Ask the Author: Rahul Kanakia (Enter Title Here)

Samstag, 27. Februar 2016

   For this edition of Ask the Author I'm bringing you the amazing author behind the upcoming Disney-Hyperion title, Enter Title Here: Rahul Kanakia. Enter Title Here is one of my most anticipated titles of 2016 so of course I had to write him an e-mail kindly asking if he'd be interested in doing an interview. Luckily, he agreed and answered all my Q's with some awesome A's.
   Here is his book and his answers:

Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
Expected Publication: August 2nd 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of Pages: 352 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   I’m your protagonist—Reshma Kapoor—and if you have the free time to read this book, then you’re probably nothing like me.
   Reshma is a college counselor’s dream. She’s the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.
   What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she’ll finally have the key to Stanford.
   But she’s convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important than success—a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy.
   Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can’t always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she’ll have to decide just how far she’ll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It’s pretty far.)
   In this wholly unique, wickedly funny debut novel, Rahul Kanakia consciously uses the rules of storytelling—and then breaks them to pieces. (

Interview with Rahul Kanakia

   1 - Describe Enter Title Here with a haiku.
   A girl schemes and schemes
   But evil never prospers
   Or does it? We'll see

   2 - What was the first initial thought or thing that sparked the idea for Enter Title Here? Was it a name or the most basic idea of a story about a girl dealing with the challenges of high school and trying to excel?
   I was reading an essay about South Korea and it mentioned, in an off-handed way, that students in South Korea are so overworked that after a spate of suicides, teens created a national protest movement--they had marches where they chanted "We are not study machines!" It was something about that phrase that set me off. "We are not study machines!" It made me think of all the kids in the world who are driven to work so desperately hard, even though the potential rewards seem so distant and far out of sight.

   3 – What do you like the most about your protagonist, Reshma, and what do you think makes her stand out?
   I admire her work ethic. I wasn't a hard worker in high school, and I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, schoolwork is BS and kind of a waste of time. On the other hand, it meant I never learned how to work hard. And because of that, when I found something that was worth working on (my writing), I didn't quite know how to do it. I think Reshma is a tremendously effective person--she knows how to get what she wants--and there's always something awe-inspiring about that.

   4 - Did you have a personal motivation behind writing a story dealing with the high school overachieving culture and stereotypes, or was it simple the interest in the topic? Or the need to talk about it since, in today day and age, teens face an unbelievable amount of pressure and stress from both their parents and the world around them?
   I went to college with a lot of overachievers, and I think they're underappreciated (at least in literature). It's easy to denigrate them and call them soulless, but I wanted to write a book that took them seriously and tried to explore what it meant to work really really hard.

   5 - How long did it take you from first thought until publishing deal? Out of curiosity, how many queries did you have to send until you found 'the one'?
   I first thought of this book in July of 2012. I wrote the first draft in January of 2013. My agent sent it out in April of 2014, and it sold within 5 weeks. So maybe two years? This was the second book my agent sent out for me. The first didn't sell, but it was the one that landed me as an agent: I sent out 93 queries, but in the end the agent I got was one that I never queried. The story of how I got in touch with him is a bit funny, actually. I came in second place in the Tu New Visions Contest, and the winner, Valynne Maetani, got in touch with me and offered to send my manuscript to an agent that she knew!

   6 - How do you feel about the fact that in only a few more months thousands of readers will be able to hold and read your debut novel?
   I don't know. It still feels very unreal. When you write, you get rejected a lot, and those rejections make you get used to the idea that no one else is ever going to read your work. At this point, a hundred or so people, including strangers, have commented about my book online, and their praise does make me happy in some abstract way, but it's still hard to connect it with the actual book that I wrote. Part of this is that I finished the first draft of ETH something like three years ago, so at this point it feels very much like something my younger self did (rather than myself).

   7 - Why do you thing the readers out there should pick up Enter Title Here? What makes the story stand out and, in a way, important?
   They should pick it up because Reshma is a blast. She's so much fun. She's evil and manipulative and self-absorbed...and that's why you love her.

   8 - While writing the story did you ever imagine how a cover might look like and what do you think about the very unique final version?
   I always thought the cover would be kind of abstract: all bright colors and sharp angles. I actually imagined that they might use a typewriter motif, since that seems to be a common cover. I wasn't expecting the old-fashioned word processor look, but I instantly loved it! The cover designer, Maria Elias, did a fantastic job both with that and with laying out the inside of the book. She really loved Enter Title Here, and I think you can see that love on every page of the book.

   9 – Seeing as you’re a YA author I’m sure you also read YA, so I wondered, what were the last three books you’ve read and what did you think of them?
   The most recent book I read was actually a middle-grade novel: Andrew Chilton's The Goblin's Puzzle. It's a classic humorous MG adventure, in the style of Harry Potter, but it's also emotional and thought-provoking. The book is about a nameless and powerless slave who, with the help of an extremely logical goblin, needs to use his wits to save two girls named Alice (one of whom is a Princess). Riddles and puzzles are a running theme throughout the book, which makes it a feast for the mind, but what I admired most was the wit. Even throwaway lines are extremely wry and funny. I blew through the book, and I'm sorry that it's Chilton's debut: I wish there were a hundred more books of his for me to read.
   I also recently read Hannah Moskowitz's Not Otherwise Specified. I'm bisexual myself, but I've never seen another bisexual character in YA. Her protagonist, Etta, is a fantastic and complicated girl, and everything about the book is so well-realized. I also recently read Catherine Lo's not-yet-released How It Ends: about two girls becoming friends and then having that friendship fall apart. What I loved about the book was that at first everything seems so stereotypical: the shallow mean girls; the obnoxious older sister; the evil stepmom. But as the book goes on, you see that there are so many more facets to everything, and, in the end, there are no easy answers.

   10 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
   Enjoy being unpublished. I know it sucks, but trust me, it has its upsides. I feel so nostalgic for the days when I didn't have a publisher and an agent and I could just write whatever I wanted to. Of course I feel grateful, but there's also a sense of loss. It's like growing up. We all get older, but we still miss what we left behind. Similarly, if you work hard enough, you will get published eventually, so instead of dwelling on that event, aspiring writers should try to enjoy their freedom...while they still have it.

   11 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
   To read thoughts! I can't imagine anything more wonderful or intimate than to directly experience the vitality and fertility buried deep within the minds of all the people around me.

About the Author

   Rahul Kanakia’s first book, a contemporary young adult novel called Enter Title Here, is coming out from Disney-Hyperion on August 2nd, 2016. Additionally, his stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Apex, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, The Indiana Review, and Nature. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford, and he used to work in the field of international development. 
   Originally from Washington, D.C., Rahul now lives in Berkeley. If you want to know more you can visit his blog at or follow him on Twitter at 

Review: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2016

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
Expected Publication: March 1st 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Number of Pages: 360 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: Currently no.

   Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.
   Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.
   When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide. (

* Thank you to Sky Pony Press for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review *

   Beyond the Red is everything my little sci-fi heart wanted it to be. Non stop action, amazing characters and a world distant from ours, an alien princess and a rebel soldier as protagonists, what more could I want?
   I've had my eye out for this one for a while, even had an interview with Ava Jae a while back, so when Sky Pony Press gave me an ARC I was overjoyed. I would lie if I'd say that I didn't read this book in literally one sitting because I just couldn't stop reading, I had no know what happens next and where the story would ultimately lead.

   I loved this planet, Safara, that Ava created, the endless red desert and the bone white palaces topped off with technology, unforgiving, intriguing and magical all at the same time. Would I want to live there? Probably not, would I want to read way more about it? Yes please! But what made this planet even better was the mere fact that Ava wrote it so convincingly and beautifully, showing of her skills as author. Whenever I read sci-fi set on a planet unlike our own, I fear that it won't be believable or won't seem realistic in any sort of way. Beyond the Red and Safara definitely didn't disappoint me in any way.

   The characters, Kora and Eros, were amazing, too. I loved these aliens Ava created, tall, tan-skinned and marked by tattoo-like black markings different from person to person. And then there were also the half-bloods like Eros, people considered worthless since mixing the races is strictly forbidden in their world. Seeing them come together was intriguing and one heck of a sizzling romance. I am most definitely looking forward to seeing whom Kora will choose in the end, seeing as there is a triangle in this story, so let's hope there will be a sequel!

   Another thing I loved about Beyond the Red is the fact that it dealt with down to earth problems, even if it didn't play on Earth, or even a place that looked remotely like ours. Throughout the novel we see topics such as segregation, war, love, loss, racism and many more. I really liked the way these things were handled a lot. Despite being a sci-fi novel, Beyond the Red is surprisingly relatable.

   All in all, I had an amazing time reading Beyond the Red. I loved the world, the characters, the abundance of action and politics, and the romance. I basically devoured this book in one sitting, emerged myself in both POVs, loving both instead of, as I usually do, favoring one other the other. Ava Jae has an amazing writing style and I cannot wait to read more of her work, and dearly hope that there will be a sequel to Beyond the Red.
I give Beyond the Red by Ava Jae 5 out of 5 stars.

Review: Binge by Tyler Oakley

Samstag, 20. Februar 2016

Binge By Tyler Oakley
Published: October 20th 2015 by Gallery Books
Number of Pages: 303 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Pop culture phenomenon, social rights advocate, and the most prominent LGBTQ+ voice on YouTube, Tyler Oakley brings you his first collection of witty, personal, and hilarious essays written in the voice that’s earned him more than 10 million followers across social media. (

Check him out online!
YouTube Channel
Twitter: @tyleroakley

“I was taught that being myself was not only okay, but encouraged - and by being unapologetically yourself, you thrive and inspire others to thrive.”
   Binge by Tyler Oakley is a honest and intimate look behind the scenes of what we don't get to see each week on YouTube, through tweets or pictures on Instagram. Throughout Binge the reader is guided through all sorts of different stories taken straight from Tyler's life, from childhood stories up until 2015. As always, he is unapologetic about who he is and what he's been through so far in life and isn't afraid to share and talk about many different things, including his father's reaction to him being gay, his eating disorder or the dark time he faced back in 2014.
   As someone who watches YouTubers will a burning passion, I can safely say that sometimes you find yourself thinking that these people you watch, that they lead the perfect, happy, successful life free of concerns and problems, because all you get to see are these perfectly edited 3-10 minute videos. Binge proves that there are actual humans behind these videos, that Tyler went through lots of things to be where he is today.
“When life throws a wrench in your plans, catch it and build an IKEA bookshelf.”
   I love the fact that, because Tyler himself wrote Binge, his brilliant personality and sense of humor transcends through the pages flawlessly. If you happen to listen to the audiobook, like I did even though I also have a physical copy of it, the fun is even greater because you get to listen to Tyler read you the book.
   Binge is very informative and interesting, no matter if you already know him through YouTube or stumbled across the book on accident at the bookstore. There are many things you can learn through the stories Tyler tells, and also through the different themes discussed. Tyler shows that being gay is okay, awesome even, nothing one has to be ashamed of, which I think is something many kids and teens could find useful while they face trying to figure out their sexuality.
   Furthermore it also shows that although being a YouTuber might seem like such an easy job from the outside, it's actually just like any other job, too. You still have stress and pressure, the fear of letting people down, of not delivering what others might want to see, that you have to always be better and better, do more and more, even to a point where you just feel exhausted beyond all measures. I think it's amazing that Tyler felt brave enough to talk about this, that being a YouTuber can sometimes even be scary when attending conventions after you reach a certain number of subscribers, which I am quite sure not many people think about.
“Every relationship ends, unless one doesn't. And everything we've learned from the relationships leading up to that last one has been the training we needed to make that final one last.”
   As I mentioned before, Binge talks about hard things like Tyler's eating disorder, dark thoughts and even abusive relationships, many things that I'm sure were not easy for him to go back to and discuss in a book for everybody to read. Nonetheless I think it's important and valuable that he did because now, whoever might read Binge, might learn the importance of asking for help, seeking out what makes you unhappy and fixing it, but also that sometimes love isn't enough to excuse another person's behavior toward you.
“Sometimes doing what's right for your conscience is not always the most popular decision, but I can guarantee that in retrospect you won't regret the choice you made.”
   But personally, my favorite thing about Binge was the fact that I now feel like I actually know Tyler, despite the fact that I've unfortunately never met him before. Through the way Tyler narrates Binge you feel like you're sitting right next to him over a coffee listening to him tell it to you personally, which is great.
   The best things you can take away from this book are such things like the value of taking chances, the importance of pushing beyond our comfort levels, dusting ourselves off after humiliations, and remaining open to the life, feelings and possibilities that are happening while we are busy either chasing success or trying to outrun our fears. Thank you, Tyler.

   All in all, Binge is a very honest and apologetic novel showing the reader the world behind the scenes, the real life of Tyler Oakley. The book offers a thick layer of the typical Tyler humor along with very honest stories chronicling his life and experiences offering many lessons to be learned. I think, no matter if you're a fan of his, a casual viewer or someone who has no clue who he is, you can still enjoy this book. It's unapologetic and 100% Tyler Oakley. It will make you laugh out loud, think and relate to him.
I give Binge by Tyler Oakley 5 out of 5 stars.

Cover Lust Friday: New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson

Freitag, 19. Februar 2016

Cover Lust Friday Logo

   Cover Lust Friday is a weekly meme that's all about covers. Pick a cover that stands out to you, add your reason why you've chosen that particular one or what you like about it. Let's have fun with it and share the love for our favorite covers.

   The Cover:

New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
Published: January 5th 2016 by Oftomes Publishing
Number of Pages: 350 pages (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #1 in the New World Trilogy

   Since witnessing her parents' murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix's only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother's dying words- to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls- outside of The Sanctuary- is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, "Join or die."
   Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself. (

   The Reason:

   I really like this new cover. Green is my favorite color so that's already a big plus, but I'm also a really big fan of this foggy/misty thing this cover has going on, blending the panorama of the city with the title and the girl above it, bleeding into the white background. The designer really did an amazing job with this cover because it's definitely an eye-catcher, no questions asked!

* * *

Want to join in? No problem! Just follow the 'rules' below:

  1. Write a blog post (or post a picture using #CoverLustFriday on Instagram) about a cover you love.
  2. Add your link in the comment section of the original post (click here) so we can have something like a list going on.
  3. And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  4. Check out other posts, and have fun!

Valentine's Day Book TAG!

Sonntag, 14. Februar 2016

   Hello there, lovely reader!
   Happy February 14th, also known as Valentine's Day! I'm not too big on V-Day but I saw Margot over on the Epic Reads channel on YouTube do this fun book tag themed around Valentine's Day so I though, hey, let's do it! Let's see how many times I'll managed to say Valentine's day in one blog post.
 1. First Book Crush
   I think my first ever book crush was, and I really don't like to say it, Edward Cullen from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. This was the first YA quartet I ever read, which also got me truly into reading, so, no matter how differently I feel about these books and characters now, years later, it's thanks to them that I love reading as much as I do now. 13/4 year old Alice LOVED Edward to a weird extent so let's not talk about that too much!

2. What book would you want as your Valentine?
   If you've been around for a while, let's see if you can guess which book I could have possibly chosen for this question...3...2...1... The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, obviously. I love this book, I love the characters and the creepy atmosphere, and Noah Shaw is like one of my two fictional boyfriends (yes I can't decide, I'm sorry) so of course I couldn't have chosen any other book. Besides, you know me, I'll always find a way to squeeze this book in because I just love it that much.

   3. Candy Hearts or Chocolate?
   Cupcakes. Or doughnuts. ;)

   4. What book would you gift to your true love?
   Besides the Mara Dyer trilogy, I'd say I'd give my true love The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy because it's just a really hilarious book that's different from most things I've read and I would love to share it with someone I love. There is so much craziness going on inside that book that I' sure he'd enjoy it so, that's my choice.

   5. Favorite Rom-com
  10 Things I Hate About You. Love that movie so, so much. I mean, who doesn't love that embarrassingly cute while also slightly cringeworthy scene of Heith Ledger strolling along the bleachers while singing a song over the schools speakers for Bianca, played by Julia Stiles. I'm not the biggest fan of rom-com's but this one is amazing, every single time you watch it.

   6. Best Valentine's Day gift you ever received (or want to receive)
   I've never had a boyfriend during Valentine's day, and I also happen to not really care much about it, so I've never received anything, but if I'd have to choose something that I would like to get, then I'd say a book, because books are awesome no matter what day of the year it is.

   7. Favorite thing about Valentine's Day (if you love it) OR favorite thing to do on Valentine's Day (if you hate it)
   I am truly indifferent toward Valentine's day. I don't love it, I don't hate it, I just don't care so my favorite thing to do is stick to what I do any other day, so continue writing, prepare some interview questions, or binge watch some videos on YouTube.

   Also, I want to share a song with you that is very lovely, contains the magical three words and is very cute, nice and just a little bit sad. It's actually a cover by Gerard Way, whom some of you may know as the former lead singer of My Chemical Romance (still not over it), and it's magnificent. So treat yourself to some wonderful tunes right here.

   And that's it, that was the Valentine's Day Book TAG. I've managed to say Valentine's day a total of 9 times, which is 8 too much as for my liking. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed and, if you want to do this TAG too, leave me a comment down below (or tweet me a link @Alice_Reeds) so I can check out your answers!

Ask the Author: Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are the Ants)

Samstag, 13. Februar 2016

   For this weeks edition of Ask the Author I have the grand pleasure of bringing you the amazing Shaun David Hutchinson, author of, among others, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley and We Are the Ants. He was so kind to take his time and answer a couple of my Q's with some A's which I am very excited to share with you!
   Here is his latest novel and the interview:

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published: January 19th 2016 by Simon Pulse
Number of Pages: 464 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
   Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
   What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
   But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
   The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that. (

Interview with Shaun David Hutchinson

   1 – Describe We Are the Ants with a haiku.
   Henry has a choice
   To press the button or not.
   Life is beautiful.

   2 – What sparked the idea for We Are the Ants?
   I don’t think there was any single inspiration, but the inclusion of Jesse’s suicide stemmed from my own suicide attempt when I was 19. I wanted to tell a story about how that affected the people in Jesse’s life, especially how it affected Henry. But I was definitely also inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle.

   3 – What was the most challenging about writing We Are the Ants and which scene was the most fun to write?
   The most challenging part of writing ANTS was keeping the story from veering into melodrama. There are so many painful things happening in Henry’s life, but I wanted to make sure it felt real and grounded. Sometimes I worried I’d put too much stuff into the story, but I think that’s how life is. When I was suicidal and dealing with my sexuality as a teen, that pain wasn’t happening in a vacuum. There was also the confusion about what college I’d be attending and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and problems with my parents. But putting all of life’s drama into one book sometimes threatened to weight it down too heavily. So balancing that was definitely a challenge.
   The most fun scene to write was actually all of the end-of-the-world scenarios. I had a really great time trying to come up with weird and unusual—but theoretically plausible—ways for the world to end.

   4 – What do you like most and least about your main character Henry Denton?
   I like most that Henry never actually gives up. He thinks about it…a lot. But he never actually does it. In the end, he finds the strength to keep going. I least like how long it took him to realize that Marcus was bad for him.

   5 – In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
   I’m actually really happy with how it turned out. Of course, I’d have loved to have had more time to explore Marcus’s story and Audrey’s story in more depth, but I was already pushing the page count, so I feel really great about where the book ended up.

   6 – How did you feel when you first realized that this story you had written would soon be read by thousands of people and how do you feel now, years later, after your newest book was released? Did the feeling change or is it still the same?
   Well, I’m not so sure thousands of people have actually read my first book…but before it came out, I was kind of cocky about the whole thing. We Are the Ants is a much more personal story, and I was terrified of people reading it. I’m blown away by the response to ANTS…it’s just been amazing, and I can hardly believe it. Sometimes I’ll get an email about it from an awesome reader and have to wonder if they didn’t accidentally read a different book that just happened to have the ANTS jacket on it by chance.

   7 – What do you think about the cover for We Are the Ants? Does it do the story justice?
   I love the cover. Regina Flath designed it, and I had no idea what she was going to come up with. She also came up with the cover for The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. She’s kind of a genius. But I definitely think it encapsulates the expansiveness of the story as well as the intimacy of it. I couldn’t imagine a better cover.

   8 – How do you prepare for a new story? Are you a planner/outliner or someone who just wings it as the story progresses?
   I’m definitely a pantser. I’m trying to outline more, but most of the time I just dive into a story when I hear the voice on my head and hope for the best.

   9 – Do you have a writing routine or do you write whenever creativity strikes?
   I’m routine oriented. I usually write first thing in the morning. Though now that I’ve started a new job, I’ll be doing my writing in the evening. But either way, I make sure to write every day.

   10 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
   Read everything you can get your hands on, even in genres you wouldn’t normally read. And write the thing you’re most scared for people to read.

   11 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
   I would really love the ability to take on the appearances of other people so I could slip into their lives and see what it’s like to be them.

About the Author

   Shaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letter, fml, and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He can be reached at He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who. (

Cover Lust Friday: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Freitag, 12. Februar 2016

Cover Lust Friday Logo

   Cover Lust Friday is a weekly meme that's all about covers. Pick a cover that stands out to you, add your reason why you've chosen that particular one or what you like about it. Let's have fun with it and share the love for our favorite covers.

   The Cover:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published: February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 359 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: Yes, #1 in 2

   This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.
   Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (

   The Reason:

   I love this cover and I love this book. There is just so much to love about this cover, be it the gorgeous font, the drawings around the words, the beautiful sky and the way the red of the truck really catches your eye. The second I first lay my eyes on the cover I was in love, still am and forever will be because this definitely is a wonderful example for a cover done more then right!

* * *

Want to join in? No problem! Just follow the 'rules' below:

  1. Write a blog post (or post a picture using #CoverLustFriday on Instagram) about a cover you love.
  2. Add your link in the comment section of the original post (click here) so we can have something like a list going on.
  3. And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  4. Check out other posts, and have fun!

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Donnerstag, 11. Februar 2016

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
Published: September 22nd 2015 by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 336 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   Critically acclaimed memoirist Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice, takes an unflinching look at what happens to a small town when some of its residents commit a terrible crime. This honest, authentic debut novel—inspired by the events in the Steubenville rape case—will resonate with readers who've ever walked that razor-thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.
   The party at John Doone's last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills's shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn't have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate's classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can't be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw?
   National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti calls What We Saw "a smart, sensitive, and gripping story about the courage it takes to do what's right." (

Trigger warning: Rape.
Nothing is exactly as it appears. The closer you look, the more you see.
   What We Saw is a very honest and, at times, heartbreaking portrayal of a school dealing with four boys being accused of sexually assaulting a classmate during a party. The story is based on a real life high school rape case that happen in the US in 2012, though I've only really got to know that once I was done reading. I admit, that detail made the story seem even more shocking then it already was. As someone who wasn't in the US at the time I hadn't heard about the events surrounding the rape case before, though reading about it after I was done with What We Saw, it definitely made me happy that I am done with school and that, fortunately, something like that never happened at a school that I'd visited, while also making me wonder how the media could deal with something like this the way they had - the completely wrong way.
   The story is told through the eyes of Kate, a soccer playing girl who used to be friends with the victim in the past but not anymore at the time of the incident. The story deals with victim blaming, how important it is to look at all the facts, consider every option, instead of jumping to conclusions based on popularity and outfits, slut-shaming and, above all, the immense importance of consent.

“Well, I just think it’s awful what that Stallard girl is doing to them. Dragging their good names through the mud.”

   What really struck me was this sense of "it's her own fault" and "boys will be boys" that many of the teens showed, which was in many ways horrifying and, unfortunately not surprising. Those two phrases slip past your lips so easily yet weigh heavily because they excuse the assailants and their actions, teaching them that they have not done anything wrong, which as we all know, is not true. I really enjoyed seeing how Kate slowly started to really think about what happened, what it all really means, and why everybody immediately takes sides with the popular boys instead of thinking about how the girl, Stacey, must feel, assuming that she must have made it up, forgetting that she is human and might actually be telling the truth.

“All I’m saying is there are rules. You don’t get wasted. You don’t take off your top. You don’t flirt with raging drunks. You don’t dress like a slut. You have to play by the rules. If you don’t, this is what happens.”

“Words have MEANINGS. When you say you ‘can’t help yourself’ if a girl is wasted, that means something, too. You’re saying that our natural state as men is ‘rapist.’ That’s not okay with me.”

   Kate was an incredibly interesting character. She was strong, smart, and despite the fact that everyone told her to not get involved or think about what happened, she still felt the need of at least checking on Stacey, which ultimately, among other reasons, led her to wanting to figure it all out. I enjoyed her friendship with her team mates and her feelings toward Ben, her childhood friend on whom she had a crush for years.
   Speaking of which, Ben was an interesting character as well. He was the one who drove Kate away from the party, at which the assault happened, when he was that she was already totally drunk, but returned to it after bringing Kate home. He didn't want to get involved and had his own problems to deal with, meaning his mom who is addicted to buying things with coupons. I really liked that aspect of the story, especially because it was something I've not seen done before.
   I liked the dynamic that these two had when interacting with each other, and was fascinated my Kate's courage to go against the masses and get involved, against all odds. It was fascinating to see how most girls tried to explain to themselves that something like what happened to Stacey could never happen to them because they are not "that girl". It was brilliant to see Kate come to the conclusion that if she wouldn't have had Ben, she could have been "that girl" just as well as Stacey since she'd been pretty drunk, too.

“What about me?” I choke. “Do you owe me something? I was just as wasted as she was. Why do I get driven home and kept safe but not her? Why not just leave me to Dooney and Deacon and the boys in the basement?”

   Another aspect of What We Saw that I found interesting was the portrayal and involvement of the media, which I hadn't really seen before in books dealing with sexual assault. We got a look at live news broadcasts, TV vans standing in front of the school trying to get any information they could, and also got to read a couple of news articles written by the main journalist involved in the case. That was really intriguing and helped shape the atmosphere of the entire book.
   Aaron Hartzler has a really good writing style that really makes you think that this character, Kate, is a teen at school. He captured her thoughts and how they changed over the course of the book magnificently. As mentioned previously, the book really felt very realistic and true to the nature and tendency to being judgmental that teens have, along with this sheep like behavior many of them have out of fear of sticking out should they have a different opinion.

   All in all, I truly enjoyed What We Saw and can't recommend it enough. It's honest, realistic, and brilliant in so many ways along with being one of those truly important books one should simply read. The characters are great and the writing style really good. If you are interested in hard topic books then this one is definitely for you.
I give What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler 5 out of 5 stars.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

Mittwoch, 10. Februar 2016

   Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.

   The book:

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love
by Sarvenaz Tash

Expected Publication: June 14th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 256 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.
   Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
   Archie and Veronica...
   Althena and Noth...
   ...Graham and Roxy?
   Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.
   But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.
   When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones. (

   My thoughts:

   This book just sounds like one heck of a lot of fun, lols and giggles if you ask me! I mean there's comic books, comic con, neediness and a boy who tries to woo his best friend using the former? Sign me up asap. Something like that, teens who love comic books and are nerdy, this sounds like a book inspired by life, unlike some books where teens are 50 year old philosophers with degrees and everything. I cannot wait to get my hand on this because I'm sure it'll be a blast!

   Let me know in the comments below or via twitter (@Alice_Reeds) which books you're waiting for this Wednesday!
Shade Me by Jennifer Brown Cover

Review: Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Samstag, 6. Februar 2016

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
Published: August 25th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Ltd
Number of Pages: 328 Pages (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #1 in The Field Party Series

   To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god. But on the inside he's grief-stricken - his father is dying and he hasn't told anyone because he can't face the truth. Now, as his pain grows unbearable, West finally decides he needs to talk to someone about his dad. So in the dark shadows of a party, he tells the one girl who doesn't speak everything he can't tell anyone else. West expected to feel relief, a flood of emotions - but what he didn't expect was for Maggie Carleton to reply. For her to reveal a pain even deeper than his own. And, for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn't ever let her go. (

   Until Friday Night is one of those books that takes a seemingly ordinary contemporary plot and mixes it with all sorts of emotions and unexpected stories told by characters marked by life and tragedies. It has a really well mixed blend of funny, emotionally wrecking, and meaningful that I definitely enjoyed a lot.
   As someone with a knack for hard topic novels I, inevitably, had to find my way to this book, especially because I heard a lot of good things about it. This book follows two characters, a boy and a girl named West and Maggie. Both are either facing incredible grief or have already gone through it, and is following their story, how they find their way to each other and help each other, it's really nice. The author dealt with grief and loss quite well, portraying it for what it is: something that changes you, the way you think of life, and shifts your priorities around.

   I really liked Maggie and West. Maggie was an interesting protagonist that consciously decided not to speak anymore as her way of coping with what happened to her mother. Watching her open up and take care of West was really nice, though I really wished that she'd stood up for herself a little sooner.
   West was a character marked by the secret he is hiding from his friends, the fact that his father is dying of cancer and the fact that he isn't sure if he will be able to cope once he will inevitably pass away. His fears and grieving were well executed, and the relationship he formed with Maggie was cute and interesting, though toward the last third of the book his gigantic need of marking his territory in terms of Maggie really did start to get on my nerves. Sometimes I really wonder why so many male characters show this possessiveness in YA, and why some people seem to think that that's cute or sexy.

   I really liked Abbi Glines' writing style and the two voices that she gave her characters. Most of the time you could really distinguish them very well, which is always very favorable when it comes to books written from two POVs.

   All in all, Until Friday Night is a really good contemporary story that made me laugh and cry more then once, that had its flaws but overall was well done and worth reading. If you're in the mood for a book that mixes cute and tears inducing, then this might be for you.
   I give Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines 4 out of 5 stars.

Cover Lust Friday: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Freitag, 5. Februar 2016

Cover Lust Friday Logo

   Cover Lust Friday is a weekly meme that's all about covers. Pick a cover that stands out to you, add your reason why you've chosen that particular one or what you like about it. Let's have fun with it and share the love for our favorite covers.

   The Cover:

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Expected Publication: August 9th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
Number of Pages: 384 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Nevernight Chronicles

   In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
   Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father's failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she wanders a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and its thugs. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the hearth of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
   Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.
   Revenge. (

   The Reason:

   This cover is absolutely gorgeous, 'nuf said.
   No, but seriously, just look at it! I'm nota fan of fantasy and even I'm sitting over here like "I must have this book" even if only so I can have that cover standing on my shelf. Sure, never judge a book by its cover, but if the inside of the book is anything like the cover, color me intrigued! This cover is mysterious, intriguing and contains a tiny bit of an creepiness factor which makes it all even better, and that font in amazing. Whoever designed this cover, he or she did an outstanding job.

* * *

Want to join in? No problem! Just follow the 'rules' below:

  1. Write a blog post (or post a picture using #CoverLustFriday on Instagram) about a cover you love.
  2. Add your link in the comment section of the original post (click here) so we can have something like a list going on.
  3. And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  4. Check out other posts, and have fun!