Friday, October 20, 2017

Cover Reveal: Sweet Life by Nina Lane

He knows if she's been bad or good. 

Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she's having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she's ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer. Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for fourteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes. Just when Julia thinks Warren is all she wants for Christmas, an old flame comes to town and reminds her of the carefree girl she used to be. As the new year approaches, Julia is forced to decide if she wants to relive the past or embrace the future.   


iBooks | Amazon



New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 2017 Releases

This is late because of the Shattering Stigmas event (which has a INT giveaway still running!), but I still wanted to share it with y'all. :)

October 2nd 

October 3rd

October 4th

October 10th

October 17th

October 24th

October 31st

I've already read: SO. MANY. October is always such a huge month with new releases, and I was able to pick up a lot of them when I went to ALA annual in June. And I got through *most* of my list, all but one or two titles. And anyway here they are: All the Crooked Saints, This Darkness Mine, A Line in the Dark, Brooding YA Hero, Gray Wolf Island, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Wild Beauty. So yeah, basically all of them. 😂 All but Wild Beauty got around 3-3.5 stars, so it wasn't exactly a bunch I loved. But I definitely enjoyed them all!

From NetGalley/ALA/publishers: 27 Hours and The Tiger's Daughter. I'm nervous about the former, and I am almost certain I'll be DNFing the latter because I just do not have time for a book like this. I'm also reading and enjoying The Last Namsara and hope to finish it soon. The Knowing and That Inevitable Victorian Thing are on my list too, and I want to read them before 2017 ends, at least.

My most anticipated: um, I kind of already read them all? LOLOLOL. I am really looking forward to Dear Martin, though!

What October releases have you been most excited to read? Did I miss any that should be on my radar? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Don't Be a Starfish

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 26th, 2017!
*eARC kindly provided by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

My Review!
I felt such a personal connection to Kiko, the main character. I'm not biracial, nor half-Japanese, but there was a whole lot about Kiko's life and personality that I related to so hard. It made the read that much more special to me, because it's not very often when I can say that a book is basically my life.

*Kiko is a middle child
*with two brothers
*she's shy and quiet
*awkward and has social anxiety
*parties make her super anxious, and she feels better when she's got friends like Jamie and Emery around 
*feels weird for fangirling and showing her passion for things
*is a dreamer and a creative type
*doesn't like confrontation
*but wants so badly for people to see her feelings
*yet she's always scared those she loves will get angry or dislike her for feeling different from what they want
*but she's so courageous, and she learns how to demand better from people
*I'm going through a similar situation re: the relationship Kiko has with her Mom, but with a cousin of mine. I know starfish in my life too, and it SUCKS.

So yeah, I ended up absolutely loving this book, and all I wanted while reading it was to give Kiko a big hug and tell her that she deserved better from many people in her life. I loved that this book didn't tie everything into a neat little bow (especially with her mental health) and that it had so much good in it, especially the relationships Kiko makes with others. Just absolutely WONDERFUL.



Also, I wanted to share this interview Akemi did with one of my co-hosts for the Shattering Stigmas event. Guys, READ THIS BOOK! :D

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Midnight Tales Tour Recap

I'd been SO excited about Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns tour stop ever since it was announced. Because it was in Grand Rapids, which happens very rarely! And because of my job, I've been driving more of certain areas in the city, and luckily Schuler's is in a place that I could get to. I had a little bit of anxiety at the start of this. My lovely friend Sabrina was unable to go, so I was heading to an event where I would be alone. Normally, I don't mind, but bookish events are 100% better when you've got people with you. Plus, there was going to be a wait with the signing (it was in order of your ticket #), and that could get boring.

But what's great is that I knew someone else who was going! Theresa and I have known each other a few years now, and she was gonna be there. She also saved me a seat, which was SO NICE, and honestly great because we were in the second row and I could hear everything and feel like I was part of the Q&A session. The event was moderated by someone who does a lot of the moderating for book tours at the Lansing location, and she was really funny. Her and Leigh had a wonderful banter going, and I felt like we got so much information on Nikolai's upcoming book, King of Scars, and also random facts about Leigh that kept the whole crowd laughing. 

A few highlights:
  • Leigh said she once had a dream that she and The Darkling were having a cooking competition on the Shadowfold ala Chopped style.
  • Someone asked what her characters would make, and I don't remember all the answers. Nina would obviously do a waffle dish, and Kaz would probably make this glamorous meal to be like, "Didn't expect that, did you?"
  • She teased that Nikolai was supposed to die in Siege and Storm, and when the crowd reacted, she was like, "but he didn't! ...yet." SO RUDE, LEIGH.
  • She mentioned that she goes away during October because everyone wants her to do their Halloween makeup. (I don't blame her).
  • That's where the idea of Shadow and Bone came from, a retreat in the mountains during October, when she thought about the dark being a tangible monster and how someone would fight it.
  • When asked her favorite character, she said she must've really loved Nikolai not to kill him off. She also mentioned Genya (!! who I love).
  • She likes to think Wonder Woman chose her, and it was an honor for her to be able to write about Diana and the Amazons.

After that, the crowd dispersed to wait for the signing. I was #79, so I didn't have THAT long, and I mostly shopped around the store. I found some cute socks for my #otspsecretsister and some holiday cards for these things. I also saw a Shakespeare love mug that I had to force myself not to buy. (I just really love Shakespeare, okay). I actually chatted with someone I didn't know in line a little, which I hope went well? And then I finally got there, and someone needed to leave, so they cut in line. OKAY, FINE. (I really didn't mind, but I feel like this *always* happens to me). Anyway, the signing was pretty rushed, so I didn't even really get to talk to Leigh. And she didn't remember me, which was sad. She asked me if I'd chosen the witch button, or if it chose me. I was like, it was hard to choose between Queen and witch, but I always choose witch. And she's like, or you can be both! A witch queen. Which yesssss. She personalized TLOT and signed three other books I brought (SoC, CK, and WW). Yet so, I had a great time listening to the conversation almost more than meeting her again? But I AM very happy that I got this awesome picture with her.

(idk what people do with their hands, but I really fucking love this pic of me, and that doesn't happen very often)

I left after that, and I definitely was sad to miss Sabrina, but the event was fun. It was so great to finally meet Theresa, and I JUST LOVE BOOKISH EVENTS SO MUCH. Please, publishers, send more of your authors to Grand Rapids? Kay thanks, love you.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Another Year of Shattering Stigmas at a Close

Technically this event doesn't end until tomorrow. But since I'm out of guest posts, and I've no emotional energy to write another, and I don't post on Sundays, I think it's a good day to close out my part in it. But please do still check out Shannon's, Taylor's, Inge's, and Vlora's blogs, and Taneika's booktube! They've had loads of posts (and videos) this week, and we've got the giveaway running until November 2nd. And since I think that's all for the administration needs, I'm going to end this on a more personal note.

It was scary to share my story, but putting a name to what I face daily has felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders. The response, the love and support, made it even easier to let go. I'm proud of myself, for taking the step. And I'm grateful I did, because the reassurance on therapy has made me feel a lot better about giving it a try. I haven't set anything up yet, but I want to before 2017 ends. Now it's just having the courage to talk to my mom about costs and finding a therapist who might fit me. And after this, I feel braver.

I'm also proud of all the people who shared posts on my blog, and on everyone else's. Y'all are warriors. I'm so glad to know a lot of you, and I just appreciate so much all of you taking the time and effort to share your own stories. It's because of this event last year that I was able to share mine, and I hope this continues to help others and foster mental health discussion. So thank you CJ, Beth, Charlotte, Kara, Jenniely, Brandy, and Taylor! You made this event that much brighter and better.

Lastly, a massive thank you to Shannon for inviting me back to co-host and for always knowing just what to say. I love you, friend. Thank you to the other hosts for making Year 3 even better than the previous ones. I didn't know Taneika and Vlora before this, and I'm grateful I do now. You guys are all wonderful people. And Taylor, you're an absolute gem. I don't know what will happen next year, but I know I would love to host with a group such as this one again. I can't wait to read the rest of your posts. <3


Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't yet! There will be SIX winners, and it's going on until November. :) 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Collected Musings

For the last guest post of this week, I've got my friend CJ on the blog with a very raw and honest collection of what mental illness has been like for her. So please give her a warm welcome and support in the comments. :)


Hey, guys. I’m C.J. from Sarcasm and Lemons, a book blog. I have depression and anxiety. Many flavors of each, and I’ve been dealing with them for a long time. I’ve talked a lot about mental illness on my blog, self care tips and myth busting and various bookish topics, but for this year’s mental health awareness week, I’m going with something a little more personal. A series of snippets, things I’ve written down in the midst of anxiety or depression. Fragments of my experience in those moments. Mental illness is a fickle, mercurial thing, different for everyone but with a core of gray sameness.

Here’s what it’s been like for me. 
CW: Depression, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm 


Collected Musings

Anxiety is taking a klonopin on your birthday because you’re worried your dinner reservation won’t work out or your friends won’t have fun or they’re only coming because they feel like they have to or…

Depression is longing and failure. When you’re so desperately sad and you find someone else’s poetry, someone else’s lines that express exactly how you’re feeling in that moment, and instead of feeling less alone you feel more depressed because there’s even someone out there who’s better at your pain than you are.

Sometimes the greatest relief in a moment of depression comes when you have come to think so little of yourself and your situation that you’ll say anything to anyone, even a thing so terrifying as a “How do you do?”  A lovely irony, that the fear to seek what you want is lowest when you’ve nearly given up on seeking it. 

In this world, you can be in a room full of people and invisible. In this world you are a character.  You are a ghost.  You feel that you live but you can’t help shifting your eyes to the side, searching for the edge of the scene.  Blinking, to clear the fog and bring the real world into focus.  Move too quickly and you’ll tip off the edge of the earth.  If you move, you cease to exist.  If you speak, you’re a shadow.  This place is a phantom.  This is the dream world, where you stand on the threshold of the void and long to jump, because the smash of the earth will make everything real again.  If the wind didn’t tear the wheat to the side and bluster the walkers into corners, would they know they were real?  Pain, no matter how melodramatic it sounds, is the only reality in this kind of world.  Muffled in the golden glow, you struggle against the itchy restlessness of a scream.  Dig your fingernails into your wrist.  Suck down coffee hot enough to scald.  You fear that you’ll be in this half world forever, but even more you fear the reality you’ve left behind.  Because step out that door you break the spell, and the loneliness can find you.  The only good solution is to open a book, because locked behind two layers of unreality, you can cease to exist . . . with the comfort that any time you feel yourself dying, you can come back. 

It's medication. You know you need it, but you hate needing it. Hate piling those little capsules together and choking them down. I remember, once, picking up the pills and having this awful feeling of deju vu. Didn’t I just do this? I realized, listlessly, that I had. Last night, and the night before, and the one before that, every one of them so much the same as to be indistinguishable in my memory. God, I thought. Is this my life? I’d never felt so restless to escape, and so unable to.

Television is the refuge of the lonely. TV shows are prepackaged friends. I’ve come to know many of them, Alex the wizard, Leslie Knope, Jessica Day. Cancellations feel like funerals.

Sometimes it’s being afraid to live. To be me. To express opinions, to share the splinters of my soul. I’ve become a fragile thing that cracks beneath fingerprints.

Does going to sleep count as situational anxiety?

I’ve perfected the silent scream. It comes from the back of your throat. You can force your diaphraghm in, push air out of your throat, hard, into your closed lips. In a reasonably noisy room, you can smile and scream and no one will notice a goddamn thing.

In truth, I hate myself a little. Sometimes I hate myself a lot. I feel claustrophobic in my own skin and I scream for escape but the only escape is death, and that’s no escape at all because it scares me so fucking bad to think about it that I want to claw my way out of my skin.
It’s a circular problem. 


Thank you for sharing your story with us, CJ darling. <3

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Mental Health Discovery

Today's guest post is from Beth, who is sharing her personal journey with mental illness. So please give her a warm welcome and support in the comments! :)


Trigger warning, mention of Medication, suicide, self-harm, depression and anxiety.

Mental health is something we as a society tend to shy away from and don’t discuss the importance of. This needs to change, nobody should feel scared to talk about.

I was 11 when I started showing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Back then I had no idea about mental health as I was only young. I remember feeling sad all day every day and not knowing what was wrong with me, I shut myself off from everyone as I felt like I wasn’t worth anything. I spent every night crying myself to sleep. I began to pretend to be ill, this meant I wouldn’t have to leave the house or face anyone. I was feeling all of this at only age 11. It got to the point where my mum started forcing me to school, telling me I can’t be ill every single day. I’d go to school, then tell them I was sick. This was a cycle going on for around 2 months until a teacher had picked up on my behavioural tendencies. My mum began to be concerned as she had noticed it too. I didn’t have a very good childhood as my dad wasn’t a very nice man. I was referred to counselling at the school, this was all so new to me, I was 11 and having to deal with speaking to a stranger. I didn’t take much from this, I stuck it out for the new 2 years but never felt it got anywhere. I was still horribly depressed but not knowing so. I began to self-harm, something which I’m not proud of, but it helped for about an hour each evening. 

At the age of 14 my mum took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with clinic depression and anxiety. Having this label at the age of 14 was scary, I didn’t know what any of these words meant. I was put in a system for counselling, telling me tablets were an option when I got older. The mention of tablets freaked me out, I was 14 and felt like a freak. I’ve had on and off counselling until I turned 18 and that’s when you stop being helped, taken out of the system. It was awful, going from getting support to getting nothing and trying to cope alone, was simply terrifying. I took myself back to the doctors and we spoke through options, at this point I was put on suicide watch as I spoke about wanting to die. I had to try 3 different types of anti-depressants over the course of 2 months. 

Therefore, mental health needs to be acknowledged and why we need funds in the mental health section of the NHS, we’re having cuts and simply not helping those who need it, meaning they’re afraid of trying to help themselves or even ask for help. We need to recognise when people show symptoms of this, I’m thankful that my teacher notices and that my mum was loosely on the case too. 

I’m turning 21 this week, October 4th. I’m at the best possible state in my mental health that I’ve been since I was diagnosed. I’m currently on 150g of sertraline and I’m coping with writing about things. I’m one year self-harm free and I’m in my first year of university and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for accepting help and being able to live my life without constant fear or sadness using medication and knowing bad days do exist, but they have to for good ones to happen.


Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Beth! You can find her on Twitter (@bethanyxaldrich) and on her blogs, All the Bright Places, and The Crime Files