A Roundup of YA Novels That Inspired Eric Smith While Writing INKED, Plus a Giveaway!

Hey guys! I’m super excited to have my pal Eric Smith, author & publishing rockstar at Quirk Books, here on the blog to celebrate his debut YA fantasy — which was out this past Tuesday and we’ll be celebrating TONIGHT here in Philly at Tattooed Mom!

I love hearing what books inspired authors so I’m excited that Eric is going to be dishing on what books inspired HIM while writing Inked!!


Like most kids, I grew up reading Young Adult novels. My parents regularly took me to the library to pick up whatever I wanted. However, most of my reading was focused on classic science fiction, adventure, and fantasy novels, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up with a family that really encouraged my ravenous reading habits. I read a ton of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Louis Stevenson as a kid. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I revisited YA for the first time.

Why’d I come back? Well, here are the five books that made that happen, and inspired me to attempt writing in that genre.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Ransom Riggs): By day, I work at Quirk Books, an awesome indie publisher in Philadelphia. And in the Fall of 2012, we published Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Now, as the marketing and social media guy, it’s important for me to be familiar with the communities I’m sending books to. So while Ransom’s debut was in the works, I started picking up other YA novels I saw bloggers talking about.
I read. And I read. And I read some more.

Suddenly, I found myself devouring two or more YA novels a week, taking advantage of Kindle deals, picking up novels I spotted on blogs, and catching up on a genre I hadn’t been a part of in years. It also introduced me to some of my now-favorite YA authors (some of whom I’ll list below), including Suzanne Collins, Beth Revis, and Kat Zhang.

Working on the marketing for Ransom’s book, gave me the kick-in-the-pants to start reading the genre again, and immediately made me want to start writing in it. I wanted to tell stories of magic and adventure, much like the books I’d read as a kid and the novels I was now reading as an adult.
I’m thrilled to see Ransom where he is now, and really glad I got to promote those books of his. He inadvertently gave me a big push in the right direction.


SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY (Susan Dennard): Ah, this series. I talk about Susan Dennard’s amazing steampunk-zombie-fantasy series whenever I can, to the point that it likely annoys my friends and followers. But oh well. Deal With It Dot Gif. It’s a favorite of mine, and one of the books I picked up when I started doing some more “I wonder if I can write in this genre” research. I immediately devoured her awesome first book, and followed the series right after.

She also has a really great blog, where she dishes out advice and tips to writers. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re writing.


BLACK HOLE SUN (David Macinnis Gill): Ah, this sci-fi series. It’s like a Young Adult version of Firefly on Mars, with pop culture references to World of Warcraft smattered in. Gill’s snarky characters and quick dialogue showed me that you could have that the sarcastic, snippy characters I wanted to write could totally work in an imagined world.

I also think his series is incredible underrated. If you haven’t checked these books out, please do. They are so hilarious and exciting. One of my favorite pieces of YA science fiction.


HERO (Perry Moore): Originally, I was really interested in writing some kind of superhero story, and the choices in YA superhero tales were far and in between. Perry Moore’s amazing novel, Hero, broke my heart and caused plenty of ugly crying, but showed me the real power of what YA fiction could do. Stuff that, probably as a kid, I didn’t recognize right away. It could teach you the importance of being true to yourself, accepting others, etc.

It’s still one of my favorite Young Adult novels, and probably one of my favorite books ever, period.


OF POSEIDON (Anna Banks): Anna’s YA romance series about mermaids was another one of the early YA books that I picked up. It was an eBook deal, and I read through it pretty quickly, and actually learned about a lot of authors thanks to her on Twitter.

She’s great at blending elements of fantasy and romance, something I really wanted to do in my own writing. Seriously check out her series, and keep an eye out for Joyride, her next book due out this year. As of this post, I’m about halfway through it, and it is just fantastic.
Thanks Jamie, for having me! And readers, go ahead and enter the lil’ giveaway below for a chance to win a bundle of the books I just mentioned! One lucky winner will get a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED. Good luck!



Thanks to Eric we have a nice giveaway bundle for you! One lucky winner will win a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED!

*US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In The Afterlight Giveaway (Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken)

I’m so excited to be able to share this giveaway with you — especially because there are SO many opportunities for you to win all across the bookish community! It’s a series I’ve been wanting to start  and I plan to carve out some time when In The Afterlight is out to binge read the trilogy and the novellas!

I get to offer you up a GREEN prize pack thanks to Disney Hyperion! Let’s get to peeking what’s inside this prize pack:


Is that tote not the best EVER?

What you will win:

A custom Darkest Minds puzzle, The Darkest Minds series & the tote bag.

Giveaway Rules/Info:

US addresses only!
You must be 13 years old or older to enter.
Prize will be fulfilled by the publisher.
Ends October 27th at 11:59pm EST

How to Enter:

Leave a comment (with an email or a Twitter handle so I can get a hold of you) and tell me which one of the Psi powers shown below you would want to have (mind control, intelligence, electrokinesis, telekinesis, pyrokinesis):


This giveaway is now over: The winner is Trina (entry #3). Thanks for entering!


isolated on white bright yellow sparks

I think my answer would be mind control. It would be SO useful. Why yes you WOULD like to give me all these books for free…why yes you will let me on this plane so I can take a vacation to Bora Bora.


About The Book:

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Only Ruby can keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check. But with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the governments unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

About Alexandra

:AlexBrackenAuthorPhoto The Darkest Minds: In The Afterlight Giveaway [US Only]

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.  She recently relocated to New York City, where she worked in publishing and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books.

Want more?

Visit Alexandra online at www.alexandrabracken.com

Follow Alexandra on Twitter & Instagram

Like Alexandra on Facebook

Follow Alexandra on Tumblr

Visit Hyperion Teens at the Official Site & on Twitter

Get The Books:


The Darkest Minds

In Time (e-book novella)

Never Fade

Sparks Rise (e-book novella) This one was JUST released last month and connected the last two books! A must read while you wait!

In The Afterlight

Be sure to keep an eye out for more giveaways from blogs representing the other colors!!


The Fierce Reads tour stop came here to the Philadelphia area and did a great event at Towne Book Center with Marie Rutkoski, Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien. These 3 ladies were HILARIOUS together and I had the privilege of being able to sit down and chat with them before the event started and it was so lovely and inspiring! I recorded the interview so I could better transcribe it later at home and, I have to say, I was laughing out loud A LOT while playing back the whole conversation.

The event itself was entertaining and lively and it was recorded if you want to check it out! They talked about favorite childhood books, if they were plotters or pantsers, how they balance romance & story, which Harry Potter House they would be sorted into, if they could see their books as tv shows or movies (Ann said movie and she’s actually turned down 2 options because they weren’t right; Caragh & Marie think tv show for theirs). It was a lot of fun and very good conversation. I’d definitely recommend watching the recording!


Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh


1. I ask this to every author I interview — describe your book in 6 words or less!

Marie: I’m going to use Ann’s description of my book: Young girl buys hot boy.
Ann: Marie’s answer for Ann’s since she did hers — Suicidal girl makes bad bargain.
Caragh: Dreams and danger collide.


2. How do you plan for your series? Do you know the end game when you start?

Marie: I didn’t intend for The Winner’s Curse to be a part of a series. I was about 1/3 through and I realized the ending I was trying to write toward I couldn’t visualize in the way that I usually visualize my endings. I usually see them from fairly far away and in fairly good detail. So I was having problems progressing — I was actually blocked. I asked myself some careful questions — Am I going towards the wrong ending? What would the right ending look like? What would the ending that is true to my book and true to my characters be? Once I realized that, I wrote the ending that now exists in the book and I realized what THAT ending would be that, “I’m good if I stop there. It feels to me like a story but I thought probably my readers would want a little bit more than that.” So I wondered whether I would want to continue that story and I did. I wanted to continue the story of Kestral and Arin so I plotted out how it would be in the next two books. I couldn’t have done it in only two; it had to be done in 3. Once I was 2/3 through Winner’s Curse I plotted out loose details of the following 2 books.

Caragh: I knew from the beginning it was a 3 book arc and I had a general idea of what was going to be happening in all 3 books. Once I finished the first book and started writing the second book I realized that my plan for the 2nd book does not work at all so I threw that out the window and now that I’m writing book 2 I had to start back at the beginning. Fortunately I left myself enough room from the first book and the world is big enough that I have some unsolved threads to play with. But now that I’m coming up with a totally new plan for book 2, my plan for book 3 has to be different.

Ann: YES. I do know my end game when I started.

3. Let’s say you were writing a spinoff series. Which minor/non-main character would it be about?

Marie: I would write about a character named Roshar that you will meet in book 2 but I’m not going to say why because you haven’t met him yet!

Caragh: I would write about Otis! I love Otis! (Ann interjects: but he’s an adult!) I know but he still really intrigues me! He’s got this interesting family and he’s an interesting person and I wonder why he’s there. (Marie wants her to write about Burnam!)

Ann: I would write about the Harbinger from book 2. He’s mentioned in book 1 but you don’t actually know that you’ve met him! But in fact you HAVE met him, you just didn’t know it was the Harbinger. I planted one fairly significant clue toward the end of the book. I’ll be curious if any readers actually figure it out. The reason I want to write about the Harbinger is because he is essentially Loki. So, if you like Loki from the Avengers it may be relevant to your interests.


Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

4. What’s one or two skills or things that you possess that would help you to survive in your character’s world or predicament?

Caragh: I would have a camera. A filming camera.

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

Marie: Once I took a fencing class and I thought I would discover I was naturally gifted and I would be able to fight so gracefully. I was terrible awkward and really bad at it. So I like Kestral I would not be able to survive this world with any physical skills so I guess I would have to fall back on strategical skills. I think that maybe like Arin I can bide my time in order to execute my plans. Although Arin is sometimes not good at keeping his mouth shut while he is biding his time. Maybe I AM like Arin because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

5. What’s the coolest/most interesting/funniest/most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?

Caragh (and this was also Ann’s answer but Caragh stole it first): They are SECRETS. We can’t tell the stories. But there was this taxi driver. He was telling us supernatural stories about celebrities and houses in the area. And he had so many details. He would NOT stop.  We’d try to say, “okay that’s really cool” and turn the conversation to something else unrelated  but before we could talk about it he’d be like, “well let’s talk about the munchkins some more.”  Then he added in these spooky weird stories. He was all, ” did you know Regis Philbin had a haunting? And that Christopher McDonald had an out of body experience?” And I think if we wouldn’t have been so tired it would had been fine.

Marie: A reader (@born_bookish) made a Winner’s Curse game — a Bite & Sting game from the book. It was really beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. She even made a box that had quotes on the outside from when they were playing and bits of dialogue that had while playing. It was really special. (Ann interjects — it was REALLY cool…very polished). Another special moment was the Downer’s Grove stop because that’s near where I grew up and lots of friends from high school came. And I got to spend time with my dad.

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

6. In the spirit of Mortal Danger, if you were given 3 wishes what would you wish for (no strings attached!)

Marie: That all of my family members have a long and happy life. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. More hours in the day for ME (nobody else)…even 4 to 6 hours just for me. I want a painting — one of my favorite paintings and would be millions and millions of dollars. I’d have to choose one and that would be hard but I could do it.

Ann: I want to learn to teleport.  Then time travel. For my 3rd wish I want a Tardis.

Caragh: Peace on earth, wish that I could fly and wish that they would stop standardized testings in high school.  (Marie interjects and says “mine were so selfish. Ann says peace on earth is actually a really bad idea. Didn’t you see the Simpsons episode..they wish for it and then the aliens come and subjugate us. Marie — but if there were peace on earth the aliens shouldn’t be able to come.)


Check out the other Fierce Reads bloggers for more recaps, interviews and giveaways!

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

Exeter, NH: Love is Not a Triangle | @LaurayJames

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

New York, NY: Queen Ella Bee Reads | @GabySalpeter

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral




One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Winner’s Curse, The Vault of Dreamers & Mortal Danger!

Rules & Other Things:
* US only.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y) reasons. Have a parent or guardian or sister or brother do it for you if not!
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.
* Giveaway ends October 4th 11:59 EST

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This leg of the tour is over but leg 2 is starting up soon with all new authors and more shenanigans! Selfishly I wish another tour stop was coming to meeee!

Fierce reads tour stops

ISLA IS HERE + Giveaways!




ISLA IS HERE. I REPEAT ISLA IS HERE. The moment we’ve all been waiting for — Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is HERE!

I will wait a moment while you all compose yourself.

We’ve been having such a great time rereading Anna and Lola with you all and a special thanks to all our wonderful blog tour stops for their creative and awesome celebrations on their blog! I know it was great for me to revisit Anna and Lola. It’s easy to forget things and it’s like I fell in love with my favorite books all over again. I forgot how truly funny Anna is and what made me really connect with her in the first place. And how SWOONY her and St. Clair are. LE SIGH. And I forgot how adoooorable Cricket was and how much I love Lola’s dads and her dog Heavens to Betsy! It was just so easy to fall in love all over again with these books.

Now I got the chance to read Isla early (you can read my non-spoiler review here) and I’ll tell you it was a pleasure to really get to know Isla and Josh. I realized who they were when, in Isla, there were some memories from Anna’s book and I was like OH MY GOSH YES I REMEMBER YOU GUYS! It was really nice to revisit their relationship in Anna even though I already knew how their story ended!

So guys, I can’t wait to reread Isla this week with you all. Keep tweeting using the #ISLAISCOMING hashtag and share all our (non-spoilery) reactions and fangirling. I KNOW THERE WILL BE MASS MELTING INTO PUDDLES OF HAPPINESS.

While you are reading be sure to check out the tour — there are some awesome posts and giveaways happening!


Anna and the French Kiss
7/31 – Paper Riot (Anna Readalong Kick-Off)
8/01 – Novel Sounds
8/04 – The Book Addict’s Guide
8/05 – Alexa Loves Books
8/06 – A Bookish Sinister Kid

Lola and the Boy Next Door
8/07 – Cuddlebuggery (Lola Readalong Kick-Off) + GReads!
8/08 – Novel Thoughts
8/09 – Book Revels
8/12 – Rather Be Reading
8/13 – Finding Bliss in Books

Isla and the Happily Ever After
8/14 – The Perpetual Page-Turner (Isla Readalong Kick-Off)
8/15 – AndiABCs
8/18 – Writer of Wrongs
8/19 – Anna Reads
8/20 – Good Books and Good Wine


Now for some giveaways:


Right now on Twitter we have a giveaway going on for an adorable Stephanie Perkins themed bracelet!

BuzBInNCIAEfZz-Check out this tweet for how to enter! This bracelet was donated by Cara who owns an Etsy shop full of WONDERFUL bookish jewelery. In addition to kindly donating to our celebration she offered readers a 15% discount on anything in her shop using the code ISLADISCOUNT15 at checkout. I hope you’ll check her shop out!


And now for another giveaway:



The wonderful folks at Penguin Teen have generously donated Anna and Lola paperbacks ( YES THE NEW COVERS OMG!!) and a hardcover of Isla and the Happily Ever After along with some AWESOME Stephanie Perkins swag!! The most exciting news is that Stephanie Perkins is slated to come to my area early September so I will MORE THAN LIKELY be getting those books signed for the winner! (This is the plan but alas LIFE might not allow it).


– US Only. Sorry! 🙁
– Ends 8/27.
– You must be 13 years old or older to enter. If you are not, have someone do it for you!
– No purchase necessary!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So let me know…on a scale of 1 to 10 how excited are you to read Isla???? If you’ve read it what did you think?? Tell me about your rereads (or first time reads) of Anna and Lola! Did you discover anything new or wonderful if it was reread?

Giveaway & Interview With Katherine Longshore (You need this book!)

So if you caught my post on Monday it was a review of Brazen by Katherine Longshore. OH MY GOODNESS. Please tell me it’s on your TBR. If you like fun historical novels or the show Reign…get on this. And if you are not NORMALLY into historical fiction…I vote giving this one a chance. Given my love for history and this book, you can imagine how excited I am for this interview with Katherine Longshore ALL about Brazen, her research and more!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

1. Describe Brazen in 6 words or less.

I think the tagline does it well in three: Duty. Loss. Rebellion. Though I’d have to add two more: Love and Friendship.

2. In Gilt and Tarnish you wrote about a bit more well known figures in King Henry VIII’s court, what drew you to Mary Howard to write from her POV in Brazen?

One of the first things that drew me to Mary was that she never remarried. This was something almost unheard of in the Tudor court, and definitely frowned upon by the men in her family who were looking to capitalize on her gender, looks and status in any way possible. I wanted to know why. I could only figure that out for myself by getting inside her head for a while.

But probably the most compelling thing that inspired me to write about Mary was the Devonshire Manuscript. I came across a reference to it when I was researching Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt’s relationship, and found the idea utterly compelling. It is a real leatherbound volume in which many different people (including Thomas Wyatt, and some say, Anne Boleyn) wrote poetry, comments and cryptic notes. It was apparently passed around the court for several years. Two of the most consistent hands were those of Madge Shelton and Margaret Douglas, and the initials stamped on the cover were M.F.—Mary (Howard) FitzRoy. I latched onto the idea of this literary brat pack roaming the galleries of Hampton Court and Henry’s other palaces, and took off from there.

3. How do you balance the historical facts and the fictional liberties when writing? How do you choose what remains completely accurate and what doesn’t?

I have always felt that when it comes to the Tudor court, truth is stranger than fiction. The raw material (the tyrannical king, the manipulative advisors, the six very different wives) is irresistible. Because of this, I try to be as accurate as I possibly can with the facts: who, what, where, when. If my characters birthdays were noted, I cannot make them older or younger. If there wasn’t solid evidence that Henry VIII had an affair with someone, I don’t include it. If Anne Boleyn was at Hampton Court on such and such a date, that’s where I keep her—even if it might suit my story better to have her somewhere else. Thus the long stretches in BRAZEN when Mary and Fitz are separated—he wasn’t at court. Period.

It’s the how and why that I get to play with, and this is where the fictional liberties come in. Why did Mary never remarry? How did she and Fitz feel, being married at fourteen and not allowed to consummate? I also get to do my inventing around the gaps in the historical record. There aren’t any complete lists of the ladies at the court during Anne Boleyn’s time as queen. There is no record of Mary Howard being at court, but then again there is no record of her being anywhere else. It suited the purpose of my story to have her be close to Anne, and there is mention of it in the historical record, so I followed my instincts to the (possibly) fictional conclusion.

My biggest departure from known facts again revolves around the Devonshire Manuscript. I wanted the book to be the touchstone I imagined it to be, but couldn’t find enough evidence in the book itself to suit my needs. So I invented extra pages where the three girls (Mary, Madge and Margaret) wrote lists of attributes of the men they might fall in love with. These lists don’t exist, but it made the story so much richer to include them.

4. It’s obvious from reading Brazen how much research you did…what was the most interesting or mind-blowing things that you came across in your research about King Henry VIII’s reign or life in general then?

One of my favorites is something I came across very early on, when I was just reading history out of interest rather than researching for a book. The Tudors drank wine and beer almost exclusively—never water. They thought water was poisonous to humans and, of course, at the time, it was because the rivers were both garbage dumps and sewers. The boiling and fermenting process in brewing beer killed the bacteria, making it potable. In their defense, however, the Tudors didn’t spend their entire lives inebriated, as they often drank what they called “small beer”, which contained very little alcohol. However, unappetizingly, it sometimes had the consistency of porridge.

5. There were so many compelling figures that were just brought to life in Brazen. Mary Howard aside, who was your favorite to research and to write?

I’m fascinated by Margaret Douglas. She is such an enigma. Daughter of the dowager Queen of Scotland and the Earl of Angus, niece to the King of England, royal and yet she had little political power. She was raised in part with Mary Tudor, who became Mary I, and I can’t help thinking that some of Margaret’s opinions and feelings would have been colored by that association. Margaret appeared on the outside to be the perfect courtier, and the obedient niece to Henry VIII, except for these (excuse the pun) royally imprudent love affairs that got her thrown in prison more than once. She spent her later years in and out of court (and sometimes as a thorn in the side of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth), finagling to get herself and her progeny closer to the throne—and succeeded when her grandson became James I. How’s that for tenacious?

6. If you were transported back into the reign of King Henry VIII, what 3 attributes do you think you’d have to survive King Henry’s court?

Discretion—I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Education—If I got transported back with all my faculties intact, I’d have the heads up on things like reading and writing, as well as basic hygiene. Not to mention the foreknowledge of what happens next and to whom.
Imagination—I’ve had some experience telling stories and making them seem absolutely true.

7. Kiss, Marry, Kill Brazen style — Henry Fitzroy, Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard?

I’d kiss Thomas Wyatt (I imagine he’s pretty good at it!), marry Henry FitzRoy (hello! Son of the king) and regrettably I’d have to kill Henry Howard (who historically made things difficult for himself—Henry VIII agreed with me and had him executed in 1547).


Thanks for such thoughtful answers, Katherine! After reading and loving Brazen, your answers were SOOO interesting to me! Especially the fact that the notebook passed around was real!!



So, I’m really jealous of what Penguin Teen is offering up for giveaway for you guys because I WANT IT FOR MYSELF. I am dying to read Gilt and Tarnish after reading Brazen (two other books set in King Henry VIII’s court — seriously a young Anne Boleyn is the MC is one!!) and Courted is the paperback bind-up of those two. I’m also going to personally throw in Brazen (which will be fulfilled by myself) because I LOVED it so much and want you to read it!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore9780147513687_large_Courted

So what you will win:
* A copy of Courted (bind-up of Gilt & Tarnish) —-> prize fulfilled by Penguin Teen
* A hardcover of Brazen —–> prize fulfilled by me!

US Only.
Ends 7/17 11:59pm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author


Katherine Longshore (www.katherinelongshore.com) is the author of Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen. She lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshipping dog. Follow her on Twitter!

Check out COURTED (paperback compilation of Gilt and Tarnish) // Check out BRAZEN



Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour to find out more about Katherine Longshore, her books, and some of her favorite historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine

Thursday, July 10Perpetual Page Turner

Tuesday, July 15Alice Marvels

Thursday, July 17 I am a Reader

Tuesday, July 22 Novel Sounds

Thursday, July 24 Starry-Eyed Revue

Tuesday, July 29 The Midnight Garden

Thursday, July 31 Novel Thoughts

How 4 Years Of Book Blogging Has Changed My Life + Giveaway

4 years ago. I was 24 — turning 25 in October. I had graduated college in 2008 — in the worst recession according to our commencement speaker — and I had been working retail at Forever 21 and then had quit and tried to find something more in my field. That summer I was working 1-2 days a week at a magazine trying to pay my dues. Still living at home. I was really into Goodreads and had made a lot friends in the groups. I had gotten back into reading again after my sad years of not reading. I had a crazy idea to start a book blog. I had no idea what I was doing but had seen a couple. I grabbed a group of my Goodreads friends and we started The Broke and the Bookish and I was addicted and started this blog a couple days later.

57941_519091835342_7603930_nDuring my first couple months of blogging — my first time at Brooklyn Book Fest

I remember that summer I started my blog so well. The World Cup was on and I got up every morning at 6am to watch the games throughout the day and, while I did that, I would work on my blog and talk to people on Twitter/try to figure out that damn Twitter thing and try to be involved in the blogging community which was WAY smaller and quite a bit different then. I was underemployed and it was a fun way to spend my days. 4 years ago I would never imagine that here I would be on a summer day during the next World Cup writing a post about blogging for 4 years. I was a serial hobby dropper so I thought it was just going to be a fun little thing I did for a bit.

But here we are. 4 years later. You’ve seen me through a lot.

And it’s crazy because my life has changed so much because of book blogging. Sure, some of this was just growing up but also I think blogging really helped it.

1. I’ve become so much more confident than I ever was: I was thinking about this while I was navigating my huge suitcase, purse and two huge tote bags through NYC and then to Penn Station after BEA was over. Before blogging, I would have NEVER traveled to NYC by myself. Or Chicago for RT Convention and to hang with my friends. I would have never. I’ve become more confident in networking and talking to authors. More confident in SHARING my opinions without feeling nervous. More confident to make a fool out of myself and not care. More confident to not shy away in groups. I would have NEVER made Youtube videos because I would have felt way too self conscious. I’ve become more confident to be vulnerable to complete strangers (though most of you are friends now) and to admit my life is not perfect. There are a 100 ways I could tell you I’ve become more confident. I know Will could agree with me on this. I’ve become a more confident person and I love it. I own what I think and what I feel and I put it out there. I do things that scare me or previously scared me. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.


2. I’ve found my best friends who have gotten me through some awful times in the past 4 years: I have met some of my best friends because of book blogging. They are not my internet friends. They are my best friends. They came to my wedding or were at least invited but geography is a bitch. They are the people I talk to about personal things before anyone else. They are the people who encourage me, give me the dose of honesty I need, make me laugh and just are always THERE for me. Best friends aside, I’ve met some people who I am very close with and I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the support that has been there for me. The conversations I’ve had. I’ve met my people and I’ve learned to be a better friend through the blogging community. I’ve learned to be a better human I think, too. It’s amazing to me how I have a better support system than I ever have before and I am so thankful.


3. I’ve become more myself than I ever was: Before I started blogging I felt a little lost. I was hiding a lot of who I was and what I loved because there were people in my life who didn’t like it. I tried to fit in. To blend in. To stop being so “weird” and “quirky”. I just played it safe and didn’t shake up what I had. I was afraid to admit to some of the things I liked for fear of judgment. I know there’s the notion that people can be anything they want online and can pretend…but the opposite has been true for my time online. I’ve never become more myself than I am online. The book blogging community has helped me embrace all the things about myself that I was afraid to share. It’s helped me to become my truest self and I am beyond thankful for that. Because now I don’t give a damn. I like what I like. I refuse to pretend to ever be less than anything I am and people can take it or leave it.


4. My writing has improved: I have always loved writing but blogging has helped me to become better. I’m still not an amazing writer and I’m still jealous of a lot of you and how talented you are but I’ve really learned to hone my skills. And who would have ever thought that I would want to write a book before?? A story that is so personal to me, that I’m scared of. But blogging has helped me to realize I can do that. Even if it never gets published. Even if it’s not good. I can do that.

5. I’ve learned SO much to help me in my career: I’m laughing because 4 years ago I didn’t not even know what HTML was. I didn’t know how to make graphics or DESIGN MY OWN BLOG. I’ve learned so many skills through blogging. My background has been in social media and marketing before I got laid off and blogging and creating a community has been invaluable. The grassroots kinds of things I’ve done has only complemented the things I did professionally and I had a great boss who would help me learn things by using my blog as an example. I’m sure there are some prospective employers who don’t see the value in what I’ve done here in 4 years but I know it’s only helped me to learn and be better when I do find a position again. And to be honest, I find myself with this desire to get into publishing. Something I never thought of before.

6. I’ve come in contact with books that have changed my life: I’ve read books that have helped me to still process my mom’s death (because it never goes away..it just changes). Especially this book. I’ve not felt so alone in my grief while reading these books. Sometimes losing someone can feel so lonely, even when you know others have, and reading these books have seriously helped me to better deal with it and not feel so ALONE. Part of being human is loss and I’ve never felt so connected to humanity until I started reading these books that deal with this. The one book that has TRULY changed my life, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, I would have NEVER picked it up without blogging because I read vastly different things. But that book changed my life. Like literally made me take action and change some things in my own life. Allyson is a character who is so dear to me and I can never thank Gayle Forman enough or even try to put into words what that book did for me. Sometimes a story just resonates with your life so much. That was this book and I read it when I needed it most.


I could name a lot more things of how my life has changed (because some pretty COOL things have happened to me/I’ve got to be a part of amazing things because of all of this) but those were the 6 things I think that stood out to me the most. (You can read about all the ways my reading and bookish habits have changed since blogging).

So, as we go into this next year of blogging:

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for your friendship, your support and your words.
Thank you for not making me feel like I’m just shouting unheard into the void that is the internet.
Thank you for your book talk and your recommendations.
Thank you for advice, your honesty and your willingness to get vulnerable with me sometimes.
Thank you for accepting me for who I am — flaws and all.
Thank you for being patient with me when I’m slacking on blogging and trying to figure things out — when things have prevented me from replying back or commenting on your blogs. I promise you I value every SINGLE comment.
Thank you for disagreeing with me and helping me see new perspectives.
Thank you for being on this journey with me.
Just thank you. For the things I haven’t said.


And as a little thank you, let’s do a giveaway. I wish I could do more but unfortunately, if you’ve followed my journey, it’s just not possible at the time. One day, I promise.

Rules: Open to anywhere The Book Depository ships!! Must be 13 years or older! Ends July 4th!
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End Times Blog Tour + Giveaway

Hi guys! I’m really excited to be able to have Anna Schumacher, author of End Times, on the blog today and to be able to offer up the opportunity for one of YOU to win a copy! It’s a book I’m really excited about so I hope you guys will be too!

Before we get to the giveaway, let’s get to know Anna a little bit!


Seeing that End Times deals with a coming apocalypse or the “End Times”, what’s your favorite apocalypse story?

I eat dystopian lit like popcorn, so it changes a lot depending on what I’m into. But for the past few months, I’ve been a rabid advocate of the amazing YA novel STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth. It has everything: a devastated LA trying to recover from an earthquake; a creepy prophet and his legions of white-clad followers; a mom with PTSD; a cool underground party called The Rove; a completely badass villainess who walks around with a tarot deck; mind-reading; mind-bending; a sexy love interest; and, best of all, a really compelling protagonist with an addiction to getting struck by lightning! I know it sounds like a lot to cram into one little novel, but Bosworth does it so well. It was a big influence on END TIMES!

Huh I’ve never heard of that one! Sounds intriguing and I’m adding it to my TBR! Has anyone read Struck?

So, want to know more about END TIMES?


When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

 Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

About The Author

Anna Schumacher author photo

Anna Schumacher received an MFA in fiction writing from The New School. Born and raised in the tiny town of Guilford, VT (no traffic lights, no post office, one store), she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two cats. END TIMES is her first novel.

Things to do while you wait to see if you are the lucky winner:

Add End Times to your Goodreads TBR
Follow Anna on Twitter
Check out Anna’s Tumblr
Check out Anna’s author page on Goodreads

The Giveaway

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The deets:
* Giveaway ends 7/5 at 11:59 pm EST.
* US only — prize will be fulfilled by Penguin Teen.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter or have a parent/guardian/someone older do it for you.

What’s More Fun Than Giving Away Books By A Favorite Author??

Okay, so you know recently I already gave away an extra ARC I had of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (one of my all time favorite authors!!) because I loved it so much but, thanks to Simon Teen, I have another awesome giveaway related to Since You’ve Been Gone to offer you guys…which makes me very excited and I don’t even know how Oprah never exploded from the FEELS when it comes to giving away things you love!!



What You Can Win:

1 Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera (color will vary)  <— OMG JEALOUS OF WHO WINS!

– 1 copy of  ALL of Morgan’s books (Since You’ve Been GoneAmy & Roger’s Epic Detour, & Second Chance Summer — all books I have personally LOVED and recommend!!)

a pair of heart sunglasses — like the ones I’m sporting below!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

You should also check out morgansbffchallenge.com for an excerpt of the book (if you aren’t sold on it yet from all my raving) & more info about the #bffchallenge with even MORE chances to win!!

Now for the giveaway! Good luck!!

Rules: US Only. You must be 13 years or older to enter. Giveaway ends May 14 at 11:59pm EST.

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Hi there! Will and I have been getting down to business with doing some Spring cleaning — which basically means I pretend to clean things while singing into my hairbrush and dancing all about while Will does a lot of the cleaning. BUT I must do the Spring cleaning of the books piling up because if it were up to Will…I have a feeling any book that didn’t have a home on a proper shelf would be MYSTERIOUSLY GONE. (This is why I need to buy these to have more shelves).

I’m taking the majority of my books to a librarian friend but I wanted to share with you guys also! Because that’s what friends do…even when they don’t have the monies to do the epic Spring cleaning giveaway that they so WANT to do. Seriously, if I could right now, I would have like 6 winners with huge boxes!! But sigh…one day. SOON HOPEFULLY!

So this is how I’m going to do this. I’ve got book giveaways set up all around the Interwebs (including the one that will be on HERE below):

1. Instagram giveaway — an ARC of a contemporary release I loved recently that comes out this month!
2. Facebook giveaway — Stack of 5 hardcovers
3. Youtube giveaway — a hardcover book + a bookish mousepad (I want to keep it for myself!!)
4. Twitter giveaway — giveaway for an ARC of an upcoming contemporary release!


So let’s get to this giveaway shall we??


So I’ve done this before for a beach bag giveaway and it worked well but I’m going to tease you for what is in the box. You are guaranteed these books in the box PLUS some surprise books that will fit in the box — the surprises will all be books that came out in 2014 or are coming out! When the winner emails me, I will ask for their genre preference with the surprises and if you have a goodreads I will stalk that to see if I can make it a good package for you because I have quite a few extras that I can interchange in here!


book giveaway

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel
Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Rules-y type things: //US Only — promise you guys when I get a job I will do an international giveaway that will blow your socks right off. Shipping is just ACK. // You must be 13 years or older to enter // This giveaway ends May 9th at 5pm// No purchase necessary or anything like that.


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Good luck lovelies!! Have you started spring cleaning yet?? If so, I’m probably just adding to your mess with this giveaway, huh?? NO REGRETS.

Giveaway: The Ring & The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Wowweee. I feel like in this past month I’ve had more giveaways (3 I think?) than I had in 6 months last year. Lots of book love! Anyways, I’m really excited to be able to offer this prize pack to my readers thanks to Disney publishing & Big Honcho Media! I’m pretty stoked to read this one soon myself!

You’ve probably heard of Melissa de la Cruz before I’m sure — author of Blue Bloods, the Au Pair series and the Witches of East End (which is now a show on Lifetime that I NEED to carve out time for!). Now she’s releasing a new series that sounds SUPER compelling and seems to be a blend of fantasy and an alternate history.


Check out the synopsis:


The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la CruzMagic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.
As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth. But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires. Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn’t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry. When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

If you want more of a visual, this trailer is pretty good and uses one of my favorite songs ever so YAY!

 Visit the official website for The Ring & The Crown.



So what is one lucky winner going to get?

“Heir to the Lily Throne” Prize Pack — One winner receives the Royal Reading Room collection: The Ring and the Crown, Blue Bloods, and Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz.

*US only, prize will be fulfilled by Disney Publishing.
* You must be 13 years old to enter. If not, find a parent or older sibling to enter for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author:




Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

Follow Melissa de la Cruz on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr




Many thanks to Disney publishing for providing me with this prize pack to share with you! You can follow their awesome teen division on Twitter and Tumblr .

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