Royal Decoy Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway

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About the Book

Royal Decoy (Fate of Eyrinthia, #1)
by Heather Frost 
Release Date: June 18th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

You know nothing of sacrifice.

Heather Frost

A SERVANT blackmailed into becoming a princess’s decoy.
A BODYGUARD determined to keep her alive.

A PRINCE forced to execute his father’s brutal laws.
A PRISONER used to keep him compliant.

A WORLD on the brink of war.

She needed him more.

Heather Frost

In one horrible night, Clare goes from kitchen maid to royal decoy. She has three months to become the princess’s perfect double so she can ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard. The danger increases when a ruthless assassin begins stalking her, intent on ending the tenuous peace.

Across the northern mountains, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. He carries out the king’s harsh orders because the one person he cares about is his father’s prisoner. Grayson’s silent obedience is tested when his father plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.

The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.

She was good. Pure. And she had given him every good moment in his life.

Heather Frost

Review

So, I avoided books on royals for far too long. My issue was that I read WAY TOO MANY at one time and kind of overindulged in them. But this past year I’ve been slowly incorporating them back into my reading and I’m so glad I decided to do this. Because boy have I been missing out on some good books! And Royal Decoy was everything that I love to see in a book on royals and political intrigue.

Patience. Your time will come. Be careful.

Heather Frost

This story hooks you and draws you in. It’s just such an enjoyable read and perfect to curl up under some blankets with. The characters are all enjoyable to read about, which is something hard to find when the story revolves around multiple characters. I also just really love the mix of fantasy and royalty. If done correctly/well, like in this book, then they’re the perfect combination to read about. But what I think I loved most about this book is that it was so refreshing. It took themes that can sometimes feel too common and reworked them into something entirely new and entertaining.

Don’t apologize. I enjoyed every moment.

Heather Frost

The only downside is that I have to wait for the next book in the series. I’ve really enjoyed everything that I’ve picked up from Frost and I’m always excited to see what she comes up next. And the Fate of Eyrinthia series definitely promises to be another amazing series that I will gladly binge!

About the Author

Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework.

When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She owns two typewriters, sings in the car, and dreams of living in a castle someday. She currently lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in the wilds of Utah.

Pre-Order Campaign

Pre-order ROYAL DECOY and you can receive an exclusive bonus short story!

Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon–but he wasn’t always. THE PRINCE AND THE PRISONER is the story of how a young Grayson met the little girl who would change his life forever.

To claim your gift, simply pre-order ROYAL DECOY and fill out the form linked below. (You will need to upload an image of your pre-order receipt.) After ROYAL DECOY releases, you will receive via email THE PRINCE AND THE PRISONER!

NOTE: Since you can only pre-order the Kindle edition of ROYAL DECOY at this time, I will also extend this to any physical copy purchases made on release day, June 18th!

Claim your pre-order gift here:

Tour Schedule

June 12th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

June 13th

Annej Reads – Deleted Scenes
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
Captivated Reading – Review
Kalisbookishrambles – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
Book Butterfly in Dreamland – Review

June 14th

My Bookish Escapades – Exclusive Excerpt
Book briefs – Review
Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Willow Writes And Reads – Review + Playlist
Books and Zebras – Review

June 15th

Kait Plus Books – The Story in GIFs
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Yours A-fiction-ately – Review
Lala’s Book Reviews – Review + Favourite Quotes
lexisbookreview – Review + Favourite Quotes

June 16th

L.M. Durand  – Guest Post
Bookishly Nerdy – Review
BiblioJoJo – Review + Favourite Quotes
EBL INC – Review + Character Interview
Books Less Travelled – Review

June 17th

The Shelf Life Chronicles – Character Interview
DEEKAY | Daily Dose of Reading – Review
dinipandareads – Review + Favourite Quotes
Foals, Fiction & Filigree – Review + Favourite Quotes
Happily, Hedy – Review

June 18th

Books A-Brewin’ – Exclusive Excerpt
Books Over Everything – Review
Adventures in Abbyland – Review + Favourite Quotes
Wanders Between Pages – Review

Giveaway

Prize: Win a Personalized/Signed ARC of Royal Decoy (softcover), 2 mood rings (for you and a friend!) and Signed bookmarks (INT)

Starts: 12th June 2020
Ends: 26th June 2020

<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86507/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="d9681b86507" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_8njolusr">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Instagram Schedule

June 12th

TUABFC
The FFBC Tours

June 13th

Annej Reads
Ya It’s Lit
Book Butterfly in Dreamland

June 14th

Book briefs
Dazzled by Books
Books and Zebras

June 15th

Moonlight Rendezvous
Lala’s Book Reviews

June 16th

L.M. Durand
EBL INC

June 17th

The Shelf Life Chronicles
Foals, Fiction & Filigree

June 18th

Books Over Everything
Wanders Between Pages

Instagram Giveaway

View this post on Instagram

🌸 b o o k t o u r & g i v e a w a y 🌸 So, I avoided books on royals for far too long. My issue was that I read WAY TOO MANY at one time and kind of overindulged in them. But this past year I've been slowly incorporating them back into my reading and I'm so glad I decided to do this. Because boy have I been missing out on some good books! And Royal Decoy was everything that I love to see in a book on royals and political intrigue. (Full review & extra giveaway entries on my blog, link in bio!) 🌸 QOTD | Do you “rotate” your reading and how do you plan that out? 🌸 For this particular giveaway, we have an exclusive Instagram. We are giving away the following prizes: * Personalized/Signed ARC of Royal Decoy (softcover) * Personalized/Signed copy of Seers, Book 1 of the Seers Trilogy (hardcover) * Seers t-shirt (your choice of a small, medium, or large) * 2 mood rings (for you and a friend!) * Signed bookmarks/swag 🌸 The giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and will start on June 12th 2020 and finish on June 25th 2020. 🌸 Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow @heather.frost.author ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow ME (@ya.its.lit) ▪︎Answer the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering! 🌸 Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone's Instagram handles in the comments! 🌸 #royaldecoy #heatherfrost #yaromance #yabooks #yalit #yabookstagram #yaitslit #yareads #bookbloggerslife #bookreviewer #bookstagram #yafantasy #booknerd #bookreviewblog #booksharks #instabooklovers #yacommunity #bookishlove #hereforthebooks #bookstaunited #bookbloggersofig #readingislife #btabookfriends #bookphotography #bookstamisfits #bookishmerch #bookiehelper #bookishphotography #readgushcommunity #bookblogger

A post shared by Zoe 🇺🇸 26 (@ya.its.lit) on

For this particular giveaway, we have an exclusive Instagram. We are giving away the following prizes:

  • Personalized/Signed ARC of Royal Decoy (softcover)
  • Personalized/Signed copy of Seers, Book 1 of the Seers Trilogy (hardcover)
  • Seers t-shirt (your choice of a small, medium, or large)
  • 2 mood rings (for you and a friend!)
  • Signed bookmarks/swag

The giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and will start on June 12th 2020 and finish on June 25th 2020.

Entries for the giveaway: 

▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri
▪︎Follow @heather.frost.author
▪︎Follow @michellesulk
▪︎Follow ME (@ya.its.lit)
▪︎Answer the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering!

Extra entries: 

▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry).
▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc)
▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone’s Instagram handles below:
@wandersbetweenpages
@books_over_everything
@foalsfictionandfiligree
@shelflifechronicles
@_ebl_inc_
@l.m.durand
@lauren.bodiford
@moonlight_rendezvous
@jypsylynn
@love2dazzle
@bookbriefs
@purpleshadowhunter
@trappedinsidestories

T&Cs & Disclaimers:

▪︎Giveaway ends on June 25th (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc.
▪︎Open INTERNATIONALLY
▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram. 

The winner will be announced after June 25th 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

The Glamourist Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

The Glamourist (The Vine Witch Series #2)
by Luanne G. Smith
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: June 9th 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

It wasn’t a coincidence. Couldn’t be.

Luanne G. Smith

A spellbinding novel of bloodlines, self-discovery, and redemption by the author of the Washington Post bestseller The Vine Witch.

. . . she fell asleep to the vibrating thrum of hope for perhaps the first time in her life.

Luanne G. Smith

Abandoned as a child in turn-of-the-century Paris, Yvette Lenoir has longed to uncover the secrets of her magical heritage and tap her suppressed powers. But what brave and resourceful Yvette has done to survive the streets has made her a fugitive. With a price on her head, she clings to a memento from her past—what she believes to be a grimoire inherited from the mother she never knew. To unlock the secrets of her past, Yvette trusts in one woman to help solve the arcane riddles among its charmed pages.

Elena Boureanu is the vine witch of Château Renard, noted for its renowned wines. Even as she struggles with her own bloodline—and its poisonous threat to her future—Elena can’t ignore a friend on the run. Joined by a cunning thief, the proprietor of an enchanted-curio shop, and a bewitching black cat, Elena and Yvette are determined to decode Yvette’s mysterious keepsake. But what restless magic will be unleashed? And what are Yvette and Elena willing to risk to become the witches they were destined to be?

The walls caught fire, and no one mistook the flames as part of any féerie play.

Luanne G. Smith

Review

Have I mentioned before how much I love stories set in Paris? It’s honestly my favorite city and I want to go back to it daily. It’s just such a gorgeous place and it really does romance you. But anyways, this book gives me everything I love in a setting and then adds in some witches, fée, special kitties, and then some. I mean, obviously this book was just written for me since it seems to contain everything I love!

We have come to the final entrails of your stolen wish, girl.

Luanne G. Smith

There is magic riddled throughout the story and it’s been a while since I’ve read a book where I felt that magic. If that makes any sense whatsoever. Add this magic to the suspense of the book as well as the wonderful cast of characters and it’s truly just a wonderful book. And did I mention that there’s a black cat? Because I’m a sucker for a mysterious black cat.

Oh là là, is it a crime to want something now?

Luanne G. Smith

You know, I think I’ve fallen so in love with the book (and series) because I’ve found witches to be lacking in books lately. There just don’t seem to be many witch books around lately and I really miss that. I mean witches are the best, especially when the magic is so unique and interesting like in The Glamourist.

About the Author

Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in the series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.

Tour Schedule

June 9th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

June 10th

L.M. Durand – Guest Post
A Bookish Dream – Review
Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Review.+ Playlist

June 11th

Kait Plus Books – Interview
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
Wishful Endings – Review
Books, Tea, Healthy Me – Review + Favourite Quotes
Willow Star Serenity – Review + Playlist

June 12th

The Shelf Life Chronicles – Review
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes
Books Over Everything – Review
Amy’s Booket List – Review + Playlist
Annej Reads – Promotional Post

June 13th

Foals, Fiction & Filigree – Review + Favourite Quotes
Gwendalyn’s Books – Review
Lauren’s Boookshelf – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
Books and Zebras – Review
Tales Of A Bookbug – Review

June 14th

The Clever Reader – Interview
bewitchingwords – Review
BiblioJoJo – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Baroness of Books – Review

June 15th

@the.magicalpages – Guest Post
Bookishly Nerdy – Review + Favourite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Review
Shelf-Rated – Review + Favourite Quotes
Eating between the Lines inc – Review

Instagram Tour Schedule

June 9th

The FFBC Tours
TUABFC

June 10th

L.M. Durand
A Bookish Dream
Nay’s Pink Bookshelf

June 11th

Kait Plus Books
Ya It’s Lit
Wishful Endings
Books, Tea, Healthy Me
Willow Star Serenity

June 12th

The Shelf Life Chronicles
The Reading Corner for All
Books Over Everything
Amy’s Booket List
Annej Reads

June 13th

Foals, Fiction & Filigree
Gwendalyn’s Books
Lauren’s Boookshelf
Books and Zebras
Tales Of A Bookbug

June 14th

The Clever Reader
bewitchingwords
BiblioJoJo
The Baroness of Books

June 15th

@the.magicalpages
Bookishly Nerdy
Library of a Book Witch
Shelf-Rated
Eating between the Lines inc

Instagram Giveaway

View this post on Instagram

🌸 b o o k t o u r & g i v e a w a y 🌸 Have I mentioned before how much I love stories set in Paris? It's honestly my favorite city and I want to go back to it daily. It's just such a gorgeous place and it really does romance you. But anyways, this book gives me everything I love in a setting and then adds in some witches, fée, special kitties, and then some. I mean, obviously this book was just written for me since it seems to contain everything I love! (Full review & more giveaway entries on my blog, link in bio!) 🌸 QOTD | What makes you say a book was written “for you?”
@fablebands code: YAITSLIT10 🌸 For this particular giveaway, we have an exclusive Instagram. We are giving away the following prizes: * Win a copy of THE VINE WITCH + THE GLAMOURIST * Win a wine glass of your choice between The Vine Witch Wine Glass with an etched frog on it and reads, "Never Hex a Witch." AND a The Glamourist Wine Glass with a cat etched on it and reads, "Wishes are for Stealing." The giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and will start on June 9th 2020 and finish on June 23rd 2020. 🌸 Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow ME (@ya.its.lit) ▪︎Respond to the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering! 🌸 Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone's Instagram handles below tomorrow: @shelflifechronicles, @TheReadingCornerforAll, @books_over_everything, @amysbooketlist and @trappedinsidestories 🌸 #theglamourist #luannegsmith #witchesofinstagram #FFBCTours #thevinewitch #47north #yabooks #yalit #yabookstagram #yaitslit #yareads #bookbloggerslife #bookreviewer #bookstagram #yafantasy #booknerd #bookreviewblog #booksharks #instabooklovers #yacommunity #bookstaunited #bookbloggersofig #fablebands #btabookfriends #bookstamisfits #bookishmerch #bookiehelper #bookishphotography #readgushcommunity #bookblogger

A post shared by Zoe 🇺🇸 26 (@ya.its.lit) on

For this particular giveaway, we have an exclusive Instagram. We are giving away the following prizes:

  • Win a copy of THE VINE WITCH + THE GLAMOURIST
  • Win a wine glass of your choice between The Vine Witch Wine Glass with an etched frog on it and reads, “Never Hex a Witch.” AND a The Glamourist Wine Glass with a cat etched on it and reads, “Wishes are for Stealing.”

The giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and will start on June 9th 2020 and finish on June 23rd 2020.

Entries for the giveaway: 

▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri
▪︎Follow ME (@ya.its.lit)
▪︎Respond to the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering!

Extra entries: 

▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry).
▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc)
▪︎Follow @michellesulk
▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone’s Instagram handles below tomorrow:
@shelflifechronicles, @TheReadingCornerforAll, @books_over_everything, @amysbooketlist and @trappedinsidestories

T&Cs & Disclaimers:

▪︎Giveaway ends on June 23rd (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc.
▪︎Open INTERNATIONALLY
▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram. 

The winner will be announced after June 25th 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Jo & Laurie Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway

Click on the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Jo & Laurie
by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 2nd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings

‘What it’s like to be tormented by having a writer of books in your family. What it’s like to be tortured by having a scamp in your tutelage.’

‘Well, that surely took hours.’

Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.

Remember who you are. She would not let herself be pampered

Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Everything past was prologue, including the fact that both of them had loved, and been rejected by, other people. Only the future mattered now.

Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz

Review

Perhaps one of the most known (and argued about) “romances” is the one between Jo March and Theodore Laurence. Growing up I was obsessed with Little Women and because of the chemistry between Christian Bale and Winona Ryder I thought that Jo and Laurie had to be endgame and refused to believe anything else, even if the book said so. HOWEVER, when I went to see the new Little Women film, and promptly reread the novel afterwards, I found myself rethinking my resolute belief that Jo and Laurie should be together. However, regardless of my currently wavering beliefs in this timeless love triangle, you best believe I was beyond excited when I found out about this book. For Jo & Laurie poses the question of: what would happen if these two star-crossed lovers actually did end up together?

What was happening was alternately dull and frightening.

Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz

Ok, so I realize that this book is going to be VERY dividing. I can understand why some people would be upset about this retelling, since Jo was meant to be an independent woman, but I was still overly excited for this book and am just taking it as an exciting “what if” instead of a slight on an epic work of literature. But I most definitely thought of the Winona and Christian Jo and Laurie while reading this book.

This family.

Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz

This book was like a walk down memory lane (even though I just reread Little Women this year). It was such an endearing take on beloved characters and I truly enjoyed reading the reimagined version of such a well known and discussed story. And that’s what this story was, it was about the characters and their relationships. But it is important to remember that while these are the characters we know and love, they’re also the authors’ take on these beloved characters. So they are both the same and different and new. So go into this book expecting a new story that reminisces the original.

About the Authors

She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling

Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.

As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.

She has published fifteen novels and graphic novels, as well as contributed to several games and countless comics since her debut. Her last book, Cats Vs Robots: This is War, was a family affair, illustrated by her child, the artist Kay Peterson, and co-written with her husband, Lewis Peterson. It also starred three of her family’s five cats.

After Beautiful Creatures was released as a feature film from Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, Margaret began working with Marvel on her bestselling Black Widow: Forever Red duology; in 2017 she began writing the ongoing Mighty Captain Marvel comic, followed by the acclaimed Life of Captain Marvel miniseries, where she established a new origin story for Carol Danvers in preparation for the theatrical debut of Brie Larson as “Captain Marvel” for the MCU. 

When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie – where she oversees the creation of new global IPs – Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), the largest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at mstohl.com.

Excerpt

Before You Begin . . .

The story that we now think of as Little Women was originally published as two separate volumes written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868 and 1869.

In those pages, Jo March—one of young adult literature’s most beloved writers and sisters—writes and publishes the story of her life with her family at Orchard House.

Our own reimagined story takes place between the two volumes, after the success of the first, as Jo struggles to write the second.

Just as we expect “Lu” did.

—MS & MdlC

Prologue

Little Women

The Offices of Roberts Brothers, Publishers and Bookbinders

Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts

1868

“Little Women? That’s the title?” The author looked concerned. Above her light brown eyes and beneath her threadbare linen cap, the chestnut curls that framed her face were shaking. Miss Josephine March was all of seventeen years old, and though her girlish curves were slight, her spirit was immense.

There was nothing little about her, or her characters.

Or so she had thought.

The book in question—a volume of domestic stories, loosely inspired by her own family—was one she hadn’t wanted to write, had in fact steadfastly refused to write, until her editor had offered a notably unrefusable royalty, instead of the usual piffling advance. Only then had she dashed off a dozen chapters in a fit of pique. To her dismay, he’d loved them, and she’d had no choice but to finish the final chapters, which she’d come to deliver now.

And lo—insult beyond injury—it would be called Little Women.

“Isn’t it perfect?” Mr. Thomas Niles beamed at her over his spectacles. Her editor at Boston’s (moderately) respected and (moderately) solvent Roberts Brothers Press, Niles felt he had developed some (moderate) expertise in the publishing industry. His authors, at times, disagreed.

This was one of those times.

“Far from it!” Jo drew a worn cambric handkerchief square from her pinafore pocket and dabbed dramatically at the corner of her left eye, although both author and editor knew there was no actual tear to be wiped away.

Only fury, and there’s not a cambric square big enough in the world for that—

“It’s dismissive!” Jo seethed. “It’s pap!”

“Oh?” Niles pushed his spectacles back up the bridge of his bulbous red nose. “How so?”

“It’s . . . trite!” Jo dropped the handkerchief upon the bundled pages in front of her. They were tied with string, the requested final chapters, as painstakingly inked as the others before them. Her hands hovered, as always, just above the parcel; it was never easy, letting go of the fruit of so many stolen hours in her damp writing garret under the attic eaves, where she’d burnt her last saved stumps of candle-wax—as well as her fingers—and ruined her eyes in the service of one of these so-called little stories. The nerve!

Niles sighed.

“Trivial!” Jo huffed.

“When you say trivial,” Niles began, “do you mean—?”

“For starters, that’s not a title, it’s a literal restatement of the very essence of the plot,” Jo interrupted.

He eyed the parcel hungrily. “Yes, and I’m told it’s charming.

Jo’s head-shake was very nearly violent. “It’s not charming. I’m not charming.” After making a living writing her customary blood-and-thunder tales—or so she thought of them—this business of feminine tradition and treacle was all very unfamiliar. To be fair, with the exception of her sisters, Jo knew and liked hardly any girls at all.

“You’re very charming, Miss March. Nearly as charming as your book,” Niles said, looking amused. “And a tribute to little women everywhere.” He pulled a tin from his outer vest pocket. “Peppermint?”

Buying time with sweets, again. Niles offered them up only when he found himself in a tough conversational crossroads, Jo knew.

So that’s it, then.

There really is no changing the title.

“Thank you, no.” Jo looked out the window as a horse and carriage clattered up Washington Street, spraying mud in every direction, including onto the glass of the (moderately) well-kept Roberts Brothers offices. She tried not to wring her hands in despair and failed. “I suppose it is what it is. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what you call it. I dashed the thing off in weeks, and for what?”

“Money,” Niles said. “The almighty dollar. Which you happen to need, not unlike the rest of us. Speaking of earning your wage, are those the chapters you owe me?” He reached for the bundled pages between them.

“It’s not about earning my wages,” Jo said, tightening her grip on the manuscript. “Not just about that.” She’d written it on assignment, because Niles was experimenting beyond the standard Continental Gothic that came flowing from Jo’s pen so easily.

And, yes, because of the money.

The result was a collection of domestic moments, sure, but it had surprised even her; it wasn’t just feminine drivel, even if the title might perhaps now doom it to be. She hadn’t expected it to come as quickly as it had, or as pleasantly. Not that she would admit that to her editor. “Money’s not a reason. Not a proper one, anyway.” Even if we are poor as rats.

“Many people—most—seem to think otherwise,” Niles said, yanking his handkerchief from his pocket and mopping his brow, which was beginning to perspire as they argued. He was never without a handkerchief; decades of sobbing authors, Jo suspected, had trained him thus.

“Not all people,” she sniffed.

“Certainly my investors do. You aren’t the only family with war debts, you know.”

Jo had no answer for that, for he was right. She supposed she would never be considered a real writer now, never be taken seriously by the public. Never invited to lecture at the Athenaeum with Ralph and Henry and . . . Who was that other chap? Perhaps this was what happened to feminine scribblers who aspired above their little place in the Concord world.

Strike another blow to the weaker sex—and all that rot.

“Charming,” she sighed.

“Ideally, you’ve written equally charming last chapters as well.” Niles eyed the stack hopefully. “Seeing as my typesetters have very nearly caught up with you.”

Jo snorted, which was a good indication of her feelings concerning the process that put her words on the page. Lottie Roberts, who manned the letterpress, had once changed “Christopher Columbus!”—Jo’s most oft-uttered oath—to “My Heavens!” and Jo had never forgiven her. This was, truthfully, not an isolated event; “Blazes!” had been mysteriously printed as “How sad!”—“Hell” as “The Down Below”—“Blow me down!” as “No!”—and “A French pox upon you, Adventuress!” had been eliminated altogether.

“Your typesetters go too far.” She glared, repeating the warning not to change a word of her text for the twentieth time.

“Yes, well.” He snapped shut his peppermint tin. “When women of polite society are allowed to speak like common sailors, you are welcome to terminate their employment yourself, Miss March.”

“And I look forward to the day, sir.” Jo pursed her lips.

“I am confident you shall meet it.” Niles smiled. For despite all indications to the contrary, the two were fond friends. Niles reminded Jo of her father, who had left Concord years earlier to join the Union army as a chaplain. Mr. March had come home only once in all that time—when the Union prevailed and the war was won, three years ago. Shortly thereafter, he’d left once more to volunteer in the Reconstruction efforts in the South, helping to build schools and churches for previously enslaved people. And though his letters usually came frequently, the March women felt his absence keenly.

But Jo still had Niles, and if they fought, they fought well, each considering the other the more harmless version of their species. (The dollar a story Niles paid to run Jo’s wild romantic adventures didn’t hurt, either. Neither did the fact that subscriptions to his circular, The Tall Taler, had gone up by forty-three since engaging her. Forty-three!)

“Call it what you will. No one will read it, anyway.” Jo tapped her fingers along the brown-paper-wrapped parcel. “I don’t know why you believed you could sell it.”

“Perhaps.” Niles nodded.

“I should have used a different name instead of my own,” she sighed. “Eustacia. Thomasina.”

“Possibly.” He nodded again. “Eustacia Emerson is lovely. I’m quite partial to Thomasina Thoreau, but Hildegarde Hawthorne could also do just fine.” He winked.

Hawthorne. That was his name, the other Athenaeum chap!

“Fine.” She picked at the string about the parcel. “Take my daft little book of scribbles and do with it as you will.”

“I’ve seen dafter. Trust me.”

“Trust you? You have no sense of anything, least of all publishing! Why, you couldn’t sell Romeo and Juliet if I wrote it for you.”

“Admittedly a bit somber for my taste—I do prefer a happy ending to my sensation stories. So do our Tall Taler readers. Why couldn’t Romeo have married Juliet and settled down in a nice Tuscan villa? A sequel by any other name . . .”

The author bit her lip; it kept her from responding in a discourteous manner.

“Now give it here,” the editor said, sliding his fingers impatiently across the blotter atop his desk and taking the manuscript from her hands.

“Take it.” She scowled.

Manuscript obtained, Niles traded his peppermints for the bottle of peppermint schnapps he kept in the bottom of his drawer for special occasions.

“A toast!” he offered, pouring two thimblefuls into two cups.

Jo grudgingly accepted.

“To our Little Women!” her publisher cried. “And to the bright future of Jo March, Thomas Niles, and Roberts Brothers! May 1868 prove to be a banner year for us all!”

Jo clinked her glass against his. It seemed rude otherwise. With a final sigh and a shake of her curls, the author drank to her defeat. The editor drank to her success.

Little Women it was.

Excerpted from Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz. Copyright © 2020 by Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Original link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/594970/jo-and-laurie-by-margaret-stohl-and-melissa-de-la-cruz/

Audiobook Sample

Pre-Order Campaign

Win a tea tin when you pre-order JO & LAURIE (US ONLY)

Tour Schedule

May 27th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

May 28th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Belle’s Archive – Review
Adventurous Bookworm – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Clever Reader – Review
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes

May 29th

A Gingerly Review – Review
Happily, Hedy – Review + Favourite Quotes
Colbywilkens – Review
justicereads – Review + Favourite Quotes
Books Over Everything – Review

May 30th

L.M. Durand – Interview
Bookishly Nerdy – Review + Favourite Quotes
Gwendalyn’s Books – Review
Emelie’s Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Jill’s Book Blog – Review

May 31st

The Shelf Life Chronicles – Review + Favourite Quotes
Book Briefs – Review
Kayla Reads and Reviews – Review + Favourite Quotes
ReadwithMiki – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes
Heidi Reads… – Review

June 1st

Biblioxytocin – Review + Favourite Quotes
@onemused – Review
Ohana Cascadia – Review + Favourite Quotes
Nose Stuck in a Book – Review
Paperbacks and Pen – Review + Favourite Quotes

June 2nd

Kait Plus Books – Interview
Odd and Bookish – Review
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Eating Between the Lines – Review

Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of JO & LAURIE by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz (US Only)

Starts: 27th May 2020
Ends: 10th June 2020

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Kingdom Above the Cloud Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Kingdom Above the Cloud (Tales from Adia, #1)
by Maggie Platt
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 17th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Allegory

The future. Damien hated the thought of the future. He hated how little he could control without knowing for certain the identities of those four conquerors and if he had really put an end to them.

Maggie Platt

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

It seemed like the walls were closing in, and she felt dangerously close to being crushed by the weight and enormity of death.

Maggie Platt

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

There was an unspoken understanding on the mountain: anyone who valued his life pretended that gloves were in fashion. No one spoke of the heart beneath.

Maggie Platt

Review

Kingdom Above the Cloud is one of those achingly beautifully written stories. You’re just immediately taken into the story and the writing is so intricately beautiful that you instantly fall in love. Plus there is a lot of world building, and if you know me you know I salivate at the thought of that. I blame it on my love for Lord of the Rings. This is definitely a story that is going to make you think about how we grow as a person.

Instead, she sat very still, entranced by the danger of their proximity and the way his voice caressed the words.

Maggie Platt

Now, this book is listed as an allegorical fantasy. And, if you’re like me, you might have to admit to not knowing what the genre allegory is (you know, until I looked it up). Basically it’s quite simple and means that there will be themes of morality and often religion. Reading Kingdom of the Cloud while knowing this I was able to pick up themes of Christianity throughout, but there was nothing explicitly stated and I think it worked really well with the overarching style of the book.

When someone dies, they go into the eternal sleep. We bury their bodies outside of the city. No one just disappears.

Maggie Platt

I really enjoyed this story and found myself plunging into the world. The characters were all really intriguing and I enjoyed seeing how they developed and grew throughout the story. Because there is a lot of world building, some might find that the beginning had a slow start. I personally didn’t feel that way because I like finding everything out about the world and not feeling confused about how everything works, but I know that not everyone likes that type of stylization. But even still, the story is amazing and it does “pick up” in pace.

About the Author

Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and she lives in a cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.

Tour Schedule

May 14th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

May 15th

Annej Reads – Story Behind the Cover
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes
BiblioJoJo – Review
Books and Zebras – Review
Finding Faith, Holding onto Hope, and Living with Love – Review

May 16th

Bookish Looks – Spotlight
L.M.Durand – Review
Precious books world – Review + Favourite Quotes
Adventures and Reading – Review
Willow Writes And Reads – Review

May 17th

Kait Plus Books – Official Book Playlist
Abooktropolis – Review
Books Over Everything – Review
BoundbyWord – Spotlight
bewitchingwords – Review

May 18th

The Reading Life – Spotlight
The Reading Corner for All – Review
Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Review + Favourite Quotes
Levicorpvs Blog – Review

May 19th

@the.magicalpages – Guest Post
Books And Dice – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookishly Nerdy – Review
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Lot Of Pages – Review

May 20th

Books, Tea, Healthy Me – Interview
Eating Between the Lines Inc – Review
Foals, Fiction & Filigree – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Baroness of Books – Review

Moodboards

Excerpt

Murky black eyes shining with reflected fire searched the mural for anything he could have missed. In the half-light of bracketed torches, the ruby on King Damien’s finger looked as black as his hair.

As he studied the images all around him, a dozen stealthy and agile guards stood at attention in the glittering throne room on the other side of the stone wall. Each guard wore a simple black bodysuit with attached gloves and held two long swords, one in each hand. There were sheathes crisscrossing their backs, but they would only stow the swords when the king was no longer in their presence.

Warm light from the domed glass ceiling made everything in the enormous outer chamber appear golden. The chains of chandeliers reached up into the heights, and a brightly painted mural covered every inch of the walls. It was this same mural that the king pondered, but his eyes fell on the darker portions, the hidden stories on the other side of the wall that were kept in deepest secret.

There were terrible mysteries waiting here, prophecies recorded with paint and brushes on upright stone slabs. King Damien had tortured and killed his own people in efforts to understand, and he felt growing frustration that he still had no answers. He could not let this forecasted future come to pass.

The king was alone, hidden within a protected corridor in the center of his vast palace. He wore the customary clothing for the mountain kingdom’s royal men: black trousers, shiny black shoes, black leather gloves, and a crisp white shirt. The back of his shirt had a large circle cut out of the fabric, exposing intricate black designs that covered his skin. Most of the markings were the size of a fist, and there were seven of them forming a large ring from his shoulders to his waist. Hissing snake. Pointed crown. Unbalanced scales. Heavy chains. Thorny rose. Sharp diamond. Twisted flames. Taking up the center of this wreath was a much larger image — a highly-detailed heart, strangled by ragged veins.

His palatial estate sat on top of a low, squat mountain in the very center of the known world. Mount Damien — named for him — was encircled by a thick layer of cloud separating the civilized peak from the wild frontiers on the slopes below. When looking out from the palace’s highest tower, the city looked as if it floated in a sea of white cotton with brief glimpses of greener lands beneath. Most of the mountain’s inhabitants had never ventured below the clouds.

King Damien looked closely at a troubling span of the mural. It was the same spot he had obsessed over a million times before. It portrayed four warriors atop his mountain with victory in their expressions and armies coming behind them. The next scene was a barren landscape, with nothing but a small mound of rocks where Mount Damien used to be. Then, the mural stopped.

With each year of his reign, more of the painted prophecies came to pass. All that was left was this last corridor behind the curtain. Would these final scenes come to be, too? Had he done enough to stop these conquerors? What if he had been wrong about their identities? How exact were these paintings, and did he have the power to change them?

He had a nagging suspicion that he had missed something. He daily paced along this wall looking for any hint that would lead him to answers. His middle-aged son and heir, Prince Ajax, sometimes joined him, but he didn’t share his father’s enthusiasm for deciphering the future.

The future. Damien hated the thought of the future. He hated how little he could control without knowing for certain the identities of those four conquerors and if he had really put an end to them. But how could he ever learn these things when the artist who painted the scenes left the mountain nearly fifty years ago? It was enough to drive him mad.

It was in this madness that he had created a bit of a game. Six months had passed since he gathered seven of his most powerful up-and-coming leaders, named them the Council of Masters, and sent them below the cloud to the land of Adia, where the painting prophet had fled. The rules were simple. They must brand an Adian with the symbol of their specific expertise and bring the victim back to the mountain. The first to do so would earn a large chest filled with gold, a fortune that could fund the most lavish lifestyle for several years.

They didn’t need to know that there were many deeper reasons for bringing an Adian above the clouds. He longed to interrogate one and find out if there were more prophecies, to find out if there were more murals, to find out if Adwin was still in Adia. Even more so, he salivated over the thought of Adwin himself coming to the mountain to retrieve the victim. Could he finally have Adwin in his grasp after all these years?

The click of heels against tile made his ears perk, and the king quickly passed through the thick red curtain that separated the dark corridor from the glittering throne room. He squinted at the sudden onslaught of light. The guards let him pass before reclaiming their positions.

He moved toward the center of the room and pondered the seven young people as they entered. They were his kingdom’s finest weapons. Formidable. Hardened. Lethally clever.

The three men wore the same white shirt as the king, but their trousers and gloves were gray instead of black. The four women wore loosely draped gowns of varying gray hues with gloves to match. All seven looked beautiful, uneasy, and dangerous.

Damien addressed them quietly, each syllable articulated and precise. “I must admit I’m disappointed. Six months and you bring me nothing from Adia. Is the task too difficult?”

They remained silent, staring back.

“I asked you a question,” he declared, his vision going dark for a split second as the veins in his eyes pulsed. “Do you think the task is too difficult? Too much for you?”

“No, Your Majesty,” they responded in unison.

“Maybe the reward has been too small?”

“No, Your Majesty.”

“Well, I am a gracious king. You do not ask for more incentive, yet I am prepared to offer it. If mere gold does not entice you, would an entire kingdom suffice?” He allowed the words to sink in before going on, enjoying the play of emotions as these young weapons tried to understand. He ascended three marble steps and sat on his emerald-encrusted golden throne. His son, Prince Ajax, sat just below him to the left. Ajax’s son was not present, so the seat on the king’s right remained empty.

“If you are the first to mark an Adian and bring the fool to this mountain,” Damien continued, shifting forward for a better view of their faces, “You will be the rightful king or queen of Adia. I will send my armies to defeat that rebellious land, and I will place you as the crowned ruler. It would all be yours.”

That would get their attention. None of their demeanors had changed a bit, but he had always been good at reading stony faces. Hunger and greed glowed in many of their eyes, terrified panic in a few. Some of them were growing soft.

He stood from his throne and approached them once more, starting with the far end of the line. Xanthe had long lemon-yellow hair with one thick aqua stripe that reached from scalp to tip. She was tall and slender, with excellent posture that betrayed the hours and hours her mother spent turning her into a perfect young woman. Xanthe’s eyes were intensely purple, and they were dull and cold as they stared at the far wall. She was betrothed to the king’s grandson, Prince Jairus, who was not in the room. As Damien drew near, Xanthe took a sharp breath and lifted her chin, but her gaze remained unfocused and distant.

“What’s wrong, Xanthe?” the king asked with over-exaggerated concern, stroking her smooth cheek with his wrinkled finger. “Don’t you want to rule your own kingdom one day?”

“Of course, Your Majesty,” she replied with no sign of emotion. “But not Adia.”

“Not Adia?” Damien prodded, poison creeping into his voice. “Why not Adia?”

“I will be this mountain’s queen one day when Jairus is king. I have no need for another kingdom.”

“If you were truly invested you would want both. So, you will not continue in this quest. You may leave.”

“Your Majesty, I didn’t say —”

“You will not go back,” he ordered forcefully. “Leave us.”

Xanthe’s eyes locked on the king and flashed with hatred as she turned to leave.

“Is there anyone else who would like to leave these ranks? This Council of Masters?”

No one moved.

“That’s what I thought.” Damien sauntered along the line, eyeing each weapon and looking for signs of cowardice. He took an especially long time examining Eryx. He was huge — an excellent athlete and fighter. He had recently shaved his head, which added to his menacing aura. He towered at least six inches over the next tallest Master, and his highly-defined and powerful body was crisscrossed with white scars, trophies of his time in the fighting ring. “What about you, Eryx? Enjoying this game?”

With great articulation but no fervor, he answered, “It’s not a game, Your Majesty.”

“Oh? Isn’t it?” Damien asked with feigned innocence.

“‘Game’ is too trivial for this assignment, Your Majesty. Your orders are law.”

Damien loved the words, but he hated the monotonous delivery. “Hmm. Thank you for this passionate speech, Eryx. You will do well to use this spirit and zeal in the next fight.”

“You haven’t put me in a fight for years!” Eryx bellowed, a sudden fire lit in his tone. “It is below my status as Master.”

“You argue with me?” Damien asked softly and dangerously, standing toe to toe and looking up into Eryx’s face. “You will fight when I tell you to. You will prove you are still able to harness your power. Now, off with all of you. You have much work to do.”

His eyes bounced to each of them in turn as they filed through the door. Without looking at his son, he asked, “Ajax, what are your thoughts? Who is leading this race?”

“You already know I don’t care for your stunts, Father. You should just send the armies now if defeating Adia is what you’re after.”

“That’s just it,” he said softly, dreamily, as he imagined a better world. “Defeating Adia is only a small part of what I’m after. Yes, I want their land. Yes, I want its rich resources and fertile soil and clean waters. But I want so much more. I want Adwin to quake in fear at the mere mention of my name. I want him to hurt. I want him to break.”

“Adwin? This is about Adwin? Wouldn’t defeating Adia make him ‘quake’ as you call it?”

This snapped the king back to attention. Sternly he asked, “How old are you, Ajax?”

“Forty-nine.”

“In forty-nine years, you still have not learned. We could burn every tree and building in his village to the ground, and it would not shake him nearly as much as marking one of his beloved Adians with my symbols.”

“I doubt that very much. But you didn’t answer my question. Why have you never mentioned to me that this silly game is about Adwin?”

“My son, when will you discover that everything is about Adwin?”

Original link: https://maggieplatt.com/2020/04/01/chapter-1-sneak-peak/

Giveaway

Prize: Win a signed copy of KINGDOM ABOVE THE CLOUD and some swag (US Only)

Starts: 14th May 2020
Ends: 28th May 2020

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The Henna Wars Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway

Booksta post to come!

About the Book

I’ve seen it too many times, paired with disparagement of me, my heritage, my culture.

Adiba Jaigirdar

The Henna Wars
by Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 12th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary, Queer

I can imagine their faces, red and blotchy with the shame that has been brought onto our family. Sham that I have, ultimately, made the wrong choice.

Adiba Jaigirdar

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

‘Knock, knock!’

‘You know it’s not knocking when you just say the words knock knock, right?’

‘You’re supposed to say who’s there.’

Adiba Jaigirdar

Review

For a while it seemed like all I was reading were queer books and I was beyond happy for that to be the case. Then all of a sudden it was as if hardly any of the books I was reading and coming across had any representation. So, I was very excited when The Henna Wars came on my radar because it has so much diverse representation in it and it was just what I needed! Plus, I mean, I’ve GOT to mention that beautiful cover.

First date watching the sunset. It’s kind of cheesy.

Adiba Jaigirdar

What I loved about this book the most is that it wasn’t just one thing. I oftentimes find that contemporaries are either really cheesy, really serious, or really focused on a “cause.” And while I don’t mind that every now and then, it’s what makes me not reach for contemporaries that frequently. However, I was glad to find that The Henna Wars would do no such thing as to disappoint my extremely high expectations and that it was the perfect blend of sweet, serious, and just all around perfection. The characters are so perfect. The setting is so perfect. And I just fell in love with the prose and the way the story just flows.

Why do you look so grumpy?

Adiba Jaigirdar

The Henna Wars is just everything I’ve been missing in my books lately. I’ve been trying to find a book like it, and every time I try one out it just seems to fall short for some reason. It’s just one of those beautiful stories that is also just so important to be out there in the world.

About the Author

Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland.

She is a contributor for Bookriot. Previously, she has published short fiction and poetry in various journals and anthologies.

All her work is aided by copious amounts of (kettle-made) tea and a whole lot of Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe.

She is represented by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS.

Tour Schedule

May 12th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

May 13th

Emelies Books – Guest Post
The Little Mouse That Reads – Review
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes
Lauren’s Boookshelf – Review + Playlist
Dawn Elize – Review

May 14th

Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
Between the Shelves – Review
Bookishaestha – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
dinipandareads – Review + Favourite Quotes
SepiaReads – Review

May 15th

BookCrushin – Guest Post
Booked J – Review + Playlist
Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review
Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
For The Love of Fictional Worlds – Review

May 16th

Kait Plus Books – Interview
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
Wilted Pages – Review
The Various Hues of Blue – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review
Annej Reads – Promotional Post

May 17th

QueerBookReport – Review
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Popthebutterfly Reads – Review
Enthralled Bookworm – Review + Playlist
Books_andPoetrii – Review + Favourite Quotes

May 18th

Utopia State of Mind – Interview
Morgan Vega – Review + Favourite Quotes
Wonder stuck – Review
Fangirl Pixie Blog – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
BiblioJoJo – Review

Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of THE HENNA WARS by Adiba Jairgirdar (US/CAN Only)

Starts: May 12th 2020
Ends: May 26th 2020

<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86499/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="d9681b86499" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_1gon01hn">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Instagram Tour Schedule

May 12th

TUABFC
The FFBC Tours

May 13th

Emelies Books
The Little Mouse That Reads
The Reading Corner for All
Lauren’s Boookshelf
Dawn Elize

May 14th

Ya It’s Lit
Between the Shelves
Bookishaestha
dinipandareads

May 15th

BookCrushin
Booked J
Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Dazzled by Books

May 16th

Kait Plus Books
Sometimes Leelynn Reads
Wilted Pages
The Various Hues of Blue
The Mind of a Book Dragon
Annej Reads

May 17th

QueerBookReport
Popthebutterfly Reads
Enthralled Bookworm

May 18th

Morgan Vega
Wonder stuck
Fangirl Pixie Blog
BiblioJoJo

Instagram Giveaway

View this post on Instagram

🌸 b o o k t o u r & g i v e a w a y 🌸 For a while it seemed like all I was reading were queer books and I was beyond happy for that to be the case. Then all of a sudden it was as if hardly any of the books I was reading had any representation. So, I was very excited when The Henna Wars came on my radar because it has so much diverse representation in it and it was just what I needed! Plus, I mean, I've GOT to mention that beautiful cover. (Full review & giveaway on my blog, link in bio!) 🌸 @melt_the_stars code: YAITSLIT10 🌸 We are giving away 1 copy of THE HENNA WARS by Adiba Jairgirdar (US/CAN Only). The giveaway will start on May 12th 2020 and will finish on May 26th 2020 🌸 Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @dibs_j ▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @pagestreetya ▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit)! ▪︎Any Comment You Want and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering! 🌸 Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone's Instagram handles below: @bookcrushin @jessicabeckett, @nicolefictionaddiction, and @love2dazzle 🌸 #thehennawards #adibajairgirdar #pagestreetya #pagestreetkids #yalgbtbooks #lgbtq🌈  #FFBCTours #roaring20sdebut #yabooks #yalit #yabookstagram #yaitslit #yareads #bookbloggerslife #bookreviewer #bookstagram #yafantasy #booknerd #bookreviewblog #instabooklovers #yacommunity #bookstaunited #bookbloggersofig #btabookfriends #bookphotography #bookstamisfits #bookiehelper #readgushcommunity #bookflatlay #bookblogger

A post shared by Zoe 🇺🇸 26 (@ya.its.lit) on

*Instagram post to come, pending Insta freeing me from being action blocked*

Entries for the giveaway: 

▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri
▪︎Follow the author @dibs_j
▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @pagestreetya
▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit)!
▪︎Any Comment You Want and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering!

Extra entries: 

▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry).
▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc)
▪︎Follow @michellesulk
▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone’s Instagram handles below:
@bookcrushin @jessicabeckett, @nicolefictionaddiction, and @love2dazzle

T&Cs & Disclaimers:

▪︎Giveaway ends on May 26th (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc.
▪︎Open to residents of US/CAN only
▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram. 

The winner will be announced after MAY 28th 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN US/CAN ONLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

By the Book Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway

About the Book

By the Book
by Amanda Sellet
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Playing the hero; how opportunistic of him.

Amanda Sellet

Mary Porter-Malcolm has prepared for high school in the one way she knows how: an extensive review of classic literature to help navigate the friendships, romantic liaisons, and overall drama she has come to expect from such an “esteemed” institution. Her love of literature even inspires her to imagine herself the heroine of a nineteenth-century novel. Not the sort who makes poor life choices and ends up dying of consumption while still in her teens, but the noble, virtuous, quick-witted type.

Handsome but deadly.

Amanda Sellet

When some new friends seem in danger of falling for the same tricks employed since the days of Austen and Tolstoy, Mary swoops in to create the Scoundrel Survival Guide, using archetypes of literature’s debonair bad boys to signal red flags. But despite her best efforts, she soon finds herself unable to listen to her own good advice and falling for a supposed cad—the same one she warned her friends away from. Without a convenient rain-swept moor to flee to, Mary is forced to admit that real life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction and that if she wants a happy ending, she’s going to have to write it herself.

The bad news hit me in stages: Customers.

Amanda Sellet

When some new friends seem in danger of falling for the same tricks employed since the days of Austen and Tolstoy, Mary swoops in to create the Scoundrel Survival Guide, using archetypes of literature’s debonair bad boys to signal red flags. But despite her best efforts, she soon finds herself unable to listen to her own good advice and falling for a supposed cad—the same one she warned her friends away from. Without a convenient rain-swept moor to flee to, Mary is forced to admit that real life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction and that if she wants a happy ending, she’s going to have to write it herself.

Review

I’m just obsessed with how cute of an idea this book is! I am just in love with the story and was just so amused with it. I mean, it’s got all of my favorite things rolled into one: classics, bad boys, and just overall reminding me of Jane Austen. I mean, if this wasn’t me as a teenager then I don’t know what was! I feel like I’m being rambly, but I’m just so in love with this one!

It sounded as though she’d faced down an angry mob, as opposed to me, a soft-spoken fifteen-year-old with freckles.

Amanda Sellet

Ok, so I rarely see classics being given so much love in contemporaries and I am so here for the representation in this book! As a classic and period piece fan myself I was just so giddy seeing that in this book! I don’t know, I just really related to Mary. I’m telling you, she was so melodramatic in her own way. I also really liked the touch of adding a diary entry to the beginning of each chapter. It just gave us an additional look into Mary’s psyche.

You’re jilting me?

Amanda Sellet

This story just really made me reminiscent of growing up. I was just able to thoroughly enjoy the story because I was able to relate to it so much. Plus I adored all of the amazing friendships in the story! I don’t know, it was just a happy story, and I’ve been seeking things out like that lately. I really recommend this to all of the book nerds out there, especially those who are into classics!

About the Author

Debut author Amanda Sellet had a previous career in journalism, during which she wrote book reviews for The Washington Post, personal essays for NPR, and music and movie coverage for VH1. These days she lives in Kansas with her archaeologist husband and their daughter.

Excerpt

Dear Diary,

Here’s a secret I’ve never told anyone: Sometimes I pretend my life is happening inside a book. I’m the main character, and there’s a narrator following me around, describing everything. Her piercing cerulean eyes gazed wistfully into the distance as an errant breeze caressed her lustrous auburn tresses . . . Et cetera.

Obviously I’m the good kind of heroine, not someone whose poor life choices will lead to her dying of consumption while still in her teens. And I’m wearing a long dress, and maybe there’s a handsome stranger in the distance. Beyond that, the story is vague. Possibly because my real life has always been light on plot development—until today.

M.P.M.

Chapter 1

The beginning of the upending of my life took place on a sweltering August afternoon, the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I was lying on the couch, immersed in the story of a genteel family with too many daughters and not enough property. The slow rotation of the ceiling fan ruffled the pages of my book. If I held perfectly still, it was possible not to sweat.

“Mary,” said my mother’s voice, summoning me back to the present. “Can I see you in my office?”

There was no clap of thunder or eerie howling in the distance. The sun continued to blaze down from a cloudless sky—or so I imagined, not having been outside. Apart from the mild annoyance of being interrupted in the middle of a crucial scene, I had no presentiment of doom. After fumbling for my bookmark, which had slipped between cushions, I levered myself upright.

When I hobbled into the office on limbs stiff from too many hours in the same position, I was surprised to see my father seated at one end of the desk. Usually he (and Mom) preferred it when he worked in a different room.

“What’s up?” I asked, lifting a stack of literary journals from the threadbare armchair so I could sit.

“Mary.” Dad leaned forward on his stool, hands cupping his knees. “How would you like a new . . . lunchbox?”

Mom winced.

“The one I have is fine. Why?” Being observant by nature—reasonably skilled at reading a room, deciphering subtext, sniffing out the nuances of human behavior—I had an inkling there was more to come.

Dad blotted his temple with the back of his wrist. “Well. As you know, there are things in this life that endure, and others that are more—” He paused, squinting at a framed poster of the Bloomsbury Group, as if one of them might supply the missing phrase. “Transitory.”

“And you think my lunchbox is going to stop existing?” I looked to my mother for enlightenment.

She inhaled as if preparing to plunge into the watery deep. “What your father is trying to say is that you have to change schools.”

Dumbfounded, I struggled to make sense of her words. I’d been at the same school since I was three, a ramshackle on-campus facility catering mostly to the children of professors. It was small, and smelled like old shoes when it rained, but it was also a second home. I knew every rip in the carpet and limp beanbag. “Are you serious?” I finally managed to ask.

“The school’s grant wasn’t renewed.” Among my mother’s gifts was the ability to pack a world of disapproval into the briefest of utterances.

“And they just figured this out? Summer’s almost over.”

The two of them exchanged a furtive glance.

“The possibility presented itself some time ago, but the situation wasn’t definitive until quite recently.” Dad gestured vaguely. “A month or so—”

“Two at the most,” Mom cut in. “We thought it best not to upset you while there was still a chance the issue could be resolved. Plus we had the symposium in Chicago, and then the twins were getting ready for the Shakespeare festival, not to mention Cam’s tournament.” Her eyes slid to me, clearly hoping for some version of Oh wow, you’re right, that was hectic, but I was more concerned by the revelation that they’d known about this in the spring.

“But what am I going to do? This changes everything.” A vision popped into my head: setting off on the first day only to have one of them call after me, By the way, Mary, your school no longer exists.

My mother squared her shoulders. “There was very little choice involved. Private school isn’t an option for us. It was Millville High or the circus.”

While we weren’t paupers, all of us understood that a family of seven had to observe certain economies to get by on an academic pay scale. That didn’t excuse leaving me in the dark for so long.

“What about Jasper?”

She rolled her eyes, a gesture reminiscent of the sibling in question. “No doubt your brother will be delighted.”

“You haven’t told him yet.” The part of me that kept a running tally of which sibling got what was relieved. It was important to make sure the privileges of birth order were respected, even when the rest of the universe was falling apart.

“Jasper is enough of a contrarian to think middle school will be fun.” Mom huffed through her nostrils, in case we’d missed the sarcasm.

“And so will Millville High,” Dad said with forced cheer. “Especially with your sister there to take you under her wing.”

Despite this assurance, I found it hard to imagine Cam playing nursemaid. She was going to be a senior, and captain of the field hockey team, with a busy life of her own. I could go to her in dire straits, or if I needed to intimidate someone, but it wasn’t as though we spent a lot of time hanging out together now. I didn’t bother explaining this to my parents. There were too many other things to worry about.

“So I’m going to Millville High in—a week?” I glanced at the calendar on the wall, each month featuring the idyllic childhood home of an English novelist. “And I’ll know one person, and everyone will look at me and wonder why a sophomore can’t figure out where her classes are or how to open a locker or anything else that happens at a normal high school?”

“Pooh pooh.” My father was the only human being I knew who actually said those words, instead of using them as a verb. “Of course not. Anjuli will be there, too.”

Original Source: https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/By-the-Book/9780358156611

Tour Schedule

May 6th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

May 7th

Grownup Fangirl – Deleted Scenes
L.M. Durand – Review
TheGeekishBrunette – Review + Favourite Quotes
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Loyal Book – Review

May 8th

Confessions of a YA Reader – Official Dream Cast
Write, Read, Repeat – Review
The Little Mouse that Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes + Mood Board
Pawsome Reads – Review
My Bookish Escapades – Review + Favourite Quotes

May 9th

BookCrushin – Story Behind The Cover
Annej Reads – Guest Post
The Shelf Life Chronicles – Review
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
bookish bibliophile – Review

May 10th

Bookish Looks – Meet The Characters
Booked J – Review + Playlist
The Perks of Being Noura – Review + Favourite Quotes
3heartsandawish – Review
Emelies Books – Review + Playlist + Mood Board

May 11th

Wishful Endings – Top 5 or 10 List
Morgan Vega – Review + Favourite Quotes
Book Briefs – Review
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Magical Reads – Review + Playlist

May 12th

Kait Plus Books – Tell your story in 3 or 5 gifs
@womanon – Review
Belle’s Archive – Review + Favourite Quotes + Author’s reaction
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist
For The Love of Fictional Worlds – Review

Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of BY THE BOOK by Amanda Sellet (US Only)

Starts: May 6th 2020
Ends: May 20th 2020

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Instagram Schedule

May 6th

TUABFC & The FFBC Tours

May 7th

Grownup Fangirl
L.M. Durand
TheGeekishBrunette
Ya It’s Lit
The Loyal Book

May 8th

Confessions of a YA Reader
Write, Read, Repeat
The Little Mouse that Reads
Pawsome Reads
My Bookish Escapades

May 9th

BookCrushin
Annej Reads
The Shelf Life Chronicles
Sometimes Leelynn Reads

May 10th

Bookish Looks
Booked J
The Perks of Being Noura
3heartsandawish
Emelies Books

May 11th

Wishful Endings
Morgan Vega
Book Briefs
Moonlight Rendezvous
Magical Reads

May 12th

Kait Plus Books
Belle’s Archive
The Mind of a Book Dragon

Instagram Giveaway

View this post on Instagram

🌸 b o o k t o u r & g i v e a w a y 🌸 I'm just obsessed with how cute of an idea this book is! I am just in love with the story and was just so amused with it. I mean, it's got all of my favorite things rolled into one: classics, bad boys, and just overall reminding me of Jane Austen. I mean, if this wasn't me as a teenager then I don't know what was! I feel like I'm being rambly, but I'm just so in love with this one! (Full review & additional giveaway entries on my blog, link in bio!) 🌸 @fablebands code: YAITSLIT10 🌸 We are giving away 1 copy of BY THE BOOK by Amanda Sellet (US Only). The giveaway will start on May 6th 2020 and will finish on May 20th 2020. 🌸 Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @amandajsellet ▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @hmhteen ▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit) ▪︎Tell us what you think about the cover & tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering! 🌸 Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone's Instagram handles below: @confessionsofayareader @writereadrepeat_ya, @mousethatreads, @pawsomereads and @mybkishescapades 🌸 #Bythebook #amandasellet #hmhteen #roaring20sdebut #FFBCTours #yabooks #yaitslit #yareads #bookbloggerslife #bookreviewer #booknerd #bookreviewblog #booksharks #instabooklovers #yacommunity #bookishlove #hereforthebooks #bookstaunited #bookbloggersofig #readingislife #btabookfriends #bookphotography #bookstamisfits #bookishmerch #bookiehelper #bookishphotography #readgushcommunity #bookaesthetic #readersofinsta #bookblogger

A post shared by Zoe 🇺🇸 26 (@ya.its.lit) on

We are giving away 1 copy of BY THE BOOK by Amanda Sellet (US Only). The giveaway will start on May 6th 2020 and will finish on May 20th 2020.

Entries for the giveaway: 

▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri
▪︎Follow the author @amandajsellet
▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @hmhteen
▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit)
▪︎Tell us what you think about the cover & tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering!

Extra entries: 

▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry).
▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc)
▪︎Follow @michellesulk
▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone’s Instagram handles below:
@confessionsofayareader @writereadrepeat_ya, @mousethatreads, @pawsomereads and @mybkishescapades

T&Cs & Disclaimers:

▪︎Giveaway ends on May 20th (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc.
▪︎Open to residents of US only
▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram. 

The winner will be announced after MAY 22nd 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN US ONLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram. 

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

Last Girls Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, Moodboards, & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Eventually, we all have to leave the nest.

Demetra Brodsky

Last Girls
by Demetra Brodsky
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: May 5th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

There’s work to be done, as you continue to point out.

Demetra Brodsky

No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

This week showed me exactly what I want to say with my eyes.

Demetra Brodsky

Pre-Order Campaign

Hey all! The Juniper sisters in LAST GIRLS don’t go anywhere without a backpack (what they call an EDC: Every Day Carry) and they take great pride in their artwork. Honey paints, Birdie draws comics, and Blue uses embroidery to fancy up her clothes (when she’s not spending time with her beloved falcon, Achilles). To honor the sisters’ talents, I’ll be sending one lucky winner some artistic inspiration by offering up a fabulous pre-order Grand Prize. But don’t worry, everyone who orders will receive a gift with purchase. And, as a bonus, I’m including a 2nd prize that holds a special place in my author heart.

ALL PREORDERS WILL RECEIVE: Last Girls 5×7 Glossy Art Print & Signed Bookplate

ALL PREORDERS WILL BE ENTERED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THE GRAND AND FIRST PRIZE.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Pre-order your copy today! Coming 5.5.20

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: (chosen at random on or before 5/19) will receive a BUILT NY grey & blue camouflage backpack with thermal lunch compartment. Inside you’ll find a mini acrylic painting kit (From Honey), a sketchbook & pen (From Birdie), an adorable 10″ peregrine falcon plushie and mini sewing kit (from Blue), a flashlight (with batteries), a rosy tinted lip balm, camouflage band-aids, a 3-pack of portable tissues printed with positive messages, and a dehydrated camping meal like the one the sisters eat in the book.

FIRST PRIZE: (chosen at random on or before 5/19) A signed hardcover copy of my debut novel, DIVE SMACK, to round out your collection (Surprise! There’s a big Dive Smack Easter Egg hidden in the pages of Last Girls).

TO ENTER: email proof of purchase to demetrabrodskybooks@gmail.com before May 5th. You’ll get one entry for each copy of the book you purchase.

Available wherever books are sold.
Whenever possible, please support Indie Bookstores by buying through www.bookshop.org
Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego will have signed copies (not bookplates) and offers Free shipping for media mail rate within the U.S. on orders over $35. https://www.mystgalaxy.com/book/9781250256522

VISIT: https://www.demetrabrodsky.com/last-girls-preorder-campaign to learn more!

*Open to U.S.A. Residents Only
*Sweepstakes run and fulfilled by the author
*Share with your friends

READ AN EXCERPT LAST GIRLS HERE:
https://torteenblog.com/2020/03/20/read-an-excerpt-of-last-girls-by-demetra-brodsky/

Review

One of my favorite genre of books are survival stories, so you best believe I love books about doomsday preppers. I just find it so interesting getting a look inside the lives of those who prep and learn survival skills. I mean, in a weird sense there’s some logic behind it! I personally could probably stand for some additional survival skills, lol. So you can imagine that I went into Last Girls with high expectations, and quite honestly I was blown away.

I want to torture her, let her puzzle it out, but there’s no time.

Demetra Brodsky

The first thing I really need to point out is how amazing a writer Brodsky is. I love lyrical yet strong writing (if that makes sense), which is probably why I typically prefer fantasy to contemporary books. I often find that contemporaries are written in a much more matter of fact tone, but Last Girls had such beautiful prose. It was everything that I look for in writing style and everything I usually find lacking in contemporaries. Color me impressed!

And nothing that happens going forward will ever refute the fact that for a long time we were the Juniper sisters.

Demetra Brodsky

And the second thing I need to point out is the timeliness of this story. I mean, this book couldn’t be coming out at a better time! I wasn’t sure if I would absolutely love a prepper story right now or find it too “much” given the current state of things, but I was happy that it fell into the adored wholeheartedly category. But, it’s also probably because I’ve been in a I need to camp and leave society mood lately. But seriously though, the characters were just so fascinating that you couldn’t help but want to read more and the plot move quickly enough to keep the story interesting, but not too quickly to give you whiplash. This was honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a while!

About the Author

DEMETRA BRODSKY writes twisty thrillers about dark family secrets. She is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned full-time. A native of Massachusetts with a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Demetra now lives in Southern California where she’s always exploring and researching, looking for clues to things that might feed into her next book. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack, her debut YA Thriller, is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection, an (ALAN) Pick (The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE), and a Publishers Marketplace Buzz Book for Young Adults for Spring/Summer 2018.

Tour Schedule

April 29th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

April 30th

The Reading Life – Story Behind The Cover
BookCrushin – Top 5/10 List
The Reading Corner for All – Review
Books, Tea, Healthy Me – Review + Favourite Quotes
Mythical Books – Review

May 1st

Captivated Reading – Official Dream Cast
Here’s To Happy Endings – Review
Books & Art Journal – Review + Favourite Quotes
Pacific Northwest Bookworm – Review
Emelies Books – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes

May 2nd

Bookish Looks – Guest Post
Fangirl Pixie Blog – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
Sleepydoe Reads – Review
Belle’s Archive – Review
Trapped Inside Stories – Review + Favourite Quotes
Inktalkswithmaria – Review

May 3rd

Confessions of a YA Reader – Official Book Playlist & Blogger’s Playlist
Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes + Mood Board
Books and Zebras – Review
Wanders Between Pages – Review + Favourite Quotes
Wrinkled Pages – Review

May 4th

Kait Plus Books – Tell Your Story in 3 or 5 GIFs
Fictitiouswonderland – Review
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlis
tThe Clever Reader – Review
Utopia State of Mind – Review + Favourite Quotes

May 5th

Dazzled by Books – Mood Board
A Dream Within A Dream – Meet The Characters
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review
The Little Mouse That Reads – Review + Playlist + Mood Board
Bookish Rantings – Review

Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (3) copies of LAST GIRLS by Demetra Brodsky (US Only)

Starts: April 29th 2020
Ends: May 13th 2020

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Mood Boards

Instagram Tour Schedule

April 29th

The FFBC Tours

April 30th

BookCrushin
The Reading Corner for All

May 1st

Pacific Northwest Bookworm
Emelies Books
Books & Art Journal

May 2nd

Sleepydoe Reads
Belle’s Archive
Trapped Inside Stories

May 3rd

Ya It’s Lit
Books and Zebras

May 4th

Fictitiouswonderland
The Clever Reader

May 5th

Dazzled by Books
PopTheButterfly Reads
Bookish Rantings

Instagram Giveaway

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🌸 b o o k t o u r & g i v e a w a y 🌸 One of my favorite genre of books are survival stories, so you best believe I love books about doomsday preppers. I just find it so interesting getting a look inside the lives of those who prep and learn survival skills. I mean, in a weird sense there's some logic behind it! I personally could probably stand for some additional survival skills, lol. So you can imagine that I went into Last Girls with high expectations, and quite honestly I was blown away. (Full review & extra giveaway entries on my blog, link in bio!) 🌸 QOTD | If you had to prep for the end of the world, what five things would you take? @fablebands code: YAITSLIT10 🌸 No one knows how the world will end. 🌸 On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own. 🌸 Prepare for every situation. 🌸 But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain: 🌸 Nowhere is safe. 🌸 Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @demebrodsky ▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @torteen ▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit) ▪︎Answer the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering! 🌸 Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know in a comment you follow). Check everyone's Instagram handles in the comments! 🌸 #LastGirls #TheJuniperSisters #demetrabrodsky #demebrodsky #torteen #YAThriller #Spring2020 #DoomsdayPreppers #yabooks #yacontemporary #yabookstagram #yaitslit #yareads #bookbloggerslife #bookreviewer #bookstagram #bookreviewblog #bookstaunited #bookbloggersofig #readingislife #btabookfriends #bookphotography #bookstamisfits #bookiehelper #theffbc #readgushcommunity #bookflatlay #bookaesthetic #readersofinsta #fablebands

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Entries for the giveaway: 

▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri
▪︎Follow the author @demebrodsky
▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house @torteen
▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit)
▪︎Answer the QOTD and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering:
If you had to prep for the end of the world, what five things would you take?

Extra entries: 

▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry).
▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc)
▪︎Follow @michellesulk
▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know in a comment you follow). Check everyone’s Instagram handles below:
@bookish_rantings
@popthebutterfly
@love2dazzle
@thecleverreader
@fictitiouswonderland
@jypsylynn
@trappedinsidestories
@belleeeey_
@_.sleepydoe._
@emeliesbooks
@pnwbookworm
@TheReadingCornerforAll
@bookcrushin

T&Cs & Disclaimers:

▪︎Giveaway ends on May 13th (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc.
▪︎Open to residents of US only
▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram. 

The winner will be announced after May 15th 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN US ONLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram. 

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

The Silence of Bones Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, and Giveaway

Click on the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Still, I imagined they were bowing to me.

June Hur

The Silence of Bones
by June Hur
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: April 21st 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;

Ears, but I mustn’t hear;

Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

For women were not considered threats to the capital, as men were, when darkness fell.

June Hur

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly. June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

For the first time since my brother had disappeared, I felt seen.

June Hur

Review

You really have no idea how excited I was when I found out about this book! I absolutely love anything set in Joseon. It’s just always so dark and beautiful, like the cover of The Silence of Bones. I mean, the more I look at it the more I see and pick up on. I do seriously love this time period though and I wish there were more books set in it. But this book was honestly so much more than I could have hoped for!

Loyalty. I may waiver, but I always fight to return to it.

June Hur

This books is so much more dark and gritty than I had expected. I feel like stories set in Joseon either go the cheesy/cheery route or the dark/gritty route and I was pleasantly surprised that this one fell into the latter category. The mystery was so good and when I say this book goes dark, I mean it goes dark. But the writing remains beautiful throughout. It has those dark undertones, but still is very lyrical.

Be careful. Cross no one. Obey always

June Hur

The characters were also really amazing. Seol (which always confuses me when Korean characters are named that) is always underestimated but she’s got pluck. She uses her ability to fly under the radar to her advantage, and I can appreciate that level of scrappiness. Seriously though, this book was just so amazing!

About the Author

JUNE HUR (‘Hur’ as in ‘her’) was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works for the public library. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020. She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

Excerpt

Fate. A shackle as solid as truth— unchangeable, unmovable. On the day of my departure, my sister had told me how long I was bound by the government to serve in the police bureau, away from home, from family. For one generation, she’d whispered.

My entire life.

That is, I would be free by the age of forty-one, as old as death itself.

A thunder of fluttering wings filled the sky in all directions, the birds overhead taken to flight. A shriek in the distance pierced the air; a terrified horse. Officer Kyŏn charged ahead, while it took me a scrambling moment to realize what was happening. I jabbed my heels into Terror’s side and followed him through the thicket, over the protruding roots, branches hitting my face.

Then we reached a glade and my heart stopped. Across the stream stood Inspector Han, his sleeve blood-soaked, his hand inching toward the sword at his side. A matter of paces away prowled a tiger, a deep growl rumbling from its white- and- black- striped chest. Powerful paws with sharp claws. The beast looked as large as Inspector Han himself.

“Do not move,” the inspector said, though not to us. Past the thick cluster of leaves was a horse struggling on the ground, shaking its head as blood continued to ooze from its wounded side. And hunkered down behind the creature was Maid Soyi.

Unable to look away from the scene, I hissed to Kyŏn, “Shoot it!”

A muscle worked in Officer Kyŏn’s jaw. Clearly he was incensed at an order from a girl, but he drew out an arrow and nocked it to his bow. As he aimed, the iron point trembled. What resolve he had, I watched falter and crumble.

“I’ll do it.” I snatched the weapon from him and rode out into the glade for a better aim. My motion caught the tiger’s attention. Good. My fear had reached its climax, and another sensation flooded in, a powerful longing that churned within me: the desire to matter.

Tour Schedule

April 15th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

April 16th

TheGeekishBrunette – Review + Favourite Quotes
moon & coffee – Review
Books, Tea, Healthy Me – Review + Favourite Quotes
Book-Keeping – Review
Clairefy – Review

April 17th

Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
Biblio.JoJo – Review
Ohana Cascadia – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookishaestha – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
Allisa White’s Book Blog – Review + Favourite Quotes

April 18th

Belle’s Archive – Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Review
Adventurous Bookworm – Review + Favourite Quotes

Books_andPoetrii – Review

April 19th

Foals, Fiction & Filigree – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Layaway Dragon – Review
For The Love of Fictional Worlds – Review + Favourite Quotes
Readlogy – Review
A Dream Within A Dream – Review

April 20th

PopTheButterfly Reads – Review
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes + Book
Aestheticdinipandareads – Review + Favourite Quotes
Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
Lost in Storyland – Review + Favourite Quotes

April 21st

Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Dream Cast
Frayed Books – Review
Endless Chapters – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves – Review
Lu’s books – Review + Favourite Quotes

Giveaway

Prize: Win a $30 gift card from an indie bookstore (US & Canada Only)
Starts: 15th April 2020
Ends: 29TH April 2020

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Instagram Tour Schedule

April 15th

The FFBC Tours
TUABFC

April 16th

Clairefy
moon & coffee
TheGeekishBrunette
Book-Keeping
Books, Tea, Healthy Me

April 17th

Ya It’s Lit
Bookishaestha
Biblio.JoJo
Ohana Cascadia

April 18th

Belle’s Archive
Confessions of a YA Reader
Adventurous Bookworm
Library of a Book Witch

April 19th

Foals, Fiction & Filigree
Allisa White’s Book Blog
A Dream Within A Dream

April 20th

The Reading Corner for All
Here’s to Happy Endings
PopTheButterfly Reads
Lost in Storyland

April 21st

Frayed Books
Sometimes Leelynn Reads
Lu’s books

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Sensational Tour – Review & Mood Boards

Click on the image to see my booksta post!

About Spectacle

Spectacle (#1)
by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

About Sensational

Sensational
(Spectacle #2)
by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 11, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Sensational is the thrilling follow-up to Spectacle in which a killer haunts the Paris World’s Fair of 1889.

The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.

Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.

Review

Ah Paris, how I love it! The drama! The fashion! The culture! The food! I mean, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It is actually the only city I could ever see myself living in. When I visited I just instantly fell in love and felt right at home. So, as you can guess, I always love to read books set in Paris! There’s just something so magical about the city, and I love when the books add in their own sets of magic to one of my favorite places.

I have come to realize that I actually really love duologies. It’s probably because they always leave me wanting more. I like feeling like I need more over feeling like the series is dragging on and on. I also extra love when these duologies are set in one of my favorite settings AND involve magic. I also really love how well Zdrok interwove the history of the times into the story. It makes it seem more plausible and really brings to life the characters and themes.

I also loved all of the pettiness in Sensational! I’m a petty person myself so I enjoy the snark and pettiness when characters start to let it eek out. The second book takes a little bit to take off compared to the first, but once it does the story really starts to come full circle. And I love that aspect about the duology, it makes it more impactful when elements from the first book begin to affect the characters in the next one. It’s just so much more realistic to life.

Tour Schedule

April 6th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post
Bookish Looks– Spotlight
Back Shelf Books– Review & Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream– Review

April 7th

Beckybookstore– Review
Sometimes Leelynn Reads– Review
Bookishly Nerdy– Review & Favorite Quotes

April 8th

Kait Plus Books– Interview
Gwendalyn’s Books– Review
A Bookish Dream– Review

April 9th

Books, Tea, Healthy Me– Interview
@momfluenster– Promo
Books Over Everything– Review
Grownup Fangirl– Spotlight
Ya It’s Lit– Mood Board

April 10th

Utopia State of Mind– Guest Post
Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
The Reading Corner for All– Review & Favorite Quotes
The Reading Life– Spotlight

Mood Boards

About the Author

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. She enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, traveling, doing races (to offset being a foodie), and posting cat photos to Instagram. She works in technology and lives in North Carolina by way of Massachusetts.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Sparrow Tour – Review, Favorite Quotes, Excerpt & Giveaway

Click the image to see my booksta post!

About the Book

Sparrow
by Mary Cecilia Jackson 
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 17th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

It’s soft. Like feathers.

Mary Cecilia Jackson

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a devastating but hopeful YA debut about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future.

There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey

I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.

My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.

And I am still prey.

All the hearts around me, once so big and filled with joy. And now look.

They’re broken all to pieces.

Mary Cecilia Jackson

Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….

I say the words every morning. For courage.

Mary Cecilia Jackson

Review

There was just something about this book that drew me to it upon just a brief first glance. As soon as I happened to get a glimpse of it I thought, yes, I’ll like this one. It is just one of those raw and terribly real stories that I seem to have grown fond of this year. You know, the ones with the broken characters that you so desperately want to pick all of the pieces of them up and put them back together.

I hear the beat and murmur of her terrible wings.

Mary Cecilia Jackson

Give me a story about a terrible and abusive relationship this year and I will be desperately clawing me way through the hordes for it. I’ve been in a *mood* with relationships ever since my crummy breakup to a crummy human being many moons ago, so now it’s apparently altered my reading interests. But I am NOT complaining, because this has been a happy side-effect. I have found some amazing new reads and I am beyond happy to have added Sparrow to that list. It is haunting and disjointed and highlights the visceral reaction many people have to abusive relationships.

Nothing hurts. I am whole.

Mary Cecilia Jackson

Now, you may have noticed me saying that this story is told in a disjointed manner. Never fear, this was a genius move from the author. The flash forwards and the instances where major moments were seemingly swept under the rug really depicted how someone in an abusive relationship tries to shrug things off and “ignore” all of the warning signs. Add in the dual POV for this story and slowly the whole story starts to come together and we see not only how Sparrow see’s her relationship, but also how her dance partner and friend Lucas sees the relationship as an “outsider.” The horror of this situation was so beautifully written that the tragedy of what Sparrow faced became even more eviscerating.

About the Author

Mary Cecilia Jackson has worked as a middle school teacher, an adjunct instructor of college freshmen, a technical writer and editor, a speechwriter, a museum docent, and a development officer for central Virginia’s PBS and NPR stations. Her first novel, Sparrow, was an honor recipient of the SCBWI Sue Alexander Award and a young-adult finalist in the Writers’ League of Texas manuscript contest. She lives with her architect husband, William, in Western North Carolina and Hawaii, where they have a farm and five ridiculously adorable goats.

Excerpt

March

Running down the hall, phone pressed to my ear, I raise my eyes to the huge clock above the library doors. It offers no hope.

“Where are you, Birdy?” Lucas says. “Levkova’s going to slaughter you! She’s already doing that thing where she’s standing near the piano with her arms crossed, looking at us like we’re a bunch of zoo animals.”

I take a corner too fast and my elbow hits the lockers. I run faster.

“Are you seriously talking to me in the studio? Put your phone away, or she’ll murder you before she even gets to me!”

“I’m not that stupid. I’m in the hall, but even out here I can see her eyes turning all frosty. You know how they get, like freaky little balls of ice.”

“Oh my God, it’s almost two forty. I’m going to have to drive like a fiend to get changed in time.”

I’m breaking the Eleventh Commandment, incised into our brains for the last three years: Thou Shalt Not Be Late for Ballet Class.

“Holy crap, Birdy, you’re still at school? You’ll never make it! You know you won’t get in if you’re late. She loves locking that door at three o’clock, hearing the cries of the damned on the other side.”

“I’m going as fast as I can! Try to stall her.”

“Oh, right. Like that’ll work. She’ll turn me to stone with her ice-ball eyes before I even get close. I’m telling you, she’s in a mood. She just told Charlotte to stand up straight, that orangutans moved with more grace. Why are you so late?”

I turn the last corner, backpack slipping off my shoulder, dance bag banging against my hip. I can feel my bun falling out of its knot, hear the tiny metallic pings as bobby pins hit the floor behind me.

“Ugh, Coscoroba kept me after class. He wanted to talk about my term paper. You know how you can never get away from him, right? I mean, he’s nice, but God, once he gets going you can’t get a word in. Today he had to tell me the entire story of Prometheus and his super-unfortunate liver. I swear he never took a breath the whole time.”

“Gross! Okay, look, she sees me out here,” Lucas whispers. “I don’t want to die a horrible death, so I’m going in. Good luck! If you don’t make it, I promise I’ll cry real loud at your funeral.”

“Stop it, Lucas! I’m running as fast as I can!”

Lucas hangs up, and I shove my phone into my bag. The halls are empty, echoing with the sound of my feet pounding the tile floor, the ragged gasp of my breath. I hate disappointing Madame Levkova. She is my rock star, the sun at the center of my universe. Today she’ll give me the look that tells me I’ve let her down, remind me that people who are late are lazy and inconsiderate, and I’ll feel like crap for a week. If I rush in just as she’s locking the door, she may not even let me dance today. Depends on how irritated she is.

Juggling books, bag, and backpack, I burst through the massive front doors and breathe the cold winter air into my lungs.

The student parking lot is practically deserted, which would be a little weird for a Thursday, except it’s been a tough winter. After the last bell, people scurry home, like rabbits to their burrows. A few cars are left, probably yearbook kids, or people staying late for tutoring. My car is all by itself, in the corner under a huge maple tree, now bare of leaves, empty branches silhouetted against the leaden sky. Some people hate winter in Virginia, but I like how spare it is, cold and clean and uncluttered. I raise my face to the sky. There’s snow on the wind.

A car squeals to a stop inches from my left hip. I fall to my knees, dropping everything, spilling notebooks, pens, and all my ballet stuff across the asphalt. I’m so terrified I can’t even breathe. I count to nine in my head, trying to slow the panic. When my hands stop shaking and I can breathe again, I look up and see the grille of a huge black Mustang. I smell exhaust, feel the relentless percussion of heavy metal.

I know this car.

Tristan King, white in tooth, blond in hair, rich in parents. Hollins Creek High School’s highest deity, star of the track team, lusted after by anyone with a pulse. Delaney and I have been swooning over him since middle school.

“Oh my God, did I hit you? Are you hurt?” He and all his gorgeousness come flying out of the car, wearing the dark gray suit and crimson tie all the athletes had to wear for the awards assembly this morning. He kneels down to help me collect my things.

“No, no, I’m fine,” I manage to croak. “I’ve got this, really. It’s okay.”

“I am so, so sorry! Oh no! Your knees are bleeding!”

“Really, it’s nothing, honestly.” I hold my hands out to keep him away. “They don’t even hurt.” I’ve torn huge, gaping holes in the knees of my black tights, and the skin underneath is scraped and raw. Blood trickles slowly from the cuts and soaks into the ragged edges.

My pointe shoes, tied into their nerdy mesh bag, are under his car, along with my books and notebooks. But all the truly awful stuff—deodorant, tampons, panty liners, body spray, Dr. Scholl’s blister pads and foot powder, even the dryer sheets I stuff into my dance bag so it won’t reek of sweat and BO—is right out there in the pale winter sunlight. All the embarrassing, disgusting detritus of my life. My own personal Museum of Mortification.

I pray for a sudden sinkhole to swallow me whole, a bolt of lightning to fry me to ash, an alien abduction. I’m straight up dying of embarrassment. Dying. Like I-can’t-breathe-and-my-heart-hurts dying.

Tristan looks at my knees and says, “Hang on a second. I’ll be right back, okay? Don’t go anywhere.”

I stumble around, gathering my things, surreptitiously trying to wipe away the blood. I lied. My knees hurt like a stinker. I give up and sit down on the curb to assess the damage.

Tristan comes back holding a first aid kit. Kneeling down in his perfect suit, paying no attention to the dirt and gravel, he says, “I’m so, so incredibly sorry. At least let me fix you up.”

“You actually carry a first aid kit in your car? Do you run over a lot of people?”

He laughs, and the sound is low and sweet, like soft notes rising from a cello. His teeth are dazzling up close, straight and impossibly white, probably representing a small fortune in orthodontics and bleach. Even his eyebrows are gorgeous.

“Nah,” he says. “You’re my first attempt at roadkill. If you think your knees are messed up, you should see mine. Bruises and scars like you wouldn’t believe. I run high hurdles, and sometimes I miss.”

He gently wipes the blood from my knees and brushes away stray bits of gravel. He’s so close that I can smell his hair. Lavender, I think. Or rosemary. I breathe him in as deeply and quietly as I can while he dabs Neosporin on the scrapes and covers them with Band-Aids.

When he leans forward and kisses each bandage, I have to work hard not to gasp. Once, when I was really, really small, my mother did the same thing, and for a moment I’m lost in the memory. The way her long hair fell like a dark waterfall over her shoulder as she knelt on the bathroom floor in front of me. Her polished fingernails peeling the wrapping from the bandages. The softness of her lips as she kissed my scraped knees. And though I know it’s impossible, for a few seconds I swear the fragrance of my mother’s lily of the valley perfume dances in the cold air.

“There,” Tristan says, looking up at me. “Now you’ll heal faster. Kisses always make things better, don’t you think?”

I’m not thinking at all, because my brain has stopped working. I should stand up and push him away. I should tell him he’s way out of line, and call him a presumptuous Neanderthal. But his strong hands, his lips on my skin, are making me shiver, and I feel all hot and floaty and liquid, like warm honey is flowing through my veins. I don’t want him to stop. I want him to do it again.

“Yes,” I whisper, mesmerized by the depth of his gray eyes, the color of a mourning dove’s wing. “Kisses always help.” I wonder if he can hear my heart pounding.

He stands and helps me to my feet, holding on to my hands for longer than seems necessary. Standing so close, I feel the heat of him, how alive he is. I have the completely bizarre urge to rest my head on his chest, wrap my arms around his waist, and draw that warmth, that life, into myself. I shake my head, tell myself to snap out of it. Me: Amoeba. Him: Tristan King.

Still holding my hands, he pulls me a little closer, then reaches out to tuck a stray curl behind my ear. Looking into my eyes, he smiles and says, “Better now? Will you be okay? Want me to drive you home?”

I nod, never taking my eyes from his face. “I’ll be fine, really,” I whisper.

I don’t want him to let go. With my hands in his, I feel safe, as though he’s standing between me and the entire rest of the world, like my own personal knight, complete with sword and shield, sworn to protect me. He is so impossibly beautiful.

He gathers up all my books, places them carefully in my backpack, and zips it. Then he crawls under the car for my pointe shoes.

“Your suit,” I say, as he wriggles back out. “It’s all dirty now.”

He shrugs and smiles. “Doesn’t matter. Assembly’s over, pictures are done.” Cradling my pink satin pointe shoes in both hands, he holds them out like an offering, as though he knows how precious they are to me.

“I’m glad I ran into you, Sparrow.”

“You’re hilarious.” I take my shoes from him and stuff them into my dance bag. I feel like I’m moving in slow motion, my heart, my body unwilling to let this end, my brain knowing that it will, and that when he’s gone, it will feel like none of it ever happened. I try to fix all the details in my brain, right now, so they’ll be there later. So it will be real.

“Thanks. I do what I can.”

“So, anyway,” I say. “Thanks for not killing me, but I need to run. I’m unbelievably late for ballet.”

I head toward the ancient Volvo that my dad lets me drive to school and ballet but nowhere else. Tristan runs after me and grabs my hand.

“Wait, Sparrow. Don’t go. Not yet.”

It feels like my heart has jumped straight up into my throat.

“You sure have changed a lot since we were in geography class together,” he says.

“That was fifth grade, Tristan. We’ve all changed. The last time you spoke to me, you said nobody likes ballerinas and ballet was stupid.”

His eyes widen and he puts his hand over his heart and staggers backward, like he’s had a sudden shock. “Seriously? I said that?”

“You did. I remember every word.”

“Wow, I was kind of a jackass, wasn’t I?”

“Yeah, you kind of were.”

“I was wrong. And ballet is awesome.”

I can’t help it. I laugh.

“Right. Have you actually been to any of our performances? You don’t exactly seem like the kind of person who’d be wild about ballet.”

“Okay, totally busted. But my mother’s on the conservatory board, and she’s always talking about you. She showed me that article that was in the paper last year. She says you’re mad talented.”

That article is still taped to the refrigerator. My father refuses to take it down. He even highlighted the line about me being “the rising star of the Appalachian Conservatory Ballet” and called me “Superstar” for a week. It was mortifying.

I feel myself blushing, the red stain creeping all the way up my neck and into my cheeks. Now my freckles will look awesome. “You should come see a performance with your mom sometime.”

“Maybe I will,” he says softly. He reaches out and cups my face in the palm of his hand, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “You’re blushing.” He’s so close I can feel his warm breath on my skin.

My knees go all rubbery, and I picture myself falling down right where I’m standing, fainting like a Victorian maiden in one of my aunt Sophie’s romance novels.

When I speak, my voice comes out all shaky and whispery.

“Listen, really, thanks for the Band-Aids and everything. But I’ve got to go. We get fined five dollars every time we’re late for class. I’m sorry I ran out in front of you. Hope I didn’t give you a heart attack or anything.”

He smiles and pushes his sun-streaked hair out of his eyes. He has deep dimples on both sides of his mouth. “Have dinner with me on Saturday. Please. Let me make up for almost killing you.”

Approximately five thousand thoughts rush through my head. Me at dinner with Tristan King, holding his hand at a candlelit table, sharing a dessert. Kissing him at my front door. Wondering why he’s bothering with me, when he’s had tons of girlfriends, some of them even college girls. How tightly Sophie will hug me, how she’ll whisper that she’s happy I’m finally getting out of the house and, even better, going on an actual date. Best of all, telling Delaney. She’ll completely lose her mind and scream the scream she reserves for all miraculous occurrences.

“Ummm, that would be great, but I can’t. I have rehearsal most of the day on Saturdays, and then—”

“And then what? You’ll go home and sit by your window, crying sad little ballerina tears and wishing you’d said yes. You have to eat. I’ll take you wherever you want to go, even if you want, I don’t know, a gluten-free, vegan, pizza-free pizza. Come on, say yes. Please. Otherwise I’ll never get over the guilt.”

I hesitate. This will require all kinds of explaining and promising to my father. I’ll have to get Sophie to run interference. If we start tonight, it’s possible that we can get my dad to cave. My heart beats a little faster. This could actually work.

“Sparrow, come on. I’m sorry I was a jerk in fifth grade. I’m sorry I almost ran you over. Let me make things right. It’s just dinner, some pasta and bread, maybe a glass of sparkling water if you’re feeling fancy. It’s not like I’m asking you to donate a kidney.”

I melt, fast and gooey, like a marshmallow in a campfire. “Okay, yes. But I eat like a normal person, just so you know. It’s a total myth that ballerinas live on celery sticks and bee pollen.”

He laughs. “Point taken. We’ll have cheesecake and ice cream, too. I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“Just be prepared for my dad. No way he’ll let me walk out the door without grilling you. He’s a trial attorney, and he almost always wins.”

“Got it. Beware of kick-ass lawyers. I heard about his big murder case.”

“Yeah, everybody says he’s ferocious in court. And he’s going to treat you like a hostile witness, so gird your loins.”

“I’ll suck up hard-core. Maybe he’ll let me off easy.”

“I wouldn’t count on it.”

Laughing, he walks to his car and gets in, gunning the engine and waving as he peels out of the parking lot.

Levkova has definitely locked the door by now. I may as well go straight home and scrape up five bucks to put in the Jar of Shame she keeps on the piano. I’ll do an adagio barre in my room and give myself corrections. I’ll be alone, but maybe it won’t suck so much today.

I throw my dance bag on the passenger seat and sit for a minute while the heater groans. My knees hurt, and my hands are so cold I can’t even feel them, but I can’t stop smiling. I resist the urge to text Delaney about what just happened, because I want to hear her laugh when I tell her how my tampons were scattered all over the parking lot like candy from a piñata. I want to see the look of utter disbelief on her face when I tell her I have an actual date. With Tristan King.

It always surprises me, how life can change in an instant, how everything can turn upside down on an ordinary winter afternoon. In my heart, I feel the cautious flutter of hope.

Tour Schedule

March 17th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

March 18th

Bookish Looks – Guest Post
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookish Connoisseur – Review
Popthebutterfly Reads – Review
A Dream Within A Dream – Review

March 19th

Belle’s Archive – Review + Favourite Quotes
Allisa White’s Book Blog – Review
Chrikaru Reads – Review
A Bookish Escape – Review
The Reading life – Promotional Post

March 20th

To All The Books I’ve Read Before – Interview
Here’s to Happy Endings – Review + Favourite Quotes
Comfort Books – Review
Bookishaestha – Review + Dream Cast + Favourite Quotes
Read, Write and Life around it… – Review + Favourite Quotes

March 21st

Ya It’s Lit – Review + Favourite Quotes
two points of interest – Review
Fictitiouswonderland – Review
Metaphors and Miscellanea – Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

March 22nd

Musings of a (Book) Girl – Guest Post
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist 
Amy’s Booket List – Review
Bookriot – Review + Favourite Quotes
Annej reads – Promotional Post

March 23rd

Kait Plus Books – Interview
SleepyDoe Reads – Review
Stuck in the Stacks – Review + Playlist
A bookish chick – Review
Books_andPoetrii – Promotional Post

Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of SPARROW by Mary Cecilia Jackson (US/CAN Only)
Starts: 17th March 2020
Ends: 31st March 2020

<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86476/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="d9681b86476" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_xnvdm1j0">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Instagram Tour Schedule

March 17th

The FFBC Tours
TUABFC

March 18th

The Reading Corner for All
Bookish Connoisseur
Popthebutterfly Reads

March 19th

Belle’s Archive

March 20th

Bookishaestha

March 21st

Ya It’s Lit
Fictitiouswonderland
Confessions of a YA Reader
two points of interest

March 22nd

Musings of a (Book) Girl
Sometimes Leelynn Reads
Amy’s Booket List
Bookriot
Annej reads

March 23rd

Books_andPoetrii

Instagram Giveaway

View this post on Instagram

🌼 b o o k t o u r & g i v e a w a y 🌼 There was just something about this book that drew me to it upon just a brief first glance. As soon as I happened to get a glimpse of it I thought, yes, I'll like this one. It is just one of those raw and terribly real stories that I seem to have grown fond of this year. You know, the ones with the broken characters that you so desperately want to pick all of the pieces of them up and put them back together. (Full review & extra giveaway entries on my blog, link in bio!) 🌼 @threadboundstudio code: YAITSLIT10 🌼 Though Savannah Rose―“Sparrow” to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. 🌼 But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever…. 🌼 We are giving away 1 copy of SPARROW by Mary Cecilia Jackson (US/CAN Only). The giveaway will start on MARCH 17th 2020 and will finish on MARCH 21st 2020. 🌼 Entries: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @mceciliajackson ▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house (@torteen) ▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit) ▪︎Leave a comment and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering! 🌼 Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (see the comments) & let us know on the comment section who did you follow! 🌼 #sparrow #maryceciliajackson #torteen #sparrowbook #macmillanbooks #torteenbooks #fiercereads #yabooks #yalit #yabookstagram #yaitslit #yareads #bookbloggerslife #bookreviewer #bookstagram #yacontemporary #booknerd #bookreviewblog #booksharks #instabooklovers #yacommunity #hereforthebooks #bookstaunited #bookbloggersofig #btabookfriends #bookstamisfits #bookiehelper #readgushcommunity #readersofinsta #bookblogger

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We are giving away 1 copy of SPARROW by Mary Cecilia Jackson (US/CAN Only). The giveaway will start on MARCH 17th 2020 and will finish on MARCH 21st 2020.

Entries: 

▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri
▪︎Follow the author @mceciliajackson
▪︎Follow the publishing house publishing house (@torteen)
▪︎Follow me (@ya.its.lit)
▪︎Leave a comment and tag @theffbc to let them know you’re entering!

Extra entries: 

▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry).
▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc)
▪︎Follow @michellesulk
▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour & let us know on the comment section who did you follow! Other participants:
@TheReadingCornerforAll
@bookishconnoisseur
@popthebutterfly
@belleeeey_
@_bookishaestha_
@fictitiouswonderland
@confessionsofayareader
@musingsofagirl
@sometimesleelynnreads
@amysbooketlist
@bookriot_anjedah
@trappedinsidestories
@books_andpoetrii
@esperdenoire

T&Cs & Disclaimers (TO INCLUDE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION):
▪︎Giveaway ends on March 31st (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc.
▪︎Open to residents of US only
▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram.

The winner will be announced after APRIL 2ND 2020 on our Instagram stories. ONLY 1 WINNER. OPEN US ONLY. The winner will be contacted via Instagram. 

*I received a copy of an arc in exchange for an honest review*