt in my drawer. Both have the same tiny stitches as my sheets, covering up the wear and tear over the years, but I sewed these back together myself. Grandmother is firm on the fact that if I don’t take care of what I have, I don’t get a replacement. There’s no point in arguing when her opinions are as deep as the wrinkles on her face, and honestly, it’s hard to tell which she has more of. Before I leave my room, I grab my mother’s notebook. It’s filled with her sketches and work notes on different projects she was involved in. But my favorites are the tiny notes, squeezed in the margins, excerpt of her personal thoughts, hopes, and dreams. The biggest of these was to move her family outside the dome.
“I know you were out last night,” Grandmother says, eyeing me suspiciously between the milk and dry toast as I slip into my seat at the table.
“Must we have this conversation every morning?” Grandfather speaks up.
“You know the ramifications!” Grandmother shrills, and he shrinks in his chair. “Do you want to let her stroll around at night past curfew? One day she won’t come home, and then we will be questioned.” Grandmother redirects her attention to me. “What are you doing out there that’s important enough to risk everything? Haven’t I warned you? If the Order catches you, you will wish you had listened to me.”
“That’s my problem.” I fold my arms across my chest. She always makes me back down with her words. If I’m going to be an adult, I need to learn how to take a stand.
“If your parents could only see you now,” she says unsympathetically. “They would wonder how they got a daughter so determined to get herself detained. You know what they do with little girls who don’t follow the rules.”
“Yes,” I say through gritted teeth. She’s given these lectures many times. Girls who don’t follow the rules are sent back to the Learning Institute for retraining, where they come out all prim and proper, ready to take their place as functional citizens of the dome. I’m not going back there; I know how to stay under the radar.
“Come on, now.” Grandfather finally steps in. “It’s Nat’s birthday.”
“Yes.” Her tone softens. “You’re eighteen now. Hurry and eat; we got you a little something.”
I gobble down the toast, stale as it is, but fresh food is not something that our dome has had in a long time. Since the accident that caused my parents’ death, the Order stopped all excursions for scientific research, completely cutting off the outside world. Prior to this, there were plenty of rations from the farms due to uncontaminated seeds the expedition teams found, along with new plant life for supplementing the crops. But those stockpiles have slowly depleted.
When I finish breakfast, I look at my grandparents in anticipation. Grandfather’s face is beaming, and though Grandmother looks like she is trying to be serious, I can see a small sparkle in her eyes as she hands me a tiny green box with a little purple bow. The bow is smooth, made from fabric nicer than anything I own. I gently untie it, and put the silky strand safely in my pocket, before opening the box to see what is inside.
A silver, heart-shaped locket sits on top of fine tissue paper, so delicate I don’t dare touch it in case it rips. An image of two hands holding a smaller heart is engraved into the center of the locket. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen—I’ve never owned jewelry of my own. My hands are shaking so bad I almost drop the box.
“Careful!” Grandmother’s voice snaps me from my awe. She grabs the box from me, and it takes all my inner strength to let it go.
She removes the necklace from the box and opens the locket, holding it out to me. Inside, is a photo of my parents on their wedding day. Photos are luxuries. I only own one other— a photo of me with my parents when I turned three—and it stays safe on my nightstand. But this locket—I can take it with me anywhere. I hold up my hair, allowing Grandmother to secure it around my neck, then grasp the tiny keepsake in my hand. I will cherish it forever.
“I’m going to show this to Jak and Xara,” I say, leaving the table.
“Don’t forget, you have to report to work today.” Grandmother reminds me.
“But it’s Saturday.” I groan.
“You’re eighteen now,” she says, her eyes vacant of the compassion they held only seconds ago. “Your time to contribute to the dome begins today. Plus, any experience is good to have if you want to be a scientist one day, like your parents.”
“I don’t see how cleaning toilets at the Axis will do me any good in the future,” I complain. “And I never said I want to be a scientist.”
“You’ll find where you’re meant to be.” Grandfather smiles. “Understanding everything from the bottom-up will help you make a better decision about what you want to do to make your contribution.”
I sigh as I lace up my sneakers, now feeling the pressure of the future. I have no idea what I want to do today, let alone the rest of my life. But it definitely does not involve cleaning up after those in the Axis. I wave good-bye as I leave the apartment, but only Grandfather waves back. My number one fan; he always tries to keep the peace between Grandmother and I. But no matter how close we are, I still have to lie about where I’m really going. No one can know about my secret place.
Outside, I stretch my arms up toward the top of the dome. The sun shines through the dust covered glass of the dome, with sections of blue sky showing here and there. I sneak around the back of our apartment building, and begin my stealthy weave through alleyways. I have hours before my first shift starts at the Axis. Hours to spend somewhere the Order can’t find me.
When I reach the Outer Forest, I sneak in a break in the fence and move between the trunks of trees, inhaling the last of the old world. The rich combination of musk and earth fills my lungs as I run as fast as I can from the fence. Running is one of the few things that make me feel free. When I reach my destination, I’m out of breath, but exactly where I belong—a hidden clearing at the edge of the dome.
I crawl inside a hollowed-out tree I’ve claimed as my own. How did the Order miss this lone tree, dying amidst the perfection of the Outer Forest? It should have been torn down long ago, to make room for larger, healthier, oxygen bearing trees. Decay doesn’t coincide with the Order’s pursuit for perfection and efficiency, but it’s ideal for me: hidden, empty, and alone. I accept this tree’s imperfections and it offers me solace.
I clutch my locket again, this time removing it from my neck so I can look inside. A twinge of pain prickles my throat as my parents’ faces stare back at me. They look so happy and in love. I remember that about them. The in love part. I haven’t thought about people in love for so long.
I lean back, holding the locket against my chest, intent on enjoying the morning sun. Unfortunately, the heat of the sun doesn’t penetrate the cold glass of the dome, but something about that glowing orb in those blue skies makes me feel better. Mom wrote in her notebook about the first time she felt the sun on her skin: warm and, bright, as if it gave her a new life with its rays, just like it did to the world, after the Cleansing Wars. I close my eyes, imagining myself bathed in sunlight, and finally give in to the peace of the forest.
I wake up, feeling something sharp poking my side. I can’t believe I drifted off. My hand shoots behind me, to find the source of the pain. My mother’s notebook is jutting awkwardly from my back pocket. I stand up to tuck it back in, and my gaze slips above a line of bushes growing wildly along the base of the dome. At the same time, something flashes above them, and my breath catches in my throat. My reflection stares back at me from the glass, revealing my locket shining in the sunlight. Relax, Dacie, it’s only you. A nervous laugh escapes my throat, as I finish putting the notebook away.
Another light flashes, but this time it’s in the distance, on the other side of the glass. I lean forward, focusing on the light, and see a shadow move on the other side. My entire body goes rigid, and my heart beat thunders in my ears. No one could be out there—unless—could it be an Infected? No, that’s impossible. They were all killed by the Cleansing War—everything was. If the nukes didn’t kill them, the nuclear fallout afterward would have.
Something moves again—closer this time. A gasp escapes my lips, as a shudder rips through my body. That’s when I see it—the faint outline of a person standing in the open. He’s camouflaged by a layer of dust, blending him into the barren landscape that surrounds the dome. The figure’s shadow stretches across the ground, reaching toward me.
I rub my eyes, as if something in them could be making me see the figure, but when I open them I’m startled to see the figure again, only now there are two. One stays farther back, toward the rockier land, silhouetted against the foothills in the distance. The other stands a short distance from the dome. My heart skips a beat—they’re both human, and they’re both staring in my direction.

About Melanie: 

Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Thought she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her two upcoming YA novels: THERE ONCE WERE STARS and SUMMONER RISING.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive the FIRST eGalley of THERE ONCE WERE STARS. International.

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Also Melanie is giving away swag enter that giveaway too!

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Jaime Reviews ~ In the After by Elisa Dane ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

By Elisa Dane
Published on February 2, 2016
Published by: Swoon Romance
Source: Chapter by Chapter

Ian and his only friend are the object of Sadie’s friends’ ridicule, ire, and entertainment. The AE rule the school with intimidation and retribution against anyone who would dare question their supremacy.

Sadie steers clear of most of it, terrified someone will find out her secret. She isn’t the least bit perfect. In fact, she suffers from PTSD stemming from the murder of her mother right before her eyes when she was a child. She can barely cope from day-to-day, hiding her truth and trying to fit in. But she knows it’s only a matter of time.

Hayden is a “Waverly,” a kid with the misfortune of living in the small farming town of Waverly that borders the very affluent Lexington Parrish. The AE doesn’t mix with “Waverlies.” Ever.

Desperate to get away from her oppressive friends, Sadie crashes into Hayden at a bonfire and the attraction that sparks between them is nothing short of electric. But Hayden’s an outsider and when things heat up, Sadie will be forced to choose between her friends and her new boyfriend.

Only Queen Bee Britt isn’t having it. She will not allow Sadie to cross her. Sadie can either do what Britt wants her to do or she will reveal Sadie for the PTSD freak that she is.

Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. Not any more. One fateful night will help her see how much things have to change.

She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. She will be strong, stand up for Ian and love who she wants in Hayden. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.

But, the unthinkable happens.

Shooters attack dozens of students before the two eventually take their own lives, leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.

Suddenly who lives where, wears what or loves whom seems like the least of Lexington Parish’s problems as everyone and everything changes forever in the after.

IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss and redemption. It is recommended for readers 14+.

In the After...

  This was most definitely a "hard-hitting and heart-warming" story. Elisa Dane is a heavy-weight when it comes to emotions. I felt everything while reading this book. Hate, anger, frustration, fear, love and heartbreak. I may not have been acquainted with Ms, Dane prior to In the After, but now I am very interested in seeing what else she has to offer.

 In the After is one of those books that you just need to read. The details, the descriptions, the relationships, how everything plays out, it is all part of a journey and I don't want to ruin it for you. So instead of facts about the story, I will just stick to feelings about this story and it's players. 

The AE rule the school, and they are good at it. In the worst way. These were truly terrible people. They are where my anger was directed, for the most part. The way Ian was treated just made me so angry. And while I know I should have been angry with Sadie, and at first I truly was, as the story progressed I started to understand. My heart hurt for her. I could imagine the fear she felt, as a teenager who is surrounded by these types of people. Hayden, thank goodness for Hayden. He was precious. He was a light in the darkness....

 And there was a lot of darkness. When I was in high school, almost fifteen years ago now, we didn't think about shooters coming in to our school. That wasn't something that happened, at least not like it does now. But now, I can only imagine that this is a real fear that students face. For this to actually play out, man. I was thoroughly absorbed in the story while at the same time my mind was revolting against what was happening.

 I love the fact that YA authors today aren't shying away from writing about tough subjects, because the world that we live in today is full of these things. They happen, regularly. Teenagers need a way to think about them, a platform that gives voice to the fears that they face, and books are a great platform. They make way for discussions, they bring issues to life. I admire authors, like Elisa Dane, who are willing to write about things that for so long just weren't talked about. 

 In the After is a great story. In the end, the book may not be perfect, but the story is so good and that is what matters. To this day, I am not sure what made me request to be a part of this tour. But I am so glad that I did. Thanks Elisa Dane, for a wonderful story!

About the Author...

Elisa Dane loves books, chocolate, reality television, her family, and All Star Cheerleading. Not necessarily in that order! She writes contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. She writes what she knows, and it’s her hope that her stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you’ll find a new respect for the sport of All Star Cheerleading you may not have had before. She’s represented by Brittany Booker of the Booker/Albert Agency, and has published a NA paranormal series under her real name, Lisa Sanchez.


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Jaime Lynn

Jaime Reviews ~ The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Year We Fell Apart
by Emily Martin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rate: 4 Stars


In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

  The Year We Fell Apart landed on my radar because of it's beautiful cover art. After seeing it, I had to know what the book was about. Though these types of books, the realistic/contemporary fiction type reads, aren't my go-to's, there are certain ones that intrigue me. This is definitely one of the ones that captured my interest. After all, I know all about making epic mistakes. 

  There is a lot to this story; love and heartbreak, death and life, addiction and freedom. There are some truly great themes in this book that I feel are necessary in the world of teens today. One being just how easy it is to fall into an addiction, and how hard it can be to overcome it. Another, that you can't always run from the bad things that happen in life, or try to drown them. Harper, our main character does both. She makes some really horrible choices during this story. But in the end, she starts to overcome!

 Harper, Declan and Cory have been the best of friends for a long time. Eventually, after Declan's heartbreaking loss of his mom, they became something more. After Declan's dad sent him away to school, they started losing that connection a little at a time. Harper did something horrible to ease her pain and then ended things with Declan. Since then, she has continued to make horrible decisions and now that her own mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, those decisions become even worse. And now, Declan is back in town and Harper feels overwhelmed with guilt and remorse and she is full of anger and fear over her mom's sickness. This is the story of Harper's road to redemption and her and Declan's chance to make it work.

 I really did enjoy the book, but there were several things that bugged me. The good things first, though! Emily Martin handles emotion and feeling like a heavyweight champ. She gets so many things right. The desperation, the fear, the anger, the feeling of unworthiness and "why the heck shouldn't I?". I love how true-to-life these things were. The other best thing was the friendships that Harper made. Her friendship with Cory was wonderful. He was always there for her, even when he was angry at her. He also didn't let things slide. He told her how he felt about her actions and choices. Harper's new friendships with a couple of the girls from her summer photography class were also a highlight. Love these girls! Finally, Martin's depiction of a negative friendship is so on par with Harper and Sophie's relationship. It was toxic but it was also a part of true life. There are people who just are not good for you.

 My one issue with the story was, unfortunately, Harper herself. Yes, Sophie was terrible, BUT she was meant to be terrible. Harper on the other hand made a couple of decisions that just did not sit well with me. I won't go into them because I don't want to give any spoilers, but if you read the book maybe you can guess?! Hint: Harp's mom  Hint: End of the book! GAH, I want to talk about it so badly. Maybe in the comments we can talk! 

 All in all, The Year We Fell Apart was a really realistic, true to life story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I am looking forward to hearing about what's next from the brilliant mind of Emily Martin. Finally, thanks for letting me be a part of this tour!

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Follow the The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Emily Martin lives and writes in the Greater Boston area, though she will always call Michigan home. She has a penchant for impromptu dance parties, vintage clothing, and traveling to new places. When not writing, she can be found hiking New England’s peaks, searching for the perfect cup of hot chocolate, or baking something pumpkin-flavored.

Emily’s debut young adult novel, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, comes out January 26, 2016 from Simon Pulse.

Her work is represented by Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary.

Jaime Reviews ~ It's All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick ~ Blog Tour and Giveaway

By Paul Rudnick
Published on January 26, 2016
Published by: Scholastic Press
Source: Scholastic Press
One last chance. One wild weekend. Flat out the funniest book of the year.

My name is Caitlin and up until forty-eight hours ago I had never:

Tasted alcohol, kissed a boy, sang in public at the top of my lungs, kidnapped anyone or--WHAT? STOLEN A CONVERTIBLE?

Now I'm in jail and I have no idea what I'm going to tell:

The police, my parents, the mayor, all of those camera crews and everyone on Twitter.

I have just noticed that:

My nose is pierced and I have-WAIT? IS THAT A TATTOO?

I blame one person for this entire insane weekend:

My famous cousin.

Who is also my former best friend.

Who I have HATED for the past four years.

Who I miss like crazy. NO I DON'T!!!!


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It's All Your Fault...

 If Paul Rudnick knows one thing, it is humor. He knows how to draw a laugh out of you without you even realizing it is coming. His story is laugh out loud funny and he has no problem pushing some limits to get those laughs. This was a refreshing young adult comedy and I am really looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next! 

 Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry is a good Christian girl. She and all of her brothers and sisters sing with their parents in a traveling group called The Singing Singleberry's. She was home-schooled! She wears kneesocks!  But now, after a single weekend, she finds herself sitting in a jail cell with only one kneesock on, a bandage covering what might be a tattoo and her hair cut short and dyed like a rainbow. Caitlin knows exactly who is responsible for her fall from grace. Her cousin, Heller Harrigan. It is ALL HELLER'S FAULT!

 Heller Harrigan is Caitlin's cousin. Four years ago, they were the best of friends. Until Caitlin almost dies and everyone blames Heller. Now Heller is a star! Finally out of her Anna Banana shadow, she is the biggest star in the upcoming movie Angel Wars, a wildly popular YA book series. But Heller is spinning out of control. Drugs and alcohol, clubs and boys... The stories are endless. There is more to Heller than just those things though. It just might take someone special to get through to Heller, so she can truly become the star she was meant to be.

 Caitlin and Heller's moms concoct a plan. They want Caitlin to head to New York to stay with Heller for a weekend. Caitlin is supposed to keep Heller under control, get her through all of the interviews for the movie, keep her from drinking. Caitlin reluctantly agrees. Hostility ensues between the two at first, but slowly they start to laugh with each other. Then, things get a little wild and a little weird! And oh. so. funny!

 There are only about thirty scenes from It's All Your Fault that I want to talk about. But I can't! All that I can say is that you need to grab a copy of this book and get ready to laugh and cry with Caitlin and Heller. And just wait to Sophie, the little girl with cancer, shows up! This book is a riot! It is also heartwarming, with some really great themes for young girls sprinkled throughout. Paul Rudnick, admittedly, wasn't on my radar before I read this one, but I can promise that from now on he is on my radar in a big way! 

What (other) people are saying...

“Paul Rudnick is one of the funniest people out there and he’s on fire with It’s All Your Faul. This book is as fun and crazy as a wild night out. I had to know what happened next.” — Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happen Live

“Paul Rudnick makes me screech with laughter and sob with fury that I can’t write the way he does.” – E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars

“Caution: Do not read in public. Will cause you to laugh (and possibly cry) out loud, sometimes at the same time. Screamingly funny and yet warmly touching. Buy multiple copies: You’ll want to share this one with friends.” – Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries and Mediator series

«“Hilarious, irresistible, and oh so timely.” — Kirkus, starred review

“Eschewing common sense and exhibiting a great deal of heart, this is one riotously good read.”

“[A] whirlwind, laugh-a-minute escapade about a girl swept far outside her comfort zone,

with real heart beneath the acid humor.” — Publishers Weekly

About the Author...

Paul Rudnick is a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. His screenplays include In&Out and Addams Family Values, and he’s written for VogueEntertainment WeeklyVanity Fair, and the New Yorker. His plays, including I Hate Hamlet and Jeffrey, have been produced both on and off Broadway and around the world. His first young adult novel, Gorgeous, was called a “wicked good time” by the New York Times Book Review. Under the pen name Libby Gelman-Waxner, he is also the world’s most beloved and irresponsible film critic. Paul lives in New York City. Find him online at and on Twitter @PaulRudnickNY.


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Tour Schedule...

Week One:
1/18/2016- The Cover ContessaInterview
1/19/2016- Zach's YA ReviewsReview
1/20/2016- Swoony Boys PodcastGuest Post
1/21/2016- Book BriefsReview
1/22/2016- In WonderlandInterview

Week Two:
1/25/2016- The Best Books Ever - Review
1/26/2016- Avid Reader - Guest Post
1/27/2016- Eli to the nthReview
1/28/2016- BookHounds YAInterview
1/29/2016- A Dream Within A DreamReview

The Jericho River

By David W. Tollen
Published 05 September 2105
Published by Winifred Press
Source: The Cadence Group
History isn't names and dates -- it's an adventure story.

And so is The Jericho River. Both a novel and a history of Western Civilization, it's won multiple awards, including first place at the London Book Festival and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

The Jericho River flows through a magical world shaped by myth and history. Young Jason Gallo sails the river on a dangerous quest to rescue his estranged father. He battles minotaurs and pirates, flees barbarians, stumbles into mummies' tombs, and outwits fairies, philosophers, and scientists. Along the way, he finds love and betrayal, faces the legacy of a broken family -- and flees a hidden foe who threatens all he holds dear.

But Jason's tale is more than an adventure story. The river flows like a timeline, carrying the young man through historic lands -- Sumer, Babylonia, ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, Napoleon' empire, and many others -- all in chronological order, tracing the history of Western Civilization, from its Middle Eastern origins to the modern era. Professor Gallo, Jason's father, is a historian, and his notes outline the journey, revealing the truth about Cleopatra, King Arthur, and the fall of the Roman Empire. He explains how Snow White began as a goddess and why Eve was created from Adam's rib, as well as the origins of coffee, the cat, chivalry, the Internet, Atlantis -- and much more.

Featuring twenty-six vivid historical illustrations and three maps.

I'm not entirely sure where to start when it comes to talking about The Jericho River. The concept is great. It's a fascinating idea that isn't quite followed through. I think in many ways, this is in part a side effect of the footnotes. Now, I'm all for footnotes. The thing is, though, that I'm for footnotes when they're well done, when they add something to the story. The late Terry Pratchett did footnotes wonderfully. In this book, they're a distraction. Not only are they a distraction, but they seem to be the vehicle through which the author does much of the pushing of his point. There is also nothing inherently wrong with a didactic book. Heck, how much of literature has been founded on that basic principle? Go on, preach your piece if you want. It's your book. But when the footnotes take a very obvious turn towards the "This Is My Message" and are left in huge paragraph chunks that aren't very well typeset it becomes...well, even more annoying than it could have been otherwise.

So yes, I would have loved to have a version of this book without footnotes. There was a point about halfway through when I stopped reading them altogether since they weren't adding anything to my enjoyment of the story. Let me be clear on this: I did not enjoy the story. There were elements that I enjoyed, of course. There always are. As I said, I liked the concept. It was a good spark, but that spark didn't turn into much more. The author also had moments when his prose was absolutely beautiful, when he could paint a vivid picture with his words. Those moments were quickly followed by prose so purple it made me wonder if it might like to be let in from the cold.

Let's talk about the MC though, shall we? Jason Gallo. Actually, you know what, there's not a lot to say about Jason. You see, successful fiction and particularly successful YA fiction, gives you a reason to root for the character right from or near the start. Jason doesn't get that rapidfire development. We know that his mom is gone and that he has an aunt Rachel, a little sister Athena (who his father brought into this world, really? Really? It wasn't enough to make the name reference all on its own, we had to be treated to that line too? Jason and Athena was totally enough to establish that their father is a history nerd. We get it,) and that their dad is a history professor who has a certain kind of Presence. This is a Force To Be Reckoned With that doesn't come across in the excerpts from his lectures, btw. We know this because Jason believes it, and from the get go, Jason doesn't seem like the most reliable of narrators.

Jason Gallo is a blank template, but an unsucessful one. He's clearly a character meant to be the path for the reader into the book but- Look, he annoyed me. I'm not gonna spoil anything for the plot, but if this book were to get rewritten or a different adaptation, I'd want a version where Athena lives up to her namesake. I know she's young, but it wouldn't be the first time an actual child has basically wrecked house on a magical world. What we see of Athena makes her have so much more potential than Jason.

Honestly, this book lost me pretty early on. I had to work, actually work to finish it. It wasn't fun. It wasn't enjoyable. It was a chore, plain and simple. The best thing I can say about this book was that it felt alright in my hands. It wasn't a thing that I minded holding so long as I wasn't actually reading it.

Jaime Reviews ~ Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

By Kate Karyus Quinn
Published on April 26, 2016
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Around The World ARC Tours
There's a reason they say "be careful what you wish for." Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for "balls of steel" and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...

Down With the Shine...

 Kate Karyus Quinn has blown me away with each book that she writes. Another Little Piece was the first one, and WOW. Then there was (Don't You) Forget About Me, and I was pretty well and truly in love. Her books will always be on my must read list, so Down with the Shine was a no-brainer. It is a weird one, to be sure, and just another reason that K.K.Q is a favorite author of mine!

 Lennie is tired of living under the shadow of grief, and feeling like she should be the one that died instead of her best friend. After all, everyone already hates her. All they see when they look at her is her dad, Leonard Cash, America's Most Wanted refugee. And the person who murdered her best friend was after her because of her father. But just this one night, Lennie wants to be a part of the crowd; she wants to mean something. So, after drugging her uncles to put them to sleep, she steals a few jars of their infamous moonshine, and crashes the party of the year. But Lennie doesn't realize what her uncles little moonshine saying really is. And after a night of granting crazy and outlandish wishes, she realizes that their is so much more to the moonshine business. Now there is a house full of teenagers that have changed in crazy ways, and a her dead best friend's brother who hates her guts, wants nothing more than to hold her hand. Now Lennie and Smith and her uncles are in a race to figure out how to fix Lennie's disastrous evening, before anyone else dies. And one last thing, her best friend is back from the dead...

 Down with the Shine was a wholly unique, crazy and wild story. We have a boy whose touch turns everything into Cheetos, a house full of people who can't get out, a boy with actual balls of steel! And we also have a sick and crazy dad who is willing to try anything to kidnap his only daughter. Throw in a bff zombie, and some romance (a rather sweet one), and you pretty much have a smorgasbord of a story. The characters are all wildly individual, a lot of them flat out crazy and the plot itself is strange and weird and wonderful. The further you delve into the story, the crazier everything gets. Even the more serious undertones have a lighter tone so that the book never truly gets dark. Kate Karyus Quinn is definitely the master of weird! I can't help but wonder if she made a moonshine wish to be able to write awesome kooky stories that capture peoples hearts anyway?!

Blog Tour ~ Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk ~ Spotlight and Giveaway

About the Book...

By Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Published on January 26, 2016
Published by: Delacorte Press
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV's Teen Mom.People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow.
Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma andDanny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn't reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny--perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks

About the Author...

 Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the Class of 2k16, the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.


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Tour Schedule...

Week One:
1/18/2016-Seeing Double In NeverlandInterview
1/19/2016- A Perfection Called Books- Review
1/20/2016- Ohana ReadsGuest Post
1/21/2016- The Best Books Ever Review
1/22/2016- Once Upon A TwilightReview

Week Two:
1/25/2016- Bookish Lifestyle- Interview
1/26/2016- Literary MeanderingsGuest Post
1/27/2016- DanaSquare - Review
1/28/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
1/29/2016- Here's to Happy EndingsReview