Nightfall Blog Tour & Giveaway

I am so excited to be a stop on this blog tour! Mostly because this was such a fun interview and the cover is so creepily wonderful!

The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.


I have to ask: what inspired you to write such a scary novel? The long night is super intriguing!
PK: Thanks!! I’d be curious to see how Jake answers this question, but for me, I didn’t start off saying – this has to be a scary novel. Sure, I wanted it to be suspenseful, but somehow the idea of the long night just naturally transformed it into something closer to horror than just ordinary suspense!
JH: Interesting answer, Kujo. That is what I call Peter – short for Kujawinski – and conjures the image of Stephen King’s infamous mad dog. And yes, absolutely, my goal was to write as scary a story as was humanly possibly. Mind you, I didn’t want to write horror. I am not big on blood and gore. I was thinking more like the kind of tales that kids tell around the campfire to spook themselves – and what is spookier than the dark?

Speaking of which, how do you go about writing scenes with the intent of scaring readers? Any writing rituals to get to that point?
PK: You have to take your time. You can’t just dash off passages that are scary. The scariest stuff has to be written slowly, and you have to freak yourself out while writing it. That’s when you know you have something good.
JH: The key is to create a tense mood from the outset and then to make the book get incrementally scarier through the use of small details – like the mention that pigs on the island are being slaughtered or that there are these long knives that are being stored in the basement, for what purpose we don’t know. You just have to keep building the mood of foreboding, gradually, and not go for any quick cheap thrills.

You both have previously written the DORMIA fantasy series together. How has this experience differed for you?
PK: I feel each book is better than the previous one – we learn more about how to write. But also, DORMIA was all about an entire world. For Nightfall, we didn’t want to world-build. We wanted something so fast and intense that you couldn’t stop reading it.
JH: Dormia was an epic. It involved this elaborate magical land with its own mythology. We always envisioned NIGHTFALL as a quick, short read – something that you could tear through and give yourself a good fright, in one sitting, on a stormy night.

Can we talk about your cover for a second? What was your reaction to seeing it for the first time? Literal chills down my spine over here.
PK: Me too! Penguin knocked it out of the park – no question at all. I actually second-guessed myself, thinking I was exaggerating about how good it was. But my wife had the same opinion, so I knew it worked.
JH: I love the cover because it is so cinematic. The artists worked very hard and did a few passes. I wasn’t 100% sold on the first pass, but by the end, I was dazzled and totally on board. It achieves just the right tone of foreboding – it reminds me of Dr. Who and the Twilight Zone – surreal and spooky.

Since NIGHTFALL is a stand-alone, can you share what your next writing adventure is?
PK: It’s a stand-alone, but we’re still contemplating making it a series. It really depends on what our readers want. The book we’re working on now is called Edgelands. It’s set in the same world as Nightfall, but it’s about a place and characters on the same latitude as the Desert Lands. It’s going well – and I can’t wait to tease out some details!
JH: This new story involves a guy and girl and a journey into the after life. It’s pretty crazy stuff! Oh, and there is a massive waterfalls at the edge of the world as well!

And because this is obviously the most important question of all: chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream?
PK: All three please! I truly believe the secret to world peace is more ice cream for everybody.
JH: One could, of course, write a treatise on this. Kujo being a former diplomat gave a judicious and crowd-pleasing answer, but because my goal here is not to make everyone happy or in any way better mankind, I will boldly say that Chocolate is only sensible solution!


 This is a giveaway hosted by Penguin open to one lucky winner in the US only!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out tomorrow's tour stop at The Young Folks

Waiting on Wednesday #55

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.
My pick of the week is...

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
~*~Why I Am Waiting~*~
Just read that synopsis and freak out with me until October 20th rolls around! I want it so badly! 

Are you also anxiously awaiting this book? Do you love that cover? Can you not wait for it?!?! I can't wait to hear your thoughts below!

I am super homesick right now...

This is just one of those posts that I am writing for the sake of brutal honesty.

I am freaking homesick. I miss New York City so badly. I'm not one for homesickness, but I've begun to think of NYC as my home, so not living there is killing me. Having all of my friends based in the five boroughs and me in a completely different state is hard.

Sure, I am in NYC every weekday, but it's not the same. I am either in class, or working, or interning all day and then I maybe have 2-3 hours at the end of the day before I have to sprint to catch a train at an hour where my parents will still be awake to be able to pick me up from the train station. So I am spending that with people typically grabbing dinner or at a signing instead of just wandering the city that I love.

And I keep reminding myself that I am commuting for the purpose of being able to go abroad in the spring, but that doesn't mean it's any easier.

It's hard to see people on the weekends when a grand whopping total of a mere ten trains come through town. It's hard to not be able to do spur of the moment plans, or to be able to say yes to something without having found a place to crash first.

Yet there are so many positives to commuting...I am out of dorming, which is just not meant for me. I can room with people fine, but it's so hard to be stuck in the same physical room as someone with no walls offering any privacy. I have a space that is 100% my own at my Dad's house. I'm spending more time with my family than I have in the past 2+ years. I get to come home to a cat everyday. More homecooked meals. I am saving a ridiculous amount of money.

But there's more exhaustion from the commute, cat hair everywhere, a lack of feeling properly independent, and me missing my friends like crazy. And the city. One of my favorite things to do is to just be alone in the city, and I can't do that anymore right now. I think the homesickness is just wiping me out right now.

I feel like I have no energy to read or do anything but watch tv because I am so tired from the commute and just missing NYC. And I'm sure it's something that I'll get over soon. It's 2 weeks into the semester, so the honeymoon stage is over and I am feeling the loss and craziness so to speak. But, damn, this sucks. A lot.

I am not cut out for all. I need the city to just feel whole.

First & Then Blog Tour & Giveaway | Sizzle Factor: Best Romance

Welcome to my blog tour post for First & Then by Emma Mills! The second I saw the option for this blog tour, I knew I had to be a part of it! We're talking high school superlatives right here, and I freaking love the idea of superlatives. My friends in high school voted my the unofficial superlative of "most likely to never return to New Jersey" because they knew how much I hated it there. For my on-campus job as a tour guide, I am "most likely to die on tour." The struggle is real.

Anyway, after seeing what this tour was all about, I knew I could not pass this opportunity up! My superlative is Sizzle Factor: Best Romance. *fans self* If there's one thing we all know, this girl loves herself a good romance. Upon much thought, I have a few recommendations of favorite romances that I've brought up in conversation with some friends recently, but before we get to that I want to share with you more about the book and Emma's top 5 favorite romances!

My review for this book will go live in early October!

Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (BYR)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Emma's Top 5 Romances

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It's no secret, this is one of my favorite romances ever. Passion, misunderstandings, sparks--the original will-they-or-won't-they!

2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Is there anything more romantic than first love? And this one has such poignancy.

3. The Next Together by Lauren James
This is a classic in the making! A Regency, war-time, sci-fi, and epistolary romance, all rolled up into one book!

4. A Room With A View by E.M. Forster
Lucy Honeychurch is such a lovely, complex, well-developed character, and I'm so glad she ends up with someone who is worthy of her.

5. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
This one has everything--action, revenge, loss, humor, and of course love!

My Current Top 2 Romances

Because I am taking a Shakespeare class right now, we've been talking a lot about romance, and I have realized that I am in a moment of loving the quirky romances where characters are strange and unique and perfect all at once because they love each other despite what a lot of other people would deem their defining character flaws. And this is why I have chosen the following 2 romances...also because I have forced each on at least five different people since school has started back up.

Behold, my quirky sizzle factor:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

All the beautiful and romantic squee-worthy quirk you will ever need!


Macmillan is awesome enough to be offering up one hardcover of First & Then by Emma Mills to a winner in the US!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet The Other Blogs on Tour 

There are so many of us on tour, so check out this awesome tour banner below so you can visit the past and future stops on this superlatives blog tour! You may have to zoom in or enlarge it, my computer is acting up and for that I apologize!

Thanks for stopping by!

Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

I had this post done a few weeks ago and then never got to post it because I was too sick to properly format it. Well, this week is a freebie so I am taking advantage of it!

So, I can't pick just ten authors that are on my auto-buy list, but I narrowed it down to ten people that I force on everyone continuously. But really, all of the following women are queens! They're all on this list because I will literally read anything they write, so ignore the redundancy because they blow my mind so much I can never think straight.

In no particular order...

1. Melina Marchetta- Need I even explain? SHE IS A LITERARY GODDESS! Contemporary, fantasy, whatever it is...I will read it because it is so great.

2. Jandy Nelson- Her writing is beyond beautiful and I cannot get enough of it. I will read everything that she writes.

3. Robin LaFevers- Her debut series brought me ridiculously awesome love interests and assassin nuns. I have high hopes for whatever she will produce next!

4. Alison Goodman- I will literally read anything she writes because she's so amazing. She tends to tackle norms and write ridiculously wonderful worlds and I love it.

5. Sarah J. Maas- Hello high fantasy queen. You always impress me.

6. Miranda Kenneally- I just love her cheesy romances! They make my heart swell!

7. Victoria Schwab- I She is a current favorite and I have a feeling she will remain high on my list for quite a while.

8. Marissa Meyer- As a retelling nut, I can honestly say I hope Meyer never leaves the genre because she is just so dang good at it.


10. Susan Dennard- Susan is just so kind and amazingly talented and I will also read anything she writes!

Are any of my auto buy authors your auto buy authors? What did you choose to make your TTT freebie topic this week? Share your thoughts below! <3

Review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 384 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2015/From Publisher for Review
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~


I was slightly hesitant to pick this up because Murphy's debut novel was not my cup of tea, but this book was so amazing I can't see anyone disliking it. Let me tell you why.

It tackles societal expectations.
There are some not so great aspects of modern day society. Sure, we've been moving in the right direction. Gay marriage is legalized, racism is not as crazy as it once was though it still exists, there are influential women in important positions of power. But with all of that in mind, our society still shames fatness. It tells us that it is not okay to be fat and that if you are on the heavier side, you can't be comfortable in your own skin. While there have been many movements popping up recently combating body-shaming, it's still a very real problem. And to come across a main character that is still in high school that recognizes she is large and has no problem with it is so empowering. She experiences self-esteem issues from it when, say, kissing boys, but who doesn't get worried when someone touches a part of our body we may not love? Willowdean doesn't let it bring her down and I love that about her. At times it is hard to read how people react to her, but being in her mind and feeling her strength is empowering. 

Our main character rocks.
So if you didn't figure it out from me talking about how much I love Willowdean with the above point, I'll just repeat that I love Willowdean. She is comfortable with herself and her loves, even if she recognizes that Dolly Parton is a weirder love. But trust me, by the end of the book you'll love Dolly Parton, too. She is sarcastic, devoted, comfortable, and accepting. She is the type of friend I would want to have, even if she gets intense tunnel vision that makes her fail to see the big picture sometimes.

The love interest also rocks.
Bo. What a guy. His beautiful basketball playing arms, mad burger-flipping skills, obsession with red lollipops that always stain his lips, ability to make Willowdean weak in the knees simply by saying her name, and beautiful peachbutt will make your heart melt. Yeah, he's messed up in the past and lives a really complicated life, but he loves Willowdean for her mind and what she has to offer and doesn't care what others think about that. There are no declarations of love in this novel, but as it progresses you just get this serious sense that he loves her for her and I absolutely love that. New book boyfriend alert!

Beautiful friendship is beautiful.
Willowdean's best friend is Ellen and, physically, they are complete opposites. Willowdean is heavier and shorter whereas Ellen is tall, slender, and your typical beauty queen. But they bonded over their love of Dolly Parton at a very young age and are inseparable now, even if people label them as a weird pairing. Throughout the novel, Willowdean also finds a unique set of friends that are completed unexpected but totally adorable. They work well together and the end crew of five displays how you truly can't judge a book by their cover--especially in the vain wasteland that is high school.

Totally realistic and relatable.
Not only does Willowdean's weight show how people react to heavier players, but this book depicts so many other realistic views in high school. Beautiful Ellen is ridiculed at school because her boyfriend, Tim, is several inches shorter than her, which shows how everyone can get made fun of in this environment. Willowdean worries about dating Bo because of how people react, but she learns to allow herself to be happy and anyone who tries to bring her down must be pretty miserable. Gay people may not be as accepted, but they will be accepted when they find the right group of friends. Being physically different from your peers does not make you a leper, so don't allow it to control your life. There are family problems in the book, but Willowdean and her mom try to work through it in their own way because they love each other despite their differences. High school is a small stop in your life that won't be relevant in the years to come, so don't let anything hurt you too much. Murphy's depiction of high school was all too real with how terrible of a place it can be, but also how great it can be. The cliche lesson of how you should always follow you dreams and never allow your small town to define who you are (this one totally rings true to me) is present, and damn it, if you need to sit at home and not shower while you shovel chocolate chips in your mouth every now and then...DO IT!

Dolly Parton, pageants, and girls who are big and proud.
I love how Willowdean has a close connection with Dolly Parton for reasons I'll allow you to discover for yourself and she has absolutely no shame in it. She loves it and embraces it, and has readers singing Jolene in repeat in their head by the end of the novel. The book also explores pageants, which is something I haven't come across before. It brings a refreshing twist to the YA contemporary scene on top of the being a big girl and proud sentiment that is beginning to be a big deal across America. I love that this movement is gaining steam (especially after that hate-filled YouTube video came out recently) and this book is coming out at just the right time if you ask me.

The one reason that this novel is receiving 4.5 stars instead of a perfect 5 from me is because the second half of the novel was super pageant focus. I love the pageant as a plot point, but the beginning of the novel explored so much and some of that stuff that was really important to me, as a reader, fell to the wayside in the second half in favor of pageant drama and preparation, only for the actual pageant to take up a very small amount of pages.

All in all, just short of perfection and I think this is a novel that any YA reader should read. It's not only that good, but it's that important.

4.5 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.

Review: Play on by Michelle Smith

Series: Lewis Creek #1
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 258 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2015
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything.

Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek—he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I picked this book up because I was really sick and I wanted something cute to read. I am really happy to say Michelle Smith delivered! A baseball romance with a Southern hook? Sign me up!

This romance was as sweet as cherry pie. Austin is a God in his small town of Lewis Creek because he has a golden arm. He brings his baseball team to the state championships every year and that's a big deal. Elevated on a pedestal, his town worships their baseball team because that's the small-town vibe. Him and two of his best friends, Jay (catcher) and Brett (third base), are entering their finals season before they head off to different colleges and, boy, will it be a crazy one.

Austin is not immune to coach's rules despite being the town superstar, which means he is at risk of getting kicked off the starting roster if he doesn't find a chemistry tutor to help him get his grades up and maintain a 3.0 GPA. This made me really love the coach because he was the father figure that Austin was lacking in his life after his father committed suicide two years earlier. Back on just so happens that the new girl from Maryland with big, doe-like green eyes that is now working in Austin's flower shop plans on attending USC in the Fall for chemistry. Convenient, huh?

This romance was SO DARN CUTE. It blossomed slowly at Marisa's request by starting off as friends, then more then friends, then hesitant boyfriend/girlfriend before the big "I love you" occurred. There was lots of cute banter, Southern jokes, gentlemanly actions on Austin's part, and teasing on Marisa's part. These two just mesh so well and you start rooting for them immediately within the first ten pages when he almost knocks her over at a barbecue joint. I also have to say that their slow-moving romance endeared them to me even more because it is hinted that Austin has had sex in the past, but there's no rush to do so in this relationship since this book only spans a couple of months.

Despite the sweet romance, this book also deals with some tough subjects like depression. I have to say I enjoyed how it handled it because it showed how depression is not something that can be fixed. Austin mistakenly thought it was something that could be fixed because it wasn't obvious in his father and because Marisa would be so happy one minute and so, so sad the next. But through the novel he learned that depression is a thief that sneaks up on you, that it's not easy to handle but can be handled properly when surrounded by the right people, and he learned to love someone with something that scares him so immensely and made him hate his father for a little while. He learned to understand and that's a big deal.

I also liked the lgbtq relationship found in this book. It's the South, so it does touch upon how their views on such things may be different down there than up North, but Austin was very accepting from the get-go and most people did come around after a while. If you care about a friend/classmate/family member/neighbor, you care about them despite who they love. While not everyone came around to this sentiment, it was a nice one nonetheless and an interesting thing to explore as a subplot.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It brought on the cheese and kept me smiling, even had me crying happy tears at the end. Sometimes the cheese was a little too much or the plot picked up a little too fast here or there, but I am not complaining. This book put a huge smile on my face and that's all I wanted. I look forward to reading book two, GAME ON, which is Eric's story. We're gonna get a bit of a Southern bad-boy with that one! Sign me up!

 4 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

Ten finished series I have yet to finish (but really want to!)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

So many books, so little time.

1. Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore- I still have to read BITTERBLUE, but I am so scared to because Cashore hasn't announced plans for what her next book will be!

2. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce- Alanna was awesome, but it's been so long I need to re-read it to refresh my memories.

3. The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout- My #Otspsecretsister just bought me the final book, so perhaps I can change this soon!

4. Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee- I really have no excuse as to why I haven't finished this one yet. I just haven't.

5. Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima- I loved book one! I own random books following it, but I can't wait to finish this series.

6. The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan- So I haven't even finished book one yet, but I am including this on the list because of how much Percy Jackson means to me and how Riordan will forever be amazing because of it.

7. The Princesses of Westfalin by Jessica Day George- This is such a fun retelling series, and I'll finish it eventually because everyone who follows this blog knows how much I love retellings.

8. The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen- JUST ONE MORE BOOK THAT I MUST FINISH. I own it...but so many books. ahhhh

9. The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan- Such banter, such craziness, such perfection.

10. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - My ultimate shame, but I do not want to say goodbye! I have read everything but the last book...

Have you finished any of these series? What did you think? Don't forget to link me to your TTT posts below because I'd love to discover some new series!