Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Getting in the Spirit: Workman Halloween Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Blog Tour organized by Workman Publishing

Halloween is coming this month, which makes it a perfect time to add some creepy and -inspired books to your collection. Of course, who really needs a reason for more books?! 

Today, I'm excited to be part of the Getting In the Spirit Halloween Tour with Workman Publishing and sharing some great books for kids (or even adults!) to love this season. 

In addition to talking about these awesome books, I'm getting in the Halloween spirit with my picture filters*. It's the perfect way to make the most benign of photo, a bit more festive.

Most book packages are for me, so my kids were excited to receive one with several books they could enjoy. 

Eek Halloween 
by Sandra Boynton
Published August 23, 2016 by Workman

Book Description: Boynton celebrates Halloween!

A new addition to the Boynton on Board series, with over 21 million copies sold, Eek! Halloween! is all treat and no tricks, a journey with Boynton and her nutty characters through the tradition of Halloween.

It starts with an uh-oh—the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening. One chicken saw a pumpkin with flickering eyes, another spied a mouse of enormous size. They all saw a wizard and a witch, and a spooky robot. “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? / Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!”

What we thought: Combining Sandra Boynton's signature rhymes with her illustrations of animals, Eeek! Halloween! is the perfect first Halloween board book for any child. But it's not just for toddlers. Right away, this was my 7 year old's favorite title in this collection and she's read it over and over again. My 5 year old has also had a great time looking through this book. They love identifying the animals in costumes, and the musical cadence of Boynton's rhymes make it extremely readable and fun. We definitely recommend this one! 

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Indiebound


Papertoy Glowbots: 46 Glowing Robots You Can Make Yourself
by Brian Castleforte
Published August 23, 2016 by Workman

Book Description: Origami meets amazing creatures in a book of paper craft fun!

Papertoy Glowbots introduces 46 robots that have the added cool factor of lighting up, whether using glow-in-the-dark stickers that come with the book or light sources like flashlights, Christmas tree lights, and electric tea lights.

The 46 die-cut paper robots are created by Brian Castleforte, author of Papertoy Monsters, along with the hottest papertoy designers from around the world. Meet the robots and read about their entertaining backstories in the front, then turn to the card stock section in the back to build them. The templates are die-cut and ready to pop out, fold, and glue. Bold, colorful graphics ensure the robots look as amazing in the daytime as they do with the lights off.

What We Thought: My five year old was entranced with this book right away and wanted to start making the hardest robots immediately. Instead, we began with the easier ones (this book includes Easy - Intermediate - and Hard designs) and worked our way up from there. The paper folding and robot making was a little challenging for my 5 and 7 year olds to do independently. My husband and I helped out a lot. But that made this a fantastic family activity. Glue - and an attention to detail - is the only additional material needed. We have not tried making the robots glow yet. But they are all adorable as they are. 

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Indiebound 


Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spinechilling, from Arachnids to Zombies 
by Julie Winterbottom, Illustrated by Stefano Tambellini
Published August 23, 2016 by Workman

Book Description: Here’s the book for kids who love scary stuff, whether it’s telling ghost stories around a campfire, discovering the origins of various vampires, monsters, and witches, or reading creepy tales under the covers with a flashlight.

Combining fact, fiction, and hands-on activities, Frightlopedia is an illustrated A-Z collection of some of the world’s most frightening places, scariest stories, and gruesomest creatures, both real and imagined.

What We Thought: This one is much more what I thought, because I didn't let my kids look at this book for too long (they get scared easily). However, this Frightlopedia would have been a huge hit with me in upper elementary and middle school (even now!), and I plan to save it for when my kids get a little bit older. What I love about this book is that it features true facts and creepy tales from around the world - islands filled with dolls and snakes, huge rats and famous mummies. All sorts of fascinating material, sure to creep out the reader. Each chapter helpfully includes a Fright Meter too. I'm pretty much a wimp when it comes to scary stuff, so this is one for me to read in the daytime. 

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Indiebound 

Section on rats. You can see the Fright Meter right underneath the chapter title.

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: Twenty Chilling Tales from the Wilderness
by Hal Johnson, Illustrated by Tom Mead
Published September 8, 2015 by Workman 

Book Description: Just for kids, twenty bone-chilling tales about the most dangerous fantastical beasts in American folklore. Meet the Snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The Hodag, like a spiny-backed bull-horned rhinoceros. The Hoop Snake, which can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and die.

Illustrated throughout, including eight drawings printed with glow-in-the-dark ink, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods is for every young reader who loves a good scare. The book was originally published in 1910 by William Thomas Cox and is now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson, author of Immortal Lycanthropes.

What We Thought: Two of the coolest things about this book is that it is retold from an original 1910 publishing (that makes it seem even more shivery to me for some reason) and it features glow in the dark illustrations. This is another one that my 5 and 7 year old didn't get much past the pictures. They loved the glow in the dark images, and talking about how they imagined the different creatures. This is a gorgeous hardback - I love it's long thin shape. I'll definitely be saving it until they can read the stories themselves.  

This awesome illustration of an Acropelter was on the outside of the book package we received. I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark forest!->

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Indiebound 

*All photos taken with my iPhone 6 and edited with Snapseed. 


Follow the Tour

October 10: Lisa/A Rup Life
October 11: Jessika/Kidliterati
October 12: Jennifer/Reviews Coming at YA
October 13: Laura/Literacious
October 14: Sandie/Teen Lit Rocks
October 17: Christina/Confessions of a Book Addict
October 18: Kate/Ex Libris
October 19: Lori/Pure Imagination
        Lauren/Love is a not a Triangle
October 20: Andrea/The Overstuffed Bookshelf
October 21: Katie/Mundie Kids



Win all 5 books featured on the tour (the four discussed above + Oh Ick: 114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out) + a Workman Publishing tote + some extra surprises!

Giveaway is International!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 17, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Heartless by Marissa Meyer


by Marissa Meyer
Read: September 26 - 30, 2016
Published:  November 8, 2016 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC from publisher
Category: YA, Retelling, Wonderland

Book Description: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound 

Lady Catherine Pinkerton is the daughter of a Marquess. All her parents want is for her to marry well. All she wants is to open a bakery with her best friend. Although she has no money of her own and no way to get any without her parent's (unlikely) blessing, Cath is not going to give up on her dream. Then Cath meets the new court joker at a royal ball and she finds a second thing her heart desires. The only problem is the King of Hearts has planned to propose to Cath at the ball (she had no idea), and her parents would never agree to a match with Jest anyway. But, still, Cath is determined to follow her own path, even if fate seems to have other ideas. 

I'm always wary of origin stories. I'd rather go forward than back and they don't usually end happily. I mean we've all met the heartless queen from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in either the original or an adaptation. No way could this end well. But I love Marissa Meyer's retellings and grew up reading Alice, which means I was determined to give this book a go. Well it was just as heartbreaking as I guessed it would be. But also gorgeously written and wondrously enchanting. This book makes impossible things possible, and it's pretty impossible that I - an HEA girl - read and loved this. But I did. 

For me Heartless is a nostalgia fest. It is filled with all of the absurdity you'd expect of a story set in Wonderland. I enjoyed being back down the rabbit hole, meeting Wonderland's citizens again and seeing the way this story brought in Chess from Through The Looking Glass. It also felt nostalgic that Meyer set her tale in Victorian time, as it was when Carroll penned Alice

But this story is also something entirely it's own, and I loved Cath's voice. I believed her desperation to own a bakery and how stuck she felt in her present life of privilege. I wanted her to find her own future, even while feeling dread about her fate being predetermined. I was caught up in her gloriously achy relationship with Jest. He had me at guyliner, but I loved getting to know who he was, and seeing the way they both changed from knowing each other. Although I wanted to scream noooooooo! at times (especially near the end), I understood Cath's choices, including at the end. This book made me laugh and gaze in wonder. It made my heart swell and beat faster. And then it broke me. But it was all beautifully done. 

Highly recommended. I would read anything Marissa Meyer writes. But please, a different ending next time. 

Love Triangle Scale: Feelings wise, none. Cath does get herself entangled in an engagement to the king, although she does not feel anything for him. 

Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

Heartless next to my much loved copy of Alice. 


About the Author

 Marissa Meyer is the USA Today- and New York Times-bestselling author of the Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, WinterFairest: Levana's Story, and Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters. 

Find Marissa Meyer: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

An illustration of the King and Queen of Hearts from my copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also A Star
by Nicola Yoon
Read: October 13 - 15, 2016
Published: November 1, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: ARC from publisher
Category: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound 

Book Description: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


Natasha is hours away from being deported to Jamaica with her family when she meets Daniel. There's no way they're meant to fall in love, and Natasha doesn't believe in destiny anyway. She's a science girl. And the fact is that, come tomorrow, they won't be living in the same country, let alone city. 

Despite his Korean parents' high expectations, Daniel is an idealist and a dreamer. He believes fate has introduced him to Natasha on purpose, at just this moment in time. Especially when he considers that if one single thing had changed, he wouldn't have been walking down the street and been captivated by a girl wearing pink headphones. Or talking to her in a record store. Or saving her from a reckless driver. Or. Or. Or. 

Are twelve hours enough to change the course of either of these two people's lives? Of course, the answer to that question is a resounding yes...and no. 

The Sun is Also A Star manages to tell an epic story in only twelve hours time. I always struggle with books that take place over one day, but Nicola Yoon did a great job at both orienting me into Natasha and Daniel's separate lives and also making me believe in their connection. One thing I loved about this book is seeing glimpses of other characters' lives, as a way to show how interconnected we all are. Someone may make a brief appearance - and impact - on my story and then be gone from it, but they're life continues before and after our point of intersection. 

This book is funny and swoony and heartbreaking and profound all at once. I loved watching Natasha and Daniel meet each other and then fall for each other, despite their very different backgrounds and life directions. I ached for everything to work out between them. I loved seeing each of them be changed by the other, and the way this story shows both the science of love, and the ways that love is undefinable too. Can someone meet and fall in love all at once or even in a matter of hours? Are we ruled by fate or random chance? I hope this story makes you think a little bit about those questions. 

The ending of this story is perfectly fitting for this book. Achy and happy and hopeful all at once.  As with Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon has written a tale that is captivating, both in the method of telling and also the story itself. I cannot wait to find out what she writes next. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Disruption Blog Tour: Interview with author Jessica Shirvington

Yesterday, I talked about how much I enjoyed Disruption, the first in an addicting new duet by Jessica Shirvington. I haven't read the sequel Corruption yet but I'm already excited about the darker tone from the cover alone. 

Today, I'm thrilled to be talking with Jessica Shirvington.

Welcome to Love is not a triangle! 

QUESTION: Whether they're already excited to read the book or are just hearing about it for the first time, what's one thing you'd like people to know Disruption? 

JESSICA SHIRVINGTON: Maggie is tough and unapologetic and she is single minded in all of her decisions. The world has evolved and so has our technology and love of apps. Now – thanks to the fact we are all microchipped – instead of having apps for everything external we have apps for everything internal. Including an app that can be used to rate any person we cross paths with. They can be a friendship match, lust match, long term relationship or true match. And of course, there must be balance so there are those who rate as negatives with everyone. These people are being locked up in a massive underground facility – and one of them is Maggie’s father.

Q: How did the idea for the story in Disruption begin? Did it start with a moment?

JS: I was walking through a busy city square with a friend and I we were laughing hysterically as she told me tales of her internet dating disasters. I’ve been married for… well forever, so I have never had to deal with ‘internet’ dating. Anyway, we were surrounded by all of these people walking through the city square and of course, they all had their heads down looking at their smartphones. I remember saying to my friend: ‘Imagine if you could just walk past someone and get a rating and know if they were compatible with you. You could just get a text message or something. It could say: STOP WALKING! True match to your left!’

Naturally, this only made us laugh more. But that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of technology advancing in that direction. I was fascinated by the idea of being able to rate people and use technology to decide whether we should interact in the first place.

Q: Did the characters or setting come first?

: The characters came first. Actually, I planned on writing a compilation of stories – about several characters and how this new technology affected their lives all in different ways. There was so much potential content to work with but…once I discovered Maggie I knew her story was special. And her character wasn’t willing to share with everyone else!

The setting came later, as my real research began. I wanted to find a specific kind of secret destination which was shroud in mystery. Mount Weather in Bluemont, Virginia was perfect. 

Q: Did you always know where you’d end the first book? Please tell us about your writing process!

JS: Yes. The ending was always clear for the first book. The process is different for every book but I generally like to write the opening chapter straight away, to find the character’s voice. Sometimes this will flow on and become three or four chapters and then I stop and write chapter breakdowns (I do these in pen in a notepad which I then carry around with me like a bible!). From there, my research layers on top in scribbled notes, photocopies and print outs etc and I stick it all in the notebook too. For every destination that I write about I also ensure I physically go there. Then I start to write. I write from the beginning to the end and I try not to stop or go back until I make it all the way to the last word. Then I start again, from the beginning, adding all the changes I thought of during the first draft. Rinse and repeat and ta-da! Manuscript finished!

Q: What’s one quality that Maggie brings out of Quentin, and vice versa? 

JS: Maggie definitely forces Quentin to face a lot of truths and that then forces him to make a choice about the type of person he wants to be. Likewise, Quentin stands up to Maggie and looks beyond her mission and finds the true girl within. He lets her be her and for Maggie, that is massive.

Q: Science has never been my best subject, but I found the idea of the M-band and how it rates pheromones to be fascinating – and terrifying. Is that an idea that came out of research? Do you believe people have perfect matches out there?

JS: Absolutely. The research was fundamental to the premise. Microchips are already in all of our pets and they have developed microchips for humans that are already in use in some countries. The idea of linking the microchips to pheromones was fiction at work, but at the same time, it didn’t feel like a crazy leap.

In my research I came across a paper on pesticides. Insects use their pheromones to mate and reproduce. So when pesticides are developed for use on crops, instead of just killing the insects the chemicals alter the insects’ pheromone signatures, causing them to repel one another and therefore stop the mating process altogether. This process is called DISRUPTION. ;-)

Q: If Maggie and Quentin went to a job interview and were asked the classic “name one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses” question, how would they answer for themselves? Would that answer change between the beginning and end of Disruption?

JS: Maggie would say her strength is that she will always find a way to get the job done, no matter how underhanded she had to be. It would also be her weakness and she would acknowledge that.

Quentin would say his strength is in his morality and loyalty. His weakness would be that he has never had to work for anything.

Yes, their answers would probably change by the end, but that is up to the reader as well.

Q: For those of us (desperately) waiting for Corruption, can you give us any hints at what to expect in the sequel? 

JS: In Corruption, Maggie’s eyes have been opened in a big way, as have Quentin’s. They need to dig deep and decide who they want to be and also, if that answer includes being in one another’s lives. For both of them, they really come into their own and that makes for some pretty interesting outcomes.

Of course I'm even more desperate to read the sequel now. Thanks so much for stopping by and answering my questions!


About the Book

by Jessica Shirvington

Published:  October 4, 2016 by HarperCollins 
Series: Duet, book 1 of 2

Book Description: The heart-stopping first chapter in bestselling author Jessica Shirvington's Disruption series.

What if a microchip could identify your perfect match? 

What if it could be used against you and the ones you love? 

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation's M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loved most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it. Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer - heir to the M-Corp empire - has become key to Maggie's plan.

But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin's involvement destroy everything she's fought for? 

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.

Find DisruptionGoodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound 

Read my five thoughts about this book, HERE.


About the Author

Jessica Shirvington is the author of THE VIOLET EDEN CHAPTERS also known as THE EMBRACE SERIES, stand alone novel, BETWEEN THE LIVES and the DISRUPTION duology.

An entrepreneur, author, and mother living in Sydney, Australia, Jessica is also a 2011 & 2012 finalist for Cosmopolitan’s annual Fun, Fearless Female Award. She’s also one of the lucky few who met the love of her life at age seventeen: Matt Shirvington, a former Olympian and current sports broadcaster for Foxtel and Fox Sports. Married for twleve years with two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Winter, Jessica knows her early age romance and its longevity has definitely contributed to how she tackles relationships in her YA novels. 
Find Jessica Shirvington: Website | Twitter | Goodreads 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...