Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review and Giveaway: A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri

Title: A Field Guide to Awkward Silences
Author: Alexandra Petri
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: NAL (June 2, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Essay Collection
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri turns her satirical eye on her own life in this hilarious new memoir...

Most twentysomethings spend a lot of time avoiding awkwardness.

Not Alexandra Petri.

Afraid of rejection? Alexandra Petri has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model. Afraid of looking like an idiot? Alexandra Petri lost Jeopardy! by answering “Who is that dude?” on national TV. Afraid of bad jokes? Alexandra Petri won an international pun championship.

Petri has been a debutante, reenacted the Civil War, and fended off suitors at a Star Wars convention while wearing a Jabba the Hutt suit. One time, she let some cult members she met on the street baptize her, just to be polite. She’s a connoisseur of the kind of awkwardness that most people spend whole lifetimes trying to avoid. If John Hodgman and Amy Sedaris had a baby…they would never let Petri babysit it.

But Petri is here to tell you: Everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think. 

About the Author:

Alexandra Petri is a columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, as well as a playwright, stand-up comedian, and an International Pun Champion.  She lives in Washington, D.C. 

Visit her online:

Twitter @petridishes

Every once in awhile we need something fun, quirky, and just out there. Something to have a good time. Something original, carefree, and will leave us laughing because it truly is ridiculous in all the best ways.

A Field Guide to Awkward Silences is one such read.

Entertaining, sometimes bizarre, always fun, relatable, (because come on, how many of us have never been in an awkward situation?), and a laugh in every chapter, it is a book that is hard not to like, nod your head in agreement in many situations, and roll your eyes in so many because really, is this person for real? 

Well written and a great escape read to try in a lazy afternoon, to cleanse the palate and just have a fun time, A Field Guide to Awkward Silences will be that escape, the hilarious laugh out loud story that will keep you on your toes and keep a smile on your face. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WoW Pick of the Week!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a chance to share those new releases were are super anxious to get our hands on and read.

So this weeks choice is one I may or may not have posted about before. The fact is, I can't remember but it doesn't really even matter because either way, I am so excited and so darn anxious to get my hands on the second book on the Of Metal and Wishes series by Sarah Fine. Sarah is an amazing author and everything she writes is pretty much gold and I just loved the first book in the series and can't wait to see how she continues it.

Release Date: August 4, 2015 (Margaret K. McElderlly)

Book Description:

War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to "Of Metal and Wishes", inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Simon Pulse (June 2, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary 
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a beautifully written, emotional, and inspiring story that shows Ocker at her very best. 

With characters that are every bit as detailed and fleshed out as her storyline, this read truly will be a hit for any fan of Ockler's and sure to create new fans for those trying her work for the very first time.

Wonderfully told with hidden messages about finding ourselves after tragedy, being true to who we are, staying strong in adverse situations, and finding our true voices buried deep, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is by far in my top ten reads already for this year.

Ockler once again amazes me with the amount of power her words bring. Her coming of age stories truly are emotional. They make you think, they make you hope, and they can make you a believer that anything is possible. 

Her secondary characters are every bit as fleshed out and fun as the main characters and there is always more to the story than what a first glance will tell you.

Heart warming, powerful, and one of a kind, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a must read for any fan of contemporary and just perfect for this time of year.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, May 25, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post and Giveaway: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Happy Memorial Day! I hope all of you have had an amazing and safe weekend! I'm so happy to be part of this tour because it is one of my most favorites out there right now in YA.

You can check out my review of the last book Lion Heart, in case you missed it.

I adore this series. And while I was sad to see it end, I absolutely loved the ending and truly couldn't have asked for a better one that stayed true to the historic details, the plot and characters of the story.

Which, is why I'm so excited to bring you a guest post from Gaughen today. If you haven't tried this series, I can't stress enough how wonderful it is. I really hope you give it a second look because not only is the story and characters amazing, but so are the covers!

Published By: Bloomsbury (June 2, 2015)
Series: Book Three in the Scarlet Trilogy
Genre: YA Historical/Retelling

Book Description:
The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all? 

About the Author:

I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won't give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I'm not that mad at Scotland). 

Guest Post:

1. Why a series about Robin Hood?

It seems like a really simple question, but asking “why a series about Robin Hood” isn’t simple at all. Because to me, Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart aren’t just about Robin Hood—in fact, they might not be about Robin Hood at all.

But clearly, Robin is IN there, right? It’s a Robin Hood story. And to make matters weirder, it’s not like this is some sexy, unheard of story—Robin Hood gets rewritten roughly every 5-10 years, and has for literally hundreds of years. The story is told in every medium out there. There’s something incredibly pervasive about this story that continually appeals to audiences, that transcends age and time. There’s something eternal here.

For a writer, that can be totally damning—it’s hard enough to find your voice enough to write a story, much less a story that literally everyone ever already knows. You walk into a bookstore, and you see every book as intimidating—much less every book that is literally about the same characters.

The whole reason I felt like I could write this story was because it was never was about Robin Hood for me. Obviously a huge part of it was about the way I always understood Will Scarlet—someone dark and shadowed, someone whose story hadn’t been told. But that opened up so much more for me—when I looked back at history, what was missing? What story hadn’t been told?

That is what the series has always been about for me—highlighting some inconsistencies within history, finding a narrative that felt fresh and relevant and like I was bringing something to light that wasn’t there before. Honestly, this is what writing is all about for me—figuring out what the story is that only I can tell, and trusting that I have something unique and special to say.

Because we’re all telling stories that have been told a hundred times over; we’re all telling stories that still matter. So why Robin Hood? Because it was the story that I had to tell.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Title: The Night We Said Yes
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Teen (June 16, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life. 

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future. 

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

I hate to admit this, but when I picked this up, I was in a sort of YA contemporary funk. I was so tired of the same old, same old and I really wasn't all that excited to start this. But, the synopsis looked original and fun and I was hoping like crazy that this debut novel would blow me away, get me out of my own head and most of all be fun. Something I seriously needed in order to get back into the groove of this genre.

Wonderfully written as it goes back and forth from the “now” to the “then” this novel was exactly what I needed and was looking for. A true breath of fresh air in the contemporary genre. 

Matt and Ella were two characters that I instantly liked, felt for, and later, fell in love with.

So many moments in this made me stop and think and most of all smile as Matt and El told their story, the story of their past, and their future.

This truly was just what I needed. With amazing side characters that had a story to share every bit as much as Matt and El did, I loved every minute of this read and tried to savor it so it would never end.

A wonderful tale of first love, heart break, growing up, staying strong, and finally becoming that person you are meant to be with the help of those that love you, this was a great coming of age story that will be sure to please even those that are burnt out on the genre, The Night We Said Yes was a stand out novel that I'm so happy I took a chance on.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review*

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Title: The Devil You Know
Author: Trish Doller
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Bloomsbury (June 2, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions. 

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

As soon as I saw Trish's name attached to that premises, I just knew I had to read this.

I have always said that there needs to be more thrillers and mystery reads in the YA genre and this is one of those that was so well done that you can't help but want others to read it.

The characters were engaging, the plot line terrifying, and the premises one that we don't like to think about, but that sadly, happens more often than we want to believe. A young girl, bored with her life, making stupid choices just to have a little fun, a little adventure in her life. The consequences for those choices were hard ones. Ones that changed her life forever.

I had a hard time deciding if I liked Cadie or not at times. I found myself wanting to shout at her through the pages because of how stupid she was being but I also felt for her too. I felt her responsibilities, her struggles, and her loss. It's hard not liking someone that has a heart as good as her's, stupid decisions aside.  

I liked the intense feel this novel took at times when you just knew something was going to happen without knowing exactly what that something would be. You knew one of these boys, or possibly even both were not who they seemed to be and that feeling only escalated as more and more clues of things that had happened in their past and recently, were uncovered. 

Overall I liked this read. It was fun, it was fast, and it was heart pounding. Trish did a really good job making it realistically frightening in its simplicity and design. So believable that it was unbelievable that someone could be that stupid, naive, and so very lost and yet, you know that it happens all the time.

I truly enjoyed this and look forward to reading more from this author because she truly does have some original stories out that are worth every minute of reading them.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review*

Giveaway: Litographs Launch for the New Throne of Glass Merchandise!

That's right all you hard core Throne of Glass fans, I have the latest merchandise right here ready for you to not only see but for a chance to win it for yourself as well! 

Litographs has teamed up with Sarah J. Maas and created some amazing t-shirts, tote bags, and a poster for all her fans and here if your chance to get all three!

Plus for those like me, that want to order them, I have a $5 off discount code you can use at checkout! Just use the code CALAENA to get your discount!

But first a little about Litographs and then on to what this amazing merchandise looks like!

Art From Books

Every Litograph design emerges from the text of a book. Just as the words on the pages of your favorite novel come alive in your imagination, our products are designed to illustrate the memorable characters and scenes rooted in text and imitated on stage.

We work closely with professional artists to create a new visual experience for classic and contemporary works alike. From a distance, the artwork illustrates a theme, character, or setting from each book’s descriptive pages. Move closer and the text becomes fully legible.

Watch How We Make Our Shirts!

Sounds pretty cool right?

Here are the items up for offer for the giveaway and those you can order for yourself at their site using that $5 off discount code. And take a look at the site while you are there because they have some pretty amazing merchandise from some pretty amazing authors and books!

Giveaway is open to US residents ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway