Book Pop!: Sam Maggs Q&A + Giveaway

Welcome! I’m so excited to be kicking off Book Pop in celebration of Quirk Book’s 15 year anniversary! Quirk has always been one of my favorite publishers- they invest so much time into publishing the best books with the coolest designs, perfectly fitting the feel of each story.  They’re very innovative and not afraid to take chances so it makes sense that they would create Book Pop!  Book Pop is essentially an online comic con so everyone can participate and experience the fun without paying the price of admission, travel or hotel accommodations!  This online celebration will take place starting today, July 31st and run through August 11th.  There will be giveaways, a cosplay contest, and original programming such as Twitter takeovers, Facebook Live panels, and more!  To see the full list of events (including the most awesome interactive con map I’ve ever laid eyes on), click here.  And best of all, I was able to do a Q&A with Sam Maggs, author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women to start things off!

Kristin: After attending a ton of conventions, it’s clear that each con has its own unique personality and focus.  Of all the conventions you regularly attend, which is your favorite and why?

Sam: This is like Sophie’s Choice! You’re absolutely right in that each convention really does have its own personality, so it depends on my mood. I adore TCAF (the Toronto Comic Arts Festival); run by the folks at Toronto’s premier LCS, The Beguiling, TCAF takes place over a weekend in the Toronto Reference Library, is completely free to attend, and really puts the focus on indie and webcomic artists. (VanCAF is an excellent alternative for any west-coasters out there). PAX is rad if you’re looking for a gaming convention – they have an interesting mix of big publishers and small indie titles to get excited about. Emerald City Comicon is a good example of a larger con that still does a good job of focusing on their incredible Artist Alley. YALLWest, based in Santa Monica High School, is an intense blast of YA lit fun. There are so many fun options out there now that cater to whatever your fandom may be!

Kristin: Nothing is better than the memories we create at conventions- from meeting celebrities, writers and artists to witnessing breaking news live at panels to buying merch and getting collectibles signed and, most importantly, to hanging out with friends from all corners of the world! What’s your fondest convention memory?

Sam: Honestly, I want my answer to be something impressive about a celebrity (I will say that, one time, Stan Lee called me cute and gave me a little hug, so that’s got to be up there). The truth is, though, that my favorite memories are attending my very first cons with my mom when I was in my first year of university! We were both so new to it and everything was so fresh and exciting. We made so many friends from all over the world that we’re still in touch with. There’s really nothing like sharing a con with someone you love, and who shares the same interests as you.

Kristin: It wouldn’t be a convention without cosplay!  What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve ever worn?  Dream cosplay?

Sam: I think it has to be my most recent cosplay: Lup Taaco, from The Adventure Zone podcast! I love those McElboys so much, and it was a delight to bring a fully-audio character to life – I had so much flexibility and choice in putting together her look! A dream cosplay would be Sailor Mercury, but I don’t think my legs will ever be able to pull that one off. Because they are normal human length.

Kristin: It’s no secret that comics are a male dominated industry but thankfully, things have been slowly changing.  Have you personally witnessed a positive shift in cons welcoming female attendees? And how do you think we as a community can continue to welcome new fangirls?

Sam: This is an interesting question because, for as long as I’ve attended them, cons have always been a women-dominated space. My very first cons were all Stargate conventions, and (it may not surprise you to learn that) those were almost entirely attended by women of all different ages from all over the world. The internet has provided such a great space for women to find and form their own fan communities, and those groups all go out to big cons now. With the addition of Cosplay is Not Consent and harassment policies, cons are safer and more welcoming spaces than ever to people of all genders. It’s a place where we can all go to meet folks just like us.

Kristin: What do you consider to be your greatest fandom treasure that you’ve acquired at a con?

Sam: Original artwork. It took me years of attending cons before I realized I should be getting commissions from all the wonderful artists there while I had the chance. If you’re going to start collecting sketches or art, I would recommend choosing a theme – that way, your artist has some direction, but still has some choice in what they draw. I’ve been getting witches, and my Kevin Wada Nico Minoru is like, my ultimate Con Get.

Kristin: Let’s imagine that you were pre-approved to create and moderate any panel of your choosing.  Who would you want on your panel and what would the topic be?

Sam: It would be just a regular “How to Make Amazing Comics” or “How to Break in to Comics” panel, but it would be staffed entirely by people who aren’t straight white men.

Kristin: Cons always involve very long days with minimal sitting and the exertion of your inner extrovert.  Luckily, the excitement of it all usually drives con-goers’ adrenaline levels to an all time high, but what’s your favorite way to decompress after you’ve arrived back home from a long weekend away?

Sam: Self-care is so necessary after a con week! I like to indulge in speaking to literally no one for as long as humanly possible. Seriously though, I try to boost my immune system to keep away that con crud by aiming for food and teas with lots of vitamins C and B6, and I use a hydrogel face mask to repair the damage done to my pores by intense hotel and plane dryness. In terms of my mental health, I don’t make any social plans for the week I’m back, and I do all my unpacking and laundry the second I step through the door when I get home. Not having that hanging over your head for the rest of the week feels amazing, and it means that after work you can indulge in your favorite restful rituals (I like LUSH baths and ASMR hairbrushing).

GIVEAWAY

  • 1 Copy of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
  • 1 Copy of Wonder Women by Sam Maggs
  • No purchase necessary

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Kristin

Travel Diaries: The Mountains Are Calling (Alaska Trip)

Hi all! Things have been a bit quiet here on the blog lately due to a number of things.  The first being, Andrew and I went on a trip to Alaska with his family for his older brother’s wedding.  I can honestly sat that Alaska is one of those states I never thought I would visit.  In addition to the super long flight across the country (I’m an anxious flier- especially when layovers are involved), I’m much more of a city girl than an outdoorsy girl.  My ideal vacation involves walking city streets, checking out bookstores and museums, indulging in local ice creameries, and admiring interesting architecture.  Alaska is the polar opposite.  We stayed in Girdwood which is “right” outside of  Anchorage (I air quote “right” because it’s about a 40 minute drive but according to native Alaskans, this is considered close-by) in one of the most beautiful log cabins I’ve ever laid eyes on.  It’s called Winner Creek Lodge and Andrew’s mom get’s all the credit for handling the discovery and booking of these gorgeous accommodations.  As scenic as the glaciers and mountains are, my favorite part of the trip were the mornings I was the first one awake.  I would head upstairs to the living room, made a large cup of chai tea, settle in with a blanket on one of the leather couches, and read my book next to one of the huge windows.  (My second favorite part of the trip was not having to wear work clothes for a week and getting to coordinate cute outfits.)  Initially I had been a bit upset about leaving New York when summer weather finally started to surface, but my attitude quickly changed when I realized we would be heading into autumn temperatures and I had a blast packing for an unusual week of my favorite seasons climate.  Even though it the weather was mostly dreary and rainy, it wasn’t like the torrential downpour of rain we experience in New York.  We didn’t even need an umbrella during our excursions and it wasn’t enough to ruin your hair.  The one thing I will say is that I have thankfully never been in a place before with more mosquitoes than Alaska.  They were E V E R Y W H E R E.

My favorite excursion of the trip was definitely the boat ride on the Kenai Fjords.  We took a very scenic boat ride out of a port in Seward to Fox Island which is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film.  Not to mention, foxes are my favorite animal so I was bound to love such a quirky place.  On our way back to Seward, we were able to see a humpback whale (Andrew got an incredible photo of his tail!) and to touch a bit of ice that broke off of a glacier.  My sister in law Molly had been dying to see some otters and she was over the moon when we rode by some just lounging on their backs in the water.  On the way back to Girdwood (it’s a 2 hours drive) we listened to the Hamilton soundtrack which I’m sure I enjoyed the most of anyone in our car.  And speaking of animals, we had several bear sightings on our street and in our backyard, which basically made me a nervous wreck.  I had been dreading getting attacked by a bear or a moose since before we left and to see them so close to where we were staying really scared me.  I did however, enjoy seeing a ton of animals at the conservatory where they were behind barriers.  There was a reindeer there that I swear looked exactly like Sven from Frozen.  And foxes! As I mentioned, foxes are my fave.  We also did a bunch of hikes, one to a glacier, one to a hidden waterfall and one just around our neighborhood to see the mountains.  It was all very surreal and felt like wandering Middle Earth but by the end of the trip I was ready to be back in NY with the three b’s- books, buildings and the good bagels.

Overall, we had a wonderful time.  Having grown up in a family of four, it was really fun to wake up to an even fuller house of family members (we had 9 total on this trip- sharing 4 bathrooms so it all worked out okay!).  But I enjoy the chaos and conversation that come with so many lovely people in one place.  We were also visited by Andrew’s cousins Clare, Caroline and Nora and their parents Aunt Monica and Uncle Mike and it was so nice to get to spend more time with them since even though they too live on the East Coast, they live a bit further away from us.  We are going to plan a weekend trip to visit them in Philadelphia soon though!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland

Personal Thoughts:  As soon as I heard that Leila Howland, author of one of my absolute favorite summer contemporary series, (Nantucket Blue / Nantucket Red) would be returning to writing YA after publishing several middle grade novels, I was ecstatic!  Hello, Sunshine immediately jumped to the top of my TBR / wish list without even needing to know any type of description.  While Hello, Sunshine did end up being a really fun and unconventional read, it didn’t edge Nantucket out for the top spot in my heart.  Anyone who is looking to become an actor is enthralled with the whole process will definitely be addicted to this story!

Plot Summary:  After Becca Harrington gets rejected from every college she applies to, she makes a deal with her mother and moves to LA to try to become an actress.  The deal is that after one gap year, ideally gaining industry experience, Becca must reapply for college and enter in the following Fall semester.  When Becca gets to LA, things are far more difficult than she expected but fortunately, she befriends two other Hollywood hopefuls in her building and they all support each other while they try to navigate the entertainment industry.

Critique:  Hello, Sunshine is a really fun read.  It follows Becca Harrington who takes a much different path than most eighteen year old’s and it was a pleasure to see someone’s unconventional choices play out in a way that proves that there is more than one right way to do things.  Becca is an inspirational character.  No matter how hard things became for her during her journey, she always maintained a positive attitude.  Even as she hits roadblock after roadblock, her first instinct is never to give up and instead to always to find a way around it.  I also love that Becca is a list maker.  The reader gets to see her list of LA goals which she continuously revisits and revises as she works toward becoming an actress.  Reading about Becca learning to become an independent adult is also a topic that I’m sure we can all or will all relate to in our lives at some point.  When you move away from home for the first time, you don’t think about the little things that are suddenly your responsibility or the bigger things like furnishing an apartment (like in Becca’s case).  I also really enjoyed Becca’s friendship with Marisol and Raj, two other Hollywood hopefuls living in the same apartment building.  They all come to rely on each other in different ways and I especially appreciate how supportive Marisol and Becca always are of each other.  It would be so easy to write about two females competing for auditions to land a big role but instead, we get to see a lovely and healthy friendship.  If I had one complaint, it’s that Raj and Marisol seem to have not had much of their own stories going on until they drop everything to take Becca under their wing.  Romance is far from the focus of this story (although it does sneak in there at some points) and it was refreshing to read about Becca achieving her goals independently.  Also notable are the quirky side characters, the shenanigans Becca gets herself into while searching for work and her sweet mother who just wants the best for her daughter.

Do I Recommend?:  I do!  As I stated, Hello, Sunshine is a fun unconventional novel that looks at the road that many do not take.  This novel is definitely a great beach read for anyone looking for something different!

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Kristin

BookExpo / BookCon Recap & Photos!

Hello friends! I’ve had to take a break from my weekly recaps because Andrew and I were away for our anniversary and then the following weekend, I attended BookExpo and BookCon at the Javits Center in New York City.  I have so many wonderful photos to share from the event! I spent the whole convention with Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, following a schedule that we mapped out for weeks beforehand (and updated once we arrived so we could make all the ARC drops).  We kicked off our conventional at NOVL headquarters where we attended a lovely brunch and listened to Ryan Graudin talk about her newest novel, Invictus.  If you watch my vlog below, you’ll actually get to see a clip of Ryan discussing the book (PS she has the most awesome hair I’ve ever seen and I was totally in love with her metallic skirt).  Each table got to complete a puzzle assembling artwork of one of the characters in the book (but we got lucky because ours has two characters!).  You can also hear a bit more about them in the video!  We also did some speed dating with the editors at Little Brown which means that they would spend about 10 minutes at each table, telling us about one of their upcoming titles.  I’m most excited about Fireblood because I’ve been meaning to read Frostblood for a while and now I’m excited to have the opportunity to read them back to back.  Then Alexa and I headed over to the Javits Center and picked up our badges for BookExpo!

Day one of BookExpo was a resounding success! We acquired so many of the books we were looking for but some highlights for me were WarcrossThe Belles and the Harry Potter sampler from Scholastic.  The floor was much different this year than in years past.  There was a much calmer vibe to everything and people seemed generally more polite which was lovely.  We did witness one tug of war over an ARC of Warcross but that was the extent of bad behavior that we saw for the day.  I was also really excited to try out the photobooth Fierce Reads had set up for Language of Thorns.  You were able to choose a background based on the newly renamed Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology or the newest addition to the Grishaverse, Language of Thorns.  I loved that they had the character banners set up with Kevin Wada’s amazing artwork of the Six of Crows gang.  After day one I went to the Gotham Market on 11th Avenue and tried my first and last sushi burrito ever.  It was delicious but WAY too messy.  Then at night, we went to the Big Honcho Media Stay Golden party at The Ainsworth which was so much fun!  I definitely stayed out a bit too late but I was having too much fun to leave!

Then on our last day of BookExpo (the show floor was only open for two days this year as opposed to the usual three) Alexa and I managed to get all of the other books we were hoping for! Despite staying out past my bedtime, I was still able to get to the Javits Center before 8AM.  Our plan was to be there early and head straight to the Disney booth for a copy of Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (while everyone else ran to Penguin for the full ARC of Stephanie Perkins’s There’s Someone Inside Your House which we thankfully managed to get the day before).  It was honestly like kismet.  We met Kerri Maniscalco in the Little Brown booth and she signed a copy of Hunting Prince Dracula for us.  We ran into Stephanie Garber roaming around the show floor and got to gush to her about how much we both love Caraval and need her to do a book tour in NYC so she can sign our copies!  We also stopped by the OwlCrate booth (several times) and we dressed up in their Harry Potter props for some fun photos.  They also did an ARC drop of Lucky in Love by Kasie West and I acquired Top Ten by Katie Cotugno from them the day before thanks to Alexa’s expert wheel spinning skills.  Right before we left the show, we were invited by Lili from Tor to have cocktails with Chad Michael Murray and Heather Graham in celebration of their new book.  We got to take photos with Chad (!) and I picked up a copy of the book for my sister in law, Molly.  I’m still completely amazed that Chad Michael Murray seems to have not aged in the slightest.  He was so charming! Then I dropped my books off at the hotel and Alexa and I headed out the other Ainsworth for the Fierce Reads party.  We met our friends Rachel of Hello-Chelly and Lindsay there and we got to hang out with so many amazing authors.  I got to tell Marissa Meyer how Cress and Thorne are my forever OTP and I joked with Leigh Bardugo about how I got yelled at in LA for crossing the street when the light was red even though there were no cars coming because apparently that’s not allowed in LA and this New Yorker who dodges cars on a daily basis had no clue.  They also gave us a swag bag with a samplers of Meyer and Bardugo’s latest works (Renegades and Language of Thorns) as well as a couple of other titles.

Then bright and early on Saturday morning, me, Alexa, Rachel and Andi of Andi’s ABC’s went to PRINT for the Penguin Teen breakfast! I finally got to meet Chelsea from Penguin in real life and she’s one of the nicest people ever! She also did an excellent job organizing the breakfast and I’m so thankful to have been invited!  We had more speed dating at this event but this time with five amazing authors- Marie Lu, Stephanie Perkins, Julie C. Dao, Kristin Cashore and Peter Bognanni.  Each author sat at our table for 10 minutes to talk to us about their new books and it really got me even more excited about each title.  In fact, I’ve since already read and loved Warcross by Marie Lu.  It’s a new favorite for sure! And I got to take a photo with Stephanie Perkins who is the cutest human ever.  Penguin Teen was nice enough to give us a box set of all the game changing titles they have coming out this fall as well as a posted signed by each of the authors at the breakfast.  Afterward, the four of us headed over back over to the Javits for BookCon.  I have to say that I was really impressed with the way everything was handled this year.  The event was much more organized than in years past and I had a blast walking the floor with my friends.  Highlights from BookCon for me were 1) meeting so many sweet people who came up to me and said they love my videos! I feel so thankful that anyone took the time to say hi to me!, 2) standing directly next to Jenny Han and Morgan Matson in the Simon and Schuster booth and 3) getting an ARC of An Enchantment of Ravens which I am highly anticipating reading!  So overall, this was the best year at BookExpo and BookCon that I’ve ever experienced.  I cannot wait until next year!  Below are videos of my full book haul if you’re interested in viewing it as well as a vlog of the event so you can get a feel for the show floor.  Happy reading!!!

BookTube Videos

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Mini Reviews – Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones & The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (Wintersong #1)

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones captured my interest once I became aware that the story is a loosely based Labyrinth retelling (and it didn’t hurt that The Melting Library created several candles based on the story either).  When I started reading Wintersong, I was initially captivated for several reasons 1) the story takes place in Germany, 2) the main character’s name is Liesl (the same as my grandmother’s), 3) the focus of the story is rooted in music and the writing is quite lyrical, and 4) every time the elusive Goblin King was mentioned my mind immediately pictured David Bowie.  Liesl is a middle child with a strong passion for composing music, but her father only places stock in her younger brother’s abilities while she’s required to work at the family inn.  When Liesl’s sister Käthe is kidnapped by the goblins, she must rescue her from the Underground by playing a game against the Goblin King.  Once Liesl has found her sister, she is still not able to bring her to the world above without exchanging her own life for Käthe’s.  This is when the story started to lose me.  I found the game to find Liesl’s sister intriguing and I loved the sibling dynamic she has with both Käthe and Josef.  Once they were largely taken out of the equation, my interest began to waiver.  It’s as if S. Jae-Jones wrote two novels in one because the story completely changes midway through.  The latter half of the book takes place in the Underground as the Goblin King readies Liesl to be sacrificed to the land while she simultaneously falls in love with him.  While I did enjoy the world building and beautiful writing, I did not enjoy the path the story took overall.  I will be picking up the second book, Shadowsong because I am interested to see how the conclusion of the story plays out but I ultimately ended up being disappointed in the first installment.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen #1)


The Star-Touched Queen is a Hades and Persephone retelling with one of the most stunning fantasy covers I’ve ever laid eyes on.  The ethereal feel perfectly captures the magic and enchantment of Chokshi’s writing style.  The story follows Maya, a girl who’s been cursed by the stars and fated for a marriage that will lead to death and destruction.  After her father arranges her marriage, Maya gets whisked away to Akran by her new husband Amar to a strange world that is full of secrets.  I’ve since heard many complaints about Chokshi’s writing style but I’m pleased to say that her flowery prose really worked for me.  I found myself completely engaged in Maya and Amar’s tale and I was enthralled by the mystery as it began to unfold.  Then, things took a turn for me.  I couldn’t believe how I went from loving the first half of the book to feeling a bit lost and confused in the latter half.  The buildup to the story’s main conflict was much better than the execution.  Chokshi’s beautiful prose is what kept me going until the end, but I wish I had closed the book feeling as excited as I had in the beginning.  I also struggled with believing the romance between Maya and Amar.  I understand that it was fated, but I didn’t feel a strong connection between them.  Despite these complaints, I loved that the story is rooted in Indian mythology and I loved all of the lush descriptions of the world.  I will definitely be reading her next novel, The Crown’s Wish, which is a companion to The Star-Touched Queen, as well as any other novels Shokshi publishes because I’m interested in seeing how her work progresses over time.  I’m hopeful that her storytelling will improve and I know already that her I enjoy her writing style.

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Kristin

London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton GIVEAWAY (Signed Copy)!

Hi all! Today I’m hosting an INTERNATIONAL giveaway (yay! I’m so happy that everyone is able to enter this one!) for a SIGNED copy of Jacquelyn Middleton’s novel, London Belongs to Me.  I’ve been really excited about this book because it follows a girl who lives in Orlando, but she picks up and moves across the globe to London because she feels like that’s where she belongs.  Not only does she move to one of the places I want to visit more than anywhere else in the world, but she goes to pursue a career in writing for theater.  Once Alex gets there, things don’t go exactly as planned and she has to reevaluate whether London is actually for her.  If you’ve been watching my YouTube videos, you’ll know that I’ve been searching for some good New Adult books that don’t feature abs on the cover.  Not only does London Belong to Me fit that bill, but the cover is also SUPER adorable! I love the burgundy umbrella against the blue sky and how it’s so reminiscent of the British flag.  Here’s a link to the goodreads page because I’m sure you’ll want to add it to your TBR shelf :-)

Giveaway

  • 1 SIGNED Copy of London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton
  • Giveaway is open Worldwide
  • No purchase necessary

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here’s the link to the giveaway in the Rafflecopter isn’t working for you!
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c4d758b825/?
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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Personal Thoughts:  I was completely swayed into reading This Adventure Ends for exactly two reasons: 1) the cover is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever laid eyes on (it’s even quite lovely naked!) and 2) Alexa read it and told me that it’s something I would love (and she was totally right!).  Can we just take another minute to talk about how this cover looks like a palette of paint and the stars are folded into the design? It’s like an ocean / galaxy mash up piece of artwork and I love love love it.

Plot Summary:  Sloane is your average teenage girl living in New York City with her family when they decide to uproot and move down to Florida right before her senior year of high school.  While this might seem like the most devastating bit of life-changing news for any other high school senior who’s spent years building their life and their group of friends, Sloane was completely indifferent and unopposed to the change.  She ends up accidentally falling into a tight knit group of friends, which is something she’s never experienced before and it changes her whole world.

Critique:  I really adored this book!  This is Emma Mills’s sophomore novel and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately ordered her debut upon completing This Adventure Ends.  The most satisfying element of this story is the complex nature of the relationships that Mills builds.  She nails friendship, familial relationships and first love.  Sloane is such an amazing protagonist.  She’s incredibly witty, outwardly self assured and not yet completely aware of just how awesome she truly is.  I loved being able to see the world through her eyes and I felt a connection to her from early on in the story.  One of Sloane’s new friends, Vera, is a social media star who takes Sloane under her wing and inducts her into her group of friends.  Vera is so much more than what she portrays online and the dynamic between her group of friends and her twin will have you flying through the book.  My favorite relationship explored between the pages is the one between Sloane and her father.  He’s a very popular romance novel who’s afflicted with a serious case of writer’s block.  He barely gets dressed anymore but he’s Sloane’s rock through everything.  You can immediately tell that Sloane gets her snark from him and I just loved seeing that pivotal moment in every teen’s life when they realize that their parents don’t necessarily have everything together play out.  Also, Frank is the best and you’ll see what I mean when you read it for yourself.

Do I Recommend?:  Definitely! This is a seemingly light and fluffy contemporary but there’s so much under the surface that it’ll stay with you long after you finish reading.

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Kristin

Blog Tour: The Unlikelies By Carrie Firestone + Giveaway!

I’m so excited about Carrie Firestone’s upcoming book, The Unlikelies! Besides the gorgeous cover which makes me CRAVE summer, the story itself is said to be part The Breakfast Club which appeals to me on many levels! The Unlikelies tackles being internet famous and follows a group of anonymous teens who band together to do good deeds.  I’m lucky enough to have Carrie here today to tell us her favorite things about summer in celebration of The Unlikelies.  Below is an official synopsis of the book and Carrie’s post!

Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  Book Depository  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

Favorite Things About Summer

I am not a summer person. I’m definitely an apple, pumpkin, fall person. But I’ve managed to think of some things about summer that make me very, very happy, Here are ten of them!

  1. We go to a resort in the Adirondacks every summer. I love standing on the dock just as the sun sets over the pristine mountains.
  2. The Unlikelies takes place in the Hamptons. It’s fun to drive on the back roads of the Hamptons on a warm summer night in search of ice cream.
  3. I love sitting under a tree with The New York Times and a giant iced coffee in Central Park or Bryant Park or any park in New York City. There’s no better place for people watching.
  4. Our town has a lake club called Winding Trails. I bring a book, sit in the shade, and watch my kids attempt to kayak around the lake.
  5. I think the reason summer annoys me is I’m a vampire. I’m only happy if I’m far away from direct sunlight.
  6. Fresh corn with lots of butter. Fresh strawberries with cream. Fresh tomatoes with basil, mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Our local shopping area hosts an outdoor movie in the parking lot every Saturday night. We sit in lawn chairs with blankets and plenty of popcorn and watch our favorite kid movies.
  8. Morning hikes followed by a picnic on the mountain near our house.
  9. Eating dinner on our back deck while our neurotic dog barks at the bug zapper.
  10. Of course, more time to READ.

Thank you for this great question! I’m actually looking forward to summer!

About the Author

Carrie Firestone has lived in rural, urban, and suburban places, and, while she currently lives in the suburbs, she is decidedly a CITY person. She loves parties, and all kinds of music, and books about random people doing random things in random places. She loves to travel with her husband, and two daughters, Lauren and Emily. When she isn’t writing, you might find her reluctantly sharing her popcorn at the movies, trying to get people (or dogs) to do a conga line, or adding items to her loose ends list.

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Kristin

SuperSpaceChick’s Weekly Round Up (#6)

Super Space Chick’s weekly round up is a blog series in which I’ll be chatting to you about what’s going on in my life, what I’ve been posting on YouTube and my blog, some favorite instagram photos of the week, and such.  So basically just general life happenings and feelings!  I looooooove writing book reviews but I also love reading more personal blog posts so I want to make an effort to share more of my full life here and not just my reading life.

Hello friends! Last week was rather quiet but it had some truly wonderful moments<3! Sunday was Mother’s Day so Andrew and I spent the majority of the day brunching at my parent’s house and then having dinner at my aunt’s.  Monday was a really tired but relatively quiet day and then the fun began on Tuesday!  Andrew and I met his sisters Brittany and Molly at Black Tap for Molly’s birthday lunch.  I’ve always wanted to try their milkshakes and I’m happy to report that they are so worth the calories.  We each got a different shake so we could try as many as possible.  Luckily I opted to just order fries for lunch because I couldn’t even finish half of them after drinking my shake.  But the most exciting part- who’s sitting at the booth next to us but Ron freaking Swanson (or Nick Offerman as he goes by IRL).  I was sooooo excited for that celeb siting and I tried to sneak some ninja photos but he TOTALLY knew what was going on.  Oops.  Then at night, Andrew and I went to Books of Wonder for Emery Lord’s book launch event for The Names They Gave Us.  It ended up being a kind of quiet event (there was also a Renee Ahdieh / Sabaa Tahir event happening at McNally Jackson) but it was great! I got to meet Hazel of Stay Bookish who I’ve been online friends with for a quite some time now!  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Hazel again at BookExpo / BookCon in a few weeks time.  Alexa and Rachel also made it over for the event (despite poor Alexa being sick) and it was so much fun to catch up with them! I ended up making a vlog of the day which you can find down below!

Wednesday and Thursday returned to the lovely quiet nights that I so enjoy (and our stove was fixed so we were finally able to eat Trader Joe’s black bean taquitos again WOO!).  I so enjoyed the beautiful weather this week and I took advantage of spending as much time outside as possible.  It’s gotten me even more excited for the summer sun<3.  I also binged a ton of anime this week which you’ll see down below and Saturday, I got Andrew to film a couple of YouTube videos with me! I’ve been feeling a little bored with my content lately and I’ve been looking for ways to make filming more fun for me and having Andrew next to me definitely did the trick.  We were laughing the whole time and it was so much fun!  After my videos, we also recorded some gameplay for Andrew’s channel! It only took us 7 months to get back to Donkey Kong Country 2.  And after dinner we played some original Mario Party<3 So overall, it was a great week!

Reading: I finished reading Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland which was really cute but I still love her Nantucket duology more.  I also read all of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire in a single day because it was such an addicting story. I have no idea why I waited so long to get to this one.  And finally, I also finished Daughter of the Pirate King by Trisha Levenseller which I really loved!

Watching: All the anime! I watched all of the first season of Free! in one day, most of Death Parade (but we’ll probably finish it up tonight!) and a bit more Famous in Love (I only have one episode left now!).  There was no new Pretty Little Liars this week sadly because I was actually looking forward to it for once.

So many videos yet again this week! I do want to slow down a little bit though so expect less the next few weeks.

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Kristin

Penguin Teen Game Changers: Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni + GIVEAWAY!!!

This fall, Penguin Teen has a five week marathon of exciting book releases heading our way!  These five titles make up their Game-Changers campaign and each day this week, one of those titles is being revealed.  I’m thrilled to be able to reveal the fourth book to be announced, Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni!  To see what other books have been revealed, be sure to visit the sites below, including Forever Young Adult, which will be announcing the fifth and final title tomorrow!

5/15 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Warcross

5/16 – The Young Folks – Jane, Unlimited

5/17 – The Fandom – There’s Someone Inside Your House

5/18 – SuperSpaceChick – Thinks I’m Seeing Without You

5/19 – Forever Young Adult – ?????????

Each novel in the Game-Changers campaign is revolutionary in it’s own way.  There’s such a wide variety of genres being explored in the five novels included and I’m SO excited to get to tell you all about Peter’s novel, Things I’m Seeing Without You, which is a heartwarming contemporary that’s been compared to Six Feet Under, I’ll Give You the Sun and Eleanor & Park.  It explores first love, what it means to lose someone and the grief that comes along with it.  I love that the main character takes an unconventional route and decides to help her father with his alternative funeral business while she’s coping with the loss of Jonah.  I’m basically expecting to cry my eyes out when I read this one and I am so ready for it!  Here’s the official synopsis:

Fans of Eleanor and Park and All the Bright Places will laugh and cry as they read this heartbreaking and life-affirming novel about love after the most profound loss.

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back. 

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming. 

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

Funny, heartbreaking, hopeful, and wondrous, in the vein of Six Feet Under and I’ll Give You the Sun, Things I’m Seeing Without You is a beautiful examination of what it means to love someone, to lose someone, and to love again.

Since it feels like the wait for Things I’m Seeing Without You is going to take F O R E V E R, Penguin was kind enough to provide us with a sampler of the story to tide us over until October 3rd! After reading the sampler, I can tell you that I instantly preordered my copy of the book and I can assure you that you will too!

Additionally, I’m going to be interviewing Peter in two weeks at BookExpo / BookCon!!!  Please let me know if you have any questions for him (comment here or tweet me at @SuperSpaceChick) and I’ll be sure to ask him!!

Peter Bognanni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut novel, The House of Tomorrow, won the LA Times award for first fiction and the ALA Alex Award and has been adapted into a feature film.  He teaches creative writing at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Penguin Teen’s Game-Changers ARCs (ARV: $0).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 15, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 22, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 24, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Kristin
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