Some YA Book Giveaways to get into the Holiday Spirit! [closed

So, I love you guys and want to give you some stuff that’s neato burrito to show my appreciation. So, books essentially. I have a few that I would love to send your way! I have Three finished copies, and one ARC!

Here’s how it’s going to work. To win, you have to be subscribed to my blog in some way. Either Bloglovin, another RSS reader, or by email. Then you can get bonus entries for doing other things. You know, the usual. However, this time, it’s only for those who are actually subscribed to the blog—the other stuff is extra.

Although I love you no matter where you live, this contest giveaway is only open to subscribers in Canada and the US. If I was rich, I would send them ANYWHERE! But, alas, I am not. Even the US is stretching it really.

For your entries to count, your accounts can’t be set to private. This is because I do check, and I can’t do that if your account is set to private. Any giveaway accounts will also be disqualified. I don’t want to be part of spam!
This giveaway is going to be open until Christmas Eve. If you win, you will get an email on Christmas morning 😀

Down below, please comment letting me know what books you are most interested in! Please put all four in order of preference. The winner selected first will get their first choice, and so on and so forth.

There will be four randomly selected winners. However, there is no limit on how many of the books you can win. If you get randomly selected four times, well then, congrats! You get four books!

Without further ado–the books!


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Balzer + Bray

This is one of my favourite reads this year! It was the first book I read in 2015 🙂

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

A SIGNED copy of Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Harlequin Teen

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by HarperCollins

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

An ARC of Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, an Deborah Biancotti
(Finished copies published September 29th 2015 by Simon Pulse)

Don’t call them heroes.

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t—like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

This giveaway is now closed!

Thoughts on “November 9” from a Colleen Hoover Virgin

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Fiction, New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published November 10th, 2015 by Atria
[Goodreads] [Amazon] [Indigo]

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist. Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

As the title of this post implies, this was the first book by Colleen Hoover that I had ever read. I had obviously heard of her before, considering I spend a lot of time online, but I had never picked up one of her books before. If you’re a fan of hers, you might be scratching your head and thinking, WHY? WHY ON EARTH HAVE YOU WAITED SO LONG?! And that is a good question.

November 9 was not only my first Colleen Hoover book, but it was also my first New Adult book. Honestly, it was my first Contemporary Romance too. I’ve read some YA contemporaries, and I’ve read some Chick Lit, but I’ve never read a book before that you find in the Romance aisle of the bookstore. Again, if you’re a fan, you might be thinking, WHY? And again, good question.

When it comes to romance in books–well, in anything really–I’m a bit particular. I don’t enjoy graphic content or explicit language. It’s just not my bag. So, I’m hesitant when it comes to books that you’d call romance because I don’t know what I’m getting myself into! There aren’t labels with content warnings or ratings, and I don’t want to spend my money on books I don’t end up finishing.

Recently, however, Lindsey from Lindsey Rey did an author exploration video on Colleen Hoover and addressed the issue of explicit content in New Adult. She said that as far as that goes, Colleen Hoover is not that bad.

So, when I was browsing the shelves at the bookstore hoping to find something to end my reading slump, I picked up November 9 on impulse.

And I was not disappointed.

Before I purchased the book, I sat down to flip through it and see what it was like. Once I started reading though, I just couldn’t stop! But I did make myself stop–long enough to go up to the register and buy it. Then I took it over to the in-store Starbucks, grabbed a latte, and settled in.

I was immediately intrigued by the title of the first section–“First November 9th.” This book takes place over five years, each section a different November 9th. After that, the first line drew me in even more.

I wonder what kind of sound it would make if I were to smash this glass against the side of his head.

Who is this Fallon person so angry with and what have they done? She’s so angry that she’s contemplating physical harm in a public place. Why? I had to know more.

It turns out that she’s out to eat with her father. She and her father have a…complicated relationship to say the least.

We soon learn that Fallon was injured when she was sixteen and has significant scarring on her face and body. Her life is now divided between before that night and after that night. That night her aspiring career ended. Her confidence was decimated. As far as she was concerned, life as she knew it was pretty much over.

Right away, I liked Fallon. She is snarky, sassy, and sarcastic. She’s more than a little bitter, and carries her emotional baggage around with her every day. She can’t get away from it–it’s literally written on her face.

But that day, that first November 9th, something changes. Benton James Kessler is thrust into her life. To stop Fallon’s father from continuing to berate her, Ben jumps in and pretends to be her boyfriend. He stands up for her and tells her father like it is–and from that point forward, there is no looking back.

That night, they spend time together as boyfriend and girlfriend, a running joke between them, and immediately hit it off. Ben’s confidence and outlook on life are infectious as he tries to show Fallon that’s she’s beautiful and worthwhile, no matter what has happened to her.

They really enjoy their time together, but reality sets in as the short hours pass. Fallon is moving across the country the next morning and she’s not going to let anything or anyone derail her–no matter how tempted she is.

You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lose in someone else.

They come to an agreement. Next year on November 9th, they will meet up again. And the next year, and the next. Until Fallon is, according to her mother’s advice, old enough and ready enough to really fall in love. They continue to meet up over the next few years, and their relationship evolves and changes as life throws things in their way.

Even though the romance, obviously, is a little insta-love-y, it was still awesome. Especially the way that Colleen plays with the trope as has the characters themselves be aware of this fact.

[Ben] laughs, resting an elbow on top of the car as he faces me. ‘So just to be safe, if kissing scenes are something you like most about books, what is your least favourite thing? I need to know so I don’t screw up our story.’

‘Cliff-hangers,’ I say immediately. ‘And insta-love.’

He makes a face. ‘Insta-love?’

I nod. ‘When two characters meet and supposedly have this great connection right off the bat.’

He raises an eyebrow. ‘Fallon, I think we might already be in trouble if that’s one of your least favourite things.’

I laughed so hard.

This book is just so good. Like I said, I was immediately drawn in by the writing and the characters. It was a struggle to tear myself away from this book to go to work. To do anything. The writing, the story, the characters, the romance, the everything about this book is just so engrossing. I flew through it and loved every minute.

I did have a couple of minor issues though. Colleen’s writing may have been enough to make me suspend my disbelief while reading, but there were some things that were just a little too much upon reflection. The way the romance plays out was kind of one of them, as well as the sheer amount of twists and turns near the end. However, I still did really enjoy it. And, I think I am in the minority about those couple of issues. Because, as of right now, 78% of those who have rated it on Goodreads gave it five stars!

As soon as I finished this book, I went to the store and grabbed Confess, Slammed, and Maybe Someday, two of which I’ve already read!

Colleen Hoover is a new favourite! And I’m eager to read some more New Adult!

If you haven’t read Colleen Hoover yet, I highly recommend giving her books a shot! If you, like me, are worried about content, you don’t need to be. Not with this one, anyway. There is a bit of language, and a couple of steamy scenes–but they are not graphic.

If you enjoy books that completely pull you in; funny, sassy, and relatable characters; and swoon-worthy romance that’s not all fluff–you should definitely check this book out!

Are you a Colleen Hoover fan? Which book is your favourite? Or are you a Colleen Hoover virgin like I was? If so, do you think you’ll give her books a shot? Let me know in the comments!

When Deciding What to Read Next

How do you decide what to read next? For me this is often a time-consuming problem. I’m a mood reader–and I can be very moody.

Sometimes I know right away what I want to read next. But this is pretty rare. Often I might have a vague idea of what I want–like maybe a genre–but it takes me a while to narrow it down. I’ll go through the books in my personal library, pulling out anything that even remotely piques by interest.

I then often find myself sitting on my floor, staring at my shelf, surrounded by a pile of books. I’ll pick one up, flip through it, put it back down, pick up another, read a few pages, put it down, and the cycle goes on. There may even be some hair pulling.

I find this often happens at the most inconvenient of times. Maybe I’ll finish a book when I’m on my way out, or on my way to bed. I either don’t have the time or the inclination to pick something out. BUT, I can’t just NOT. I need something to bring with me! If I’m going out, I need a book in case the mood or the opportunity strikes! If I’m going to bed, I need something to read before I sleep, even if it’s only a few pages!

But, OF COURSE, I’ve finished my book and now need to pick something new out. This can be a very stressful time.

Examples from my insane brain:

This book is definitely one I’m going to want to read at SOME point, but now isn’t that point.

UGH, THIS BOOK IS TOO MUCH _____ RIGHT NOW!

Boo, contemporary. WHERE IS THE MAGIC. 

Boo, magic! I want something REALISTIC.

Gah, this is TOO realistic! It’s depressing!

This is too happy! It’s making me want to puke!

What is WITH these names?! They are ridiculous and totally made up.

I cannot HANDLE how boring these names are right now.

Where’s the ROMANCE?

TOO MUCH ROMANCE!

Eventually I’ll read the first few pages of a book and find myself not wanting to stop. That’s how I know I’ve found THE ONE. I usually sigh in relief and continue reading, content that I can finally relax and fall into my book. For now, anyway. And the mess I just made? I’ll clean it up later.

How do YOU decide what to read next? Are you strict in your TBR? Do you have your next read planned out? Are you a mood reader like me? Is your brain a total nuthouse like mine? Do you have any tips for me?! Let me know in the comments!!

After Alice by Gregory Maguire Tour Review + Giveaway [closed]

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Retelling, Historical Fantasy
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 27th, 2015 by William Morrow
[Goodreads] [Amazon] [Book Depository] [Indigo]

Note: I received an ARC of this book for my participation in the TLC book tour!

From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Wicked comes a magical new twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis’s Carroll’s beloved classic

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself. 

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

This was the first of Maguire’s works that I have read. I have of course heard of Wicked and know many people that love it! When I saw this title was on tour I was intrigued. Alice in Wonderland is a strange and marvellous classic and retellings of it are so much fun to read. Or… They usually are.

When I first started his book, I was loving the setting and exited to see where the story was going. I was also enjoying the changing perspectives–how it would switch from Ada to Lydia, Alice’s sister. Unfortunately… from that point on, reading it felt like a chore. It was so. Slow. Something about it didn’t work for me. I never reached the point where I was drawn in.

I must be perfectly honest with you, though. I read the first two thirds, and mostly skim-read the rest. As I flipped through though, unfortunately there was nothing that made me want to stop and read it more thoroughly.

This book is by no means bad. The writing is beautiful and skillful, the story carefully crafted. The time period is interesting and the source material is, obviously, awesome. Maybe if I had been in a different reading mood, I might have found more enjoyment.

If you are a fan of Maguire’s other works, I think you will definitely like this one. His retellings seem more of the serious variety, with social and political commentary. After Alice is atmospheric and whimsical, but the pacing is too slow for my liking.

I also found that Ada wasn’t my favourite character. She was a little bit dull and was basically following right behind Alice. We see a lot of the same beloved characters from Wonderland, but through the eyes of Ada. I personally found that Maguire didn’t really add enough new things to it for me to find it particularly interesting.

All that being said, if you enjoy books that are slower in pacing, whimsical in writing, and atmospheric in setting, you might want to give this one a go! It just wasn’t the book for me.

About The Author

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly StepsisterLostMirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes WickedSon of a WitchA Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Find out more about Gregory at his website and follow him on Facebook.

Giveaway!

Are you a fan of Wicked? Do you love Alice in Wonderland? Do you want to give this book a try? Thanks to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow, if you are in Canada or the US, you have the opportunity to win a copy! Please be sure to read the Terms and conditions and make sure that you are eligible and that your entries will not be disqualified. Please do not tweet or follow with giveaway or spam accounts.

Author Pintip Dunn on Her Writing Quirks! │ Guest Post


Earlier this week (November 3rd), the first book in Pintip Dunn’s new series was released. It’s called Forget Tomorrow and it is a YA Dystopian. I read this book in October, and, I gotta say, I loved it. You can check out my review here!

Today Pintip is here to tell us about her writing process and quirks!

Writing Quirks 

All writers have quirks, right? I have plenty, from drinking cases of Perrier to throwing away my entire first draft to setting timers to checking in obsessively with writing partners for word sprints. But perhaps my biggest “quirk” is that I write my books on my cell phone. The entire book. From brainstorming to first draft to revisions. And I’ve done so for my last four books now. 

Why? It’s not because I want to — although there are some advantages to having your writing with you everywhere and all the time. But it’s because this is the best solution I’ve found for my physical condition. 

Let me explain. My junior year of college, my hands froze. Not good-God-the-library-is-cold froze. Not even what-on-earth-do-I-write-next froze. I mean my hands physically froze, as in the muscles from my neck to my shoulders to my elbows to my forearms locked up, so that I couldn’t move them. And they stayed that way for a week. I couldn’t brush my hair. I couldn’t bring a fork to my mouth. All I could do was lie in bed, terrified that my life was never going to be the same again.

And it wasn’t. 

I was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia/RSI. The only way I got through college and law school was to hire a typist and take my exams orally. (I even took the bar exam orally). To this day, I can’t type on a keyboard or lift heavy things without considerable pain. 

For about a decade, I relied on voice recognition programs, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, in order to write. I hated it. Sure, I became adept at dictating, but the technology isn’t perfect, and I wanted to throw my computer out the window on countless occasions. Plus, my brain is just naturally more connected to my hands than my mouth. I want to write my words, not speak them. 

Sometimes, the accommodations I had to make in order to write were downright comical. During one severe flare-up, I was flat on my back for six months, as the pain was too intense for me to hold up my head and shoulders. I didn’t want to stop writing, so I laid under a glass coffee table, with my laptop face-down on the glass, dictating into my microphone. I’m pretty sure I looked ridiculous — but this is how I wrote the first novel that I queried. 

And then I got my first smart phone in 2010! I was the happiest girl in the world when I discovered I could type on the phone’s keyboard, if it was locked in portrait position, without pain. Finally, I could “write” again the way that I wanted. Silently — and with my hands. (Incidentally, even in landscape position, the keys are too far apart for me to manage without hurting myself). 

This is how I write today, and I absolutely love it. In fact, I’m not sure I would go back to a laptop, even if I could. 

So there you have it! My biggest writing quirk! What about you? What quirks do you have when it comes to writing or reading or getting things done? 

About Pintip:

Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis.”

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.

Thank you Pintip for appearing on Fuelled by Fiction today and sharing your writing story! Don’t forget to check out my review of her latest novel, Forget Tomorrow.